Imperial Eclipse Stout - Java Coffee - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Java CoffeeImperial Eclipse Stout - Java Coffee

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334 Ratings
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Ratings: 334
Reviews: 49
rAvg: 4.31
pDev: 7.19%
Wants: 95
Gots: 103 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.90% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DarthKostrizer on 12-07-2012

Lavender Pearl wax.

The 2013 version had 4Roses, High West Rye, High West Bourbon, Elijah Craig12 Eclipse and blended with a bigger Imperial Stout known as Totality Squared(aka Masterpiece) Starting gravity for the Stout was 31.5* Plato vs Totality's 26.5* Plato. Different hops, fermented with a blended yeast(s).
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 334 | Reviews: 49
Photo of captainkrad
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow! A lot going on here- and all for the good! Eclipse never ceases to amaze my taste buds...

Photo of Gator_Chomp
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Certainly not worth the money. I see why these sit on the shelf. Good beer, but should be $10 less.

Photo of Boccu
4.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very good stout. Lacks the complexity of other high rated stouts. Strong coffee through out.

Photo of HugeBulge
3.14/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Lacks anything resembling a decent mouth feel.

Photo of john0721
3.75/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle, pours black with light brown head, good lacing.

The nose is all coffee.

Flavor: Coffee, some vanilla and dark fruit.

Dry, mild to moderate bitter finish.

Overall, the flavor is more balanced than the nose but the coffee still dominates from start to finish.

Photo of richj1970
4.47/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bomber into Old Guardian glass. 2014 vintage.

A: Pours a dark murky black with one finger mocha colored head that settles after a few minutes to a thin cap, and leaves a slight oily film on the surface. Some light lacing,

S: Fantastic smelling beer. I might buy another bottle just to inhale the aromas again. Strong espresso, and rich dark chocolate. Vanilla and bourbon lingering around in the back. A light fruity note - maybe blueberry.

T: Tons of bold espresso flavors mixed with very rich quality dark chocolate. Vanilla, and brown sugar.

M: Full bodied and fairly carbonated for a BA beer. A slight dry and sweet finish.

O: A truly wonderful beer combining many of my favorite flavors - coffee, chocolate, bourbon. My only wish is that it was more affordable, but on the other hand I don't have to fight a line of folks to buy a bottle.

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.62/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with very little head. Fairly thin coming out of the bottle with quite a bit of light coming through. Aroma of coffee, cocoa, oak, whiskey and metallic nails. Different, but intriguing. Taste is sweet, but balanced. Strength of the coffee remains and combines with the barrel character. Cocoa powder, lots of earthy wood and a touch of dark fruits. Body is slightly more full than expected, low carbonation, and extremely rich. Fair amount of heat from the alcohol.
I really like the balance, but it lacks the depth of some flavors (vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, etc) that I prefer in the style. Crazy rich. Good, not great.

$30 for bomber

Photo of SHODriver
4.75/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 Version

A: poured into a snifter to a deep black with a finger of dense dark tan head that fades to a small pool with decent lacing
S: smells of coffee, roasted malt, chocolate, and some bourbon barrel notes with some vanilla
T: taste is coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, caramel and vanilla, bourbon and oak. swallow is smooth and creamy with more coffee, chocolate, caramel and vanilla
M: big and heavy on the palate with soft but adequate carbonation and a slightly drying finish
O: If I could only use one word to describe this beer it would be 'incredible'. Unbelievable smoothness and complexity. The eclipse series is truly one of the best lines of barrel aged stouts there is. It may cost a lot but it's worth every penny for every last drop.

Photo of smakawhat
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Lavender Pearl wax bottle run No. 1 Vintage 2014.

Out of the bottle comes out with mahogany classic brown, but a little thin looking. Fills the glass with a classic dark walnut brown, nearly black with not much head creation. Nice simple tan thin bubbles, but barely a finger of head but dissolves to a nice collar and a leopard like lacing along the edges in spots. A bit of a filmy top. Not one of the better looking Fifty Fifty Eclipse brews I've had.

Jesus this aroma is truly perfection. Wonderful piping coffee and charing roasted malts. Excellent fruity tones coming off of this which really smells like blueberry. Dark bitter chocolate notes and a small bit of heat, the perfect warmth of boozy character that doesn't smell overly strong. Some hints of leafy tobacco notes also. Incredibly complex and perfectly balanced, one of the best smelling coffee stouts I've had to date.

Palate comes nicely, but is let down by a surprisingly weak body that doesn't even hit of barrel aging round character. A bit thin and wet mouthfeel, doesn't make the palate last or coat, but the flavors are at least there and big. Big charring roast on first sip, with piping warm coffee to match. Much of the fruit character really opens up in the mid palate, cherry, blueberry and some light tannic wood character, almost sawdust tasting. The finish though is a bit bitter forward and dominates, but easily tolerable, with a good amount of roast bitterness which is quite accentuating a tobacco menthol and seemingly hop character. It dominates and then lets all the other tones and flavors disappear.

Overall this seemed like it would be gangbusters but even being let down it's still a solid brew. That aroma is just gangbusters though.

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

- 22 oz. poured into Black Tuesday whiskey snifter on 2-Jan-15

Prominent vanilla notes balanced well with the roasted coffee. Tasted alongside BAVS and although it wasn't at the same level in terms of coffee (and the beer as a whole overall), the bourbon barrel was spot on. The girls preferred this one over the BAVS.

My current Eclipse rankings:
1. 20-yr Elijah Craig
2. Four Roses
3. Java Coffee
4. 12-yr Elijah Craig
5. Maker's Mark
6. Old Fitzgerald

Photo of neurobot01
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Waxed bottle at cellar temp into a snifter.

Look: super dark brown, viscous with a tiny ring of tan head. Impermeable to light, very little carbonation evident.

Smell: tons of whisky, and a fair undercurrent of coffee stout (which never smells much like coffee to me). Maybe hints of chocolate, vanilla, oak, but might all just be the power of suggestion from the strong bourbon presence. A bit 1-dimensional.

Taste: pretty damned good. Chocolate, oak, booze, bitter char, spices (cinnamon/nutmeg/anise). Finishes incredibly clean, with just a lingering bitterness for the aftertaste. Muted influence of both barrel and coffee—they're both there, but neither is in the foreground. Sweet, but not at all cloying.

Feel: probably the weak spot for me. Medium bodied, but this would be better a bit thicker, with a little less fizzy carbonation. Also maybe a bit too dry.

Overall: despite the generally good marks, no part of this is really great, or even probably in the top 3 of what I've had. Not worth $30, though that won't stop me from buying another bottle (of a different style) this year. If you just want a really solid heavy-hitting coffee stout, go for Speedway or Péché Mortel.

Photo of More_betterness
4.31/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Inky midnight black body with a one finger mocha head that recedes to a small ring around the rim of the glass. Spotty lacing.

S: Big ground coffee and bourbon soaked dark fruit upfront, followed by hints of vanilla and a roasted dark malt backbone. Little beat of boozy heat. Pretty epic.

T: Bourbon soaked cherry, sweet cocoa, and honey first, with a long acrid coffee closer. Drying and tannic finish.

M: Medium/full bodied and lightly carbed. Long lingering finish.

O: Great beer. Bourbon barrels and coffee pairings never dissapoint!

Photo of danjm21
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

Not bad

Photo of maximum12
4.4/5  rDev +2.1%

Thanks to hefman for kicking me this bottle, which I’ve been lusting after for quite some time. This is the first year I haven’t ordered a bunch of Eclipse & I might regret it. We’ll see. 22 oz. bottle split with my coffee loving wife.

The pour is full Eclipse black with a healthy, hard head for a big brew. Smells like a big, strong, sweet pot of coffee. Beer? Perhaps. Is sweet a beer?

Java Eclipse is making happy in my frontal cranial orifice. Wow. A gorgeous bouquet of java or bean or coffee or whatever hits the palate like a ton of Juan Valdez. But before the coffee machine hits Folgers levels, the sweet malts intervene, & the bourbon rears its head & cries out with a joyful noise. Mid-palate brings a few subtleties, a soft acorn or two, mild bitterness, vanilla, faint chocolate. The end lists into eternity & beyond with the barrel & the java mingling beautifully. Creamy, thicker than the regular Eclipse lineup. I could have easily taken the entire bottle, but would have needed to do so in secret, or face the Wrath of Wife.

This kind of brew is what gives coffee beers a good name. The lineage is good, the look is good, the beer is better than good. The world would be a better place with more beers like this one; excellent, & knocking on the steel door of elite.

Photo of TheCuriograph
4.71/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Just getting into this series, and I've yet to be disappointed. Went into the Java (2012) with unreasonably high expectations:

A - Monolithic black, with a surprisingly full tan head.

S - Vanilla, hazelhut, espresso and massive baker's chocolate, with notes of black cherry, pipe tobacco and toasted coconut. Each swirl conjures fresh pipesmoke and molasses.

T - All of the above, but accented with some fruit - fig and blackberry preserves - and something like peanut butter. The taste is more like dark chocolate mousse than coffee (though admittedly the coffee might have faded with time).

M - Heavy, sticky and hot on the tongue.

This is what I'm talking about. I wouldn't mind taking up permanent residence in this bottle. Not to speak ill of everyone's favorite coffee stout, but I'd take Eclipse Java over BCBCS any day of the week.

Photo of cvm4
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle Run #2... 2013 version

A - Pours black with a one finger dark khaki head. Doesn't seem like a thick stout on the pour. Lacing is okay and retention of the head is a ring around the glass.

S - To me, the coffee isn't at the forefront on the smell. Bitter dark chocolate mixed in with coffee and roasted malts on the nose. A rather subdued nose here and I'm not picking up much barrel.

T - Very complex taste! Coffee hits you from the get go, developing into bitter dark chocolate that gives way to oak, brown sugar and smooth bourbon notes.

M - Medium bodied with low carbonation. The carbonation bubbles feel small and toy with the smooth body on the beer.

O - Impressive... If only it was more coffee forward on the nose and the body was a bit bigger. Still, a great stout that I'm sure not a lot of people will turn down.

Photo of hops202
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 22Oz Bottle run # 2 - Poured into stone snifter

A - black with one finger head - seems thin

S - strong coffee, lots of chocolate. Barrel notes barely there.

T - still lots of coffee and chocolate. Quite tasty but lacking the bourbon barrel finish.

M - medium - leaves you wanting more

O - Great bourbon barrel coffee stout, but other 50/50 variants are far better. Not even close to BCBS Coffee.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

i anticipated a much more coffee heavy experience, this is actually rather relaxed on the coffee front, until it warms up in fact its almost hard to notice, but once it does, the coffee really expands out of it, especially in the finish, which carries no acidity at all and a great mix of earthy soil and charred bitterness, its really good stuff. a blend of some of the more interesting barreled editions of this, with what i remember from the elijah craig 12 being the most forward, that sweetness is there. not majorly bourbon heavy though, i get notes of dark chocolate dessert and vanilla crumble coffee cake, a nice mix of the light and dark sides here. the coffee is tough to pick out on the front end. only with temperature is it there, and even then only in the finish. nice burnt barley undertones and a lot of bourbon on it, its just layered and great. one thing i love the most is the texture, its not s thick or syrupy as others, and as such, drinks only as patiently as i choose. the honey is more subtle in this one than others, dryer too, but its still a very rich beer. this whole series is rather special, i wish i could afford to cellar a number of them, but the coffee in this one adds a layer that i love. bakers chocolate heavy though, woody, worthy of the nearly 30 bucks they fetch for this, and i don't often say that...

Photo of Damian
4.57/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fl oz bottle purchased at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA
Bottle run no. 1/2013
Served in a snifter

Like the other Eclipse Stout variants, this beer poured slightly thin for the style. The slick, motor oil brown liquid was topped by a billing, foamy, caramel colored crown. The fluffy mass deposited thick, drippy rings of beautiful lacing all down the glass.

Not much coffee came through in the aroma initially. The nose was actually quite muted and simplistic. Roasty malts and char-like notes were apparent. Some dark chocolate. Touch of smoke. There was a crisp, dry yeast quality that almost seemed like something you would find in a lager. In this case, perhaps a Baltic porter. Subtle hints of coffee were detectible. As the beer warmed, the coffee presence came out exponentially. It reminded me a lot of freshly ground coffee beans, and it soon dominated the nose. Loads of bourbon/booziness and oak appeared as well. Really fantastic.

Unlike the nose, the flavor profile was remarkably complex and coffee-forward from the get-go. Rich and robust. Super smooth and balanced. Loads of roasted and caramel malts came through on the front end. Strong brown sugar notes. Copious amounts of dark chocolate and creamed coffee. Freshly baked chocolate fudge brownies came to mind. Raisins and prunes were noticeable. Espresso notes appeared in the center and carried through into the rich, roasty, slightly ashy and dry finish. A touch of earthy, piney bitterness was also detectable. With time, both the coffee and bourbon notes became much more intense, almost overwhelming (in a good way) the overall flavor profile.

The mouthfeel was thinner bodied for the style yet still creamy and smooth. A fine, moderate effervescence gave the liquid a nice frothiness. After every sip, the liquid left a slightly sticky film on my lips.

Although this beer was a bit underwhelming initially, it finished in a really big way. Serving this at cellar temperature seemed appropriate, but it really needed to warm up substantially for the coffee to show its true colors. Of the three Eclipse Stout variants I have sampled thus far, this was definitely my favorite. Hopefully someday I can find an even fresher batch with an even more intense coffee presence.

Photo of rlee1390
4.17/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Black in the glass, one finger brown head that tries to leave some lacing.

S-Some coffee, was expecting more, chocolate, roasted malt some oak and sugar as well.

T- Starts with coffee, like the nose I was expecting more, nice blend of dark chocolate and roasted malt. Good balanced, but I like a real dominating coffee. Oak and roasted malt as well.

M-Medium in body, almost watery not much carbonation.

O-A good beer, maybe not worth the price tag. Still wish that there would have been more coffee.

Photo of Jeffo
4.02/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Lucky to be able to sample both the 2013 and 2012 versions of this together. Cheers to ScottO for the 2013 edition and to cpferris for the 2012 party bottle.

From a bomber into a snifter
Review is for the 2013 with comparative notes for the 2012

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, fizzy, tan head with good retention. Clear black body with slightly higher levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a full wisp and coats the sides of the glass. Splotchy wisp and ring remain leaving some good lacing down the glass. The 2012 looks essentially the same here. Like all the eclipses, the body is too light in color and transparent, but the head and lacing look really, really good on these two.

SMELL: Roasted coffee, burnt grains, some sweet cream and dark chocolate on the nose. A bit of roasted, burnt marsh mellow and vanilla notes here as well. Very aromatic. The 2012 has much less roasted coffee, if any really, but lots of sweet cream and vanilla with a more pronounced barrel and coconut component. Both smell great.

TASTE: Roasted grain and coffee beans up front with sweet cream and caramel as well. Big finish of coffee bitterness, some dark, bitter chocolate, vanilla and sweet cream notes with a touch of bourbon and alcohol underneath. Quite flavorful, with plenty of roasted coffee bitterness, sweet caramel and some cream flavors as balance. More oak and bourbon come out as the beer opens up and as it lingers on the palate. Enjoyable, complex and quite interesting. The 2012 is much different, as the coffee isn't nearly as much of a player, but the sweet cream, vanilla and caramel are quite decadent, and the oak and coconut from the bourbon barrels play a much more prevalent roll in the flavor profile. Both are very different, but very good as well.

PALATE: Fuller body with medium levels of carbonation. Enough weight on the palate, creamy, goes down okay with a bit of a burn and finishes slightly dry. Some heat lingers, but not much. The 2012 is much the same but a touch lighter on the palate. Still very creamy though.

OVERALL: Surprisingly good, as I'm not usually a very big fan of the Eclipse series. Both vintages are solid, but for very different reasons. The 2013 is definitely a coffee imperial stout first, as the coffee plays a much bigger roll in the nose and taste than in the 2012. That said, however, the 2012 is quite decadent, with really nice sweet cream and vanilla flavors, as well as a more forthcoming barrel presence in the taste profile. I might say the 2012 is more enjoyable at this point perhaps and I probably would score it a 4.5 for taste, but that is a matter of preference, as the grainy, burnt coffee flavors in the 2013 might not be for everyone. Regardless, both of these are great on their own and I'm glad to have had the chance to try them both together. Thanks again for the bottle guys!

Photo of inlimbo77
4.09/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz, 2013
Mini snifter

A: Pours deep brown leading to black. Get a touch of head. Faint tan. Some alcohol feet. Lot a lot of lacing.

S: Coffee grounds. Some light chocolate notes. Initially I thought this want barrel aged at all because we didn't get a lot of barrel notes. Vanilla mixing in with the dark chocolate and coffee. Mocha.

T: Bitter cocoa and coffee. Not espresso. Tastes good. No barrel on the palate aside from the vanilla that I smelled and tasted.

M: Full bodied.

Photo of Jonada
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 version. Bottle run #2. Served in a Teku glass.

Appearance: Pours black with 2 fingers of a creamy dark tan head. Nice retention. Body is opaque.

Smell: Huge fresh roasted coffee notes with whiskey, vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted malt and a hint of oak.

Taste: Like the aroma, the predominant flavor is coffee, with roasted malt, dark fudge, earthy hops, bourbon and a mild booziness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied creamy mouthfeel with medium gentle carbonation. Some booziness, but not overpowering. Semi sweet finish, but with a low/medium lingering bitterness.

Overall: Another good eclipse variant. It's stronger on the coffee and lighter on the bourbon barrel character, so if you like your stouts that way, this one's worth picking up. Price tag is a bit steep though.

Photo of cbutova
4.07/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Bomber split into seven glasses for Stoutfest III. Black body identical in appearance to the Four Roses and Evan Williams versions. Good head retention and nice blankets of lace.

S- Fair Bourbon presence but more wood and peppery whiskey feel than the other versions mentioned in the appearance. Fairly strong coffee presence above the roasted malts and oak barrel feel.

T- Coffee truly opens up here and differentiates this from the other Eclipse versions we have tasted so far. Bitter coffee grounds and fresh medium roast coffee above the bourbon and decent roast malt base. Cocoa, peppery whiskey, fresh toast oak and slight vanilla.

MF- Medium thick body like the other variants lacking a bit of creaminess it could certainly use. Carbonation at a medium level with a roast bitterness in the finish. Slight warming on the palate.

The coffee stands out quite a bit and adds an aspect that the Evan Williams and Four Roses were missing, they both lacked a base but had great whiskey flavors. Fresh roast coffee lingers on the palate, especially in the taste.

Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, lavender wax capped, from bottle run numero 2 of 2013.

This beer pours a pretty convincingly solid black, with the slightest of basal cola edges, and one fat finger of bubbly, frothy, and ultimately creamy mocha head, which leaves some nice approaching storm system lace around the glass as things sink away.

It smells of bitter espresso, semi-sweet baker's chocolate, dry hot cocoa mix, restrained roasted caramel malt, a subtle barrel character - more grainy wood than the usual caramel/vanilla/spice/booze scoreboard - and a bit of musty ashiness. The taste is a whole lot sweeter in its bearing - lightly toasted caramel malt, hard toffee, bittersweet cold coffee, a more aggressive Bourbon spicy grain and natural vanilla booziness, free radical chunky chocolate, and a dry ashy earthiness.

The carbonation is fairly involved in its edgy peppiness, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight, and mostly smooth, the alcohol seeping in a tad, which doesn't seem to affect the airy creaminess. It finishes on the sweet side, just, as the coffee persists in the form of one of those hideous java house diabetes concoctions, and the cocoa, caramel, and whiskey-tinged booze round things out.

While the coffee essence here is indeed prominent, it's hardly overbearing - I've had worse (or better, depending on your outlook) in recent coffee porter examples. It's the tame, well-rounded accompanying imperial stout that gets me - seemingly simple, but really a dense palette of sweet and bitter, charred and alcoholic, no one note taking over, rather, they're all laudable for their strength among and despite each other. One of the better versions of the Eclipse series that I've yet tried, and that from an avowed java heretic.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Java Coffee from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 334 ratings.