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Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon - FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

136 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 136
Reviews: 24
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.69%
Wants: 20
Gots: 64 | FT: 13
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: MasterSki on 08-26-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 136 | Reviews: 24
Reviews by pmarlowe:
More User Reviews:
Photo of Pliny_the_Self-righteous
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle @ Ale Arsenal on 1/9/15. Pours black in color with one finger or less of head that dissipates quickly. Plenty of lacing. The aroma is bourbon, caramel, chocolate, and oak. Thinner mouth feel than many in the class, but similar to other Eclipse varietals. The taste is bourbon barrel and roasted malt upfront with some chocolate and caramel. Still a solid beer, but not nearly the best Eclipse varietal.

Photo of biboergosum
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz 'tangerine' wax capped bottle, from run number 1 of the year 2013, Anno Domani. Once again, these barrel-aged Eclipse deals are not at all easy to open with a standard tool - is this supposed to be some sort of security feature or something? Anyways, the barrel in question here comes from the High West Bourbon lineage.

This beer pours a solid, light-nullifying black, with the slightest echo of basal red cola 'highlights', and two slender fingers of thickly foamy, and loosely bubbly milk chocolate brown head, which leaves some bleeding Swiss cheese lace around the glass as things slowly subside.

It smells of roasted doughy caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa, black licorice, boozy vanilla, Bourbon-soaked gritty wood planks, a hint of Irish coffee, and weak earthy, musty hops. The taste is big on the hot vanilla notes up front, followed closely by more toasted caramel malt, charred medium chocolate, dry anise, cherry menthol cough drops, a milder grainy Bourbon besotted woodiness, and a very soft bitter earthy hoppiness. That near 12 points of ABV are noticeable, sure, but hardly a kingmaker at this junction.

The carbonation is damned-near non-existent, the body a slickly solid medium-heavy weight, smooth like glossy licorice twists, with a hint of aerosol creaminess. It finishes fairly sweet, the alcohol not to be denied in all respects, especially when combined with the lingering roasted malt and cocoa, not to mention the earthy licorice/root beer notes, and generally fading soft Kentucky barrel notes.

I've kind of always wanted to try the High Test (uh, I mean West) Bourbon that's been available around here for a while, but, yeah, its dear shelf price kind of distanced me from it. So now, ironies abounding, I get to try its mere ghost via a likewise pricey barrel-aged American stout. My takeaway here is that the whisky is well worth pursuing, given that it renders subtly desirable effects on an already heady base Imperial Stout, and nothing more. Oh, well, there would be that deal with the even further elevated alcohol, but that's a cross to bear for another day.

Photo of SomethingClever
2.95/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle poured into nonic pint

A: big chunky fat head surprising in it's appearance pitch black body

S: a lot of oak you can really smell the barrel maybe a little cocoa and leather

T: very young barrel taste almost like someone added a shot of bourbon to a stout carbonation is surprisingly low and wow the oak in the taste stands out

M: Very thin feel but the alcohol is clingy as shit

O: I would have said this was just aged in oak barrel except for the alcohol on the finish very disappointing

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

650 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance - Black with a nice khaki head. Medium collar. Thin wispy surface.

Smell - Chocolate. Some vanilla. Sharp whiskey, but not much other barrel character.

Taste - Dark bitter chocolate. Dry aininess. Bourbon is even more subdued here. Sweet in the back end.

Mouthfeel - High carbonation. Kinda creamy, but drops off dry.

Overall - Not a lot of barrel, but it's a tasty stout behind it.

Photo of smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Tangerine wax, vintage 2014, Bottle run No. 2.

Deep walnut brown body and opaque, but with just a hair of dark red tinge to it on the edges. Manages a creamy mocha brown head of about a finger, but settles to a good three millimeter collar, with a nice whispy top and not filmy. Some spotted lacing manages to round out. Quite a nice looking beer.

Excellent aroma and bouquet. Great hints of fruity quality, almost like a cherry brandy of sorts. Liquid maraschino chocolates, clove, with black forest cake and fudge qualities. Dense, almost kind of buttery in a way. Incredibly impressive nose with a very unexpected fruit character I didn't expect coming.

Palate is quite interesting. Light bodied but with definite whisky flavors and a bit of roast bitterness on the finish. Good round coating but missing some of the classic barrel aging silky and creamy coating texture. Still the flavors in the mid palate bring loads of fruit and dark chocolate, with a big whisky wooden tannic and bitter note. Cherries, spiced clove, sharp wood and an almost pencil shavings and lead sensation. Bitternes tones down after some time, with some leafy tea like hops to really jack things up even more interestingly.

I am shocked at how fruity this is, and how much it reminds me of a true whiskey barrel. It also seems to have more character of a rye than a bourbon cause of the fruit angles messing with me, but either way it's another dam good Eclipse worth savoring.

Photo of rlee1390
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Clear amber/brown when pouring, black in the glass and tries to leave some lacing.

S-Bourbon, roasted malt, coffee and chocolate.

T-Starts with bourbon and roasted malt, dark chocolate and some coffee.

M-Medium bodied, tad creamy and not much carbonation.

O-It was a good beer, worth the try. But at the price tag, not a repeat purchase.

Photo of Boccu
4.63/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Exceptional stout. Great taste and smell is amazing.

Photo of PicoPapa
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle with Orange Wax. Bottle Run 2 2014. Pours a pitch black color with a half inch of frothy light brown head that dissipates quickly. Lots of lacing. The aroma is oak, honey, vanilla, dark chocolate, Bourbon, and chocolate syrup. The taste is lots of bourbon barrel upfront followed by some dark chocolate, espresso, caramel and some honey. Earthy with vanilla notes. Maybe a slight hint of dark cherries. Ends with lots of wood and Bourbon. Lots of alcohol warmth at the end with nice barrel notes. Heavy mouthfeel. Lots of Bourbon flavor on this one that goes well with the chocolate and woodiness. Almost tastes leathery at times. This is the second variant I have had of Eclipse and both have been outstanding, but pricey. Overall, I want to try more of these.

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Bottle opened on 7.18.14
1/2013
Orange wax

Malty, grainy, a touch of chocolate. Not the best variation, but solid.

Photo of KFBR392
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours with an extremely dark brown color with an average average thickness on the pour. A finger of dark brown/khaki head forms and is present while drinking. Above average active carbonation for the style.

Smell: Medium bodied barrel character brings some vanilla with some noticeable booze initially. Malt character has a caramel and molasses sweetness with some very light roasted coffee grounds. Dark cherry fruits and airy oak pop up on the back end.

Taste: Oak, cherries, with a kiss of barrel character hits the palate first. Barrel character picks up on the body with some heavier boozy accents, spices that come off with a rye flavor, and roasted malt. Molasses sweetness evens out the barrel character well. Coffee grounds sit on the palate long after drinking.

Mouthfeel: Like many of the Eclipse stouts, the body is a tad light. The flavors don't shine through as much as the other ones so the lighter body detracts a tad from this one. Lots of roasted malt, coffee grounds, and oak left on the palate long after drinking.

Overall: This one is good but I would certainly recommend the Elijah Craig 12yr over this one. The barrel character isn't as clear and flavorful from the High West as I was hoping. The spices and heavier malt accents are welcome but everything gets a tad bunched together.

Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into snifter. 2013 release.

A: Pours unlike any of the other eclipses I’ve had to date (which is basically all of them). This one has a huge, billowing, dense, and frothy head that damn near overflowed the glass. My first immediate thought was infection, but thankfully this wasn’t the case. Just a really really carbonated eclipse. A fuzzy and thick film lasted the whole beer through and left large spots of lace down the glass.
S: Bourbon is spicy and strong, with undertones of vanilla, roasted, and chocolate syrup. I get a hint of dark fruit in there as well.
T: Bourbon barrel lends some clean spiciness to the flavors. Notes of vanilla, leather, and caramel see to shine over additional flavors of fudge brownie, dark fruits, brown sugar, and toasted marshmallow. The finish has a nice sweetness to it from the bourbon, and the aftertaste is full of peat, leather, and toffee.
M: Ample carbonation is frothy but thankfully soft and velvety; it just really froths up on my palate as I sip. This is unlike any other eclipse I’ve had, and is really strange, distracting even, and it does take away from the beers drinkability. The body is on the lighter side of full, and the mouthfeel is clean, bitter, and a tad sticky.
O: As stated, definitely the most carbonated eclipse I’ve ever had, and perhaps on the sweeter side as well. Definitely a great stout, and a great eclipse variety, but probably not in my top 5 list of the barrel treatments.

Photo of Dope
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 1, 2013.

A: Pitch, pitch black pour. Tall and very dense dark brown head. Head fades out very slowly with thin solid sheets of lacing. Great head retention.

S: Nice sweet bourbon aroma. Toasted sugar, caramel and a little oak. Maybe even brown sugar and honey? Did I mention it's sweet and sugary? Touch of char and chocolate but mainly it's the bourbon talking here.

T: Again, bourbon up front. Lots of oak here now with a decent backing of toasted sugar and toffee maybe? Sweet milk chocolate with an alcohol sting to it in the middle. Touch of honey. Oak is way stronger than expected and persists through to the finish. Aftertaste is almost pure drying oak with just a touch of bittersweet cocoa and even more bitter coffee beans.

M: Medium heavy bodied. Pretty smooth with just a small sting of alcohol in the finish. Quite dry from all the oak.

O: Hmph, not a bad variant. Heavy on the oak, maybe a little too much. Not bad, just needs a little less oak and a little more bourbon and this would be golden.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, cookie dough, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, char, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer but the boutbon barrel aging comes across slightly better in the smell.

Photo of wordemupg
4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

650ml tangerine waxed bomber, bottle run #1 2013, poured into tulip 10/1/14

A I'm starting to sound like a broken record but shes black with a deep cola edge, two fingers of mocha foam slowly falls to a thick film leaving plenty of unorganized lace deep down the glass

S sweet bourbon, fruity booze, fudge and coco, licorice, vanilla, cinnamon, some wood, smells great

T some cold sweetened coffees added to the mix, a little spicy and I don't quite understand why but it works, the booze is well hidden with lots of vanilla and fudge, not sure why but I slightly prefer the nose

M medium full, creams up nicely, just a little heat but much like the other 50-50's very well concealed booze, sweet woody bourbon finish just keeps going

O this versions a little spicy, not the char I've found in the others but the mellowness works in its own way, smooth and sexy

FML I've drank some cash recently, another great beer no doubt but I feel a little dirty dropping the $$$ but I'm sure I'd have more regrets if I didn't, worth a try for sure but I need to make some friends to split the cost with

Photo of mdfb79
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got a couple bottles of this from my futures last year, decided to crack one open. 22 oz. bottle poured into a tulip, batch 1, 2013 vintage.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with one finger plus of medium tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, whiskey, milk chocolate, toasted malts, burnt malts, dark chocolate, oak, earthy notes, and light vanilla.

t - Tastes of sweet bourbon, roasted malts, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, toasted malts, burnt malts, vanilla, cream, oak, earthy char notes, leather, and light caramel malts. Much better as it warms up, better than the nose.

m - Thick, full body and moderate carbonation. Tiny bit of heat, great mouthfeel.

o - Overall this is a very good beer and better than the 2013 Makers Mark I had a few weeks ago, but it is not my favorite in the series by far. I've been a huge fan of this series of beers over the last 3-4 years but to be honest, all the 2013's I've tried so far (4 of the variations so far) have left me wildly dissatisfied. While they have all been very good beers, I don't feel they have lived up to the great and amazing variations of the past few years. Hopefully they get a little better with time and the other variations pick up the slack.

Photo of maximum12
4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ah, Eclipse. Every year I look forward to my shipment, though the hand-off in the cold weather of a Minnesota December always makes me sweaty. 22 oz. orange....excuse, me tangerine...bottle split with my wife.

I am happy to say that the orange...tangerine wax of this year's bottles is slightly less hard than the setting concrete of year's past, it's almost fun to peel off. Nose is a bit light compared to other years & variants. More chocolate than anything else, light vanilla bean (three of them), & I swear I can smell the wood.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West has callouses on its hands. First impression is that this is harsh, an Eclipse with a biting edge of boozy whiskey that's nowhere apparent in its brothers (& sisters). There's a spicy mule-kick that hints at rye, & if I knew more about bourbon I'd know, but I'll wager these are rye barrels. Or I'm just wrong. Chocolate, wild honey, mild sweetness, with a ton of wood that sucks the moisture from my palate. Dry tongue. Swift kick of alcohol. But that spiciness really yips this up a notch. I could suck this down like oysters on the half-shell.

Before it warmed, this beer left me cold & indifferent. Once it closed in on room temperature, my meter went close to ninety degrees. Bloody hell, one excellent beer.

Photo of Jaxbrew
4.63/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Cacao and barrel all over the place. Would have liked a bit more weight on the tongue, otherwise solid brew. Price point is really high, but understood on a 300 barrel level.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Three bottles shared with my brother-in-law this week. I bought the first one. He enjoyed the first one so much, he bought two more for us to share.

Typical Eclipse appearance. Near black with an inch of lasting, tan head. Huge bourbon aroma, with honey sweetness, roast, chocolate. Delicious at first sip. Smooth on the palate. Honey and bourbon play so well together. Another nice addition to the Eclipse series. Expensive, but tasty.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

this is excellent, they all are in this series, but this might be my least favorite of the lot, and while its not all the way fair, i have to rate this against its brethren, and it just isnt as fantastic as the others, at least in my opinion. its got the same inky brown color, impenetrable to light, and the same lazy mocha head. it has a radiant luster to it as well, short of greasy looking, but definitely gleaming. it smells bourbon heavy, i smell the stout less and the booze more, and high west bourbon isnt my favorite, its nice, but simple and bland compared to their other spirits. oak and chalky dark malt mix with the sweet vanilla of the bourbon and the honey in the stout. the flavor never really opens up until its warm, definitely a beer to decant for a bit before drinking. its rich and roasty, but i dont get as much of the honey in the stout as i did in others. i also get a little more bourbon than i care too, seemingly not as carefully barreled as many of the others. oak is prominent, and some of the subtleties of the base beer are lost. im not sure how much of this is a product of the ageing. the high west rye was arguably my favorite ive had of these, and this is for sure my least favorite, but they came out at the same time, confusing. the thing that made it weak for me was the feel. it just seemed so much thinner than others, and even thin in its own right for what it is. it doesnt coat the palate the same way, and as a result it seems boozier and harder to drink to me. i still love it, dont get me wrong here, but in the context of the entire series (that ive had), its the least unique and impressive.

Photo of inlimbo77
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz, 2013
Mini snifter

A: Dark brown leading the pitch black appearance in the glass. You get a thin layer of light tan tight bubbled head. Doesn't stick around for a long time. Alcohol feet.

S: Getting much more vanilla than with the HW Rye that we drank just prior to this. Less spice obviously as well. Dark chocolate. Fudge notes. Dry oak. Booze.

T: Taste follows the smells. Boozy dark chocolate fudge. Vanilla and oak meshing in nicely toward the mid palate. Lingering flavors of cocoa. Long finish. Opens up with warmth.

M: Full bodied and creamy.

Photo of HopBomb515
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark black with asmall tan head that fades quick and alcohol legs on the glass. Oak, vanilla, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, coffee and bourbon. Really decadent aroma. Chocolate, oak, vanilla and bourbon come through on the flavors and meld together nicely. Alcohol heat is there and detracts a bit. Mouthfeel flashes with a surprising carbonation and goes creamy early in the sip and coats the palette. Overall I thought this was great. It mixes the flavors from the barrel and bourbon to the base beer very well. Smooth and delicious but a little hot.

Photo of kaseydad
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown colored ale with a big foamy head and a touch of lacing through the session.

Nice bourbon aroma combined with sweet chocolate whiff intertwined with honey. Woody, nutty, molasses, toasted oak. Reminds me of most of the others in the series.

Taste is slightly spicy with the bourbon up front followed by the stout flavor kicking in on the swallow. Smooth drink but not up to par on the some of the other barrel blends. A little more on the char side. Not as sweet as some of the others which I find as a plus.

Overall, this is a solid beer but not one of my favorites for the series. Maybe it's the bourbon barrel used. Not sure. Oh it's good, but just didn't spark anything in me that some of the others have. Have one more chillin and will wait for about 6 months and see what happens.

Photo of tkdchampxi
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tangerine wax, opened on 3/27/15.


Had several of the eclipse flavors this year and I think this beer compared well to the others. Not as good as For Roses or Elijah Craig, but better than Java. Comparable to the other ones I've had.

Doesn't taste much like Bourbon. Much more like whiskey.

A bit too much carbonation

Photo of TheCuriograph
3.87/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 poured into a snifter

A - Motor oil black with a surprisingly full brown head.

S - Dominated by sweet (borderline cloying) bourbon notes, along with pipe tobacco, white chocolate, marshmallow. Oddly, nothing too roasty about the nose. In many ways, the astringent sweetness resembles a particularly sugary cola. Plus, ethanol stings the nostrils.

T - Nicely smoky with an explosion of dark chocolate, accented by vanilla extract, date and black cherry. No meatiness or espresso notes; in fact its comparable to BCBS, which I generally find tasty but too hot and sweet. Same here.

M - Oddly thin for an Eclipse. Substantial, yes, but not a chewy as Java.

O - Not amazing; definitely my least favorite Eclipse I've had so far. Still, I'm glad I tried it, and I would buy another bottle to age. This seems like it could have potential over time.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 136 ratings.