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Total Eclipse Black Ale - Hoppy Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Total Eclipse Black AleTotal Eclipse Black Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

59 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 59
Hads: 95
Avg: 3.49
pDev: 20.63%
Wants: 1
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hoppy Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Black Ale |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Brent on 01-12-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 59 | Hads: 95
Photo of Sammy
3.69/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle just in from Lueken Liquors. Is this how the brewer intended it? Maybe something more hoppy. As a dry stout, pretty decent, more of a light shwartzbier, with a muted hop. Very good drinkability. Light black coloured body, almost no head. Medium mouthfeel. Mollasses and light roast smell.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an almost opaque dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is off dark roasted malt, cocoa, and some herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but nothing all that special for the style.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.03/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

After passing up several times, I decided to buy and drink. I didn't expect much, just not to completely disapoint. Though it holds some intriguing flavors, I cannot get over the sharp, grainy, charcoal-like astingency that shows up early and often. Aromas, first, surprise with a firm Belgian sourness; quickly followed up with roasted malts. Flavors follow a similar profile, but there is too much competition between the chalky burned grain flavor and the low-bodied sour ale flavors. The graininess cannot blend into the weak body per flavor. Finsihes complex, but muddled. Despite a very dark brown and ideal head retention, the astringency persists. Not horrible, but not a second buy in my future.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opaque dark walnut with reddish brown highlights. The three finger head is the color of chocolate milk and has enough tackiness to deposit thick sheets of buckshot-riddled lace on the upper reaches of the glass. The head-lace combination is the star of the show, but the beer itself is no slouch.

There's a decent amount of oomph in the aroma. For once, I don't have to come close to dipping my nose to appreciate the beer's nose. I smell plenty of generously roasted barley accented by black coffee and a little bittersweet chocolate. The beer smells somewhat dry and powdery to me, as if there's very little sweetness present. That's a bit of an odd characteristic; let's see if it's a true reflection of the flavor.

The flavor profile focuses on coffee to the near exclusion of anything else. As the aroma suggested it would be, Total Eclipse is definitely a dry beer. The finish is flinty, semi-arid and as clean as a whistle. A little unsweetened chocolate tries to poke its head above the ground coffee bean, but gets slapped down in a hurry. Although there's plenty of hop bitterness, I'm unimpressed by the hop flavor; either in terms of quantity or quality.

The body is no bigger than light-medium, a shortcoming that I have a hard time tolerating in an American stout. In addition, the dry, evaporative finish accentuates the sensation of lightness since there's no mouthcoating to give one something to mull over until the next sip.

Total Eclipse Black Ale is an okay version I suppose. If you're in the market for a good looking, coffee-dominant, dry, bitter, light-bodied stout, then you've found your beer. With respect to that list, my stout preferences end at 'good looking', so I won't be in a hurry to acquire any more of this bad boy.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.25/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a flared pokal at Bliss.

Figured I'd donate some beer to the most recent Bliss tasting. Why not? This said bottle pours a murky blackish-brown topped by over a finger of dirty sandy foam. The nose comprises coca powder, brown sugar, toasted biscuit, very light roasted malts, and light coffee. The taste brings in more of the same, but with a bit more roast and a slightly richer chocolate flavor. The body is a light medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a pretty smooth feel. Overall, a pretty meager stout: one that's way too thin and way too laid-back, but one that's generally inoffensive and easy to drink.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.26/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

An opaque brown-black body reveals glimmering highlights of clear ruby when held to direct light; and it's full head of creamy dark tan froth holds exceptionally well and leaves some very nice lacing around the glass. Intensely dark roasted malt (almost like an ashtray) and yeast greet you in the nose (it's better than it sounds), livened by a cusp of fruitiness and some leafy hops in the background. It's mildly zesty on the tongue with a fine-bubbled median carbonation and medium body. The flavor is bold, but fairly one-sided (even more so than the aroma), with a charred wood and burnt coffee character that dominates. It's roastiness appears right upfront, awash in yeasty fruitiness; followed by a nice display of some caramelish malt; and finally some leafy and mildly minty and spicy hops amidst a rising, brittle bitterness and dark malt acidity. The finish is overtly dry and astringent, and detracts from its overall drinkability. It's interesting, but it seems that "intensity" was more important in the formulation of this recipe than balance.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shows a brilliantly clear, deep ruby hued color when held up to the light, it pours with a chocolate brown stream, and sits in my glass a dark brown to blackened amber color; so much for being a black ale. It has a frothy, brown-tinged, tan colored head that starts out a fat finger in thickness and even leaves some lacing patterns on the side of the glass. Aromas of roasted / black malt are quite prominent; aromas lean towards lightly roasted coffee beans, some burnt grain acidity, toasted malt notes, dusty chocolate, as well as notes that remind me of soda crackers left to deeply brown in the oven.

Quite light feeling on the palate, yet this beer has lots of dark grain flavor to it. Notes of chalky coffee, roast grain husks and something like burnt minerals (if that makes sense). Underneath is a touch of burnt prunes and blackened raisins, which add a touch of fruitiness and balance along with some darkened caramel flavors in the finish. The finish starts out with a sharp, lingeringly bitter character that is a mix of hop notes and black malts. The finish though is an exercise in balance as the fruit / caramel notes intertwine, wane and wax with the bitterness in a long, lingering, interesting finish. This beer seems quite dry at times but at others has just enough sweetness to offset the dark grain notes that are causing the dryness in the first place.

This is a really nice beer, I was not expecting so much roast character here. The black ale label threw me off a bit as I was not expecting something with the flavor of a porter or stout. This is a really nice beer, I really like how light it is; easily quaffable, yet full of flavor.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

You know, I never hear people raving about Hoppy Brewing Company in these forums, but they are available at whatever BevMo I walk into. I can get this 1½ mile from where I live, but this was bought in Gilroy. So here we go with the bomber, and on to the beer:

Be shocked, but the color is black. A little orange hue at the edge of the glass, and the light tan tinted head is holding good retention and leaves a creamy lace. Lots of good quality lacing, yah! Not a bad nose. There is a little chocolate syrup, some coffee grounds, and some roasted notes. But as time progresses, it becomes less sweet and more astrigent, becoming less interesting.

First sip....it's alright. There's just enough good flavor to keep me interested in this. Ground coffee is the first thing to pop up. Bittersweet chocolate emerges, and it compliments the pleasant astringency well. Medium hoppiness in the back. It's buzzy carbonation buzzes in the mouth....I'd like a little less of that, please. On my second pour from the bomber, I get my wish, and the beer becomes smoother.

This beer won't have me raving about this brewery, but it is another choice on the shelf that I can live with.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.21/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber, this beer was overcarbonated, resulting in a very foamy, overexaggerated head. After giving that plenty of time to settle, the beer has a very typical black, opaque appearance. The smell is muted, but very distinctly malty and sweet. Taste reveals coffee flavors with a moderately bitter aftertaste. Very drinkable; likely similar to pounding a couple of pots of coffee. Have had better Black Ales, and would likely seek out one of the others in the future.

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Photo of weeare138
3.31/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears a dark brownish black with a rocky 2 finger tan head. Leaves some nice, chunky lacing sticking all over my deep tulip glass.
Smell is of crystal malt, caramel malt, and molasses.
Taste is of light molasses with a watery mix of malts.
Mouthfeel is a bit overcarbonated and lingering on the front to middle of the tongue with the molasses sweetness resonating. A slight bit of bitter chocolate seems to come through as the beer warms but it lacks a solid balance of sweetness, malt, and bitterness.
This is an interesting brew, so the drinkability is above average but not quite good for a stout.

It's ok, dog.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.06/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a one-finger light brown head that fades slowly and leaves some lace. Totally black color. Medium-heavy carbonation and body. Nose is coffee. Starts with a good balance of hops and malt and finishes as a mix of porter and stout. Slight bitter aftertaste. $2.49 for a 22 oz bottle; found at Hoosick Street Disc Beverage, Troy, NY.

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Photo of tone77
3.95/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of coffee, some chocolate. Taste is big on coffee, this would have been great in the morning. Some roasted malts are present in the flavor. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality beer.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.81/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle 

A- Pours a dark black color with a light tan head with really nice lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is dark roasted malts, coffee notes and some hops.

T- The taste like the aroma is dark and roasty malts up front with some coffee flavors and some bitterness in the finish from the hops.

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodied with a perfect amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, this Total Eclipse is a solid Black Ale that is worth a try.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

One of my first really dark beers I got into. Its not exactly what I've come to know and drink as stout beers. Its a definite class defying beer. Stout and. . . baltic porter? schwarz?

Looks plenty dark enough, but doesn't have the thickness to match. Great lacing/retention thereof. Taste is coffee, choco, dates, fig, smoke, hay, vanilla. Decent amount of dry, perhaps astringent bitterness to it. Remains lighter on palate than looks and tastes though. Hopping is ample. Cascade. Nugget? This beer is unique, check it out, might not work for you, but its different and not for the sake of being weird.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.93/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Just saw this new arrival at my local beer store earlier today so I thought I'd give it a try. 22 ounce bottle. Served in a Guinness pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with an inch frothy tan head. Head retention and lacing are both pretty good. Aroma is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate and some grassy hops. The taste is pretty much like the aroma, with the bitter, roasty flavors being the strongest. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it seems a bit thin and is well carbonated. Overall I think it's a good brew, it's smooth, easy and enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer after its release from the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass a pitch-black color with a moderate in size head and frothy light brown head, as it erodes the lace forms a decent covering upon the glass. Nose is caramel with hints of toasted grain; sweet and pleasant, start is sweet with a nice malt presence, and the top middling in its feel to the palate. Finish has a light acidity with the hops pleasing in their spiciness, quite dry and a drinkable beer.

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Photo of Bung
3.47/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz. Went into this thinking it was a Schwarzbier, I guess "black ale" just didn't lead me to think stout.

Lighter black pour, layer of off white head. Laces a little bit.

Aroma is pretty roasty, coffee some malt. Dark chocolate and cocoa.

Taste starts with a fairly assertive roast malt and coffee. Finishes dry, cocoa and coffee. Maybe just a bit acrid.

Lighter bodied for a stout. Carbonation more like a schwarz as well. Drinks easy enough, as long as you like a roasty beverage.

Thought this was fine, a fairly standard stout. At the price point I'd think about grabbing it again, though I got this in Chicago so I can't.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Park Lane Liquor in Lancaster, CA. Pours black with a thick and foamy beige head that dissipates slowly. Patches of lacing on the glass. Roasted chocolate malt aroma with hints of coffee. Medium-bodied with a roasty character and flavors of grainy malt, coffee and hops. The flavor is chocolatey at times as well. The finish is mostly burnt malty with a mild coffee and hops aftertaste. Not sure if this is a mild Stout or some kind of hybrid Stout/Schwarzbier but either way it is pretty good.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Well, it’s not quite black but pretty darn near close. The head is explosive so be careful on the pour. It’s light brown in color and very light and fluffy. It’s reminds me of whipped cream.

Smell – The coffee is big at the nose along with a sharp roasted aroma. The coffee is more like coffee beans. The table sugar tries to calm it down but to little affect.

Taste – The coffee bean comes over nicely at the taste, but there is a strange lack of malt to this American Stout. There’s also a tangy kind of sweetness that throws things off, almost like a splash of orange soda or something.

Mouthfeel – This was lighter than medium and just didn’t have the body to support the big huge coffee bean flavor. It was overly carbonated as well and felt cheap and fuzzy in the cheeks.

Drinkability – I can drink this OK but you really have to be selective when choosing a stout for the night and this just didn’t make the grade.

Update – I originally tried this fella in 2006 so thought I’d tackle it again in ’07. It hasn’t changed a bit.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Plain brass colored crown cap, and just one main obverse rather Psychedelic looking label with an eclipse blackened Sun that still retains a funky smile. The label on my bottle has a strength of ‘Alc. 5.6% By Vol’ listed in the bottom right hand corner of the label, but no freshness date.

Appearance: Oh yeah, this one is Black as an Eclipse alright! Impressive dark black ink body that fails to return any light that happens to strike it. The head is a smooth foamy creation that looks like a blanket of dirty fire foam. The surface of the head is lunar at first but soon settles to a smooth dark tan covering that leaves some neat crispy lacing. Fine carbonation.

Nose: Not many surprises here, roasted malts with some dark cooking chocolate and light coffee hints in the dying nasal impact. Lots of roasted malts dominate this one though.

Taste: Dry roasted malt start with some dark chocolate and bitter coffee on the middle. The Astringency catches you in the middle just as a hop bitterness rises in strength at the end. Has a dry lingering finish with a nice roasted malt cum delicate dry hopped swallow. A very clean drinking “Black Ale”.

Mouthfeel: Nice smooth feel with a dry crisp hoppy tone amidst the burnt bitter malts. Difficult to mark the mouthfeel, looking at it you expect something thick and heavy, however it only feels above average in practice.

Drinkability: Nicely balanced, but if you’re not a fan of dry bitter Stouts you may find this one a tad tough, I happen to like dry stouts and this one is relatively easily taken down.

Overall: My fourth of the Hoppy Brewing beers thus far, and this one is quite the turn up for the books, certainly not your typical bland run-of-the-mill offering, it has plenty of character, and it takes some getting used to, but its time well invested. Worth trying.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.05/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my celebratory beer for *approaching* the end of the 1st year of med school. Last big final was today so I'm opening this because it's really happy (see label) yet, I'm dead tired from not having slept for like 2 days now, hence the darkness. Well, here goes (I'm a little bit out of my reviewing game...)

Poured very dark brown with hazelnut edges in the light. A frothy, beige head topped the darkness for a good while, diminishing to a thin ring with trails of lace all over. A germinal center of bubbles expand to renew the soapy film of a scant cap.

The aroma is inviting with hints of cocoa, burnt toast, biscuity grain, and a light coffee tone. Slightly lighter than I'd like it, but very nicely balanced.

Very much like the aroma. There is a lingering ashy aftertaste almost like coffee that has been sitting on the heating element for too long. However, the flavor is quite balanced and refreshing. I haven't had a good regular stout in a while (or any beer for that matter...) and this is a great everyday drinking beer.

Not the thickest, but not watery like Guinness either. This is exactly how I want a good old stout to drink like: medium body leaning towards the heavy side with an impeccably smooth texture. Not cloying or sticky, yet not thin and substanceless.


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Photo of Brent
3/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Squid-ink black, just the barest light penetrates at the edge of the glass. Not much head to speak of, even after a hard pour. Great aroma - toasty chocolate malt. Nice roasted malt, but flavor quickly degrades into a rather stale, carboardy malt profile. A strong start, but unfulfilled in the end.

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Photo of prototypic
3.1/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Total Eclipse Black Ale isn’t quite black. It is a dark chocolate fudge color, although it’s nowhere near opaque. Burgundy highlights are very apparent throughout. Carbonation looks to be active. A semi-careful pour yields a tan head that stands over three fingers tall. It recedes slowly, leaving a sticky coat of lace behind.

The nose is alright. It features a blend of roasted and chocolate malts. The roasted variety is definitely stronger. The chocolate malts smell like bittersweet dark chocolate. It doesn’t smell sweet at all. Coffee or espresso is quite prominent. That’s about it. It’s relatively simple and straight forward, but isn’t bad. Alcohol is masked well and doesn’t come through.

The flavor is mostly consistent with the nose, but is rather average. The malt base is very roasty. Perhaps a little too roasty. Chocolate is definitely in the mix and has a very bittersweet flavor. There isn’t a sweet flavor in the house. Coffee is very strong and seems bolstered a bit by the roasted malts. It has an intense coffee/charred flavor that’s just a little too strong. Alcohol isn’t noticeable. Finishes with a strong mix of roasted and charred flavors.

Total Eclipse has a lighter body. Carbonation is quite active and buzzy. It doesn’t feel smooth at all. Actually, it’s a little below average for a stout. Eh. It’s honestly a little tough to finish off a bomber. The flavor’s too intense and isn’t all that satisfying.

Total Eclipse is my first go with Hoppy Brewing Co. For an American Stout, it’s average. The flavor isn’t all that bad, but its intense roasty/charred flavors are too strong and grow very tiresome. If you’re into that sort of stout, then maybe this is worth a try. Otherwise, I’d suggest taking a pass. This one needs a little work.

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Photo of flexabull
3.57/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black color with a decent off white head.

Aromas are of dark bitter bakers chocolate, some coffee, and cocoa.

Flavors are a bit sweet. Mostly sweet chocolates, grainy malts, cream, and light coffee flavors. Finish is crisp and short with a touch of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is light. Light body, a bit thin, not bad though.

Drinkability is pretty good. Enough flavors to make you go back for your next sip. But not good enough to make me likely to reach for this one again at the liquor store. Not a bad beer, all in all pretty decent, but there are betters out there for the same price if not less.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.38/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out to a clear black, with deep brown accents, forming a tall soapy and clumpy light tan head with amazing retention and very nice lacing. Very good looking brew. Aroma is sweet with root beer (sassafras), milk chocolate, fresh leafy and floral hops, and lightly roasted coffee....very intriguing. Carbonation is moderately firm. Mouthfeel is flittery on the tongue with a satisfying medium body which is decievingly lighter than expected, but very good. This stuff tastes great...a recapitulation of the aroma with wonderful chocolate and coffee overtones balanced by a pleasant hop flavor and mild bitterness. Cleanly fermented with no off-flavors. Alcohol is imperceptable. A pleasing hint of chalk in semi-roasted, lightly dry finish.

This is a surprisingly wonderful and complex porter (though it's called a Black Ale), and is exceptionally easy to drink. I dig everything about this brew. Recommended!

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Total Eclipse Black Ale from Hoppy Brewing Co.
80 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.