Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West Rye | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West RyeImperial Eclipse Stout - High West Rye

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by MasterSki on 12-06-2013

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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 175
Photo of flaskman
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I just poured a bottle from early 2014 into tulip glass. Dark brown with a creamy head. Good lacing. It tastes sweet and boozy. I taste notes of honey, vanilla and oak. The rye and oak comes through beautifully, especially in the finish. It is boozy, which I enjoy but does not overpower the complex flavors. When I first purchased some variants to put away I tried a bottle fresh and was disappointed. This stuff is not cheap but after a year or 2 of storage I have to say that it was worth it. So...... in my opinion.... it is a great bottle that is pricey but if you have the patience to put a couple of years on it you will be rewarded.

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Photo of AppaZappa
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 version poured into a snifter. Comes out rich, dark brown with bit of mocha foam that fades to a persistent lace. Smell is oak, rye, booze, chocolate, vanilla, slight malt. Very inviting nose on this. Taste is sweet, oak, vanilla, char, and nice rye bite near the tail end. Mouth is very smooth and creamy, though slightly light for the abv. It goes down very easy.

This was a really enjoyable beer. Better than the 2012 OF IMO.

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

Cracked right before the Diaz/McGregor fight, pours as sturdy of thick black liquid as Eclipse ever has. Plenty of roast, chocolate malt, dark oak barrel notes in the aroma.

Taste, easily comes off as the sweetest Eclipse variety. Less bourbon taste and more bourbon sweetness imparted, the char, vanilla aspect of a barrel is subdued in exchange for a greater, sweeter mouthfeel. Sweet toffee, mild oak along with that sweetness.

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Photo of maximum12
3.38/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to far & away my favorite mule/wife for bringing this bottle back from San Diego. Which is funny, because I looked high & low for Eclipse stouts in my seven weeks in San Diego in the last year & came up 100% empty. Luck of the Irish. 22 oz. lime-waxed bottle split with said mule.

The pour is eclipse black, which is funny, because you can’t actually see an eclipse. Which isn’t funny at all. The nose is unusually light for both this line & the universe of barrel-aged stouts, really just a little roast & malt sweetness. Pretty weak.

Eclipse - High West Rye is wading in the shallow end of the gene pool. Most of the Eclipse are Emmy-ready, but this is more like the Prince of Bel-Air. Mild to the point of timid. Spare roast, barrel that’s faint, bit of the rye spice as it warms, sweetness, bit of wood. Nothing stands out. Thicker than the average Eclipse, but half a bottle is plenty.

Not much to this. The barrel is thin bordering on anorexic, & without the highlight of the barrel, one is left with a base stout that’s $20 overpriced. That brings me down, man. Pretty good.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

look: Dark dark brown as an Imp Stout should be, nearly opaque. Some cola highlights. Big ass tan head for a nearly 12%'r and thick creamy lacing.
smell: Wow, lots of goodness here. A bit of Rye spice, in a honey roasty milkshake.
taste: does not lose anything to the nose. If anything there's a chewy fudgey thing happening on top. So mellow and easy drinking. Very nice indeed.

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smooth drinking stout for sure. You get the spiciness from the rye that doesn't translate to overt sweetness as bourbon might which is nice. My only major knock on the eclipse beers is that they are all a bit thin mouthfeel wise...even moreso than say KBS, but that doesn't make them bad. This goes down easy, especially for the abv.

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Photo of laketang
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

inky black, thin with a mocha head, good legs

nice rye scent, spice notes, vanilla,

alcohol is there, dark malts give good chocolate notes,complex charactorthe nose and taste match up

good balance. a bit thin.

real good, not great for me. too pricey.

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Photo of smanson56
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 2015 Batch 1 bottle. Poured a dark black color with a minimal head on top. The nose show hints of chocolate, sweetness and coffee with the mild rye whisky in the back. The taste is smooth and follows the nose chocolate coffee and the rye whisky very nicely blended together. The rye whisky tends to me a little more mellow that some of the bourbon does and you really don't feel and alcohol burn. This one of the smoothest drinking barrel aged beers I've had in quite some time.

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Photo of rand
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 batch, bottle purchases from the brewery at the release party

From lime-green wax-sealed bomber to Eclipse snifter

Instead of reviewing each variety individually, I like to refer to my first review - - and note any differences or unique nuances. Plus, I reviewed that when barrel-aging wasn't as ubiquitous as it is now, and I'd only had a handful of examples, so my palate descriptions were more specific and colorful.

This one follows along the same flavor profile of all the Eclipse varieties, with distinct notes of chocolate and licorice and coffee. You can just subtly make out the rye whisky aging, which isn't quite as sweet as its bourbon counterparts.

For some reason, this is tasty better than it did on tap, probably because my palate was numb from the onslaught of free-pouring whiskey-aged stout, but it doesn't seem as hot. And this is a clear step up from last years batch - this one is more drinkable and balanced.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bomber labeled Batch 2 (2014) into a snifter at cellar temp, allowed to warm.

Look: robust brown, but not at all black; like lightly used motor oil. Minimal light brown head.

Smell: at first I get sharp metallic notes, but eventually chocolate, coffee, and dates come through.

Taste: bittersweet chocolate, roast, hints of rye spice, mild vanilla. Solid, but not a lot going on.

Feel: medium bodied, silky, a bit dry.

Overall: a nice tasty stout, and would be in an upper echelon for non-barrel-aged offerings (though still below Monster's Park). But if I didn't know it was barrel-aged, I wouldn't guess it. Maybe the year-plus of age was a bad idea. Nowhere near worth what it cost.

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Photo of Slongie
4.79/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fantastic beer! Bourbon is there but nor overpowering at all, lovey sweet honey with dark malts, little coffee taste, dark fruit and rich dark chocolate. Very expensive but very very good

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Photo of smakawhat
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage 2014, lime green wax.

Deep classic and simple walnut dark brown body. Head manages half a finger of off tan brown, slightly into mocha, but dissolves to a fine, and slightly bubbled collar. A bit of a slick top, but not too much. Some fine big bubbles manage to stick around on the top as well.

Excellent aroma. Spicy notes and a real sense of sweet and grainy fig quality. There's even an interesting tropical note going on in here, that sort of hints at a bit of soft papaya or mango. Light notes of chocolate and woody grain touches. Soft dark chocolate aromas and almost with the tropical goes to sweet orange as well which is a great combination. Very complex, very varied, and just fantastic.

Palate continues the solid goodness. Hints almost at fudgy character but takes a step back in thickness but complete oak round flavors and feel. Mid palate fills with fruited spice, hitting an almost sharp peppered fruit and spicy cinnamon. Chewy almost lime hop finish, with a crushing and oozy chocolate and char roast character. First sip feels like a fruited stout, then comes an almost a heavy robust black IPA on the finish. Light tastes of orange, tangerine, oils and mild bitter zest. Hardly any sense of booze, and some cocoa powder dryness and honey lip smacking stickiness on the front.

What a great play and use of sweetness, unexpected fruity quality, and delicious spice and whiskey character. Another great feather in the cap for these guys and the Eclipse series.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from my Vermont trip. Pours black with nice brown head. Aroma of lots of char, some fruity notes. Flavor follows with big char and sweetness. But this is way thin, even for an Eclipse variant. It's too bad they can't make a base beer that stands up to the barrels, because all the flavors here are really nice. Thicken this beer up, please.

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Photo of WontontoIsDrinking
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Aged 5 months, this pours smoothly with a slow rising head about 3/4 inch in a dark caramel. This smells pretty light. Not an overpowering aroma but has hints of bourbon and a light sweetness. The taste is rich with rye, light toffee, dark chocolate, and a creaminess that is reminiscent of a milk stout. The feel exceeds the flavor as it is silky with a medium to heavy body. Great brew and great experience, hands down.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 22 oz bottle poured into snifter

A: pure darkness very little head soapy

S: bourbon some alcohol light roast

T: very smooth light on the tongue nice roast some bourbon very soft

M: Have to combine the mouth with taste I talked a lot about how it feels

O: Its a good beer but lacks the depth and character that the Elijah Craig version does. I would pick this version up again.

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Photo of IKR
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage
11.9% ABV

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a moderate sized dark beige head that gradually faded. A nice looking Imperial Stout

Smell: Brown sugar, mild Whiskey, and mild roasted malt aromas. Not a bad nose but the barrel aromas are fairly mild.

Taste: The rye Whisky bal-aging features prominently with some spicy notes not present in the Bourbon bal-aged Eclipses. The profile also features roast malts, faint vanilla, brown sugar and tannic oak notes. The tannic oak notes feature prominently in the taste profile and the finish is a bit drier than the Bourbon bal-aged variants. Fairy restrained alcohol presence.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation.

Overall: This was a good Eclipse variant with the spicy rye whiskey notes featuring prominently.

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Photo of dar482
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The beer offers a medium roasted malt, caramel sweetness, onto dark fruit, a spicy licorice, and a heavy on the finish. The beer has a medium mouthfeel. A bit spicy and intense without enough vanilla and chocolate to balance it out.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage. 22oz bottle with lime green wax. Bottle run 2. Pours a pitch black color with over an inch of medium brown head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is lots of wood and booze with dark chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla and earth. The taste is lots of rye flavor up front followed by chocolate syrup, roasted malts, a hint of smoke and some wood. Vanilla and caramel as well. Finishes with lots of the rye flavor. Nice amount of alcohol burn while still being relatively drinkable. Heavy mouthfeel with a good deal of carbonation. Overall, just like the other ones I have had, it's a very good BA Imperial Stout. Pricey, but worth buying once in a while.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From 03/07/15 notes. 2013 vintage. 22 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with one finger of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Lots of milk chocolate, roasted malts, sweet chocolate, spice, rye harsh whiskey, caramel malts, and burnt malts. Medium body and low to moderate carbonation.

Overall not my favorite variant but very good. Worth getting for sure if it is not too much effort.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz, light lime green waxed bottle, BR 2 of 2014.

This beer pours a solid black abyss, with the barest of back-lit basal cola edges, and one skinny finger of weakly foamy and mostly bubbly brown head, which leaves a bit of streaky and windblown ocean spray lace around the glass as things slowly abate.

It smells of sugary and bready caramel malt, heady Bourbon barrel notes - edgy vanilla, spicy rye grain alcohol, and an acrid woodiness - black licorice, a touch of roasted day-old coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and a soft earthy, musty hop bitterness. The taste is more roasted graininess and dry cocoa powder, before that big-assed rye whiskey barrel comes 'a, um, barreling through my gentle palate - crisp and yet astringent booze-soaked wood staves, dry vanillan, toasted caramel, and spicy rye bread - over some still perky dry anise and coffee bean esters, and a well-sublimated metallic alcohol measure.

The carbonation is still noticeable in its plain and understated frothiness, the body medium-heavy in weight, and mostly smooth, the rye-ness of it all behaving like a perfect southern gentleman. It finishes on the sweetly caramelized side, and very much like the rye it was aged in - spicy, caramelized, and woody.

For a straight rye whiskey barrel aged imperial stout, this comes off as way more drinkable that it has any right to, IMHO. I guess it helps that said whiskey is one of the higher-end rye products on the shelves of your local liquor purveyor, and keeps (so I've been told) the typical tongue-scraping acerbity to the bare minimum, as such. Yeah, it's clear that I'm not a fan of the guest spirit in toto, but somehow my attitude changes as far as this product is concerned. Good stuff and go freaking figure.

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Photo of Dope
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

BR/2 2014 batch.

A: Pitch-black pour with a nice tall, dense medium brown head. Head lightens quickly but refuses to fade. Great head retention. Marginal lacing, just tiny little spots here and there.

S: Spicy rye whiskey is noticeable and dominant right off the bat. Good amount of oak with it. A touch of char and hershey's syrup.

T: Oh yeah. Tons of spicy rye whiskey. Huge amount in fact. Initially it tastes like I've sipped on a shot of HW rye (I have some right next to me in fact). Big, sharp and spicy rye character. It fades gradually into the middle where that hershey's syrup shows up again with a bitter coffee backing. Finish and aftertaste are a nice mashup of bittersweet chocolate and spicy rye whiskey. Hint of oak lingers as well.

M: Heavy, spicy and bittersweet all at the same time. Not as heavy as some of the other variants, lots of alcohol to cut it down.

O: Out of all the variants I've had, this one highlights the spiciness of rye whiskey the best. Huge rye notes and a sharpness that has to be experienced to understand. The combination of rye and alcohol bite really cuts down on the thickness and sweetness of the beer, however, balancing it fairly nicely. Well, almost balanced; it's still a rye whiskey bomb no matter how you look at it. Still, once you get past the first few sips it's really enjoyable. Let this one warm up for sure, any amount of coldness only seems to enhance the harshness. It sweetens up and mellows a bit once it's fully warm.

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Photo of RamboII
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

A: Thin dark brown in color. Appearance of a thin brown head. Good carbonation.
S: Rye on the nose, faint bourbon, chocolate, and grain. Nose is not overwhelming.
T: Slightly sweet but cut by the rye whiskey flavor, hints of vanilla and chocolate, wood, earthy grain. Very little booze and a mild warming.
M: Medium feel on the mouth. Smooth with good carbonation.
O: Very good BA stout. Good representation of rye whiskey barrel aging.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into snifter. 2013 release.

A: Pours a deep black with a thin dark brown head that quickly disappeared into a faint, bubbly film. A ton of tiny, spotty, soapy lace was left down the glass.
S: Roasted malts, chocolate, warming booze, and spicy rye. Smells rich and potent, and a bit sweet.
T: Toasted and sweet notes of dark chocolate, rye whisky barrel, toasted coconut, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar and woody barrel. Very smooth and decadent, and sweeter than I remember some of the other variants being. The finish is full of spicy rye, toast, and sticky sweet candied sugar and honey, and the finish has a lingering toastedness, mild tobacco, leather, and bitter earthy hops.
M: Full bodied, chewy and very sticky-sweet mouthfeel, soft and smooth carbonation. The alcohol is very mild and only slightly warming.
O: An all-around great stout and one of the beer, thicker, and sweeter eclipse variants in recent memory. Drinks very well, especially at room temp.

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Photo of coriswrasse
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

bottle poured into two Sam Adams perfect pints.
1 inch of head that dissipates leaving a slight bit of head.
dark mahogany color is only revealed using a very bright flashlight.
good carbonation.
nose is chocolate, booze and bread.
taste is boozy but the goodness shines through.
I like some other big stouts more but this is one to try.
mouthfeel finishes dry and bready. seems a little light for such a strong beverage.
some stickiness on the lips.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 4.21.14
Barrel Run #1 2013

A - Pours a very dark brown with a fine light brown head with good retention.

S - Sweet rye and chocolate, subtle and nice.

T - Swwet rye, barrel, chocolate, a touch of toffee.

D - Good carbonation with a heavy body.

O - Sweet, but nice balance. Rye is there. Good stuff.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 175 ratings.
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