Imperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla Bean
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla BeanImperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla Bean
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FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #381
Ranked #923
4.35 | pDev: 8.97%
Jul 25, 2021
Dec 06, 2013
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla BeanImperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla Bean
Notes: None
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of Roguer
Reviewed by Roguer from Connecticut

4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2017 bottle, reviewed in 2021

Slow-building head, but it ends up quite impressive, with excellent retention. Foam color is a dark tan, and the body is as dark and foreboding as you might expect.

Despite the age on the bottle, the vanilla comes through quite well. The bourbon has certainly faded, leaving behind much more oak than mash. Dark notes of molasses, espresso, and light char.

Surprisingly light and almost thin on the palate - almost. Certainly a relative concept when you're talking about a nearly 12% ABV imperial stout. Flavor has aged marvelously, a balance of roasty and toasty malt tones, caramel, honey, vanilla, bourbon, and oak. I'm not sure how much the bourbon and vanilla have faded over the years, but any harshness has almost surely mellowed as well. The result: an imperial stout that is not going to suffer deleterious effects from aging. I suspect this bottle would be just as good with another two or three years of age, if properly cared for.
Jul 25, 2021
Rated: 4.43 by Mikexw from New York

Mar 29, 2021
Photo of mikeinportc
Reviewed by mikeinportc from New York

4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Batch v/2 2015.

Dark mahogany brown with a finger & 1/2 of tan head. Surprising, given the abv.

Smells of cocoa and vanilla from the bottle, more towards (dark, barely-sweet) chocolate liqueur from the glass.

Taste is semi-sweet chocolate, burnt vanilla, and oak. Towards finish, & beyond, I get some of the flavor of the brownies Mom used to make, that had some sour cream in them. Not as sweet as the aroma would indicate. No noticeable alcohol , despite its presence in the aroma.

Feel is smooth and oily, as expected, with some light, very,very fine carbonation. Slight warming in the chest, but otherwise , no indication of the high abv.

Overall, really nice , especially as it was a gift from the beer guy, and shared with co-worker/friends. :) Having read some of the less-than-complimentary reviews, from when it was fresh, and some of the later, more positive ones, I'd guess that this, at 5yrs old, is a bit past the sweet spot, but it's still damned good.
Oct 03, 2020
Photo of mschrei
Reviewed by mschrei from Illinois

4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
2017 version. Very tasty. Well balanced blend of vanilla and barrel. Sweet smooth vanilla forefront with a strong barrel presence. Subtle chocolate and hints of dark fruit. Big, bold, and full bodied, creamy, slightly oily, mouth watering, balanced. Excellent beer.
Jul 26, 2020
Photo of StoutElk_92
Reviewed by StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.67/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
2016 vintage

Notes of creamy vanilla frosting, vanilla beans, dark fruits, roasted malt, chocolate, nutty oak barrel, fresh honey, caramel, dark toffee, molasses, tobacco leaf, cigar box, maple, with some earthy piney hops to balance
Apr 24, 2020
Photo of flipper2gv
Reviewed by flipper2gv from Canada (QC)

4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
A: Pours a very dark brown/black color with a tan colored head. Head volume is low, retention is good and lacing is decent.

S: Strong smell. Vanilla dominates the smell and it's a nice natural vanilla smell, nothing like vanillin. Chocolate milk, dates, prunes, cinnamon and light oak are present. Very very nice.

T: Strong taste too. Vanilla again dominates here but milk chocolate and powdered cocoa balances it very well. Dates, prunes, cinnamon and oak tannins are also present to balance out the chocolate/vanilla duo. Burnt marshmallows. Some very light residual piney hops are there too.

M: Starts medium but bizarrely switch to very heavy in the mouth. Never had that before. Carbonation is a tiny bit too strong for the flavors, but nothing really problematic (I do like my big stouts almost flat TBH).

O: This is a very very good beer. Not sure it is worth the 30 CAD I paid for it but it definitely is a great beer.
Mar 21, 2020
Photo of Phyl21ca
Reviewed by Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.86/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and light lacing. Aroma of sweet black chocolate notes with some strong vanilla notes. Taste is also a mix of string sweet black chocolate notes with some dominant large vanilla extract notes with a sweet finish. Body is full with oily like texture with good carbonation and light warming alcohol notes. A bit too sweet and cloying for my taste.
Mar 01, 2020
Rated: 4.48 by nodnaut

Dec 03, 2019
Photo of Diet-z
Reviewed by Diet-z from Washington

4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Poured from a bomber, two years old. The vanilla has definitely faded a little but is still present. Very tasty, but definitely overpriced. Would recommend trying at least once if you can get it.
Sep 07, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by csfcmitchell from Texas

Sep 01, 2019
Rated: 2.55 by CEDAMA from California

May 18, 2019
Rated: 4.71 by dafla67 from Pennsylvania

May 01, 2019
Rated: 4.55 by Noelito76 from New York

Jan 30, 2019
Rated: 4.42 by TangoJuliet from New York

Jan 23, 2019
Photo of StonedTrippin
Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
2017 vintage, pretty incredible beer, 55 bucks for this on a menu in new york city seems somewhat reasonable for what it is, how far its come, and how limited and special this stuff is. the vanilla is insane in here, its over the top by any reasonable measure, makes this desserty like none of the others have been in my experience, and i think brings the honey even more to the fore, a great combination of flavors here, but it sure is sweet to me, and i get near the bottom of my half of the bottle and find myself sugared out. the vanilla makes it linger, trumps some of the balance thats natural in other versions of this, and i think the whiksey on it is pretty pungent too, heavies it up a bit even though the body isnt enormous this time around. a charred note, subtle coffee too which makes me want coffee to actually be blended into this, i think they did a vanilla coffee version, which would be more well rounded i think, i have to find that one. this is amazingly high quality and bold, but maybe a little more vanilla than i need, natural as it is, i think the coffee would be perfect with it. we liked this a lot, i mean how can you not. super well hidden alcohol, long rich finish, a pleasant aftertaste, straight vanilla for days. this continues to be one of the most compelling series of beers in the game!
Dec 15, 2018
Photo of maximum12
Reviewed by maximum12 from Minnesota

4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
While visiting a local in Carlsbad, CA I found this old friend on the shelf. Used to mail order (is that still a phrase?) by the case, but it’s been years. Ivory waxed 22 oz. 2017 bottle split with my wife.

The pour looks like every other FiftyFifty stout that’s ever appeared in my glass. That is, black. Smell is deep sweetness & plenty of vanilla.

FiftyFifty Eclipse – Vanilla belongs to a different historical epoch, when imperial stouts didn’t have to have the consistency of brownie batter & the hulk of the hypebeast. Here the vanilla extracted (ha!) from the barrel mingles with the added vanilla beans to present vanilla on all sides. Solid roast, that deep malt sweetness noted in the smell (or perhaps the advertised honey), with only a gentle inhale of bourbon, more of a breath of liquor through the nose. Supremely smooth, dry.

Throwback stout to the max, this would have won 2011 in my house. As is, still an excellent beer.
Oct 06, 2018
Rated: 4.22 by Bum4ever from California

Sep 17, 2018
Rated: 4.22 by rcjennings from Ohio

Aug 24, 2018
Rated: 4 by jgunther71 from Illinois

Jun 11, 2018
Rated: 4.35 by Boilerup from Maryland

Jun 10, 2018
Rated: 4.5 by cmoore32 from Nebraska

Apr 07, 2018
Rated: 4.68 by bigpoppa67 from Wisconsin

Apr 01, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by jonbonfondle from Minnesota

Mar 16, 2018
Rated: 4.06 by BarrelAgedG from California

Mar 11, 2018
Rated: 4.45 by wordemupg from Canada (AB)

Mar 03, 2018
Rated: 4.29 by Zazzi82 from Tennessee

Jan 30, 2018
Rated: 4.35 by DrBier from Pennsylvania

Jan 30, 2018
Rated: 4.14 by ruzzal from Texas

Jan 21, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by brittanylicious from Indiana

Jan 07, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by heysuz from Indiana

Jan 07, 2018
Photo of Buck89
Reviewed by Buck89 from Tennessee

4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
Poured into a snifter. Nearly opaque dark brown color with a modest tan head. Faint wispy lacing in the glass. The aroma featured somewhat muted vanilla bean, whiskey, caramel, and milk chocolate. Much more vanilla on the palate - plenty up front and then balanced out with the base beer and the barrel. Somewhat warm on the finish but not overly boozy. There is a great, soft, east feel to this one. Very well done.
Jan 06, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by Hayley_86 from Netherlands

Jan 01, 2018
Rated: 4.6 by kricks77 from Indiana

Dec 29, 2017
Rated: 5 by nsiergiej from Indiana

Dec 29, 2017
Rated: 4.29 by Ristaccia from Nebraska

Dec 14, 2017
Rated: 5 by lanciloti from Illinois

Dec 13, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by Adamostella from Washington

Oct 23, 2017
Rated: 4.17 by jaydoc from Kansas

Sep 13, 2017
Rated: 4.11 by Damian74 from South Carolina

Aug 23, 2017
Photo of rodbeermunch
Reviewed by rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
Wow, what a legend I am going to review here. So many imitators since. Anyways, I dunno, 5-8 years ago by now, 5050 released this as a party bottle after the Eclipse party. It was awesome. Then they made it a regular. Good move.

Pours the usual not the blackest of black, but a dark and black beer. Brown head, 1/3". Aroma wafts vanilla nicely. Mild bourbon on the back end. The vanilla extract or bean (don't care) seems to cover up the roasty Totality base and the barrel (EC or EW I believe, Elijah Craig/Evan Williams for those playing at home).

Taste and mouth feel are where this beer excels. Just a beautiful harmony of roasted malt, bourbon, chocolate, vanilla and oak. I can crush these all day. The abv is probably hid on these better than any other version. I also reviewed Avery's bourbon barrel coconut porter today. I don't buy as much of this beer as I do that one anymore because of the price point. Is this beer "better"? Sure. Slightly. But the cost is 3x as much. That hurts the wallet and the overall score. Slightly.
Aug 22, 2017
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla Bean from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 245 ratings