Imperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla Bean | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla BeanImperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla Bean

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: 40 | Ratings: 193
Photo of vileplume
4.93/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

vileplume's "cut the shit" review for the 2015 eclipse vanilla bean.

i went into this beer trying to not hold it against it's obvious competitors, and tried to see it as its own thing i suppose. flavor is all vanilla bean, with perfect stout backbone to keep it from becoming cloyingly sweet. thin for an imperial as far as mouthfeel goes, yet i didn't it too hard because again this helps with it's drinkability. While no vanilla rye or fo, this is an amazing beer in it's own right and the fact that you can just grab it right off the shelf makes it that much better.

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Photo of Beer_Line
4.93/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 bottle with ivory wax. This beer pours black with small brown head. It smells of vanilla, pretty much only vanilla and burnt marshmallow. The taste is phenomenal. Vanilla is huge and tastes like a marshmallow dipped in milk chocolate and hints of caramel. The barrel is in the background but it helps keep this beer at bay. Mouthfeel is great. This a a very enjoyable treat to drink. Open it when you are with good company cuz it gets you all warm and fuzzy and puts a smile on your face

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Photo of smakawhat
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage 2015, bottle run V/2.

Mahogany brown out the bottle, making a darker brown walnut body color and nearly opaque. Head creation is a lighter mocha almost tan colored, and a bout a finger with a soft collar and slightly bubbled puck.

Aroma hits with classic straight up cream. Candied sweet almond and vanilla notes not unlike wedding almonds with a very light dusting of sugar. The vanilla quality is exquisite, cream, rich… booming and not overly sweet. Just absolutely perfect on that angle, probably the best vanilla aroma I have had to date. It's one of the most impressive notes I've sensed, if a bit outshining everything else that could be coming, but I don't care.

Hello greatness. Vanilla absurdity. Dark roasted malt with a hint possibly of chocolate but sticks to thick roast and char with a whammo of sweet milky true vanilla. This is like a giant roasted malt milkshake. Creamy oozing palate, but also with an oily hop aftertaste. A good solid bitterness that isn't afraid to hide and manages to accent nicely, event bringing out more of the dark grains flavors. Great emphasis on just really good roast character here, and so wonderfully accented by this huge vanilla power. Rounded feel, rich but easy drinking.

It's a giant roasted dark malt milkshake. One that leaves the chocolate behind, in favor of true grain, dark char, and sweet cream to compliment. Stupidly good beer. There's honey in this? Who knew? But definitely it has been a great addition to boosting the vanillas richness and sweet, and even some lip smacking classic coatings. Fantastic creation from Fifty Fifty.

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Photo of thedankness
4.85/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

This is by far my favorite eclipse yet, the vanilla is so prominent but not overwhelming. I can't wait until next year when they make more. I was lucky enough to attend the release party and this one stole the show for sure. I even preferred it to the 20yr Pappy Van Winkle. The world needs to try this!

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Photo of danjm21
4.79/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2015 white wax bottle. Served in proper glassware. Great vanilla stout that smells remarkable. Got a few bottles left. It's great now, and can't wait to see how well it ages.

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Photo of -Rick
4.72/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage. Pours a dark black with a slight tan head. Nose explodes with vanilla. Maybe more so than any other I have tried. Taste is a perfect balance of vanilla, bourbon, and chocolate. This is as creamy as can be. What a beer! Only wish it did not cost $30/ bottle.

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Photo of pkalix
4.65/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

wow! the vanilla is certainly one of the top varieties.... this is really nice.... like the last reviewer said, mocha fudge and vanilla.... marshmallow. slight bourbon compliment. sweet, subtle tastes and flavors.... super smooth for 12%. beautiful!

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Photo of BWood
4.52/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: midnight, slightly carbonated, decent head, good lace.

S: great vanilla aroma. Marshmallow is there too. Melted all together with the barrel. Very good smell. One of my favorites.

T: strong vanilla bean front. Soon backed up by roasted malt and oak. There is a slight spice at the end. Almost clove like. Very faint.

F: melts on the tongue. Slightly a little more bitter at the end than I would like. But still nice.

O: fantastic beer. Just like every other eclipse variant. Very costly though. Black Tuesday is the same price for a 750 and is a little better.

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
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: Like the other variants, a big rich nose. A characteristic honey and roast creamy nose with a hint of vanilla.
taste: Much like the nose. As expected, all the rich flavors of the other variants plus vanilla.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer with a finger of dense tan head that fades to a small collar and leaves minimal lacing
S: Smells of vanilla, chocolate, a little oak, slight coffee and some caramel
T: Taste is chocolate, coffee, vanilla, a little caramel, nice roasted malts and more vanilla. Swallow is a nice deep charred wood and roasted malt with some lingering vanilla, and bourbon barrel goodness.
M: Big on the palate but not excessive with soft carbonation and a drying finish
O: The amount of complexity this has is amazing and the vanilla on top of it is fantastic. I wish I would have bought multiples of this because this beer rocks the house.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours near black with a thin, soft, dark mocha brown head that bubbled away into a faint collar.
S: I get strong notes of vanilla, coffee and smooth buttery oak and mild caramel. Very mellow and creamy smelling. The vanilla creates and dark flavors create bring roasted marshmallows to mind.
T: The bourbon is just barely warm, and flavors or vanilla, caramel, oak and marshmallows dominate and blend well with the chocolatey and slight coffee flavors of the base beer. Oak and buttery barrel bring up the finish, and the aftertaste is semi-sweet, rich, and lingers forever.
M: Thick, full body, mellow carbonation and smooth and lightly greasy mouthfeel. Overall very smooth, rich and drinkable.
O: A very rich, smooth and well done beer. Keeping in mind that I have not had this beer fresh, I’d say the vanilla was more subdued and subtle at this point. Marshmallows all the way.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is just a strait delicious beer. Pours a deepdark chocolate color. Aroma is sweet vanilla and honey with minamalroasted malt notes. Flavor is great. Sweet honey and vanilla with light bourbon and deep rich roasted malts. Has a very silky smooth feel and overall delicious.

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Photo of Boccu
4.49/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark and rich with a nice head. Nice vanilla aroma. Vanilla espresso light bourbon flavor. One of the best 50:50's in my opinion. Extremely well made.

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Photo of orangesol
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to DocJ007 for busting this one out last night at his tasting, have wanted to try this one ever since it came out.

A - Pours jet black with a small half finger tall tan head, quickly dissipating down to a very light film, leaving only a few small trails of lace on the sides of the glass.

S - Smells of intense vanilla and marshmallows, bit of caramel and toffee, chocolate and dark roasted malts. Probably the most vanilla heavy beer I have ever had, and usually that might not be such a great thing but here it really is.

T - Starts off just like the nose does with the strong vanilla and marshmallow sweetness slowly being joined by the chocolate, dark roasted malt, oak, caramel and toffee. Finish is pretty sweet with a touch of booze burn, lingering long after the finish.

M - Medium body with moderate carbonation. Super smooth, sweet feel yet it remains easy to consume. The sweetness is strong thanks to the added vanilla but it isn't all consuming.

O - This might be my favorite variant to date. The pappy is awesome but I just loved how it packed an insane amount of vanilla into it and it can still be this smooth and easy drinking. I would love to have this one again in the future.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.45/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

One of the better vanilla stouts out there. Rather sweet, but not super sweet. Creamy mouthfeel. The other stout flavors are there but vanilla dominates and it was wonderful. This is one the need to make more.

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Photo of Damian
4.41/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fl oz white wax dipped bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
BOTTLE RUN No.: 8/1 2015
Served in a snifter

The beer poured a very dark brown, bordering on black. A bit thinner than anticipated. A frothy, foamy, one finger tall, cappuccino colored crown capped the liquid. The head dropped to a thick, bubbly, lasting collar. Spotty drops of lacing trickled down the glass.

Vanilla dominated in the aroma. This was in fact a total vanilla bomb. Super potent and quite sweet. Good dose of brown sugar. Sweet cream was also noticeable. Bit of milk chocolate. As the beer warmed, both the vanilla and the chocolate intensified. Chocolate syrup came to mind. I thought I picked up some bourbon, but it was tough to decipher this from the vanilla. All in all, really fragrant and enticing.

Vanilla also came through strong in the flavor profile but not as much as in the nose. Loads of deep roasted malts. Some bakers chocolate and espresso. Chocolate fudge was also noticeable. Good dose of brown sugar. Hint of barrel on the back end. Perhaps some bourbon. Again, it was difficult to distinguish the bourbon amongst the intense vanilla notes. Roasted malts appeared in the finish and lingered after the swallow.

The mouthfeel was medium-light for the style. Definitely thinner than anticipated. The liquid contained a moderate, larger bubbled effervescence. Creamy, frothy and fluffy on the palate. The sugars in the beer left a sticky film on my lips.

I really enjoyed all of FiftyFifty's Imperial Eclipse Stout variants I have tried to date, and Vanilla Bean is definitely one of the more interesting overall. Aside from its lighter body and steep ($30) price point, this was a terrific beer that could be a perfect dessert on its own. Fans of vanilla stouts should definitely seek this out.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a snifter, most recent batch

A- pours deep black in color with a small foamy white head that disappears completely, leaving nothing behind

S- mocha fudge and vanilla bean aroma up front with heavy toasted marshmallow notes. Undertones of bourbon barrel, giving notes of oak & coconut. Basically smells like a marshmallow brownie.

T- chocolate and dark fruit up front followed by light bourbon barrel notes, giving off some toffee flavor. Mid-palate brings strong toasted marshmallow that follows the nose, along with heavy whipping cream. The finish is more vanilla and brown marshmallow with a light linger of bourbon barrel

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and finish

O- the vanilla addition gives that marshmallow flavor throughout, it compliments the barrel treatment to provide a nice balance

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

2015 batch 1.

A: Pitch-black pour with a mid-sized very dark brown head. Great head retention as it sticks around forever. Thick tendrils of lacing.

S: Yup, definitely the vanilla version. Tons of sweet vanilla, almost like marshmallow fluff up front. Chocolate behind it and a caramel booziness to boot. But that vanilla dominates for sure.

T: Again, strong vanilla but not quite as domineering now. Heavy initially, still. Lots of caramel with it. Big chocolate notes and hints of char into the middle and finish. Vanilla comes back to help balance out the bittersweet chocolate and char in the finish. Lightly charry and bittersweet cocoa in the aftertaste.

M: Heavy, sweet and thick.

O: Another nice variant from 50/50. Honestly not even sure if this one is barrel aged, it has a lot less barrel character than the other versions. And the vanilla is so strong it's actually kinda hard to tell. Nice unique version at least, on the syrupy sweet side but not too bad.

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Photo of Stevedore
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650ml ivory wax bottle from 2015. Served in a stemless glass.

Pours a dark cola brown body, half finger offwhite head, fair amount of collar and retention, no lacing. Standard BA imperial stout here. Smells of vanilla bean, milk chocolate, bourbon, oak, cocoa. The vanilla is perfectly balanced; it's there in spades but does not overwhelm the base stout which contributes a chocolate brownie presence. Flavour is similarly vanilla-forward but not so much that you don't get the cocoa, milk chocolate, hint of molasses, oak, bourbon. Balanced. Mild raw vanilla bean bitterness with cocoa helps counterbalance the milk chocolate sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, on the lower end of the spectrum for a big barrel-aged imperial stout, but more than sufficient enough. It'll never be SR-71, but most beers don't achieve that level of thickness. That being said, I would avoid drinking say, BCBS in the same drinking session. It's one of these things where it'll be glaringly obvious when there's a thicker comparison BA stout, but less noticeable on its own. Overall, a very balanced vanilla BA imperial stout with more than enough vanilla to satisfy your sweet tooth without getting to the point of cloying or diabeetus.

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

Look: Pours dark with a finger of mocha head.

Smell: Like a bag of marshmallows with cocoa.

Taste: Vanilla is present but not overpowering. There is some honey, roast and bittersweet baker's chocolate. I'd say the aroma has a lot more Vanilla than the taste.

Feel: Surprisingly light and almost watery for the style. For the $30 pricetag and wax, you'd figure that this beer would at least have a fuller mouthfeel than say KBS, but it doesn't.

Overall: A bit thin for the style and I wish it had more vanilla sweetness. Not bad but there are way tastier stouts, especially for the $.

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

2015 vintage.

Pours near black with a one inch khaki head that fades to wisps on top and leaves strings of lace. The smell is of vanilla, chocolate and bourbon. Less bourbon in the taste. Nice balance between chocolate and vanilla. Very good.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: pours thick and black. No head
S: some bourbon spice, solid vanilla. Not a huge or bold aroma, but real nice.
T: very solid vanilla, nice bourbon, but a bite of spice that I'm not a fan of.
F: decent thickness, and smooth

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Photo of DaverCS
4.28/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black with a 1.5 finger head that is caramel colored. Great lacing with ample alcohol legs. Bottled 2016.

Aroma reminds me of vanilla scented potpourri. A bit artificial smelling in regards to the vanilla. Some strong, almost burnt coffee notes, marshmallow, and bitter/unsweetened cocoa. However, really phenomenal smelling beer!

Taste, to be honest, is a substantial letdown. For 30$, I would take many others before this one. I must also state that this beer is best consumed out of the fridge, do not over-chill this beer. The beers feel is on the thinner side. The beer starts with a strong roasted bitterness, dark chocolate, and burnt espresso. The middle of the moth gets some charred oak notes, with maybe just a kiss of vanilla. I’m surprised on how much this beer is lacking vanilla on the palate compared to the nose. The finish is a bit conflicted, it starts off slightly sweet, but quickly transitions into an alcohol burn and hop-like bitterness.

Overall, I probably won’t spring for another bottle from eclipse after this showing. I would happily try it at an event, but the cost is nowhere near the final product. My biggest complaint is that the beer is just too thin. It isn’t sweet enough to handle the vanilla flavor, and there just isn’t enough actual vanilla taste overall. I see this pairing well with a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream. It gets an 85.5/100.

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

650ml bottle, 2015 vintage, white/ivory wax, poured into a Goose Island Rare Day snifter. Enjoyed on 12.27.2015, reviewed from Tasting Journal.

The beer pours a deep, jet black color, thick and viscous with a khaki head, barely hits a finger that has moderate retention but nice lace. The aroma is great, marshmallow, vanilla bean, rich chocolate, dark, malted barley with some stone fruit and a touch of graham cracker malt that really brings out a nice s'mores quality. The flavors mirror the nose, loads of dark chocolate, graham cracker, stone fruit, and the vanilla sneaks it's way up, giving way to a nice marshmallow character that again, evokes s'mores. While many vanilla beers venture into a territory best described as sugary, cloying and beyond sweet, this has such a nice balance, the barrel character is there, but not overpowering and there is hardly any bourbon character, perhaps just the faintest oak as well, playing into the graham cracker flavor, and the vanilla is so mild, but a true vanilla flavor. I was impressed with how subtle the vanilla was, but at the same time, impactful and defining of this beer. The mouthfeel is nice, coating, thicker than most Eclipse beers, lower carbonation with a full body and a warm finish.

Verdict: A really nice vanilla stout from FiftyFifty and a great addition to the Eclipse series. This beer showcases Vanilla is one of the best ways possible, restraint. While managing to blend the vanilla with all the other flavors, it really highlights how far this adjunct can take the beer. This is not an all out vanilla bomb, it's not cloying, not one dimensional or a gimmick beer. This is a well balanced, artfully crafted beer, that really speaks to my palate, which is a sweet averse palate.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a simple dark brown and sits near black in the glass with a thin crown of light brown foam.

Tons of chocolate and fudge notes, a hint of sweet vanilla, oak, roasty, and bourbon.

Chocolate and fudge comes out tremendously. Tons of fudge followed by roasty notes and warming bourbon.

Full-bodied, low carbonation, slick, sweet, a tad thin for my taste.

Overall, this was quite delicious and easy drinking, I just wish the price wasn't $30/pop.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Vanilla Bean from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.31 out of 5 based on 193 ratings.
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