Imperial Eclipse Stout - Woodford Reserve Bourbon
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Woodford Reserve BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Woodford Reserve Bourbon
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #200
Ranked #1,008
4.37 | pDev: 5.03%
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Woodford Reserve BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Woodford Reserve Bourbon
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 138 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Edition

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped byt a dense finger of light tan head which is a little rocky. The head fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass
S: Smells of intense dark chocolate and oak with some vanilla and espresso
T: Taste is bitter dark chocolate up front with some espresso, roasted malt, oak, vanilla, slight green apple, and cocoa. On the finish this one is more dark chocolate and cocoa powder with more oak, vanilla, and espresso.
M: This beer is fairly full and silky on the palate. Carbonation is low but adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer with some great complexity and flavors. The Woodford barrels definitely added some different notes that aren't found in some of the other offerings and all the additions are for the better. It's hard to pick a favorite for the non adjunct versions but this one definitely stands out as being unique.

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SHODriver from North Carolina, Apr 05, 2019
Photo of WickedBeer
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2016, 10th Release Edition. Handwritten Bottle Run No. W/1 | 10/6

Pours a deep, dark brown, nearly black. Lots of tan head rising up to about two fingers height. It settles slowly, leaving a large amount of lace as the beer settles into the glass.

Bourbon and dark fruit dominate the nose initially. Undertones of roasted malt, raisin, chocolate, coffee, and honey. That Woodford Barrel backbone is crucial and really present throughout in the aromas.

Again, bourbon barrel character takes over in all the best ways. Much more coffee than on the nose, rye spice backbone. Bitter cacao works perfectly with that honey sweetness and a re-emergence of that raisin and plum dark fruit flavor linger in the finish.

Nice medium bodied stout. Sticky, decent mouth coating and a warm, boozy finish lingers. Mildly spicy Barrel, good carb that froths slightly as it warms.

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WickedBeer from Alabama, Mar 10, 2019
Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.64/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

This is among the best Imperial Stouts I've ever had

Look: Black with an inch thick mocca colored head.

Aroma: roasted malts, chocolate, maybe coffee and bourbon

Flavor: roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, mild coffee, and a modest flavor of whiskey, no hint of the alcohol despite the 11.90%.

Feel: medium body, surprisingly easy drinking yet flavorful

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Photo of Treyliff
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2016 Vintage
22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- Pours black in color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that eventually reduces to a ring around the edge

S- plenty of barrel character on the nose; woody wet oak, caramel, vanilla & some subtle spiciness. Beyond the barrel, notes of roasted malt, chocolate and sweet honey, a hint of anise

T- sweet honey is noticed up front, followed by dark roasted malty notes of chocolate, fig & light coffee. The barrel notes come out on the finish, adding soaked barrel, vanilla & caramel on the linger 4.25

M- medium-light body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into a slightly thin finish 3.75

O- nice barrel notes throughout, a touch thin but otherwise very good

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Treyliff from West Virginia, Feb 24, 2018
Photo of mschrei
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Two year old bottle. Appearance is great-long lasting fluffy foam and lacing. Smell is barrel, sweet roasty malt. Taste is sweet vanilla and some barrel. Very smooth, very flavorful, very easy drinking,.

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mschrei from Illinois, Dec 21, 2017
Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to snifter.
It poured like motor oil. The appearance was a dark murky black color to have less than a finger's worth of smooth dieing foamy head. That seemed to escape exceptionally quick. Barely any lace.
The aroma was a wonderful blend of sweet wood, milk chocolate, dark grapes, vanilla beans, dark chocolate, raisins, dark sweet bread, sweet espresso and a touch of cigar ash.
The flavor had a stellar blend of the prior aromas - all coming together steadily climbing to a sweet pinnacle and then dropping some of the dryness of that "ashiness" I got in the aroma. The espresso I noted in the aroma seems to have faded a bit. Not much of an aftertaste, somewhat sweet bourbon.
The mouthfeel was medium bodied with a wonderful sipping quality about it. Carbonation felt a bit lower than expected, but I figured that would happen as this is an older bottle. ABV felt just a touch under than what was projected but somehow that didn't bother me either.
Overall, an absolutely wonderful barrel aged imperial stout well worthy of having again preferably in the Winter.

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Photo of Damian
4.29/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fl oz blue pearl wax dipped bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
Bottle Run No.: BR/3 2015
Served in a snifter

Medium viscosity, dark brown/black appearance. Like all Eclipse stout variants, this too poured somewhat thin for the style. The body was capped by a frothy, near finger tall crown that slowly fell to a thick, clingy ring. Streaky lacing stuck along the glass and lasted throughout the session.

Interesting aroma. Somewhat roasty and chocolatey. Powdered cocoa was noticeable. Bit of chocolate fudge. Huge dark fruit notes. Plums, raisins and figs came through big time. Somewhat grape-y too. Port or Cognac barrel notes perhaps. Fairly sweet overall. Slightly savory. There was also a subtle, dry yeasty quality that quickly dissipated. The nose became sweeter and more robust as the beer warmed. Some booze appeared as well. Absolutely no bourbon was detectable however.

The flavor profile was similar to the aroma but perhaps not as complex. Big roasty notes up front. Dark chocolate was noticeable. Brown sugar too. Plums and raisin notes appeared in the center. Touch of espresso. More roast on the back end. Bit of molasses. Char-like notes came through in the finish. Like the nose, there was no bourbon presence whatsoever.

Frothy and slick mouthfeel. Somewhat lighter bodied for the style. The liquid contained a zippy, bubbly effervescence that turned smooth on the palate.

While few of the Eclipse variants really floored me, I love the fact that they all have their own unique character. Strangely, this beer displayed no bourbon notes at all, but it did demonstrate an intense, deep fruity quality that made me think that this could have been aged in Port or Cognac barrels.

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Damian from Massachusetts, Mar 15, 2017
Photo of Derek
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Review #3000

Black with a thin ring of tan head, shows some leg.

Awesome bourbon aroma, comes through in the flavour as well. Modest roast and acidity, good bitterness, warming finish.

Really nice body for a big brew.

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Derek from British Columbia (Canada), Mar 12, 2017
Photo of metter98
4.34/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short tan head that died down and left a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of bourbon are present in the nose along with notes of oak and associated vanilla.
T: Moderate flavors of bourbon from the barrel aging are present in the taste along with notes of dark malts and bits of roasted malts. The oak becomes stronger as the beer warms up.
M: It feels full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The barrel aging lends some warmth to the finish.
O: This is a nice beer to sip and savor. Although there are some traces of alcohol in the taste it is still rather drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

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metter98 from New York, Jan 01, 2017
Photo of Ciocanelu
4.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown color, almost black, with tan head. Aroma has intense whiskey, caramel but also roasted malt. Taste starts with sweet malt, caramel, fudge, finish has lots of bourbon but also a bitter and roasty aftertaste. Medium to heavy body with low carbonation. Really good one overall, the whiskey/bourbon flavor is just a bit too harsh.

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Ciocanelu from Romania, Aug 07, 2016
Photo of ccg
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Great-looking stout. Thick legs, some lacing, great head retention. Smell is full of rich chocolate, oak, vanilla, and a hint of smoke. Flavor is similar but with a bit more smoke and bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is the only disappointment: it could use a bit more body. This beer was a nice treat and a great dessert. Hard to believe you can find these on the shelf.

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ccg from District of Columbia, Jul 24, 2016
Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

look: Like the other variants, 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: Much like the High West Rye. A bit of spice, in a honey roasty milkshake.
taste: does not lose anything to the nose. Chewy fudge thing on top. A slight spicy bite in the finish. As the other variants, mellow and easy drinking.

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Photo of RickGrimes
5/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Just a little bitter and thicker than the other variant of eclipse, but Plenty of flavour. I can't fine a Honey sweetness here, but as always a perfect vanilla and bourbon flavour that make this beer super.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.09/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Usual black and brown toward the edges Eclipse pour, tan head, 3/4" deep. Aroma of chocolate malt, roasted, bourbon, and oak. Vanilla missing on this one.

Taste, a little more dry, acrid than your usual average Eclipse beer, this one didn't have the deep chocolate or vanilla giving it a sweeter edge, this came off a little rougher, a man's man's Eclipse. But then again, I'm not that guy, I like a little bit of the vanilla undercurrent in these, so this one was probably slightly lower than my average Eclipse appreciation, but nonetheless, there is no arguing that these are still very good. Price is always a little suspect, but ultimately still a very good beer.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Curran last night, thanks dude.

This one pours a fairly dark black, with a small mocha-colored head, and a small head.

Smells like warm, sweet bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and roasted malt.

This is surprising, because most Eclipses are pretty sweet, but this has a definite bitter kick on the finish from the roasted malt. I've never tried Woodford Reserve before, but from the out-front bourbon taste on this one, I can tell I'd definitely like it. There's a definite spiciness from the bourbon, almost rye-like, with some definite dark chocolate and vanilla. There's a little bit of oak, too.

This is medium bodied, a bit thicker than most Eclipses, but still a bitter thinner than the absolute bests of this style.

This is definitely a really nice barrel-aged stout, it hits all the notes you it worth the high price this series commands? I'd say no. Still really good, but there are better stouts for a lot less money.

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GreesyFizeek from New York, Jan 23, 2016
Photo of KettleBellFreak
3.98/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Very nice looking dark beer with a thin Amber head that recedes quickly.

Boring smell, honestly couldn't smell much of anything. Let it warm, agitated, still nothing much besides a bit of wood and spice.

Taste was very good. Vanilla, molasses, faint whiskey, a lot of barrel character, toasty and Woody. Very thick mouth feel.

Very good stout.

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Photo of maximum12
3.93/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my marvelous mule, er, wife for dragging back a couple of expensive FiftyFifty bombers from her vacation, er, work trip to San Diego. 22 oz. bottle with ’Pearl Blue’ wax.

First, heartfelt thanks to FiftyFifty for ceasing their use of three pounds of wax per bottle - this was the easiest bottle of Eclipse to open yet. The pour is black with minimal red-edged highlights. The nose promises high-class whiskey; I’m not sure how to describe that, but it just reeks of silver cuff links & Wagyu steaks.

Eclipse - Woodford reserve reminds me why I spent all that money ordering these from the brewery in 2012 & 2013. The whiskey is front & center but mixed it up with the malt, bringing a charred taste (barrel or malts) & a thick sweetness reminiscent of Wisconsin maple syrup. Lovely spicing - do these barrels have any rye in them? Closes with oak, vanilla, brown sugar. Thicker than previous versions I’ve had, & tasty enough to drink with breakfast, lunch, & dinner. With naps in between, of course.

No angels singing, as has been the case with some of the Eclipse variants, but this is at least Alison Brie tasty (though I’d give her higher ’appearance’ marks - sadly, I’ve never gotten to the ’taste’ or ’feel’….what was I saying?). The barrel is the focus here, as it should be. Excellent beer.

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maximum12 from Minnesota, Jan 21, 2016
Photo of James_Michaud91
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Fantastic aroma and rich, bold notes of bitter chocolate, sweet roasted malts and perfectly integrated bourbon. A little 'overly' bitter in its youth, would love to try this after a little more time.

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James_Michaud91 from California, Jun 19, 2015
Photo of Houser
4.38/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

deep brown pour with 3/4 finger head. smell is good, not great. hard for me to pick up many discernable flavors. taste is all there. has some bite to it, slight heat, some spice. tastes vanilla and chocolatey and decent carb. solid, but should have sat on it a bit more.

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Houser from Pennsylvania, Apr 17, 2015
Photo of Smakawhat
4.1/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Vintage 2014, bottle run No. 1. Blue pearl wax.

Simple dark walnut brown nearly black body and opaque. Comes out quite shiny out of the bottle, with a chestnut hue. Head manages just under two fingers of mocha tan, with a whispy top and somewhat bubbled and thin collar. Quite clear from under the head when held to the light.

Excellent aroma on the beer. An interesting mix of berried fruit, light roast and a good nutty peanut butter sense. Mild sense of charred wood a little but with a hint of cream sensations but without the vanilla. Big and full quite excellent.

Palate comes a little wet for barrel aging. Hints of spiked whiskey, with a boozy and heated character. Mid palate fills with a good sense of cream but more of a milky sense almost like a condensed milk. Mild hinting nutty action almost gives off a coconut sweetness but not quite. Huge notes of char and roast character in the finish, nearly almost ashen and smokey. Hints of whiskey that are a bit more indistinct in flavor, but highly noticeable and doesn't seem as integrated into the beer all around.

Another interesting take on the Eclipse series, but comes off not as excellent as some of the others, and almost tastes like a spiked brew. Still quite delicious and drinkable though.

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Smakawhat from Maryland, Jan 14, 2015
Photo of Dope
4.24/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 3R1 from 2014.

A: Pitch-black pour with a tall and very dense medium brown head. Very tiny air bubbles in the head gives it an almost solid appearance. Great head retention though the lacing is a little spotty. There is none at all the begin with, but then it started with a little wall once it sat for a while.

S: Surprisingly subtle aroma. Lots of caramel with mild chocolate, a little honey and a little roastiness. Vanilla when swirled.

T: Yup, woodford reserve all right. Mellow caramel up front with some honey and vanilla behind it. Lots of oak, especially towards the middle. Bittersweet chocolate in the middle with some roasted coffee grinds leading into the finish. Finish is lingering bittersweet chocolate/coffee and oak. Just a hint of caramel and honey in there, but barely.

M: Big, heavy, viscous and very smooth.

O: A very smooth and mellow variant from 50/50. It's heavy and decadent but just has a smoothness that works. Bittersweet roasty flavors keep this one from being cloyingly sweet. Nice balance, nice drinkability for a nearly 12% barrel aged stout that's quite bourbon-heavy. Normally the eclipse variants are very sweet - this one is not at all.

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Dope from Massachusetts, Jan 05, 2015
Photo of biboergosum
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, with the light blue (Blue Pearl in brewery parlance) speckled wax. I remember enjoying myself a fifth of the Woodford Reserve many years ago, so I'm a bit moist with anticipation here.

This beer pours a solid black hole, with the barest of basal red cola edges, and two fingers of weakly puffy, tightly foamy, and kind of chunky tan head, which leaves some rocky limestone cliff lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of somewhat acrid Bourbon barrel notes, not unlike those first few sniffs of the real deal - with the rye spiciness, hot alcohol esters, and vanilla and caramel sweetness - bittersweet chocolate, milk-dosed coffee, muddled dark orchard fruit (maybe some cherry, perhaps some prune), and a faint earthy hoppiness. The taste is fairly sweet caramel/toffee malt, a further saccharine Bourbon whiskey essence, the sort that draws you in, rather than scare you away (which is the point where I start to recognize the Woodford Reserve influence), with its heady rye graininess, and bristling, but still restrained booziness, all alongside the reduced dark cocoa and cafe-au-lait Starbucks allusions, dried cherries, a touch of dime-store candied licorice, and a still tame gritty earthiness.

The carbonation is quite light and fanciful on its feet, rendered as a flitting frothiness, the body a sturdy medium-heavy weight, and plainly smooth, with a certain burgeoning creaminess, no real booze interlopers caring to interfere - nice. It finishes on the tempered sweet side - lots of easy-drinking Bourbon and imperial stout notes abounding.

Yup, that one-night stand (it was longer than that, but you get the point) with Woodford Reserve prepared me well for this particular variant of the Eclipse series - it's just quite about right. Whiskey, and stout, both working together to lull my palate and better senses into blissful oblivion. This is indeed good, if not great, and likely the best of the lot that I've yet tried, but that's a difficult statement to make in isolation.

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biboergosum from Alberta (Canada), Jan 04, 2015
Photo of IKR
4.12/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage
11.9% ABV

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a moderate dark beige head that gradually faded.

Smell: Brown sugar, faint Whiskey, and mild coffee/roasted malt aromas. Not a bad nose but the barrel aromas are fairly mild, similar to the Rittenhouse variant.

Taste: The Bourbon bal-aging is present just as it is in the other Bourbon bal-aged Eclipses but it is less sweet than some of the other versions. The profile also features brown sugar, roast malts, mild vanilla, and tannic oak notes. The finish is fairly dry ending with some Bourbon and tannic oak notes. Fairy restrained alcohol presence.

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

Overall: Good Eclipse variant. Not as sweet as some of the other versions and adds further to my belief that the type of barrel definitely has an influence on the final beer.

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IKR from California, Dec 25, 2014
Photo of rand
4.71/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From 22 oz bomber to snifter.

Blue-pearl colored wax...looks like blue with glitter.

As usual with these, I'm not going to write a new review for each spirit, but instead refer to my original and highlight unique nuances.

This one is fresh, so it's a little more bourbon-forward than others I've had, but I'm getting a lot more oak and cherry than other spirits. Woodford is such a smooth whiskey by itself, and coupling it with one of the world's great barrel-aged stouts can only lead to good things. Yum

2015 batch edit:

JUst got back from the release party, and with the exception of the Raspberry special release, there was something not quite as tasty with this year's vintage. You can tell they're still Eclipse, and they're still tasty, but the caramelly, bourbony, vanilla-y flavors that make Eclipse so delicious are pushed aside by notes of unsweetened cocoa and dry oak. They seem a little more chalky as well, and slightly more bitter. We'll see how they age - the brewers swear that these beers are just as good fresh as cellared, but that hasn't been my experience. Even the 2014 Masterpiece was more mellow and singular on the palate.

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rand from California, Dec 20, 2014
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Woodford Reserve Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 138 ratings