Imperial Eclipse Stout - Cognac
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - CognacImperial Eclipse Stout - Cognac
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FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States
American Imperial Stout
4.21 | pDev: 7.84%
Jun 04, 2022
Dec 08, 2015
Imperial Eclipse Stout - CognacImperial Eclipse Stout - Cognac
Notes: None
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Photo of jlindros
Reviewed by jlindros from Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
10th release edition
Pours a creamy dense tan 1 finger head with great retention, plenty of soapy lacing, pitch black thick beer with decent legs

Nose is interesting, sweet honey and vanilla up front with a fruity cognac, surprised how much those come through, fruity sweet cognac, smooth rich barrel vanilla, honey candy gives way to dark chocolate cocoa, a bit of roast and coffee, light baking spices, some some fluffy nougat and cookie dough notes, a touch of oxidation like winey port notes but no cardboard

Taste brings dark chocolate and cocoa up front, a touch fudgey with some mild roast and coffee, fair cookie dough and a little nougat, a bit of spicy hop bitterness but not a lot, then back into honey and honey candy, with a little caramel nougat, into mild vanilla again, some of that vanilla nougat candy bar, and vanilla barrel, light cognac not nearly what the nose had, as well as mild winey oxidation, faint hint of smoke with the roast, general fruity notes in the background, semi sticky sweet finish with a bit more bitterness, a bit of anise spice and burnt roast on the back end

Mouth is full bod, rich almost chewy like, just a touch of warming but smooth alcohol, high frothy carb that gets a touch distracting

Overall mixed on this one, age helped the softness and alcohol smoothness, less of that harsh roast as well, but the cognac that was nice on the nose disappeared on the taste, honey was quite nice in general, and not a fan of that burnt anise notes late
Jun 04, 2022
Rated: 3.93 by Mikexw from New York

Mar 26, 2022
Photo of Roguer
Reviewed by Roguer from Connecticut

3.95/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4
An inexplicable and slow gusher; I've never seen anything like it. The gush was slow enough to pour it without spillage, but then minutes later, the head had creeped back out of the bottle. Re-pour, wait; minutes later, AGAIN. It's like one of those firework snakes. The upshot is that head production is awesome, I suppose; the downside is that the closest analog I have is a Brett beer - and this is not supposed to be a Brett beer.

No tell-tale sign of infection on the nose. It's quite oaky and boozy, and the cognac lacks its sweetness an inimitable character ... but this is a four (five?) year old bottle. Cut it some slack. Unfortunately, there isn't much else in the background, other than a fairly run of the mill roasted and bitter imperial stout base.

The palate is similar, in that up front, it's all about the bitter imperial stout base - although the hops have clearly faded, and it's pretty rich and mellow. The cognac shows in the middle, and lasts through the finish; the back third is supremely oaky. Very long finish. Although there's a very, very strong flavor, it's unbelievably smooth on the palate; you can sip and savor this pretty much indefinitely; you'd get tired and fall asleep before the beer became a chore.

Flavor profile includes oak (did I mention oak?), molasses, licorice, chocolate, burnt coffee, leather, tobacco, cognac, vanilla, light char, toast.

Tough beer to rate, especially with so much age on it. I wonder how much more prominent, and sweeter, the cognac would have been fresh. I also wonder if it would have been hotter, more aggressive, and more bitter; right now, the flavors may have faded, but it's incredibly smooth and easy.

A very good beer, but like most of the Eclipse series, it's hard to justify the price, especially in the modern era of craft beer with so many alternatives (e.g. Parabola at about half the price).
Jul 18, 2021
Photo of SHODriver
Reviewed by SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense and slightly rocky two finger light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: Smells of cognac barrels, dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts
T: Taste is congac on the front end with some oak, cocoa powder, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and coffee with more cognac on the back end along with a nice shot of fresh roasted coffee. On the swallow there's more chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, and cognac, with a little smoke, charred wood, and burnt sugar at the back end. Very nice.
M: This beer has a smooth and silky feel on the palate with a somewhat full body. Carbonation is subtle but adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer. The base beer has a lot of great flavors and complexity which plays really well with the cognac barrels. Pretty well balanced and the finish is delightful. These beers cost a lot but this one is worth the price of admission.
Sep 05, 2020
Rated: 4 by Beerbom from California

Jul 20, 2020
Photo of Franziskaner
Reviewed by Franziskaner from Missouri

4.18/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Black in color with minimal light penetration. There’s beige around most of the rim and covering half of the top. The aroma is of dark malt, honey, and cognac. I’m tasting cognac, honey, alcohol, and dark malt. The mouth is thick, chewy, and there’s an alcohol burn to the tongue that lingers after you swallow.
Jan 11, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by kjkinsey from Texas

Oct 13, 2019
Photo of scottfrie
Reviewed by scottfrie from California

3.46/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
22oz bottle into tulip. 2015 release.

A: Pours deep cola brown, near black, with a cap of light brown foam that slowly faded into a wispy and long lasting film/collar leaving a network of lace.
S: Nose is full of roast, chocolate, and vanilla with a boozy barrel presence and a touch of hot alcohol.
T: Chocolate and roast up front with notes of vanilla, burnt sugar and darker cognac grape flavors. There a note of acidic black roasted coffee that’s slight acrid, along with back licorice, baking spice, and char. The finish is moderately bitter but there a balancing creamy sweetness that pokes through. Finish is full of roast and dark malt flavors.
M: Bitter and a bit harsh (acrid/sharp) up front but the finish is creamy and rich. Body is fairly thick which is pleasant surprise for an eclipse, and the carbonation is fluffy, soft, and smooth.
O: I enjoyed this treatment less than many of the others. Finish was delicious but the initial blast of bitter/acrid flavors up front took away from the overall drinkability. Just a little rough around the edges.
Jan 31, 2019
Photo of mschrei
Reviewed by mschrei from Illinois

4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2016 version. Standard appearance. Smell is a ton of honey-sweet and bold, really not much else other than a slight boozy barrel background. Taste is sweet honey first, malty backbone, boozy barrel undercurrent. Full body, balanced, interesting flavors. It's not bad, it's not great, not sure if aging it would improve it or make it worse.
Jul 16, 2018
Rated: 4.37 by HaveUSeenMyCellar from California

Dec 25, 2017
Rated: 3.99 by jaydoc from Kansas

Nov 26, 2017
Rated: 4.46 by kaseydad from California

Oct 06, 2017
Photo of CarolinaCardinals
Reviewed by CarolinaCardinals from North Carolina

4.34/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Had a 3 oz sample as part of a three samples for $8.00 and then 8 oz offering of the 2015 edition at the brewery yesterday for $7.75.

Beer was served black with a decent tan head.

Nose was a nice blend of cocoa, dark fruits, and a hint of booze.

Taste was very good. The cognac, cocoa, lightly roasted malts, and booze melded together very well.

Mouthfeel was medium to full bodied and very smooth.

Overall this was an enjoyable sipper with no alcohol presence. Definitely much more mellow then the cherry Eclipse offering from 2016.
Sep 15, 2017
Rated: 4.27 by Pbarg from Florida

Aug 21, 2017
Photo of maltznhopz
Reviewed by maltznhopz from Nevada

4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
22oz bottle poured into a tulip. Smell is of dark malts and cognac with a bit a chocolate. Roasted malts in the flavor with light chocolate and raisins, the booze becomes more apparent as the beer warms. Medium body with light carbination. Overall a decent sipping stout.
Jun 12, 2017
Rated: 4.06 by leitmotif from Romania

Apr 09, 2017
Photo of Ciocanelu
Reviewed by Ciocanelu from Romania

4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
Dark brown color, tan head with big bubbles. Aroma is a bit spicy with brown sugar and some herb liquor. A light cola note as well. Taste starts sweet with cognac notes, dried fruits, light earthy notes on the finish. Medium body, really smooth mouthfeel. A nice imperial stout with an elegant barrel treatment.
Apr 07, 2017
Rated: 4.09 by mattreitz49 from Florida

Mar 19, 2017
Rated: 3.96 by Tim725 from New Jersey

Jan 21, 2017
Rated: 5 by brpendergast85 from District of Columbia

Jan 12, 2017
Rated: 4.75 by pstam87 from Illinois

Jan 08, 2017
Photo of biboergosum
Reviewed by biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
22oz bottle (@ 11.0% ABV) - 'burnt orange' for those of us (the majority, I presume), who are quickly tiring of this ruse in identifying the differing coloured waxes. Enough, all-fucking-ready - use your words!

This beer pours a fairly solid black, yet with prominent amber basal edges, and a weirdly teeming tower of puffy, rocky, and creamy brown head, which leaves some decent swollen rain cloud lace around the glass as it evenly subsides.

It smells of sugary caramel malt, sort of boozy French wine oak notes (vanilla, mostly, but some wooden acridity as well), a further dark sweetness, bittersweet cocoa powder, a hint of black licorice, some mildly estery free-agent ashiness, and an understated leafy, citrusy, and piney hoppiness. The taste is rather saccharine in its Cognac (not gonna parse it this time) barrel treatment, alongside some grainy and pastry-forward caramel malt, bland toffee/treacle, dime-store chocolate wafers, a muddled dark fruitiness, hints of cafe-au-lait, and some increasingly obscured leafy, weedy, and piney verdant hops.

The carbonation is quite overwrought in its presentation, but less so in its application, via its gentile frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight for the style, and more or less smooth, with a wee aerosol creaminess slowly evolving as time marches ever on. It finishes way off-dry, the sweet white wine essences still duly integrated with the lingering roasted maltiness.

Overall, this is a pleasant enough meeting of wowee sauce worlds - French dessert liquor complexity meets the middle of the road Yankee big-boy stout. Nothing really interferes with anything else, and I only say that because I can't come up with anything better - this is just really good, in that Old World manner that doesn't have to justify why it is, full stop.
Jan 03, 2017
Rated: 4.34 by Damian74 from South Carolina

Dec 31, 2016
Rated: 4.24 by jmg480 from Pennsylvania

Dec 29, 2016
Photo of rodbeermunch
Reviewed by rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.18/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
FWIW, every cognac barrel beer I've ever had, from FiftyFifty to Mikkeller comes off as hot and benefiting from some extended aging hopefully.

Comes out just like almost every other Eclipse beer, black, with some dark brown thrown in there, a viscosity that isn't as thick as some heavier hitters, but the Eclipse series is also not one of those Midwest pour type of beers where you can only handle a few ounces. Good 1/2" tan head on this one. Aroma is hot alcohol, french oak and roast. This is one of the very rare times where I am saying the aroma on an Eclipse beer is, uh, not good. Just too hot.

Taste, still too hot. This one puts forward too much in the dark fruit vein. Amazing how a barrel can make this so different from the bourbon ones. Even the brandy barrel Eclipse doesn't make it this different.

If you sort through the mouthfeel, you can still get some of those caramel and coffee from the malt notes, but those are underneath it all, the dark raisin, french oak and just straight cognac booze dominate over those subtle touches. Carbonation on point as always.
Dec 13, 2016
Photo of stakem
Reviewed by stakem from Pennsylvania

3.4/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
With the newest round of Eclipse barrel treatments coming out, I figured its time to check out a couple of the iterations from last year.

Dark brown to black in color with a finger of rich khaki cap that holds very well slowly fading leaving a full curtain of lace on the glass.

Aroma of raison, milky chocolate, fruity alcohol, minerals and faint toasted coconut. The nose on this seems oxidized which is disappointing considering its only a year old and ive generally enjoyed this brews with more than a year of age.

Taste is sugary sweet than mild roast, bakers cocoa, caramel, earth and faint oak with mild vinous character. The aftertaste seems a bit green and vegetal.

Medium in body and modestly carbonated. It is decent but far from my favorite eclipse varietal. Im actually disappointed in this one to the extent that I feel like I got a bunk bottle.
Dec 13, 2016
Rated: 4.42 by REVZEB from Illinois

Dec 06, 2016
Rated: 4.44 by kevindp9 from Arizona

Nov 20, 2016
Rated: 4.5 by PassMeAZima from Kentucky

Oct 29, 2016
Rated: 4.11 by BirdsandHops from Oregon

Oct 22, 2016
Rated: 4.17 by billab914 from Virginia

Oct 20, 2016
Rated: 4.09 by Raziel313 from California

Aug 16, 2016
Rated: 4.23 by drahodo from Missouri

Jul 29, 2016
Rated: 4.21 by kylehay2004 from Illinois

Jul 29, 2016
Rated: 4.16 by tbone1384 from Wyoming

Jul 24, 2016
Rated: 4.43 by JakerLou from New Hampshire

Jun 20, 2016
Rated: 4.69 by CJNAPS from California

Apr 10, 2016
Photo of cultclassic89
Rated by cultclassic89 from Texas

4.27/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
This was fine, not as good as expected. I barely remember much though so no review.
Apr 05, 2016
Rated: 4.42 by Dirt286 from New Jersey

Feb 28, 2016
Rated: 4.21 by my_knew_craft from Massachusetts

Jan 16, 2016
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Cognac from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 44 ratings