Imperial Eclipse Stout - Willett Bourbon
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Willett BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Willett Bourbon
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Style:
Stout - American Imperial
ABV:
11%
Score:
93
Avg:
4.31 | pDev: 5.34%
Reviews:
12
Ratings:
27
From:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  1
Gots
  5
SCORE
93
Outstanding
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Willett BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Willett Bourbon
Notes:
Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 27 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by Greywulfken:
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Greywulfken from New York

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

Dark brown-black pour goes straight black in the snifter. Just a brief thin film of a head, dark brown, and then it slips away into a flimsy collar. Brief motes trail behind and then vanish. I've had me some bourbon, but never had Willett; I've had a few other entries in the Eclipse series though, and found them to expensive but worthwhile. This one was the cheapest yet, coming in at $23.99 at our recently opened Total Wine. In the past, at other shops, it was always about a $30 bottle.

Light and airy bourbon vapors on the nose, followed by chocolate and coffee aromas, as if of espresso beans and chocolate bars. On the sip, felt a little thinner than the other Eclipse stouts, far as my palate recalls - which I'll confess, is something of a detractor for me...

But I started the bottle more-or-less out of the fridge, minus the time it took for me to wrangle off the wax seal to get to the cap. Now I'm about halfway through my first pour and the body has developed a little more.

Flashes sweet up front, with watery molasses and that espresso and chocolate again, but then some woodsy drying sets in and brings with it faint tannins and a little bit of spiced vanilla. Dresses the whole thing up, even though its still reading a little thin to me.

Some stickiness around the edges, and a hint of wet oak char after the finish. Honey impressions come through a bit there, too, though I'd not picked up on them previously.

Overall, I'm gonna say this drinks a little more refined than those I'd had before - meaning, light, airy, and mild, with less of a presence - and I'm not opposed to it necessarily. I'd put this just below par of their High West and Four Roses variants, which in turn were just below the Elijah Craig 12 year and apple brandy versions. My favorite edition remains the java coffee, which was stunning.

For the $23 sticker, a nice one-time buy, and interestingly enough, despite the somewhat modest scores I gave it, I am of the impression that I would really enjoy Willett bourbon...

Dec 29, 2017
More User Reviews:
Photo of IKR
IKR from California

4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a fairly generous sized dark beige head that fades fairly quick. A nice looking Imperial Stout.

Smell: Bourbon, coffee/roasted malt aromas, brown sugar and mild vanilla notes.

Taste: Fairly prominent Bourbon, roast malts, caramel/brown sugar, mild vanilla, and oak notes. The finish is moderately dry with the Bourbon sweetness being nicely countered by the roast malt notes and mild oak notes.

Mouth-feel: On the lighter side of medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation Fairly thin bodied for the style.

Overall: Good beer. It balances the Bourbon sweetness and roasted malts very well like the best Eclipse variants do. This variant is a very nice addition to the Eclipse lineup.

Jan 28, 2018
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense two finger head which retains well and fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of chocolate and roasted malts with some coffee and oak along with caramel and vanilla
T: Taste is chocolate and bourbon barrel goodness followed by some wood spice. Hints of corn and coffee along with some slight alcohol and roasted malts. There's a slight green apple skin like flavor as well. Swallow is wood spice, bourbony oak, and lingering chocolate with some slight vanilla.
M: This beer is on the heavier side of medium. It's a little more carbonated than some of the other eclipse beers I have drank but it still has a slightly silky mouhtfeel. Carbonation is still less than prickly which is good for the style while the beer has a drying finish from the ABV.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer. The barrels definitely are a bit more prominent than some of the other variants which is nice. Definitely not a booze bomb though.

Apr 22, 2018
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acurtis from New Jersey

4.23/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Feb 03, 2018
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brotherloco from California

4.64/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Dec 19, 2017
Photo of kylehay2004
kylehay2004 from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

May 12, 2018
Photo of Abe_Froman
Abe_Froman from Massachusetts

4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jul 22, 2018
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.1/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Albany Ale and Oyster in Albany, NY.

This one pours a fairly dark black color, with a small brown head, and a little bit of lacing.

This smells like heavy bourbon, woody oak, chocolate syrup, and a touch of vanilla.

This is right down the middle in terms of Eclipse variants. It doesn't really stand out as much different than the typical Eclipse variant. There's some woody bourbon, and it's not too boozy. There's dark chocolate syrup, and some very light vanilla from the oak.

This is medium bodied, and not boozy at all, with a decent level of drinkability.

I always enjoy trying new-to-me Eclipse variants. This is solidly middle of the road.

Dec 24, 2018
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.51/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Love this variant of the eclipse stout. The Willett barrel was a wonderful accent to the rest of the beer. Smell is boozy, woody, chocolatey and malty. Taste is all of that but with some slight hops and caramel. Thought the flavors wrapped around the barrel character amazingly.

Apr 23, 2018
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pstam87 from Illinois

4.77/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Jan 01, 2018
Photo of MrDarcy
MrDarcy from Massachusetts

4.39/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Feb 25, 2018
Photo of TangoJuliet
TangoJuliet from New York

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

Jan 18, 2018
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Duncian from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Feb 12, 2018
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mig100 from Texas

4.05/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jan 27, 2018
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StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.81/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

super chocolatey, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, smooth, rich bourbon, oak, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, coconut notes, some raisin

Dec 09, 2018
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.08/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the Willett version at the 2017 party. Found it to be right down the middle and not really offering anything unique compared to any of the 20 or so other variations of Eclipse, but hey, its always nice when a new barrel doesn't fall short of all those other very good Eclipse beers.

Pours black, brown 1/2" head. Aroma same as the others, roasted chocolate malt, bourbon and oak.
Drops a mild amount of caramel and bitterness in the taste. The sweetness is even more tempered in this version. Kinda pissed they used the same color wax as the old grand cru bottles, but then again, at their price structure, I didn't buy any so it won't be a problem. The bourbon character is plenty noticeable, but doesn't distinguish itself from other bourbon barrels in the series. Dunno if its psychosomatic, but sure does seem like the grand cru in that it is a middling of all the others. Mouth feel is pretty much the same consistency in terms of viscosity, carbonation and whatnot.

Its a standard Eclipse.

Oct 11, 2018
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Phineasco from Massachusetts

4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The beer pours Pitch Black with a medium khaki head. It has low carbonation. The beer smells of milk chocolate, cocoa powder, honey, and nougat. It tastes of milk chocolate, cocoa powder, honey, nougat, and light bourbon barrel. The feel is slick and smooth, very easy drinking. A great barrel aged stout.

Dec 09, 2018
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JPS10 from Texas

4.4/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Feb 24, 2018
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DefenCorps from Oregon

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

2017 release.

Jet black with a brown head with good retention and lacing, this looks solid. The nose is nice, with a mild soft, roasty character, a mild honey sweetness, chocolate syrup, licorice and anise. The bourbon note is wonderful here, well integrated with vanilla, a touch of coconut and some oak. A mild heat is present as well. The palate opens with a blend of rather tannic oak tempered by licorice and anise, followed by dark honey and chocolate. Lovely bourbon notes on the midpalate with chocolate, coffee, honey pairing well with vanilla and coconut. Sweetness lingers on the finish, with caramel, toffee and chocolate syrup. Medium in body with soft carbonation, this beer finishes lush and creamy. Excellent.

Nov 04, 2020
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 Vintage
22oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours deep black in color with a one-finger khaki colored head that has good retention

S- bold barrel notes on the nose, tons of spicy oak, vanilla, cocoa powder, caramel, cinnamon, cardamon, brown sugar, dried figs

T- as with the nose, the barrel really comes through on flavor; tons of peppery oak and barrel juice, followed by sweet notes of caramel, brown sugar & vanilla. Mid-palate brings our some dark fruit notes of fig and raisin, the finish brings out flavors of cocoa, along with more sharp oak and bourbon

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a slightly warming, creamy finish

O- perhaps the most barrel-influenced Eclipse bottle I've had, tons of oak and barrel juice makes it a unique standout in the Eclipse lineup

Dec 09, 2019
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Sabtos from Ohio

3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dull dark brown to black with a fuzzy uneven khaki head.

Woody cocoa and oaky bourbon that's maybe a little metallic is smoothed by some caramel, as vanilla comes out on the exhale, but generally not in taste.

The medium body has a crisp carbonation and finishes paper dry.

I had a few friends sharing this that hated it. It wasn't terrible, but it's clearly not competing for the higher tiers that were also at the share.

Sep 09, 2019
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PugsandBeer from Florida

4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aug 12, 2019
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howardnss from Pennsylvania

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

2017 edition aged until 6/23/21. Little to no head when poured but the bourbon flavor was excellent and the beer wasn’t as thick and overly sweet as some high powered stouts have been. Wish they would distribute more of these to the east coast.

Jun 24, 2021
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Mikexw from New York

4.04/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

May 10, 2021
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Feb 11, 2018
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Willett Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 27 ratings