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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year) | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year)
125 Ratings
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year)

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
2008. A few (aged) cases were released in 2010.

Added by Floydster on 02-02-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 125 |  Reviews: 60
Photo of t2grogan
5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of cclark67789
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of ipa247
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of jh1982
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of BuckTuckian
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of bespin15
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of pperez38
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of rmalinowski4
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of cadaugherty
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of MrFootstones
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Jakers90
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of penniwisdom
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of mistakebythelake
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of doughanson78
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of waltonc
4.97/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Doodler for sharing this treat at the Colorado stoutfest. In a side-by-side comparison with HH, EC and JD, the PVW won the battle (though the HH and EC weren't far behind).

Pours dark brown with tan head. All the qualities of a great, well-balanced bourbon barrel aged stout are present in the nose and taste here: vanilla, toffee, caramel, brown sugar, and bourbon, among others. The beauty of this brew is the perfect balance of each. Everything is in sync, not too sweet, body is not too thin, and the bourbon isn't overpowering. The best PVW-barrel aged stout I can recall having had.

 600 characters

Photo of HopHead84
4.97/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Shared by Jeff at Sour Fest 2010, but it was a bit hectic so I was unable to review it, thanks though. This review is from a bottle purchased from City Beer Store a few months back. 2008 vintage, the only vintage, poured into a snifter. The beer is impenetrable black with a one inch silky dark brown head.

The aroma is a beautiful blend of brown sugar, bourbon, maple, dark chocolate, sugar cookie dough, and oak. It's very well balanced and incredibly expressive, one of the best aromas I've beheld on a beer of this style. Light vanilla notes are evident with further warming. There's a light booze sting in my nostrils when I plant my nose deep in the glass and inhale. Exceptional.

Booze, oak, bourbon, and chocolate define the opening. Sweetness picks up midpalate with notes of brown sugar and vanilla. The beer possesses a moderate, and desirable, level of booze heat. This is lovely...lovely! There's a nice and prominent bourbon presence. Light baker's chocolate notes harmonize with oak. The decadent finish displays caramel with lingering chocolate, bourbon, and booze. There's a shade of roasted character.

The mouthfeel is full, creamy, and silky. In a word: perfection. This is one of the best Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts I've ever had. I enjoyed this side by side with the 2009 Heaven Hill Rye, which is an excellent beer in its own right, but juxtaposed alongside the Pappy it was clearly inferior (though still a bit young). Seek this out! This was delicious with a sharp cheddar cheese.

 1,520 characters

Photo of billshmeinke
4.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pink wax.

Smell is heavenly. Toffee, chocolate, some oak, coconut, light hints of licorice. Wonderful bourbon notes too.

Tastes of chocolate fudge, oak, booze, raisin, fine bourbon, and brownies. Just wonderful chocolatey bourbony goodness.

Chewy full, rich and lucious mouthfeel.

In a word, amazing.

 304 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chilled bottle into a glass.

Original bottling generously shared by swnicholson at a tasting in early November 2010. I had spent the better part of 2010 trying (and failing) to acquire one, and it just fell into my lap. Thanks, Scott. From notes.

A: Pours, like the other Eclipses, a translucent brown with light tan head. Its retention is decent, leaving some swirls of foam on top of the beer. As always, this is the weakest part of the Eclipses; if you want something to look impenetrable and black, this will disappoint you.

S: A beautiful aroma of milk chocolate, toasted coconut, licorice, dark fruit, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, espresso. I never had this fresh, but either great brewing or age have given this a balanced, nuanced nose. It's ridiculously smooth, with not even a hint of alcohol in the nose. Though, again, the age (or the fact that it's only 10%) could explain that.

T: As in the nose, this is smooth and mellow. Oak barrel, espresso, and coconut lay the initial taste, progressing into candylike flavors of caramel, vanilla, black licorice, and plum. There is a light heat that wasn't apparent from the nose; it pairs well with a light pepper bite and mild tannins in the finish. The aftertaste is rich and silky smooth, coating the palate with caramel, chocolate, and bourbon.

M: The Eclipse beers are not viscous at all; their trademark is having a full flavor with little to no alcohol presence. The carbonation is low-moderate, having only the lightest tannic presence. If you like chewy stouts, this isn't for you, but if you enjoy beers that are packed with flavor, you will find a lot here. I personally prefer the latter, and I can't think of a better mouthfeel in recent memory.

D: One of the best imperial stouts I've ever had, if not the clear best. I'd love more of it.

It's unfortunate that I can't say good things about a California beer without being accused of homering or hype. But I'm not local to FiftyFifty, and I have no investment in this beer's trade value. In fact, I tried and failed multiple times to land a bottle. I like it and recommend it simply because it's a good beer.

 2,144 characters

Photo of corby112
4.94/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From notes:

Original, non-waxed version. Received this in a trade with ipa247 before I even heard of the brewery. I thought with all of the talk lately I would finally enter my review.

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without even the slightest trace of lighter color when held to a light source and a half finger dark mocha head that quickly settles into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

The nose of this beer is very complex with lots of bourbon as well as some earthy oak, vanilla and dark roasted malt. The barrel aging has done wonders to this beer, giving off a beautiful bourbon/spirit aroma that is balanced by the oak and vanilla notes. The aroma of the base beer is still evident however with hints of chocolate malt, roasted espresso/coffee bean, burnt toast, rye, smoke and oatmeal. I was expecting this to be a complete booze bomb but it smells amazing. Hopefully it lives up to the aroma.

Chewy, slightly viscous medium body with an excellent balance of bourbon, oak, vanilla, silky chocolate and roasted malt. The bourbon is prominent up front, slightly sweet and lingers throughout into a slightly warm finish but it is perfectly countered by a silky chocolate malt backbone with hints of roasted coffee, toffee, rye, caramel and oaky vanilla notes from the barrel. This beer is incredibly complex and all of the flavors perfectly balance each other out, making it incredibly smooth and dangerously quaffable. Again, I was expecting a booze bomb but the spirit presence is just prominent enough and the dark malt, silky chocolate, oak and vanilla combo is perfect. I can't say enough about how awesome this beer is.

I've had a ton of barrel aged beers and along with Kaggen! this is one of the best I've sampled. The only thing keeping this from a 5.0 rating is the appearance. The head is small and fades quickly without any lacing but otherwise this beer is perfect. This beer actually lives up to the hype and I wish I had another bottle. Anyone want to trade?

 2,012 characters

Photo of Rothobinide
4.86/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of largadeer
4.85/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was shared by jh1982 and Jmoore50 - thank you, guys. This is from one of the original 2008 bottlings, not the more recent one. I've had this on tap a few times before, but this is my first taste from a bottle.

Black with ruby red highlights, a small collar of foam forms from the light carbonation. This is a beautiful imperial stout, not too oily or thick, but very inviting.

It has an outstanding aroma, like a licorice-infused chocolate truffle drizzled with caramel. There's noticeable bourbon too, but it's balanced rather than overpowering, along with hints of vanilla and dark, earthy fruit.

The palate is exceptionally mellow, displaying plenty of complex with no trace of alcohol or heat. Bittersweet chocolate flavors meet caramel and vanilla from the barrel, with undertones of black licorice and coconut. It's not terribly viscous, nor is it thin, and it's only carbonated enough to scrub the palate slightly. The finish is fruity, chocolatey, lightly tannic and bittersweet, almost vinous.

As good as this is right now, it's hard to say where this beer will go in the future. I'm inclined to say that it's pretty much at a peak and won't improve from here, because there's really nothing to improve, no heat or harshness remains. If you have a bottle, now is a safe time to drink it. I have my doubts that it will still be this good in a year.

 1,365 characters

Photo of oline73
4.83/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was in a bottle with pink wax signed by the brewer. Served in a tasting snifter.

The beer pours a dark, almost black color with not much head at all. There isn't much carbonation but that seemed appropriate. The first thing I notices was how intense the bourbon flavor still was after over 4 years. There wasn't much alcohol heat at all, but the bourbon flavor was intense and wonderful. The sweetness from the malt compliments the pappy barrel and there is some dark fruit and mild chocolate in the mix as well. The beer smelled almost as good as it tasted. I would love to have more, but I'm not sure I'll have the chance. This was a real treat.

 653 characters

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.5 out of 5 with 125 ratings
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