Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
97
world-class
60 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year)
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States
fiftyfiftybrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Reviews:
60
Ratings:
125
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
10.22%
 
 
Wants:
424
Gots:
22
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 60 | Ratings: 125
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

7/30/2010

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 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

Photo of jrallen34
4.82/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Nerd for this ridiculous beer. Review #1500. 22oz bottle drank into my Narke tulip. Part of a blind PVW tasting with Rare and ORF, this one dominated...Pours mostly black with not much head...The aroma is really sweet, creamy milk, bourbon, and chocolate. Its awesome, but wish it was a little bitter to balance...The taste takes the aroma to a whole new level. This is easily one the best tasting stouts I've ever heard. Creamy in taste and especially in feel comes to mind. It literally is like velvet then just disappears on my tongue, I can't get enough of it. Its on the sweeter side with lots of smooth bourbon and maple, but balanced by a little roast, wood, and bitter chocolate. My biggest complaint about this beer is the size of the pour, 3oz is not enough of this bad boy. I need more right now.

World class stout that needs to be searched out.

 868 characters

Photo of BucketBoy
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Review from notes from my first time having this. Shared with some great BAs at my first epic Philly tasting.

L - Looks menacing, thick and viscous, very little head and just a few specks of popping pin bubbles on the sides of the glass. Garnet rimmed.

S - Smoke and dark, well-worn leather, sorghum, bourbon, bittersweet yet fruity chocolate, coconut, and a whiff of alcohol to close off the sniff.

T - Special! Rich and decadent all the way, yet completely and perfectly balanced. Bittersweet chocolate, fudgy brownies, tobacco, medium leather, sweet fruity dark chocolate, coconut, vanilla, and sorghum all wrapped together in a perfect bourbon truffle package.

M - Resin and viscous liquid just glides into my mouth and down my throat. Just perfect, with an almost paradoxical thick chewiness and light, soft smoothness that shoots the drinkability through the roof. I'm curious to try this again to see if it has faded a bit as I've heard rumors to be.

O - Consider yourself fortunate if you are able to enjoy a bottle of this. I'm so glad I still have another bottle left for a special occasion.

 1,106 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An enormous round of thanks to Jeff for breaking this one open at Sour Fest. I've wanted to try this one for a long time.

A: The pour is black is night and menacingly viscous. The head is about a finger's worth of dense tan/brown foam.

S: The nose is what you expect from a great barrel aged imperial stout. Rich and smooth chocolate, a hint of vanilla, maple syrup, graham cracker, and soft notes of roasted malt.

T: The flavor is even better. Lots of semi-sweet chocolate, vanilla, dark and overripe fruits, bourbon, and a hint of maple syrup. This is decadence in a bottle.

M: The body is thick and full, but not overly heavy or syrupy. Subtle carbonation that works almost perfectly.

D: This beer was just way too easy to drink. Absolutely wonderful flavor to it and no discernible alcohol/heat at all.

 811 characters

Photo of gford217
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber, 2008 bottle #320, courtesy of jh1982 poured into a tulip.

Pours pitch black with a small mocha head that dissipates quickly, leaving a small ring and spotty lacing.

The aroma is fantastic and has a near perfect balance between the bourbon, which is not overpowering, and the underlying stout. There are lots of dark sweet malts, chocolate and tons of molasses sweetness in the nose. The barrels add a nice dose of bourbon and vanilla on top of that.

If anything, the taste is better than the aroma. The initial taste is a hint of bourbon with a big dark malt and chocolate sweetness forming a backbone. The finish is a bit of bakers chocolate mixed with bourbon and vanilla. One of the best tasting stouts I've ever had.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with good carbonation and only the slightly bourbon burn in the finish.

This beer just blew me away. Quite possibly the most effective use of bourbon barrels I've seen in a beer. I was expecting good things but never expected this to be a world-class stout. That's exactly what this is - a world-class stout.

 1,078 characters

Photo of MasterSki
4.8/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to jhenry04 for this one. I tried multiple ISOs before he hooked me up. Shared at Derek's insane tasting, and definitely one of the highlights of the evening.

A - Looks a lot like the Czar Jack consumed beforehand. A hint of transparent brown at the fringes of an otherwise black body. Dark mocha foam that slowly dissipates to a thin cap and ring, and leaves some patchy lacing.

S - Full of earthy barrel, dark fruits, smoke, caramel, vanilla, and maple. You can definitely tell this is a high-end bourbon barrel in use, as this is rich in flavor and low in booze or harshness. Let this one warm to get the full impact of all the flavors.

T - The taste is even better than the smell, with a superb balance of sweetness, wood, Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, and all the aforementioned flavors from the nose. The sweetness is definitely in the maple and caramel realm rather than the typical chocolate flavors and I think it works well to keep the beer from becoming to bitter or harsh. This is a reference quality barrel-aged stout.

M - Medium-thick body that is more than sufficient for the 9.5% ABV. Lightly tannic, and also sticky and chewy. Lower carbonation, but still lively.

D - I am depressed that this beer is going to be almost impossible to acquire again, and isn't one of the announced 2010 offerings from FiftyFifty. Among a utterly spectacular lineup of beers that included Yellow Bus, M, Dirty Horse, and Zhukov's Final Push this was "best in show" for me.

 1,483 characters

Photo of SpdKilz
4.77/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Most likely one of the rarest ticks I will experience. And of course, it was due to Sean9689 at Zwanze Day 2011.

Old style FiftyFifty bottle, unwaxed.

Appearance – Pours into a Cantillon Tulip with a vicious black. Slight mahogany color shines through the sides of the glass when held up to the light.

Smell – A wonderful milk chocolate, vanilla aroma mixed in with a subdued smooth bourbon character. Hints of oak, coffee, and burnt malts.

Taste – As with the nose, the flavors are extremely distinct yet nicely mellow. A creamy milk chocolate coconut flavor is first up. Next comes the vanilla and oak, with a slight roast. There is a subtle, dark fruit flavor near the end. During the entire sip the bourbon is prevalent yet not overpowering. Incredibly smooth.

Mouthfeel – Chewy, creamy mouthfeel. Lower carbonation.

Overall – What a wonderful way to end Zwanze Day. This beer has aged gracefully and was everything people have made it out to be. I could have drank this all night. I savored every sip.

 1,024 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thank you so much, Devin! This is one of those beers that I thought I'd have to give up an awful lot to try, and you just brought it to our regularly unscheduled tastings! 2008 release bottle # 10something.

The pour is pretty gorgeous, a jet black with a large dark brown head with great retention. Lacing is pretty outstanding for the style.

The nose is excellent. Right off the bat, I get a lot of the barrel complexity with a large amount of coconut, some bourbon heat and vanilla. While the bourbon is noticeable, there isn't really much booze character. The base beer, which I've never tried, is strong enough to hold its own against the strong barrel character, with a great combination of dark chocolate, roast and a little cream. A faint bit of licorice and molasses are apparent as well. The palate is similar, opening with bourbon and dark chocolate. Quite decadent, the coconut and vanilla appear. Rich and luscious on the palate, the dark chocolate character is quite exceptional. Mildly creamy. Hop and coffee-like bitterness is low, this is driven by flavors of dark chocolate and bourbon. The balance on this beer is quite incredible.The finish is truly exceptional, very long lasting with a beautiful dark chocolate character, bourbon and coconut. Fantastic stuff, I was sad when my glass was gone, but I'm certainly looking forward to grabbing a bottle or two with the next release. Highly recommended! I drank this side-by-side with an 08 Abyss, and this was every bit as enjoyable, though not as balanced and drinkable.

**Edit 26 March 2011**
PvW Eclipse, 2008 vintage, final bottling, bottle #32. Thank you, Joe.

The nose has that beautiful Eclipse character - chocolate fudge, creamy, as well as bourbon, flaked coconut, a little smoke. The palate is exceptional. Opening mildly sweet with milk chocolate fudge, rich toffee, caramel and just the most beautifully integrated bourbon profile I've had in quite a while. Coconut, raisins, and the bourbon are simple but well put together. A little molasses, maybe? The finish is fantastic - mildly warming with some fruit, bourbon, coconut and fudge. Tannins are mild here, not really noticeable. Not terribly complex but fantastically structure. I'm upping my T and O scores here.

 2,252 characters

Photo of Doodler
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Pappy Van Winkle Vintage - thanks to a great trade with sir James (JH1982) that almost didn't make it (thanks to the F*ups at FedEx). Shared with friends at our big Impy stout tasting. Ran this one up against all the other versions and it won hands down. Poured a pitch black with a billowy inch of foam. First sniff is bourbon and (?) cocoa puffs (?). Incredible nose makes you want to breath it down vs drink it. Crazy rich and deep aromas. Aromatic malts. Tastes of sweet cocoa, mellowed whiskey and oak. Big chocolately / vanilla flavors on the finish. Can't say enough about the fantastic thick, yet creamy textures of this beer...so smooth, it makes a true benchmark for me for future Imperial tastings. Almost no discernible heat (nice!) Gracias again to James. An epic beer for me...

 796 characters

Photo of woosterbill
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Sampled at the Batch 3 Rosso release as part of an Eclipse tasting; huge thanks to Thorpe429, ChrisPro, callmemickey, rlmartin, corey70, and starrdogg for making this possible!

A: Thick black body with a thin but persistent layer of soft, fine brown bubbles. Awesome.

S: Amazingly balanced. Bourbon is prominent, but it's all flavor and no heat. Vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and caramel all follow, but the supple bourbon carries the day, as it should.

T: Holy fucking shit that's good. This is a perfect bourbon-barrel stout - bourbon, vanilla, milk chocolate, and lightly fruity coffee all meld into a perfect melange of deliciousness.

M: Medium body, low carbonation, nice stickiness.

O: I've been dreaming of trying this fabled brew for a long time, and never really expected it to happen. Now that it has, I can only marvel at how precisely it met my expectations, but failed to exceed them. This isn't a bad thing, since I expected it to be an utterly amazing example of the style. It doesn't provide anything that I haven't experienced in similarly great beers (e.g. BA Speedway, Czar Jack), but it does exactly what it should with impeccable finesse. Pappy Eclipse deservers its reputation.

Cheers!

 1,212 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.74/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 04/30/11 notes. Got to try this at Dark Lord Day thanks to the ever generous Sean9689. After seeing Geist's review, it looks like this bottle was thanks to nerd; huge thanks man, next time we meet I owe you a beer.

a - Pours a thick, pitch black color with only a few bubbles of tan head and light carbonation evident. Not overly impressive looking, but good none the less.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, rich milk chocolate, dark chocolate, roasted malts, light fruit, and light vanilla. I've had a few PVW aged beers where I didn't think the higher quality barrels really shone through, but having had the EW and 4 Roses version of Eclipse, this one was really outstanding. Amazing nose.

t - Tastes of bourbon, milk chocolate, oak, vanilla from the oak, roasted malts, caramel/toffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, and maybe some light coffee. Again, really great; an amazing tasting stout.

m - Medium to full bodied stout on the full size, and low carbonation. Thick and chewy, very smooth and nice for a stout. Not a lot of alcohol warmth.

o - Overall I thought this was an amazing stout. I love the 3 Eclipse stouts I've tried so far, but this one was the best. Very glad I was able to try it and would love to again sometime.

 1,237 characters

Photo of Pliny_the_Self-righteous
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle @ CBS on 4/14/15. Pours black with minimal tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma of chocolate, vanilla, molasses, roasted malt and bourbon. Medium mouthfeel. Taste of bourbon, molasses, roasted malt, chocolate with some hints of oak and vanilla. Definitely one of the best Eclipses. Tough to tell if it's declined a little with age, as others have suggested.

 373 characters

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.73/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this at a post-Christmas tasting in Chicago, courtesy of nerd (thanks Mike!). From what I heard this is from the 2nd release, a 22oz bottle with no wax.

We actually tried this blind against 2 other PVW aged stouts (BCS Rare and 2010 ORF). It was easy to tell the differences, as BCS Rare had an unmistakable BCS taste and ORF was, well, a noncompetitor. The PVW Eclipse was my favorite, with BCS Rare right behind it.

It poured opaque black, nearly zero foam. It could be that it was poured too gently, but there was very little carbonation so I'd guess that's why there was no foam.

It smells really spectacular, the bourbon is a leading aroma without taking over. Beyond that is a sweet stout, nearly a rich milk stout, cocoa and light roast. I love the nose, this is really rich and refined at the same time.

It tastes just as good, this is undeniably one of the better BA stouts I've tried. Cocoa and malt and mellowed out bourbon, delicious. No heat at all, one good defining point for this beer vs BCS and its derivatives.

Creamy and full, despite the lack of carbonation this has a substantial body. Very good in every way, so glad to have tried it.

 1,168 characters

Photo of nickd717
4.69/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage on tap at Bistro Barrel Aged Fest 2009. Rating transcribed from extensive notes kept from when I had it. Figure I'd finally put up my review after all this hype over this. This was possibly best of show at the Bistro, and that's saying a lot.

Jet black with a small tan head that leaves a little creamy foam on the beer.

Aroma is amazing - rich chocolate, roasted malt, bourbon, and vanilla.

Flavor is incredible and complex, with lots of chocolate, roasted malt and caramel, molasses, vanilla, oak, dark fruit notes, and very well-balanced and non-overpowering bourbon.

Full body with a slick, creamy mouthfeel.

Fairly drinkable for an imperial stout. This is really an amazing beer, one of the best imperial stouts out there, and that's saying a lot.

 770 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I traded dearly for this one. I had heard it was top notch and I was expecting it to be as such. Luckily I was no where near disappointed with what I was presented with. Served at cellar temp and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/16/2009. Bottle number 100 from the 2008 vintage.



Dark as night, black as an abyss, and this thing looked evil as it came out of the bottle. No light penetrating through at all, nothing, with a big head of two inches of chocolate foam on the top of it. Faded down gently leaving behind nothing more then sticky, very sticky webbing along the sides and tons of chocolate goop. The aroma may well have been one of the best I have ever come across, if not the best. Reminded me of BA Speedway in its thick bourbon, and vanilla notes. Just layer after layer of molasses and vanilla, sooo inviting and perfect. As I leaned in for a sip, rich waves of chocolate malts, molasses, light tobacco notes and seething vanilla just coat the tongue like a warm blanket. So smooth and delicious, this was your classic big barrel aged stout. A little bit light on the feel for me as I would have liked it to come across a bit thicker, but still another here to disappoint in any way. Super sippable, but it made for a one bottle night.



Overall an instant classic for me and something I was thrilled to be able to have I would have to tell you to go seek this one out as quickly as you can, it is really just that good.

 1,460 characters

Photo of AgentZero
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Big cheers to nerd for being a playa and providing this at our post-Christmas tasting. Done blind, side-by-side with with Rare Bourbon County Stout and 2010 Olde Rabbit's Foot.

A - Black beer with a small tan head, gets a little lighter on the edges. No real stick on the sides, but head faded to a solid ring.

S - Bourbon, coconut, butter, little roast, chocolate, touch of smoke. Great mix. Wow.

T - Doesn't get much better than this. Mild bourbon, chocolate, slight touch of roast, mild coconut, and a little bit of butter. Very smooth, with no dominant flavors overpowering any other, great balance of great tastes.

M - Smooth, lower carbonation, would have preferred more body on it, but it is fine.

O - Awesome beer, one of the best I have ever had, although the score will not reflect this given the rating system. Taste should get a 6 to make up for what I had to do for look and mouthfeel.

 903 characters

Photo of BrewerB
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll admit...when this was made available for sale at the 2011 Eclipse Release party at $125 for a 22oz bottle, I chuckled to myself. And when my buddy Kevin offered to buy a bottle for us to share at City Beer Store the following day, as repayment for me picking him up a few of the 2011 releases, I thought he was joking. Big thanks goes out to Kevin for being serious! Would likely never have sampled it without his offer.

Poured into a snifter. It's a still, dark brown color. No head formation visible from the pour I received. Viscous with clinging legs grasping the sides of the glass.

Inviting aroma included toffee, tahitian vanilla, cocoa. Picking up on some toasted wood as well. Given the strength on this beer, the nose is susprisingly smooth with alcohol being well-masked.

Flavors included some you'd expect from this burly style of beer - burnt toffee, caramel, campfire smokiness. Slightly sweet at the end. Moderately bitter.

Moderate full body. Low carbonation. Smooth and warming.

Quite a treat to have sampled this one. I realize it's considered a whale by many and I did my best to not let this cloud judgment. Certainly sampling 7 varieties of eclipse and a BART the night prior helped factor into my assessment.

Very complex, layered flavors. Exactly what I like to find in a beer of this style. Sip after sip tore off another page in the taste book and made one of the most enjoyable sessions I've had. One of the best imperial stouts I've sampled and definitely the best Eclipse I've had. Perhaps one of the many bottles from the 2011 vintage can match up given an equal amount of time in the cellar.

 1,638 characters

Photo of craytonic
4.67/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Many thanks to a kind mule and my buddy benjamin for making this happen. From the 2010 release party bottling. Shared with Habmike, Kkipple, SpencerDB, RobOrb and Advent.

Appearance: Dark pour with some brown-mahogany edges, not too much head or retention.

Nose: Very nice, a nice soft pappy bourbon character with some honey sweetness, vanilla brownies and fudge.

Taste: Almost as good as the bouquet, an incredibly soft bourbon from the pappy with a sweet mild fudge chocolate behind it, touches of honey and perhaps a bit of brown sugar with faint coconut oil in the back. Really no burt flavors or roast to it, which made me enjoy it a great deal. I think the base beer itself for these fifty-fifty must be very light as it always takes second fiddle to the bourbon barrels and showcases them. Probably time to drink it, I don't know that it will go downhill anytime soon but I don't see it getting any better.

Mouthfeel: Not really as big as I expected it to be, very soft. Right on the edge between 4.0 and 4.5.

Drinkability: Was wishing I hadn't shared this one ;)

We did a big side-by-side and I would rate them in this order: Pappy 50/50; Goose Island Rare; Evan Williams 50/50; Elijah Craig 50/50; 4 Roses 50/50; Heaven Hill 50/50 (noticeably worse than the rest); Brandy 50/50 (Brandy being a drain pour).

 1,323 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.65/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Ah Christmas dinner, some tbones and king crab, time to bust out an uber premium bottle. Weary of how this will go with the crab.

Pours jet cherry cola black, cherry cola coming from the appearance of the foam after a pour, which is minimal and caused me a little concern. Aroma, obvious aging in some hard liquor barrel. Aside from the label information, the sweetness of that aroma leaves one with a rudimentary experience with bourbon knowing what they are smelling. Elements of coconut in this one, very nice all around in the nose

Taste, very delicous. The only downside of this was the tendency of persons to oversimplify the nuanced flavors as simply "tastes like a Jack and coke." Do I understand how one could say this? Yes. Is it accurate? No. There's so much more going on with this beer. Licorice, maybe some vanilla bean complimenting the usual chocolate notes in a stout.

Mouthfeel, key is to drink this with a meal, or slowly. Went so well with a piece of the portabella mushroom and steak. Crab, wasn't bad, but wasn't meant to go with a Bourbon Imperial Stout.

Surprisingly drinkable if you're into the beer. Another sampler passed on his share, and I jumped on it, so warming.

 1,199 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 125 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe