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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)

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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 60 | Ratings: 125
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.47/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by nerd. Thanks Michael!

Served in my Darkness tulip before Paul, in his infinite sense of entitlement, broke the goddamn thing. The beer is near black, with a thin, tan head that hangs out briefly before leaving a few random spots of lacing behind. The aroma is very inviting, with bourbon and roast at the forefront. The beer tastes wonderful, is well balanced, and full of flavor. The feel is exceptional, and is silky smooth on the palate, though not as big or full bodied as I might have expected. Terrific feel nonetheless. The PVW barrels shine through brilliantly. This is so easy to drink. Overall, a terrific barrel-aged stout, and one I would really enjoy having again...and again.

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Photo of MrChopin
3.42/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Disappointment at 2 years, moderate oxidation leaving light vanilla, chocolate, and oak. Almost no pappy bourbon character and very little roasted malt bitterness. The "smoothness" descriptor I see used with this one, for me, was simply a "lacking" when compared to other imperial stouts that I tries this against. Came in #2 of the five 50-50 stouts we did (EC, EW, 4R, CBros), but considerably behind the Elijah Craig and way behind other notable stouts like Rare BCS, 7000, and Barfly.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A HUGE want of mine, so I owe Joe an equally proportioned 'thank you' for crossing it off of the to-do list by providing a 2010 bottle with the pink wax at our recent tasting. This was easily one of the top 3 most anticipated beers of the weekend, and we were anxious to see if it would live up to the expectations. Poured into my Duvel tulip as the 14th brew of the tasting. The 8th on day 2.

The color is obsidian black, and it seems to have that same sheen. There is an espresso foam-colored head that reaches a half finger in height before subsiding considerably. The texture looks a bit thin, and it doesn't really fit with the rest of appearance.

One of the best smelling beers that I can remember ever having. This gives even M a run for its money. Vanilla is immediately apparent. This isn't some hint of vanilla imparted by barrels, this is potent and sweet vanilla that complements the thick dark ganache and prevalent warm bourbon notes that spring out of the bulb of my tulip. Smokey roasted malt adds another dimension as well. Finally, dark fruits make an appearance, highlighted by dates and figs.

The flavor is also very good. The contribution from the 23-year-old barrels is striking. This is a bourbon bomb, but still shows remarkable balance. Oakey and full of rich vanilla, chocolate fudge flavors come through just as they did in the flavor. These are accompanied by caramel and toffee, both of which I did not find in the aroma. Finally, commingled about in the mid-palate are dates, figs, blackstrap molasses, leather, and tobacco, ebbing and flowing in a seemingly random but always well-nuanced pattern. There is a hint of prickly warmth from ethanol in the finish, but it is fleeting and manages to tie off the profile artfully.

The mouthfeel, as others have noted, is the only real weakness of this beer. Thin for the style, and while it does all it can to be big and viscous, the base is just not there enough to really deliver. Aside from that detail, this beer is definitely up there with the best that I have had.

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Photo of trappistlover
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pappy version-courtesy of dionysus at RBWG 2011-Phoenix. Pours dark brown with tan head. Aroma has beautiful bourbon aroma which is understated, if that's possible. Sweet malt and bourbon flavors with a little heat. Full bodied and creamy texture. Finish is all bourbon. This is a good beer, but other concurred that GI Rare was a bit better.

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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.

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Photo of Overlord
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Traded for from a rather generous Largadeer. Thanks Chris.

Pours a surprisingly thin appearing deep, quasi-blackish brown. The extreme edges are even a bit, can it be, translucent? Not a ton of body to these 50/50 beers. No head on this one, just a thin brown crust along the edges of the glass. I'd give it a 4.25, but I guess I'll round up to give the beer more of a "score it deserves."

Smells like delicious bourbon with chocolate, molasses, a bit of ... coconut? ... interesting ... and more than a surprising bit of vanillla. Smells really nice. Fantastic, really. The bourbon integrates really nicely with the slightly exotic tinged vanilla/chocolate aroma. As it continues to warm and open up, roasted caramel'ed cake batter also presents itself. Maybe even some roasted raisins in there. One of the best smelling brews I can recall.

Taste is also superb, though perhaps not quite as incredible as the aroma. The roasted caramel, malt, cookie dough presence is MUCH stronger in the flavor. The chocolate is strong and leans toward the milk chocolate/fudge/sweet side of things. There's a lot of cake/cookie dough going on with this beer. The vanilla and bourbon, though I'm mentioning them towards the end of the flavor profile, are very, very, well nuanced and present without intruding and becoming distracting, though there is a bit of alcohol heat to this beer that becomes more noticeable as I work through the bottle. The dark fruits/raisins I noticed in the aroma kind of disappear, though you get a hint of them.

There is also the slightest bit of sherry/oxidation to this. Kind of makes itself known as a hollow twang at the bare edge of my drinking consciousness. Drink these now.

The mouthfeel, I will admit, is the let-down of this beer. It gets every ounce of mileage it can from a fairly thin-for-the-flavor-and-bal-aged-style profile, but this isn't a thick beer. Not thin, exactly, but not chewy nor thick either. I'd give it a 3.75, but I suppose I'll round down on this one.

Effortlessly drinkable for the style. Dangerously so.

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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).

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.62/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to nerd for providing this at the post-Christmas tasting in Chicago. Served in my Cantillon tulip. Like others have said, this one was far and away the best of the "Pappy barrel" blind tasting we had. Unwaxed bottle from the 2nd release.

Pours near black with a very thin tan head without too much retention. Given the age, I won't complain too much. Looks pretty good, all things considered. The nose is pretty impressive with a really nice aroma that I've come to know as that coming from Pappy barrels. Really great bourbon character here. A bit of sweetness and chocolate there as well.

The taste is right up there with it. Amazing bourbon presence coming from the Pappy as well as a fantastic chocolate character and a nice amount of sweetness. Some mild roast sitting there in the background. Really quite smooth. The mouthfeel is where this really hit high gear with me--some booze but this is incredibly smooth and the barrel character is fantastic. Really incredibly smooth and drinkable all around. Thanks again, Mike.

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Photo of Cedromar
4.37/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Popped this last week up at Ebenezer's with the one and only, Chris Lively.

I got this one last year from swnicholson as a secret santa gift. Thanks!

Poured a nice black with light toffee head. The smell is a gorgeous vanilla and oak with wisps of chocolate. Taste is just like the nose, but perhaps even better. There's a nice chewy-ness to the mouthfeel, but it still goes down smooth. It's a very drinkable beer for a barrel aged stout, having said that, any more than 1 ounces would be a bit difficult to comfortably put down for me.

Overall, a really nice barrel aged stout and probably one of the best. Second only to perhaps CBC's YouEnjoyMyStout.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.34/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

*REVIEW #400*

Thanks to nerd for brining this to our post-Christmas tasting. This is the 2nd release (1st release has "Brewmasters Reserve" on bomber and 3rd release is wax-dipped), non wax-dipped, 22oz bomber. Poured into a 3F wine glass.

A - Pours like motor oil, black, no head or much in the way of lacing/retention to speak of, just a dark black hole in my glass. Some bubbles here and there, but that's about it.

S - Sweet milk chocolate, wonderfully integrated bourbon notes, slight oak, burnt sugars, bitter expresso/dark chocolate. It smells so rich and decadent, I am left taking whiff after whiff.

T - I can get over how smooth this beer is. Rich milk chocolate, hints of oak, nice bitter dark chocolate, some dark fruits in there as well. The main player in this is the PVW bourbon, which takes this beer to another level. The bourbon is so well done on this beer, all I can do is keep drinking in awe.

M - Perhaps a touch too thin, no carbonation, sweet creamy finish.

D - As far as barrel-aged stouts go, this is one of the best I've ever had. I'm in love with this beer, it's just so good! I'm so pumped to have been able to try this and I was really surprised that it was as good as everyone has been saying. If you can find this beer, get it, you won't be disappointed!

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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...

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Photo of glid02
4.64/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks!

Pours black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of robust vanilla, moderate butterscotch, and smooth bourbon. Backing everything up is a solid roasted malt backbone with good amounts of rich dark chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though the bourbon influence is not quite as large. Smooth roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of dark chocolate flavors. Midway through the sip the flavors become more boozy with the addition of vanilla, light bourbon, and lighter oak. Finally, very slight hints of butterscotch make a brief appearance before fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a very smooth thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have another.

Overall this was another phenomenal beer from 50/50 but I enjoy the Heaven Hill better, albeit by a small margin. After having all four it's HH>PvW>EC>JD. Big thanks to Grant for procuring all of these and bringing them in to share.

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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.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.49/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have now had all four versions of the barrel aged Eclipse. This one is excellent but I think I liked the Elijah Craig and Heaven Hills versions just a bit more. I like FRESH barrel flavor, there is also no doubtingly a variation between bottles because this is unblended and a bottle of Heaven Hill Eclipse I had was perfect. Out of all the bottles I have consumed of the HH and EJ, there were a few that were very impressive.

The beer is a very dark black that does not produce any head, but there are some bubbles hanging around. Its a pretty thick beer, but it has been thinned due to barrel and aging.

The Pappy van Winkle version of this beer smells amazing. It is incredibly complex and the barrel just pushes so many characters through. Milk chocolate, caramel, vanilla, toffee, and bourbon. At the end, once you taste a hint of licorice, you can smell it as well.

A great taste that is balanced perfectly well between sweetness and bourbon. I might be a little partial to this beer because I love bourbons that are sweeter. Van Winkle and Pappy van Winkle are some of my favorites, so a beer that is aged in these barrels is awesome. Chocolate and licorice, vanilla and toffee, this is a great tasting beer.

During the Winter I am very thankful that I live so close to FiftyFifty brewing complany. They do some great Imperial Stouts and have perfected barrel aging.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of bret27
4.57/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle courtesy of bulletrain76:

A: Black w/dark brn lacing, minimal.

S: Vanilla, oakiness, roastiness

T: Vannilla, sweet, bourbon

M: Thick, minimal carbonation

D: Fairly good drinkability. Managed to capture the bourbon flavor but slick and drinkable without overpowering bourbon heat. In the top 5 bourbon barrel stouts I've had. These guys know what they're doing with this one.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (23 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.5 out of 5 based on 125 ratings.
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