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

BA SCORE
95
world-class
125 Ratings
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
Ratings:
125
Reviews:
60
Avg:
4.5
pDev:
10.22%
 
 
Wants:
422
Gots:
22
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 125 |  Reviews: 60
Photo of seeswo
3.5/5  rDev -22.2%

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of sideshowe
4.5/5  rDev 0%

Photo of AleWatcher
2.93/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Shared by seeswo-- thanks a lot.
Here's what chris says about his bottle when I told him that my review was flagged and deleted;
it was unquestionably a Pappy Eclipse. Bottle 83? if I recall, year 2008, unwaxed. I actually asked Todd Ashman about it via bm a while ago to confirm its authenticity.

So-- anyone with an issue regarding this review, BM me. If you're just angry I didn't give your precious whale an A+, get over it. I didn't think this was very good-- people disagree.

Looks thin. Aaaaand, it's pretty thin.

Lots of reddish hues come through on this one. Weak head, weak retention, and only the the spottiest chunks of lace.
Smells: cholately, touch of smoke, some oak and just a little hint of bourbon.
The taste is a bit bland-- the nose was too, but neither were offensive at all, just not impressive. The flavor hits the same notes as the nose, but adds a pretty boozy bite on the finish that is too hot and not quite pleasant.
Very thin feel, little oily.

Overall-- wow is this mediocre. Forget the hype, buy something else!

 1,053 characters

Photo of rmalinowski4
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of doughanson78
5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of jh1982
5/5  rDev +11.1%

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 SpeedwayJim
4.61/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Straight from the source! #71 autographed bottle from Todd. Thanks a million for this rarity! Shared with capra12 and schen9303. Poured into a Darkness snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Look is a bit below average with near no head and no lace. Color was appropriate and legs were nice but this still puts it slightly under the standard.

Nose is milk chocolate with nice mellow barrel notes. Dark dried raisins and plums linger in the background complemented by molasses and sweet soy sauce. Really nice. Barrel notes strike a nice balance with the stout flavors without covering them.

Taste is chocolate, creamy hops, vanilla, molasses, raisins, plum, brown sugar, mocha, espresso beans, and mildly hot barrel characteristics. Incredibly complex and well integrated. Super balanced. Molasses, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, and dark fruit in the finish, which is muted and subtle. Really incredible barrel-aging is displayed here.

Medium body with low carbonation is oily, smooth, and silky in the mouth and goes down without so much as a hint of heat. Very mellow. Finish is clean with an enticing aftertaste that just makes you want to go for another sip immediately. Absolute perfection.

One of the top 3 imperial stouts I've had to date easily. Compared to Goose Island Rare and Olde Rabbit's Foot which are two other PvW Imperial Stouts, the Eclipse is heads and shoulders above the competition. The barrel aging here is comparatively more subtle and doesn't take over the beer, instread complementing the present flavors and enhacing them. I was told by the brewer to drink this as soon as possible as he thought it might be peaking and going downhill so don't wait to long if you have one sitting around!

 1,716 characters

Photo of BMan1113VR
4.38/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Pink wax (Pappy Van Winkle). Bottle number 22 with many thanks to Billschmeinke. Pours with a minimal brown head over a deep black body. Aromas of cola, brown sugar, tobacco, earthy, sweet, estery, fudge, coconut, light alcohol caramel and vanilla. Light oak presence. Flavors are nutty, nougat, fudge, vanilla, cola, and coconut. Rich barrel, and aged bourbon flavors. Oily. Smooth and rich. Minimal tannins, medium carbonation. Creamy, lightly warming. The best of the Eclipse variants that I have had.

 509 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 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 JAXSON
4.12/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with pink wax. Black with a thin ring on the edges. Rich bourbon on the nose, really smooth barrel, not much pronounced malt underneath, some caramel apple. Takes the barrel nicely, and it's a great barrel of course, but there's not much malt complexity or body going on. Especially right after Rare, which was way more substantial than this. In the mouth, rich dark chocolate brownie, dark chocolate cake, barrel. Some leafy oxidation. Great flavors, almost on par with Elijah Criag, but really suffers from being overly "smooth" and without much malt character.

"Here comes Kevin's next rant."

 603 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 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.

 707 characters

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.

 488 characters

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.

 2,048 characters

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.

 342 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 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.

 2,062 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 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.

 1,043 characters

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.

 657 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

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More