Totality Imperial Stout | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

very good
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Totality Imperial StoutTotality Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
formerly Roundabout Imperial Stout

Added by GClarkage on 10-22-2009

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Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 176
Photo of BARFLYB
3.73/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On Tap at Tapestry in Philly. $9 Tulip. My first offering from Eclipse

A- Totality is a black stout with a nice sturdy 1/2 inch tan head that left some spotty lacing. Good retention on the cap.

S- This stout has a big roasted malt base to it with some chocolate and dark fruits with warming. No sign of the alcohol which is nice. Smells very robust.

T- A tasty stout with more of the chocolate and cocco coming through more than the smell. Also getting just a bit of tootsie roll as well. Roasted malts and not as much hops than expected.

M- Totality comes through the gullet pretty easy like. Not the smoothest stout out there. This one is a step above medium bodied with light carbonation. Just a hint of the alcohol comes through with some heat. No bitterness as the hops are low, or have faded. Not as big, bold, full as other stouts, but the slight lightness is built to make that Eclipse barrel varients.

D- Could have drank a lot of this. Not very hot, not to big, yet, in the end, it's just a stout. The alcohol while not sessionable is not terribly high either which helped out also. I finished my portion in no time

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Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

base beer for the Fiftyfifty IS series, on tap at The Blue Palm. Very dry. A small retained head on a very dark body. So-so drinkability as very roasty and a bit astringent. Roasty aroma. Thick lace. Good for the style, but not great. Have to get by the dryness.

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Photo of charlzm
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed January 7, 2012 at Blue Palms Brewhouse, Hollywood, CA.

Extremely dark brown beer with no light getting through the glass at all. A very fine dark brown head less than a finger tall, very sticky, tops off the affair and provides excellent sheeting.

Aromas of chocolate malt and vanilla.

Flavor is bold upfront. Bitter wood, bitter chocolate, cocoa, then... it trails off to a strangely clean finish. Unusual and not disagreeable.

Thick, slightly chewy mouthfeel.

Not an outstanding achievement in the world of RIS, but certainly worthwhile.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Cugel shook his head wearily, checked the darting lights once again. Without ambiguity they directed him back the way he had come. Pharesm's calculations, after all, had been accurate. He had best act with decision, lest TOTALITY once more drift beyond his reach."


A growler of TOTALITY into a snifter.

A: Black as pitch it seems, but examined in the light it's a very dark shade of brown. The hard pour from the growler yields a diminutive light brown head that fades in an instant. There's some scattered lacing.

S: Dark chocolate accompanies lighter notes of caramel and roasted malt. Molasses and licorice are pronounced, and earth wafts from TOTALITY. Dark fruits are restrained and coffee is faint.

T: Bitter dark chocolate meets robust roasted grains and notes of black licorice. There's a moderate earthy bitterness and a dash of booze. Coffee is very light. The finish is bitter with a pronounced roastiness, evident anise, and a little char.

M: The beer is full in body with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and smooth.

Overall: An enjoyable beer, though a little more licorice than I prefer in the style. TOTALITY is a respectable base beer for Eclipse.

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Photo of Halcyondays
2.66/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Beachwood II,

A: Pours a super dark brown with a mild white head. Solid retention and lace.

S: Not that much, a bit of roast and baker's chocolate. A bit acrid.

T: Baker's chocolate, not a lot of sweetness to this brew. Some dark fruit, but it is fairly bland, not exciting me.

M: Medium-bodied, dry for sure. Frothy, soft carbonation.

O: I thought it'd be fun to try the base beer for the Eclipses and see how it'd compare. It was an interesting experience, but this brew just wasn't doing it for me. The barrel aging is clearly necessary as it's hard for this beer to stand on it's own when there's so many great examples of the style out there.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Los Angeles, CA as part of the FiftyFifty Eclipse Release Party.

Pours an opaque black with a 1/2 inch khaki head that fades to nothing. No lacing on this one. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, and some vanilla aromas. Taste is of dark roasted malt, bitter cocoa, and some vanilla notes. A mild roasty bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation with a dry finish. Overall, this is a good stout by itself but I prefer the barrel aged versions much more.

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Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
4.89/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at 5050

A: It came in a pint glass with no foam whatsoever but a light lacing. While being consumed it leaves a nice lacing along the glass as well.

S: The aroma is intoxicating, it has a sweet raisin, caramel, coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, and some really great maltiness.

T: This beer has a ton of complexity to it as well. It starts with a sweet rummy raisin, which then goes into a bittersweet dark chocolate, and then finishes with a nice coffee and sweet caramel. I could not believe how much complexity you can have with so many different malts in which one malt doesnt overshadow another. All the malts lend there own flavor component to the beer and just allows the levels of flavor to continue.

M: It has a light carbonation and a very nice rich mouthfeel to it.

O: Overall, this is an amazing beer. I have had Eclipse several times and you can definitely see how each component that goes into Totality really can lend to the barrel aging in its own way. I have had several stouts, and imperial stouts, and I must say this is the most complex and flavorful. A lot of stouts tend to be heavy on the sweet side or heavy on the roasted side of the stout spectrum and this is a great stout that is right in the middle and very balanced. This beer is absolutely fantastic! Great job Todd!

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Photo of ehammond1
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On Tap

Tony's Darts Away
Burbank, CA

Incredibly dark brown, but just not black. Dark brown head and lots of cling left to the glass.

Classic big stout aroma of roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits, some mild chocolate, though leaning toward sweet chocolate as opposed to bitter, throughout, and just the slightest tinge of alcohol.

Flavors follow the nose and consist of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt, and sweet molasses. Tasty and very easy to drink.

Thick, full, luscious mouthfeel.

A terrific big stout. I'm glad I got to try this one (again?).

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at FiftyFifty.

Served in a pint glass, body is opaque black with a foamy tan head. Leaves a little lacing at first, but not after the head quickly dissipated to a ring.

Smells of dark fruit, coffee, chocolate, toasted malt, and hops.

Taste follows the nose. There is a bitter char and dark chocolate character from the roasted malts, and that is balanced by the other dark fruit flavors and a bit of sweetness. I thought this was pretty well balanced between bitter and sweet. I could see where the BA Eclipse character comes from.

Body is medium and carbonation was sufficient to give this a creamy mouthfeel. There is a little char and hop burn on the tongue, but this tasted pretty smooth, although not as smooth as BA Eclipse versions. It is also lighter in body though still a bit sticky in the finish.

Overall, I thought this was a really good stout on its own and shows the basic character that BA Eclipse is built on. I wanted another, but the ABV prevented me. Didn't keep me from thinking about it, though, which I did for the next few days as I hiked some Sierra Nevada trails.

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Photo of womencantsail
2.33/5  rDev -42%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Blue Palms

A: The beer pours almost black with a very small tan head to go with it.

S: First thing I pick up on is a distinct sourness. Acrid, roasted malts and coffee follow, as well as a mild char. There is a light chocolate aroma with a slight molasses and toffee sweetness.

T: A very sight sweetness to start, but the sourness and acridity of the roast follow shortly behind. There is a mild cocoa note as well as some coffee. A touch of molasses and licorice.

M: The body is sort of light and watery for an imperial stout. Medium carbonation, however.

O: Really disappointing as I was looking forward to trying this, given my enjoyment of the barrel aged versions.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

look: black as night with a 1/2 inch tan colored foamy head and ok retention and good lacing

Smell: Coffee and roasted malts and hints of chocolate rule the nose

Taste: wow a very very sweet stout not like the smell. Coffee and chocolate and vanilla are all present but not in abundance. Unexpected flavor but real nice

Mouthfeel: medium to full body and medium carbonation i would say it leaves behind kind of a film that coats your whole mouth

Overall: This is my second beer by this small brewery and again I must say I'm very impressed. Nice flavor and real good drinkability for such a dark stout

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Photo of alexhahn82
3.1/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Large bubbly foam, not really what I would call head, possibly a glass that had some water in the bottom prior to pouring? Dark burgundy color.

S - SMOKEY... and thats about it.

T/M - SMOKEY!!! Crazy smoke with a slightly coffee like kick in flavor with a semi sweet finish, almost bitter chocolate finish.

O - A damn good high octane Imperial Stout with and impossible to find (in a good way) 9.5% ABV. Seek, but not necessarily destroy.

PP (Price Point) - $6.75 for a pint... Yes Please!

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Photo of peacebone116
4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from growler into tulip.

A: Black, black, black, with foamy, clinging tan head.

N: Roasted coffee and sweet fresh raisins.

T/M: Creamy chocolate covered toasted coffee beans. The alcohol comes in through the middle with a slight warmness and a touch of licorice/anise. A definite sipper! Sweet malt leaves stone-fruit flavors that linger on the tongue.

This is a great stout, which probably explains why the bbl aged version (Eclipse) is so incredible. Fairly intricate flavor profile, but its smoothness and the way that all the flavors meld together really belies its complexity. This is one solid stout!

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Photo of djeucalyptus
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an incredible jet black with glimpses of caramel at the edges. A two-finger dark brown head glistens with burnt red highlights. Stunning retention and beautiful web-like lacing.

Aroma is lucious. Dark and sweet. rich dark malts, brown sugar, figs, dates. Chocolate pudding. coffee.

Taste follows aroma perfectly. Rich chocolate, burnt coffee, tons of rich malt and a healthy dose of earthy hops. Some dark fruits - raisins, figs and prunes through the middle. Almost like an intense baltic porter. Clean malty, rich fudgie and chocolate finish.

Mouth is fairly thick and smooth. ample carbonation... almost too much? almost seems a touch light for the flavors it's trying to back up... a clean hop bitterness in the finish is welcome.

All in all, this is one solid stout. beautifully balanced with a nice hop profile and some strong fruit notes. One I'd seek out again and again. And in this day and age, it's awesome to see some imperial stouts that aren't barrel aged.

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at FiftyFifty, served in a brandy snifter.

Black with a dense mocha head that shows strong retention and sticky lacing, this is a great looking beer.

Licorice and espresso are prominent on the nose. Chocolate fudge and cookie dough lend some sweetness, but this is more of a bitter, earthy imperial stout.

The first sip makes me think of chocolate covered coffee beans. Further imbibing brings out licorice, charred malt, firm bitterness both from dark malt and hops. Medium in body, not particularly sweet. The finish is heavily roasted, quite bitter and sticky. With this as a base beer I can see why Eclipse is so good.

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Photo of nickd717
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Darkest brown in color with a small tannish head and pretty nice lacing on the glass.

The aroma is rich and enticing. Roastiness and mocha, like Eclipse without the -bal aging, as crazy as that is. Slight malty sweetness evident.

The flavor is excellent, rich and balanced. Chocolate, coffee, slight black cherry and molasses.

Very smooth mouthfeel with fairly full body and a good soft level of carbonation.

Lived up to my expectations for sure. This is a really good beer, and I can see how it spawned such -bal aged goodness. Easy to drink for a beer of this ABV and style.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ah yes, another vote for "this is better w/o" aging it in a bunch of whiskey barrels" gimmick.

Amazing jet black appearance, no floaties, cherry cola top to die for. Bitter aroma, lacking the chococoffee effect you come to expect in this style.

The lack of barrel aging allows the bitterness and hops to take main stage, while the chococoffee feel stays in the background. Extremely smooth for high bitterness. Maybe not as thick as it looks, but if this beer don't hide the alcohol, I don't know which one does.

Drinkability is almost a perfect 5. At $7 a pint, its not atrocious, and maybe even seems cheap, since they charge $20-22 for the barrel aged version. Skip that stuff, buy 3 pints of this instead of 1 bomber of that stuff. This could be the best version overall, but especially from a value perspective. I dunno why people hate the base, I love it.

OK 50/50, you make a dank ryepa, and a dank imperial stout. . . let's get that rye stout ready for winter.

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Photo of popery
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft, City Beer Store. I had a taste from a growler a few days ago (courtesy of beddachedda), but finding it on tap so soon afterward is clearly a sign that I should write a review. Appearance-wise, Totality has a black body with a nice beige head. In the aroma, there's a ton of chocolate, lots of brown sugar and molasses, some coffee and roast, and touches of hops that make a stronger appearance in the flavor. It's a medium sweet beer that seems well-suited for barrel-aging, unsurprisingly. The finish has very good hop bitterness to reign in the sweet malt. Feel is fairly thick and smooth. A very good imperial stout that gets a lot better with some time in the barrel.

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Photo of JWD
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at fiftyfifty today.

This is the base beer for the barrel aged eclipse series so i had to try it to compare next to a JD eclipse.

A- Very dark black in color with only minimal light coming through at the edges. Thin light tan head that was retained to the last sip.

S & T - deep dark chocolate with a slight sweetness, fairly light on the roasted taste noramally expected with a stout like this. I thought this was a great opportunity to see how much a barrel can change a beer.

M & D - Medium body with higher carbonation that the barrel versions. Very easy to drink ABV is well hidden,

Overall i really liked this beer and in some cases would prefer it over the barrel beer just for the raw character of it.

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Photo of Jmoore50
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was going through my notes and noticed I never logged this one down. The other two reviewers are confusing to me because Todd Ashman said that this was the base beer for this years three versions of Eclipse. Base beer, not touching a barrel. Interesting, but this one was good and worth the drive on St. Patricks day.

The appearance was dark and black and thick. It was served into a pint glass, and the head that was present was fluffy and tan. It left some leg on the glass and I noticed a medium lacing as well.

The smell was muted because of the temperature, but towards the bottom half of the glass the usual suspects of a good imperial stout were present. Lots of chocolate and nice roast.

The taste was solid, and very surprising how thick this one started out. This one was noticeably thicker on both the palate and in appearance than the Elijah Craig and Heaven Hill versions. What was great was the chocolate and real smooth roast flavors being recognized from the barrel versions. It makes me think that maybe after the barrel, the amount of liquor that is introduced to these base beers thins them out a bit. I don't know but it is probably the case.

The mouthfeel was thick on the palate, and left you with some long aftertastes. It was very drinkable and perfectly carbonated. Very good stout all in all and a great base beer for a barrel or two.

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Photo of bulletrain76
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Draught at the brewpub (notes from july). The board said that this was 9.5%abv, and the name is simply "Barrel-Aged Stout". The confusion comes from the fact that the name was written next to the old spot for Roundabout Stout, which was a 6% oatmeal stout that they haven't made in awhile. This is the same base beer (their standard imperial stout, which has placed at the last two GABFs) as Eclipse, but was given a different barrel treatment and is served only on tap at the brewpub. Black with a small tan head. Great aroma that is a rich showcase of bourbon-barrel aging, with lots of caramel, vanilla, dates, raisins, oak, bourbon, and dark cherries. The flavor is heavy on milk chocolate and caramel, but has a dry, woody, bourbony feel with a light alcoholic bite. There is some dried fruit as well before a warming and dry finish. Medium-full bodied with smooth, lower carbonation. Lots of bourbon, but very well integrated. The only thing that I thought held it back was the light tannic astringency in the mouthfeel.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10/17/09- Growler purchased at Firtyfifty Brewing Company.

Presentation- Via the growler into a Duvel style glass.

Appearance- Super black in appearance. Head is slight, maybe at a 1/3 of an inch. Lacing is light, but has some streaks and lines. Looks quite thick.

Smell- Nose of roated malts, light coffee beans and a large nose of dark chocolate.

Taste- Huge chocolate malt presence. Coffee is limited, but chocolate carries the show. Hops are there, but fade out the more you drink.

Mouthfeel- Pretty damn smooth with a lower carbonation level. Light hoppy finish, thick and chewy. Feels like more than 10% in mouthfeel, but doesn't hit hard like a 10% beer.

Drinkability- This is a pretty much the same beer as their award winning Total Esclipe, but they changed the name to match the Oatmeal and upped the abv a tad. Pretty sure this isn't an Imperial least they didn't mention that it was.

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Totality Imperial Stout from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 176 ratings.
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