Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse RyeImperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye
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Style:
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #214
ABV:
11.9%
Score:
95
Ranked #876
Avg:
4.31 | pDev: 9.05%
Reviews:
173
Ratings:
517
From:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Fall
Wants
  263
Gots
  212
SCORE
95
World-Class
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse RyeImperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye
Notes: Imperial Stout aged 175 days in Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey barrels. The 2012 version contains a small amount of beer aged in Heaven Hill Pikesville Supreme Rye Whiskey barrels.
Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 517 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of CowCow
4.6/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I had a 2018 lot, and still another that I am currently keeping; although they no longer mark the bottle number, they do hand write its type in gold paint marker. Excellent flavor, you can really taste the wonderful rye that this stout aged with.

It was opaque stout that was lacking an overpowering alcohol flavor, despite it being a heavy abv. You can taste a nice chocolate flavor, along with others that escape me (it has been a while since I first enjoyed this beer). I think I have to get a better glass before the next bottle is opened in order to get a better sense of smell it gave off. Any smell it may have is rather lacking in a standard pint glass.

Fifty Fifty definitely makes a wonderful stouts that are aged with rye; I do wish they had kept up with the Rittenhouse Rye in 2019, but my local store was not stocking it (if it still exists for 2019). The other rye, Rye Cuvee, from 2019 deserves its own review.

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Photo of eric5bellies
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Had this one stashed in the cellar for 7 years. Boxing Day 2018 so decided to crack it

A - Classic engine oil Ebony color with a tanned head that retains well.
S - There is some sweet vanilla and coffee on the nose.
T - The taste is so very smooth. Heavy vanilla flavours with an almost ice cream like taste. The back end is caramel and toffee, it seems that the whiskey barrel flavors have completely blended in.
M- Full mouth feel with minimal carbonation.
O - Well this beer has aged extremely well. There is plenty of flavour with a full body to enjoy. Carbonation seems to be at its absolute peak. Recommended

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eric5bellies from Australia, Dec 26, 2018
Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of spicy and fruity rye barrels, chocolate, roasted malts and a little coffee
T: Taste is chocolate, spicy rye and slight fruits along with some nice roasted malts and coffee. Slight oxidation but not detrimental. Swallow is more roasted malts, spice, fruitiness, chocolate, coffee, and oak with some more slight oxidation.
M: The beer is fairly full bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Carbonation is low but adequate for the style while the beer has a slightly drying finish.
O: Overall this is a fantastic beer. The barrel treatment is awesome and the flavors are top notch. Even with this much age on it it still tastes fantastic and has only minimal signs of oxidation. This one is definitely worth a try if you can find it. I've had some with less age on it and it's just as outstanding.

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SHODriver from North Carolina, Oct 28, 2018
Photo of BillRoth
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011
Bottle # 392
Purchased @ release from Matt Capone / Capones, Norristown, PA
Cellared since; opened 6/21/17 and poured into Bishop Arms rastal snifter.

Wow. Where does the time go. Bought this with most of the 2011 variants; one to go.

Pours a rich deep dark pour but shimmers with beautiful amber orange accents around the rim in the back light. Already suggests complexity. Nose is gentle but clearly displays dark cacao, wood and vanilla/caramel accents. Very pleasant booze noticeable as well. Taste mirrors the nose especially dark chocolate bitterness and caramel vanilla sweetness , but here also you can really pick out the rye. Not a pushy grainy rye, but one that has mellowed over time and now shows off its uniqueness from barley, wheat and corn without the face slap that you sometimes get with rye. Thin-medium mouthfeel. I love a heavier fuller IS or RIS, but this one is just a great sipper. Absolutely perfect for this beer. Have to think it really benefited from the 6 years wait...but scares me what it might have been if wait extended.
Regardless I can say is that this is an extraordinarily well crafted brew that has become an excellent beer.
Scuse me while I kiss the sky. Thanks FF.

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BillRoth from Maryland, Jun 21, 2017
Photo of EMV
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a wine goblet (all we had in a condo on vacation).

L: Inky black pour with thin off-white head. Spotty lacing.

S: Boozy and rich. Roasted grains and spicy rye whiskey.

T/F: Follows the nose nicely. Rich and full bodied... roasted malts/sugars and char, boozy and delicious, with a nice spicey note from the rye whiskey. Hints of coffee and cocoa... smooth and creamy. Warming... expected oak and vanilla notes from the barrel. Finish is sweet tinged with whiskey.

O: Another awesome edition of Eclipse. Great barrel-aged stuff, and a winner no matter which variant you can acquire. A+++

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EMV from Pennsylvania, Feb 22, 2017
Photo of jlindros
4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excited to try more of these, 2012 vintage

Pours a small very dark fizzy head that fades quickly, pitch black thick as oil, long legs

Nose super dark thick fudgey cocoa, dark chocolate fudge, Little roasted coffee, some straight whiskey barrel juice, a rye heavy whiskey, raw toasted oak and little vanilla, chocolate syrup, little cookie dough, caramel, faint baking spices.

Taste brings big dark malts again, thick dark chocolate and hot cocoa, creamy dark chocolate oatmeal like, a little lactose sugar and hot cocoa, fudgey dark chocolate again, into mild baking spices, caramel, cookie dough, lush chocolate, a hint of licorice, mild roasted malt and coffee notes, then vanilla barrel, toasted oak notes, a hint of raw whiskey barrel juice, and touch mroe rye flavored whiskey. A little bitterness on the finish, a bit sticky too and finally a hint of warming booze, lingering dark chocolate cocoa caramel, a hint more licorice, a touch of molasses as well.

Mouth is full bod, creamy lush and thick, lighter carb but booze is hidden fairly well.

Overall not bad, whiskey seems to have lost a bit of its dominance, but base beer is great, and seems even better with the mellowing age, very little booze, etc.

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jlindros from Massachusetts, Nov 24, 2016
Photo of ccg
4.29/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle label BR2 2014, opened June 21, 2016, poured into a Firestone Walker Proprietor's Reserve Series snifter.

Look: Pours black and a little watery with at least an inch of fluffy tan head that slowly settles into a good layer of bubbles. Lacing on the glass is immediately visible. Great-looking stout. I only wish it looked a little more viscous. 4.25

Smell: Tons of chocolate and whisky, with some spice from both the grains and the rye barrel. It smells decadent and delicious. 4.5

Taste: Chocolate and rye whiskey lead with a noticeable bite spice and bitterness from the rye and the hops. Hint of coffee in the background. Not quite as decadent as the smell, but close. 4.25.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and sticky with a hint of tingle from the carbonation. Satisfying, but not quite on the level of chewiness you get from something like Rye Abyss or BCBS. 4.0

Overall: I'm starting to think that I'm personally biased in favor of rye-barrel-aged beers, but this Eclipse was a treat. The 18 months of age on it probably contributed some of that. This might be the best Eclipse I've had so far. The rye-barrel aging provides tons of whiskey character without the cloying sweetness that you sometimes get with bourbon-barrel aging. 4.25

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ccg from District of Columbia, Jun 22, 2016
Photo of Elumbeer
4.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Looked a little thin for my kind of stout- it was not exceedingly opaque, but with a nice dark, caramelly brown tinge. Nice tan head.

Smell is largely of barrel wood. Not as sweet or vanilla-y as most bourbon barrel aged stouts.

Taste follows the nose quite well. I'm not sure I enjoy licking this barrel though. It's not my preferred flavor, and I'd like a little more than just barrel wood in my mouth.

Feels a little thin for a BA stout too. Gives it a nice clean finish and is disturbingly drinkable, but that's not really what I'm looking for in a big BAd stout.

I would never buy this again. It's not a bad beer, just nowhere near being worth what it costs.

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Elumbeer from Wisconsin, Apr 28, 2016
Photo of StraightNoChaser
4.44/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Only '14 variant I've had.
look: Like the '15 variants, a dark dark brown, nearly opaque. Some cola highlights. Big ass tan head for a nearly 12%'r and thick creamy lacing.
smell: Nose is not popping with aromas like the '15s. Wow, lots of goodness here. Instead of a honey, roasty nose, more of a fudge and roast thing. Still very nice.
taste: Back to high standard. Rick, mellow, some honey, fudge roast, a bit of rye spice. Wonderful.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich dark chocolate color. Aroma is very charred with booziness. Flavor is roasty and boozy. The charred flavor doesn't follow into the flavor, it's a very smooth drink and overall really nice.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Usual black with brown towards the edge, about 1/3" of tan head on it. You get a bit more sweetness out of this aroma, chocolate, bourbon, vanilla and oak like most eclipse.

Taste comes across as one of the smoothest, sweet spot hit, mild smokiness. Less bitterness. One of the less harsh Eclipse beers, this one is all about being sweet and smooth, kind of like me.

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Photo of Damian
4.43/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fl oz bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
Bottle run no.: BR/1 2014
Served in a snifter

Impressive appearance. The liquid was an inky dark brown, bordering on black. Thick and oily. With an aggressive pour, a one finger tall, creamy, bubbly, saddle brown crown topped the body. The head quickly dropped to a thin bubbly mass. Streaky lacing stuck all along the glass.

The nose was really roasty initially and contained a dry, powdery yeastiness. Loads of char and ashiness. Hint of espresso. As the head died down, strong spicy, boozy notes came forth. Apparently this was the rye barrel rearing its head. Quite intense but somewhat one dimensional. With time, licorice notes appeared. The spiciness took on an almost digestif-like quality.

The flavor profile was big and boozy but surpringly rounded not overly hot. Boatloads of roasted malts anchored the beer. Huge espresso notes. Good amount of sweetness to balance out the roast and the alcohol. Brown sugar was apparent. Bakers chocolate and molasses came through as well. Licorice was again noticeable. Like in the nose, there was a spicy quality, perhaps from the rye barrels. The beer finished with moderate roasty notes. Hints of char lingered after the swallow.

The mouthfeel was absolutely incredible. Shockingly rich, thick and creamy. Uber viscous. Really smooth and supple. The liquid contained a fine, frothy, tongue blanketing effervescence. By mid session, the sugars in the beer left a thick, sticky film on my lips.

Of the four Fifty-Fifty Brewing's Eclipse Stout variants I have tried to date, this was one of the best of the bunch. While some seemed overly boozy and thinner bodied, this one displayed a noticeable smoothness in both flavor and mouthfeel. Perhaps the year and a half of age on this bottle helped to mellow out some of this beer's initial rougher edges.

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Damian from Massachusetts, Sep 23, 2015
Photo of SomethingClever
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into snifter 2014

A: pitch black body no light escaping around the edges. Head was very small darkish white didn't stay long coats the glass

S: bourbon, bakers chocolate, light vanilla, some oak, licorice lots of tobacco when it warms up

T: nice dark chocolate roasted malts licorice and whiskey taste getting a little bit of oakiness and not as sweet as some bourbon barrel stouts which is nice

M: nice feel a touch thin from the bourbon barrel but is coats the mouth nicely nice lingering on the tongue

O: very strong bourbon presence in this beer but the base beer still comes through with lots of chocolate and roasty malts I like the fact its not crazy sweet and its a little dry which I like.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.32/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I was aiming for the Spanish Rum version but ended up getting this. Underwhelming barrel taste, some spice from the rye barrel, super-thin body. Drinkable but overpriced and disappointing, even at $25.

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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania, Apr 04, 2015
Photo of Tucquan
4.24/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this 2012 release on 2015-03-14 in Lititz, PA from a bomber. Had the 2014 release on 2016-11-05 in Columbia, PA.

A - Opaque dark brown with a 1/2-finger brown head and mild brown lace.

S - Dark roasted grain, milk and dark chocolate, black licorice. Rye whiskey aroma is present but muted.

T - Dried plums and figs, black strap molasses, dark roasted grain, char, dark chocolate, mild umami, black licorice and minor alcohol heat and rye flavor.. The finish has roasted and hop bitterness in a good balance with the molasses, grain and chocolate flavors. The licorice disappears in the finish.

M - Thick body and light carbonation. Thick, smooth, creamy and substantial.

O - Rich tasting. I'd have rated the flavor higher except for the black licorice. It's here in moderation for sure but it isn't one of my favorite flavors. Even so, I still really enjoyed it.

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Tucquan from Pennsylvania, Mar 14, 2015
Photo of leroybrown10
4.01/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and black. Small dark tan head which does not last long. No lacing to speak of.

Rich, sweet aroma of roasted malt, brown sugar, rye whiskey, and dark molasses. Picking up a bit of caramel, espresso, and dark chocolate as well.

Sweet, almost syrupy flavor. Dark roasted malt and whiskey. Whiskey is smooth but strong even with some age on the beer. Brown sugar and molasses provide the sweetness. Some dark chocolate and alcohol which grows stronger as the beer warms.

Thick, sticky mouth feel. A bit syrupy. Moderate carbonation. Strong alcoholic burn in the aftertaste.

Nice barrel aged stout but definitely overpriced at $30+ for a 750ml bottle.

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leroybrown10 from Missouri, Mar 14, 2015
Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.84/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brief write-up. I like the spicy rye flavor coming from the barrel here. There are additional hints of chocolate and roast here, but this is all about the rye flavor. It's not as utterly drinkable as the Four Roses version, though the richness of this more than makes up for it. I'll even recommend this hesitantly, despite the ridiculous price.

3.84/5: Lovely rye barrel flavor right here

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Photo of biboergosum
3.89/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz, 'Forest Green®' waxed bottle, 2014 BR 1 vintage, some straight-ahead American rye whiskey barrel treatment here, it would seem.

This beer pours, as expected, a solid black abyss, with the faintest of basal cola edges, and three fingers of weakly foamy, and generally just over the top bubbly brown head, which leaves some stellar Mercator projection sudsy lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of gritty, grainy caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa powder, relatively understated rye whiskey barrel astringencies - vanilla and spicy grain alcohol, mostly - roasted coffee beans, a hint of cheap black licorice, and plain earthy, weedy hops. The taste is sugary caramel/toffee malt, milky coffee, licorice candy drops, muddled chocolate syrup, and a rather lessened barrel character - prominent, as such, vanillan, spicy rye grain, and subtle woody notes - with a surprisingly more red wine, Madeira-esque booziness presiding overall, and those pesky earthy, weedy hops still striving for attention amongst the furor.

The carbonation is quite light and unobtrusive in its plainly underwhelming frothiness, the body kind of on the low side of medium weight (yeah, those barrels be trippin', yo!), and generally smooth, a certain unassailed (say whut?) creaminess trumping as things warm a tad. It finishes on the sweet side, the admittedly tempered cocoa, caramel, and wood grain-borne and boozy vanilla ruling the roost.

A tasty enough big-ass Imperial Stout, the exact Bourbon County goodness better left to more appreciable American whiskey connoisseurs than I. All this wag can say is that the whiskey component is quite restrained, manifesting just enough to stake a claim, but one that you kind of have to get really close to in order to know what the fuck they are saying, if y'all know what I mean.

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biboergosum from Alberta (Canada), Jan 08, 2015
Photo of IKR
4.15/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage
11.9% ABV

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a moderate dark beige head that gradually faded.

Smell: Brown sugar, mild Whiskey, and mild coffee/roasted malt aromas. Not a bad nose but the barrel aromas are fairly mild.

Taste: The rye Whisky bal-aging features prominently with some spicy notes that are not present in the Bourbon bal-aged Eclipses. The profile also features roast malts, mild vanilla, brown sugar and tannic oak notes. The finish is a bit drier than the Bourbon bal-aged variants ending with some tannic oak notes and mild hop notes. Fairy restrained alcohol presence.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. I'm not sure if it's the Rye whiskey but this variant seems a bit thicker than the others I've had.

Overall: Good beer. As always, it's a treat to see the different barrel effects on the base beer. I like the drying effect the Rye Whiskey adds in comparison to the other Eclipse variants.

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IKR from California, Dec 20, 2014
Photo of dar482
4.66/5  rDev +8.1%

The beer comes in a black color, medium plus viscosity.

The aroma offers dried fruit, touches of whiskey, and barrel character.

The flavor follows of those notes of sweet raisins and plum. A sweet toffee quality in the middle. Not a highly robust stout with milk chocolate and mocha flavors throughout. A pop of whiskey enters the palate as well.

A well balanced barrel aged brew.

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dar482 from New York, Nov 19, 2014
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

Bottle #29, from 2011.
Pours with a very faint, soapy, and brown head over a deep brown-to-soda colored body. Pretty good lacing.
Aromas are rich and inviting - extremely sweet. Molasses layered on top of molasses. And a kiss of regular syrup, too! Whiff of the oak barrel and whiskey, but very tempered.
Mouthfeel is slick, oily, and rich. Flavor is full of the sticky sweetness picked up in the aroma - In addition to the molasses, there's some vanilla, raw honey, and I'm also getting some black licorice, charred malt, and a touch of deep red fruit.
This held up fantastically over the 3 years... glad I finally popped it.

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BeerImmediately from Pennsylvania, Sep 26, 2014
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

one of my favorite series of beers right here, always a special treat to crack into one, especially one I've never had, and even better one with a little age on it. this 2012 edition is one of my favorites of the lot so far, its just amazing. pours nice and dark, inky and shiny, radiant black. not as much head as i remember on others, but its not still either. the nose is really rye heavy, and i pick up a on of coffee too. a cool combination. the flavor shows a lot more vanilla and oak than the nose, and the rye is up front rather than in the finish. texturally interesting, and spicy at first sip. the finish is loaded with huge roasted coffee notes and the familiar honey sweetness present in all of these. rich and roasty, almost burnt malt, maybe char from the barrel or something, its really heavy in the finish. i like the rye influence on this. maybe not quite as much as the most recent high west rye edition, but its close, and may have receded in time a little bit. so mellow and well integrated though, i love it. thanks to claystation for dropping some half-birthday cash on this one and a few others for us to share. worth the price they as for these, and i rarely think that with beer so pricey.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.46/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle, labeled "bottle No. GR/1", poured into teku glass

A- pours pitc black color with a small foamy and creamy khaki colored head that eventually reduces to a ring around the edges, leaving behind some lacing spots as it settles

S- big spicy rye whisky notes up front mix with sweet chocolaty malt and roasted espresso. Complimenting these are aromas are juicy oak barrel, black currant, caramel, charred marshmallow, black licorice, dark cherry and some nutty notes. Aromas keep opening up as it warms

T- dark chocolaty fudge and currant with roasty coffee flavors, fresh cream sweetness, spicy and peppery rye mix with big barrel juice notes, giving it a good whisky kick. Underlying honey flavor adds a subtle sweetness that stands up nicely to the bold notes of spicy rye from the barrel. Closes out with charred oak, with hints of vanilla, black cherry & whisky

M- medium body with low carbonation lead to a slightly foamy mouthfeel and a silky smooth finish, alcohol is hidden very well yet provides just a subtle warmth at the end

O- two years in the bottle and this beer is drinking awesomely. The addition of honey gives it a sublet sweetness that compliments the barrel notes artfully. I love beers aged in rye whisky barrels, and this one was a fine example of how it should be done

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Treyliff from West Virginia, Jun 15, 2014
Photo of brentk56
4.19/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle 1915 of 2009

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with a very modest head (not surprising given the style and the age) ; very leggy and plenty of lacing, however

Smell: Roast, chocolate, licorice, oak and rye

Taste: Roast and licorice, up front, with developing dark chocolate notes; by mid-palate, the rye and oak flavors kick in, bringing a bit of booze; the warming notes continue to build, after the swallow, so the finish was redolent of rye

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: I have been aging a number of FIftyFifty stouts for a few years, this one being the oldest, and plan to consume them over the next week; this, being the first (and the only one from 2009), sets a fairly high bar but I suspect it may get topped by one or more of the others

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brentk56 from North Carolina, May 03, 2014
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.96/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of rich black chocolates notes with light residual sugar notes and some rye whiskey notes with some bitter roasted malt. Taste is a mix between some bitter roasted malt with some rich black chocolate notes and some rye whiskey notes with a somewhat harsh finish. Body is full with nice creamy and oily texture with good carbonation and not much apparent alcohol notes. Very enjoyable but still a bit harsher than some of the other varieties.

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Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Feb 14, 2014
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 517 ratings