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

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse RyeImperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by Jmoore50 on 12-29-2009

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Reviews: 168 | Ratings: 503
Photo of jlindros
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
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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Photo of ccg
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
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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Photo of Elumbeer
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
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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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.44/5  rDev +4.7%
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 -0.7%
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 0%
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 +4.5%
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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Photo of SomethingClever
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
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 -21.7%
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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Photo of Tucquan
4.24/5  rDev 0%
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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Photo of leroybrown10
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
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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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.84/5  rDev -9.4%
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 -8.3%
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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Photo of IKR
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
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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Photo of dar482
4.66/5  rDev +9.9%

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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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
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 +5.2%
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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Photo of brentk56
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
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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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.96/5  rDev -6.6%
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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Photo of jdb288
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours brown/black with tan head. Smell is boozy, dark fruit, molasses. Taste is all the same....raisins, plum, dark brown sugar, cherries. The rye is a nice accent. Warming alcohol. I have found these Eclipse beers to be truly great - some develop better than the others but they are great for the cellar. Love this series.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a creamy mocha head.

S: Vanilla, oak, sweet dark and milk chocolates, a bit of rye and alcohol in the nose.

T: Taste is vanilla, chocolate, some coffee, sweet and a bit tart, some rye.

M: Full bodied and creamy smooth.

O: Definitely one of the best Eclipse stouts, I'd give it an easy A/A+/97.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Espresso. Chocolate. Molasses. Whisky spice. Lavish creamy texture. ...yes, please!

Pushing against stillness, the oily black elixir still only amounts a dainty espresso-like creme with even the most assertive swirl of the glass. Its oil slick appearance is onyx-like with low-lying retention and lace; preferring brandy legging tendencies instead. It simply prefers to look like an abyss. ...and it seductively pulls me in.

Utmost savory aromas rise from the glass as the nose is haplessly captivated by its espresso roast, dark chocolate and spicy whisky scents. Supporting burnt caramel, molasses, vanilla, whipping cream and booze-soaked oak offers lushness and roundness as well as balance to the nose. A tinge of burnt currant, cherry, walnut and fennel all play a role in the beer's developing aroma.

Surprisingly just as savory and seductive to taste, a deep fudge-like chocolaty, creamy denseness greets the early palate. Its bittersweet taste invites vinous wood notes of savory soy sauce to go along with its brownie batter, chocolate covered espresso bean, and freshly roasted walnut character. A welcome reprieve comes from the spicy huskiness of burnt rye, pumpernickel croutons, and a peppery booze taste to slice through the dense chocolate tone. Charred woods with black-strap molasses, gently rolling whipping cream and vanilla round out its oaky finish.

Its dense and lavish texture wraps around the tongue like silk. Its well-woven alcohols allows its sweetness to seep into the mouth's soft tissues with ease. This allows for an intensification in taste and mouthfeel that latches on and won't let go. Its slow development warms the throat and only relaxes a bit as the alcohols assist in drying the palate and the pleasant powdery texture from oak and grain spice to offer a mild lift. But its low carbonation does little to pull the beer from the tongue in order to allow for full saturation of the taste buds with that simmering and sultry warmth.

Its immense residual sweetness requires high roast, high level of complexity, and help from outsourced barrel and whisky complements in order to balance its gargantuan malt display. But carefully sculpted, this beer resonates beautifully on the mouth, stomach and soul.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, one finger tan head with great lacing.

S-Moderate bourbon, chocolate, slight vanilla, tad bit of rye spicyness as well.

T-Starts off with whiskey characteristics. Semi spicy, some chocolate, not much coffee, tad vanilla, some roasted malt.

M-Light, not much carbonation, tad watery even.

O-The rye spicyness came through great, however at almost a year old the barrel notes were slightly diminished. Fresh this would be a lot better.

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for blowing all his cash on these Eclipse beers and sharing this

Consumed 10/12/13

Appearance: Dark, rich brown - pours with a medium-sized, light tan head - leaves some lovely streaks of lacing

Smell: Big, big chocolate - like an epic chocolate cake - milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and dark chocolate - some roasty notes, coffee, and lightly burnt malts - caramel, molasses, and some lighter malts - nice depth in the malts, more interesting than I even expected - some really nice whiskey aromas, nicely integrated with the chocolate

Taste: Chocolate with whiskey, nicely melded together - milk chocolate, dark chocolate, semisweet chocolate - brownies and chocolate cake - some milk chocolate as well - some great whiskey flavor - carefully treads the line between mild and overwhelming in a nice way - some nice wood and vanilla - some coffee and lightly burnt notes - some touches of dark fruit, finishes mostly with with whiskey, which is nice

Mouthfeel: Full body, nicely carbonated, absurdly, stupidly, remarkably soon

Overall: Like all of the Eclipse beers, this is best paired with the Twilight movie

This is great. I honestly think this may be the best barrel-aged stout I've had since GI BCBS Rare. And I'm not kidding. This is a chocolate cake with brownies on top, sprinkled with whiskey. I hope this beer isn't actually retired, I'd like to have to have a bottle of this in my cellar.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 503 ratings.
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