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

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outstanding
168 Reviews
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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse RyeImperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States
fiftyfiftybrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
168
Ratings:
497
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
9.43%
 
 
Wants:
263
Gots:
221
For Trade:
21
User Reviews
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Reviews: 168 | Ratings: 497
Reviews by WillCarrera:
Photo of WillCarrera
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber, 2011 vintage bottle number 2057, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours totally black, mahogany highlights at the edges, forms a thin tan head that reedes quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass, leaves pretty good lacing.

S- Pretty barrel-forward, lots of whiskey notes along with oak and vanilla, some tobacco, sweet maple syrup, some roasted notes in the background with dark chocolate and cocoa.

T- Not quite as heavy on the barrel as the nose implied, not as sweet either, whiskey is present but subtle, oak and vanilla complement it well. The beer is very well balanced by a strong roastiness with really nice chocolate and coffee flavors. Finishes with a bitter charred coffee bean flavor.

M- Medium to full bodied, relatively light and easy drinking, has a smooth velvety texture with low carbonation.

O- One of my favorite Eclipse varieties so far, definitely up there with the EC 12 and 18, the barrel flavors are done extremely well and the chocolate and roasted flavors are delicious, pretty damn drinkable for such a big stout as well.

 1,067 characters

More User Reviews:
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.

 1,832 characters

Photo of largadeer
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Bring for hooking me up with this one.

Pours a translucent dark brown, and in the glass it's an opaque dark chocolate color. A small leather-colored head rises to a finger's height and just as quickly settles to a ring.

The aroma is an intoxicating mix of chocolate caramel candy, boozy rye whiskey and vanilla. There's a subtle fruitiness in the background, honey and light roastiness. This smells outstanding.

The taste, surprisingly, is even better than the aroma. It opens with a medley of milk chocolate, honey, vanilla and caramel, which segues into a mid-palate of burnt toast, spicy rye whiskey and plenty of boozy heat. The body is medium-full, right about where I like it for the style; it's neither thin nor syrupy. A bittersweet dark chocolate finish beautifully contrasts the initial chocolate-caramel blast, leaving a hint of charred malt, licorice and alcohol on the palate. It's rare that I'm impressed with big stouts these days, but I have to admit that this is an exceptionally well made beer.

 1,029 characters

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.

 2,246 characters

Photo of SuqMadique
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of warnerry
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011, bottle #1778

A - Pours near black with one and a half fingers of brown head. Head has decent retention, eventually fading to a thin cap. Spotty lacing.

S - Lots of chocolate, with some roasted malt, a sweet aroma that could be some residual honey or a bit of molasses, vanilla, a bit of wood and some faint alcohol.

T - Taste is a little sweeter than the aroma would suggest, but not overpowering sweetness. Again a big chocolate presence, combining bittersweet and milk chocolate. A bit of spicy spirit undercuts the chocolate. Some nice vanilla. Roasted malt comes in near the finish. Finishes with a bit of rye whiskey. Very tasty, but a touch too sweet.

M - Medium mouthfeel, a touch on the light side for an imperial stout, but I don't mind. Definitely not thin.

O - This is a very nice Eclipse variant, but the honey sweetness is a bit too apparent. Still very enjoyable. I like that these are relatively low on the abv scale for barrel-aged imperial stouts at "only" 9.5%, but the price tag will definitely keep me from revisiting, considering other options for the style.

 1,090 characters

Photo of megamass
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of standardcherry
4.54/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle served into a snifter. 2012 vintage.

A: Dark brown/black color. Small brown head that disappeared quickly.
S: Lots of whiskey. A bit of spicy rye character blended with lots of chocolate, vanilla, and coffee.
T: Oaky and boozy. I like this. Spicy rye with vanilla, caramel and chocolate following. Roasty malt character.
M: Full bodied, rich and creamy. Soft carbonation. A touch of alcohol heat balanced well with the sweetness.
O: This is an excellent beer, I can't wait to try the other variants. Can't believe it's only 9.5%, feels much bigger.

 566 characters

Photo of mjtiernan
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Birthday beer!

22oz bottle poured into a small snifter. 2012 batch (BR2/2012).

A: Super black with medium brown head that disappeared pretty quickly leaving a thin ring around the edge. Lots of alcohol legs.

S: Beautiful bourbon and barrel character. Lots of vanilla, sugar cookie, chocolate and coffee.

T: Killer. All the complex flavors from the aroma are nicely incorporated. Can’t believe how smooth it is for being this fresh. Bourbon and chocolate are dominant. Vanilla, caramel, dark brown sugar in the middle and coffee and fusel alcohol in the finish.

M: Pretty darn drinkable for such a bold beer. A good amount of alcohol burn on the finish, but otherwise it’s pretty easy drinking.

O: Such an amazing beer. Tons of complexity. Makes my mouth happy.

 771 characters

Photo of bpfrush
4.75/5  rDev +12%

Photo of ehammond1
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (2011)

Super Junior Market
San Diego, CA

Very dark brown, nearly black in color, with a finger's worth of bubbly brown head that eventually leaves the glass oily and shiny with small bubbles of stick.

The aroma is packed full of sweet vanilla and caramel, bourbon, wood, chocolate, and a little bit of coconut, though not quite as strong as the Elijah Craig version.

The bourbon flavors, wood, vanilla, and chocolate come together really quite incredibly well. I don't really pick up much rye character specifically and there's hardly a bit of alcohol heat.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. The best carbonated variation yet, at least in my experience.

Terrific.

 692 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super dark brown and black, thin brown ring forms on the top, less than 1/3" deep. Nice, sweeter than other barrel treatment aroma, chocolate, light bourbon, vanilla and oak.

Taste, one of the easiest drinking Eclipse varieties, this seems to be sweeter, lighter bodied, but still a good consistent thickness and mouthfeel to it. Very smooth, a pinch of smoke in it that is very complimentary to all of the other flavors. Has the least amount of coffee or bitterness that the other varieties hold, and even those are relatively low, but this one is all about sweet smoothness.

I even thought the '11 version on tap was better than the '10, but they are extremely similar, just the mouthfeel and consistency was better suited to my tastes this year around.

 758 characters

Photo of williamjbauer
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of jtladner
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of SPRichard
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of daveytheformer
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of glid02
4.82/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Grant - much obliged!

Pours black with a 1.5-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of smooth dark chocolate with muted roasted malts. Also present are good amounts of vanilla aromas from the barrels and lighter amounts of tobacco.

Tastes phenomenal. Soft roasted malt flavors are met almost immediately with smooth dark chocolate flavors with hints of sweeter milk chocolate. Midway through the sip vanilla flavors work their way into things along with a faint rye spiciness. Finally, hints of tobacco flavors come into play near the end before all flavors meld together and carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a very nice thickness with small and grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also great. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have more.

Overall this beer was all I was hoping it would be. Tasted alongside some other heavy hitters this was unquestionably my favorite. A nuanced big and barrel-aged stout that is well worth seeking out.

 1,062 characters

Photo of acurtis
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

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.

 670 characters

Photo of roostor07
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of lnashsig
4.97/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle, number 357.

Many thanks to bhollas for hooking me up with this bottle. Poured from bottle into DFH snifter. Pours a pitch black color, a little tan head emerges and then settles quickly. Smell- BOURBON! This is a total booze bomb on the nose, smells like bourbon, chocolate, and molasses. Awesome. Taste- buttery, caramel, toffee, a little roasty bitterness, and the bourbon flavor at the end. WOW. This one is unbelievable good. I'm blown away. This might be my favorite bourbon barrel beer I have ever had and I don't have another one. This is near perfection. My mouth lingers with a buttery caramel bourbon flavor. No booziness at all here, its just super smooth.

 681 characters

Photo of JamesStreet
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of alamode
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of twowheelssoar
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle, brought it back from our last trip to Truckee. A friend had two bottles, and he didn't like it!

Poured into a classy hotel tumbler. Pours very dark with a thin light tan head. The rad disappears quickly. Aroma is of bourbon, vanilla, and chocolate. Tastes of more fudgey chocolate, smooth vanilla and well-integrated bourbon. The feel is on thicker side, with a nice mellow carbonation level. A very enjoyable, slightly grainy and roasty coffee finish develops as it warms. Seems like there are lots of bottle variation with the Eclipse series, and I think I got a good one here. Really mellow with lots of depth, enjoyed this a lot.

 647 characters

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 497 ratings.
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