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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
505 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 505 |  Reviews: 170
Photo of marct
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of sholland119
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sharing the bomber with vickster529.

A-Pours an opaque deep brown to black with a nice thin pool of mocha head.

S-Mmmm. Sweet mocha, dark fruit, candied walnuts, rum soaked cherries. All things sweet and boozy.

T-Nicely managed boozy heat and dark fruit. Some mocha notes and chocolate covered cherries.

M-Medium to heavy, coats the tongue nicely.

O-Really nice. Delicious richness, well restrained booziness.


 418 characters

Photo of peacebone116
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 650-mL bottle with green wax (bottle no: 195/2011) into a Delirium tulip.

A: Deep dark brown with hints of red. There is a smallish cap of khaki head that floats on the top for a while before receding to the sides of the glass where it clings for dear life as the rest of beer gets swept away, sip by sip.

N: The nose is initially quite, for lack of a better word, funky. As the beer has time to breathe, notes of charred oak dominate. There is a very subtle whisky note amidst a sea of toasted malts that emulate chocolate and coffee.

T/M: The taste does not entirely follow the nose--there is, of course, the predominate toasted grain qualities of chocolate and a hint of coffee. However, there are flavors of oak and rye whisky (i.e., earth & pepper). This mouthfeel is very unique to the Eclipse line--smooth and creamy like the others, but with a much dryer characteristic. There is a touch of boozy heat, but nothing too dominant.

Overall, this is my least favorite of the Eclipse series. Although it is a bit of a positive that there is less pronounced heat from the alcohol, I do miss how the sweeter bourbon and brandy barrels bring out more of the sweetness in the beer. Still a fantastic beer, just maybe not as much for the price.

 1,263 characters

Photo of Brew33
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of daveytheformer
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of bpfrush
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of jacewg
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of zeff80
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a small, light brown head of thick foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of oak, rye and some spicy notes. Good roasty aromas.

T - It tasted roasted malt, dark chocolate, toffee and sweet rye. Good spiciness with some oak and vanilla.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

O - This was fantastic. My second Eclipse and it was outstanding.

 466 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of kevanb
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage, enjoyed 3/24/2012

The pour is a nice jet black color with minimal transparency, a faint head appears before receding into nothingness. There is a lingering film atop the glass and a nice ring of caramel colored head that sticks to the circumference of the glass as well. The nose is amazing, rich chocolate, hazelnut and rye whiskey pair together exceptionally well. Grainy malt and and a nice prickly spice from the rye come out and blend amazingly well with the predominant nutty chocolate aromas and make for a wonderful nose that is more than inviting. Spot on flavor wise, big rye elements play with the powerful malt and chocolate, but also open up to some atypical nutty flavors. The earthiness one would expect from a stout is there, chocolaty and malty but also woody from the barrel, but there is a lingering nuttiness, almost like a Nutella-esque flavor, such as hazelnut or even a roasted walnut. The alcohol is slightly apparent and lends some sweetness which cuts down the strong earthiness of the beer and makes it exceptionally approachable. The body is a bit thin, but with a lower ABV (10%) for a barrel aged stout, it’s not unwelcome.

Verdict: This is top class, the aging did a magnificent job, taking an already world class beer to a new echelon. If you have any opportunity to try a vintage Eclipse, it’s worth your while.

 1,365 characters

Photo of WillCarrera
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
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

Photo of akorsak
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to yourefragile for this bottle, #358 from the 2010 release (green wax).

A: The imperial stout is dark and black. That is all. The bottle was a bear to open though, a lighter was used but not harmed. Even the cracking of the cap didn't cause a hiss. The head, small on pour, disappears shortly thereafter.

S: Wonderful nose, the barrel aromas, wooden and glorious, have vanilla and the spicy heat that rye whiskey adds. Deep roasted stout blackness counters the sweetness. Graham comes through as well, sweetening the darkness. A very enjoyable beer to sniff.

T: Sweet whiskey goodness! The Heaven Hill rye is stupendous, imparting sweet vanilla and spicy rye, very hot with a burn that lingers. Roasted malts, dark with chocolate and burnt toast, are a foil to the barrel. The wood, oaken and rich, seemlessly brings the stout together. Despite the heat, it never feels too strong. There is more flavor, more bite near the finish. I gargled (or at least swished) a sip, mouthwash-like, before swallowing and was impressed by the flavors that came through -- spicy with a mild mintiness even.

M: My one bottle for the night, and what a doozy it is. Dark and sweet, spicy rye adding a sharp bite. I'm foggy and I like it.

 1,231 characters

Photo of SpdKilz
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened this last week. Poured into a CBS Snifter. 2011 version.

Appearance – Pours into the glass with a dark brown but not black color. Around a finger of mocha colored head is achieved with a relatively vigorous pour.

Smell – Bittersweet cocoa, burnt malts, vanilla, bourbon, and wood char.

Taste – Very similar to the aroma. Overall a more bitter, char flavored stout which can be seen through burnt malts, the bitter chocolate, and a spicy earthiness (rye no doubt). Slight vanilla and alcohol from the bourbon.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, thinner than I was expecting from other variations, finishes dry.

Overall – Not my favorite Eclipse by a long shot. Honestly, this was a chore to drink/get through and I have enjoyed all my other Eclipse experiences more. Definitely not worth an almost $30 price tag.

 825 characters

Photo of trapper2408
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of brystmar
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed the '09, '10, and '11 as part of last night's bottle share. Thanks to rlmartin, rmjavanut, hoppymcgee, and whartontallboy for contributing to this 11-bottle Eclipse tasting! This review is of the 2010 Heaven Hill, as that was my favorite of the three.

Aroma was immediately clear that this was a different beer than the '09. More rich and enveloping, more roasty malt & chocolate, more refined whiskey character.

Taste was similarly improved over the '09 and '11. It reminded me much more of an imperial stout with barrel treatment than the black whiskey-flavored beverages that poured from the other bottles. Booze character was tame and rounded, melded nicely with the stout base.

The '09 and '11 were both noticeably more boozy and put more emphasis on the barrel than on the stout. '10 HH tied the '11 Buffalo Trace as my 2nd favorite and trailed only the '11 EC18 for best in show. But honestly, I was unimpressed across the board with most of these beers. Bourbon County Stout is far superior to all of them except EC18. Very glad I got to try them all, but EC18 is the only one I'd seek out again.

 1,115 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of russwbeck
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was enjoyed at a tasting that included 5 Eclipse variations: Elijah Craig 12 and 18, Four Roses, Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye, and Brewmaster's Grand Cru.

2011 Vintage Bottle #361. $25 for a 22oz bottle.

A: All of them pretty much poured the same. Finger or two of brown to light brown head. The color is black with noticeable bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

S: Roasted aroma, chocolate and honey provide the sweetness, bourbon and vanilla add wonderful notes as well. The 18 did smell a bit better, but this was top notch.

T: The taste is definitely on another level, right with the Elijah Craig 18 year, but probably a bit under. The bourbon, vanilla, and oak are integrated really nicely with the chocolate, honey, and roasted malts. Booze at the end, with a nice amount of bourbon.

MF: Lighter body overall than I expected, and lower than average carbonation. Big booziness on all of them, with a warming alcohol feeling to finish. The dryness on the palate varies with the different bourbons. This one was a bit thinner than some of the others.

O: Definitely in the upper group of this tasting, but it was voted as #2. The body was just too thin. Still a solid beer overall.

 1,201 characters

Photo of Travisnin
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Swervine44
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of crbooher
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Jeffo
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My mate Doops and I were lucky enough to be able to try the entire 2010 - 2008 series. This was the fourth bottle we opened, and the first of the '09 bottles. A big thanks to everyone who made putting this set together possible, and a big cheers to GoGriz for the trade on this one. Thanks man!

From a bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2009
Bottle: 1454
Wax: Green

APPEARANCE: Pretty much the same as the 2010 bottles. Thin, transparent pour yields a small, medium looking, slightly bubbly, tan head with decent retention. Head fades relatively quickly to a faint wisp and ring. Black body, quite transparent, with no carbonation evident. A ring remains until the end leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Just too light and transparent for the style, unfortunately.

SMELL: Very similar to the EW bottle we opened before. A bolder nose with lots of barrel notes. Bourbon, oak, vanilla and some milk chocolate. Notes of roasted malts and dark chocolate come out as it sits, but the barrel is really the star of the show. Nice nose and perhaps the extra time in the bottle has allowed the base beer to peak through ever so slightly. A touch more complex than the EW.

TASTE: Again, this one is similar to the EW. Lots of bourbon up front and the whole way through the journey. Bourbon and strong flavors of oak, vanilla and milk chocolate with just a touch of roasted malt flavors at the swallow as well. Aftertaste is bold and very persistent with a strong barrel presence and a touch of roasted malts acting as a reminder that there actually is a base stout under here. Bold and flavorful.

PALATE: Similar to the Christian Brothers, but with more staying power. Medium body and lower levels of carbonation. Heavy and thick enough on the palate, creamy enough as well, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. Pretty nice.

OVERALL: Behind the superior EC ’09, the HH was probably my second favorite of the series. This one was quite bourbon barrel forward, much like the EW, but was more flavorful and slightly more complex. A solid feel helped this one along as well. I hear the ’10 bottling didn’t work out as well, unfortunately, but we were quite pleased with this ’09 vintage. This one and the EC ’09 are probably the only two I’d make an effort to track down again. Good stuff!

 2,312 characters

Photo of jonvan04
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pull up just about any thread on here and read people's most wanted and top beers, and you're bound to find tons of barrel aged stouts. It seems like just about everyone makes them and just about all of them are very good.

So I was skeptical when I first saw this beer in my local bottle shop. I had never even heard of this brewery. The $30 price tag per bottle didn't help either, but I decided to take a risk and pick one up anyway.

This beer was well worth the risk and the hefty pricetag.

It poured black with a thin tan head. The aroma was mix of vanilla, whiskey, and sweet malt flavors.

From the first taste you can definitely pick up the barrel's influence on the beer as the vanilla, wood, and whiskey flavors are noticeable right up front. The roasty and chocolate flavors are blended in as well. The Rye contributes more of a sweetness than most barrel aged stouts. The alcohol burn was minimal and the mouthfeel was very creamy with not that much carbonation.

Overall, this beer was a just about perfect example of everything that a barrel aged stout should be. The Rye and Oak flavors were very much in the forefront without totally overpowering the flavors that make it taste like beer. This is definitely worth seeking out.

 1,247 characters

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.28 out of 5 with 505 ratings
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