Imperial Eclipse Stout - Four Roses Bourbon | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Four Roses BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Four Roses Bourbon

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Red wax identifies the Four Roses version.

Added by largadeer on 11-14-2010

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Reviews: 149 | Ratings: 564
Photo of BeerImmediately
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Red Wax, bottle #660. Poured into tulip.

Pours with a very short, caramel-brown head over a deep, dark brown body. Touch of lacing.

Aromas are wonderful. Burnt molasses, caramel, and oak barrel lead the way, with dark chocolate, black licorice, and maple syrup in a close second.

Oily on the palate with a bite of char in the finish. Flavors include molasses, roasted coffee grinds, hop oils, and the darkest of dark chocolate. Good bitter dryness in the finish.

I have yet to be let down by any of these. They're all just so damn tasty (albeit pricey!).

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: obsidian beer with a fluffy dark tan head; filmy cap and lace motes throughout the drink

S: bourbon wafts immediately, followed by roasty and dark malt aromas suggesting char and cold espresso

T: bourbon and dry coffee, laidback bittersweet cocoa, dry oak barrels... Very refined and to-the-point; smooth and mellow bitterness, coffee and chocolaty malts, all submerged in a barrel of dry whisky vapor

M: I'll call it medium-bodied, but toward the thin side for me as I'd have preferred a fuller feel in this kind of drink; smooth, subdued bitterness increases on the finish; drying vapors throughout

O: an elegant and classy brew, distinct bourbon barrel aging assertive on the palate and nose; not blown away as I was with their Java Coffee edition - this is lighter, drier, and more subdued, but still an excellent barrel-aged Imperial stout. Worth $33? Not so much as the Java Coffee edition, but if you're a big fan of the stylings, you will not regret the experience.

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

Bottle courtesy of the always epic largadeer. Thanks, brosef.

A: The pour is viscous and black with a finger of khaki head on it.

S: The roast and char from the barrel come through strong on the initial sniff. Lots of bourbon and vanilla notes follow along with dark roasted coffee and a nice dark chocolate/cocoa powder aroma. There is just a hint of smoke in the background.

T: A rather strong roast up front on the palate as well. Plenty of bourbon and oak notes and a sweet vanilla flavor to round it out. Mild sweetness of molasses and dark chocolate to go with the roast and coffee notes.

M: Medium to full in body with a smooth, creamy carbonation.

O: Although almost all of the variations on this beer are solid, this one is certainly up near the top. Very nice stuff.

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

22oz waxed bomber. 2011 Edition. Bottle #645. Served in a snifter.

A vigorous pour gave me a very dark, opaque black body topped by about a finger of dark beige foam. Dissipates fairly quickly to a thick ring with large bubbles. Bits of lacing.

Dry and dusty barrel aroma. A little lighter than other versions. Vanilla ice cream and marshmallows dominate. Chocolate malt. Light bourbon and oak presence. A good bit of alcohol.

Taste is rich and very sweet. Honey is there, along with vanilla and more oak than in the nose. Roasty chocolate malt meets sweet bourbon in the middle of the flavor. Elements are well integrated. Roasty bitter finish with some booze dries things up. Heat comes on after several sips.

Body is medium-full and carbonation is medium-low. Fairly oily slick feel. Goes down great.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark black with a small amount of medium brown head.

S - Bourbon, oak and sweet roasted malts. The bourbon and base beer are well integrated and neither overshadows the other.

T - Bourbon, oak, honey and a good roasted malt presence are well integrated, as the nose suggested. There's a good sweetness present that really brings out the bourbon and some lighter vanilla and chocolate notes.

M - Medium body, smooth. Light carbonation.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

650ml red waxed bomber poured into tulip 22/1/14

A deep cola edge in black liquid, foams up nicely with a massive foam that hangs around forever leaving a table top island after ten minuets and lots of thick patches deep down the glass

S sweet bourbon and honey, sweet milk chocolate, dark fruits and a little coffee, some vanilla and brown sugar work well, not huge but some charred barrel plays a part, faint licorice and molasses

T not quite everything the nose had going on, still sweet, lots of dark malt and a little barrel but everything doesn't mesh as well and there's some booze but like the other 2013's just no way this is actually 11.9%,

M leaning towards full, creams up nicely, faint tannins, a hint of booze, lots of sweet chocolate and bourbon linger

O another well rounded Eclipse, if the smell followed through it would be world class but it didn't quite keep up that pace, great beer nonetheless and one of the better versions from 2013

My 6th Eclipse this year and everyone of them has been a great brew but I don't think any of them would qualify as world class. Consistently great beers but any 30$ bomber is hard to justify, that being said I'm glad I have some bottles to revisit a few years down the road.

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Photo of kbutler1
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. 2011 vintage, bottle 427. Thanks Chris!Pours a dark brown with a light tan head. Nice rich aroma, bourbon, vanilla, and dark chocolate. Medium/heavy mouthfeel. Very Smooth. The bourbon is slight and adds no heat. Dark chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, and bourbon. This is a very solid beer. The mouthfeel is really nice. Nice clean finish.

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Photo of mjyoung
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011. Split w/ scottfrie. Thanks a ton.

A: Dark. Not quite the inky blackness I was expecting but with a beautifully off-tan head that dissipates relatively quickly.

S: To quote a friend "Mmmm bourbon-y chocolate". That pretty much sums it up. Not too much that is TOO crazy in here, but it's quite good.

T: Same thing on the palate. Delicious bourbon and delicious chocolate. Not the most robust or complex of flavors, but the three or four notes that come through are superb. Oh-so-smooth...

M: Thick but not chewy. It's a bit thinner than I would like, but that's a minor knock. A tasty beer, and great feel.

O: It's hard to say how this stacks up with the others, but it IS good. Of that there is no doubt. It's easy to be consistent when all you're doing is changing the barrels, but 50/50 continues to overwhelm.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks once again to Michael (yourefragile) for hitting this beer I've been wanting to try, awesome.

A: Nice blackish color but very clear brown highlights on the edges and a ring of head, nice lacing. Pretty.

S: Lots of stone fruit and some malt/sweet notes, barley, just a little chocolate powder and a bit of bourbon, not nearly as much as I expected.

T: Some chocolate powder, really nice bourbon soaked malt and barley, true stout flavors punch through. Quite interesting and rich. Just a little sweet, mostly alcohol sweet from the spirits, but not hot. Savory in some ways like a bit of autumn fire, quite nice.

M: Semi thick, not very hot, leaves the tongue tingling with flavor.

Overall very nice.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think Sean brought this to our Fedor beat-down party.

A - Black beer with a good-looking brown head that dissipated after a short time and left some sparce and thin lacing on the sides.

S - Chocolate, roasted malts. A pleasant bourbon smell that is not very harsh with mild oak, toffee, and a little vanilla. Smells very good.

T - Had a differnce of opinions on this one, but I liked the taste of this better than the Evan Williams which we had side-by-side. Good chocolate and vanilla, bourbon is present but not hot. Not too woody, this is a very well balanced and slightly sweeter. Taste is very good.

M - A little thinner than I like, but nice body and mellow carbonation.

D - Pretty drinkable and a great beer at 9.5%, might be my favorite of this year's Eclipse releases.

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber, 2011 vintage bottle number 1885, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours black with mahogany highlights, topped with a finger of creamy tan head that recedes to a thin layer, leaves good lacing.

S- Very nicely blended bourbon with chocolate cookies, some molasses with oak and vanilla.

T- Bourbon flavors, oak and coconut, some dark fruits mixed with molasses and honey. Roasted, slightly smoky malts.

M- Full-bodied, smooth feel, creamy, would have liked it slightly thicker, some boozy warmth.

O- An excellent barrel-aged stout, it's not the best in the series but is still very good.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Bottle number 2296 split two ways.

A - Pours a dark, almost opaque with a lively dark tan head that eventually fades to edges.

S - Strong chocolate hits you first, then some some oak and booze follow it up. As I let it sit and warm, lots of nice welcoming carmel tones come through. I wanted to smell it more than drink it.

T - The taste was more boozy and chocolate up-front, also like the nose. As it warmed, lots of wonderful carmel flavors showed up.

D - Good carbonation for the style with a medium to heavy body.

O - Good at first, but as it warmed it really opened up with the carmel tones. Very nice. Let this one sit and you will love it.

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Photo of inlimbo77
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split 4 ways and poured into a Boulevard tulip. 2011 batch and bottle #396.

A: This one pours black as night, dark black. Not as oily looking as other BA RIS versions. It's completely opaque though. I got about a half finger of fluffy tan head, which was a welcome surprise. But the ABV isn't as high as others, so I guess it makes sense. You get some nice dark sheeting of oil on the glass.

S: This smells delicious. I pulled lots of vanilla and oak. Traditional bourbon forward notes. Maybe some coconut from the barrel aging as well. Some of that caramel and toffee.

T: Nothing crazy initially in the tongue. It's not hot or bitter or anything off putting. You then get the smooth vanilla and oak and coconut notes that you were expecting. Delicious caramel comes up as the beer warms. I actually drank this over the course of about an hour and loved it closer to room temp, as we initially had it far too cold. You do get some of that honey sweetness as well with the warmth.

M: Full bodied stout here. But not as chewy as others.

O: This is an A stout already for me, and can't wait to dig into the other versions that I have down in the cellar. The only knock on these beers is the price tag at $25 - $30 it's pretty steep BUT if they all drink like's worth it.

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Photo of jethrodium
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Red waxed bottle. Pours a dark black with a little bit of light coming through at the edges. A one finger light chocolate head has good retention and leaves a large amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is big vanilla, cocoa, bourbon, light roastiness, light alcohol, a little coconut, and a little honey. The taste is sweet cocoa, vanilla, and some light bourbon. The finish is a little bitter with some dark chocolate. Medium-light body. Low carbonation. Great beer. I wish it had a slightly fuller mouthfeel, but it is still phenomenal.

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Photo of rudzud
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade and enjoyed on the eve of my birthday. Bottle #706, 2011 Batch.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice dark almost black brown with a biiig two finger dark khaki/mocha head that faded and slumped to a one finger creamy rich blanket and nice lacing.

S - Very nice bourbon and lighter vanilla. Cannot exactly pickout that this is a Four Roses brand bourbon, but its clearly a solid bourbon. There are some nice faint barrel notes along with some roasted malts and chocolates. Quite nice.

T - More of that rich, smooth bourbon with nice softer vanilla and barrel notes. Quite pleasant and well executed. The chocolate is mild, as is the roast. Quiet subtle and delicious. Not assertive but very well balanced.

M - My only negative to this beer. Just a too carbonated for my tastes for such a bigger stout. I would really like a more smooth, chewier stout. The sharper carbonation is a bit distracting.

O - Overall, this was a very, very well executed stout. Love the appearance, love the aroma, and love the taste. Just wish it wasnt as sharp. Alcohol is hidden nicely though. Really enjoyed this one.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle served in a Eclipse snifter, hell yes. Beer is black, dark, with a thin brown head of small bubbles, some lacing, decent retnetion.

Aroma is boozy, strong vanilla and tannic components, rounds nicely. I really like it.

Beer is medium in body, creamy, this is the 2011 version which is much better, smoother better integrated than the 2010, a phenomenal beer right here. Nice finish, no heat, strong bourbon barrel character, very nice. I'd have this again.

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Photo of GregSVT
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a snifter - Bottle #1066, 2010 Vintage

A: Pours a dark brown, almost black in the glass, with a small dark tan head that fades to a ring and leaves a small bit of lacing on the glass.

S: The nose consists of molasses, dark fruits, chocolate, a touch of licorice, and bourbon. Nice sweet aromas that hint at the goodness to come.

T: Taste is big roasty chocolate malt, molasses, vanilla, slight licorice, and a bit of dark fruit. The flavors stick to the palate and allow the finish to fade very slowly.

M: The feel is creamy and thicker than past versions I've's on the fuller side of medium. It's sticky which helps with the finish.

O: Sweet and decadent, this is defintely a dessert beer. Big flavors and aromas and a nice mouthfeel make this one of the better Eclipse variants I've had so far next to the Elijah Craig version.

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Photo of lionchow
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

To be honest I am copying my review from the Evan Williams barrel version. They were very similar, it would be difficult to tell the two apart. Both were excellent.

Drank it at FiftyFifty event at the Bloodhound in SF. Not actually sure if it was on tap or from a bottle.

Pitch black. Almost no head.

Aroma was lightly roasted and chocolately.

Flavor was sweet, but not overly sweet, primarily of milk chocolate, with a mild roasted character. Little to no bittnerness. Nice balance of oak and bourbon character with the sweet chocolate gives it depth and roundness.

Low carbonation.

Overall very drinkable and enjoyable. Personally its how I like a stout.

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Photo of Auracom
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

2010, bottle #922. Part of my stout tasting on October 22nd, 2011. 2-3 oz. into snifter. The third variant we opened. Certain parts copied over from the other Eclipse reviews.

A - Thin, semi-dark brown coloring. Lacking any sort of considerable head but showing a decent amount of alcohol on the sides of my glass.

S – Vanilla, smoke, roasted almonds, walnuts, whiskey barrel, and oak. Well-blended. Wish we had an option for 4.75 here, it will score slightly lower than it ought to.

T – Sweetness contrasted by bourbon at the front. Middle of the tongue features a roasted note that follows through to a fairly tannic finish.

M - Medium body. Carbonation is expected, finish is a bit short unfortunately.

D – Despite the larger oak flavor in this version, the finish didn’t quite get to the level it needed to. The overall impression of my group is that it fell somewhere between the superior Heaven’s Hill and the lesser Evan Williams, though I think it was closer to the former. More than worthy for a tasting and all in all, when tasted in multiple versions, the Eclipse series is a great experience for learning about barrel variation.

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Photo of orangesol
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to nickd717 for opening a bottle of this during his recent visit. Great meeting you nick. Bottle #768 poured into a tasting glass.

A - Pours deep, dark, brown bordering on black with a small film of head leaving little to no lacing down the glass.

S - Quite chocolatey up front. Plenty of bourbon with hints of vanilla, oak, and other dark, roasty aroma's. Not overly sweet like some other barrel aged stouts. Fairly well balanced all around.

T - This is definitely a barrel aged stout. Plenty of chocolate sweetness up front giving way quickly to a mix of bourbon heat and oaky dark roast. A bit of dark roast in the finish but it doesn't linger for long. Booze is ever present put not overpowering. Not the best I have had but certainly nowhere near the worst. I really hope I get to try the other versions in the future.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Nice warm feel with some lingering sweetness. A touch too thin for my liking but still very enjoyable.

D - Quite high. This was my first experience with any of the fifty fifty beers and I was very impressed to say the least. A very nice balance of base flavors and bourbon from the barrel aging. Really wish I had a few of these to drink in the future.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ah, my first taste of the 2010 Eclipses. I've been hugely impressed by the various incarnations of this beer that I've been fortunate enough to try, and I'm curious to try the new versions. Bottle #390

Pouring the typical very dark brown with reddish brown highlights, there's a dense, brown head that recedes to a disk, leaving some lace on my Duvel Green tulip. The nose has probably the biggest oak presence that I've encountered from these beers, woody and tannic. One of those few beers where the oak intensity comes across as spicy in addition to vanilla-like, there's a touch of ashy aromas too. Dominating the sweeter, milder stout base, some chocolate and cream are still noticeable though. And I guess I have to add that bourbon is present as well. As Arbitrator notes in his review, serving this beer too cold has a larger negative impact than you might expect. Warming this up to ~65F really brought out the chocolate and fudge behind the bourbon and oak, and some licorice, which is surprising 'cos this isn't an attribute of any of the other Eclipses I've tried.

The palate is significantly more complex than the nose. Bourbon is present up front with brown sugar and booze, along with vanilla and oak. Chocolate, fudge and cookie dough are present on the mid-palate, though this isn't as decadent as other editions (specifically the superlative Elijah Craig or Pappy versions). None of the oak harshness I picked out on the nose is present here. Medium-light in body with soft, creamy carbonation, this feels really good on the palate. Strangely, letting this breathe does wonders to the palate, bringing out the chocolate more. The finish is excellent, with the oak tannins and licorice (where did that come from?!) lending just enough bitterness to balance the sweetness, and a sufficient booze character to keep you warm. An excellent effort, though, if I had to guess, I got one of the oakier bottles here.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a huge thanks to john for opening this bottle at a recent tasting

This beer pours black with a mocha colored head that leaves some lacing. the smell is sweet bourbon, light oak, vanilla and dark roasted grains. the taste is very similar to the smell. the mouthfeel is medium to full boddied, with decent carbonation. the beer has good drinkablitly

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage. Bottle #1419.

A: Pours black with a half-inch mocha head which fades to the rim and cap leaving globs and spots of lace.

N: Chocolate marshmallows soaked in bourbon, then roasted with a trace char and sprinkled with vanilla and caramel.

T: Dark cacao, vanilla, roasted oak barrel, char, sweet bourbon, dark fruits.

M: Full body and moderate carbonation. A bit syrupy although rich and creamy.

O: With some age on it, this is drinking really well. Glad to still have 1 left.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1035th Review on BA
Bottle to CBS Snifter

Red Wax
Bottle 1119/2011

App- Same color as the other treatments. Fit a whole bomber into the glass with a small one finger medium brown head that left a small small bit of webbing

Smell- opens a small bit of dark fruits and then moves to a bit of coffee and bourbon. Nice well rounded notes.

Taste- Much more chocolate than I thought. Very coffee foward as well which is a far departure from the previous two variants.  When it warms a bit more some roasted oats and a little bit of vanill

Mouth-  A bit more creamy than the other two. Medium/low bodied with a low/medium carbonation. Residual coffee & chocolate with some toasted and roasted malts

Drink- As I move from each variant to the next they kinda become better than the next. This one was a bit less heady than others and kinda brings it down.

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Photo of Gtreid
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into my cigar city tulip. Can't remember who sent this to me, but thanks to whomever did.

A: Pretty much black. The pour dropped a finger of light tan head that faded to a thin rim and left no lace.

A: strong vanilla aroma. The barrel imparts great notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. I get notes of roasted black malt and molasses. Next to no hop presence.

T: pretty darn good here too. The vanilla is the dominate characteristic, but the caramel and the roasted malt balance it nicely. The beer finihes sweet with a bit of alcohol heat.

M: Actually a touch thin for this caliber of beer. But still full bodied and creamy. And just a bit too much carbonation for my liking.

O: Really good beer here. I love the vanilla character a d the nose is just about perfect. Not quite as good as the EW treatment, but still a fantastic brew. Skal.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Four Roses Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 564 ratings.
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