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 | website

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: 555
Photo of nataku00
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From my notes at the West Coast Barrel Aged Beer Fest at the Bistro.

Freshly poured from the tap into a pitcher and then into my tulip tasting glass. Dark brown with hints of orange at the edge of the glass when held up to the light. Opaque enough so that I can't see the carbonation. The finger of initial dark brown head dissipated very quickly, with little lacing.

The nose of this one was a bit weaker that the Heaven's Hill version of the beer also at the fest. Woody vanilla presence, with dark roasted malt and some burnt sugar/caramel sweetness.

Taste followed the nose, the nice vanilla from the barrel aging playing nicely with the burnt sugar sweetness and roasted malt backbone. Bitter initially, but finishes very smooth, with a nice lingering combination of the aromas and flavors in your throat. Very tasty.

The body was a bit on the thin side, maybe barely medium bodied. Body was noticeable as the carbonation was barely there, which didn't help.

Overall, a very nice imperial stout.

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Photo of tut2528
3.98/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle 1410/2011

A: pours charcoal black body, with a deep dark brown top layer. Creates a ½ fingers worth of head. Minimal lacing that leaves so spotting bubbles that hugs the side of the glass. 4.25

S: big dark fruits… plums, raisins, with a big burnt wood aroma. Theres some sugary malt present, with a light touch of chocolate and hops.

T: my God the sweetness! Enormous sugar, molasses, figs and cocoa nibs front and center. Big alcohol presence as well. big and bold bourbon right up front, semi-sweet dark chocolate, slight touch of hops. There is a nice vanilla touch in the finish. But don’t really like this balance.

M: lighter than I would like for the style. Leaves quite a sugary film on the teeth and the slight bourbon and oak on the palate.

O: decent, but definitely not worth the price to be honest. Maybe this would have been better fresh?

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Photo of warnerry
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 2613; 2011 Vintage

A - Pours deep brown with one and a half fingers of brown head. Head has very good retention and leaves some rings of lacing.

S - Aroma is somewhat subtle, but consists of sweet bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, some char and mild booze.

T - Taste is a big improvement on the nose. Bourbon is prominent up front, quickly followed by a big chocolate taste. Vanilla and more bourbon in the middle. Also seems to be a faint hop presence. A bit too much char on the finish, but still very enjoyable.

M - Medium mouthfeel, a bit lighter than I would like, but good.

O - I enjoyed the EC 12 version quite a bit more, but this is still a very nice barrel-aged stout. Wish the char (and price) could be turned down just a bit.

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Photo of thagr81us
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one was a part of cmrillo’s 40 Beers* @ 40 Birthday Bash! Shared by cmrillo at his own party! 2011 Vintage! Served from bottle into a Mikkeller taster flute. Poured a dark reddish brown with a half finger khaki colored head that subsided to a minimal amount quickly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, fruit, wood, earth, subtle vanilla, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, roasted malt, earth, wood, vanilla, and sweet alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a good brew. Based on have both of the Elijah Craigs just before this one, you definitely tell the Four Roses barrel treatment from the other. This one carried a nice earthy note along with it while still carrying over a lot from the others as well. It was rather enjoyable and definitely worth getting your hands on if you do not have any in your possession currently.

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Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Black in the glass, one finger brown head with some lacing.

S-Bourbon, rather sweet, some chocolate.

T-Rather sweet, Almost too sweet, some bourbon, roasted malt and chocolate.

M-Medium bodied and slight carbonation.

O-Too sweet the barrel flavors were not allowed to come through.

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Photo of justintcoons
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #575, 2011 Red wax
Poured into a tulip.

Black with some garnet highlights around the edges. 3 fingers of fluffy, light brown head. Good retention for the high abv.

Sweet bourbon, toffee and honey. Dark fruit, black licorice, bittersweet chocolate and a hint of vanilla.

Moderate amount of sweet bourbon notes upfront giving off some pleasant alcohol esters. A lot of dark fruit consisting of overripe plum, fig and some maraschino cherries. Molasses, toffee and honey. Bittersweet chocolate and cocoa nib. Finishes with light notes of espresso, coffee grounds, earth and some very subtle oak.

Medium bodied, silky, warming and sticky.

Deceptively smooth and easy drinking for a BA Imperial Stout. Complex and sweet but lacing vanilla flavors. Worth the $30 price tag? No. I can get KBS or BCBS cheaper and those are much better quality.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to mlaroche for this bottle a long while back

2010 vintage
Bottle # 1190

Pours a dark brown essentially black color, starts out with minimal head but with a vigerous pour it gets a decent fingers worth, fades at a quick pace but leaves a thin tan cap.

Smell has a very molasses-y aroma with roasted malt, subtle hints of chocolate and coffee and a touch of vanilla.

Taste has a very dark roasted malt presence with a bit of coffee like char and bitterness, a light sweet chocolate aftertaste with a subtle barrel and bourbon character, the barrel aging is definitely on the light side but adds just enough for some complexity, body is fairly viscous with a good creaminess, carbonation is low yet ample enough to get the job done.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Black with a thin sand colored head and some spotty lace down the glass with each sip.

S: Rich cocoa laced with bourbon. Honey, roasted malt, charred wood and just a touch of dark fruit. Pretty nice.

T: Roasted malt and honey upfront with some toasted brown sugar, milk chocolate, molasses and a touch of char. Just a tickle of bourbon in there as well, with a finish that definitely leans towards the barrel. Mouthfeel is light and a touch lacking. I really feel like this beer would benefit from a fuller mouthfeel. A solid beer, but I'm not sure worth the price. I'd much rather take Caldera's Mogli for 10 bucks less.

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Photo of Gfunk720
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Geoi for these bottles. 22oz w/ red wax into my Captain Lawrence tulip.

A- The beer pours your typical pitch black stout color, with a tannish color head. The head is healthy, and lingers for quite a while. A light frothy ring retains around the edges of the glass for as long as I drank it.

S- The smell is a rich roasted malt nose, with notes of chocolate and oak. There is a slight smokiness, and some mild booziness. I get a touch of hops and maybe a little bit of bourbon.

T- A rich creamy flavor sweeps across my mouth, hints of oak and bourbon then take over and finish with a smooth aftertaste. I get a little heat and some hops on the back end, it it is blended quite nicely. I get a lot less bourbon flavor in this one than the Evan Williams barrel batch though.

M- It's got one hell of a complex taste, and just dances across the tongue. The beer in general just gets my tastebuds dacing. While I do pefer my barrel aged stouts a litte thicker, the complex flavor makes up for it.

O- Overall an other great Eclipse variation. While I do think I prefer the Evan Williams to this barrel, it certainly is not bad. The barrel aging just isn't as prevalent. Can't wait for 2011 bottles, and to try the Heaven Hill and Brandy varieties.


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Photo of gford217
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark, dark brown with a bigger head than any Eclipse I've yet seen. The head recedes slowly to a thin cap and leaves good lacing. One of the better looking Eclipse pours.

Aroma is cocoa powder and lots of bourbon and vanilla. Lots of oak character in the nose, much more than I remember in any of the versions.

Taste starts with a bit of vanilla and bourbon but there is lots of roasted malts and bakers chocolate. Also, there is a pretty heavy barrel character with lots of oak...again, really unexpected vs. the other versions.

This one seems a bit drier than the other Eclipses. It's smooth with strong carbonation and plenty of bourbon and barrel character.

All in all, I'd probably rate this as my least favorite Eclipse along with JD, but, hey, that's still better than almost everything out there. It's much heavier on oak than any of the other versions.

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Photo of jegross2
4.05/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewing the Eclipse Imperial Stout (Four Roses bourbon version) from FiftyFifty Brewing Company.
Score: 92

2011 vintage, bottle no. 2641. Served in a Surly Darkness snifter and enjoyed on 03/07/12. Review is from notes.

Appearance: Pours half a finger of creamy tan head that settles to a thin ring around the glass. Jet black with caramel strip of highlight atop the glass. Average lacing, above average retention. 4/5

Smell: Surprisingly straightforward for a barrel aged beer. Lots of dark chocolate. Then vanilla bean and a little toffee. Not much else. 4/5

Taste: Primarily a medley of various chocolate flavors. Some dark chocolate, creamy milk chocolate and some roasted chocolate. A little oak, followed by bourbon and caramel undertones. There is a modest amount of dark fruit, and a honey-like sweetness. Not very complex outside the chocolate flavors, but still very delicious. Alcohol is entirely hidden. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-full bodied, minimal carbonation. Really creamy mouthfeel. The finish is dry and slightly sweet. 4.5/5

Overall: Really tasty, but not very complex. This is a super solid barrel aged imperial stout that drinks incredibly well.

Recommendation: Delicious? Yes. Worth the cost? No. At $30+ a bottle, this is one certainly overpriced for what it is. I would absolutely drink it again, but there are plenty of cheaper, easier to find barrel aged imperial stouts out there.

Pairings: Chocolate chip pancakes.

Cost: $30 for a 22 oz (bomber) bottle.

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4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber to fish bowl. 2010 vintage. Bottle number 457. Many thanks to Grant for the trade. Sampled 3/18/12.

A: Scant 1 finger of head on the pour (the deep and wide glass rarely produces much more than that). The wispy head is light brown in color and doesn't last long, leaving only a crescent shaped ring along the sides. The body is very dark brown, and dark amber edges can be seen when the glass gets tilted back. Dots of lace sprinkle the glass before being washed away by the next sip.

S: The bourbon barrel sets the nose off. More refined than overpowering and very well integrated. Less prevalent are the subtle notes of cookie, cocoa powder, honey and vanillins. I pick up on light scents of dry wood, which are probably the oaky tannins coming through.

T: I honestly think that the honey is the key to this beer - and the most distinguishing factor. Not only does the honey flavor work with the overall profile, but there is a decent amount of malt sweetness here - and the drying effect of the honey does well to balance it out. The bourbon character supports the base beer well.

M: The body is no slouch - but it could stand to be a fuller certainly. Carbonation is spot on and keeps the beer rolling slowly over the tongue. Light heat on the backend is a plus in my mind.

O: Great beer - and not a single complaint - but I will be looking for a little more out of the next few 50/50's that I open.

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Photo of jeff1973
4.06/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Schlafly tulip. Bottled 12/11, so almost 2yrs old at this point. Bought at the Bruery Provisions (RIP) in Orange CA for $28.50.

A - Pitch, glistening black. Like motor oil. Light tan head leaves good lacing.

S - Milk chocolate, coconut, vanilla, toffee. All the nice bourbon smells you want.

T - Again, milk chocolate, coconut, vanilla, toffee. Also, some dried cherry, some coffee, roast. Alcohol is still present, even after 2yrs. Has a little raw grain finish. Only flaw.

M - Thick and rich upfront. Has a slightly watery finish (for the style). Carbonation is low and gives a silky mouthfeel.

O - Barrel-aged stouts are hard not to like. There are a few flaws on this one, but it is still a great beer. I will look for these again on the next bottle.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another one shared with friends @ Jason's place. Poured into Bruery tulip.

A - Pours black, mocha-colored head, some spotty lacing, and a thin filmy cap. The most head I've seen from any of the variations.

S - Rich chocolate, booze, oak, burnt/charred sugars. A touch lighter then the Evan Williams we had right before this. A little more subtle.

T - A nice dose of alcohol booze, oak, chocolate, char. As with the nose, a little more subtle when compared to the EW. Perhaps more balanced?

M - Full, good carbonation, rich and smooth, creamy finish.

D - Not quite as good as the EW we had right before this but it's better then most other imperial stouts out there. It's really a treat to try all the different variations Todd's created. He's done a stellar job. Recommend!

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Photo of ehammond1
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Super Junior Market
San Diego, CA

Very dark brown, nearly black in color, without a lot of visible carbonation and not much head. Eventually, however, this does leave sticky spots and sheets of lacing down the glass. That being said, this has significantly less carbonation than any of the other Eclipse variations I've opened this year.

The familiar coconut, bourbon, chocolate, wood, roast, and coffee elements combine here for something quite nice. Nearly as good as the white wax Elijah Craig variation, but not quite.

The flavor follows similarly, with toasted coconut, chocolate, bourbon, and earthy vanilla notes rounding this out. There's also a noticable ashey/char note to it as well, unfortunately. This is the third Eclipse variation I've tried so far, and it's unfortunately my least favorite.

Medium mouthfeel with low carbonation.

A terrific variation, but not quite as good as the Elijah Craig 18 nor the Brewmaster's Grand Cru.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened a bottle of this at the post-Christmas tasting in Chicago. Served in a Cantillon tulip.

Pours brings forward a black as night brew without much of a head or any sort of cap and collar after the pour. A few bubbles here and there, though not too much else. The nose brings forward quite a bit of bourbon, though this is nearly overpowered by the roasted character of the beer. Some nice chocolate notes abound.

The taste didn't quite get me like the nose did. The bourbon presence is quite nice, but at the same time the roasted character of the malt bill is a little too much--I'd prefer more of a chocolate base. However, still quite good and I won't complain too much. The feel is nice and viscous with the appropriate amount of booze. Drinkability is quite high, though as I'm sure one could tell, I could have done without some of the extra roast character.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: The appearance is mahogany, almost black, with dark brown edges. A few brown bubbles appear but never form into a head or leave any lace.

Smell: The aroma here is excellent. The bourbon, vanilla, smooth roasted and chocolate malts, chocolate, but there is also a nice floral note in here. It reminds me of lilac.

Taste: The flavor starts out sweet and smooth. Briefly I feel a sensation like I am chewing on flowers. Creamy, smooth malt is on the lighter roasted side. Chocolate and espresso come in next, with a bit of oak finishing out the flavor.

Mouthfeel: The feel is a bit oily but there is also a slight dryness from the oak and bourbon. The body is fuller than medium for the style, with very creamy, smooth carbonation.

Overall: This beer topped out at the aroma. The flowery notes I got there were different and caused me to raise an eyebrow.

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Photo of Hophead717
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pitch black with a thin mocha head that quickly disappears.

S: Roasted malt, sweet bourbon. A little boring.

T: Dark fruits, with mild roasted malts, light coffee, sweetness from the honey and bourbon. Finish is a nice mix of roasted malts and sweet bourbon.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to heavy carbonation. Works well for the style and hides the 9.5%.

O: A very good beer, but probably not quite worth the price. The EC18 remains my favorite.

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Photo of claspada
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a jet black color with a small tan head but still leaves some super lacing as your swirl the beer around.

Aromas of sweet bourbon, oak, roasted malts and dark chocolate. As it warms you get some dark fruits (figs), sweet fruit and caramel maltiness. A sweeter aroma than most of the Eclipse series.

The tastes follow the nose and begin with sweet bourbon, oak, roasted malts and dark chocolate. Then you get some vanilla, coffee and dark fruits that emerge more and more as it warms.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Finish is smooth but on the heavier side despite the lower than "normal" ABV for the style.

Overall I personally enjoyed this more than both of the Elijah Craig versions that I sampled the same evening. This was slightly frutier and sweeter with less biting alcohol.

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

The beer pours a darkish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is likewise attractive, as I pick up considerable milk chocolate, whiskey, vanilla annd maltballs. The stouts smells as if it will be on the sweet side, which it is, but the whiskey flavor helps to tame some of that sweetness. Otherwise, the flavor profile generally replicates the nose, but is dominated by chocolate and some light coffee. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a long, smooth, slightly boozy finish. Otherwise, the alcohol is pretty well integrated into the flavor profile, and drinkability is pretty good in this one.

A nice enough beer, but nothing really extraordinary either. Had this along with the Elijah Craig 18 year old, and I'm just thankful we sampled this beer first (this beer would likely not have shown nearly as well if we had drunk it after the EC version).

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

Review #6 cellar temp served in a tulip

A : Jet black, 1" mocha colored head that settles into a nice froth on top, lacing throughout, weaker retention than I expected

S : Booming oak and chocolate, bourbon less present than expected in the nose, some faint coffee

T : Comes off a bit dry, I get a lot more cocoa and coffee than I do the anticipated vanilla and toffee from the is not unpleasant at all just less barrel than I assumed.

M : Thinnish with strong carbonation, some bitter dark chocolate mid-palate and a dry, tight finish

O : Would have been interesting to have this blind as I don't think I would have guessed it for close to what it is. It is a very good imperial stout but the barrel notes were below expectation. Would be a great $15 beer, but at $30 is a bit meh. Glad to have had it though!

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

Pours a dark brown, reddish tints. Nice light tan head. Smells vanilla heavy. Very sweet. Lots of honey. Tastes a bit rough. Boozy, oaky. Vanilla heavy. Sweet. Lotd of roast and honey. Well carbonated. Thick. Good mouthfeel overall once of the better eclipse beers I've had

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

From the 2010 release party bottling. Shared with Habmike, Kkipple, SpencerDB, RobOrb and Advent. Many thanks to a kind mule.

Appearance: Looks basically like the rest of the 50/50 barrel aged lineup; small head, some lacing, dark pour with some mahogany brown edges.

Smell: Four roses is one of my favorite bourbons (the single barrel offering at least) so I was a bit disappointed with this one, it didn't have the signature mildness and smoothness I expect from four roses. Perhaps a bit too much roast in this one as compared to the others, although I assume they are all the base beer - maybe it just wasn't covered up as well by the lacking bourbon. Behind the bourbon I found some molasses, caramel and cocoa, as well as vanilla and oak from the barrel.

Taste: This one was a bit hot as compared to the others, and I don't it is just an age issue really. Behind the bourbon I tasted tobacco, cocoa, a bit too much char, vanilla, caramel and oak.

Mouthfeel: This one was a bit thin.

Drinkability: I really wanted to like this one but wasn't crazy about it as compared to some of the others.

We did a big side-by-side and I would rate them in this order: Pappy 50/50; Evan Williams 50/50; Elijah Craig 50/50; 4 Roses 50/50; Heaven Hill 50/50 (noticeably worse than the rest); Brandy 50/50 (Brandy being a drain pour). It was fun to try them side-by-side, each is incredibly distinct and there are certainly some winners and some losers.

I hate saying each of these smells like bourbon but they truly do smell like the brands of bourbon they used for the barrels. If you have not had each of the bourbons several times (enough times to pick them out of a 7 bourbon lineup) you won't have the fun wow factor of smelling and tasting each of them.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz red wax ensconced bottle, 2013 version, and now 11.9% ABV. Can't say that I've ever tried the titular Bourbon - I'll save that for a future date.

This beer pours a solid light-sucking black hole, with the slightest of basal cola 'highlights', and a teeming tower of puffy, thickly foamy, and duly rocky light brown head, which leaves a pleasant web of sudsy lace around the glass as it slowly wilts away.

It smells of grainy milk chocolate, woody alcohol, vanilla, and caramel Bourbon barrel notes, field honey, molasses-heavy malt, besotted dark bread, a touch of cold coffee, and weak earthy, weedy hops. The taste is bittersweet cocoa, sugary Bourbon essences - watery vanilla, a more sturdy toffee and caramel, and an ethereal rye grain spiciness - lightly roasted pale, chocolate, and caramel malt, herbal honey, a hint of earthy hops, and a middling booze warmth.

The bubbles are pretty low-key overall, the body actually a bit on the light side of medium weight for this sort of offering, and equitably smooth at the same time. It finishes sweet, in the, 'gee someone poured a shot of top-shelf Yankee whiskey into my already heady Imperial Stout' kind of way, so thanks, Drunk Uncle, or whoever had the wherewithal to engender such an act.

One of the more approachable versions of this onslaught of Bourbon County aged stouts from this particular California mountain brewery that have suddenly made their way up north to we, um, northerners. Tasty, and still more than a wee bit challenging to the average palate, I would venture to presume, though I did quite enjoy the dual upsides of lush chocolate and a subtle alcohol perception a little too much, especially given the near 12 points of hooch.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

smoke, bacon, toast, bitter, malt backbone

beer aged in four roses single barrel (10 yr old) for 225 days. 10% abv aged at 38 degrees fahrenheit

these beers disappear off the shelves if you can find them outside of the brewery

sampled this at the bistro west coast barrel aged beer festival november 13, 2010

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Four Roses Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.
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