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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Christian Brothers Brandy | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Christian Brothers BrandyImperial Eclipse Stout - Christian Brothers Brandy

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brown/purple wax top.

Added by largadeer on 12-02-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 44 | Ratings: 85
Photo of hopsbreath
2.25/5  rDev -44%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Recognition has to go out to Arbitrator for sending this up to ramnuts house for a tasting I was lucky enough to attend. Thanks to ramnuts for hosting and to Arbi for directing yet another rare beer up this way. Tick, tick, tick, here we go.

A: Medium reddish brown with good clarity, pale brown short lived fizzy head that recedes to a wisp ring, no legs, no lacing. 2/5

S: Yep, there’s brandy. Some smoky meat doesn’t really work here. Neither does the plum like fruits. 2/5

T: Overly sweet and seemingly under-attenuated. Weak chocolate never really develops into anything pleasant. Other notes include burnt raisin and charred barrel. Bleh. 2.5/5

M: Low carbonation in big stouts usually works for me but in this particular case the base is just too damn thin. Sticky finish does nothing to help. 2.5/5

O: Not enjoyable. I had this along-side the Four Roses barrel treatment and the 4R clearly was better. Definitely the worst of the Eclipse series that I’ve had this year. I’ve yet to have the Heaven Hill though so that’s still in contention. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that brandy doesn't typically agree with my palate when it comes to barrel aging. 2/5.

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Photo of nkersten
2.49/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Sampled at Flossmoor Hi Fi Rye release. Not sure who dropped this one on our table, but thank you! Served in a pint glass. Pours black with tiny brown edges, tan bubbly collar that fades quickly. Smells strong of rubbing alcohol, some dark malts, tiny bit of brandy, not very sweet at all. No oak presence in the smell. Taste is a bit better, but the brandy alcohol is overwhelming. Slight malty sweetness with a rubbing alcohol finish. Heavy body and light carbonation, a bit syrupy. This is the biggest fail for me so far in the eclipse line. There was no balance to this and it was a alcohol mess.

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Photo of gford217
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, #267, poured into a tulip.

Pour is typical for the Eclipses as it's not quite black. Te head is smaller than the others I've had and is really just a very thin film tha recedes immediately to a collar.

Aroma is fantastic with an initial sweetness from the brandy which balances the dark roasted malts, chocolate and vanilla from the underlying beer. Good bit of sugar coated raisins and overripe dark fruits.

The taste is more of the same as the initial tastes are of sweet dark fruits, brandy and vanilla. The backbone has some smooth dark chocolate and lightly roasted malts. Finish is a bit spicy with the oaky tannins and very subtle alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth though the carbonation is lower than I was expecting and lower than the other Eclipses.

Another home run for the boys from Fifty Fifty as the key word continues to be balance. The barrel character is well integrated and makes for an absurdly drinkable BA stout.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brandy eclipse


Thanks! Apposed next to Pappy Eclipse.

A: Black with a small light brown head. Small alcohol collar.

S: Light Brandy notes with some fig and date. Nice chocolate profile. Barrel tannins and a pretty strong char are evident. Lots of charred wood phenolics. Some brown sugar and vanilla. The aroma opened up and improved after about thirty minutes. Initially, it was a lot of harsher barrel notes but the chocolate eventually became more pronounced.

T: Lightly sweet with some dark chocolate and fig. Big barrel char. Spirit character is pretty faint. Somewhat astringent. Light booze. Finish is a little harsh with more char.

M: Lower full body with low carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky with warming and some astringency.

Overall: It wasn't fair to put this next to Pappy Eclipse, but this is probably my least favorite of the Eclipses.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mikey711 for this one. Had at a tasting 2/19/11. 4oz. pour from a 22oz. bomber into a brandy snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A: .25 finger light coffee head dissipates quickly into a thin ring around the glass that lingers for just a second before disappearing completely. Beer is an opaque, oily black. Lacing is spotty with little cling but nice legs. Pretty typical looking though head retention is a bit poor and legs and color are slightly above average.

S: Nose is sweet soy sauce, chocolate fudge, molasses and some raisins and prunes. Branday barrels are very subtle and provide a nice smoothing quality over the other aromas. Not the most aromatic but very appetizing.

T: Opens sweet chocolate and vanilla. Sweet soy sauce, raisin, and molasses towards the middle. Brandy barrels come in right about the halfway point along with creamy hop oils that melds with the roasted malt to provide a subtle bittersweet experience. End is creamy chocolate, fudge, and slight hop bitterness with a sticky, sweet aftertaste. ALmost like what I'd imaging a Brandy-barrel Darkness to taste like but much more subtle.

M: Medium to full bodied with very low carbonation. Slick and oily in the mouth and super smooth, yet slightly viscous going down. Substantial. Very little heat overall. Finish is messy with an aftertaste that lingers just a bit. Exactly what I'd want from an imperial stout.

D: Probably one of the better Brandy-barrel aged beers that I've come across. Mouthfeel is unbelievable here and its what really sets it apart from other beers in its class. Definitely worth seeking out and another winner from the 50/50 Imperial Stout series.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Broke out the bottle for the xmas tree lighting.
Pours blacker than I recalled. Amazing brandy aroma melded with the charred oak and singed malt.

Taste, exquisite, mellow enjoyable brandy heat, chewy chocolate, burnt flavor to it. A sipper, lighter than gargantuan malt overflowing in the mash type of stouts, this one is big, yet delicate. Smoky.

Can't wait to see how these develop through the years.

--Update: After 2 more bottles of this, there's a little bit of inconsistency, all have been good, but there's too much variation compared to the draft version upon its release.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for sharing this one, Ted.

A: The pour is almost black with essentially no head on it. Still works for me.

S: Quite a different aroma from the whiskey aged versions. Lots of brandy, that's for certain, with some oak, roasted malts, and dark chocolate. I get a bit of smoke here, strangely enough.

T: As the flavor opens up, I begin to like it more and more. The brandy provides the sort of trademark booze character these beers are known for. There's a nice fruit character that provides additional sweetness and complexity. I get a lot of chocolate and probably more roast and coffee than the other versions.

M: The body is medium to full with a low to medium level of carbonation.

D: You can definitely separate this from the other versions (based on the taste). I wasn't initially crazy about it, but as I let my glass sit and enjoyed the rest of it, I really liked it.

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Photo of craytonic
2.64/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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, not much lacing, dark pour with some mahogany brown edges.

Smell: There is this boozy, brandy sweet fruitiness to it, followed by chocolate, brown sugar, toffee and caramel. I was not crazy about it.

Taste: Again the brandy sweet fruitiness and booze, perhaps some cough syrup cherry. Also a bit of coffee, fudge brownies and brown sugar behind it.

Mouthfeel: Undercarbonated, a bit thin

Drinkability: Most of use drain poured this one; as compared to the Pappy 50/50 (gave it a 4.6) this one just isn't worth drinking.

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 - with brandy being the big loser.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Pours nearly-black with a thin whisp of a tan head. A few bubbles on top. The nose is really quite nice with a strong brandy presence and character, though not a terrible amount of booze. There is quite a bit of strong chocolate and mild oak there as well. Really nice aroma and I can't wait to see how this improves. The taste is excellent as well with quite a bit of chocolate and brandy character throughout. Slight oak presence in a bit of booze. Slightly boozy feel that is quite thick. Overall, this is a very memorable barrel-aged stout that I look forward to trying again in the future and seeing how it develops, especially after tasting with the Pappy version has turned into.

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Photo of JoeySchlitz
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to waltonc for sharing this sought after gem with me.

Appearance isn't this beers strong suit, as it pours almost flat with some small sudsy bubbles at the perimeter of the glass. Midnight black in color and when held up against a light source, some light brown hues appear at the edges.

At first smell, I'm reminded of brandy angel's share. There's dark, alcohol soaked fruit (cherries) with a strong barrel aroma. Brown sugar mixed with some morning coffee and as it warms, more of the brandy barrel comes out. It smells divine and very different than the other 2010 versions.

Upon tasting, bitter bakers chocolate with cocoa, coffee with some slight dark fruit at the front. Followed by charred malt with slight brandy undertones. This is much easier to drink than other versions - it seems the brandy barrels have taken the imperial stout down a notch or two.

The beer has a medium viscosity with zero carbonation. Although the style doesn't necessitate carbonation, if there was just a faint amount, it would have been much improved (appearance, smell and taste).

Overall, this is a very good barrel-aged stout, but I think the Evan Williams version is better and is the sleeper of the bunch. I wonder how this will age compared to the others as well - it seems a bit lighter-bodied? I guess only a future tasting will tell.

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Photo of waltonc
4.21/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Thanks to both ipa247 and Joeyschlitz for helping me land this. Pours dark brown with no head. Smells amazing. Schlitz and I each smelled it, looked at each other, and nodded, as if to say, "that's tha chronic!". Strong brandy on the nose with rich chocolate and dark fruit. One of the best smelling beers I have had. Taste follows - lots of brandy, plum, cherry, and barrel. Body is medium with virtually no carbonation. By contrast, the bottle of Four Roses I had last night was very well-carbonated. Overall, quite good, but I am not sure this merits the hype. Seems driven more by the scarcity than by being the best version of eclipse. I much preferred PVW, EC and HH versions to this.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Another bottle provided by Thorpe, dude you gotta stop, you're killing us! Poured into my Narke tulip...Dark black pour with very little carbonation, not much to look at...The aroma is on the lighter side to my dismay, but its got lots of nice notes of light sweet brandy, with chocolate and dark fruits. Really love the brandy, just want more of it...The taste is nice but sadly it loses a lot of the sweet brandy that I like. Decadent chocolate dominates this with some light brandy and the barrel wood comes through...The feel is nice and creamy, really easy to drink.

This is pretty outstanding, if the brandy came through a little more on the taste this would be world class. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to Thorpe429, thanks Mike! Poured from 22oz purple/brown wax-dipped bomber into 3F tasting glass.

A - Pours black, no head, some bubbles here and there. Nothing else much going on, but I don't care too much about the looks, so I'm ready to move on.

S - Nice rich chocolate, some dark fruits, nice brandy booze, some oak. This smells wonderful! The brandy barrels did this beer wonders!

T - Much like the nose, this doesn't disappoint. Wonderful rich dark chocolate, roasted malts, oak, and brandy. The brandy is perfectly blended with the base beer and really compliments it. Just outstanding!

M - Full, rich and thick, creamy finish.

D - Another awesome Eclipse variant from FiftyFifty. Todd sure knows how to create some wonderful stouts. Not as good as the PVW variant, but it's still outstanding.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.67/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Review averaged between two bottles. One opened by myself and another shared by the late chswimmer (RIP Ted).

A: Unlike the other Eclipses, this pours a dark brown that is essentially opaque, borderline black. There is almost no carbonation. This is just a hair above flat.

S: I think the Eclipses have some good noses in general. This is not an exception, though it doesn't meet the pungency and brilliance of some of its bourbon brothers. Good pairing of brandy, caramel, and milk chocolate. Mild cigar note. In two of the bottles I've tried, the nose was good; in the third, it was just ok. I've averaged them.

T: Mild brandy, caramel, milk chocolate. Toffee and vanilla are also noted. Oak is pronounced and produces a mild astringency in the finish, which resurrects the brandy and caramel. I like the flavor, and I love Eclipse, but I have to admit I felt like a couple of the other iterations were better as I was drinking this. Brandy flavors just don't seem to complement the stout base as well as the bourbon and rye treatments do. It doesn't have a lot of "there" there.

M: Smooth body. It lacks viscosity. Carbonation is nearly nonexistent, which is a drawback, though not a total deal-breaker. The flavor lingers slightly into the aftertaste. One bottle was extremely smooth, but another had a pronounced heat to it.

D: I think it's fine, but I'm really not that impressed by it, especially considering how much better its brothers are. Maybe bottle variation is a culprit, but after having it three times now, I am not so sure. I'd recommend the three other 2010 version ahead of this one.

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Photo of nickd717
4.82/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bomber thanks to Craig.

Pours pretty much black with a one-finger tan head and good lacing.

The aroma is awesome as usual for Eclipse. Huge roast and coffee, dark chocolate, oak, and brandy.

Amazing flavor. So incredibly balanced, with roasted malts, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate, and brandy. Just incredbible, as it is for the other beers in the series.

Fairly full bodied and extremely slick with soft carbonation and amazing smoothness.

Once again, Eclipse owns. This is right up there with Pappy '08 and Heaven Hill '09 as the best in the series. Phenomenal.

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Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Craig.

Dark opaque brown, low-to-moderate carbonation creates a thin tan head that recedes to a lasting collar.

The nose is an awesome mix of brandy barrel fruitiness, dark chocolate and oak. There's a little caramel sweetness above mellow and integrated alcohol.

It's incredibly mellow on the palate. Hardly a trace of alcohol, with flavors of brandy and toasted oak followed by caramel and dark chocolate, licorice and charred malt. The body is medium-full, and carbonation is light. Great beer, but be warned that there's a lot of bottle variation with this one.

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Photo of johndoe8
4.87/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap @ the Eclipse Release Party.

This was my favorite of the eclipse of the night. By far it was the least "hot" of the Eclipse, and the brandy added such a wonderful flavor to the beer.

The aroma was outstanding. Honey, brandy, light chocolate, some cognac nose on it. It tasted less dry than the other variations of Eclipse, which I thought was a big plus... this also increased the drinkability, as the heat didn't come through at all.

If you've had Eclipse before, you'd know that the mouthfeel for them is generally perfect for the style.. not too much viscosity.. just right.

I'm sorry for the lack of more details, but I will amend this review after I find the occasion to crack open a bottle.

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Photo of JWD
4.71/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a fellow BA i got a few of these from the recent release last week. I am a big Eclipse fan so i had to try one of the brandy ones now.

A-This was probably the worst part of this beer. Color was a deep black with some ruby tones to the edge of the glass. The carbonation is very light and even with a hard pour i struggled to get a head to develop. I would have liked a little more activity here. This was not unexpected as i have had several versions and they all seem very unique in body and feel.

S-WONDERFUL sweet brandy with chocolate and toffee, i swirled this for 15 minutes just so i could smell it over and over.

T-GREAT here as well. 50/50 does not disappoint with the wonderful complexities that they deliver in their barrel beers. The brandy treatment really comes through front and center along with a mild touch of heat which was suprising for a beer this fresh i expected it to be hotter. I can only imagine where this will be in year or two.

M-OK, I wish the body was a bit bigger. I feel that these tend to be a little light on the body, however it does not take away from the experience to much.

D-Here is another area where these beers shine and this FRESH brandy stays true to being extremely smooth and easy to drink. As with all big stouts this will continue to improve over time. I have said this before that these beers seem like the ABV is higher than what the bottle states at 9.5, you can't taste it but it will catch up to you if your not careful. Way to easy to drink..

Overall I was very impressed at another solid stout to come out of 50/50. This was a wonderful beer to try and to get ahold of with a very low bottle count of ~450 total and with no plans on a brandy version in 2011 these will be very rare and a prize for any cellar.

Bring on the PORT verion in 11!!!

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.78/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this first on the Sunday before the release party while we were bottling everything. I liked it then a lot, but felt it was suffering from a bit of under carbonation. At the party everything on this beer was almost perfect, probably my second or third favorite version of the Eclipse. Absolutely stunning how this one came out.

The appearance is perfect for an Imperial Stout. It was poured into a small 8 oz snifter. It had a great dark tan head that was poured about one fingers height. The head actually stuck around for a while and eventually ended up as a thin layering over the top of the liquid. It is thick, and left beautiful brown legs all over the sides of my glass. The viscosity was perfect, head density and retention were great, overall an exceptional looking beer.

If I were to characterize this beer into one word it would be 'smooth'. It has a very pronounced brandy character that has accompanied smells to round it out nicely. It is a very sweet smelling beer with milk chocolate, hints of vanilla, black licorice, and a very earthy malt backbone.

It is perfect on the tongue with different flavors playing very well with the noticeable booze aspect. Sweet chocolate and a smooth brandy mouthfeel come together with vanilla, and a bit of earthy malt to produce one of the smoothest and most delicious beers I have had. There is minimal heat on this from the barrel, but its carbonation and viscosity make it easy to drink.

This is one of the beers that I kept going back to, the one that I could not get enough of. With some of these high gravity barrel aged beers you can see where age would do favors to different parts of the beer. This has almost reached perfection and I can see it only getting better with age. Truly amazing what is going on at this brewery.


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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Christian Brothers Brandy from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 85 ratings.
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