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

BA SCORE
88
very good
86 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Christian Brothers BrandyImperial Eclipse Stout - Christian Brothers Brandy
BEER INFO

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

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
86
Reviews:
44
Avg:
4.02
pDev:
14.43%
 
 
Wants:
132
Gots:
25
For Trade:
2
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 86 |  Reviews: 44
Photo of twowheelssoar
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of richbrew
3/5  rDev -25.4%

Photo of doughanson78
5/5  rDev +24.4%

Photo of Retsinis
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of jh1982
5/5  rDev +24.4%

Photo of NCBeerFan
4.39/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this for the first time at a January tasting as part of the entire '10 lineup, and it was the favorite for most of the attendees. Decided to open it again 8 months later and see if it still as tasty.

Poured a dark brown with some ruby highlights along the edges into a DFH snifter…can't recall the carbonation from the initial pour, but this one is flatter than expected, with virtually no head whatsoever…it does, however, leave a tiny bit of lacing around the glass.

Smells of brandy, vanilla, dark fruits, milk chocolate…just a great aroma, and makes you just want to enjoy the smell and not even take a sip, but….

The taste follows the nose, with the chocolate, brandy and vanilla coming through, although my wife picks up some toffee-like flavors. This is just a really tasty brew…these guys know how to brew a BA stout.

As is the case with all of the BA Eclipses, this is one velvety smooth brew…the flatness took away a bit of the enjoyment, but it's still a top-notch BA stout, and one that I would gladly drink again.

 1,047 characters

Photo of AgentZero
4.39/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Black beer with no head on it. That's really about it. It's black.

S - Not as heavy or full as some of the bourbon aged versions seem. The brandy is nice though, and nice for a change up. There's also some chocolate, as well as a slightly bigger focus on the dark fruits that the bourbon covers up.

T - Nice fruit character with chocolate and coffee. The brandy is prevelent but only slightly booze, and tastes pretty good. Little bit of wood comes through at the end.

M - Creamy, smooth, pretty full bodied, just a little bit thinner than the bourbon counterparts.

O - Great beer, and it's rare! Thanks to Thorpe429 for haring this one. A great change from the bourbon versions, and a good beer.

 704 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

very deep dark chocolate brown, Some very light, and I mean very light side glass lace formed as I made my way down the glass, but it was unremarkable in that context. The look was a far cry from the thick tan heads and tremendous lacing of some of its peers, but that will by no means influence the final judging of this one.

The first thing I noticed was a tremendous amount of bourbon in the smell. It was coming across very hot at first, but this was just the barrel aging, which to be honest, if it was this prevalent in the aroma, the flavor was setting up to be out of this world. A deep resonant smell of roasted coffee then followed, mixed in with what almost seemed to be to be like some kind rich burnt tobacco smell, quite unique and I cannot say that I have encountered anything like this one in recent memory. Letting it warm lets some of the bourbon smells work themselves out and starts to reveal some of the deeper ingredients lying well under the surface. There was some bit of sweetness in there, albeit small; however, it was there and gave off a caramelized sugar note of some sort, bitter dark chocolate mingling in now and really staring to battle it out with the bourbon. Notes of oak now hitting the stage, really giving it that earthy tone I was looking for, and being sweetened up just a little bit b a hint of vanilla floating around in there. Rich dark chocolate notes were swirling around in here, mingling with everything that came there way, including a touch of sweet lactose,nsmoked tobacco that I picked up in the smell, not really sure what that is, but it adds great depth to it and really providing and interesting little hint. Rolling though there is now some oak starting to pull it together, really showing off the barrel character of it now. Some hints of vanilla starting to poke around, and then come some black licorice, hell yeah now we are talking. Letting it warm up now to around or close to room temperature, things are really starting to change a bit here. Gone is the strong bourbon barrel hotness, the alcohol all but faded away, and instead those subtle notes of sweetness are replacing it, really mellowing it out, letting the oak like earthy notes dominate and bring together the chocolate and the vanilla.

 2,263 characters

Photo of jethrodium
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle. Maroon wax. Pours a very dark brown that's ruby colored at the edges when held up to the light. A light tan head dissipates relatively quickly and leaves a small amount of lacing on the glass. Aroma in brandy, toasted marshmallow, some honey, a bit of roastiness, some cocoa, grape, plum, as well as some light alcohol. The taste is relatively sweet with brandy, plum, toasted marshmallow, and cocoa. The finish has some roastiness as well as a light bitterness. The alcohol present in the nose was not present in the taste. Relatively light bodied for an imperial stout. Low carbonation. Just a great beer. I enjoyed this one the best out of all the 2010 eclipses.

 678 characters

Photo of seeswo
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark with a small, quiet tan head. Smells very similar to other eclipse beers, malty with honey sweetness, a bit of dark fruit and a touch of chocolate combined with a subtle rich brandy. Smells really good. The taste is more subtle brandy than expected, but well melded with the nice honey touch on the malty, dark fruit imperial stout. Always drinkable, the beer is just a touch thinner than I am looking for, but goes down nice at <10%. It's not my favorite of the eclipse BA beers, but it is quite nice.

There must be some bottle variation, because no one would drain pour the beer I had. If anything, it might have been a bit too subtle.

 658 characters

Photo of juhl31
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

-pitch black in color. i held it up to the full sun and nothing through it. i like how the head looks after a bit, tall on the edges with a light brown film across the rest. not much fluff to it at all though

-when cold, it is hard to pull smell descriptors out of it. as it warms you can definitely smell the brandy on it. on the sweet end and has a bit of a nostril sting to it

-when colder it seems as it has much more roast flavor than others. and again the brandy rolls in hard as it warms. it gives it a weird, almost tart flavor. the brandy doesn't seem to blend with it as well as the bourbons. i also get a bit of a vanilla taste along with a bit of dark chocolate

-almost no carb feel involved and seems a bit thin compared to the others. your mouth also gets left with a bit of a dingy bitter feel to it

-this is definitely an interesting version. it is crazy how different the overall beer tastes with the brandy. it leads me to believe that brandy barrels lend itself better to barleywines. i am glad i tried a solid portion, but i am not necessarily impressed

 1,077 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.38/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks again to the folks at FiftyFifty for sharing their beer with the rest of the country: ordered this along with the rest of their varieties last winter. The rest have been so good I can't imagine this isn't going to be in the same pantheon.

Pour is more still than the other Eclipse: almost completely quiet, virtually no carbonation. Hard black. Smell is subtle. Brandy is there but muzzled, malt is strong/deep.

Brandy Eclipse is steeped in a big tea-bag of brandy: no doubting the family tree of this brew. Plenty of dollops of other flavors too. Silvers of oak, bits of dark fruit, maybe a little mild chocolate & char thrown in for good measure. That said, these flavors don't quite roll around & couple the way they do in the other Eclipse brews, or other top-flight barrel-aged brews. Everything is good on its own, but the overall impression is a bit less than the sum of its parts.

Good, but not great, which I can't say for any of the other Eclipse iterations. Whatever. Still one of the best barrel-aged series out there, & I'm happy to try this.

 1,068 characters

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

Thanks seeswo. Amazingly tasty brew.

Pours a dark dark brown. Vry nice light tan head. Looks pretty.
Smells sweet with a touch of light fruitiness. The malt profile is solid. Tastes sweet and malty. The brandy is subtle and very solid. I get just a touch of plum and or raisin. Solid mouthfeel and overall a great brew

 319 characters

Photo of DefenCorps
4.52/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #515 from the 2010 release, shared with my dad last night.

Glugging a dark brown from the bottle, there's a thin, wispy, light brown head that briefly rises before falling off to a disk, leaving a nice sheet of lacing on the glass. The nose is rather excellent. The brandy character is great here. Rich with a blend of grape, red wine, port, a little smoke, a mild tannin, a little cocoa, a little leather, the barrel expression is excellent here! It does seem to have almost covered some of the sweeter elements of the base beer as well, there isn't as much caramel as in the other variants. A mild heat is present, but it's perfect on this pleasant spring evening.

The palate is rather excellent. It really needs to warm up to about 60, 'cos any lower and it feels thin and watery. The brandy expression on the palate is excellent. Rich, mildly smoky, mildly port-like, moderately tannic and of course, plenty of brandy and pomace. Behind it all, the caramel sweetness from the base stout is noticeable, pairing rather wonderfully with the smoky and leathery character that is rather unique to this variant of Eclipse. Mildly tannic with flavors of pomace and brandy on the finish, this beer is full in body with moderate carbonation and an absolutely wonderful finish. Excellent stuff, highly recommended. Of the two variants from the 2010 release that I've tried yet, this is my favorite.

**Edit 7th Feb 2012**

Happy birthday, Sandhosh! I'm revisiting this beer after a few months, and it looks like I have "good" bottles. Quite wonderfully balanced, with the brandy really making this stand apart from the other Eclipses. It still is my favorite among the 2010 releases.

 1,686 characters

Photo of woosterbill
4.52/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the Batch 3 Rosso release as part of an Eclipse tasting; huge thanks to Thorpe429, ChrisPro, callmemickey, rlmartin, corey70, and starrdogg for making this possible!

A: Black with clear red highlights. The lightest of the Eclipses in its body, but with a similarly creamy cap of light brown head. Nice.

S: Heaven. Rich, sweet, fruity, and roasty. Brandy, vanilla, milk chocolate, coffee, and bitterness. Intense and balanced at the same time. Very, very different from the whiskey versions, and it's a welcome change of pace.

T: Sweet malt, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit. The spirit isn't too prominent, but definitely noticeable. Plenty of booze and brandy on the finish. Delicious.

M: Smooth, full, rich, and soft - the only Eclipse to nail the mouthfeel.

O: This was the final installment in our epic Eclipse tasting, and what a way to cap things off. The shift from whiskey to brandy couldn't have been starker, or any better accomplished - the softer spirit notes and bigger fruit presence really added some cool complexity to the clearly amazing base beer. I'm not sure if all of my ratings align perfectly with my retrospective feelings, but for anyone who cares here's my rundown of the tasting, from best to worst:

Pappy
Elijah Craig
Brandy
09 Heaven Hill
4 Roses
Evan Williams
10 Heaven Hill

The top three were all just spectacular, the next three all similarly terrific, and the last one just a bit disappointing compared to the others - but I'm sure age will make it just as good as the previous year's version. All in all I'm a huge, huge fan of all of these beers, and eagerly look forward to the next set. Oh, and if anyone reads this and has Jack Daniel's version they want to trade me, I'd be more than happy to complete my set of reviews. Thanks again to the great BAs who included me in this epic, epic tasting.

Cheers!

 1,870 characters

Photo of JAXSON
2.81/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle. Pours black with more of a head than the other Eclipse variations. Nose is malty, sweet, meaty, a bit smoky. In the mouth, it's pretty hot, sugary, under attenuated. Really this just struck me as being all malt and sweet brandy, no integration, no balance, no finesse. Oddly meaty and almost alsty at times, despite the huge sweet alcohol sugars. By far the worst Eclipse variation.

 390 characters

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.

 1,186 characters

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.

 600 characters

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.

 969 characters

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

Brandy eclipse

2/21/2011

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.

 868 characters

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.

 1,665 characters

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.

 584 characters

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.

 884 characters

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.

 1,118 characters

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Christian Brothers Brandy from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 86 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe