Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon
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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #156
Ranked #615
4.35 | pDev: 7.59%
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon
Notes: Our award winning Imperial Stout aged in specially curated oak bourbon barrels from our favorite distilleries. Then, each limited edition batch is identified by the color of the wax top. We always try and have one Eclipse on tap at the Brewery, and our limited release bottles are available until sold out.
Reviews: 191 | Ratings: 623 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StrandsideMB
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 version aged in oak barrels with a green waxed cap on a 1 pint bottle. Pours a dark Black coffee, with a 1 finger khaki brown head and the consistency of used motor oil. Smell is of bourbon, honey, alcohol, sugary molasses and black currants. Taste is smooth, with little bit of a fizzy bite. Sweet honey and molasses up front, with black licorice and burnt sugar in the middle, followed by a little leathery tannin, then a warm to hot bourbony burn on the back end, that does not overwhelm. A very smooth beer for 11.9 % alcohol. I’d say if I ever came across it again I’d buy another bottle if the price was not cost prohibitive. Definitely a good-great barrel aged imperial stout.

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Photo of kitch
3.88/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A 22 fl. oz. waxed bomber, 2016 vintage. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark dark brown to black in colour with a one and a half finger tanned head that had decent retention and left some nice lacing.

Aroma: Roasty, chocolate, toffee, coffee, bourbon, vanilla with a hint of licorice.

Taste: Moderately sweet, bourbon, fruit cake, raisin, fig, light roast, chocolate, molasses, honey, licorice.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with soft carbonation.

Overall: Not enough roastiness as it was overpowered by the sweetness and bourbon. Body was also lighter than I prefer my Imperial Stouts to be.

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Photo of mschrei
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Maybe the best I’ve had of theirs so far. 2017 vintage, think I have it the right amount of age. Great looking, healthy foam and lacing. Smell is perfect amount of oak and booze. Taste is on target-boozy but not too hot, base comes through as well. It’s not oily nor is it heavy, and it’s an excellent sipper. All around phenomenal and the first one I’ve had of the series where I didn’t feel like I overpaid. Going to have to try some Evan Williams after this.

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Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage, been holding this for a while

Pours practically no head, a little dark colored small fizzy head and lacing, inky pitch black beer no light, and long legs

Nose plenty of the base beer, thick fudgey chocolate, cocoa, some roasted malt and coffee notes, baking spices and licorice as well as cookie dough and a touch nutty, caramel, thick vanilla barrel notes, light bourbon, soft aged malt and a little winey chocolate,

Taste rich thick layers of chocolate, dark chocolate cocoa, fudge, caramel, a little cookie dough and baking spices, mild vanilla and some barrel notes, also a bit of bourbon but not a ton, rich intense malts, then medium bitterness from roast and mild earthy spicy hops, a hint of coconut barrel notes, mild fluffy vanilla nougat candy bar, with fair amount of sweetness, light aged dark malt character, light alcohol flavor, sticky sweet finish and a little intense fudge

Mouth is fuller bod, rich creamy almost chewy, some warming tingly alcohol but not much, light but good enough carb for the style

Overall def aged, lost some of the barrel but thankfully not oxidized, and has that aged malt character which is nice

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Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a finger dense light tan head which fades quickly to a collar around the edge of the glass
S: Smells of chocolate and oak with some caramel and vanilla. Light smoke and coffee.
T: Taste is chocolate with some green apple skins. Nice oak and roasted malts with some caramel and vanilla as well. Strong coffee presence with some hints of burnt sugars toward the back along with a little charred wood. Slight molasses like note as well on this one. On the finish this one is pretty barrel forward with some nice caramel and vanilla notes followed by more chocolate and coffee with some residual oak.
M: This beer has a body that is definitely at the fuller end of the spectrum with a slightly creamy feel. Carbonation is on the low end but it is adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a really great beer. The different barrels all bring something a little different to the party while the notes provided by the base beer really play well with the barrels. This is another fine example of the series.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2017 vintage
22oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours deep black in color with a one-finger creamy khaki colored head that has good retention and leaves some lacing behind

S- very grainy nose, almost smells like fresh mash. Barrel notes popping through, providing oak, bourbon and vanilla. Undertones of chocolate and caramel

T- lots of initial notes of chocolate & caramel, immediately followed by dark fruit notes of fig, raisin & prune. Mid-palate gives notes of barley, boozy oak and vanilla. The finish gives some molasses, char and anise

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns into a creamy finish

O- nose was simple but complexity opened up on the flavor, another solid Eclipse variant

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Photo of colts9016
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

These beer have a unique flair to them. I have wanted to try these beers but at 30 dollars a bottle that is a little steep to try a beer I have never had. The beer is 50 degrees and served in a tulip glass. A hard pour on the beer produced a one finger medium tan head. The head is creamy and foamy with poor retention. The head left no lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is SRM 37 dark brown to black in color. The clarity of the beer is opaque.

The bourbon in the beer really pulls through. The aromas in the beer is vanilla, caramel, oak, citrus, earthy, burnt sugar, molasses, dark chocolate, espresso, dark roasted malts, bready, char, and yeast.

The flavors in the beer is bourbon ( vanilla, caramel, and oak), citrus, earthy molasses, burnt sugar, yeast, bready, dark roasted malt, espresso, and yeast.

The mouthfeel of the beer is chewy and hot.

The body of the beer is full, medium-plus carbonation, and a full long finish.

The beer is rich and full flavored. A lot is going on in the beer. The beer is balanced and the harmony is a bit rough. The does not hide the 12 percent alcohol and drinks boozy. Nonetheless, the beer is tasty.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Jeez... This is unforgettable....

Loaded with bourbon and chocolate fudge... A touch thin but the incredible flavor hides any faults...

I loved the beer and hope I can find a bottle again on my next trip to Nashville...

Truly sublime... Incredible....

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Photo of beergoot
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Opaque black body; thick, creamy, light tan head. Heavy aroma of chocolate; charred sugars; faint sweetness of dark, dried fruits; subtle notes of bourbon. Bittersweet chocolate flavor; deeply roasted malts; woody booziness; initial sweetness changes into an interesting blend of alcohol with some husky, charred grain bitterness. Heavy body, thick and viscous; perceptible residual sugars yet dry overall due to the high ABV and dark, dark grain bill.

The bottle lists this offering as BOTTLE RUN No. 1/2013. I paid $34.99 for this beer (there are other fine offerings that cost way less, yet I've never tried a Fifty-Fifty Eclipse series imperial stout). I wouldn't pay that much again for this but this is most definitely a very solid, very well-made barrel-aged imperial stout. It does have impeccable balance and depth, taming the high ABV overall with rich and savory dark grain flavorings. I don't know if this would have been better if tasted a few years earlier, but I have no complaints per se with waiting several years before trying this behemoth. Good shit...

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Photo of Tony210
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look : pours pitch black with a light tan head that quickly dissipates leaving fairly large bubbles That forn a ring around the glass.

Smell: Caramel, chocolate, coconut , vanilla , molasses.

Taste: very sweet at first - lots of honey. Then comes the chocolate, vanilla, hint of coconut, a little caramel. Finishes like a bitter espresso shot, does not have a lingering finish.

Feel: Surprisingly light and bubbly.

Overall: I like this beer, but it is a bit sweet for me. I would try a few of the other variants just out of curiosity, but this is not by any means a go to beer. I think the reason it is widely available is because it is so expensive.
4.5 rating

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Photo of Ciocanelu
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage. Dark brown color, brown head. Aroma has lots of sweet bourbon, dark fruits, molasses, dried dates. Taste is full of dried fruits like dates and figs, bourbon is in the background, adds just some complexity without booze or sweetness. Body is quite light for the style. Really complex flavors, smooth and mellowed out.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black pour, dark brown to the edge of the glass. Aroma, smells like bourbon.

Taste offers up much in the way of every other Eclipse variant pretty much: oak, chocolate, bourbon, nuttiness, some roasted coffee malt flavors. I thought this one brings the smooth and the chocolate more than most other variations.

While Evan Williams might not be the high pedigree bourbon (hey I have it at my bar) it definitely contributes to this excellent beer. Same with Rebel Yell (although not as good as this one).

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Photo of nawpnawp
3.85/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This review is for a 2013 bottle opened in 2016.

Surprisingly, there is still a ton of carbonation. It pours pretty thick and creamy. On the nose, it is still quite boozy and I'm getting lots of cola and almost blueberry like character. In the taste, there is a huge barrel presence - a little over powering. However, it does finish pretty well leaving a nice sweet aftertaste with just enough bitterness to round it out.

Overall, I wouldn't pick it up again. It is a solid offering, but there are way too many superior choices to justify its price.

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Photo of stevoj
4.42/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Catch up rating from Saturday's RIS bottle share. Thanks Rich! What a way to cap the night. A standout from start to finish. Warm, welcoming boozy aroma, taste brings in elements of wood and whiskey, and lots of sub-currents of chocolate and molasses. All around excellent.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.81/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

So I laid down the big money a couple years ago to buy the 2013 Eclipse Evan Williams Black Wax. Had no idea what to expect as reviews were all over the place. Now it's April 2016 and time to taste. My buddy @RossiDaMan was nice enough to help me drink this one.

Poured into a snifter.
A - Pours black with very little head.
S - The aroma is strong. Lots of molasses, black licorice, dark chocolate and a hint of alcohol.
T - Flavor follows the nose. I have no idea what this tasted like fresh, but this beer is incredibly well balanced.
M - Mouth feel is a little thick and sticky while carbonation is low.
O - This beer is outstanding. It's not BCBS, which I think is perfect, but it is close. Now I need to find a few more bottles.

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Photo of nickfl
4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Black as night with a tan head. Chocolate, and boozy whiskey in the nose. Coffee, roast grain, and a bit of chocolate flavor, medium thick body and fairly high carbonation. Nice enough overall, too much carbonation, but a nice smoke, coffee character that lingers on the palate.

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Photo of kkleu357
4.4/5  rDev +1.1%

From notes on 3/15/14

Very dark. Great bourbon smell. Some sweet aromas. Very tasty. Great woody bourbon flavors. The malt flavors are great. This beer is excellent.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 edition, thanks to claystation for making it happen! from what i understand (according to google), evan williams is a wheated bourbon, giving it an extra smoothness, and i think that comes through in the beer here, although i have to admit, i was really focused on identifying that element of it. this is one of the better, if not the very best edition of eclipse i have had, and im not sure how much of that is this barrel treatment or its age, both of which have smoothed it right out beautifully. matte black color, viscous, and producing half an inch of espresso colored head that sticks around a little while. slurpy rich texture to it, thick and mostly still, palate coating and dense, a nice medium for this type of ale. lots of barrel in the nose, bourbon yes, but evan williams distinctly? impossible to say. the flavor is loaded with vanilla and heavy chocolate flavors, dark raw cocoa and char, mostly in the finish. mellowing oak and booze in great proportions. i remember the four roses edition being quite similar, as far as the chocolate and vanilla complex, but this one feels so much smoother to me, again, maybe due to its cellaring awhile. long finish on it, i taste it for miles after the swallow where a faint sweetness creeps in and the heavy roast just cancels it. the texture is amazing too, i love how full and consuming it is, dominating really, but not aggressive. i will remember this one for awhile!

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.71/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage

Appearance: Pours dark as death with 1 finger of prominent mocha head that all but collars after a few minutes.

Smell: Intertwined vanilla and graham cracker are really prominent up-front. A nice chocolate element underneath it all says hello, with some oaky bourbon to boot. There is a big and sweet roasted malt element that refuses to be ignored as well as big dark fruit. Really good. It almost smells like a freshly baked cookie.

Taste: I was hoping that this would match up to the smell, and it totally does. Sweet, oaky vanilla begins it all, with a graham cracker sweetness providing a yang to the vanilla's yin. Underneath that, there is almost an element of cherry juice, really unique. In the middle, the roasted malt that rears its head is just so perfectly sweet, and the aftertaste is just so pleasant; that of graham cracker and licorice. The finish is quite dry. This beer is a pleasure to drink, and masterfully hides the huge abv.

Mouthfeel: A really great balance between body, stickiness and carbonation. This is medium bodied, but there is above average carbonation for a stout this big, and it really coats the mouth aggressively.

Overall: This beer really knocked my socks off, a pleasant surprise. Not much that I can take points off for here. It would certainly be nice to try the Pappy version of this. Really well done.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Black in the glass, two finger brown head and some lacing.

S-Good deal of bourbon, nice chocolate. roasted malt and slight coffee.

T-Very bourbon heavy, nice chocolate and roasted malt as well. Tad bit of vanilla and coffee.

M-Medium bodied and nice carbonation.

O-A middle of the road Eclipse variant. The bourbon really shined through. I was shocked such a bad bourbon made a good beer.

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Photo of brentk56
3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle 1432 of 2010

Appearance: Pours fudge brown with just a hint of bubbly froth; a few spots of lacing

Smell: Vanilla, chocolate and marshmallow underpinned by oaky Bourbon tones

Taste: A hint of roast and we are off into a marshmallow and vanilla world of sweet flavor; boozy harshness picks up, in the mid-palate, with oaky Bourbon tones adding a slightly harsh character; the marshmallow and vanilla sweetness returns to linger in the finish though the Bourbon lingers, too

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low to moderate carbonation

Overall: A fine beer but this one didn't meet the expectations I had for it; a bit too sweet and a bit too thin

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Photo of hops202
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Black Wax Top poured into a snifter. 2013 vintage - bottle run # 2.

A - heavy jet black with some mocha head that hangs around

S - lots of bourbon, oak, vanilla, some chocolate roast. Smells rather delicious.

T - more bourbon and vanilla but the whiskey is not overpowering. Reminds me of BCBS in a way but not over the top with the bourbon. There's some great marshmallow flavor in there along with some slight berries which really balance it out.

M - moderate with a fair amount of carb sting but not too bad and certainly not too hot on the alcohol either.

O - Great BA imperial stout. It has achieved the much sought after integral equilibrium of bourbon and stout.

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Photo of Roguer
4.02/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Huge, dark brown head, with absolutely fantastic retention. Brew is black as night. Slick, thick lacing as the head slowly dies down. Beautiful beer.

Whiskey, oak, and vanilla notes are very prominent, but they don't quite drown out the chocolate malt and roast barley, accentuated by a hint of cream. Similar aroma proportions to BCBS, but a different overall feel. Whiskey notes are sharp but not overpowering.

Thin, sweet whiskey up front; chocolate malt and roast barley next; strong finish of whiskey; vanilla, oak, and berries are present throughout. Very, very tasty, but not genre-defining like BCBS has become.

Slightly thin for the style. I would definitely prefer it a lot thicker. Very full-flavored; lively, with a nice alcohol and carbonation sting. A little heat, but not too bad.

The contrasts to BCBS are worth mentioning, because this is where the beer falls just shy of true greatness. It's a very, very tasty beer, very drinkable, and the Evan Williams barrels definitely gives it a distinct and unique flavor. Maybe that's enough to make this your personal favorite; it's a little pricey to try on a whim, though.

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Photo of GJ40
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 22oz bottle in a DFH snifter. 2012.

A - Deep black with no light and a small tan head.

S - Beautiful bourbon, oak, vanilla and dark chocolate notes.

T - Very flavorful but also very well balanced. Smooth with no rough edges. The bourbon aspect certainly leads but the IS base offers a great foundation. This beer is great from start to finish. And it's very warming.

M - Creamy and silky with a low carbonation.

O - An interesting beer but not sure it's worth the exorbitant price tag.

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Photo of Damian
4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from a 1 pint, 6 fl oz bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
Bottle No.: BR/1 2012
Served in a snifter

Dark brown/black appearance. Oily and shimmery. Slightly lighter in color and thinner looking than I anticipated. The beer was topped by an inch tall, tight, frothy, mocha colored crown. Small drops of lacing coated the entire glass. The head slowly faded to a thick, lasting ring.

The aroma was really smooth and complex. Bourbon notes came through strong right off the bat and lent the beer some intense vanilla notes. Tons of brown sugar sweetness. Lots of dark malt flavor. Slightly roasty with a touch of espresso. Intense dark fruit notes came through as well. Raisins and plums were most noticeable. There was also a slight chalky yeast presence.

The flavor profile was nearly as impressive as the nose. Although the bourbon was intense, the beer drank very smooth. Brown sugar and vanilla notes dominated initially. I would almost call this a "vanilla bomb." Loads of caramel and dark malts. Moderately roasty. Strong dark fruit notes. Plums and raisins were apparent. Some dark chocolate-like fudginess came through as well. The finish was roasty and somewhat boozy with a lingering roasty/sweet combo. Hints of earthy, bitter hops were also noticeable.

The mouthfeel was super creamy and frothy. Plush and smooth on the palate. Supple. Not super viscous but really enjoyable nonetheless. A sweet, sticky film coated my lips after every sip.

Evan Williams Bourbon Imperial Eclipse Stout from FiftyFifty Brewing was noticeably more complex and bourbon forward than the Elijah Craig version I had a few weeks back. Although the beers in this series are all quite pricey, this variant was definitely worth the splurge.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 623 ratings