Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by largadeer on 12-02-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 181 | Ratings: 579
Photo of zhanson88
4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottling.

Appearance: Pours pretty much pitch black, and moderately viscous. Forms a nice tan head that has good retention.

Smell: Bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and quite a bit of bourbon on the nose. Not much roast to speak of. Not overly complex, but good.

Taste: Taste follows the smell. This imp. stout is not overly sweet with some dark chocolate bitterness, along with some vanilla and a moderately prevalent bourbon presence. There are many bourbons that I prefer over EW, and I can say the same about the bourbon presence in this beer. Seems a bit rough around edges. Still, I cannot complain how it is incorporated into the beer, as they got the overall level of barrel about right.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Smooth, full and silky mouthfeel. Good level of carbonation. Finishes with some bourbon and vanilla. Good. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. A very good stout, and I hope I get to try some of the other versions at some point.

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

Picked one of these up because I always hear about them and I have never gotten my hands on one since I've been a BA.

Pours a deep black with a one finger tan head. Dissipated to a super thin film with OK lacing.

Aroma I think is the best part. Lots of dark fruits and toasted sugars and caramel. Smells awesome.

Taste is awesome but not the best stout I've had. Very roasted but with a nice caramel malt that has some good dark fruit flavor. A slight bit of bourbon and oak. As it warms up the roast gets a little more harsh and the booz becomes a little more apparent. To me it seems to be lacking something in flavor that other barrel aged stouts have.

Mouthfeel is heavy and I wouldn't want to drink a whole 22oz by myeself.

Overall a solid BA Stout but there are some better ones for sure. I would probably get it again but $22 for the one bottle when beers like Abyss and Parabola are considerably cheaper I think I will have to pass.

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Photo of claaark13
3.88/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle poured into Founders snifter. Bottle #393.

A - Pours pretty black with a very thin tan head. The head dissipates quite quickly and leaves barely anything. Doesn't look fantastic, but looks nice. It sticks to the side of the glass a little to show the body. The fact that the lacing remains throughout the entire glass keeps the appearance of this one up.

S - Light fudge, light vanilla. The bourbon barrel is there, but it doesn't seem too overwhelming. There is a sweetness to be found as well. This seems a little too mild to me. It isn't that the aroma isn't good, it is that the aroma seems muted.

T - Slight fudge, vanilla, a little amount of hotness and then some nice charred oak. The oak has a slight vanilla tinge to it that blends well. After a few sips, it seems fairly balanced. The bourbon really dominates this one, so if that isn't your thing you should steer clear.

M - Medium but silky body with what seems like the right amount of carbonation. There is a little, but the silkiness breaks through the light carbonation nicely.

O - Pretty good beer. Nice BA stout. I'll drink it again in a year or so to see how things go.

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Photo of JAXSON
3.5/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, next to the Elijah Craig, Pappy Van Winkle, Brandy, Four Roses Eclipse bottles, and some other barrel aged imperial stouts. This was consumed toward the end of the tasting and my notes are horrible, but I trust my judgment at that time: Fairly small head. Slightly better than 4 Roses. Coconut Sugars." To try to expand on that, if possible, it was probably the best of the three 2010 Eclipse bottles (PVW not included as that was 2008), but was still quite a bit under the 2009 bottles. The 2010 bottles all seemed fairly sugary and under attenuated.

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Photo of spacecake9
4.81/5  rDev +12.1%
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 Devi0us
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aggressively poured into my trusted

A- Pours a deep rich black with dark brown edges when held up to light. Had a 2 finger mocha head that slowly morphed into a ring. Left stick lacing on the glass.

S- Bourbon and Vanilla dominate the senses. Slight alcohol smell due to the barrel aging.

T- Bourbon, caramel and vanilla sack your palate like it was a QB with no left tackle. Slight alcohol heat but not at all unpleasant. In fact, it was welcomed. Says it was brewed with honey but I don't notice it.

M- Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

O- This is the first brew I've had the pleasure of tasting from FiftyFifty Brewing. I'm definitely going to try more offerings from this brewery after tasting this BadBoy...

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Photo of sisuspeed
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beddachedda for the bottle! Split with sleepydave and abuliarose.

#476, black wax

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip glass. Pitch black body with a thin film of tan head. Leaves some good lacing behind.

Chocolate cake, bourbon, vanilla, oak and molasses rise up from a few swirls of the glass. Sweet, rich and bourbony. Honey soaked oak and booze. The nose does a great job of showcasing the bourbon barrels. Decadent.

Dark chocolate and sweet honey bourbon on the tongue. Well roasted malts and woody oak. Devil's food chocolate cake. Heather and honey. Well done.

Mouthfeel is smooth and almost creamy. Carbonation is a bit light, but still pretty good. The body is on the light side for an imperial stout and really the only complaint I have with this beer. It would be nice to see it just a tad thicker.

Quite drinkable for a 9.5% barrel aged stout. Boozy, but it goes down nicely. I don't know if I would even age this any longer if I had another bottle. I'm sure it can go the distance, but its drinking really well right now. Great mixture of stout and bourbon. If FiftyFifty could bump up the body a little bit this would be one of the best bourbon stouts I've ever had.

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Photo of spicelab
4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bomber split 4 ways at tasting. Reviewed from notes.

Molasses-hued pour, near black in glass. Firm tan head drops stealthily over a couple of minutes to a film. Attractive lace trails on swirling.

Good amount of barrel in the nose with appreciable honey and coconut notes, but mostly emphasising the drier aspects of the barrel. Solid toasty, liqourice and rubber base beer elements underneath. Compact and contained.

Less roast, more coconut and dark brwon sugar sweetness. Big and growing chocolate fudge presence.

Quite viscous but medium bodied, with mild, dusty carbonation and emergent booze heat.

Like all the Eclipse beers, this is tight. Very easy-going with a near perfectly calibrated barrel influence.

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Photo of Soonami
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to SidVicious619 for sending me this.

This beer is a beautiful black with virtually no head. It smells a little oxidized but has huge bourbon nose. The sweet, sweet stout has lots of vanilla and oaky bourbon. It's both smokey and creamy at the same time. This is a great beer, that is almost as good as the Four Roses, which I really enjoyed, I can only imagine how good Pappy and Elijah Craig are.

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.05/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

09/15/11- Review of bottle 1302 of the 2010 release.
A: Opaque, tan creamy head, no lacing.
S: Thick sweet chocolate, brewer's licorice, nice strong vanilla, sweet cherry syrup.
T: Milky chocolate, nice vanilla caramel coffee cake, nutty (caramel-covered pecans), with crisp alcohol on the finish with a lingering brown sugar.
M: Thicker, creamy, crisp with a slowly developing carbonation.
O: I like it, but for a big bourbon stout, it's a little underwhelming.

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Photo of Retsinis
3.89/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle # 608, cellared just shy of 1 year.

A: Poured from the black waxed sealed bomber bottle in a tulip glass, the beer is a black thick motor oil, with about 1/10 of an inch of head that forms to just a film resting on top, and then quickly dissipates to just razor thin ring of bubbles. When swirled, the light film of lace resurfaces. Light coating on the glass.

S: Initial scents are of oak, bourbon, mild vanilla, toast, and dark 80% chocolate. Also there is the touch of alcohol heat, medium roasted malt, and a mild touch of espresso.

T: Mirror the nose, flavors of vanilla, bourbon, medium roasted malt, oak, and dark chocolate. As it warmed, nuances of toast, a touch of honey, and a kiss of pepper are also present.

M: Light carbonation, light viscosity, mildly sticky.

O: Smooth. Having had totality, the barrel aging treatments do wonders to the base beer, though the beer, imo, could be improved with a better base beer recipe, as this I enjoyed, totality I would pass on. Though perhaps that is why the infusion is as remarkable as it is.

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Photo of BrewerB
3.83/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 2276, picked up at Healthy Spirits when this beer was initially released.

Poured a dark black with a thin tan head that partially retains.

Very inviting nose. Caramel, coffee, dark chocolate. Bourbon character noticeable but not overwhelming.

Taste didn't live up to the expectations set forth by the nose. Harsher alcohol presence detracting from the enjoyment here. Some vanilla woody notes along with dark chocolate and caramel.

Medium bodied, low carbonation. Slightly oily.

A solid offering from a brewery I'd expect nothing less of in this department. I have another bottle of this particular version and am going to sit on it for another year or two, expecting improvement with a little more age.

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Photo of OakedCanuck
4.22/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle #1181 was poured into a snifter. 2010 vintage. From notes

A - Black with brown edging. It looks to be a bit thin, not that really slow outpour like some of the really heavy stouts (i.e. Rogue XS). Mocha brown head, minor lacing.

S - Lots of dark chocolate, sweet chocolate, lactose, vanilla, oak and the bourbon, very nice.

T - Very well balanced between the bourbon and the base beer. Lots of chocolate, vanilla, molasses, a hint of charcoal. Delicious

M - This is probably one of the smoothest beers I have ever had. It was like drinking silk. Incredibly well balanced, not hot and the bourbon was delicious.

O - I really enjoyed this beer, thought it was great. I am looking forward to trying the other variations and see how the different barrel treatments affect the end taste. Delicious beer!

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Photo of Auracom
3.7/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010, bottle #1389. Part of my stout tasting on October 22nd, 2011. 2-3 oz. into snifter. The second variant we opened. Certain parts copied over from the other Eclipse reviews.

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

S – Definitely more phenolic than Heaven’s Hill 2010. A bit harsh on the barrel aromas. Needed some sort of spice or sweetness component to cut the dominant bourbon and oak. Chocolate and roasted undertones.

T – Again, a rougher form of bourbon barrel upfront with a leathery, oaky finish. Considerable alcohol burn and warming on the backend.

M - Medium body. Carbonation is expected, decent medium-length finish.

D – Feels less integrated than Heaven’s Hill and Four Roses. The finish is the weakest component of this beer, by far, and it needed more age to mellow the bourbon and alcohol tones.

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Photo of baybassboy
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

HUGE thank you's go out to BdubleEdubleRUN and actone2001. Brett (BdubleEdubleRUN) traded Matthew (actone2001) for this Want, and then gifted it to me to celebrate the birth of my nephew (Evan C. Williams V) with my brother (Evan C. Williams IV) and dad (Evan C. Williams III). I cannot tell you 2 BA's how much I appreciate you making it possible for me to celebrate 5 generations with this one.

2010 Vintage. Bottle # had worn off. Split 3 ways on 9/26/11 with my share poured into my Stone IRS specialy tulip.

A: Pours a viscous black with slight bubbles forming to almost no head. Light mocha/straw, quarter finger head forms on the swirl.

S: Big bourbon smell hits you up front. Like i'm quaffing Evan Williams and not a stout. Slight sense of alcohol in the nose. Lots of charred oak. Suprisingly sweet smell of sugary chocolate.

T: Just like the smell. Bourbon, oak, vanilla hits you upfront. Smooth vanilla and light roast in the middle. A bit of sweetness (honey from the base beer?) Bourbon finish. Pretty rich throughout, yet finishes smooth. Very slight alcohol presence. Charred oak lingering taste for minutes after each sip; much like I have just taken a nip of EW.

M: Smooth yet not chewey. Does not coat the mouth all too much. Very slight carbonation. Similar to those last few sips of whiskey on the rocks when some of the ice has melted.

O: Definitely more whiskey/bourbon character lingering in this one than the other -bal beers I have had. That is the one thing that stuck out to me most about this one. Would love to have it again with a little/lot more time on it. Would like to see a few more stout characteristics, but overall, a far above average beer. A fitting way to celebrate the birth of my nephew!

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Photo of DocJitsu
4.53/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I'll start by saying that Evan Williams is my favorite bourbon. So, buying a duplicate bottle of the Eclipse Evan Williams by "mistake" (as far as my wife knows) turned out to be a blessing because it afforded me the opportunity to try this guy and cellar the other one. It pours an opaque, very dark brown with glints of cola brown around the bottome edge of the glass when held to the light. A 1/2 inch burnt caramel colored head forms and sits atop the nearly black liquid, making the appearance very appealing. The aromas aren't obtrusive like one would expect with a BA imperial stout. But the oaky vanilla comes through first, followed by some roasted malt, and some faint bourbon last. The mouthfeel is nearly perfect for this beer. Not just the style, but the way this particular beer manifests itself. Despite it being a BA imperial stout, the flavors aren't huge, so the smooth, creamy, a bit chewy, but not viscous mouthfeel is the perfect combination with the aromas and flavors. Vanilla, oak, bourbon, chocolate, and dark, ripe fruit all come through pretty distinctively. The bourbon alcohol remains on the back of the tongue after the beer has been swallowed. I am really enjoying this one, but not quite as much as the Elijah Craig 12 year old.

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Photo of muttyd
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 version

As expected, thick black creamy pour with a thin tan head. Head settles into a faint ring. Wish the head persisted throughout. Looks rather bland at first glance.

Nose hits all the right notes: whiskey burn, coffee, roasted malts and chocolate. Some molasses in their as well. Flavor follows the nose with a very prevalent whiskey flavor in the finish. Sweet, but well rounded with enough roasty flavor to balance it out. Almost no hop flavor, as it is overpowered by the big barrel flavor. Thick and creamy, coats the mouth. Solid overall, but not as good as the Elijah Craig.

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Photo of IKR
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage

Appearance: Very dark brown bordering on black with a modest beige head that slowly faded.

Smell: Bourbon, coffee/roasted malt aromas, brown sugar and some vanilla notes.

Taste: Bourbon, roast malts, mild vanilla, caramel/brown sugar and oak notes. The finish is fairly dry with Bourbon, roast malts notes and mild hop notes.

Mouth-feel: On the light side of medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation Fairly thin bodied for the style.

Overall: Good beer. A bit more Bourbon and hop forward than the 2011 Elijah Craig I recently had, but that could be due to the aging and the fact the 2011 I had was on tap.

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Photo of ptykozoon
4.23/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Black, a soft brown lasting cap. Very good lacing. Inviting.

Milk chocolate, dairy, vanilla, caramel in the background, so far so good.

Milk chocolate, caramel, vanilla. The smooth mouthfeel works harmoniously with the dessert flavor.

Mouthfeel is excellent, smooth as butter. Not a lot of heat coming through.

Reminded me of Goose Island. One of the best Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of iadler
3.65/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle courtesy of Hophead101 and mikereaser. Thanks guys! Bottle #2197.

A- Pours a dark brown with a one finger off white head. Some lines of lacing are left behind.

S- When served around 50 degrees, this beer has nearly no aroma. However, after warming up a bit, oak and bourbon are prominent upfront with a hint of roasted malt, unsweetened chocolate, brown sugar and honey.

T- Earthy oak upfront, bourbon, dark chocolate, roasted malt and a bit of sweet honey. Not bad, but really not complex.

M- Medium to high carbonation a fairly thin body. The mouthfeel is too thin and could use a little more body. Finishes with some heat.

O- Underwhelming would be the best word to describe this beer. There didn't seem to be a strong base beer that incorporated the barrel aging treatment and this just tasted like a bourbon forward beer with a watery body. I'm glad I got a chance to try my first bottle of the Eclipse series, but I'm curious why this is a $30 bottle and am a little worried about the 12 yr EC having the same disappointing results.

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Photo of Trilogy31
4.08/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle number 2018. Pours an almost midnight black with a faint espresso hue at the edges, with a thin mocha cap that quickly recedes and leaves very light lacing though the head is revived easily with aquick swirl of my duvel tulip. The nose hits you with bourbon soaked alcohol esters, booze soaked plums, dusty, earthy barrel, slight stale coffee. Taste brings rich caramel, fig, soaked dates, spicy full bodied bourbon barrel with a sprinkling of cinnamon and vanilla and a hint of molasses. The taste really saves this beer at least for me compared to the nose. Pleasant mouthfeel with the oaky tannins cleaning up after the booze and sweetness though it does finish a bit thin. Iwould love to rate this all 5's as im sitting on a lot of bottles but i cannot tell a lie. I honestly would take a kbs in quality and price over this any day - tough standards i know but for 25.99 per bottle it should have been mind blowing.

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It was only a few months ago that I even heard of FiftyFifty. The beer in question was the Eclipse series and only positive things were mentioned. When I heard that some of this years batches were available in Portland, I HAD to get some. No need to wait on this to age, let's try one fresh! Onto the review!

A: Poured into a pair of Portsmouth snifters and shared with my wife TulipSnifter. The body itself is as black as any adjective can describe with ruby-brown edges. About a finger or so of light tan head dissipates to merely a ring around the inside of the glass. There's definitely some legs to this very viscous looking beer. It looks good so far. 4/5

S: We've got the bourbon showcasing itself first and foremost. I'm noticing a whole lot of vanilla and spices although I don't really find that in straight Evan Williams. I used to drink a whole lot of EW back in college mixed with Guinness in Boiler Makers. Although at the time I didn't pay much attention to the smell, I imagine that this is the gourmet version! 4.5/5

T: This is one of the best examples of balance I've seen in a Bourbon barrel aged stout to date. Not only is the barrel on the front end of the taste buds, but a lot of bitter-sweet chocolate shoulders its way forward to be noticed. The finish isn't as sticky as a lot of big stouts I've enjoyed and has the essence of some french pressed french roast. 4/5

M: Nice and thick, lowly carbonated, and as clean as it can be. This is what you call perfect! 5/5

D: Its a great beer! I enjoyed my one snifter for about two hours and was hella satisfied with just the single glass. That said, I could go for another glass! Damn good stuff here. I'm glad I have some other bottles for aging and other variations to try out, because this looks to only get better with age. 4.5/5

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Photo of veinless
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had with AwYeh - thanks Luke.

Appears black and not really shiny or anything. Molasses look to it.

Smells of molasses, chewy tobacco, chocolate and bourbon. Evan Williams definitely featured but is not too forward on the nose which is good.

Incredibly smooth taste, silky transition from sweet to bitter. Chocolate and licorice rule the day with bourbon nicely weighted. More years would make this even better it seems, but I can't see it getting much better.

Feel is silk as mentioned earlier, pure bliss. Drinkability exceptional for the style, and abv is disguised quite well. Awesome beer.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

100th review...

After a long week at work, I finally got a chance to relax, play some golf with a few buddies, and pop this monstrosity of a beer while hanging out with the family. Life is good. Cheers to all my brothers and sisters in the BA community, and to life in general...

Poured from a waxed bomber into a Cigar City pint glass...

A - Pours black with a one finger brown head on a fairly aggressive pour. head retention is decent at best, and there is some slippery lacing to be had...

S - This one smells delectable. Chocolate, vanilla, some roasted barley, and of course, a good dose of Bourbon...

T - Sweet and delicious. Chocolate, vanilla, oak, and smooth Bourbon in the finish. Really impressed with how smooth this one is...

M - Mouthfeel is a little light in my opinion. Still on the light side of a full body, but not as viscous as I was anticipating. Moderate amount of carbonation...

O - Almost a little to easy to drink. Haha, is there such a thing? Wouldn't go as far to call this a session beer, but very smooth and easy to drink nontheless. Pricey, but well worth the price in my opionin. Really looking foward to trying this again with a little age on it...


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Photo of nkersten
3.42/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes. Bottle poured into tulip, black with brown edges tiny bubbly collar. Pretty run of the mill in terms of looks. Smells like bourbon water, malty biscuits, alcohol, buttery toffee, kind of nutty vanilla. Taste is hot and boozey at first, vanilla bourbon, oak, spicy barrel char, slight roast in the end. Medium bodied with a light carbonation, very hot and a bit watery for the style. A decent tasting beer despite the alcohol presence. The mouthfeel kills this beer for me.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Evan Williams Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.29 out of 5 based on 579 ratings.
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