Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year) | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year)
BA SCORE
98%
Liked This Beer
4.47 w/ 587 ratings
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year)
BEER INFO

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

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
White wax.

Added by MasterSki on 11-22-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
160
Ratings:
587
Liked:
575
Avg:
4.47/5
pDev:
8.05%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
305
Gots:
265
Trade:
10
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 587 |  Reviews: 160
Photo of 3Hops
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Gfunk720
4.92/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

White waxed bottle, #2906. Out of my HFS stemware.

A- Pitch black. Pours with a nice tannish head that sticks around forever. Great lacing that just coats the glass.

S- Rich smells of sweet chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and bourbon. A very pleasant hint of oak, with a slight bit of heat. The barrel to base beer smell wise is pretty much perfect.

T- A thick sweet flavor initially fills the mouth. Intense notes of oak and bourbon come in, with well matched chocolate malt and roasted backbone. Really not much heat in the taste, just brilliant bourbon pairing.

M- Not sure how, but this is thicker than all of the other Eclipses. Carbonation is perfect, but it still could be just the slightest bit thicker. Certainly not bad by any means though.

O- Overall, this is one of the best barrel aged beers I've had in a while. The Buffalo Trace bottles really made me weary of the rest of the 2012 bottles, but this one is friggin stellar. After having almost all of the rest of the Eclipse series, this is definetly a stand out.

-Gfunk

 1,037 characters

Photo of sludgegnome
3.75/5  rDev -16.1%

Photo of mdfb79
4.82/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From 03/09/12 notes. Huge thanks to Thorep429 for sharing this one; bit Want of mine. 2011 vintage, bottle 3737.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost blac color, with one inch of light tan head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of whiskey, vanilla, oak, sweet chocolate, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and some caramel malts. Smell is really great; an awesome blend of bourbon, chocolate, and vanilla. Bourbon is a little bit strong, but I love bourbon forward stouts so I love it.

t - Tastes of sweet chocolate vanilla, cream,
marshmallows, roasted malts, bourbon, oak, cocoa, light coconut, and caramel malts. The taste is amazing, pretty perfect in my opinion. More chocolate then the nose and less bourbon, it is just a great blend of sweet chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation, the body is insanely smooth and creamy. Really a perfect mouthfeel.

o - Overall I thought this was a fantastic stout; one of the best I've had in a while. I had the 2011 Brandy version 3 nights ago and this blew it away; it's the best Eclipse variation I've had so far (including PVW). The smell was great and the taste and mouthfeel were perfect; exactly what I'm looking for in a stout. Really wish I had made an effort to get some bottles of this, time to go searching for some.

 1,309 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
4.04/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Update on 03/09/2012: I've drank 7 bottles of Elijah Craig 18 so far, and I've settled on my current score. The heat is not taming as much as I would like. It's still a good beer, just not $30 good. I'd say it is priced exactly at the point where I wouldn't take the gamble if I saw it on the shelf. But at futures prices I don't regret the purchase. I have 5 left and will be enjoying them over the next couple of months.

~~~

Chilled bottle into a glass. I've been a fan of Eclipse for a few years now; Elijah Craig '09 blew me away, and I've been anticipating a re-release of it ever since. FiftyFifty went one better and landed the distillery's premium barrels for this treatment.

It's damn good.

It's also inconsistent. So far I have opened 3 bottles, and each one has been slightly different from the last. Thankfully, none have been outright bad, like some of last year's worst bottles were. But since these are in the range of $30 a pop, you better believe I will scrutinize each bottle carefully and update my review.

A: Pours a semi-clear cola brown that darkens to black in the center of the glass. Pours with a half-finger of mocha foam that barely rises to a thin film. It leaves a modest collar around the edges of the glass. No lace.

S: Baker's chocolate, licorice, caramel. The barrel flavors are bold and brash, with a nose-singing heat accompanying waves of vanilla, toasted coconut, hazelnut, bourbon, oak.

T: The barrel complements the base beer very well; bourbon lends an interesting undercurrent of citrus and leather. But the biggest contributions are vanilla, toasted coconut, hazelnut, and oak; they make their presence known right from the beginning, blending seamlessly with the base beer's chocolate, licorice, and caramel. This is bolder than any of the other Eclipses were fresh; it is instantly a standout.

One of the bottles I opened had all this plus a noticeable ashy, over-tannic barrel presence. It threw the balance of flavors out of whack slightly, though it was still enjoyable. I'd give that a 4 on taste, but the others I have opened were substantially better. They'd be 5s if it weren't for the heat.

M: Medium-plus bodied. It's not a viscous, heavy stout along the lines of Black Tuesday, and I don't want that. I'd say this hits my sweet spot for the body. It is thicker than the previous iterations of Eclipse, and that helps it stand up to (or perhaps pick up?) bolder barrel flavors. There is a definite heat to the beer, which is a drawback. I expect this will subside in a few months. It is my personal goal to finish my bottles of Eclipse within 6 months; I've come to feel that they don't age well, so I'll give this only a little time to cool off before consuming it all.

Unrelated note: I strongly suspect that the Eclipses are much higher in ABV than the bottle indicates. The bottle has always claimed 9.5%; in past years I'd say they were probably around 11% in truth. I am pretty certain that this year's approach 13%, particularly the EC18.

O: The best bottle of this that I opened was a 4.7. The other two were 4.3 and 4.1 in my estimation. I'm leaving the score at 4.35 for now (approximately the average). As I consume more bottles, I will update my score.

I will say, however, that this and Elijah Craig 12 are my favorites of the 2011 treatments, with EC 12 being a tad more consistent (based on a very limited sample size). I don't begrudge the cost as long as the quality remains high. I would hate to find that a bottle this pricey is not consistent, especially since I know what this beer is capable of being.

 3,599 characters

Photo of 2beerdogs
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Azurescens
4.23/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage bottle number 4470 poured into snifter on 3/4/2012

A: Pours black with light brown head. Decent head retention that leaves some lacing around glass.

S: Oak, alcohol, sweet dark malt, and a hint of dark fruit. The dark fruit aroma is interesting and was not present in the Eclipse Elijah Craig 12 I just had, this is also more roasty and intense. Some vanilla, bourbon and caramel are present as well.

T: Quite rich and flavorful, loaded with roasted malt, oak, vanilla, chocolate and dark fruit. Some nice creaminess, bourbon and caramel towards the finish.

M: Smooth but with a slight sharpness that was not present in the EC12 version. Low-moderate carbonation and finishes slightly sweet.

O: Great barrel aged imperial stout, I prefered the Elijah Craig 12 version ever so slightly more than this one. While this has some nice dark fruit notes and is slightly more intense, it is not quite as smooth or drinkable. Enjoyed both versions a lot and very glad I got the chance to sit down and review these.

 1,023 characters

Photo of stevefinny
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of brystmar
4.2/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed as part of last night's bottle share. Thanks to rlmartin, rmjavanut, hoppymcgee, and whartontallboy for contributing to this 11-bottle Eclipse tasting! Beerporn is here: http://i.imgur.com/e9auu.jpg

Aroma was more pungent, complex, and stout-like than the EC12 or '09 EC. Chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, booze, and bourbon all play nicely together.

Similar results from the taste: this EC18 was significantly more refined and balanced than its Elijah Craig siblings (or any of the other Eclipse variants, for that matter). Everything from the nose shows up in due time, dances on my tongue, then fades cleanly and smoothly back into the stout backbone. Bourbon character is well-balanced, which was a serious problem for many of its peers.

This EC18 was our group's consensus favorite. Buffalo Trace & '10 Heaven Hill tied for 2nd place IMO. But honestly, I was unimpressed across the board with most of the Eclipses. Bourbon County Stout is far superior to all of them except EC18. Very glad I got to try them all, but EC18 is the only one I'd seek out again.

 1,082 characters

Photo of nataku00
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of woosterbill
4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a 25cl Duvel tulip. Huge thanks to Tony for sharing this one; always a treat to try a new Eclipse variant!

A: Black with faint dark-brown highlights. Thin dark tan head. Ok retention and spotty lace. Not bad.

S: Sweet, nougaty, lightly spicy bourbon at first; some coffee, chocolate, and vanilla follow behind. Very nice.

T: Vanilla, caramel, and bourbon up front; milk chocolate and peppery spicy thereafter. Very smooth, balanced, and terrific.

M: Creamy medium-full body. Moderate but mouth-filling carbonation. Yes.

O: Yet another terrific beer in this series. A little more nuanced than the 12, and a great pairing with actual EC 18 bourbon. Good times!

Cheers!

 684 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Cinderbike
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - black, opaque, thin tab head that easily fades.
S - oak, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, almond
T - roast, dark chocolate, vinous / port wine, alcohol heat
M - thankfully, thicker than the 2010. Not syrupy but very thick
O - a great RIS. This is up there with Parabola and Black Tuesday in my top 3.

 298 characters

Photo of johnhenryconway
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of Scotchboy
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of Gary779
4.48/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #5209

A: Beer pours majestically black, and forms a huge tan coloured head. The head leaves quite a fair amount of lace. Beer seems to be pitch black, but closer inspection yields red edges.

S: The smell is deceptively dark. You can just smell that this beer is ultra-mellow and grown-up. Dark chocolate and cherrywood are quite dominant flavours, and finer inspection yields red apples, bourbon, vanilla, roasted coconut, oak, almonds and an alcohol presence.

T: This beer is extremely mellow on the tongue, just pleasing your taste buds to the point where they are reluctant to identify flavours. The bourbon presence can be felt, and is accompanied by oak, chocolate and cherrywood flavours. The alcohol is distinctly present, but not bothersome.

M: Very smooth carbonation coupled with a light mouthfeel makes this imperial stout very drinkable, but makes it feel a tad watery.

O: An extremely easy-to-drink beer. I had to throttle myself to take time for reviewing. This is saying quite a lot for an imperial stout, which tends to be a slow-drinking beer.

 1,072 characters

Photo of CarolinaKevin
4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

Photo of codynevels
4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of russwbeck
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This was enjoyed at a tasting that included 5 Eclipse variations: Elijah Craig 12 and 18, Four Roses, Heaven Hill Rittenhouse Rye, and Brewmaster's Grand Cru.

2011 Vintage Bottle #5450. $30 for a 22oz bottle.

A: All of them pretty much poured the same. Finger or two of brown to light brown head. The color is black with noticeable bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

S: The aroma is very similar, but more rich than the 12 year. Vanilla, chocolate, booze, and bourbon are just perfectly married here. Sweet, boozy, wonderful.

T: Very rich taste. The vanilla and chocolate are on a different level. Bourbon and booze take up big parts of the base of the taste. Honey is no where near as prevalent as it was in other variations. The booze is much more noticed than it was on the 12 year.

MF: Lighter body overall than I expected, and lower than average carbonation. Big booziness on all of them, with a warming alcohol feeling to finish. The dryness on the palate varies with the different bourbons. This one was thicker and boozier than the average of the variations.

O: Voted the best of the Eclipse tasting (albeit not unanimous). The balance just puts it up above the rest. Deliciously impressive.

 1,214 characters

Photo of lymph
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Photo of Travisnin
5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of sweemzander
4.34/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottle # 4828. 2011 vintage.

(A)- Pours a nice pitch black color. Some subtle tan froth and lace.

(S)- A very pronounced bourbon barrel and oak profile. Really stinking good though. Bits of raisin and caramel behind it, but otherwise the bourbon and oak is the main focus. . . an awesome focus. Right at the end/finish, there is some small bits of coffee and cocoa.

(T)- A nice richness to it. Still the same great barrel characters from the smell. A bit more raisin and caramel poke through. Even almost just the tiniest bit of a brine-like salty bourbon note you can get sometimes.

(M)- A mellow/smooth carbonation level. A nice balance to it as well, but just not as harmonious as I thought the 12year was. Again, though, great barrel character throughout.

(D)- Another great barrel variant from FiftyFifty. However, I think I preferred the 12year to this one.

 905 characters

Photo of bsuedekum
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Elijah Craig (20 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 98% out of 100 with 587 ratings
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