Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brandy Barrel Blend | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
91
outstanding
204 Ratings
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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brandy Barrel BlendImperial Eclipse Stout - Brandy Barrel Blend
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:
Burgandy wax.

Added by MasterSki on 12-08-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
204
Reviews:
69
Avg:
4.15
pDev:
8.92%
 
 
Wants:
62
Gots:
108
For Trade:
6
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 204 |  Reviews: 69
Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Gonzoillini
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of Khazadum
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of Sean9689
3.78/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, (?spycow?)! Poured into Darkness tulip.

A - Pours black, light mocha-colored head, thin collar.

S - Chocolate, light booze, light roast. Not overly complex here, yet still enjoyable. The booze isn't too much and the sweetness is spot-on for me to enjoy. Just pretty straight-forward -bal.

T - Similar to the nose. Chocolate, smooth booze, oak. No real roast or caramel, but the sweetness and booze are enjoyable and work well together. No barrel notes, and it's hard to pick out anything but sweetness, chocolate, and brandy booze. Again, solid but not blowing me out of the water.

M - Medium to full body, good carbonation, creamy finish.

O - A solid barrel-aged stout and a nice variant in the horizontal. That said, I'm more of a fan of the Buffalo Trace then this one, and will score accordingly. Good, give it a try.

 834 characters

Photo of ratedz
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 release. Bottle 1307 (maybe, the last number is partly worn off, but it might be a 7)

A - Pours jet black with about a finger and a half of tan colored head. The head fades slowly for a barrel aged stout and leaves behind a lot of lacing on the glass.

S - Sweet, sugary brandy and some notes of chocolate. Hints of vanilla and dark fruits linger in the background. Very complex, yet very balanced.

T - The sweetness of the brandy is the first thing I notice upon taking a sip. Bittersweet chocolate, light smokiness, and some roasted malts. A slight bitter hop profile shows up before the sweetness of the brandy returns.

M - Thick and creamy. Light carbonation. A little heat from the brandy, but pretty much close to perfect mouth feel.

O - A very enjoyable beer. The sweetness from the brandy can be a bit much, but it compliments the base beer fairly well. This was the first of the 2011 Eclipse variations that I've tried and I'm looking forward to the others since I'm a bigger fan of bourbon than I am brandy.

 1,026 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This brew poured out as a very nice black color with a dark tan head on top. The lacing and retention were pretty good on this. The smell of the beer reminded me of fresh tobacco, with some sweet boozy malts and wood in the mix. The taste was very good, It's just got some quality levels that this goes through. Had some boozy heat with some thick creaminess to it in the mouthfeel, Overall this beer was quite good. I look very forward to trying the other two I have that are from different barrels.

 500 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #1451. Served in a SAVOR wine glass, and split with Amyliz4.

Pours near black with a good light mocha head. Very bubbly and thin, receding to a thin cap fairly quickly. Collar throughout. The nose has distinct brandy notes pushing to the front. Some sweetness and oak, along with a mild cherry presence. A good portion of chocolate and a bit of booze come through more as it warms.

The flavor is focused mainly on the brandy, with a touch of oak and very light vanilla. Chocolate makes for a good base with a slight bit of roast. Slightly boozy. Medium-full body with a mild chewiness. Good body and nose, but the back-half and finish were a bit boozy and need to balance out a bit. Maybe a few more months for this before it reaches optimal drinking age. I look forward to revisiting this one.

 803 characters

Photo of bwyu
5/5  rDev +20.5%

Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle (2011)

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Very dark brown, nearly black in color, without a lot of visible carbonation and not much head. Eventually, however, this does leave sticky spots and sheets of lacing down the glass. Quite pretty.

The aroma is fairly sweet, with lots of maple syrup, bittersweet chocolate, brandy, roast, a bit of vanilla, and a hint of wood. This is far sweeter and much different than all of the bourbon variations, though it's also the least transformed in comparison to the base beer, Totality, which is already a fairly sweet stout.

The flavor is far more simple and less complex than the bourbon variations. The brandy, sweet chocolate, and roast make for a nice combination, but it lacks the depth I hope for in a barrel aged stout. Also, the honey is quite present and pronounced in this variation. That all being said, this stuff is still delicious--it's just that the other variations set the bar so incredibly high.

Thin to medium mouthfeel with low carbonation.

A fine beer, but a bit too sweet. I was hoping for more transformation from the barrels.

 1,106 characters

Photo of TheCrowsNest
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Forget who shared this one, but thanks! Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - Surprisingly carbonated for an Eclipse. A half-finger of tan foam settles to some wisps, a thin collar, and a few spots of lace. Very dark brown body with a glint of red at the fringes of the glass.

S - Aroma is quite sweet in comparison to the Grand Cru I recently had - the brandy barrel is front and center, imparting some sweet red fruits, oak and light perfume flavors. Dark chocolate, anise, and roasted grains are in the periphery. Alcohol is better hidden than the Grand Cru as well.

T - The base beer shines through more substantially in the taste, with dark chocolate and roasted malts balanced by red licorice and fruity brandy flavors. Quite sweet mid-palate but finishes with roasty bitterness and a bit of spirit alcohol bite.

M - Full-bodied, lower carbonation, sticky and chewy. One of the heftier offerings in the series. Some moderate alcohol warmth in the finish - I doubt this is actually 9.5%, but it's nowhere near as hot as the Grand Cru was.

D - Not my favorite barrel treatment of Eclipse, but still a very enjoyable and somewhat unique barrel-aged stout. I'd have this again, but not at the ridiculous price it was selling for locally. If you like sweet and fruity imperial stouts, this will be right up your alley.

 1,322 characters

Photo of AgentZero
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #139(smudged off last digit) from the 2011 release. Poured into snifters, split two ways.

Looks nice and thick and the Brandy Barrel Blend of this years Eclipse stout cascades from the mouth of the bottle into my glass. The head reaches about a half centimeter, but isn't retained for long. Despite this, there is some stringy and slick looking lacing that forms as I drink.

The aroma of this variant is far less ashy than that of the Eclipse aged in the 18-year Elijah Craig barrels. As a result, the nose is filled with more dark roast coffee, dates, figs, and toasted oaky tannins. The barrel influence is far more subtle here, as well. Subdued vanilla and oak do manifest themselves in the finish, but the deep vinous character from the spirit balances itself very well with the base beer. Tobacco, a little ash, roasted coffee, and those vinous barrel notes are the bulk of the flavor on the palate.

This is just awesome in terms of feel. Silky, creamy, and full. No thin mouthfeel here. It looks like FiftyFifty has addressed the thin texture that I experienced in prior vintages. Very well balanced -- more so than the EC18.

 1,141 characters

Photo of BubbaBeerMan
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of auroracrisis
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip.

Pours pitch black with a light mocha colored head that dissipates into nothing after a few sips. No lacing, a bit of legging.

Pretty hot on the nose with overlaying notes of sweet brandy and cocoa powder. Lots of alcohol, to be honest but it's not burning. Sweet confection sweetness too like caramel and marshmallow. Not too complex on the nose, but not offensive even though the alcohol is more than apparent on the nose.

Opens with nice roasty flavors of baker's chocolate and French roast coffee. Moves into brandy sweetness with German chocolate cake frosting. A follow up of malt balls and Toblerone? Pretty nice on the tongue, wish the nose matched up to this.

Soft carbonation and full bodied. Sticky.

Good brandy sweetness with various flavors of chocolate. Nice roast too. I'd suggest giving this a little more time to let the aroma gather itself.

 889 characters

Photo of portia99
4.55/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle (2011, bottle 1447) that is breaking in my CBS snifter. Very big thanks to Arbitrator for going above and beyond and facilitating my receipt of this fine beer. Been thwarted a couple of times in opening this, so really been looking forward to it.

A - Pours a very, very deep brown color. Clarity looked good on the pour, but in the glass not a shard of light passes thru, even towards the edges. A finger of creamy and dense dark tan head sits atop the beer for a good long time. Head slowly falls but continues to leave behind a thick and creamy collar and thin surface layer. Rings of foamy lacing coat the glass.

S - Brandy is noticeable up front, sweet, sugary, a bit of dark fruit, hints of vanilla, light booze, some dark roast underneath, light milky chocolate, maybe some cherries. Lots going on in here, but still remains balanced and the aromas mesh together quite well.

T - Quite fruity up front as the sip hits the tongue. I'm getting cherries and brandy up front. This fades slowly into a mild boozy presence in the middle which then drifts towards a chocolate assault. Milk chocolate mixed with some darker and more bitter chocolates blend together...I almost get the impression of a Black Forest chocolate cake topped with milk chocolate frosting, dark chocolate shavings and the great faintly noticeable cherry schnapps mixed in...dip that in a brandy reduction and the picture is complete. Dark roasty flavors including a bit of coffee lingers past the swallow well into the aftertaste. To me, this really comes across as a rich dessert in a glass.

M - Medium to full bodied, smooth and a bit frothy carbonation gives a bit of a milk shakey impression. Really well controlled booziness here. There is a noticeable warmth and liquor impression from the brandy barrels but not even close being described as overpowering or totally dominant...rather, the barrel complements the base beer nicely and only enhances. I'm gonna call the mouthfeel here close to perfect.

O - After hearing so much about the Eclipse "family" of beers, and never having experienced any of the versions before, I had high expectations coming into this, especially since the brandy version seems to be considered one of the best varieties this year. All I can say is that I am definitely not at all disappointed. Probably helps that I really love brandy straight or in a good dark roast coffee so perhaps this was set up for success with me. At any rate, this is definitely up there with my stouts of all time...here's hoping that the other varieties at least are in the same ballpark as this one is for me.

 2,612 characters

Photo of Stigs
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of kmatlack
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #2957 vintage 2011.

A: pours dark, not the darkest black but definitely dark. Light khaki colored head pours a half finger, sticks around for a little bit and settles down atop the surface of the beer. Not much lacing.

S: you get blasted with sweet brandy at first, the barrel presence is strong here. I've heard others say that the brandy was barely noticeable but it's here in this bottle. That's for damn sure. Tones of honey, cinnamon, chocolate, dark fruits, figs, a little coffee, and more chocolate. In a strange way, it smells of a plethora of different kinds of chocolate. Bakers chocolate, dark, coca nibs, milk chocolate. Crazy!

T: the taste follows the nose here. Front palate is sweet honey and chocolate, the brandy is prominent as well. Mid palate the sweetness dies down and the roasty, smokey, coffee flavors start to shine through. On the back/aftertaste there is still a ton of sweetness, getting kindof old, but the lingering coffee and charred oak isn't. Wish it was a little less sweet, but it's fresh, so I understand.

M: big thick stout, chewy mouthfeel. Alcohol masked well, but still present.

O: an amazing BA imp stout. Is it worth $30 a bottle...? Yes and no. Maybe for a special event, this is definitely worth it. Everyday, no. I can't wait to try the rest of the series.

 1,317 characters

Photo of cthomas78
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of treyrab
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the Elijah 18 a few nights ago, so I figured I would try the Brandy version to see how it stacked up against what most were saying was the best of this year's varieties. Well, in my opinion, the Brandy was the better beer. Here is why:

A: Took at least 10 minutes to get the wax off. Easily three layers of thick wax coated the top of this bottle. Had to get out the knife and chisel away. Once that was over, it poured into a snifter a nice rich black. A rather aggressive pour yielded a one finger creamy mocha head that retained itself for quite a while. Very nice.

S: Much more integrated than the Elijah 18. The Elijah smelled rather sweet, with an intense blast of bourbon. The Brandy here, was much more mellow, but with noticeable scents of nice brandy and roasted malts. The roast here is plays a larger factor than the Elijah. Also, this does not smell as sweet. Contains more chocolate than the Elijah as well.

T: Rich, complex brandy melds gracefully with the dark, bitter bakers chocolate and roasted malts. Nice creamy milkshake with brandy, malted milk balls, and some cocoa powder. Rather dry compared to the Elijah.

Overall, this was one hell of a beer. My girlfriend and I both agreed that we liked this better than the Elijah (but both were great).

 1,275 characters

Photo of Phelps
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sent by seeswo in the Blind Beers BIF. Poured from a bomber into a tulip and reviewed blind.

Pours dead black. The head is a dense, fuzzy medium tan that get to about a finger tall before fading to a fleece-like ring.

The nose bends crumbled cocoa with smoke and a smooth, date-like fruitiness. Sweet vanilla notes round out the rougher edges as it warms.

Tangy dark fruits take over the front of the flavor along with subtle anise notes and just a little chocolate. After the swallow, wood smoke rolls in, its bitterness amplified by notes of burnt bread, cocoa and toasted oak. Fairly high alcohol flavor. Little bit of spicy hop bitterness with lingering roast and fruity tang.

Medium-light carbonation rubs the tongue with tiny bubbles inside a soft, velvety body that’s not too heavy, not too light. Alcohol is big enough to numb the tongue and warm my cockles.

Well, hmm. The balance in this version of Eclipse is nice, but the brandy doesn’t impart much. Wish there was a bigger showing from the barrels.

 1,021 characters

Photo of biniek13
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Guffy
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of mulder1010
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle purchased by me

A-- Dark cola and settled black. Just touches of ruby at the base and at the collar. Original head was two fingers of a slightly orange mocha colored head. Fell to just above film through drinking. Good head retention and lots of lines and spotty lacing on the sides of the glass.

S-- Soft at first and quickly sped up. Brandy, green apple, cherry, oak, vanilla, molasses and plumb. More fruit driven at first and then changed to more of the darker fruits and barrel characters as got more air.

T-- Mirrors the smell a lot. A lot of brandy through each sip but more and more a lot of molasses, oak, coffee and brandy. Early on were cherry and apple notes. Slight amounts of hoppiness to this early on but after a few sips and air the barrel notes took over.

M-- Thin body and dominated by the barrel. Lots of molasses and plumb. Slightly slick and oily but finishes pretty clean and a big brandy finish with molasses, cherry, oak, chocolate and vanilla. Medium carbonation and lighter body for the ABV.

O-- ABV is well hidden through drinking until the end and it creeps up on you in a big way. For a rather thin body the barrel does a lot for the beer. Lots of flavors in this and pretty easy to drink. Solid, solid beer and worth seeking out. Just give it time to breathe.

 1,312 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brandy Barrel Blend from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 204 ratings.
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