Imperial Eclipse Stout - Buffalo Trace Barrel Blend | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Buffalo Trace Barrel BlendImperial Eclipse Stout - Buffalo Trace Barrel Blend

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Yellow wax.

Added by MasterSki on 12-08-2011

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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 245
Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a FiftyFifty Eclipse snifter.

The beer is dark brown, nearing blacks porting a small, beige head that leaves a bit of lacing in its wake. The aroma offers booze, vanilla, chocolate roast. The beer is slightly sweet, with prominent barrel characteristics throughout. Nice notes of vanilla and chocolate. Medium to full bodied with a boozy finish. This variant is middle of the pack as far as Eclipse stouts. Overall, a tasty beer. I would have this again.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4


A - pours a deep ruby filling out to black with a moderate tan foam on top.

S - hints of dark fruit, chocolate, oak, alcohol, vanilla. Actually quite nice

T - A strong alcohol presence is the low point, but it otherwise has a rather nice flavor profile, much in line with the nose. It's a bit strong and a bit fruitier than I expect a stout, but I like it

M - There is a very odd phenomenon with this completely misses the middle of my mouth. It's medium-bodied and rather smooth with a warming finish, but it's all at the front. I'm not getting a sense of much of anything in the middle.

O - Pretty good beer. Don't think it deserves to be highly sought-after, but there is some very good stuff in it. Room for improvement.

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Photo of IKR
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Vintage
11.9% ABV

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

Smell: Mild Bourbon, brown sugar , and mild coffee/roasted malt aromas. Nice smelling but not overly complex.

Taste: Moderate Bourbon, roast malts, vanilla, brown sugar and tannic oak notes. The finish features sweet Bourbon notes, vanilla, roast malt note, oak notes and mild hop notes. This variant is sweeter than the 2013 Makers Mark. Very restrained alcohol presence.

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

Overall: Good beer. Compared to the Maker Mark, the Bourbon flavor comes off a bit sweeter downplaying the roast malt/coffee aspect. As always, it's a treat to see the different barrel effects on the base beer.

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Photo of younger35
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ordered from the brewery but generously sent to me by abecall98. I love the different iterations of this brew and find them all very enjoyable. Drank from my Surly Darkness snifter while watching Pittsburgh vs. Denver.

2011 version, bottle # 898

Appearance- Pours a nice dark black brown with a nice fluffy half finger khaki head. The cap and collar fizz away fairly quickly leaving a small spotty cap and thin collar.
Smell- Lightly sweet smelling with the obvious hints of chocolate and coffee. Slightly boozier smelling than one might expect with a very woody character. Probably more of a spirit character in the nose than the previous three that I’ve tried. Husky and earthy with light hints of vanilla and maybe just a smidgen of dark fruit. Really can’t get over how boozy it smells.
Taste- Yeah, much like the nose the booze is just slightly too much. Maybe it’s because the beer is still young but the 2010 versions weren’t this boozy. Just a touch of light sweetness mixes in with the strong chocolate and caramel tones. Like all the previous Eclipse there is a very prominent coconut flavor that really seems to define the flavors of this beer. It’s very unique and one of my favorite parts of the flavor. Hints of vanilla are more than present with a sort of tannic earthy woodiness that’s spot on. Plenty of warming in the finish with a lingering bit of chocolate and coconut.
Mouthfeel- Nice feel overall. The beer doesn’t seem to be quite as hefty as I remember but it’s definitely not too thin. Silky smooth with a nice light touch of carbonation.
Overall- Definitely a tasty beer but I suspect it’s still slightly young. All the other versions of Eclipse that I’ve tried have had a few more months of age on them. I think it may have hidden a bit more of the booziness that this young 2011 version has. Either way, it’s still very nice and the intensity that the Buffalo Trace barrels add to the beer is quite a bit more than previous versions. Tasty stuff!

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Photo of Dope
4.06/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Batch 1 of 2013.

A: Pitch-black pour with a very dense and tall dark brown head. Head fades impossibly slowly, leaving heavy and thick swatches behind. Top notch retention.

S: Nice mild bourbon aroma. Caramel mainly. Lots of honey and toasted sugars. Mild chocolate.

T: Bourbon up front, stronger than the aroma interestingly enough. Caramel and toffee. Pretty spicy and stinging alcohol presence. One of the hottest 50/50 variants I've had. Mild cocoa in the middle and finish. Cocoa is more bitter in the finish with hints of smoke and even coffee. A little oak in the aftertaste too.

M: Heavy, smooth and boozy.

O: Hmph, I'm a big fan of buffalo trace but this blend didn't really do it for me. Quite sharp and boozy initially. Not nearly as sweet as the other variants too, much more bitter as a result. The bitterness and harshness really drowns out everything else, resulting in a seemingly less complex and balanced brew. This is my second least favorite variation so far, with corn whiskey being at the bottom.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at the release party. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours near black with a very thin dark brown head that faded into a faint collar. Tiny spotty soapy lacing was left down the glass.
S: I get big notes of bourbon, a hint of chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and a bit of slightly solventy roughness. Boozy and a bit rougher smelling than the other treatments.
T: Smoother than I was expecting given the nose. I get lots of caramel and even a bit of fruit. The bourbon quality is good, and there are flavors of marshmallow and toffee. There is some chocolate in the aftertaste and a hint of roasted coconut.
M: Fuzzy carbonation, soft, medium body, with a decently thick and slick mouthfeel.
O: Pretty good actually. Better than I remember it being at the release. Sweeter than some of the other treatments, and not as smooth as most, but still very good in flavor.

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Photo of gford217
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle, yellow wax.

Pours a little darker than I remember the 2010 versions being with the same thick beige head that leaves some spotty lacing.

Aroma is heavy on the bourbon and oak. There are some heavily roasted malts, bakers chocolate. The nose has a bit of earthy charred character, which is almost like a Danish-style stout, and nothing I've gotten in other Eclipse versions.

The taste is sweeter than I was expecting with more chocolate than in the nose, maybe even some vanilla. Roasted dark malts and a toasted caramel character as well. Finish is all about oak and bourbon with a hefty burn going down.

Mouthfeel is smooth and fuller than I remember in previous iterations. The alcohol is very evident.

This is a very good barrel-aged stout but probably not one of the absolute best from FiftyFifty. I think I'll let a couple bottles mellow for a while because I think it would be even better when the bourbon becomes more subtle.

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Photo of mjyoung
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to scottfrie. Split w/ scott frie and bbb099

A: Pours dark, with thin head that takes a bit to show up.

S: Sweet smell with a pretty good whiff of bourbon. Pretty simple, without a lot of the barrel-aged character I was expecting. Smells a bit too sweet for me.

T: Boozy, and a good chunk of bourbon. Definitely more of the oak-y notes with a hint of vanilla. Tastes much more balanced than it smells, but the booze suggests it can use some time.

M: A nice body, a bit thicker than medium bodied. Nice carb.

O: Pretty good. Not my favorite 50/50 offering, but still a solid brew.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #643. Served in a snifter. Thanks to FedEx for zipping this bad boy to me at record speed. Assist to yourefragile.

Pours near-black with a sizable medium-tan head. Good retention and really nice lacing for an imperial stout. Good collar and a half-cap throughout. The nose carries loads of chocolate with a good dosing of bourbon. Light vanilla and oak in the background. Quite smooth. The flavor has a bit of booze and more of the barrel, but still quite nice. Medium-full body with good carbonation. Slight roasty bitterness to the finish along with just a bit too much booze. My first of the 2011 Eclipses. Very impressive so far.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a tulip glass.

Big thanks to VDubb86 for sharing this bottle!

2011 vintage, bottle #664. If nothing else can be said about the Eclipse series, it does show how different barrels influence the same base. This one pours a deep black-brown (one that comes very close to approximating obsidian) topped by a finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises whiskey, buttercream, caramel, and vanilla. The barrel seems to block out any real sense of the stout within, but things still smell really good. The taste brings in more of the same, though now the stout asserts itself a bit more, though only through a somewhat light roasted-malt note. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a pretty smooth feel. Overall, a very nice stout, one that seems to have benefited from its year of closet-aging. Good times.

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Photo of jethrodium
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 ml bottle shared by colonelforbin. Thanks Mike. 2011 Vintage. Yellow wax. Pours a dark brown with a small tan head that settles to a ring and leaves some light lacing on the glass. The aroma is cocoa, marshmallow, bourbon, some oak, a decent amount of vanilla, and a bit of alcohol. The initial taste has a bit of sweetness with marshmallow, oak, cocoa, bourbon, vanilla, and a light roastiness. The finish has more vanilla with a light bitterness and leaves some lingering oak and vanilla. Medium body. Low carbonation. Another solid Eclipse. Perhaps a touch too sweet, but one of the better Eclipses I've had from this year. Not sure if this one is a victim of bottle variation because I've only had the one bottle so far.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a viscous-looking, near black body with a slender, tan head.

Smell: A good bourbon forward nose but there's also a hearty burst of hard, lightly smokey roastiness in addition to notes of scorched coffee, chocolate shavings and dark fruit.

Taste: A chary, chocolaty taste drenched in sugar sweetened black coffee. Dark fruitiness akin to a small splash of prune juice. A little coconut and spiced vanilla. Light smoke. Finishes smooth with a little hot chocolate - in that it's sustained in its chocolaty aspects and is a wee bit boozy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Overall smooth mouthfeel.

Overall: A solid barrel-aged beer, though a bit overpriced against its competitors as this beer will have you dropping bills faster than Skrillex drops beats, yo.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle BT 1, 2016:
Pours a medium thick black, though in the glass there is the slightest bit of light that shows the beer is not totally devoid of color. Decent lacing by the brown to tan head that lay thick at the rims and has a thin continent of bubbles acros a third of the surface.

Nose isn't giving up much other than a generic barrel aged stout - vanilla, bourbon, light wood, with a chocolate-leaning base beer. Nothing wrong, but a little more strength would be nice.

Beer feels a little thicker with some chill, and a little more fluid as it warms. The feel is soft throughout, with barely a tickle from the carbonation. Bourbon heat is nicely subdued.

Beer started chocolate/vanilla with a bourbon barrel accent to it. The was some soaked raisins or date in there, but it never really got to a true "dark fruit" feel of say a Belgian Quad. Warmth turns this flavor a little more towards a cola root beer blend - with more of a very light, natural dark sweetener combining with the bite from the root. A little birch wood bitterness finishes the taste.

An enjoyable beer that is a little sweeter and more full than the other version I tried (Woodford Reserve). I tended to like this one better, though the general consensus seems to be contrary to my opinion.

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Photo of illidurit
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at Woodshop 7 at Beachwood BBQ in Long Beach. Pours dark brown. Aroma is pretty heavy on the booze, with some roast, dark chocolate and vanilla coming through. Flavor is brown sugar, deep dark chocolates and sweet bourbon with a dry finish.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks to Matt for sharing!
2011 Vintage. Bottle #593.

(A)- Pours pitch black. Minimal tan froth.

(S)- A nice rich aroma. Bits of a dense, almost charred oaky caramel with some raisin, coffee, and molasses. Tiny hints at licorice as it warms.

(T)- Similar to the smell. That same oaky caramel charred bit with raisin and licorice. Almost has a subtle smokiness on the back end.

(M)- A nice smooth carbonation level and feel. Rich, thick, and sweet, but in a perfectly balanced sense without being syrupy or too sweet.

(D)- Overall, I quite like this one with its distinct characters that I found to be quite enjoyable. One of the better Eclipse barrel variants in my opinion.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1618th Review on BA
Bottle to CBS Snifter

2011 Yellow Wax
Thanks to Daysinthewake for this one

App- This pours out like a cola cola, only with a smaller head. It has some good browns, crimsons and reds behind it. The center is fairly dark and dense and then moves into a clear red edge with a small 1/4" head and then leaves only a couple lines of cling. Interesting color.

Smell- Not as aromatic as some of the other treatments but more than holds it own with a good amount of rich malts and some deeper chocolates, this also has some good vanilla and oak notes that balance it all out.

Taste- This was pretty damn good. For me the least sweet besides the JD which was 3 years old when I had it. A strong malt and barrel character with a good amount of booze. The barrel adds a nice rich layer of flavor and the honey is a bit subdued all around. This had more balance the other variants I have had.

Mouth- This was a very full medium body and then paired with a semi low bodied carbonation. It really works. The residual barrel is quite prevalent with good oak, char and vanilla and a bit of caramel sweetness.

Drink- This was a very good treatment. Probably in top 3 for me. The EC and the Brandy so far have been best and this is no different. Great layering and outstanding flavors. I am surprised people hate on this one.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A-Black in the glass, one finger brown head with some lacing.

S-Nice bourbon, sweet chocolate and coffee as well.

T-Bourbon, sweet chocolate, roasted malt, nice coffee. Faint vanilla.

M-Heavier, not much carbonation tad thick.

O-Another good Eclipse stout. Not upper echelon but one that you can justify the expense on.

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Photo of orangesol
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Capone's during PBW 2012

A - Pours black with a decent one finger tall off white head leaving small trails of lace down parts of the glass.

S - Smells of chocolate fudge, warm bourbon, dark roasted malt, charred wood, dark fruits, vanilla, oak and possibly some coconut? A very nice nose.

T - Starts off with a big dose of fudgey chocolate and warm bourbon slowly giving way to hints of dark fruit, licorice, vanilla, oak and the ever present dark roasted malt. Finish is pretty sweet with a moderate amount of booze, lingering on the palate long after consumption. The charred wood / oak grow a little strong toward the end of the glass but it never gets in the way.

M - Big body and flavors with moderate carbonation. Not as much booze as I was expecting after having the base beer before this one but it still packs a punch.

O - This was my first time having one of the Eclipse's on-tap and it didn't disappoint. I have had most of the other Eclipse varieties and I would say this is just as good as those, although not my favorite.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.22/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 single barrel version, bottle run 1, yellow wax. Came from Dawson's while home in Maryland. Pours black with nearly a finger of brown head in my Teku. Aroma of chocolate milk, some hot whiskey, vanilla, graham cracker. Flavor has big chocolate up front with a beautiful char and smoke finish from the barrel. Loooove the finish here. Whiskey is there but not too hot despite seeming so in the aroma. There is a fruity flavor and floral flavor here maybe from the honey. A really nice and complex blend of flavors that is noticeably different from the Evan Williams I had last night. Lives up to thinner body reputation that takes slightly away from it but still plenty of big flavors to love. Higher carbonation for the style. Really neat beer here.

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Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep black with a finger of dense tan head that fades quickly with minimal lacing
S: Smells of bourbon with notes of oak, caramel and vanilla with some chocolate and coffee
T: Taste is vanilla cream and caramel with some oak. Chocolate and coffee comes in at times as well with a little roasted malt. Slight alcohol but well hidden overall. Swallow is molasses and caramel with a big vanilla and oak finish with some slight coffee and chocolate but the sweetness from the bourbon lingers.
M: This beer is full bodied with a silky and creamy texture with soft but adequate carbonation and a dry finish
O: Very well done. The Eclipse beers are some of the best and this one is no exception. The flavors from the barrel are really nice and complement the base beer well. Buffalo Trace is a very sweet bourbon so the notes it provides are to be expected.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.26/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle, with the yellow wax seal, BR 1 of the 2014 vintage, and 11.9% ABV.

This beer pours a solid apocryphal black, with the barest of basal cola edges when pressed to the light, and three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and somewhat bubbly tan head, which leaves some stellar fussy neighbour's hedge lace around the glass as it slowly ebbs away.

It smells of dark bready, light toasted caramel malt, heady Bourbon notes - damp, oily staves, vanilla, grainy rye and corn whiskey - rich bittersweet chocolate, cold coffee, sharp black licorice, a wee wet nuttiness, and tame earthy, weedy hop bitters. The taste is big and chocolaty up front, of the milky variety, with some dense caramel/toffee sweetness, a kind of receded, but still rather prominent Kentucky whiskey character - sugary vanilla, oak, and more corn than rye - candied black licorice, cafe-au-lait, and ethereal earthy, musty hops.

The carbonation is quite understated in its mostly hard to pinpoint frothiness, the body a decent medium-heavy weight, and dead smooth, with a strong commensurate creaminess. It finishes sweet - both the chocolate and whiskey exhibiting some serious lingering strength.

One of the better instances of this barrel-aged series, and I have to judge this on its own merits, as I've never partaken of the guest Bourbon itself. Very dessert-like, what with all the softly roasted chocolate flitting about, and just the right amount of cozy booze warmth. Yeah, maybe getting this in the middle of a summer heat wave wasn't the best of ideas, but at least my basement is cool enough to enjoy the hell out of the rest of this bomber.

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Photo of chinchill
4.29/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Large, shared 2014 bottle.
Some heat and warmth from the alcohol. Inevitable, and this beer is otherwise excellent.
Sweet and surprisingly mild aroma. Rich, well balanced flavor.
Very long lasting, and tasty, whisky barrel aftertaste.

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Photo of maximum12
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, big thanks to flexabull for acting as a CA transit point for my massive shipment of Eclipse. Whoever said CA traders were anything but surpassingly generous hasn't deal with the same guys I have!

Yellow-waxed, 22 oz. bottle #350, slipped into a pair of Darkness glasses, standard dark Eclipse in color: black. Smells of rich dark chocolate, sweet malt, vanilla; not strong. Subtle or weak, depending on your inclination.

Buffalo Trace FiftyFifty carries a lot of barrel. Enough wood/oak to build a small cabin roars out of the gate & sucks the moisture from my mouth. Epic chocoloate that I don't associate with barrels slides in next; lots of cocoa. Roast is the other character bringing a fair amount to the palate: raisin, vanilla, whiskey appear in varying traces. Easy & silky on the throat. The barrel really shows only in the initial blast of oak & as a slow, shimmering aftereffect of whiskey in the sternum. My half-bomber is disappearing with alarming rapidity.

If this is the least of the new treatments, bloody hell, I'm ready to have them all. Tonight. Great depth, startlingly easy to drink, tasty as all get out. All around excellent.

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Photo of drabmuh
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Thorpe, thanks. Served in a FiftyFifty eclipse snifter, the occasion was right. Beer is dark black with a wispy brown head of small bubbles, minimal lacing, low carbonation, low retention.

Aroma is a little boozy and a little sweet. The roast comes through in this one more than the others. I like it.

Beer is medium in body, roasty on the end, a little sweet, a nice variant, close to one of my favorites of the night. I'd have this again.

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Photo of billshmeinke
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a wine glass.

Deep dark pour with a few fingers of tight carbonation, dies down to a good cap and leaves plenty of lacing behind.

Nose has loads of dark berries (blueberry is most prominent) with some underlying chocolate and cocoa as well as hints of toffee, caramel and espresso. Espresso is faint, not like it's been infused with coffee or anything. Perceptible whiff of alcohol.

Taste skews more caramel and toffee that fades into notes of ripe berries with and an underlying dark chocolate and cocoa throughout. Also a persistent roastiness that comes through as iced coffee, and some slight oak bitterness as well. Compared to the nose, alcohol is almost imperceptible.

Mouthfeel always stands out in the Eclipse series. Incredibly smooth, almost delicate, which is weird given how flavorful this beer is, carbonation is on the low side, higher end of viscosity and stickiness, but definitely nowhere near being over the top. The structure of the mouthfeel is just so rock solid.

Overal, 50/50's Eclipse beers remain the gold standard of barrel aged stouts, and it's always fun to see how much difference a barrel makes.

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Imperial Eclipse Stout - Buffalo Trace Barrel Blend from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.05 out of 5 based on 245 ratings.
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