Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011
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Style:
American Imperial Stout
ABV:
9.5%
Score:
93
Avg:
4.21 | pDev: 9.98%
Reviews:
72
Ratings:
210
From:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
 
California, United States
Avail:
Retired (no longer brewed)
Wants
  48
Gots
  125
SCORE
93
Outstanding
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011
Notes: Copper wax.
Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 210 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GRG1313
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

While not the recipient of lots of cool hype, FiftyFifty continues to make wonderful stouts that can age and are very drinkable and true to style with nice barrel qualities.

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GRG1313 from California, Apr 28, 2020
Photo of SHODriver
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
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 dense finger and a half of tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of intense dark chocolate with a little coffee. There's also some oak and caramel on the nose with some slight roasted malts
T: Taste is milk chocolate up front that turns into dark chocolate and cocoa powder with a nice shot of espresso. Hints of fruitiness, charred wood, and oak along with some smooth vanilla and caramel help to round things out. The finish on this beer is somewhat barrel forward with oak, slight fruitiness, caramel and vanilla with some chocolate and coffee in the very back end.
M: This beer is smooth and decadent on the palate. Carbonation is low but adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this beer is pretty special. It has some really nice flavors and complexity which make it a joy to drink. It may be a bit past its prime but it hasn't fallen of by much. Definitely one to sip and savor.

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SHODriver from North Carolina, Nov 14, 2018
Photo of stakem
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle consumed along side the 2016 grand cru for science. Bomber into matching eclipse snifter appears black in color with a khaki head.

Aroma of chocolate, vanilla, honey and very mild oxidation creeping in.

Tastes sweet yet roadty and boozy. Bitter to milky chocolate, coffee, honey, vanilla and caramel. A little dusty oxidation settles in as it breathes.

Medium body with modest carbonation. Pretty darn good. I wish any eclipse that was released in the last 3-4 years was half as good as this gem of yesteryear.

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stakem from Pennsylvania, Mar 30, 2018
Photo of rodbeermunch
4.57/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black and brown pour, dark tan head, 1/5". Aroma was just chalk full of chocolate (dark), bourbon, oak, and a little bit of vanilla.

Taste had just a very mild undercurrent of sweetness. Its got a sturdy, chewy, smooth, not hot mouthfeel, little bits of vanilla, coconut, dark chocolate come in waves.

Elite, 1st tier bourbon barrel stout. Just shockingly good stuff. High price tag though, but you really should buy at least 1 grand cru every year, they're reliable as can be.

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Photo of rand
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

...getting better with age. See my past Eclipse reviews for details, but as the years pass these beers are getting increasingly rounded and singular, pushing chocolate essence and a chewy complexion front-and-center. Decadent, heavenly, copiously quaffable - pick your descriptor - this is a benchmark to how far craft beer has pushed a brew's utter deliciousness.

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rand from California, Oct 10, 2014
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention. Aroma of black chocolates notes with some rye whiskey notes also clearly identifiable. Taste is a very enjoyable mix of rye whiskey notes with light woody features with some rich black chocolate notes and some warming alcohol notes. Body is quite full with an oily creamy texture. Very nice barrel-aged stout with a good balance between the different flavours.

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Phyl21ca from Quebec (Canada), Feb 14, 2014
Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle opened on 10.1.13

A - Pours a very dark brown with a thick tan head that just sits there.

S - Lots of boozy whiskey, a touch of sweet chocolate and maltiness.

T - Smooth sweet chocolate then plenty of bourbon.

D - Heavy body with good carbonation.

O - A nice bourbon and sweet chocolate, super smooth.

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HuskyinPDX from Washington, Oct 23, 2013
Photo of shangwang
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 112 served in a Dogfish snifter.

Poured thin with no head, just some minor white swirls on the surface. Jet black with little transparency. Smelled of bourbon and roasted coffee. Vanilla, chocolate, and alcohol in the taste; definitely a sipper with a lot of strong flavors. Mouthfeel was surprisingly light and watery.

Overall a solid beer, but I'm questioning the price point when compared to other barrel aged stouts like KBS or BCBS. Still, a very good drink.

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shangwang from Pennsylvania, Jul 20, 2013
Photo of Dope
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch (obviously). Looks like bottle 2221 maybe?

A: Pours jet black with a big fluffy light brown head. Hate fades slowly leaving substantial fluffy walls of lacing behind. Good retention too.

S: Kind of a non-descript bourbon aroma. I assume age and the blending has mellowed it. Caramel and toffee mainly with some sharp chocolate and char. Hint of fruity alcohol. Nice mix of bourbon and roasted malt.

T: Sweet sweet caramel up front with some honey perhaps? Sharp roasted malt with hints of coffee but mainly it's dark chocolate. Chocolate gets even more bittersweet in the finish, turning almost into a baker's chocolate type of flavor. Very tasty with hints of caramel and oak still floating around.

M: Medium-heavy body. Very smooth and borderline creamy.

O: An interesting beer. I've had several of the Eclipse variants and this one is definitely a lot more subdued and mellow. It may be because of the blended nature, or due to the age, or perhaps both. This is probably the easiest drinking variant I've had so I have to give it credit there. Bourbon is a lot more mellow than I'm used to and the dark chocolate stands out big time as a result. I love big roasty beers and especially dark chocolate so that scores more bias points from me. Excellent brew. Drink it sooner if you prefer the heavy, heavy bourbon character. This one is great as-is for me though.

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Dope from Massachusetts, Jul 06, 2013
Photo of Beaver13
3.57/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle, number 1674. Pours dark brown black with a thin bubbly tan head that quickly goes to a thin collar that leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is roasted fudgy chocolate malts, black licorice and a little bourbon.

The flavor is huge - lots of roast chocolate malts, black licorice, some sweet honey and quite a bit of booze with a bitter alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, it's a huge flavorful beer. It's quite bit over the top especially in the alcohol, but I enjoyed drinking it.

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Beaver13 from Colorado, Apr 16, 2013
Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a touch of brown and a finger of frothy khaki-chocolate head. Fades normal.

S - Chocolate and dark caramel malts, molasses, Bourbon, vanilla, oak, spicy rye, brandy, black licorice, dark cocoa, raisin, coffee, booze.

T - Sweet chocolate and bit of caramel malts, smooth Bourbon, vanilla, oak, spicy rye, Brandy. molasses, coffee, black licorice, bitter dark cocoa, raisin, grapes, and other dark fruits, and some booze.

M - Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and a bit syrupy with a warming and sweet.

D - Great barrel aged stout. The complexity of the different barrels comes through nicely.

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ngeunit1 from Massachusetts, Apr 14, 2013
Photo of jeonseh
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle as part of eclipse drinking.

A - Dark chocolate wih light brown head

S - Light bourbon, chocolate, and oak

T - Chocolate, light roasted malt, vanilla, caramel. The roasted malt and dark chocolate make itself known in the middle. The finish is sweet milk chocolate

M - Medium body with a slight watery presence to it. Light roasted aspect remains in the finish

O - Solid eclipse with good barrel presence that provides some vanilla and caramel sweetness

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jeonseh from Indiana, Mar 26, 2013
Photo of oline73
4.36/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

We opened this up at our Eclipse tasting the other night. Poured from the bottle into a tasting snifter.

The beer pours a very dark brown/almost black color. This beer had a very nice sweetness level to go along with the bourbon. I think this has come together quite nicely and it is a very complex beer. Bourbon, dark fruit, and mild vanilla notes are quite nice. I would definitely have more of this in the future.

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oline73 from Maryland, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of papat444
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

***2011 Vintage (Bottle #1741)***

Poured from a bomber.

Appearance: A thick foam forms on top of a very dense body. Thick sheets of lace slather the sides.

Smell: Sweet a bit, brown sugar, pungent overripe fruits, raisin cookies, coffee.

Taste: Vanilla, coffee, honey, dark fruits, cocoa beans, smooth oak, slight heat in flavor.

Mouthfeel: Feel is awesome. Mix of creaminess, low carbonation and a coating feel.

Overall: Very much liked it though it does pack a punch if only 9.5%. Be warned!

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papat444 from Quebec (Canada), Mar 08, 2013
Photo of kaseydad
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tried this over a year ago and wasn't that impressed. A year later? Let's review...

Nice carbonation pop after cracking the cap. Pours a black ale with a decent amount of light brown head. No lacing to speak of.

Getting huge sweet chocolate whiffs. The barrel definitely is rising through as well. Fain green apple. Syrup. Molasses.

The taste is again...huge chocolate. Sweet chocolate and cocoa abound on this. Roasty. There is still a decent amount of barrel in this too. Slight burn as it slides down. Tad of a bitter aftertaste. Good, good stuff.

Slick mouthfeel. Not as thin as some of the other variants.

Overall I am very happy to have waited the year for this. I think it's the perfect time to drink it now. The blend is working as a team perfectly. Not sure which barrels were used but very nice work here. Had I reviewed this on my first bottle, this rating would be lower. Patience is a virtue when it comes to the Eclipse.

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kaseydad from California, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of AgentMunky
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a sampling glass. 2011 vintage. From notes. Reviewed 12 February 2013.

A: Pitch-black with cola edges and a light brownish head.

S: Incredible! Soft vanilla, ensorcelling spirits, and gentle-sweet yeast.

T: Good, but light and short. Fruit, chocolate, and old ale yeast. Very brief.

M: Soft and flattish.

O: One of the best smelling Eclipses, with a good, soft, taste, but not a lot else.

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AgentMunky from New York, Feb 14, 2013
Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black pour with an oily sheen, and a tiny ringlet of bubbles on top. Aroma of dark malts, bourbon and wood, dark fruits and anise. Taste was pretty similar to the smell, dark malts, molasses and licorice, a pretty strong bourbon quality, with a hint of fusel alcohol, baker's chocolate, and a bit of subtle smoke. On the heavy-medium body, lower carbonation, boozy, but still fairly smooth, and quite drinkable.

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Rifugium from North Dakota, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of inlimbo77
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Eclipse '11 Grand Cru
22oz, Btl#2035

A: Pours basically pitch black. Initially got about a cm of light tan head. Reddish hues towards edges when held up to the light. Not as thick as I was expecting.

S: Chocolate and soft vanilla in nose for sure. You do get a little bit of that fruity sweetness, probably from the brandy barrel that was blended in as well as the bourbon variations. The normal oak notes are there as well.

T: Up front nice touch if chocolate sweetness. It's more of a blend of creamy milk chocolate and some semi sweet or dark chocolate. Definitely pulling those rounded vanilla/oak notes. Year has helped this guy. No booze. No heat. Very nice. Long finish.

M: It's full bodied but not overly thick.

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inlimbo77 from Delaware, Jan 04, 2013
Photo of tewaris
3.65/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Eclipse Grand Cru 2011 sent a while back by Dan, thanks!

Dark brown color with garnet highlights and a small ring of bubbles for head. Smells a bit alcoholic with some vanilla and caramel. Roasty, dark and a bit tart but still smooth. The thin body, while disappointing, lets the alcohol come forward nicely. Overall it is a good beer but I am still to drink any Eclipse worth its price.

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tewaris from Minnesota, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of jethrodium
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 ml bottle. Pours a dark black with a small tan head that has good retention and leaves some light lacing on the glass. The aroma is bourbon, chocolate, oak, some light coffee, some vanilla, and a bit of roastiness. The taste has a light sweetness with chocolate, bourbon, light coffee, some roastiness, and vanilla. The finish has decent alcohol and a bit of bitterness. Medium-light body. Medium carbonation. Not bad, but certainly not the best of the Eclipse variations. It seems to have quite a bit more alcohol presence than the others.

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jethrodium from California, Nov 01, 2012
Photo of corby112
3.99/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle 1470, 2011

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a half finger beige head that quickly fizzles into a thin ring. Minimal spots of lace left behind.

Complex aroma with the barrel character nicely integrated into the characteristics of the base beer. Some spicy bourbon but the spirit presence is pretty mild with lots of oak, vanilla and toasted coconut followed by hints of chocolate cake, fudge, toffee, toasted malt, oatmeal and coffee bean. Not overly roasted, however, with lots of chocolate sweetness and barrel. Smells like an oaky, bourbon filled chocolate dessert.

Medium bodied with a stronger barrel presence than the aroma suggests. There's still a substantial malt backbone but it's slightly overpowered by a strong dry, toasted oak presence. Similar to the aroma, the spirit is somewhat tame with lots of dry, earthy wood followed by very subtle marshmallow and coconut notes. I wish there was more of this and the spirits used in the blend but these elements are drowned out a bit by the wood. As it warms the boozy sweetness becomes a bit stronger and the malt backbone comes more to the forefront. Lots of dark roasted malt flavor balanced by chocolate dessert like sweetness. Hints of burnt toast, coffee bean and oats followed by toffee, caramel and fudge-y chocolate. Some boozy heat in the finish making this variation a bit tougher to drink. Still, it's pretty easy for me to drink. I just wish it was a bit more complex and had more balance.

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corby112 from Pennsylvania, Oct 31, 2012
Photo of sitarist
4.07/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another blind review via the blind bif #7. Bottle 2a shared with Frankenstorm.

Pours opaque, deep purple to black in color. No head just a loose crop of bubbles that fall to a ring. Small webs of lacing.

Smells like a box of high end assorted chocolates. I smell chocolate liquor, nugget, dark fruit jelly's, hints of whiskey, and vanilla. Its aroma is finely balanced, and begs me to taste its dark allure.

I taste caramel, whiskey, vanilla, chocolate liquor, nugget, anise, and hints of dark fruit. A bit too sweet, and lacks the balance that its aroma has.

It has a medium body which does not hold up to its huge flavor profile. Lightly carbonated, a little bit bitter, a little bit hot. A nice sipping beer.

A nice beer on this stormy night. Wonderful aroma, and flavor, It could use a bit more body...IMO.

Thanks to slaphappysnark, & stupac2 for the bottle.

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

Bottle number 2719 from the 2011 vintage. Poured in to oversized CBS snifter.

A - Dark brown on the pour and settled black. Only a very thin layer of medium brown head that took the form of light bubbles that were scattered across the top of the beer.

S - Sweet bourbon and brandy notes up front with a huge vanilla presence and some oak coming through from the barrels. some roast and sweet molasses in the background.

T - Bourbon up front with a big oak and vanilla presence. The brandy is detectable as well but to a lesser extent. Semi-sweet chocolate, roast and sweet molasses flavours come through from the base beer to compliment the barrel characteristics.

M - Medium body. Creamy. Light carbonation.

O - This was my least favourite of the five 2011 Eclipse variants that I have tried, but it was still a solid beer that I would be happy to drink again.

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TheSevenDuffs from Ontario (Canada), Sep 29, 2012
Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.52/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to ipa247 for this one. Bottle #355. Bomber poured into a Founders snifter. Shared with schen9303.

Pours a dense, black with no head and very spotty lacing but thick, viscous, and oily legs.

Nose is sweeter than I expect. Honey, sweet booze, plum, prune, chocolate, and cocoa powder and fudge create a slight graininess. Despite being a "grand cru", this one's not quite as appetizing as some of the others. Still very solid though.

Opens sweet. Honey, cocoa, fudge, and chocolate. Some molasses and plum add a slightly odd flavor towards the middle. Booziness awakens towards the end but this time, it doesn't add too much to the flavor profile. Ends sweet honey and dark fruit. Honey and molasses on the finish. Decent but this one doesn't stand out as one of the better blends.

Medium bodied with moderate to low carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth with some bubbles going down and a nice bit of heat. Messy finish with a lingering aftertaste. The eclipse series always seems to have great feel.

One of my least favorite from the eclipse series is still a very solid beer. Too bad it comes from a line where most of the other versions are better. There's just something missing here whether it be the lack of barrel character or lack of dimension in the flavor.

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SpeedwayJim from New York, Sep 20, 2012
Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 09/03/12 notes. Bought this is Philly a few months ago for about $26.99 at the new store in Ardmore, PA, The Beer Shoppe, their opening weekend. Poured into my Bruery tulip. 2011 vintage, bottle #65.

a - Pours a pitch black color with a few very dark brown bubbles when poured aggressively, and light carbonation evident. Looks pretty nice, though not much head.

s - Smells of whiskey, roasted malts, chocolate, and caramel malts. As it warms up, a little vanilla too. Whiskey is very strong and up front here, moreso than the other variations.

t - Tastes of caramel malts, toffee, roasted malts, chocolate, roasted malts, whiskey, and vanilla. Taste has much more caramel and more vanilla than the nose, and the whiskey is hidden a little better, though still prevelant.

m - Medium to thick, full body and low carbonation, with some alcohol heat. Little bit harsher than the other variations.

o - Overall I am a big fan of the Eclipse series, and this is a good beer, but this is probably my least favorite of the Eclipse's I've had so far. I felt the whiskey was a bit harsher and more prevelant than the other 6 or so variations I've had at this point. Don't get me wrong, this is still a good beer, but if you can choose between this and any of the other variations, I would go with one of the others.

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mdfb79 from New York, Sep 04, 2012
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend 2011 from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 210 ratings