Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (20 Year)
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (20 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (20 Year)
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Stout - American Imperial
4.36 | pDev: 7.57%
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (20 Year)Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (20 Year)
Reviews: 18 | Ratings: 174 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz pink wax, autographed bottle
Bottled 2013

A- pours black in color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that reduces to a ring around the glass

S- huge barrel aromas on the nose, barrel juice, deep soaked sharp oak, with vanilla and coconut. Undertones of caramel, chocolate, slightly nutty, prunes and candy bar nougat

T- as with the nose, bold barrel flavors dominate up front. Plenty of barrel juice, peppery sharp oak, caramel and toasted coconut. Mid-palate gives some dark fruit notes of raisins, figs and prunes, followed by some chocolate notes. The finish is primarily bold oaky bourbon that continues into the linger, along with more dark fruits

M- medium body with moderate-low carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that continues into a boozy, warming finish

O- definitely the most barrel-forward Eclipse variant that I've had, even at 7 years old. As a bourbon drinker, I enjoyed it. But if you're not a straight bourbon drinker, it's probably not for you

Dec 27, 2020
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of sweet chocolate notes with some woody notes and vanilla also noticeable. Taste is a very smooth mix of sweet black chocolate notes with some bourbon, vanilla and woody notes with no rough edge in the aftertaste. Body is full with nice creamy texture and good carbonation with light perceptible alcohol notes. Another solid BA stout from this fine brewery.

Nov 10, 2019
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Jeez what were these like $35 a bottle? My dumb ass bought like 6 of them. Anyways, pours just like every Eclipse ever practically, this is a black and dark brown to the edges kind of stout, with 1/3" brown head on the top. The pappy variants always seem more robust for better and for worse, more barrel, more alcohol heat.

Taste is much more tame than any whiff of alcohol in the nose. Chocolate, oak, bourbon. Basic. Well done. Its amazing how well something like this hides the alcohol in the taste and mouth feel, but then all of a sudden, put it in a cognac barrel and its massively hot. More caramel notes in this one give it a smooth exterior. The pappy one seems to be fudgier than the others too. Pretty good stuff, but damn if the price tag on it isn't some major sticker shock. I prolly would not buy so many if I had to do it again, despite it still being a world class bourbon barrel stout.

Jan 08, 2018
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stevoj from Idaho

4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014:Sampled at Boise’s Imperial Stout get together, over 120 bottles to choose from. Going with the flow on this rating. Thanks to Syndicate for sharing! 2018: sampled again, still great, but fell off just a bit. (Bottle #312)

Jan 08, 2018
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scottfrie from California

4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into snifter.

A: Pours near black with a low bubbly head quickly faded to a faint collar.
S: Vaporous nose, tons of vanilla, touch of bourbon, light caramel. Slightly volatile alcohol.
T: Warming bourbon up front followed by smooth notes of honey sweetness, leather, caramel, and velvety chocolate. Lingering sweetness with lasting milk chocolate and honey flavors in the finish. Rich chocolate and leather in the aftertaste. Pappy is smooth and buttery.
M: Full body, soft and low carb, sweet overall, very mellow and easy to drink despite still have a warming booze presence.
O: Delicious and smooth. Very mellow but still has tons of rich flavors. All the sharp edges are rounded out. Pappy is mellow and creamy.

Feb 24, 2016
Photo of rudzud
rudzud from Massachusetts

4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Andy for sharing.

A -Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice dark brown hue with a thin off white head that fades to leave light wisps.

S - Aromas of light chocolate, nice natural notes and nuttiness. The pappy bourbon notes are rather restrained.

T - Taste is nicely chocolate, nice nuttiness, good barrel notes, fudgy brownie.The bourbon is very restrained with nice Light bourbon notes. Pleasant, little sweet.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly creamy, alcohol hidden well.

o - Overall this beer was solid, nice bourbon notes but not nearly as much as I would have liked.

Serving type: bottle

Dec 28, 2015
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Andy

Pours almost no fizzy head, pitch black beer, no lacing, decent legs.

Nose big heavy dark malt, roasty notes, dark choc, caramel, cocoa, little fluffy nougat, little vanilla oak, faint smooth bourbon, touch nutty, candy bourbon.

Taste brings big dark choc, lush creamy cocoa, little candy caramel, faint roasty, fluffy nougat, nice vanilla oaky barrel with smooth bourbon, little nutty and candy bourbon. Faint hop bitterness, chewy nougat, faint booze warmth. Finish mild sticky sweet, hint of booze, little south bourbon dark choc, cocoa caramel lingering.

Mouth is fuller bod, rich semi creamy, lighter carb, little booze until it warms.

Overall nice base beer, bourbon is lighter and doesn't come through as much unfortunately.

Dec 27, 2015
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Kurmaraja from California

4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Looks exceptional. We're not looking for density or sticky legs, but just a beautiful dark pour - auburn highlights, mocha head. Smell is a shit ton of espresso, some woody notes (cedar? mahogany?), marzipan, and cocoa. Not powdery. Heavily roasted, substantial but light on its feet. Nips of bourbon toffee, vanilla, and oak at the finish. 2 years seems about right for Eclipse variants. An exceptional beer.

Oct 23, 2015
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CuriousMonk from District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Glad to have landed this rare '13 gem! Pours pitch black with a nice half finger mocha head - not bad for a beer aged for nearly two years. The aromas had that trademark FiftyFifty Imperial Eclipse Stout that you detect in all of their bourbon barrel-aged series. There was surprisingly a rum-like aromatic quality to it - a bit metallic, which got me worried initially. Again, there was that trademark honey to the beer along with hints of oak and sweet caramel. In the flavors, there was a pleasant overwhelming taste of that Pappy (Yay! I saved $200) that held up and aged very gracefully. However, the bad news was that I was not able to pick up on any other flavors aside from that honey and perhaps some light cocoa powder. Medium bodied mouthfeel and quite boozy in the back finish. Overall, a very nice beer and very glad to have finally checked off this long time want of mine!

Mar 08, 2015
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quetzal013 from California

4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

As stated in other forums... I feel like giving this beer a high rating is like rooting for the Yankees... It makes me feel gross inside. I generally root for underdogs. That said, this is a phenomenal beer. I have been lucky enough to try it twice now through the generosity of OldManWeathers and BigPerm. This last try, Masterhoa was able to swing by with a bottle of Pappy 20 for a side by side. IMO drink the beer first, the pappy favors are much stronger than the beer. The beer has a very nice balance of flavors, barrel has fantastic presence and the heavy handed roasted flavor of the base (Totality) is completely toned down with aging. Anyway, many thanks to the friends that have allowed me to try these wonderful libations!

Mar 01, 2015
Photo of guityler83
guityler83 from Wisconsin

3.48/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2 / 2013
A: Pitch black beer with dense tiny khaki head - fine tiny bubbles. moderate lacing and spotty lacing when swirled.

S: Moderate vanilla and milk chocolate, cocoa, coconut and slight soy sauce aroma. Bourbon and oak comes in medium and very smooth.

T: Rich dark chocolate, soy sauce, smoke and a slight roast/ash character. vanilla is low with bourbon sweetness mild in the after taste. Sweetness is moderate with milk chocolate and caramel. Bitterness / hops negligible.

M: Thick viscous body with low carbonation, moderate alcohol warming with some astringency.

O: Not very impressed - The soy sauce character I picked up from the beer detracted from the beer for me. The base beer had a nice chocolate character, however the bourbon barrel was more apparent in the aroma than in the taste.

Feb 02, 2015
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.6/5  rDev +5.5%

With the long slumber of Eclipse stout in those famed Pappy Van Winkle barrels, the elements of char are smoothened, the vanillans and caramels project and the beer dries- capturing the essence of the legendary bourbon in spectacular fashion.

Ominously black and inky upon the pour, the look of stout-lined cognac ensues. With its delicate creme that calderns from below, the decadent aroma of espresso, fudge and tethers of Kentucky bourbon mesmerize the senses ahead of the sultry sweetness of burnt caramel, black-strap molasses and vanilla cream in that very first sip.

Its full and lavish body slathers upon the tongue and palate with caramel and cream flavored dark-roast coffee. With the rougher edges of char rounded into a bittersweet chocolate tone, the nutty flavor of oak all give impressions of walnut brownies. The strong oaky presence from the bourbon offers its own spiciness, along with added caramel and vanilla flavored wood oils.

Long, warm and savory, the finish is pleasantly oxidized with sherry and soy, bringing a charred cherry and grape fruit flavor to the mature whisky aftertaste. The wood tannins of the barrel seem to lighten and dry the stout, preventing any association with cloying, chewy texture or over saturation; making it dangerously drinkable.

Nov 19, 2014
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner from Kentucky

4.35/5  rDev -0.2%

The nose is filled with Chocolate! Huge chocolate tones of chocolate malt, milk chocolate, chocolate powder and chocolate milk. There are some tones of dark fruits but it's shoved to the back.

The flavor is smooth and thick with hazelnuts, milk chocolate, light roast, walnuts, chocolate malt and a thin ribbon of bourbon. Exceptional flavor and feel.

Nov 16, 2014
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

3.68/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black. Small khaki head. A few wisps.

Smell - Bourbon is strong. Doesn't scream Pappy at all. Has that sweet, kinda maple-y aroma of Pappy, but not quite the same. Boozy. Dark chocolate.

Taste - Chocolate and fudge. Booze. Very woody in the middle as bourbon builds. This definitely doesn't taste like pappy. Has an astringent finish.

Mouthfeel - Boozy. Medium heavy body.

Overall - Good bourbon stout, but if this is Pappy, it's not coming through very well.

Oct 14, 2014
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rlee1390 from Indiana

4.28/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

S-Good deal of bourbon. Some vanilla and chocolate. Roasted malt as well.

T-Woah. Pappy barrels kill it again. Starts with great bourbon then oak and vanilla. Some spice. Chocolate and roasted malt as well.

M-Medium bodied, some carbonation, velvety.

O-Pappy barrels kill it. There is nothing more you need to know.

Jun 26, 2014
Photo of stakem
stakem from Pennsylvania

4.11/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Poured into an eclipse snifter, the brew appears black. A vigorous pour yields just shy of 2.5 fingers worth of dark khaki head. The cap fades leaving a full wall of stringy/patchy lace on the glass. A light swirl effortlessly revives a finger of brown froth back to the surface.

The aroma opens up very impressive with chocolate malt notes blending to caramel and slight vanilla barrel presence in a perfect marriage of malt and barrel influence. As the brew is smelled more a bit of solvent alcohol emerges coupled with a raw earthy oakiness.

The flavor is roasted and slightly bitter with char and oak flavoring giving way to a bit of anise and tobacco. Ive always found beers aged in PVW barrels to have a slight cinnamon spice to the profile, this unfortunately does not have that. In it's place is more of an earthen roast and raw woodiness. A mild touch of dark raisony fruit is the last flavor to strike the palate.

This is a surprisingly rich and frothy feeling brew. Whereas it has been a constant gripe that the mouthfeel of the eclipse brews have historically been thin and lifeless I am shocked at how rich and silky feeling this is across the mouth. Fantastic in the feel. This is a very good brew with a depth of character to take in an enjoy. Despite all the lush flavors this offers, it doesnt scream Pappy Van Winkle which is a slight let down. Overall though, its a solid offering. Not to sound all ho-hum about it but the previous release of pvw eclipse is/was significantly better since it had much more barrel character.

Jan 28, 2014
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PHBoiler from Illinois

3.74/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I figure I'd go big as this is my first Eclipse. Pours quite thin for a BA stout to me. No head at all and a jet black, slick body. The nose is pretty hot. I get a little roast and a little baker's chocolate, but the booze pretty well mutes it. Hard to get past how thin this beer is for a BA stout. It just doesn't have enough body to hide the heat from the barrel. I don't get any interesting complexities from the barrel even being Pappy. It drinks hotter than 11.9% to me. It's interesting, but the hype is not justified in my opinion on this variant or the overall beer.

Jan 13, 2014
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UCLABrewN84 from California

4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Rado for sharing this one at jmgrub's tasting.

2013 vintage. Bottle # 1454.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, caramel, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a great mixture of aromas and tasty flavors.

Jan 06, 2014
Imperial Eclipse Stout - Pappy Van Winkle (20 Year) from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 174 ratings