Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #853
Ranked #2,709
4.19 | pDev: 8.83%
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States
Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon
Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 212 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SLeffler27
SLeffler27 from New York

4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark black walnut and is black in the glass. No highlights or any light passes through (SRM 38-40). A light khaki head is a thin combination of fine bubbles and pancake batter. Thick spotty lace forms above a dense ring, and a fine viscous film forms no legs on a PBGC Imperial 2 snifter.

The aroma is filled with dark roasted cocoa and cola. Bittersweet chocolate and dried figs follow, while faint Bourbon provides a backdrop. Licorice comes out late and stronger, while alcohol presents with warmth. The alcohol is much stronger than expected, even though this is an 11.9% beer. Peat starts out light and builds strength as the beer warms.

The flavor is clearly more Stout than Barrel, which is an appealing throw-back. Bourbon is more present in the flavor than it was in the aroma, while roasted malt and cocoa have a light, charred edge. The peat is present, though less developed than in the nose. There is a hint of black coffee in a long, modest finish. This beer definitely improves with warmth and sings with velvet notes.

The body is full, though almost feels light, due to the creamy texture and a soft, fine carbonation. Alcohol is above expectations, with light warmth.

Certainly, this is a sipping beer, and it seems pleasantly old school, which can be comforting. I imagine a mild cigar would pair well while reading in a bulky oak chair surrounded by leather-bound books. It would also pair beautifully with a grilled rib-eye. (Bottle date 2019.)

Jan 31, 2021
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beergoot from Colorado

4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Anthracite coal colored body topped with a thick, creamy tan head; heavy sheets of foam coat the inside of the glass. Strong smells of cocoa and bourbon; raspberries. The taste contains all the smell attributes and then some; milk chocolate; white oak; a hint of orange peel; boozy overtone blending nicely with the malt and honey sweetness. Heavy body; thick and velvety with residual sugars; sticky; firm yet balanced alcohol warmth permeates the mouthfeel.

This is from a 2015 release, and it has aged well. I have no reference for what it would have tasted like earlier, but this five year old is a beauty right now.

Oct 03, 2020
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puck1225 from Texas

4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a beautiful beer. Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a tulip glass. Rich dark brown color with a fluffy beige head and nice curtain lacing. Smell of dark fruit and bourbon. Taste of dark chocolate, cappuccino, vanilla and an extremely pleasant, earthy booziness. Warming beer! Very nice beer to enjoy after Wednesday night hockey! Wish he Stars had won!

Sep 24, 2020
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PittBeerGirl from Ohio

4.54/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2018 edition.

Pours an opaque coffee color. No light passes through. Head is a latte color and lacing sticks all the way down the glass.

Nose is full of bourbon heat and sweetness. Which is the highlight. Dark chocolate, roasted malt, and a hint of oak barrel are in the background. Complex and very well done.

Flavor is similar to the nose with some dark fruit added. Very complex and the high west bourbon flavors really come out. Finish has some alcohol heat but is pretty smooth. Overall bourbon flavors>roasted malt>dark fruit>oak>alcohol heat>chocolate

Mouthfeel is exceptional. Heavy bodied but not chewy, low to medium carbonation, smooth with a hint of alcohol.

Overall this is an excellent beer that was an excellent find. This was a special present for my husband for Christmas so I didn't mind paying extra for this special treat. Besides we drove to Fifty-fifty on our honeymoon and it was one of our favorite experiences.

Dec 31, 2019
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of bourbon, vanilla and sweet chocolate notes is very enticing. Taste is also a mix of vanilla and bourbon with some sweet black cholate notes with a woody finish with some residual sugar notes. Body is full with nice creamy texture with good carbonation and almost no alcohol is apparent. Superb BA imperial stout and high-quality barrels really improves the base beer.

Nov 09, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage; drank 1/28/16 @ Harvest Hop Haus.

Brown/black appearance.

Huge tan head; frothy lace.

Strawberry, oak, fresh earth & faint smoke notes in the nose.

Smooth medium thick mouthfeel.

Strawberry, oak & milk chocolate flavors up front; mild booze heat & faint smoke notes on the finish.

An excellent, complex stout. Bravo!

Mar 09, 2019
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SHODriver from North Carolina

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

2013 edition

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense finger and a half of light tan head which fades quickly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of chocolate malted milk balls with a little coffee along with a touch of bourbon and oak
T: Taste is pretty barrel forward on this one with some caramel, vanilla and oak off the bat. Really nice chocolate with a strong roasted malt backbone with some hints of espresso and charred wood. On the finish this one is vanilla and chocolate with some more oak and charred wood with some lingering roasted malts and coffee. Slight hints of butterscotch at times as well.
M: This beer has a smooth and silky somewhat full body. Carbonation is slightly effervescent but the beer is not prickly while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a really nice version of this beer. The barrels add a nice dimension to the base beer while the time seems to have done the beer well. This one has some really great complexity to it and it's a really enjoyable beer to drink.

Dec 17, 2018
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pkalix from California

4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013. still lots of carbonation although it's that carbonation which may have stolen some of the flavors over time... really nice still, a bit subdued and very smooth. super easy to drink and very enjoyable.

Aug 27, 2017
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Chcshammonde from California

4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Solid eclipse. This was the 2015 version, aged about 2 years. Very smooth. Barrel flavors were in the background, while chocolate, fudge, slight alcohol bite were among the most dominant flavors.

Aug 14, 2017
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ManapuaMan from Massachusetts

4.17/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Epic pour - deep dark black with a mushroom cloud head. You could scoop it off with a spoon if you were so inclined. Aroma of bourbon, roasted malt and leather. Taste is warm chocolate, charred toast, roasted nuts, coffee, light bourbon and vanilla. Honey adds a bit of sweetness but I wouldn't have known it was there if I hadn't read it. Would've liked a little more punch on the bourbon-back end. Oustanding beer at a hefty price. Meets but does not exceed expectations.

May 20, 2016
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StraightNoChaser from Georgia

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

look: Looks like the other variants. Gorgeous dark dark brown, nearly opaque. Some cola highlights. Big ass tan head for a nearly 12%'r and thick creamy lacing.
smell: Stellar like the other variants I've had. A hint of booze, in a honey roasty milkshake.
taste: does not lose anything to the nose. Like the other variants there's a chewy fudgey thing happening. So mellow and easy drinking. Very nice indeed.

Feb 21, 2016
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

All the eclipse beers look the same, brown and black mixed, thin light brown head on top. Smells of bourbon and chocolate malt.

Taste is warm, doesn't really strike itself as unique or identifiable compared to some of the other eclipse barrels, but that is a good thing because they are almost always really good. Thankfully this had way less char/smoke than the single barrel version, that was like licking a campfire.

Nov 27, 2015
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rand from California

4.08/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 22 oz bomber to Eclipse snifter.

I find High West bourbon a little too hot, and some of that comes through in this blend. Still, this Eclipse are a delicious line of brews and if the boozy warmth is a flaw it's the only one. Rich, complex, chocolatey, chewy.

Nov 27, 2015
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BMMillsy from Florida

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

2014 version. Easily the best Eclipse variant I've had. Much more body than most in the series. Pours black with light brown head, rich chocolate and dark fruit aroma with definite bourbon and oak. Flavor follows the nose, with a nice rich sweetness that I don't get from other versions of this beer. Not sure what happened in these barrels, but it managed to improve the beer substantially. This was nice.

Aug 08, 2015
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mothman from Minnesota

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

When I first smelled this beer, I didn't know which version it was, but it smelled more like bourbon than rye. It really reminded me a little of BCS as I drank it. Very nice offering.

Jul 21, 2015
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CHickman from New York

4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to 'Boccu' for giving me this bottle. BR-2, 2014 Release: Cut off the tangerine wax and poured into a snifter, the color was as pitch black as a black hole with zero light penetrating and it had a 2 finger thick foamy/creamy tan head that was full of bubbles and dissipated very slowly, leaving outstanding lacing coating the sides and rings as it went down. A fine looking imperial stout.

Smells of dark chocolate, burnt coffee grinds, vanilla beans, burnt grains, cocoa powder, brownie batter, bourbon, toffee, brown sugar, oak, hints of dark fruit, charred wood and some more sweet booze like dark rum or bourbon. The chocolatey sweetness is rich and complex and works to tame the very evident High West bourbon, and enough herbal or floral hop notes persist to keep this nose at a level of excellence.

Tastes pretty much like it smells but with more sweetness, more dry floral hops and a lot more heat - where the nose subdued the alcohol, each sip is hot and warming immediately as it slides down your throat and settles into your stomach. Lava stout comes to mind, but the heat is not horrible like a chili pepper, rather it's just very present and warms your insides right on contact. The complexities are there with the sweetness and booze wrestling for attention as the hops slice through for balance and a little bitter nip that tries to hose down the heat. Nice mix of rich dark chocolate, burnt coffee grinds, vanilla beans, Hershey's chocolate syrup, bourbon, toffee, brown sugar, smoked grains, cocoa powder, charred wood, brownie batter, oak, black licorice, molasses, fresh piney hops, hints of dark fruit like plum, dates and raisins, and then some more woody notes and bourbon which resemble red wine like a woody merlot. This is a bourbon lovers dream come true and the second excellent imperial stout that I've had this year based on High West barrels, the other being the Lagunitas ScareCity #3: High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout (that was excellent too).

Mouthfeel is so smooth and buttery slick, like a velvet stout that just slides on down with very timid carbonation which is barely existent, a chewy medium body that is more viscous and soupy than medium, and a bitter finish that is on the dry side yet boozy and full of chocolate and bourbon sweetness. After the first half of the bottle the booze pretty much is numbing so I was able to completely focus on the robust flavor.

Overall a great beer that might be even better with another 6 months of age since the booze was hot and took a way from it just a little bit. Letting this mellow may contain the High West, but I couldn't wait and I'm damn glad I tried this. I'll look to get my hands on another bottle as this was impressive. FiftyFifty Eclipse Stouts are very expensive at $30+ per bottle, but so far they are 2 for 2 as both I've tried were great.

Jul 04, 2015
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ihazabucket7 from California

4.7/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Orange wax top----poured into mini snifter-----dark, chocolate, raisin smell, bourbon------not boozy at all------very tasty love it bought it for my bro for his bday loves stouts. Worth the price!

Jun 19, 2015
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tkdchampxi from New Jersey

3.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tangerine wax, opened on 3/27/15.

Had several of the eclipse flavors this year and I think this beer compared well to the others. Not as good as For Roses or Elijah Craig, but better than Java. Comparable to the other ones I've had.

Doesn't taste much like Bourbon. Much more like whiskey.

A bit too much carbonation

Mar 26, 2015
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Boccu from New York

4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Aroma of coffee and bourbon. Exceptional stout. Coffee to chocolate. To a bourbon . Nice transition. Not over powering bourbon. Extremely well made.

Mar 08, 2015
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SomethingClever from Ohio

2.95/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

22oz bottle poured into nonic pint

A: big chunky fat head surprising in it's appearance pitch black body

S: a lot of oak you can really smell the barrel maybe a little cocoa and leather

T: very young barrel taste almost like someone added a shot of bourbon to a stout carbonation is surprisingly low and wow the oak in the taste stands out

M: Very thin feel but the alcohol is clingy as shit

O: I would have said this was just aged in oak barrel except for the alcohol on the finish very disappointing

Feb 01, 2015
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Pliny_the_Self-righteous from California

4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle @ Ale Arsenal on 1/9/15. Pours black in color with one finger or less of head that dissipates quickly. Plenty of lacing. The aroma is bourbon, caramel, chocolate, and oak. Thinner mouth feel than many in the class, but similar to other Eclipse varietals. The taste is bourbon barrel and roasted malt upfront with some chocolate and caramel. Still a solid beer, but not nearly the best Eclipse varietal.

Jan 12, 2015
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. Tangerine wax, vintage 2014, Bottle run No. 2.

Deep walnut brown body and opaque, but with just a hair of dark red tinge to it on the edges. Manages a creamy mocha brown head of about a finger, but settles to a good three millimeter collar, with a nice whispy top and not filmy. Some spotted lacing manages to round out. Quite a nice looking beer.

Excellent aroma and bouquet. Great hints of fruity quality, almost like a cherry brandy of sorts. Liquid maraschino chocolates, clove, with black forest cake and fudge qualities. Dense, almost kind of buttery in a way. Incredibly impressive nose with a very unexpected fruit character I didn't expect coming.

Palate is quite interesting. Light bodied but with definite whisky flavors and a bit of roast bitterness on the finish. Good round coating but missing some of the classic barrel aging silky and creamy coating texture. Still the flavors in the mid palate bring loads of fruit and dark chocolate, with a big whisky wooden tannic and bitter note. Cherries, spiced clove, sharp wood and an almost pencil shavings and lead sensation. Bitternes tones down after some time, with some leafy tea like hops to really jack things up even more interestingly.

I am shocked at how fruity this is, and how much it reminds me of a true whiskey barrel. It also seems to have more character of a rye than a bourbon cause of the fruit angles messing with me, but either way it's another dam good Eclipse worth savoring.

Jan 11, 2015
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PicoPapa from Connecticut

4.42/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle with Orange Wax. Bottle Run 2 2014. Pours a pitch black color with a half inch of frothy light brown head that dissipates quickly. Lots of lacing. The aroma is oak, honey, vanilla, dark chocolate, Bourbon, and chocolate syrup. The taste is lots of bourbon barrel upfront followed by some dark chocolate, espresso, caramel and some honey. Earthy with vanilla notes. Maybe a slight hint of dark cherries. Ends with lots of wood and Bourbon. Lots of alcohol warmth at the end with nice barrel notes. Heavy mouthfeel. Lots of Bourbon flavor on this one that goes well with the chocolate and woodiness. Almost tastes leathery at times. This is the second variant I have had of Eclipse and both have been outstanding, but pricey. Overall, I want to try more of these.

Dec 30, 2014
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Jaxbrew from Pennsylvania

4.63/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage. Cacao and barrel all over the place. Would have liked a bit more weight on the tongue, otherwise solid brew. Price point is really high, but understood on a 300 barrel level.

Dec 19, 2014
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HopBomb515 from New Jersey

4.39/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark black with asmall tan head that fades quick and alcohol legs on the glass. Oak, vanilla, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, coffee and bourbon. Really decadent aroma. Chocolate, oak, vanilla and bourbon come through on the flavors and meld together nicely. Alcohol heat is there and detracts a bit. Mouthfeel flashes with a surprising carbonation and goes creamy early in the sip and coats the palette. Overall I thought this was great. It mixes the flavors from the barrel and bourbon to the base beer very well. Smooth and delicious but a little hot.

Nov 13, 2014
Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 212 ratings