Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.

31 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West BourbonImperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon

Brewed by:
FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.90%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by MasterSki on 08-26-2013

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 184
Photo of ManapuaMan
4.17/5  rDev 0%
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.

 473 characters

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

 410 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
4.09/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

 424 characters

Photo of rand
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

 270 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

 406 characters

Photo of mothman
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

 183 characters

Photo of CHickman
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | 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.

 2,854 characters

Photo of ihazabucket7
4.7/5  rDev +12.7%
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!

 197 characters

Photo of tkdchampxi
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
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

 322 characters

Photo of Boccu
4.63/5  rDev +11%
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.

 150 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
2.95/5  rDev -29.3%
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

 508 characters

Photo of Pliny_the_Self-righteous
4.13/5  rDev -1%
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.

 414 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

 1,520 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
4.42/5  rDev +6%
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.

 773 characters

Photo of Jaxbrew
4.63/5  rDev +11%
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.

 188 characters

Photo of HopBomb515
4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

 562 characters

Photo of scottfrie
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into snifter. 2013 release.

A: Pours unlike any of the other eclipses I’ve had to date (which is basically all of them). This one has a huge, billowing, dense, and frothy head that damn near overflowed the glass. My first immediate thought was infection, but thankfully this wasn’t the case. Just a really really carbonated eclipse. A fuzzy and thick film lasted the whole beer through and left large spots of lace down the glass.
S: Bourbon is spicy and strong, with undertones of vanilla, roasted, and chocolate syrup. I get a hint of dark fruit in there as well.
T: Bourbon barrel lends some clean spiciness to the flavors. Notes of vanilla, leather, and caramel see to shine over additional flavors of fudge brownie, dark fruits, brown sugar, and toasted marshmallow. The finish has a nice sweetness to it from the bourbon, and the aftertaste is full of peat, leather, and toffee.
M: Ample carbonation is frothy but thankfully soft and velvety; it just really froths up on my palate as I sip. This is unlike any other eclipse I’ve had, and is really strange, distracting even, and it does take away from the beers drinkability. The body is on the lighter side of full, and the mouthfeel is clean, bitter, and a tad sticky.
O: As stated, definitely the most carbonated eclipse I’ve ever had, and perhaps on the sweeter side as well. Definitely a great stout, and a great eclipse variety, but probably not in my top 5 list of the barrel treatments.

 1,474 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%

Three bottles shared with my brother-in-law this week. I bought the first one. He enjoyed the first one so much, he bought two more for us to share.

Typical Eclipse appearance. Near black with an inch of lasting, tan head. Huge bourbon aroma, with honey sweetness, roast, chocolate. Delicious at first sip. Smooth on the palate. Honey and bourbon play so well together. Another nice addition to the Eclipse series. Expensive, but tasty.

 437 characters

Photo of TheCuriograph
3.87/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2013 poured into a snifter

A - Motor oil black with a surprisingly full brown head.

S - Dominated by sweet (borderline cloying) bourbon notes, along with pipe tobacco, white chocolate, marshmallow. Oddly, nothing too roasty about the nose. In many ways, the astringent sweetness resembles a particularly sugary cola. Plus, ethanol stings the nostrils.

T - Nicely smoky with an explosion of dark chocolate, accented by vanilla extract, date and black cherry. No meatiness or espresso notes; in fact its comparable to BCBS, which I generally find tasty but too hot and sweet. Same here.

M - Oddly thin for an Eclipse. Substantial, yes, but not a chewy as Java.

O - Not amazing; definitely my least favorite Eclipse I've had so far. Still, I'm glad I tried it, and I would buy another bottle to age. This seems like it could have potential over time.

 852 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

this is excellent, they all are in this series, but this might be my least favorite of the lot, and while its not all the way fair, i have to rate this against its brethren, and it just isnt as fantastic as the others, at least in my opinion. its got the same inky brown color, impenetrable to light, and the same lazy mocha head. it has a radiant luster to it as well, short of greasy looking, but definitely gleaming. it smells bourbon heavy, i smell the stout less and the booze more, and high west bourbon isnt my favorite, its nice, but simple and bland compared to their other spirits. oak and chalky dark malt mix with the sweet vanilla of the bourbon and the honey in the stout. the flavor never really opens up until its warm, definitely a beer to decant for a bit before drinking. its rich and roasty, but i dont get as much of the honey in the stout as i did in others. i also get a little more bourbon than i care too, seemingly not as carefully barreled as many of the others. oak is prominent, and some of the subtleties of the base beer are lost. im not sure how much of this is a product of the ageing. the high west rye was arguably my favorite ive had of these, and this is for sure my least favorite, but they came out at the same time, confusing. the thing that made it weak for me was the feel. it just seemed so much thinner than others, and even thin in its own right for what it is. it doesnt coat the palate the same way, and as a result it seems boozier and harder to drink to me. i still love it, dont get me wrong here, but in the context of the entire series (that ive had), its the least unique and impressive.

 1,640 characters

Photo of rlee1390
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Clear amber/brown when pouring, black in the glass and tries to leave some lacing.

S-Bourbon, roasted malt, coffee and chocolate.

T-Starts with bourbon and roasted malt, dark chocolate and some coffee.

M-Medium bodied, tad creamy and not much carbonation.

O-It was a good beer, worth the try. But at the price tag, not a repeat purchase.

 343 characters

Photo of KFBR392
4.19/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours with an extremely dark brown color with an average average thickness on the pour. A finger of dark brown/khaki head forms and is present while drinking. Above average active carbonation for the style.

Smell: Medium bodied barrel character brings some vanilla with some noticeable booze initially. Malt character has a caramel and molasses sweetness with some very light roasted coffee grounds. Dark cherry fruits and airy oak pop up on the back end.

Taste: Oak, cherries, with a kiss of barrel character hits the palate first. Barrel character picks up on the body with some heavier boozy accents, spices that come off with a rye flavor, and roasted malt. Molasses sweetness evens out the barrel character well. Coffee grounds sit on the palate long after drinking.

Mouthfeel: Like many of the Eclipse stouts, the body is a tad light. The flavors don't shine through as much as the other ones so the lighter body detracts a tad from this one. Lots of roasted malt, coffee grounds, and oak left on the palate long after drinking.

Overall: This one is good but I would certainly recommend the Elijah Craig 12yr over this one. The barrel character isn't as clear and flavorful from the High West as I was hoping. The spices and heavier malt accents are welcome but everything gets a tad bunched together.

 1,327 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

650 mL bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance - Black with a nice khaki head. Medium collar. Thin wispy surface.

Smell - Chocolate. Some vanilla. Sharp whiskey, but not much other barrel character.

Taste - Dark bitter chocolate. Dry aininess. Bourbon is even more subdued here. Sweet in the back end.

Mouthfeel - High carbonation. Kinda creamy, but drops off dry.

Overall - Not a lot of barrel, but it's a tasty stout behind it.

 434 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got a couple bottles of this from my futures last year, decided to crack one open. 22 oz. bottle poured into a tulip, batch 1, 2013 vintage.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with one finger plus of medium tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, whiskey, milk chocolate, toasted malts, burnt malts, dark chocolate, oak, earthy notes, and light vanilla.

t - Tastes of sweet bourbon, roasted malts, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, toasted malts, burnt malts, vanilla, cream, oak, earthy char notes, leather, and light caramel malts. Much better as it warms up, better than the nose.

m - Thick, full body and moderate carbonation. Tiny bit of heat, great mouthfeel.

o - Overall this is a very good beer and better than the 2013 Makers Mark I had a few weeks ago, but it is not my favorite in the series by far. I've been a huge fan of this series of beers over the last 3-4 years but to be honest, all the 2013's I've tried so far (4 of the variations so far) have left me wildly dissatisfied. While they have all been very good beers, I don't feel they have lived up to the great and amazing variations of the past few years. Hopefully they get a little better with time and the other variations pick up the slack.

 1,249 characters

Photo of kaseydad
4.02/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown colored ale with a big foamy head and a touch of lacing through the session.

Nice bourbon aroma combined with sweet chocolate whiff intertwined with honey. Woody, nutty, molasses, toasted oak. Reminds me of most of the others in the series.

Taste is slightly spicy with the bourbon up front followed by the stout flavor kicking in on the swallow. Smooth drink but not up to par on the some of the other barrel blends. A little more on the char side. Not as sweet as some of the others which I find as a plus.

Overall, this is a solid beer but not one of my favorites for the series. Maybe it's the bourbon barrel used. Not sure. Oh it's good, but just didn't spark anything in me that some of the others have. Have one more chillin and will wait for about 6 months and see what happens.

 815 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Imperial Eclipse Stout - High West Bourbon from FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
4.17 out of 5 based on 184 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.