Total Eclipse Black Ale | Hoppy Brewing Co.

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Total Eclipse Black AleTotal Eclipse Black Ale

Brewed by:
Hoppy Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Brent on 01-12-2003

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Reviews: 61 | Ratings: 99
Photo of alleykatking
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bottle. Review from notes...

A- Pours a well black color. Light red hues on the sides of the glass when held to the light. Two finger fluffy dirty white head that shows great retention. Ringy lacing left on the glass.

S- Light roasted malts collide with a chocolate bitterness. A real gentle smelling beer with a hint of toasted brown bread as well. Just plain and simple...I like that!

T- Light roasted malts dominate the beer for the most part. Some chocolate notes in this along with some light prune hints as well. The backing of this has a bitter hop bite to it. This almost reminds me of a black IPA with a little less hop bite to it.

M- Light mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the beer. Roasted malts left on the palate with some light hops in the aftertaste. Light drying on the palate. Flavors were bland overall and distant or faded.

D- This was a drinkable beer that at first I wasn't too sure about but found to love overall. I will be looking for more from this brewery. I think this is a good beer for non-stout drinkers to try to get into the style of stouts or even porters.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

One of my first really dark beers I got into. Its not exactly what I've come to know and drink as stout beers. Its a definite class defying beer. Stout and. . . baltic porter? schwarz?

Looks plenty dark enough, but doesn't have the thickness to match. Great lacing/retention thereof. Taste is coffee, choco, dates, fig, smoke, hay, vanilla. Decent amount of dry, perhaps astringent bitterness to it. Remains lighter on palate than looks and tastes though. Hopping is ample. Cascade. Nugget? This beer is unique, check it out, might not work for you, but its different and not for the sake of being weird.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.44/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

You know, I never hear people raving about Hoppy Brewing Company in these forums, but they are available at whatever BevMo I walk into. I can get this 1½ mile from where I live, but this was bought in Gilroy. So here we go with the bomber, and on to the beer:

Be shocked, but the color is black. A little orange hue at the edge of the glass, and the light tan tinted head is holding good retention and leaves a creamy lace. Lots of good quality lacing, yah! Not a bad nose. There is a little chocolate syrup, some coffee grounds, and some roasted notes. But as time progresses, it becomes less sweet and more astrigent, becoming less interesting.

First's alright. There's just enough good flavor to keep me interested in this. Ground coffee is the first thing to pop up. Bittersweet chocolate emerges, and it compliments the pleasant astringency well. Medium hoppiness in the back. It's buzzy carbonation buzzes in the mouth....I'd like a little less of that, please. On my second pour from the bomber, I get my wish, and the beer becomes smoother.

This beer won't have me raving about this brewery, but it is another choice on the shelf that I can live with.

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Photo of bargerking
2.31/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a dark black into a snifter from a 22oz bottle. Dark leathery head. Smell is really light and bland. Roasted malt with a faint hint of hops. After taste is funky and not enjoyable. Mouthful is spicey, almost astringent. Thin body. This is a very one deminsional beer with nothing special. A very boring beer for me.

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Photo of itsfordoc
4.1/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just as advertised - Tastes like a stout but not as heavy. That's why I gave mouthfeel such a high rating - not that I have a problem with a stout but this was refreshing. A summer stout, maybe? Nice toasty aftertaste with some hoppy notes. Could drink a lot of these and probably will since a picked up a case off the clearance rack at Westy's in Camp Hill, PA, for $30.00!

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.45/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A 22 ounce bomber bottle purchased at Abe's for $7. Poured into my nonic pint glass. The ale appears an opaque dark chestnut color with about a finger of ecru foam. Nose and flavor are of mild mint, fresh tobacco, dark roasted grains, grassy hops, bittersweet chocolate. Less than medium bodied with light carbonation. Crisp, bitter finish. Worth trying.

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Photo of WakeandBake
4.2/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle, A sweet trade extra. A clear dark brown/black with a huge rocky off white head that leaves loads of lacing all the way down. Aroma of dark roasty malts,bitter coffee,a bit of chocolate,charcoal,pipe tobacco. Flavor is just roasty enough, some light smoke,roasted coffee, and this light malty sweetness for some great balance, clean refreshing mouthfeel,medium carbonation, and a slightly dry finish. Very drinkable, a very well made craft brew ,and a fun try.

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Photo of flexabull
3.57/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black color with a decent off white head.

Aromas are of dark bitter bakers chocolate, some coffee, and cocoa.

Flavors are a bit sweet. Mostly sweet chocolates, grainy malts, cream, and light coffee flavors. Finish is crisp and short with a touch of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is light. Light body, a bit thin, not bad though.

Drinkability is pretty good. Enough flavors to make you go back for your next sip. But not good enough to make me likely to reach for this one again at the liquor store. Not a bad beer, all in all pretty decent, but there are betters out there for the same price if not less.

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Photo of tonistruth
3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- black with copper hughes, fluffy float like head with excellent retension

S- roasted malts and nutty

T- dry roasted malt flavors, earthy, nutty, black coffee and tea flavors with astringent malt flavors in the after taste

M- dry and creamt with a medium body

D- sessionable and tasty but only works for me as a sessionable stout, not something I would go out of my way for

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Photo of hoegaardenhero
3.73/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: dark brown w/ some clarity; long-lasting tan head with light lace

s: light coffee; light sweet dark chocolate; vanilla

t: sweet chocolate; nuts; burnt toffee; roasted coffee

m: smooth; a little cloying; light carb; solid body

d: interesting; especially the nutty flavors

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Photo of Offa
3.38/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I've had this on tap and in the bottle and I think it is a little smoother and well-balanced on tap. In the end, it's a decent stout that somewhat resembles a somewhat more bitter, Irish-style dry stout.

Essentially black reddish browm it has a very big dark tan head that slowly shrinks to a thin permanent head and leaves some decent lace in even rings.

The aroma is pretty good, being chocolate, coffee, darkly toasted brown bread, and a hint of prunes. It has no off-putting skunky-funky burnt smell that some stouts can have, restraining this in the nice toasted brown bread element.

The taste and feel are not quite up to the aroma, though. It has a light body that makes it fairly easy to drink and a bit on the more refreshing side for stouts. It has some good flavours of roasty chocolate, dark toast, hints of coffee and at moments light hints of prunes, but overall is rather dry and, particularly in the bottle, has too much of a roasty-bitter quality for the amount of flavour. However, it lacks any off-putting stale, smokey-burnt-weed quality that some stouts have and it is very clean with pleasant qualities. In the end, it just needs to be a little less bitter or, preferably, a little more flavourful to balance out the roasty bitterness.

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.83/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Park Lane Liquor in Lancaster, CA. Pours black with a thick and foamy beige head that dissipates slowly. Patches of lacing on the glass. Roasted chocolate malt aroma with hints of coffee. Medium-bodied with a roasty character and flavors of grainy malt, coffee and hops. The flavor is chocolatey at times as well. The finish is mostly burnt malty with a mild coffee and hops aftertaste. Not sure if this is a mild Stout or some kind of hybrid Stout/Schwarzbier but either way it is pretty good.

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Photo of hops4me
3.75/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Tan head with nice foamy lace. Black body down the middle of the glass. Ruby red around the edges.

S - Toasted/burned brown sugar. Mocha...Coffee. A sweetish and roasted flavor together.

T - Bready graininess right up front. That is quickly shot down by a roasted coffee bean. A chocolate flavor quickly steps in giving way to a slight bitterness in the aftertaste.

M - It is a little light for an American Stout. I would say more of a brown porter.

D - Good drinkability. It lightness contributes to this. I can't get this on the east coast but if I could I would buy it again. It is refreshing and easy going stout.

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Photo of Stoneman78
3.24/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was very intrigued as this beer won a Bronze Medal at the 2006 GABF in the Robust Porter category (which confuses me that is in the Stout category in AB), Oh well, it was number three in my "Porter" tasting night.
A- Pours a very deep brown hue, the head on this beer (from the bottle mind you) was absolutely amazing: brown/off white color, thick/creamy/frothy texture that absolutely dominated a pilsner glass with a slow pour, almost comical but very cool, i really dig the frothy foam and subsequent thick lacing
S- Nose is subtle and characterized by coffee beans and slight chocolate and roast tones as well
T- Straight forward taste follows the aroma, mostly subtle roast and coffee throughout, some sweet chocolate, not a lot of malt, some bitter hops in the finish, not very deep or complex
M- Light-medium bodied, watery and smooth texture, good carbonation
D- This is an easy drinking beer that I think leans more toward porter than stout, either way it has a fairly simple taste that I wouldn't rush out to re-experience any time soon, I am surprised this won a medal last year (perhaps the judges were simply in awe of the amazing head presentation)

 1,165 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Shows a brilliantly clear, deep ruby hued color when held up to the light, it pours with a chocolate brown stream, and sits in my glass a dark brown to blackened amber color; so much for being a black ale. It has a frothy, brown-tinged, tan colored head that starts out a fat finger in thickness and even leaves some lacing patterns on the side of the glass. Aromas of roasted / black malt are quite prominent; aromas lean towards lightly roasted coffee beans, some burnt grain acidity, toasted malt notes, dusty chocolate, as well as notes that remind me of soda crackers left to deeply brown in the oven.

Quite light feeling on the palate, yet this beer has lots of dark grain flavor to it. Notes of chalky coffee, roast grain husks and something like burnt minerals (if that makes sense). Underneath is a touch of burnt prunes and blackened raisins, which add a touch of fruitiness and balance along with some darkened caramel flavors in the finish. The finish starts out with a sharp, lingeringly bitter character that is a mix of hop notes and black malts. The finish though is an exercise in balance as the fruit / caramel notes intertwine, wane and wax with the bitterness in a long, lingering, interesting finish. This beer seems quite dry at times but at others has just enough sweetness to offset the dark grain notes that are causing the dryness in the first place.

This is a really nice beer, I was not expecting so much roast character here. The black ale label threw me off a bit as I was not expecting something with the flavor of a porter or stout. This is a really nice beer, I really like how light it is; easily quaffable, yet full of flavor.

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Photo of rkuhnel
3.98/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz bottle purchased from BevMo in Sacramento, CA. Clever label, with the regular “Hoppy” gold icon blacked out as it would be in an Eclipse. These folks don’t name their beers so you can figure out what it is, so while this was called a Black Ale it was a bit of a mystery to me until I came to post this rating. It poured a dark brown, far from black, and raised a big fluffy tan head that was slow to settle and left ample lacing. The nose was dark malts, and there were hints of chocolate and coffee. Mouthfeel was quite clean and just a bit dry, but very pleasant. Flavors were a light roasted malt and every so slightly sweet. This made the finish a surprise as it was a little hoppy with a hint of pine. But then hops are what these brewers are all about, and they sure know how to define their own style. The is a mild stout just as advertisd, but very easy to drink, and was good from first drop to last drop.

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Photo of supercolter
3.36/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ok so the high points of this brew are as follows: Love the appearance- pretty black with a tan head, doesn't look intimidating but looks delicious. Smell is pretty decent as well, with roasted nuts and bitter chocolate for smells. Taste isn;t the greatest, a bit weaker than expected and the hops don't seem to mix too well with the flavor, difficult to describe.

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Photo of Jredner
2.75/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Bomber from Hi-Time Wine Cellars.

Pours dark brown and settles a very deep brown. The body holds a two finger thick mocha head that is lasting, but bubbly and frothy. Aroma is fairly hoppy for the style and features a decent roast profile, mild coffee and hints at cocoa and chocolate.

Thinnish fore has tongue cutting carbonation, mild cola notes, coffee, roast and a fairly bitter profile overall. Has some plusses, but the overalll feel is thinnish and not very satisfying. Admittedly I prefer my Porters closer to stouts in feel and flavor, so considering that this just wasn’t enough beer for me.

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Photo of hunteraw
3.53/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm over-amused by the "Hoppy Brewing Co.'s" name, here.

Appearance: Dark ruby in color, not quite opaque and fairly clear. Good bit of head that leaves nice lace.

Smell: Big roasted malt aroma. Roast, roast and more roast. Some coffee notes, too, but bordering on "burnt" Not a whole lot of complexity here.

Taste: Taste is along the same lines. Lots of coffee flavor notes, roasty, chocolate seems like it's trying to get out there but not quite managing it. Not a whole lot in the way of hop flavor. What's there isn't bad, but a little lacking in depth.

Mouthfeel: Lighter and more highly carbonated than I would have anticipated from the appearance or the taste.

Drinkability: Not bad, but not great either. Glad I split the bomber.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.17/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with a nice tan colored head that melts to sticky lacing.
Aroma is very subdued...I don't catch much of anything in the nose
Taste is a mellow roasted malt...not too hops.
Aftertaste becomes slightly dry but you are left with a mocha coffee flavor that is pleasant.
Nothing really remarkable or special about this stout. Just good clean and balanced....what's wrong with that?

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Photo of RoyalT
3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Well, it’s not quite black but pretty darn near close. The head is explosive so be careful on the pour. It’s light brown in color and very light and fluffy. It’s reminds me of whipped cream.

Smell – The coffee is big at the nose along with a sharp roasted aroma. The coffee is more like coffee beans. The table sugar tries to calm it down but to little affect.

Taste – The coffee bean comes over nicely at the taste, but there is a strange lack of malt to this American Stout. There’s also a tangy kind of sweetness that throws things off, almost like a splash of orange soda or something.

Mouthfeel – This was lighter than medium and just didn’t have the body to support the big huge coffee bean flavor. It was overly carbonated as well and felt cheap and fuzzy in the cheeks.

Drinkability – I can drink this OK but you really have to be selective when choosing a stout for the night and this just didn’t make the grade.

Update – I originally tried this fella in 2006 so thought I’d tackle it again in ’07. It hasn’t changed a bit.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.03/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

After passing up several times, I decided to buy and drink. I didn't expect much, just not to completely disapoint. Though it holds some intriguing flavors, I cannot get over the sharp, grainy, charcoal-like astingency that shows up early and often. Aromas, first, surprise with a firm Belgian sourness; quickly followed up with roasted malts. Flavors follow a similar profile, but there is too much competition between the chalky burned grain flavor and the low-bodied sour ale flavors. The graininess cannot blend into the weak body per flavor. Finsihes complex, but muddled. Despite a very dark brown and ideal head retention, the astringency persists. Not horrible, but not a second buy in my future.

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Photo of leechungsr
4.4/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very drinkable bear for me. Mouthfeel is not exactly what I expected; as it is much thinner than it looks. The dark color is deceiving, it's not so stout.
Very malty and chocolatey (sp?), with just a hint of hop bitterness. Goes down easy with great aroma.

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Photo of germaniac
2.99/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours as advertised-black enough to block out a smiley sun. Puts out a faint aroma of roasted malt and semi-sweet chocolate. Tastes of chocolate and coffee, with a slight hop bitterness that comes close to being sourness. But there's enough initial flavor to compensate. Mouthfeel is thin, and carbonation is mid-range. I don't really see this as a stout, but it makes a pretty decent porter.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.6/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 bomber. "black ale". Big smiley face sunshine on label.

Poured into a tulip. 1 finger dark tan head. super sticky lacing that coats with each pull to the point I may need a brillo brush to clean this pup. jet black. you could use this as sunscreen as no ultra violets are getting through ever.

Roasted maltiness up front with some acidic/sour in the middle and a longgg dry aftertaste with the burnt malty flavor hanging around on the palate for what seems to be eternity. Good mouthfeel as it swirls around with a great complex creamy body. Seems a bit watery for a stout but ok.

Notes: Thought it was decent overall representation. Just above average for me at best.

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Total Eclipse Black Ale from Hoppy Brewing Co.
3.49 out of 5 based on 99 ratings.
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