I have had the Eclipse Imperial Stout before. Back in 2008 I had a bottle of the 2008 Eclipse Pappy Van Winkle Imperial Stout (original bottling - no wax) and I have been to Fifty Fifty in person. Both are something everyone should do and as often as possible. After a brief twitter conversation with @5050Brewing this version of the Eclipse Imperial Stout can be referred to as either the Elijah Craig 20 Year Barrel Or 18 year. On Fifty Fifty's site it does say 20 year. The barrels are now 20 years old and they were 18 year old Elijah Craig barrels when the brewery purchased them. Anyway, on to the beer.
The Eclipse Imperial Stout (bottle #5072) pours out pitch black, no light making its way through, and is topped with a two finger, mocha colored head that is comprised of tightly knit, fine bubbles that slowly reduce down to a film. On the nose, sweet bourbon is the predominant aroma with hints of vanilla, spice and a little alcohol. In the mouth, this is delicious. Almost feels luxurious. Immediately you taste the bourbon with just a touch of sweetness as the beer coats your mouth with a creamy mouthfeel. This is boozy but there is no discernible alcohol heat. Towards the end the roast grain flavors seem to peak but never surpass the bourbon. Full bodied. Moderate carbonation. Sticky lacing on the glass. The finish is incredibly long and while you are wishing to take another sip of the beer from the glass you also just want to let the tastes languish in your mouth.
A stellar Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. Craft beers like this are what Chateau Petrus is to Bordeaux. Expensive but meant to be savored and enjoyed. I whole heartily recommend this to all my craft beer friends.
22 ounce bottle, 9.5% ABV
Beer 9 of 366 for 2012
Previous Eclipse Vintages & Eclipse Wax Guide:
Old Fitzgerald = No Wax (RARE!)
Pappy Van Winkle...
Original bottling = No Wax
2nd = No Wax, marked '2nd'
3rd = Pink & Signed
Elijah Craig = Purple
Heaven Hill = Green
Jack Daniels = Gold
Evan Williams = Black
Heaven Hill = Green
Four Roses = Red
Brandy = Purple/Brown
Elijah Craig 12 year Barrel = Purple
Four Roses Single Barrel = Red
Rittenhouse Rye Barrel = Green
Elijah Craig 20 year Barrel = White
Brandy Barrel Blend = Burgandy
Buffalo Trace Barrel Blend = Yellow
Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend = Copper