2012 Eclipse aged in Mellow Corn (FiftyFifty Brewing Company)

Style: Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Stout brewed with honey

9.5% ABV

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Malt: Rahr 2 Row, Simpsons Golden Promise, Gambrinus Munich Light, Dark and Honey Malt, Rahr Red Wheat, Crips Pale Chocolate, Simpsons Brown, Chocolate, Black, Roasted Barley

Adjuncts: Dry Malt Extract, Rice Syrup Solids, Exotic Sugars

Hops: German Magnum, German Perle, Mt. Hood

From: Truckee, CA

DSCN4315Brewer’s Note for Eclipse variants in general: “One of the most epic tasting experiences you will ever have; This is what you get when you take our Totality Imperial Stout and age it in oak bourbon barrels.  That extra step adds a plethora of flavors to the already rich imperial stout.  At first taste there is a large presence of dark chocolate, espresso and warmth from the alcohol of the beer.  Oak barrel character then comes into play with hints of vanilla and coconut, followed by mild bitterness from the hops, and then a nice long lingering finish with hints of tobacco, dark dried fruit and more chocolate.  Eclipse is a wonderful companion with dessert. A beer meant for contemplation with dessert.  A beer meant for contemplation best enjoyed in a snifter and with a friend.”

DSCN4316 The beer’s label is painted onto the bottle, which is cool.  It features a strong minimalist fair with text heavy graphics.  There is a tiny barrel graphic on the label, but it really does not draw the eye.  The fonts are all crisp and interesting, but the description of the beer is in a dark purple coloring, which makes it hard to read in some lighting.  Overall it’s a pretty simple label that holds its saving power in the fact that it is a rare beer, and not in its own appearance.  The handwritten barrel-type and date on the bottom of the label are neat and fancy, but a little hard to read, which is again troubling.  I love the wax and the different color coating system for this beer, too, but I feel like it just causes a lot of people trouble as they struggle to remember which beer is which.  The label is worth keeping because the beer is rare, but it is rather plain and does not stand above the pack.

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The beer pours like thin oil or thick coffee.  It sits in the glass a chocolaty black with a nice little scrim of bubbles that initially made a head above the beer.  The head/scrim is a creamy yellow color with khaki hints and is made of nano bubbles that make a smooth and creamy appearance as they pack together.  Lacing from the beer is slick, and the legs are light but definitely apparent on the glass.  On the nose, this beer is all about the whiskey.  Big, bristling and sweet alcohol rush the nose bringing hints of corn alcohol, and sticky corn syrup.  This is a phenomenal whiskey-scented beer; it is fresh and snappy on the nose.  Beneath the whiskey sits gentle caramel roast alongside tropical coconut, and some slight dark raisin notes.  My girlfriend picks up hints of salted caramel as well.  On the tongue, the beer tastes hot in alcohol with sticky sweetness coming from the malt and the whiskey mingling.  The finish of the beer is dry however, leaving a light bite of acid in the mouth.  In flavor, the beer begins as spicy alcohol with hints of coconut.  The coconut eventually folds out on the tongue into sweet corn whiskey with touches of tannic oak that works to dry the cloying sweet whiskey flavor.  Malt plays second fiddle in this beer, lacing a light caramel undertone to the beer and appearing as a mellow candied caramel in the aftertaste.  The finish runs hot with cloying whiskey and a touch of coconut and tannic oak.  In the mouth, the beer feels on the heavy side of medium in body with a very soft carbonation.  The beer feels smooth and velvety, showing a little of the honey as it caresses the tongue.  It bites a little on the tip of the tongue as the beer finishes, which cuts back on the softness of this beer, but it still is quite a soft beer.  Overall, this is a hugely whiskey-heavy beer, but it tastes great because of it.  My bottle was several months old but the whiskey was still hot as ever on the tongue, and provided a nicely complex flavor for me to ponder.  It was a little too hot in alcohol for what I normally like in a barrel-aged stout, but it was still very good to sip on and very tasty.  The beer was also gigantically pricey, but my girlfriend is amazing and bought it for me and I thank her greatly.  A beer worthy of a try, though I don’t think I will get it again; this is a great beer to split among friends.

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