Fifty Fifty Eclipse
Tasting: November 9, 2013
Style: Imperial Stout
Beer #: 500
Over the last three years, I’ve blogged about four-hundred ninety-nine different beers — that’s a new beer nearly every two days. Over that course of time, I’ve captured a number of craft beer cult classics – like Pliny the Elder, Heady Topper, Canadian Breakfast Stout and Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout. As my beer count crept closer to the five-hundred beer plateau, I began to draw up a short list of classic beers that still remain on my wish list. I’ve decided that this milestone should be celebrated with one from my wish list.
Here the list:
3 Floyds – Dark Lord; The Bruery – Black Tuesday; Surly – Darkness; 3 Floyds – Zombie Dust; Fifty Fifty Eclipse; Lawson’s – Double Sunshine; Hill Farmstead – Abner; Goose Island – King Henry; Cigar City – Hunahpu; Alpine – Exponential Hoppiness; Peg GOOD RareR DOS; Surly – Abrasive; Citra – DIPA; 3 Floyds – Dreadnaught
Of course, getting my hands on any of these beers isn’t as easy as walking into any New Jersey liquor store. Every one of these beers is extremely limited. While eBay was the prime source for finding rare beer – craft brewers (like Hill Farmstead and Alpine) fought to have craft beer pulled from the auctions. I guess eBay finally woke up and realized that the seller’s claims that the bottles were collectable and the beer inside was worthless were totally bogus. Of course, one door closes and another opens as a new site called mybeercellar.com has emerged. For a price, I could find most of the beer on my list – however, “for a price” does come into play. I found a reasonably priced bottle of Fifty Fifty Eclipse Elijah Craig Barrel-Aged and paid $60 – including shipping. It arrived via FedEx a week later. I thought Fifty Fifty Eclipse was apropos as I will eclipse my fiftieth birthday in three weeks.
Fifty Fifty Eclipse is offered annually and comes with about seven barrel-aged options. This one is purple wax which signals that this was aged in the legendary whiskey barrels of Elijah Craig. The bottle I have is from 2009 and is hand numbered as bottle # 789 out of an unknown lot amount. It indicates that the alcohol by volume is 9.5%. I chose the 2009 because I wanted one that was aged between three and five years – and four is right on the mark.
With a name like Eclipse, the pour isn’t as dark as I had expected. Thick aroma of dark fruit – raisins and fig. First sip is like velvet. Waves of raisins, figs and dark chocolate. Barrel influences come on the finish in vanilla and oak. It’s really still and the booziness is present but not overly intrusive. It reminds me an awful lot of Bourbon County Brand Stout – but just a little more refined than that beast of a stout. I suspect the aging rounded off the edges a bit. Overall a big sticky experience. Fifty Fifty Eclipse was certainly worth enjoying for this milestone. I can’t nudge it beyond my top beers but it’s worthy of matching my top score to date – 97 points. Cheers! On to the next 500!
I know that I get thousands of unique visitors each month and if anyone would like to hook me up with any others on my wish list or trade for some east coast gems, message me on the popsonhops Facebook page.
Added: May 27, 2014: Enjoyed the 2013 Eclipse aged in Evan Williams (black wax) just as much. 97 points. Velvety pleasure that improved sip after sip.
Added: October 10, 2015: 2014 Java Coffee (lavender pearl wax). Certainly has a nice texture and is a very nice coffee stout. Coffee might have aged a bit too much as it was somewhat faded. Still worthy of 93 points.