Style: Imperial Stout
Bottled: Dec 2011
Size: 22oz bottle
So Eclipse was once-upon-a-time a pretty obscure beer. It’s made in the Tahoe area, didn’t get a lot of distro outside of Northern Cali, and was pretty damned expensive. Then a couple BAs started talking it up, and the brewery started throwing a release party that by all accounts is completely out of control, and this beer starts blowing up. Crazy blowing up. Suddenly I find myself ordering this stuff by the case, and I have no less that nine different variants on hand. So maybe it’s high time for me to crack one open and tell you what I think (disclosure — I’ve had quite a few bottles before this one; disclosure part 2 — this isn’t my bottle; okay, so I misled you before, don’t judge me).
This is a 2011 bottle, aged for six months in a Four Roses barrel, which my friend Dave was gracious enough to open since this was one I never picked up. Thanks, Dave! Both of my readers probably thank you, too. So it starts fairly normal — solid finger or so of mocha-colored head, lots of fudgy marshmallow aroma. Big bourbon notes, even after sitting in the bottle for over a year. Four Roses is cheeeeeap, so I’m a little surprised that it smells pretty good. It’s a little hot still, and has a long finish with vanilla, toffee, and crumb cake.
In the relative world of Eclipse variants, it’s better than the Grand Cru and Buffalo Trace, about even with the Brandy blend, but not nearly as good as the EC20. I’d skip this and go straight to either of the Elijah Craigs.