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My original plan for this beer had been to break it out for my birthday/Super Bowl weekend, but then my infant son got sick and KOed the entire family shortly before the big days.  It took me a little while to find time for this after my recovery, but I was certainly glad I did.

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Beer Name: Eclipse (2014 Woodford Reserve – light blue wax)

Brewer: FiftyFifty Brewing Company (Tucker, CA)

Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 11.9%

Description: A gift from my wife for Christmas 2014, this variation of the brewery’s imperial stout had been aged in Woodford Reserve barrels for six months prior to bottling.  Since then it has been sitting safely in storage awaiting the proper occasion.  For a lot more information on the Eclipse series, check out this link.  Worth noting, the goodness does come at a premium price: $30 per bomber.

Appearance: Thick black body topped off by a thin yet persistent tan head.

Smell: Sweet, rich malts paired with bourbon.

Taste: Heavy bourbon influence throughout, though never quite to the point that it got overpowering.  Sweet creamy malts, honey, and a little bit of sweet chocolate are the main flavors that accompany the bourbon on the front end.  The finish added a subtle blend of light roast coffee and oak, again supplementing that distinct bourbon presence.  The beer drank warm the whole way through without crossing that fine line into being boozy.

Mouthfeel: Super thick and velvety smooth.  Very minimal carbonation.

Hype: Factoring in the cost, you’d better believe there were high expectations for this beer.  That said, it does generate some buzz around release time based on taste as well.  Since I’ve already had a few other releases closer to their bottling date, I was confident this would taste great.  The big question for is how it fare with an extra bit of age on it.

Overall: Awesome.  If you like bourbon you are in for a treat with this series.  It is on the expensive side, but since my intention all along was to hold it in reserve for a special occasion I can overlook that for my purposes.  If cost wasn’t an issue I would no doubt get these more regularly.  Based on my experiences with these beers I would say that they are definitely great examples of the style, drinking very smoothly despite the big tastes and higher ABV.

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