Friday, January 1, 2016

A Whale A Week: Eclipse Masterpiece

This week we take a walk to the dark side...of the moon!  OK, sad, but it had to be done.  At a recent get-together my friend Rob Wengler (of Limited Release fame) shared this very rare beer with our panel of experts. For this tasting we have a few characters:  Myself (Eric Wentling)--a BJCP judge, lover of all things barrel aged.  Rob--Homebrewer, beer video journalist.  Heather--She's from Denver, need I say more?  Jess--fairly new to the judging thing, but ready to try it out!  Sarajo--my wife and lover of stouts.  This is the last A Whale A Week for 2015…but there are more to come!

5050 Eclipse Masterpiece

Fifty Fifty in Truckee, California is known for their once a year release of Eclipse--a strong Russian Imperial stout.  They put some of the batch into different spirits barrels, including rye whiskey, bourbon, rum, and more.  I did a Whale A Week review of the Old Fitzgerald 2012 version HERE.  In 2013 the brewery obtained some 1991 Pappy Van Winkle barrels (the old distillery shut down in 1992).  Pappy is a savagely hoarded and sought-after whiskey these days.  The special batch of Eclipse was aged in these freshly emptied barrels for 18 months and clocks in at 12.8% ABV.  I hadn't even heard of this variation when Rob pulled it out of his cellar.  In true Mr. Burns fashion, I rubbed my hands together and tittered to myself in excitement!

A Masterpiece!

Eric: Very strong bourbon-booziness.  Vanilla notes are strong.  Hot alcohol--like sniffing directly into a bourbon barrel.  Slightly tart and zingy--maybe alcohol effect. Sweet and candy-like.  Coffee and milk chocolate.  No hops noted.  Aroma is fairly restrained overall.
Rob: Rock candy, bourbon, vanilla.  Smooth.
Heather: High alcohol.  Oaky.  Vanilla.
Jess: Alcohol-y.  Cocoa.

Deep black.  Like Mexican vanilla.  Medium tan head with larger bubbles.  Head persistent (except in Sj's glass).  Thick appearing with legs on glass edge.

Eric: Wow!  Sweet and tasty straight bourbon.  Raisins and prunes as it warms.  Vanilla finish.  Strong boozy warming effect--almost hot.  Mouth coating and creamy.  Dry cocoa and coffee beans on the end.
Rob: Sweet, bourbon, raisins.  Balsamic without the vinegar?  No chocolate.
Heather: Marshmallow.  Pecan pie.  Mexican vanilla.
Jess: Plum.  Thick, malty, bourbon-y.

Eric: Wonderful.  Like well aged bourbon, but softer and more drinkable.  Balance is better than expected from the aroma.  End is fairly dry all things considered. 5
Rob: 5
Heather: Good as an apertif. 4
Jess: 3.75
Sarajo: It is a masterpiece! 4.75

Overall Score: 4.5

No comments: