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!
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
Heather: Good as an apertif. 4
Sarajo: It is a masterpiece! 4.75
Overall Score: 4.5