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The Beer Circle » Beer, Blend, Elijah Craig, FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Four Roses, Rittenhouse » Comparing FiftyFifty Brewing’s Eclipse Versions

Comparing FiftyFifty Brewing’s Eclipse Versions

On a lovely Saturday, Russ Beck, myself, and my two friends Matt and Adam got together to partake in a tasting of five varieties of FiftyFifty Brewing Eclipse. Of the seven barrel aged versions, six make it to the retail market, five of which were for sale in Pennsylvania. Four of them were picked up at Al’s of Hampden by my fiancee, and one (the 18-Year Elijah Craig) was secured at Capone’s outside of Philadelphia by my friend Mark. Each bottle is dipped in a different wax to identify its variety, and the ones that we sampled are as follows:

  • Elijah Craig 12-Year Barrel = Purple
  • Four Roses Single Barrel = Red
  • Rittenhouse Rye Barrel = Green
  • Elijah Craig 18-Year Barrel = White
  • Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend = Copper


This post isn’t meant to be a breakdown of each bottle, but rather a comparison summary of the tasting. If you would like individual tasting notes, feel free to check out my personal blog post about the beers.

From the pour, it was evident that the Brewmaster’s Grand Cru Blend did not have the head retention of the other beers. It amounted to almost a filmy head, where the others were frothy and almost a finger’s width in height. The blend also dissipated rather quickly, whereas some of the others lingered throughout the entire tasting.

As for the aroma, my basement smelled like heaven during the tasting. Our nostrils were filled with dark chocolates, vanilla, toasted malts, oak, and lost of bourbon and whiskey. I thought the Four Roses aroma was the most distinct and memorable, but that most likely was because it really wasn’t similar to the other versions of this beer.

Of all of the beers, the 18-Year Elijah Craig and the Rittenhouse Rye were my favorites, and Four Roses was the least favorite. To gauge the opinion of the group, we polled everyone in the tasting as to their top two and least favorite versions. These opinions were the consensus of the group as well, with only one person switching the 18-Year and Rye in the top two. As for the least favorite, there were good flavors in the Four Roses, just not comparatively to the others. If this beer was imbibed on its own and not next to the other four, it probably would have been received well. But since it’s different than the others, it just didn’t seem to stack up against them.

Going forward, I’d like to give the Four Roses another try once this tasting becomes as distant memory. I feel like it was a very complex and wonderful beer, but was greatly overlooked in a time of much more intense and better blended beers. I think the honey really popped out of the Four Roses, but it just didn’t work against the other beers. However, if I ever saw the 18-Year or the Rittenhouse Rye, I would not hesitate to grab another bottle. Have you had any of these beers? If so, did you have a favorite? Please leave behind comments if you did, as I would love to see if other people had the same opinions that we did.

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Written by Jeff Kupko

Jeff is a traffic engineer that loves his beer, and especially loves trying new beer. As a student at the University of Pittsburgh, Yuengling was a staple and the beginnings of liking something better than fizzy yellow water. This has evolved into an entire hobby, with Jeff keeping a blog of all of the beers he tries. Vacations most certainly involve at least one brewery or bottle shop visit to gather a region’s coveted fruits. Now, Jeff has ventured into homebrewing, and there is probably no saving him from being engulfed entirely by beer. While Imperial Stouts and IPAs rank highest in Jeff’s eyes, sours are sneaking up on those styles, and Jeff loves to try all different styles. Find Jeff Kupko on Google Plus

Filed under: Beer, Blend, Elijah Craig, FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Four Roses, Rittenhouse · Tags: , , , , ,