Reviewed by Ron DeGregorio
For as much as Cory and I love craft beer, we sadly do not have very many local breweries to enjoy here in Toledo, Ohio. Though we live close to big brewing hubs such as Cleveland, Detroit and others, there is really only one or two craft breweries in our metro area. Maumee Bay Brewing Company is one of those companies.
Located in a historic downtown building, Maumee Bay Brewing Company (http://www.oh-maumeebaybrewpub.com/) serves up great brewpub food such as pizza and reubens as well as offering a wide variety of craft beers. Cory and I have enjoyed a few flights at the brewpub in the past (you can see our initial reactions on our untappd page), but we have never gotten around to actually reviewing any of their beer properly. As the local temperature has been hovering at a brisk 25 degrees, I thought a hearty breakfast stout would be a nice option to review.
Breakfast stouts are big business around these parts. Founders has their infamous breakfast stout that is world class, and they located only a few hours away. Founders Breakfast Stout is widely available to Toledoeans, so Maumee Bay has some seriously stiff competition.
Here is what Maumee Bay Brewing Company has to say about their Total Eclipse: “This is our Breakfast in a glass. Brewed with copious amount of oats and lactose for a smooth mouthfeel. Infused with espresso beans from the local roaster “Flying Rhino”
Let’s see what I thought about Total Eclipse Breakfast Stout:
Appearance: True to its name, this beer is absent of any light. It is as dark and black as a cold winter night. A vanilla colored head lays atop the beer. Exactly what you’d expect from a beer of this style.
Aroma: Unfortunately, there is not a very strong aroma, even in my snifter. I am guessing it is due to cold-shock dulling the aroma, because as the beer warmed in my hands, more aroma was detectable. First scents are coffee and chocolate. It smells nice, but I wish there was a more present aroma of anything at all. There is almost a grassy scent to it. I can’t say I love the aroma, it sort of falls flat there.
Taste: Total Eclipse offers a very smooth feel in the mouth. While in your mouth, there is a wonderful chocolate and coffee taste. Thankfully, this is when the aroma floods my nose, which makes perfect sense, as taste is 90% sense of smell. As I swallow, there is an intensely bitter chocolate/coffee flavor and you really can taste the 9.1% taste as it goes down. Definitely a big boy of a beer. I wish there was a bit more balance to this beer, though. It was not well balanced in my opinion.
Conclusion: Overall, I would give this beer a 78, or a C+. While I really love breakfast stouts, I must admit I was slightly disappointed by this offering from Maumee Bay. The aroma fell a little flat, and while the initial taste is wonderful, it quickly gets overpowered by the 9.1%.
I like to read BeerAdvocate.com to self-check my reviews to see if I am close on my ratings. I would say I have a 90% success rate in terms of rating beer closely to those at BA. In this case, however, BA gives this breakfast stout an outstanding rating of 98, or WORLD CLASS. I can’t say I agree with this rating, but that is what makes craft beer so great. One man’s C+ is another’s World Class. The community ratings seem to side with me, giving the beer an average rating between 75 and 85.
I guess the real moral of the story is; perhaps I just am not man enough for this brew and its big 9.1% self, but, I am a supporter of our local brewery and this brew gets good reviews around town, so I hope they keep making it!