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The Beer Circle » Beer, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co., Russian Imperial Stout » Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout

Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout

Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, more commonly known simply as Leinenkugel’s, is popular in bars nation-wide for beers such as Berry Weiss and Sunset Wheat. These are known as being crisp, fruity, and affectionately dubbed as tasting like ‘Fruity Pebbles’, but Leinenkugel looks to buck that connotation in favor of dark chocolate and coffee roast for its Russian Imperial Stout. Brewed under the Big Eddy label, Russian Imperial Stout sits almost as far as one can get from their more popular beers, intended to help its drinkers get through the dead of Winter rather than serving as a complement to the Summer heat.

Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout
Pours a thick, viscous black, and not a dark brown, but a light-obliterating ebony. On top, a pillowy, velvety mocha head tentatively builds, and crowns the beer for a very long time. The lacing afterwards is pretty amazing as well, with broad strokes of foam covering nearly every portion of real-estate.
The aroma brings a lot of bittersweet chocolate and some burnt malts. A bit of toasted tobacco, molasses and toffee. Just a touch of smoke and char as well.
While the nose seemed to bring a nice variety of elements, the flavors are a little more streamlined and one-dimensional. It starts off rather sweet, but quickly turns towards bitterness as the cocoa, roast, and char catch up to it. This continues well into the finish without much evolution, keeping the complexities at bay unfortunately.
Mouthfeel is moderately heavy-bodied with lowish carbonation. Although thick and heavy, it is wonderfully smooth and creamy, moving easily across the palate and finishing somewhat dry.
Drinkability is moderate. The appearance, body, and nose are all spot-on for the style, but the flavors just fail to deliver. Rather than embracing the subtleties of the aroma, it sticks to being bitter. Otherwise this is a nice offering, but it's hard to ignore.
Compared to the rest of the beers in Leinenkugel's stable, this one is priced at a premium - about $10 per 4-pack. However, this has a ton more flavor and alcohol than their year-round beers, so that isn't too out of line a price.
I have to say I was actually pleasantly surprised by this. While it's not the most complex Russian stout, it has a nice kick to it. If anything else, it goes to show you that you can't judge a beer by its brewer.

Beer Stats
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Serving: Bottle
Size: 12oz
ABV: 9.50%
BA Score: 87
RB Score: 99

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Written by Greg Bruce

While studying at Penn State, Greg learned that beer could serve a much better purpose than a means to an end for a good party. Delicately brewed Belgians acted as a stark contrast to the almost watery beer that had been so popular and began the journey towards craft beer. From that launch point he always seems to land on something new. Greg approaches each beer, whether it is an aggressively-hopped West Coast IPA or an English bitter (and everything between), with a clear mind and open opinion, ready to analyze, compare, and ultimately, enjoy. While always fond of stouts (especially barrel-aged) and IPAs, Greg is slowly but surely drifting towards various soured beers. Find Greg Bruce on Google Plus

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