The brewery that helped to kick-start my appreciation for craft beers, Leinenkugels, is about to bring back a beer that will most definitely challenge the palate of regular Leinenkugel drinkers. The Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout is the second beer under the name of Big Eddy, the first being an Imperial India Pale Ale; unfortunately, I was unable to sample the IIPA, but if it was anything like the Russian Imperial, I’m sure it was quite a fantastic beer.
The term “Big Eddy” comes from the spring that supplies water to the original Leinenkugel’s brewery in Chippewa Falls, WI. In 2007, Leinenkugel’s experimented with their first high-gravity Ale, which was the Imperial IPA. Coming soon after, the Imperial stout was brewed and selectively released to pubs and shops around the state. Club Tavern in Menasha, WI was fortunate enough to have the Imperial Stout on tap during the Winter of 2008 when I sampled it:
The pour of the beer was almost engine oil black with a very dark tan head on top. The aroma was filled with caramelized malts, dark fruits, roasted chocolate, light coffee, and a little alcohol. The flavors were quite well blended in the very full, smooth body. Because the Alcohol was a whopping 9.5% ABV, the dark fruit characters blossomed out of the sweet malts mixing quite well with the chocolate, roast and slight alcoholic flavors making for a complex, very enjoyable beer; one that is meant to be sipped.
I was informed that Leinenkugels will reintroduce their Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout in four-packs beginning this winter on a much larger scale than in 2007. For anyone that is a craft beer lover, I highly suggest this beer to you. I had been a fan of Leinenkugel’s beers in the past, but their current offerings usually do not stand up to the regular, more full flavored, beers I prefer to drink now. The Big Eddy stands out in the crowd of Leinenkugel beers. If only they could brew more beers like this!