Brew Review: Big Eddy

25 Sep

Brew: Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout (2011 Vintage)

Brewed by:  Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company (Chippewa Falls, WI)

Style:  Russian Imperial Stout (9.5% ABV)

I did a review back in March of 2011 for this brew and found it later on in the year in the bottle at my local shop so I figured would do a review of the more current year’s vintage.  So the one I had on tap at the pub was 2010 and the one I had in the bottle was 2011. My guess is that the recipe didn’t change much, if at all, since this is a macro-brewery run operation in WI and therefore probably streamlining in whatever way possible.  The best part of this brew was the price-tag.  I don’t remember the exact price but it something like $2.99, so not too bad for an RIS which tend to fetch higher prices.

The Big Eddy poured out big and black.  Perfect looking for an imperial stout.  Thick, viscous, black, tar and syrup-like are all words I would use to describe the brew.  Rising up from the depths of this dark pool was a solid half inch of tan foam that looked delicious.

The aroma brought some roasted smells along with deep dark fruits and some faint hops.  The depths brought up more fruits and hidden sweetness.  The faint hops were complimented by some dark chocolate as well.   I was surprised that I didn’t pick up more hops as this brew was still pretty young and therefore fresh.

The brew was sweet on the tongue right away with a touch of bitterness from the hops on the back end.  This is where the brew fell from being good to being alright.  There was not as much roast as I would have preferred and actually look for in this style.  It was also not as rich as I would have enjoyed.  Granted this brew was fresh and the hop presence in the taste was definitely more than wanted. 

Thankfully I did pick up 2 bottles at the same time and I am sitting on one until this next winter when I can crack that open after it ages for a year.  Hopefully the hops will have died down and more layers of complexity will reveal themselves and this brew will rise up in the ranks of Russian imperial stouts.  As compared to the 2010, it did come from a keg and it was probably 3-5 months aged in there so it had improved a bit from this fresh beer.

Final Grade: B

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