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Big Eddy Imperial IPA - Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Big Eddy Imperial IPABig Eddy Imperial IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

123 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 123
Hads: 472
Avg: 3.76
pDev: 30.05%
Wants: 20
Gots: 39 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  8.20% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerBelcher on 03-12-2007

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (49) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 123 | Hads: 472
Photo of CloudStrife
2.27/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2013 on the label.

A: Pours a hazy amber brown with a moderate off white head.

S: Bitter hop is the first thing I notice. As it warms a lot of cracker and bready character comes out. Dark fruits and booze.

T: Not really an IPA. A boat load of malt that makes it seem more like an old ale. Perhaps this is a bit old per the April-June release date on the website.

M: Full bodied with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol makes it a bit harsh on the tongue. Sticky finish.

Overall not one I'd recommend. No motivation to finish the bottle.

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Photo of DefenCorps
2.29/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I did a double take when I saw this. Best by 09 Nov 2012, 8.2% ABV. $2.99 single from the Village Pump.

A clear copper with a dense, cream-colored head with good retention and nice lacing, this looks pretty good! The darker than expected color warns me that this might be a bit of a malt bomb, and that's what I find. A big crystal malt nose with astringent caramel, moderately stale in some ways, is the most noticeable aspect. In fact, it covers up the hops to a big extent! I get some pine, some citrus, and a mild vegetal character.

The palate opens quite sweet with a blend of moderate hop bitterness and a crystal malt astringency. For a beer that was hopped 5 times, this tastes very disappointing. There's moderate pine flavor, grapefruit and some tropical fruit as well. However, the sweetness is way too high for my palate, and it overpowers (rather than complements) the moderate hop bitterness, and the hop flavor just isn't strong enough. Sweet, mildly astringent on the finish, this beer is medium in body, carbonated to a moderate level. While I do like the occasional sweeter DIPA, this is disappointing as it lacks balance of any sort. I feel like I'm being harsh with my scores here, but I cringe with every sip here.

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Photo of AndyReuter
2.68/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was highly disappointed in this brew. I have had nice experiences with most "Leiny's", but this one was pretty bad.

Appearance - Nice orange color, almost no head.
Smell- Strong, sweet aroma with hints of diacetyl
Taste - Blah. This seems closer to a barleywine than a DIPA. The malt overpowers all with little to no help from the hops
Mouthfeel - The only thing Big Eddy got right was this; slightly thicker, rich mouthfeel, leaving the expected DIPA coating on the tongue
Opinion - Maybe they just labeled this beer incorrectly? I may have had a completely different opinion had I expected a Strong Ale or Barleywine

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Photo of scaliasux
2.82/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Appearance - Clear, medium amber. Medium tall reddish, tan head. Persistent.

Smell - Sweet caramel, molasses, raisin. Surprised to note little hops aroma.

Taste - Much more richly malty than I expected. Hits a range of rich, medium-roast flavors. Dark fruit and molasses most prominently. Citrusy hops are apparent in the finish, though much less prominently that I'd expect from an IIPA. Orange and a hint of resin.

Mouthfeel - Full and creamy. Noticeable alcohol.

Overall - Not being a fan of excessively hopped beers, I actually like this quite a bit. The malt flavors are rich and complex. The hops matches nicely, balances the rich malt flavor, and doesn't overpower. I wouldn't be surprised, though, if some who picked this beer up were looking for something quite a bit different.

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Photo of mothman
2.85/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Glad they re-made this so I could finally tick it.

Poured into Big Eddy Chalice.

Pours a white head that settles to a collar. Color is a clear vibrant copper.

Aroma: A lot of citrus and bright fruits. Pineapples, lemons, and grapefruit. Maybe a touch of mango. There is a bit of caramel and bready malts too.

Taste: A little too much sweetness and malts here. Lots of caramel and bready malts. Some alcohol burn. Hop resiny with a bit of dankness. Earthy and floral. Lots of citrus fruit.

Mouthfeel: Bitter and sticky. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends dry.

Overall, a decent IIPA, but nothing I would buy more of. It just misses some of the marks when it comes to being a staple. The nose is decent, but it loses it in the taste. It's not bad, but it is a bit below average.

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Photo of kkleu357
3/5  rDev -20.2%

From notes on 9/29/13

I had higher hopes for this one. Nice powerful aroma. A lighter color orange than other IIPAs I’ve had. Odd taste. Hoppy like it should be, but there is a strong flavor that I don’t quite care for, but it isn't bad. Also, this beer is around $12 for a 4 pack. Pretty pricey. There are much better and cheaper options out there.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Light brown and dark copper color, small .3" head on the top of it, off white to light beige. Aroma, actually revealed a heavy malt presence, more than hops, but I should have thought about that possibility when the beer poured into the glass much darker than an imperial ipa should be according to my preferences.

Taste is relatively well balanced, the hops don't scream out at you unfortunately, but it has a thick body, chewy ambiance, adequate hopping to balance all of that out. But I don't really want balance in an imperial ipa, I want hops. The hops here don't really seem to impart much in the way of flavor, just some bitterness that is absorbed by the chunky toffee and caramel interior. Hides the alcohol decently. Good amount of sweetness from all the crystal malt probably.

I dunno, for being hopped 5 times, I would say go back and hop it 12 times then.

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Photo of ChiPool
3.08/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle dated 12/03/12; Consumed & reviewed on 1/6/13.

Poured into a snifter. BEIIPA pours a medium orange color with 1/2 inch of off-white head. Retention is somewhat minimal: a few floating bubbles persist. On the nose: malts, honey, a bit of booze. More of the same on the palate: not much of a hop bite, and finishes sweet. This isn't a bad beer at all: just not a representation of the style that I prefer. Tastes a bit like SN Bigfoot, without the bitter finish. Mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium. Does have some lingering bitterness, but not a ton.

Tastes more like a IIPA that was "best by" 12/3 (a month ago), not bottled a month ago. As a barleywine, I rather like this.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.09/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle marked 00414 A21010741(I think, barely legible), 2013 vintage, at 45 degrees into goblet
Aroma of malt and faint alcohol and spice
Head small (1 cm), off white, creamy, quickly diminishing to 2 mm ring with small islands of foam
Lacing OK – incomplete rings and isolated small clumps of bubbles
Body orange, slight haze, few bubbles rising
Flavor not very good – hop flavors have degenerated and only malt and decomposition flavors are present with a little alcohol.
Palate medium, oily, soft carbonation.

I bought this by mistake, thinking it was a RIS, not a DIPA. Oh well. The flavors have not held up (I hope). A little diacetyl would have been nice, but no luck. Considering how poor this is at the end of life, I would hesitate trying a fresh one, since I have consumed year old DIPAs that were better tasting. Sorry Leinie, you missed the mark badly.

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Photo of Mikus
3.11/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This was my own damn fault for not checking dates... turned out it was bottled on 7/7 and I would prefer to have it somewhat fresher. With that in mind, I eagerly popped this after my pleasant experience with the Wee Heavy. Poured into my snifter from a 12oz bottle, deep amber with a ruby glow in the light, about 2mm of khaki head. Very light citrus and floral hoppy notes, clean aromas. Slightly astringent on the tounge, some alcohol noticeable, bit malty, could use some more bitterness. Nice mouthfeel, clean. Good and strong IIPA. Will definitely re-review if I find a fresher bottle!

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Photo of Mdog
3.11/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear amber, big head.

Smell: Varied from bottle to bottle in the 4 pack, some were bright and citrus, others were cardboard mixed with citrus.

Taste: Again, variable from bottle to bottle. All seemed to be more malt-forward, with varying amounts of citrus (oranges) and caramel. Finish is not bitter or dry in any case.

Overall: I have been looking for this for a while, maybe I got some older bottles. The best by date was December 2012, so they shouldn't have been too old. I wanted to like this more than I did, but it just doesn't hit the spot.

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Photo of TBoneJones
3.12/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a caramel root beer color, with  a minimal head that falls quickly to almost no head.
Smells slight. Pine at first, then, ? A hint of fruit, maybe.
The taste is a little better (meaning much like the smell). Balanced with the malt, this is a smooth blend of the five hops involved here as according to the bottle's label. And I taste some fruit, but all through the dominant malt as I feared.
A bit tangy, not overly bitter on the finish, but also sour to me.
I doubt I'd revisit this brewery's take on an imperial ipa. Quite a sweet ending finish, but with the malt dominating the hops. The color upon the pour should have told me so. Not a fan as I hoped to be. Am I wrong in expecting a DIPA to cater to hop heads? This may as well have been an attempt at an amber/red ale.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.16/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Best by Dec. 10, 2012. The beer pours a hazy brown color with a white head. The aroma has some floral notes, as well as some toffee and bread notes. I also get a hint of orange citrus from the hops. The flavor is better than the aroma. I get orange citrus and some pine, as well as a little bit of perfume notes. There is a little bit of bitterness, but the hops mainly come through in the flavor. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. While the beer was drank within the period set by the best by date, it tastes a bit like it is old, with faded hops.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.26/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage reviewed 26 July 2014.

The Great Bottle Eradication of 2014 continues unabated this evening. I purchased this one as a single at Country Garden Six Pack from their close-out cooler since it was already beyond its prime. It originally retailed for $15./4-pack, so unless it is skunked or otherwise flawed, I got a bargain since at 8.2% ABV, it can't be too bad.

From the bottle: "Our Berwery was born on the Big Eddy Spring in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin"; "Its waters guiding us through five generations of genuine brewing heritage."; "Five distinctive hops are added at every stage of the brewing process for our take on an Imperial IPA".

I employed a very gentle pour which produced only a skim of tawny head. I then agitated it in the glass to work up a quick finger of tawny head that quickly reduced to wisps. Color was deep-amber/light-copper to copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was very sweet and malty, indicating that the hops had fallen away pretty significantly. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium. Once again, the first thing that I noticed was a intense fusel alcohol burn! Man, this must have been really hot when it was fresh. I am realizing that DIPAs are not for me, fresh or no. Following the initial burn, it had a very sweet caramel malt flavor, which was not bad, but it was still coming across as very intense. Phew! It seems as though I had a bottle of this two years ago, but I have no notes on it, which is too bad. Finish was equally hot and sweet and if I had any regrets, it was that there were no hops in evidence at this point. This could have been a barleywine for that matter.

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Photo of jimmah120
3.27/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

on-tap at the golden bugger

look is typical iipa color- orange amber. smell is dank piney apples, oranges and alcohol . taste follows big and syrupy, lots of candied fruits. not enough american hop flavor, and an odd overbearing sweetness.

there's something terribly wrong here, I just can't put my finger on it...

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Photo of wvsabbath
3.35/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Burnt yellow, dark tan, 1/2 inch creamy head and lots of sticky lacing.

Smell - Hops, orange, some lemon, pine, grapefruit. Mild malts, and a little alcohol.

Taste - First sip is hoppy with a strong malt backbone. Has a artifical hop extract flavor that comes out in the finish. Added sugars counter the bitterness and overpower it some. Lots of citric fruits, pine, orange, grapefruit. Caramel nutty malts really come out after beer warms.

Mouthfeel - Hops coat tounge with bitterness, malts add caramel and boldness. Palate gets sugars, hops and more malts. Aftertaste is sweet, hoppy and sugary.

Overall - Decent, added hop oils and extracts adds a fake flavor i cant ignore. Its not as hop heavy as most dipas either. Malts add a real strong caramel flavor that works well with the added suagrs. A decent attempt for a dipa but nothing special.

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Photo of Mikecap
3.39/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured a deep amber with a thin whitish head and nice off white lacing. Not much of a head considering an aggressive pour.

Smell: Not hoppy for a DIPA, more sweet with some caramel, maybe a bit of maple then some pine and citrus. Weirdly, I get a bit of coffee here.

Taste: Syrupy and sweet with some nice tangerine sweetness and a load of caramel and maltiness. A bit too sweet without enough hop balance for a DIPA. This has been mentioned in previous reviews, but it almost seems like they just threw in extra malt to boost the ABV, not what I'm looking for in a DIPA.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth, sweet and creamy. Low carbonation with little alcohol burn.

Overall: While not my typical Imperial IPA, this honestly is unique and not too bad. Maybe this bottle isn't fresh, but I could use a lot more hoppiness. Still, decent for something from Leinenkugel.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.41/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a clear copper color with a white head on top. The head was white, it had a decent retention and it left a good lacing too. The smell of the beer is more malty than hoppy I think... The taste is moderately hoppy, it's got a bitterness in the finish. The mouthfeel is oily, it's thick and had a decent carbonation. Overall this beer is decent, it's not quite lively enough for an Imperial IPA. It's drinkable but not the best example of the style out there.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.42/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

And with its deep amber hue and a charged hazy appearance, the beer simply appears as honey. Even a turbulent pour amounts to a medium stature of foam which retains moderately and laces even so. The love of color is tempered by lackluster head character.

Fruit, caramelized sweetness, and herbs are all present in the nose. While starting sweet with caramel, the beer's aroma develops toward woodish pine, fragrant citrus, and an earthy counterpart that reminds me of fresh field-torn tobacco.

Citrus laden caramels hit the early palate, and does so with the balanced brunt of oranges pith, grapefruit, wet grass, and straight-up caramel. As the beer extends onto the middle palate, the sweetness waivers and starts to favor the pithy resinous of pine sap, and fragrant tree bark. Still, the sweet taste lingers and balances the beer ever so slightly in finish.

Full to medium-full, it's easy to read both IPA because of its early creamy dryness; yet the residual sweetness questions barleywine. But its the transition that the beer makes midstream that decides on dry malty textures that's favored over residual malt. A conclussion semi-clean hop bitterness closes the beer with clumsy malty-sweet texture.

There's a lot of the malt sweetness that causes me to read English IPA. But the level of hops and the proportion of supportive character speaks to American versions, the beer promotes strong strength for those who are undecided between malt and hops but prefer stronger taste.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a deep caramel ruby hue with a tan khaki head forms nice fine speckled lacing. Aromatics offer up, citric rind...over ripened fruit deep down a bit of caramel malt explodes in the senses as well. Without tasting I can tell this DIPA is packed with malts, the first sip explodes with pine, citrus, a bit of pineapple and deep caramel malt backbone every bit as sweet tasting as the perceived sweetness on the nose. Rolling sweet malts, ripened fruit notes include juicy raisins this may be noted due to the heavy malts in the backbone and the 8.2% abv is definitely representing as a soothing alcohol burn finishes with each sip. Look this stuff is drinkable, but way too sweet for your typical DIPA it's weighing in on the palate for me is a tad cloying with all the sweetness. Really goes down as the DIPA that wants to edge into bordering as a barleywine or an American Strong Ale. I can't knock it for being what it is, but hopefully some of the under attenuated sweetness gets kicked back in the next varietal release of the Big Eddy DIPA. Overall a decent shot at a big beer style popular from coast to coast these days in the beer realm of America but the sweetness hit me way too hard to be able to full embrace this version!

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Photo of IPAdams
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- pours a dark orange with a half inch white head that dissipates quickly with little lacing.

Smell- Caramel, grassy hops and dark fruits.

Taste- Strong caramel backbone with high alpha hop resin and grape wine bitterness. The flavors don't seem to mesh as well as they should.

Mouthfeel- fairly thick with moderate carbonation

Overall- bitter fruit IPA, not bad but probably wouldn't buy again.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.44/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In celebration of IPA day.
12oz drought at McNellies Tulsa

A - Dark pecan brown, on finger creamy head that sinks into a tight cap. Minimal Lacing.

A - Citrus hop aroma, sweet tropical fruit, apricots, melon, toasted bread, burnt caramel malt.

T - Sweet orange citrus, candied grapefruit, tangy fruit, sweet grain, burnt caramel, there's an astringent alcohol note right down the middle of the drink. Finishes slick and slightly thin with a chalky bitterness.

M - Full body, thins out as it warms, low to medium carbonation, slight alcohol heat.

Not bad but not great. Very solid aroma and the flavor starts good but the thin mouthfeel and alcohol rinse out the other flavors. Worth a try.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I picked up a bottle of Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Imperial IPA last week for $2.79 at The Lager Mill. The Big Eddy series has been hit or miss with me but I thought I should give this one a try since I'm in the mood for something hoppy tonight, so lets see how it goes. 2013 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks ok, it's the typical label for the Big Eddy series, it has a nice clean look to it, but it's not eye catching. It poured a slightly hazy bright amber color that took on some ruby and crimson hues when held to the light with one fingers worth of light tan head that died down to a thin ring that eventually disappeared and it left some patchy lacing behind. This is a nice looking beer, the color was pretty good, but the head and lacing were a little weak.

S- The aroma starts off with a medium amount of high sweetness followed by a good amount of hops that impart a combination of piney and citrus hop aromas that are pretty balanced and are followed by a sweet medium boozy aroma. Up next comes the malts that impart some sweet malt, caramel toffee, brown bread, and some dark fruit aromas. Towards the end I get a slight tobacco like aroma along with some lighter cardboard aromas. The aroma was nice, but I think the hops could have been a little brighter and it smelled a little too sweet and boozy.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of sweetness followed by some piney and earthy hop flavors with a little bit of citrus hops coming through in the background along with a slight orange marmalade like flavor. Up next comes the malts that impart some sweet, caramel, toffee, brown bread, slightly grainy, and dark fruit like flavors with a medium boozy flavor that wasn't as warming as I thought it would be. On the finish there's a little more sweetness with a higher amount of medium bitterness with a sweet, piney and slight citrus hop like aftertaste. This is a nice tasting Imperial IPA that was pretty balanced, but I wish the hop flavors were a lot brighter.

M- A little smooth, medium alcohol appearance, a little sticky, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was nice and it worked well with this beer, somehow the lower carbonation didn't hurt it.

Overall I thought this was decent Imperial IPA and a slightly above average example of the style, it had some pretty nice balance to it, but between the higher amount of sweetness and the medium boozy aspect it made it a little rough around the edges. This beer didn't have the best drinkability, it wasn't too filling and the flavors did a decent job at holding my attention, but the higher amount of sweetness would prevent me from having a couple of these, one is enough for me. What I liked the most about this beer was the balance, there was some nice balance between the malt and hops flavors. What I liked the least about this beer was the higher amount of sweetness and that the alcohol wasn't hidden that well, it felt boozier than it was. I don't think I would buy this beer again, there's much better Imperial IPA's that are easier to find, it's worth a try if you really like Imperial IPA's but I can't say that I would really recommend it. All in all I thought this beer was alright, but it didn't have what it takes to be one of the better beer in it's style, it was a little rough around the edges, but with a little tweaking I think this could be a good Imperial IPA., It isn't the worst I have had, but it's for sure not the best, I appreciate the effort Leinenkugel's but this Imperial IPA isn't that memorable.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.46/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to krl2112 for sending this bottle! Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a TBBC pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy orangish-copper, with fairly low visible carbonation but a sizable white head.

S: Caramel bready malt, booze, with some grapefruit and pine bitter hops. Has a lot of aroma, but seems to be dominated by alcohol and some cardboard-like oxidation.

T: This bottle is drinking a bit like a barleywine at this point. Sweet malts, moderate caramel character, toasted toffee, with a fair amount of citrus rind and resin hop flavor still – but lower than it should be. Moderately boozy but not overly hot.

M: Full-bodied for style. Again, the alcohol is quite noticeable but not to the point that it overtakes the rest of the beer. Low carbonation sensation.

O: Even when tasting this, I suspected it might have some age on it. A check on the neck of the bottle shows a line of printing "NOV1912" - I'm assuming this was a brew date, meaning it's a bit over eight months old at this point. I'm going to assume that the age on the bottle affected the flavors at least some, although I still think the hop/malt profile wouldn't have been my favorite. I would be curious to try one fresher at some point.

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Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A- Body is a beautiful amber hue. Pours with a 2 finger or so off-white color head. Plenty of lacing is left behind in the glass.

S- Nose is decent. Lots of caramel malt, a hint of floral hops, a hint of spicy hops, and some alcohol astringency.

T- a hint of caramel, floral hop overtones, hints of tropical fruits. The finish has a lot of alcohol astringency to it with a lingering mild hop bitterness.

M- low to medium carbonation, medium weight body that is more astringent than oily or syrupy.

O- Overall this is a pretty astringent IPA with more fruity and malt notes than hop notes. Its decent but I'm not impressed.

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Big Eddy Imperial IPA from Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 123 ratings.