Big Eddy Imperial IPA | Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

very good
125 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Big Eddy Imperial IPABig Eddy Imperial IPA

Brewed by:
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerBelcher on 03-12-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 125 | Ratings: 473
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.

 580 characters

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.

 881 characters

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.

 409 characters

Photo of BeerDocT
3.71/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Oh no. Now that I bought the growler, I find out that "Big Eddy" is an offshoot of...Leinenkugel's??? Fudge. Ah, well. Might as well review it anyway.

Appearance 3.50: Poured out a lovely deep golden color with a thin head. Somewhat opaque with some stray particulate matter.

Smell 3.75: Nice bouquet. Somewhat subdued hop scent, but what is there is mingled with a deep syrupy malt smell that makes this beer smell very promising.

Taste 3.75: Front is hoppy: nice floral and citrusy hops. Middle is very hoppy, but this seems to be all one hop to me, possibly two, so that the hop flavor is not all over the place, but rather concentrated: piney, citrusy...very pleasant. Finish is somewhat sweet with more subdued alkaline hoppiness; the sensation of the two at this taste level is almost perfectly blended. Finish is somewhat short and it is here that some syrupy tastes seep in, revealing (in my opinion) some adjuncts (probably corn sugar) added to bump up the ABV into "Imperial" level.

Mouthfeel 3.5: Brew was somewhat thin in the mouth, which was surprising given the ABV.

Overall 3.75: Leinenkugel's or not, this is a very good beer. Very nice blending of hops and nuanced balance of malt and hop. There is, however, a certain syrupiness to the flavor profile. It is important to note that there is no hint of the alcohol present in the taste of the beer. So, would I recommend you try this beer? Yes, if for no other reason than to try an outstanding beer brewed by Leinenkugel. You can tell your grandkids about it. It'll be like seeing the original Doors in concert.

 1,585 characters

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.

 3,659 characters

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.

 1,229 characters

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...

 316 characters

Photo of jimcrist
4.06/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I grew up drinking Leines before the term craft beer was ever uttered, so I was skeptical when I saw they had an Imperial IPA. But there's a lot going on here. This is a complex beer with fabulous flavors. I'm a long time fan of BeerAdvocate and look up beers here all the time. This is the first review I've written 'cuz this is clearly an underrated beer, that should rate a 4+!!!

 382 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a single at Total Wine in late April for $2.49.

Beer poured a copper color with a nice white head upon the initial pour.

Nose is light citrus hops.

Taste is very well balanced. Big malt base blends pretty well with a decent amount of hops. Finish is a bit sweet but not cloying.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and very satisfying.

Overall this is a very likable brew, easy to drink on a Friday after a long week at work!

 429 characters

Photo of andrenaline
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pours a slightly hazy bronze colour, finger of head with decent retention and some nice sheeting lacing.

S - Musty caramel, earthy cedar hop notes, and sugary iced tea.

T - Much like the nose, earthy cedar and bitter citrus rinds, musty caramel, hints of sour apple and burnt sugar and iced tea lingers on the finish.

M - A tad thin, smooth and finishes wet.

O - My second Big Eddy brew and another tasty treat. I suspect the hop notes were a bit subdued since this is a 2012 edition, but it was still tasty nonetheless. Would definitely like to try this one fresh. ABV is undetectable making it insanely drinkable.

 623 characters

Photo of Tilley4
3.47/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've only had one Big Eddy beer and that was the Imperial Stout which I remember liking... this showed up in my neck of the woods a few weeks ago and I picked up a single to see how this one measured up...I can say that it was a better than average attempt at the style while not bracingly bitter or hoppy as others are... the malt bill is much larger than I was expecting which balanced it out quite nicely. The beer was quite a bit sweeter than I was hoping for as well which hurt the drinkability somewhat... some fairly prevalent fusel alcohol was present as well... ovefall, not a bad effort but probably something I wont get again simply because there are much better examples available everyday on the shelf...

 717 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.77/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2013 vintage.

8.2% ABV per the label.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, citrus zest, and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with candied citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some solid aromas and flavors.

 563 characters

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.

 791 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a vibrant, crystal clear, ruby-tinged copper coloring with a thin, low profile, bright white head that froths the surface. Slow, steady carbonation throughout the body. Aromas of resiny and piney hops, with a subtle citrus tang and a deep, roasted, caramel backbone. Smells balanced and rich. Flavors are resiny and slightly bitter on the forward tongue, with a tart citrus component hitting the outer edges of the taste buds. Rich, sweet caramel backbone holds true throughout, and there is a decent balance of flavors as you drink. Light lacing left on the glass, and the beer has a light to mid-body feel to it. The aftertaste is tangy sweet and slightly spiced, with a lot of the pine and resiny characteristics coming forth again. Clean, slick, slightly drying finish.

 826 characters

Photo of shand
3.92/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

These Big Eddy brews are always an instant buy for me. Leinenkugel, purveyors of fruited specialties everywhere, putting out "big boy" crafts just strikes me the right way. Big Eddy Imperial IPA looks the part, with an amber body and two fingers of head that retain very well. The aroma has a deep, resinous, piney hop with a big caramel malt presence. The taste really follows the nose, with the deep piney hop presenting some more citrus character, and the big malt doing it's thing. The malt isn't overpowering though, there's a nice sense of balance. The mouthfeel is on the heavy side of medium and the drinkability is solid. Overall, Big Eddy Imperial IPA is a solid attempt at a DIPA, and one that I may pick up again if looking for a maltier brew.

 755 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
3.69/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a crystal clear deep amber/copper color with a decent sized off white head that quickly dissipates to a cap. Aromas of earth citrus and pine with an almost buttery aroma as well as hints of light sweet fruits and plenty of bread and caramel to fill in the gaps. The flavor is kind of heavy on the malt side of things with sugary and sweet fruits up front. Resinous citrus comes up next, but gets drowned out pretty quickly by the presence of a bit of ethanol. Long sweet lingering finish with a firm earthy hop bitterness. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet almost syrupy mouthfeel. Seems a bit sweet and thick for a double IPA. Tasty brew, but more like a barleywine honestly.

 709 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.65/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Clear deeply red colored ale. Far from the expected IPA orange something. It is an agreeable shade. Small white colored head.

Smells malty and hoppy with a big menthol and mint scent. Woody and earthy with a bit of mushroom and abundant strong tea scent. Slight plum, fig and melon aromas.

Starts out sweet and a little savory with a strong melon flavor. Slight citrus flavor but this is quite woody. Melon, Citrus and wood, that sums this up.

Mouthfeel is full.

Overall sort of a weird one. Sort of half barleywine and half IIPA. Needs to decide what it wants to be.

 571 characters

Photo of brewdude1982
3.86/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This was a draft poured into a 10 oz. snifter.

Pours dark amber/rusty brown with a mild head with low retention. It has a sweet pine aroma as well as something metallic/inorganic. It has a well balanced malt and hop character which was a little surprising since it was an imperial ipa. It seems that all too often it's one or the other with this style. However I could have had more on the hop end. Medium body with medium hop character. It was slightly dissapoint in but only since it was listed as an imperial.

 513 characters

Photo of Geegar
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked up as part of a pick- six.

A - Poured into a tulip. A deeper color than expected, almost red. Nice head, maybe a bit more than a finger with a creamy color. Head stuck around for a while, longer than expected.

S - A pungent citrus, with a bit of pine. A nice pleasant aroma from a Leinie.

T - Bitter up front that was quickly taken over by a tremendous sweetness. A little too sweet for my liking, but not overwhelming. Whatever malt was there was covered by the sweet.

M - A nice feel. Thought it would be a tongue-coater after tasting the sweetness, but went down smooth. Not overly carbonated in the mouth.

O - Not quite as nice as lest years batch, but still worthy. I think the Big Eddy Stout is a fine RIS and was hoping this Imperial would match the quality. Still better than the majority of what Leinenkugels produces.

 839 characters

Photo of beerthulhu
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


A: Pale apple skin coloring, sharp clarity with a very faint display of carbonation. 1/2inch frothy head barley yellow with a short span of retention. Light spacious speckled lacing.

S: Sweet caramelized pine on the nose. Lemony honeysuckle spicy flowers are fresh, and light in nature.

T: Boozy caramel is the first impression. Spicy floral, lemony scotch-pine. A strong malt character, the alcohol is a bit high perhaps overshadowing the hops character. A good warmth, some woodsy pine and cypress notes.

M: Nice malt fullness, quiet carbonation, good deal of alcohol warmth.

O: Overall decent flavor, though hoppiness suffers at the hands of higher alcohol. The hops dont appear bright, rather subdued and stands in the back of the room to the alcohol and malt.

 780 characters

Photo of OliverBlaze
4.33/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Leinies has really done it this time. Living only 10 minutes away from this brewery, I was excited to hear that they would be releasing an IPA. As soon as I spotted it on the shelves of my local store, I snatched it right up. From the bottle it had a surprisingly fruity taste, distinct hop presence, along with a strong malt backside. Leinenkugel's does an excellent job of masking the sturdy 8.2% alcohol content as the beer tastes delicious. Each sip encourages the next and soon you are wishing that this was available in more than a four pack. My only beef is the ritzy price tag. Nonetheless a great brew. Go get it.

 622 characters

Photo of Omnium
3.76/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a cloudy amber color, very minimal head, which doesnt really impact my view of it.
S - A sweeter malt, lots of lemon peel, some grapefruit, a hint of alcohol, strong pine and floral.
T - Hop extract oil, big malt backbone thats sweet and a little roasty at the same time, not a lot of the lemon flavor I smelled though. Tastes a lot like an english style ipa.
M - Sticky sweet flavors stay on your palate for a long time, medium bodied feel though.
O - While its not bad, this has a much stronger malt trait to it that makes me feel like this should be labled English style IPA. Though you definitely get the higher alcohol content from this, there's still that signature "artificial" feeling I get while drinking this beer as I do from all other Leinenkugel beers. Not bad and not great for sure. Much better out there for the money.

 844 characters

Photo of laynerjohnson
4.89/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Draught is impeccable. Bottle is average (3.5).

ABV differs 0.7% between draught and bottle, but dramatically effects the experience and balance of the brew. Higher ABV on draught (9.6%) brings out a complexity (+ more mango) that is lacking in bottle (8.9%). Bottle renders tart.

When poured, a gorgeous beer both ways.

 324 characters

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.

 688 characters

Photo of stakem
3.68/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks again go to Kegatron for gifting me with a bottle of this. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip shaped pint glass. The brew appears amber to burnt copper with a finger of silky tap froth across the top that fades to a thin film. Some patches of lace stick to the glass and a swirl agitates less than a finger back to the surface.

The aroma has a strong malt backing smelling of toffee, caramel and some sticky sweet vanilla to almost candy inclusion. Playing off of that sweetness is a bit of fruity to floral hop component that meshes well with the alcohol. The fruity aspect here of the hops is borderline orange-like with a nice floral accent that somewhat flirts into the realm of being herbal but not quite. I am surprised by how much the aroma is focused on malt.

The flavor brings things back into the expected profile. Hops are a bit more present here with some rindy to herbal flavoring coupled with fruity hints that are primarily orange-like with a hint of pineapple and lemon. A bit of tangy alcohol is present which breaks things up and the finish has some hints of residual sweetness. Instead of being candy-like a full of burnt sugar quality like the aroma suggests, this instead is more toasty grain which is nice. As the brew warms up, it has a bit of resinous pine aspect that is a nice change of pace.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. Pretty decent across the board but the nose was a bit much with the malt and the flavor had an interesting tangy fruity component that while not distracting did seem a bit out of place. I didn't bother to check bottled on dates, just fired this into the fridge and cracked her open when cold. I would possibly get this again if the opportunity presented itself but it isn't something I would go out of my way for. Thanks Heath!

 1,826 characters

Big Eddy Imperial IPA from Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
3.76 out of 5 based on 473 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.