Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout | Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

very good
1,282 Ratings
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Big Eddy Russian Imperial StoutBig Eddy Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jj21 on 10-27-2007

For Trade:
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Ratings: 1,282 |  Reviews: 489
Photo of gregy55902
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big Eddy RIS 2011 edition, 9.5%

A - Pours thick black with a nice two-finger tan head that recedes in 30 seconds. The head recedes into a lovely bit of bubbles and lacing.

S - notes of black chocolate and some malty goodness. Not the most complex nose - what is there beyond that is very hard to distinguish.

T - Chocolate, malt (but not overdone), plums/dark fruit, a hint of anise. Solid RIS flavor.

M - Best part of the beer. Perfect carbonation makes this brew incredibly creamy and drinkable. The alcohol is completely hidden in this one.

O - My new favorite brew by Leinenkugels, but that's not saying too much. Regardless, this is a fine offering - seek it out if you are looking for a good RIS that won't break the bank.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle (although the date has washed out from the neck of the bottle and is illegible) poured into a Duvel tulip. Deep black body with a two-finger dark mocha head. The head dissipates rather quickly for such a large head, but does leave some decent lacing for a stout.

Fairly rich aroma that starts with dark fruit and ends with dark malt. In between, come some light notes of cherry, molasses, and dark chocolate.

The roasted malt is much more prominent in the flavor than the aroma and adds a note of bitterness to the taste. A bit of bourbon flavor and solid notes of raisin and dates. Some sweet, dark chocolate blends in to complete the flavor profile that on the whole, is fairly sweet.

Thick mouthfeel and only a slight note of the alcohol. Overal, a very decent RIS and a surprising offering from this brewery.

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Photo of SpdKilz
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks to SparklePants for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a utter dark jet black. About a finger of mocha colored head is achieved with a moderate pour.

Smell – Heavy roasted/charred malts, bittersweet cocoa, dark fruits, slight soy sauce.

Taste – Similar to the aroma. Heavy dark chocolate and cocoa, molasses, roasted malts, and slight bitterness.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, decent carbonation, creamy.

Overall – Sweet though not overly. Odd soy sauce and charred flavors. No alcohol flavor or warmpth to speak of.

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Photo of gatornation
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

10 oz pour on tap

A- pour a black thick color with a nice tan head and lacing

S- was roasted malts,chocolate,hops and barley

T- was good a nice roasted chocolate/malt start with hops and coffee

M- smooth and medium carbonation with hops and malt

O- i liked this RIS very smooth and tasty ABV well hidden will drink this again

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Photo of weizenbob
3.09/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This 12 ounce 2011 vintage bottle was purchased at Siciliano's Market in Grand Rapids, MI, for the handsome sum of $2.99. The bottle has a pry off cap as opposed to Leinenkugel's standard twist-off cap, leaving me with suspicions as to whether or not this is actually a Leinenkugel product. The label looks as though it was printed on a repurposed grocery bag. The label also brags about some bullshit like 11 malts and three distinct hops as though more malts and hops equate to better beer. If it seems like I'm being a bit hard on this beer before I even open the bottle, check out my reviews of other Leinenkugel offerings to understand why I'm more than a bit skeptical going into this. I'll be sampling Big Eddy at a temperature of about 55 degrees.

I pried off the cap and poured into a tulip glass. A horizontal pour manifests two fingers of creamy looking mocha-tinted head. Retention is pretty good. Lacing clings delicately to the side of the glass, eventually sliding into the receding head. The beer is about as dark as they come. No light can be seen through any part of the glass. We're off to a good start.

The aroma robustly displays all 11 herbs and spices, err, malts. Seriously though, the aroma leans toward sweet and malty. A delicate kiss of chocolate malt can be detected. For the most part however, the aroma is intensely fruity, a la, dates and plums. Licorice is noted. Some solvent-like alcohol comes through in the nose, which should be expected for a brew of 9.5% ABV. As it warms however, the alcohol becomes increasingly apparent.

The taste follows the aroma fairly closely. Fruity sweetness charges out of the gate with impressions of green apple and sweet cherry. Overly roasted malts add a charcoal impression that combines with the fruity sweetness to arrive stunningly close to the flavor of burnt barbeque. More cherry juice flavor ensues. Though the finish is very sweet it is not what I would call cloying. However, marshmallow is noted in the aftertaste. I wouldn't call the flavor profile balanced, or well crafted, but I do not hate it either. The irony is in how authentic these fruity flavors appear while Leinenkugel's offerings containing "natural fruit flavors" end up tasting like children's breakfast cereal.

In the mouth this stout is medium bodied, with a decent boost from the spicy alcohol. The carbonation level is low. It feels thinner than I would expect from 11 malts. If oats are one of them, then you wouldn't know it in the mouth. The weight and texture wind up working okay because the flavor is so fruity. Per style however, I expected something much more heavy and viscous.

All in all, my feelings remain mixed about this supposed RIS. It looks great, but the aroma, taste, and feel are all unconventional and leave much to be desired. All could be forgiven if this were on the bargain end of imperial stouts as Leinenkugel's other offerings tend to be. However, at $3 a bottle, Big Eddy winds up costing more than much better beers in the genre, namely Old Rasputin and Brooklyn Black Chocolate. It's also about three times the cost of Leinenkugel's regular offerings. Instead of bragging about the number of malts in their stout, Leinenkugel should probably have spent more time formulating for better flavor, balance and feel. This is a perfect example of how more is not necessarily more.

On a positive note, I think this would make a fantastic marinade.


The Two-Schlitz Scale: (see my profile for an explanation)
I don't give a Schlitz for Leinenkugel's Big Eddy.

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Photo of Rschis16
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black as oil out of the bottle, viscous and syrup looking. Huge foamy dark khaki head on top that leaves plenty of lacing as it goes. Notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and dark roasted malts make for a sweet, milk-like aroma. Bit of grains. Not terribly aromatic, but solid.

Lighter in body than expected. Lots of bitterness from a combination of coffee and hops in the back that lead to a bitter finish. Some wood tannins that make for a sweet sourness that isn't quite bad as it adds a different dimension, but it's slightly too much. Virtually no alcohol taste despite a 9.5% ABV. Maybe a bit on the breath. Dark roasted malts and dark chocolate round out the beer to give it a good balance, but the sweet sourness remains pretty close to an off-flavor. It's hard to say that I don't like that aspect because I think it makes it interesting, but it does become a bit distracting from a very good RIS. As said above, the mouthfeel is light, but slick. It finishes pretty dry and bitter, which makes you want to take another sip.

Not bad, could use a bit more creamy body and maybe toned down on the sour flavor, but still a solid RIS and one that I enjoyed. Worth picking up, especially because I didn't think of Leinenkugel's as a very reputable brewery. But this was ok.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.12/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 12oz bottle into my Westmalle goblet.

This beer pours a dark India Ink black with mocha highlights when held up to the glass. Just a bit of a head is present with a vigorous pour. Just a little head sticks around on the sides of the glass. Pretty standard stuff for a big stout. The aroma is chocolate up front. It reminds me of what a Hershey's dark chocolate syrup would taste like. Sweeter dark chocolate with a bit of ripe cherries. Just a hint of booze on the tail end of the aroma. The flavor is similar. Dove sweet dark chocolates. Hints of sweet cream. Dark, ripe cherries with just a bit of date. There is a odd flavor that i cant put my finger on. Almost reminds me of a band-aid/plastic on the finish. The booze is hidden very well. Its really completely hidden. I would have never expected it to be a 9.5% stout. The mouthfeel is decent. I wish it was a bit creamier/oilier. Overall, its a good stout. Nothing to write home about but something I would order occasionally.

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Photo of Lemke10
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I bought a 4pack of this at Woodman's in Janesville, WI in Fall 2011 for $10.89.

Pours a pitch black color with a frothy milk chocolate brown head. The scent is great with the mixture of malts and hops that are used. there are a lot of sharp flavors to this beer. You expect a heavy robust malt taste which you do get, but it's over powered by the bitterness of the beer. It's interesting to get a robust and bitter taste at the same time. Definetly not like any other Russian Imperial Stout that I've had before to say the least. Also a little too watery that makes for fast drinking which isn't good with a 9.5%abv...or maybe it is.

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Photo of beerman207
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Been a wile since I was on here. Not much grabbing my attention I guess.

A- dark brown, tan head about 2 fingers high

S- smell is chocolate malt and some fig. A little soy as well

T- taste is chocolate malt and some dark fruit. Some smoke.

M- medium carbonation and a bit thin. Sight burn as it goes down

O. - nothing truly remarkable but real easy to drink and a solid brew.

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Photo of mjpolzin
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am not a big fan of macro-breweries and I consider Leine's one of them now being a MillerCoors subsidiary but I had heard from some friends I trust that this was a pretty good brew and I am also a sucker for "limited release" beers.

I could tell right away that this beer was going to be good because of the way it poured into the glass. Not only did it have a nice dark look but it was obviously a thicker beer which is how I like Imperial Stouts. If I am drinking an IS, I want it to have substance.

The smell wasn't anything special; pretty much your typical malt/dried fruit smell of an IS but it wasn't overpowering.

The taste was really good. I got a smoky, dried fruit, malty taste with a pretty noticeable alcohol presence. I didn't get as much black liquorice as I usually get in an IS but the taste was pretty solid.

The mouthfeel also was really good as I could tell I was drinking something substantial.

This was an outstanding beer. Besides for everything I mentioned above, I am also a sucker for Imperial Stouts and tend to rank them higher than other varieties of beer but still, this was a great example of an IS.

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Photo of BDIMike
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby-back color with a very nice sized dark tan head which laces nicely through the snifter.
Smell is average for a Russian Imperial Stout. Strong dried fruit and charred barley smell. A bit of sweetness too.
Taste is good. Much richer and sweeter than I am used to for the style. A good dark fruit taste with a very sweet taste at the end.
Mouthfeel is creamy. A good silky, rich feel all the way down. Goes down almost too easy.
Drinkability is fairly good for a beer that gets close to 10% ABV. Good tastes to this but the beer goes down pretty easy. An above average RIS that is worth going out to try in its limited time.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

many thank you's to florida9 (kirk) for this in the growler plus BIF.

a - opened the bottle and filled my E snifter. poured a thick black with a thin mocha tan head that disolved over a short time leaving a ring around the rim.

s - chocolate. cherries. very sweet. quite nice. bit of a hop in there, but malt dominant.

t - wow. starts off cloyingly sweet, roasted malts in the middle but settles into a milk chocolate finish. heavy, complex. RICH. a bit too sweet for me, which kind of brings out the booziness. the bitterness is a bit weird.

m - the mouth is what jumps out at me first. silky, but thick. heavy.

o - overall a bit too over the top for me. this is a night finisher.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured jet black with good carbonation leaving a big brown cap

S: Not much of anose to speak of but laint covoa and a little booze

T: Roasted malt anc cocoa upfront, hints at molasses and caramelized sugar

M: Sordove thinner than I was expecting but still big

O: Easy to drink and above average

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hybrid glass on 9/15/11
*From notes

-- Bottle purchased at The Anderson's General Store in Columbus, OH on 8/26/11 --

A: Ruby-black in color. A good pour yields a 1.75 finger head and believe it or not, there's actually some moderate lacing here.

S: Beef jerky and dried fruit. Let this one decant and open a bit, as it really isn't all that friendly off the bat. As it warms, it becomes a bit less meaty, and a tad more charry.

T: Dense and pretty rich, actually. A bit of woody tannin would really be nice, as it's a bit too sweet as it is. The concentration of dark fruit is here and much appreciated.

M: Creamier then what I'd expected. Slightly sharp, yet the carbonation doesn't detract from overall body, which is silky and rich.

O: Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Impy Stout really exceeded my lowly expectations. I love when I come across a beer like this, where you're assuming the worst, and then BAM! wouldn't you know, you find something worthwhile.

Are there better Russian Imperials out there? That goes without say. But for a Miller/Coors made RIS, I was happily surprised.

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Photo of jsulko
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark black with a brownish head that fades quickly.

Smell is of dark malt and a sweet molasses

Slight coffee flavor with a strong malt presence. Hint of chocolate in the finish. Alcohol burn not really present in the finish.

Not an awesome RIS but considering a 4 pack was about $10, not a bad value either. Not something I would seek out but a good beer.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Thanks for sharing, Sage.

A: The beer is black with a light brown head.

S: Licorice and powerful blackstrap molasses. Smoke is light. Dark fruit is pronounced, with notes of plum and raisin. Dark chocolate accompanies roasted malt and a whisper of alcohol. This is surprisingly oxidized with notes of soy sauce and cardboard.

T: Cocoa and dark chocolate with prominent molasses and a touch of oxidation. Roasted malt is strong. Licorice is evident in the roasted chocolate finish.

M: Full in body with moderate carbonation.

Overall: Solid stuff, but pretty oxidized for a recent beer.

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Photo of TSOFan88
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark, viscous black beer with 1 finger of lightish mocha colored head. Decent amount of lacing as well.

S: Burnt, toasted malts. Some faint molasses as well.

T: Heavy roasted malts. Light chocolate and the same flavors in the smell.

M: Not quite chewy but not thin either. Full body and medium carbonation.

D: A nice sipper, there are others that are better but this one is great. Glad to try this one.

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Photo of jisom123
3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Duvel tulip.
40 deg.
Appearance is standard RIS with slightly less carb and head.

Smells of rich malt caramel chocolate. Nice implications

"Taste" delivers initially, helped significantly by good mouthfeel. The carb lingers a bit long and pollutes the aftertaste, bringing out some slight booze and astringents.

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Photo of Klym
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12(?) oz bottle poured into a darkness snifter. Huge thanks to the very generous trader gripitandsipit for this beer, and as well to the also-generous trader kilkger for the snifter. Cheers!

A: Pours a somewhat watery looking black with a nice creamy chocolate-milk brown head. Monster curtain lacing that starts to slide off after a few seconds. Looks mighty.

S: When I first sniffed it I got whiskey, soy sauce and chocolate, and realized I probably needed to let it warm a bit. Now that it's at an appropriate temperature I get tons of milk chocolate with black pepper cracked in and some roast and spice mixed in. A little bit of whiskey on the back end. A very sweet smell, which is something I really like.

T: Taste is much more roast and char fronted than the nose. Roasted nuts come up front then the tongue is lathered over with sweet, lactose heavy milk chocolate as spices build and eventually let in a mild char finish. Really nice.

M: A little bit thin bodied for the style but the creamy, everlasting head does a lot that counterbalance it and make it very appropriate for the flavors. It's very smooth and soothing in the mouth, and has enough thickness to make the chocolate flavors feel real.

O: I can't say everyone who love this beer but I can say that I do. I really like getting definite milk chocolate notes in a stout, and pairing it with the smokier flavors of RIS really gave me a unique and delicious experience with this beer. It was very much like an RIS version of ST's Mokah in my opinion. Would definitely give this a shot, and I'd be glad to give it many more shots.

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Photo of clint1019
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - The color of tar with a thick chocolaty head with some sticky lacing.

S - There were a lot of aroma's going on here. Starts with a rich malty/roasty aroma with notes of chocolate and a woody/oakyness. Also has hints of fruit and raisin-like aroma's.

T- Like with the smell there was also a lot going on with the flavors. Has a deep roasted malt flavor with notes of chocolate, coffee, and raisins. Also, has a hint of alcohol in the aftertaste.

M - Full bodied.

O - Suprisingly a pretty nice beer. I haven't been too impressed with other beers from Leinenkugel's, but this one is worth buying again.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this beer from Penguin3200. Thanks Bill!

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - black with a creamy khaki colored head that left some thick trails of lacing.

S - cocoa powder and roasted malt aroma.

T - sweet roasted coffee bean and chocolate flavors finishing with light espresso bitterness.

F - medium/full bodied with a creamy feel.

O - a good example of the style.

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Photo of VaTechHopHead
2.84/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

No bottling date, poured into a goblet

A - Deep deep red/black. Initial head is thick and deep brown but fades quickly and turns light tan. Lacing is very even and almost covers the whole glass.

S - Nothing too tremendous. Hints of roasted malts, lactose, and marshmallow. Kind of a funky band-aid/nail polish remover whiff way in the back.

T - Pretty plain. Flavors are a little weak but there is some chocolate, roasted grain, dark toffee, and toast. Finish is a light syrup-y sweet and a slight medicinal/alcoholic.

M - A little light on the body for me but carbonation is good. Finishes neutral and doesn't stress the palate too much but is slightly acidic.

O - Just a "Plain Jane" RIS in my opinion. Flavors are bland and nothing extreme.

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Photo of dubinsky
3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Extra included in a trade from Makdeco, big thanks!

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a fairly viscous black with a 1/4 inch head that forms from a fairly gentle poor. Some alcohol legs present on this beer, but i would expect that from a 9.5 abv. A nice mocha head formed and quickly dissipated leaving a nice ring around the edge of the glass and a few archipelagos of bubbles.

S - The first whiff i get is of both dark and milk chocolate followed by coffee and dark sugar. some hints of vanilla and bourbon present as well.

T - This is pretty fruity, all things considered. I pick up dark cherries and prunes. The fruit eventually gives way to chocolate, coffee and molasses with a hint of bourbon. The finish is the best part as it lingers on the tongue leaving a great espresso taste.

M - Thick and oily with moderate carbonation.

O - This was a tasty beer and while i don't think its the best example of the style, i think its great tasting. When i compare it to other beers in the style this one is very average. The fruitiness is unlike any other RIS i have tried and i give it extra points for that. I'd drink this again.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul, MN. Served in a 10 oz. tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark black with a slight amount of brown color. Solid three finger dark tan head with great retention and a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: Strong aroma of dark fruits including plums and figs with anise and molasses. A good amount of dark roasted malts. Hints of chocolate, coffee, and some smoke. The dark fruits and anise dominate giving a sweet and bitter liquorice like smell.

Taste: Like the smell, lots of sweetness from dark cherries, plums, and figs with a strong kick of anise liquorice flavor. Solid base of dark roasted malts. Hints of coffee, chocolate, and molasses. Has a smoked character throughout. A little bit of alcohol heat. Kind of tastes like a stout spiked with some absinthe.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Fairly smooth and creamy. Heat from the booze is fairly light.

Overall: A pretty good attempt at a bigger beer from Leinenkugel's. It could of been a little stronger in the body and chocolate and coffee flavor, but the dark fruits and anise is appealing.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.2/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into snifter

Pours an opaque black with a layering of toffee brown head on top. Retains with a layer of near-solid film, and a few splotches of lacing on the glass.

Decent roasted malt character in the nose, hints of anise and coffee beans. Touches of chocolate and sweetness, faint alcohol.

Slight hop bitterness, quickly swept away by roasted malts. Dark and full with coffee beans and some hints of licorice. Suggestions of dark fruit and candied sweetness. Light chocolate towards the finish with more dark roasted malts and a faint chalkiness.

Fuller body, lighter carbonation, a bit oily, and very lasting on the tongue. A fairly decent stout and nice roasted quality, but falls by the wayside of many contemporaries.

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Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout from Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,282 ratings.
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