Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout | Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company

very good
488 Reviews
Read the review
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:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 488 | Ratings: 1,279
Photo of MaximalC
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours seal brown with molasses highlights and a moderate head of mocha foam. Retention and lacing are both very respectable. Aroma smells of molasses and herbal hops--a contrast to be sure. Alcohol is also present in the nose. The flavor profile features big roasted malt notes and herbal, almost medicinal, hops. Coffee and dark fruit lurk beneath the surface as well but are more difficult to discern behind the bitterness of the hops (warming helps some in this regard). Some dark chocolate creeps through in the finish as well. The mouthfeel is moderately sticky and appropriate for the style.

If not for the pronounced herbal hop character, this would be a really fine imperial stout. Unfortunately, the bitterness masks the more delectable nuances of the malt. It's still very flavorful, and I'd be happy to have it again, but it falls just shy of balanced.

 864 characters

Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black color with a decent sized tan head, fades pretty quickly with hardly any lacing on the glass.

Smell has a nice strong roasted malt backing, decent dark fruit notes like dates and raisins, subtle chocolate hints.

Taste starts out with the roasted caramel malt, not as bitter as one might expect for as much as the roasted aspect was in the nose, in fact it's a touch sweet but doesn't come close to being cloying, dark fruit adds a nice complexity , body is nice and chewy, good viscosity, soft carbonation adds a smoothness.

 546 characters

Photo of vcoggins
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle
Served in a Snifter glass

A - Pours black as night with a thin light brown head.

S - Dark fruits, chocolate, roasted malts, slight coffee. Complex smells hide the alcohol well.

T - Very malty taste. Dark fruits there but not as strong as on the nose. Coffee. Light hoppy bitterness. The alcohol adds a nice warming feeling as it goes down.

M - Thick body that really coats the mouth nicely. Light on the carbonation. Very smooth.

O - Very nice complex beer. My first from Leinenkugel. I am pleasantly surprised by this RIS. Overall this is a great stout.

 574 characters

Photo of Gosox8787
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle chilled and poured into my Kate the Great tulip glass.

Appearance: Dark brown to black in color and very thick. Pours a very light one finger head that is dark brown in color with some decent retention.

Aroma: Dark fruit, molasses and unsweetened chocolate really stand out upfront. Not much in the way of burn from the booze. Some light hop notes with some balancing bitterness. Nicely balanced.

Taste: Dark chocolate, some light char, caramel and dark fruits come out nicely upfront. Definitely more on the sweet side for a stout. Not much in the way of hop character but that really allows the complexity of the malt to come through. The ABV is also nicely integrated.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with some nice, light carbonation. Coats the mouth nicely and provides a warming character.

Overall, a nice surprise from Leinenkugel. There is a lot of complexity from the malt. The big unsweetened chocolate tones really provide a nice backbone and counterpoint to some of the sweeter notes from the base beer. Definitely a pleasant surprise.

 1,081 characters

Photo of HarrySTruman
2.58/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Not a bad beer, pretty easy to drink given the ABV, but not really memorable. Decent price for an RIS.

Appearance is black with a nice tan head. Decent lacing.

Smell is muted. Smells of malts and a hint of sugar.

Taste is a bit sharp, almost sour for my likes. Doesn't have that warming sensation of coffee and chocolate. Odd flavor for what I was hoping for.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for my tastes on an RIS.

I gave this a below average score, but I would drink it again if it were offered to me. It wasn't offensive, just not that good in comparison to some other RIS' that are just as easy to find and just as reasonably priced.

 635 characters

Photo of MisSigsFan
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours completely black with a thin dark tan head. Smell is mostly dark fruit with a bit of chocolate, but not very strong, which is sort of a let down for a stout. I always enjoy the smell of a nice stout, but the smell is no where near the high point of this beer. Taste is mainly dark fruit with chocolate and a hint of coffee. Only slight bitterness. Has almost a wine taste at the finish. Reminds me a lot of Delirium Nocturnum. Below average carbonation which is pretty good for a brew like this. I wish it had a tad more. Mouth is really smooth, creamy, and full, maybe too thick and syrupy. Overall this is a great stout, but very heavy. I picked this up not ever hearing of Big Eddy before. I would definitely pick this up more as it's one of the cheaper 4 packs I've seen.

I'd just like to add that the bottles I have are labeled 2012, so that could make a slight difference.

 925 characters

Photo of RWLawman
3.54/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Black, like black coffee. Thin khaki head and moderate lacing left behind as the experience goes on.

S - Coffee, roasted malts, slight chocolate notes, and some dark fruit as well.

T - Follows the nose, for the most part, though not as much dark fruit. This one is mostly chocolate and coffee. I catch a touch of the dark fruit at the end.

M - Moderate carbonation, with a little bit of creaminess. There's also a touch of watery, which is a little unfortunate. This would be a knock out if it went more toward a thick, creamy mouthfeel. Still pretty good though.

O - I think this beer has had some unfair reviews, but that's just my opinion. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. Lots of chocolate and coffee, which I personally prefer. One of the reviews said it seemed like cheap chocolate and bad coffee notes, but I didn't catch that. Maybe I'm not experienced at picking out good coffee from bad coffee, or cheap chocolate from just chocolate, but either way I thought this was a delicious beer. Not the best imperial stout I've had, but certainly not the worst.

 1,087 characters

Photo of RickS95
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Beer can't look any better. It's thick and black, really thick and really black, simply devoid of any sort of lightness. The head is slow forming as the bubbles struggle to get through the thickness. However, they manage, showing a three finger head of brown bubbles. Good retention, the beer first falls around the edges leaving an inverted crown and thick lace.

It lacks a smack of smell I was expecting from all the different malts and hops. What faint smell that is present is all malt, caramelly and syrupy sweet. Kind of a molasses smell in the background.

Very malty taste, some roasted grains as you'd guess. Kind of a hodge podge of cheap chocolate and bad coffee, with some cheap syrup thrown in for good measure. Each flavor was separate and distinct, layers, but didn't meld well. I think with some aging everything will behave better. It's certainly not a bad taste, but there is potential for more. Little to no hop flavor.

It's very smooth, thick and creamy. Very rich. Lots of sweetness, but not cloying. A wet sticky finish where it's at its sweetness, bordering on too much. Again, some aging would do wonders. Full bodied. Alcohol is well hidden and never rears its ugly head.

Fairly easy to drink for such a strong beer. Tastes like something from Leinenkugel and not Anchor, Sierra Nevada or Stone, just a step or two below those brewers, but an admirable effort.

 1,389 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark oil black, even pours out of the bottle like oil kind of. Head is a big fluffy mocha head that falls slow with some good lace, nice looking brew.

Aroma is well very subdued don't think i have ever smelled a big stout that had so little aroma before. Can not say its bad just not there much, roasted malts and some dark fruits about all I am getting.

Taste is roasted malts some good licorice notes big coffee notes in the middle that mellow to chocolate and hoppy bitterness. Flavor is not bad seems pretty pretty normal for the style but nothing awe inspiring.

Mouthfeel is nice big full bodied brew with good carbonation that stays out of the way.

Overall looks great, where is the aroma, taste is not bad but overall wouldn't have again. Half the fun for me in having some big stouts is just sniffing them and enjoying the aroma kind of hard with this one.

 876 characters

Photo of shand
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage.

I've gotta say, I was a little excited to see the Big Eddy series finally make it to my neck of the woods. After all, before the Goose Island purchase, the Big Eddy series had surely been the biggest attempt at "serious" craft from any of the big boys. Let's give it a shot. The appearance is spot-on, it pours out black with a tiny head. The aroma is on the sweeter side for a RIS, with anise, semi-sweet cocoa powder, and dark malts. The taste is much more intense than expected with the roast beast finally roaring it's head, growing until it completely dominates the finish. The almost burnt malts provide a sharp bitterness that is only amplified by a bit of leafy hop. The bitterness gets so intense towards the end that I'm inclined to call out tobacco notes, which is honestly something I've never got before from a beer.

Big Eddy has a thick mouthfeel, but it has a relatively high amount of carbonation. The drinkability is exceptional. You know what? Big Eddy RIS is actually an excellent and very unique RIS. A lot of Russian Imperial Stouts are a lot smoother and approachable than beer nerds like to hype them up to be. Big Eddy is a different story. This is a seriously intense beast of a beer, and I can see why someone could seriously dislike this. It's got a wallop of bitterness that stands up to the most intense double IPAs, but with a distinctively dark and roasted twist. True diehards of "the style" might call it rough or harsh, but the open-minded drinker (especially a die-hard IPA nerd) might find a lot to like from this one. Kudos to the folks over at Leinenkugel on this one.

 1,623 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.31/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a damn near pitch black color overall. The head is a three finger khaki shade featuring fantastic retention for both the style and gravity. Even better, the creamy texture leaves gorgeous rings of lacing down the side of the glass. One of the better looking imperial stouts I've encountered.

S: This stout in particular takes the route of being VERY licorice-forward. After it warms up a bit, it develops chocolate, molasses, and subtle cherry tones. Sweet in general; while not to my personal preference, the aroma is quite well done.

T: Again with the licorice. It tries to develop the aforementioned chocolate/dark fruit tones after a big opening salvo of licorice, but is still supplanted by licorice. The finish is a bit fruity and (pleasantly) boozy, with additional notes of toffee and marzipan. Roasted qualities are really subtle here. Generally, this one lacks depth, and the dominant quality isn't to my liking.

M: I like the softness here; but it isn't quite thick or dense enough for me. What surprises me here is how the softness gives way to a dry finish, almost as if it were designed more for drinkability than savorability. There are some *faint* wine-like qualities (it's vaguely tart, and I swear it seems a bit on the tannic side) in both the flavor and palate feel that I kind of dig.

O: I'll give it some credit here, it's reasonably well brewed and an excellent effort from Leinenkugel's. I just don't really care for beers that make me reminisce about chewing on a big ol' stick of Twizzlers (or even worse, black licorice jelly beans...shudder...) Luckily, this isn't some black-licorice-jelly-beans jabroni in the RIS world, just a lower midcarder in the vein of Koko B. Ware. Put him in a match with Ted DiBiase (Old Rasputin) or the Macho Man Randy Savage (Founders IS) and he's just going to eat a pinfall in 3 minutes - similar to this offering.

 1,923 characters

Photo of JamesMN
3.84/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Opaque black body with a frothy light brown head.

Aroma: Rich dark malts and a touch of molasses laced with alcohol. Just a hint of dark fruits as well giving the aroma a subtle complexity.

Taste: Starts with a bright hop profile that's slightly grassy and lightly bitter. The brightness turns dark after that when dark syrupy malt flavor engulfs the palate. Flavors of black coffee, roasted malt, anise, and a touch of vanilla. The bitterness is moderate.

Mouthfeel: Full in body and robust. Average drinkability.

Final Thoughts: A decent RIS from a brewery that doesn't produce much drinkable beer. Would I drink it again? Sure, I'll be checking out other beers in the Big Eddy series.

 703 characters

Photo of gmfessen
4.66/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, Big Eddy RIS appears black but upon further inspection is actually a very deep brown; the head is thin, creamy-looking and mocha in color. Nose is definitely that of a big beer! Fumes of alcohol, dark fruits like figs and dates, molasses and brown sugar, licorice; it's all in there. Flavor reflects the same complex, fruity-molasses alcohol whif of the nose. Alcohol is well covered but also mouth numbing. Mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy with a minimal yet creamy carbonation. Overall, I would say Leine's did good with this one! I'm always a fan of their beers but doing a big beer like this is a different game from the norm - great job Leine's!

 694 characters

Photo of BeerNinja007
3.46/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased a 12oz single for $3 at The Beer Store in Nashua, NH. I'm pretty skeptical because I've never been a fan of Leinenkugel's, they just seem like mainstream wanna-be craft beer. But curiosity got the better of me so here it is. Code "32513 B21010805" stamped on the bottle, whatever that means. At least it's in nice bright yellow lettering, unlike many others that are barely legible even under the best of light. The neckband claims 2012 vintage. Served cold in a tulip.

A: I rarely use this comparison, but this stuff truly pours like the thickest, blackest, used engine oil. Usually I can pick out some sort of highlights when putting a brew up to a bright light, but this brew gives NOTHING, not even a faint glimmer around the edges. A moderate pour gave a thick 1/2" of light brown head that settled rather quickly. Only a thin meniscus remains along the edge with some very thin whispy stuff in the middle.

S: Black malt, carmelized sugars, and a distinctive burnt molasses note that gives it an acerbic edge. Some raw grainy stuff (could be oatmeal) lingers underneath. Black licorice and vapors of rubbing alcohol... yes, more like isopropanol rather than ethanol.

T: Burnt toast drizzled with simple sugar. Yep, that about sums it up. Some vanilla undertones peek out from the burnt black malt finish. Brew is hot, alcohol fairly apparent on my breath, peppery solvent rules the finish.

M: Thick and heavy, they definitely invested in a lot of malt to make this one. The viscosity isn't overpowering but it's definitely there, but only does a fair job of covering up the alcohol. Carbo is soft, as you would expect with this kind of body.

O: Maybe some age will even things out, but as is it's a bit rough. Kinda odd how it can be so thick but still so solventy. Not quite as bad as I feared it could be, but that's only because I had pretty low expectations. The only reason I'd get this again would be for the academic exercise of putting one away for a few years to see if it evened out, but I can't really see myself bothering. They picked a tough category to compete in and there are PLENTY of better offerings out there.

 2,151 characters

Photo of Brad007
4.57/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I'd read about Big Eddy in ads but never saw it til now.

Pours a pitch black with a thin brown seal into my glass. When it comes to this style, the darker, the better.

Licorice, toffee, tobacco and roasted coffee with a touch of cocoa in the nose. Seems to support the claim on the label.

Flavor is equally complex with licorice, toffee and roasted coffee. Very little of anything else unless you count the alcohol itself. It's a bit "warm" but should age nicely.

Lingering toffee and tobacco notes finish off this RIS.

It is distinctive and goes beyond the "coffee & cream" bombs that pass for RIS. Should age marvelously.

 629 characters

Photo of MickeyBeer
3.76/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this beer on tap at the Firkin served in a 4 oz sampler glass

A- Really great looking beer. Poured a totally black, opaque color, with a tan head that left some really nice lacing.

S- Smell is sweet and chocolaty with coffee aromas as well. Smell not as awesome as the appearance.

T- Taste has a variety of sweet flavors that has just enough hop balance to go along with it to keep it from being too sweet. Some nice chocolate, toffee, and coffee flavors.

M- Full bodied beer that has a nice feel to it. Smooth and easy drinking.

O- A good imperial stout. When I first had it I did not know it was by Leinenkugels. Was surprised at how tasty this beer really was.

 672 characters

Photo of Braz
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bought from Tacoma Boys. Pours a dark rich brown with a tan head. Smells of malt, maple, chocolate and a slight dose of roasted coffee. Tastes are woody and roasted. Pretty comparable to the aromatic notes. Lightly sweet. Alot more carbonation than I have experienced with this style. Enjoyable but not the best I've had of the Imperial Stouts.

 344 characters

Photo of craft_shannie
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: pours thick and syrupy. black, opaque, w. 2 finger dark beige head; beautiful lacing (the whole imperial pint glass worth).
S: chicory; acrid burnt malt; sweet dark fruit; molasses.
T: starts off w. a sweet malt that immediately turns on to full-on bitter chocolate/roasted coffee explosion; subtle smoke.
M: medium body; dry and acrid bitter; smooth - but not creamy.
O: i first tried Big Eddy at a hotsy-totsy tasting event & it was my favorite of the Miller/Coors offerings (yeah, big compliment). It does stand out as a BMC offering but lacks a bit of refinement to really be big-league chew. It's complex in a way that my BBQ sauce can be if I've had too many beers while cooking in the kitchen.

 704 characters

Photo of scot_chale
4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- big fat black body, syrupy and thick looking during the pour, and a paper thin tan head that all but disappears.

S- chocolate, espresso malt. you have to get fairly close to it to get that out. dark bing cheeries are hiding in there too.

T- that is imperial. it's big. it's full bodied. it's bitter. it's coffee. i like. it's a goddamn attention grabber and i approve. that same dark cherry or blackberry fruit hint is there, but it's so subtle you have to take a second or third taste to notice it.

M- slick and oily with a slight snap of carbonation, but it's very mild. it's just what i'm looking for in this style at this level of my education.

O- I'm giving this a 4.5 overall because I don't know that much about russian imperial stouts. I didn't expect as much out of this beer given that leinie's made it. But, wow. I don't care who made it, this is great. If Big Eddy is the series to help keep their reputation in check, i'm on board. I would buy a 4 pack of this and share it with my homebrewing friends. I intend on trying the other Big Eddy offerings as soon as possible.

 1,091 characters

Photo of GSX1250FA
2.34/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

Really did not like the taste of this beer. Hard to pin down exactly but it has a malty taste that is really objectionable, sort of like a cross between rubber and tobacco. Aging may improve it a little, but I still think it would be pretty bad even after 3 years.

 264 characters

Photo of JethroAdam
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I don't rate a lot, but I don't feel like this is getting the respect it deserves. Just had a year old bottle, and it's better than most imperial stouts, which is saying a lot for such a large brewery. There is nothing to be disappointed in here; so I don't get the lame reviews. I haven't seen any really bad descriptors. Looks at the bro's review, the words don't match the score on most anyone's.

That being said this beer is a deep blackish brown with no light passing through, thin persistent tan head. Aromas of burnt caramel, chocolate and molasses. The flavor is a complex mix of dark sugars balanced by heavy roast, the faintest fruitiness and balancing hop bitterness. The mouth feel is very full, with a sight slick finish.

Very enjoyable.

 754 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served in a tulip. 2012 vintage. Pours one shade shy of black with a loose, quarter-inch, khaki-colored head. Head eventually disperses into a thin, tight band around the shoulders. Strands of lacing are revealed during the tasting. Nose is a bit dull - artificial sweetener, suggestions of lactose, dark malt and a slightly vinous quality. Taste reveals more malt and roast, as well as brown sugar and treacle; however, the artificial sweetener present in the nose drops away. Additionally, the vinous quality present in the nose is also present in the flavor profile. Moutfeel is medium in body with a pleasant, even carbonation, a light oily texture and some acidity. Overall, not a bad RIS, but it doesn't really come together fully for me.

 757 characters

Photo of Contra
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Strong espresso & dark chocolate flavor. A lot of the bitterness that comes along with those flavors are present, but it compliments the beer well. The beer reflects a nice ruby color along with the darkness that comes with a Russian Imperial Stout. Only complaint is that the alcohol isn't masked too well, which, in this case, effects the mouthfeel more than the taste. Overall, excellent, although certainly not perfect. Recommended!

 436 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. 2012 Vintage. Pours a black color with a thin ring of light brown head. Minimal lacing. Aroma is sweet with some chocolate, earth, roasted malts and hints of vanilla. The flavor is sweet chocolate, dark fruits and malts with a bitter dark chocolate finish. Earthy with a bit of an artificial sweetener taste. Nice alcohol presence. Mouthfeel is thin. Overall, not too bad and not too good. Might be tempted to buy it again.

 436 characters

Photo of CloudStrife
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 on the label.

A: Pours a dark brown black with a 1.5 finger khaki head that takes a few minutes to dissipate. Leaves some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Sort of an off malt aroma, dark fruits with a bit of spicy or sourness.

T: Strong with dark fruits and a big molasses taste.

M: Thick bodied with sort of a sticky mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

Overall unhappy with this brew, did not realize the brewery upon purchase. Overly sweet and fake.

 501 characters

Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout from Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,279 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.