Today’s beer review may seem like an odd choice, considering that it is summer and that the mercury is already in the mid eighties before noon. It is an odd choice, but I’m also an odd beer drinker. I like have big beers in the summer. I know a lot of people reserve stouts for the fall and winter, but I like them year round. They are one of the few styles that agrees with me all of the time. Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, say that five times fast, is brewed by Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company of Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. I’ve never been a giant Leinenkugel fan, but I do like that they put an a vast array of beer styles and, like Sam Adams, they generally have something new to try each time I visit the beer store.
This imperial stout pours a jet black color with a creamy, but fading tan head. It pretty much fits the mold of every imperial stout that I have ever had appearance wise. The nose has a bit of heat which should be expected for a beer that comes in at 9.5%^ ABV. There are some nice notes of chocolate and roast in there was well. According to the bottle this beer was brewed with 11 different malts and 3 different hops. I didn’t get any hops in the nose and I was surprised at how many malts go into this one. As a homebrewer I’m a fan of KISS, and keeping my malt bill as simple as possible. I find that my beers tend to get a bit “muddy” tasting when I use to many ingredients. I was really looking forward to trying this one to see if my own bias was correct or not.
The first thing you notice when tasting this beer is a good helping of chocolate and roasty flavors. There is some heat that falls into the beer about halfway through. A spicy hop character then enters and finishes out the beer on the backend. I didn’t notice any particular muddiness to this one and it tasted along the lines of most imperial stouts that I have had. I didn’t get any caramels or strong sweetness that I was expecting and the hops were toned down to reflect this lack of sweetness. Also, like most imperial stouts that I have had, this one is thick and creamy in the moutfeel department.
Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout is pretty decent and smooth. For a style that is really open to interpretation, this one sits on the tamer end of things. I found it to be presentable but not aggressive in any particular area. I would be trilled to brew something like this and I think this beer is a great introduction to what a Russian imperial stout should be.