Beer Review: Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Imperial Stout

Beer Sessions

The Wisconsin brewery Leinenkugel definitely has a few tricks up its sleeve, and this limited-release Russian imperial stout is one of them. This big and bold beer is only being released in a few select Midwestern states. Sorry, East and West Coasters, this one’s just for us.

Beer Details: Big Eddy from Leinenkugel’s, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. (Russian imperial stout, 9.5% ABV, available in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, New Jersey, Atlanta, and Phoenix through November)

Appearance: This stout pours like syrup, sticking to the side of the glass and barely causing a ripple. It’s pitch black in the glass with a few glints of ruby against the light. I didn’t get much foam from my pour, but there was a thin coating of cinnamon-colored bubbles on the beer’s surface.

Aroma: Fresh coffee grounds come to mind immediately.The aroma is roasted, earthy, and bitter. Whiffs of dried fig and dark chocolate are also present.

Taste: First impression is of bitter black coffee, the kind of coffee you’d get at a truck stop - a little acrid and burnt-tasting, but exactly what you want right then. As the beer warms, more nuanced flavors of burnt sugar, molasses, dark dried fruits, and licorice emerge. Bay leaf, lemony coriander, and other green herbs add a second layer of bitterness to the already intense finish.

This is fairly thin-bodied for a stout and a bit more carbonated than I would have liked, making the beer taste more peppery and biting than smooth and silky. Some straight-forward sweet and/or fruity notes would also have helped to tame the rough edges.

Food Pairings: This dark and charred beer would do well with smoky barbecue or a rich beef stew that’s been simmering on the stove all afternoon.

Have you tried this beer? What do you think?

Related: Porter vs. Stout: What’s the Difference?

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.

(Image: Emma Christensen)