Brewery: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co., Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Beer: Big Eddy Imperial IPA
Serving: 12 oz bottle
Glassware: Big Eddy snifter
Information: 9% ABV, 2012, OCT1612 (best by date printed on neck in yellow)
Style: Imperial / Double IPA
Price: $9.99 / 4 pack
Availability: Limited Release
Cellaring: Not recommended for extended aging.
Pairings: Sharp white cheddar, chicken fajitas with spicy salsa and crisp corn chips.
Gorgeous clear rusted amber in color, Leinie’s sure knows how to make sexy-looking beer! A dense ivory head shrinks down slowly, caking the snifter in delicate lacing.
Strong maltiness elevates this imperial IPA to it’s hefty 9% and, in true Wisconsin-style, really balanced the otherwise big hop aroma. Lots of earthy hops emerge almost secondary in nature; pine, oak chip…grapefruit, pineapple, and mango fruitiness linger towards the background. Decidedly malty, there’s quite a bit of dense breadiness and biscuit in here. Mild alcohol is barely noticeable.
The bold malt aroma comes to a grinding halt and startles with it’s lack of presence by comparison. Caramel cube and toffee sliver accompany toasted biscuit in a nice way while balanced hops pull through in the back end. Earthiness and resiny pine needle overcome the delicate fruity undertones displayed here.
Like the flavor, the malt’s surprising lack of presence when compared to the aroma, leads to this beer feeling quite a bit thinner than one might initially assume. Aided by thinning alcohol and dry hops, Big Eddy Imperial IPA rounds out to be medium-bodied. Dry and resiny, there’s a nicely balanced, smooth pine bitterness on the finish; don’t expect gripping and assertive.
Leinie’s follows suit with so many mid-western breweries and produced Big Eddy Imperial IPA with a lot of balance. For 9%, the alcohol is nearly unnoticeable. But it doesn’t truly feel like and imperial IPA to me; it lacks that really strong blast of hops. Don’t get me wrong, hops are there, they just aren’t assertive. Maybe there’s too much competition between the varieties or unique additions. Regardless, Big Eddy Imperial IPA’s hoppy undertones meld nicely with the tasty maltiness for an incredibly drinkable, deceptively strong imperial IPA.
Score: 79 / 100 - Good