Beer Review: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company Big Eddy Imperial IPA

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Brewery: Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company
Beer: Big Eddy Imperial IPA
Style: American Double/Imperial IPA
ABV: 8.2%
Character: Hops used: Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Citra
Metal Connection: JUNGLE ROT – Terror Regime

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I always find myself doing a quick overview scan of the beer shelves at stores looking for unique, different, or labels I have never seen before. Once I have done doing this, I go to grab those bottles. I see in the cooler a couple of bottles that say Big Eddy’s on it, and never before seeing these, I picked them up only to see that they are actually Leinenkugel beers, which are not my favorite beers at all. Most of their beers, to me, are mediocre at best, and some are just awful.

After skipping over this bottle a few times when picking beers to drink/review out of my fridge, I finally caved in and grabbed it. It was like that scene in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure when he’s saving the animals in the pet store from a fire, and he keeps skipping the snakes. Imagine the snakes are this beer, and I had the same expressions he did. I hope you all know what I am talking about! haha! Well, keep reading to know that these “snakes” aren’t as bad as I originally thought.

Pouring this beer into a Boulevard Brewing Smokestack Series tulip glass, the appearance is a hazy dark orange color with a thin sheet of white foamy head. Not too much retention on the head, and little to no lacing.

I definitely pick up a combination of malts and hops in the aroma. For a Double/Imperial IPA, I am always expecting pure hops, so it was a surprise to have the main scent I pick up on is sweet brown sugar/molasses, and caramel maltiness. The hops show up after the initial hit to the nose, and I get a lot of citrus (i.e. orange zest, grapefruit) and some earthy piney notes. The ABV% is at 8.2 on this one, but there is not a big hit of booze with this one.

The taste follows the aroma. There is a mixture of malts and hops going on. As I said before I always expect to be hit with hops when I see Double/Imperial IPA, but the hop character in the taste is not the driving force here. I, again get the taste of sweet brown sugar/molasses, and caramel malts right up front, then followed by a moderate taste of citrus, piney hops. Following the hops there is a bread-like, grainy taste, which lingers in the aftertaste with a mild boozy burn in the back of the throat.

The body was slightly over medium, but not too heavy. There wasn’t a lot of carbonation. The mouthfeel was smooth, but finished a bit boozy and chewy.

This beer was very easy to drink, and had a lot of characteristics of a “chugger.” I guess what I am saying here is that I may have found a Leinenkugel beer that isn’t exactly on the bottom part of the totem pole. It’s not on top though, so don’t get me wrong. I didn’t love this beer, as I thought it fell short of the Double/Imperial IPA label, but I did not hate this beer either. If you happen to be at a bottle store where you can create your own six pack, this one will make it in as a filler beer if nothing else is there that is unique and eye catching.

Metal Connection: I went geographical in my Metal Connection selection. I chose the always heavy, Jungle Rot, who is based out of the same state of Wisconsin. These guys have been kicking in the underground since 1994, and since 2004, they have featured a pretty good friend of mine in the band, Jim Genenz (bass). It is always a pleasure to catch up with Jim every time I see Jungle Rot live. As I am a fan of all their material, it was a bit hard to choose a song to showcase here, but I ended up going with the title track from their latest full length album, Terror Regime out on Victory Records.

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