Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout Bourbon Barrel-Aged

Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout, Bourbon Barrel Aged, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. Dark and complex with 11 malts and grains balanced by 3 different and distinct hops. Aged for a year in an 18-year old Bourbon barrel from Heaven Hill Distillery. Batch #342, Brewed 8/26/10, bottled 8/26/11, OG 26 deg Plato, Alc./Vol. 12 %, !BU 59. 7 fluid ounces. Not for resale.

This one was set aside, as well as the rye barrel-aged version I'll get to later, as a gift for managers and operators who have supported the Big Eddy beers. I received it a few weeks ago, and after Joe Falkowski left the bar, I showed it to a regular, loyal customer. He asked if it could be purchased anywhere. "No, I'm sorry, you can't", I told. He looked at me in all seriousness, as if I'd just shot his dog,  and said: "You really shouldn't have done that to me." Well, sorry, Joe (a different Joe), you shouldn't have asked what I had there. Or did I show it to him?

Solid blackness, rich, lasting cocoa/tan head.

Vast bourbon notes in the nose, gargantuan chocolate flavor, and immense alcohol phenols erupting. Wow. This is instantly one of the most impressive and amazing bourbon barrel aromas I've encountered. Vanilla is here, caramel, nougat, chocolate covered raisins. Figs. Dark rum, cognac. Sweet, complex, enormous, divine. Love it.

Taste: More of the same, more chocolate, more bourbon, more licorice, more depth, more feeling.
Increasingly rich, thick, impenetrable. A slight chore to push down the throat, but ever rewarding once that task is done. Coats the palate, clobbers the senses, and the alcohol content is loosed and invading the braincase. But so, so tasty. Mmm, I love it. And I love that it's a 7 ounce bottle.

Long, long finish. Domination of the palate. Thick, big, and delicious.


Sud Savant said...

Great review! I've been "concerned" about picking this up since it from Leine's, but you make it sound well worth the investment. Cheers! Ii'll be picking some up soon.

Al McCarty said...

Thanks, Sudsy. This is the barrel-aged version of the second in the Big Eddy series, the RIS.
I've never got my hands on the first, an Imperial IPA. The third is a Wee Heavy, which I'll get to soon. Also soon, the Rye Barrel-aged version!