Sunday, August 4, 2013

Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Ryewine Ale Review

Up until I believe a couple years ago, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company or Leinenkugel's (or Leinie's as it's known around here) was only really known for their Summer Shandy, Sunset Wheat and Original Lager. Last year I started noticing a special line of beers from Leinenkugel's called the "Big Eddy" series. It's a line-up of stronger ales meant to target the craft beer crowd; It's sort of ironic considering Leinenkugel's isn't even a craft brewer since they are owned by Miller Brewing and therefore don't qualify as a craft brewer.

I've had both the Big Eddy Wee Heavy Scotch Ale & Imperial IPA and while the Wee Heavy wasn't really anything to write home about and a bit boozy, the Imperial IPA was surprisingly good, very hoppy and pairs very well with a Spicy Jalapeno Pepperjack Cheeseburger.

This is the Big Eddy Ryewine Ale, it's a barleywine style ale with an ABV of 9.5%. As the name suggests, it's brewed with rye. Something which I wasn't a big fan of after my bad experience with Sierra Nevada's Ruthless Rye but it has since started to grow on me once again.

It pours a clear crimson color with a khaki-colored head and carbonation along the sides of the glass, The lacing along the sides of the glass are spotty here and there but there is some here.

The nose has a strong rye & citrus hop scent upfront and some caramel malts and yeasts. It's starting to remind me of Ruthless Rye IPA, I'm having flashbacks already from last year about one of the few drain pours I had to do because I couldn't handle it. I remember that cold February evening, trying it out for the first time in my kitchen. But alas, the rye was too much for me to handle and the hop balance was all wrong for me. I did a drain pour; I had to do it, it was the only way I could get rid of it. Why Sierra Nevada, why?! What did I do to you......?

Never again...................*sigh*..............

Anyway.....The flavor has a spicy rye and caramelized malts upfront followed by citrus hops, yeasts, ginger spices, and barley. The rye is a bit stronger here but flavor is very well balanced as a whole. The body is rather heavy in weight but with only some mild carbonation, so it allows you to enjoy the flavor.

Rye is still growing on me as a whole, but I found this to be quite tasty and well balanced. It doesn't blow me away by any means, but the other flavors help keep the rye in check which creates just the right amount of flavor variety, much like Surly SeVIIn. I'd say definitely give this a chance; It's not going to be for everyone but anyone looking for a different take on the Barleywine style that is done right should try this one out.

Leinenkugel's Big Eddy Ryewine Ale - 8.5/10

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