Brew Review

Beer Review – Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy Wee Heavy Scotch Ale

Leinenkugels Big Eddy Wee Heavy B

I stopped by the Roger Wilco just to look around. And the Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy label caught my eye. I had had the Russian Imperial Stout on several occasion and thought I had found it again. To my surprise, I had picked up a bottle of their Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. Not one to turn away a bottle, I brought the Wee Heavy home. It didn’t hurt that I had “researched” the Big Eddy series (Russian Imperial, Imperial IPA, Baltic Porter and the Wee Heavy) and found that they are the highest rated beers in the Leinenkugel lineup and decidedly more crafty than the more traditional offerings. Leinenkugel offers seven year round beers, two types of Summer Shandy (that is two too many) and three seasonal beers besides the Big Eddy Series. The Big Eddy name is taken from the local spring in Chippewa Falls that Leinie’s has used for 140 years to make its brews.

Here is what Leinenkugel has to say about their Wee Heavy:

Our Big Eddy Wee Heavy Scotch Ale is a tip of the cap to the brewers of Scotland. A blend of eight robust malts give Wee Heavy its complex flavor which is balanced by notes of dark chocolate, toffee and caramel.

I found the Wee Heavy to be…

  • Appearance: Ruby with no foam and little lacing.
  • Aroma: Heavy malt and wet dog.
  • Taste: Malty, a little like a barley wine with a sweet flavor and a slightly sour finish.
  • ABV: 9.5%

I had enjoyed the Russian Imperial so much that I was expecting the Wee Heavy to be a standout Scotch Ale. Instead, it was just a Scotch Ale. I guess I was expecting something different, so it wasn’t that the Wee Heavy was bad, it just wasn’t what I had expected from the Big Eddy Series.


20 replies »

  1. My friends keep telling me to check out some of these beers, but I’ve had enough Leinie’s over the years that I haven’t been able to bring myself to try them yet.


    • The Big Eddy RIS is hands down their best beer. Worth seeking out. The rest is mediocre to piss poor (literally, especially that Summer Shandy).


      • I think piss poor might be little harsh. I would rate most their lineup as okay (aside from the Shandy which I think would be bad from any brewer). The Big Eddy Series is still crafty enough to be interesting and I think the RIS is very good and certainly worth a try.


  2. Help me here, is this the same Leinenkugel that makes Summer Shandy and a beer similar to Blue Moon? Aren’t they owned by Miller? I ask because I normaly read good reviews on the craftier beers and can’t imagine its the same company.


    • It’s one and the same (and I’m not a fan of any of the crafty Lienie standard brews – especially the Sunset “fruit loops” wheat – but the Brewmaster Series is a few notches better. Perhaps the bean counters at Miller agreed to leave the Brewmaster Series alone (or agreed to let them release some beers under that line) when they bought them out.


    • Sadly, Leinenkugel does make the Shandy (an abomination) and the Sunset Wheat (which has won medals at The Great American Beer Festival and the World Beer Cup). The Shandy aside, the regular lineup is okay and I have found my experience with the Big Eddy Series to be surprisingly crafty. I suspect in return for some mass production, Miller has allowed the family to produce a good beer or two.


  3. I’ve never had the chance to try any Leinenkugel outside of their regular offerings. To be honest, I didn’t know they even had “specialty” or “limited releases” outside of the normal lineup. Is it worth trying one of them if I see one available sometime?


    • Their Russian Imperial Stout is really really good. It might be the one that made me love Russian Imperial Stouts. Or maybe it was the Old Rasputin? It was right around the same time, so I’m not exactly sure.


  4. I really liked the Russian Stout as well. It’s super good for the price. Balanced and Decadent. I had a few friends that really loved the Scotch as well, haven’t tried that yet though. They currently have an Imperial IPA out. Anyone tried that?


  5. Fun story about their RIS. Me and my girl go to a bar, I order whatever IPA was their best and she, seeing the Leinenkugel, orders that expecting a shandy of some sort. Out comes this deep, dark, rich Russian Imperial Stout, and the look on her face was priceless. She ended up actually really enjoying it, as did I, and from that she started trying other stouts and getting more in to beer. So really, I’ve got Leinie to thank for her getting more into craft beer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.