Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPASierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

1,092 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,092
Hads: 4,948
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 23.98%
Wants: 92
Gots: 673 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
American IPA | 6.60% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kaseydad on 12-29-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,092 | Hads: 4,948
Photo of Bierguy5
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, 6.6% abv. Clear amber color, with fine carbonation. Off-white, rocky head looks good and stays around for a long time. Awesome patches of sticky lace.

Smell is very similar to other SN beers, caramel malt and hops. Citrusy, and maybe a hint of spicy, peppery rye, but not a great deal.

Loaded with caramel malt, but not overly sweet. Good hop bitterness, with a slight citrus edge. A hint of earthy bitterness. Maybe some spicy notes, but not real peppery. Dries at the finish like several SN beers.

Medium body, with ample carbonation. Alcohol is hidden well. Not a great deal of rye character. While this beer is good, it is very similar to several other SN beers.

 686 characters

Photo of bubseymour
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Copper appearance with 2-3 finger frothy head. Nice lacing.

Smell - faint pine, citrus and malt

Taste - Interesting mix of bitter hop with grain and malt in the finish, followed by lingering hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Very full bodied and creamy. Very nice moutfeel.

Overall - This beer is decent/well crafted, but its a little too bitter and lacking in balancing flavor for me to like as much as some of the other Sierra Nevada offerings.

 445 characters

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a Victory goblet

A- pours a dark, cloudy shade of amber with a one finger offwhite head that fades quickly. Not a good start

S- getting some spiciness from the rye, and a little bit of hoppiness. Overall, pretty minimal aromas

T- nice punch of rye to begin, and a good bit of bitterness at the back

M- medium bodied

O- it's fine, but I don't know why Sierra Nevada decided they needed ANOTHER IPA in their lineup

 443 characters

Photo of dar482
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in a clear very dark reddish amber with a fluffy white head.

The aroma has grapefruit, sweet citrus, bright herbal and piney hops. There’s a sweet bready malt in there as well.

The flavor follows of spicy and herbal hops. There’s a note of grapefruit and citrus combined with a light sweet bready malt. The finish continues on of pine and notes of pepper from the rye.

The mouthfeel is medium.

The beer is well balanced with a good amount of American hops with a light pepper spice.

 506 characters

Photo of korguy123
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into tulip.

A- Copper pour, three finger egg shell head that leaves cobwebs of sticky lacing everywhere.

S- Rye adds a slight sour note with spicy pepper. Hops are bright and floral.

T- Spicy rye with floral hops with a touch of citrus.

M- Light bodied, bitter with spice and carbonation dancing on the tongue.

O- Rye beers aren't really my thing but this is quite enjoyable.

 380 characters

Photo of Koufax21
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. It pours out a nice orange copper collor and settles with a nice size white head on top that measures roughly an 1". The smell is of nice citrus hops but fairly mild. Slight bready aromas come through as well. Big Rye taste. it reminds me a lot of of Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic. Man, I sure wish this stuff was around in the bottle when I used to stumble through the streets of Chico with a 6'er of Bigfoot, it might have been a little easier on me, but what's the fun in that? Solid beer, I tip my hat to SN once again.

 571 characters

Photo of beer2day
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark woody, orange pour capped with 2 fingers of close-to-white head. Decent retention and thick lace.

Woody rye grass aroma. Traces of oak and cedar. Rye grass tends to dominate, though.

Rye is very assertive in the flavor. Really strong in the finish. Extremely spicy on the back of the tongue well after the beer clears your throat. They went for ruthless and I think they got it. Just a bit out of balance for me.

Feel seems about right, with a touch of cream and a light fizz.

Overall, the strong rye flavor brings this down a notch for me.

 549 characters

Photo of gr0g
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

8 week old bottle. Pours a dark copper color capped with a two-finger head. Retention and lacing are pretty good. Distinct note of rye on the nose, kind of a spicy "twang" that stands out from the barley malt. Earthy, herbal hop notes fill out the aroma, along with a bit of lemon zest.

A moderate bitterness persists throughout. Malt body is fairly understated, but the rye shines through. A clean, competent, and pleasant flavor that's nonetheless perhaps a bit bland. A dry finish caps it off. The texture is definitely the best attribute of Ruthless Rye thanks to an excellently engineered carbonation that finds a great balance between aggressiveness and creamy smoothness.

Celebration is a tough act to follow but Ruthless Rye offers a nice twist that adds another dimension to Sierra Nevada's stable of hoppy beers.

 824 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours amber with a medium white head. Great concentric lace.

S: Spicy grain with a lot of pine, classic Sierra Nevada.

T: Heavy hop resin flavour with a clear rye bread taste. A bit alcohol in the finish, but a solid effort.

M: Medium-bodied, crisp, resiny, with a medium aftertaste.

O: A good beer from Sierra Nevada, better than Glissade for sure, something to tide one over until Bigfoot hits.

 419 characters

Photo of popery
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours clear and copper. The head is a thick layer of eggshell bubbles and clings to the sides of the glass as I drain it. Great looking stuff.

The aroma is clean and hoppy. There's a big rye spice note with earthier malt flavors. There's also a floral caramel malt sweetness hiding behind the more dramatic aromas. The hops are right in SN's wheelhouse and lend solid grapefruit and pine notes.

The taste is also good but gets a bit overwhelmed by a somewhat bland hop bitterness. There's a good amount of rye flavor but it gets a bit lost behind the hops, as do the sweet and earth malt notes. I don't mind the bitterness, but I wish there was either more hop delicacy or more rye flavor. The finish is mildly dry with a sharp bite.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is medium. Some hop oiliness.

It's a good beer and fills in a gap left by the Anniversary Ale. I wouldn't hesitate to bring it to a party, but I won't be stocking it at home for myself. The taste just doesn't quite live up to the aroma.

 1,014 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber-hued body with a noted clarity and capped by a tall, off-white head. Fair smattering of lace on the way down.

Smell: Firmly grassy, citrusy nose with a good pinch of lemon pepper seasoning, rather well ahead of the pale malted barley.

Taste: Bready, pale malts with the expected spicy rye malt character. Lightly sweet upfront, a sweetness that soon fades away as the bitterness accumulates on the tongue. Citrusy flavors of pithy grapefruit and sweet orange zest. A bit more grainy on the back half. Fairly peppery throughout. Dry, lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Another Sierra Nevada IPA with a twist of rye.

 755 characters

Photo of Asgeirr
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Ruthless Rye IPA pours a Copper-to-burgundy colour along with a beige crown which doesn't stay for long but rather dissolves into the brew below.

Smell: Upfront acridity, pine, resin, you name it -- it's got it! For those familiar with Surströmming (fermented herring), it's got that sour smell to it, despised by a many, but loved stronger by the few! Local patriotism beside, vinegar could be a fitting description as well. Obviously some rye bread springs to mind, that somewhat sweet, yet sturdy characteristic with an almost apple-like sweet 'n' s' sourness to it.

Taste: A raisin-like sweetness is the first thing to strike the taste buds, furthermore a bready maltiness comes forth. Yet, they are both overpowered by a poignant and spiky zestfulness- accompanied by spicy bombardments. However, the last thing to strike the tongue is a metallic taste, and that's never a good thing in my book.

Mouthfeel: Really creamy, medium full body with an alert carbonation.

Overall: Nice, and a bit more rustic than your average AIPA. Other than that, above the cut, but not cream of the crop.

 1,109 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Russian River pint glass.

A: Pours a clear burnished copper with a thin white head. Medium amount of visible carbonation.

S: Surprisingly low amount of aroma – pine & lemon citrus hops with some toasted bready malt. But not much of either.

T: Follows the nose – citrus, pine, and grassy hops, and lots of bready malt. Moderate bitterness in hang.

M: Almost a chewy mouthfeel, medium body. Alcohol very well-hidden, and a great amount of carbonation.

O: Good, but nothing outstanding. Very drinkable, but I had higher hopes for this one. Needs more hoppiness, especially in the nose. And the rye character could have been more to the forefront as well.

 714 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As a self-proclaimed fan of rye beers, I had to check this out.

Pours a dark copper color with a thick, frothy head into my glass. I was expecting something more reddish but it should do.

Pine resin from the hops mingles with sweet and spicy rye malt to create a welcoming bouquet of flavor.

Wow. Piney hops and spicy rye malt greet the tongue. The hops seem to overwhelm the spiciness, creating a weird mish-mash of flavors. I'm not complaining. It's what I expected.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering malt and hops with a good rye kick.

I like this. It's not the best but I can see myself drinking it in place of some other micro.

 636 characters

Photo of puckee
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can you really review a beer without considering its price?

Most Sierra Nevada beers are an outstanding value. The legendary (and over-hyped) beer in my area is Surly Abrasive. Great beer, but way too expensive. Hopslam? Outrageous.

Ruthless Rye has a ton of flavor. Nice West Coast hops. Earthy. Dare I say umami?

If you want flavor and richness without the high alcohol and without a high price tag, check this out. One of my go-to beers.

 443 characters

Photo of B33R501
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

good example of trying a beer a second time, i was not impressed with the one bottle i tried when this first came out, its not hop rod or lenny bruce ripa, and my expectations were too high im sure. tasted this friday nite, the hops popped, came back with my 32 oz growler the next day.

pretty dark amber, too clear for me, but ok. nicely bitter hoppy aromas, tastes follows, big blast of bitter citrusy hops. the rye makes an appearance halfway thru, adding a little spicy kick. finishes dry.

good little hop fix for a saturday afternoon. very fresh and drinkable.

 567 characters

Photo of Beaver13
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12oz beer. Pours a clear copper with a big frothy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is rye grains with some piney hops.

The flavor is some sweet bready malt with a big piney hop bitterness and rye spices. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with slightly sharp carbonation.

Overall, I like it. It's a solid IPA and I like what the rye adds.

 377 characters

Photo of ehammond1
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Cask

Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Amber and copper with a hugely foaming, thick, persistent light khaki colored head that leaves the glass messy with chunks of thick lace.

Mild though pleasant aroma of simple grain and mild pine hop presence.

The flavor is nice, though not at all aggressive. The grain and bread flavors are dominant, with mild pine and just a hint of rye.

Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. I have always loved the way Sierra Nevada beers feel in the mouth, and the cask only accentuates that here.

A decent rye IPA, but I don't really feel the need to revisit this one anytime soon.

 622 characters

Photo of angrybabboon
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 3/13/13

Appearance: Deep amber in color when viewed from a distance, more of a reddish, copper orange in the light - mostly clear, with some chill haze - larger than average, off-white head - keeps a nearly solid cap, leaves a wall of spotty lacing - very pretty

Smell: Bright, citrusy hops and a ton of spicy rye - grassy, spicy, bready rye, apparently "ruthless" wasn't just thrown in the name for alliteration - orange and grapefruit flesh, with some rind and some pith - bready caramel and amber malts in the background

Taste: Rye and citrus, both in abundance - fleshy, pithy, lightly oily grapefruit - bitterness is moderate, seems amplified by the rye - there is a lot of spicy, grassy rye the flavor profile, perhaps a bit too much, honestly, reduces drinkability - very earthy overall - grainy, bready caramel and pale malts

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth, nicely carbonated, very dry finish

Overall: This is indeed devoid of ruth

Ruthless Rye is decidedly flavorful and interesting, but the rye gets rapidly tiring. I've previously had it on a few occasions, and I've never been convinced that buying a sixer is a good idea. I'm finally reviewing it because I found a single. And while I do like this beer, I'm not in a rush to have another.

 1,266 characters

Photo of jdhowe
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle poured into a standard pint glass. I'm not sure of the freshness of this because SN's bottle-labeling is inscrutable. Picked up as a single from a mix-six, so I'm a little wary, but didn't want to commit to 6 bottles of this and have had good luck with this place's singles before.

A: Pours a very deep amber with hints of red, cloudy. 1/2 finger of wheat-colored head quickly dissipates.

S: Earthy, but very malty. Reminds me of the malt bill in Hoptimum, but backed up by an extra grainy and spicy character. Citrus is also showing, but weakly. Hopping is weak.

T: Interesting. Very layered -- I thought quite a few things through that first sip. Starts with a bit of spice before the malt sweetness steps up. Next up is fruitiness and alcohol. The finish shows the rye character and ultimately hop bitterness lingers alongside a slightly roasty flavor... reminds me almost of a coffee, but clearly isn't. Better than I expected from the smell, but a little grainy and not hoppy enough for me.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty good. The carbonation punches hard up front complimenting the spice, but mellows out quickly and keeps the beer very drinkable. Slightly coating where I'd prefer it to be a little crisper, clean, and gone, but otherwise very nice.

O: Torn between a 4 and 3.75 here. I feel like the total here is well balanced and more than a sum of its individual metrics, so I'm going with the 4. A pretty good beer, and one I think I'd enjoy a bit more with a bit more hoppiness. I'm not sure if the problem is age or if it's the beer, but I'm going to assume it's my fault/age. Still very drinkable, well balanced, and flavorful.

 1,652 characters

Photo of Morey
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with no freshness date. This disappoints me to say the least. A big brewery such as SN should be dating their bottles.

Pours reddish-copper in color with brilliant clarity. Head is white in color and has a very fluffy look and feel to it. Originally, it stood about one finger tall, and after 10 or 15 minutes, it's gone absolutely nowhere! Nice stick and lacing too.

Aroma is on the mild side. I am getting some malts as well as a hint of rye spiciness. Maybe a tad soapy as well.

Taste is malty and sweet up front, but thankfully the bitterness from the hops and the spicy rye flavors aren't too far behind. I know that it's kind of common to say..."it's balanced" but this really is. Nothing jumps out at you. This beer definitely has that SN taste and feel to it and the flavors linger long after the swallow.

Nice medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. The foamy head also adds a nice creaminess.

A nice Rye Ipa overall.

Morey's Bottom Line: Is this well made?...Yes. Would I like to see SN step outside the box a little bit?....Most definitely. It's good, but not all that unique.

 1,117 characters

Photo of delta490
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a deep ruddy amber with a big creamy white head. The head has great retention and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is lackluster, with some slight earthy hops and a little hint of the rye. The taste is a little bit better, mirroring and amplifying the aromas components. The mouthfeel is nice, a little heavier and mostly smooth with just a hint of bite from the hops as it finishes. Overall, I'm glad I tried it but I probably won't go for it again.

 454 characters

Photo of birchstick
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice caramelly reddish brown color with a really nice head. The head retains extremely well and leaves a nice lacing down the sides of the glass. The nose is full of piney hops with some spicy rye. Taste is citrusy up front that moves to some of the rye and cereal malts. Finishes with a nice punch of piney hops. Pretty solid RyePA. Good mouthfeel as it goes down. Overall, this is another solid beer from Sierra Nevada. They accomplish what they set out to do and delivered really well. Recommended!

 509 characters

Photo of ranger60
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had a 5 oz sample on draft at Tap Room in Warren, NJ.

Appearance: crystal clear...dark golden, not quite amber, tight head.

Smell: not strong, but picking up the pepper notes and maybe some citrus?

Taste: the rye comes through, as do the pepper notes.

Mouthfeel: pleasant level of carbonation, and good overall.

Overall: I like it; not having had many rye IPAs, not sure how this stacks up, but it is flavorful and pleasant.

 429 characters

Photo of FattyJLE
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

S - Pungent and spicy with bready malts.

A - Crystal clear deep reddish-amber with a two-inch, fluffy, off-white head. Sticky, thick lacing.

T - Spicy and peppery right from the start. Earthy, herbal bitterness combines with pepper and spicy flavor (whether from hops or rye, presumably both). Biscuity and toasty malt backbone. The spicy, earthy bitterness lingers on the palate. Little alcohol present.

M - Medium carbonation. Moderate body. No alcohol warming. Pepper and spice produce a pleasant bite on the tongue.

O - A quality rye IPA. Nothing spectacular but certainly representative of the characteristics of rye beers with no flaws to speak of. Definitely very drinkable, but maybe a little undeserving of the name "Ruthless." Still I'd recommend.

 809 characters

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,092 ratings.