1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

4,568 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,568
Reviews: 1,051
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.6%
Wants: 72
Gots: 360 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  6.60% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kaseydad on 12-29-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,568 | Reviews: 1,051 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MartzMimic
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper with a decent foamy off-white head that stays for a bit. Nice lacing. Aroma of pine resin, hay and grainy malt. The rye gives it an earthy taste with a bit of sweet spice. It also balances nicely with the hops. It's bitter, but not overly so. It does give a nice tingle to the tongue. Medium mouth without a lot of carbonation. Definitely a solid beer as you would expect from SN.

MartzMimic, Jul 12, 2014
Photo of SportsandJorts
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Type: on tap 25 oz
Glass: Oversized mug
From: R.U.B. Pub in Ann Arbor
Price: $7

Appearance: a light brown/orange color. perfect clarity. not much foam or retention

Smell: rye and hops all day

Taste: citrus hops and spicy rye. i was hoping for a bit more complexity

Mouthfeel: not quite as sticky and bitter as I would have expected. good slightly fuller character

Overall: this beer is good and well done. i just wanted a bit more complexity out of it

SportsandJorts, Mar 17, 2013
Photo of JMScowcroft
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Sierra Nevada - Ruthless Rye IPA, poured into a DFH Spiegelau IPA glass.

Look - Pours a clear dark amber resin with a nice soapy head that dissipates quickly but leaves some chunky lacing.

Smell - Not as much rye as I have come to expect from this sub-style. Peppery. Some citrus hops. Some yeast.

Taste - There's the rye! Pepper and rye with juicy citrus hops. Lots of pepper. Finishes hyper-bitter.

Mouthfeel - Light-medium body with good carb. Rests bitter hoppy like orange rinds, a bit high on the AAU %. Rye is overshadowed a bit here. OK drinkability due to the hot malt and hot pepper.

Overall - Not my favorite, interesting combination of ingredients here, there are better rye beers. Founders still wins this one.

JMScowcroft, Jan 28, 2014
Photo of 05Harley
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #1362 108 41
Bottled in 2012

Purchased @ Somersworth Village Market, Somersworth NH

Price - $8.40/sixer

An absolutely georgeous looking beer. Pours a deep transparent amber color with a massive three fingered creamy white head. Heavy lacing adorns the glassware and sticks thick. Add a gentle swirl of the glass and bam, another creamy layer appears. Lots of bubbles too.

A soft aroma of earthy hops combined with the spicey rye is dominate. Very faint smell of citrus fruit.

The flavor starts out big with an unmistakeable rye peppery taste followed by a hint of citrus in the middle and ending with a pine hop bite. Sweet caramel malt adds some sweetness but the rye flavor is pretty much in your face from start to finish.

This beer has a medium body with a creamy feel. I really dig the balance between the malt and hops. Finishes slightly dry with a pleasent bitter tingly feel.

Overall quite drinkable for my taste buds. I spent quite a bit of time drinking rye beer in the 90's, so this kind of takes me back. The appearance was the real highlight for me.

05Harley, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle pours a crystal clear crimson color with a dense cap of tan head. Excellent retention and lacing...a damn fine looking brew.

Earthy rye and bright, citric hops are simplistic but manage not to clash as so many hoppy rye beers that have come before. Impressive.

The rye manages a smooth, even keel while the hops drive the majority of the flavor impact...from an initial floral blast to a clean, herbal bitterness. Malts probably dont get enough credit in this beer and help provide a lightly sweet, toffee-ish backdrop that is both neutral and productive at the same time. Mouthfeel is on the thin side and a tad soapy, but those are mild complaints. One of the better rye beers I have had and a sixer didnt last too long in the fridge, another one might be soon to follow.

twiggamortis420, Apr 03, 2012
Photo of mikehblack
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sierra Nevada balloon glass.

A- Pours a very clear dark orange, burnt amber color. Big white head leaving tons of lacing on the glass.

S- Piney hops, spice, breadiness

T- Big hop presence with tons of rye spicy character. The rye flavor rests on the tongue with a little bite.

M- Clean, well-carbonated. Drinks very easily.

O- Quite a tasty beer from a style I am not too familiar of. Think I will enjoy this as the new seasonal.

mikehblack, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of Reaper16
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle served into a nonic pint glass

Pours a rusty, coppery brown color. Pretty much what you'd expect from a Rye IPA. It's very clear, very much a filtered beer. 1.5 fingers of offwhite foam leave lacing that sort of clings and drags like a person dangling from some precipice.

This beer's got a pretty nice nose on it. Spicy rye is upfront and bready, sure. But there's a good hop profile here that presents aromas of grape and passionfruit. Some general grassiness backs this up nicely. This doesn't really smell like an IPA too much, but it's a more subtle rye beer that works.

Unfortunately, that subtle nuance of the nose doesn't carry over to the palate. It's still a bit underflavored for an IPA, but there isn't much complexity to make up for it. Grassiness and rye grain spicy flavor abound. There's a small flush of grapeseed (and a trace, trace amount of like POM brand juice) but that's all the fruit that I really get. It's blunt but restrained.

The mouthfeel is pretty smooth, perhaps even undercarbonated but smooth nonetheless. It works well with the session-candidate flavor profile. Overall, this is a fine beer. It pales in comparison to Founders Red's Rye when it comes to a hoppy rye beer in six-packs, but it is a tasty option that is distributed all over the country. You can't do wrong by picking up a six-pack or a 12-pack of Ruthless Rye for your next gathering. This might just be my Super Bowl beer next weekend.

Reaper16, Jan 30, 2012
Photo of Merkur
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Flying Saucer in Nashville.

Beer pours a nice rich rich reddish color. Very little head.

Beer smells strongly of rye with a bit of citrusy hops.

Taste starts off a tad sweet and citrusy, followed by some bready malts on the finish.

Nice mouthfeel that is a tad thicker than most ipas.

Overall a nice Rye IPA

Merkur, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served at a cool 58 or so degrees Fahrenheit
A careful pour into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip produces a two-figner thick, pale amber tinged, tan colored head that leaves some lacing stuck to the sides of my glass. The beer is a dark amber color that shows a brilliantly clear, rich amber hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells dominated by hops with notes of pine, earthy citrus, some rose like accents. This is backed by notes of caramelized malt (lots of crystal malt type notes, though this is held well in check by the dominant hops), toasted English biscuit like character, perhaps a hint of sweet tea and a solid, earthy, brown bread character that isn’t quite spicy, but is leaning in that direction. The citrus hop character has a certain “dankness” to it, rough, a little dirty, with a lot of herbaceous character, with a citrus oil character to it. The citrus and pine / herbal character mixes so well in the nose that it is hard to say which one plays the more prominent role.

The beer is fairly effervescent as it rolls across my palate, this accentuates the bitter hop notes and the earthy spiciness from the grain. Despite the dominant hop character, the earthy, brown bread and spicy rye character is really what lingers on the palate in the long finish. The grain character is quite a bit more noticeable in the flavor than it was in the nose. The hop character is still the dominant note here though and it contributes flavors of grapefruit zest, green tangelo, brighter lychee notes as well as a green herbal quality (that has a spicy undercurrent to it), definite pine and perhaps even a touch of a grassy quality (this last is quite subtle though). The spiciness here makes me thing of black pepper some how, but a lot of it is that “dirty” spicy quality that comes from Rye. The beer definitely has a viscous quality to it, and the body is best described as medium, though it is not so much as this beer is still quite quaffable.

As the beer warms up it gets a very earthy, infinitely rye like note and solid, brown-grain-bread character that becomes on par with the hop character. Because of the rye, this is definitely a very “dirty” IPA, and that is not a bad thing at all. It becomes quite a bit more complex. I could wish for some more citrus / fruit hop character, but the rye really accentuates the herbal / pine side of the hop character.

Gueuzedude, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of rtaps
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a clear deep orange (carmel like) to and amber in color. nice 1.5 finger off white head pretty good retention barly leaving any lacing behind.

nice on the nose, some citrus from the hops. but seems pretty malty, and fruity and i'm able to find a little rye spice.

up front i get citrus but not very hoppy. some grapefuit and finishes/leaves the rye spice all over you tounge.

very smooth mouthfeel, light bodied and high carbonation, leaving the mouth watery

overall it's a soild rye ipa another good serra nevada beer

EDIT: second bottle i opened was a bit more to what i was looking for. more lacing was left on the glass with a better head, and there was a much better hop presence

rtaps, Feb 01, 2012
Photo of Jadjunk
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

"Rye has been a staple grain for milennia-sought after for its stubborn resilience in the field and revered for its unique flavor, Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed with rustic grains for refined flavors- combining the peppery spice of rye and the bright citrusy flavors of whole-cone hops to create a complex ale for the tumultuous transition to Spring." Sierra Nevada's spring seasonal returns for 2013, released annually around January-February. Brewed in the style of an American Rye IPA.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle to a Sierra Nevada pint snifter. Served north of 49º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Beer pours a frothy caramel-tinged white head of a fluffy cream consistency. Body color is a copper orange with mild sediment, a light haze and very low visible carbonation. Lacing is consistently light and curtained, retention is slightly above average. Head quality could improve a notch but otherwise this beer delivers well in appearance. 3.75

(Smell) Most noticeable is a moderate peppery bread note of rye for a full sweetness. Light citrus and floral hop notes compliment the malt profile, although they do not provide enough potency to challenge the specialty malt-centered beer. Additional notes of lightly toasted caramel, cracker malt for lightness, and a touch of fruity and spicy yeast esters, like raisin and nutmeg peek through as the beer warms. The potency is medium. Pleasant aroma overall, despite not being overly confident in the hop department. 3.25

(Taste) A nip of biscuity grain malt and citrus pith up front with a proceeding peppery rye midsection and a peppered, dry and boldly bitter finish with a dragging faint viscosity of rye sweetness to compliment. Although the hop flavor diversity has waned, this beer has otherwise held up remarkably well through the year. There's substantial bitterness and malt complexity to enjoy, yet the profile is quaffable enough to enjoy several in a single session. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Mild slickness and a mellow stickiness build a subtle malt texture. Carbonation is busy, sharp and excited, very prickly on the tongue. Alcohol presence is low. Body is a medium for an American Rye IPA, and medium overall. The carbonation seems too aggressive for this beer. 3.5

(Overall) Sierra Nevada puts out a very tasty and flavorful, yet clean and easy drinking Rye IPA in Ruthless Rye. Chock full of clean, flavorful rye and a moderate thickness, this is a worthy drink for your IPA money, and a fair representative for the rapidly growing Rye IPA trend . 3.75

Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's
Ruthless Rye IPA
3.63/5.00

Jadjunk, Sep 09, 2013
Photo of beer348
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: nice color - reddish. Also enjoyed the label design.
S: very nice smell, probably my favorite thing about this beer
T: tastes good, crisp; what I would expect from an IPA.
M: It's great to try a new kind of beer (rye). But this tastes very much like a regular IPA.
O: For IPA fans you will like this beer. Lots of hoppy flavor. A clean , crisp drink.

beer348, Mar 16, 2012
Photo of Aaron28
3.64/5  rDev -6.2%

Aaron28, Nov 14, 2014
Photo of jbphoto88
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ruthless Rye pours crystal clear amber with a thick bone colored and fluffy head. A pretty product that leaves a lovely sticky lace on the side of the glass.

The nose is predominately a nutty dull citrus with hints of caramelization and lemon peels. The rye is also very fragrant here and a nice touch.

The taste is good but not great. Flavorful grain roasted elements with an iced tea like hop presence. I wish the hops were more available in the flavor department but they do show up in the mouthfeel and finish.

A damn decent hop bitterness that really compliments the sweet grains happens in the mouthfeel. There is also an exclamation point of rye dryness. A solid beer but not the best rye brew or IPA but that shouldn't stop you from trying it.

jbphoto88, Mar 16, 2012
Photo of morimech
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper color with two fingers of head that had good retention before settling to a thick cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass. This beer is a looker.

I pick up mostly citrus and earthy hops in the aroma. Just a small hint of the rye. Some breadiness from the malt rounds things out.

Plenty of rye in the flavor. Not sure the citrus hops is the ideal compliment to the rye. Bitterness is high. Overall is slightly dry.

Has excellant carbonation for a hoppy, bitter brew. Plenty of body to delivery the flavor.

Another solid beer from Sierra Nevada. The flavor was just a slight letdown compared to the great rye IPAs.

morimech, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of nsabo
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

While this may be my least favorite of SN’s IPAs, I have yet to be disappointed by their IPAs. Ruthless doesn’t have the smooth, malty mouthfeel of Celebration or Torpedo, and the hops here taste more citrusy than grassy and piney. The bottle label touts the rye’s peppery quality, a spot on description and the pepper transitions into hop bitterness nicely.
It’s a bit odd to me that instead of a winter warmer, SN makes a seasonal winter IPA, only to be followed by a spring seasonal IPA. Ruthless is good, but with the brewery’s focus on IPAs, it better be.

nsabo, Mar 07, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sixer picked up at Rick's in Alexandria. Served in a Sierra Nevada tulip.

Pours a clear copper-garnet color with a very long-lasting, foamy off-white head. Very dense and impressive. Heavy lacing as it goes down the edges of the glass. The nose carries a good bit of rye and spice with some earthy hops in the background. Slight resin there as well.

The flavor focuses a bit too much on the rye and accompanying spice. Hop flavor is there, but comes through more as bitterness in the finish. Medium body and just a bit chewy. Dry and bitter. Drinkable, but probably not in large quantities. While I enjoy this one, it's not something I'd want to drink a bunch of, a la SNPA.

Thorpe429, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of chilly460
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice looking beer, pours a darker amber, quite clear with a full inch of off-white head. Fluffy head dissipates slightly but sticks around, heavy rings of lacing ring the glass.

S - The rye is quite apparent, comes in as some spiciness. Complimented well with the citrus, and bigger floral hop aroma coming through. Get a nice caramel background, malt is big in the overall profile.

T - Follows the nose pretty well, initial hit is the very floral hop taste, light tasting. The cleaner, somewhat spicy rye comes in here as well, distinct. Surprising was the big malts coming in, plenty of caramel sweetness, this beer is quite sweet overall.

M - A fairly plain mouthfeel, bit less then medium body and standard mid-carbonation.

O - I enjoyed the floral hops on this one, but to be honest the sweetness throws it off a bit as you continue working on the glass.

chilly460, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. Slightly lighter than copper in color with excellent clarity. Slightly off-white colored head that erupts pretty quickly on an only moderately agresive pour; the whole bottle couldn't be poured in on the first try and it still almost overflowed...I like that.

Smell is good. Like most IPA's it's nice and hoppy, primarlily citrus with lemon zest. Floral, grassey, earthy, and herbal. Something about it is a little unique, quite interesting, good though.

Taste is on par with the smell. I can tell this is a pretty fresh bottle. The rye malt grass stands out a litle more in the flavor profile than the smell. Other than that it's not really a whole lot different.

Mouthfeel is good. Light to medium in body with a good carbonation level. Pretty smooth, starts off only reasaonbably sweet, with a nice dry bitter finish. Really drinkable and solid like many Sierra Nevada brews.

I got a sixer of this when I got the last of the Celebration that I could, not a bad substitue I guess but with the exeption of the added rye, I don't find it all that different from a regular Sierra Nevada IPA.

AndyAvalanche, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of EricCioe
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours red copper with an offwhite head leaving some lace. On the nose there is earthy pine backed up behind by general spice and a little dough. On the tongue the rye sits heavily with the earthy hops filling in around it. The body is medium, very drinkable with a pleasant buzz from the combination of hops, rye, and carbonation. The finish is long on spice.

Overall, I like this beer a good deal. It's a welcome variation on the SNPA/Torpedo theme.

EricCioe, Mar 04, 2012
Photo of Aiptasia
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass.

A: It pours beautifully. Perfect pour against the side of the pint yielded an impressive 2" rich tan foam head with beautiful sparkling ruby red body. Effervescence bubbling up in a beautiful constellation of rye lust.

S: Smells wonderful. Freshly mowed lawn and rye bread with a grapefruit rind smackity smack.

T: Seriously hoppy. This is a young beer in the bottle and can use a little conditioning. Was hoping for more malt, but the hops give the rye a beat down and noogies until it screams uncle. I'm going to wait another month and see how it tastes then.

M: Medium bodied, assertively carbonated. Alcohol is a non-factor.

O: Overly hoppy, needs a little bottle aging to be enjoyable. I like Rye Squared by Terrapin better.

Aiptasia, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At the time of this review, this is the #17 beer on the beeradvocate.com "Top Beers - Rye Beer" list. Served from a 12 ounce bottle into a Hill Farmstead becher glass.

Beer is brown and clear with a nice tan head of small and medium bubbles, nice moderate carbonation, some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is sweet with some earthy mildly citrus hops in there. Smells nice.

Beer is medium in body with a mildly dry finish, moderate bitterness and a grainy aftertaste. The lead off is this mild spiciness from the malt and this nice body that fills out to a good hop presence, the aftertaste totally takes me out of the beer though. Not a fan of that. Otherwise it is a fine little IPA / rye beer.

drabmuh, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of scruffwhor
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rust, copper, clear amber color. NIce two finger head that has strong retention and lacing. Like the bubbling too.

Spicey citric and earthy hop aromas with a toasted cracker and bread crust malt bill aroma.

Spicey rye and hop combo for a bitter cracker and earthy oarnge zest marmalade. The malt flavors thins from middle to the finish. The palate is resiny to start and thins out to the finish. Aftertaste is watery and bitter.

scruffwhor, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of KajII
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Shaker glass]

The pour was a clear copper orange with an average sized (1-2 finger) off white rocky head that lasted throughout and had some really excellent sheets of lace that totally coated the glass.

The aroma was pretty straight forward with a toasted light bread malt, a pine hop and an earthy yeast with notes of caramel, rye and a bit of a peppery spice.

The taste was bold and powerful with a strong malty rye flavor and a touch of caramel in the beginning and the progressed into a malty, hoppy, peppery taste with a nice dose of rye at the end. The flavor lingered for a really long time with a good hoppy rye taste left behind well after the swallow.

Mouthfeel was light to medium in body with a hoppy dry texture and a strong carbonation.

Overall a nice and strong spicy brew with a great hop overtone...

KajII, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of GoldHorde
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a solid introductory Rye IPA. It would never be mistaken for an aggressive double IPA. A nice introduction for those new to the Rye influence. It has the darker amber color of the rye and a nice balance of hops. The aroma doesn't trumpet and the mouthfeel doesn't sting. The rye provides the nice deep character that I've now come to expect from rye beers. I've decided I definitely like RYE beers. I haven't disliked a single beer with the word 'RYE' on the label. RYE has a robust, earthy bitterness that I favor whereas WHEAT [beers] on the other hand...has always gone the other way with off-sweet or sour notes.

AROMA: Not as aggressive or as sharp as most IPA's. Very fresh floral scent.
HEAD: 3 Finger head fading to thin; loose lacing - reminiscent of plumbers' pants
FLAVOR: Deep grain earth with floral accents - with a coffee edge

A very nice beer and I love these Ryes!

GoldHorde, Apr 04, 2013
Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 4,568 ratings.