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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.
very good

1,080 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 1,080
Hads: 4,907
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 23.98%
Wants: 85
Gots: 640 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

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: 1,080 | Hads: 4,907
Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Nice 2 inch head when poured aggressively. Darker brown than expected, but I'm guessing the rye malt has something to do with that.

S - Not as hop fragrant as most IPAs. More pine than citrus. A little sweet, and a little malty.

T - Very well balanced. Hops, sweetness, and a malty backbone.

O - Sierra Nevada always makes a quality PA. This isn't a super hop intense beer (which I love), but it's still very good with a unique taste profile. Definitely something to try. Prost!

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Photo of Kuaff
4.24/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cellar temerature in a mug.

Ruthless Rye presents a three-finger white head on a pure, clear amber body.

That spicy rye is totally in the aroma, along with earthy, piney hops. A touch of honey, too.

The rye combines with a fruity citrus flavor upon first taste. It's like lime to me. The finish is malty, bready, and dry, with some lingering rye spiciness. Quite good.

It's fairly full-bodied for the style, which I like.

This is a really good malt-forward IPA and it incorporates rye exceptionally well.

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Photo of cxr1037
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Got a six pack of this about a week ago from Trader Joe's. Here's a review!

APPEARANCE: Clear, dark reddish amber. SRM 22ish. Solid, yellow-white head that retreats quickly to about a cm all around. According to the website, this beer uses 2-row pale, caramel, and chocolate malts (along with the rye, of course), which would explain the darker color. Looks like an amber ale.

AROMA: Floral hops and rye dominate. There are obvious malts, a little black pepper, and some phenols. There's also a momentary awareness of fruit - I get banana and cherry - but it's mostly fleeting.

TASTE: The rye takes over, bringing along it's signature spiciness. The hops feel subdued, but they're in there, contributing mostly floral notes but with some pine mixed in. There's more of that fruit again - this time more banana esters, like something from a hefeweizen.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-bodied, with good, strong carbonation. I can feel the rye lingering in the back of my palate. Quite pleasant.

OVERALL: This is a fine Rye IPA, perhaps one of my favorites, though I'm not a huge fan of the style. A lot of Rye IPAs seem to struggle with the balance between rye and hops, but I think Sierra Nevada walks the line quite well. I would have liked a little more hop character in this one; it's finished with Citra (and Chinook and "experimental variety"), but I think it would benefit from more tropical hop flavors. Perhaps Motueka? All in all, I'd buy this again.


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Photo of travolta
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Sticky leopard print lacing. Very nice head retention. A rocky and voluminous head. Brownish apricot in color.

Nose: Orange and citrus, pine and resin. Caraway and pepper in the end with a cigar humidor aroma.

Taste: Citrus up front which forms into hop bitterness, grains and black pepper. Some orange and lemon peel. Again, pine and resin. Perhaps carmel chalkiness at the end?
A dry finish.

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Photo of Act25
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Sierra Nevada is my favorite XL craft brewer.

Ruthless Rye IPA pours darker, deeper amber with bronze highlights and a tan creamy froth with retention and lacing. Rye bread as it should.

Love the smell, which is malt based toffee and caramel with pine, evergreen style hops and a bit of flowers and winter hills and forest.

Flavors follow the smell, which first w more malt tham most IPAs, which is welcome: caramel, toffee, and malt are the base one which float earthy spice of rye. The finish becomes more piney with elements of spruce, resin, and grasses with a bit of crystal sweetness. Dry finish despite being a sweeter IPA.

Medium bodied, finishing long and dry.

Winter IPA, a little sweeter and more earthy, more pine forest. Must try. Better than its reviews on BA.

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Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep- yet clear amber color tinted copper, medium-think head, good lacing
Pine and hops. Rye, malts and a hint of alcohol
Delicious, the bitterness kicks in, its raw and aggressive feeling but not overly so. There’s a complex blend of flavors the malt, rye, hops which makes for a really good beer
I first picked this up because, well- the package looks kick ass. I had never seen it before and they only had it by the 12 pack, so of course I bought it. Once I had my first one I was hooked and went right back out to buy another case, fearing it would be too late if I waited. I definitely recommend this, I always enjoy it.


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Photo of artoolemomo
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Pours up a whole bunch of head which looks to have pretty good retention as well. The head is a very light beige while the body is a medium to dark amber which appears as medium amber when held up to the light. Lacing looks as if it will be mostly sheeting.

Nose- Lots of citrus (mostly orange) from the glass. Shows light hints of pine and resin. Very clean smelling, almost soapy. The bottle shows more of a rye presence. Some caraway, something a little vegetal (think greens), and a little bit of pepper. Generally rye. Swirling shows a little bit of rye.

Taste- Slight citrus on the front but this quickly transitions into hop bitterness, grains from the rye, and strong pepper. Some pine and resin. Some orange and lemon peel. A bit of chalkiness on the finish. Fairly solid flavor profile but could use some more complexity. Had good presence and balance though. Light caramel. Solid, good beer that doesn't do anything that impressive. Some earwax and grapefruit. A little more bitter than I would like but it is well balanced by the rye notes. The somewhat dry finish also doesn't allow it to linger either.

Mouthfeel- Between light and medium bodied with appropriate carbonation. Has a little bit of zing which matches well with the rye notes. Light dry finish.

Drinkability- Fairly easygoing for an IPA and while it's not that bitter, it is pretty easy drinking for its bitterness. Standard price for Sierra Nevada beers.

Overall- Solid, good beer. No flaws but also nothing that really stands out. Definitely worth a try and this is a beer I will be purchasing again.

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Photo of Badger6
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle with the 2014 label and a Julian date of 335 (early December '13) for bottling. Poured into standard American pint.

A: dark amber color! with some carbonation visible. Nice frothy white head, receded in short order, to a nice white film on the surface. Heavy lacing.

S: Citrus nose with grassy notes. Mealtimes comes through, with some peppery spiciest.

T: Malty, lots of barley and rye combined together. Slightly sweet, but not for long. The elected IPA bitterness comes in and balances it out. Strong notes of citrus throughout. Some peppery spice, but not too much. Crisp, dry finish.

M: medium body, slightly dry, light to medium carbonation.

O: A nice IPA, very crisp and easily drinkable. Right in line with any of the other hoppier offerings from Sierra Nevada. A good beer to be enjoyed over and over again. Perfect for the transition from winter to spring.

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Photo of Murphious
3.58/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Color is less red than a red ale, perhaps if a lager and red where mixed 50/50? Nice thick pale tan creamy head of at least an inch; could have been more if aggressively poured.
A bit of a citrus smell but very faint as poured into a pint glass. Piney hop aroma is less than expected and could just catch a hint of rye. Almost a wheat aroma of an average hefeweizen.
Not very bitter except at finish and even then it's slight. Citrus hint at first sip and then sweetens to a bread-like malty flavor with a little rye. Not bad and easy to drink. I would prefer more rye flavor but the low bitterness somewhat allows more flavors to be noticed. Recommended.

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Photo of JMScowcroft
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

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Photo of CA_brewster
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance of this beer is spectacular. Crystal clear deep amber color with a good finger and a half of head. The aroma on this beer is nice and hoppy with the spicyness of the rye coming through. The rye gives a very unique malt backbone to this beer. It's great, as a IPA lover I am really enjoying this. Pick some up if you get a chance.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2014 edition poured into tulip; hazy tawny brown, like ginger ale. Moderate white head that fades after a bit into a chunky topping of foam and spotty, slimy lacing.
Smells of dank piney hops, citrus rind, rye.
Tastes of spicy bready rye, bitter citrus rind/pine hops, and more earthy hop/malt flavors that all blend together, finishing with a hint of lighter bready sweetness which is then knocked down by bitterness lingering into the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is well-carbonated, clean and light.
Overall, a tasty rye IPA. No shortage of hops, plenty of malt, delicious.

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Photo of CraigS119
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at my local Wal-Mart (Tampa, FL). Sixer for $8.47.

A- Silky dark, golden pour. Appears more like a heavily carbonated lager, than a pale ale. I like it.

A- I'm actually getting, what I assume to be, is rye in the aroma. Also getting some sweet malts and perhaps even a touch of caramel.

F- Very abrupt flavor explosion of malty-rye bitterness up front. Very potent for only being 6.6%, but exits the palate very cleanly. Not overly-complex flavoring profile, but definitely lives up to it's name.

M- Not a beer you want to linger on the palate, as it is quite bitter, but no complaints here.

O- I really like what this beer is trying to do. Too many IPAs these days are trying to appeal to the mass consumer, with their fruity/citrusy/floral overtones (don't get me wrong, I love me some ApriHop on occasion), but sometimes I want my IPA to feel like an IPA, one that goes well with a cigar, and puts some hair on your chest. And that's what this beer does.

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Photo of BearslikeBeers
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a rich amber with a large head that left a thick lace along the glass. The smell is very faint and hoppy. The flavor is bitter and dry throughout the rye provides a bitter starch(and peppery) taste that lingers. The hops are not very fruity or floral but dry and bitter and complement the rye nicely. Overall the beer came together very nicely and has a more pronounced rye presence than I've seen in the brews of some others breweries starting to use rye.

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Photo of theteleman
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pretty darn hoppy with a nice rye bite to it. If you like west coast style IPA's(very prevalent hop flavors) you'll enjoy this brew. Mouthfeel is pretty thin, but leaves the palate with a nice rye taste, real crisp. Enjoyed this brew with some spicy shrimp and veggies and it tasted great.

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Photo of Bookseeb
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance has a clear reddish brown color supporting a steady healthy head leaving nice lace. Smell of citric, malt and spicey hint of rye. Taste has a nice hit of the hops balanced with the sweetness of the malt and hint of rye. Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. Overall a nice twist on a IPA.

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Photo of ChuckHardslab
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very clear light copper color with a 2 finger off white head.

S: Nice floral and citrus hops with an earthy undertones.

T: Nice caramel notes and some cereal grains with slightly citrus hops and spice from the rye. Bitterness isn't in your face and borders between pale ale and IPA. The finish is smooth and clean with slight lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue.

M: Medium body with refreshing carbonation

O: A really nice and refreshing rye IPA that goes down maybe a bit too easily. If you like AIPA's or pale ales I would definitely recommend you try this.

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Photo of reebtaerG
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured bottle packaged on 12/17/13 into New Belgium globe

A-Pours light copper/amber two finger off white head with a lot of sticky lacing.

S-The aroma is earthy hops with prominent peppery rye notes, also hints of citrus.

T-The taste starts out bitter with bright citrus, the middle is malty with the rye spice adding a nice kick on the back end.

M-The mouthfeel is dry and floral finish, great balance and a aftertaste that is dry and sticks.

O-Overall, this is a nice beer by SN, not the best rye ipa out there but is good. Had hop rod rye just before this one and enjoyed it more.

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Photo of scotorum
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Purchased two bottles in a mixed sixpack to try before sinking more money into a reasonably-priced twelvepack.

Nice graphic of hooded woman overlooking pastoral grain and floral scene.

2014 on the neck label. Bottled 12/17/13.

Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into a Harpoon IPA glass.

a: Clear copper with an enormous multi-inch tall white head which receded excruciatingly slowly to heavy rocky surface foam and extensive lacing.

s: Slight fruit.

t: Moderate strength hops forward over spicy malt base. Dry finish.

m: Moderate, good body.

o: Excellent rye IPA, drinks so fast you are surprised when it's all gone. Will be looking for a twelvepack.

UPDATE !/21/14: Had the second bottle with dinner tonight and afterwards as I was finishing it was struck by the peppery spice flavor from the rye, which was more pronounced than on any other rye beer I have had yet. Definitely will buy a twelvepack next time I see it, which hopefully will be tomorrow. Already made room for it in the basement beer storage shelves.

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Photo of LI_PO12
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into pint

Appearance- copper, clear, offwhite head, good lacing

Aroma- Rye forward with a earthy, spicyness, hops are there but not in your face and are floral and herbal, very nice woodsy aroma

Flavor- Earthy, spicy rye, good firm bitterness throughout but very drinkable, a bit of pine shows up here as well as floral hops, and mint. little to no alcohol

Mouthfeel- Medium with good carbonation

Overall- Love rye IPAs and I feel this could use some more hop presence to really bring it home. Look forward to this one every year and It doesn't blow you away but really hits all the marks to be solid and worth a 6 pack at least.

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Photo of lochef81
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Let's start by saying "I love rye ipas" and this is no exception. This pours a beautiful deep red color with a finger and a half of tan head that lasts throughout the drinking of the ale. The aroma is slightly hoppy but mostly strong with rye and malt. It Sips smooth and gloriously bitter but very dry. Possibly too dry for some. The flavor is earthy and heavy on the rye. Hops are present but not super forward. The finish is hoppier with pine and citrus present but still with a healthy amount of rye and malt underneath. Overall this is an excellent rye ipa and at a phenomenal cost. Pick one up while it's available. I'll look forward to trying again next year.

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Photo of Irish_roamer
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I found this to be a nice change up from the standard Sierra IPA which is one of my go to beers. Beautiful color, medium head. Spicy on the tongue. This one of those beers that is very tasty, yet wouldn't drink more than a couple in a sitting. Still a great value beer at 14.99 for a 12 pack

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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.

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Photo of DeFaz
3.07/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

After drinking a DIPA, I found this to be actually more intense, overwhelming, alcoholic, and difficult to drink. The beer pours a copper color with a medium head and pretty good retention. The smell is peppery, alcoholic, and spicy. The taste is also spicy (from the rye) with a solid malt backing but not a whole lot of the IPA flavors that I enjoy. The pepper from the rye seems to crush everything else. The thickness and carbonation are fine, but the rye creates an unpleasant aftertaste. Overall, I'm fairly new to rye beers and I understand that some of my complaints about this beer are simply a result of the rye, but perhaps there should be somewhat less of it. I really enjoyed Founder's Red Rye, but the taste here just didn't do it for me. By far this is the worst Sierra Nevada beer I've had.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color, finger of white head, nice lacing, very clear

Smell is not the most complex out there, but still nice, rye, bready malt, herbal hop notes, westcoast style pine and grapefruit, sweetness from the malt.

Taste is sweet caramel, spice from the rye is there but it is in the way of subtle pepper, grapefruit, bready malt, bittering pine

mouthfeel is medium, average carbonation, slight dry but at the same time a little sweet

Well its SN and its a IPA, not anything I would go to crazy over... But at 6.80 a 6 pack I certainly will grab a 6er every season. Good not great.

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Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 1,080 ratings.