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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

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Reviews: 1,080
Hads: 4,899
Avg: 3.92
pDev: 11.22%
Wants: 85
Gots: 638 | 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
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Reviews: 1,080 | Hads: 4,899
Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: bottle from Capone's bottle shop, Norristown, PA

Broke one of these open to enjoy whilst producing a homebrew of my own. Pouring into a pint glass reveals a darker amber liquid, perfectly clear, with a small bubbly off-white head that recedes to a small ringlet. Very little carbonation to be seen. Aroma is grainy with a pronounced crisp hop scent. Taste is grainy, a bit skunky I think, but well within the threshold of tolerance, hop bitterness--pine and citrus notes--subdued malts, and a definite bready rye quality that comes in at least mid-palate. Quite bitter in the aftertaste; grapefruit pith. Fairly easy to drink. Pretty nice overall.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm naturally interested in seeing just how ruthless this rye is. It's a nice hearty ale, yes. Good spiced tones (from the the I assume). Overall, this is a good beer, which I expect from Sierra Nevada. It's not blowing me away with some out there and unusual character, but it's a mighty tasty brew.

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Photo of russpowell
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an effervescent copper with 3+ fingers of cream colored head. Fantastic head retention & lacing

S: Lemony & grapefruitty hops, a kiss of breadyness & peppery notes

T: Peppery rye, grapefruit, slight grainyness up front. Dryness, caramel, grainy bitterness & a touch of grapefruit as this warms, Finishes a little peppery, citrusssy & with a dry/crisp rye

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation, good blance

I enjoyed this, but I thinks Red's Rye is more to my taste, plus more drinkable

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rocky textured foaming tan head leaves only gas and beer residue between an inch of air and glass known as head space, it's beautiful. Color wise bright ruby copper colored beer we need in this post holiday recovery mode for everybody. After drinking spiced ales with cinnamon, honey, and all spice for a month and a half, I fully praise Sierra Nevada for releasing this beer. Aroma has hints of pine and citrus with a spicy rye layer that definitely adds a layer of complexity to the mix. Flavor hits with a clashing layer of malt/rye versus earthy/pine hops, pretty intense here no bias noted, I'm a lover of both malts and hops. Easy to drink well balanced between the waves of piney/citrus hops and spicy rye malt, moderate carbonation slick oily hop textures going on. Overall a welcomed seasonal to mix up the ever changing lineup of Sierra Nevada, I'll be drinking more of this.

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Photo of smcolw
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large, four-finger head that settles in a lumpy, domed fashion. Many thin rings of lace as the head recedes; like nothing ive ever seen before. The broth is dark amber, like light maple syrup.

Lots of rye in the smell--very dry, no sugars. Background hop enhances (rather than counterbalances) this aroma. Some grapefruit rind to the nose.

The flavor matches the smell profile. This is a very dry beer--lip smacking. Plenty of earthiness in the malt. The hop bitterness is more pronounced and less "grapefruity", more peppery.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, bottled on 12/4/2014. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy deep orange/copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, floral, grass, spicy rye, light caramel, toasted bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops and moderate rye/bready malt notes; with good strength. Taste of big grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange peel, pine, floral, grass, spicy rye, light caramel, toasted bread, and floral/grassy earthiness. Good amount of pine/grassy bitterness and rye spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, tangerine, lemon/orange zest, pine, spicy rye, toasted bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance, robustness, and complexity of citrus/pine hops and moderate rye/bready malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly crisp/sticky, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent rye IPA style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/pine hops and moderate rye/bready malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ruthless Rye, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. 2012. Not sure why they are dating it by year. Perhaps they expect us to cellar it? Just a habit they've gotten into?

A cloaked, hooded woman holds a scythe in the middle of some farm land. Seems like odd garb for threshing. Or, are they just establishing a new, hotter version of Death. Newer and hotter than Neil Gaiman's, of course.

Anyway, on to the beer: Clear, dark crimson coloring, off-white foam above.

Aroma is soft, sweetish, and brimming with rye malt character. Pass the pumpernickel!

Taste: Hops hit first, bitter, yet sweet, then the spicy rye malt character floods the mouth. Starts mellow, gets intense. Rises and rises and overtakes the senses. Without going too far, of course. These guys are all about balance. You don't become this popular and this big without making palatable brews.

Let's look at the label crap: Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed with this rustic grain 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."

It hasn't been exactly a tumult this year. We've had several early starts to spring, in the dead of winter. But this is nice and well appreciated. I was almost ready to say that the rye malt overtakes the citrusy hop presence, but they re-emerged before I could type a word. It's a tasty, tidy tango, here's some peppery bready malt, here's your hops, cha, cha, cha…

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Photo of mdfb79
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/28/12 notes. Thanks to nmann08 and jslot38 for sharing this one, been wanting to try it. 12 oz. bottle into a tulip.

a - Pours a clear copper-amber color with one finger of off white head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of rye, fruity malts, spices, light citrus hops, and bready malts. Lots of rye and fruit, very nice.

t - Tastes of rye, spices, fruity malts, bready malts, grains, and citrus hops. A little more spice than the nose, and a bunch of rye up front again. Again, very nice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Quite easy to drink.

o - Overall I thought this was a very nice rye beer; one of the better ones I've had in a while. Lots of rye but still easy to drink, and not too spicey. Would like to have it again, and would pick up a 6er.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.41/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Figured I'd do the two Rye Beers back-to-back. Couldn't be bothered figuring out the Julian date code. Thanks to Chris (spycow) for mixing a sixer of oddball wants for me. Served in a Cigar City snifter.

A - A half-finger of yellow-tinged foam settles to a thin cap. Looks very similar to the Widmer's O'Ryely, but with a bit more in the way of lacing.

S - Yep - lots of rye. Spiced bread sort of aroma dominates, and it's supplemented with earthy and spicy hops flavors as well.

T - Taste is again very earthy and peppery, with spicy rye malt dominating the palate. Fairly assertive hop bitterness in the finish.

M - Super dry medium body, with a resinous and oily finish. Moderate carbonation level. No real complaints here.

D - There's a bit too much rye here and not quite enough IPA, at least for my tastes. I think I liked the Widmer a tick better, which came as a surprise.

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Photo of chinchill
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle served in a pint glass. 2012 vintage

Pours a dark amber with a creamy tan head and visible carbonation. Ample sticky lacing left on the glass.

Excellent carbonation level; medium body; semi-dry to dry finish.

There's plenty of spicy rye and hops in the nose, with a bit of toasted grain in the background. The aroma is also moderately fruity weedy, as well as very slightly earthy. Any lingering doubts about balance are laid to rest upon tasting: The flavor has an excellent balance of peppery rye, hops and toasted malt. The hops are a bit more spicy and less citrusy in tasting than smelling.

O: Almost everything about this beer seems beyond criticism. The only thing I found slightly objectionable was the high amount of grapefruit rind bitterness in relation to hoppy flavor in the aftertaste. It looks great and has exactly the mouthfeel, aroma and taste one should expect in a true rye IPA. A great choice for IPA lovers who want something a bit out of the main stream.

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Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours bright orange amber (with a slight initial haze) with a thin off-white head that leaves patchy lacing.

The smell is of citrus, pine, pepper with a bready undertone. The brewery's "house character" is there.

The taste is fairly complex. It has pine, citrus and minty spicing. The malt is in the background, and places the supportive role very well. The alcohol is slightly noticeable. The finish is very dry with hops and rye lasting for a little while on the palate. The "Sierra Nevada" taste is there.

It hits full-bodied and is smooth.

This is a dry brew. A solid example of an American IPA with a rye touch. Another winner from Sierra Nevada!

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Photo of drabmuh
3.68/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on cask at Mugs Alehouse in Brooklyn, NY

A: Pours a slightly hazy golden amber with a finger tall light beige head. The head reduces to an extremely thin ring at the edges of the glass only. No lacing is observed.

S: Some spicy aromas from the rye (like hints of pepper) along with pine resin and citrus hops.

T: Slightly malty sweet (maybe caramel and pale) upfront that is quickly followed by the rye spiciness. There is some hint of pine resin from the hops but this beer has a nice lingering bitterness and spiciness.

M: Medium bodied with light amounts of carbonation.

O: Really a very nice beer and one that I will enjoy a few more times this year while it is available in the area. I'm a fan of the rye spiciness with the IPA hops.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Had on tap at the Pickled Pig.

A: Pours a clear amber/copper color with a small off-white foamy head on top. Settles down to a small layer of bubbles on top. Moderate lacing.

S: Lots of rye, more so than most rye IPAs. Lots of spice and some bread mixed with some herbal hops and little bit of pine.

T: Very spicy again, lots of pepper and rye mixed with some pien. There is some bready and caramel malt towards the end.
The rye comes through on the aftertaste very strong.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes very dry.

O: Very heavy in the rye, which I appreciate, but would have liked a little more of the IPA to shine through. Still a solid beer from SN.

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Photo of ShanePB
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle
Served in a tulip glass

A: Fairly clear/semi-hazy orange and bronze colored body with a big creamy off-white head. Nice fluffy consistency which lead to sticky lacing and an amazing retention cap.

S: Rye, black pepper, orange and citrus. A slight bitter pink grapefruit and whole cone hops come through, trailing off with a slight bit of caramel malts.

T: Spice, rye and a balanced but big hop profile. Some citrusy notes along with a bit of pine are mid-palate. Black pepper on the back end with a crisp lager-like finish. Nicely done, and honestly a really great integration of the rye with the overall flavor profile.

M: Bubbly, well carbonated and very smooth/creamy. A bit sticky and bitter into the linger, but that's nothing out of the ordinary for the style.

I generally enjoy beers with rye when done correctly and this was no exception. The rye brought a nice spice character to the beer that played very well with the citrus and earthy hop characteristics.

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

First off let me say this. This beer is rediculously awesome. It isn't world class, but SN did something amazing here.

Pours a finger of beige head. Nice retention and lace walls down the glass. Color is a clear autumn copper.

Aroma: Rye Spice, Floral hops, and grapefruit citrus. Pretty legit nose. The rye is provides a nice backbone to the hops.

Taste: Rye up front flowed by floral hops, then some spice, and finally the citrus flavors. It ends with a hop resiny flavor on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a touch of bitterness and stickiness to it. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Ends sticky.

Overall, this beer is legit. It drinks incredibly well and for $1 a bottle you can't go wrong. Please SN, keep this fresh and keep this year round. This is a beer that will be seen in my fridge a lot.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Gift from drabmuh. Thanks Matt.

The beer is clear and copper hued with a thick, lasting off white head that coats the pint glass with lacing. The aroma brings hops, pine, bread. Very bitter with lots of pine flavor. Hops are the initial flavor, followed by a robust malt bill. This is what I would consider to be a balanced IPA. This is typically not my preference for the style, but this brew is well done. Medium bodied. The aftertaste offers pine and rye bread. Overall, pretty good. Worth a try.

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Photo of tdm168
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark copper with a mountain of dense, white, foamy head that has great retention. The nose is citrusy with grapefruit aromas and the rye is faintly noticeable. The malt content is mild in flavor but strong enough to hold up to the intense hop character. There are faint bready notes and faint spicy rye characteristics. The hops are citrusy, slightly piny, and finish bitter. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and it's well carbonated.

This is just another solid IPA from Sierra Nevada. The rye doesn't add much but enough to be noticeable. I prefer this as the spring beer versus their previous offerings, but I don't think it holds up to the other IPA offerings they have throughout the year.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with an off-white head. The rye really stands out in the aroma, but there is also a little bit of pine and some biscuit malt notes. The flavor also has a lot of rye in it. I also get some orange and pine from the hops, as well as a little bit of biscuit and bread from the malt which keeps the bitterness low to medium. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of billab914
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my Dogfish glass. It poured a dark copper color with a huge, fluffy, off white colored head filling the top third of the glass. Great head retention and lacing as I drank it. Fantastic looking beer overall.

The aroma shows a lot of the spicy, bready, rye flavors. I get a pretty big bitter, resiny, citrus rind like hoppiness to it as well. In the finish it shows a little bit of a sweeter, malty, caramel flavor to it. Nice mix of hoppy and rye overall, I really liked how much the rye stands out in it.

The rye is what really stands out to me in the taste as well. It gives it a nice spicy, bready flavor throughout. I get more of a grapefruit and citrus rind bitterness to the hops in it. The rye compliments the hops well. The hoppiness does seem a little more reserved than I would have liked though.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a good beer that really showcased the rye flavors nicely. The hoppiness in it was good, but not outstanding. It was very drinkable and flavorful overall, and I really liked that the rye was a little bolder then most other Rye Ipa's. I really like rye flavors so this one worked pretty well for me.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.49/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think that this also came to me courtesy of local IP trader, tone77. I will be relieved to finish off the last of my on-deck bottles so that I CAN return to The CANQuest (TM)!

From the bottle: "Ruthless Rye IPA is brewed with this rustic grain 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."

I employed an aggro pour so as to release the aromatics and at the same time, create so much tawny head that there was a cascading action at the junction between the foam and the liquid. My strategy was sound as I ended up with just better than two fingers of head that resembled the top of an ice cream cone, plus the kitchen smelled like I had sprayed air freshener. It smelled of pine, mint and black pepper and my mouth was watering in anticipation. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was medium and the admixture of the rye and hops on the tongue was literally breathtaking. It tasted of pepper and fresh mint and was just beautiful! The heavy, sticky lacing that began to appear was going to need a hammer and chisel to remove. Finish was likewise dry and peppery-minty. Whew. What a way to open the day!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.18/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. 2012 listed on the bottle.

An off white head, a little styrofoamy, but makes a good three fingers with some retention. Body color is a dark amber brown, crystal clear, not much rising carbonation if any.

Nose is a nice toasted grainy malt. Slightly spicy, almost Oktoberfest Marzen like. A little subdued, but fairly solid.

Real interesting taste profile. Sweetening grapefruit at first in the palate, followed by the toasty malts matched on the nose. Hop citrus bitter follows on the afterfinish, with an airy spicy feeling. Great tasting. Mouthfeel seems fine and solid nothing to complain or get excited about.

Overall pretty good tasting beer here.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of Billolick
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cant find any freshness info on the 12 ounce bottle. Pours darker almond amber, light oatmeal head, shows some staying power and leaves respectable bands and bits of stickage. Hopped up nose with the unmistakable odor of fresh rye bread.

Rye infused IPA, with a nice load of hops crunching on the taste buds, and more rye floating just under the surface. Nice.

Although I tend not to be a huge Rye beer fan, this one is hoppy enough to keep my interest. Though still unlikely I'd purchase this one ahead of all time favorites Torpedo and/or SNPA

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.42/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle to Pint.

Ruthless Rye goes in the Sierra Nevada Tulip easy with not any cap or nothing. There is just the smallest bits of white bubbles towards the edge of the glass that die when on the surface, lifeless beer, no stick. smell is rye malt to the max with some faint caramel and a spicy sense. Some piney resins come up to with more whiffs. Taste is even between the rye and the IPA. Rye comes first than a small hit of pined hops. Small traces of caramel throughout. feel is a bit thin, I would say bordering on thin. Carb comes and goes off of the tounge, leaving a resinous effect afterwards. Bitterness is not that large, the rye malt takes care of that. I can say that while this was a noble attempt, it just misses the mark for me. I will try more bottles and a draft to see what's what though.

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