1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

4,739 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 4,739
Reviews: 1,075
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 11.34%
Wants: 81
Gots: 493 | 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:
Beer added by: kaseydad on 12-29-2011

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 4,739 | Reviews: 1,075 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of deesteelers
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of blakelive784
2.78/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz bottle served in a pint glass, reviewed live:

A - Pours a transparent copper/orange color, with a thin, off-white head of 1.5 fingers. Retention is poor.

S - Lemongrass, citrus, and the overly used cascade/centennial hops nose overwhelm a caramel and crystal malt foundation. I don't pick up any rye in the nose. Mild to moderate strength.

T - Still no rye at all. Classic Sierra Nevada overuse of generic cascade hops. Light caramel is overpowered by lemon and grapefruit. It's imbalanced, and I can't get any hints of rye, even when I search for it. Suffers from simplicity.

M - Medium bodied, crisp, and a bit thick. It's alright, but there's not much going on anyway.

D - Another disappointment from SN. I find this one to be imbalanced, simple, and not one I'd have again. It's an average IPA at best, and I'm not sure what they were going for with the rye, but it's a miserable failure.

Photo of Thickfreakness
2.5/5  rDev -35.6%

Photo of thecheapies
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a robust light earthy honey-brown with a static three-fingered eggshell head. Great clarity, but without surging carbonation from the base. The head is soapy and thick, glimmering with highlights like crystals on the surface. Rich webbing on the sides of the pint glass. A solid ring marks the displacement of each one of my gulps.

Citrus (grapefruit, tangerine) hops in the nose intermingling with a peppery spice from a toasted rye malt. Some nutty/soapy yeast character in there, but just a hair.

Playful, lively spice from the rye with a dry toasty malt quality. Rough and husky grain. Big bitter leafy hops, like fresh hop flowers, produce exotic citrus fruit (kumquat) and black tea notes. Great whole-grain bread presence to the grain bill. Healthy and hearty. Great bitter finish, free from any astringency.

Kind of slurpy. Great, actually. Easy to bring in and easy to swallow. Heavier body for the style. The carbonation is up to the challenge, as well. No problem to sling back.

A fresh bottle did the trick. I might add, this is a bit too dry for my liking. Rye malts pair well with some sweetness. Otherwise, this gives Founders Red's Rye PA a serious run for its money. Maybe even a notch up.

Photo of kb2250
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of weizenbob
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This 12 ounce bottle was purchased at Shop-N-Save in Ludington, MI. According to the Julian date code on the label it was bottled 12/28/2011. I popped the cap and poured into a Samuel Smith imperial pint glass. The pour resulted in a finger tall head that is a shade darker than ivory. As with all Sierra Nevada beers, head retention is very good. Lacing clings in patches as well as glides slowly down the glass. The beer is copper colored and very clear, resulting in a nice translucent brew with little visible carbonation to be seen through the glass. It is pretty nice to look at. For what it's worth, I also love the bottle's label, from the graphic to the font and color selection.

The aroma is a wonderfully sweet citrus menagerie. It is more than vaguely reminiscent of both Torpedo and Celebration, Sierra Nevada's other large production IPAs. A little rye spice does creep through, but for the most part it's a supple tangerine dream: a toned down version of what seems to be the Sierra Nevada house aroma. I find it to be heavenly.

As with other popular rye beers of the day (Hop Rod, Red's Rye) the rye takes a back seat to the hops in flavor. This is not a complaint as the combination seems to work well. The attribute that makes Ruthless unique among its peers is that this beer is much less dry than the average "Rye PA". Piney hops mingle in a pool of honey-like malty sweetness to create a pleasant pairing. The hops are mildly resinous in the mouth. There is a flash of biscuity maltiness in the middle. A small portion of peppery rye is detected in the finish, though the bulk of the spice is felt rather than tasted, with a mild lingering heat forming on the tongue.

The mouthfeel is also very strong with this brew. The body is nicely medium with a fairly low carbonation level. The citrusy flavors and mild carbonation give an impression of fresh squeezed orange juice (strained of course). It is creamy, and as stated previously, rye adds a pleasantly subtle heat while softly resinous hops coat the throat.

Overall this is an all around great brew. It smells and tastes fantastic, being moderately hoppy while maintaining solid drinkability. Sierra Nevada's pricing and availability is always a big plus. As a result, I am as much or more excited about Ruthless Rye as I am Sierra Nevada's much touted Celebration winter seasonal. I might even like it more than the comparable Founder's Red's Rye, which is my favorite year-round bottled beer here in Michigan. I will look forward to this each year from here on out.


The Two-Schlitz Scale: (reference my profile for an explanation)
I give two Schlitz about this new late winter seasonal. I'm loving this beer.

Photo of csustar001
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of DCon
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap @ the iTap House in Chesterfield, MO for $5. Tapped from the Wooden Sierra Nevada Handle w/ a old timed scene w/ a woman on a farm into a 16oz Ska Brewing Co Pint Glass.

Aroma- Very pleasant mixture between American hops and Rye. Very normal for Sierra Nevada. Has a bit of mango/citrus in the background also.

Appearance- Received with a 1 finger head that only has bubbles and dies quickly. Has a dark amber colored body with good clarity. Leaves light suds behind.

Flavor- Rye flavors hit upfront and then has a great heap of hops included. Medium bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light-Medium Carbonation, Bites with hop and rye on the palate.

Overall Impression- A Sierra Nevada classic! I knew exactly what was coming to me before I even ordered it. Great amount of rye and hops with nothing overpowering the other. I hope to see this out in bottle soon to enjoy!

Photo of rlee1390
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear amber orange, carbonated, two finger head, nice lacing

S-Rye is present with earthy hops

T-Starts with Rye flavors, not that much though, and ends with resiny earthy/pine hope finish.

M-Medium bodied with some carbonation. Resin from the hops is there as well

O-Not as much rye as other Rye beers (GI Mild Winter, comes to mind) However the hop presence is great and this is a major improvement over Glissade.

Photo of funkel81
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of bcal16
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of pwsoldier
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of Bogforce
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of Hoppedup616
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I love SN seasonal brews, especially Celebration. So, I saw this on the shelve at a local beer store and picked up a six-pack. Didn't know what to expect, since I've never seen or had a rye from SN. The appearance was a nice light copper, decent half inch tan foam head. Minimal lacing around the glass, but you can for sure see the hop oil drizzling down from time to time. The smell was citrusy, not as much rye as some of the others I've had (Red's Rye, Hop Rod, etc.) but it was still there. Taste was of an average IPA for me, not much alcohol bite (6.60%) decent carbonation on this one. Overall it was more of an IPA with a hint of rye, but enjoyable and worth trying none the less. When it comes to SN seasonal brews, I'll stick with the Celebration.

Photo of sitarist
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of rkcrozier
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of VikeMan
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.49/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12-oz. bottle into a pint glass. Color was caramel, but fairly clear. About a finger and ½ head. Lots of tan lacing. Healthy drizzle on the side.

Smelled of red malt - skunky, rye (if I knew what ray smelled like) and grains, Absolutely no hops/

Tasted of grainy malts with earthy tones. It got bitter late, but nothing too bad.

Medium body. Average carbonation. An abrupt finish. Smooth, crispy and clean.

Not a bad beer, but nothing spectacular. It did it’s job and got us ready for the postseason.

An OK beer overall. It started out great until one place overran us.

Photo of JupiterJesus
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of mikehblack
3.58/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

Photo of Reaper16
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

Photo of Shaw
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice red in color with a big off-white head that reduces to about a quarter-inch of foam in my glass.

The aroma is of rye and hops. Light, but nice.

The taste is big on citrus hops with a bitter bite -- no surprise there -- but with a nice amount of spice from the rye as well. It's quite nice.

Good body that isn't watery: There's plenty of heft here.

Overall another winner from Sierra Nevada. I'm just sad that it seems to have only been available for a couple of weeks here in Sarasota. IPA and rye fans, seek it out.

Photo of CTbeerboy
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Ruthless Rye pours a beautiful dark brown (amber when held directly in the light). With a finger and a half of a beige or off-white head full of tiny bubbles (key in the song).
S- This is one really complex combination. I get plenty of wonderful west coast hops up front coupled with piny and resiny smells associated pales. I also get plenty of pepper, grapefruit, passion fruit and other citrus fruits thrown in as well. Very, very dank smelling on the end of the nose as well.
T- Im getting alot of the same flavors on the tongue as I got in the aroma. Plenty of west coast hops (Citra and Simcoe most likely). Lots of grapefruit and passion fruit notes as well as an almost grassy bitterness that coats the tongue well.
M- This one coats the tongue pretty well. I get it on all parts of the tongue and it really leaves a great lingering bitterness.
O- Overall Ruthless Rye from Sierra Nevada is a great addition to their seasonal line up. It conjures up some great flavors and scents that remind me of some of my favorite IPA's, while it has a kicked up spice profile from the rye that makes it just this side of mysterious.

Photo of fitzgerald88
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of abcramer
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 4,739 ratings.