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

2012 Vintage

Pours an amber color with a perfect sized head, fades at a slow rate with good retention, pretty fluffy looking, lots of lacing on the glass.

Smell has a piney floral aroma, good amount of citrus in the nose, picking up grapefruit and some other fruity esters, maybe even orange which is odd but probably mixing it up with the strong citrus presence.

Taste has a more malty presence than the nose would indicate, the rye definitely lends a bit more body to the beer, hop flavors are still quite evident with the citrus pine being the most prominent, light bitterness that doesn't overstay its welcome, very solid.

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Photo of hail_seitan
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a pint glass.

A - Wonderful amber, almost tigereye, color. The head is thick and foamy and clings to the sides of the glass.

S - Pine, black pepper, and grapefruit. A burnt sugar sweet scent intensifies as the beer warms up.

T - First citrus and resin. Then a caramel sweetness from the malt. The finish is spicy from the rye with not too much lingering bitterness.

M - Appropriately thick and creamy for the style with moderate carbonation.

O - A wonderful beer I always look forward to come springtime. The blend of spice and bitterness with just enough heft in the body makes it a ideal brew for an overcast 50-degree spring day. Kudos to Sierra Nevada for the great label artwork, too.

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Photo of Chcshammonde
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nice rye ipa. Sierra doesn't miss too often (if ever) in my book and this one follows that trend. Very drinkable and you really notice the spice of the rye, but its quite well balanced.

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

Appearance is red-brown amber, with a massive, off-white head. Lacing is great.

Nose is peppery from the rye, with plenty of biting hops.

Taste is caramel malt, with black pepper and medium hops. It also has a whole-grain flavor to it.

Mouthfeel is smooth with medium-large carbonation.

Overall, this is a grain-lover's beer, with great balance and some real bite.

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

I'm new at this, so here goes. I liked the beer in general. I compared this beer with a Coastal Fog IPA and suddenly realized what the "body" of the beer refers to. Before, I either liked a beer or didn't, without regard for why. The first word that popped into my head after a couple of sips of the Rye was "round", and the Coastal Fog was "flat" (not flat as in, no carbonation, just lacking complexity). Ruthless had a nice malt taste, which I'm still figuring out how to articulate, and just enough hops to keep me drinking it. I will say this; I don't know if it was the beer, but I had some pretty messed up dreams for the two nights I drank this beer.

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

bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: The appearance on this beer is a rich brownish red with a wonderful lingering head. The head is full of nooks and crannies and looks very, very fluffy. The beer and head left nice lacing throughout the drinking process.

S: The aroma is citrusy and hoppy with a nice spicy like bite to it. The spicy bite is almost pepper like and very appetizing-that smell makes my mouth water and my nose ache with joy.

T: The taste is crisp and clean at first and then the spiciness hits and mingles with a sudden burst of hops. The aftertaste is surprisingly refreshing for being so bitter before leaving my mouth feeling dry and craving another sip.

MF: The mouthfeel is good and very creamy for this beer. It goes down extremely smooth and the carbonation is light and delicate.

O: This is a fine American IPA and I like the spiciness that the rye lends to the flavor.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another Sierra Nevada IPA in a 12 pack for 12.99? Score! This time with the addition of rye...

Poured into nonic pint glass.

A: pours a clear auburn with soapy white head, heavy lacing, moderate head retention

S: nose starts with waves of spicy rye and dank piney hops, there are resinous notes as well as a slightly roasted accent. The smell is somewhere in between Torpedo and SNPA with the additional quality of rye.

T: starts out with lots of bittering hop character, notes of pine wood and resin, this is followed by a sturdy rye profile which bring a savory quality to the surface. Finish is dry and bready. Nice flavors, the balance is skewed in the direction of bitter, I'm okay with that

MF: high carbonation, medium body

O: another winner from Sierra Nevada. For the value, you can't really do much better if you are shopping for a hearty rye brew.

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

Rusty red color, medium head, clear. Foam cap sticks around and clings to the glass.

Smell hits me while pouring the beer. Big hops and some of it reminds me of the fruitiness found in Celebration Ale. I think I'm also getting rye, as there is another hint of grain involved.

Taste really builds on itself and finishes stronger than it starts, but I'm struck by how well balanced it is for an IpA. I'm not surprised by how perfect the body and carbonation are; SN always nails it. I get the rye the most in the finish where a rustic grain bite complements the hop  bitterness. It's not a hop bomb, but it has plenty of bitterness and is a real pleasure to drink. Hop characteristics are slightly fruity and herbal.

With every new release by Sierra Nevada, I'm further convinced these guys are the best American craft brewers. Ruthless Rye is a success and my favorite rye ale to date. I like it more than the beer it replaces--Glissade--but I would still be happy to see that beer return one day. Will have to buy more of this before it's gone!

Per website:
Bittering hops: Bravo
Aroma hops: Chinook and experimental
Dry hops: Chinook, Citra, and experimental
Malts: Pale, Rye, Caramel, Chocolate
IBUs: 55

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Photo of heelsn02
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into New Belgium snifter

pours a really nice deep amber color... off white 1 finger head. lots of bubbles coming up from the carbonation. awesome lacing.

smells nice and sweet, a bit of citrusy hops coming thru. caramel and bready malts. not a big pungent smell though

really good taste. nice balance b/t the hops and malt, and the light peppery spice from the rye flavor pulls thru really nicely.

mouthfeel is a little bitter, medium bodied; nice amount of carbonation.

overall I'm really liking this rye IPA... about to have 3 or 4 more and watch the brady/tebow bowl tonight :) super easy to drink for sure. similar to the "rye hopper" I tried from french broad a few weeks ago, but not as sweet... both excellent brews though. this is priced very reasonably here in NC ($8.99 for a 6er). I'll definitely buy this one again. well done Sierra.

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Photo of Sark
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- not sure how I screwed up the pour, (maybe the altitude?) but this came with a monster head, the golden orange amber was a sight to behold

Smell- does Sierra Nevada use cascade in every beer of theirs? Super-citrusy with a spiced rye side.

Taste- a bold sweetness well balanced by the hop oils but not oily. A light toastiness makes the bulk but light fruit flavors become noticeable.

Mouthfeel- mellow medium bodied, the malt smoothness is accentuated by a kick in hop crisp at the end.

Overall- Sierra Nevada kicks out another solid one. The rye isn't under nor over-played and keeps things complex.

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

A: deep orange almost mahogany but not quite 'bock-like'; wonderful, thin and continuous lacing throughout which compliments the exceptional mouthfeel

S: rush of piney resin; underlying rye aroma balances hop aroma. Just a quietly pleasant smell

T: as I'm drinking I enjoy a whiff of that aroma to accent that mildly bitter hop note. Reminiscent of that woody, scotch taste.

M: excellent level of carbonation, sneaky maltiness; if it were more complex this # would be higher

O: While I like certain elements very much, there's just that elusive spot-on, unmistakable home run that, well, Chimay (blue) or La Fin Du Monde provide for its style. That being said, this is an above average beer. No, its bona fide.

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Photo of Eramen
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - All orange and copper, nice half-finger but persistent head.

S - Wonderfully aromatic - I make out citrus, pine, woody notes, spices and grain.

T - Much akin to the aromas, the pepper and spice are very pronounced, though not a lot of malt heaviness. It's quite a hop-forward style of beer, with citrus/piney flavors dominating. Bitterness is high and well suited to the grainy malt present.

MF - Decent mild carbonation, yet it manages to be smooth drinking.

O - Lovely brew, something that I'd only have a couple of due to it's peppery, grainy consistency but a fine IPA nonetheless.

2013 Vintage, very fresh.

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

pours a reddish amber with an off-white head that holds and leaves rings of very pretty lace. nose is flowery whole-cone hops that smell to me like lemon flowers (if there was such a thing), a touch of rye and a hint of caramel. can't get over how real, pretty and lemony/citrusy the hop character is. taste is just what the nose led me to believe. citrusy hops with a bit of peppery rye flavor riding on a backbone of soft caramel. very well balanced and nicely done. medium body that isn't sweet and had no abd aftertastes, just maybe wished it was a tad drier. overall, another very very fine, accessible brew from sierra nevada.

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Photo of silverking
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

It pours a slighlty hazy copper with a light tan head. Head retention is excellent and the lacing is very nice after the head flattens out a bit. It smells grainy and spicy with strong notes of pine and citrus. The taste is citrusy, piney and bitter. The finish is bitter with some nice peppery spice from the rye. It has a nice crisp clean mouthfeel with a bit too much carbonation for my liking. Highly recommended.

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Photo of dfillius
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass
A: Moderate to aggressive pour yields 1 finger of pillowy off-white head with soft peaks and great retention! Ideal head. Hazy crimson orange liquid is also spot on.
S: Centennial hops, rye tang, light citrus hops. Very nice. Only down side is slight unfermented wort aroma.
T: Delicate but assertive hops and bitterness grows with each sip. Good enough malt backbone but great hop strength. A tad boozy on the finish.
M: Chewy, moderately strong bitterness. Definitely a palate wrecker by the end. A tad warm for me also at the end.
O: Better enough than Glissade to replace it? Maybe. I preferred the lightness of Glissade for the season it is released in. But that is not something I can rate this beer based on. I would buy this again and order another. A solid offering.

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Photo of Hayden34
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I little disclaimer, I actually REALLY enjoy this beer but something about Rye beer in general doesn't agree with me so I avoid it at all costs. Hence the reason I affectionately refer to this beer as "Ruthless Flatulence".

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Photo of BBP
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hop orange hue with a malt bill adding ruby to the hue. Decent head. Great lacing and retention.

The aroma is a little subtle. The rye seems to cover up the hops but doesn't really make much of a presence for itself.

The taste is more towards an IPA than a rye beer, but neither aspect is weak. The hops bring pine and floral notes into the game while the rye is quite foundational and brings a lot of richness to the brew. Normally rye isn't my thing but I found that this was done very tastefully.

The body is medium weight and thickness. The finish is overly dry and slightly sticky.

Overall, I liked this a lot more than I expected to. With the nice flavor and SN's price range, I think I'll probably grab this beer fairly often. I'm not sure that I'd say this is the perfect rye beer, but it's pretty close to the perfect rye beer for me.

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Photo of hoplover82
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This may just be the best rye beer I've had to date. I mean the rye comes through in ways I've never experienced before. It really comes through as a very rye grain flavor. Makes me wonder if they used around 40-50 percent rye in this bad boy.
A-Pours a crystal clear amber color with a thick and creamy off white head that lasts forever and leaves excellant lacing.
S-The aroma is thick with rye grain and floral hops up front then mild pine hop notes in the back.
T-Tasts much the same as the aroma. Very spicy rye notes followed up with resinous floral/piney hops.
M-The spiciness from the rye paired with the bitterness of the hops give it a slight astringent characteristic, but other than that, it's a very easy drinkin, (full) medium bodied IPA that has a long bitter resinous hops finish.
O-My overall impression is this is what a rye beer should be like. I'm sure it could be improved on a little, but I really enjoyed this one very much.

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Photo of Gyle41386
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. I was totally unaware of this beer until a friend gifted me a six pack.

Pours a copper color with a rich, fluffy off-white head that reaches about two fingers. Plenty of bubbles rising throughout. Retention is great, and there's tons of sticky lacing all over the inside of the glass. Can't look much better than that.

The aroma features plenty of peppery spice from the rye along with bready malt, and piney/citric hops. It's got that classic smell (plus the rye) that I've come to expect from hoppy Sierra Nevada offerings.

The flavor is similar in that I'm getting a lot of rye. It's spicy and peppery and mostly dominant until a bitter finish that's either citrus rind or pine, or both. There is a very light initial citrus sweetness as well as some caramel.

Body is medium with an oily, slick texture. Carbonation level is probably right at medium as well, maybe less, but appropriate. Finish is quite dry, and the alcohol begins to show itself as it warms. This beer is drinkable enough, though, that warmth probably shouldn't be something to worry about. The rye + hops were right in my wheelhouse, so my glass will empty quickly when I drink this again.

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Photo of wl0307
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

(2013 Version) Coming in a 12 FL. OZ. short brown bottle, no freshness info. is printed on the label or bottle, apart from a number 302311159; served faintly chilled (10 centigrade?) in a tall tumbler. Notes: The back label states the beer is “brewed with rustic grains for refined flavors – combining the peppery spice of rye and the bright citrusy flavours of whole-cone hops to create a complex ale for the tumultuous transition to Spring”.

Appearance: pours an almost clear, dark amber or even tawny colour, coming with rather lively fizziness and a thick and tight light beige froth settling slowly to a thin cap to last.
Smell: pungently citrusy and spicy at the same time, on top of mildly caramely/toffee-ish pale malts and bitter oranges; given a good swirl, interestingly, the camouflaged resinous, piney and flowery aroma of hops gets freed up in the air, yet soon suppressed again by the frothy head... Very nice, but not conventional for Sierra Nevada’s beers.
Taste: bitter-sweet orangey-citric and zesty initially, with a touch of overripe fruity esters, then turning peppery and chalky bitter in the middle, as deepening tannic bitterness and a nicely rounded semi-nutty and semi-sprigy elements of malts (and rye?) chimes in; the finish is soothingly warming (for a 6.6%abv. beer?), showing aromatic flowery undertones of hops and a decent level of tangy bitterness, somewhat dry as well.
Mouthfeel & Overall: well-attenuated, dry-ish on the palate, the fizziness is not as sharp in the mouth as it appears in the eyes, medium-bodied, with an usual warming kick for the alc. level, and very very satisfying at the end of each sip; this American IPA, brewed using rye and whole cone hops on top of quality malts, has indeed an "usual" (which I can't explain, maybe just for the sake of saying something...!!) element to it, but not quite in the way as I expected really. Interestingly, the citrusy-peppery hop quality, the juicy crystal malts, and the well-tuned attenuation altogether give me an impression of a stronger type of Kentish Pale Ale brewed with Kentish citrusy hops and spicy Styrian Goldings even! This has to be my very first rye-related beer, and I’d say, well done!

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Photo of JizackFH
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer pours a nice orangish copper color that has nice clarity. There is a big fluffy 2-finger head resting on top. The head has excellent retention, and it leaves a thick sheet of lace clinging to the glass as it recedes.

S - The nose has a nice bit of caramel malt and spicy rye. There are also some aromas toffee, fruit, and there is a nice piney hop presence as well. A little bit of citrus on the back end too.

T - The taste follows the nose. It starts off with some caramel malt sweetness and some rye spiciness. Then there is a nice piney hop presence that comes through and adds some nice bitterness. There are also some flavors of toffee and citrus. the finish leaves some lingering rye and piney hop flavors behind on the palate.

M - This has a medium body and good carbonation.It goes down easy, and it has a nice feel to it. There is some initial sweetness, as well as some spiciness from the rye. There is a nice piney hop bitterness that lingers on the palate.

O - This has really good drinkability. The flavor is nice and it goes down really easily. I could have a few of these no problem. Overall, I think it is a really nice beer. The rye and hops compliment each other really well. I recommend trying this one out. I would definitely pick this up again.

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Photo of Topher78
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Upon pouring this beer left a fingers worth of a off white head and had reasonably good lacing. The color of this beer was perplexing, from different angles it had very different and unique colors. From table level it looked mahogany, from over top it looked slightly red and from an angle it looked more amber in color. Well, whatever color is was it had a beautiful aroma to it. Strong peppery notes mixed very well with sweet citrusy hop notes. From the first sip you can tell you're drinking a rye beer; the spiciness of the rye added a big kick to the malt and worked very well with this beers hop imparted bitterness. This beer finished very clean and dry on the palate, which left you wanting more.

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Photo of Kromes
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A clear copper color with a thin off-white head.

S: There's a nice toasted rye and citrusy pacific hop aroma.

T: A good mixture of sweet malt, spicy rye and citrus hop. The flavors blend well and complement one another. Just enough bitterness in the finish to balance everything out with a lingering citrus and toasted grain flavor.

M: Good all around mouthfeel. Medium body and a higher carbonation add to the spice.

O: One of my favorite styles, I haven't had a bad rye beer...yet. Recommend picking this up.

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Photo of david18
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've been drinking a lot of this while it was on tap at my local beer bar. Sierra Nevada has not been known for IPA's, I guess since they're so well known for the pale. Then came the Torpedo, which was good but I think this is one of their best beers.

Appearance was typical of an IPA. Dark pale, good carbonation, very inviting looking.

Aroma was almost perfect. Great hops balanced with the malt and alcohol.

Flavor as well was a great balance of bitterness, hop flavor, malt and alcohol.

Great IPA, that I highly recommend.

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Photo of david131
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a burnt orange with some ruby red hues. The bone white head is creamy and leaves some nice lacing.

S- My first impression when pouring this was that of smelled like marijuana. As I get into it I get pepper, citrus, caramel, rye, and that typical Sierra Nevada-ness we all know and love.

T- Herbs, rye, caramel, black pepper, and citrus rind. The finish is bready and spicy. Has a strong Sierra Nevada finish. Very enjoyable.

M- Spicy and bitter. There is some lingering bitterness on the finish.

O- A very enjoyable offering from the brewery. Similar to Founders' Red's Rye, just a little less rich. A perfect beer for spring.

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