Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. - Shmaltz Brewing Company

Not Rated.
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

879 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 879
Hads: 1,921
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 17.57%
Wants: 83
Gots: 196 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 06-07-2006

A Double India Pale Ale with Rye Malt brewed in tribute to Lenny Bruce (Leonard Alfred Schneider 1925-1966).
View: Beers (28) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. Alström Bros
Reviews: 879 | Hads: 1,921
Photo of TheKingofWichita
2.61/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Pours a very pretty red color with a ton of orange highlights and a little white head and some lacing. Smells of rye, citrusy grapefruit, and a good amount of hops. Tastes of rye, grapefruit, honey, hops, and caramel. Mouthfeel is medium with a heavy carbonation. Drinkability is okay.

 285 characters

Photo of sleazo
2.62/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a medium chestnut brown with hints of red intersperced throughout. A very pillowy head leaves tons of lace and has good staying power

S_sweet caramel malt. Where are the bloody hops?

T_more one note caramel sweetness from the malt. The hops are virtually non existant. A very mild bitterness comes out in the aftertaste. Levels of alcohol heat increase as it warms. Where is the rye?

M_mildly syrupy with a very low level carbonation

D_very malty but there is no hop bitterness or defining characteristics. I had been reluctant to try a beer from such a schmaltzy brewery but figured I would give it a shot since its brewed in NY. However I was right, the whole thing is a gimmick.

 692 characters

Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.66/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance -- Pours a hazed ruddy orange with a slim sudsy beige head.

Smell -- Caramel and toffee, citrus zest, bitter shrubs, pine resin, and spicy rye.

Taste -- Juicy citrus, pine, and bitter vegetation up front. Malting is cloyingly sweet but with a surprising amount of spicy rye. Lingering flavors of pith and shrubs.

Mouthfeel -- Fuller in body, a bit oily, with moderate carbonation. Not bad.

Drinkability -- Man, this one is rough. Cloyingly sweet malts and a hop profile heavy on bitter shrubs. I feel like I'm having Stone 14th flashbacks. I'll give it one thing: the rye character was great. However, even the rye spice was no match for this weird pairing.

In case I got a bad/old bottle, I'll come back to this in the future.

 743 characters

Photo of JEdmund
2.68/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Dark for an IPA, like iced tea; minimum head that drops fast

Very little smell, but I detect candied fruit and caramelized sugar, but very little hops

Taste & Mouthfeel
Flavor is full, but it has no real character or pronounced hoppiness; thick, oily mouth feel which is quite nice; it's hard to think of this as even a form of an IPA; it's more like an old ale/strong ale/ barley wine--it's really syrupy sweet and artificially fruit-flavored

It's just a bit too much sweetness for me. The really heavy body in addition to the sugars makes the drinkability of this suffer. Now if I wanted a sippin'/dessert beer, this would work, but only in a small quantity.

 689 characters

Photo of PDXHops
2.69/5  rDev -33.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap in a shaker pint. See-thru deep amber with a smallish off-white head that displays impressive staying power and leaves plentiful crackly lacing in the top quarter of the glass.

Smells, hmm, strongly of caramel. Uh oh. There's plenty of citrusy hops and what appears to be a fair amount of rye, but both are somewhat smothered by the malt. Flavor profile is more of the same. This very well be the most caramel I've ever tasted in a (D)IPA; it completely overwhelms the generous helpings of rye and citrus. On the positive side, the carbonation is quite vigorous (keeping all that caramel from becoming too heavy) and it somehow manages to finish somewhat crisply.

Overall impression: Another east coast malt monster. Hopheads, take a pass on this one. Those who like balance in their (D)IPAs should definitely give it a shot, though.

 842 characters

Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
2.75/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 22 oz amber bomber into a standard pint.

Appearance is dark, reddish, enticing, with a nice heavy tan head.

Aroma is malty and pungent with hops.

Tastes really chewy, malty, bitter. Mouthfeel is heavy. Seems like a barleywine or old/strong ale to me, way too bloated and sweet to call it a DIPA. Didn't pick up the rye note, just mega malt.

I'm glad I was sharing this one, because I couldn't have finished it by myself--just too thick and rich.

 471 characters

Photo of donniecuffs
2.78/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Poured a thick bronze, with a tan head that lasted, but not an obvious carbonation presence.

S: Smelled syrupy sweet, with hints of grapefruit and tropical citrus, but also an unrefined spicy note.

T: Definitely found the grapefruit, tropical fruit, and even some apricot, but the sweetness was a little overpowering, and furthermore it dissipated into a harsh sour-spice that left a lingering aftertaste.

M: Syrupy, high alcohol presence on the tongue. Not very pleasant.

D: I found myself taking gulps, not because I eagerly wanted to consume another pint, but because I wanted to wash away the somewhat annoying aftertaste. If they could balance out the sour-spice and syrupy feel, it would certainly knock this beer up a few notches. Doesn't come close to the top-notch Dbl IPAs.

 791 characters

Photo of jcdiflorio
2.84/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

poured into a flaired tulip glass from a 22oz brown bottle with crimped cap.

Hazy,deep reddish copper color with a generous off white very creamy head,good retention,tightly knit strings of very tiny bubbles rising from the sides of the glass with a steady stream of bubbles emerging from the center of the glass,leaving sticky lacing down the sides of the glass.

Tart, fruity, berry- like aromas with floral,citrusy notes, also had a green apple and fresh cut grass smells. The aromas were very faint for a DIPA, no dating on the bottle might have been lost with age.

Heavy,sweet intense carmell malitness with a burnt edge to it followed by a hop rush of resiny,leafy with lots of citrus rind. Good balance with alcoholic heat throughtout. Thick and juicy with intense hop notes.

A sipper,very rough,not much drinkability. One of the least drinkable doubles i've had,if you like it hoppy this beer's for you. Don't let the aroma fool you this beer packs a serious hop punch.

 989 characters

Photo of doubleipa
2.88/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not very hoppy, at all. No pine, resin, or citrus. Weak aroma for a DIPA. Surprisingly. Nice big, off-white head. Color was dark amber. There is a definite alcohol aftertaste. This is OK. It got better as it warmed up, but it didn't affect my ratings.

 251 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
2.89/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A – Brown and cloudy, with a very big head, some scattered lacing.

S – Cloyingly malty-sweet. A megaton of hops couldn’t bring this one back for me.

T – Same as the smell, just a bit better. The hops finally cut into the cloying sweetness, but the hoppiness is citric, so even that bitterness associates itself with the cloying elements. So, this tastes like Malta IPA. I wish I could like it, especially due to my reverence for Lenny Bruce; I just can't do it.

M – Medium-bodied, well-carbonated, a bit oily.

D – Other friends had to finish it for me. They liked it, sorta.

 614 characters

Photo of RJLarse
2.89/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I bought a bomber of He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. in a grocery store. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a bright copper color and is clear. It appears thick as it pours from the bottle. A beige head forms, and changes to white lace as it breaks down. Bubbles rise slowly through the beer, adding to the perceived thickness of the beer.

Smell is fermented fruity aroma, like prunes or burned apricots, with a little lighter fluid aroma.

The taste is pretty good, a caramel flavor, with some rye presence, a little alcohol heat, and a bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is thick and cloying. A bitter film is present after the swallow.

Not the most drinkable brew, but few DIPAs are. This one is long on alcohol and bitterness. I can't say I'm surprised, but this is a one time experience for me.

 801 characters

Photo of DrinkingDrake
2.91/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a nice copper/red color with a thick 2 finger head that maintains and clings to the side of the glass. Some damn good retention.

Smells very light/sweet/malty with a mild fruitiness. The rye also makes up a good portion of the nose along with some very sweet caramel.

Nice attack on the tongue with a smoothness that disappears quickly. The sweet malt and caramel from the nose carries over to the taste. The sweetness is subdued the whole way through by a hoppy bitterness that clings and leaves a very dry taste in your mouth.

I like double IPAs but I'm not too big of a fan of this one.

 601 characters

Photo of bluehende
3.02/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had at a tap social with 2 reps present. I thought this was a bit too sweet and lacking in hops. It may have been old, but that is no excuse when two reps are present.

 169 characters

Photo of mattwjones
3.03/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into a 22 oz. wine glass. The color was amber and there was a 1 finger head. I could tell that this was a syrupy beer from the way it hit the glass. The aroma was very malty and caramel like. To me the taste of this beer was a big disappointment. The malt wore the pants in the hops-malt relationship. I was turned off by the imbalance of flavor. The mouthfeel was of little surprise and it was syrupy as I expected. The drinkability of this beer was decent considering the rather high ABV.

I am glad to have tried this beer, but I would not buy it again.

 575 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.05/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a bomber of RIPA from Shmaltz. It is near room temperature (as this is the last of the bottle I opened 2 hours ago).

Appearance: For a DIPA, the ale is very dark, more similar to an amber. There is a nice ring of head that laces.

Smell: Malts that remind me of a barleywine are the first that I detect. Very sweet and malted-up, this beer is no regular DIPA, as there is no hop presence in the nose.

Taste: The rye adds a very nice touch up front, a change of pace in terms of malts. From there though, the malts spiral out of control and dominate the beer. There is a distinct barleywine aftertaste that lasts a long time. Again, there is some hop bitterness, but nowhere near that amounts I expected.

Mouthfeel: The flavors are too powerful and do not subside. This is not for the faint of heart.

Drinkability. Trust me, one bomber is enough.

 867 characters

Photo of RunDWP
3.06/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I've never seen Lenny Bruce perform. From what I've read, he was ahead of his time, pushing the boundaries of what was thought to be good taste in his time, and never afraid to take risks or possibly ""step over the line". In that spirit comes Bittersweet Lenny RIPA On Rye from He'Brew.

Unfortunately, like a comedian who simply swears too much and uses shock value of profanity to make up for poor punch lines, this brew simply didn't have the proper level of restraint, nuance, and balance to work for me.

I started by pouring it into my tulip, and appreciated the dark brown liquid with a slight head of white foam floating on top. There was lots of sheeting action on the glass. I have a weak nose, but couldn't pick up much aroma for all the strong flavors I was about to encounter, a little hop aroma, a little malt aroma, not much else. The flavor was strong, the flavor was aggressive, the flavor was a little shocking, and unfortunately, the flavor was not all that enjoyable. There was a lot of malt in there, with a bitter rye note, that seemed to overwhelm a lot of piney, grapefruity hops. I was surprised to see the malt overwhelm the hops is what the bottle said was a double IPA. Now there is nothing wrong with breaking the rules, but if you're going to break them, something good should come out of it. That didn't happen here.

With all that malt, the mouthfeel was one of the high points of this brew, with a luxerious, creamy texture. But I found this too strong, aggressive and unbalanced to be very drinkable.

I can appreciate what He'Brew was trying to accomplish here, but these type of beers work not because of the aggressive flavors, but because care is taken to balance and blend the aggressive flavors, and that is missing here.

 1,762 characters

Photo of shbobdb
3.08/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I love rye beers.

I love hops.

What isn't to like? Well . . . nothing. But what is to like?

Some DIPAs are all about the hops. Some of them have a strong malt presence that balances out the sheer hop volume. This is one of the latter catagory, but it doesn't work. It is very sweet, but monodimensional in terms of malt. There is some light rye spiciness, but nothing serious, but it manages to be excessively sweet and dry at the same time. 'Creamy' is the taste/texture combination used to describe this taste of maltiness to me. I freakin' hate it.

And the hops? Resiny, but that's it. The resin conflicts with the light rye spiciness.

Absolutely run-of-the-mill.

Oh, and it is hot as heck!!! The 10% is really hit-you-over-the head noticable. Not my cup of tea.

 784 characters

Photo of redneckchugger
3.1/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured into a pint glass, smells of hops, and a slight spiciness, chalking that up to the rye.
tastes is off, hoppy, but not enough, spicy and malty flavors are throwing off the hoppiness. the mouthfeel is just wrong, thick, way too thick for a dipa, more in the range of a big stout. this beer just missed the mark for me.

 323 characters

Photo of kajerm
3.11/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours deep red-amber with a finger of slightly yellowish head that recedes to a cluster of soap bubbles. Rye beers look awesome.

Aroma is mixed citric hops with a strong malt backbone and just a note of rye spiciness. I'd have liked a rye bomb, but this smells pretty good.

The flavor profile opens up surprisingly malty with a hint of rye.The finish is bitter and piney. The bitterness is jarring, as there isn't much lead-in of hop flavors. Not bad, but the balance needs work. And it needs. more. rye. (I've yet to find a beer that had too much rye.)

The mouthfeel is oily with a medium body and well-balanced carbonation.

Drinkability is decent.

 654 characters

Photo of BucannonXC5
3.11/5  rDev -23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: Lagunitas mason jar
From: Pacific Liquor at Renaissance at North Park (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $2.99
Purchased: June 28, 2013
Consumed: June 28, 2013
Misc.: N/A

Poured a dark mahogany color with 4-to-5 fingers of khaki tan head that actually overflowed over the mason jar. Very thick caramel tan lacing on the sides. Great retention all the way down.

Smelled rye hops, iced tea, licorice, molasses, caramel and honey.

Tasted bitter rye hops right from the get-go, followed by iced tea, molasses and licorice. Very bitter and the alcohol’s 10 percent is not well hidden at all. Thick, grainy, earthy, heavy, malty.

Medium-to-full body. Creamy-to-sticky texture. Average-to-lively carbonation. Long, bitter finish.

Really was not a fan of this beer. I would never have it again on purpose.

 824 characters

Photo of dancinwillie
3.14/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bomber, purchased at Woodmans west, Madison, WIsconsin, into a pint glass.

A: Nice pour, achieved a beautiful 2 finger head. Pours a nice dark amber color, with a light tan head. Head dissipates slowly, leaving nice lacing down the side of the glass.

S: Not much in the way of aroma, just picking up mild scent of hops.

T: Hop flavor is somewhat limited, although maybe I'm not picking up on them due to the solid malt backbone. Either way, not enough bitterness to call it a double IPA, in my opinon. That being said, this is a tasty brew, balanced, tasty, and makes you want to drink more, and more. But It might have been better marketed as an IPA, not the double.

M: Good mouthfeel, smooth and creamy.

D: I would have to rate the overall drinkability as just over average. I would drink this beer again, but not if I was in the mood for a double IPA.

One last thing: I would like to say that this is the first beer I've had from this brewery, and while I don't think it's a good example of the style, I want to stress the point that it's a good beer. Had it been sold under the
"regular" IPA label, I would have rated it higher. If you're looking for a "hop bomb", keep looking. If you're in the mood for a well balanced IPA, pick this one up, and enjoy it. I did.

 1,302 characters

Photo of GrahamDN
3.16/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly deep amber in color, with a bit of haze and an off-white head.

Right away, the nose tells the story of the beer's dark hue with big toffee, caramel, and raisin scents betraying the heaping helping of caramel malts included in the mash. Left whispering in the background are leafy, herbal, and peppery notes. Yeasty bread rising as it warms.

Big waves of toffee and caramel crash on the palate, seasoned with peppery spice and leafy-herbal hops. Rye bread comes out later. Lenny's is not really "bittersweet"--it's super-sweet, with just about any bitterness the hops have to contribute drowning in sugar.

Thankfully, the dynamic finish transitions from sticky sweet with a little peppery tingle to balanced--hop bitterness finally asserts itself (though it takes a while) along with the 10% ABV to offer some relief from a dessert of a "double IPA."

Here's the thing: this is a pretty tasty beer, and an above-average expression of rye in beer. But to pitch it as a DIPA feels misleading. If He'Brew had labeled this beer as some sort of rye doppelbock-IPA hybrid, they'd have nailed it, but I have to dissent on this one and say they missed the mark.

 1,177 characters

Photo of zhanson88
3.16/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours out a syrupy looking deep burnt copper color with ruby highlights. Half a finger of off-white head forms very slowly. Retention is okay, lacing is decent.

Smell: Spicy rye malt is prevalent immediately, along with caramel and toffee. Also some piney and herbal hops on the back end. Very interesting smell. Not something I'm a huge fan of though.

Taste: See smell. This beer has a very spicy character from the rye along with caramel and toffee, and on the back end some hop character. Pretty intense. I see this is kind of a love it or hate it beer. I don't hate it, but its not something I would drink more than one glass of at a time.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Medium bodied with very low carbonation. A bit syrupy. Pretty solid in this category, but it could use a bit more carbonation. Overall, this is a unique beer but not something I would go out of my way to get again.

 893 characters

Photo of kzoobrew
3.16/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Deep amber body, clear and free of any haze. Heavy four finger white head perched atop with very impressive retention. The glass is left coated with lacing.

The bottle states Lenny's was "brewed with an obscene amount of malts and hop" This definitely is coming through in the nose. First the good. Bright citrusy scents spill out of the glass. The hop selection is awesome, I love rye beers that balance the astringency with a nice citric bite. Now the bad, there is a lot of malt and not all good. Lightly toasted malt provides a pleasant base though I begin to worry by the amount of caramel I am smelling. Getting a bit to happy with caramel malt has killed many good IPA/DIPA's.

I tried to keep an open mind but my concerns were only justified. Bittersweet Lenny should just go by Sweet Lenny. The cloying caramel malt in combination with the fruitiness of hops makes for an entirely too sweet beer. The nice bit from the rye I so looked forward to is nonexistent. If only the percentage of crystal malt was cut down this would be one damn good beer.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The overwhelming sweetness coats the tongue making for an inappropriately long finish.

It is sad that one ingredient can ruin a beer with so much promise. Lenny is just far too sweet to enjoy.

 1,293 characters

Photo of jooler
3.17/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look is extremely dark. Smell is very malty. Initial taste is sweet with a butt load of malts, then the taste gets just more alcoholic as I drink. This might be old

 164 characters

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 879 ratings.