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.

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

868 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

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Reviews: 868
Hads: 1,881
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 7.2%
Wants: 82
Gots: 174 | 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 (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 868 | Hads: 1,881
Photo of RJLarse
2.89/5  rDev -28.3%
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 -27.8%
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 mattwjones
3.03/5  rDev -24.8%
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 -24.3%
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 -24.1%
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 -23.6%
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 -23.1%
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 -22.8%
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 -22.8%
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 -22.1%
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 -21.6%
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 -21.6%
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 -21.6%
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 JohnGalt1
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz picked up at Pilgrim's Market in CdA over the weekend... enjoyed while listening to some Carl Cox Black Rock and chilling on my hotel balcony.

Poured into my small weizen glass... 2 finger lite khaki head... good retention and lacing... the brew is a polished copper.

Nose is hop forward with a bunch of caramel maltiness to balance... citrus hops out front with more than enough malt to pull it out... big booze presence.

Hop bitterness helps balance the pretty thick malt component.. toasty and thick caramel essence.. citrus hops bite barely bite through the malts.. too syrupy... not really cloying, but just unbalanced in my mind.. Body is heavy and the carbonation is pretty high, yet gets punished by the viscosity.

This should easily be in the American BW category.. no where near... NO where near a DIPA... The rye is present yet only in hints throughout the palate and evident on the mouthfeel where a nice slickness appears.

Ehhhh... okay.. boozy and sweet.. needs alot more hoppiness... really, alot more.

4/3.5/3/3/3 (1,040 characters)

Photo of supercolter
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ok so maybe I'm just not a rye beer guy. I'm wasn't really picking up much of the hops, seeing as this was a DIPA. I don't really like the way that the two flavors mix and this beer tastes like a poorly balanced barley wine. The mouthfeel is actually quite nice. Oily and moves around well on the tongue. Drinkability is ok, but its more sessionable than anything. (364 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours quite viscously with a dark reddish hued, amber color that shows a brilliantly clear ruby tinged color when held up to the light. The beer is topped by a frothy, amber tinged, tan colored head that is initially about a finger and a half thick. I am quite happy to say that the aroma is quite hoppy. Notes of sweet oranges and a touch of pine intermingle with a big, chewy, caramelized maltiness. Quite fruity, almost a berry like note joins the citrus notes. Toasted grain notes help to dry out the aroma towards the end.

The beer is a bit sweet up front, in fact perhaps amply so, but there are lots of things to balance the sweetness out. An astringent bitterness rides throughout this beer, it is a touch harsher than I would like. Part of this is that there is a menthol like note, that seems to couple with a bit of an astringent dark grain note and a sharp note of alcohol. There is some hop flavor character here as well, it just plays second fiddle to the other notes that I have mentioned; notes of orange peel and some herbal notes are here. This beer is just unbalanced, and not in the way a double IPA should be; harsh, sharply astringent and hot. Perhaps some age will help to mellow this out, but it no longer would be a even the shade of a double IPA that it is now. (1,299 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.19/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A unique color pour methingks. Copper and burnt orange, semi-clear at first, then clears up as it warmed (poured at 49 degrees, too). Very good looking head. Hilly and soft. Some lacing becomes sticky on top and on sides.

aroma is sweet and oily. A lot of resin and some alcohol make me pull back a bit, perhaps in surprise. Rye mixes with some hop juice to make a pronounced nose shocker. It's not bad, just odd.

Taste is malt, oily or syrupy, not sure which. Coating. Some hops are in here, mostly pine..not the citrus I expect from an A-IIPA.
hard to drink...didn't finish. Alcohol is too much..or perhaps it's the rye. Could be too raw at 10%. (652 characters)

Photo of MrMcGibblets
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

deep reddish copper color, slight haze and creamy tan head. looks dense. caramel, resiny pine, grapefruit in the nose along with some vague spice, and a hint of some dark dried fruit. big, sweet caramel malts along with a big, somewhat harsh hop bitterness along with the spiciness from the rye to balance it out. big bitter finish lingers. very thick and viscous, full-bodied, with some prickly carbonation struggling through. sticky sugars linger on the lips. a sipper. if you like a darker, spicy dipa try it. (512 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
3.21/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared this one with BA cmaruschak

Aroma: Peppery, spicy hops. Some alcohol warmth noted. Spicy and dry is definitely the dominant theme here.

Appearance: Brilliant ruby colored pour with a sudsy white 1-finger head.

Flavor: Bittering hops, peppery spiciness dominate the palate. Just a hint of some malty sweetness but this is followed by a bittering dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and oily. Almost overcarbonated.

Overall impression: A bit too unbalanced for me. Needed more of a malt presence to balance out the punishing hops and alcohol burn. Glad I split this one. Hard to finish for me. Normally I enjoy a highly hopped rye beer but this one missed it's mark for me. (694 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
3.22/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a light copper with white head. Aroma of spicy, caramel malts and slight pine. Taste is a bit muddled, with caramel, pine, spice, dustiness, meh. Heavy on the palate with some booze and low to medium carbonation. Hmmm.

This seems to be solid all around except for taste. Some strange funkiness to this one and was surprised at the lack of hidden alcohol. Maybe I should try this again, as I enjoy Hop Manna, but was not impressed here. Blegh. Average at best. (466 characters)

Photo of Dubber55
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy brown/amber with a 1/2 finger of head

Strong smell of earthy, piney hops, booze, baked bread, grass, and booze.

This stuff tastes intense- strong hops, pine, booze, and bitterness are the initial flavors. I taste some spiciness from the rye as well. The finish has a strong bready flavor from all the malts. I might taste a hint of caramel but this beer is dominated by pine and bread.

The mouthfeel is solidly medium. A little oily and sticky from the hop oils. Slightly syrupy at times.

The flavors of this beer are really in your face- aggressively bitter, bready, and boozy. Seems pretty abrasive. Definitly could not drink more than one bottle. This stuff kills your palate. I don't like flavor profile (726 characters)

Photo of PintOHops
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Glass - Snifter

A - Amber with a bit of orange to it, a little cloudy but you can still see some tiny bubbles in there. Produced a 1-2 finger head, slightly off white, retention was decent. Left broken/splashy spots here & there.

S - Very sweet aroma with lots of date, plum, fig, grape, and alcohol. Soft undertones of biscuit, honey, caramel. Nice floral hops in there as well, a little dry, some oily hop notes, a bit of tree sap & soft pine. Burnt sugars with a touch of rye as it warms.

T - Alcohol is what I get most upfront, not as sweet as the aroma suggests. Lots of candied date/plum/sugary flavors, more alcohol, soft caramel & biscuit, touch of rye. Finishes with lots of burnt wood chip like flavors, lots of burnt bitterness lingers on the palate long after you taste it. Oh, and more alcohol as well.

M - Oily, almost syrupy feel, soft Co2 bite, full-bodied.

D - Not much a DIPA to me, more like an American Strong Ale, Not as complex as expected, just a smack in the face with burnt sugars, alcohol, burnt bitterness, and more alcohol. Not bad but I don't like it much, way to much alcohol for such a simple flavor & aroma. I'd pass, don't think I'll buy this one again. (1,191 characters)

Photo of david18
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Love the name. Love the brewery. Don't love the beer. BUt I like it. It's a little strong for a double ipa, both in abv and in taste. It's also a little more expensive than it's most direct counterparts. It's definitely a top 20 double ipa but certainly not my favorite. (270 characters)

Photo of beertunes
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into 16oz goblet. Poured a clean, clear deep ruby color with about 3/4 inch of dark khaki head with moderate retention and lacing.

A sweet, malty aroma, with a fairly sharp rye note, came across the nose. There was some hop in the scent, but the rye overpowered it. The flavors were very similar, the rye being the dominant flavor, with some bitter hops on the finish.

The body was nicely full, but lost a point for the sticky-sweet finish. Drinkability was OK, I struggled to finish the 22, I'd have a 12oz bottle or maybe a glass draft again, 22 ounces is too much of this beer for one sitting.

Overall, a decent beer worth trying if you see it. (657 characters)

Photo of cjacobsen
3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(A) Slightly cloudy orange. A burnt rust color. Some head but it diminishes rather quickly to nothing.

(S) It's sweet but a lighter sweetness, pretty hoppy. Has some decent malt in the nose.

(T) Has a brandy aged flavor to it. Quite bitter. The rye gives it a bit of a shallow flavor profile. Has a lot of dry malts and a decent batch of hops.

(M) Light to medium body. Oily.

(O) This one wasn't all that fantastic. I'm surprised it's gotten the reviews that it did, but then again, to each their own I guess. I wasn't overly impressed with this one. More of a bitter malt bomb than a hop bomb. (598 characters)

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 868 ratings.