1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,724 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,724
Reviews: 849
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.82%
Wants: 73
Gots: 93 | 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:
A Double India Pale Ale with Rye Malt brewed in tribute to Lenny Bruce (Leonard Alfred Schneider 1925-1966).

(Beer added by: mcallister on 06-07-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | 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
Ratings: 1,724 | Reviews: 849 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of coz
3/5  rDev -26.1%

coz, Jul 09, 2012
Photo of jk3
3/5  rDev -26.1%

jk3, Mar 07, 2013
Photo of Jimbodini
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Jimbodini, Mar 21, 2014
Photo of jenray
3/5  rDev -26.1%

jenray, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of illini4x4
3/5  rDev -26.1%

illini4x4, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of b1515152004
3/5  rDev -26.1%

b1515152004, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of BigJiMo
3/5  rDev -26.1%

BigJiMo, Jul 26, 2012
Photo of Willywong1962
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Willywong1962, May 10, 2012
Photo of Nichols33
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Nichols33, Aug 27, 2014
Photo of TimH
3/5  rDev -26.1%

TimH, May 19, 2012
Photo of Rihup
3/5  rDev -26.1%

Rihup, Jun 04, 2013
Photo of vbiliyar
3/5  rDev -26.1%

vbiliyar, Apr 13, 2012
Photo of szmnnl99
3/5  rDev -26.1%

szmnnl99, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of akorsak
3.03/5  rDev -25.4%
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.

akorsak, Jul 04, 2006
Photo of RunDWP
3.05/5  rDev -24.9%
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.

RunDWP, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.06/5  rDev -24.6%
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.

BucannonXC5, Jun 29, 2013
Photo of shbobdb
3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

shbobdb, Aug 18, 2006
Photo of redneckchugger
3.08/5  rDev -24.1%
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.

redneckchugger, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of kajerm
3.1/5  rDev -23.6%
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.

kajerm, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of supercolter
3.13/5  rDev -22.9%
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.

supercolter, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of kzoobrew
3.13/5  rDev -22.9%
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.

kzoobrew, Nov 02, 2010
Photo of dancinwillie
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

dancinwillie, Aug 26, 2006
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
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

JohnGalt1, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

Gueuzedude, Sep 11, 2006
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,724 ratings.