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

1,720 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,720
Reviews: 849
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.82%
Wants: 74
Gots: 92 | 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: 1,720 | Reviews: 849 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%

Are ya kiddin' me? I don't know if this beer is great, but it is certainly complex, unwielding, and merciless. I know I'm dealing with a serious session when I uncap the bottle and smell the malt while I'm picking out a glass. As I pour the beer, I allow for plenty of head space, but the beer grew out of that, spreading it's joy all over my counter and providing a Guiness-like layering while I clean up the mess. Can't help to appreciate that strong blend of heavy, sweet malts and pungent, spicy hops in the background. Settling in, I taste a huge malt base that certainly classifies as thick and rich. As the sweetness smoothens out, an underlying graininess / sharpness arises from the rye with a hearty, bready base and a distinct toast / yeast flavor. The malts fade into rye, rye fades into hops. The transition is smooth, albeit sharp because of the bold flavors. Hops go everywhere from pungent to citrus to pine and leave a resinous feel and flavor all over the glass. Body is viscous and heavy, but relaxes short of oily or cloying. This beer is a sipper; God knows I tried to rush a few gulps, but the aggression of the beer taught me otherwise. This beer is an American Barelywine with every punch that can be expected.

BEERchitect, Feb 17, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%

Well well well what do we have here. I was shopping and saw this bottle sitting on the bottom shelf, hidden behind some Grolsch of all things. I am a huge Double IPA fan, and a big fan of Lenny Bruce as well, and considering this and not having ever heard of this before, needless to say I was quite shocked to see this bottle. I really cool looking bottle too. Big Broadway looking Marqueee on the the front and a long history of how this brew came to be on the 40th anniversary of his death. Just a really good idea and a cool concept. Also states its #1 in the series of beers designed for famous Jewish celebrities. Aside from all of that, onto the beer.

Pour was very clean. Deep, dark, somewhat hazy reddish amber, almost a ruby tone to it. Lots of visible carbonation on the first pour, streams of bubbles coming up for a bit, this subsided though after a while. Smallish off white head formed at the top, but did not hang around very long, and faded to a very thin film on the top with a moderate amount of lace down the sides of the glass. The look aside from the ruby red hue was rather average for a DIPA.

The smell on this was quite strong right off the bat. Lots of brutally fresh citrus hops assaulted the nose at the first whiff. A good amount of malt was also detected and it added a somewhat earthy, or grassy tone to the overall aroma. A hint of alcohol could also be found when it warmed up, but did not seem overpowering at all. Nice rounded smell, the RYE was not readily apparent right away, but there was a definate sweetness to it, almost had the candies apple or cherry sweetness in it.

First impression of the taste was powerful and different enough from your standard beares in the style to definatly be noticed. The alcohol in it said hello right away, but not in the too hot and burning way, just enough to let you know this is a 10%'er and take it easy with the sips. Nice sweet candy like flavor comes though first, but is immediatly washed away by the frontal hop assault. Lots of bitter citrus hops and a fresh cut grass flavor are both readily apparent. Very complex flavors are taking shape in the backend of this one. Very sweet and the rye malts are adding a robust character to it. Very big dry finish, and a smooth going down are leaving me wanting another sip. The feel was just about right, maybe a little more carbonation to give it the pop, and drive away a bit of the syrupy poroperties, but these are only minor noticings and nothing that is distracting in anyway. Overall the flavor and feel on this one were both superb and a nice treat.

Now overall I was very impressed by this beer. I t had a nicely balanced profile, which is rare sometimes ih the overly hopped world of DIPA(not that I am complaining about overly hopped). But you could tell alot of work was put into making this one special. It carried alot of weight but at the same time did not go overboard. Very drinkable and actually I would recommend seekign this out if you can. Says it is a one timer, brewed in 2006, so I dont know how much more can be found or when it was released, but I am definatly going to try and pick up a few more bottles if they are still on the shelf next time I am out there.

mikesgroove, Jul 06, 2007
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Texasfan549, Jun 20, 2012
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

kjkinsey, Dec 02, 2011
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

spycow, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

GRG1313, Sep 07, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

kylehay2004, May 31, 2014
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

jaydoc, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%

22 ounce bomber - $4.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep, mahogany-hued body with a large, off-white head. Delicate lacing on the way down.

Smell: Rich-smelling nose of toasted bread crumbs and dark, equally toasted caramel. This is set against bright, predominately fruity hop notes of various candied citrus fruits.

Taste: Toasted bread crusts coated in rich caramel sauce with a crystal malt sweetness and just a pinch of table sugar followed by the piquant, though pleasant spiciness of malted rye. Various hop flavors roll past the tongue depositing bitterness: white pine, grapefruit rinds, pineapple, tangerine, and even Meyer lemons. Eventually, a bolt, moderate bitterness builds, egged on by the spicy rye and held in place by the robust body. Add in a couple turns of the pepper grinder. Finishes mostly dry with a melange of hop tastes disunited by final flecks of caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. There's a nice heft to the overall mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Ah, Lenny, we hardly knew ye. Though a bit brash at times, it was still an enjoyable potent brew that, despite it's potency, bitterness, and punchy alcohol content, went down reasonably easily.

ChainGangGuy, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -1.5%

This beer poured out as a golden brownish color with a fluffy white head on top. The smell of the beer is a quite hoppy, very hoppy actually. The spicy aroma of rye is also in there as well. It's has a good mix of aromas coming off this brew. The taste is hoppy and leaves a light spiciness on the tounge. The mouthfeel was pretty heavy in this beer. The brew was nicely carbonated and was pretty easy to drink in my opinion. Overall this beer was pretty impressive. I liked this one.

Knapp85, Aug 24, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%

Thanks to hoppedup for sending this one up my way,a beer contract brewed in NYC but not available in the Buffalo area odd...This poured a brilliant rich deep amber with a large well sustained off white head that left perfect rings of lace as it settled slowly.Loved the aromas it wasnt just a hop blast in your face there was caramel like sweetness anddark fruit underneath the big resiny,piney hop profile.Thick sticky sweet mouthfeel it just coated the mouth in sweetness,to me it tasted like an extremely hoppy American barley wine full lush somewhat sweet and extremely piney and resiny in the finish.Well this one gave me a little bit of a headache this morning as I drank the bomber down knowing this could hurt a little in the morning oh but its a good pain,a damn nice beer.

oberon, Sep 01, 2006
Photo of TMoney2591
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%

Served in a snifter at Durty Nellie's.

Had to cap things off at Nellie's somehow, so I figured I'd give this guy a go. It pours a clear sunrise garnet topped by a finger of dirty light-tan foam. The nose comprises dank greens, light leek, lightly toasted caramel, very light pine, and an even lighter hint of mint. The taste holds notes of toasted toffee, heavy pine, leek, and dark greens. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a mostly solid brew, but the rye really never comes through, leaving things at the mercy of a slightly overly-piney hop lord. Not bad by any stretch, but probably not as good as it could have been (if that makes sense)...

TMoney2591, Sep 27, 2011
Photo of zeff80
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%

A - Pours out an amber/burgandy color. A one-finger head that left some lacing.

S - HOPS!!!

T - It was very hoppy and sweet, as well. It came across very spicy.

M - It was fairly dry and crisp. Heavy-bodied.

D - It was good but almost too hoppy. Nice sweet flavor, though.

zeff80, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of biboergosum
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%

12oz bottle. A nice tribute to Lenny Bruce, he of the inspiration for so many of today's more edgy comics.

This beer pours a clear, dark reddish copper amber colour, with three fingers of thick, foamy, and broadly puffy off-white head, which leaves pretty ambitious patchy and fuzzy layered lacing all around the glass as it quite lazily recedes.

It smells of grapefruit pith and acrid pine resin hops, bready, heady caramel malt, dark Belgian yeast-tinted fruit, a small spicy grainy edginess, and some burbling alcohol heat. The taste is a big neutered grapefruit pith wallop up front, followed by some weirdly timid dry pine woodiness, a robust spiciness, one pleasantly borne from the rye malt rather than hop, further bready caramel malt notes, a touch of understated, somewhat metallic alcohol acridity, and a strong lingering leafy hop bitterness.

The carbonation is on the low, more or less obsequious side, the body exhibiting one heck of a meshuggah hugeness, and yet a less than endowed smoothness. It finishes dry, kind of metallic, and still much more hoppy than malty, in a rare air sort of way.

An enjoyably crazy-big DIPA, with the added kick of a rye-tinted (tainted?) malt. The big alcohol is generally restrained, and not all that noticeable, rendering this as a somewhat easy to drink tipple. A winner in my book, as far as my acceptable adjunct-ified DIPA regulations go - we could all use a bit more of this, if only to keep the mainstream nervous.

biboergosum, May 30, 2009
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -1.5%

JAHMUR, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%

I love this beer! There's the whole Lenny thing, but forget that, it's just marketing. It's bitter and spicy and darkly caramelish from nose to mouth to finish... well-rounded, perfectly balanced, hoppy, malty, and bitter! The rye is clear in both the aroma and the flavor, and it never lets up on flavor without ever overwhelming the palate. It has a beautiful appearance with a crimson accented dark-copper body and creamy, khaki-colored head. The nose is beautifully hoppy with a deeply caramelish andspicy malt beneath it. It's medium bodied and gently crisp and smooth in the mouth. The flavor is loaded with hops, yeasty fruitiness, and dark caramel beneath. Grassy, leafy, minty in the finish. Bitter, but not overwhelming. Yes! Aggressive like Lenny, but there's always that other part that says he's on your side. He'll joke with you, but put the joke on you, and then teach you something in the process. Hmmmm... love this beer! It's truly an assault on the palate!

NeroFiddled, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of Jason
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

A whole lot of head, it nearly jumps over the side on the glass. Crystal clear tawny color. Smells of ripe tropical fruit, pine sap, blood oranges, a little hint of hemp seed oil and cake batter. Smooth and ultra creamy with a hop oil slickness deep inside the full-ish body. Lush malt foundation ranges from heavy caramel to spicy rye, donuts to toasted bread ... pretty damn complex IMO. Hops jump on all of this with a cutting bitterness and a long linger of spicy, citric, thick herbal and tobacco flavor. The bitterness pairs up with the rye to compliment the coming of the alcohol. Oh yes, there is alcohol here and a drops a good amount of warmth and tropical fruit. Finish bittersweet and spicy with more bitterness in the end of it all.

Big and bold, a serious beer ... it would be simple to say that it kicks ass, which it does. By far one of the most enjoyable beers I have had this year.

Jason, Apr 08, 2010
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is an orange/brown color, with a large off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick but spotty lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of floral hops, caramelized rye malts, some citrus and some spice.

T: The taste starts out bready and sweet with flavors of rye malts, caramel and citrus up front. Then a strong hops bitterness comes in quickly and provides some balance. There's a pretty significant alcohol burn that follows, but it's not too harsh considering the beer has a 10.00% ABV. The after-taste is sweet and hoppy.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, strong kick, it contains the twist of using the rye malt while maintaining a very good representation of the style, this is a fairly complex big beer that's worth drinking for a while.

TheManiacalOne, May 12, 2008
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%

Pours a clear but very dark amber with a sizeable tan head. Nose is highly hoppy. Strong resin tone with a bit of cotton candy I think. Fruity citrus edge as well. Flavor is definitely hopped, of course. Strong, stringent hop flavors kick you in the mouth, but not too abrasively really. It may be an over the tope type of ride, but it doesn’t go too over that top. Feel is bordering on a bit syrupy with all that stuff in there. Carbonation seems high with the massive head, but not a huge amount of bubble going over the tongue. Initially I was going to give a 4 on the drinkability on this one. But then I realized that the 10% alcohol on this one doesn’t peek out at all as you imbibe. Overall, this is nothing absolutely outstanding to behold, but it is very good all the same. Worth a try, especially for the price.

RblWthACoz, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of nickfl
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

nickfl, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of Kegatron
3.98/5  rDev -2%

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Very foamy pour on this guy but once things settle down, things stabilizes into a crystal clear copper with 2 ½ thick fingers of foamy off-white head. This eventually retains with a tight finger that soaps the sides of the glass with robust foamy swathes of lacing. The aroma smells leafy and spicy, with a ripe fruity dankness. Rye sits with a dry breadiness in the back of nostrils along with some sweeter caramel tanginess.

The taste is sweet with toasted bread and caramel up front, being balanced out by the bitterness of grapefruit and pithy citrus rind. Spicy dark rye character sits along the back of the profile, where it lingers in the finish with resins and a kiss of sweet alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, maybe a touch heftier, with a softer feeling carbonation that is undercut by some smooth underlying slickness. That 10% ABV is mostly dealt with well here, keeping the heat under control and adding some size to the body and a little extra sweetness and spice to the profiles.

This is definitely one of the better widely available rye beers out there and I love the use of it in the DIPA style here, as those rye flavors just really matched up nicely with the aggressive of the hops and that warm spicy sweetness of the alcohol. I need to go back to this one more often.

Kegatron, Apr 01, 2011
Photo of russpowell
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%

Pours caramel with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Big time pineyness & some breadyness

T: Huge grapefruit & piney hops up front, plus caramel. Malty cakeyness a bit of caramel try to regain some ground as this warms, but can't conquer the orangey, grapefruitty & piney hops. Finishes semi-dry (the rye??) with much pineyness; plus some caramel & a bit of pralines

MF: Chewy with low carbonation. Skews just a tad too hoppy for me

Drinks a bit slow, but with all that ABV & intensity, what do you expect? Hopheads will dig this. Lenny Bruce would appreciate the bitterness! A very good DIPA that has a few rough edges

russpowell, Jan 31, 2008
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.63/5  rDev +14%

The ale named after the former Leonard Alfred Schneider departs the bottle and enters the glass a robust red, shadowy, clear, with a high head, creamy/tannish toned. Looking lovely.

Aroma: Fat malt, outsized yeast, liquid bread...is this a doppelbock? But there's so much hop!...sniff again... Wow! Loud hop, rich, burnished, barleywine-like. Grapes and other dark fruits are at hand, feeling like a burgundy wine, perhaps due to the high alcohol, or the huge maltiness.

Now, let's taste...Woo! Bam! Whap! Shamalam! Enormous malt floods the mouth and is assisted in it's it's efforts by the blazing sidecar of hops. Big, big, big on the palate, outsized all the way, spilling flavor all over the place. Delicious dark fruits, grapes, cherries, more...Reminds me very much of a Bigfoot or similar barleywine-style ales. This is where the line between "American Double IPA"s and barleywines really blurs, the malt is as big or bigger than the hops in this one, and the flavor is almost the match for a barleywine.

And the 10% doesn't hit...right away..oh, no, you'll feel it, though...

I didn't really taste the rye at all, but it works so damned well, it doesn't matter.
(Wait, ...now, I'm tasting it...yup, it's discernible...)

I love it. I think Lenny would love it. Rest his smutty soul. R.I.P. (A. true American hero.)

feloniousmonk, Jun 25, 2006
Photo of Slatetank
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%

I was happy to be able to meet Jeremy Cowan of Schmaltz when they were at goggleworks for Design, drink and be merry. I tried this from a bomber in a plastic cup.

A - Deep copper w/ dark amber tinges w/ a full head of creamy tan. There is a lot of settling but the lace and retention is there, no doubt

S - A crisp hoppy (there are 12 kinds utilized) aroma w/ rye and peculier tropical odors like passionfruit w/ a hint of dark sweet cherry and brown sugar.

M - A full bodied big instense feeling IPA stimulates the taste buds and coats the cheeks w/ hop oily feel and dry spicy rye malt w/ a sufficiently proper carbonation and the feel borders on creamy

T - Big and bold w/ rye flavor that is noticeable and flavorful! There is a huge hop blend giving this beer the bitter side of bittersweet. The malt tastes a bit spicy like rye can, but has a mellow sweet body that counters the pungent and tantalizing hops. The taste is grainy and there is a fruity taste from the yeast. The more this beer is tasted, the more enjoyable it gets w/ buttloads of flavor - you really can't go wrong w/ the taste of this Big Rye Ipa.

D - Too big for me to quaff, but for the most part I can't see any thing wrong with how easy it is to sip and savor this. With 12 hops adding so much depth and intensity and the rye malt is incrediblly drinkable to me. I like to taste and feel this beer for a good relaxing time.

Slatetank, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of drabmuh
3.33/5  rDev -18%

On cask at a local beer bar. Beer is clear and reddish in color. Carbonation is moderate to low and head is soapy and nearly non-existent (it is on cask though). No lacing on the glass. I'm still interested.

Aroma is dominated by hops hops hops. Mostly citrus hop aroma and nothing much else.

Hops are present in the back of the mouth on this one. Correct me if I'm wrong but a RIPA is a RYE IPA correct? I don't taste the rye at all. The finish is a little piny. There isn't much of an aftertaste, is that woodsey flavor the rye trying to squeeze to the front? Eh, not my favorite, definitely not my favorite IPA or rye.

This may be one of those beers that has no business being on cask. I'll try it again in the bottle and see if its better and rereview at a later date.

drabmuh, Dec 18, 2009
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,720 ratings.