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.
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,782 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,782
Reviews: 851
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 72
Gots: 111 | FT: 6
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)
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | 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: 1,782 | Reviews: 851 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy copper in color and has a moderate to high amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin but dense beige head that has good retention properties.
S: There are aromas of pine resin hops and caramel malts in the nose.
T: The overall taste is quite malty and has lots of caramel flavors; these are well balanced by piney flavors and a moderate amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is also some crispness in the initial taste and dryness in the finish along with notes of warming from the alcohol.
D: The beer isn't that difficult to drink because the alcohol is well masked from the taste. I would definitely try this again because the combination of creamy and crispness on the palate is rather unique.

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy copper color with a bountiful head that would make ol' Lenny utter a four letter word; lacing all over the place and even after the passage of time, the head remains intact

Smell: Spry hoppy aromatics with tremendous malt complexity from the rye; lots of alcohol and plenty of piney hop resins; ultimately, it's all about the pine

Taste: The bitterness jumps all over the huge caramel malt base from the get-go, although the malt makes a determined effort to keep up, mid-palate, there is plenty of fruity flavor ranging from brandied cherries to pith and pine; the finish gets extremely bitter with some sour rye elements and a lot of alcohol

Mouthfeel: Thick and sticky with plenty of carbonation and warming alcohol

Drinkability: This is one powerful beer but its virtues limit its drinkability

Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

"I'm sorry I haven't been funny. I'm not a comedian. I'm Lenny Bruce."

--Leonard Alfred Schneider


Burnt rustic orange with more than a little brick red that adds vividness and depth of color. Amazingly enough, the head filled the entire glass on the pour. At the several minute mark it's still 50:50 with the beer. The lid is richly creamy and is sticky to boot. No surprise then that orange-tinted, pale caramel lace is beginning to be laid down in a thick (soon to be crusty) coat. Lenny's is a lace monster of the highest order.

I wondered whether I popped the top too early on this one and I fear that I did. Unfortunately, the double digit alcohol hasn't had a chance to mellow and the nose is too dominated by it to be considered great. I can, however, still appreciate boadloads of caramel malt and spicy rye malt. For such an amazing hop bill, very little lupulin goodness makes it out of the glass.

The flavor profile is an exact replica of the nose. The bottom line is: plenty of malt (a good thing), plenty of alcohol (a bad thing) and not enough hops (another bad thing). That may be good enough to win the batting crown, but it isn't enough for me to feel very good about Lenny's R.I.P.A. On paper, this is a killer beer. In actuality, at its current age at least, it's a minor disappointment.

A huge amount of malt forms an unshakable, rock solid base of operations. Melted caramel, toffee pudding and rye whiskey dominate with an iron fist and effectively smash any attempt by the citric hops to gain a toehold on the palate. I love what hops were chosen (Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe, Crystal, Chinook, Amarillo and Centennial), but it doesn't do much good when none of them are able to appreciated to the extent that they should be in a DIPA.

Spiciness is the overriding flavor characteristic. Whether it's due to spicy rye malt or alcohol doesn't really matter. The beer is simply too raw-edged and too hotly spicy for its own good (I guess we can attribute the heat to the alcohol). Aging the bottle wouldn't even have worked since I've never known hops to gain strength over time.

The mouthfeel is amazingly full and sumptuous. So much so that it's a damn shame that the flavor isn't up to the task. It was big right out of the hopper and is becoming even more thick and sticky with warming. Tremendous.

Lenny Bruce prefered to dispense his brand of wisdom and his version of the truth by shocking his audience and challenging their beliefs and assumptions. Lenny's R.I.P.A. is faithful to Lenny's spirit in that it's shocking to the palate and is somewhat challenging to drink. Somehow I don't think that's what Schmaltz had it mind.

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of mikesgroove
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of oberon
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of biboergosum
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.58/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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)...

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a huge beer, not for the faint of heart. it pours reddish and darker for an ipa, with a bug sudsy tan head. the nose on it is grain heavy for the style, as the rye malt makes its presence felt early and often. theres sweeter grain too, toasted elements, and of course the hops, which fall somewhere north of citrusy but south of piney. flavor wise, the hop bitterness goes expertly with the spicy rye, and is very intense on the palate. the alcohol is curiously missing, which is a shock to me. there is something round and familiar in this beer bringing everything together too, and I want to say its oatmeal, but I cant be sure. its got that softness and sweetness, and the mouthfeel fits the bill, but who knows for sure? the hops outlast the rye in the finish, and my mouth is left panting. its a lot to process. a little light on the bubbles I thought, but the fuller body and creamy feel is really nice in an ipa. also the alcohol was masked very well. overall a beer id recommend sharing, but one I enjoyed very much.

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -1.5%

Photo of zeff80
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of Jason
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of nickfl
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of Kegatron
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Slatetank
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,782 ratings.