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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.

875 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 875
Hads: 1,907
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 17.62%
Wants: 82
Gots: 188 | 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 (29) | 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: 875 | Hads: 1,907
Photo of slym
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is one interesting IPA - nothing hidden, no "notes" or anything, just an in-your-face rye IIPA.

This brew uses 8 kinds of malts and 8 kinds of hops, and it all works together without anything overpowering anything else. The rye adds a great spicyness, and I'd never guess this was a 10% ABV brew.

Just try it! Not your everyday IPA, but something kind of special, I'll even admit.


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Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, bottling date not known, purchased 7/2011 from a reputable bottle shop and stored in temperature controlled conditions since.

Poured into a Corsendunk Tulip.

Pours a nice thick one finger head, settles down to a ¼” cap, easily revived with a swirl of the glass, a lively Ale. Excellent lace coats the side of the glass.
Deep brownish amber color, real Ale!

The smell is distinct roasted malt, yeast, black Rye bread, and hops, powerful.

Bitter hops come first and dominate the taste followed by very rich roasted malt, refreshing crisp acidity and a wonderfully balanced carbonation. The incredibly rich malt does not in detract from the hops, but I cannot tell if the hops are piney or citrus, they are just very bitter and distinct. Very full mouth feel from the massive malts and 10% ABV. As usual with beers of this quality the ABV is completely hidden by the aggressive flavors.

Long, distinctly bitter hop finish, with the rich bready malt following.

This is a very different Ale, something of a malt bomb yet the hops are distinctly bitter. I have to say I really enjoy what the brewery is doing here, as I enjoy brews that push the boundaries, and this certainly does. Probably the most distinctively “Rye” Ale I have drunk to date, there are many that want to be, but this one delivers! Delicious! If you find this one I highly recommend that you give it a try.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't know why it took me so long to get around to this highly rated beer, and company for that matter. Anyway, being a big DIPA fan and one with true respect and admiration for Lenny Bruce I'm really excited about trying it. Plus, it's exciting to have so many great beers left to try. And as fate would have it, this is a great beer.

The appearance is really interesting. It's a darker, and deeper orange than some of the DIPAs I've been drinking lately. The head is almost tan, just shy of the tan a porter or stout might have. The head was not huge, but attractive and it leaves lacing all the way down. A sexy looking brew, for sure.

The aroma is harder to describe. The rye is there, but so is a bread dough-like aroma that gets the salivary glands excited immediately. I smell hops, slightly on the pine-y side, but perhaps some lighter citrus notes as well. Not a hop bomb, but more an exquisitely balanced and refined brew.

The taste delivers on all the sexy looks and complex aromas. About half way down I think to myself, this is why I should never get stuck drinking 2 or 3 beers and stop taking chances with my hard-to-come-by expendable income. Sure I've had some big disappointments, but then you try something like this all the waste falls away. This is a special beer! I think it qualifies as a big beer, one that I'm glad I have 3 more left to drink and explore more deeply.

Each sip delivers something new - rye, hops, bread-y malts, spicy alcohol - and it all comes together so perfectly. Perhaps a myopic hop-head might find fault in its lack of huge bitterness, but that's missing the point, I think.

Lenny's RIPA is big, yet subtle, with a medium mouth feel and is quite drinkable despite the high ABV.

Perhaps I'm over-reacting, but I can only think of 2 beers I liked this much on my first try.

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Photo of E-McFarden
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear amber in color with a medium bodied head. 1/4" of head remains on top of the beer after a couple of minutes. Heavy scents of caramel, raisins, and apple. aroma hops reach the nostrils in an earthy sense. Bittering hops explode on the palate with piney and earthy tastes, nutty and oaky flavors also peak through. This brew starts heavy on the palate but finishes rather crisp, alcohol tastes lingering in the end. Overall an excellent beer.

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Photo of Hophazzard
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

A terrific beer. This is my go to beer in the winter time. It warms you up on the inside. Seems more like a hign ABV brown ale or barleywine but really enjoyable. Definetly my favorite Shmaltz brew.

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Photo of froggyfrog
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One tall bomber-sized brown glass bottle wrapped in an event of a label sits proudly on a coaster on my desk, half of its guts splashed in the bowl of my crystal snifter.

In the glass this untamed liquid is aglow with beautiful rich warm ruby tones. Hypnotic carbonation bubbles steadily stream up the sides of the bowl like an army of zombified ants whose only urge is an undeniable compulsion to reach the surface and contribute to the dense ring of sallow foam clinging to the glass left by others before them. This is one of those beers that is almost too visually engaging to drink for fear of ruining the spectacle.

The aromas given off by this beer warrant another five-point rating. There is some subtle spiciness, likely a factor of the rye malt in the grain bill. I'm getting some underplayed West Coast American citrus/grapefruit hop scents and an underlying sweetness.

This brew demonstrates a quiet smoothness throughout that is impressive to say the least. That quality is showcased in the taste and mouthfeel as a light, creamy weightlessness and a flavor that deftly combines such components as cracked peppercorns with light liquid whipping cream and squeezed oranges.

The bitterness and alcohol that earn this beer the name double IPA are in residence, but wrapped up so cozily in the overall "delicacy" of the drink as to be totally approachable even by those who have no sadistic twist of psyche causing them to enjoy alpha-acidic tongue scorchings.


Lenny Bruce was not afraid!

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Photo of gbarron
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 22 oz. bottle. A tribute to Lenny Bruce...hmm. Never found him all that funny. Hopefully his tribute beer will be better than his comedy.

A - nice ruby red, perfectly clear. Head is very thick, creamy and puffy. Off-white, slightly tan. Leaving adequate lacing and retention is excellent, especially considering the alcohol content.

S - aroma here a little muted. Significant citrus, grapefruit, light pine hop aroma with underlying cotton candy sweetness. Syrupy smelling, caramel, strong toffee. Higher alcohols also present. Smells good, but expecting more.

T - to mimic the previous line, tastes good, but expected more, a little disappointing. Fairly well balanced DIPA. Strong citrus, tangy hop flavor up front, followed by significant sticky malt sweetness, and then concluding with assertive tart bitterness. Hop flavor and bitterness very present and balance ultimately tips in their favor. Taste surpasses the aroma. Alcohol content evident but not overwhelming.

M - thick, sticky, somewhat viscous beer. Carbonation low. Sticky finish.

D - tasty offering, but not quite as good as it could have been, it seems. A little sticky and filling.

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Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA purchased at Total Wines here in town and poured into a tulip glass from a brown glass 22 oz. bottle.

The beer poured a heavily red tinged deep copper with an inch of tan, medium bubbled head. The nose featured big, piney hoppiness with hints and glimpses of citrus and a little alcoholic spice at the finish.

The flavor is not like any other DIPA that I've gotten to yet. The beer begins with a big, intense hop bitterness (as expected with this style) and transitions to a mellow undwelling maltiness that is enriched by the presence and light spiciness of the rye. The piney hops rear up again then just before the finish, and are replaced by the ever so quick presence of that 10% abv. It's about as drinkable as any higher alcohol beer can beer and does seem to resemble some of the American Barley wines that I've tried.

Like I said above, this is a unique double IPA, but it's a very good one and one that I wouldn't mind picking up again if the mood for such a beer struck me.

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Photo of backfat
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into probably my favorite pieces of glassware: long stemmed tulip that was a gift from newrbrewr. Alabama dixieland delight blaring in the backround.

Looks great. It's a translucent copper with a frothy tannish head.Thick and luscious looking. I love rye beers so this may be an easy one.

First smell is blasting with rye and malt. I love it. Very sweet hops on the nose, like candied sugar hops. Some dark bread, a bit of metal, and caramel.

First taste is sweet. Made me say mmm. It's bitter, creamy, and filling, but a little too filling. I am glad I didn't buy the whole four pack just because it is a chewy one. A bit of alcohol on the back of the tongue. Whoa...I just found out this thing was 10%. Very "warming." Whew, I can feel this one getting to me. I will be buying this again. It's like bigfoot meets red's rye meets arrogant bastard. Nicely done.

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Photo of berpwillie
4.77/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a brown amber color, slightly cloudy with large white head and lacing. lively carbonation, medium body, and long flavor duration. taste of bread like malts and harsh piney hops.smooth creamy texture. probably one of the smoothest beers i've ever had. if you haven't had this beer before you are really missing out. different from most ipa's i've had, this beer is exceptional!!!!

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Photo of MattR2014
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had in 12oz bottle. The rye and hops mask this 10% monster and the rye is prominent in smell and taste. I like a lot and would love to have on draft. A little too rye for me but that's what the style calls for. It lives up to its rating.

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Photo of rsyberg01
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

S - 22 oz. bomber, no freshness date, but with 10% I wouldnt think it would be a problem.

A - Deep ruby pour, head is off white and pretty smooth at about an inch then down to a patchy blanket thats high in the corners. Really quite beautiful.

S - Rye, perfumey bouquet, caramel, citric twinges from the hops, slightly roasted notes. Really unique and pleasant.

T - Sugary sweetness hits first, caramel, citrusy fruit, bitter covers the tongue to finish. Grapfruit flavors go well with the bitter. Hop bitters in the finish as well, and they are quite pronounced. I think that if you set this down for a year you would get some serious gold when it came out.

M - Creamy and smooth with a nice bitter dry finish.

D - A bomber is my limit because it can get kind of fatiguing. Definitely need to try.

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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.

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Photo of barknee
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a semi-appropriate "biertulpe" glass; showing a dual fat fingered mocha- meringue head. Dark copper and well filtered, the nose is one of cocoa powder, marshmallow, milk chocolate, vanilla and malted milk balls that wafts from the glass.
Wow. liquid candy; call it "whoppers" beer!

Moderately sweet on the tongue, and just when you think; "where's the acid," the hop bitterness sneaks in through the back door providing an ever so necessary dose of alpha's that lasts long after the first swallow.

This is a beer that's been engineered, not haphazardly created. All of the components arrive at the finish line, but far from a tie, but rather nicely spaced, allowing for the evolution of taste development and flavor profiles to traipse through your consciousness.

Magnificently crafted and creatively balanced, this is a unique and applaudable brew; or should I say; HeBrew.

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Photo of HopNuggets
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured bomber into snifter.

A - Poured a hazy dark muddy orangy tinged color. With a 2 finger tan head that dissipated to a nice coating. Floating carbonation was everywhere and some floaties from being unfiltered.

S - Pepper and caramel are most prevalent. The rye is there.

T - Dry and spicey. Bitter and caramel balance nicely.

M - Moderate carbonation, bitter and spicey with a dry finish. A bit hot.

D - Good for a 10%, but not an all day drinker.

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Photo of KWolf
4.99/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wonderful toffee, caramel with hint of hop nose. Sweet.malt start to finish, with some hop filtering through. This is truly for people who are bitter enough already and want an IPA with backbone. A treasure.

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Photo of spree92
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy, deep cooper with a relatively small head. Head didn't last long but did leave a slight ring.
I find this to be well balanced brew as most from the Shmaltz family are. Taste the malts first, a hint of toffee and roasted malts, finished with the hops. Bitterness lingers in the mouth with much delight.
At 10% abv, I could drink these every day. This is my kind of beer.

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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.

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Photo of CheezyBlaster
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great job, fellas at Shmaltz.

In the big, oaky, fresh and dank, ripe-fruity, bitter, sweet, family of "darker" double IPAs. 90 minute-ish.

Bitter and sweet. Good advertising. Ha! Aren't most good beers though? Bitter and sweet? Sweet, nectars and riper tree-fruits. Juicy hops -don't expect high-profile citrus explosions, though. Malty as all get out. Caramel.

If you like the maltier, oakier, higher-abv DIPAs, this is for you to try!!!!

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Photo of don1481
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap here at the Yard House in Virginia Beach.

Appearance: reddish dark amber. Head retains very nicely.

Smell: definitely has the classic IPA pine smell. With a hint of rye.

Taste: The rye comes through here but its not like most rye beers, which I liken to drinking rye bread. The hops balance it very nicely here.

Mouthfeel: not overpowering, but the hops linger more than the rye. Which I'm quite fine with.

Overall: Have now gotten this two nights in a row. I hope I can find this back in WI...

Update: unable to find this back home, so I got another pint at the Yardhouse. Perhaps its because of the Rogue swill I had tonight, but I think I underrated this. Spectacular. I've kept the review to reflect my initial tasting.

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Photo of pershan
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this at home in a 22-oz bomber.

Once poured, the beer was a nice reddish hue with a thin, almond-colored head. There was a slightly sweet aroma with just a hint of hop bouquet. The taste was a very nice blend of hops, alcoholic flavor/warmth, and rye aftertaste. It was slightly fizzy in the mouth, but overall very drinkable. A very well-balanced beer for being so high in alcohol - definitely sneaks up on you.

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Photo of PlaywrightSam
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into tulip glass. Amber orange in color, huge layers of lacing. Very thick. Smell is dominated by the hops, but there's a pretty intense malt presence there too. Some boozey spice, maybe some distant tropical fruit. Taste is a firm malt backbone, followed by a blast of tart hops. Mellows out toward the finish but stays really, really bitter--great balance for something this intense. Mouthfeel is very syrup thick, very sticky, moderate carbonation. This is a really interesting, very unique beer, really starts to reveal itself as it warms. I'm a huge fan of DIPA's, and this is one of the most interesting ones I've had in a while.

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Photo of hiku7
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy light rust to burgundy. 1-finger cream to tan head. Not very good retention, but a foamy layer remained.

Sweet toffee and caramel dominate the aroma, followed by peppery rye, lemon citrus, some light fruity esters, and some alcohol warming. Not as hoppy as I expected considering it claims to be a DIPA.

Flavor is mostly caramel and toffee, some peppery rye, and an earthy hop finish, without a lot of hop flavor. Malt is dominant, with the alcohol hidden well.

Full bodied, big maltiness, with mild foamy carbonation. Significant residual sweetness.

Overall, this is more like a rye barley wine than a DIPA. Surprisingly malt heavy, but an enjoyable brew all the same.

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Photo of ImusBeer
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this one as my second of the day. It was poured a Copper color and a bit hazy. The head was only around the rim but there was lots of lacing.

This is the first beer that I've really noticed the yeast aroma and the very heavy bread or biscuit smell.

The first thing I noticed was the hop, then the sweetness of malt & caramel. The bitter finish really made this a delight.

The mouthfeel is dominated by bitterness and then the bite of the alcohol, at 10% I expected this.

Couldn't drink it all the time but I would enjoy this occasionally.

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Photo of ebby82
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber into a tulip glass with a bit of head.

The rye is pretty evident in the aroma, along with a significant malt presence, and of course, hops. A very nice aroma indeed.

The taste is really complex. When it was cold, the hops are more evident, but when it begins to warm, the rye and malt is more evident. The taste really masks the alcohol.

Very drinkable, the high ABV is masked very well. One of the more interesting and enjoyable DIPA's I've tried recently. Certainly worth buying some more.

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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 875 ratings.