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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.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

883 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 883
Hads: 1,934
Avg: 4.04
pDev: 17.82%
Wants: 82
Gots: 204 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company
New York, United States | website

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 (28) | 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: 883 | Hads: 1,934
Photo of slammo
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

How good is this? I admit to being a fan of the American Double so it stands to reason this is a lot of fun in a bottle. Oh yeah...love the bottle too!

This offering pours with many micro bubbles cascading forth. The head is dense and the color is very dark amber. Nice!

Smell is of sweet malt with an almost coffee like appearance. Lenny would approve.

The taste is hint of rye with plenty of malt and hop backbone and did I say hop? The alcohol warms a little here as well.

Mouth feel is silky and just enough syrup coaxes me back soon.

I can (and will) drink this in numbers bearing the 10% alcohol content in mind. It did pair well with grilled sea bass. Enjoy!

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Photo of verset
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber color with slight reddish hues and strong caramel scent upon pour. Two finger head that fizzled down to a thin film over about 5 minutes.

Somewhat cloudy and dark for an IPA, probably due to the increased amount of malt. Strong malty taste up front followed by a nice bite of hops. Mouth is left with a sticky rye malt flavor.

The head is left as a film that looks more indicative of an ale than an IPA. Nice and low carbonation. The flavor is well balanced, but a little too malty in my opinion. I prefer a cleaner, crisper IPA.

Served in 16oz mason jar, refrigerated, pulled out for ~ 10 minutes.

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

A double IPA named after Lenny Bruce? That's got "buy me" written all over it. Whoa! At 10%, this ale gets in your face and deserves respect, much like Lenny.

The pour raised a good bit of creamy caramel colored head, which over time left haunting lacing all over the inside of my Budvar 1/2 liter glass. Copper-clored with a bit of haze.

The aromas are balanced between the hops and malt, perhaps too balanced for this hophead. I smell citrus, orange not grapefruit, candied fruits, raisins, hard candy, and just a hint of mustiness, enough to know that this beer's lineage goes back to Great Britain.

When the ale hits the tastebuds, there's an initial but fleeting sweetness that gets kicked in the head by a bitter whallop. Dark fuit, apricots, oranges, some tobacco, and a little leather. Then the bitter streak hit the center of the tongue. On the swallow the alcohol is very present until the puckering dryness kicks in.

With this much put into the ale, it's got Marilyn Monroe mouthfeel--very full and voluptuous. As it warms, the flavors intensify and I reach for the ice water to clear the palate before diving in again.

This is a big beer for a slow evening, perhaps while watching your favorite British mystery on PBS. Cheers Lenny.

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Photo of haywire77
3.91/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer poured a murky/cloudy medium brown with ruby tones around the edge of the glass when held up to the light. 1 1/2" of solid light mocha colored head that gave way to a small cap in about 3-4 minutes. Very nice looking brew.

On the nose I get a lot of rye and prunes. Some bready malts are far in the background, and a touch of hops. Unique.

The taste is rather complex. Booze, and lots of it! Rye bread, caramel malt and a little bittering from the hops. The more of it I drink, the more balanced it becomes. But boy that booze...

Mouthfeel is a little sticky and slightly oily. Pretty medium to heavy body for the style.

Overall I really liked this beer. Definitely different than anything I have tried to date. The rye really helps balance out the booze hops and malts. I fear that without the rye, this would be a boozy mess.

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Photo of LilMatrix
3.49/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark orange hue with a light thin head.

S - Lightly roasted malts, hoppy, and alcohol.

T - The hops are up front and hit you in the face and then the malts start to join the party. The bitterness is the main lingering component I'm picking up on as the drink progresses.

M - Creamy and thick, oily, light to medium carbonation, although it feels creamy there is a thin aspect as it goes down.

D - True to it's name, this beer has a definite big hop bitterness profile and a subtle sweet maltiness. A big beer that could be a barlywine. A sipper fo sho, drink too much too quickly and you'd be down for the count.

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Photo of breweryaprntc13
3.86/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark golden amber, thick frothy tan head slowly recedes leaving thick lace clumps.

Rich rye nose, citrus hops present, phenomenal smell.

Earthy bitter lead, grassy hops support, strong rye flavor provides ample and delicious balance.

Full bodied, good carbonation, dry, filling.

A good bear bout could not drink more than a couple in one sitting, very filling.

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Photo of DavidS333
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is taste filled American Double/Imperial ale. It has the sort of lack of froth or carbonation which one sometimes sees in beers of this variety. I'm not sure if its coincidence or an omen if one will, but every time I've had a beer with little froth, and a medium+ body it has always been very full of flavor, and surely this ale/beer is no different.

The beer's color is a quite dark sort of a light caramel, and is not very transparent.

The flavor of this beer is very rich, and one might argue, changes depending on how one drinks it.

If one take it into one's mouth as usual and swallows it, one gets a quick splash of the rich flavor of this beer, like someone quickly opening and closing a decorative fan. However, one gets a much different and more varied, and still rich perspective on this beer, by taking it into one's mouth and holding it in the front of one's mouth for a moment, whereby its rich hoppy-rye combo really comes out.

The rye emphasis gives this beer a very fresh taste at the beginning, and perhaps serves as a sort of shell for the hoppiness that this beer possesses. Once one swallows said gulp/sip one is treated more to the hoppy aftertaste that has a real tendency to linger, giving one that unique and tell tale good and hoppy aftertaste.

If I had to compare this beer to other hop-heavy brews per se, I would say that the top notes per se, of the flavor have a really distinctive what I presume is "rye-ness" about them, with the hops forming a solid body of taste, and aftertaste underneath said ryeness per se.

This makes for a really rich and unique "art-beer" if one will, that really showcases a brewers ability to mix fore-tastes and after-tastes in a unique way, which I presume Mr. Bruce/Schneider would be happy to have named in his honor. For, this is really a great and tasty beer.

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Photo of honkey
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Usually I am not too big into the DIPA's but this was a gift to me. Trying my best to review to the style and not be subjective...
Poured from a bottle. Not seeing a frreshness date, although, thie seems to be fairly fresh.

Appearance- Beautiful thick lasting head. Leaves a nice lace as it disappears. Dark copper color. Very appealing.

Smell- floral, citrus, almost a spicy aroma as well... Probably from the rye

Taste- clean bitterness up front with a complex malty sweetness that follows. This is where my dislike for DIPA's comes from. I wish there was more hops flavor and less maltiness. It is followed by a slight bit of alcohol, but not too much and not hot.

Mouthfeel- quite thick. I prefer a bit drier, but for a DIPA it is much better than others, but I could still use a drier drink.
Drinkability- at 10% it is a sipper for sure. If it was more dry, I think the drinkability would be a bit better. Again, better than most other DIPA's.

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Photo of Duke
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(From a tulip)

Appearance: Bittersweet Lenny's IPA pours a misty, saturated sorrel colour, with a moderately sized and slightly tanned white head which collapses quickly into a thin white cap.

Smell: This is certainly bold. I'm getting dark rum and all the dark fruits you'd imagine in a big quadrupel - raisins, prunes and figs. But there's apricot or something light and sugary right at the very front too, and then there's a bit of caramel as the beer warms. The hoppy scent and the malts are there but they're quite light.

Taste: Where did that rye come from? I didn't smell it but I'm tasting it behind what is a bowl of well-boozed, well-sugared fresh fruits. The flavour on the whole is very sweet, and quite funky. The hop profile is light and slightly peppery.

Mouthfeel: The beer feels quite robust, and the carbonation level is on the light side of medium, I'd say. The alcohol hangs around, cutting through the beer right to the end.

Overall: There's a lot going on in this big, bold and boozy beer. It's very sweet, yet I think it manages to be well balanced since the mouthfuls feel good and satisfying.

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Photo of sabinelr
4.24/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this at Cost Plus in Tukwila, WA. A good introduction to Schmaltz Brewing. Thanks Cost Plus for finding these and carrying them. Actually I haven't looked at the beer, just drinking it straight out of the bottle. The smell promises something different - some sort of fragrant malt. The taste is a bit on the sweet side for an IPA, and sort of like the whiskey taste others have noted. The sweetness and hops counter the 10% alcohol better than almost any strong ale I have tasted. You don't really know you are getting such a big kick. It feels sort of syrupy, but the aftertaste lingers as a pleasant medium hop which does not degenerate to gacky. It is not easy to drink in sips. You need to knock down about 4 ounces or more at one gulp. Doing that will give you the satisfying sense that you have done something more important than a wine tasting, and the aftereffect is very pleasant. After the first bottle you will be left wondering if you should have some more, but an hour later you will crave another one. Buy at least three and wait until your wife or girl friend has gone for the day, then let 'er rip.

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Photo of Simont
4.54/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Have been hanging on to this 12oz bottle for a couple of years, can't find a date but it's got at least 2 years on it.

And it's freaking fantastic. Clean sweet malt on nose with a little pepper and a nice aged/ sherry like back note. Caramel and toffee malt flavors with a little rye spice in there, hops don't stand out but there is a solid bitterness present. But for a big old malty aged beer this is just about perfect, it aged really well.

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Photo of ThomasT
4.85/5  rDev +20%

Appearance: Deep, slightly cloudy amber colour. Head is creamy and lingers around for a surprising amount of time with some lacing.
Smell: Caramel, citrus, and pine are most prominent, with hints of chocolate and almonds.
Taste: Sweet grapefruit, orange, caramel, and chocolate are all present in the front and middle in equal measures. A dry, spicy rye and a healthy pine punch is present in the back, with roastiness, salt, almond, and hazelnut lingering afterwards. Medium-bodied, with no alcohol burn or cloying quality to speak of and moderate carbonation.
Overall: An excellent, interesting, and well-balanced beer. The only possible complaint I could have is that the rye tends to leave just slightly too strong a tone in the back.

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Photo of pourmeup
4.26/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

very tasty beer overall, let me say that is possibly the nicest mouthfeel in an IPA i've ever had, so thick and smooth, the appearance is overall very pleasing--poured into a nonic pint, great head with a medium shade similar to a sipping rum, a nice amber color overall. lacing is also at a premium, with thick rings forming sticking all over the glass, tastes mildly of grapefruit with a slight pine flavor, smells of a spring forest, very floral, not so drinkable, drank the whole bottle and was quite done for the night
(2 person review)

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Photo of mattwjones
3.03/5  rDev -25%
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.

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Photo of wenkalman
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a standard pint glass.

Appearance - It was a very pretty moderately dark amber color with small bubbles coming up through it. The head, about 1 fingers width with a direct pour down the middle, was a carmel white made up of very small bubbles. The lacing had a slight stick to it.

Smell - Strong Pine notes with a little sweetness at the back end. The malts were there, but not at the front. This is a good thing because this is a DIPA. There was a lot to smell in this one so its hard to capture it in words.

Taste - Well balanced considering there are 8 types of malts and 7 types of hops used in this beer, with an addition of amarillo and crystal in the dry hopping stage. Good sweetness on the front end, followed with a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Small bubbled gave it a tingly feeling in the mouth. I felt it had the thickness, almost syrupy consistancy that I expect from DIPA's.

Drinkability - My only complaint is that the alcohol content is not well hidden on the back end. Therefore, this would be a tough one to drink a lot of. But then again, that isn't my purpose, so I think it is good.

I would recommend this one to anyone looking to test out new DIPA's. People who like the sweeter IPA's may really like this one.

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Photo of barleypopmaker
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a nice amber color and is fairly clear with just a touch of haze. The haze is more than likely from a dry hopping process. It did pour a bit of a head, but it disappeared quickly and does not leave lacing on the glass.

Quite malty with some caramel that is unmistakable in the nose. The hops nose is a bit complex but not really that assertive. I smell a bit of pine and some grapefruit and lemon, but the aroma is not as intense as I was expecting. As a matter of fact, the malt and hops are fairly well balanced and you have to move from side to side (malt to hops) to pick apart the aroma. There is a touch of sweet fruit as well, a bit like the smell of booze soaked fruits my dad used to make hiding in there. Also, for a 10% beer I thought the alcohol aroma would be higher but it is not. Although the aroma is pleasant, it just misses the mark in style.

The flavor is nice with a toasty cooked caramel flavor on the front, and it finishes with a bit of spicy hop bite and a touch of lingering bitterness. The bitterness is not harsh or over the top, but just enough to let you know it is there. I don't get much alcohol for a 10% beer, so the alcohol has really mellowed. The flavor is a notch above the aroma in regards to stylistic accuracy, but for a style that the hop flavor is supposed to be "strong and intense" or "High to Absurdly High" this beer does not hit that mark. Although the balance is towards the hops in flavor, it is still just too even. What I do like is the hop flavor, it is grapefruity in the beginning and finishes with a semi-resinous piney hop bitterness that is not over the top.

Body is medium bodied with a creamy texture to it. The carbonation level is low to medium low and could pop a bit more. The beer finishes semi-sweet.

Style listing aside, this beer is EXCELLENT, I mean just awesome to drink. I can't stress that enough. However, for an Imperial IPA this beer falls a bit short. I think this beer is the single most drinkable 10% beer I have had. You really need to be careful because you can easily drink way too much and not notice. But if you compare this beer to others of this style like Dogfish Head's 90 minute IPA, Victory's Hop Wallop, or Bell's Hop Slam; you will see that as good and drinkable as this beer is, it's hop profile is just a bit lacking for the style. Then again, I just may have had an older bottle too.

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Photo of Fillpott
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this beer from a 22oz bottle into a regular pint glass, unfortunately it was frosted.

The appearance was coppery with a beige head and copious amounts of lacing with large bubbles. It has a crisp, bitter rye smell with malt overtones. The hops are assertive, but the smell of rye is unmistakable. The taste is sweet, bitter, citrusy, and crisp. (hmmm...bittersweet RIPA? go figure.). Its mouthfeel is thick, almost syrupy but smooth and extremely drinkable. Well balanced.

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Photo of PALMEJ1
3.64/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

from 22oz bomber into snifter

pours nice with 3 finger head. almost looks like strong ice tea with a great head!

smells like the normal grapefruit and pine but keeps going to a great ripe orange-tangerine thing. also some whiffs of rock candy from back in the day!

different from others in this style. i was expecting the same taste that I got in the nose but that did not happen. the hops are great but I think a little too much malt for me.

feels great. creamy and smooth. would not guess 10%.

i will give this another taste down the road as i bought 2

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Photo of BillHaverchuck
3.86/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep hazel amber color.
Nice medium sized slightly off white head.
Smells rich and heavy. Bread and malt.
Backbone of heavy rye malt. Earthy hops and bitterness come through very nicely.
The blending and balance here is very nice, the malt gives a kick I'm not used to in a double ipa. A real tasty beer here.

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Photo of GrahamDN
3.16/5  rDev -21.8%
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.

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Photo of burtonbe
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Beautiful deep brown color. Clear. Strong head.

S - Good malty smell, with a balanced hop aroma. Very balanced, very enjoyable.

T - Wow! That's a kick in the mouth! Huge flavor. You can really taste the rye. Complex biscuity/malty/bitter/sweet/woody flavor. Hoppy, but it needs it to balance the huge flavor. Chewy. Just awesome.

M - When you drink this beer you really know you're drinking beer. Mouthfeel is exceptional.

D - This beer is 10% ABV and comes in a 22oz bottle. Keeping that in mind, it's pretty darn drinkable.

Overall, this is an awesome beer. My girlfriend took a sip and remarked "that sure is a man's beer!"

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Photo of thejewthatbrews
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a taster glass.

Amber colored, with a slightly off-white, surprisingly long-lasting head. Good, sticky lacing.

Great bitterness. Malt hits for the first half-second, then the hop bitterness takes over. Slightly spice-like flavor throws itself in every once in a while. While not distinctly tasting like rye, it's different from other DIPA's. The rye seems to change to profile, melding with the other ingredients. Less of an adjunct, more of a true ingredient.

Hops, malt, hops. Floral aroma? You betcha. Not crazy floral, though. Floral in the kind of way that says "damn these hops are fresh"...and delicious.

Easy drinkin. Thicker feeling than any average beer, but not overwhelming by any means. Just enough to slow you down a little bit, and savor it even more.

If you like bitter things...highly drinkable. Complex, interesting, hoppy, bitter, but not disappointing in the malt category either.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of Rsobotka
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is an amzazing beer...unfortunately as your enjoying it, you fear that its taking you down a creepy road towards an unreturnable drunken misfortune.
Appearance: Reddish, with a slight head....chococately on top with a reddish tint shadowing through.
Smell: like a sweet cherry field.. with a nice bitter jump in a pond.
Taste: Incredible: exactly how the name implies: sweet and silky with a brandy bitter finish.
M- A little like a hard brandy....cool yet harsh
Drinka bil...i kept sipping this beer fearing something that never came...i thought the aftertaste was going to remind me of a Remy Martin x-mas gift...but it didnt...i probably could have drank 10 of these trying to figure out its concoction, but my wife kept reminding of its 10% alcohol content.

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Photo of rcusick
4.19/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

appearance - poured a beautiful dark amber color with no haze or cloudiness into a dogfish head signature glass

smell - it could be because my bottle was a little old, i think its been in the fridge for six months, but my pour had almost no smell to it at all....a slight toastyness and hints of chocolate, but other then that, nothing. Surprisingly not even any alcohol/booze smell for such a high ABV beer.

taste - a nice maltyness with a good bit of rye spiciness. slightly boozy on the tongue, but not over powering.

mouthfeel - thick but not overly syrupy, just what i would want out of this beer.

overall - a stellar beer, i am only sad that i didnt crack this bottle sooner!

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

22oz bottle into the glass reveals the copper color. A small head develops, then quickly fades leaving some decent lace.

The smell of malt is strong. A scent of fruitiness is also present, a slight touch of citrus.

The rich malty flavor and the alcohol dominate this one, but the bitterness makes its way through.

It's definitely a mouthfull. One you can chew on and enjoy. The large bottle goes a long way.

The RIPA is a pretty serious brew that makes for a great night.

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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 883 ratings.