1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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
91
outstanding

1,815 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,815
Reviews: 861
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.82%
Wants: 81
Gots: 142 | 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 (22) | 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: 1,815 | Reviews: 861 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jmerloni
3.7/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - A nice mahogany amber color with very large sticky head. Bubbles rise up from the bottom constantly.

S - Great aroma. A LOT of hops. Spicy pine, citrus, and a lot of malt.

T - Decent. Not as good as it smells...It is EXTREMELY intensely hopped and has a huge roasted malty aspect, but they do not compliment each other very well and you taste each separately. The malt is there in the beginning and the hoppy bitterness on the swallow and I love a lot of hops, but it's almost too much. While there is malt, it is not a "backbone" by any means. The alcohol is also not hid very well.

M - Very thick...One of the thicker DIPAs I've had. Carbonated quite a bit, but not too much. The thickness of this doesn't make it as refreshing as it could be. Not a very dry finish. The sticky head does coat each sip nicely, however.

D - Not very drinkable. The hops are out of control and not kept in check at all by the malt. I love hoppy, bitter beers, but this beer could just be better crafted. After all, it looks and smells fantastic. Decent overall, but I probably wouldn't get it again.

Photo of PanicUnited
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Im not writing a review to tell everyone how this beer has hints or lemongrass or anything like that. I would just like to add a few notes about what to expect if you get the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful brew.

The taste was good, but there was, at times, an overbearing sense of granulation that threw me off. Its particularly carbonated and can not be enjoyed at a rapid pace. To be honest, after one of these you will want something more malty, like a Coney Island Lager.

Definitely different, full bodied and spectacular; however, it leaves something on the table so don't overpay.

Photo of thagr81us
3.52/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pours dark red orange with a small amount of sediment present with a one finger off white head. Maintains excellent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt and sweet hops. The flavor was of malt and subtle hops. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this was a very nice IIPA. Wasn't my favorite however as it was kind of sweet when I had it, but was still quite in enjoyable. If it had more aroma and flavors to make it more complex, this could be great.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz picked up at Pilgrim's Market in CdA over the weekend... enjoyed while listening to some Carl Cox Black Rock and chilling on my hotel balcony.

Poured into my small weizen glass... 2 finger lite khaki head... good retention and lacing... the brew is a polished copper.

Nose is hop forward with a bunch of caramel maltiness to balance... citrus hops out front with more than enough malt to pull it out... big booze presence.

Hop bitterness helps balance the pretty thick malt component.. toasty and thick caramel essence.. citrus hops bite barely bite through the malts.. too syrupy... not really cloying, but just unbalanced in my mind.. Body is heavy and the carbonation is pretty high, yet gets punished by the viscosity.

This should easily be in the American BW category.. no where near... NO where near a DIPA... The rye is present yet only in hints throughout the palate and evident on the mouthfeel where a nice slickness appears.

Ehhhh... okay.. boozy and sweet.. needs alot more hoppiness... really, alot more.

4/3.5/3/3/3

Photo of Casey10
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a tough one to review it had a nice malty backgound but at the same time the rye was also there. Probably what this was going for liked it a lot and will have again,

a - red amber wispy head

S - malty reminds me of a DFH 90

T - again malt with the rye makes for a different taste but enjoyable.

M - Sticky stays on the tounge for awhile.

D - A must have again, this is good I liked it a lot.

Photo of OneDropSoup
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Beer Nutz in O'Hara Township, PA.

Poured into a shaker pint: Deep amber with a half-finger of beige head, plenty of nucleation.

Smells of sweet caramel wrapped in piney, floral bitterness, very & strong & flowery indeed.

Taste is characterized by a sugar, almost cakey sweetness, bright lemon & grapefruit with a big woody/pineyy bitterness. Lots of citrus zest & pith. Wickedly bitter but with a solid backbone. Notable booze presence, dries out in middle & leaves that stripped, piney aftertaste.

Full-bodied, creamy & foamy, leaves my tastebuds worn out but not ravaged.

A good brew, but formidable -- between the hops & the alcohol I'm ready to throw in the towel halfway through. Enjoyable, but on the strong side for me.

Photo of BB1313
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

This is my second time trying this beer and I definitely enjoyed it alot more the second time around. Poured 12oz bottle into standard pint glass. Pours a burnt orange w/ slight haze. Amazing head w/ really thick sticky lacing. The floral notes from the hops shine through w/ a touch of rye. Great nose! The taste matches w/ the bitterness overbearing the sweetness. This beer is very creamy and malty, not a thin one and really works w/ the flavors. The drinkability isn't bad, more than one would make this a great sipper.

This is a pretty unique brew, great use of rye, would definitely recommend and it's well priced. Special brew right here!

Photo of beerdrifter
3.55/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at a great beer store, Tops Liquor, while at a conference in Phoenix. Clear, copper, amber pour with nice off-white head and decent lacing. Big aromatic nose with lots of dark fruit and spices, alcohol and a hint of rye bread. Taste is much the same with a nice bitter hop bite and a big sweet, malty, dark fruit backbone. Also detected a hint of candy apple, cinnamon and black pepper. The rye was conspicuously absent here which greatly disappointed. The alcohol is not well hidden in this one. It's definitely a sipper. Very thick, resiny mouthfeel and the alcohol is warming. Not the most drinkable beer for me. A little too sweet. Bear Republic's Hop Rod Rye is, in my opinion, what all Rye beers should strive to emulate, and this beer wasn't even close. Perhaps I would have rated it higher if it would have had more of a rye character to it. Definitely not a bad beer, but not a good example of a RyePA.

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

A. Pours a robust golden amber with lots of ruby at the edges. A creamy off-white head forms on pour and sticks around for the entire session with residual lacing down the whole glass.
S. Lots of sweet malt with caramel and some hop bitterness.
T. Lots of sweet malt with a candy like sweetness. Ends with bitter hops and lots of spice. The high level of sweetness with such complexity and spiciness reminds me of a barleywine.
M. Thick body with a creamy level of carbonation.
D. By the end of the bottle I'm certainly feeling this one, but that said I'm on to the R.I.P.A. on Rye (which I'm going to share with a friend).

Photo of grittybrews
4.11/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a lovely dark amber into a Duvel tulip with three fingers of slow-receding fluffy head and some rings of sticky lacing.

Aroma not overpowering, some light floral hops and a bit of grapefruit and citrus along with some subtle sweetness as it opens up. No hint of the higher ABV until the first sip, which is dominated by warm bourbon-like rye and hoppy bitterness. Fairly quick transition into creamy-sweet caramel malts, followed by even more hoppy bitterness and creeping spice on the long finish. An interesting amalgam of flavors, this one was fun to drink.

Photo of Pahn
4.63/5  rDev +14%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. No bottled on date.

Appearance: Misguidedly free pour yields a >3 inch fluffy, bubbly white head that dissipates slowly leaving rings and walls of lacing all over the glass, which stick around for the entirety of the beer (incidentally, I had to drink/eat some of the foam to avoid spilling, and it tasted deliciously like caramel; not usually a fan of the taste of straight beer head, but this was nice). Pours a slightly dark, hazy amber, and leaves tons of lacing. This beer looks like something such that if you saw someone else's glass while they drank it at a bar and you were even slightly dissatisfied with your own choice, you would be jealous and want to take theirs.

Smell: From the bottle there's some dank, citrus hops and big, barleywine-deep caramel malt. It's the same in the glass but with less hops influence, and even more full, complex malt aroma. There's fig, caramel, some booziness, and a little bit of grassy hops. Some nice herbal notes come out late in the glass.

Taste: Lots of deep malt goodness following the nose, with a fair amount of bitterness in the finish as the hops struggle to be noticed. Damn, the brewers at Shmaltz know how to make a big beer, don't they? On the third or fourth sip, I get some of the rye, and it's working really well with these thick, rich American barleywine malt flavors. Eventually, some grassy hops show through, and there's DIPA caliber bitterness here, but the character of the flavor is all about malt. Finishes slightly hot, but not 10% hot; just a pleasant warmth.

This is a hard beer to grade to style. On the one hand, it tastes less like a DIPA and more like an American barleywine (chances are I could be drinking it fresher and get some more hops, but the malt would still be well into barleywine territory). On the other hand, it tastes like a *really, really good barleywine*. If you're looking for 90min IPA or Pliny the Elder, you'll find nothing like either in this bottle... but the lines between American barleywine and DIPA are pretty blurry to begin with. 4.5 sounds right to me; this beer is delicious.

Mouthfeel: Solidly medium bodied and creamy, with just enough carbonation to contribute without being distracting. This is a great mouthfeel for a DIPA or a barleywine, so no style confusion necessary here.

Drinkability: Easy 5. Manages to deliver huge flavors without taxing the palate or being difficult to continue drinking in any way; no heavy stickiness in the feel, no overwhelming alcohol burn, no clash of flavors or one note getting too intense.

When it comes to IPAs and DIPAs, I think I could name at least 10 excellent beers more successful at pulling off the style than this one. At the same time, this is the best 12oz bottle of American barleywine I've ever had, in the same league as my favorites like Old Ruffian.

If you think Lenny Bruce was a comedian who managed to be over the top without sacrificing quality in his material, this beer is a perfect tribute to him. Lenny's R.I.P.A. will definitely be joining the few beers put into my regular repeat-buy 4pack/6pack rotation, among Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, 90 Minute IPA, Great Divide Hibernation, and Stone IPA. Excellent beer.

Photo of HeightsEats
4.7/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice golden hue, malty aroma with faint hop floral elements. The taste and drinkability are surprising for a 10% ABV beer. Very good balance between sweet and bitter with a full-bodied (but not cloying) mouthfeel and an excellent roasted / rye complexity in both flavor and aftertaste. I only bought one of these, but wished I'd had another after finishing it.

Photo of hopsbreath
2.52/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance is deep rich vibrant garnet. There is a 3 finger cappuccino colored tight slowly dissipating head that sits on top. Unfortunately the look of this beer is the best part.

The aroma is big sweet grapey alcohol. Malty burnt sugar is all over the nose on this. Smells more like a barleywine than a DIPA.

Tastes like alcoholic syrup. There's some bitter hops and a touch of banana. I think if this was categorized as a barleywine I could have appreciated it better. Since its billed as a DIPA I am going to have to dock it points for being mis-categorized. That and there is no rye presence to speak of.

Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. Its extremely thick and sticky. Its actually too thick and that hurts the drinkability. Low carbonation actually feels appropriate paired with the thick viscous nature of the body.

Drinkability is pore. I choked down half the bomber and did not want more. I won't be trying this again and won't be reccomending it.

Photo of Vengeance526
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red orange color with a sizable white head that lasts for a good while and leaves some nice lacing.

Beautiful aroma of pine and citrus throughout with a nice caramel sweetness. Some earthy and woody notes are also present along with light spices and a a touch of alcohol.

Taste resembles the nose for the most part but more caramel malt and piney hops while the citrus seems a little muted compared to the aroma. Slight spicy rye presence but not particularly powerful overall.

Medium to full body with a sticky finish. Great DIPA overall. The aroma seemed much more amazing than the actual taste but nothing to complain about. I'll be having quite a few of these around from now on.

Photo of berpwillie
4.77/5  rDev +17.5%
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!!!!

Photo of 4000qtrap
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Source/Serving: Draft

Smell: A wild IPA that's rough around the edges. Very unique combination!

Taste: Funky and interesting. Slightly sour carrots, raisins, ripe plum syrup, malted brown sugar, light sage, a funky 'spiciness' that clearly isn't real spice but something that could be described as maple spice perhaps. Super complex and interesting.

Taste: Sharp flavors up front...some 'spice', interesting herbal bitterness, and a bite that is loosely like rootbeer. In the middle the malts come out: just a touch of oil, a little maple - but like its straight from the tree. Reminiscent of taking an entire spice cabinet and soaking it in water for a day to funk it up a bit and then toasting it. Finish has a full body and is slightly bitter, toasty, faint apple, even a little creamy as it warms with pronounced grapeskin bitterness that becomes quite astringent as it lingers and is a bit unpleasant unfortunately knocking the grade down on my review on an otherwise quite nice beer.

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

Slightly hazy orange in color with a one finger white head and a lot of beautiful lacing. Somewhat poor head retention.

Smell is very strong with the dominant aroma being American citrus hops. Lots of grapefruit, orange and other tropical fruits in the aroma. The rye is very light and lingers in the background, not a dominant enough flavor, for me, to call this a rye beer by any means.

Taste is similar to the smell with out much rye but with a lot of hops. The bitterness is smooth and rounded with the only real rye flavor coming in the lingering taste after the finish.

Medium body beer with a nice cleansing carbonation for what is a very hoppy beer.

Overall this is a tasty beer with a lot of great hop flavors and a smooth bitterness. I would have probably rated it much higher if it had a more pronounced rye flavor, however.

Photo of champ103
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark reddish/brown color. At a first a two finger beige head forms and sticks around for a minute. After the foam recedes, some sticky lace is left behind.
S: Lots of soapy piny, and citrus hops up front. Plenty of caramel sweetness. Bread and biscuit. Spicy rye. A lingering bitterness.
T: Really well balanced, and very complex. Soapy and piny hops up front. The hops and rye mingle with an excellent balance of caramel malt. Lightly toasted. There is a lingering bitterness, but it is never overbearing.
M/D: A medium to full body. Slightly syrupy. Pretty smooth with with just enough crisp carbonation. Very dry. A bit of warming alcohol. Though this is one of the easiest drinking DIPA I have tried.

I really enjoy this. An overall great beer with lots of complexities. Highly recommended.

Photo of chaz410
3.82/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle I got at the always wonderful Common Market.
This beer pours a deep amber brown with a little reddish hue. It has a thin, half finger white head.
Smells of dry rye and piney and grassy hops. The rye blends well with the hops but I really wanted a little more hop character as well. There's a little malt note on the caramel side and a little toasted pale malt on the back bone of the nose.
Taste is very complex for a double IPA. It comes right up with sweet/citrus hops followed quickely by caramel sweet malt body. Toward the back of the tongue there's a lot of rye dryness and breadiness along with lots of dry pine and grassy hops. The rye is extremely complementary to the hops in the finish and leaves a wonderfully rounded dry flavor at the end.
Although the end mouthfeel is dry it's extremely drinkable considering the ABV and IBUs.

Photo of TCgoalie
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 5/14/10

Poured into an oversized wine glass the color is red with a pinch of brown. A cover of big bubbles shade the top layer of liquid. Not much carbonation present but I am pleased with the head retention.

Dark malts blend with mild tropical fruits in the scent. Rye is evident and darkens the smell with some added spice. The overall character of the scent reminds me of flowers.

Malt heavy up front, rye blends in to add some spice and bitterness. Sweetness comes in at the middle which is balanced by lemon zest and a celery like bitter aftertaste. The balance is good throughout which amplifies my interest.

Heavy in the mouth, this beer has a large feel for a DIPA. There is a stickiness about the aftertaste and a lot of bitterness.

This is not the most drinkable DIPA, but the flavors keep you around for another sip.

Photo of CHADMC3
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer looks fantastic pouring a rich mahogany body with a medium, but lasting tan head that leaves a nice layer of lacing to cling to the glass.

The initial aroma leads me to believe this beer is HUGE! Loads of sweet and roasted malts, backed by abundant earthy hops. The hops seem woody and the malt sweet caramel but well complimented. There is a lot going on here. The rye is also apparent and seems to bring the malt and hops together. As the beer warms the rye steps forward even more so.

The flavor is a little varied from the aroma in that it is much woodier. It almost resembles the flavor of some barrel aged beers, or even a barleywine. The rye offsets the hops nicely, the caramel/sweet malt shows up, and then the woody notes kick in with the hops ending with a bitter finish.

Quite smooth and well balanced for a beer of such palate magnitude. Medium in body but incredibly abundant in character with medium to light carbonation.

This is a great beer. Easy to drink, almost dangerously so, with tons of character to offer and quite a value in the store. Certainly worth a try!

Photo of jlindros
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice rising head of 1.5 fingers that fills my SA Perfect Pint glass perfectly, then fades slowly. The beer is a very clear honey amber orange color.

N: A nice hoppy aroma hits first, with a little citrus, some chewy hops, little floral fruity hop, and touch of spicy hops. WIth that is a slight malty base with a little sweet malt aroma and a light but there rye aroma with some fruitiness and spicy aromas.

T: Semi bitter at first, with lots of chewy hops, some citrus, spicy and earthy hops, a little nougat flavor. Some chewy malts with that with some malty sweetness. The rye is a lot less than I expected but there, adding a slight spicy and fruity flavor. The bitterness is pretty prevalent though. A slight syrupy sweetness comes through with all of it.

M: Medium body, slight syrupy feel, and good carbonation.

F: Still pretty bitter with a lingering spicy bitterness, both from hops and the rye which seems to come out a bit more on the finish accentuated by the bitterness. Long chewy hops and earthy hop tones. Some sticky sweetness as well. The hops leave a citrus with some sweet flavors combined for a sweet orange drink like taste. A lingering sticky sweetness which masks the alcohol well, that and the hop bitterness.

Photo of birchstick
3.45/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a dark copper color with a huge head

S - smells of fruity hops that are mixed with sweet, earthy, grainy malts

T - Caramel hops dominate at first but are quickly pushed aside by the spicy rye malts. All of this fades into some grapefruit hops. This thing tastes almost like a hoppy barleywine. A lot different than I expected, not bad.

M - medium bodied and goes down smoothly

D - this was a decent Rye DIPA...this is the first of its kind that I have tried so I have nothing to compare it to, but I think this would have been better if it was a regular IPA with the rye instead of having this huge malt bomb to balance out the loads of hops. Not a bad brew, enjoyable.

Photo of superdedooperboy
4.16/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. brown bottle into a New Belgium Globe Glass.

Pours a wonderfully clear deep ruby-copper hue with a fat three-fingered head of beige foam that fades away slowly, showing superb retention as it settles at a thick, creamy cap. As the glass drains, thick lacing rings the walls of the glass.

The aroma is nicely hoppy, with a floral, fruity and citrusy bouquet. Some sweet caramelesque malty notes show through as well. Pleasantly inviting.

Full-bodied and moderately carbonated with a balanced mouthfeel. Sweet malt opens things up on the palate; spicy notes from the rye malt are easily discernible but meld effortlessly into the middle with a bracingly bitter hoppiness that tears away at the tastebuds, obliterating things before falling away into a bittersweet finish, somewhat dry and mildly fruity-sweet.

A fairly well-balanced Double IPA with an interesting hint of rye infused; decently drinkable with a well-hidden 10% ABV and a wonderful mix of flavors. A top-notch example of the style, definitely worth revisiting.

Photo of AgentZero
3.9/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Coppery color, a little on the brown side with some nice red highlights. Decently sized whitish head that had some nice stick.

S - Rye stands out in the malt backbone with some nice hops that have pine, grapefruit, citrus nodes.

T - Interesting spice on this in the strong rye taste. Hops are there, pine notes that get sweet and citrusy as you drink. Gets spicier as the beer warms up. Slight alcohol burn.

M - Medium bodied with some carbonation and a bit of sugary stick in the drink.

D - Actually had a hard time finishing this one, got a little too pungent as it warmed up. Good starter though, but drinkability gets lower as you go.

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,815 ratings.