1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. - Shmaltz Brewing Company

Not Rated.
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,720 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,720
Reviews: 849
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 11.82%
Wants: 74
Gots: 92 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial IPA |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
A Double India Pale Ale with Rye Malt brewed in tribute to Lenny Bruce (Leonard Alfred Schneider 1925-1966).

(Beer added by: mcallister on 06-07-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,720 | Reviews: 849 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerBuilder
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%

Pours to a ruby-brown color with a creamy tan head. It leaves a good amount of lacing when sipped down. The aroma is of sweet caramel malts, bready, candied fruits and spicey, piney hops.

The flavor is sweet caramel malts, and spicey rye malt. It has a resin, spicey, geen hop flavor. It reminds me of a barleywine. It is full body and has a drying hop bitterness in the finish. Not a bad brew. My palate is shot now.

BeerBuilder, Oct 16, 2006
Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

22 oz. bomber

Bold, bronze-amber in color with a big, pock-marked off-white head. Strong aroma of pine-resin hops, alcohol, and, unsurprisingly, rye.

This is a slick, chewy brew with a creaminess and a strong caramel/syrup malt profile backing up the sharp, hoppy top end. A wonderfully complex sipper, certainly enough to warm my innerds on the night after the first (ridiculously early) snow of the season.

I'll come back to this one for sure.

RockyTopHeel, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of mmcave
4.25/5  rDev +4.7%

Poured into tulip glass, at first glance all I could think about was the color of the head, which in it's concentrated form was tan and almost greenish. This beer had a very aggressive head and will keep going right out of the glass if your not careful. The color is rather dark purplish, red, very polished dark wood looking. The head was huge and is now dissipating, it left clumpy lacing all the way down. Smells of strong piny aromatic hops with a tail of natural funk (definitely some rye coming through), orange peel, pineapple, malt, some spice and a subtle alcohol undercurrent. Taste is very complex, its definatly one of those D.I.P.A.s that walks on your taste buds with spiked shoes, but you love every minute of it. Its crisp, but not dry. Its definitely a more sticky piny recipe with serious body, and intense grape fruitiness. Its almost syrupy, but not in any bad way. The flavor is all that coupled with minor hints of toffee, some sweetness from the rye and a nice bitter hop character that comes to you half way through the taste experience and lingers on your taste buds. This is a nice D.I.P.A, I am very happy to be able to try this. It's got what I look for in a quality double IPA, not my favorite, but really fun. This is my first He'Brew beer so this will be what I judge all their other by. R.I.P. Lenny..

mmcave, Oct 12, 2006
Photo of nickss
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%

The color is absolutely beautiful... a deep amber hue with a touch of brown. The head was surprisingly small despite a vigorous pour. 1/4" in a chalice, khaki in color... disipates rather quickly.

A delicious sweet piney resin hits you in the face like a ton of bricks. Almost barleywine-y in its huge aroma... notes of grapefruit and orange. Fantastic.

Huge hoppy flavour.... wow this is hoppy. Orange and pine. The rye that I could not detect in the aroma is present in the flavour.... it becomes much more noticeable as the brew warms.... but still not as obvious as in B-R's Hop Rod Rye.

Pretty solid mouthfeel... its difficult to tell how carbonated it is because the hops do a good job of wrecking your tongue... so I wonder... too much carbonation?... or just a sh!t-ton of hops. I know the latter is true, but I'm fairly confident the carbonation should be taken down a notch.. The thickness of the brew is just about right. I could use it a bit thicker, I suppose, if I had to find a complaint.

Not exactly the easiest brew to pound down, but who wants to?!.. This beer is one to savour.... delicious hoppiness from start to finish. Definitely one I will look for again.

nickss, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of Beerzebub
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%

Red color, mounds of beige head that don't drop much. Lacing like slices of sticky cheese.

Smells like fruity, spicy Belgianish esters, sweet brown bread like Christmas pudding, piney and citrusy hops, touch of alcohol.

Quite sweet, malty. Bitterness hits after a second or two. Resinous hop flavor. Somewhat spicy and herbacious; with the bitterness and alcohol too, vaguely reminiscent of sweet vermouth. Finishes a little drier, with sticky fruitiness and alcohol.

Really soft and creamy, then sticky. The sweetness and the alcohol limit the drinkability. Good big beer, worth a try.

Beerzebub, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of brentk56
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%

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

brentk56, Oct 08, 2006
Photo of Zorro
3.6/5  rDev -11.3%

Upon the pour I am rewarded with a clear brown ale with a distinct reddish cast to it. Head is quite good for the strength of the beer and id light brown.

Smell is sweet and quite fruity and piney to the nose. Caramel and menthol are the first things I notice. Spicy aroma of alcohol is notable. Aromas of figs and plums are front and center on this one. Cherry is a lesser scent. Pine, citrus and melon are the more subtle scents.

Taste is bitter and harsh at the beginning, but it is the first beer of the day too. It really takes about three mouthfuls of this one to acclimate to the bitterness level. Even after you adapt this still has a strong bitter under tone to it. Sweet with a lot of woodiness there is a fair amount of melon flavor to this along with mango and pine. In the end the bitterness deters from enjoyment.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability suffers from too much bitterness; it simply bullies all the other flavors out of the way. Unbalance is what hurts this beer.

Zorro, Oct 08, 2006
Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

edmundfitzoil, Oct 08, 2006
Photo of phisig137
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%

Bomber pours a dark amber orange color, with a frothy thick two finger head. Decent retention falls into a blanket on top, with abundant lacing. Looks quite nice in my Aecht Schlenerka glass. When swirled, the head has a odd green tinge, I would suppose from the hops. I think I like that.

Aroma is chock full of citrus and pine hop aromas. Smells like the usual suspects... all of the "C" hops so beloved by IPA makers. Big and brash, much like Lenny Bruce. Flavorwise, this packs a wallop. Big hops, big malt in the middle, and a strong rye character throughout. Hops are resinous, the rye is present all the way from front to back, the malt smooths things out like dulce de luche in the middle, and the finish is quite bitter and pleasant. Alcohol is not present, even in the form of warming. Mouthfeel is silky and full. Drinkability is excellent.

I am really surprized by this beer. Incredibly well crafted beer, from a brewery that has definitely been hit or miss for me. I'd put this just about neck and neck with any other rye beer that I've ever had, including hop rod rye. Really quite a nice beer, and a great value at only $5.99 for the bomber.

phisig137, Oct 05, 2006
Photo of Franchise
4.63/5  rDev +14%

This offering from He'Brew pours a dark plum delicious and tasty that leaves a thick tan head. The aroma is fantastic rye, caramel, pitted fruit, this is a very complex and enjoyable nose. The taste starts malty upfront, caramel, maybe brown sugar, it then moves to a spicy bitter grapefruit feel on the palate finishing with a plum, date, sweetness rounded out with a bready, nutty feel that I love, the alcohal being at 10% is warming and not overwhelming. This is a great brew and although Mendocino brews their beers great job Shmaltz and keep them coming!

Franchise, Oct 05, 2006
Photo of BlackJeremiah
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%

Poured into a snifter from a 22 oz. bomber.

A: Rubied copper, clear, with two inches of creamy, rocky head with plenty of full lacing.

S: Citrics-lemon, orange, pine tar. Hop oil, spicy rye scents. Undertones of creamy malt flavors--caramel, toffee.

T: Crisp citrus bite with oily pine resin following, and the spicy rye mixing in well, asserting itself pleasantly but insistently. Hop character continues over borderline-barleywine chewiness, great big creamy malt flavors of caramel and toffee.

M: Nice, thick feel. Not too drying, despite the high hop presence and ABV.

D: I drank this way too fast, by myself, and THEN noticed the ABV. I really want to crack another one, but I'm pretty sure that's not a good idea.

BlackJeremiah, Oct 04, 2006
Photo of brewcrew76
4/5  rDev -1.5%

A - Pours a dark orange copper with a 2 finger beige head.

S - Piney hops with a little bit of citrus mixed in. The spiciness from the rye is clearly evident in the aroma.

T - Piney hops with a big kick of earthy spicy rye. Hint of sweet malt are present but get drowned out by the hops and the rye. The spiciness of the rye really melds with the hops to accentuate the bitterness.

M - Medium body and creamy with a dry finish and a slight alcohol warming feeling even though I couldn't taste the alcohol.

D - A nice twist on a DIPA. I can see how some people might find the rye hop combo overbearing but I enjoy it.

brewcrew76, Oct 04, 2006
Photo of ghostwalker
4.35/5  rDev +7.1%

Cherry-red/amber body with a thick yellow/tan head. Very nice looking poured into a Maudite tulip.

Nose is tart, spicy hops.

Flavor is tart, bitter and puckery with hops, but spicy and bold on the finish. Boozy, but in a good way. There's a solid malt backbone there too, but this one is very hop biased, to my delight. I expected something more like Hop Rod Rye, but I may like this one even more. This calls for a side-by-side tasting!

Mouthfeel is tart and zippy. More of the puckering effect, like biting into a lemon, or drinking grapefruit juice just after brushing your teeth. It's like concentrated hop juice.

Drinkability is very high. Much like HRR, it is almost compulsively sippable.

ghostwalker, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of RonfromJersey
3.3/5  rDev -18.7%

Brushed bronze body is crystal clear. An inital huge bone china head eventually settles into a finger's worth. Some nice lacing.

Heavy aroma of bread, yeast, and sweet licorice-y liquor. It's inviting and frightening like Halloween. Does seem a bit more barleywine-like than DIPA-ish.

Taste begins with a battering ram of sweet caramely malt that assaults the tongue. Sweet dominates for a couple swallows until the hops can retaliate. Some sweet fruit jumps on stage before a big hop bite at the climax. A mild hop aftertaste vies with a big dash of booze during the encore. Not getting the rye though.

Thick, heavy, syrupy mouthfeel. Struggling a bit with drinkability.

Not bad, but not really what I was looking for in a self-proclaimed DIPA.. I'd prefer less booze, less sweet, more hops, more rye. Really more barleywine than DIPA to me. Worth a try, but not multiple gigs.

RonfromJersey, Oct 03, 2006
Photo of Foxman
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%

It pours a deep, clear amber, even almost ruby. Three fingers of pithy light tan head swell and sustain some time. Cascades of sticky lacing spill down the inside of the glass.

The aroma brings malt first and foremost, with raisins, caramel, vanilla, and a sweet, dusky earthiness. A passage of pine hops opens a bit, before alcohol splases in.

Upon tasting, there's malt, malt, and more malt, with caramel leading the march, followed by a vinous port touch and baked bread. A drier rye grain presence dips to a River Jordan of alcohol with a unique Scotch character. A hint of evergreen hops in, but is more sensed as bitter than actually tasted. The bitterness ramps up in the finish, lingering very dry and almost puckering, a marked 180 from the previous sweetness. It's muscular, with a monster malt profile.

Full bodied, it lays thick and sweet on the palate, though not truly cloying. A glow of hops dares to peek through.

It's just unique enough to be a fitting tribute to the late, great Lenny Bruce. Contrary to the label, there's nothing obscene here, but it does entail a mondo kick with all that grain and a beefy ABV. Still, it's well worth finishing the bottle. So, hey, here's to you Lenny.

Foxman, Oct 02, 2006
Photo of WeisGuy
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%

a - deep golden color with a ruby tint, half-inch off-white head with good retention and lacing

s - good balance of citrusy hops, caramelly malt, rye and alcohol

t - smooth and slightly sweet malt up front with notes of rye as well, evolves into a great hoppy bitterness, the finish is a balance of bitterness and a strong alcohol taste

m - ample carbonation, medium-bodied

d - a slow drinker that I wouldn't want any more than a bomber of at any given time, the alcohol is a little intense to have too much of this, took me awhile to get through the bomber

I was pleasantly surprised by this brew. The taste is very complex and intense. A great sipping DIPA

WeisGuy, Sep 30, 2006
Photo of nortmand
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%

Pours ruby red with an off white head that leaves a wee bit o' lace.

Dominated by that fruity grainy smell that is common in rye beers. Lots of hops in this one, but also a huge alcohol presence.

Sweet caramel notes mingle with a pome fruit/bitter hoppiness. Ends with a strong rye/ bitter character that leaves a very long aftertaste. Only bad part is the alcohol. This beer makes no apologies for being 10%. Very strong alcohol character. This beer would have perfect flavor if it weren't for the in your face alcohol.

Fairly rich and full bodied, I love this beer, but it doesn't hide the alcohol well enough.

nortmand, Sep 30, 2006
Photo of jameaterblues
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%

On tap at Collin's bar and served in a tulip glass.
A-Dark copper/amber color....1/2 inch cream colored head that diminished quickly.
S- Spicy and citrusy hops...brown sugar...plum and red fruit...almost has a bitter smell, and the alcohol becomes present as it warms...rye malt is present, but not dominant.
T- Raisins, plum and prunes are big and sweet...light cirtusy hops, and a slight floweriness...sweet on the front and bitter in the finish(just as the name describes)....followed by a long lasting bitter finish and a light taste of alcohol.
M-Thick, light bubbles, coasts the tongue, and is almost of a syrup consistency.
D- I would definitely order this one again...but I don't think I would make it into a night.

jameaterblues, Sep 28, 2006
Photo of NEhophead
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%

1 pt 6 fl oz brown bomber served in a snifter.

Pours a caramel, light maple in color beneath a foamy, inch-high lightly tanned head. Walls of condensed and spotted lacing with pretty good strength.

Bright citrus hops: lemon, orange peel, faint grapefruit. Whaffs of piercing alcohol aromas. Gritty, floral hops with a distinct rye presence.

Initial citrus and floral hops that quickly becomes enveloped by a nice balance of caramel malt sweetness and rough, spicy rye. At mid-sip is a swarming alcohol presence with slick; not quite oily, hop resin. Toasted biscuit, lemon, hops, and a prolonged; yet light, bitterness fill the aftertaste.

Near full in body; almost creamy maltiness that balances the slick, spiciness well.

An impressive, unique offering that's tough to put down. This one passes the test for a hophead, and pushes innovation on account of the rye addition.

NEhophead, Sep 28, 2006
Photo of KarlHungus
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%

This brew pours a dark mahogany color, with a large fluffy off white head that recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma of citrus, pine, with some nice spicy rye in the background. The taste is probably more bitten than any other beer I have had to date, not that I mind though. The sip is piney, citrusy and has a more pronounced rye character than the aroma. The aftertaste is completely bitter. The mouthfeel is full bodied with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a fine beer, and I would buy it again.

KarlHungus, Sep 27, 2006
Photo of whynot44
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%

A beautiful dark reddish copper color with an impressive ivory head that retains well and leaves plenty of nice lacing.

The aroma is hard to pin down, fruity at first, cherry and citrus, then a whiff of fresh rye bread and pine needles.

The taste also starts with fruit, not quite cherry, maybe plum, before you can decide a blast of pinety hops kicks in, then comes a bit of rye bread and citrus with hints of spices and mint, finishing slightly dry with pine and horehound aftertaste that lasts and lasts with some nice alcohol warmth trailing along.

Medium bodied, smooth and easy to drink. Interesting to drink, I think every sip turned up some new flavor notes, or maybe that was just the alcohol kicking in. This one is definitely worth a try for those who like plenty of piney hops. I think I will definitely do this one again.

whynot44, Sep 25, 2006
Photo of Westsidethreat
4.4/5  rDev +8.4%

A: Gorgeous garnett with ruby highlights. Profound creamy khaki head. Impressive so far.

S: Pineapple, cherry pie, spices (cardomon, cinnamon) and forest floor after a good rain. Its the rye that gives it the spicyness.

T: This is probably the most RYE beer I've had. It slugs you quick and up front. There is nothing subtle about this experience. But lets start from the top...
Immediately rye hits the tip of the tongue and brings with it pumpkin pie spice. In a blind test I might categorize this as a pumpkin IPA. Serious amounts of sweet pumpkin, malty red red fruit and some low level toffee. Then the bitterness arrives....it creeps up with out any warning and dominates the palate. This is definately on the pine end of the spectrum, although any citrus could be getting its ass handed to it by the rye. Finishes with lingering bitterness and gentle rye spice.

M: Medium body, decent mouthfeel.

D: The wife disagrees and says it tastes like cherry opposed to pumpkin. We both agree that this is a tremendous beer. Best rye beer I've had, hands down. Not a huge fan of He'brew but I might be changing my tune.

Westsidethreat, Sep 24, 2006
Photo of goschool
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%

Like the nice Jewish boy that I am, I went to temple for Rosh Hashanah, ate a bowl of matzo ball soup, and drank a bomber of He'Brew. I've been dying to try this ever since I read the press release. I really like He'Brew's special releases and this one's dedicated to Lenny Bruce, who was awesome before he reduced his act to reading documents from his trial.

The pour is fucking gorgeous. Dark ruby with a massive white head. There's so much rye malt, caraway, fruit, hops, and alcohol that this must be a barleywine. Only the sheer enormity of the bitter hops in this beer can surpass the massive rye bread flavors. Caramel, grape, cherry, and citrus notes are in the taste to, along with warming alcohol, keep this straddling the line between double IPA's and barleywines. The 10% isn't difficult to drink, but I definitely began to feel by the halfway point. L'Chiam!

goschool, Sep 23, 2006
Photo of hopsaplenty
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%

22oz brown bottle, no date information, but this is the first (and only?) release, 2006.
The Shmaltz tribute to Jewish stars No. 1.

"Finally, one last four-letter word concerning Lenny Bruce: DEAD. At 40… that's obscene." Dick Schaap

Coppered bronze. Big, silky thick cascading head of tightly packed orange-hued tan bubbles. The head settles at a snail's pace, depositing thick, glass-coating sheets of sticky lace. It maintains a tall two inch presence for quite awhile. Ample carbonation steams actively issue bubbles which seem to struggle through the thick liquid. Big aromas of orange, pine, and sap, are softly pointed as if blunted by the "obscene amount of malt" (per the label). Rye and a touch of alcohol are detectable as well. Huge rye body fills the mouth and is silk, solid, and smooth before the hops finally show up and announce their presence. Pine, spruce, and sharp floral notes complete the finish and linger briefly. Instead, a thick mouth-coating of malt is deposited. The alcohol becomes slightly noticeable in the finish as a prickly, warming sensation. Amazingly huge body, that is thick with chewy malt. Smooth and densely creamy. An extremely fine carbonation is barely discernable and the hop oils add to the overall slickness. Amazingly well done and I could have even used a bump up in the hop level from simply indecent to downright obscene.

hopsaplenty, Sep 21, 2006
Photo of AlexJ
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%

Wow...I gotta start by saying that this beer knocked my socks off! Dark toffee amber pour with a magnificent khaki head of densely whipped froth that just lasts forever, generously coating my chalice in lace. Dark for an IIPA, but a beautiful beer to behold nontheless.

Transcendant aromas of scorched caramel, toffee and brown bread soaked in molasses are met by a spicey, citrussy kick of rye and pepper. The result is a complex aroma with layers of hops...citrus, pine, crushed flowers and spice. An awesome olefactory experience.

Flavor even better than the ample nose. Massive caramel malts mingle with an overdose of spicey, earthy, fruity Rye. The complex malt flavors meet their match when the brutal riptide of hops begin to assault the tongue. It's fruity, piney, malty, bittersweet(duh), and oh so hoppy. One hell of a complex and delicious brew. 22 oz for $4.99, pinch me!

Body is big, creamy, slippery, and uber-smooth. Hello! 10% abv...where are you? No trace of the strengh and way to easy to finish the whole bomber. I really wish I had bought more.

AlexJ, Sep 20, 2006
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,720 ratings.