Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe 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.

876 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 876
Hads: 1,908
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 17.62%
Wants: 82
Gots: 191 | 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: 876 | Hads: 1,908
Photo of bwyker
3.29/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Deep brown, with hints of orange-red. A decent amount of foam that fades to a thin ring.

S: Rye bread soaked in alcohol. Subtle notes of sweet fruit and floral hops.

T: Lots of alcohol up front, which lasts the entire time. The citrusy hops are there and are quite enjoyable, but they are thrown off by alcohol. The rye is noticeable, but buried deep.

MF: Lots of carbonation, maybe a bit too much. Dry alcohol finish that I didn’t care for.

D: It took a while to get through the 22 ounces, but I did finish the bottle. Worth trying, but I would probably consider this to be the manishevitz of DIPAs.

 618 characters

Photo of clvand0
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a deep red color with a medium tan head that has good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is very sweet from malts and has a lot of pine hops. The flavor has a very sweet caramel malt character but it is well balanced with a spicy hop flavor that sticks on the palate. Some rye comes through on the end. This one has a very full body. Drinkability is pretty good.

 399 characters

Photo of beerphan
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber poured into a goblet.
No date to be found.

Nice thick 2 inch off what almost tan head, that settles nicely to a thin bubbly layer. Nice dark reddish rust color. Patchy attractive lacing throughout. Medium persistant carbonation.

Nice fruity sweet rye scent, with an alcohol background.

Taste is not offending, beginning with a malty slight rye hit and ending with a slight bitter hop alcohol kabam. The alcohol flavor is well hidden and barely rises from the afterburn.

Mouthfeel is good, with medium carbonation with a nice thick slide to the belly.

A nice easy drinking beer for 10%ABV. The alcohol is definately there but not up front. My first try of a 'RIPA', much better than i expected. Give it a swill, i sure will again.

 760 characters

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

This beer poured a clear amber color with a 1/4 inch head. The aroma as soon as I popped the cap off the bottle was very fruity, with spicy hops also present in the nose. The taste was quite hoppy and bitter, but balanced with a good bit of caramel maltiness. As the beer warmed, that peculiar spiciness and oilyness of the rye malt became more pronounced. Alcohol was also noticeable but it was very well hidden for a beer of this strength. This was a medium bodied beer that was really easy to drink. Normally, I'm not a big fan of rye beers but this is a damn good one. It had great balance between the fruitiness and spiciness of the rye malt and the spicy bitterness of the hops. An intersesting take on the DIPA style.

 724 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

08/01/06- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle. 2006 special edition. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Auburn, almost cherry colored in appearance. 3/4 inch creamy white head, very strong patches and streaks left behind. Sticky looking for sure.

Smell- First sniff got lots of fruity and pine resin hops. It was strange though because every sip afterwards I really had to sniff to get anything. As it got closer to room temp I sensed the fruity hops again.

Taste- This one is a hopheads delight. Saying so, this is also a well rounded hop heads delight. Has a really ultra sweet caramel malt. Super bitter pine and sweet fruit laden hops burst out from the first sip. The 10% abv makes itself know right away.

Mouthfeel- Mid range carbonation...still tasting the bitter hops an hour after drinking this brew. (not a bad thing). Very very creamy in texture as well.

Drinkability- Impressed, definitely impressed. Wish they would have had more of these whaen I snagged this one. I know a hophead out there that would have appreciated this (keeping my eyes peeled for you Steven). Not in the neighborhood of Plinydom, but a very good example of a well balanced and ultra hopped DIPA. Will keep my eye open for more.

 1,273 characters

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Exremely active, many bubbles, (champayne style) Dark-amber brown w/ red hues. Good, deep color. Shows off a 4" massive, frothy off-white head. Great head retention (til' the end and beyond)
Major cool lacing from top to bottom.

Very Malty sweet, not DFH sweet though.Big malted start with a great hop attack after. This mix of hops absolutly gives off a "greens", fresh cut lawn, earthy after-taste. Alcohol is well hidden.

Very active and lively on the palate, yet smooth with a thick feel. Medium/full body with a heavy overall feel.

The ABV % of 10 is easily overlooked because it goes down so smooth. Bittersweet is a pretty acurate summery of the taste, but I would change it to Sweet-Bitter.

Nice Brew.

 722 characters

Photo of hunteraw
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: beautiful white head, absolutely incredible head retention, the best I've ever seen. It must be the rye. Body is a clear ruddy color.

Smell: inverted from the other he'brew beers, where sweet malt is dominant - this one has a very strong spicy hops character, with the malt playing a supporting role. Somewhat bready.

Taste: spicy hop bite up front, which gives way to sweet malt. Alcohol fairly well-hidden, I thought. Not my favorite of the he'brew line, I have to say. Drinking this beer is like a kick in the head, it's very strongly flavored.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy mouthfeel, dry acidic finish that aids drinkability a little, but the aftertaste lingers.

Drinkability: I drank this one slower than the others. I enjoyed it, but I won't be seeking this one out again.

 797 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked one of these up at Bauer's...
Dark mahogany in color with a full finger of bright white head...most fades, but leaves behind some attractive lacing.
Alcohol hits the nose first, along with some fruity hops, sweet caramelized malt and cherries.
Taste is also quite boozy...plenty of citrus hops and the sweetness hangs on in the aftertaste. The rye is apparent, but unfortunately, masked from the heat...still very bitter.
Luckily, the heat works its way into the brew halfway thru and is no longer a distraction.
Mouthfeel is thick and the carbonation is a tad high for me.
Easy enough to consume the bomber, but not moving on to another.

 651 characters

Photo of cbl2
3.81/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$4.99 22 oz. bottle. Brewed once in 2006.


Pours a beautiful crimson/orange woth over an inch of tightly packed tan head with excellent retention.


Roasted malts dominated by caramel and a touch of cotton candy. Just a faint hint of hops which is odd for a DIPA.


Some pine hops up front, but this beer is dominated by sweet malt presence that introduces itself in the form of caramel and perhaps a touch of honey. Mouthfeel is nice, slightly viscous with the appropriate amount of carbonation. Finish is slightly bitter, with hops once more asserting themselves, though not upfront enough for my taste in a DIPA. Alcohol is nicely (and dangerously masked). A good beer, but different from any other DIPA I've had, perhaps because it is a rye.

 797 characters

Photo of jaluria
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An interesting brew from He'Brew, but not one of my favorites within this style.
Poured a sharp orange-yellow color with coppper tones throughout. Heavy carbonation with a smooth, fluffy head that dissipated quickly and left behind considerable lacing. Aromas of pine, grapefruit, alcohol, and oil seemed to come out. The taste was dominated by a variety of hops with a modest level of malt in the background as a balance. Pine, citrus, and grapefruit flavors dominated. Not as complex or enjoyable as others within this style mainly because of the clear presence of alcohol in the taste and aroma of the beer. Slightly creamy and nicely textured in my mouth, but not as easy to drink considering the alcohol flavoring. Without food, I would not have been able to finish the entire 22oz. bottle; just too much in several aspects.

 830 characters

Photo of cproioi
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A) Pours a dark reddish brown body with a tan creamy looking head that left decent lacing. Inside the beer there was very visual carbonation.

S) First smell it was a big slap of hoppiness. With a rye bread middle. It had a very bitter sweet smell too it almost like a west coast barley wine.

T) First taste hits the tip of your tounge and the hops grab it and beat it up. Then it makes way for the Rye malts to come on and give you a nice healthy helping of a breadiness.

M) This was a thick beer but it wasn't as sticky or syrupy as I expected. It felt big yes but also was pretty soft feeling. It also left a big alcohol warming to it. Very nice,

D) Very slow beer to drink and one must be careful with it. I would buy this one again in a heart beat.

 765 characters

Photo of jamesdergen
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours an inky, dark, caramel color with a dark tan head that does not stay around for long.

Smell: Resiny hop aromas and a definite caramel background.

Taste: Wow! Drinking this brew is like getting punched in the face by hops, malts and rye! Very sticky, resiny hop presence up front, backed by a very strong caramelly rye malt taste with the hop bitterness coming back at the end. Like the bottle says, "Brewed with an obscene amount of malts & hops".

M&D: THICK! They really pack in the ingredients here. While tasty, this beer is very difficult to drink, especially during the summer. This high-viscosity brew would be much better on a cold fall night.

 677 characters

Photo of rajendra82
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lenny’s Bittersweet R.I.P.A. came in a 22 oz. brown bomber that had lots of information on Lenny Bruce, and an artwork evoking a theatre marquee for a mock performance. The body of the beer was dark reddish orange in color, and the head was a good three finger thick, and left nice bits of lace. The carbonation of the beer was quite mild, with a gentle stream of swirling bubbles rising from the etched D at the base of the Duvel tulip. The aroma was not brash like a typical DIPA, but was gentle and herbal-floral, and reminded me of freshly picked marigolds. The rye added a spicy zest to the smell. The taste was aggressive as the hop oils provided a snappy, earthy, and floral bite. The rye added the typically spicy and sweet touches to the keep the pale crystal malt base from becoming too one dimensional. Dry and floral finish was rock-candy like and very delicious. I see of this as one of the latest crop of milder DIPAs with enough going on besides the hops to keep things interesting.

 998 characters

Photo of Mdog
3.71/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This is one of the prettiest beers I've seen, a dark red amber with a good amount of little bubbles feeding a big head.

Smell: Citusy hops and some sweet bread smell.

Taste: Starts with bitter citrus hops and gets a little balance with some rye tanginess. Some alcohol present at the end.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick, typical for a DIPA.

Drinkability: The high alcohol and not quite enough sweetness knock this down a little.

This beer let me down a little after looking like a million bucks in the glass. Not super hoppy and actually seems a little more balanced than many DIPA's but the alcohol isn't hidden as well as other DIPA's. Still a pretty good beer though.

 690 characters

Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear deep amber wtih a tan frothy and tall head which lasted forever to lace the glass.

The aroma was bready and toasty with a strong caramel malt character and a prominent rye spice. The aroma was resinous with hop character and contained just a slight wafting of chocolate.

The flavor was malty, strongly so and strongly fruity with a piney and resionous hop flavor and bittering and a light bit of citrus thrown in for good measure. The flavor had a light rye spice presence amongst the high malt and alcohol character.

The finish was just dry with lasting bittering and hop flavors long and strong into the aftertaste. The body was medium full with a creamy consistency and a fairly sizeable carbonation level. The alcohol burn was immense with this beast and really detracted from the overall drinkability of the beer.

22 ounce bottle.

 892 characters

Photo of silver0rlead
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glad to see this one show up in NC, was wondering if we'd see any he'brew special releases. A vigorous pour yields a nice amber color with a mammoth tan head that retains very well. The aroma is somewhat subdued, with a nice piney and citrus hops character upfront, along with a rye sourness, some bready and caramel malt, and fruity esters. The flavor is initially what you would expect from a DIPA, an intense piney and citrus hop blast, but that profile diminishes quickly and leaves a sour rye character, along with some sweet bread malt, fruity esters, and a warming alcohol presence. The finish is dry and slightly sour, and drinkability is pretty good as the alcohol is well concealed. An interesting beer for sure, definately not your typical DIPA, the rye adds another dimension but the hop profile was lacking in complexity compared to Hercules or Maharaja.

 867 characters

Photo of dfried
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber-red color, but you can still see through it. Average size, sticky head forms with nice small bubbles, ending up as a decent ring and film over the top. The aroma is not especially pungent, it's of sweet dark fruit like plum and fig, and is a bit hoppy but not 'in your face' hoppy. The first sip was so thick and syrupy that it took a second for any flavor at all to hit, but it did, oh boy did it ever. The taste is even sweeter that the dark fruit aroma may have led on. Array of fruity flavors, plum, fig, even dark grapes. Noticeable but not robust grainy flavor from the rye, adds to the overall feel of the beer. And then the hops, how can you forget the hops, it is an IPA after all. This is a malt dominated beer, but there is a good floral, and a little pine-like bite from the hops. This beer definitely straddles the barley wine/DIPA fence. Mouthfeel is nice and sticky, finishes dry. I have used the term dangerously drinkable before, but there is no other term that would apply better to the drinkability of this beer. 10%, are you kidding me?

 1,067 characters

Photo of wcudwight
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby red color. Almost like cherry wood. Thick sticky head rises about an inch and a half and retains well. Lace sticks to the sides of the glass.
Smell is of hops. Earthy, Piney and Citrus.
Woaa! This attacks the palate. Sticky hop bitterness is the dominating flavor with out much malt backbone. Which works for this beer. It's supposed to be a hop bomb.
Mouthfeel is sticky. It's almost like the hops stick to your teeth.
Given the abv and the intense hops this beer is very drinkable.
Notes: Is being tasted with and compared to Moylander Double IPA.

 568 characters

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

This beer is a deep amber. There was a huge head. fair lacing covers the glass. The smell is deffinatly hoppy. One of the better IPA/DIPA I have had. The taste is very bitter. No doubt here that this is a hop bomb. This beer should satisfy any hophead. The mouthfeel is sticky and a lasting bitterness is present as well. The drinkability is good. Almost too good considering the ABV. That aspect of this beer is well hidden.

 425 characters

Photo of trep
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle.

Murky ruby red body with a bold, creamy off-white head that lasts and lasts. Some carbonation rises to the surface. Leaves abundant lacing as I drink it.

Hop bittersweetness blasts from the top of the glass. Grapefruit, honey, white-grapes. Very pleasant I must say.

Pine sap bitterness initially then fade to some sweet honey notes and finally a pine and sweet malt finish. Bitter pine aftertaste. This is a very solid beer. Huge malt backbone to keep the hops from making this completely undrinkable.

Medium-Full body. Carbonation is about right. Drinkability is gonna get some low marks due to the massive bitterness that never fades.

 664 characters

Photo of akorsak
3.05/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a bomber of RIPA from Shmaltz. It is near room temperature (as this is the last of the bottle I opened 2 hours ago).

Appearance: For a DIPA, the ale is very dark, more similar to an amber. There is a nice ring of head that laces.

Smell: Malts that remind me of a barleywine are the first that I detect. Very sweet and malted-up, this beer is no regular DIPA, as there is no hop presence in the nose.

Taste: The rye adds a very nice touch up front, a change of pace in terms of malts. From there though, the malts spiral out of control and dominate the beer. There is a distinct barleywine aftertaste that lasts a long time. Again, there is some hop bitterness, but nowhere near that amounts I expected.

Mouthfeel: The flavors are too powerful and do not subside. This is not for the faint of heart.

Drinkability. Trust me, one bomber is enough.

 867 characters

Photo of TastyTaste
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Burnt orange with a big head, a little lace, a couple random bubbles.

Smell: Doesn't let on the hop bomb that lurks in the flavor, more subdued.

Taste: Rip roarin' hops, very brash and bitter, good. Citrusy and raw, has a start to finish tongue punishing flavor. Very, very good.

Drinkability: A high quality, well crafter DIPA that will sate your hops craving. A definite must-try.

 404 characters

Photo of SaCkErZ9
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark maroon color with an amber colored head that is pretty frothy and creamy head. Exceptional lacing leaves a thick white film on the glass, hiding the beer behind a veil of creaminess.

Aroma is huge malt and not as much hops. The hops that are present seem to be English due to the lack of citrusness. The malt is caramelly and tosty. Alcohol is subdued in the aroma department.

Taste is mostly malts, again, with a nice alcoholic kick. However, when I think of DIPA, I think more hops than malt, which this beer is not. Rye is left by the side of the road, writhing in pain; didnt taste it. Maybe a double brown or english barleywine?

Mouthfeel is full and creamy and finishes somewhat dry. Alcohol becomes more apparent with rise temp., as usual. Not a bad Double but seems a bit mixed on style.

 820 characters

Photo of ADR
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark copper appearance, compact head of about 1/2 an inch in height. Good thick dripping laces. Marmalade aroma, some suggestions of dark rye bread or rustic "black bread". Smooth full mouthfeel, not a lot of carbonation, works well. Hop bitterness early, earthy and musky. What's interesting is the malt detail, for a beer with this much girth and decent weight, its hard to pick out a sweet component (aside from that heavy dark bread that is featured in the smell), especially late as the beer passes a yellow mustard flavor and heads in an almost top-soil flavor direction with a bitter collard green close. The brew has some definite distinction, but not any that strike me -- different but I wouldn't pick this one up again. As a note, on the label there's a lot of that pretentious prose you find on some beer bottles that just makes you wish the brewer would stick to talking about the beer. For example, the malt bill would be a lot more interesting to read about than anyone's particular opinion about Lenny Bruce.

 1,030 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The ale named after the former Leonard Alfred Schneider departs the bottle and enters the glass a robust red, shadowy, clear, with a high head, creamy/tannish toned. Looking lovely.

Aroma: Fat malt, outsized yeast, liquid bread...is this a doppelbock? But there's so much hop!...sniff again... Wow! Loud hop, rich, burnished, barleywine-like. Grapes and other dark fruits are at hand, feeling like a burgundy wine, perhaps due to the high alcohol, or the huge maltiness.

Now, let's taste...Woo! Bam! Whap! Shamalam! Enormous malt floods the mouth and is assisted in it's it's efforts by the blazing sidecar of hops. Big, big, big on the palate, outsized all the way, spilling flavor all over the place. Delicious dark fruits, grapes, cherries, more...Reminds me very much of a Bigfoot or similar barleywine-style ales. This is where the line between "American Double IPA"s and barleywines really blurs, the malt is as big or bigger than the hops in this one, and the flavor is almost the match for a barleywine.

And the 10% doesn't hit...right away..oh, no, you'll feel it, though...

I didn't really taste the rye at all, but it works so damned well, it doesn't matter.
(Wait, ...now, I'm tasting it...yup, it's discernible...)

I love it. I think Lenny would love it. Rest his smutty soul. R.I.P. (A. true American hero.)

 1,339 characters

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 876 ratings.