Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine?

Learn more about beer and save over 53% with a 3-year subscription.

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.

875 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 875
Hads: 1,906
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 17.62%
Wants: 82
Gots: 187 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

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

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mcallister on 06-07-2006

A Double India Pale Ale with Rye Malt brewed in tribute to Lenny Bruce (Leonard Alfred Schneider 1925-1966).
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. Alström Bros
Reviews: 875 | Hads: 1,906
Photo of justintcoons
3.42/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear coppery red with a 1/2 finger of foamy off-white head that dissipates quickly. Moderate carbonation and sparse lacing.

N: Sweet caramel, grapefruit, rye, hints of pine, citrus and sugar.

T: Sugary toffee and rye upfront followed by caramel, rye, pine, cocoa and hints of booze. Finishes with spicy rye and hints of pine.

M: Medium bodied, sticky and dry.

O: Good amount of rye throughout this beer but the malt is too toffee-like. Tastes similar to an Imperial Red.

 510 characters

Photo of Sephiroth
3.42/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours with average foam, body is red in color. Smells piny and resiny, with some sweetness from the rye.

Taste is sweet initially. The hops follow; they are piney, grapefruit-laden, and blend in well with the rest of the flavor profile. The rye is quite noticeable on the finish. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy and not particularly to my liking. Drinkability is okay.

 370 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 portia99
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle received as a bonus volunteering at a beer festival.

A - Pours a deep, rich amber color with a really nice ruby red tint. about a half finger of cream colored foam rests atop the beer, hesitates briefly and falls to a skim coat with a thick collar and nice lacing left around the edges of the glass.

S - Smell is largely malt dominated. Rich, sweet, caramelly, sugary. Really struggling to pull some hops out of this...swrirling vigorously barely produces any hop aroma that can get past the malt. Not exactly what I wxpect out of an imperial IPA. I expect the probability of lots of malt but I also expect a ton of hops to make an appearance too.

T - Lots more hops in the flavor than the aroma. Tons of nice bitterness up front. Enough to offset the powerful malt presence here and then some. Still the malt presence can't be denied - bready, sweet, caramelly. Strong alcohol presence in the flavor too. Rye spiciness is there, but not as prominant as I'd hope...does leave a lingering spiciness behind after the swallow.

M - Medium bodied, carbonation is medium high. Very lively, prickly feeling from the carbonation. Rye spiciness stays behind long afer the swallow.

D - Well, I have to preface this by saying I've had several of the Schmaltz beers and have never really been impressed. This one is sadly no different. I've heard lots of good things, but I consistently find myself underwhelmed. Technically, there is nothing wrong with this beer - well crafted, no off flavors...just doesn't click with me. Alcohol is very noticeable, hops are very subdued in flavor for the style..bitterness is there, but not hop flavor at all. Just doesn't fit with what I'm looking for in a DIPA.

 1,706 characters

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

this beer's 666th review. damn it!

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a clear, deep amber; sits a borderline mahogany tone with orange highlights. yields a finger beige head that doesn't stick around too long but leaves decent lacing.

nose is bold, offering a big dose of rye malt to accompany some muted citric hoppy notes... a bit bready... was expecting more hops, questioning the freshness here.

taste follows suit. very malty for a DIPA, now i'm *really* questioning the freshness. rye is most evident with the hoppy characters being almost secondary notes. reading the reviews of others, it appears this quality is not the norm. medium-full and creamy in the mouth with adequate carbonation

altogether, not a bad beer even with an apparently past its prime bottle. will re-review if i can get my hands on a guaranteed fresh bottle, but as it stands it's an average-DIPA.

 885 characters

Photo of nafnikufesin
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Great wispy looks.

Smell - Sweet-hoppy aroma.

Mouthfeel - Light-medium body.

Taste - A sweet rye flavor at the front of the mouth giving way to an intense bitter hop flavor, with the 10% alcohol very apparent in the aftertaste.

Drinkability - Ultimately limited by the intense bitterness.

Overall - A good start, flavorful, but very intense to drink on a regular basis.

 398 characters

Photo of Boppar
3.39/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into an over-sized wine glass.

A: Beautiful ruby color. I thought at first that it was transparent, but it turned out to be translucent. Two fingers of fluffy, off-white head. Good head retention and great lacing. A few big soap bubbles.

S: Smells like alcohol and dank, piney hops.

T: Tastes like a pine cone. Alcohol is in evidence. Strong malt backbone, but definitely some intense bittering hops to balance it out. Leahery taste mid-to-late palate. Finishes with a pronounced oak-y dryness. Aftertaste of a faint caramel and vanilla.

M: This has pretty solid mouthfeel. It is fluffy and smooth. Medium to full-bodied. Very nice. Good weight to it.

D: About average for a DIPA.

 709 characters

Photo of pwoods
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz. brown bomber, purchased from Dilly Deli, poured into a snifter. No dating.

Second Review:

Peanut talked me into trying this again.

...My first review is pretty damn accurate. I do like it a bit more this time but I think I'll be keeping the scores the same.

First Review:

A: Pours a blood red and appears a vibrant ruby in the light. Has some visibility even for such a deep colored beer. Almost 2 fingers in the snifter of off white head with a bit of staying power. Some patching lacing down the glass.

S: Maltiness is on par with an American Barleywine. Bread, butterscotch, rye, citrus hops, alcohol, all struggling for position in a vinous setting.

T/M: Very potent. Hops are big but undefined. Crisp and citrus but I can't pick it apart. Plenty of spice. Bitterness starts medium and continues to build all the way through and beyond a super dry, alcoholic finish. Alcohol isn't afraid to show at all and can be a bit harsh at times. Malts are on part with any Barleywine. I'm actually surprised this isn't labeled a Barleywine.

D: So potent that I think it'll be hard to finish the rest of this bomber. Has a nice price tag but if I buy more of this it'll be to cellar for about a year.

 1,207 characters

Photo of wagenvolks
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bomber into a Foothills pint glass.

An appealing, ruby-copper body fills my pint, pouring thick and leaving behind a 1/2 inch of head. The suds are dirty khaki in color, well-retained, and leave behind nice lacing. Aroma catches me off guard a bit, as candi-sweet malts fill the air, along with syrupy rye and hints of grapefruit hops. I could really go for a bit more hops, here, but the rye pairs nicely with the aroma overall.

I found the flavor to be very unbalanced. If IIPA's weren't my favorite style, I might've rated the taste even lower, as the hops took a backseat to candi-sweet malts and boozy, thick alcohol notes. Only in the aftertaste did the hoppiness come to the rescue, and by then the sugary malts had all but dominated the senses. Body is far too thick to be drinkable, and the alcohol note detracts from, instead of complimenting the experience. I will not be buying this again, sadly, as I had high expectations going into this brew.

 960 characters

Photo of Offa
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I found this to be pretty good, but overall was not impressed.

Dark copper, it has a big pale tan head slowly shrinking to thin foamy top and some lace.

Aroma is sweet port/fortified wine, caramelised and candied grapefruit, caramelised toast.

Taste is raisiny bittersweet jamminess up front, sweet-spicy up front with lingering spicy bitterness behind. Otherwise, it's a bit vague and muddled, overall very sweet and spicy-bitter alcohol with little else. It tastes like a lot of other one-dimensional, run-of-the-mill DIPA types and had no real hop or malt character beyond what I've mentioned.

 599 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.37/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On cask at a local beer bar. Beer is clear and reddish in color. Carbonation is moderate to low and head is soapy and nearly non-existent (it is on cask though). No lacing on the glass. I'm still interested.

Aroma is dominated by hops hops hops. Mostly citrus hop aroma and nothing much else.

Hops are present in the back of the mouth on this one. Correct me if I'm wrong but a RIPA is a RYE IPA correct? I don't taste the rye at all. The finish is a little piny. There isn't much of an aftertaste, is that woodsey flavor the rye trying to squeeze to the front? Eh, not my favorite, definitely not my favorite IPA or rye.

This may be one of those beers that has no business being on cask. I'll try it again in the bottle and see if its better and rereview at a later date.

 775 characters

Photo of BostonHops
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

pours a clear, deep amber; sits a borderline mahogany tone with orange highlights. yields a finger beige head that doesn't stick around too long but leaves decent lacing. nose fairly robust, offering a big dose of rye malt to accompany some muted citric hoppy notes... a bit bready... was expecting more hops, questioning the freshness here.

taste follows suit. very malty for a DIPA, now i'm *really* questioning the freshness. rye is most evident with the hoppy characters being almost secondary notes. reading the reviews of others, it appears this quality is not the norm. medium-full and creamy in the mouth with adequate carbonation

altogether, not a bad beer even with an apparently past its prime bottle. will re-review if i can get my hands on a guaranteed fresh bottle, but as it stands it's an average-DIPA.

(originally reviewed: 08-22-2011)

 889 characters

Photo of ralree
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pretty clear, but dark like half-brewed coffee. Head is enormous and really nicely laces. Retention is amazing.

S: Sugary caramel malt, really toasty smell. Alcohol undetectable, a little hop background.

T: Alcohol definitely makes it into the flavor, balanced out by the caramel malt and a little bit of dark fruit. The alcohol pretty much ruins the taste for me - it's just too much for this one. There are some minor hops in the background, but just not enough. Some definite coffee flavor in here as well.

M: Pretty dry, but creamy, medium-bodied. Carbonation good. Non-astringent.

D: I'd love to drink this, but it's just too much alcohol flavor, which turns me off. If they toned down the alcohol and put in a bunch more hops, this would get my vote.

 763 characters

Photo of beckje01
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Dark amber good activity with a medium tan head.

S- Full fruity.

T- Good hops nice malt background.

M- Good thickness exactly what I would want from the style.

D- One a time for me but I'm sure there are those out there who can handle a few of these big beers.

 275 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks impressive, rich, vibrant reddish brown. Aroma, some sweet candy kinda.

Taste, I completely agree with my predecessor, the lines are blurred between DIPA and barleywine here, moreso towards the barleywine end. Sweet, understated hops, hides the alcohol decently. Drinkable for its alcohol, but price is a little prohibitive.

 332 characters

Photo of flannelman808
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I found this double IPA to be lacking in a hoppy finish (which i would expect from such a beer). The Rye character of this beer overwhelmed me. However it pours very nicely with a dark caramel color and a rich white head. At first taste the hops are present, however they are quickly outweighed by rye and alcohol. Not quite my kind of brew, but probably would be great for someone who likes Sweet complex highly alcoholic beers.

 429 characters

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

 890 characters

Photo of negroobserver
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Described as a Double IPA with Rye Malt
12oz bottle poured into a Sam Adams glass.

The appearance is a light coffee color. Very much like a traditional Brown Ale. Pours with a short cream colored head, which lingers on the top for a bit. Filtered. Light to moderate lacing on the glass.

The body is dense and full. Very heavy. Thick as an imperial stout or a cream ale.

Taste is at best lacking. There is essentially nothing on the front end. First impact comes from the body of the beer, which transitions into a light malty flavor and then quickly to a ver intense bitterness which coats the tongue and lingers in the mouth for at least a minute.

Aroma is malty. Sweet. A hint of sourness. Little or no hoppy aroma which is disappointing.

The beer is a bit of a shock to the taste buds but it becomes less threatening as you continue to drink. Not a bad drink but an acquired taste. I love double IPAs but this one eludes me. It doesn't come together as a whole.

 970 characters

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.32/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 1/13/2009 (bottle):

Pours an amber orange colored body, with a small white head. Has a strong citrusy bitter aroma. Also, a rye grainy aroma. An alcoholy taste, bitter citrus, grainy. Spicy taste. Has a creamy mouthfeel. Nice IPA taste. Carbonated. Tasty.

 265 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a crystal clear burnished copper color. The head is a two finger offwhite shade. The texture is creamier (if thinner) than most DIPAs I tend to encounter, and the lacing it leaves behind is nice looking, as well.

S: Dank. Really the perfect descriptor for this one. Weed, fresh cut grass, herbs, pine, lemon are all the hop qualities I notice, backed by the spicy rye malts. An underlying aroma of toffee, biscuit, and caramel also give the hops some breathing room.

T: At first, it's lightly sweet and spicy. The piny, herbal hops all hit on the midtaste, providing many of the same flavors the nose suggested (marijuana, pine, black pepper, etc.) On the finish, there's an upsurge of both rye malt qualities and earthy booziness. Not really deep, delicate, or balanced in any way, but a fun DIPA to sip on.

M: Shocking heft on the palate, and shockingly silky as well. A bit of roughness builds up after the first sip, in conjunction with the drying of the finish. Given the choice between syrupy and sweet or dry, clean, and boozy...aw fuck it, I'll take dry, clean, and boozy in this case. I'm really glad this one lacks overt sweetness.

O: I've never been too particular over rye IPAs, but this one is fine. Very good for those who like spicy, bitter, pine-forward DIPAs.

 1,323 characters

Photo of Drinkerofales
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with cinnamon red highlights, with a bubbly head that leaves awesome lacing. Too dark for a DIPA.

Smells is malt, sweet and cloying, hops are in there, but let's be honest, it's almost an afterthought. Hrm, it doesn't smell like a DIPA.

Taste is the same, very roasted malt, bold, hint of hops? The rye comes out in the after taste, but, it doesn't taste like a DIPA.

Feel is thick and smooth with just the right amount of boozy warmth. Viscous with a hops bite on the end, all the while very sticky.

Overall, this doesn't have the DIPA look, smell, and taste I am looking for. Great texture makes this a great beer, but a DIPA? Heck no, and this should not be labeled as a DIPA. Doesn't make it bad, but it is not what it claims to be.


 762 characters

Photo of waltersrj
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, 2011 vintage.

Pour: Deep, dark copper brown. Looks thick and coating, the almost tanned off white head is well carbonated and lingers for awhile.

Nose: Sweet caramel malt, sweet rye as well as rye spice. West coast hops, citrusy, grapefruit and pine.

Taste: Cloyingly sweet which is strange considering the nose. Otherwise the hops that eventually come through ate citrusy, pineapple, and pine but that malt/rye sweetness comes back and leaves some good rye spice on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Pretty thick for the style but perhaps it seems thicker due to the cloying sweetness in the taste.

Overall: Too sweet, wouldn't pick up again.

 645 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I got this bottle in a trade with nutbown. Thanks Alan!

This pours a deep amber gold with a small head of foam. Again, there's lots of lacing like the others I've tried from them.

The smell is both hoppy and malty. Good notes of caramel and light floral hops with a rather strong peppery presence. My nose is happy.

The taste is stronger than the smell when it comes to the hops. Floral and piney hops dominate with a strong pepper spice flavour and a mild caramel malt backnone that I wish was more assertive. Dang, this is spicy and it makes me take long breaks between the sips. The alcohol is also more assertive than I care for and not nearly as well hidden as in their Jewbelation 11.

The mouthfeel is medium and nice, the carbonation is medium, and it finishes very bitter with some sweet tones though, I can't say that it's anywhere near balanced.

Bottom line: This one just doesn't do it for me and finishing the bomber will be a chore. Too much hop bitterness and pepper spice for the amount of malt that I can taste. Too extreme for me? I think so.

 1,064 characters

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 Omnium
3.29/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle > Pint Glass
A - Pours red/amber in color, thick off white two finger head, medium lacing
S - Sweet caramel and toffee, some lemon candies, grapefruit rind, really resinouy and dank as far as the hop smell goes.
T - Disgustingly sweet malt, those dang oily hops come through and leave alcohol burn and taste, a mild rye bitterness in the mix with some pine and bitter citrus peel.
M - Sticky and chewy sweetness.
O - This is not an IPA, or a double IPA by any means, its a barely wine WITH some additional hops and SOME rye, and should be treated as such. Overly sweet, and boozey.

 591 characters

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