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.

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875 Reviews

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Reviews: 875
Hads: 1,908
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 17.62%
Wants: 82
Gots: 189 | 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).
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 875 | Hads: 1,908
Photo of beerdrifter
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

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Photo of Tone
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark amber/copper color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of slight citrus hops, hint of hop oil, sweet malt, hint of caramel malt, and slight rye. Fits the style of an American IPA. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a noticeable dryness. Tastes of strong hops, hint of roasted malt, sweet malt, slight rye, slight caramel malt, and a hint of alcohol. Overall, good appearance, decent aroma, decent body, and decent blend.

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Photo of gillagorilla
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak tulip

A: A nice deep brown tinged with ruby redness. Minimal head with ok lacing.

S: Sweet and malty, almost like a mellow barleywine (reminds me a bit of bigfoot, but opposite how that is a barleywine that tastes like an ipa fresh). I get very little hops of any kind, but a weird faint pine scent.

T: Tastes like a weird sort of pines. I don't know how to describe this. The flavor kind of starts and stops, all the while switching gears. It starts out with these odd hop notes and then into some roasty maltness but with no sweetness. You get the malted resin aftertaste, which isn't too much to my liking. It tastes like it wants to be a barleywine part way through with all of the malts and roast flavors, but just falls short and not in a good way. It is a weird clashing of flavors and just comes across as an oddly flavored IPA with barely anything to make it seem like an IPA.

M: Smooth at first but followed by an even crispness that is just waiting for the sign, which is when you begin to swallow. Lots of tiny coarse bubbles.

O: This is my first Schmaltz beer and not off to a great start. I was expecting a lot with that high rating. Not a great DIPA IMO. I don't like the flavor profiles here.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a huge huge head with excellent retention and a cloudy amber color.

Smell is of sour rye with some piney and perfumy hoppiness, with a big whiff of alcohol astringency.

The sour rye goes really well with the piney and perfumy hops. The astringency of the alcohol is a bit much though and takes away a tad from the overall enjoyment of the beer. Also, there aren't enough hops to balance the astringency.

The mouthfeel is a bit astringent, but has a nice fullness otherwise. I want to like this beer more, but it's a bit boozy.

Thie beer has an awesome rye profile, but is a bit too astringent with the alcohol to be superbly drinkable.

I want to like this beer more. There is such a great rye characteristic, but the alcohol astringency and lack of adequate hops to balance is too big of a flaw.

Thanks to La Roja for a great extra on my wants list.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

"I'm sorry I haven't been funny. I'm not a comedian. I'm Lenny Bruce."

--Leonard Alfred Schneider

Burnt rustic orange with more than a little brick red that adds vividness and depth of color. Amazingly enough, the head filled the entire glass on the pour. At the several minute mark it's still 50:50 with the beer. The lid is richly creamy and is sticky to boot. No surprise then that orange-tinted, pale caramel lace is beginning to be laid down in a thick (soon to be crusty) coat. Lenny's is a lace monster of the highest order.

I wondered whether I popped the top too early on this one and I fear that I did. Unfortunately, the double digit alcohol hasn't had a chance to mellow and the nose is too dominated by it to be considered great. I can, however, still appreciate boadloads of caramel malt and spicy rye malt. For such an amazing hop bill, very little lupulin goodness makes it out of the glass.

The flavor profile is an exact replica of the nose. The bottom line is: plenty of malt (a good thing), plenty of alcohol (a bad thing) and not enough hops (another bad thing). That may be good enough to win the batting crown, but it isn't enough for me to feel very good about Lenny's R.I.P.A. On paper, this is a killer beer. In actuality, at its current age at least, it's a minor disappointment.

A huge amount of malt forms an unshakable, rock solid base of operations. Melted caramel, toffee pudding and rye whiskey dominate with an iron fist and effectively smash any attempt by the citric hops to gain a toehold on the palate. I love what hops were chosen (Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe, Crystal, Chinook, Amarillo and Centennial), but it doesn't do much good when none of them are able to appreciated to the extent that they should be in a DIPA.

Spiciness is the overriding flavor characteristic. Whether it's due to spicy rye malt or alcohol doesn't really matter. The beer is simply too raw-edged and too hotly spicy for its own good (I guess we can attribute the heat to the alcohol). Aging the bottle wouldn't even have worked since I've never known hops to gain strength over time.

The mouthfeel is amazingly full and sumptuous. So much so that it's a damn shame that the flavor isn't up to the task. It was big right out of the hopper and is becoming even more thick and sticky with warming. Tremendous.

Lenny Bruce prefered to dispense his brand of wisdom and his version of the truth by shocking his audience and challenging their beliefs and assumptions. Lenny's R.I.P.A. is faithful to Lenny's spirit in that it's shocking to the palate and is somewhat challenging to drink. Somehow I don't think that's what Schmaltz had it mind.

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Photo of naterock
3.56/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a fluted tasting glass. Deep reddish-amber with a one finger head, decent head retention.

Smells of rich rye malt, a aromatic yeast and a kiss of hops in the nose. Not as hoppy in the smell as I would have thought.

Ah, there's the hops. not hidden, but blasting out of the rye malt. The heat coming from the hops is crazy and WAAY underbalanced with a boozy body and just a little bit of sweetnes coming from the malts.

Mouth is oily and overcarbonated. Drinkability I can't say is too high. really wouldn't be a sure buy for me when in the mood for a DRIPA.

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

Pours a rich, deep red color with burnt orange highlights, topped by a good finger of creamy white head. A rather pretty beer. Aroma is of roasted caramel malt and a good dose of fruity hops. Notes of dark cherry and a hint of brown sugar peek through as well.
Palate is complex, making a couple of transformations from the first sip to the last. Up front the caramel malt really shines through, with the slightly sweet, fruity hops emerging mid-palate. The rye shows up after the swallow with some pretty serious bitterness that lingers on the finish. The body is substantial and a bit creamy, with the rye bill eliminating some of the syrupy character that tends to come with double IPAs. Altogether, though, the bitterness on the finish is too much for me. Probably won't be getting this one again.

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

a: pours a half inch khaki head that recedes to a suitable layer and ring, the beer is a hazy, deep orange-amber in color

s: syrupy sweet malt sugars with caramel barley and one of the bigger rye noses I've come across, gives a candied and spicy - almost nutmeg and ginger - note, butterscotch, tropical-pine hops try to make a dent in the malt but come up just short, light booze as it warms a little overly sweet and much like an underattenuated american barleywine, but a nice aroma overall

m: smooth, low carbonation, full-medium body

t: big notes of sweet rye and caramel barley upfront, alongside is a tropical hop flavor turning pine with a moderate bitterness in the finish, loads of candied grain

d: easy enough

overall: I love a malty ipa/dipa, but only when the hops are equally as or more assertive

bomber from Whole Foods Reston on the advice of the beer guy...he also recommended a laguniters, but I've got a personal policy against that

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into two pint glasses. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

A: Pours a nice looking orange-red color with a rocky 2 1/2 finger head that leaves a decent amount of lace.

S: Spicy rye malt aroma with a dash of hops and some rather intrusive alcohol.

T: Pretty much just see above with the addition of some lightly sweet caramel malt. The alcohol steps all over the flavors in this.

M: Starts smooth through the beginning and finish then turns sharp and prickly at the finish.

D: I found this to be just above average. To me the alcohol isn't integrated well into the other aromas and flavors. It sort of sticks out like a sore thumb.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at Durty Nellie's.

Had to cap things off at Nellie's somehow, so I figured I'd give this guy a go. It pours a clear sunrise garnet topped by a finger of dirty light-tan foam. The nose comprises dank greens, light leek, lightly toasted caramel, very light pine, and an even lighter hint of mint. The taste holds notes of toasted toffee, heavy pine, leek, and dark greens. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a mostly solid brew, but the rye really never comes through, leaving things at the mercy of a slightly overly-piney hop lord. Not bad by any stretch, but probably not as good as it could have been (if that makes sense)...

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

Recievedthis 12oz. as an extra from StlThrash. Poured into my Deschutes tulip...

A - Pours a clear ruby color with 1 finger of fluffy, almost creamy tan head. Slowly fades into a nice collar.

S - Big rye aroma.

T/M - Malty up front. Toffee and butterscotch qualities. There is a rye bite on the back of the taste, and in the finish. Kinda drawing a blank on the hops. Medium, slightly syrupy mouthfeel.

O - A different beer, thats for sure. Not sure I would classify it as a rye IPA. It is a good brew, and a really good rye ale, but not a good IPA.

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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.

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

I had this on-tap at the 1850 Landmark Inn in Milwaukee. I had sampled this beer (more than once, actually) at the GABF, and it was the best rye beer I had there. However, I still prefer Founder's Red Rye, although this beer is very good.

It was served in a tulip glass and was a reddish brown color with two fingers of white head. Maybe it was the glass, but this beer had almost a cabernet wine sort of color to it, which was appealing.

The smell hoppy, without a lot of maltiness that you might expect from a beer made with rye.

But the rye was evident in the taste, but not to the extent that is in Red's Rye. I felt that more rye taste may have made this beer taste a bit more balanced. The hop bitterness was good, and pretty untamed due to what I perceived as a lack of malt balance.

Mouthfeel was good...not too sticky but also not watery.

Drinkability was also decent. This beer has a high enough ABV that you're well-advised to not go slugging down 16 oz at a time, but I could have multiple 8-10 oz servings of this beer. All in all, I'd recommend it.

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Photo of danielharper
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Hazy caramel-colored body, slightly reddish on the edges, with a very thick bubbly off-white head. The head sticks around for awhile, give significant lacing.

Smell: Right off the bat, strong notes of rye and crisp West Coast hops. Underneath that, some fruity sweetness, grapefruit and apples or pears, with a touch of citrus, perhaps oranges? Overall an interesting aroma.

Taste: Wow. Highly alcoholic, very strong rye flavor. Bitter hops on the backend. Slightly dry in the aftertaste. As you get used to the alcohol and the hops, a slight grainy maltiness appears in the middle. A very imposing beer, perhaps with the alcohol turned up just a tad too high. That and the hops overwhelm the rest of the flavors. It's not bad, but it's very strong, and it's difficult to get any complexity out of it.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thick mouthfeel, hops tickle the tongue, some carbonation.

Drinkability: This is obviously a lot of people's cup of tea, but it's not really something I feel the need to drink regularly. It's priced right at $6.99, and I'm sure I'll drink it again, but overall there are much better DIPAs out there.

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

Bought this bottle on the recommendation of the guys at Brewforia. Cheers.

Poured into an oversize wine glass. Wow! Pours thicker, darker and hazier that almost every other DIPA I've ever had. Its an ice-tea color, reminiscent of the Chimay Red I had this weekend, and the head is closer to khaki than white. The legs are pretty good on this beer...so far, I'm intrigued.

It has a very earthy/spicy hop aroma. It has some of those qualities that make me think dank soil, with that hop astringency in there for good measure, the kind everyone calls cat piss (Simcoe). I can smell the malts too, caramel breadiness...and some sweetness but I can't tell if its the hops or malts...

Initially the mouthfeel isn't as big as I thought it would be, but this is still not a light bodied beer...it coats your whole mouth, and has a good amount of palette cleansing carbonation. The bitterness is more in the middle of the tongue than most beers I've tried...upfront, its just malt I think? It's bready, resiny, and bitter but not the most hop-forward beer I've tried. Its got some of that dank pine/wet grass character as well. The bitterness is in the middle-towards the end, and its a good bitterness, I'll give this beer that much. Not overwhelming but still up there in 'felt' BU's, I've got to think.

I think its a really well crafted beer, just not quite my thing (and I'm a hop head, too). The more beers I try, the more I want a traditional west coast IPA.


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Photo of ne0m00re
3.59/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz bottle into an oversized red wine glass to capture the aroma.
A: Amber with golden hues. It poured with a medium cream head that died to a film.
S: Lemon and orange juice with some spicy--but not piney--hops, and sweet rye.
T: Butterscotch toffee. The rye comes in with earthy bitter hops. There is a lingering gin alcohol flavor on the back of the mouth.
M: Moderately syrupy, frothy, and very smooth.
D: Good as it is a well-balanced beer.

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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.

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Photo of ryrust5301
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well as the name would suggest this tastes exactly like a rye beer, but with just a dash of ipa. It's almost brown in color, but is really a dark dark red. Smells of hoppy rye and spicy alcohol. On taste the first thing I pick up is a deep dark rye that finishes of with a bitter hop bite. Malt is well represented with a coating sweetness. Alcohol is present as it warms the throat after the swallow. Has a nice crisp smooth feel to it that isn't overly big. Dead on as far as a rye ipa goes. A nice first experience into the hebrew line.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 5/10/11
Served in Duvel tulip at 45F.

A - Medium amber colour with two fingers of bubbly off-white head. Translucent.

S - Some hop bitterness is evident up front, followed by a significant caramel sweetness and some spiciness.

T - Good bitterness up front with lots of spiciness, followed by a good caramel sweetness in the middle. The finish is bitter and dry. Some piney notes come through at times but overall, not a lot of flavour comes through from the hops.

M - Medium body with a really good chew. Light carbonation.

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Photo of Zorro
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a medium amber with a one finger eggshell head that leaves spotty lace on the way down to a thin cap. On the nose there is smooth caramel mixed in with the spice from the rye, with a nice big boozy note underneath. It almost smells like a variation of an English barleywine with the nice addition of rye. In the mouth there comes a little bit of bitterness sitting on top of big clouds of caramel and rye. It's sweet, almost candy-like, but with a hint of bitterness. The body is medium full but a bit sticky for my tastes.

Overall, this is a really nice beer, pretty unique among things I've tried. This is more a modified barleywine to me than a DIPA, but the addition of rye is pretty genius no matter what you call it.

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Photo of Shadman
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful bright color. A lot like a polished copper pipe. Very nice rich head and good lacing.

Aroma is sweet, with lot's of floral citrus hoppiness, with a hint of the vanilla that tends to be associated with rye & whiskey.

Interesting taste..lot's of sweet, dried fruit maltiness decently accompanied by the cascade hop. Thought it could have used a bit more hop to balance it. Finish is sweet and sticky. however. Booze is there, but warms rather than burns because of the sweet/stickiness.

Medium to borderline full with a oily slickness.

Just a bit too syrupy and sweet to be top drawer.

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Photo of JizackFH
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a nice dark amber red color with a 2-finger off white head. The head had decent retention and left just a little bit of lacing on the glass. There was a lot of carbonation visible.

S - This smells of caramel sweetness. The rye is there as well, but it isn't as strong as I thought it would be. The scent of hops is also present, but this beer is definitely malt dominated. The sweet smell of this beer is nice.

T - Caramel sweetness up front. There are also notes of rye, grapefruit hops, and a little citrus. The finish of this beer is of hop bitterness. I thought the rye would come into play more than it did here in the taste.

M - The mouthfeel is decent. It has a medium body with medium carbonation. It also has a creaminess to it, and it is also a little bit warming.

D - I would say that this is a pretty drinkable beer. I really wish the rye would have come into play more than it did, but I still think it is definitely worth trying. I would pick this one up again if there wasn't anything else that caught my eye, but I think overall this beer is ultimately forgettable.

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Photo of bubseymour
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Can't find any dates on the bottle, but this beer seems a little stale to me. No hops present in the nose. Some sweetness. Taste is a little sticky and thick. Pretty well balanced between malt and hops. Not much lingering bitterness at all. Very nice buttery mouthfeel. Overall my review is somewhat reserved because I think it may be older shelf life. Its an ok double but really missing any of the great hop notes I look for in my IPAs these days.

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Photo of PALMEJ1
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

from 22oz bomber into snifter

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

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

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

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

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

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