1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

1,731 Ratings
THE BROS
99
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,731
Reviews: 849
rAvg: 4.06
pDev: 12.07%
Wants: 72
Gots: 94 | 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: 1,731 | Reviews: 849 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Foxman
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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 21, 2006
Photo of asabreed
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: A nice looking amber body with a billowy head that goes down fairly quickly with some thin lacing around the middle of the glass.

Smell: Aromatic and flowery sweetness, some citrus from the malt and some grapefruit and piney hops in there also. Alcohol is apparent but only adds to the aroma. Is there rye in here? Not sure I can really discern it. Very balanced and effervescent without being out of control in one way or the other.

Taste: Very sweet initially, but somehow, maybe from the hops, the lingering sweetness is not there. And the hops are so prevalent that it doesn't become cloying or hard to take down. Flavors of sweet orange peel start, with some citrus bitterness and then the grapefruit hop flavors come in toward the end, giving the finish a lingering hop note with flavorful citrus. Very complex and very balanced; without the balance I could see this being pretty hard to drink, but as it stands it's extremely tasty. Not getting much rye at all, though, but still.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied, with a bit of chewiness, but the carbonation's right on to make it fairly creamy and easy to drink.

Drinkability: I'm very impressed by this; I love the push toward craziness that turns into a very balanced brew. A bomber wasn't hard for me to finish, but I could imagine it could easily be for some. It is a bit on the sweeter side of Double IPAs, so beware of that. But I could see some interesting things happening with this in the future. Since the price tag's around $5-$6 a bottle, I'll probably buy a few. Kudos to Hebrew for constructing this, and I can't wait to see who they dedicate the next brew to.

asabreed, Sep 18, 2006
Photo of tavernjef
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Gorgeous deep dark fiery copper color with an immensely thick stack of soft off-yellowed foam. Tons of lacing coats the glass like frosting.

Aroma of alcoholic vapors waver over a thick dark malt sweetness and dry rye breadyness. Highly pine soaked oilyness ensues as it sits. This is where the 10% really makes itself present.

Taste is big and malty with lots of chewy breadyness laced with a few dark fruit skins and pits. Thicker yet, burntness of brown sugar arrives along with the rye, which in tune sets up the dryness over the super high pine hoppyness that nearly burns the throat out with an oil drenching thickness of orange, grapefruit, and pine sweetened bitterness. Ripe Barleywine-esk in nature and character.

Huge mouthfeel. Every corpuscle is soaked and coated with bitter sweet thickness. Big malt, big hops, (as stated on the label "an obscene amount") and that rye adds a nice extra cap of clever dryness to its bready fruit bread base. Oily smooth and warming with a complexing fun finish of hop oil warmth and malt residue.

Another keeper of a brew by He'Brew. A nice tribute to Lenny.
(R.I.P.)A. - truly...

tavernjef, Sep 17, 2006
Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, no freshness or bottling info. Wordy label, do they think anybody really reads all that stuff? Anyway this strong beer pours dark auburn, pretty clear, sporting a tan long lastin head, that started out frothy and settled down to a thick film . It leaves some well developed lacing. Nose I pick up is clearly of rye bread. This is a strong brew, plenty of malty under notes, coupled with some smoke, more rye and smooth oily, grainy hop notes. Nicely crafted, perhaps the best I've had yet from the Shmaltz "tribe members"

Billolick, Sep 16, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
3.63/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle purchased form LaBodega in Riverside, CA. in August 2006 for $4.99. This is only my second or third Rye beer, and I guess it's an acquired taste.

Pours a deep rich reddish amber with a yellowish fluffy head.

The aroma is intense hop richness, sour oily grapefruit perfume with sweet malts underneath. The flavor is tasty, of course hops being the main theme, with a sharp kicker of additional hops at the end of the swallow. Lots of malt, but the hops are really over the top.

Mouthfeel is almost syrupy this is so thick and rich. I finished the bomber, but it was really more than I wanted. Overall, this is a well made, interesting beer, but not really something I feel strongly about wanting to try again.

Dukeofearl, Sep 16, 2006
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.13/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not really sure why this beer needs a gimmick, seems just find on its own. The beer presents a healthy dose of hops that comes through on the nose and palate, strong but not over powering. I'm finding this beer a bit more drinkable than other DIPA, or in this case a RIPA. Nice finish, well balanced hop kick coupled with a nice warming alcohol body.

Definitely worth a try. And well priced to boot.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Sep 16, 2006
Photo of BradBLR
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a very dark amber color, alot darker than a normal IPA. The head was a brownish white and lasted the whole beer with a medium amount of lacing. The smell was a very malty sweet smell with just a hint of hops and rye.

The taste of this beer was very strong, very malty and sweet. Almost like it was a little too rich. There was a nice amount of hops, but not a ton of rye. The mouthfeel was good, the CO2 was great and it was pretty thick.

All in all a good beer, but not something I want to drink all the time. I have another bottle, think I will let it sit for a while and have it again after it has a little age under its belt.

BradBLR, Sep 14, 2006
Photo of doubleipa
2.9/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not very hoppy, at all. No pine, resin, or citrus. Weak aroma for a DIPA. Surprisingly. Nice big, off-white head. Color was dark amber. There is a definite alcohol aftertaste. This is OK. It got better as it warmed up, but it didn't affect my ratings.

doubleipa, Sep 13, 2006
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.15/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours quite viscously with a dark reddish hued, amber color that shows a brilliantly clear ruby tinged color when held up to the light. The beer is topped by a frothy, amber tinged, tan colored head that is initially about a finger and a half thick. I am quite happy to say that the aroma is quite hoppy. Notes of sweet oranges and a touch of pine intermingle with a big, chewy, caramelized maltiness. Quite fruity, almost a berry like note joins the citrus notes. Toasted grain notes help to dry out the aroma towards the end.

The beer is a bit sweet up front, in fact perhaps amply so, but there are lots of things to balance the sweetness out. An astringent bitterness rides throughout this beer, it is a touch harsher than I would like. Part of this is that there is a menthol like note, that seems to couple with a bit of an astringent dark grain note and a sharp note of alcohol. There is some hop flavor character here as well, it just plays second fiddle to the other notes that I have mentioned; notes of orange peel and some herbal notes are here. This beer is just unbalanced, and not in the way a double IPA should be; harsh, sharply astringent and hot. Perhaps some age will help to mellow this out, but it no longer would be a even the shade of a double IPA that it is now.

Gueuzedude, Sep 11, 2006
Photo of mattcrill
3.18/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shared this one with BA cmaruschak

Aroma: Peppery, spicy hops. Some alcohol warmth noted. Spicy and dry is definitely the dominant theme here.

Appearance: Brilliant ruby colored pour with a sudsy white 1-finger head.

Flavor: Bittering hops, peppery spiciness dominate the palate. Just a hint of some malty sweetness but this is followed by a bittering dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and oily. Almost overcarbonated.

Overall impression: A bit too unbalanced for me. Needed more of a malt presence to balance out the punishing hops and alcohol burn. Glad I split this one. Hard to finish for me. Normally I enjoy a highly hopped rye beer but this one missed it's mark for me.

mattcrill, Sep 10, 2006
Photo of bruachan
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

i love hops and i love rye. the bottle says it has both inside. so i opened it

it's real dark, but with that much malt involved (enough to produce 10% alc) i guess that's inevitable. it's a deep ambery garnet. the head is nice

the aroma is more room-filling and monistically ever-present than that of any beer i've ever experienced. the beer is sitting a yard away right now and it might as well be in my damn nose. immensely malty an hoppy simultaneously—great balance. the character of the malt is so complex that it makes me think of a quad. the piney hops fit seamlessly in, and the rye is evident

BIG flavors. thick, creamy yet piercing with the hops and rye spice. deee-lish. this is my first He'brew, but count me in

bruachan, Sep 10, 2006
Photo of smcolw
4.08/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I experienced a very unusual pour. The first third of the glass seemed very flat, as if there is no carbonation. Straightening the glass for a more vigorous pour resulted in an overflow of foam. Very deceiving. The head lasts a long time with thick lace on the glass side. The color is dark reddish copper. Clear.

Far more malty than I would expect. Lots of caramel. The hops are quite muted. This is still an attractive aroma, drawing me to the

Large! Almost syrupy body with a large malt punch. The hop bitterness shows up almost immediately. The hop bitterness lasts and lasts in the aftertaste. Too much of a good thing? No way.

If you like extreme beers, this one delivers as advertised ("brewed with an obscene amount of malts & hops"). I'm a huge fan of Double IPA's and this one is one of the better ones!

smcolw, Sep 09, 2006
Photo of dgallina
3.83/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 fluid ounce brown bomber with no freshness date.

Pours clear copper & chestnut with over an inch of foamy tan head. Withdraws to a small film and excellent thin lace. Smells like grapefruits, sticky tree sap, caramel, and fruity alcohol. Gooey sweet caramel malts and rye in the front of the mouth. Develops blended grapefruit and pine bark hops, plus deep toasted rye malt chewiness towards the back. Finishes with bracing hops and super sharp alcohol sting. Creamy, sticky, barely carbonated (nearly still really) in the mouth. An interesting and (way) over the top IPA, but not something I'd drink much of.

dgallina, Sep 09, 2006
Photo of merlin48
4.78/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle pours a radiant copper body with excellent clarity. Generous beige head has suburb retention and laces profusely.

Aroma is luscious, boasting tons of malt, hops, and spicy rye. Orange and tangerine esters dance around with pink grapefruit,spicy pumpernickel and toffee and caramel.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, slightly chewy, with an ideal carbonation that rounds out the malt and hops very well.

Taste has lots of citrusy hops, mostly orange, that balance well with the toffee maltiness. A nice presence of grapefruit hops bitterness is noticed from start to finish and melds sublimely with the spiciness from the rye malt. Some welcome caramel sweetness pokes through from time to time, adding to the tasty complexity. No hint of the 10% abv.

An excellent DIPA with a spicy rye edge. Well balanced, very tasty, and dangerously drinkable. Lenny's is a real winner!

merlin48, Sep 05, 2006
Photo of ccs
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This is a nice clear caramel-amber with and ivory head that sticks around bot the glass and for the test of time...it was still there when only a little beer was left in the glass. Smeel is very typial for double IPA, malt with stong hop undertones along with the slight astringency I almost expect from a higher alcohol beer. The taste is very nice, a hint of alcohol backed by bitterness and herbal hops and a little malt. The mouthfeel is thicker than a standard IPA, and it fits very wel with the taste. However, I dont think I'd want too many of these...it's a pretty big beer and should be treated with respect.

ccs, Sep 03, 2006
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 1,731 ratings.