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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: 1,907
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 17.62%
Wants: 82
Gots: 188 | 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: 1,907
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 lacqueredmouse
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22oz bomber. Love the label.

Pours an obscenely thick, syrupy deep golden-orange treacle colour. Fine bubbles struggle through the body to get to the yellowish head, amazingly fine with creamy bubbles. Lacing is extreme. This is one hell of an impressive looking beer.

I can smell it out of the bottle as I pour it. Really strong citrussy hop character, sour and sweet, with candied lemon peel and Curacao dominant. There's a dark almost peppery undertone to it as well, spicy and rich. Nice. Very nice indeed.

Wow, that must be the longest palate I've yet tried. It just creeps up, and up, and up, moving from an initial malty, syrupy sweetness, through a light effervescent fruity sourness before the hops kick in for the grand finale, a massive welling up of bittersweet freshness. Coupled with this is the second layer which interleaves the main characters - spice, cinnamon, pumpernickel, pepper - it's the dark undertone to the fresh, citrus/fruit characters which seem dominant.

Mouthfeel is sublime, smooth and slick - the alcohol adds a little heat as well.

This is a damn fine beer, with a massive array of flavours constructed together beautifully. The alcohol does start to assert itself after a while, which leaves this heady brew a sipper, but it's a damn good one. A thoroughly delicious beer.

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Photo of biegaman
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A sweltered, fire-roasted orange peel with ample topping of khaki-stained whipped cream. The beer's colour is tanned and toasty but its complexion clean and nearly uninterruptedly transparent. The foam does good at sticking around, and sticking to the sides of the glass for that matter, too. Its remnants droopingly hang as if part of an expressionist painting.

Shmaltz Brewing really ought to consider opening up their own hop store; how's this for a hop bill: Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe, Crystal, Chinook, Amarillo and Centennial? Wowza! With an outfit like that (and a regiment of dry hopping) I think a sassy, dynamic aroma is to be expected. Curiously, things end up fairly mild. It still boasts an ambrosial bouquet of candied grapefruits and bitter resins but it's mild given the specs.

Much of what toned it down, it seems, is the equally liberal use of caramel malts and rye (of which three different varieties are used). In smell and in taste, the dry, grainy, kilned sensation of rye malt really takes up a lot of room on the palate. Foremost, they lend the sensation of rich dark caramel. Also imparted are notes of whole grain bagels, rye bread, chewy nougat and an odd similarity to wild rice.

Hints of candied grapefruit and candied orange peel aren't easily overlooked, however, considering the hop additions once again, it's a mystery this isn't more resinous, fruity, pungent, citric or at very least more bitter! The presence of any of those qualities is minimal at most. No matter, the beer doesn't suffer any one bit.

The alcohol is well contained for a beer this strength. As it warms, however, small traces of it pierce through the flavour. It certainly doesn't detract any from the drinkability, in fact, it adds a welcome dimension to the beer. This is rather phenomenal, it offers an array of textures and tastes (think sherbets meets doughnuts, wild berries meets wild rice). It is a unique composition difficult to place into a defined style.

Reading the description, I was expecting to break out in hives shaped like hops. Turns out, it contains surprisingly little of the oils and resins of the Pacific Northwest. Instead, it offers a taste of a fantastic, fresh-baked marble rye from a good Jewish bakery. Not to say this isn't hoppy, the label is correct proclaiming an 'obscene amount of malts and hops', but this takes on a unique character all of its own. Be sure to try it for yourself to see what I mean.

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Photo of John_M
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Max's tonight. The beer pours an attractive copper color with impressive head retention and OK lacing. On the nose, this is simply a beautiful beer. There is a lovely, perfumy aroma of rye and grapefruit that blended together is just wonderful. On the palate this beer is nearly as good, but with a bit more sweet malt then I think is necessary or desired. Still, this is just a beautiful beer, with an incredible soft, creamy, hop perfume finish. The beer is so soft and long on the palate, with just enough hops to give it wonderful bitter bite on the finish. However, there's almost a perfume flavor to this beer, that works perfectly with the rye and malt. The alcohol is somewhat noticeable, which detracts a bit from the beer's drinkability, but this is one delicious, easy to drink DIPA.

Very, very impressive....

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa. Rating as an IPA as advertised it gets a goose egg because it was no where close to an IPA, not one that I am used to, it walked a fine line on the barleywine side and for that I give a great rating of course. This one poured out a deeep amber with some great carbonation. It poured thick like syrup and took a few to settle. On the nose it smells of pure malt. The taste..the malt really takes over the hops leaving it a bit lopsided for an IPA. Tasted sweet and spicy .Went down well and stuck around for a while. The ABV and heaviness of this one takes down the drinkability but an EXCELLENT brew.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark amber color, nice carbonation, nice small creamy off-white head, lots of nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, hoppy, nice touch of citrus, some pines, and caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, nice hop tones, some citrus/pines, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden pretty well, nice balance between malts/hops, with a slightly dry/bitter finish. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty DIPA, highly recommended.

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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 jdhilt
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours five+ finger white head that fades very slowly, leaving a good lace. Almost clear red/amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Grapefruit hop nose. Flavor is grapefruit with a good caramel backing. Decent DIPA. $3.79 for a 12 oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a reddish-brown crystal clear body but a bit dense. The strong sea of carbonation is tiny bubbles that glide up the sides of the glass. The thick sticky light tan head hold to the side of the glass after each sip.

S- This beer has a sweet malt flavor with a note of sugary dum-dum suckers. The light smell of wet grain and toast come through as it warms. There is also a hint of dark rye bread that is very pleasant.

T- This beer has a sweet dark caramel malt flavor with a bitterness of dandelion greens to follow. There spicy notes from hops or rye that fades into toasted malt notes and sweet white sugar flavors. The finish has a light herbal note with a malt and hop bitterness at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a slight slippery texture. There is a slight chalky texture and a soft alcohol heat that comes through as it warms.

D- This beer has some nice qualities of old ales, sweet malts and smooth alcohol with notes of spicy rye notes. I didn't get any qualities of IPA let alone DIPA. Nice beer in the wrong categories.

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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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz picked up at Pilgrim's Market in CdA over the weekend... enjoyed while listening to some Carl Cox Black Rock and chilling on my hotel balcony.

Poured into my small weizen glass... 2 finger lite khaki head... good retention and lacing... the brew is a polished copper.

Nose is hop forward with a bunch of caramel maltiness to balance... citrus hops out front with more than enough malt to pull it out... big booze presence.

Hop bitterness helps balance the pretty thick malt component.. toasty and thick caramel essence.. citrus hops bite barely bite through the malts.. too syrupy... not really cloying, but just unbalanced in my mind.. Body is heavy and the carbonation is pretty high, yet gets punished by the viscosity.

This should easily be in the American BW category.. no where near... NO where near a DIPA... The rye is present yet only in hints throughout the palate and evident on the mouthfeel where a nice slickness appears.

Ehhhh... okay.. boozy and sweet.. needs alot more hoppiness... really, alot more.


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Photo of WoodBrew
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The Bittersweet rye DIPA from Shmaltz is pretty good...for a sipping beer...aint noway your sessioning this bad boy. The beer poured a slightly hazy orangish copper with big think slightly offwhite head that is lacing like a vicky secret catalog. The smell has that deep rich malty musk with fresh hop hints...waiffs of alcohol also come to the surface. The taste is big....its a war between hops and malt. Its a big malt push at the beginning followed by bittering hops with essence of citrus and pine. The rye helps the beer to come off the pallet. The mouthfeel is full bodied with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a decent DIPA...once the mouth adjusts tot eh high ABV it really becomes nice.

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

From growler to Bruges hybrid glass

A: Once of the sexiest brews I've poured. A gorgeous burgundy color, it looks like a 15 year old single malt. 2+ finger head and icky, sticky lacing which crept all the way to the top of the glass.

S: Grab the juicer....lemon-lime with hints of mango overwhelm the nose before putting my schnozz in the glass.

T: This one lets you know it's an Imperial right away. It's a hop bomb that smacked my tastebuds the moment I poured this saucy bitch in my mouth. Oh so fresh - it really strives for and achieves that Left Coast style hop profile. The thing that really got me was how long the hop oils stuck around. It was intense, really intense, for a good 5+ minutes post sip.

M: Insanely creamy. It's heavy; weighty, it really shows off in this category. It's also suprisingly smooth for a DIPA.

O: This beer is like a hot-n-heavy, six week old relationship. You may be in love, but don't want to overstep your boundaries. Let's say I really, really like this brew, and I'm currently making plans for Lenny to have a drawer in my chifferobe.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a medium to dark reddish amber with a fine one finger light tan head with great retention and lacing. Nice aroma of bready malt, dark and dried stone fruit, caramel and a hint of citrus hops. Similar to a barley wine aroma. Flavor of sweet caramel malt, dark and light fruit, slight spiciness and sourness from the rye and alcohol heat. Finishes with aromatic pine and citrus hops which duke it out with the alcohol, finally winning and leaving a long herbal bitterness. Medium bodied with some creaminess. This is a very nicely made DIPA that has definitely crosses the line with barley wines, although it does have a strong IPA hop presence. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1 1/2" beige head over the clear reddish amber brew. Head lasts and lasts, with hoards of chunky lacing. Aroma is pine and sweet grains, with some spiciness to boot. Taste is sweet maltiness upfront, citrus and pine hops character in the middle on through, with some alcohol warmth at the close. Not as much spicy rye character as I had hoped. Mouthfeel and drinkability are alright, but go a bit far on the bitterness for my liking even for the style. Your mileage may vary.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2x ipa brewed with massive and obscene amounts of rye malt and hops. Wow. Ruby red color and very spicy pine resin aroma. 10.0 abv. Floral notes as well. Flavor is malty, malty, malty providing a huge mouthful. Reminds me a lot like the Arrogant Bastard only more maltier. Bittersweet dry finish with slight grapefruit notes from im guessing Chinook. If you love the bastard youll love this just as much.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Head almost rose past the rim; exciting.

Appearance: hazy amber orange with three thick fingers of creamy ivory foam with a little bit of an orange cast. Head retention is great (still there even as the glass is almost done) and big, chunky lace is left. This is a trait of rye in my experience, and a good one. I'm not thinking DIPAs get much better than this, visage-wise.

Smell: big citrus and earthy hops. Well-executed and very appetizing. A solid West Coast IPA aroma.

Taste: big malt flavor; dark, musty fruit rounds out the sweet malt. Bitterness is pretty huge. To me this is more of an American strong ale or even American barleywine (ryewine?), but whatever you call it, it is tasty. There's a hint of the spiciness that rye brings, but it really can't compete with this hops bill.

Mouthfeel: thick and sticky. With the ABV of this monster, that's not surprising; but throw in the rye, and this thing gets crazy. Carbonation after the pour seems relatively low, which holds back creaminess a touch; still, this is a big, filling beer.

Drinkability: the ABV and the body hold back drinkability a bit, but the flavor is good (if strong, even challenging to some). Up to today I haven't been super impressed by Shmaltz, but Lenny has really changed my mind about the place.

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Photo of beertunes
3.25/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into 16oz goblet. Poured a clean, clear deep ruby color with about 3/4 inch of dark khaki head with moderate retention and lacing.

A sweet, malty aroma, with a fairly sharp rye note, came across the nose. There was some hop in the scent, but the rye overpowered it. The flavors were very similar, the rye being the dominant flavor, with some bitter hops on the finish.

The body was nicely full, but lost a point for the sticky-sweet finish. Drinkability was OK, I struggled to finish the 22, I'd have a 12oz bottle or maybe a glass draft again, 22 ounces is too much of this beer for one sitting.

Overall, a decent beer worth trying if you see it.

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Photo of Derek
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Copper with a very light tan head, great retention, awesome lacing. Seriously impressive for a brew of this strength.

S: Huge nose, grapefruit, nectarine, spicy rye bread, toffee, extremely enticing.

T: Piny, resiny hops complement the spiciness from the rye; bready malt, nectarine, tangine, solid bitterness, alcohol is extremely well-hidden. I know it's bigger, but his one blows the Founder's rye brews away.

M: Moderately full body is well-attenuated and extremely smooth, slight hop acidity, off-dry finish. Extremely well-crafted.

D: I absolutely love it, but it's a big brew.

I don't think I've ever said 'extreme' so many times in a single review, yet this is remarkably well-rounded. Playboy may have described it best "F#cking delicious".

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Photo of tone77
3.52/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of rye, malts, a bit bready. Well the taste is nothing like the smell. Very hoppy, lots of bitterness, some rye, as dry as a camel ride in the desert. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of DrJay
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, coppery amber with a fluffy, light brown/beige head. Good head retention and clumpy rings of foam stuck to the glass. Malty aroma with lots of spicy rye, caramel, gingerbread, and citrusy hops. Moderate bitterness with a nice balance between malt (spicy, chocolatey rye) and citrusy grapefruit hoppiness. Finishes with some dryness and spice. Medium to full bodied with lowish carbonation. The texture's a little oily and there's a pleasant warmth in the finish. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark reddish brown color with a nice off-white head with pretty decent retention that leaves a nice ring of lace around the edge of the glass. The aroma is malt, caramel and a nice dose of piney hops. The taste starts out with a smooth maltiness, that is quickly interrupted by the piney hops that take over the finish and make their presence felt long after the first sip. Overall, this is another solid DIPA that is filled with a delicious hop profile and a solid malt backbone. Recommended.

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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.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle downed july 31 2009

A reddish bronze, with a head that just kept climbing up the glass pouring over the top and on too the table. thick head that stuck around, looked like little hills, thick patches of lace but could not see each sip

S caramel is very strong nice pine and citrus just great. as it warmed i picked up some bread and perhaps some faint smoke?

T sweet malt with some pine, citrus and a little bread. not as bitter as i thought it would be, i thought the 10% was a typo until i fell over reaching for seconds. not perfect but a wonderful dipa buy it if you can

M/D thick, creamy goodness. I wont lie i loved drinking this beer. smooth as silk, and i just cant get over the 10% where did they put it?

my highest marks to date with good reason. see it buy it drink it any questions???

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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.