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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.

877 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 877
Hads: 1,909
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 17.62%
Wants: 82
Gots: 191 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

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

Availability: Year-round

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

A Double India Pale Ale with Rye Malt brewed in tribute to Lenny Bruce (Leonard Alfred Schneider 1925-1966).
View: Beers (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 877 | Hads: 1,909
Photo of Preston
4.59/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

For such a huge beer, it had only moderate bitterness and the high alcohol level was backgrounded extremely effectively. I had this on tap at Yard House in Cincinnati. A great, great beer well worth getting a pint (and going to a Reds game very happy).

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

Usually I am not too big into the DIPA's but this was a gift to me. Trying my best to review to the style and not be subjective...
Poured from a bottle. Not seeing a frreshness date, although, thie seems to be fairly fresh.

Appearance- Beautiful thick lasting head. Leaves a nice lace as it disappears. Dark copper color. Very appealing.

Smell- floral, citrus, almost a spicy aroma as well... Probably from the rye

Taste- clean bitterness up front with a complex malty sweetness that follows. This is where my dislike for DIPA's comes from. I wish there was more hops flavor and less maltiness. It is followed by a slight bit of alcohol, but not too much and not hot.

Mouthfeel- quite thick. I prefer a bit drier, but for a DIPA it is much better than others, but I could still use a drier drink.
Drinkability- at 10% it is a sipper for sure. If it was more dry, I think the drinkability would be a bit better. Again, better than most other DIPA's.

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Photo of Duke
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(From a tulip)

Appearance: Bittersweet Lenny's IPA pours a misty, saturated sorrel colour, with a moderately sized and slightly tanned white head which collapses quickly into a thin white cap.

Smell: This is certainly bold. I'm getting dark rum and all the dark fruits you'd imagine in a big quadrupel - raisins, prunes and figs. But there's apricot or something light and sugary right at the very front too, and then there's a bit of caramel as the beer warms. The hoppy scent and the malts are there but they're quite light.

Taste: Where did that rye come from? I didn't smell it but I'm tasting it behind what is a bowl of well-boozed, well-sugared fresh fruits. The flavour on the whole is very sweet, and quite funky. The hop profile is light and slightly peppery.

Mouthfeel: The beer feels quite robust, and the carbonation level is on the light side of medium, I'd say. The alcohol hangs around, cutting through the beer right to the end.

Overall: There's a lot going on in this big, bold and boozy beer. It's very sweet, yet I think it manages to be well balanced since the mouthfuls feel good and satisfying.

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Photo of sabinelr
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a bottle of this at Cost Plus in Tukwila, WA. A good introduction to Schmaltz Brewing. Thanks Cost Plus for finding these and carrying them. Actually I haven't looked at the beer, just drinking it straight out of the bottle. The smell promises something different - some sort of fragrant malt. The taste is a bit on the sweet side for an IPA, and sort of like the whiskey taste others have noted. The sweetness and hops counter the 10% alcohol better than almost any strong ale I have tasted. You don't really know you are getting such a big kick. It feels sort of syrupy, but the aftertaste lingers as a pleasant medium hop which does not degenerate to gacky. It is not easy to drink in sips. You need to knock down about 4 ounces or more at one gulp. Doing that will give you the satisfying sense that you have done something more important than a wine tasting, and the aftereffect is very pleasant. After the first bottle you will be left wondering if you should have some more, but an hour later you will crave another one. Buy at least three and wait until your wife or girl friend has gone for the day, then let 'er rip.

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Photo of ThomasT
4.85/5  rDev +20.3%

Appearance: Deep, slightly cloudy amber colour. Head is creamy and lingers around for a surprising amount of time with some lacing.
Smell: Caramel, citrus, and pine are most prominent, with hints of chocolate and almonds.
Taste: Sweet grapefruit, orange, caramel, and chocolate are all present in the front and middle in equal measures. A dry, spicy rye and a healthy pine punch is present in the back, with roastiness, salt, almond, and hazelnut lingering afterwards. Medium-bodied, with no alcohol burn or cloying quality to speak of and moderate carbonation.
Overall: An excellent, interesting, and well-balanced beer. The only possible complaint I could have is that the rye tends to leave just slightly too strong a tone in the back.

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Photo of pourmeup
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

very tasty beer overall, let me say that is possibly the nicest mouthfeel in an IPA i've ever had, so thick and smooth, the appearance is overall very pleasing--poured into a nonic pint, great head with a medium shade similar to a sipping rum, a nice amber color overall. lacing is also at a premium, with thick rings forming sticking all over the glass, tastes mildly of grapefruit with a slight pine flavor, smells of a spring forest, very floral, not so drinkable, drank the whole bottle and was quite done for the night
(2 person review)

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Photo of mattwjones
3.03/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into a 22 oz. wine glass. The color was amber and there was a 1 finger head. I could tell that this was a syrupy beer from the way it hit the glass. The aroma was very malty and caramel like. To me the taste of this beer was a big disappointment. The malt wore the pants in the hops-malt relationship. I was turned off by the imbalance of flavor. The mouthfeel was of little surprise and it was syrupy as I expected. The drinkability of this beer was decent considering the rather high ABV.

I am glad to have tried this beer, but I would not buy it again.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a standard pint glass.

Appearance - It was a very pretty moderately dark amber color with small bubbles coming up through it. The head, about 1 fingers width with a direct pour down the middle, was a carmel white made up of very small bubbles. The lacing had a slight stick to it.

Smell - Strong Pine notes with a little sweetness at the back end. The malts were there, but not at the front. This is a good thing because this is a DIPA. There was a lot to smell in this one so its hard to capture it in words.

Taste - Well balanced considering there are 8 types of malts and 7 types of hops used in this beer, with an addition of amarillo and crystal in the dry hopping stage. Good sweetness on the front end, followed with a mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel - Small bubbled gave it a tingly feeling in the mouth. I felt it had the thickness, almost syrupy consistancy that I expect from DIPA's.

Drinkability - My only complaint is that the alcohol content is not well hidden on the back end. Therefore, this would be a tough one to drink a lot of. But then again, that isn't my purpose, so I think it is good.

I would recommend this one to anyone looking to test out new DIPA's. People who like the sweeter IPA's may really like this one.

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Photo of barleypopmaker
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a nice amber color and is fairly clear with just a touch of haze. The haze is more than likely from a dry hopping process. It did pour a bit of a head, but it disappeared quickly and does not leave lacing on the glass.

Quite malty with some caramel that is unmistakable in the nose. The hops nose is a bit complex but not really that assertive. I smell a bit of pine and some grapefruit and lemon, but the aroma is not as intense as I was expecting. As a matter of fact, the malt and hops are fairly well balanced and you have to move from side to side (malt to hops) to pick apart the aroma. There is a touch of sweet fruit as well, a bit like the smell of booze soaked fruits my dad used to make hiding in there. Also, for a 10% beer I thought the alcohol aroma would be higher but it is not. Although the aroma is pleasant, it just misses the mark in style.

The flavor is nice with a toasty cooked caramel flavor on the front, and it finishes with a bit of spicy hop bite and a touch of lingering bitterness. The bitterness is not harsh or over the top, but just enough to let you know it is there. I don't get much alcohol for a 10% beer, so the alcohol has really mellowed. The flavor is a notch above the aroma in regards to stylistic accuracy, but for a style that the hop flavor is supposed to be "strong and intense" or "High to Absurdly High" this beer does not hit that mark. Although the balance is towards the hops in flavor, it is still just too even. What I do like is the hop flavor, it is grapefruity in the beginning and finishes with a semi-resinous piney hop bitterness that is not over the top.

Body is medium bodied with a creamy texture to it. The carbonation level is low to medium low and could pop a bit more. The beer finishes semi-sweet.

Style listing aside, this beer is EXCELLENT, I mean just awesome to drink. I can't stress that enough. However, for an Imperial IPA this beer falls a bit short. I think this beer is the single most drinkable 10% beer I have had. You really need to be careful because you can easily drink way too much and not notice. But if you compare this beer to others of this style like Dogfish Head's 90 minute IPA, Victory's Hop Wallop, or Bell's Hop Slam; you will see that as good and drinkable as this beer is, it's hop profile is just a bit lacking for the style. Then again, I just may have had an older bottle too.

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Photo of Fillpott
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured this beer from a 22oz bottle into a regular pint glass, unfortunately it was frosted.

The appearance was coppery with a beige head and copious amounts of lacing with large bubbles. It has a crisp, bitter rye smell with malt overtones. The hops are assertive, but the smell of rye is unmistakable. The taste is sweet, bitter, citrusy, and crisp. (hmmm...bittersweet RIPA? go figure.). Its mouthfeel is thick, almost syrupy but smooth and extremely drinkable. Well balanced.

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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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Photo of BillHaverchuck
3.86/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep hazel amber color.
Nice medium sized slightly off white head.
Smells rich and heavy. Bread and malt.
Backbone of heavy rye malt. Earthy hops and bitterness come through very nicely.
The blending and balance here is very nice, the malt gives a kick I'm not used to in a double ipa. A real tasty beer here.

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

A - Beautiful deep brown color. Clear. Strong head.

S - Good malty smell, with a balanced hop aroma. Very balanced, very enjoyable.

T - Wow! That's a kick in the mouth! Huge flavor. You can really taste the rye. Complex biscuity/malty/bitter/sweet/woody flavor. Hoppy, but it needs it to balance the huge flavor. Chewy. Just awesome.

M - When you drink this beer you really know you're drinking beer. Mouthfeel is exceptional.

D - This beer is 10% ABV and comes in a 22oz bottle. Keeping that in mind, it's pretty darn drinkable.

Overall, this is an awesome beer. My girlfriend took a sip and remarked "that sure is a man's beer!"

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

Poured from a bomber into a taster glass.

Amber colored, with a slightly off-white, surprisingly long-lasting head. Good, sticky lacing.

Great bitterness. Malt hits for the first half-second, then the hop bitterness takes over. Slightly spice-like flavor throws itself in every once in a while. While not distinctly tasting like rye, it's different from other DIPA's. The rye seems to change to profile, melding with the other ingredients. Less of an adjunct, more of a true ingredient.

Hops, malt, hops. Floral aroma? You betcha. Not crazy floral, though. Floral in the kind of way that says "damn these hops are fresh"...and delicious.

Easy drinkin. Thicker feeling than any average beer, but not overwhelming by any means. Just enough to slow you down a little bit, and savor it even more.

If you like bitter things...highly drinkable. Complex, interesting, hoppy, bitter, but not disappointing in the malt category either.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of Rsobotka
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is an amzazing beer...unfortunately as your enjoying it, you fear that its taking you down a creepy road towards an unreturnable drunken misfortune.
Appearance: Reddish, with a slight head....chococately on top with a reddish tint shadowing through.
Smell: like a sweet cherry field.. with a nice bitter jump in a pond.
Taste: Incredible: exactly how the name implies: sweet and silky with a brandy bitter finish.
M- A little like a hard brandy....cool yet harsh
Drinka bil...i kept sipping this beer fearing something that never came...i thought the aftertaste was going to remind me of a Remy Martin x-mas gift...but it didnt...i probably could have drank 10 of these trying to figure out its concoction, but my wife kept reminding of its 10% alcohol content.

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Photo of rcusick
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

appearance - poured a beautiful dark amber color with no haze or cloudiness into a dogfish head signature glass

smell - it could be because my bottle was a little old, i think its been in the fridge for six months, but my pour had almost no smell to it at all....a slight toastyness and hints of chocolate, but other then that, nothing. Surprisingly not even any alcohol/booze smell for such a high ABV beer.

taste - a nice maltyness with a good bit of rye spiciness. slightly boozy on the tongue, but not over powering.

mouthfeel - thick but not overly syrupy, just what i would want out of this beer.

overall - a stellar beer, i am only sad that i didnt crack this bottle sooner!

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Photo of GrahamDN
3.16/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Surprisingly deep amber in color, with a bit of haze and an off-white head.

Right away, the nose tells the story of the beer's dark hue with big toffee, caramel, and raisin scents betraying the heaping helping of caramel malts included in the mash. Left whispering in the background are leafy, herbal, and peppery notes. Yeasty bread rising as it warms.

Big waves of toffee and caramel crash on the palate, seasoned with peppery spice and leafy-herbal hops. Rye bread comes out later. Lenny's is not really "bittersweet"--it's super-sweet, with just about any bitterness the hops have to contribute drowning in sugar.

Thankfully, the dynamic finish transitions from sticky sweet with a little peppery tingle to balanced--hop bitterness finally asserts itself (though it takes a while) along with the 10% ABV to offer some relief from a dessert of a "double IPA."

Here's the thing: this is a pretty tasty beer, and an above-average expression of rye in beer. But to pitch it as a DIPA feels misleading. If He'Brew had labeled this beer as some sort of rye doppelbock-IPA hybrid, they'd have nailed it, but I have to dissent on this one and say they missed the mark.

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Photo of revolution
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into the glass reveals the copper color. A small head develops, then quickly fades leaving some decent lace.

The smell of malt is strong. A scent of fruitiness is also present, a slight touch of citrus.

The rich malty flavor and the alcohol dominate this one, but the bitterness makes its way through.

It's definitely a mouthfull. One you can chew on and enjoy. The large bottle goes a long way.

The RIPA is a pretty serious brew that makes for a great night.

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

Serving: 22 oz. bomber

A: Pours nice and thick... "kerplunk" into my Duvel glass. Carbonation is evident, though subtle. One inch thick head; slowly dissipates. Color is clear, with hues of dark amber, reminiscent of honey or maple syrup.

S: Mild hops balanced by caramel malt aroma. Some fruit (banana); alcohol is present (duh at 10%!). No dominant citrusy hops.

T: The mild hops come through mildly in taste as well, a surprise considering the DIPA status. Don't get me wrong. It's pleasant for sure, especially how it finishes nicely with the malt backbone. After it warms, the alcohol and hops come through a bit more. Very nice.

M: Just as thick as it was poured. Carbonation is fine, as fine as it comes to being confused for lack of carbonation. It's pleasant.

D: For sure. Very pleased with this venture into a R.I.P.A.

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Photo of theecaleb
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz Brown bottle.

A: Good pour, deep shades of amber. copper and reds. Head was of dark white almost a copper colour, short less than a fingers width. Thick lacing.

S: Smells like an IPA, with hints of barley or pine. The rye stands out.

T: Tastes like a very good IPA topped off with a shot of creme
liquor. Small hint it alcohol

M: Good balance, bubbly.

O: A good twist on an IPA, high quality beer.

I would recommend this beer to a friend

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Photo of Sanford
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Lenny's Bittersweet RIPA has been one of my favorite beers for quite a while. It feels like a privelage to be able to have it on tap. When it is poured it cascades upside down like an impatient Guiness, creating a thick, creamy, tan head. Below the foam, the body is a very appealing dark amber; and when held up to the light there are beautiful reddish/orange highlights. The lacing isn't great, but a nice ring of suds remains, and when I swirl the glass, the head reappears in strength. I really enjoy this beers nose. The aroma is spicy herbal earthy sweet with a touch of funk. I don't know which hops are used, but that funk reminds me of Simcoe. I taste sweet malt, spicy rye, and bitter earthy hops. The flavors work together in a twisting turning way, one leading to the next, and back around to the first. The finish is long and bitter. This is a big beer, with big flavors, but to me, they all work together very well. The mouthfeel is rich and smooth...unctuous (spe?), I love it. For me, the complexity and abv of the beer limit its drinkability, though I think the draft version is more drinkable than the bottle.

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Photo of sevreng
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at Atlas Bottle Works in Pittsburgh, PA on 6/27/14. Poured into globe glass.

A - Bright. Copper-red color. Minimal head on pour, dissipating slowly.

S - Pineapple and grapefruit dominate the nose, softened by a little maltiness.

T - Citrus hops and malts fight for attention upfront, so well balanced that it is hard to see where the hops end and the malts begin. Dries out very nicely for a double IPA, without becoming overly bitter. Well done.

M - Full yet crisp without getting sticky like a lot of double IPAs. Very nice.

O - The best Rye IPA I've had recently, this is a great all around IPA. Would like to try it on tap or a little fresher.

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Photo of bfr1992t
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber poured 13oz in to a 16oz glass. Soft pour yet managed a thin off white head that clings to the glass. Nice medium amber color that nearly glows. Pours giving an impression that it's viscous. Smells bigger than it tastes, hints of quite a few different hops. Sip - nice mouthfeel, wakes up the top of the tongue. Taste, not as big as it smells. Many solid flavors, not just one overbearing hop note. The end is a bit touchy, bitter for an instant then smooths out. Smooth for a big IPA. The 10% ABV does not make itself known at all except possibly the first instant of hitting the mouth. I'd have to be careful with this one.

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

22 oz bottle poured into Ommegang glass

Copper with orange hues, a gentle pour produced two fat fingers of frothy ivory head with nice retention and lots of sudsy lacing left stuck to the glass.

Smells of toasty rye, big pink grapefruit, piney hops and fresh herbs.

Taste of rye malt, sweet and sour grapefruit with sugar on top, citrus peel and long lasting piney bitterness with notes of bitter herbs. The high alcohol content is well masked by the massive hop character, present only briefly mid-palate.

Mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth and creamy, finishing clean without any stickiness present. This is the perfect viscosity for my taste.

I really like this beer. It's got big flavors while remaining well-balanced, without trying to be too many things at once... and strangely thirst-quenching to boot.

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

On tap " The Usual Place" Augusta GA

A: White head, on top of a clear ruddy copper color. Excellent head retention, maybe indicative to the rye, one of the best I have seen.

S: Opposite many of the other he'brew beers, where sweet malt is dominant - this one has a very strong spicy hops character, with the malt playing a supporting role. Somewhat bready but hops, hops, hops!

T: Hello hops, big bite up front, which gives way to sweet malt. Alcohol well-hidden, for this big beer, very tasty if you are a hop head and like pushing the style limits.
Mouthfeel: medium-heavy mouthfeel, dry acidic finish that aids drinkability a little, but the aftertaste lingers.

M: Excellent again for this big style, I like the medium mouthfeel all the way around, with medium carbonation for 10% ABV

O: I swear I could drink 3 of these, but not sure thats a good idea, as one pint was plenty to start my night! Great beer from contract brew (Saratoga) my favorite He' Brew for sure...

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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 877 ratings.