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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. On Rye - Shmaltz Brewing Company

Not Rated.
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. On RyeHe'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. On Rye

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

336 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 336
Reviews: 138
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 14.03%
Wants: 14
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company visit their website
New York, United States

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

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Imperial Rye IPA aged in a Rittenhouse 100 Rye Barrel.
The 2013 batch was aged in Willett Rye Whiskey barrels.

(Beer added by: John_M on 12-20-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 336 | Reviews: 138 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by BuckeyeNation:
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.55/5  rDev -9.4%

"I won't say ours was a tough school, but we had our own coroner. We used to write essays like: what I'm going to be if I grow up."

--Lenny Bruce

Polished persimmon with an infusion of pomegranate juice. Four full fingers of foam were produced on the pour and overflowed the glass, despite my frantic attempts to corral it. Once it finally fades, the whipped marshmallow creamy cap blankets the drinking vessel with loads of lace.

Barrel-aged or not, an American DIPA needs to be more hoppy than this. Especially since this brew hasn't even reached its 4 month anniversary yet. The same problem is present in the standard Bittersweet Lenny's, but it seems even worse here. Rye whiskey is front and center, which means the brewers must have used some pretty leaky barrels.

Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. On Rye is probably best thought of as a big, bold, hoppy rye beer. In that context, it's a semi-success. The fact that a killer lineup of little green cones (Simcoe, Warrior, Cascade, Crystal, Chinook, Amarillo and Centennial) provides much more bitterness than flavor is disappointing.

If you don't enjoy the earthy spicy power of rye whiskey, then steer clear of this brew because it dominates a flavor profile that also includes sticky toffee pudding and orange peel macerated in Stolichnaya. A 10.0% ABV this soon after bottling can only be masked so well. This stuff will definitely warm your cockles.

The mouthfeel with be a treat for those of you who like full, lush, lip-sticky American big beer. Somewhat shy bubbles that still provide plenty of creaminess are just what the doctor ordered.

In the final reckoning, aging Bittersweet Lenny's in Sazerac Rye Whiskey barrels doesn't transform it into something amazing, but it does add another flavor element to a better than decent big beer. I'm still disappointed by the lack of hop flavor in both of these He'Brew brews.

12-28-2010 13:34:06 | More by BuckeyeNation
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -1%

I love me some rye beers,highly hopped rye beers even more,I have never had a rye beer like this in its intensity of flavor before.Poured a deep bronze color with a tight formed one finger white head,almost creamy in nature it left one ring of lace as it settled very slowly.Big fruity esters in the nose, along with some pine resin,herbal sharpness,and a big whiff of sweet alcohol.A lush mouthfeel again almost creamy in texture coats the mouth,flavors are deeply fruity with an acidic-like sharpness from the rye,its quite boozy as well,a resiny/pine note comes in the finish.Its boozy and a little hot so its not a real drinkable beer but its got great sipping quality,its massive and complex on the palate.I liked it more than most.

The rye whiskey barrels provide an assertive oakiness as the beer warms and I drink more.

07-22-2010 19:12:58 | More by oberon
Photo of tbryan5


4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

12-06-2013 04:29:29 | More by tbryan5
Photo of NWer


4.65/5  rDev +18.6%

On the label:
Batch/Cases No. 001/469
Bottling Date 4/9/2010

Poured medium dark copper into a tulip. Cloudy, tiny bubbles - lots of them that dissipate slowly given what a powerful beer this is.
Aroma is overpowering. Easy to get high on the smell alone.
Taste is a combination of sweetness and alcohol. A sipping beer. To be savored. If you like sipping rye whiskey, you will love this beer simply because it possesses all the pleasure and you get to enjoy more of it. High alcohol for beer, low for a whiskey with all the flavor - best of both worlds.
I love this beer and wish I had more of it. I bought it on close out at my local Central Market and wish I had cleaned them out.

10-13-2011 22:23:48 | More by NWer
Photo of megamass

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

03-13-2014 05:15:44 | More by megamass
Photo of Mora2000


4/5  rDev +2%

Thanks to bman1113vr for sharing this bottle.

Batch 001. Bottled 4/9/10. The beer pours a hazy brown-orange color with a white head. The aroma is piney hops with some rye notes. The flavor is chocolate, rye, toffee and piney hops. Medium bitterness. The alcohol is right up front and is very hot. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

06-23-2010 00:11:57 | More by Mora2000
Photo of Prospero


2.93/5  rDev -25.3%

Poured into a pint glass with very little head and the color a very clear copper. The nose is strong with caramel & rye malts with quite a bit of alcohol present. Slight floral notes in the aroma as well. The taste has a stong caramel almost liquorice taste which masks the hops in this beer. The aftertaste lingers on the tongue and the alcohol is very present. A little disappointing for a double IPA to have the hops masked by the rye whiskey. If you like rye whiskey and english strong ale, this is for you. It's not for me.

02-10-2011 21:49:09 | More by Prospero
Photo of jewbrew


4.33/5  rDev +10.5%

A. Pours a translucent golden color with a nice white head that recedes in to thin lacing

S. Sweet oak, malt and bourbon right away. Faintly piney hops in the background

T. Barrel aging really rounds out the harsh piney bitterness of the original RIPA. This version is much sweeter, vanilla, bourbon and caramel dominant. Savory malt and bourbon characteristics backed up by a slightly dry and bitter piney malt backbone.

M/D. Rich and satisfying I'll drink this anytime any day.

03-18-2011 09:17:39 | More by jewbrew
Photo of IrishGermanAmerican


3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

05-25-2013 23:34:51 | More by IrishGermanAmerican
Photo of ehammond1

4.03/5  rDev +2.8%

Bottle (2010)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 1 year)

Deep and dark auburn with a huge, thick, persistent khaki colored head. Sheets of lacing smear the glass. This beer looks thick and substantial, not to mention gorgeous.

Incredibly aromatic and incredibly sweet. The initial aromas are of the tremendously sticky, diabetes-inducing sweet variety: maple syrup, toffee candies, melted caramel, and fruit cake. There's a rich vanilla and earth component, along with lots of rye/whiskey. Upon initial whiff, this seems far closer to a barrel-aged barleywine than it does a DIPA, granted, this one is pushing a year old now. There is little to no hop presence left.

More sweet flavors mimic the aromas. Maple syrup, toffee, caramel, and vanilla, along with a pleasant oak character. Moderate to high bitterness, though that's all that is really left from the hops it seems.

Thick, chewy, substantial mouthfeel. Some alcohol burn on the swallow.

An interesting rye-barrel aged DIPA, though it completely falls away from anything remotely near style. It's more of a barleywine than it is a DIPA, especially at this age, though I don't get the impression this beer was much different a year ago. This beer becomes more and more enjoyable as it warms, though it's a tough bomber to tackle on one's own.

09-26-2011 00:51:16 | More by ehammond1
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


2.2/5  rDev -43.9%

Dark orange and relatively flat pour. Aroma was lots of alcohol, but not much in the way of rye. Didn't have the whiskey aroma, it was just pure alcohol heat for the most part, covering up any hop qualities in a significant manner.

Taste, lots of alcohol and bitterness. Where's the hops. Tastes a lot more like old coast ale instead of a dipa. I don't understand this beer in the least. Tastes like a boilermaker, at best.

The beer is a failure in the dipa department for me. It doesn't smell like hops, it doesn't have hop flavor. As for the barrel characteristics, its not pleasant, rather hot and boozy.

I've never been a big fan of this brewery, and this is probably the worst of the worst. Who thinks when buying a dipa with that list of hop additions, that they're going to end up with a subpar, undercarbonated old ale?

01-19-2012 18:05:42 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of glid02


4.33/5  rDev +10.5%

Not 100% sure I shouldn't start a new listing but let's go with it. Lenny's aged in rye whiskey barrels for quite a while (three years I believe I was told).

Pours a cloudy brownish-red color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of tart fruits - currants and apricots - with a solid earthiness backed by sticky caramel malts. Very unexpected.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Well-integrated caramel malt flavors segue seamlessly into sugar-coated tart fruit flavors. It's got the sourness that I would expect from a mix of a mildly tart American Wild and a normal Lenny's, however it tastes so much better than that description would indicate. The tart fruit flavors stick around before fading away into a clean ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have a few more.

Overall I was planning on sampling this but after being handed a sip I ordered one right away. I'm not sure how the extended aging on rye had this effect on the beer but I'm impressed nonetheless. A sour IPA if ever there was.

10-14-2009 02:51:23 | More by glid02
Photo of acurtis

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -23.5%

11-30-2013 05:01:05 | More by acurtis
Photo of ltdantheman


4/5  rDev +2%

08-10-2012 16:13:43 | More by ltdantheman
Photo of caddybuyer

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +1.5%

Poured into a tulip from a bomber. I'm a big fan of Lennys RIPA, interesting how the barrel aged version will stack up.

A-Slighty veiled burned copper with a scuddy head that settles rapidly. there may be a bit of chill haze in this so I will give it the benefit of a doubt, decent coloration overall, but it is not a stunner appearance wise.

S-Very much like the RIPA that we know and love with a bit of vanilla added to the mix. A bit of a barleywine tone overall as well.

T-The primary benefit of the rye whiskey barrel aging seems to be in the addition of the vanilla and obviously the whiskey undertones. It adds a new and interesting dimension to the beer although I would be hard pressed to say that it improves it. As this warms, the oak is far more pronounced, and may be more overpowering than it should be. He'Brew big beers hit you over the head with more flavor than most, and this one lands clearly in that category. For me it works, and I dig it. Many will not, and find that it detracts from the regular Lenny.

M-Thick, rich and well balanced.

D-This is clearly a "one and done" brew for a nights session, but one that also must be revisited. I think I prefer the regular Lenny to this, but This is worthy on its own merits....which brings me to another question. Are these brews really DIPAs? I don't think so, more like American Barleywines, or surely American Strong Ales. Whatever you call them, keep them coming.

04-25-2011 01:43:04 | More by caddybuyer
Photo of InVinoVeritas


3.75/5  rDev -4.3%

10-11-2013 05:44:49 | More by InVinoVeritas
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -1%

22oz bottle, a welcoming, and surprising find on the shelves of a worthy supplier of fine beers and wines to the denizens of, or in this case, visitors to, Cowtown, Alberta.

This beer pours a clear, red-tinted copper penny hue, with three fingers of puffy, thickly foamy, and rocky opal head, which leaves a seldom-broken wall of dripping tacky lace around the glass as it casually settles.

It smells of edgy, woody bourbon, doing well to top some strong, but smothered citrus and pine hops, with the underlying caramel malt still poking through, complementing the typical sweet vanilla and caramel barrel characteristics. The taste is quite heady and aggressive, with its sweet caramel and toffee malt, more woodsy, rye spice laden, and bourbon cask representin' whisky notes, some Grand Marnier orange liqueur essence, and a rather subsumed, but still worth mentioning, undercurrent of big-ass pine and floral hop bitterness.

The carbonation is indeed there, but well hidden, and softly frothy in any of its manifestations, the body hefty, full in weight, smooth, creamy, and kind of sticky. It finishes still somewhat ridiculously sweet, the bourbon barrel and base malt equally culpable - the big booze only attenuating things so much, given its plumb shy behavior up til now.

A slower drinking affair, one that I have become accustomed to with the various He'brew offerings - the astringent Kentucky barrel definitely reining things in considerably for me. Barely different from the regular RIPA to make me appreciative of the delta, and drinkable as the boozy, dense nature can allow. Neat, but still somewhat lacking in its attempt at further uniqueness compared to the 'base' beer, and losing significant points for the obfuscation of the standard big IPA hops.

01-09-2011 02:22:22 | More by biboergosum
Photo of mdaschaf


3.85/5  rDev -1.8%

Thanks to THECPJ for the share. Review from notes 11/20/10.

A: Pours a hazy, deep ruby color with a small brown head. Good retention and lacing.

S: Very malty, but you can definitely smell the wood and vanilla from the barrels. The rye is also quite present.

T: Lots of vanilla! A nice combination of wood and the whiskey flavors.

M/D: Medium bodied with good carbonation. Get a little heat from the alcohol. Overall, very enjoyable. Really liked the intense vanilla flavor. The alcohol presence knocks the drinkability down a bit.

01-31-2011 02:30:07 | More by mdaschaf
Photo of alamode


4/5  rDev +2%

12-15-2011 00:35:59 | More by alamode
Photo of Aficionado_Shawn

New York

4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

08-05-2014 00:18:20 | More by Aficionado_Shawn
Photo of DruC4


4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

09-16-2013 02:07:17 | More by DruC4
Photo of Lazerlobe


3.88/5  rDev -1%

Pours a nice muddled garnet with a solid head, great lacing.

Smell: Some subdued earthy hops and huge caramel/toffee, whiff of oak. This is coming across much more like an American barleywine than a DIPA.

Taste: Odd. My tastebuds feel scrambled. The hops are present but by no means overpowering and certainly not bitter. Light caramel, marshmellow, toasted oak, and a touch of booze come through. Mild medicinal bitterness follows but at this point it is hardly noticeable. Strong oak and subtle rye on the finish gives it some dryness but the aftertaste is quite pleasant.

This is an enjoyable beer but I'm a tad hesitant to call it a DIPA. Perhaps a light barleywine would be more appropriate.

08-03-2010 01:46:43 | More by Lazerlobe
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev -6.1%

A hop bomb, aged 2 years I think. The rye starts sweetish and then becomes too much. Not overally drinkable.Hops: Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe, Crystal, Chinook, Amarillo, Centennial
Dry Hopped with Simcoe, Amarillo and Crystal.
Thick and rich looking,mouthfeel is, hoppy aromas that are indistinguishable.

09-26-2010 19:31:03 | More by Sammy
Photo of BigBossMan


4.43/5  rDev +13%

This really is a completely different beer than the original. The hops are still evident but in more of a supporting role - similar to how hops are present in some hoppy imperial stouts but somewhat masked by the malts. In this beer, the hops are masked by the forward flavors of bourbon and smoke.

The appearance is lighter than I would have expected, while the head is more than I would have guessed - good lacing. The smell is of bourbon, but sweet caramel is present. The flavor is bourbon and hops - very smooth and drinkable for what it is.

01-04-2011 16:55:27 | More by BigBossMan
Photo of socon67

New York

4/5  rDev +2%

03-23-2014 16:51:59 | More by socon67
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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. On Rye from Shmaltz Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 336 ratings.