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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

355 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 355
Reviews: 141
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 13.74%
Wants: 12
Gots: 29 | FT: 2
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:
Beer added by: John_M on 12-20-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Imperial Rye IPA aged in a Rittenhouse 100 Rye Barrel.
The 2013 batch was aged in Willett Rye Whiskey barrels.
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Ratings: 355 | Reviews: 141
Reviews by jep2606:
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of NWer
4.67/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Prospero
2.98/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

Photo of jewbrew
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ehammond1
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.21/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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?

Photo of chinchill
4.01/5  rDev +2%

22 oz bottle served with dinner.
Too strong and boozy to work well with food but nice as an after-meal sipper. The load of flavor from the rye barrel would overpower most beers but not this DIPA. Sweet for style, suggesting, with the strong rye flavor, that some rye whisky was left in the barrels.

Photo of glid02
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of caddybuyer
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of biboergosum
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Lazerlobe
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Sammy
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of BigBossMan
4.39/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of cjgator3
3.87/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle

A- Pours a clear dark brownish amber color with a nice off-white head with good retention and lacing.

S- The aroma is a lot of malt with a very nice character from the rye whiskey barrel aging. Woody, a touch of vanilla and a lot of rye. Great aroma! 

T- The taste like the aroma is a lot of rye and malt up front. There is also a lot of wood and whiskey flavors from the barrel aging. The finish is boozy and has a good dose of bitterness from the hops. A lot of warmth in the finish from the alcohol, the 10% ABV really shows.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. I love rye beers and this one really packs the rye. This one is definitely a zipper due to the high ABV. I would probably have preferred a 12oz bottle rather than the 22oz bottle it came in.

Photo of telecomz
3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Really like this beer.

Amber pour. Little head.
Really nice spicy rye and bourbon-y aroma. Top notes of caramel and vanilla.

Opening sweetness of rye and malt. Really nice. Spiciness of rye comes thru next. Bitter woody finish.

Moderately heavy mouth. Nice body.

Not a session beer but easy to drink for high ABV.

I really like this beer. I've not committed any time to Schmaltz because the brewery seems so focused on the whole 'schtick' of He'Brew. I am mos def going to check out other Schmaltz brews but more importantly, I am buying a case of this for my cellar. This brew will kick ass with some aging.

Photo of Fatehunter
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out of a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass. Copper, almost transparent with a nice inch and a half of dirty white head.

S - A lot going on here: toffee, honeysuckle, brown sugar and charred maple-wood.

T - Spicy, slight hop bitterness, wood and alcohol.

M - Medium body but kind of soft too. Light carbonation.

D - Very good. The 10% ABV is hidden very well. It is very smooth. Probably one of the best barrel aged beers I have had. It has a great balance; meaning it isn't obscenely sweet.

Photo of californiakulak
3.63/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a bottle of this beer into my Firestone pint glass.

A. Poured a clear red color. Thick and beautiful head. Lacing was excellent as well.

S. Hops and sweet malt. Pine and citrus. Typical ipa aroma. The sweetness of the rye does come through a little though.

T. Citrus hops. Way too sweet for me. Pineapple. The Rye is overpowering.

M. Good carbonation and a slight warming alcohol sensation.

D. One is plenty. I usually like rye ipa's but this one was a little much.

Photo of heliosphann
3.21/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft. Served in a pint glass. Paired with some very tasty wings at a local establishment.

A: Nice finger of frothy white head. Pours a cloudy reddish/orange. Plenty of active carbonation. Very nice.

S: Big rye whiskey and alcohol notes. Some bitter hops and barrel present as well.

T: The smell was a clear portent, this one is loaded with booze and hot hops. The malts and rye are almost overpowered by the whiskey and barrel taste. Sweet malts and caramel notes squeak through somewhat, but they seem to be losing the battle.

M: Typical rye silky smoothness is there, but not as pronounced. Solid carbonation.

D: First sip was intense, but as it warmed up I enjoyed it more. Still I thought it was hot though. I don't think I could down more than one of these at 10% (or more?).

Overall this was pretty messy affair. I had several of my friends rave about this beer when they had it at a local festival, and they described it as being much different. I'm wondering if there's some significant barrel variation or possibly some other issue.

Photo of Vonerichs
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head is thick and fluffy. Body is a transparent rusty hue.

It has a nice nose about it. It has the earthy spiciness you'd expect from a rye along with some pine bitterness and vanilla.

The flavor is interesting, to say the least. There is a moderate hop profile of pine and earth. The rye barrel aging adds a dimension of wood and vanilla and there is a spicy finish. While all these flavors are distinct, in my opinion they did not mesh well together. It was too much at once with little transition between.

Mouthfeel is medium body that was light on the carbonation.

I'm glad I tried this because it's an interesting take on a rye/ipa/whatever you want to call it, but it just had too much going on at once and it all didn't go well together. Not to mention it was $12/bomber and for that price tag I expect much more.

Photo of sdmvd6
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Very transparent copper in color with about a finger of head. A nice trail of bubbles makes it to the top of the glass.

S - Rye malt immediately followed by rye whiskey. There are hops hiding in there, but they are definitely an afterthought. The rye grain aroma is very dominant.

T - This is pretty much what I expected from this beer: Lenny's R.I.P.A. with a subdued hop character and smooth rye whiskey. Tons of rye malt and grain at the beginning of the palate followed by rye whiskey and sweet vanilla notes from the barrels. There is finally a bit of earthy hop bitterness at the end, but this is definitely not the focus of the beer.

M - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation. There is a bit of resinous chewiness and a little alcohol burn.

O - You can't go into this one with the expectation of in-your-face hops, because it is an IPA that has been aged. The hops mostly die due to the aging, and only come through at the end with spicy earthiness and a hint of bitterness. It reminds me more of a barrel-aged barleywine (with rye, of course), which I guess is what it mainly is. It was very enjoyable overall.

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.24/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Stated on side of 22 oz bottle as 2014 edition.

This VERY nice strong rye IPA on bourbon barrel pours a hazy brownish orange with a fantastic head of foam that dissipates to a thick 1/4" layer and has true staying power with excellent lacing. Nose of pink grapefruit, rye whiskey, vanilla, coconut, and dates. Flavors are a shock for the style to say the least. Moderately strong caramel and brown sugar notes hit to the front with spicy rye, and then dance about a grapefruit and citrus flavor with tropical flavors of coconut, honey, and dates to the rear with a generous amount of oak, rye whiskey, and a touch of vanilla.


Smooth mouth feel is bracing with citrus and rye while the carbonation keeps it lively and up beat with a warming and strong rye whiskey finish. Astounding. One of the best rye IPA's I have ever had and worthy of several years of aging. Astonishing I enjoy it so much since I am NOT a hop head. This is a new favorite to day the least.


Photo of beerthulhu
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aged in 6 year rye whiskey barrels (and boy does it show). Batch 001/469 cases. Bottled on 4/9/10. Consumed 7/22/10.

A: A flat burgundy pour with sunset orange highlights produces a beige colored and whipped frothy head that was moderately lasting but left a ton of splashy deposits for a lacing. Visible carbonation was feverishly strong and dense with a fairly good clarity.

S: Strong notes of whiskey are evident on the first impression. Unfortunately it was the only thing perhaps masking any hoppiness that may have been intended or could have been there. Dry, and boozy best sums up this limited spectrum of aroma.

T: Again strong whiskey notes are evident in the flavor, dry, slightly boozy but maybe not so much for its 10.0%abv. The rye whiskey barrel aging seems to have taken over/control here hindering any of the hoppiness and individual character that I found so good in their original RIPA offering. The beer boasts hops of warrior, cascade, simcoe, crystal, chinook, amarillo and centennial while dry hopped with simcoe, amarillo, and crystal. Unfortunately as the saying goes, to many spices spoil the soup which is the case here. None of the individual character of the hops were allowed to stand out, with the exception of maybe the Chinook hops which provided some bitter grapefruit and citrus notes deep beneath the boozy nature. All the hop flavors got homogenized into one bland concoction that was overshadowed anyway by a boozy nature of whiskey. A toasty dryness on the finish is vaguely highlighted by a light peppery and dry rye spiciness but overall I feel the contribution of all these hops just muted each other out and were a waste to the beer.

M: Crisp bubbly hold with an edgy texture. Malty, dry and boozy providing for a good warmth of whiskey on the fade that lingers about.

D: Dry and boozy, not the hop bomb I was expecting, instead got a pitcher of stong ale with a shot of whiskey dropped in it. More suited perhaps for the chilly fall weather then the summertime heat wave that I originally drank this in. A little over the top drinkability wise but manageable in slow moderation.

Photo of jsh420
2.48/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

botted 4/9/2010
pours ruby copper with a big 2+ finger head that left spotted lacing down the glass

smells like a barleywine dark fruit plenty of hops

taste is very bitter and overly sweet - dark nutty fruits spicey peppery rye citrus hops - a complete muddled mess

mouthfeel is full bodied heavy sticky got a brush my teeth after asap kinda brew

drinkability was not good since my share was 75% drain pour

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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 355 ratings.