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Hop Rod Rye | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,068 Reviews
For Trade:
Hop Rod RyeHop Rod Rye

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A high gravity IPA brewed with 18% rye malt. Hop Rod Rye has a floral hop aroma and subtle caramel notes with a slightly earthy and spicy rye character.

2009 California State Fair – GOLD
2003 California State Fair – GOLD
2002 Real Ale Festival (Chicago) – GOLD

Added by Quaffer on 03-27-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,068 | Ratings: 4,649
Photo of RBorsato
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Solid brown color (with fairly large pieces of suspended sediment), a nice tan/light brown head, decent carbonation, and big sheets of lace. Big hop and malt aroma. A big huge flavor of malt and hops -- an incredible balancing act. Hops are piney and sprucey. Not sure the Rye really stands out due to the bitterness. Medium-full (leans full) bodied, creamy, and smooth.

More of a big huge American IPA/Strong Ale (a la Stone Arrogant Bastard or Rogue Mogul Ale) -- I prefer the Hop Rod.

Per label: Made with 18% Rye

($5.39 / 22 oz.)

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Photo of johnrobe
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I knew this was gonna be a stellar brew as soon as I cracked it open. Familiar PNW hops citrus and pine wafted up in the air but there was also a spicy sweetness, like somebody just took fresh-baked gingerbread cookies from the oven. If you're expecting a wildly different brew you might be disappointed. At its heart, HRR is an IPA...albeit one with a twist. It pours a deep mahogany with a sticky beige head that lasts throughout consumption. I can't help but draw comparisons, and this brew is reminiscent of yet another outstanding beer...Great Divide's Hibernation Ale. Citric, piney hops are assertive in the taste yet there is a mountain of dark crystal malt providing balance. There is a slight spicy-sweet crackle in the finish...again, like sweet gingerbread. It's not too much to be cloying, but just enough to add some welcomed complexity to yet another IPA. This is easily my favorite brew of Bear Republic's respectable lineup.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.63/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark brownish amber of chestnut in color with a two finger high tight-whipped cream ivory colored top that never, ever fades, one absolutely beautiful glass of hoppy necture. Top gets crusty with smooth divets as it settles in. Eventually the top lays a perfect cloud of ivory puffed crustyness and the lace in super huge thick curtains, lots of curtains!

Aroma is deep dark dried hops that hints at pine and citrus, a good load of hops for sure, nice and piney with a sappy resin and airyness of pine needles thats nose fillingly awesome. A real nice backing of hard darkened rye and toasty malts with a touch of chocolate sets some nice noting.

Taste peels out of the gate with a smooth and soft roasty malts up front, thats quick and fast then it slams into high gear with a complex wall of full octain hops, alot of dried variants, crispy bitter pine, dried grapefruit peels, smokey caramel, buttery burnt biscuit and torched lemon, very leveled and smacked of great hoppyness. I barely detect the rye but I think it helps with the overall quick sharpness thats poking through in some of the first hints of bitterness giving it a boost like extra turbo. Zoom, Zoom,Yummy!

Feel is quite full and fully loaded with bitterness from just beyond the beginning; strong midway point and floats into the finish as the parachute opens with nice bitterness and a woody baked dryness.

You lucky bastards out in Cal. you've got it made. This stuff and Stone brews! Wow! What a treat it must be to visit your liquor stores? Great stuff!! It burns down the track and never looks back. Its got my engine roarin'! Bear Republic has a nice IPA twist with this bad boy.

Thanks to the "Big Dog" xlperro for the bottle!

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Photo of freed
4.4/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep cooper color, nice ruddy hue, and a well developed head. Fresh grassy aroma from the hops, which almost convinces me I'm about to drink an IPA. Beneath the hop aroma is a nice tart malt smell.

One sip fills the mouth with a very nicely stacked malt profile with a light grainy flavor from the rye. Malt body compliments the bitterness very well, and the beer drinks quite easily considering its somewhat aggressive build.

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Photo of Rumrunner
3.88/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.
It pours a deep amber with tons of sediment. I decent head which disipates quickly and there is some great lacing. Like an archeological dig. Many layers. The scent is more citrus than rye. There is a malt carob smell as well.

A very citrus tang starts this ale off. The malt is there but the rye is very listless. I enjoy the flavor of this ale but calling it a rye ale is tough to accept.
Side note: When I tasted this ale at the San Diego real ale fest there was more of a rye flavor. Which I really enjoyed as something different. Out of the bottle it is a very good ale but not a great ale and not much rye.

It drinks well and is enjoyable for what this ale is. Just do not expect a real different flavor because the word "Rye" is in the name.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.37/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tasted at the Oregon Brewers Fest 2003 on 6/25/03...

Appearance: dark brown, thin sudsy layer of head, good clarity

Aroma: huge hit of grassy-green hops overpowers a very subtle malt thread and even more subtle rye scent

Flavor: the biggest flavor element is a bloom of piny hops (must be dry-hopped), the malt sweetness peaks thru the hops just before the dryish finish, hop bitterness is at a nice level, can't really detect the presence of rye

Mouthfeel: medium body, fine carbonation, slight astringency from the hops

Overall Impression: A bit disappointed. Good beer, but I'd like to actually be able to taste the rye. Sorry... the non-hophead strikes again.

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Photo of Quaffer
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. Bottle

Appearance: This beer was a dark amber color with slight hints of red within its depths. A creamy-tan head that was dense and pillowy rose up to two fingers. I took a long time to finally sink back down into the beer, leaving a fairly thick cap of foam floating on the top of the brew for all of the drink. It left a butt load of lace.

After awhile I noticed that there was stuff floating around in my glass. And not your typical yeast sediment type of stuff either. It looked like it could be hops particles. I wouldn't be suprised if that's what it was, considering the hoppiness of this beer.

Smell: On the pour, this beer smelled like pure, raw hops. Nothing more. After the brew settled down, a maltiness emerged on the nose combined with a light fruitiness. The hops aroma was still very prominent at this time as well.

Mouthfeel: On the first pour, it was medium-bodied with a lot of tingle to it. A very crisp beer. I was much more aggressive on the second pour, though, and the beer smoothed out a lot and took on a creamier character.

Taste: Upfront, there were some smooth, almost rich, malt flavors. Nothing overly complex, but still very good. Very quickly a good dollop of hops kicked in that had more of an herbal character that anything else. This bitterness lingered into the finish and long into the aftertaste. I know this is a little gross, but any belches produced by this beer had a very raw hop quality to them. Also on the finish was a chewy, grain flavor that I supposed could be attributed to the rye. I'm not sure, though, because I have tried very few rye beers before.

This was a great beer. Very hoppy and very refreshing. Even though the flavor was not too complex, there was a depth to it that a lot of bitter brews don't have. I only wish that I could get it locally so I could drink it regularly. Twenty-two ounces was not even close to being enough.

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Photo of beerguy101
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark Red color, medium head. A full bodied BIG ale, made with a "truckload&" of hops and 18% rye malts. Very malty and spicy. Full flavored. Complex taste. Malts and rye and over hopping combine to form a complex flavored beer. Smooth. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter. Alcohol content is 8% but is not that noticable.

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Photo of BierReise
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one of those great ales that I find extremely satisfying. Reminds me of Rogues Brutal Bitter with the addition of Rye. Beautiful looking ale, dark and cloudy with a huge frothy head which completely laces every inch of the glass. I found this to be the case with every ale I've had so far from this brewery. Nice aroma of hops and malt, very rich. Full bodied and smooth with some bitterness. All around fantastic ale and one I'll look forward to again.

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Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another beer that fits firmly into the category of American IPA. Strong smell of citrus hops, quite hoppy, with a somewhat thin but oily body. I have had numerous beers now that fit this profile. Not much in common with English IPA's. This beer has a wonderful appearance, thick foamy head, dark amber color. Significant rings of lace, which stick firmly to glass. Great citrus aroma, the taste is there, but a little overpowered by the hop bitterness. This one ranks similar to the Rogue IPA in that regard. I still feel that Two Hearted acheives the best balance in this category. Still, this is an excellent beer, and certainly one all "hop-heads" will embrace.

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Photo of Mark
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The one thing I find strange about the beers from Bear Republic is that I prefer them from the bottle. I have been to the brewery numerous time for lunch and brew and without fail the beers are always headless. Oh well, I might be making too much out of nothing. This bottled sample dusts the pint I had at the pub and it was right from a fresh batch. Deep amber, thick head, and rings of lacing. Sharp hoppy taste with the right amount of Rye. A very drinkable, exceptional, beer that is chock full of flavor and character. Bear Republic!!!!

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Photo of jcalabre
3.74/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Originally sampled on 8 May 2002. The rye makes this IPA unique. A light bodied medium brown color, w/ a great hoppy/rye taste. Bear Republic has done a very good job at taking an IPA and adding a slight twist to it w/ the rye & it works out quite well.

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Photo of kbub6f
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought from the fridges at Gaslamp Liquor in San Diego, seven hours in my carryon, about a week in my fridge, reviewed 45F-70F.

A nice, small, off-white, dense head leaves thin sticky sheets of lacing. Two bubbles tag-team it slowly up through the deep red/amber beer. There's some fine sediment on the last pour.

Sweet, creamy, malty nose shows some raisin and promises hops. The front is dark, kind of bittersweet. Lots and lots of delicious hops in the middle, with a little tea, a little cream, a little grapiness. Some of the fruitiness survives in the hoptacular finish. Fantastic grapefruit rind burps. What a great, great beer. Hugely hoppy bitter, with some balancing sweetness.

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Photo of beernut7
3.65/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have never had a rye ale with quite the punch of this one. Usually they resemble a more rounded mellow wheat brew. This one, however kicks the asses of all those others. Pours a heavy brick red with a thick foamy off-white head. Absolutely HUGE earthy hop aroma with just an edge of sweet malt. Initial spicy hops flood the senses paired with a malt that makes it best attempt to catch up but never quite makes it. The alcohol warmth sits in the back seat like the malt, but is there nonetheless. An earthy, grassy rye flush powers the flavors through a lingering finish

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: brilliant red color, with an off-white, big and bubbly head. Aroma: sharp hops, fruit: grapefruit, pineapple, and pine.
Lush, delicious mouthfeel, and a lingering, long-lasting finish.
Hops are emergent throughout, with the deep, dark, fruity, delicious flavor ringing through and through.
At first, the hop attack is harsh and spiney, but ultimately this brew gets rounded out quite nicely.
The notes I construct this review from are not perfect, they were scribbles and scratches jotted down while sharing this bottle with a friend. Rest assured, though, that it made an indelible impression on us both!
Another great one from the Bear!

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Photo of MJR
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an alluring bright amber with orange highlights. The clarity is quite good, considering it's an unfiltered bottle-conditioned ale. The light tan head stays strong at a small cap. Great lacing on the glass.

Smell: Very aromatic with a ton of fresh hops. There's a sublte, spicy touch from the rye, and it blends well with the hops. Lopsided balance between the two distinct aromas, with the hops taking control. Far below them is a hint of alcohol.

Taste: The taste is very firm in it's bitterness, with a nice bite to it. The hop flavor is extremely fresh and green, with lots of pine, citrus (grapefruit), and floral notes. The rye stays way in the background, providing a subtle, spicy character. There's not much of a malt note other than the rye...maybe a touch of caramel from some crystal malts. This brew is all about the hops, with tons of bittering, aroma, and flavor hops in the recipe. The finish consists of...you guessed it...hops soaked in alcohol! Damn good stuff...

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with a really dry mouthfeel. Hefty alcohol feel on the finish.

Drinkability: This is an interesting brew. It's one of the few beers I've tried that uses rye as a considerable percentage of the grain bill. While it's strength prevents me from ever having more than one or two in a single evening, this is a brew I could drink on a regular basis.

Yet another fine ale from Bear Republic.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This Hop Rod is painted a chestnut color, with a slightly dull finish, mostly clear, with just a hint of cloudiness. The roof is a tan hue, creamy and fairly thick. Lace-work is quite plentiful and attractive.

The exhaust on this is not too intrusive. A bit of grapefruity hops melds in with a malty sharpness (reminding me somewhat of the aroma given off by an Arrogant Bastard).

Bodywork on this baby is solidly in the medium range of craftsmanship. And it rolls smoothly down US Route T-2, the tongue-throat expressway.

The malt engine upfront is a bit toasty and yet spicy, too, with some caramel aspects. The rye gives it a distinct crispness,as well. The real power behind this one is the hop drive-train, Cascade-like in construction, though it doesn't bowl you over with too much hops-power (I was expecting more, from the bottle-notes). Despite that, the hoppiness lingers long and hard in the rear-view mirror.

It takes a few minutes to get comfortable in this Hop Rod, but after a few spins around the block you feel right at home.

Thnx to the Master-Mechanic, Gusler, for letting me have the keys to this sucka! Prosit!!

overall: 4.25
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of brakspear
3.5/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I enjoyed this rye twist on the now too typical high octane Westcoast ales. The rye adds something to the whole, a crispness perhaps, but there is something missing that I cannot precisely put my finger on...maybe the hops have numbed my brain.

The beer pours a deep brownish-red with a very minimal beige head forming and fading quickly, a collar hangs on for dear life with decent lacing.

The aroma is all citrusy grapefruity hop with a rye twang pulling up the rear...nice, not too sweet.

The taste misses for some reason, all the appropriate notes are there: hop bite, rye dryness, malt sweetness, but the sum is lesser than the parts. Perhaps it is because the beer seems too light-bodied for the hop load. Nice smooth finish though.

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. It is also hard to believe that it kicks in a 8% alcohol. A nice beer for a change of pace, and I give it extra points for breaking the mold and using rye.

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Photo of Winter
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber. Poured a dark garnet in color with a light tan head. The head levels to about a 1/4 inch, but remains throughout consumption. Aroma has a pleasant citrusy smell to it, akin to grapefruit. Hops dominate the nose. There's also a feint caramel sweetness that underlines the hop aroma. It's there if you search for it. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Hop Rod Rye goes down so easily. The taste is a complex and layered offering. Again, hops dominate the initial impression with flavors of pine and citrus combining for a pleasant bitterness. Typical Northwest hop flavor pulls through in the profile. The beer finishes with a superb rye flavor, that rounds things out nicely. I feel that the final rye statement really makes this beer that much more unique. Oh, and the 8.0% alcohol is masked so very well that you never notice it... until later.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somewhere between amber and copper in color with a tan head. Fair amount of sediment towards the bottom of the bomber.
Big citrus hop aroma. There's something detracting from the aroma I beleive to be the rye (I am NOT a fan of rye).

Steady, yummy citrus hop bite. Sweet roasted malts and rye also play into the bold flavor of this beer.

Good mouthfeel.
Very drinkable for a beer this heavily hopped.

Saw this as a new item at The Party Source and quickly snagged it. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of the Bear Republic around here. I very much dislike rye so I have mixed feelings about this beer, but I definitely hope to sample it again. It proved to be quite tasty and grew on me as I drank it.

If you're a rye loving hop-head this beer could be the ultimate.

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Photo of Wildman
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a reddish amber color and formed a foamy off white head that left circular lace as it slowly subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. It has an aroma of malt, caramel and hops. A flavor of malt and hops with a sweetness of caramel. Really can only detect the rye in the finish, which has a medium body to it.

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Photo of Brent
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a glowing amber-bronze. Big aroma of very sweet cascades hops. Since rye bread is strongly flavored, and this is my first beer with a substantial rye percentage, I expected it to be likewise strongly flavored and probably a little harsh. I was utterly delighted to find that the beer is exceptionally smooth. The flavor profile reminded me of SN Celebration Ale. I was impressed by the hopping - big and flavorful, yet, for all the hops horsepower, the finish was mild with no hops burn or bite. A top-notch brew.

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Photo of TXHops
3.55/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

-ABV: 8%
-Malts: 18% Rye

Hop Rod Rye starts its doomed-to-be-brief life in my glass as a reddish brown, surprisingly clear (for an unfiltered beer), fall colored liquid sporting a pretty impressive, though small head of fine beige bubbles. A big pink grapefruit-orange juice aroma leads off the non-visual sensations. There’s a definite twang in the nose, but I’m not accomplished enough to know if this is from the rye, or if the hops are inducing that aroma. The flavor is harsh, bitter hops, sweet and tangy malt and a lingering, assertive bitterness. To me, this beer tastes a LOT like SN Celebration with a shot of tangy, heat-inducing Everclear. The rye adds an interesting tartness that seems to be a catalyst for shooting the lupulin bitterness from harsh to puckering. A constant undercurrent of brown-sugary, sweet malt almost stands up to the painfully bitter finish, but not quite.

I’ve only had 3 or 4 other rye beers, and none were brewed to this gravity, so it’s hard for me to comprehend if the harshness is being contributed by the rye, or if this beer is simply assertively hopped. Here’s the bottom line: it tastes to me like Hop Rod Rye had a single addition of LOTS of American hops at the beginning of a 90 minute boil, and there they sat: losing most their flavor and aroma, while the whole time, more and more bitterness was extracted. At the same time, the liberal use of crystal malts created an interplay that I frequently find in big, American ales: harsh bitter. I’m just guessing, so I don’t know what really happened. I know I’m wrong about the hopping schedule, because there’s a good shot of citrus in the nose and I know I can taste some flowery hops underneath the other flavors. Plus, my burps reveal a wonderful hop character that I missed going down. This beer just exhibits a character that I taste too often in American, specifically west coast (Rogue and SN to be really specific) hyper-hopped beer: harsh bitterness. Having tasted 90 Minute IPA and Ruination, I know it’s possible to make a beer with over 100 IBU’s taste extraordinarily hoppy and not be painfully bitter. In fact, those beers are two of my favorite all time brews. Oh well, they can’t all get 4.5+ scores. I’d rather have MANY other beers over this one. I guess I’m kinda bored with tasting hyper-hopped beers that are extraordinarily bitter, but display very little hop flavor. Onward and upward…

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Photo of bditty187
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Auburn & bronze hue; vague haziness thus moderate clarity, slightly off-white head, above average head retention, excellent lace. Beautiful nose, equally piney and citrusy, balanced and inviting. Tremendous palate, pine and grapefruit with subtle outright bitterness, raw hoppiness, noticeable rye notes… all of these flavors balance perfectly… then add in toasty malt, and a hint of cameral, for substance. The rye is more noticeable towards the finish, plenty of oily, foresty hops. Medium bodied with an appropriate mouthfeel. Pleasantly brawny hoppy aftertaste, long lasting, lingering dryness that begs you to quench your parched tongue and you gladly take another sip, you’ll repeat this over and over again. The abv seems perfect for this beer.

Hop Rod Rye is a ‘must try’ and I'll highly recommend it to any BA.

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Photo of Darkale
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wowee. Pours clear, reddish-bronze and emits a sharp, malty aroma. What a head: rollicking, tan, foamy; it's alive! It's alive! The head resembles the clouds that you see when you are flying over a storm front in an airplane, and the lacing clings to the glass like a drowning swimmer.

The first taste is sweet, caramel, slightly smoky, and then the hops burn as you swallow. A round rim of something fruity, like cherry. And then the aftertaste of gritty rye, which tastes much, much better than you might think.

This is a phenomenal beer. Definitely in my top ten.

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Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 2,068 ratings.