Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
5,092 Ratings
no score
Send samples
Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPASierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.60%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kaseydad on 12-29-2011

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 5,092 |  Reviews: 1,122
Photo of justinm4bama
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of MNJR
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice amber color. Thick, foamy white head that lasts. Smells: a little smoky, spicy, hoppy, pine. Tastes: caramel, spice, vanilla, malt, orange, hops. A very mellow flavor. Quite enjoyable. I guess the antecedent for this is Red's Rye PA from Founders, or maybe SN had done this first. I'd say in terms of quality they are dead even, with this beer being a bit less in terms of strong flavor. I liked this quite a bit and am actually glad it doesn't wallop you over the head with hops power. The "IPA" part is under-expressed here, and again I'm glad this is not a hop bomb. Hops are present and slightly strong, but blended with the rye and the woodsy malt flavors the overall feel is more warm and spicy than the typical citrus/pine IPA onslaught. Goes down very smooth and warming with a creamy mouthfeel. Could easily become a go-to medium bodied micro for me. Very nice beer.

 880 characters

Photo of eaphikap
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of ChefHopMeister
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of jerichobear
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of MrJolly
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I poured this from a bottle with a label reading 2013. Not enough is made of labels--I do judge books by their covers sometiems, and this beer seems marketed to recvovering D&D addicts whose early childhood fantasies were born of warrior goddesses. I was intrigued in 2012, when I first encoountered it.

Appearance: This beer looks like a disco snowstorm. There's a ton of carbonation and it is rising quickly to the one-inch white head which dissipates by half over a two-minute period of time. The color is orange-blond. Exciting.

Smell: Well, not much. It smells sweet and warm and earthy--good smells, but suppressed.

Taste: On the tongue, citrus, but very tart as it moves back to the throat where it becomes a combination of pepper and bitterness; here is a love-lorn beer. And its dark disposition lingers for a long while, espeically on the back of the tongue where it sucks the juice from my tongue.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is great for the beer's appearance, but in the mouth it feels like I can't quite sink my teeth into it. Sometimes the foamyness overwhelms.

Overall: I like this beer's temperment. It's windy here in AZ, and cooler than average, and this beer fits the mood of the day. Tumultuous is a good word.

 1,236 characters

Photo of thatdavegy
2/5  rDev -49%

Photo of hays99
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of Lang44
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of corby112
3.14/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Draft at Small Bar in San Diego.

Pours a dark golden amber color with a one finger off white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring.  The glass is left coated with large chunks of soapy lacing.

Bland aroma with subtle earthy hops and a sweet malt presence. Hints of floral pine needle along with some citrus rind but the malts overpower the nose with caramel, rye, nut and toffee.

Medium bodied and similar to the aroma with a dry, earthy hop presence that lingers over sweeter malts into a slight dry finish.  A bit hoppier than the nose suggested with some floral pine and hop oils along with some grapefruit and orange peel.  This is countered by sweet rye, caramel and toffee. Decent balance and easy to drink but a bit bland.  As it warms it becomes a little soapy and unpleasant.  

 804 characters

Photo of Metuo
4/5  rDev +2%

Photo of sendsilk
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of gpogo
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear orange copper body with nice sized off white head. The head tturned into a foam cap and left behind some nice lacing. Lots of carbonation to be seen.

A- Sweet malt and herbally hop aromas. A slight peppery spice hint.

T- Hoppy flavor up front with a rye spiciness to it. Mellows to a nice sweet malt body and finishes with some bitter flavors left in your mouth.

M- Medium body, moderate to high carbonation.

D- Very enjoyable beer, especially for the price!

 471 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.29/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured aggressively into a Sam Smith pint glass.

A: Pours a tawny copper color with about middling clarity. I intentionally wanted lots of head (har har, I'm so funny!) here, so my aggressive pour yielded a 4 finger, off white colored beauty. Decent retention and fantastic lacing.

S: I'm a little mixed on the smell. There's lots of grapefruit - good - and a strange note of soapiness - not so good. There's also a subtle whiff of rye.

T: Rather mild, with little rye character appearing, unfortunately. Having said that, the IPA base offered here is still rock solid, but like I said, a little mild. There's an opening hit of bitter grapefruit with the malt undercurrent slowly appearing, with a finish of piny hops - a textbook IPA. I can pick up rye notes near the finish if I concentrate, but the rye character is somewhat disappointing.

M: Medium bodied, a little sticky on the back end, and average carbonation.

O: Truth be told, it's only decent. I really wish this was a little more Rye and a little less IPA. Having said that, if you go into this expecting a straight-up IPA, you'll probably enjoy it more.

 1,121 characters

Photo of thebrood1987
4.83/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Smells very fruity and floral with a sharp grapefruit smell that I get from Sierra Nevada beers and Victory beers due to the whole cone hops both breweries use. I also get a bit of that bready rye smell as well.

It has a spicy bite up front then quickly turning into the rye bread spicy maltiness and then quickly turning to a sharp bitter piney citric bite. They use experimental hops in this one and you can tell its a different hop flavor than their Torpedo. This has more of piney resin taste to it. Its great though backed with that spicy malty rye.

Between the experimental hops they use in this beer, the malty rye bready taste and the spicyness from the rye and hops melding together makes this my favorite Sierra Nevada beer. Definitely too bad they don't have this as a year round beer.

 799 characters

Photo of CHickman
4.23/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear copper color with a foamy 2 finger beige head that was full of bubbles and faded very slowly, leaving excellent lacing clinging to the sides and rings as it went down; as the head went down it looked like the moon with a ton of craters. A foamy layer stayed on top as the glass emptied.

Smells of hops up front with a whiff of rye as well; the nose has citrus hops, grapefruit, piney hops/pine cones, rye, herbs, hay or dried grass, floral hops, flowers, crackers, biscuit or wheat bread, grains and spices like pepper and light coriander; it’s a complex aroma that’s soft yet spicy and very nice overall.

Tastes like it smells, but the rye is a little more pronounced. The initial sip leads off with rye, spices and then a mix of hops; flavors are very much like the nose and include rye, citrus hops, grapefruit, lemon, piney hops/pine cones, herbs, hay or dried grass, floral hops, flowers, crackers, biscuit or wheat bread, grains, spices like pepper and light coriander, and then very earthy notes like smoked wood chips or possibly an splash of booze – perhaps that’s the rye factor, and while it dulls the hops I like the way the rye mixes with the hops and leaves a nice bitter finish that actually tastes like you just ate a slice of rye bread – tasty indeed.

Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, with a medium body, light fizzy carbonation and an average feel overall that leaves a semi-dry bitter finish. Mild for an IPA, but still very refreshing and enjoyable. Another nice product from Sierra Nevada that I look forward to drinking again.

 1,573 characters

Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint

A – Pours a clear deep copper with a small half-finger head of tiny bubbles, which disappeared after a minute, leaving patchy lacing.

S – Clean aroma of grassy hops with a hint of black pepper.

T – West coast hops are definitely assertive, but this beer also has a nice Ritz cracker-like malt backbone. Some caramel esters present in the malt. The rye adds a spicy element matching the black pepper in the nose that becomes noticeable in the finish. Everything really nicely balanced here. Tasty.

M – Medium bodied with lively carbonation. Has a slightly creamy feel to it as well, which is amazing. Finishes clean and dry.

O – Outstanding in all categories except maybe appearance, (could have used more head/lacing) I really enjoyed this. So well balanced that the taste buds don’t become bored or tired. I don’t personally find a lot of rye inspired ales, so this was a refreshing change. I wanted another when I was done, and I’ll be buying this again.

 1,018 characters

Photo of Pahn
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Just released, so not bothering with bottled on info (it's fresh).

Appearance: Free pour yields a two inch offwhite head that dissipates steadily and (like the beer) leaves lots of streaky lacing. Pours a translucent copper.

Smell: Tropical fruit (mango and pineapple), with some pungent onion / marijuana hops. Fresh whole grain bread malt aroma in the background. Awesome.

Taste: Spicy, assertive rye malt up front, leading to a slight greenhouse hop flavor, with a bread and cracker finish and piny aftertaste. Very bitter, but it works.

Love the rye, the resinous hops, and the malt backbone. However, the aroma is making hop promises that the taste fails to keep in a big way. I like both the taste and the smell, and I can be okay with them being very different in a beer, but it's hard to take when the smell is much better than the taste.

While the flavor gets a bit more pungent and weed-like (this is a good thing), along with a slight kind of "earthy tropical fruit" flavor devoid of sweetness (hard to describe, but it's an echo of a note in the aroma and reminds me slightly of Nelson Sauvin hops), there's never enough citrus / sweet fruit / flowery / herbal / etc hop flavor to stand up to deeply characterful malt background and heavy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Nice and bitter, with a crisp, dry finish.

Overall: A good beer that could be a great beer. The flavors that are present are masterful, and the aroma is excellent, but there's something missing in the taste that keeps it from really singing.

That said, I could drink a fair amount of these. Also, it's nice to drink an IPA with such well developed and delicious malt character. Honestly, I would rather drink the Sierra Nevada seasonal that this beer replaced (Glissade), but I wouldn't turn this one down.

 1,860 characters

Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pleasing ryed IPA, a good offering.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Dark green Sierra Nevada label, with intricate framing and an elaborate illustration of a lady harvest on a field. It sort of works but feels a bit like an unremarkable DC-Marvel cover. Brief neck label describing the composition, and intent of the brew. Shows some batch codes, vintage 2012, and notes 6.6% Alc. by Vol. Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Clear medium/deep amber pour with a rich frothy head, good retention and nice lacing.

S - Nicely spiced hoppy nose, resinous, citric touches with a distinct spicy rye…

T - Nice resinous hoppy range, citric hint, nice emerging spicy rye that lingers a bit as it closes over the nice malty backbone.

M - Medium body, with medium soft carbonation with a small textured tingle that rides very well over a slight sticky insinuation and a gentle bitter finishing bite.

O - Very pleasing Rye IPA

Notes: Maybe a touch short of excellence but rather nice. Different styles and all but this is a great improvement over their Glissade in their rotation of seasonals, which I thought was rather weak. Sure that was a style that I typically don't find particularly attractive whereas I do love a well made rye brew. In any case this is a great addition to their rotation, and for my palate among the top two or three things they might offer on a regular basis.

 1,385 characters

Photo of ReelBigwigFish
3.93/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Chimay chalice glass, Ruthless Rye has a deep amber copper color. It is filtered and translucent, and it has a minimal light tan head with sudsy retention and very little bits of lacing. The nose is very hoppy and peppery. The hops smell sharp and fresh, very resinous pine hops with some bitter citrus shining through. The peppery spice of the rye malt comes into play without standing out enough to be overly spicy.

The taste is strong hop bitterness upfront, grapefruit, pine, and orange. The rye malt is more noticeable, adding peppery spice, as well as a dryness. The caramel and chocolate malts become noticeable midway through, adding body and a smoothing, almost lager-like mouthfeel. The malts definitely help to smooth out the bitter bite from the hops, but they don't quell them altogether. The finish showcases a sweeter floral hop flavor and peppery spice, with just a hint at dry hop bitterness lingering after each sip.

Ruthless Rye IPA, is definitely a great addition to Sierra Nevada's lineup. Although some may disagree, I'm happy to see it replace Glissade for their spring offering. Despite the fact that Ruthless is an IPA, the rye, and other darker malts, add a great amount of body and complexity.

 1,236 characters

Photo of riored4v
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured in to a tulip. Dark copper colored body. Slight haze. 1 finger, off-white head. A bit darker than I figured it would be.

Very citrusy in the aroma. Light floral. Mild maltiness with nice spicey notes from the rye.

Taste was very good. Lots of strong citrus flavors upfront with a mild bitterness. Light orange and grapefruit bittering notes. Mild sweetness. Nice amount of spicey notes. Rye was definitely noticeable. Mild bready notes and a medium maltiness.

Medium body, medium/high carb with a crisp and dry finish.

Overall I found this extremely enjoyable. Strong citrus flavors while keeping bitterness low. Kept the beer very drinkable. Rye added a nice touch as well.

 686 characters

Photo of LouDogg114
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of rapayn01
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

Photo of xnicknj
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

on tap at a few places around philly

Pours a clear auburn color with a light coating of white head. Tons of sticky and splotchy lacing on the glass with rings left behind after each sip.

Bitter piney hops in the nose with some light rye-induced spice. Faint sweetness with caramel and bread crust.

Starts off with a nice amount of bitter pine hops with some earthy notes. Spice from the rye attempts to creep in, tempered by some softer caramel. Decent malt backbone, touches of bread crust. Finishes bitter and light.

Thinner medium body, decent carbonation, feels a little watery and soft to me. I’m a fan of rye beers so I was looking forward to this but it fell a little flat for me. More rye spice and more hop flavor would really set it off nicely. For comparison’s sake, I had a Founders Red’s Rye after this and it blew it out of the water.

 861 characters

Photo of mrskunk
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 5,092 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.