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Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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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

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Reviews: 1,118 | Ratings: 5,074
Photo of gr0g
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

8 week old bottle. Pours a dark copper color capped with a two-finger head. Retention and lacing are pretty good. Distinct note of rye on the nose, kind of a spicy "twang" that stands out from the barley malt. Earthy, herbal hop notes fill out the aroma, along with a bit of lemon zest.

A moderate bitterness persists throughout. Malt body is fairly understated, but the rye shines through. A clean, competent, and pleasant flavor that's nonetheless perhaps a bit bland. A dry finish caps it off. The texture is definitely the best attribute of Ruthless Rye thanks to an excellently engineered carbonation that finds a great balance between aggressiveness and creamy smoothness.

Celebration is a tough act to follow but Ruthless Rye offers a nice twist that adds another dimension to Sierra Nevada's stable of hoppy beers.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours amber with a medium white head. Great concentric lace.

S: Spicy grain with a lot of pine, classic Sierra Nevada.

T: Heavy hop resin flavour with a clear rye bread taste. A bit alcohol in the finish, but a solid effort.

M: Medium-bodied, crisp, resiny, with a medium aftertaste.

O: A good beer from Sierra Nevada, better than Glissade for sure, something to tide one over until Bigfoot hits.

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Photo of popery
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours clear and copper. The head is a thick layer of eggshell bubbles and clings to the sides of the glass as I drain it. Great looking stuff.

The aroma is clean and hoppy. There's a big rye spice note with earthier malt flavors. There's also a floral caramel malt sweetness hiding behind the more dramatic aromas. The hops are right in SN's wheelhouse and lend solid grapefruit and pine notes.

The taste is also good but gets a bit overwhelmed by a somewhat bland hop bitterness. There's a good amount of rye flavor but it gets a bit lost behind the hops, as do the sweet and earth malt notes. I don't mind the bitterness, but I wish there was either more hop delicacy or more rye flavor. The finish is mildly dry with a sharp bite.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is medium. Some hop oiliness.

It's a good beer and fills in a gap left by the Anniversary Ale. I wouldn't hesitate to bring it to a party, but I won't be stocking it at home for myself. The taste just doesn't quite live up to the aroma.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.49 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a deep amber-hued body with a noted clarity and capped by a tall, off-white head. Fair smattering of lace on the way down.

Smell: Firmly grassy, citrusy nose with a good pinch of lemon pepper seasoning, rather well ahead of the pale malted barley.

Taste: Bready, pale malts with the expected spicy rye malt character. Lightly sweet upfront, a sweetness that soon fades away as the bitterness accumulates on the tongue. Citrusy flavors of pithy grapefruit and sweet orange zest. A bit more grainy on the back half. Fairly peppery throughout. Dry, lingering finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Another Sierra Nevada IPA with a twist of rye.

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Photo of Asgeirr
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Ruthless Rye IPA pours a Copper-to-burgundy colour along with a beige crown which doesn't stay for long but rather dissolves into the brew below.

Smell: Upfront acridity, pine, resin, you name it -- it's got it! For those familiar with Surströmming (fermented herring), it's got that sour smell to it, despised by a many, but loved stronger by the few! Local patriotism beside, vinegar could be a fitting description as well. Obviously some rye bread springs to mind, that somewhat sweet, yet sturdy characteristic with an almost apple-like sweet 'n' s' sourness to it.

Taste: A raisin-like sweetness is the first thing to strike the taste buds, furthermore a bready maltiness comes forth. Yet, they are both overpowered by a poignant and spiky zestfulness- accompanied by spicy bombardments. However, the last thing to strike the tongue is a metallic taste, and that's never a good thing in my book.

Mouthfeel: Really creamy, medium full body with an alert carbonation.

Overall: Nice, and a bit more rustic than your average AIPA. Other than that, above the cut, but not cream of the crop.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Russian River pint glass.

A: Pours a clear burnished copper with a thin white head. Medium amount of visible carbonation.

S: Surprisingly low amount of aroma – pine & lemon citrus hops with some toasted bready malt. But not much of either.

T: Follows the nose – citrus, pine, and grassy hops, and lots of bready malt. Moderate bitterness in hang.

M: Almost a chewy mouthfeel, medium body. Alcohol very well-hidden, and a great amount of carbonation.

O: Good, but nothing outstanding. Very drinkable, but I had higher hopes for this one. Needs more hoppiness, especially in the nose. And the rye character could have been more to the forefront as well.

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Photo of Brad007
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As a self-proclaimed fan of rye beers, I had to check this out.

Pours a dark copper color with a thick, frothy head into my glass. I was expecting something more reddish but it should do.

Pine resin from the hops mingles with sweet and spicy rye malt to create a welcoming bouquet of flavor.

Wow. Piney hops and spicy rye malt greet the tongue. The hops seem to overwhelm the spiciness, creating a weird mish-mash of flavors. I'm not complaining. It's what I expected.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering malt and hops with a good rye kick.

I like this. It's not the best but I can see myself drinking it in place of some other micro.

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Photo of puckee
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can you really review a beer without considering its price?

Most Sierra Nevada beers are an outstanding value. The legendary (and over-hyped) beer in my area is Surly Abrasive. Great beer, but way too expensive. Hopslam? Outrageous.

Ruthless Rye has a ton of flavor. Nice West Coast hops. Earthy. Dare I say umami?

If you want flavor and richness without the high alcohol and without a high price tag, check this out. One of my go-to beers.

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Photo of B33R501
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

good example of trying a beer a second time, i was not impressed with the one bottle i tried when this first came out, its not hop rod or lenny bruce ripa, and my expectations were too high im sure. tasted this friday nite, the hops popped, came back with my 32 oz growler the next day.

pretty dark amber, too clear for me, but ok. nicely bitter hoppy aromas, tastes follows, big blast of bitter citrusy hops. the rye makes an appearance halfway thru, adding a little spicy kick. finishes dry.

good little hop fix for a saturday afternoon. very fresh and drinkable.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12oz beer. Pours a clear copper with a big frothy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is rye grains with some piney hops.

The flavor is some sweet bready malt with a big piney hop bitterness and rye spices. The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with slightly sharp carbonation.

Overall, I like it. It's a solid IPA and I like what the rye adds.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5


Churchill's Pub & Grille
San Marcos, CA

Amber and copper with a hugely foaming, thick, persistent light khaki colored head that leaves the glass messy with chunks of thick lace.

Mild though pleasant aroma of simple grain and mild pine hop presence.

The flavor is nice, though not at all aggressive. The grain and bread flavors are dominant, with mild pine and just a hint of rye.

Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel. I have always loved the way Sierra Nevada beers feel in the mouth, and the cask only accentuates that here.

A decent rye IPA, but I don't really feel the need to revisit this one anytime soon.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 3/13/13

Appearance: Deep amber in color when viewed from a distance, more of a reddish, copper orange in the light - mostly clear, with some chill haze - larger than average, off-white head - keeps a nearly solid cap, leaves a wall of spotty lacing - very pretty

Smell: Bright, citrusy hops and a ton of spicy rye - grassy, spicy, bready rye, apparently "ruthless" wasn't just thrown in the name for alliteration - orange and grapefruit flesh, with some rind and some pith - bready caramel and amber malts in the background

Taste: Rye and citrus, both in abundance - fleshy, pithy, lightly oily grapefruit - bitterness is moderate, seems amplified by the rye - there is a lot of spicy, grassy rye the flavor profile, perhaps a bit too much, honestly, reduces drinkability - very earthy overall - grainy, bready caramel and pale malts

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth, nicely carbonated, very dry finish

Overall: This is indeed devoid of ruth

Ruthless Rye is decidedly flavorful and interesting, but the rye gets rapidly tiring. I've previously had it on a few occasions, and I've never been convinced that buying a sixer is a good idea. I'm finally reviewing it because I found a single. And while I do like this beer, I'm not in a rush to have another.

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Photo of jdhowe
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle poured into a standard pint glass. I'm not sure of the freshness of this because SN's bottle-labeling is inscrutable. Picked up as a single from a mix-six, so I'm a little wary, but didn't want to commit to 6 bottles of this and have had good luck with this place's singles before.

A: Pours a very deep amber with hints of red, cloudy. 1/2 finger of wheat-colored head quickly dissipates.

S: Earthy, but very malty. Reminds me of the malt bill in Hoptimum, but backed up by an extra grainy and spicy character. Citrus is also showing, but weakly. Hopping is weak.

T: Interesting. Very layered -- I thought quite a few things through that first sip. Starts with a bit of spice before the malt sweetness steps up. Next up is fruitiness and alcohol. The finish shows the rye character and ultimately hop bitterness lingers alongside a slightly roasty flavor... reminds me almost of a coffee, but clearly isn't. Better than I expected from the smell, but a little grainy and not hoppy enough for me.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty good. The carbonation punches hard up front complimenting the spice, but mellows out quickly and keeps the beer very drinkable. Slightly coating where I'd prefer it to be a little crisper, clean, and gone, but otherwise very nice.

O: Torn between a 4 and 3.75 here. I feel like the total here is well balanced and more than a sum of its individual metrics, so I'm going with the 4. A pretty good beer, and one I think I'd enjoy a bit more with a bit more hoppiness. I'm not sure if the problem is age or if it's the beer, but I'm going to assume it's my fault/age. Still very drinkable, well balanced, and flavorful.

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Photo of Morey
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with no freshness date. This disappoints me to say the least. A big brewery such as SN should be dating their bottles.

Pours reddish-copper in color with brilliant clarity. Head is white in color and has a very fluffy look and feel to it. Originally, it stood about one finger tall, and after 10 or 15 minutes, it's gone absolutely nowhere! Nice stick and lacing too.

Aroma is on the mild side. I am getting some malts as well as a hint of rye spiciness. Maybe a tad soapy as well.

Taste is malty and sweet up front, but thankfully the bitterness from the hops and the spicy rye flavors aren't too far behind. I know that it's kind of common to say..."it's balanced" but this really is. Nothing jumps out at you. This beer definitely has that SN taste and feel to it and the flavors linger long after the swallow.

Nice medium bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. The foamy head also adds a nice creaminess.

A nice Rye Ipa overall.

Morey's Bottom Line: Is this well made?...Yes. Would I like to see SN step outside the box a little bit?....Most definitely. It's good, but not all that unique.

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Photo of delta490
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured a deep ruddy amber with a big creamy white head. The head has great retention and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is lackluster, with some slight earthy hops and a little hint of the rye. The taste is a little bit better, mirroring and amplifying the aromas components. The mouthfeel is nice, a little heavier and mostly smooth with just a hint of bite from the hops as it finishes. Overall, I'm glad I tried it but I probably won't go for it again.

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Photo of birchstick
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice caramelly reddish brown color with a really nice head. The head retains extremely well and leaves a nice lacing down the sides of the glass. The nose is full of piney hops with some spicy rye. Taste is citrusy up front that moves to some of the rye and cereal malts. Finishes with a nice punch of piney hops. Pretty solid RyePA. Good mouthfeel as it goes down. Overall, this is another solid beer from Sierra Nevada. They accomplish what they set out to do and delivered really well. Recommended!

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Photo of ranger60
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had a 5 oz sample on draft at Tap Room in Warren, NJ.

Appearance: crystal clear...dark golden, not quite amber, tight head.

Smell: not strong, but picking up the pepper notes and maybe some citrus?

Taste: the rye comes through, as do the pepper notes.

Mouthfeel: pleasant level of carbonation, and good overall.

Overall: I like it; not having had many rye IPAs, not sure how this stacks up, but it is flavorful and pleasant.

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Photo of FattyJLE
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

S - Pungent and spicy with bready malts.

A - Crystal clear deep reddish-amber with a two-inch, fluffy, off-white head. Sticky, thick lacing.

T - Spicy and peppery right from the start. Earthy, herbal bitterness combines with pepper and spicy flavor (whether from hops or rye, presumably both). Biscuity and toasty malt backbone. The spicy, earthy bitterness lingers on the palate. Little alcohol present.

M - Medium carbonation. Moderate body. No alcohol warming. Pepper and spice produce a pleasant bite on the tongue.

O - A quality rye IPA. Nothing spectacular but certainly representative of the characteristics of rye beers with no flaws to speak of. Definitely very drinkable, but maybe a little undeserving of the name "Ruthless." Still I'd recommend.

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Photo of derkfromwi
3.71/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


A: Finger and a half, very light tan head, copper color with some carbonation, nice lacing

S: Different kinds of hops, bready rye, earthy

T: Hops, spicy rye, dry finish

M: Nice carbonation, creamy/oily, feels less than 6.6% ABV

O: Good rye ipa, but I've had better, the appearance maybe put my expectations a touch higher, still good

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Photo of watermelonman
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pouring to a deep gold amber, this looks great in glass with moderate head and lace. Mild carbonation keeps up throughout.

Citrus hops and rye dominate the smell, and in taste are joined by barely enough caramel malt to give body and balance. The flavors I want and love in a rye pale are a little flat and flimsy, especially considering the lighter mouthfeel, but in terms of a balanced IPA this is as well done as any. The spicy taste of rye is apparent but I usually want more body to back it. The finish is clean and lightly bitter.

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Photo of fank2788
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pint glass
Clear dark amber in color with a fairly thick off white head to start which falls somewhat quickly but laces nicely. The smell is typical sierra nevada west coast hops with a touch of something a bit different, a peppery spice likely from the rye. The taste too is much like an IPA but a bit weak in terms of the bitterness. The malt base is relatively solid and again the rye comes through as a bit of extra spice. The body is thick and nicely filling while this beer finishes with a nice lingering spiciness that tends to build as it warms and the session goes on. Overall it is similar to other sierra nevada hop focused beers but as stated earlier a bit weak on the hop bitterness (especially for an IPA). The rye carries throughout which makes it different but I think it could be better.

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Photo of aorloski
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - This one pours a very dark orange lingering on a nice brown hue with a very tiny head. Not a lot of lacing or alcohol legs. Color is great but a little weirded out about how little of a head mine poured.

Smell - Spice right up front followed by that classic columbus hop sierra nevada profile.

Taste - I was expecting a little more IPA than rye beer in this one but it may be the other way around for me. Its a great tasting beer, the spice is right up front wrapped up in nice pacific hops with a hint of a maltyness which brings it all together. Dont come looking for tropical fruits or extreme pine in this one, rather a hoppy beer with a spiciness.

Mouthfeel - Very crisp and leaves a nice sugary aftertaste in my mouth.

Overall - A good, not great beer. I really enjoy it and glad i picked up a 12 pack and easily would do it again, i love sierra nevada.

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Photo of teromous
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very clean and transparent with lots of bubbles. The color is a dark shade of bronze with a red tint to it. There is a decent sized eggshell-color head that leaves lots of lacing. It looks perfect.

S: Not much scent to it...I get a minor acidic smell to it (hope that makes sense) and a light malt scent.

T: It tastes very good. There's a light rye flavor to the beer which is good, and it is pretty rich on malt and has a light smokey character to the flavor.

M: The mouthfeel is really good. The malty character seems like it would slip this away from being any kind of IPA, but the rye seems to work perfectly with the hops to bring a kind of "pinch" effect on the palate.

O: Overall I liked this beer regardless of what style it might be considered. If you're a fan of foods that have a rich savory flavor, this beer would suit you. I liked it, and I would drink it again.

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Photo of BeRanger
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours copper - about 2 fingers of white/off-white head which disapates rather quickly.

S - Certainly unique. Smells rather earthy, spices, with a little bit of citrus zest.

T - Unique taste - a lot of the earthy tones, hops, a little rye - finishes rather dry.

M - Medium bodied.

O - Certainly interesting - not the biggest fan of it, but I've only had a handful of rye beers. Unique though

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Photo of HopHead84
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Draft at Bj's Escondido.

A: Amber with a finger of beige foam. Lots of lacing is left behind. Nice color.

S: Pronounced rye bread with some biscuit. Hops impart a pleasant blend of pine, grapefruit, and orange with light floral notes. The aroma gives the impression of balance with a strong showing from both the hop and malt sides of the ledger.

T: Rye bread blends with biscuit and a balancing citrus hop presence. Lightly spicy. There's a little orange flesh with stronger grapefruit rind notes. The beer is almost balanced, but the hops have a slight edge, imparting a moderate bitter.

M: Medium body with upper medium carbonation.

Overall: A well crafted rye IPA.

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Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 5,074 ratings.
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