Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

very good
1,121 Reviews
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 Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 1,121 | Ratings: 5,082
Photo of hophugger
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Happy, Happy, Happy. This is another great beer from Sierra Nevada. Pours a nice off brown color with a good head. The taste is great with hops, pine and some citrus together. This beer has the right amount of sweetness to balance everything out properly. The finish is of bitter hops, but is very pleasant and definitely a go to beer. I like it !!

 348 characters

Photo of beerlust
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%

Another Sierra Nevada seasonal favorite of mine, along with the fall and Christmas beers. Nice bite and
kind of flowery taste. Not overpowering, but not for sissies, either. It's a little less rough than the Torpedo. Extremely affordable way to get
your hop fix, like their Celebration Ale.

 445 characters

Photo of Lemke10
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%

This pours a semi-cloudy brown color with a slight off-white head. The aroma is slightly bitter with hops. The taste is big and bold with rye and hops flavors. It is smooth and flavorful with a grainy, hoppy finish leaving a bitter aftertaste.

 244 characters

Photo of magpieken
4.5/5  rDev +14.8%

12 fl oz bottle. Medium gold-copper colour with a tall, dense, off-white head which persisted well and left some nice lacing. Aroma of pine, floral perfume and citrus. A nice combination of: medium sweetness, complementary bitterness and a spicy bite to finish. Medium bodied with a creamy smooth texture. These jokers know how to make a beer. Thoroughly enjoyable.

 366 characters

Photo of AMack11
3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Looks great. Copper with a lovely tan head when poured into my ilkey brewery tasting glass.

S - Somewhat muted. The usual IPA notes are there but I expected more hoppy notes, more citrus more spice, especially from the addition of Rye.

T - As above. The taste is the same as the smell. There is however, a hint of the grapefruit, but this is not all that different to any other bog standard IPA

F - it's okay. A little thin.

O - It's not bad.a easy session ale, but for the price, somewhat of a let down. I'd drink it again, but I doubt I will. Pay the extra quid and get the Torpedo.

 593 characters

Photo of Dextrose
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from the Vineyard to start off the weekend. Poured copper coloured with substantial off white head. Didn't really pay too much attention to the aroma as I was too keen to taste it. Great mouthfeel with a good balance of hop and malt. Nice head retention and lacing. Definitely should have bought more!

 309 characters

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

Pours a burnished copper colour, quite clear appearance. Head is off-white, nice and bubbly but sunk to a whispy cloud. Lacing is sticky and lovely. Looks good.

Smells fresh and hoppy, with lots of citric character, pine and a nice spicy rye hint. Touch of walnut and dark rye bread. Bit subdued though, it doesn't burst with aroma like I'd anticipated.

Taste is big and hoppy upfront: fresh and floral with hints of peach and citrus. Big spicy notes on the late-mid with pepper, allspice and some pine resin that gives quite a big bitterness. Nice balance though, with enough freshness from the hops to lighten it up and avoid the doldrums where it may otherwise have ended. Nice rye flavours, nice IPA flavours, lovely blend really.

Smooth mouthfeel, swills around pretty decently with a bit of texture, but otherwise goes down very nicely. I'm enjoying that.

Very nice rye IPA; noticeable flavours but nice balance. Big, but sophisticated.

 946 characters

Photo of doktorhops
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As the old saying goes "one good something deserves a something..." (I really need to read up on my old sayings). Irrespective of my terrible memory I have a nice juicy bottle of Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA (or SNRRIPA - you knew I was going to do this) in my hot little hand which I should review as soon as possible as the bottle is getting warm due to being in my hand [phew, long sentence]. Note: This is the 2014 vintage.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Chimay chalice.

A: Presents a nice hazy tawny body (the rye adds a touch of brown) with an off-white lace ring, nice.

S: Spice, orange, toasted biscuit and pine notes combine well in this IPA. There is a hint of earthiness as well, no doubt due to the addition of rye. A touch of Bundaberg ginger beer also pervades the whole aroma, hopefully it isn't as sweet as a ginger beer (i.e. sickly).

T: Hmmm, the above notes are detected, however (and most surprisingly) Sierra Nevada have made an IPA that isn't ruthless - it's quite tame given the name, but given the name this isn't a bad thing (not at all). The earthy/spicy notes of the rye are given their time to shine, along with this are the typical pine/citric notes that are glad to give rye the spotlight for a change.

M: Medium bodied with a light carbonation.

D: As a showcase to rye SNRRIPA does a tremendous job of not overpowering the delicate grain with those classic bold American hops. Indeed I was most impressed with SN's restraint and ability to bring out the rye flavour so well. It is missing a touch of sweetness that I've had before in rye beers however this is a minor quibble. Overall a top job from SN again. If you are new to rye Ales in general this is not a bad place to start (also try the Sunshine Coast Rye ESB for a sweeter rye note).

Food match: Not your typical IPA here, which in a way makes it more versatile; gourmet pizza would really suit this "ruthless" Ale.

 1,917 characters

Photo of MartzMimic
3.59/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep copper with a decent foamy off-white head that stays for a bit. Nice lacing. Aroma of pine resin, hay and grainy malt. The rye gives it an earthy taste with a bit of sweet spice. It also balances nicely with the hops. It's bitter, but not overly so. It does give a nice tingle to the tongue. Medium mouth without a lot of carbonation. Definitely a solid beer as you would expect from SN.

 400 characters

Photo of DaveBar
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at an Alabama grocery store in a 6pk for $9.99 as a mix a 6. Served at 4deg C in a drought glass.

A- Very good. Pours with little head. Nice amber dark color

S- Ok but not great. Definately taste the rye wheat 100%.

T- Very good. Rye abounds. Very good

M- Nothing special. Just a regular North American beer

O- Very good. Will buy again.

Food Pairing

This nice little rye beer paired well with... Sesame Chicken


 437 characters

Photo of leantom
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

My first foray into the world of rye beers. Here goes:

A: Dark amber. This is to be expected given the presence of rye and kilned amber barley malts. Pours a nice, lingering head like most Sierra Nevada beers (good lacing and protein content, like most SN beers).

S: Good. Like your generic west-coast IPA. The presence of Chinook and Cascade hops is apparent, leading to citrus and grapefruit smells. Quite overpowering stuff, but I'm used to it by now - nothing special.

T: OK. It has a darker, even more bitter taste than most west-coast IPA's. This is mostly because the presence of rye malt complements the bittering hops quite well. Again, the malt really adds to the bitterness of the beer. If you like bitter beers, then you'll probably like this one a lot. I just wish that I could taste the rye a bit more. You see, while the rye does a good job of adding to the hop bitterness, the hops mask the fullness of the rye. However, it might be unfair of me to criticize the beer in this regard, as it's meant to be a bitter, overly-hopped west-coast IPA.

M: Very good, like all SN beers. They really do a great job with the protein content of their beers. All the beers have good thickness (which varies based on the style). They've been in business for over 25 years, however, if my recollection of them is correct. It's no wonder, therefore, that they've perfected the mouthfeel of their beers.

O: A good IPA. I'll probably try more rye-based beers in the future. I'll probably try one with less hops, though, so I can get more of a rye-taste (the hops masked it somewhat).

 1,585 characters

Photo of slackattack
4.53/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle to pint glass

A- pours a clear amber with a nice 2 fingers of head initially. Head slowly dissipates to about a quarter inch that persists and leaves a nice lacing as you drink.

S- earthy and spicy with some of the chinook and citra coming in at the end

T- the rye earthiness and spiciness is really up front for me, then you get the bittering qualities of the hops on the back of your tongue that linger for as long as you will let them. The taste sticks with you long after swallowing.

M- not overly carbonated, feels soft on the tongue and in the mouth. No complaints.

O- I personally love this beer and have a hard time passing it up when it is available. The rye just adds a little peppery bite that I find irresistible. At 6.6% some would argue it isn't a sessionable brew but I firmly disagree. An Oakland A's game and a Ruthless Rye or 6 is a great evening.

 894 characters

Photo of Sam-VW
3.89/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle into Anchor 2/3 Glass

A - Dark Amber with medium off white head, dissipates slowly leaving sticky lacing clings to side of glass

S - sweet citrus, pine

T - piney, bitter, definite rye leaving behind a sweet citrusy aftertaste

M - Quite carbonated, more so than other SN beers

 286 characters

Photo of bareju
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours beautiful orange amber with creamy white head.

Floral and citrus aroma.

Rye is strong in the taste, along with sweet citrus and floral hops. Lightly bitter finish.

Medium mouthfeel, bitterness lingers, slightly creamy.

Best rye IPA I've had. Refreshing, tasty, and easy-drinking. Will definitely be buying again.

 322 characters

Photo of Grugalug
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A-Pours a deep amber color with an impressive 2.5 fingers of head. It sticks around for a while and leaves some really nice lacing. Looks really great.

S-Quite Interesting. Strong presence of malt, especially the rye. The hops are noticeably more prominent, with the dominant aroma being citrus and earthy qualities. Just a bit of pine. Very nice overall.

T-An explosion of earthiness coming from the hops and the malt. You get this really interesting earthy quality from the rye and from the hops as well. A bit of citrus, mostly grapefruit, to balance this out. Hop bitterness is pungent but not overwhelming at all. Unique and satisfying.

M-Full-bodied. Has a thickness to it that is an interesting counterpoint to the strong hop character. Goes down easily and just enough carbonation.

O-A very unique IPA that allows malt and hop character to coexist beautifully. Would be a great beer for any season and yet another impressive offering from Sierra Nevada.

 992 characters

Photo of PvtSnowball
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from one of the local quick marts.

A: A very nice amber with a 1 and a half finger head with good retention. Very good.

S: Hops, malt, pine and maybe a bit of the rye. No citrus.

T: The hops aren't overly apparent with this beer. The hint of rye has something to do with that. The rye also adds a small amount of spice.

M: Smooth and full for an IPA. Very nice carbonation and a bit dry. Nice.

O: I'm a fan of rye whiskey so I gave this a try. Glad I did, It's good stuff.

Will buy again

 503 characters

Photo of untitledeuphoria
3.53/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2014 Ruthless, 01/28/14 packaging date, consumed from a flare pilsner glass.

A: Pours a very attractive deep copper coloring, with a solid one and half finger of off white (dusty) head that slowly fades to a cap and leaves moderate lacing.

S: Malt with slight toffee? notes, and very slight... at least to me... basic citrus. Overall, the smell is very subdued, even immediately after an aggressive pour.

T: Rye! ...then some more Rye, slowly followed by orange zest, and finishes dry and bitter, with a lingering taste of pepper.

M: Medium body, light carbonation, coats the mouth with a light resin stick. Alcohol warmth is apparent after half a bottle or so.

O: One of those "have to be in the mood for it" beers. It is a beer I enjoy on colder, poor weather days where the spice and alcohol warmth acts as a pick me up, without knocking me out. Each time I have this beer it tends to be a one and done, not to be paired with other beers and definitely not to be sessioned. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys experimental IPAs, but would not go out of my way for.

 1,078 characters

Photo of towelboy02
3.69/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A: It has a nice red amber/copper look. a white head. Sort of cloudy when swirled in a pint glass

S: a slight breaded creamy, then piney.

T: it has a rye taste as it warms up then a hoppy dry bitter at the end.

M: slight carbonation when it hits your tongue. dry towards the end.

 282 characters

Photo of Sensaray
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance is a beautiful red amber that is clear with a white head, its remnants lingers til the end
Citrusy hops in the nose also get some sweetness, some sense of the rye
Tasty brew throughout the sip, sweet then bitter piney hoppy with a dry finish that lingers. Caramel sweetness, flowery, peppery. The bitter element here is especially enjoyable. The rye is more present as it warms up.
Mouthfeel is full and good with dry spicy finish, good hoppy brew.

 460 characters

Photo of gbgreg1
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Poured a nice caramel color out of a bottle. It had great head retention and the lacing went down the whole glass.

S - This is a nice spicy beer. It had notes of rye, grapefruit, and caramel.

T - Great mouthful feeling with a full taste. The rye is noticeable and backed up with grapefruit hops.

M - Great consistency.

O - Great beer highly recommend

 358 characters

Photo of Br0wnsfn31
4.92/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

This is my first ever review.. and i wanted to review my favorite beer.. i have been drinking craft beer for about 5 years.. and this is the one i keep going back to and when January comes im waiting for this to come to my local store.. so here is my opinion about this beer..

A- Dark rust color.. a ton of bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass with about 2 fingers of head.. the head is off white thick and doesn't look too soapy; but it doesn't look like it is going to anticipate anytime soon

S- Citrus right off the bat.. Grapefruit.. with a hint of caramel and and black pepper.. very faint smell of chocolate there too.. very good aromas coming from this beer

T- first off i want to point off this is a very complex beer.. the taste differs in ever single sip.. which i love.. Citrus right off the bat then u get a touch of peppery taste with almost a brown ale back taste.. this really reminds me a combo of the torpedo and the tumbler.. with some natural spiciness.. its very well made..

M- makes my mouth happy.. not sure what mouthfeel is?

O- again this is my favorite beer.. i have had my share of beers.. but i always remember the first time i had this and my reaction.. Good job Sierra Nevada.. if you think this review is off or high.. that is ur opinion.. everyone has different taste buds.. but i urge you if you see this at a store.. pick it up and try it.. A+++

 1,392 characters

Photo of porter_collie
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into a pint glass.

A - Wonderful amber, almost tigereye, color. The head is thick and foamy and clings to the sides of the glass.

S - Pine, black pepper, and grapefruit. A burnt sugar sweet scent intensifies as the beer warms up.

T - First citrus and resin. Then a caramel sweetness from the malt. The finish is spicy from the rye with not too much lingering bitterness.

M - Appropriately thick and creamy for the style with moderate carbonation.

O - A wonderful beer I always look forward to come springtime. The blend of spice and bitterness with just enough heft in the body makes it a ideal brew for an overcast 50-degree spring day. Kudos to Sierra Nevada for the great label artwork, too.

 718 characters

Photo of oonthego
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful amber color with a 3/4 inch creamy head.

S: Very mild smell.

T: Very mild smell, tastes like the label says.

M: Perfectly carbonated, goes down smooth, and gives a pleasant aftertaste.

O: A nice beer for my first rye IPA. I wouldn't go out of my way to buy this but I definitely wouldn't turn one down.

 319 characters

Photo of themiller421
4.03/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Beer pours ruby color with a good clarity.

The smell is mostly malty with a slight hint of hops

Taste is smooth, with the hops being up front and the rye being in the background

Mouth feel is good

Overall it has a slight hop taste to it but is extremely good. It is worth picking up and I give it an overall B/B+

 317 characters

Photo of GinjaSlice
3.84/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark red color with good clarity. Head seems almost over carbonated or thin with bigger bubbles and a thin lacing
S: Odd smell for an ipa i smell malt with a pine backing
T: a bit of a bitterness to it quickly followed by a spicy rye taste that takes over the beer and then a kind of odd bitter after taste
M: Good mouthfeel goes down easy and is refreshing

 362 characters

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 5,082 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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