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: 1,121 | Ratings: 5,085
Photo of dmfrench
3.74/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Potent but flawed Rye.

A: Clear, dark amber body with a fairly persistent, sudsy, yellowed two finger white head

S: Big noseful of resinous hops, rye spice, and buttery caramel malt. Very inviting.

T: Quite a lot of flavor, with sweet caramel malt dominating up front, passing through a nice helping of rye spice on the way to a drying, resinous hops finish, yet somehow, all is not perfect. There's a certain metallic holowness that's preventing the very nice flavors from shining.

M: Highly carbonated with a drying finish.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.6/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A gorgeous dark amber/orange, shiny/clear, with luscious and elegant creamy white head. Very bubbly and beautiful head. About a finger thick. Good retention, with big lacing around the glass. All the usual great characteristics expected from the great SN.

Heavy doses of rye and lovely hits of hop and citrus feast upon the nose. Well-balanced on the nose, as the rye competes with the hops for the title. Very good.

The rye dominates the flavors, balancing and complimenting the citrus hops, with a good slight malt edge. It is well-done with a medium to heavy body, average carbonation level. The rye can be brutal for those not used to it, but this is a welcome experimental IPA.

I like this a lot, but then again, this is Sierra Nevada here, so I pretty much figured I would. Good to have an IPA that's not just a regular for a change.

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Photo of jdmorgan
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A very pleasant and fresh idea on a Rye ale. The appearance is a gold/bronze with a good head. The aroma suggested some hop presence and a bit of sweet malt as well.

The taste has a nice bite up front, owing to moderate carbonation mixed with moderate hop flavor and bitterness. As it settles into the body, you detect a thick malted rye body with the expected "spiced & peppery" tones, although not in excess. The malt body is slightly sweet and fades off into a bit of biscuit and robust hop flavor. Hop presence seems heavier in hop flavors without being overly bitter. The mouthfeel and carbonation are moderate and the alcohol content adds a touch of bite.

Overall, I found this to be a welcomed change to the beer aisle and a beer with plenty of complexity and balance. I love the use of rye malt and wouldn't hesitate to make a session of this.

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Photo of SerialHiker
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a fairly transparent caramel amber brown color…a thin layer of off white, tiny bubble head formed and remains…nice lacing…(3.75/5)

Smell: Tons of peppery rye up front…floral hops bitterness, citrus, cereal grains, pale malts…very well rounded aroma…(4/5)

Taste: Much like the nose…peppery rye up front and throughout…pale malts, cereal grains and some hops bitterness coming through in the middle phase…finish has subtle citra hops flavor…it’s got a nice sweetness about it…very drinkable and flavorful…(4/5)

Mouthfeel: Light body with light carbonation…watery, crisp, refreshing…finishes with a mild spicy bitter dryness…(3.25/5)

Overall: A very sessionable brew…it’s got nice peppery flavor that’s complimented perfectly by pale malts and cereal grains…I was surprised to see that the citrus flavor involved here comes from citra hops, which seems to be infecting every new or seasonal beer coming out right now…no sign of the 6.6% ABV, a credit to the brew’s dynamic flavor…this beer has grown on me since I opened it and I’m glad I have another in the fridge…I found the flavor to be more abundant and peppery as it warms…yum! (4/5)

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

Picked up a 6er for $9.99 a week or so ago. Poured the last 12 oz bottle into a SA perfect pint glass. Enjoyed this beer, so time to give it a review.

A- Pours a dull copper hue from bottle that sits a clear dark amber in the glass. A nice big foamy off-white head forms and sticks around nicely for a while. Big chunky lacing.

S- Grapefruit, pine, smooth spicy caramel malt, a hint of lemon zest. Really nice nose for a rye IPA. Medium strength for a beer of this size and style.

T- Hops have faded a bit from when I first drank the other bottles fresh, but still there. There is a good balance of hops and caramel malt and rye on the palate. Bitterness is mild but cuts through.

M- Medium bodied for an IPA. The bitterness is mild but strong on the palate. The rye has a certain quality that adds depth to the malt feel of the beer. Stays wet for a while before slowly drying.

O- A solid Rye IPA. Def worth a try and a 6 pack is very affordable. Another solid offering by SN.

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Photo of greybeardloon
3.44/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on February 3, 2012

A: Redish with a substantial head and lacing.

S: Mostly citric hops, but not all that pronounced.

T: Bitter citric and piney hops with a sweeter citrus hiding. The malt is a pleasantly fully and bread and faintly sweet. The finish is slightly dry and long.

M: Full and creamy.

O: Maybe I'm just not in the right mood for this beer right now, or maybe it wasn't stored very well, but it doesn't do much for me. That said, there's nothing bad about it. I'd rather have a Righteous.

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Photo of Groomsy
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic. Bottled on January 9, 2013. Supah-fresh!

SN's Ruthless Rye has a body that is just a shade or two darker than a regular IPA; burnt orange/rust is probably an accurate description. Some nice carbonation jets up from the bottom of the glass, and the beer is topped by a sturdy, rocky head of off-white bubbles that leave dense rings of lacing down the glass. A very good looking beer.

This is the first beer I've had that has been brewed with rye, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Since this is technically an IPA, all of the trademark West Coast characteristics are there: Grapefruit, rich citrus, and some pine astringency hanging in the balance. There is a backing of some clean and slightly toasty malt scents hanging around as well. What really contributes interesting scents is the rye, however - there is a peppery, herbal, earthy scent that balances the brightness of the citrusy hops and provides a rustic scent. Very interesting, though mild.

The mild nose is more than compensated for in the taste, though. On the front of the tongue is very similar to SN's own pale ale or Torpedo with big, juicy grapefruit, orange rind, and some piney bitterness. The malt flashes through in the middle to help cut the bitterness, but then the rye really kicks in on the finish and coats the mouth with an herbal, earthy, spicy flavor that lingers long into the finish. I like that the rye actually seems to sweeten the hop bitterness - the grapefruit flavors almost become sugary when balanced by the rye.

Ruthless Rye has a dry and crisp body. The carbonation really helps to enhance the interaction of the rye and the hop profile on this beer, and the medium body is just what fits for coming out of winter beers and into spring beers.

A very enjoyable beer. The assertive rye presence is what helps to set this apart from so many other American IPAs. Easy to drink, refreshing, and original. Definitely worth checking out.

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Photo of BeardedRiker
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sierra Nevada is one of the largest and most popular microbreweries in the United States and there is a good reason why. They consistently produce excellent beers. While they may not brew the more experimental and full-flavored beers, I've not had one of theirs that was disappointing. Since their pale ales are their most celebrated beers, I was happy to see a rye variation.

This pours a clear copper-amber color but the head is what makes the Ruthless look good. It forms a bit slowly, a bit over two fingers high, creamy-foamy, and leaves plenty of lacing. It had good retention but fizzed out pretty quickly.

In some ways this reminds me of the Alpha Dog from Laughing Dog Brewery I had one Valentine's Day. Strong earthy hops bring out spice and acidity. Citrus breaks up a bit of pine resin. The malted rye balances this out well, bringing out a sort of woodsy aroma that's moderately spicy. Rye breadiness. Some good aromas but not too strong.

This has some tasty flavors and is very well-balanced. Up front comes spicy and grapefruit citrusy hops as well as pine resin and fruity sweetness. The bready and spicy rye balance things out, making this just a bit more interesting than their regular pale ale offering. Pine resin/sap (is there a difference?) sweetness and earthy hoppiness linger on the tongue.

This is medium-bodied with medium carbonation. It's a decently smooth beer but it is a tad sticky from sweetness. The added spiciness of the rye makes it have a drier finish, however. Like most of Sierra Nevada's beers, this is delightfully drinkable and you could drink these too quickly.

Yet another solid offering from Sierra Nevada. It's a testament to them in their production of flavorful and drinkable beers. Cheers!

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Photo of Swim424
3.06/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poured bottle into great divide pint glass

A-sort of a copper amber color. nice head that fell slow leaving a thin layer on top.

S-a bit piny. a little caramel malt smell. pretty weak scent

T-seems mostly hops. not enough malt. the hops flavor is overpowering.

MF-thin-medium body. Average carbonation.

O-nothing special. Love the hops but needs a bit more malt to it. Not to bitter but the hop flavor doesn't seem right for this one.

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Photo of DAllspaw
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep and very clear amber, remarkably clear with 1" solid. Very sticky lacing throughout.

Smell is citrus and pine mostly and I pick up a little hint of the rye. Taste is as expected from SN, very well balanced, with more prominent grain, malt flavors and nice bitter finish.

There is a definite sense of something different with the rye, it is reminiscent of a lager in the taste. Very nice actually, if not obviously rye as others I've tried.

Very solid, will keep eye out for twelve packs.

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Photo of N3rdM3t4l
3.48/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into standard pint.

A: deep reddish gold with 3 fingers of beautiful rocky pale orange head. Decent lacing and very slow to recede. Looks great.

S: Big hops on the nose, biter citrus like a grapefruit or pomello, and a tad heavy smelling. Touch of rye on the nose but not much.

T: Opens with a touch of medium malt like a red and fades into citrusy hops. Hop bitterness comes in last and leaves a grapefruit-like bitterness on the back of the tongue or like biting into the pith of an orange that persists for a long time after.. A little alcohol warmth but not much.

M: Medium bodied with light carbonation. Drinks alright but not as easy as some beers.

O: Not a bad brew, considering I don't really like IPA style and I have come back to this a second time says something at least.

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Photo of ThomasMetal75
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Copper/clear. Pinky's worth of head that sticks around. Nice amount of lacing.

S-Citrus and malts. Smells like a West Coast IPA, with a slight bready note.

T- Citrusy, with that classic Sierra Nevada piney flavor. Spicy hop presence is unmistaken here! The rye has this toasted quality to it. Hop bitterness is strong on the initial sip, with a dry aftertaste after a while. I think the finish could be less! That's my main gripe. The flavor are quite good, but they mingle in the mouth for too long.

M- A very easy drinking IPA, although it's not a light mouthfeel. Smooth and clean. Very refreshing. Carbination is on the light side.

*-Overall this is a very good IPA. Is it anywhere near my favorite, no. To me, this would work better as a fall IPA, not spring. I'd like something lighter in body and not quite as hop forward. I don't think this beer has a good malt-hop balance. But still, nice beer overall.

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Photo of PaulStoneAnchor
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Nice foam retention that came with a caramel colored beer.

S: Lots of bright citrus, and some spicy rye.

T: Bitter Grapefruit, white pepper, tangerine, and some nice malty biscuit notes.

M: Medium Carbonation, along with with some lingering bitterness.

O: Overall a very solid beer. I really enjoy Rye beers and definitely enjoyed this one. I definitely like the flavor profile of this beer, and how it encompassed the hops and malts very nicely. This beer was another great beer from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of brydeen
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a deep copper color. Very crisp looking. Thin, bubbly, white head, with limited retention.

S: A spicy, dry resinous aroma. Definite rye presence. Not a lot of hops present, outside of a faint piney aroma.

T: Rye, Rye, and more rye. Very grassy, bready taste profile, with a nice bitter dry finish. Nice spice flavor.

M: Sharp carbonation. Very light bodied, dry, and crisp.

O: A nice, refreshing brew. Although its a nice changeup from the standard IPA, I would have enjoyed a little more hoppy characteristics

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Photo of mattbk
3.03/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark copper or light brown color. Head is a light rust color. Very light head, although it does appear creamy. Looks fairly carbonated.

S: This had an interesting aroma, was it the rye? Light sweetness in the nose, with some grapefruit hops in the background. When I first smelled this I thought it was off, but after a bit I lost whatever I thought was off about it.

T: Very interesting. First thing that hits you is bitterness, both in the front and the back of the tongue. Then in the middle is the malt sweetness. I think the rye is the front bitterness with hops in the back. I feel that the bitterness is sort of high without a ton of flavor. The flavor I do get is grapefruit and pine. Just a little bit spicy.

M: Light-medium light mouthfeel. A fair amount of carbonation.

O: It is not a bad beer, but I don't feel that it is particularly well balanced. The carbonation is too high and leads to a bloated feeling pretty quick. There are lots of other IPAs I'd prefer.

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Photo of Ungertaker
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a New Belgium globe.

A- Transparent pecan with a one finger white head.

S- Rye bread, bitter orange peel, pine

T- a faint citrus is followed by a spicy rye flavor. There are slight pine notes at the finish.

M- medium to thin with a low carbonation level.

O- For the price, this is a great session beer. I hope it sticks around for a while.

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Photo of lawlerj
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

A - Pours a mostly translucent mahogany. Two to three finger width off white head with an aggressive pour. Dissipates into a moderate layer of foam with a fairly thick collar around the edges. Can't see much in the way of carbonation.

S - The aroma smells kind of...sticky, I would say. There is a nice fruity/juicy hop aroma that I really enjoy, and that blends back into the underlying malt backbone. The rye is present as well, but is not in the driver's seat. I'm not sure I would pick that out if I wasn't looking for it.

T - The flavor is not quite as bold as I anticipated. There is a hop presence here, but it is certainly not in your face. The rye is much more prominent in the flavor than in the aroma; it provides a nice herbally, peppery counterpoint to the hops and bready malt. It has a crisp, dry finish.

M - Feels on the full side of medium bodied. Almost creamy. The carbonation is just right.

O - Overall, this was a very nice brew. If I understand correctly, this replaces Glissade as their spring seasonal, which is fine with me. Also, the artwork on the bottle is killer.

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Photo of Steamer
3.83/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very nice light amber color with a full-on cream colored head. Full hops and rye aroma with pine and lime overtones. The potency of the hops flavor is a tamer than some other IPAs, more citrusy, but still very good. Medium carbonation and mouthfeel. Overall: a good, not so complex IPA that would be a great option for someone getting their taste buds acquainted with hops forward brews at the next step up from a strong amber ale.

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Photo of fitrock2112
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured Ruthless Rye into a Pint glass.

A - Pours a clear golden with a half finger of white head.

S - Getting some pine, spiciness with light malts.

T - Man this brew tastes good. Right off the bat I taste spicy rye with piney hops, and grapefruit. Mid palate getting a little extra from the rye and malt to balance it out. On the finish it just blends smoothly with the IPA characteristics with the rye spiciness.

M - Medium carbonation, with medium mouthfeel. Nice feel for a IPA.

O - I really didn't expect this beer to that much different from Founders Red's Rye IPA; however, I must admit this is the beer to have when you're looking for a good Rye IPA.

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Photo of BastardKing24
4.04/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sierra N are always great tasting beers, and this is no exception.
Pours a deep orange with brown highlights, with a tight white head that leaves a ring of lacing.

Smell is pungent citrus and pine, with hints of dark fruit and bread. The rye is detectable I believe.

Taste is unique with malty bready notes throughout and a strong hop kick that leaves you wanting another sip. It's like a mix of brown sugar, rye, and citrus.

Feel is decent, I don't think I would want it more carbonated but it's on the thinner side.

This one met my expectations as usual so try it if you haven't.

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Photo of troysoy2
3.77/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2012 12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass. I only got a half finger of head, so I could have been a bit more aggressive with the pour. Otherwise, the off-white eggshell head had decent retention, and a decent, if splotchy, lacing. The body is a nice, deeper copper, probably thanks to the rye and chocolate malts in here.

Whoa, the smell is funky. Spicy, sharp, hemp, with a funky fruitiness. A little bit of piney hop, and just a hint of darkness from the malt.

The first thing I noticed is the mouthfeel, actually. This beer really wants to go down quick. It's a little thinner than I was expecting, but on the upside, it is nicely carbonated and has a nice, dry finish.

It has a nice grapefruit taste to it, and the rye spiciness helps augment the dry, grassy finish. And yet, the aftertaste develops an interesting sweetness to it. Just a touch of alcohol peaks through as well. Strangely, the front end of the taste really gets overshadowed by the finish in this beer.

Maybe a tad unbalanced, but interesting and good for a little variety within the IPA world. I will probably be in the mood for another Ruthless Rye every so often.

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Photo of EspressoGuy
3.52/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: buckwheat honey
S: floral, spicy (cardamom) but also slightly medicinal/plastic
T: full, rich, noticeable bitterness, not much hop aroma/flavour, clean fresh maltiness; well balanced; bitterness lingers
M: tons or richness
O: a bold direct "masculine" beer that would probably be better enjoyed with food.

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Photo of legalpete19340
4.45/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a nice burnt copper color with a big thick two plus finger head. It stuck to everything and laced the entire drink.

S: Spicy, spicy with giant herbal and piney hops jumping out. The rye kick is noticeable even here. Maybe even a hint of pineapple hiding in there.

T: Immediately the rye hits with a spicy smack. Layers of malt back it up going from light toast to a quick hint of burnt grain cracker. But you gotta be fast to catch it because the hops come in fast with huge amounts of pine and herbal flavors. I get the pineapple again here in the back before everything ties up with a serious bitter smack in the face that almost makes me pucker.

M: Medium with a syrupy quality and a slight bit of fizz that accent the spice.

O: Great beer. Just loved this one. Had two more on separate occasions and felt the same. The spicy kick of rye and piney/herbal hops combo just kills it for me. I am buying more and hoping it becomes a regular offering. I can see how this flavor combo is too much for some but for me it works.

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Photo of godlessape
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this one into my newly acquired Cigar City Brewing pint glass.
This is quite possibly the most gorgeous looking brew I've encountered in some time.
The two finger tan head sinks down to a respectable skim leaving some impressive lacing, and what it sinks down into is the most inviting copper and plum colored body one could imagine.
As far as the nose goes, you get a lot of citrus and pine one would expect from a West Coast IPA, but lurking not far behind is a earthy moist wood-chip aroma that demands attention and respect.
The rye is spicy, almost peppery and blends in well the the West Coast hops and mellow--low key caramel malt flavor. Lot's of good bite to this one.
The mouthfeel is close to perfect.
Overall this is a great example of a rye IPA. You cannot go wrong with this beer. Works great with spicy food. I just downed 3 with a bowl of Buffalo wings. A perfect pairing.

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Photo of RusImpStoLuv
4.28/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing Rye IPA! The color, smell, look...all say drink me. And then you do, greatness. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Perfect head that last most way throughout drinking, along with nice white bubble lacing. Great beer all around. Cheers! Side note, an odd but amazing food pairing is a nice cinnamon roll!

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Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
3.92 out of 5 based on 5,085 ratings.
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