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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. | Shmaltz Brewing Company

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895 Reviews
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.

Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A Double India Pale Ale with Rye Malt brewed in tribute to Lenny Bruce (Leonard Alfred Schneider 1925-1966).

Added by mcallister on 06-07-2006

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Reviews: 895 | Ratings: 1,972
Photo of PanicUnited
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Im not writing a review to tell everyone how this beer has hints or lemongrass or anything like that. I would just like to add a few notes about what to expect if you get the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful brew.

The taste was good, but there was, at times, an overbearing sense of granulation that threw me off. Its particularly carbonated and can not be enjoyed at a rapid pace. To be honest, after one of these you will want something more malty, like a Coney Island Lager.

Definitely different, full bodied and spectacular; however, it leaves something on the table so don't overpay.

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Photo of lonestar4lunch
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish brown with a huge head that isn't going anywhere fast. Man I love smell of this one. Fresh biscuits out of the oven and then hoppy…awesome. This one starts off with a huge malt punch then slowly transitions to a bitter citrus finish. But even on the finish the hops don't ever really take over. The mouth feel on this one is perfect. The head retention is outstanding and just adds to that smooth, creamy, malty, citrus finish. The rye honestly shows up every few sips but that kind of makes it just a bit more enjoyable. I love rye but not when it owns the brew, this works. I have been head over heals for this one since I first tried it last year after GABF. Love it.

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Photo of paulginva
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Poured into a goblet from the tap, this beer exhibited a 1/2" foamy off-white head with excellent lacing that dissipated very slowly. The body was a hazy moderately deep amber.

AROMA: The first whiff of this beer just about knocked my socks off. A heavy, spiced citrus scent was most prominent with overlays of floral, orange and a slight hint of perfume. All of this was supported by a light malt aroma of caramel.

TASTE: The taste of this beer was as audaciously sharp as its namesake, with a heavy blast of hops exhibiting a strong citrus backbone with grapefruit, floral and orange overtones and just a hint of pine. There was a light taste of spicy alcohol and this whole structure, which could easily be too bitter (but was not), was supported by a medium toasted malt flavor (which, because of the strong hoppyness, actually seemed light) with overtones of caramel.

DRINKABILITY: This beer was as audaciously brash as its namesake, pushing the edge of the envelope all the way but never crossing the line into harshness. This was the first one of these I've ever had and, while I wouldn't pick it for a long night of imbibing, I would go out of my way to pick some up for any other social occasion with those who enjoy excellent, hoppy beer.

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Photo of Vengeance526
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red orange color with a sizable white head that lasts for a good while and leaves some nice lacing.

Beautiful aroma of pine and citrus throughout with a nice caramel sweetness. Some earthy and woody notes are also present along with light spices and a a touch of alcohol.

Taste resembles the nose for the most part but more caramel malt and piney hops while the citrus seems a little muted compared to the aroma. Slight spicy rye presence but not particularly powerful overall.

Medium to full body with a sticky finish. Great DIPA overall. The aroma seemed much more amazing than the actual taste but nothing to complain about. I'll be having quite a few of these around from now on.

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Photo of thejewthatbrews
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a taster glass.

Amber colored, with a slightly off-white, surprisingly long-lasting head. Good, sticky lacing.

Great bitterness. Malt hits for the first half-second, then the hop bitterness takes over. Slightly spice-like flavor throws itself in every once in a while. While not distinctly tasting like rye, it's different from other DIPA's. The rye seems to change to profile, melding with the other ingredients. Less of an adjunct, more of a true ingredient.

Hops, malt, hops. Floral aroma? You betcha. Not crazy floral, though. Floral in the kind of way that says "damn these hops are fresh"...and delicious.

Easy drinkin. Thicker feeling than any average beer, but not overwhelming by any means. Just enough to slow you down a little bit, and savor it even more.

If you like bitter things...highly drinkable. Complex, interesting, hoppy, bitter, but not disappointing in the malt category either.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of vandemonian
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. has a dark orange colour and an excellent 2 cm head. The smell is very bready with some orange citrus notes. This beer has a lovely, thick and slightly bitter taste: like blood orange. This beer is extremely thick... a great feel. Very nice.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer sent to me by Shadman. Thanks BAmate!

The beer color is copper, and dark. The head is creamy, tenacious and sticky. A very nice looking beer. The aroma is resinous, fruity. Nice aroma. The taste is pretty intense in resinous hops. Fruits too (citrus and oranges). The ABV is well hidden. A very good beer, easy to drink which makes it dangerous. The finish is dry with a nice taste at the finish. The rye is, if you asked me, a very nice thing in an IPA.

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Photo of rhenning
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into Ommegang glass

Copper with orange hues, a gentle pour produced two fat fingers of frothy ivory head with nice retention and lots of sudsy lacing left stuck to the glass.

Smells of toasty rye, big pink grapefruit, piney hops and fresh herbs.

Taste of rye malt, sweet and sour grapefruit with sugar on top, citrus peel and long lasting piney bitterness with notes of bitter herbs. The high alcohol content is well masked by the massive hop character, present only briefly mid-palate.

Mouthfeel is wonderfully smooth and creamy, finishing clean without any stickiness present. This is the perfect viscosity for my taste.

I really like this beer. It's got big flavors while remaining well-balanced, without trying to be too many things at once... and strangely thirst-quenching to boot.

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Photo of Shooter1960
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not what you would expect from a DIPA. More sweet and malt flavors than presence of Hops. Tastes like a better and cleaner version of Great Divide Hibernation Ale. Very enjoyable beer but a bit of a disappointment if you are looking for a hop bomb from your DIPA. If you are open to the experience of something different and are not fixed on a hop bomb, a very good and enjoyable alternative.

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Photo of JTSbeerislife
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, bottling date not known, purchased 7/2011 from a reputable bottle shop and stored in temperature controlled conditions since.

Poured into a Corsendunk Tulip.

Pours a nice thick one finger head, settles down to a ¼” cap, easily revived with a swirl of the glass, a lively Ale. Excellent lace coats the side of the glass.
Deep brownish amber color, real Ale!

The smell is distinct roasted malt, yeast, black Rye bread, and hops, powerful.

Bitter hops come first and dominate the taste followed by very rich roasted malt, refreshing crisp acidity and a wonderfully balanced carbonation. The incredibly rich malt does not in detract from the hops, but I cannot tell if the hops are piney or citrus, they are just very bitter and distinct. Very full mouth feel from the massive malts and 10% ABV. As usual with beers of this quality the ABV is completely hidden by the aggressive flavors.

Long, distinctly bitter hop finish, with the rich bready malt following.

This is a very different Ale, something of a malt bomb yet the hops are distinctly bitter. I have to say I really enjoy what the brewery is doing here, as I enjoy brews that push the boundaries, and this certainly does. Probably the most distinctively “Rye” Ale I have drunk to date, there are many that want to be, but this one delivers! Delicious! If you find this one I highly recommend that you give it a try.

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Photo of ghostwalker
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cherry-red/amber body with a thick yellow/tan head. Very nice looking poured into a Maudite tulip.

Nose is tart, spicy hops.

Flavor is tart, bitter and puckery with hops, but spicy and bold on the finish. Boozy, but in a good way. There's a solid malt backbone there too, but this one is very hop biased, to my delight. I expected something more like Hop Rod Rye, but I may like this one even more. This calls for a side-by-side tasting!

Mouthfeel is tart and zippy. More of the puckering effect, like biting into a lemon, or drinking grapefruit juice just after brushing your teeth. It's like concentrated hop juice.

Drinkability is very high. Much like HRR, it is almost compulsively sippable.

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Photo of doucmehu
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Nice rich creamy light-tan head, about 2 fingers. Color is a nice reddish amber with plenty of carbonation. Foam settles to a thin coating, with minimal lacing.

Nose is full of sweet malts and hops. I get plenty of dried/overripe fruit, caramel, orange zest and juicy hops. Quite a bit going on here.

Taste is very bold and flavorful. This is certainly a big beer, more than I was expecting to be honest. My first impressions are of barleywine-like malts, then the somewhat floral yet sweet hops come in but don't hold up their end of the fight until the end. More of the dried fruit and a bit of Belgian style yeast. Finish is quite hops bitter, which is a pleasant detour from the sweet malty goodness.

Mouthfeel is somewhat heavy for a "DIPA," with a slightly noticeable alcohol burn that sticks around. Carbonation is strong for the viscosity, and seems to last.

Overall - This beer is really excellent, and right up my alley. I found it to be quite similar to 90-Minute, but with a little less cloying malt and more hop bitterness. I really can't knock any facet of this one, and I will for sure buy more (soon).

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Photo of biegaman
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A sweltered, fire-roasted orange peel with ample topping of khaki-stained whipped cream. The beer's colour is tanned and toasty but its complexion clean and nearly uninterruptedly transparent. The foam does good at sticking around, and sticking to the sides of the glass for that matter, too. Its remnants droopingly hang as if part of an expressionist painting.

Shmaltz Brewing really ought to consider opening up their own hop store; how's this for a hop bill: Warrior, Cascade, Simcoe, Crystal, Chinook, Amarillo and Centennial? Wowza! With an outfit like that (and a regiment of dry hopping) I think a sassy, dynamic aroma is to be expected. Curiously, things end up fairly mild. It still boasts an ambrosial bouquet of candied grapefruits and bitter resins but it's mild given the specs.

Much of what toned it down, it seems, is the equally liberal use of caramel malts and rye (of which three different varieties are used). In smell and in taste, the dry, grainy, kilned sensation of rye malt really takes up a lot of room on the palate. Foremost, they lend the sensation of rich dark caramel. Also imparted are notes of whole grain bagels, rye bread, chewy nougat and an odd similarity to wild rice.

Hints of candied grapefruit and candied orange peel aren't easily overlooked, however, considering the hop additions once again, it's a mystery this isn't more resinous, fruity, pungent, citric or at very least more bitter! The presence of any of those qualities is minimal at most. No matter, the beer doesn't suffer any one bit.

The alcohol is well contained for a beer this strength. As it warms, however, small traces of it pierce through the flavour. It certainly doesn't detract any from the drinkability, in fact, it adds a welcome dimension to the beer. This is rather phenomenal, it offers an array of textures and tastes (think sherbets meets doughnuts, wild berries meets wild rice). It is a unique composition difficult to place into a defined style.

Reading the description, I was expecting to break out in hives shaped like hops. Turns out, it contains surprisingly little of the oils and resins of the Pacific Northwest. Instead, it offers a taste of a fantastic, fresh-baked marble rye from a good Jewish bakery. Not to say this isn't hoppy, the label is correct proclaiming an 'obscene amount of malts and hops', but this takes on a unique character all of its own. Be sure to try it for yourself to see what I mean.

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Photo of Vancer
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazed amber, and with the hard pour a massive tan head bubbles up in the Corsendonk tulip. Sticky Brussels lace coat the glass.

West coast aroma of orange, citrus and a hint of pine - all amongst the floral hops. Very tasty treat with the quaff, all these flavors mix together well and make for a very enjoyable brew. Stinging hop finish, but no hint of any alcohol. Solid performing DIPA.

Ya know, with their labels, I thought this was a gimmick brewery. I was dead wrong, these are fine beers - and at a good price! $5 bomber, nice!

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber. tasted in late march 09. i don't think i found a bottle date.

deep red amber. almost clear. fluffy tan head, rocky, bumpy, receding to thin layer, then wisps and ring. nice lacing, especially later on, becoming almost curtain-like.

fruity, dark caramel aroma with hint of brown sugar, along with sweet grapefruit flesh with touch of zest, and mild but fresh pine. hint of nutmeg-like spice and a flash of trace acidic whiffs in the back. wish it were a tiny bit hoppier aroma-wise.

taste: lots and lots of sweet caramelized malts, apple fruitiness, moving to big grapefruit and citrus fruitiness and fresh pine resins with bold but balancing bitterness, peaking before the finish, and lingering with more caramel maltiness and resins.

relatively smooth and lightly syrupy, with minimal resins in the finish. moderate carbonation can be prickly, but is complementary, gives lift and is even sometimes fluffy.

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Photo of CHADMC3
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer looks fantastic pouring a rich mahogany body with a medium, but lasting tan head that leaves a nice layer of lacing to cling to the glass.

The initial aroma leads me to believe this beer is HUGE! Loads of sweet and roasted malts, backed by abundant earthy hops. The hops seem woody and the malt sweet caramel but well complimented. There is a lot going on here. The rye is also apparent and seems to bring the malt and hops together. As the beer warms the rye steps forward even more so.

The flavor is a little varied from the aroma in that it is much woodier. It almost resembles the flavor of some barrel aged beers, or even a barleywine. The rye offsets the hops nicely, the caramel/sweet malt shows up, and then the woody notes kick in with the hops ending with a bitter finish.

Quite smooth and well balanced for a beer of such palate magnitude. Medium in body but incredibly abundant in character with medium to light carbonation.

This is a great beer. Easy to drink, almost dangerously so, with tons of character to offer and quite a value in the store. Certainly worth a try!

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a deep ruby/mahogany color with a fingers worth of head that fades down to almost nothing

S: A very nice combo of rye malts and hops right up front. The rye imparts quite a bit of spiciness while the hops are floral and citrusy. Get a hint of alcohol, but not much more than that

T: Starts off with a bit of the spiciness from the rye followed by a blast of citrus and candied hop. A little on the sweet side, but the rye keeps it in balance. A complex array of flavor comes through the middle into the end, finishing with a bit of sweetness and a touch of bitterness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth

O: A nicely complex rye DIPA with a great balance between the rye and hops. The rye helps to tone down the sweetness from all the maltiness as well as the hop "sweetness" while giving it a little kick at the same time. Dangerously drinkable for 10%, and well worth the $10-$11 for a 4-pack

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Photo of barknee
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a semi-appropriate "biertulpe" glass; showing a dual fat fingered mocha- meringue head. Dark copper and well filtered, the nose is one of cocoa powder, marshmallow, milk chocolate, vanilla and malted milk balls that wafts from the glass.
Wow. liquid candy; call it "whoppers" beer!

Moderately sweet on the tongue, and just when you think; "where's the acid," the hop bitterness sneaks in through the back door providing an ever so necessary dose of alpha's that lasts long after the first swallow.

This is a beer that's been engineered, not haphazardly created. All of the components arrive at the finish line, but far from a tie, but rather nicely spaced, allowing for the evolution of taste development and flavor profiles to traipse through your consciousness.

Magnificently crafted and creatively balanced, this is a unique and applaudable brew; or should I say; HeBrew.

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Photo of MOShepp
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber with a big light tan head. Lots of lacing.

Aroma of grapefruit, apricots, toasted malt and slight pine.

Tastes of toasted rye malt up front then a big punch of resinous hops that are met with plenty of caramel malts.

This is a well balanced beer which is amazing considering the evident hops. The rye gives it a nice touch. Nice drinking beer.

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Photo of Brenden
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer shows off the tap a thick orange-brown, pretty much looking like bronze in my glass. It grows a creamy tan head to just over a finger, and the lacing it leaves behind is pretty heavy as well.
The aroma provides a good deal of strength and showcases both hops and malts while displaying a good balance, neither dominating. A distinct, almost fruity sort of note is in there under a heady spicy/earthy combo of rye.
There's an initial sweetness that comes out under a very big malty base, lots of caramel, toffee and something like dark fruits but with a distinct, not-quite-citrusy element to it. Spiciness is all over this, without ever quite getting carried away; it seems to come both from hops and from rye. Bitterness is on an even keel and adds to the flavor while being kept in check by the malts. Overall, it's also quite bready. There's a lot of transitioning in this beer, with first the sweetness, then the bread, then pine resin/leafy bitterness, then fruits, then a bit of dryness, then something not quite nutty, and it all comes together as one. Ultimately the flavors in the beer mingle nicely, giving a deep complexity and keeping each sip interesting. Alcohol warms but never dominates.
The body is thick, big but not cloyingly heavy, enough to rest a whole lot of flavor on top of without giving in. There's lots of creaminess carried through, and the crispness that starts it off never fades either.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So far I haven't enjoyed the He'Brew beers I've tried very much but have a love for Rye so I'm trying this one.
Pours a fair clear dark amber with an impressive cream colored craggy head that melts slowly to very sticky lacing. Nice.
Aromas are pretty typical for a DIPA....sweet malt at first then a definate citrus hop back, yet in this beer they seem to be a little more blended than most...almost as if it has aged a year.
Taste...again...sort of typical but more blended than most.. The malt is sweet but not overpowering or cloying....the hops are most definately in there and there for the finish, but not offensive at all. Nice blending of sweet carmel malt and citrus malt.
I don't know...I think this may be the most balanced DIPA I've ever had. The 10 % is obvious in the taste and even more so in the aftertaste, but the rest of it is so wonderful you are likely to miss it until you are half way through the bomber.
Good job!
Uh oh...the alcohol made me forget why I bought this in the first place.
I like rye.
Where is it?
Ok...I'm looking for it...looking for it....looking for it....
Da*))_(m...I honestly just can't find it in there.
Other reviewers have been able to find the rye but I think the 10% is keeping it hidden from me and my taste buds.
Still a good beer...Still a very good DIPA

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Photo of asabreed
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: A nice looking amber body with a billowy head that goes down fairly quickly with some thin lacing around the middle of the glass.

Smell: Aromatic and flowery sweetness, some citrus from the malt and some grapefruit and piney hops in there also. Alcohol is apparent but only adds to the aroma. Is there rye in here? Not sure I can really discern it. Very balanced and effervescent without being out of control in one way or the other.

Taste: Very sweet initially, but somehow, maybe from the hops, the lingering sweetness is not there. And the hops are so prevalent that it doesn't become cloying or hard to take down. Flavors of sweet orange peel start, with some citrus bitterness and then the grapefruit hop flavors come in toward the end, giving the finish a lingering hop note with flavorful citrus. Very complex and very balanced; without the balance I could see this being pretty hard to drink, but as it stands it's extremely tasty. Not getting much rye at all, though, but still.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied, with a bit of chewiness, but the carbonation's right on to make it fairly creamy and easy to drink.

Drinkability: I'm very impressed by this; I love the push toward craziness that turns into a very balanced brew. A bomber wasn't hard for me to finish, but I could imagine it could easily be for some. It is a bit on the sweeter side of Double IPAs, so beware of that. But I could see some interesting things happening with this in the future. Since the price tag's around $5-$6 a bottle, I'll probably buy a few. Kudos to Hebrew for constructing this, and I can't wait to see who they dedicate the next brew to.

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Photo of AnPiobaire
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This R.I.P.A. was poured into a goblet and poured a nice amber gold with cream colored head and nice lacing.

Initial nosing was malty almost bread like sweetness that was slowly overtaken by the floral hop notes.

The taste starts off with a rich sweetness that blends nicely with the hoppiness of an IPA. Both combine nicely to bring about a very enjoyable palate experience, that finishes with a subtle citrus finish. Niceky balanced.

The mouthfeel is thicker then most IPA's and for me that's wonderful. It has a chewiness and richness that works well.

Overall this was a very nice brew and not being an overt hop head I found this brew to be an extremely pleasant IPA. One that I would reccomend highly. Enjoy!!!

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Photo of Mavajo
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber/copper color with a fluffy off-white head - very bubbly and frothy. Leaves good lacing throughout the glass. Aroma is sweet and hoppy - definite citrus, and notes of maple syrup. Taste reflects the aroma - bittersweet is an apt name for this brew. The sweetness is there, with malt, sugar and caramel/syrup notes, accompanied with the hops, citrus and modere bitterness. This is a sticky sweet brew, but the generous hops prevent this from being cloyingly sweet. Mouthfeel is sticky and reasonably smooth with moderate carbonation. Alcohol is very well hidden - I was shocked to come here and see that it weighed in at 10%.

All in all, a very interesting brew. Perhaps a bit more sticky sweet than I generally look for from an IPA, but a great beer nonetheless.

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Photo of dciBA
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark amber with a nice off white head that sticks around for a while. Quite a bit of lacing as it goes down.

Smell is mostly sweet/caramel malt, but also some grapefruit from the hops. Taste follows the nose perfectly. Fairly well balanced, although I could go for some more hops. I have no idea when this was bottled though, so it might be a freshness issue. The taste is where the rye really shines, providing a very nice spicy finish. I was kind of hoping for a bit more rye but the beer is well balanced with the amount that is has.

Mouthfeel is very smooth and almost creamy, a real highpoint for this beer. For a ten percent beer this is very drinkable. There is a little warmth in the finish, but this doesn't detract from the beer or effect the flavor in any way. Overall a very good DIPA, with some rye as a bonus.

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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
4.04 out of 5 based on 1,972 ratings.
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