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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 Rifugium
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Mayor of Old Town, Ft. Collins, CO

Poured a slightly hazy copper with a nice white head that left some decent lacing on the glass. A good aroma of mixed hops, sweet malts, and tangy rye. Oh, and alcohol. Not too strong, but definitely noticeable. The malt makes a brief appearance, before an influx of piney hops and bitter citrus, with a good rye base...and I do love rye in my beer. Thick, resinous, on the heavy side of medium-bodied. A great drinkable IPA, just watch yourself with that ABV.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well well well what do we have here. I was shopping and saw this bottle sitting on the bottom shelf, hidden behind some Grolsch of all things. I am a huge Double IPA fan, and a big fan of Lenny Bruce as well, and considering this and not having ever heard of this before, needless to say I was quite shocked to see this bottle. I really cool looking bottle too. Big Broadway looking Marqueee on the the front and a long history of how this brew came to be on the 40th anniversary of his death. Just a really good idea and a cool concept. Also states its #1 in the series of beers designed for famous Jewish celebrities. Aside from all of that, onto the beer.

Pour was very clean. Deep, dark, somewhat hazy reddish amber, almost a ruby tone to it. Lots of visible carbonation on the first pour, streams of bubbles coming up for a bit, this subsided though after a while. Smallish off white head formed at the top, but did not hang around very long, and faded to a very thin film on the top with a moderate amount of lace down the sides of the glass. The look aside from the ruby red hue was rather average for a DIPA.

The smell on this was quite strong right off the bat. Lots of brutally fresh citrus hops assaulted the nose at the first whiff. A good amount of malt was also detected and it added a somewhat earthy, or grassy tone to the overall aroma. A hint of alcohol could also be found when it warmed up, but did not seem overpowering at all. Nice rounded smell, the RYE was not readily apparent right away, but there was a definate sweetness to it, almost had the candies apple or cherry sweetness in it.

First impression of the taste was powerful and different enough from your standard beares in the style to definatly be noticed. The alcohol in it said hello right away, but not in the too hot and burning way, just enough to let you know this is a 10%'er and take it easy with the sips. Nice sweet candy like flavor comes though first, but is immediatly washed away by the frontal hop assault. Lots of bitter citrus hops and a fresh cut grass flavor are both readily apparent. Very complex flavors are taking shape in the backend of this one. Very sweet and the rye malts are adding a robust character to it. Very big dry finish, and a smooth going down are leaving me wanting another sip. The feel was just about right, maybe a little more carbonation to give it the pop, and drive away a bit of the syrupy poroperties, but these are only minor noticings and nothing that is distracting in anyway. Overall the flavor and feel on this one were both superb and a nice treat.

Now overall I was very impressed by this beer. I t had a nicely balanced profile, which is rare sometimes ih the overly hopped world of DIPA(not that I am complaining about overly hopped). But you could tell alot of work was put into making this one special. It carried alot of weight but at the same time did not go overboard. Very drinkable and actually I would recommend seekign this out if you can. Says it is a one timer, brewed in 2006, so I dont know how much more can be found or when it was released, but I am definatly going to try and pick up a few more bottles if they are still on the shelf next time I am out there.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was happy to be able to meet Jeremy Cowan of Schmaltz when they were at goggleworks for Design, drink and be merry. I tried this from a bomber in a plastic cup.

A - Deep copper w/ dark amber tinges w/ a full head of creamy tan. There is a lot of settling but the lace and retention is there, no doubt

S - A crisp hoppy (there are 12 kinds utilized) aroma w/ rye and peculier tropical odors like passionfruit w/ a hint of dark sweet cherry and brown sugar.

M - A full bodied big instense feeling IPA stimulates the taste buds and coats the cheeks w/ hop oily feel and dry spicy rye malt w/ a sufficiently proper carbonation and the feel borders on creamy

T - Big and bold w/ rye flavor that is noticeable and flavorful! There is a huge hop blend giving this beer the bitter side of bittersweet. The malt tastes a bit spicy like rye can, but has a mellow sweet body that counters the pungent and tantalizing hops. The taste is grainy and there is a fruity taste from the yeast. The more this beer is tasted, the more enjoyable it gets w/ buttloads of flavor - you really can't go wrong w/ the taste of this Big Rye Ipa.

D - Too big for me to quaff, but for the most part I can't see any thing wrong with how easy it is to sip and savor this. With 12 hops adding so much depth and intensity and the rye malt is incrediblly drinkable to me. I like to taste and feel this beer for a good relaxing time.

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Photo of russpowell
4.19/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours caramel with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Average lacing & head retention

S: Big time pineyness & some breadyness

T: Huge grapefruit & piney hops up front, plus caramel. Malty cakeyness a bit of caramel try to regain some ground as this warms, but can't conquer the orangey, grapefruitty & piney hops. Finishes semi-dry (the rye??) with much pineyness; plus some caramel & a bit of pralines

MF: Chewy with low carbonation. Skews just a tad too hoppy for me

Drinks a bit slow, but with all that ABV & intensity, what do you expect? Hopheads will dig this. Lenny Bruce would appreciate the bitterness! A very good DIPA that has a few rough edges

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Photo of Jason
4.55/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

A whole lot of head, it nearly jumps over the side on the glass. Crystal clear tawny color. Smells of ripe tropical fruit, pine sap, blood oranges, a little hint of hemp seed oil and cake batter. Smooth and ultra creamy with a hop oil slickness deep inside the full-ish body. Lush malt foundation ranges from heavy caramel to spicy rye, donuts to toasted bread ... pretty damn complex IMO. Hops jump on all of this with a cutting bitterness and a long linger of spicy, citric, thick herbal and tobacco flavor. The bitterness pairs up with the rye to compliment the coming of the alcohol. Oh yes, there is alcohol here and a drops a good amount of warmth and tropical fruit. Finish bittersweet and spicy with more bitterness in the end of it all.

Big and bold, a serious beer ... it would be simple to say that it kicks ass, which it does. By far one of the most enjoyable beers I have had this year.

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Photo of dbrauneis
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper in color with light amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass lazily and a hint of ruby red highlights. The beer has a finger tall sudsy foamy beige head that slowly reduces to a large patch of thin film and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of caramel malts with a light hint of rye spiciness and moderate aromas of pine/resin hops which lingers.

T: Upfront this brew is very malty with moderate amounts of caramel sweetness and light amounts of rye spiciness. That is followed by moderate to strong flavors of pine/resin hops which impart a moderate amount of lingering bitterness. There are also light amounts of alcohol flavors in the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Crisp upfront with a creamy smoothness that follows and a touch of alcohol warming in the finish.

O: This is an enjoyable and the alcohol is very well hidden making it easy to drink. It has a really nice mouthfeel which definitely increased my enjoyment of the beer - that mixture of crisp and creamy smooth is quite nice.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a snifter at Durty Nellie's.

Had to cap things off at Nellie's somehow, so I figured I'd give this guy a go. It pours a clear sunrise garnet topped by a finger of dirty light-tan foam. The nose comprises dank greens, light leek, lightly toasted caramel, very light pine, and an even lighter hint of mint. The taste holds notes of toasted toffee, heavy pine, leek, and dark greens. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a kinda dry finish. Overall, a mostly solid brew, but the rye really never comes through, leaving things at the mercy of a slightly overly-piney hop lord. Not bad by any stretch, but probably not as good as it could have been (if that makes sense)...

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Photo of smcolw
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I experienced a very unusual pour. The first third of the glass seemed very flat, as if there is no carbonation. Straightening the glass for a more vigorous pour resulted in an overflow of foam. Very deceiving. The head lasts a long time with thick lace on the glass side. The color is dark reddish copper. Clear.

Far more malty than I would expect. Lots of caramel. The hops are quite muted. This is still an attractive aroma, drawing me to the

Large! Almost syrupy body with a large malt punch. The hop bitterness shows up almost immediately. The hop bitterness lasts and lasts in the aftertaste. Too much of a good thing? No way.

If you like extreme beers, this one delivers as advertised ("brewed with an obscene amount of malts & hops"). I'm a huge fan of Double IPA's and this one is one of the better ones!

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Photo of mdfb79
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap tonight at Fireworks in Arlington, DC. Served in a tulip.

a - Pours a clear dark amber color with one inch of white head and no carbonation evident.

s - Smells of wheat, citrus hops, fruit, and caramel malts.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, rye, wheat, grapefruit.

m - Medium body and low carbonation, very smooth and creamy body.

d - A nice DIPA; I think I liked this more than the Lenny's R.I.P.A. on rye. This one had more citrus come out, as well as some caramel. Would have again.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear but very dark amber with a sizeable tan head. Nose is highly hoppy. Strong resin tone with a bit of cotton candy I think. Fruity citrus edge as well. Flavor is definitely hopped, of course. Strong, stringent hop flavors kick you in the mouth, but not too abrasively really. It may be an over the tope type of ride, but it doesn’t go too over that top. Feel is bordering on a bit syrupy with all that stuff in there. Carbonation seems high with the massive head, but not a huge amount of bubble going over the tongue. Initially I was going to give a 4 on the drinkability on this one. But then I realized that the 10% alcohol on this one doesn’t peek out at all as you imbibe. Overall, this is nothing absolutely outstanding to behold, but it is very good all the same. Worth a try, especially for the price.

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Photo of jwc215
4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a glowing reddish amber with a towering thick off-white head that slowly descends to a one-finger, lasting head. Great head retention for the abv level! Rings of lacing stick to the glass.

The smell is piney, resiny with citric notes. Caramelish backing.

The taste is piney and resiny. Sweet caramel backs up the bitter hops. Rye breadiness is mixed in. Spicy alcohol peeks through eventually, but well-covered/non-interfering for the 10%. Powerfully bittersweet in the finish.

The body is rich, creamy, chewy. Almost syrupy thick, yet smooth.

Nice! A power-house of a DIPA. Piney and bitter mixed with sweet. More than a pleasure to sip on.

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Photo of tdm168
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with 1/4" of head with good retention. The smell is bready, barley malt and faint, earthy hops. The taste is bready, biscuity malt with some peppery rye followed by some spicy, earthy hops. There's some faint yeast and creaminess. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, smooth, and well carbonated.

This is a pretty good beer, but at times unbalanced. It's worth a try for rye fans and DIPA fans alike.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The ale named after the former Leonard Alfred Schneider departs the bottle and enters the glass a robust red, shadowy, clear, with a high head, creamy/tannish toned. Looking lovely.

Aroma: Fat malt, outsized yeast, liquid bread...is this a doppelbock? But there's so much hop!...sniff again... Wow! Loud hop, rich, burnished, barleywine-like. Grapes and other dark fruits are at hand, feeling like a burgundy wine, perhaps due to the high alcohol, or the huge maltiness.

Now, let's taste...Woo! Bam! Whap! Shamalam! Enormous malt floods the mouth and is assisted in it's it's efforts by the blazing sidecar of hops. Big, big, big on the palate, outsized all the way, spilling flavor all over the place. Delicious dark fruits, grapes, cherries, more...Reminds me very much of a Bigfoot or similar barleywine-style ales. This is where the line between "American Double IPA"s and barleywines really blurs, the malt is as big or bigger than the hops in this one, and the flavor is almost the match for a barleywine.

And the 10% doesn't hit...right away..oh, no, you'll feel it, though...

I didn't really taste the rye at all, but it works so damned well, it doesn't matter.
(Wait, ...now, I'm tasting it...yup, it's discernible...)

I love it. I think Lenny would love it. Rest his smutty soul. R.I.P. (A. true American hero.)

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Photo of smakawhat
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Crush that gift pack! Poured into a nonic pint glass off we go!

A large three finger head, off tan/caramel in color, somewhat tight foamy for head. Body color is deep red, very cloudy, but also a nice hue of color throughout the glass, from Indian red to dark brown through the top where the head meets.

Nose is kind of fleeting if a little weird? Wet smelling, mild malts with hints of chocolate. Sense of clean but not much else. Not a sense that this is an IPA at all, I get no hop sense on the nose on this at all, but it doesn't smell off/bad.

Taste thought is KAPOW! Chewy malts of rich chocolate, but also a very thick hop angle. Resiny a little, but also extremely coating in the palate. Subsequent sips get much more interesting. Malt angle gets bigger, and something that grows is a real hop "richness". Dense malts keep coming, but texture never gets syrupy. Spice angle I would expect though for rye seems to be missing, but not the malt which makes this quite enjoyable. Some slighty toffee stickiness on the lips which is kind of fun.

Overall the drink as you go gets bolder and bolder. It's a "little" out of control and noticeable though on the alcohol side. However, it hits the mark on taste for the style with a bit of unique quality. Too bad it misses a bit on the nose.

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Photo of WoodBrew
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The Bittersweet rye DIPA from Shmaltz is pretty good...for a sipping beer...aint noway your sessioning this bad boy. The beer poured a slightly hazy orangish copper with big think slightly offwhite head that is lacing like a vicky secret catalog. The smell has that deep rich malty musk with fresh hop hints...waiffs of alcohol also come to the surface. The taste is big....its a war between hops and malt. Its a big malt push at the beginning followed by bittering hops with essence of citrus and pine. The rye helps the beer to come off the pallet. The mouthfeel is full bodied with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a decent DIPA...once the mouth adjusts tot eh high ABV it really becomes nice.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tumbler pint, the beer is a dark, slightly hazy, amber-copper coloring with a thin, filmy, off-white head that quickly settles into a sparse, filmy surface coating. Aromas of roasted grain and booze initially, with a tangy malt profile that combines caramel and tropical fruits. Hints of mango and papaya. Some citrus notes, as well, with some pepper notes; no hops presence on the nose otherwise. Flavors are a blast of hops. Holy monkey! Resiny and bitter, with a strong backbone of roasted, rich grain. Very well balanced after the initial shot in the mouth. The fruit presence becomes a mid-palate highlight, leaving as quickly and sneakily as it arrives. Booze and bitter hops finish the palate, as well as clean everything up. This beer is like a tornado touching down on your tongue (in a good way). Bitter, resiny, and slightly earthy aftertaste, with a clean, slightly dry finish. The beer is robust and full in mouth. This one's a heavy hitter, and it brings the flavor with it the whole way through.

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Photo of Billolick
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, no freshness or bottling info. Wordy label, do they think anybody really reads all that stuff? Anyway this strong beer pours dark auburn, pretty clear, sporting a tan long lastin head, that started out frothy and settled down to a thick film . It leaves some well developed lacing. Nose I pick up is clearly of rye bread. This is a strong brew, plenty of malty under notes, coupled with some smoke, more rye and smooth oily, grainy hop notes. Nicely crafted, perhaps the best I've had yet from the Shmaltz "tribe members"

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Photo of drabmuh
3.37/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On cask at a local beer bar. Beer is clear and reddish in color. Carbonation is moderate to low and head is soapy and nearly non-existent (it is on cask though). No lacing on the glass. I'm still interested.

Aroma is dominated by hops hops hops. Mostly citrus hop aroma and nothing much else.

Hops are present in the back of the mouth on this one. Correct me if I'm wrong but a RIPA is a RYE IPA correct? I don't taste the rye at all. The finish is a little piny. There isn't much of an aftertaste, is that woodsey flavor the rye trying to squeeze to the front? Eh, not my favorite, definitely not my favorite IPA or rye.

This may be one of those beers that has no business being on cask. I'll try it again in the bottle and see if its better and rereview at a later date.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.96/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

08/01/06- Purchased at Plumpjack's in San Francisco, CA.

Presentation- 22oz bottle. 2006 special edition. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Auburn, almost cherry colored in appearance. 3/4 inch creamy white head, very strong patches and streaks left behind. Sticky looking for sure.

Smell- First sniff got lots of fruity and pine resin hops. It was strange though because every sip afterwards I really had to sniff to get anything. As it got closer to room temp I sensed the fruity hops again.

Taste- This one is a hopheads delight. Saying so, this is also a well rounded hop heads delight. Has a really ultra sweet caramel malt. Super bitter pine and sweet fruit laden hops burst out from the first sip. The 10% abv makes itself know right away.

Mouthfeel- Mid range carbonation...still tasting the bitter hops an hour after drinking this brew. (not a bad thing). Very very creamy in texture as well.

Drinkability- Impressed, definitely impressed. Wish they would have had more of these whaen I snagged this one. I know a hophead out there that would have appreciated this (keeping my eyes peeled for you Steven). Not in the neighborhood of Plinydom, but a very good example of a well balanced and ultra hopped DIPA. Will keep my eye open for more.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is brick red mixed with copper. Perfect one finger, off-white head.

Notes of tangerine, grapefruit and carmel gently tingle the nostrils.

Sweet malt accented taste is balanced by a fabulous tangerine and pine bitterness. Rye is certainly present and, to me, integrates the barley and hops perfectly- something about Rye brews that are done right that I really find attractive. Very slight butterscotch note in the finish. This beer really begs for another sip.

Rye also helps in the mouthfeel giving the beer a lusciousness that is very comforting. This one slips past your lips way too easily.

I could drink this beer all night! That is before I pass out after three of these bombers. Alcohol is extremely well hidden!

Overall a fantastic beer that is all about balance. Certainly not all about the hops, but one of my favorite double IPAs nonetheless.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 5/10/11
Served in Duvel tulip at 45F.

A - Medium amber colour with two fingers of bubbly off-white head. Translucent.

S - Some hop bitterness is evident up front, followed by a significant caramel sweetness and some spiciness.

T - Good bitterness up front with lots of spiciness, followed by a good caramel sweetness in the middle. The finish is bitter and dry. Some piney notes come through at times but overall, not a lot of flavour comes through from the hops.

M - Medium body with a really good chew. Light carbonation.

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Photo of tempest
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There are so many good DIPAs, it's sometimes hard to pick them apart. The rye used in Lenny, however, is a great change of pace. It added a rich spice that blends with the citrus hops but still stands out enough to compliment the flavor and stand out. Aside from the rye, the malt sweetness is fairly subtle behind the mostly fruity hops. Also, at 10%, this beer is a bit thick and can be hard to finish by yourself. Still, a great DIPA if you want something different.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.19/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A unique color pour methingks. Copper and burnt orange, semi-clear at first, then clears up as it warmed (poured at 49 degrees, too). Very good looking head. Hilly and soft. Some lacing becomes sticky on top and on sides.

aroma is sweet and oily. A lot of resin and some alcohol make me pull back a bit, perhaps in surprise. Rye mixes with some hop juice to make a pronounced nose shocker. It's not bad, just odd.

Taste is malt, oily or syrupy, not sure which. Coating. Some hops are in here, mostly pine..not the citrus I expect from an A-IIPA.
hard to drink...didn't finish. Alcohol is too much..or perhaps it's the rye. Could be too raw at 10%.

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Photo of Tone
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, dark amber/copper color. One inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of slight citrus hops, hint of hop oil, sweet malt, hint of caramel malt, and slight rye. Fits the style of an American IPA. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. There is also a noticeable dryness. Tastes of strong hops, hint of roasted malt, sweet malt, slight rye, slight caramel malt, and a hint of alcohol. Overall, good appearance, decent aroma, decent body, and decent blend.

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Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a wonderful crystal and rye malt scent that enticises the senses. It's loaded up with hop aroma as well; a bitter explosion balanced with an excellent variety of specialty malts. The taste is good. It has a very smooth and bitter hop taste that goes down easy and warms in the finish. Crystal and rye malts dominate the grist. It's quite complex with loads of flavors, especially a mellowing rye component. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. The rye works well with the heavy load of hops. The crystal malts lend some sweetness to round out the palate; a good drinker.

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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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