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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 Gavage
4.09/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: slightly cloudy amber color with a short 1" head that lingers a while. Nice lacing develops.

Smell: great aroma of pine, malt sweetness, and fruitiness. Hint of alcohol too.

Taste: hearty grainy malt profile with pine, grapefruit, and ripe pears. Overall this beer is quite dry but bold in flavor. Alcohol is noticeable and provides some warming effects.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body. Lightly crisp and dry from the start, smooth and dry at the finish. Long bitter aftertaste is pleasant on the tastebuds.

Drinkability: this is a enjoyable DIPA that is worth seeking out.

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Photo of liamt07
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Steve, 12oz into a tulip.

Reddish-brown body, offwhite head with good lacing and some whisps of retention. Nose has some sweet caramel, rye bread, a bit of spice and citrus hops. Taste is bitter initially, caramel, rye bread, grapefruit and bitter citrus rind in terms of hops. Medium full feel and a strong bitterness that's fairly abrasive for my liking. Substantial malt sweetness is prevalent throughout as well. Solid rye character in this IIPA, but hops aren't in my wheelhouse - still quite a solid example of the style regardless.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.12/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was consumed with at least six months of age on it.

Pours red with a white head. The aroma is strong with caramel malts and quite boozy. The flavor is strong with caramel and toffee up front. There is a strong rye flavor at the end and in the aftertaste. Not as much hop presence as thought there would be. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Maudite snifter. Pours a medium to dark reddish amber with a fine one finger light tan head with great retention and lacing. Nice aroma of bready malt, dark and dried stone fruit, caramel and a hint of citrus hops. Similar to a barley wine aroma. Flavor of sweet caramel malt, dark and light fruit, slight spiciness and sourness from the rye and alcohol heat. Finishes with aromatic pine and citrus hops which duke it out with the alcohol, finally winning and leaving a long herbal bitterness. Medium bodied with some creaminess. This is a very nicely made DIPA that has definitely crosses the line with barley wines, although it does have a strong IPA hop presence. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice dark amber color, nice carbonation, nice small creamy off-white head, lots of nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, hoppy, nice touch of citrus, some pines, and caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, nice hop tones, some citrus/pines, and caramel. The alcohol is hidden pretty well, nice balance between malts/hops, with a slightly dry/bitter finish. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a very tasty DIPA, highly recommended.

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Photo of BARFLYB
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass, this beer has eluded me for about two years now. I find it funny though that they dedicate this brew to somebody and put their born on and died on dates up there but still, I don't know when this beer was brewed, what a slap in the face.

RIPA looks a dark shade of orange with some bronze hints in there, looks pretty tasty and rich. A nice beige colored head rises up and settles into a nice looking cap with some marks on the glass. Smelling this I get alot of malt up front and sweetness. Rye is in there but buried literally. A nice dosing of grapefruit and some piney hops, some alcohol as well. This is interesting beer here. The rye, while being the main ingredient(supposedly) is not all that large, it comes and goes. Caramel malt is king here and this is one sweet DIPA from the west, this has East Coast written all over it, funny how that happens. Grapefruit, rye, grass, bubblegum, caramel/toffee/werther's, you get the picture right. All in all these taste come together nicely. Feel is above medium and sweet and not all that bitter, carb is not a problem, this beer is alive. The feel kinda reminded me of a barleywine in some ways. I quite liked this concoction and hope to find a super fresh bottle someday, but that won't happen unless they start dating them.

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Photo of tone77
3.52/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a bronze color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of rye, malts, a bit bready. Well the taste is nothing like the smell. Very hoppy, lots of bitterness, some rye, as dry as a camel ride in the desert. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a pretty good beer.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.18/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours quite viscously with a dark reddish hued, amber color that shows a brilliantly clear ruby tinged color when held up to the light. The beer is topped by a frothy, amber tinged, tan colored head that is initially about a finger and a half thick. I am quite happy to say that the aroma is quite hoppy. Notes of sweet oranges and a touch of pine intermingle with a big, chewy, caramelized maltiness. Quite fruity, almost a berry like note joins the citrus notes. Toasted grain notes help to dry out the aroma towards the end.

The beer is a bit sweet up front, in fact perhaps amply so, but there are lots of things to balance the sweetness out. An astringent bitterness rides throughout this beer, it is a touch harsher than I would like. Part of this is that there is a menthol like note, that seems to couple with a bit of an astringent dark grain note and a sharp note of alcohol. There is some hop flavor character here as well, it just plays second fiddle to the other notes that I have mentioned; notes of orange peel and some herbal notes are here. This beer is just unbalanced, and not in the way a double IPA should be; harsh, sharply astringent and hot. Perhaps some age will help to mellow this out, but it no longer would be a even the shade of a double IPA that it is now.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.18/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz picked up at Pilgrim's Market in CdA over the weekend... enjoyed while listening to some Carl Cox Black Rock and chilling on my hotel balcony.

Poured into my small weizen glass... 2 finger lite khaki head... good retention and lacing... the brew is a polished copper.

Nose is hop forward with a bunch of caramel maltiness to balance... citrus hops out front with more than enough malt to pull it out... big booze presence.

Hop bitterness helps balance the pretty thick malt component.. toasty and thick caramel essence.. citrus hops bite barely bite through the malts.. too syrupy... not really cloying, but just unbalanced in my mind.. Body is heavy and the carbonation is pretty high, yet gets punished by the viscosity.

This should easily be in the American BW category.. no where near... NO where near a DIPA... The rye is present yet only in hints throughout the palate and evident on the mouthfeel where a nice slickness appears.

Ehhhh... okay.. boozy and sweet.. needs alot more hoppiness... really, alot more.


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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured ontap into a snifter.

Nice orangish tone to it. Good amount of lace stickage.

Taste is a well balanced mix of semi sweet malt and a floral & fruity hop. There are layers of complexities. Caramel is there too. Not overly bitter, a bit of a medicinal and soothing character to it. Well done.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smooth.

Drinks very easily. Liked this one.

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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 Halcyondays
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, bought at BevMo Huntington Beach,

A: Pours a very dark red, almost brown, with a thick, white head, which leaves abundant lacing which just sticks to the glass and is still there in the morning.

S: Hoppy, but with a lot of malt, some dark fruits and sugar, spice, though I wish it was more robust.

T: An interesting taste when I first tasted it, I was expecting a straight up Double IPA, but then I remembered the rye malt and became more acclimated to the taste. Very interesting, but very tasty as well. The rye malt adds a spice, almost phenolic character to the malt-based part of this brew, similar to Hop Rod Rye, another RyePA type beer. Very hoppy, an abundance of pine in this one, altogether a profroundly good taste and a well made beer, well balanced.

M: Soft for an IPA, but still quite resiny, oily, but the large amount of malts add a smoothness not found in other IPAs.

D: A very good double, didn't know what to expect, the first beer I have had from this brewery besides the Pomegranate Ale, a fruit beer, so I am anxious to try their other stuff. Good job, He'Brew.

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Photo of Zorro
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Upon the pour I am rewarded with a clear brown ale with a distinct reddish cast to it. Head is quite good for the strength of the beer and id light brown.

Smell is sweet and quite fruity and piney to the nose. Caramel and menthol are the first things I notice. Spicy aroma of alcohol is notable. Aromas of figs and plums are front and center on this one. Cherry is a lesser scent. Pine, citrus and melon are the more subtle scents.

Taste is bitter and harsh at the beginning, but it is the first beer of the day too. It really takes about three mouthfuls of this one to acclimate to the bitterness level. Even after you adapt this still has a strong bitter under tone to it. Sweet with a lot of woodiness there is a fair amount of melon flavor to this along with mango and pine. In the end the bitterness deters from enjoyment.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability suffers from too much bitterness; it simply bullies all the other flavors out of the way. Unbalance is what hurts this beer.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a decent slightly off-white head, great lacing, and a dark amber color. Smell is alcoholic, waxy, and with aromas of orange, grapefruit and pine from the hops. Taste is big and bitter with more wax, grapefruit and orange and a big hit of pine.Quite nice. Good body, and very balanced. Creamy and pretty smooth for the amount of hops. The alcohol is more present in the nose than the flavor, quite drinkable, even dangerously so.

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

On cask at Max's tonight. The beer pours an attractive copper color with impressive head retention and OK lacing. On the nose, this is simply a beautiful beer. There is a lovely, perfumy aroma of rye and grapefruit that blended together is just wonderful. On the palate this beer is nearly as good, but with a bit more sweet malt then I think is necessary or desired. Still, this is just a beautiful beer, with an incredible soft, creamy, hop perfume finish. The beer is so soft and long on the palate, with just enough hops to give it wonderful bitter bite on the finish. However, there's almost a perfume flavor to this beer, that works perfectly with the rye and malt. The alcohol is somewhat noticeable, which detracts a bit from the beer's drinkability, but this is one delicious, easy to drink DIPA.

Very, very impressive....

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Photo of flagmantho
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Head almost rose past the rim; exciting.

Appearance: hazy amber orange with three thick fingers of creamy ivory foam with a little bit of an orange cast. Head retention is great (still there even as the glass is almost done) and big, chunky lace is left. This is a trait of rye in my experience, and a good one. I'm not thinking DIPAs get much better than this, visage-wise.

Smell: big citrus and earthy hops. Well-executed and very appetizing. A solid West Coast IPA aroma.

Taste: big malt flavor; dark, musty fruit rounds out the sweet malt. Bitterness is pretty huge. To me this is more of an American strong ale or even American barleywine (ryewine?), but whatever you call it, it is tasty. There's a hint of the spiciness that rye brings, but it really can't compete with this hops bill.

Mouthfeel: thick and sticky. With the ABV of this monster, that's not surprising; but throw in the rye, and this thing gets crazy. Carbonation after the pour seems relatively low, which holds back creaminess a touch; still, this is a big, filling beer.

Drinkability: the ABV and the body hold back drinkability a bit, but the flavor is good (if strong, even challenging to some). Up to today I haven't been super impressed by Shmaltz, but Lenny has really changed my mind about the place.

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Photo of Derek
4.68/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A: Copper with a very light tan head, great retention, awesome lacing. Seriously impressive for a brew of this strength.

S: Huge nose, grapefruit, nectarine, spicy rye bread, toffee, extremely enticing.

T: Piny, resiny hops complement the spiciness from the rye; bready malt, nectarine, tangine, solid bitterness, alcohol is extremely well-hidden. I know it's bigger, but his one blows the Founder's rye brews away.

M: Moderately full body is well-attenuated and extremely smooth, slight hop acidity, off-dry finish. Extremely well-crafted.

D: I absolutely love it, but it's a big brew.

I don't think I've ever said 'extreme' so many times in a single review, yet this is remarkably well-rounded. Playboy may have described it best "F#cking delicious".

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Photo of jdhilt
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours five+ finger white head that fades very slowly, leaving a good lace. Almost clear red/amber color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Grapefruit hop nose. Flavor is grapefruit with a good caramel backing. Decent DIPA. $3.79 for a 12 oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.26/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 22oz bomber. Love the label.

Pours an obscenely thick, syrupy deep golden-orange treacle colour. Fine bubbles struggle through the body to get to the yellowish head, amazingly fine with creamy bubbles. Lacing is extreme. This is one hell of an impressive looking beer.

I can smell it out of the bottle as I pour it. Really strong citrussy hop character, sour and sweet, with candied lemon peel and Curacao dominant. There's a dark almost peppery undertone to it as well, spicy and rich. Nice. Very nice indeed.

Wow, that must be the longest palate I've yet tried. It just creeps up, and up, and up, moving from an initial malty, syrupy sweetness, through a light effervescent fruity sourness before the hops kick in for the grand finale, a massive welling up of bittersweet freshness. Coupled with this is the second layer which interleaves the main characters - spice, cinnamon, pumpernickel, pepper - it's the dark undertone to the fresh, citrus/fruit characters which seem dominant.

Mouthfeel is sublime, smooth and slick - the alcohol adds a little heat as well.

This is a damn fine beer, with a massive array of flavours constructed together beautifully. The alcohol does start to assert itself after a while, which leaves this heady brew a sipper, but it's a damn good one. A thoroughly delicious beer.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From growler to Bruges hybrid glass

A: Once of the sexiest brews I've poured. A gorgeous burgundy color, it looks like a 15 year old single malt. 2+ finger head and icky, sticky lacing which crept all the way to the top of the glass.

S: Grab the juicer....lemon-lime with hints of mango overwhelm the nose before putting my schnozz in the glass.

T: This one lets you know it's an Imperial right away. It's a hop bomb that smacked my tastebuds the moment I poured this saucy bitch in my mouth. Oh so fresh - it really strives for and achieves that Left Coast style hop profile. The thing that really got me was how long the hop oils stuck around. It was intense, really intense, for a good 5+ minutes post sip.

M: Insanely creamy. It's heavy; weighty, it really shows off in this category. It's also suprisingly smooth for a DIPA.

O: This beer is like a hot-n-heavy, six week old relationship. You may be in love, but don't want to overstep your boundaries. Let's say I really, really like this brew, and I'm currently making plans for Lenny to have a drawer in my chifferobe.

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

Whoa. Rating as an IPA as advertised it gets a goose egg because it was no where close to an IPA, not one that I am used to, it walked a fine line on the barleywine side and for that I give a great rating of course. This one poured out a deeep amber with some great carbonation. It poured thick like syrup and took a few to settle. On the nose it smells of pure malt. The taste..the malt really takes over the hops leaving it a bit lopsided for an IPA. Tasted sweet and spicy .Went down well and stuck around for a while. The ABV and heaviness of this one takes down the drinkability but an EXCELLENT brew.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.42/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2x ipa brewed with massive and obscene amounts of rye malt and hops. Wow. Ruby red color and very spicy pine resin aroma. 10.0 abv. Floral notes as well. Flavor is malty, malty, malty providing a huge mouthful. Reminds me a lot like the Arrogant Bastard only more maltier. Bittersweet dry finish with slight grapefruit notes from im guessing Chinook. If you love the bastard youll love this just as much.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a ruby brown with good tan head that left lace down the glass and a one-finger head. A great citric hop smell that is also bery piney and floral along with caramel and other sweet malts. Classic DIPA taste as the beer is medium-bodied and smooth and contains both a great hop bitterness and some sweet malt/fruit tastes. Taste is comprised of citric hops along with roasted and caramel malts. The high ABV leads to a dry backbite that gives off a complimentary alcohol burn and is tagteamed with the rye which gives off a little bready feeling. A great beer but also a very heavy beer to handle and one bottle was certainly enough for me.

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

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a reddish-brown crystal clear body but a bit dense. The strong sea of carbonation is tiny bubbles that glide up the sides of the glass. The thick sticky light tan head hold to the side of the glass after each sip.

S- This beer has a sweet malt flavor with a note of sugary dum-dum suckers. The light smell of wet grain and toast come through as it warms. There is also a hint of dark rye bread that is very pleasant.

T- This beer has a sweet dark caramel malt flavor with a bitterness of dandelion greens to follow. There spicy notes from hops or rye that fades into toasted malt notes and sweet white sugar flavors. The finish has a light herbal note with a malt and hop bitterness at the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a slight slippery texture. There is a slight chalky texture and a soft alcohol heat that comes through as it warms.

D- This beer has some nice qualities of old ales, sweet malts and smooth alcohol with notes of spicy rye notes. I didn't get any qualities of IPA let alone DIPA. Nice beer in the wrong categories.

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Photo of akorsak
3.05/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is a bomber of RIPA from Shmaltz. It is near room temperature (as this is the last of the bottle I opened 2 hours ago).

Appearance: For a DIPA, the ale is very dark, more similar to an amber. There is a nice ring of head that laces.

Smell: Malts that remind me of a barleywine are the first that I detect. Very sweet and malted-up, this beer is no regular DIPA, as there is no hop presence in the nose.

Taste: The rye adds a very nice touch up front, a change of pace in terms of malts. From there though, the malts spiral out of control and dominate the beer. There is a distinct barleywine aftertaste that lasts a long time. Again, there is some hop bitterness, but nowhere near that amounts I expected.

Mouthfeel: The flavors are too powerful and do not subside. This is not for the faint of heart.

Drinkability. Trust me, one bomber is enough.

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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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