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

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.
Liked This Beer
4.06 w/ 2,005 ratings
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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Ratings: 2,005 |  Reviews: 903
Photo of emmasdad
3.73/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep cherry brown color in the glass, somewhat opaque, with a huge fluffy light brown head, that lingers for quite a while. Aromas of apricots, floral hops and some caramel. Tasting this one brings huge hoppy flavors, balanced nicely by the big malt backbone, leaving a lasting bitter finish. Another big, bold beer from an underrated brewery. I seem to remember this one being better than the one I'm drinking now, however.

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Photo of drtth
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the clear dark orange/mahogany colored beer raises a 1 & ½" thick foamy head that is light tan and slowly recedes leaving behind lots of inter-connected patches of foam. Rings of lacing cling to the sides. Through out most of the beer there is a ring of foam around the liquid and some nice irregular patches on the surface. Sipping leaves lots of nice lacing patterns with speckles and legs , some of which slide back to the liquid and some of which cling until washed away by the next sip.

Smell: The aroma here is like rye bread made with dark caramel and grapefruit zest. There is also a faint fruitiness in the background (dark fruits). I'm also picking up a hint of the alcohol and the whole reminds me of a barleywine.

Taste: The flavors are strong and in your face. Indeed, given the subtle mix of aromas, the aggressive flavors come as a bit of a shock. The strong dark caramel malt backbone stays in the background for a long time but the stars of the show are the bitter spicy character contributed by the grapefruit zest and the spicy character from the rye. Every so often some cherry-like and plum-like notes pop up. But I don't really taste the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full-bodied with adequate soft carbonation. The finish is quite long and begins with a touch of fruit, rye and malt sweetness and then fades and fills the mouth with something that is a cross between bitter grapefruit zest and spicy roasted rye, finally ending with bitter grapefruit.

Drinkability: At this ABV I'm thinking this is pretty much a one a night beer, but it goes down smoothly despite or because of its bittersweet spicy rye character. This one is definitely an in your face beer that challenges you every sip of the way. But I keep going back for more and I will have this one again.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz Single bottle (no date I could find) poured into a milkshake pilsner glass.

Appearance: Poured a very impressive light tan head, which was very persistent. Lots and lots of lacing all over the glass. Lots of bubbles moving up slowly through the coppery-red/brown beer. Very nice to look at.

Smell: Citrus and floral hops dominate the smell of this beer.

Taste: Initial taste is a hint of malt, but that moves aside for citrusy hops and then a strong, but not overpowering bitter finish. Well blended though and the alcohol is not notable at all in the beer. Very balanced overall but there is a noticeable bitter aftertaste in the mouth for awhile between sips that gets stronger towards the end of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Right level of carbonation, thick and surprisingly creamy and very very smooth. Quite nice.

Drinkability: Went very well with a meal (I suppose the irony of having pork with this beer wouldn't be lost on Mr. Bruce) and is a beer for sipping and savoring. Glad I had it, but the bitterness wears on me a bit and I could never have more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
4.65/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Wasn't expecting this huge head, toppled over the sides of the glass. Beautifully clear copper/orange with a super dense off-white foamy head.

The smell is an intense waft of huge pine and citrusy American hops, as well as a spicy and slightly roasted note.

The taste is a perfect balance between the big bitter hop flavor, the sweet and spicy malt with a tad of roast to it, and the (IMO) perfectly medium/thick body and appropriate carbonation.

The beer is definitely easily drinkable.

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Photo of Jason
4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
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 EgadBananas
4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle to snifter.

Never heard of this beer or brewer before seeing in on the shelf, but I love an IPA, and a doubles even better...I had to have it.

Pours a deep copper color. A good off-white 2.5 finger head adorns the top, and stays for a bit leaving a thin foam for the duration of the drinking. Sticky foam leaves its marks on the glass.

Semi-sweet malt undertones along with a faint, but distinct hop smell give the perfect bittersweet experience that the bottle claimed.

I can see how this could converge upon barleywines, but the hop bite is unmistakable IPA...and it's big in this beer, as a double should be. The sweetness is a bit more tame on the taste, and the hoppyness is more explosive. But never overdone. The alcohol is slightly present, but doesn't overwhelm despite how big it is. I would liken this brew to Harpoon's Leviathan IPA, but without the killer alcohol taste.

This is a good healthy upper medium body. Good and rich.

For a 10% ABV, I don't think this could get any more drinkable. Its very smooth, but doesn't let you forget that this is a big beer. 1's not enough, savor 2.

I'm in no way religious, but I think this may be the closest thing to a religious experience I've had in a long time...

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Photo of SpdKilz
3.86/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

New Beer Friday!

Appearance - Pours into my SA Perfect Pint with a relatively clear amber/orange color. A medium pour yields almost three fingers of head that is not going anywhere. From what I can tell, there is sticky lacing on the sides.

Smell - Honestly, I am not getting a ton of aroma from this beer. What I can smell is a malty backbone, followed by a light citrus and hoppy profile.

Taste - Immediately I can taste caramel and malts on the forefront. Oddly this is followed by a pretty intense bitter hop bite and some nice grapefruit citrus flavors. However, this is reminiscent of a barleywine to be honest.

Mouthfeel - Extremely creamy, medium to thick mouthfeel, decent carbonation. This is a highlight of the beer for me.

Drinkability - Relatively so. I realize this is supposed to be a DIPA but it really does taste more like a barleywine. This does not by any means take away from the drinkability, however, it does offer a different profile which I was not expecting. I feel it is going to be somewhat difficult to finish the bomber of this but I bet I will be up to the challenge! Overall a decent beer but by no means a DIPA in my opinion.

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Photo of dwilson01
4.43/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my arrogant bastard pint glass. Amber brown color, looks to me like a darker shade of honey . Creamy head that is seriously the color of sand (creamy sand? hmmmm haha).

The initial smell out of the bottle is pretty intense bitterness, you pick up the immense hopping in the smell for sure, but that creamy head mellows it out a little bit I think.

The taste doesn't disappoint dude, seriously. The initial bitterness hits you but is followed quickly by a sweet malt, it really does remind me of a flower honey. The sweetness is backed extremely well with the huge body of the beer, it's a thick one for sure, that extra rye malt really does something great for this one. I thought it would be a little drier on the finish but the malt still holds out and it's smooth as hell until the very end when the 10% abv comes through a little bit and you get some of the pungent alcohol bit I love to get right at the end of taste. Flavors I get out of here are definite honey, a bit woody flavored, mellow though like a deciduous tree in the spring when it's fruit is flowering. I don't get any citrus, but it's creamy for sure.

The mouthfeel is such an anomaly for an IPA, I haven't had a smoother full bodied creamy feeling beer in this category before. This beer goes down as easy as an imperial stout and has the flavor of a double ipa coupled with the sweet rye malt. Crazy good brew, super drinkable with just a hint of the alcohol flavor on the swallow. I recommend for sure, if you like stouts and you like ipas and you want something new and interestingly flavored this is for sure the beer to snag.

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Photo of PintOHops
3.23/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Glass - Snifter

A - Amber with a bit of orange to it, a little cloudy but you can still see some tiny bubbles in there. Produced a 1-2 finger head, slightly off white, retention was decent. Left broken/splashy spots here & there.

S - Very sweet aroma with lots of date, plum, fig, grape, and alcohol. Soft undertones of biscuit, honey, caramel. Nice floral hops in there as well, a little dry, some oily hop notes, a bit of tree sap & soft pine. Burnt sugars with a touch of rye as it warms.

T - Alcohol is what I get most upfront, not as sweet as the aroma suggests. Lots of candied date/plum/sugary flavors, more alcohol, soft caramel & biscuit, touch of rye. Finishes with lots of burnt wood chip like flavors, lots of burnt bitterness lingers on the palate long after you taste it. Oh, and more alcohol as well.

M - Oily, almost syrupy feel, soft Co2 bite, full-bodied.

D - Not much a DIPA to me, more like an American Strong Ale, Not as complex as expected, just a smack in the face with burnt sugars, alcohol, burnt bitterness, and more alcohol. Not bad but I don't like it much, way to much alcohol for such a simple flavor & aroma. I'd pass, don't think I'll buy this one again.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
4.23/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber bottle into a pint glass. About 2 fingers of creamy head that took several minutes to calm down. Sticky foam and head clings to the glass. Very hoppy brew with strong rye flavor. Very flavorful, some dried fruits make this almost borderline a barleywine. This beer is very extreme and very over the top but very drinkable the alcohol is pretty well hidden. This is a very relaxing beer.

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Photo of ne0m00re
3.59/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz bottle into an oversized red wine glass to capture the aroma.
A: Amber with golden hues. It poured with a medium cream head that died to a film.
S: Lemon and orange juice with some spicy--but not piney--hops, and sweet rye.
T: Butterscotch toffee. The rye comes in with earthy bitter hops. There is a lingering gin alcohol flavor on the back of the mouth.
M: Moderately syrupy, frothy, and very smooth.
D: Good as it is a well-balanced beer.

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Photo of jacobseyb
3.87/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a standard pint glass. Great color of a golden orange, with a white-ish head. Pretty balanced aroma with the spicyness of the rye balancing the bitterness and sweetness of the hops. Hops were piney in nature. Taste was similar with just a good balanced flavor. Excellent feel with just enough carbonation and a medium bodied feel. Very drinkable, alcohol was not overly noticable given the ABV, so it was extremely drinkable.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.98/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with an aggressive and almost creamy beige head. Almost 3 fingers thick. Insane retention. Beer is a perfectly clear copper/amber color. Very bright color. Interesting slow motion tiny carbonation bubbles making their way slowly to the top of the glass. Lacing sticks everywhere.

Aroma is interesting. My first whiff was mostly sweet and I wondered where the hops were. Then boom, there they were. Pine, malt and some pineapple.

Flavor is quite nice. Big beer but also well balanced. There is an initial rush of sweetness that is cut short by a moment of alcohol, then a slam of caramel & fruit... this is quickly interrupted with a punch of bitter pine hops. Distinctive rye flavor and finish.. Abv does come back for another visit. What's funny is that alone this is a bigger beer vs. the last time I had it.

My previous time sampling this beer was with Pliny the Younger, Dreadnaught, Southern Tier and Sculpin. Not surprising it almost seemed lighter vs. that group. I saved a bottle from that 4 pack to allow myself to write this review. Alone, the abv really comes out and the balance is more impressive. More caramel as it warms a bit.

Almost sticky mouth feel, some resin flavor and feel. A touch sweet. Medium bodied.

I enjoy it, but it is a slow one to enjoy.. I wish they would lighten up the sweetness a touch and allow the rye to shine through with a bit more spice and allow for a dry rye finish.

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Photo of portia99
3.41/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle received as a bonus volunteering at a beer festival.

A - Pours a deep, rich amber color with a really nice ruby red tint. about a half finger of cream colored foam rests atop the beer, hesitates briefly and falls to a skim coat with a thick collar and nice lacing left around the edges of the glass.

S - Smell is largely malt dominated. Rich, sweet, caramelly, sugary. Really struggling to pull some hops out of this...swrirling vigorously barely produces any hop aroma that can get past the malt. Not exactly what I wxpect out of an imperial IPA. I expect the probability of lots of malt but I also expect a ton of hops to make an appearance too.

T - Lots more hops in the flavor than the aroma. Tons of nice bitterness up front. Enough to offset the powerful malt presence here and then some. Still the malt presence can't be denied - bready, sweet, caramelly. Strong alcohol presence in the flavor too. Rye spiciness is there, but not as prominant as I'd hope...does leave a lingering spiciness behind after the swallow.

M - Medium bodied, carbonation is medium high. Very lively, prickly feeling from the carbonation. Rye spiciness stays behind long afer the swallow.

D - Well, I have to preface this by saying I've had several of the Schmaltz beers and have never really been impressed. This one is sadly no different. I've heard lots of good things, but I consistently find myself underwhelmed. Technically, there is nothing wrong with this beer - well crafted, no off flavors...just doesn't click with me. Alcohol is very noticeable, hops are very subdued in flavor for the style..bitterness is there, but not hop flavor at all. Just doesn't fit with what I'm looking for in a DIPA.

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Photo of matty
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber colored beer with a slowly fading head.Aroma is hoppy and caramel malts.Taste is hops,caramel malts and sugar cane.I am usually not a fan of hoppy beers but this is mixed just right and is not dominated by the hops.I would recommend to try at least once and I can see myself buying this again.

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Photo of fairdinkum2
4.05/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is my second Hebrew. Tried the Jewbalation first and quite impressed. This RIPA is another solid effort.

Attractive deep copper color with a nice creamy head that dissipates to a decent collar and nice lacing.

Hoppy nose, followed by a suprisingly, creamy muthfeel. Scorched orange peel and hoppy bitterness on the finish, all nicely balanced. THe 10% ABV is a seductive presence.

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Photo of BarBEERian
4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this out of a 22 oz Bomber purchased at the B&B Quality Market in Helena, Montana.

The R.I.P.A. is a rye double IPA and not for the faint of heart. It is packed with flavor and also has a bit of a boozy kick to it, but not close to what you would expect from a brew weighing in at 10% ABV. It poured a fresh red copper color with a frothy eggshell head, which smelled of sweet rye, hoppy pine and grapefruit, and hints of herbs. The beer had a thick, heavy mouthfeel, but wasn't sticky and didn't really leave any residue, which I'm a fan of. The flavor was really a treat, it began floral with of the rye flavor peaking through. The rye sweetness augmented throughout the drink and it finished with almost a honey sweetness balancing the bitterness of all the hops used. Never did it taste overly boozy, a rare occurrence with all the double and imperials beers I've had.

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Photo of ATPete
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, great move to the smaller sized bottle.

Lenny's pours a deep brown/orange color with a large and strong tan head. Bright hops sit below a large malt aroma in the nose. This is a malt forward DIPA, the rye is able to shine better this way, however it goes without saying that this is one hoppy brew. Spicy, fruity hops mesh wonderfully with the rather complex malty backbone. Great complexity, creamy texture in the mouth, lighter carbonation and very well balanced. The 10% ABV is very well hidden, very good drinkability for its size. Cheers to Shmaltz for bringing this one out year round and now in 4pks!

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Photo of CharlatanSin
4.3/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on cask at the Bronx Ale House. Been wanting to try this one for a while.

A: Pours a dark amber brown, with a reddish tinge. Almost verging on purple. A wispy, almost oily tan head, with solid lacing. Very nice.

S: The smell is sweet malt with a big dose of fruity, juicy citrus hops. A subtle but firm bit of alcohol. Nothing too complicated, but quite pleasant.

T: This is a unique beer if I've ever had one. On the one hand, there's the normal double IPA retinue. Big grapefruit citrus hops, battling it out with a beefed up malt sweetness. Then there's the rye, which just might be the best IPA compliment in the world. Love it. In addition to all of this, there's a dark, fruity sweetness. Dark grape. It's almost port-like. The sweetness gets a bit strong as it warms, but it's delicious nonetheless.

M: Syrupy and very sticky. Full and viscous, almost RIS-like in mouthfeel.

D: I'm not sure I could have more than one glass in a sitting, but it's delicious, strong and and extremely original. I look forward to revisiting it.

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Photo of hophead247
4.2/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange-brown body with a big, dense tannish off-white head that left a good amount of thick lacing. Nose is sweet, with orange, caramel, toffee, spice and bready malt. Flavor is fairly sweet with toffee, spice and a good dose of one note bitterness. Full body and medium carbonation. Good, some big flavors and bitterness, just missing some elements to bring it all together.

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Photo of ktrillionaire
2.89/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A – Brown and cloudy, with a very big head, some scattered lacing.

S – Cloyingly malty-sweet. A megaton of hops couldn’t bring this one back for me.

T – Same as the smell, just a bit better. The hops finally cut into the cloying sweetness, but the hoppiness is citric, so even that bitterness associates itself with the cloying elements. So, this tastes like Malta IPA. I wish I could like it, especially due to my reverence for Lenny Bruce; I just can't do it.

M – Medium-bodied, well-carbonated, a bit oily.

D – Other friends had to finish it for me. They liked it, sorta.

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Photo of MCDuhamel
4.44/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams glass.

Pours a very clear dark amber/garnet, with a rather reluctant head that fades to a cap, but which follows the beer. Lots of tight bubbles rising through the liquor somewhat languidly. Very pretty to look at, but bringing it to the nose really reveals something special. Piney hops are quite evident, but the spiciness of the rye lends an intriguing quality that separates this from the everyday. Some pineapple makes its way in too. The flavor is balanced; rye malt, but not too much, plenty of American hops, some fruit, and a hint of caramel. The finish is dry but not at all astringent. In the mouth it is full bodied but not heavy, with plenty of carbonation but not so much to be distracting. Despite the strength and the unusual nature of the rye malt, it is very easy to drink; in fact, I am disappointed my wife bought me only the one to try.

This is far and away the best offering from this brewery, and a world class double IPA.

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Photo of Gehrig
4.38/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a 12 oz. bottle.

Two dense fingers of some of the most durable tan froth imaginable atop a hazy brown body with ruby trim. The patch of foam literally stays throughout most of the duration. Dense lacing and duration make for a fabulous look. Dense malty and hopped-up nose, rife with bready, caramel malt and resiny hops.

The taste is really bold, filled with roasted caramel, dried fruit, some molasses, and a bit of berry. The rye is pervasive, coating the tongue with a resiny, nutty film. It's complicated, robust, and impressive. Challenging, but delicious. The mouthfeel is good but maybe a little too tart and bitter. It's also somewhat of a sipper, due in part to the texture and also in part to the heat from the alcohol, which emerges early and gains steam.

Yet in all, this is a big, bold, challenging beer, a testament to the impact that the great Lenny Bruce made on American culture. He'Brew has become well known for their big, almost massive beers, and this is no different. It's also excellent.

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Photo of rhenning
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
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 zoolzoo
4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, Duvel snifter

A: Dark golden brown, big white frothy head

S: Hops and rye dominate with a little alcohol, as to be
expected. Not very complex but strong, and enjoyable.

T: Quick hop bite followed by plenty of rye malts, spicy but warm and inviting. This malt character is getting sweet, almost candy like, as the glass warms. Some people are saying this is a cross between a DIPA and a barleywine, which I can understand, but the rye malts set this apart with that spicy character that I love.

M: Mouthfeel is excellent. This is a big brew and its viscosity is thick enough to back it up.

D: Drinkability suffers a bit because of the abv and thickness, one is enough but what a treat!

I love rye beers, and this is a great example.. Ill buy this again.

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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83.7% out of 100 with 2,005 ratings
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