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

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
902 Reviews
He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company
New York, United States
shmaltz.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
902
Ratings:
1,995
Avg:
4.04
pDev:
11.88%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
230
For Trade:
4
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Reviews: 902 | Ratings: 1,995
Photo of chaz410
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle I got at the always wonderful Common Market.
This beer pours a deep amber brown with a little reddish hue. It has a thin, half finger white head.
Smells of dry rye and piney and grassy hops. The rye blends well with the hops but I really wanted a little more hop character as well. There's a little malt note on the caramel side and a little toasted pale malt on the back bone of the nose.
Taste is very complex for a double IPA. It comes right up with sweet/citrus hops followed quickely by caramel sweet malt body. Toward the back of the tongue there's a lot of rye dryness and breadiness along with lots of dry pine and grassy hops. The rye is extremely complementary to the hops in the finish and leaves a wonderfully rounded dry flavor at the end.
Although the end mouthfeel is dry it's extremely drinkable considering the ABV and IBUs.

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Photo of jdoncbus
3.82/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber - poured into pils glass. Rich copper color with two fingered, beige head. Decent amount of lacing.

First whiff is of malty, biscuit with a solid alcohol prescene. Rouned off with piney, sweet citrus with a layer of butterscotch. The "bittersweet" label on the brew is no lie.

The rye malt certainly hits like a sledgehammer leaving an extremely bitter aftertaste. The alcohol is there and makes no attempt to hide itself. This concoction reminds me of a ryed up Arrogant Bastard Ale,

Very dry and oily mouthfeel leaving a certain puckerness in the mouth.

Definitely not a session beer and would advise pouring this baby into an 8 oz. glass. This brew is not for the faint of heart and to be honest I wish I could split this bomber with someone but since its open and I am not with any beer drinkers; it's down the hatch. Perhaps I am a wuss but I would go with Bear Republic's Hop Rod Rye if given the choice.

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Photo of Docer
3.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (4.5)
- Dark and filtered clear brown with a reddish hue. Fluffy and slow forming fingers of ultra light tan head settles with frothy sticky foam all over the glass and a thick pillow rests above.

Smell: (3.5)
- Smells like a barleywine. Huge thick caramel malts, bready, zesty, peppery, and sweet. Molasses, honey, grassy earthy hop. This is a sweet rich smelling barleywine for sure.

Taste: (4.0)
- Honey and sugary caramel malt. Light cocoa, pine, zesty hop, and a subtle chocolate and desert-like flavor. Brown sugars, candy, and earthy hops. Hops are rather light. Very well balanced.

Mouth Feel: (4.0)
- This is a rather heavy brew. Thick creamy malty body which is quite chewy, and a touch sticky. Leaves the mouth a bit dry and chalky. Certainly a nice creamy feel.

Overall: (3.5)
- For me this beer is a bit off the mark for the style. It's certainly a barleywine. When I like a good double IPA, I don't want a barleywine. That doesn't mean that this beer isn't great.. it is. But I try to be subjective to style in my judging.. but it really always boils down to how good the beer is overall. That's why I like doing these live reviews step-by-step. I've never had a He'Brew beer that wasn't quality.

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Photo of cbl2
3.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$4.99 22 oz. bottle. Brewed once in 2006.

Appearance:

Pours a beautiful crimson/orange woth over an inch of tightly packed tan head with excellent retention.

Aroma:

Roasted malts dominated by caramel and a touch of cotton candy. Just a faint hint of hops which is odd for a DIPA.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Some pine hops up front, but this beer is dominated by sweet malt presence that introduces itself in the form of caramel and perhaps a touch of honey. Mouthfeel is nice, slightly viscous with the appropriate amount of carbonation. Finish is slightly bitter, with hops once more asserting themselves, though not upfront enough for my taste in a DIPA. Alcohol is nicely (and dangerously masked). A good beer, but different from any other DIPA I've had, perhaps because it is a rye.

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Photo of InsolublePancake
3.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Crystal clear reddish orange with a nice light tan head. A generous lacing is left behind as the head dissipates.

S- Surprisingly weak in the smell department. Nice citrusy hops and sweet malt are there, but the aroma just isn't very strong. Still good, though.

T- Big hops up front, no surprise there. The malt backing is quite substantial, almost equal to the hops in its intensity. I think this could pass as an Imperial Red or something similar. The sweet malt and citrusy hops give it an orange candy flavor that I've found is typical of beers in this style. The rye, however, does add something. I can't put my finger on it, but the malt profile in this beer is different than most others. Maybe a little more sour, I don't know. Still, it makes things a little more interesting, which is nice. Bitterness is pleasantly high.

M- Pretty thick, almost syrupy. Carbonation is pretty low. Not bad.

D- One is enough for sure, although I didn't have trouble finishing the one. At 10% alcohol, this is not a beer you should be drinking a lot of.

Solid on all fronts, but better on some than on others. The rye added a nice twist, giving this beer an edge over some of the more mundane examples of the style. If you like DIPA's definitely give this a try; you shouldn't be disappointed. Recommended.

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Photo of jamesdergen
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours an inky, dark, caramel color with a dark tan head that does not stay around for long.

Smell: Resiny hop aromas and a definite caramel background.

Taste: Wow! Drinking this brew is like getting punched in the face by hops, malts and rye! Very sticky, resiny hop presence up front, backed by a very strong caramelly rye malt taste with the hop bitterness coming back at the end. Like the bottle says, "Brewed with an obscene amount of malts & hops".

M&D: THICK! They really pack in the ingredients here. While tasty, this beer is very difficult to drink, especially during the summer. This high-viscosity brew would be much better on a cold fall night.

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Photo of genog
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was #2 on tap at Bodega last night.

Pours a dark copper color with a thick amount of a light brown head, 2 inches. Leaves some sticky lacing along the side of the glass. Smell is of rye, and the earthy/citrus Hoppiness that is the Double IPA. Strong hops dominate but the rye malt shines through on the palate. Mouthfeeling finishes dry and a little sticky. Very full feeling.

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Photo of Givemebeer
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into snifter. Love the tribute to Lenny Bruce

A: mohagany and clear nice looking beer great lacing

S: smell is reminiscent of 120 minute. The label says brewed with an obscene amount of hops and malts and this proves they are not lying.

T: wow this has a ton of flavor. Starts with citrusy pine hops then the rye comes through with a nice touch then finishes with the malts. Flavor is extreme

M: one of the chewiest thickest ipas I've ever had, and I like it. Finishes off dry

O: a poor mans 120 minute. I liked it but had a tough time really reviewin this one. Try it if you want an explosion of flavor.

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Photo of bonkers
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I split a 22 ounce bomber into 2 tulip glasses. The beer is a hazy amber brew with a quickly fleeting white head. Pine and citrus notes dominate the aroma. Upon drinking the beer is heavy on pine, with a sweet rounded finish. Definitely a sipper, it has a full mouthfeel. It is hard to describe, chewy, sticky perhaps. A decent beer but there are better DIPA's out there.

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Photo of Cory_Brown
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- dark bronze hazy color with about an inch of light tan creamy head.
S- the smell is very pleasant. Hops are blended into a sweet rye smell. A little spice is detected as well. Cannot wait to taste this.
T- not as pleasant as the smell. A little too sweet but still very tasty. The rye flavor is too sweet for my palate but I can see why many would love this one. It is exactly what the label implies, a bittersweet rye IPA. Interesting
M- medium carbonation and the hops jump off the tongue
O- this is definitely a solid beer, just not my favorite style. I would recommend for any hop head to give it a try.

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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 jneiswender
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had a pint glass of this from the bottle.

A-off white head, amber brow body (somewhat murky)

S-sweet malt, piney and floral hop aroma

T-sweet malt, raisin, hard candy finish

M-medium mouthfeel, somewhat slick

D-one of the best beers from this brewery. I would drink this beer again. Complex flavors.

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

From a 22 oz. bottle. A tribute to Lenny Bruce...hmm. Never found him all that funny. Hopefully his tribute beer will be better than his comedy.

A - nice ruby red, perfectly clear. Head is very thick, creamy and puffy. Off-white, slightly tan. Leaving adequate lacing and retention is excellent, especially considering the alcohol content.

S - aroma here a little muted. Significant citrus, grapefruit, light pine hop aroma with underlying cotton candy sweetness. Syrupy smelling, caramel, strong toffee. Higher alcohols also present. Smells good, but expecting more.

T - to mimic the previous line, tastes good, but expected more, a little disappointing. Fairly well balanced DIPA. Strong citrus, tangy hop flavor up front, followed by significant sticky malt sweetness, and then concluding with assertive tart bitterness. Hop flavor and bitterness very present and balance ultimately tips in their favor. Taste surpasses the aroma. Alcohol content evident but not overwhelming.

M - thick, sticky, somewhat viscous beer. Carbonation low. Sticky finish.

D - tasty offering, but not quite as good as it could have been, it seems. A little sticky and filling.

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

This beer poured a clear amber color with a 1/4 inch head. The aroma as soon as I popped the cap off the bottle was very fruity, with spicy hops also present in the nose. The taste was quite hoppy and bitter, but balanced with a good bit of caramel maltiness. As the beer warmed, that peculiar spiciness and oilyness of the rye malt became more pronounced. Alcohol was also noticeable but it was very well hidden for a beer of this strength. This was a medium bodied beer that was really easy to drink. Normally, I'm not a big fan of rye beers but this is a damn good one. It had great balance between the fruitiness and spiciness of the rye malt and the spicy bitterness of the hops. An intersesting take on the DIPA style.

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Photo of warmstorage
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, part of their 10% series.

Pours deep red amber, with a big loose head, leaves serious lacing.

Aroma: sweet alcohol and moderate to heavy hops.

Taste: Bourbon cask wood, warm alcohol, moderate to moderately high hops, finishes with notes of vanilla and barrel, hops not as high as the bottle claims. Nice as it warms up, and the sweet alcohol warmth and fruitiness takes over.

Mouth is warm and moderately slick.

A great beer, just not amazing in any category. Certainly vastly better than their basic, non-big offerings.

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Photo of ByronDBeer
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Dark dark copper, brown. No head.
S: Fresh hops, vanilla,
T: Malty with some hop cuts. Very strong vanilla/brown sugar, overpowering. Hint of rye but really not much, just vanilla for me.
MF: Medium, mostly forward on the tongue.

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Photo of bboelens
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at WOB, poured into a snifter

A-Dark orange-red, a thin dark head that left decent lacing

S-Hops, malt, spice, and alcohol, exactly what I'm looking for in a big DIPA

T-Hops, yeast and some grapefruit flavoring are the first to hit my tongue, the light malty taste comes immediately after and its chased by a strong but not overly powerful or repulsive alcohol flavor.

M-A full bodied beer, but something was lacking, a little too light on the carbonation made it feel a bit slick sliding down the throat, it really didn't detract from the beer at all though

O-In all this is an excellent beer bursting with a complex flavor profile, rich nose and beautiful look. I would definitely pick up a bottle.

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Photo of kjyost
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

UNDATED 355 mL Bottle purchased at Bridgeview Liquors in Moorhead, MN. Poured into a Duvel chalice.

A: Reddish brown and clear. Poured with a nice white head that dropped too quickly and is leaving no lacing.
S: Strong hoppy nose. Tropical fruit and grapefruit hops. Apple juice comes out later which I find offputting. Rye malt is noted and a very slight hint of alcohol.
T: Sadly the hop bomb nose doesn't match up here. Not sure if the bottle is older or not (DATE CODES??) but the body is well balanced with light citrus notes and an enjoyable bitterness that lingers but is not overpowering. Light sweetness is overcome by the bitterness. Clear 'spicy' flavours from the rye.
M: Thicker than usual without residual sweetnes. Well carbonated.
O: Rock solid, I just want more hops in a DIPA. I loved how well the 10% was hidden here, I just hope that this was an old bottle and there were meant to be more hop flavours stuffed into this bottle.

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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 PatrickJR
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - A beautiful beer. Clear reddish amber with 4+ fingers of light tan head. Retention is great with the head lasting upwards of a few minutes leaving spectacular, webby lacing behind.

S - Malty sweetness is more than obvious upfront. Lots of caramel and some frut aromas. I'm not sure if I can detect the rye or not. The hops are also quite assertive with notes of pine and grapefruit. Slight herbal aromas as well.

T - Syrupy sweet malt takes hold first. Lots of caramel and touches of butterscotch and molasses. Hops enter next, full of herbal, spicy, and flowery flavors. Grass, pepper, rosehips, pine, spruce, and light fruity undertones all come to mind, ending in a rather high and coarse bitterness. Alcohol is quite apparent in the finish.

M - Thick, full bodied, syrupy, even a bit oily. Carbonation is moderate helping to thin out some of the brew's syrupy nature.

D - Not the DIPA I expected, but wonderfully unique in it's own right. Though I generally prefer maltier DIPAs, Lenny's RIPA almost gets a little TOO malty, with a nearly overbearing sweetness. Overall it works together, but it is on the sweet side and the alcohol is barely hidden at all.

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Photo of Aleks_P
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Very interesting color for a beer, a deep brown almost ruby color. Pours with a relatively healthy tan head. The initial appearance definitely piqued my curiosity.

Smell: The high alcohol content was apparent from the smell. Also picked up the hops quite a bit.

Taste: Immediately noticed both the bitterness and the alcohol similar to the smell, although the alcohol was less apparent in the aftertaste and the hops much much more prevalent. I was surprised how much the taste changed over the course of a sip, it finished very dry and bitter. Aftertaste is almost like a different beer than the initial taste.

Mouthfeel: Very, very dry beer.

Overall: This might just not be my beer style, but I've had a number of high ABV beers and found the alcohol was not masked in the smell or initial taste. Also very dry and hoppy and I didn't detect a lot of other flavors, although I need to ponder it some more as I finish this beer. Might just be having a hard time characterizing it but was not a standout for me.

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Photo of TheBungyo
3.76/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a gorgeous crimson caramel with a nice inch thick cream colored head. Nose is of massive caramel and strawberries. Taste is much the same. I don't understand this beer, it tastes far more like a barley wine. Mouth is on the cusp of full while still being a medium bodied beer. I'm going to buy this again but am in no rush. A good beer that is overshadowed by many greats in this region.

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Photo of cokes
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark and clear autumnal copper-brown stacked with a small pile of ivory sudsy lace.
The noes pounds home caramel apples, electric wintergreen hops, and rye peppery spiciness. It's not a varied or particularly complex aroma, but it delivers exactly what is promised. I appreciate the fact that rye is not lost in the fray.
The taste progression is similar. Sweet with caramel, toffee, and brown sugar at the fore. Some fruity tone develop, especially apple, with a suggestion of things more tropical, primarily mango. It gathers some toasty qualities, then rye steps up and inserts its trademark and unique brand of pepperiness. Hops add the syrups of grapefruit and wintergreens. Its very dank and bitter and peppery with suggestions of chilis and aspirin, which in sum fit the overall mood, but this would be improved if the overall hop statement was brighter and cleaner and definitive. Alcohol adds some late gin-like, juniper-rich heat, but for a brew of 10%, it matters little.
The mouthfeel is heavy, leavened slightly by the tiny amount of fleece-like bubbles that make it through. It teeters towards ungainly, but there is a deftness here.
As an obese amber ale, I love this. I am always a fan of rye and what it can bring, and does bring here. To toss this into the DIPA realm, it has some shortcomings. Averaging both schools of thought, it still is a solid "pretty good", regardless of parameters, and the overt rye tone push it up further in my biased perspective.
Nomenclature is a bitch though. Call this something semi-ridiculous, like Rye Strong Ale, and I'd score it much higher. Wrong as that may be.

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Photo of verset
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber color with slight reddish hues and strong caramel scent upon pour. Two finger head that fizzled down to a thin film over about 5 minutes.

Somewhat cloudy and dark for an IPA, probably due to the increased amount of malt. Strong malty taste up front followed by a nice bite of hops. Mouth is left with a sticky rye malt flavor.

The head is left as a film that looks more indicative of an ale than an IPA. Nice and low carbonation. The flavor is well balanced, but a little too malty in my opinion. I prefer a cleaner, crisper IPA.

Served in 16oz mason jar, refrigerated, pulled out for ~ 10 minutes.

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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
4.04 out of 5 based on 1,995 ratings.
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