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

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
2,003 Ratings
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
Ratings:
2,003
Reviews:
903
Avg:
4.04
pDev:
11.88%
 
 
Wants:
88
Gots:
233
For Trade:
4
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,003 |  Reviews: 903
Photo of Bigfatbino
4.62/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A = Nice dark color, tight bubbles in the head, left beautiful lacing in the glass.

S= sweet, but balanced with nice roasted undertones. Very flowery aroma.

T = Mouth-puckering bitter, chocolate undertones and roasted coffee. Very long-lingering bitter aftertaste.

M = Thick and resiny. Good carbonation and it stays on the tongue well after the first swallow.

D = A very good session beer. Would be great with Pot Roast or any good long braised meat.

 457 characters

Photo of Sanford
4.45/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Lenny's Bittersweet RIPA has been one of my favorite beers for quite a while. It feels like a privelage to be able to have it on tap. When it is poured it cascades upside down like an impatient Guiness, creating a thick, creamy, tan head. Below the foam, the body is a very appealing dark amber; and when held up to the light there are beautiful reddish/orange highlights. The lacing isn't great, but a nice ring of suds remains, and when I swirl the glass, the head reappears in strength. I really enjoy this beers nose. The aroma is spicy herbal earthy sweet with a touch of funk. I don't know which hops are used, but that funk reminds me of Simcoe. I taste sweet malt, spicy rye, and bitter earthy hops. The flavors work together in a twisting turning way, one leading to the next, and back around to the first. The finish is long and bitter. This is a big beer, with big flavors, but to me, they all work together very well. The mouthfeel is rich and smooth...unctuous (spe?), I love it. For me, the complexity and abv of the beer limit its drinkability, though I think the draft version is more drinkable than the bottle.

 1,127 characters

Photo of PALMEJ1
3.64/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

from 22oz bomber into snifter

pours nice with 3 finger head. almost looks like strong ice tea with a great head!

smells like the normal grapefruit and pine but keeps going to a great ripe orange-tangerine thing. also some whiffs of rock candy from back in the day!

different from others in this style. i was expecting the same taste that I got in the nose but that did not happen. the hops are great but I think a little too much malt for me.

feels great. creamy and smooth. would not guess 10%.

i will give this another taste down the road as i bought 2

 560 characters

Photo of JAA
4.63/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a top-notch brew, no doubt about it. The bottle says an obscene amount of hops and malts were used, and the smell and taste confirm it.

The head that did appear, quickly disappeared. Dark amber body with absolutely no lacing. Not a real appealing appearance.

The smell is all rye and bourbon. A very faint citric hop note peeks through.

At first taste, this doesn't seem like a D.I.P.A. at all. More like a Scottish Ale. Very malty up front, hoppy in the finish. Soon, the taste buds got acclimated to the malt, and the strong, citrusy hops burst through. The bready rye flavor hangs on, always the noticeable backbone to this phenomenal brew.

Mouthfeel is thick and mouth-filling. Slick and sticky.

At ten percent ABV, one bomber is enough for one sitting. I would definitely purchase again. The price wasn't bad, either.

 840 characters

Photo of AMoceri7
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This should be labeled a Barleywine.

A: Deep deep burnt orange with some sweet honey hues in the light. Moderate lacing and no head. Pretty.

S: Plenty of malt upfront masked in alcoholic phenols with the hops hiding somewhere in there. DIPA eccentric.

T: Caramel sweet malt, special B without a doubt and I am a bit unsure where the Rye is because it doesnt stick out. Hops are a little bit more noticeable really as an earthy bitter piece than the beauty of pine and citrus which is absent. The alcohol is a lot more prevalent than in the aroma making it very boozy and off putting.

M: Salty with moderate carbonation. It really is bittersweet as the label says.

D: Just good, dont think I could finish the bomber myself, should be split.

Overall: Not what I expected from a DIPA more like a barleywine without doubt. The more you drink it, the more you like it. Not bad, probably wont buy again.

 904 characters

Photo of paco1029384756
4.06/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby color with two fingers of a fine creamy off white head.

Scent of rye, hops, some earth, and fruits. The alcohol is well hidden and it is balanced nicely, but it doesn't smell as strong as the alcohol percentage would let on.

Taste of strong rye and bread start with the hops coming in shortly after. Lasting rye flavor through the finish with some more bread and a bit of alcohol.

Medium bodied, smooth and a bit syrupy.

 441 characters

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

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1pt, 6oz bottle into a tulip glass. There was no born on or freshness date that I could find.

Appearance: The body had a beautiful deep reddish amber color with just a slight chill haze. On top sits a nice creamy light tan head that fades slowly down to ring of bubbles. It makes for some slick lacing on the glass.

Smell: Its aroma has a big robust, bready/ roasted grain malt presence with plenty of strong resin hop notes and a noticeable sweet alcohol as well.

Taste/Mouth Feel: The flavor has a very solid malty body up front. It brings sweet and roasted grain, bready and rye notes as well as some sweet alcohol. Hops flavor starts to add balance in the middle before tacking over in the end. The hops add some piney and resiny notes to the sweet warming alcohol and rye notes in the slow lingering finish. It has a full body with a thick, rounded chewy texture that hangs onto the palate.

Notes: This is a big full beer with great complexity and strength. Sip slowly and enjoy!!!

 1,031 characters

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

12oz bottle. A nice tribute to Lenny Bruce, he of the inspiration for so many of today's more edgy comics.

This beer pours a clear, dark reddish copper amber colour, with three fingers of thick, foamy, and broadly puffy off-white head, which leaves pretty ambitious patchy and fuzzy layered lacing all around the glass as it quite lazily recedes.

It smells of grapefruit pith and acrid pine resin hops, bready, heady caramel malt, dark Belgian yeast-tinted fruit, a small spicy grainy edginess, and some burbling alcohol heat. The taste is a big neutered grapefruit pith wallop up front, followed by some weirdly timid dry pine woodiness, a robust spiciness, one pleasantly borne from the rye malt rather than hop, further bready caramel malt notes, a touch of understated, somewhat metallic alcohol acridity, and a strong lingering leafy hop bitterness.

The carbonation is on the low, more or less obsequious side, the body exhibiting one heck of a meshuggah hugeness, and yet a less than endowed smoothness. It finishes dry, kind of metallic, and still much more hoppy than malty, in a rare air sort of way.

An enjoyably crazy-big DIPA, with the added kick of a rye-tinted (tainted?) malt. The big alcohol is generally restrained, and not all that noticeable, rendering this as a somewhat easy to drink tipple. A winner in my book, as far as my acceptable adjunct-ified DIPA regulations go - we could all use a bit more of this, if only to keep the mainstream nervous.

 1,475 characters

Photo of mattwjones
3.03/5  rDev -25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into a 22 oz. wine glass. The color was amber and there was a 1 finger head. I could tell that this was a syrupy beer from the way it hit the glass. The aroma was very malty and caramel like. To me the taste of this beer was a big disappointment. The malt wore the pants in the hops-malt relationship. I was turned off by the imbalance of flavor. The mouthfeel was of little surprise and it was syrupy as I expected. The drinkability of this beer was decent considering the rather high ABV.

I am glad to have tried this beer, but I would not buy it again.

 575 characters

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

Poured a deep amber with a very thick and steady head.
Smells sweet. Caramel, grapefruit, hints of cinnamon
The taste is pretty rockin. Nice bready/biscuity flavor from the rye, hops spice it all up a bit. Nice grapefruit after taste.
Feels a little sticky on the tongue, not quite as smooth as I would prefer.
Great drinkability especially for a %10

 351 characters

Photo of GJ40
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 22oz bottle purchased at Full Throttle Bottle in Seattle. No noticeable brewed on or best by date.

A - Copper in color with very good clarity. A thick tan head with good retention and loads lacing. This is as inviting a beer as I've seen.

S - A complex mix of rye and hops. The rye dominates with an earthy, bready quality and some caramel but the hops add a little spice.

T - A very rich, sweet flavor with lots of malt and a firm alcohol punch. After you get through the first few sips, a citrusy hop finish starts to appear. A very complex beer.

M - A thick, chewy beer that really sticks to your mouth. Nice low to moderate carbonation.

D - A bit strong and rich for me at first but once my taste buds adjusted, I started to really appreciate it. But I doubt I could down more than one in a session.

 823 characters

Photo of naterock
3.56/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a fluted tasting glass. Deep reddish-amber with a one finger head, decent head retention.

Smells of rich rye malt, a aromatic yeast and a kiss of hops in the nose. Not as hoppy in the smell as I would have thought.

Ah, there's the hops. not hidden, but blasting out of the rye malt. The heat coming from the hops is crazy and WAAY underbalanced with a boozy body and just a little bit of sweetnes coming from the malts.

Mouth is oily and overcarbonated. Drinkability I can't say is too high. really wouldn't be a sure buy for me when in the mood for a DRIPA.

 574 characters

Photo of Brad007
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a darkish-copper color with a thick head that fades down to a one-finger head with lacing. Great presentation in my Piraat glass.

Aroma is bursting with spicy rye and floral/grassy hops in the nose. Sweet and hoppy at the same time.

Taste is sweet and spicy upfront with a good kick of grapefruit from the hops in the middle. Very delicious. There's a good balance between hops and rye here.

Rye and hops linger in the mouthfeel. Again, that balance carries over beautifully to cap off a beer that is definitely unique and refreshing.

I'm buying this again. Would love to buy it in Vermont but it's absolutely one of my favorites. Definitely. Only Hop Rod Rye comes close when it comes to beers infused with rye.

I've got to give this one a perfect 5 though. It's hard to find DIPAs that have a defined balance between malt and hops.

 846 characters

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

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

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

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

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

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

 924 characters

Photo of GoodBeerTire
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice orange amber. Small head, but nice and creamy.

The smell was not overpowering at all, but quite pleasant. Could defitely pick up on some nice citrusy hops, malt, caramel, & rye.

I really enjoyed the flavor of this one. Hoppy, but seemed nicely balanced with the malt. The rye comes in later, and with the citrus hops leaves a nice aftertaste. It had a nice alchohol warmth, but I had a hard time tasting any booziness (and at 10%, that's a nice bonus).

Mouthfeel is nice & creamy. Carbonation is just about perfect for me.

Drinkability is very good for a 10% ale. I could have started another bomber, but didn't want to nap the entire day away.

When I see this one again, I will get another or 2. Nice offering from He'Brew.

 743 characters

Photo of allergictomacros
4.85/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a clear copper with a mammoth creamy head of tan foam. Very solid and excellent lace. Nose is big pineapple and mango, with some caramel tones. At first blush, flavour seems to be a bit weak in comparison to the nose, but there's definitely some dark sugars, some grapefruit hops and solidly bitter finish. Alcohol comes through as well. Seems to grow on me though, and after a couple of sips I have to revise my initial impression. What this doesn't have is the big, puckery, resinous hoppy bite that many DIPAs have, replacing it instead with a smoother, better balanced flavour. Not at all harsh, but still with some good hoppy flavour. Mouthfeel is on the lighter side of the DIPA range as well - no over-the-top syrupiness. This is as drinkable a DIPA as you're gonna get - smooth, good flavours and not at all rough on the palate.

 842 characters

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.

 375 characters

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

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

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

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

 553 characters

Photo of Florida9
3.44/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

drank on tap @ hopleaf

served in a tulip

A: A deep reddish brown with a very thin head

S: Faint, almost non-existent. What is there is of spicy hops, but for a double IPA, the lack of aroma is surprising.

T: Opens with characteristic rye maltiness/spiciness. Finishes with hoppy bitterness.

D: kind of weak for a DIPA, but, none-the-less an easy drinker and not offensive. I don't think this a unique beer and found it somewhat generic in flavor. I'm at a loss to explain how the aroma could be so muted.

 512 characters

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

22 ounce bomber - $4.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep, mahogany-hued body with a large, off-white head. Delicate lacing on the way down.

Smell: Rich-smelling nose of toasted bread crumbs and dark, equally toasted caramel. This is set against bright, predominately fruity hop notes of various candied citrus fruits.

Taste: Toasted bread crusts coated in rich caramel sauce with a crystal malt sweetness and just a pinch of table sugar followed by the piquant, though pleasant spiciness of malted rye. Various hop flavors roll past the tongue depositing bitterness: white pine, grapefruit rinds, pineapple, tangerine, and even Meyer lemons. Eventually, a bolt, moderate bitterness builds, egged on by the spicy rye and held in place by the robust body. Add in a couple turns of the pepper grinder. Finishes mostly dry with a melange of hop tastes disunited by final flecks of caramel.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. There's a nice heft to the overall mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Ah, Lenny, we hardly knew ye. Though a bit brash at times, it was still an enjoyable potent brew that, despite it's potency, bitterness, and punchy alcohol content, went down reasonably easily.

 1,235 characters

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.

 2,450 characters

Photo of kenito799
4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a Dogfish Head snifter. Brewed in 2006.

Muddy burnt orange brew with small head, recedes to a ring, very little lacing.

Very complex nose. A fascinating fresh bright mintiness is the first thing that hits the nose, certainly unexpected. Caramel malt, sweet and syrupy. Fruity notes fo apricot, cherry and cooked apple. Loads of spicinesss, cola, cinnamon, vanilla. Sour tanginess--this must be the rye. Typical citrus and pine hop notes are surprisingly muted on the nose.

The palate brings much of what the nos promised, with a very rich and fruity caramel sweetness; interlced with a fair amount of alcohol heat. Hoppy bitterness carries through into a long finish, pine now present, with rye sourness throughout.

Yes this is a monster, but three years bottle age has allowed the disparate elements here to intermingle in a thoroughly enjoyable way. The incribly spicy fresh nose really boosts the drinkability with this beer. One of Schmaltz's best efforts.

 989 characters

Photo of soupyman10
4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a glass of this on tap at the Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown. Very solid beer, if not mind-blowing (and the first He'Brew I've had). Pour was mediocre, very weak head but a nice deep amber color. No lacing. Nose was nicely balanced, with some solid citrus and grapefruit. Flavor is similar - solid mix of fruity citrus and caramel. Light alcohol. Body's fine, with good carbonation. Besides the mediocre appearance, this is a nice brew with a great flavor.

 461 characters

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

Pours translucent amber with a solid white head. Aroma is a ncie blend of hops and malt. Rye spicyness also makes itself known in the nose. Very balanced aroma. Tastes fantastic. Starts with nice bready maltiness followed by plenty of hops. Not particularly bitter, but the hops are certainly there. Maybe not as much as youd expect from a IIPA, but thats mostly because the rye malt bill is no slouch. The feel is very very creamy, almost chewy, with a nice astringency in the finish. Alcohol is high, yet unnoticeable. Really a great brew. Somewhat reminiscent of ST Unearthly.

 579 characters

Photo of ffejherb
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle into Troegs Hopback glass on 4/2/09.

A - Poured a beautiful dark amber/caramel-colored body with slow-rising bubbles of carbonation and almost two full finger's of creamy beige head that settled to a half inch of solid retention and decorated the sides of the glass with thick, ornate lacing.

S - Huge spicy rye presence right up front with floral and perfumy hops to complement. Malt character isn't timid either, and displays a caramel and toffee candy sweetness

T - Spicy rye and a potpourri of hops comprise the initial flavor. Floral, herbal and perfumy notes tickle the tastebuds. Thick, rich caramel malt and toffee notes provide sweetness to balance the aggressive hop assault.

M - Full bodied and thick with a syrupy yet creamy texture and a bit of residual heat from the beefy alcohol presence. Carbonation is subtle, but picks up some steam the longer you swirl it around. Finish is quite bitter and dry on the palate, but doesn't linger too long.

D - This is my first experience with He'brew, and I was not disappointed. This is a fantastic rye IPA with tons of flavor and texture. While the floral and perfumy hop profile isn't one of my favorites, it works well overall with the spiciness and dryness of the rye.

 1,248 characters

He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. from Shmaltz Brewing Company
4.04 out of 5 based on 2,003 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.