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

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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. On RyeHe'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. On Rye

Brewed by:
Shmaltz Brewing Company
New York, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Rye IPA aged in a Rittenhouse 100 Rye Barrel.
The 2013 batch was aged in Willett Rye Whiskey barrels. 2016 batch aged in Jim Bean Rye Whiskey barrels.

Added by John_M on 12-20-2007

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Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 373
Photo of SFLpunk
3.4/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. Neck label declares Batch 001/ Cases 469. Bottling Date 4/9/2010.

Appearance: Pours a super red mahogany with thick, dense buttermilk-colored head that falls back to 1/4 inch with lots of spotting.

Nose: Super dense caramel and whiskey right up front. Smells slick, sweet and bready (not biscuit though). Lots of bourbon vanilla bean and rye whiskey without the sharp alcohol notes. Smells exactly how I want it too.

Palate: Bright and sharp with alcohol burn. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and injured by the alcohol, thinned out a little too much. Flavors are great, lots of rye bread (not caraway, mind you), toasted white oak, and some fruity esters. I can't past the sharpness, but there's some pink pepper and white pepper notes, black pepper is a stretch because the fruit notes are missing from that specific flavor. The hop flavor is missing, but the bitterness is persistent. Long, spicy finish and much drier than the original Lenny.

Notes: Ho-hum. I really really really WANTED this to be my absolute favorite beer, but I have to say the Rye whiskey is less than integrated. It sits on top of the beer and disrupts the body and mouthfeel. Flavors are great, but integration is missing. Maybe Batch #2? Please consider a new attempt. Also, Lenny Bruce regular is one of my favorite brews and I love rye whiskey, just to my credit/in my defense.

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Photo of jera1350
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in color with a massive head of fluffy tan foam. Nice sheets of lacing around the glass.

Outstanding complexity in the nose. Some light citrus hops, vanilla, whiskey, brown sugar, toffee, and oak can all be picked out.

The first thing that pops into my head upon tasting this: Backwoods Bastard. There are a lot of similarities. Very, very, sweet with some alcohol heat. The alcohol and sweetness drown out most if not all of the hop characteristics. Getting the whiskey and oak along with dense layers of caramel and brown sugar along with some vanilla bean. Fairly spicy as well. Outstanding.

Extremely dry finishing. I would call this close to full bodied but not quite. Warm alcohol feel all the way down. Feels just slightly over-carbonated, but that may change with some more warming.

Drinks really well despite the booze presence and 10% abv. I loved the original Lenny's and this just adds another dimension. Tough to run across a really well done barrel aged DIPA, but this is an outstanding example.

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Photo of largadeer
2.43/5  rDev -38%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

This was shared by someone...chswimmer maybe? I can't remember. Oh well, thanks, whoever you are.

Pristine clear burnished amber, the color is beautiful but it looks oddly filtered. It's topped by a small off-white head. Very clean and refined appearance.

It has an oxidized hop aroma. Spicy rye and pine, almost cheesy, like an extra-sharp pecorino romano. This is stale-smelling. There's some whiskey aroma, but not a ton...makes me think of whiskey soaked pine needles. Strange.

Caramel malt and whiskey flavors hit the palate first, followed by strong pine that eventually turns into a firm bitterness. It has some rye spiciness and a bit of whiskey heat, but it's not overwhelming in any way. Quite muddled overall, I dislike the interplay between the barrel and the stale hop flavor. This may have turned out good with more time in the barrel, or if it simply had a more robust barrel character. As it stands, it's mediocre.

I remember enjoying this beer when I had it on tap at Toronado last year, but this bottle didn't live up to that memory at all.

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Photo of popery
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oddly delicious. This beer is rather sweet and fairly cloying, however rye spice and the rye barrel work well with the sweetness. The rye is smoky, almost hot. There's a lot of malt. Brown sugar, molasses, raisins, and lots of rye bread. It's not really a DIPA, in my opinion. This is essentially an interesting barleywine. Hops are muted or, at least, masked by the rye and merely lend some bitterness in the flavor. It's a fairly kooky beer. Lots of caramel malt. Definite alcohol heat. The total package is quite enjoyable. Definitely a sipper. I feel like it's giving me cavities and I love it.

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.98/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Golden amber with tan head that leaves a beautiful lacing down the glass. Lots of ruby flecks throughout.
S. Lots of oak and rye whiskey. The alcohol comes through a lot more in the nose than in the R.I.P.A.
T. Lots of rye bourbon up front. The sweet malt character takes a back seat in this one to the rye and the barrel. Lots of spice and a little bitterness on the swallow. The alcohol comes out a bit on the aftertaste (which I didn't find to be the case for the R.I.P.A.
M. Thick and delicious (i.e. medium+ bodied with a low level of creamy carbonation)
D. The addition of the rye whiskey flavors makes this beer distinctive, but I think I actually prefer it without the addition. I'm shocked since I have such a proclivity for rye whiskey and barrel aged beers. That said I still thoroughly enjoyed this experiment and wouldn't turn down an offer of it in the future.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As a fan of both rye whiskey and Bittersweet Lenny's RIPA, I've been quite excited to try this one. It pours into the glass a nice medium copper brown color, with a huge, rocky, 3 finger tan head. This one has a nice spicy rye aroma, along with toffee, oak and brown sugar; as it warms the booze really comes out. Flavors of wood, vanilla, toffee and maybe mint, along with suggestions of grapefruit and citrusy hops. The barrel aging has worked pretty well here, balancing the base beer nicely.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The head is thick and fluffy. Body is a transparent rusty hue.

It has a nice nose about it. It has the earthy spiciness you'd expect from a rye along with some pine bitterness and vanilla.

The flavor is interesting, to say the least. There is a moderate hop profile of pine and earth. The rye barrel aging adds a dimension of wood and vanilla and there is a spicy finish. While all these flavors are distinct, in my opinion they did not mesh well together. It was too much at once with little transition between.

Mouthfeel is medium body that was light on the carbonation.

I'm glad I tried this because it's an interesting take on a rye/ipa/whatever you want to call it, but it just had too much going on at once and it all didn't go well together. Not to mention it was $12/bomber and for that price tag I expect much more.

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Photo of jlindros
3.92/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was excited for this when I first saw it, Lenny's RIPA is a really good beer, and I love rye whisky, so hopefully the low rating is a misunderstanding with the beer.

A: Pours a large 3 finger head in my oversized tulip/snifter glass with fluffy semi quickly fading head. It's a clear copper reddish slight wood brown color.

N: Mostly a DIPA on the nose. Lots of thick malts and hops, chewy sweet hops with some earthy tones, little citrus and bitterness, and the malts are lots of sweet pale malts with hints of a darker malt. Some rye as well with little spicy fruity quality from it. I do get some woody esthers and a little oak, touch of a whisky aroma. As it warms it starts to get more of a bourbon aroma actually, with some barrel aromas.

T: Starts heavy as well, with quite a few malts at first. Thick and pretty sweet, mostly lots of pale malts but a little darker malt like crystal. Then come hops and bitterness. Quite a bit of bittering hops, earthy and chewy hops, but no real hop distinctive flavors. Again with the rye too, lots of spicy rye and a little fruit. The beer has a creamy almost oxidized aged taste to it. WIth that comes a warming booze, touch of alcohol tingly feel, and some whisky flavors, rye whisky (I just had Sazerac Rye Whisky - aka Baby Saz - to make sure I knew the flavor). There are some woody esters, but not a lot of oak and no vanilla. A strange hoppy and malty blend, with some interesting and unique flavors. Some bourbon flavors start to come out as it warms with a little bit of a barrel flavor.

M: Med body with tons of carbonation.

F: Still pretty bitter, with lots of bittering hops, but again not much distinctive hop flavor. Some earthy, chewy, and spicy hops if anything. More sweetness as well, which it dries a bit but not that much. Lots of lingering booze and warmth, as well as a little alcohol burn. Lots of rye on the finish as well, with a slight whisky flavor, but more spicy fruity rye flavors. The finish has quite a bit of that woody ester taste too, but again no real oak. I think the whisky took most of the oak flavor from the barrels. A little sticky sweetness residual sugar as well. The rye adds a bit of bitterness as well on the finish. It has a really heavy alcohol bite, a very slow drinking beer. I think it could have benefited from dropping the abv quite a bit. The barrel aging gave it a slight oxidized and aged taste, which doesn't usually benefit a DIPA as much as say a Barleywine or RIS.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Let me say right off the bat that the regular version of this beer is one of my favorite examples of Imperial IPA. This one pours out the color of whiskey, reddish brown, with a whopping two fingers of white head that stays. Right out of the gate you can smell the whiskey barrel aromas, along with some rye, and some sticky, jammy fruit. The rye is held together in a nice way by the barrel aging, however the finish is a bit on the harsh side. The body is full, and rich, which I suspect is exactly the point that Hebrew was going for. I am enjoying sipping this brew for sure, and will continue to for the next hour or so. My only gripe real gripe with this brew is the price tag. Fourteen bucks is simply too much when the normal version of this beer is every bit as good, if not better. Still though, I am happy I tried it, as the barrels do add an interesting layer of complexity to the equation. Cheers to Hebrew.

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Photo of chaz01
3.8/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It looks like variations of this beer were available in draft, and they just recently decided to bottle this beer. The bottle I'm reviewing says it's Lenny's RIPA in Sazerac 6 year rye Whiskey Barrels. Served in a champagne flute at a local beer tasting event.

A: Amber brown in color, very clear with a nice medium foamy head.

S: Mellow hoppiness and sweet caramel malts in the aroma complemented by a nice all-around oaky smell.

T: Very sweet whiskey notes hit you up front in the taste, along with caramel malts and a hoppy, somewhat grapefruit finish. Unique peppery spruce type flavor which I assume comes from the rye.

M: Full bodied with good carbonation

D: Full bodied sipping beer as the whiskey is very dominant producing nice sweet whiskey flavors. Not exactly a session beer but would go great shared with friends on a cool summer evening.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured a burgundy color with good carbonation and a nice dirty white head

S: Vanilla, bourbon rye and booze

T: Starts with booze, vanilla and rye with bourbon, caramel

M: Rather thinnner than I expected. Booze sting with vanilla and caramel on the palate, leaves a booze and alcohol feel on the throat

D: Good. Worth a try and good brew.

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Photo of 2Stout4u
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm surprised at the wide rating scale of this beer. I think it's a pretty solid beer that laces very well. The taste reminds me some what of Arogant Bastered. The color is nice and the complexity is there. Overall a good brew at 10% , but for the price of a four bannger(10.99) there are other brews I would prefer.

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Photo of mcallister
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper colored with an explosive very carbonated white head that overflowed my glass. Leaves a very thin lace around the edges.

Very rich oak aromas full of vanilla and a nice toasted quality. Hints of caramel not much in way of whiskey. Mainly just the oak.

Nice beer. Thick caramel malts with a toffee middle and biscuity flavor. Some piney hops on the finish with a spicey rye character. Everything is veiled by a coconut driven toasty vanilla riddled oak. Big oak tannins with a nice whiskey finish. Good beer with nice carbonation. Lacking overall complexity but nice nonetheless.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.74/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Served up an opaque, dark, deep amber body with an inch or so of bubbly, light beige foam.

Smell: Looking forward to this one! Caramel cubes layered with a jolting, frown-inducing medicinal, band-aid-riddled phenolic scent. Some earthiness, some booze, but I'm rather done smelling it for now. Well, I WAS looking forward to it.

Taste: Toasty, caramel candy-coated malts with a modest sweetness. That zippy, spicy rye component still remains, as does the citrusy hops and bitterness. As you get into it, there's this odd, off-putting phenolic acetone flavor leaking in from the aroma. I must say, it really spoils the whole proceedings. Bitterish, sourish finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Not altogether pleasant. Sorry, He'Brew, but the thumb points down on this one. I'll be sticking to the standard R.I.P.A. in the future.

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Photo of glid02
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not 100% sure I shouldn't start a new listing but let's go with it. Lenny's aged in rye whiskey barrels for quite a while (three years I believe I was told).

Pours a cloudy brownish-red color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of tart fruits - currants and apricots - with a solid earthiness backed by sticky caramel malts. Very unexpected.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Well-integrated caramel malt flavors segue seamlessly into sugar-coated tart fruit flavors. It's got the sourness that I would expect from a mix of a mildly tart American Wild and a normal Lenny's, however it tastes so much better than that description would indicate. The tart fruit flavors stick around before fading away into a clean ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It has a solid thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could have a few more.

Overall I was planning on sampling this but after being handed a sip I ordered one right away. I'm not sure how the extended aging on rye had this effect on the beer but I'm impressed nonetheless. A sour IPA if ever there was.

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Photo of heliosphann
3.21/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft. Served in a pint glass. Paired with some very tasty wings at a local establishment.

A: Nice finger of frothy white head. Pours a cloudy reddish/orange. Plenty of active carbonation. Very nice.

S: Big rye whiskey and alcohol notes. Some bitter hops and barrel present as well.

T: The smell was a clear portent, this one is loaded with booze and hot hops. The malts and rye are almost overpowered by the whiskey and barrel taste. Sweet malts and caramel notes squeak through somewhat, but they seem to be losing the battle.

M: Typical rye silky smoothness is there, but not as pronounced. Solid carbonation.

D: First sip was intense, but as it warmed up I enjoyed it more. Still I thought it was hot though. I don't think I could down more than one of these at 10% (or more?).

Overall this was pretty messy affair. I had several of my friends rave about this beer when they had it at a local festival, and they described it as being much different. I'm wondering if there's some significant barrel variation or possibly some other issue.

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Photo of donniecuffs
2.55/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Ditto my ratings for the regular version of this beer, with 2 exceptions: first, the color is much more intensely mahogany brown, with less carbonation (to be expected), and second, the taste is even more syrupy sweet and therefore annoying. If the original beer had more balance, I'm certain that the balance would be accentuated and become more complex via aging as well.

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Photo of david18
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had the regular version of this beer many times and enjoy it, although it tends to taste a little hot. The Rye version is very good and the addition of rye is very noticable and adds to the overall character. Color is dark for a double ipa, flavor is very good (lots of dark fruit) and the drinkability is excellent.

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Photo of TLove
3.03/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

(From Notes)

At local beer festival.

Spicy rye beer with a touch of whisky/scotch flavor...who could say no to that? Sounds enticing, but there is a lot more going on here. Unfortunately, however, the beer comes up a bit short for me.

Deep mahogony color with a decent retention and sticky lacing that I find to be common in Rye beers for some reason. Vanilla bean, rye, and wheatberry. Grainy on the tongue, but has some soft toffee and syrupy fruit flavors of raisin and plum.

The whiskey/scotch flavors in the beer really come out on the back end and, like bourbon beers, really amplify the ABV presence in the mouth, which is a bit offsetting when combined with the upending bitterness of the hop structure. Could used a little sweetness to round out the flavor and perhaps a bit more rye grains to cut through the coarseness of the malt.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.1/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled at the Extreme Beer Fest on 2/15/2008: Pine, cirtus, and whiskey were the most notable flavors. I didn't get any rye. Mostly, the whiskey was too overpowering in this beer.
Aroma: 6/10
Appearance: 3/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 13/20

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Photo of tpd975
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one one draft at Dunderback's in Tampa.

A: Nice amber hue with average head. Nice cap with beautiful lacing.

S: Tons of spicey rye with definite notes of whiskey barrel ageing. Oak, vanilla, on whiskey goodness. A brew that really makes you wanna drink it.

T: Wow what a beer. Think wonderful spicy rye IPA with just a perfect amount of whiskey. There is pleny of malt pushing thru as well. Perfect balance betwwen hops malt, and barrel ageing.

M: Medium body and ohh soo smooth.

D: Very nice. I really enjoyed it.

Overall: A once in a lifetime beer. I am glad to have had a chance to sample it. They started wtih a wonderful IPA and the barrel ageing put it out of this world. Very good!

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Photo of crimson1795
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I found this beer to be delicious. It is a hi-grav without the hi-grav feel. I found the hoppiness to be at a very good level with the type of beer that I am drinking. When it first hit my mouth I was amazed at the feel and then the taste as it continued on. This is a very drinkable beer and I look forward to drinking more of it in the coming days.

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Photo of John_M
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap at Max's during their BUnited International vs. Hebrew beers. I believe the owner/brewer were in attendance and they brought some special treats. This was one of them... the Lenny RIPA aged in rye whiskey barrels.

The beer pours a rich redish brown color with outstanding head retention and very impressive, sticky lacing. There is lots of malt and vanilla on the nose, with a hint of citrusy bitterness. On the palate the flavors are amazing. It starts with chocolate and baked apple, but then comes a huge tidal wave of hoppy bitterness on the finish. The bitterness cuts the sweetness and helps with drinkability, though the high alcohol is noticeable, making it difficult to drink too much of this. There is a huge presence in the mouth, though the beer is not the least bit heavy or syrupy. Considering all the rich sweet malt in this beer, that's no mean feat.

This huge rye beer was the most impressive beer I sampled at the Tuesday Night Social at Max's. I was able to get a growler fill from Casey at Max's, and so was able to share it with some chums at a BA X-mas party the next night, where it was quite well received. A very fine beer from Schmaltz brewing. L'Chaim!

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He'Brew Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. On Rye from Shmaltz Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 373 ratings.
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