Hop Rod Rye | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,076 Reviews
Hop Rod RyeHop Rod Rye

Brewed by:
Bear Republic Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
A high gravity IPA brewed with 18% rye malt. Hop Rod Rye has a floral hop aroma and subtle caramel notes with a slightly earthy and spicy rye character.

2009 California State Fair – GOLD
2003 California State Fair – GOLD
2002 Real Ale Festival (Chicago) – GOLD

Added by Quaffer on 03-27-2002

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Reviews: 2,076 | Ratings: 4,710
Photo of Hendry
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bear Republic beers are highly rated, and I bought Racer 5 based on that fact: it really missed the mark for me. This bottle of Hop Rod Rye was a gift from a friend who swaps beers with me, and he didn't seem to think much of it based on the fact that he read it was "one of the top beers that changed the world."

Where Racer 5 left me flat, Hop Rod Rye was a very pleasant surprise. Pours a deep rich amber with a reddish hue, relatively small head and not much in the way of lacing,and really no cap either. Aesthetics aside, the aroma is pleasant with some piney hops and a touch of spicy rye that thankfully doesn't show up in the taste. Other rye ales have a tendency to be acrid, not the case with Hop Rod Rye.

Medium bodied and well carbonated, it is a bit thin in some respects. The hops are present but it is extinguished by a heavy maltiness that is rich, yet pleasant at the same time. This is an enjoyable beer with a distinct flavor that is worth trying at least once. World class??
Well, you decide!

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Photo of mick303
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. Poured into a tulip, colour is a ruby amber brown, no visible carbonation. Produces a good creamy head, solid retention and great lacing.
Colour is really rich and attractive. 4

S- some lighter sourish rye esters straight out of the glass. The aromas are really rich, juicy nectarine, lemon candies, rich florals, hay, some ‘bakery-like’ sweetness, with the rye malt standing out. Fresh citrusy hops, but a real rye malt character, amazingly complex. 4.5

T- a rich array of juicy floral hop bitterness, nectarine, pineapple, tropical fruits, even some berries, balanced really well with a sour rye maltiness that adds a countering kick, some cashew nuttiness, pine nuts, pepper, the rye is a big star here. Then tartness (lemon, kiwi) and a bit of oiliness on the finish, but clean, a bit of mild ‘pine forest’ hops. This is downright delicious. 4.5

M- Big presence, rather slight carbonation, smooth oily hopiness but also some perceptibly malty body with a bit of the sour candy/rye feel (sour cherry blasters). A coating slickness, a lasting tingle sensation on the finish. Satisfying, no alcohol perceptible behind the hops and rye. 4

A real must try beer. I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer with such a deft combination of hops and a strong rye maltiness. Really interesting, unique, and tasty. I thought the mouthfeel was the only part that left a bit to be desired in an otherwise excellent brew. Memorable.

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Photo of arfenhouse
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: Hazy dark amber with white head. Good retention and lacing.

S: Caramel malt, spicy hops, and a bit of pine. Light on the grapefruit and a little bit of cherry.

T: Sweet caramel and pine. Some mango and spicy hops. Aftertaste is semi-sweet cherry and a bit of bitter pine.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Semi drying.

O: Showed signs of being an old bottle (lots of yeast, hop aroma/taste a bit muted) but was still decent. Since the cost was so low, I'll give it another shot.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- I didn't hear a strong "pissst" when i popped the cap, so I gave it an aggressive pour to try to get the most out of what may be an undercarbonated bottle. Pours a deep, dark amber with a thick, 1 finger light tan head. Fantastic retention that held up throughout the entire drink. Sticky lacing. A very impressive looking brew.

S- Lots of florals, some citrus, and a big wave of sweet carmalized malts. Slight estery notes, herbal, sweet fruity booze. Not picking up too much rye or spice like i anticipated. Smells wonderful, bu so shockingly sweet smelling, I find myself a little perplexed.

T- Hop forward. Carmel malt backbone comes thru as smell indicates. A bit tart even at times. Some biscuit presence and....ah yes...the rye finally makes an appearance. Still not as big a role as I had hoped, but a fair supporting actor. Slight earthyness of the rye gives it another twist the nose didn't pick up. Warm finish. I like the balance. I struggle to wrap my head around everything going on here, but it seems to work.

M- Creamy, low carbonation but fine, full body. Dry finish. Alcohol is noticable, but not overpowering.

O- My first Bear Rep. Very enjoyable I must say. Not exactly what i expected, but no complaints other than I could have used a little more rye. Call me crazy, but i feel this is a cross between an American Barley Wine and a tasty ESB.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

A- pours a dark amber-brown with ruby hue, slightly hazy, good size creamy light-tan head with awesome retention

S- spicy rye notes with a wheaty malt background, peppercorn, herbal hop notes, biscuity malt with a caramel finish

T- spicy rye notes and citrus hop take center stage, but both are complemented by a bready caramel malt backbone, some herbal notes with a slightly sweet finish. Lots of flavors meshing well together

M- medium-heavy body, creamy mouthfeel, low carbonation, silky finish, with just a trace of alcohol warmth at the end. Nearly perfect mouthfeel

O- a slow sipper with great balance, I couldn't find a bottling date but imagine mine mig not be the freshest as the hops weren't as prevalent as I would expect. Nonetheless, still a solid IPA

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Photo of GuzzLah
4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - pours a clear, deep copper with a beige head. Nice lace. Bubbly.

S - citrus, floral and pine hops. Caramel malt and rye.

T - is like the aroma. Citrus and floral dominate upfront. Soft pine and spicy rye in the finish. Nice balance for the style.

M - medium body. Mild sweetness balanced with medium bitterness and a little spicy note from the rye. It might be 80ibu, but it isn't a brutally bitter beer.

O - a very good Rye PA. I haven't had many examples of the style, but this is currently my benchmark.

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Photo of deadonhisfeet
2.12/5  rDev -50%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a bottle with no freshness data into a New Belgium snifter. The pour is a murky dark burnt orange with a nice finger of head that leaves behind some nice lacing. The nose is sticky, syrupy, boozy sweet. No hops at all. I must have an old bottle. Oh well, I must review it as-is. If the brewer cared about age, then obviously they'd tell me when this beer was bottled.

Medium body and a nice, oily feel, but whatever flavor exists is absolutely dead. I get some toast and marmalade up front, a little bit of rye at mid palate, then nothing.

I'm not even finishing this. Major drain-pour. It isn't even worth the calories in the glass. Do I think this beer is better than what I experienced? Absolutely. Will I give it another chance? Hell no. I know we're not supposed to slam beers, but this is what the brewer gets for selling a product with no freshness date on the bottle. This stuff tastes dead. I could make a better beer than this with an all-extract homebrew kit. Bear Republic should be ashamed of themselves for allowing their product to sit on shelves this long. I've tried two of their beers now and both of them were bland, boozy disasters.

EDIT: Another BA graciously told me where to find freshness data on the bottle. Turns out that despite looking, I couldn't see it in the store. My bottle was nearly 8 months old. I will attempt to secure a fresher bottle and re-review this beer in the future. Until then, my review stands.

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Photo of Thickfreakness
4.27/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich mahogany, copper with a tinted fluffy head that lingers and leaves chunks of lacing dripping down the glass. Somewhat cloudy appearance, but wonderful carbonation.
Strong notes of piney hops, grapefruit, tangerine rind, subtle touches of pineapple and mango. Really nice grain and spice follow in the nose. Some pepper, rye, bits of caraway and licorice root. Really picking up the citrus and yeast as it warms up. Really nice!
A wonderful mix of spicey rye, tropical fruit and citrus, pine and caramel. No one flavor dominates, they all just flow together and stick to different parts of your tongue. Pineapple-orange marmalade spread on lightly toasted whole grain rye bread. Pink grapefruit and grain notes stand out as it warms while the nose has more and more pineapple.
The 8% is very well hidden and you don't so much taste it as you do feel the weight of it on the tongue. Sparks of CA citrus, HI tropical fruit, and mid-west grains. The rye really steps up to the plate. This could be a dangerous all day drinker. It just flows so easily.
I'm so glad this one is finally near me in 4-packs instead of just bombers. This is one that'll certainly start making it into the regular rotation now. Bear Republic does everything right. It hits all of the senses and leaves you craving more. Fantastic!

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Photo of AmitC
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Color is deep amber with very slight ruby hues. Very fine suspensions. Translucent. Off white - tan colored one finger thick head with excellent retention. Awesome lacing. Very few bubbles.

Aroma is of herbal and spicy weeds. A little bit earthy character. Special rye notes. Some warmth. A bit of booze. Strength is good.

A lot of piney bitterness upfront. Balanced or rather subdued to a large extent by the slight caramel and toasted malts. Dominant hop flavors are that of piney, earthy and herbal. Slight bitterness of rye as well. Finish is bitter. Bitterness strength is medium to strong. In the 70-80 IBU range may be. Bitterness is pervasive and lingers really well.

Mouth feel is medium bodied. Low carbonation. A bit of oily character. Warm.

A very nice brew overall.

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Photo of thedoubler55
4.46/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice brownish red in color, has almost no head at the top, but left a great amount of lacing around the glass.

S: Up front lots of tropical fruit, on the tail end some floral notes from the hops some spicy rye and caramel as well.

T: A great taste right from the start, lots of hops and sweetness with a good backbone of rye to make it perfectly balanced.

M: Medium bodied, mild carbonation a nice sweet finish at the end.

O: I really loved this beer, perfectly balanced, I had this at the Stirling Hotel in NJ, great stuff all around.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like; I have. However, I never met a beer from Bear Republic that I did not like. This tasty ale, fuel injected with 18% rye, pays homage to the California hot rodders of the 1950s, is no exception. The initial pour sets off a cascading head that reaches the glass rim before subsiding into a chunky vanilla froth. When this ends, there is a translucent liquid of copper. Gentleman, start your engines!

There are subtle notes of caramel apple on the nose while the palate is plastered with a semi-sweet toastiness (rye toast?) that fades with a hoppy rush. (Let’s go to the hop.) If drunk at the proper temperature, this brew provides a well defined balance makes this a surprisingly smooth hot rod to ride. A few quaffs and we are ready to race Bob Falfa out on Paradise Road.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: in a pint, amber-brown with an orange glow, creamy head persisted nicely, slim ropes of lace

S: hearty malts and floral hops

T: really stunning: sweet and creamy caramel and rye malts - a little sweet spice from the rye; gently bitter aromatic pine and resin hops

M: nice medium body and thickness, some tingle of spice, some subtle chewiness

O: very impressive - forgot this was going to be a rye infused beer - the barley and rye ratio must be spot-on, because this beer was so good tasting, and the layer of IPA-style hops over the malt mix was the perfect compliment

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Photo of Mr3dPHD
4.52/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

1 pint 6 oz bomber served in a weiss glass (because I wanted it all in one pour).

A - Hazy copper-brown with a medium tan head which had okay retention and nice lacing. Lots of hop sediment floating around.

S - Deliciously sweet candied citrus hops! Smells like a hop floret and a tangerine peel coated in molasses. Once the beer warmed I could smell the rye and a nice maple and almond aroma as well.

T - Rye flavor comes through right up front and through the middle. Alcohol is slightly present, but not at all overpowering...pretty subdued actually considering it's over 7%. Caramel sweet all the way through, especially in the finish, but that bold hoppy bitterness is pushing right back. Leaves a sort of subtle marshmallow aftertaste.

M - Full body. Milky smooth...almost like a melted milkshake. Very well balanced and very easy on the tongue.

O - Damn good beer! After writing this review I read a few others and noticed the hoppy flavor seemed a lot more present in theirs than mine. I have no idea how old my brew is, but I'd venture to guess it's been sitting for a bit because that bitterness didn't quite seem to reach the level that everyone else is boasting. Definitely seemed like mine was a mellow version of Jason & the BA reviews. Perhaps another attempt is in order from a more fresh batch.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.8/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Portion of a 22 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a dark burnished copper color. The head is an attractive one-finger offwhite shade that is somewhat creamy-looking in texture. It also fades slowly to provide nice lacing on the glass.

S: This almost comes off like a low-strength barleywine instead of an IPA, or even a DIPA for that matter. Grapefruit peel pops out at me first, before being followed up by caramel, brown sugar, and piny hops. Not much rye comes through here, but the aroma is quite enjoyable.

T: The faint sweetness from the caramel that initially pops up slowly gives way to a finish of grapefruit peel and black pepper. Given the chance to open up, it develops a very solid rye tone near the finish. Probably the most enjoyable feature here is the hop/malt balance. The flavor strikes me as being very 'savory' in general, instead of being sweet or bitter.

M: I notice many hoppy rye ales have a sharpness to them, whether it be from carbonation or the rye malts themselves - and this is no exception. Here, it seems to be from the former. Once the medium-high carbonation fades a bit, the feel becomes balanced if not exactly mellow.

O: I like this one. Not the most drinkable ever, but I love how rich the rye flavors are without killing the balance. A good one to veg over without any aural distractions #foreveralone

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Photo of Raime
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours deep ruby with a one finger slightly off-white head. Left no lacing.

S - Lots and lots of clean grapefruit and bready malts. Lemon, lemon, and more lemon come through. Seriously seems like they shoved a lemon into this bottle.

T - Lots of straight lemon and bready malt, followed by some lemon juice and grapefruit. This beer feels somewhat like a barleywine in my opinion.

M - Heavy, almost chewy body with light carbonation.

O - Overall, This was a good, slow drinking IPA that is closer to a Barleywine in nature. Perhaps slightly below sessionable.

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Photo of Cobrito
4.55/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hop Rod is tremendous. Very hop forward, with the rye tasting warmly spicy instead of biting. Also nicely woven in are some nice German style malts that add a touch of euro flavor to this wonderful brew, which in the end retains its west coast ipa character.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.11/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: a Very dark brown still transparent but on the cusp of opaque. Sediments on the body with an off white head that settles quickly. With the initial pour it reached about half an inch.

Smell: Strong at first with its hoppiness, you feel light caramel to the aroma this beer but the problem is it leaves as soon as it comes. Just wish it was a little more sticking.

Taste: Little sour, and has a lemon citrus feel to it but also bitter. Lightly piney-ness to it. To take a sip is tough on this one, it improves progressively as you get closer to the end of the glass.

Mouth: The mouthfeel comes off with a little light to medium combination. The sour bread feel to it just sticks pretty damn well.

Overall: I have to thank myself for buying a four pack, this is quality brewing once again from Bear Republic. Grab a glass and pour one on me...Salud!

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Photo of --Dom--
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Pours a deep reddish-brown with minimal head, decent lacing though. Had to give it a ridiculous pour to get a head on this one. Smells mostly of biscuity malt.

The taste is actually remarkably smooth and velvety, I wasn't expecting that. I get a good strong hop kick on the front end, and then it just turns smooth and delicious. A lot of biscuity malty goodness in the middle, good sweetness here. Mouthfeel is slightly syrupy and smooth.

Overall this beer wasn't what I was expecting it to be. I was thinking of a palate wrecking double ryepa. Instead it really drinks more like a slightly hoppy barleywine. It's a good thing though. This beer is freaking delicious, whatever it's supposed to be.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.76/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours the color of a well rusted old car. Small light tan head with very short retention and just scattered lacing.
Smell is more than than just hops though that is the majority player. Some roasted malt and the expected rye with some citrus add supporting roles.
Taste is a better balance than one might expect from a west coast IPA with hops first followed by roasted malt, rye, some alcohol and a hint of citrus.
Mostly full bodied, dry finish, medium effervescence. Cleans the palate nicely. Slightly warming as well.

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Photo of Jake_Ramrod
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I've always been a Red Ale fan, so I was excited to get this in trade from a nice lady in CA. Adding in the rye flavor was a pleasant surprise and worked really well. A really nice beer and one of the best red ales I've had. Enjoyed out of a tulip watching my UK Wildcats whoop that butt.

A: This beer is somewhat cloudy and is a light mahogany-red beer topped with a creamy white head about a half inch in height. The head receded quicker than I would have expected for the carbonation present

S: The smell has a wonderful caramel malt sweetness plus a bit of citrus in the hop character. I have to agree that this nearly smells like a barleywine.

T: I love the flavor of this beer - not too sweet and just a hint of bitterness. The malts lend to a very drinkable beer and the rye grain and hops gives it a funky kick in the end. This has a complex flavor and yet remains extremely drinkable. Tons of flavor.

M: This has a great mouthfeel as the rye leaves a lasting impression that just keeps on going. A bit oily, but it really works.

O: I really enjoyed this beer. IMO, this would pair really well with some Asian food, curries, and meats. It remains a complex beer and yet is completely drinkable and balnced. All the flavors work harmoniously together. Well done and I'll be hunting these out.

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Photo of sommersb
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tasted On: 03-05-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Globe glass
Purchased: Received in a trade

A: Cloudy, dark orange-red beer topped with an off-white head a finger in height. Shows good lacing and a low amount of retention.

S: Aromas have a caramel malt sweetness plus tropical fruits, tangerine and grapefruit in the hop character. The smells seem kind of like a barleywine.

T: The taste is initially malty and is quickly followed by a big hop bitterness. I also get the spicy flavor from the rye grain. As the beer warms the hop bitterness is more pronounced.

M: Prickly carbonation and a medium body define the mouthfeel, with a finish that is fruity, hoppy and spicy.

O: A very good beer; hop-forward yet still balanced. To me it tastes a lot like a fresh, hoppy American-style barleywine.

Thanks to Treyliff for the try!

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Photo of BrownNut
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - 4.0 - I was expecting red for some reason, but it came out more on the brown side of amber. Crystal clear. Oily cream colored head that dissipates slowly.

S - 4.0 - Malty sweet and rich honey, pungent hops. Distinct.

T - 4.0 - Can't quite put my finger on the main taste in the body... fairly sweet malt (but not too sweet), very rich. Very manageable bitterness level. To the degree I notice spicy rye, it's only subtly, on the exhale with the aftertaste.

M - 4.25 - Medium heavy body, unexpectedly. Somewhat viscous. Very nice.

O - 4.0 - Enjoyable and different. I like the richness of it - so flavorful. But still not too overtaxing.

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Photo of KDE
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Solid beer for the price -- excellent value and readily available. Definitely can taste the rye flavoring without being overpowered. Dark coloration... pours easily... and clean aftertaste. Not for drinking everyday... but perfect for watching NASCAR!

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
4.37/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Ba Review #260
Served On: 2/27/2013
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 8.0%
Date/ Code: -

This was a 12oz bottle from a mixed sixer I made at Ye Old Spirit Shop in Frederick, MD.

Look: Poured a very dark reddish amber color. Semi-clear body. Head was a consistent film of tight eggshell bubbles. Lacing was hit and miss. Not much for carbonation. Notice some floaties in suspension.

Smell: Pungent aroma of a garlic and onion hop character. A very resiny malt quality was in the background. Some booze was noticeable.

Taste: First up was the onion hop note from the aroma. Then the sweet malts hit in the middle. The rye hit in the finish was of mustard seed and pumpernickel. Aftertaste was a mixture of bitterness and sweetness. No real alcohol detected in the taste.

This was a solid Rye. The onion and mustard seed quality made this beer for me.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4.19/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Stone AB pint.

A- pours a transparent bright amber with a 2 finger off-white head. Some blotches and trails of lacing cling to the glass.

S- sweet caramel and toffee, some spice from the rye, orange and citrus, light pine.

T- toffee, toasted malts, light citrus, and big pine bitterness.

M- medium body and carbonation. Creamy and smooth finish.

O- very good rye pa. Really enjoyable sweet malts, a touch of citrus and nice punch of pine bitterness.

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Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 4,710 ratings.
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