Hop Rod Rye | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

4,720 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,720 |  Reviews: 2,079
Photo of akorsak
4.17/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served at Al's of Hampden.

A: The IPA is very dark, many hues away from the standard copper color. This is more dark caramel, approaching brown ale territory. The pour seemingly lacks nitro, as the head was negligible at best.

S: The nose is hoppy, muted a bit (perhaps a little long in the tooth), but still heavy woth pine and citrus. The muted hops allow the rich carraway and spicy rye to shine though. And man, I love those rye beers.

T: Much like the nose, the hops are bold but not as bold as they could be. Piney citrus, oily and thick, can be avoided. Again, the rye stands out more than normal, adding a rich peppery spiciness that overtakes the hops mid-sip. The dark bread, emboldened, is chewy, with carraway spice livening it up. I really like that the rye is prominent. The bready finish incorporates the resiny hop bitterness that has been lingering throughout.

M: The IPA is spicy, not in the hot way but in a rich, dark bread way. The emphasis on rye presents a stark contrast to the sharp hops, allowing both to play off of each other.

D: A meal in the glass. Bitter hops, chewy malts. The ale can't avoid its booziness though, so strength is an issue (albeit minor).

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Photo of zoso1967
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hop Rod Rye pours fairly deep amber with a copper hue. If this beer was wood, I would make a nice desk out of it. The head is parchment and minimal, but it has staying power and leaves nice lace. The aroma is of rye, sweet malt and pine. It also has a very estery fruitiness to it that I find quit unique. The flavor is a mix of pine, grapefruit, caramel malt and a touch of rye. Together they combine to create some interesting flavors that are very berry like. This is definitely a take no prisoners sort of beer, and while I am defiantly picking up what it's laying down, I wish there was more rye. A paltry complaint, but what can I say, I'm a rye whore. Also, the alcohol really shows through in the flavor, though the more I sip the more I think this just enhances the overall experience. The mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium and is well balanced with a nice spiky carbonation that works well in the overall package. Pretty drinkable for style (this is def a double IPA, not a single as indicated) and another fine offering from bear republic. If only they could calm down about the copyright lawsuits...

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Photo of wolfinthemirror
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a really nice, translucent copper-brown color, much darker than the average IPA, i'd say. excellent lacing.

smells of sweet caramel malts up front with citrusy herbal hops in the background. pleasant, but maltier than i expected. there is a sort of toastiness to the malts.

Wow. Very good taste, but not what i'd expect from an IPA. This is really quite the malt bomb. I get a lot of the malt character that I detected in the smell and some smokiness with muted hop bittering towards middle and fading into the end.
The feeling on the back of the tongue reminds me that it's an IPA. There's quite a bit going on here.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied. the malts really beef it up for this beer.

I think this is a sipper for me, a 12 oz bottle would be plenty, but I've got a bomber to finish. This definitely isn't the beer i'd go to when I wanted a good hoppy IPA, but if i wanted to something on the maltier side, it's a good choice.

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

22oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. No bottled date.

(A) - Pours a hazy brown amber color that produced a good frothy tan head. It stuck around for awhile before dissipating; left some bits of lacing behind. A bit darker in color than your normal IPA, but it fits because of the rye addition.

(S)- A fresh burst of citrus: lemon, pineapple, and peach. It has a dryness to it at the same time with a light spice from the rye.

(T)- Again, a fresh citrus/hop kick with lemon, pineapple, and peach fruits. Has a light spiciness & sweetness that I appreciate that is like a caramel/bready maltiness.

(M)- A great carbonation level and balance. Has a good bitter yet citrusy hop bite that is well balanced by an adequate malty sweetness. Surprisingly crisp and smooth too; refreshing.

(D)- A superb IPA that is even better with the rye addition. It has everything that is great about the style with a lightly spicy rye bread/caramel sweetness. I could easily have 2-3 bombers of this if I wanted to. Great stuff.

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

12 0z. bottle into a Unibroue tulip
Pours a dark mahogany brown, Almost looks like it should be a quad. Head is one-finger but sticky and lasting, leaving attractice lacing throughout. Nose is floral and earthy with some citrus (lemon, grapefruit) notes. Taste starts with some bitterness from the hops but moves to sweetness from the bready malts. Good carbonation. The Finish is somewhat bitter and dry with some alcohol warming. I was looking for more effects from the rye which weren't there for me. A decent IPA but not among my favorites.

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Photo of timholio
3.85/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Very heavy beer. I was drinking some other IPA's and had this one to compare it to. I prefer a lower ABV, this is such a heavy drinking beer.

This has very deep flavors and heavy hops of course. I prefer the lighter IPA's such as Blind Pig or Lagunitas IPA. This one has a particular strong flavor that reminds me of the Stone AB.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber/mahogany color with a slightly tannish head, decent sized head that fades fast but there is a ton of patchy lacing all over my glass, good amount of sediment that dropped quite quickly to the bottle of my glass (there is a warning on the label afterall about this unfiltered ale).

Smell is a good balance between caramel malt and hops with the malt just eeking out ahead, definitely picking up rye that adds a nice dimension.

Taste is primarily caramel malt with rye and some slight bitterness from the hop contribution, the hops aren't really the showcase though in this IPA and that's fine with me as the caramel/rye characteristic is quite nice, carbonation is nice and soft which adds a creamy/velvety factor.

Another the hops aren't really as pronounced as they should be, this is a very good beer and one that I could see being a staple in my fridge if it was distributed in Maine.

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Photo of Banger530
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a transparent almost like a cherry wood color. A dark brown with hints of red. A very welcoming tan head on top. Nice lacing all the way down the glass.

I got a sweet almost earthy aroma. Definite piney and citrus aroma in there as well.

What can I say about the taste. Well balanced. A citrus flavor, of grapefruit, up front. A sweet piney flavor next. A hop bite with no alcohol flavor to finish.

Medium body with sufficient carbonation.

Very drinkable. Went down smooth. I could keep drinking this all night.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear dark red color. Poured a 1 finger tan head with good retention to a thick bubbly skim. Laced in broken rings

S: Floral, earthy hops aroma. Crystal malt and some peppery spice. Alcohol.

T: Crystal malt and citrus. More pronounced floral hops; slightly resiny. Sweet malt lingers ahead of a sharp bitter.

M: Medium to full body. Medium carbonation. Coating ahead of dry and slightly hot finish.

D: Big beer thats easy to drink.

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Photo of samie85
3.38/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is reviewed from notes; originally reviewed 4/24.

A-Pours a deep mahogany with a one finger light tan head into my tulip glass.

S-Grapefruit and pine hop notes with some caramel creeping in.

T-Bitter grapefruit upfront with pine and caramel in the middle. It finishes dry and bitter.

M-A little thin bodied with medium carbonation and a slick mouthfeel.

D-It's by no means a bad beer, but the bitterness makes it a little one-sided. Also, where's the rye??? I was expecting at least a hint of it, and I'm not picking up on it at all.

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Photo of snogglethorpe
3.23/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Despite the name, there's absolutely no hint of rye flavor. I really like the taste of rye in beer, so was disappointed to discover this.

Beyond that, it's not bad, but not really great either. There's some nice hop flavor in there, but none of the forwardness and bold flavors one usually expects from an American IPA, and no obvious subtlety to compensate for that lack. It just didn't seem very interesting.

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Photo of wingman14
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice dark red with a tall off white head. The smell was really hoppy with some sweet notes mixed with a malty tone. The taste starts hoppy with a citrus kick, stays nice and smooth then finishes with a bitter kick that is both malty with the rye and hoppy. This one has a nice mouthfeel, a heavy medium, very substantial beer, but not overwhelming. It was hard to believe this was 8%, but the kick came later. Nice deep flavors, great balance, definitely a beer to try.

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Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A- Dark red, almost burgundy that is so dense you cannot see through. There is also a decently thick tan head.

S- A floral earthiness/pinyness from the Amarillo hops.

T- At the front, you taste the floral earthiness/pinyness of the Amarillo hops. This hop flavor is mostly bitter, with a hint of sweetness toward the end of the sip. There is also a hint of dark malts that provide some more sweet to counterbalance the bitter hoppiness. The aftertaste is the bitter pinyness from the hops.

M- Great full, round body that coats your entire mouth with flavor, which is typical of the brewery.

D- Wouldn't mind having a bottle or two, but it is a filling brew due to the medium ABV, full body, and robust hop flavor.

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Photo of blackc5
4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle at 48F into a tulip.

A - Pours a very dark brownish amber color, slightly hazy, with a significant offwhite, sudsy, large-bubble head. Nice retention and lacing.

S - Lots of floral and earthy hops, some graininess and a load of caramel.

T- A very nicely balanced IPA. The rye does wonders to balance the hop bite, which is assetive and considerable. A mild sweetness at first, it is quickly overtaken by the hop punch, yet it is not overly bitter in a punishing sort of way. Quite nice.

M - Medium to full body, moderate carbonation, dry finish. Anticipated this being a bit thicker, but it is adequate and satisfying.

D- At 8%, this is approaching DIPA levels, and it shows. There is a bit of alcohol warmness in the mouth. Overall, this is a great bear that deserves it's reputation.

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Photo of MCfunkyJ
4.7/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

In Ohio besides Columbus IPA and Sierra Nevada Torpedo this is the next best selection at most Giant Eagles, Whole Foods and etc.

However I live in California and have a much wider selection to choose from and this is not one that I would regularly pick up.

Its definitely worth trying if you have never had it before, just to put it on your list of IPA's.

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

Pours red/amber with a nice tan head. Smells like hoppy aromas, very yummy pine smell. Tastes like mad hops.Wow, really complex tatse.Nice mouthfeel. Awesome balance with good bitterness and a nice malty back ground. Yummy. Nice medium mouthfeel Highly drinkable, with a nice alcohol warming.

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Photo of JamisonM
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into Stone IPA glass

A: the look is nearly perfect color is a dark amber with some red in there pours a huge head and the head sticks with the beer head retention and lace are crazy good the head is rocky and does not wanna go away its not clear its got haze just fantastic

S: pine citrus a bit of spicy rye too I think the citrus is orange zest really smells clean and inviting

T: the hops malts and rye are all here and they are all battling it out on your tongue I get hops first with mainly citrus some spice from the rye comes through but all and all this is balanced but gives a huge hop kick. zero alcohol taste

M: med body med to to med high carbonation

D: no alcohol taste the 8% can jump up on ya real drinkable

overall: I am blown away! head retention was fantastic lace was fantastic taste fantastic the color looks great! I love the rye IPA mix extra points for originality. such a well crafted beer man, I loved it.

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Photo of pugdogbeer
4.74/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is a big, dirty beer with attitude to be loved.

Just opening the bottle released an overpowering smell of hops, hops and more hops with a chaser of rye smell.

A dark beer with a load of lace and attitude. After first mouthful I could feel the piney taste of hops stuck to the roof of my mouth.

This is not a beer for sipping as a big mouth will just be a massive hop explosion of taste.

The kicker is the rye. I felt it just complemented the amount of hops to give a big balance.

Amazing beer - but best left to last as anything else will be completely tasteless as Hop Rod Rye will claim your palate for its own!

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Photo of squidbrand
3.81/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into bourbon nosing glass (why not?).

A: About as dark as "amber" can be without rolling over into "brown" territory. Big, tenacious head with lacing to match. Looks thick. Promising, and unconventional if you think of this as an IPA.

S: I don't get the citrus-bomb aroma from this. Am I insane? Generally clean hop aroma with some orange peel, and sweet malt, with a brighter grain note from the rye.

T: Big malt taste at the start, and then a spicy rye rush as the mostly-clean bittering hops take hold for a solid, dry finish. The alcohol flavor really punches through at the end as well, detracting somewhat from the rye. I can clearly taste that 8% ABV.

M: Low carbonation, and thick as hell. Throat-coating sensation, like a whisky.

D: A slightly smaller version of this beer would be highly drinkable, but the thickness and the alcohol get to me. They call it a "specialty ale" and they are right. Feeling a little woozy after this bomber. Good flavor balance helps the situation a bit.

This is a respectable and assertive beer, but I think they went just a tad too far with it. I'd rather have a Founder's Red's Rye, which is basically a more controlled version of this.

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Photo of webbcreative
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark amber, with 2 finger sticky creamy white head. Left incredible lacing throughout the glass. Smell is Malty sweetness with piney citrus hops. Taste is all the same - malty sweetness - with big piney citrus hops, also some spiciness from the rye which is quite nice in this [D]IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium, but lowly carbonated. But is sticky sweet that is lips smackin' good!

Overall this is a great DIPA - not too sickly sweet as with some I have had.

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Photo of Natural510
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle, no freshness dating.

Pours a lovely dark auburn color with tangerine highlights when held to light. Creamy head leaves an amiable ring of soft lacing which coats the glass well.
The nose is a mixture of caramel, rye and floral hop.
The flavor is excellent, right off the bat. Brown sugar malt meets rye grain and a juicy, bitter hop for quite the exciting mouthful. A bit of fruit comes in to (somewhat) soften the bitter blow of an aggressive hop & rye mixture.
Full-bodied, sturdy and refreshing. This beer is not for the timid.
It's bitter, it's sweet, it's dry and it's bold! This is the kind of IPA which proves noone in the world can do it like the West Coast. Well done, Bear Republic!

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Photo of compass40204
4.48/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a thistle glass. Vigorous head, light tan, not very long-lasting, but ok. Slightly hazy, deep garnet color. Aroma of some pine and lemon, with faint rye notes. Slight lactic odor, but I don't think it really detracts from the enjoyment. This beer has a HUGE nose to it, even cold. Alcohol slightly noticeable in aroma and taste. Full body and moderately carbonated. Rye is strongly present in the taste (18% rye had better be) without dominating. Hops and rye blend very well in this beer. This bottle has been in my basement for a while, so the hoppiness has probably dropped. I like beers that age well, and this beer can age very nicely without losing its appeal. I'll certainly drink this again. If one of you can send me some... Beer trade, anyone?

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Photo of ExtraStout
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into glass.

A-A very deep red almost brownish color, holding it up to the light shows off the deep red color, has a solid head and leaves a solid lacing on the glass.

S-Floral hops with an almost caramel hint, with a cross of some dark rye bread.

T-Very hoppy at first almost biting, after that there is a bit of a rye flavor that almost smooths it out. Every other sip seems to go from biting to smooth. Very interesting, just that fact makes this one of my favorite brews.

M- Again it goes from biting to smooth and vice versa. I find it quite unique.

D-Can't really go for more than one of these in a night. I actually prefer to split a bomber with a friend. It doesn't show off the 8% abv at all, seems so much less than that.

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Photo of Duxx
4.22/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a combination of hops and alcohol. Definitely an "in your face" version of an IPA or APA. I really liked the piney hops aroma and bitterness in the back of my throat. But I thought there was a most interesting off-set with the the sweet caramel malt. A friend brought me a 4 pack of this beer because it is not available locally. Definitely, one I would look for on a trip out west.

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Photo of BuckeyeOne
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Eastside Tavern in Olympia. I've had this in bottle many times without a review. Decided to review after having this on tap.

I'd had Racer 5 many times from the bottle and on tap and it's one of my favorite IPAs (if not beers). I couldn't help comparing Hop Rod Rye to Racer 5 when trying this. However, they are definitely different beers. This beer is a bit more malty than the Racer 5, though the hop bitterness (citrus and fresh grapefruit) breaks through with a vengence after the caramel malt takes the first swing. This describes both the nose and the flavor.

The mouthfeel is just a bit syrupy. The aftertaste is bitter, bitter, bitter --- but in a good way.

I didn't find the Hop Rod as drinkable as the Racer 5 due to the caramel malt presence. Too many of these and I tire of the sweetness. But it's very good. Better than most. It just doesn't compare to the Racer 5 for me and, given the choice, I'd almost always pick up the Racer 5.

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Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 4,720 ratings.
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