Hop Rod Rye | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

4,721 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: 4,721 |  Reviews: 2,080
Photo of stephens101
4.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice-sized bubbly tan head grows quickly above a big blast of carbonation bubbles, then slowly fades, leaving a chunky, spider-webbed lacing all around. Color is a clear amber with some slight reddish hues. Smells of bright, citrusy hops with a malty sweetness lurking behind. Tastes of more big citrusy hops with the sweet malts becoming more aparent on the palate than to the nose. In my opinion, complexity of aroma and taste is not as sought after as is perfection in the hops vs. malts profile when you're speaking of IPAs. This one is ideal, with the sweet malts backing up the hops, but not getting in the way. A sort of malts as Bonnie to hops as Clyde duo; all outlawish and sexy. Goes down nicely and doesn't put the weigh-down on too much, despite its medium body. Possibly the best IPA i've ever had, and I'm completely stoked that it's now readily available here in my neck of the woods.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It poured a clear ruby color with a tinge of brown. I poured this fairly aggressive into a tulip but only got a slight head which departed within a couple minutes and left almost no lacing behind.

This has a very complex smell. There is a brown sugar sweetness, a little bit of spice, and a load of herbal hop presence. All of it is distinct and separate from one another.

The taste is equally unique. For being made with 18% rye, it barely comes through but that's a good thing because it balances out the hops unlike any IPA I've tried. Don't get me wrong, though, there is undoubtedly an herbal hop character. It's flavorful and spicey, but not very bitter.

Medium to full bodied mouthfeel that finishes only slightly bitter with a touch of spiced sting, like a light tobacco.

I could easily put back an handful of these in a sitting.

This was quite a unique brew that I thoroughly enjoyed. My style is typically a little more over the top with the hops, but I understand where they were going with this and Bear Republic created a very well balanced beer that I will definitely add to the fridge on a consistant basis.

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

From a bomber into a nice tulip glass at around 50 degrees. A beautiful burnt amber body with a nice white head. The head stays around and leaves its mark on the glass.
Crisp spicy hops and rye dominate the nose. A bit of citrus, a balanced sweetness from the base malts, and a little floral floater from the yeasties.
The taste is out of this world, smooth, spicy sweet. A little citrusy on the finish which melds well with the traditional hoppy flavors.
The mouthfeel is smooth with perfect carbonation. The body is pretty big for the alcohol, a big chewy beer that somehow manages to become smooth and refreshing. Delicious.
I could drink this often and in decent quantities. I am very impressed.

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

22 oz bomber purchased at Green's in Greenville, SC. Poured into a Sierra Nevada Hop Tulip glass.

A: Pours a beautiful dark brown with ruby highlights. A pillowy frothy tan head that does not want to dissipate at all. Saying that it has excellent lacing would almost be an understatement. An amazing looking beer.

S: Hops dominate the nose. There is a hint of rye and caramel malts as well, but the main aroma is definitely hops.

T: The caramel and rye malt flavors supply a great backbone for the load of citrus hops and what tastes like a hint of pine hops as well. I give this one a high score because it is unique in comparison to many of its competitors in the style. The rye really adds something to this one.

M: It has an incredibly creamy mouthfeel. The brew is thick and smooth. The rye gives it a little more interest with an almost spicy like character.

D: I love the complexity of all the things going on with this brew. However, the rye and hops cause this one to be a little bit of a sipper since there is so much going on. That's OK with me. Its just that much longer that I get to enjoy this one.

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Photo of amneziak
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Right off the bat the Hop Rod Rye Ale from Bear Republic is one of the nicer looking beers I've seen. It is a beautifully clear caramelized red-orange color. The only drawback, however, is the lack of head you get from the beer. Even after a vigorous pour, I was only able to get one finger of nice pale white frothy head. Once this dissipates, you pretty much have to beg it to come back. For this reason alone, I suggest pouring only a few ounces at a time and then refilling as you go.

Smell: As suspected there is a good punch from the hops on the nose, which later becomes a little more pungent. Surprisingly, this is followed by some slight coffee components that help round out the glass. There are other aromas, but they seem to be too muted to pick them out individually. Early on in my bottle, I even picked up (I hate to say it) a coppery smell of a nice shiny penny. I'm not sure why this came out, but luckily it diminished about five minutes in to the beer.

Taste: First and foremost I don't taste the rye elements. I know it's made with 18% rye, but I certainly don't taste it like I do in whiskey. However, if the addition of rye has anything to do with how extremely well balanced this beer is, then I am exceedingly satisfied with its presence. There is a good amount of bitterness from the hops. What makes this bitterness so amazing, though, is that it's the kind of bitterness you'd expect from a strong coffee rather than hops. Really magical stuff if you ask me.

Mouthfeel: This is a medium bodied beer just teetering on becoming heavier. In addition to the amazing color, its mouthfeel is one of its best characteristics. Every sip fills the mouth with a perfect amount of bitterness and at no time falls flat on the tongue. It was at this point in the drinking process that I began to really appreciate this beer for what it is - a well-rounded flavorful ale with a nice hoppy bite.

Overall: My first reaction upon pouring this beer is that I wasn't that in to it. The coppery component that I got right off the bat was a huge turnoff. However, the more I poured and the more the coppery taste dwindled, the more amazing this beer got. Half way down and the Hop Rod Rye became one of the better beers I've had in a couple months. And as I said before, you could look at this as an IPA/Stout hybrid because that's pretty much what it tastes like. And to that my beer-drinking friends...I say BRAVO!

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Photo of beerfanbill
4.8/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: dark, lively. very active, head clings to the glass in rings and stays there the whole time.

smell: very hoppy. truly lives up to its name. i always raise the glass to my nose several times before i begin drinking just to appreciate the distinct, pungent hoppy aroma.

taste: tastes better than it smells. the hops dominate the pallette. they are as strong as any hoppy beer ive ever had and yet not too strong. perhaps the hoppiest beer ive had that didnt over do it.

mouthfeel: smooth, crisp. savor each sip to have the hops coat the tongue.

drinkability: personally i find it to be a great session beer though its 5 dollars per pint at the bar i go to so i only usually can afford one. however, if i had the resource$ i would definitely have several. although hoppy beers are my favor so i am slightly biased in that regard.

(biased note, i love hoppy beers and try as many as i can and i genuinely feel this is the best one ive had)

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Photo of ommegoose
4.53/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

$5 for a bomber. Great value. I'm not buying the American IPA guideline, and won't be reviewing it as such. I think it fits more in the ever nebulous "rye beer" category, if not the equally vague "American strong ale."

Explosive pour, maybe because I didn't cool this enough after I got home from the store. The rest is going back in the fridge. I got a three inch head that dropped to an inch in about two minutes, leaving lacy lace all the way around. A deep ruby color with lots of carbonation. Lacing runs all the way to the bottom of the glass. Great looking beer. Taking a chance on the sediment resulted in some flaky stuff and haze, which you may want to eschew.

Noses a bit more sweet and malty than I expected. Possibly there's a little age on this. I was expecting the hops to pop out much more. Not sure if this is made with any brown sugar, but it wouldn't surprise me. Similar sweetness to something like Lagunitas Brown Shuggah, or Two Brothers Cane & Ebel (palm sugar). Rye is there. Some piney hops. A fresher one probably scores better.

A delicious rush of rye and hops. Caramel/molasses/brown sugar is there, definitely much more than any to-style IPA. (No gripes with that though, or much else.) It's like the thick, sticky stuff you'd cook up on the stovetop, not the Smuckers stuff in a jar. That rye spiciness blends so well with the hoppy back end, leaving a very dry finish that seems to lean towards the rye spice. Hops are mildly piney, a little citrus hiding in here. You can find hoppier beers of the sort, but this is no slouch. I'm on the fence as to whether to go all the way to five here, but I'm going to say it's not quite there. It's just a touch muted, and doesn't quite pop and burst out enough. Takes a turn towards the maltier side in the second half, becoming a more balanced brew.

Silky. Rye seems to do wonders. Actually seems rather delicate. Beers this smooth are often viscous, but this is on the lighter side. It's dreamy.

Drinkability is a level of dangerous somewhere between Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer. Alcohol is imperceptible, and each sip begs for the next. It's like the beer swallows itself. This is such a pleasure to drink. A classic beer, and a landmark example of how to make quality affordable.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.13/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown-red with a rocky head. Sour rye and cranberry nose. Bready malt with wine, ginger and dark fruit but little sweetness. Big tart hit of grapefruit hops at the end. Chewy body, frothy carbonation. Hot from the 8%.

I'm not sure I like what the rye gives here, but that could just be me. Either way, it does burn too much. No more than one in an evening.

2nd tasting: Dark amber with trailers from custard head, resiny caramel nose, raisins and Demerera up front with sappy California hops, lots of chew.

Solid construction with surprisingly barleywine-like qualities. Can't find much hops or rye, so I have to suspect the age. This will require a 3rd visit.

3rd tasting: Chestnut with creamy pitted beige head, orange + skunk nose, some bread cut by BIG fresh tangerine juice with hint of papaya + pine, grassy finish baby aspirin linger; medium, round, chewy.

Finally got this decently fresh (10 weeks out from 9.27 bottling) and what a difference. Rye is much more supporting role than feature: wouldn't swear that grassiness wasn't dry hopping. But easy-sipping DIPA that never hints at 8%. Fits right in to that BR signature simple quality. upping Taste + Overall.

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Photo of raoulduke37
4.41/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful reddish-brown mahogany color with an off-white head that retains and laces far better than anything I've ever seen. Plenty of sediment floating around the bottle - mmm unfiltered goodness. Smells of citrus and freshly cut wood. Taste is hoppy and sweet - seductive as it warms up - just keeps getting better with every sip. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with plenty of foam. This is a truly excellent beer - a nice departure from the traditional light, overtly hop-ridden IPA's - like the cute hippie girl rather than the fake blonde.

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Photo of alpinebryant
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

A: Poured a medium brown amberish color, huge head, stuck around for the entire drink, and left lots of lacing on the glass

S: Delicious Rye with some grapefruit and hop scent

T: Unbelievably refreshing. I wish more Rye beers were made, and I cant wait to make my own rye beer for comparison

M: Medium body... Great for what this beer is offering

D: I could drink this all night long. Very balanced and drinkable. One of my favorite beers after one bomber

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Photo of markaberrant
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - deep red, very clear, rock solid tan head leaves thick sheets of lace behind

S - thick caramel malt, slight toffee, with spicy rye, fruity, light citrus hops, it all combines to create some leafy earthiness, very enticing

T - hops come through a bit more at the tip of the tongue, but still balanced with the tasty malt profile, that is not cloying or sweet, just MALTY, the finish brings in a smooth chocolate element that is intertwined with alcohol and bitter citrus that lingers for a long, long time

M - just about the perfect weight for this beer, medium body and smooth carbonation keep it from being syrupy, hop resins stick to the insides of the mouth and accentuate the dry bitterness, alcohol warmth is mild and smooth

D - drinks exceptionally well for a bigger beer, yet is still immenently complex

Damn near perfect execution on this beer. My favourite rye beers are always on the darker, maltier side with a decent body and american hops, and this one nails it. There is a fair bit of hops in this beer, but they are not front and center, in fact I'd say they provide the accent to this beer, not the malt.

I can't think of any negatives, I wouldn't change a thing, but I don't want to give it a perfect 5.

Find this beer and drink as much as you can!

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Photo of sacullen
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep ruby color with very nice head. A decent amount of lacing was left as I drank.

S: Ooh, grapefruit with just a hint of pine. I already like where this is headed.

T: Wait, I thought this was a rye beer? I was taken aback at first because I didn't realize it was an IPA. It took me a long time to try this one because I'm not a fan of rye beers. I guess I should have looked it up sooner. My first sip made me say, "Whoa, hops?" Then I looked it up and said, "Yeah, hops!" The level of bitterness feels just right. The beer still confuses me because it just doesn't look like an IPA, but it doesn't taste like a rye beer. It's a great combination because the rye starts to really shine as the beer warms. I bit of spiciness begins to peek through.

M: Medium bodied, the bitterness lingers for quite a while. However, it never seems to overpower your senses.

D: Very easy to drink more than one. I'm sorry now I only bought one and wish I could get it in 6-packs.

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Photo of NCBeernut
4.65/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Damn near perfect beer. Very very similar to Big Hoppy Monster only hoppier.

Pours with a fluffy sudsy head with a creaminess to it. Mahogany body highlighted with sunset oranges. Bubbles slowly make their way to the top through a slight haze of sediment.

Sweet fruity hoppiness in the aroma with caramel overtones. Tingly spiciness on the nose. Scents of brown sugar here and there.

Fruity hoppiness in the taste - caramel apples, pears, hints of pineapple and grapefruit. Heavy caramel malt backbone really does the trick. Brown sugar here as well. Aroma closely reflects the taste here. Rye spiciness that is hard to describe if you have never experienced it. Not quite peppery but somewhat similar. Bitter finish. Very pleasant aftertaste. Goes down slick and smooth with a lingering bitterness. Scary how easy this is to drink.

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Photo of skrib09
4.36/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

rich brown color with a crisp white head. beer looks really great...

smells of pine and slight bitter citrus with a hint of bread.

taste is similar. the beer is really dark brown and the malt comes through with the hop. great full bodied taste with the citrus and pine coming through at the end.

good mouthfeel.

great drinkability. i want more bombers!

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Photo of Hornet2003
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a copper-red colour. Lacing head as I drink it. Opaque as this is obviously an unfiltered beer.

Smell: Upon cracking the bottle I was slammed with IPA aromas of grapefruit and tangy tangy lemon.

Taste: Solid hoppiness with lots of west coast bitterness but also a nice burnt sugar flavour from the malt.

Mouthfeel: Quite creamy, actually. I was expecting something a little more prickly, but this was a pleasant surprise. Smooth. The bitterness is everlasting at the back of the tongue while the sweetness recedes quite quickly.

Drinkability: Too much alcohol to be too drinkable, but for what it is, it doesn't get tiring. Very easy to drink and stays interesting. No hop burn out here. Just smooth bitterness with accompanying sweetness till the end.

Overall: This is a typical strong American Amber. Lots of hops and sweet, caramel malt. Great to kick off a Sunday Evening.

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Photo of BWMKappaSig
4.32/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Mahogany with a thin head.

Smell: By far the most enjoyable part of the beer, a pleasant rye smell mixes with piney hops. Bready, in a good way; reminiscent of a fresh baked rye.

Taste: Piney hops up front with the rye bread taste coming up next that balances the initial bitterness. As it warms, the beer sweetens revealing a slight fruitiness and sweet malts entirely undetectable at first.

Mouthfeel: Full body, but slightly dry in finishing, with a great bitterness.

Drinkability: Right on for the style.

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Photo of kaseydad
3.95/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finally bought a bomber after passing by this beer numerous times because of the "Rye" in the name. Something about it just scared me away until I saw it's ranking on the BA Best of list.

I poured it into a pint glass and had a cloudy pour with the brown color sort of reminding me of a soda/cola. A nice brown head also. The bottle has a thin build up of sediment on the bottom as well.

I smell a hoppy aroma with pine scents and fruit as well (pineapple?).

It has a roasty hop flavor which is a change from the massive grapfruity IPA's.

There is a lingering bitter aftertaste which stays on the taste buds.

A nice beer from the "Bear" though for my taste (imo), I feel they have better beers than this.

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Photo of beertunes
4.85/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into bubble pint glass. Poured a bright, clear reddish-mahogany color with about an inch of light khaki colored head that left a medium-heavy amount of lacing. A sharp hop nose that has an underlying earthiness. The expected hop flavors are present but with addition of rye they have a little something extra to hold onto, which in turn allows the hops to better express themselves. The blend of barley and rye gives this beer a distinctive, pleasant and satisfying flavor. The body is full and satisfying, something missing in most IPAs. As with most IPAs, this beer will burn your tastebuds, but unlike most IPAs, there is more flavor to be had. You will be feeling the effects if you have several, but this is as drinkable as an IPA can get. I highly recommend this beer, worth a lot of effort to get.

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Photo of johlendorf
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

220z bomber

A = Dark reddish amber. Thick head with clingy lacing.

S = Piney hops all over, sweet floral goodness.

T = Rye and strong piney hops. Some grapefruit but the pine dominates. Sweet for an IPA.

M = A little heavy up front, but mostly crisp and clean.

D = Rightly done for the style & ABV.

I really like it. Solid and unique IPA.

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

Bottle from Total Wine.

A - Poured a deep mahogany with three fingers of cappucino colored head. Dissipated oh so slow and left some beautiful lacing.

S/T - Rye, toffee, grapefruit, and grass.

M - Full bodied, hop dominated, with moderate carbonation and light bitterness.

D - Great. Would love to have more except the bastard mooching off my beer finished the last 1/2 of the 22.

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Photo of Mauerhan
4.57/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i have had this on quite a few occasions. so i figured it was about time to review it.

pours a clearish rich red into my glass with a fluffy two finger light brown head. tons of spiderweb esk lacing.

smell is nice and hoppy. a little spice is present from the rye. loving the smell

taste is awesome. a good hop bitterness with a nice malt backbone.

mouth is smooth, slightly creamy. not a huge amount of carbonation

i really enjoy this beer. alot. i probably should have reviewed this at the beginning of my night but whatever.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.52/5  rDev -17%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 8/25/2007 (bottle):

Pours a dark brown clear color. Cake foamy head, good lacing, stiff, reddish white. Very hoppy acidic aroma. Just bitter smelling. Hoppy sweet taste, balanced. Very slight bitter aftertaste. The flavor of the rye is there. Pretty good taste. Almost as good as Stone IPA.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.47/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

G: 16-ounch glass pint glass with University of Chicago emblem.

A: Pours a very dark copper with a reddish tint. Nice creamy head. Large carbonation bubbles visible on the top of the beer, and a decent amount of carbonation flow inside of the brew after it was poured.

S: Sweet hop presence.

T: Strong rye taste a the beginning, fading into hops and a delicate sweetness. The rye returns in the aftertaste. The malt comes through as the beer lingers, but the hops provide the dominant sensation.

M: Carbonation and taste sting the tip of the tongue, but in a pleasant manner. Sits so well you don't want to swallow.

D: Perfect mouthfeel and great taste. This one is exceedingly drinkable. Can hardly wait for more in between each sip.

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Photo of glid02
4.75/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at the Big Hunt in Washington DC.

Pours a turbid red-copper color with a one-finger tan head. The head sticks around for a while before dissipating into a pancake of bubbles on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of floral, citrus, and mildly piney hops, and lots of them. There's a nice malty background and some light spiciness from the rye that comes through as well.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Huge hop flavors throughout, backed by robust malts. A mild spiciness comes in midway through the sip and asserts itself more through the end. There's a nice bitter ending that still leaves room on the palate for the hop flavors to linger.

Mouthfeel is amazing. Thick and grainy, it seems as though it has a life of its own. The only other non-stout I can think of that feels like this is Troegs Nugget Nectar.

Drinkability is great. I finished one very quickly and would've had many more if it hadn't been getting late.

Overall this tasted even better than I remembered. Tons of hop flavors that aren't over the top, a solid malt backbone, and some light spiciness from the rye. Wow.

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Photo of OldYoda
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into my trusty standard Troeg's pint glass. An earlier review called this a "dirty amber" - nothing dirty about this. It was a beautiful amber ruby and clear and clean with the carbonation bubbles racing to the top. Minimal head but nice lacing and retention. This is a lovely beer.

Smell is hops and a follow up of earthy malt. Very inviting.

Taste follows smell , the hops are there with an excellent malt backbone. An exceptionally well balanced beer. Taste for me is a real wow.

Mouthfeel is outstanding - creamy and full.

Only drawback for me on this beer would be drinkability and the fact that it comes in bombers. Two of these would be a little much for me at this ABV but this is an absolutely outstanding brew.

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Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 4,721 ratings.
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