Hop Rod Rye | Bear Republic Brewing Co.

2,077 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: 2,077 | Ratings: 4,711
Photo of jtierney89
1.5/5  rDev -64.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a deep mahogany with an off white head. Big fruity/piney/herbal hop presence (yes that's correct) on the nose. Rye adds a detectable spiciness. Carbonation is visible.

Very piney with a dark fruit backbone and lots of spice. Dry and bitter finish. Faint buttered toast taste up front which lends a toasted character to the other flavors. Some citrus character is present as well. Slightly spicy hop character.

Very earthy with unpleasant building piney bitterness.

Different but nothing spectacular, good for the price I guess.

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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 jdhilt
2.36/5  rDev -44.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours with a two-finger bubbly white head that fades slowly leaving a ton of lace. Clear amber color. Medium bodied. Hoppy nose. Medium carbonation. Starts crisp and finishes hoppy, very little malt sweetness. $4.60 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits, Acton, Ma.

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Photo of BetterDarker
2.54/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22 ounce poured into pint glass

A - Deep amber with solid one finger head. Some lacing. Good looking beer, dark for an IPA.

S - Strong earthy hops upfront with a bit of malt in the back.

T - Tale of Two Cities here. Great taste upfront, nice hop presence, bitter in a good way, but what an horrific finish. I felt like I was drinking a cactus. My throat cried "What are you doing to me?!" and there was this horrific itchy feeling. After about 5 or 6 ounces of this it went down the drain and saved my throat with a nugget nectar.

M - Considering I practically needed to shove a back scratcher down my throat, I would say 'horrific'.

D - I love IPA's, both the single and the double. I've had a fair amount in my days, and wondered if I would ever give an IPA a bad rating. That day has come.

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Photo of mithrascruor
2.63/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a clear dark brownish-copper color. Somewhat creamy off-white head becomes a film that laces the glass.

Smell: A sort of grainier IPA aroma, though not very strong. Grains and some hops/citrus.

Taste: Citrus aroma throughout, starting with hop bitterness and leading to a bitter rye flavor which persists into the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with light carbonation and relatively smooth.

Drinkability: The rye flavor is awfully intense; hard to take.

I'll confess I'm not the biggest fan of rye, but the taste here is very bitter and way over the top. Too much for me, unfortunately.

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Photo of hopsbreath
2.7/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Twelve ounce bottle poured into a pint glass. This is my third one in the past week, not because I particularly like it, but because I'm stuck with the four-pack I picked up.

The dark murky mahogany body has a lot of large particulate in suspension with a two finger crown of tan head sitting on top. Spotty lacing shows up throughout the drink.

Smell is the best part but seems like a big hoppy barleywine rather than an IPA. Big tropical fruits would dominate the nose were it not for the heavy malts intertwined throughout.

Tastes similar to a barleywine like I expected. Cloyingly sweet malt base has quite a bit of metallic bitter hops in conjunction. The spice I associate with rye is not really there. Why add the rye if its not going to star here? Not my favorite.

Mouthfeel is thick, syrupy, and sticky. Personal preference alert, but I prefer IPA's to have a thinner body.

Drinkability is on the low end. Big, heavy, and metallic just don't do it for me.

Like I said at the beginning of my review, I bought a whole 4-pack of this stuff and am now trying to drink through it although its taking over a week. This is not on my "must try list" but I do recommend, if you do try it, to simply by a single to determine for yourself if you like it.

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Photo of stckhndlr
2.7/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A- Nice dark amber color but there was no head and very sad lacing.

S- Has alot of hops. strong hop smell but there is a hint of what to me smells like kalamata olives. don't get me wrong I like kalamatas but not in my beer.

T- This is like dating a really hot chick that later tells you later that she has turrets. Starts off great but goes down hill fast. great flavor up front with a hint of citrus blueberries. but the aftertaste is horrible. kinda like when you throw up in your mouth and then swallow. has that stomach acid taste.

M- feels great. has a spicy bite with a creamy feel.

D- Drinking it is fine, as long as you keep drinking it. It when you stop that it goes bad.

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Photo of livewire78
2.77/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Been looking forward to trying this one for a long time and thanks go out to sdawson for making it happen.

Brown and boring is how I'd describe it. No vibrant colors. Not opaque but bordering on it to a degree. Looks like a brown ale without the pretty brown head. Meh.

Average is the smell here. No overpowering hop aroma, no distinct malt presence, nothing great at all. A little faint spice (from the rye?) on the end but again, meh.

Since I consider myself an IPA guy, this one is below the average for the ones that I've had so hence, the score. The citrusy hops are muted, the malt just seems lazy, and the two in combination don't add up to anything spectacular. The only bright spot is the rye, which adds a spicy finish with sort of a peppery flavor. I wouldn't say it tasted bad, but it's not good. Sorta below average. Not even a meh. More like a blah.

Mouthfeel is nice and full. Carbonation level is right where I like it to be. Slick but not oily. Pretty good.

If this was the only craft at the bar, I'd have another one. But... I wouldn't seek this out again and that's too bad because for the most part I really like Bear Republic. I won't hold it against the brewery, but there are much better IPA's out there. Meh.

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Photo of gromis
2.8/5  rDev -34%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This one had a beautiful head when I poured it. Easily 3 or 4 fingers of a nice light brown foam.

Pours a nice, dark, cloudy amber color. This one isn't filtered (yay!).

The taste begins with a malt flavor that is dominated by hops. The malt fades away, but the hops lingers for quite a while.

Beings that I am not a big fan of hops, this scored low on the drinkability factor for me. I would gladly try this beer again, but wouldn't have more than one at a time, probably.

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Photo of Maudite
2.8/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Maybe I missed something, especially after reading other reviews in comparison with my notes, but, after two tries with the same results, I am just unimpressed.

A- This pours a fine looking AIPA: Creamy, thick sticky head with tremendous doily lacing. Body is a deep, ruby copper, a few shades darker than typical. Good looking beer.

S- The nose as well is great, but probably the only part of the beer that I could say is well constructed, or even remotely balanced. The large amount of hops blended well with the rye malt creating a nose laden with pine, citrus, woody-floral, astringent, minty. I'd buy this for an air freshener rather than a beverage.

T- I was excited to try this, because every other rye beer I've had has been exceptional. The hops were too aggressive on the pallet, in that they come across as unbalanced and conflicting. I wanted to taste the smooth almost minty/oaky quality that rye can lend, but all I got was a flavor I can only equate to tree sap. The hops were not very citric as the nose let on, and the bitterness was just over bearing. I had to force my way through this beer. I normally love hoppy beers, when balanced properly (Deschutes Fresh Hop ale being a good example of great balance). As it got more to room temperature the flavors balanced better, and I appreciated the fact that they stayed in my mouth for around 5 minutes after a swallow. With some tweaking of the hop bill this could be a world class beer, but I was left confused and disappointed.

M- Like I said, the hops do alot of things to your mouth. Some good, some not as pleasant. All in all I'd say that the feeling your mouth gets from this beer is enjoyable, disregarding the flavor.

D- I'd like to try it again and see if perhaps a third time is the charm, but I cannot recommend this beer.

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Photo of HayesdaHophead
2.86/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I don't have a lot to say about this beer. The rye character just didn't come through for a beer that brags on the label to have 18% rye in the grain bill.

Nice color and drinkable, but maybe I got an old bottle. It didn't seem to be super hoppy or have a distinct rye character. The bottle art is misleading. Not a bad beer, just not something I would buy again.

The label also seems to have another marketing error. It states the sediment might be there in the bottle due to a "truck-load of hops". It has been my experience that hops settle out pretty well in brewing and it is just yeast sediment in a bottle. Kind of shook my faith in Bear Republic to see that statement.

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Photo of pants678
2.9/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

It's a dark but clear brown, I couldn't get much of a head on the pour.

Little citric with grainy earth tones, rye of course.

Not so bitter, I'd have to call it a notched-down IPA. Carbonation isn't so aggressive, same goes for the hops. Seemed to be a one note brew here. Maybe I'm just not that into rye, it is sorta floral and sorta spicy but I'm not picking up much sweetness. Hop Rod's not offensive, but it's not terribly interesting either.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
2.96/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light brown two finger head poured from 22 oz.'er. Deeper than normal copper for an IPA, more copper than orange, and there was the expected haze. Very nice lacing. Aroma -citrus, and diacetyl malt. Taste - the citrus hops, of course and slight diacetyl, somewhat less than aroma had me expecting, which is good because I rather dislike the diacetyl taste, instead the malt had a small somewhat doughy taste upfront, which I suspect is due to the rye, but then diacetyl aftertaste made unusally bitter by the citrusy hops. The mouth was fairly smooth owing to the hops, and somewhat more carbonated than I expect or want for an IPA, leaving a slightly thick, and bitter coating. Diacetyl usaully ruins a brew for me and this is the case here- Hop Rod was an okay ride- but one I think will let pass me by when hitchhiking the HopHead Highway.

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Photo of Dijeriduster
3/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Disclaimer, I did get this on sale - a sign it could be an old sample. Still its high alcohol, high hops soooo

A - Dark brown ambery colour pour heavy with fairly prominent head. That faded fairly quickly to a little bit of a surface cover.

S - Very hoppy with caramel/malty flavors coming thru. More bitter than citrus smelling...

T - Very diff with the rye, seems strong here vs other rye ipa's. starts off with caramel malt tones quickly succumbing to the massive hop profile. Rye hits in the middle with a strange spiciness you won't find in any non-rye beer. Finish is a little sweet and syrupy.

M - Pretty good, but it does straddle the too sweet / syrupy zone a little too close for me. Has a slightly creamy feel overall.

D - Not that great actually. Again I might have a bunk sample but this isn't the first time I've had the beer. Frankly its too sweet on the malts for me - vs other local "strange IPA's" beers with an emphasis on the hop profile. Comparing this to Nelson from Alpine (another rye ipa) isn't even a competition. This is a good beer to compare to others, but its not a regular in my cellar....

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Photo of rickyleepotts
3/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I know, I say this every time we drink… but my travel schedule has been insane. Don’t blame me. Well, okay, blame me for the last one. We were in Florida. But we drank a LOT of beer. Didn’t write on any, but drank a ton. Anyway, we are back… for the rest of the week, anyway. Hoping to get on some sort of schedule. I might hold my breath for this one!

Let’s see if I can remember where we left off. Oh yeah, my plan for drinking. Here we go:

In the Glass: The head is thick, and sits atop the beer with authority. It seems thick from the bottle, and when the head settles it still seems thick and frothy. I like a thick head on a beer, as that means the beer itself will more than likely be thick and smooth as it goes down.

Nose: The beer smells like an IPA. I am not picking up much, if any, of the rye that they talk about. But I am sure it’s there in the mouthfeel and the aftertaste. The nose isn’t as big as I had hoped, and does not stack up to most American IPAs that I drink. The tasting notes promise for some big flavors. Let’s see!

Flavor: The beer is immediately carbonated. I don’t expect that, that’s for sure. It’s also very subtle on the tongue. It doesn’t really kick in until the beer goes down your throat and sits there on your tongue for a few minutes. The flavors at first are nearly annoying, yet come back toward the back of the palate.

Mouthfeel: I HATE the mouthfeel… initially. It’s VERY carbonated, and I hate a carbonated beer But as it settles and slides down your throat, it calms down a little bit and then settles with a great aftertaste. I just can’t get over the initial bubbles. I don’t expect that, especially with such a thick head. That sort of hurts a little!

Aftertaste: This is where the beer comes in. It nearly saves the day for the brew. The aftertaste also lingers, which I love in a beer. Especially a beer with so much bitterness. Considering how many IBUs this brew has, I expected more flavor and a more bitter aftertaste, but I’ll take it. I will take it for the time it sits there.

The beer is good, but not great. It’s just average, and for a rye I expected more. The aftertaste almost brought me back over the top, but can’t save those initial bubbles. The beer does have a big ABV, and while that is not obvious, after a few of these, and an 8% ABV, you will feel them when you stand up. With a label like that, I wanted more. Not upset, just wanted more. Either way, wherever you are tonight, bottoms up!

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Photo of hardy008
3.03/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Burnt caramel orange color with a 1 1/2 finger off white foamy head which sticks tightly to the sides of the glass. Smells of grapefruit, oranges, pine and some caramel malt.

The taste is very hoppy, with grapefruit, pine, and some orange dominating the flavor profile. I could not smell the rye, but can taste it, and some caramel malt, in the background, but the hops are the star here.

Very dry, and resinous. Medium bodied and well carbonated. Not my favorite IPA.

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Photo of harrymel
3.1/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled: unk, but grabbed the one with the least sediment....

Pours a dark amber with a couple fingers of light cream foam and gobs of lace. Smells of pine, resin, grapefruit and tangerine - nice west coast style IPA nose here. I like. Malty flavor with hints of spice and a little sweet hop character (like in the bag hops). Not much in the way of complex IPA though. Sweet with a bit of hop character is what I'm getting. Medium bodied with lower than anticipated carb and a semi dry finish. Decent beer, nothing special.

1st review: 23FEB11: 3/2.5/2/2/2 -2.15
A: Pours dark, deep red with limited translucency. A few more SRM's and this one would qualify for a CDA/ABA. Single finger, peanut colored head dissipates quickly leaving fairly confluent foam sheet. Limited lacing.
S: Some citrus, but predominantly, this is very, very similar to their Red Rocket - maybe because the beer has been sitting on the shelf too long - but too bad, learn to date your product. Lots of malt, smells like a red or ESB.
T: Yep, about the same as the Red Rocket. Too bad. Getting low marks for this. If an IPA is to be had fresh, date your bottles!
M: Medium body with low carbonation.
D: This beer is drinkable as is, but very, very disappointing for an IPA. Huge fail, and if not for the reasons of dating, then the beer is a fail in the style in general.

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Photo of Minkybut
3.12/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

If you like hops baby this brew is for you. The beer was poured into my tumbler at 45 degrees and looked caramel colored pouring a off white head. The lacing with this beer was good. Way to hoppy for me, in fact that is all you can taste. I will not buy again.

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Photo of doubleipa
3.15/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As I love rye beers, I was really had my hopes up, as did my wife. We' were a bit dissapointed. While this has plenty of hoppiness, which is great, I didn't detect much, if anything, in the way of rye. There's plenty of hops an dmalt in the taste. Good bitterness.

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Photo of zoolzoo
3.16/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks Charlatansin

Delerium snifter

Pours a clear, dark mahogany brown, minimal head. This thing smells floral and earthy. Im not getting a blast of citrus like some people are describing. Really, this smells like a bouquet of flowers with some caramel malts thrown in. Booze is nowhere to be found in the nose. Im not really impressed here

As far as taste, the hops are no longer floral but purely bitter. A tinge of citrus hops are present but bitterness dominates the palate. Caramel malt and rye spiciness appear mid palate, the finish is bone dry, and surprisingly nutty. Texturally, this is pretty good. Creamy, medium carbonation.

For 8% beer I can barely find a hint of alcohol. That has to count for something right? Drinkability is pretty good.

Overall this just isnt one of my favorite rye beers. The most off putting thing for me was the aroma. I have a suspicion that this might be a bad bottle or something, the taste seemed faded compared to other rye IPAs Ive had.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.2/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark iced tea color with a 1/2 beige head that fades to a film. Very little lacing.

S - Pine hops and slight malt aroma.

T - Bitter pine hops with slight malt taste.

M - Slightly flat. Coats the mouth.

D - Not too good. Hop dominates but tastes off.

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Photo of SierraFlight
3.2/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into nonic. Pours deep orange to brown with floaties and a fairly tall off-white head. Aroma is grapefruit, pine, and floral hops, caramel, and rye spice. Taste is similar with light malt sweetness followed by a wave of high hop bitterness and some rye spice on the finish. Individual flavors that I enjoy, but the combination in these proportions seems off. Medium-full bodied, creamy and sticky, soft carbonation, bitter finish.

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Photo of hoppheadIPA
3.22/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Had to see what the hype was all about. Pours into the glass a dark orangy red color with a beautiful 1" fluffy head that laces the glass brilliantly. Smells hoppy and fresh witha a bit of malt. Taste let me down, ALOT. Something wasn't right at all. Maybe I got a bad one or something. The hops was right up front with the rye but there was a bit of a funkiness with it. Maybe I'll get another and see. Drinkability was low due to the taste. This doesn't compare to other IPA's at all. Sorry for the bad review, but it didn't do much for me.

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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 Bendurgin
3.23/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thanks for the brew Randy. Poured into a pint glass. This one pours a dark brown with a thin layer of white foam.

Lots of rye in aroma with a little bit of candied orange. I would immagine that is from the hops but it seems a bit weak. A little bit of caramel in the aroma. The rye is really the best part of this. The flavor is a lot like the aroma. Good rye flavors but not enough on the hops for me. Candied orange and a little bit of caramel.

The feel is a little sticky with decent carbonation. A little heavier than I would like. Overall not to bad here. Nothing really exciting. The rye is good but the other flavors are simply underwhelming.

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Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic Brewing Co.
4.24 out of 5 based on 4,711 ratings.
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