Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A

Tasted with Jen once she got back from cheer practice. This was the second of my attempts at He'brew after the last one I tried tasted of cigarette butts, therefore leading me on a 6 month avoidance of their beer. Thanks to Nathan McDowell for the recommendation. Served out of a bomber from Binny's in Highland park and enjoyed with Guacamole and crackers (because chips are too expensive at Hy-vee).

Appearance:  Bronzed ruby brown with a mediocre clarity. The off white cream head is one of the best I have encountered. Initially  4 (Jen) fingers worth, (2 Tim) but sustained itself down to a finger of permanent soft frothy head. Visible micro-fizzed carbonation within. Strong lacing against the side of the glass.
Aroma: Very sweet and caramel malt smell that is reinforced by the rye and the complex hop character. Sweet dark fruit with some citrus at the nose. It seems with this beer that there is a roasted rye aroma (not toasted, or burned). Predominantly the malt sweetness prevails against the IPA hop character.
Taste: The toasted biscuit malt really comes through with a complementary caramel sweetness of malt. The finish is of citrus zest hops and the none too foreign rye spice. The malt sweetness of this beer takes a dominating role, forming the foundation by which all other flavors work off of. Sweet dried fruit is pronounced as well. Surprisingly, the 10% ABV goes relatively unnoticed finish anything but boozy, but more so in a manner of bittersweet citrus zest and raisin/plum flavor.
Mouthfeel: Full body with a semi-cloying Mouthfeel . Carbonation is minimal among the thick textured malt of this beer. Nevertheless it satisfies the category and style guide. The finishing fizz is a nice characteristic to the beer adding to a refreshing taste.

Overall Impression: Style guide success, but with a far-out character and the alcohol to show it. The flavor and aroma of this beer clearly exemplify an IPA but with a unique rye twist that few have been able to make. A well rounded balanced beer that exemplifies complexity from malt to hops and above. The only drawback is the lingering aftertaste that leaves a coated grassy resin taste in the back of the throat.

Jen: 88/100
Tim: 93/100


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