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Ruthless from Sierra Nevada

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This has to be one of the most strident rye malt beers I have ever had. It is rich and generously hopped, but has that deep-grainy spicy flavor from rye malt, along with barley malts. I like it, but have to admit that it is not an easy drink, or an "easy to like" beer for most people.

If you have had it, what do you think? I have a six-pack, and will post later on this thread after I get an idea how I will write about it.

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  1. Actually I think it could use a bit more rye although by what I understand their system can't lauter a higher % of rye without drainage problems

    1 Reply
    1. re: niquejim

      Rye is a very tough grain to work with, quite gummy and more difficult than wheat, so what you say makes sense.

    2. I thought it was lacking in rye and hop character and was just a mediocre version of torpedo. Kind of pissed me off that they replaced a great lager with this middle of the road amber. But seems to be a trend after the anniversary ale was replaced by a middle of the road brown ale. It seems as if marketing was driving the car on this one - what is so Ruthless about this beer - or what is so IPA about it for that matter?. I wonder when they came out with Celebration seasonal if "what's going to appeal to the widest audience possible?" was a question they asked themeselves, or did they just want to brew the beer they wanted to drink and let the chips fall as they may?

      Widmer made a much better rye IPA with O'ryely.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LStaff

        Wow, it's amazing how different two persons' tastes can be. To me, SN Ruthless Rye tastes fantastic - bright, hoppy, with a rich malt backbone from the rye. I can't even imagine that beer as being aimed at "the widest audience possible." To me, they absolutely nailed a style that's not especially common.
        I also like the Tumbler brown ale, but I can't completely disagree with your "middle of the road" comment, since I like it about the same as many other brown ales I've tried - it's a style that, in my experience, doesn't typically exhibit a lot of quality differentiation.
        If the "great lager" you're referring to is the Glissade Golden Bock, that particular beer was perhaps my least favorite offering ever from SN.
        Our tastes obviously differ, but I would highly recommend Ruthless Rye to anyone who enjoys IPA's, or especially rye IPA's.

        1. re: Idyllwild

          IPA's are my favorite style (well made yellow lager probably second) - just didn't think this one was IPA like.

      2. I'm back with more of an assessment. For this, I used an easy-to-get beer, the Hop Rod Rye from Bear Republic. The HRR is quite nice and a lot smoother, and packs 8% abv. This beer I would call "tough and ruthless" for its good flavor, drinkability and strength.

        The Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA, however, is a whole lot more tannic and astringent, with a rough drinking quality although I do like the flavor and would buy it again. By comparison, I would call this beer "rough and toothless" since it lacks the strength and refinement of Bear Republic's HRR.

        Any other thoughts on rye beers in general? Thanks to LStaff for the tip, and I will keep an eye out for O'ryely.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Tripeler

          speaking of Bear Republic, if you see Racer X around, grab it. I like it a lot, and on cask, it's amazing. Bear is doing some great stuff. I agree about Rocket Rye as well. It's got much better rye characteristics than the SN version. It's hard to fault Sierra, I like that they experiment so much, but they don't always get it right. On the other hand, Hoptimum and Hopsichord are very good indeed.

        2. I've stopped buying the new stuff from Sierra. I love their pale and their grossly underrated stout. However, not one of their new bottled products does anything for me.The abbeys, the ipa's all eh... I do love Rubbrod by the bruery.

          1. I bought it. I drank it. I enjoyed it. I probably won't go out of my way to buy it again. But if is on sale at a reasonable price I may pick some up.

            It is not something that I would serve to a crowd of people.