Friday, February 8, 2013

Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye 2013 - Gus #42

Well it's finally Friday! I've been looking forward to this day because this weekend is a brew weekend.  More on that for HBW next week.  Today's review is the Spring seasonal from Sierra Nevada.  I believe this is the second year this has been released.  I jumped on it when it showed up here.  I have become more and more of a fan of brews with rye.  It showed up here the week after it was released so I knew it would be fresh.  I'm a fan of a lot of what Sierra Nevada does.  Their Pale Ale was one of the first (I'm sure for many) craft beers I actually had.  I'm a huge fan of their Torpedo IPA and Bigfoot Barleywine.  So I had high expectations for this one.

How it rates with others:

Information from the website:
About the Beer:
Style:  Rye IPA
Alcohol by Volume:  6.6%
IBUs:  55

"Rustic grains, refined flavor, ruthless character."

"Rugged and resilient, rye has been a staple grain for ages and its spicy black pepper-like flavor has been prized by distillers and brewers for centuries.  Rye thrives in the harshest conditions and comes to life in Ruthless, a spicy and rugged IPA with fruity, citrus and herbal hop notes balanced with the dry spiciness of the rye, making the beer aggressive yet comforting to bolster against whatever the winter winds may bring."

I poured this brew into my Jester King glass.

Appearance:  Little bit of chill haze when I poured it but as it warmed up a bit it was crystal clear.  Copper in color almost like rust or burn orange.  Really bright in color.  Two fingers of a white to off white head that settled down to a cap on the top as I drank it.  Sticky lacing all around the glass.  No alcohol legs that I can see.  They would be hidden by the lace if they were there.  Carbonation streaming up the middle and sides of the glass.  Looks like a perfect Spring beer.  It really gets your mouth watering while looking at it! 

Aroma:  Big citrus and spice on the aroma.  Tiny bit of floral notes in there but the rye comes in and cleans that out with the spice it brings to the table.  Hops seem to have a spicy character in there as well.  Citrus is mostly grapefruit or maybe even acidic like grapefruit zest.  Kind of that aroma you get when you pull back the peel of a grapefruit.  Sweet malt backbone right behind all the citrus and spice.  Not an overwhelming sweetness that could be too sticky though.  Just really nice soft sweetness that mixes everything well.  Hints of pine in there.  Kind of like dry pine though.  Not just extremely pungent but nice and subtle.  Standard Sierra Nevada aroma quality we all know and love. 

Taste:  This is just as exciting as the nose.  The spice character is more prevalent   It works so well though.  Citrus and spice of something like ground black pepper with just hint of white pepper in there too.  The grapefruit just washes right over the spice in mid palate and carries over to the back of the mouth.  The aftertaste is more of the spice and some of the sweetness.  Kind of like sweet ruby red grapefruit juice now.  Mouthfeel is medium-light.  I think the rye plays in to give this a nice mouthfeel without being too watery.  Carbonation is just exactly where you would want it in a brew like this.  Dry in the finish so it leaves you wanting to take another sip.  Really nice stuff.

Verdict:  I think this brew is complex enough to be very interesting and offer tons of flavors to the drinker.  It doesn't over do it though.  To much and it can turn from a session type brew into a sipper/sharer.  This is definitely not going to wreck your palate or anything like that.  But, at the same time, it is packed with tons of flavors and aromas.  6.6% is a little high for a session beer but I really think this one could be considered that.  Super refreshing, super tasty and perfect mouthfeel.  This would pair perfect with a nice spring salad or even something simple like a slice of pizza.  This is gonna get an A from me.  I'm getting more and more into these rye beers, and how could you not with great offerings like this?  Sierra Nevada time and time again puts out some really great stuff.  They do that while sending their stuff pretty much all over the country.  An amazing feat in itself.  I will probably pick up some more of this while it is still around.  Maybe do a side-by-side of this and their Pale Ale.  I think they are similar with this having just a bit more spice from the rye.  This brew compares to Lazy Magnolia's Timber Beast for you guys local to me.  It's kind of like a little brother to Timber Beast since Timber Beast is an Imperial Rye IPA.  If you like either check out the other.

This brew gets out everywhere so I'm sure a lot of you guys have had it.  Let me know what you think of it.  It's definitely a good one to introduce someone to craft beer with.  Also something great to introduce folks to rye beers.  They have a lot to offer and can be interesting in any style.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!  Remember to have a good time and drink good beer while doing it!