what I can tell, St. Lenny’s is Shmaltz’s “Bittersweet Lenny RIPA”
fermented with Belgian yeast. I don’t believe the base brew was changed,
as it is as much the malt and rye bomb as the regular edition, though
the hops seem much less pronounced here. It’s also possible that what
I’m drinking is a rather older bottle since I’ve had it on tap and it’s
seemed a little more complex and robust. The Belgian character really
doesn’t come through, but this is still a very interesting brew when
viewed as an American Double IPA.
I poured a 12oz bottle into the official Shmaltz snifter glass. There
was no freshness date. It came in a mixed 4-pack for $10 ($2.50 per
bottle or $0.21 per ounce).
Smell: Malty sweetness; some vanilla; lemon lollipop. No Belgian esters.
Taste: For a supposedly hop-centric brew, there’s a lot of sweetness to
this beer. It’s remarkably vanilla and woody-tasting, almost as if it
were barrel-aged. Sweet amber malt mostly, some lemon flavor akin to
hard candy (which is usually an indication of oxidation). The bitterness
is so dank it’s almost cloying. Some notes of sticky resin can be
found. There’s a fairly sold rye spicy bite on the finish, though it’s
not as strong and bready as I’ve encountered before. It’s a little
disappointing that there isn’t much in the way of noticeable Belgian
characteristics that are often associated with the yeast esters. Perhaps
a touch of perfume-like flavor and aroma; I think they’re actually
obscured by the rye. As an eccentric variation on the DIPA style, this
Drinkability: Shmaltz knows how to make big beers drinkable and St.
Lenny’s is no exception. The mouthfeel is quite big with lower
carbonation and a bit of sticky sensation to the texture. Belgian yeast
tends to create for a very spastic mouthfeel, but this feels more like
an English barleywine in its delivery. At 10% ABV the alcohol is there
as far as warmth, but it’s in no way distraction or overtly “boozy.” It
finished remarkably clean, too, which is quite nice. I’m glad this is
now available in 12oz bottles as it’s an ideal serving size.