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XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
XS Imperial Younger's Special BitterXS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

147 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 147
Hads: 220
Avg: 3.9
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 14
Gots: 10 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  7.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: klewis on 01-15-2007

8 Ingredients:
Malts: 2-row pale and Crystal.
Hops: Willamette, Kent Golding
and Amarillo
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

52 IBU
76 AA
35º Lovibond
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 147 | Hads: 220
Photo of DirtyPenny
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Decanted into a Medieval Manor mini pilsner glass.

A: Cloudy rust/copper hues with whorls and eddies of yeast floating in suspension. Pour lacked a head, but a very quick stir
with a chopstick raised 1-finger of off-white head that just as quickly disappeared. Thick lacing around the rim slowly
fades away. Thin layer of yeast settles on the bottom.

S: Musky and a little sour with minimal caramel notes and a dash of pungency.

T: Not bad. Light fruity tones mingle with caramel amid a boozy backbone. Some beers at 7% abv would hide their alcohol, this does not. Not even close. Somewhat astringent on the end. Bready malts come into play as it approaches room temp.

M: Very lightly carbonated. Wet, smooth and viscous to the point that it's almost a light syrup.

O: Four bucks for only seven ounces? It's not bad, but Geary's Hampshire Special hits all the same notes and is a hell of a lot cheaper, in New England at least. Enjoyable, but the price makes this one not even close to worth it.

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Photo of Kromes
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: A hazy brown color with a thin tan colored head.

S: A caramel malt aroma with some melon and a bit of hop.

T: Starts sweet and caramel and then transitions to a bit of tangy berry and melon fruit and bitterness in the finish.

M: Medium body with light carbonation.

O: Usually ESBs are one dimensional, but this one has a bit of depth to it. The fruit comes out a bit as it warms.

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Photo of plaid75
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky burnt copper hue with a slight wispy white cap. There was little retention and lacing.

The smell featured a doughy pale malt, grassy hop and fruity ester.

The taste consisted of toasted malts, a light grassy hop and some faint tropical fruit.

The mouthfeel was full for the style with a dry finish.

Overall a tasty ale, although Imperial ESBs approach crime against nature status.

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Photo of jmarsh123
3.22/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a cloudy caramel with a two finger off-white sticky head.

Smells of caramel malt with a touch of earthy hops.

Caramel/meladroinen malt up front rounding into a spicy dry hop finish. Has that unique Rogue yeast flavor.

Fairly light mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Pretty good beer, but at the price not nearly worth it.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
3.62/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duchesse de Bourgogne goblet. Pours a cloudy red orange amber. Thin white head with light lacing, leaves a ring around the glass. Aroma dominated by sweet and caramel malt, slight fruit component; reminiscent of a barleywine. Flavor also dominated by mild neutral and sweet malt, a hint of dark fruit and hops. Slight hop bite in the finish. Fairly low key flavors. Light to medium bodied. Pleasant, but tastes like a watered down old ale. Would not buy again at this price point.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got one of the small bottles at quick 6 in West York, PA - poured into a pils glass chilled.

The color is a lightly hazed amber with a thick cream colored cap which is comprised of tight beading. The lace sticks well and carbonation is visible in the liquid. the smell is inviting right from the start- mix of caramel and toast with a marmalade type hop scent with subtle pear notes form the yeast and mild pepper accents with a hint of stone fruit, brown sugar and date notes in the peripheral. the feel is good with spicy and dry texture and moderately high warmth with a full feeling body and texture has great balance with hops and moderately high carbonation. The mouth is bitter and mostly dry with a fruity finish the indicates a little residual sweetness.

the taste is moderately sweet up front with a subtle malt followed by a bitter combo of slight piney and the caramel malt with light fruity stone fruit and herbal hop juxtoposition. I like the mild toasted taste with subtle alcohol as the pepper notes form the hops meld with the dry nutty malt with slight plum and woody flavor from the yeast. The hops keep playing to the malt into the subtle pine finish.

Overall this is a really decent beer I was glad I didn't pass it up. A solid take on the style with nice balance and the only real drawback for me was the price.

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Photo of whatthehull
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


A - a very cloudy almost swampy orange, half finger tan head and some nice lacing

S - lots of citrus, a nice little sugary smell, pine, bright flowers, nice grain, flowers, slighty fruity, funky yeast, zesty, a bit grassy, dry wood, soil and fallen leaves

T - lots of very nice bitterness, huge malt back bone, slight sweetness, some wheat notes, great funky yet very nice yeast, lots of citrus, fruity, pine and dry wood

M - medium plus body, medium minus acidity, very well balanced, nice complexity and long finish

D - very, very drinkable and enjoyable beer. Refreshing and tasty! Good flavors and nothing is overwhelming at all! For fans of craft brew get a glass of this one

Final thought - the price isn't very awesome a $4 a 8oz. Best beer rogue makes as far as ipa goes

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Cloudy copper with one-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted a few minutes. Leaves a nice foamy lacing.

S: Caramel malt, big notes of grapefruit and citrus.

T: Moderate sweetness and bitterness. Light butter flavor. Caramel malt. Nice hop bitterness. A bit of spice.

M: Medium bodied with soft carbonation. Smooth and silky. Very warm. Wow.

O: It's hard to find anything wrong with this beer. Well worth the price. The thick and creamy mouthfeel is perfect for the winter months and so warm.

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Photo of scootny
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not bad but a bit one dimensional. A 7 oz bottle that has fiery burnt orang color and a colloidal suspension of granular yeast. Smell is sweet and abounds with caramel and light citrus. Some bready malt flow underneath. Taste is quite nice with an English malt core that gives good smoothness. Toasted malt with a tea leaf bitternes. A touch of very light grapefruit like hop oiliness. Finish is clean and dry with toasted grains. Feel is light and crisp with a gentle creaminess but just a touch light on the bubbles for me. A hair more carbonation and the feel becomes like velvet. A Nice beer overall with a mild character and definite English profile.

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Photo of cjacobsen
3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to sweemzander for bringing this one by. More likely that it got lost in his pocket for a while and had just finally found it.

Poured from a bottle for elves, 7 oz., into a snifter.

(A) Pretty clean with an orange hue to it. Brown in the darker areas of the beer. Not much head but it leaves some lacing.

(S) Not much here. Light malt, some grapefruit, hops and sugar.

(T) Tastes pretty bitter. Definitely a lot of sweet light malt. Some light citrus.

(M) Kind of grainy. Light body.

(O) Tastes like a hoppier pale ale. Not a lot going on with this beer and nothing to write home about. Worth a shot, literally...like a small small bottle's worth, but don't feel shorted (pun intended) if you can't find or try this one.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.03/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

7oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

(A)- Pours a hazy amber color. Some tan to white froth and lace.

(S)- Dry, with some cottonball-like grassy lemon citrus.

(T)- Sweet, mild heat. Some fig-like pine and citrus. Bitter.

(M)- A mellow carbonation level. A decent balance, though kinda sugary sweet and thin feeling.

(D)- Decent. Not quite sure how old it is, but its still good. A bit on the sweet side, but it does carry a nice bitterness.

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Photo of CHickman
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very cloudy copper color with a small tan head that faded quickly and left minimal lacing.

Smells of sweet malt, grains, caramel, light yeast and citrus hops; a light whiff of grapefruit lingers at the end along with some other sweet fruit.

Tastes of sweet malt, roasted grains, caramel, syrup, light yeast, citrus hops, grapefruit, orange peel, butter, cracker and wet bread; the flavor is sweet and bitter with a graham cracker and sour apple tart flavor at the end.

Mouthfeel is slick and smooth, with low carbonation, a medium body and medium drinkability due to the bitterness. This was good, tasty and enjoyable, just not a session beer. A nice little treat, literally due to the small bottle size.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

7 oz bottle.
No freshness date.

Pours a 1cm off-white head that fades in about two minutes to a thin ring around the glass. Swirling easily revives head. Leaves a bit of lacing/streaking, but not a particularly memorable amount. Body is a dark brown color, golden-copper when held up to light, hazy from no filtration.

Aroma of caramel-colored malt sweetness, some maple. Acceptable per the style, but still fairly toned-down, would appreciate a bit more here.

Taste opens with fairly rich malt sweetness, some noticeable but mild bitterness, and assorted fruity esters. Ethanol becomes more apparent in the back of the mouth and aftertaste as the beer warms.

Body is medium to medium-heavy with enough carbonation to make this foam slightly on the palate. Moves pleasantly about. Finish very dry, slightly tannic, not sticky. Ethanol makes this warming in the mouth and body.

This would be much better if the ethanol was a bit more masked and the aromas a bit more expressive.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was an add-on purchase at Deciccos in Pelham, for $1.99 on special. They had the XS IPA also...why I didnt buy it, I will never know..
Anyway, its a 7oz smalls bottle...
poured into goblet.

Pours a healthy, thick dark orange/brown, opaque, wheaty look. Nice big-bubble, thick head that remains.

Smells heavy of apricot...and, i'm going out on a limb here; mango?? Ok, deff fruity, and slightly hoppy aroma.

Nice citrus and apricot flavor...and yes, slightly bitter; mildly bitter. Real nice...

Well, I can say I got my $ worth...I would buy again.

Of note, the head is still there and I am half way through...nice.

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Photo of dansmcd
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark and hazy orange/amber. Solid, frothy eggshell head. Spits of lacing.

S - Caramelised malt is the feature here, backed by some mild floral hop, grapefruit and pear.

T - Follows the nose, sweet with an addition of cinnamon.

M - Full bodied, moderately carbonated with a dry sweet finish.

O - A beautiful drop with good complexity. A real smooth nectar from Rogue.

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Photo of centbeerfest
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased in a 7 oz bottle for $4.99. It was the ridiculous price of the very small portion that really made me wonder how good this beer could really be.

Was lacking a glass so drank it out of the bottle and it was just good. Price played a big part of my expectations and as an ESB lover, I thought it was just okay.

Nice balance but the high alcohol was the predominant take away. Big fan of Rogue but in this case I would avoid this choice again.

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Photo of Billolick
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

7 ounce bottle (!) on sale for “only” $1.99 at DeCicco’s in Ardsley, NY.

Pours clouded darker amber, luxuriously tight knit head, leaves nice looking splashes of lacing.

Nose is of maple malts with a hint of smokey peat lingering in the rear.

Malty and quite yummy. Loads of sweet malts, maple, and caramel brownie goodness. Quite smooth and easy flowing over the tongue.

I’ve consciously refused to shell out the crazy expensive amounts Rogue charges for the pretty ceramic bombers of this one, but glad to give it a try even if the serving size was on the comical side

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Photo of BeerHiker
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7 oz. bottle poured into a wine glass.

The pour is a very light reddish brown color. Very unique, I have never seen a beer wuite like this. Not much of a head, a slight ring around the edge of the glass. No lacing.

The smell throws me off. It smells nice and sweet, almost like a cupcake. Very pleasant to the nose.

The taste... wow. Nice mellow sweetness with periods of snappy bitterness. Very tolerable though, the bitterness makes itself known, but in a very easy-going enjoyable way. What a combination of flavors!

Overall, I am very satisfied with this beer. Just wish it was a little cheaper or came in larger sizes. This is a great ESB.

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Photo of Derek
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a brew. Not over-the-top like some of their brews, but just packed full of flavour and texture.

At 52 IBU, it doesn't seem very bitter for 7.1%. The EKG gives it an authentic ESB flavour, but then there's a pleasant addition of Amarillo that really takes it up a notch.

Unbelievably smooth and creamy. There's a plethora of hop flavour and a solid bitterness, but acidity doesn't come through.

Really great stuff.

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Photo of smcolw
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

7 ounce bottle that creates two-finger head that settles slowly. Leaves some streaky and spotty lace. The broth is cloudy with orange tint to a dirty, dark gold color.

Strong caramel aroma that covers up most of the hop bitterness.

Rich, full-bodied mouthfeel. The taste starts off creamy. The swallow is bitter but the aftertaste is surprisingly short-lived.

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Photo of July2Nov
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Cloudy brown with a slight orange hue around the edges. Thin lacing.

Smell: Sweet and sour with a little burnt tinge, malty with a raisin/plum scent.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Spikes up the mouth. Burnt like taste that warms you up. Sour malitiness follow through. Smooths out a tad bit and becomes bitter/sour with a tongue coating film. Some tastes of dark fruits and a little bit of smokiness and butter. Good combination of hops and malts.

Overall: Good ESB. Only wish the bottle was bigger.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

copper in color with a nice head of white coming up and over the top quite nicely I have to say. Rich side glass lacing that leaves spider like webs all over the sides and bottom of the glass.

caramel malts right up from, balanced well against a pine tar like touch. As it warms some more grassy and herbal notes begin to show their nose and provide some really nice balance to the overall profile. As it warms more and more come through and it actually picks up a great deal of hoppiness by the end. Huge malt bomb at first, followed the aroma quite nicely, becoming hoppy and bitter as I progressed though. Nice touch of boozy in it as well now. Overall very nicely done, well balanced and nice and strong.

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Photo of dgilks
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mostly clear amber colour with a small and short lasted light tan head. Poor head retention.

Earthy, fruity hop character with a nice background of toffee malts. Quite nice.

Smooth light toffee malts with a dose of bitterness and a good fruit character. The characteristic Pacman flavour isn't coming through which is nice. Mild hop character that works nicely here.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A nice ESB with solid flavour but as much as I like it something seems to be lacking for me.

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Photo of negroobserver
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rogue XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter Ale
7.0% ABV - 7oz bottle

appearance... medium brown color with a short beige/white head, which sticks to the glass. it has a hazy look remeniscent of a dubbel.

smell... honey, malts, brown sugar, light fruit. i can't detect a presence of hops although there is a clean crisp scent at the back end.

taste... the things that stands out at the forefront is the rounded and smooth texture of the beer. It's almost syrupy with a light oily quality. that doesn't sound good, but its a very pleasant texture in the mouth. Earthy. No dominant fruit or flavors. light bitter finish, which lingers for a few seconds. Despite the lack of flavors its a very pleasant and easy style of beer, unless you're very averse to bitterness.

mouthfeel... rice smooth texture. good carbonation. overall a very pleasant in this respect.

overall... i really like this beer and having enjoying this 7oz bottle, I find myself wishing that the bottle was larger or that i had bought two. it's not a spectacular beer, but it is a very very good beer. definitely worth trying.


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Photo of biegaman
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Rogue Public House, in San Francisco.

This Younger's is not only stronger in alcohol, but seemingly flashier too; flashy golden and amber streaks light up like sirens when held overhead. Its head, though not terribly huge, appears no worse for wear. While the beer is perfectly transparent, its complexion is more than a little blurred, much like a picture taken with a badly focused camera.

The aroma is similar in character, but much larger in scope, than that of a typical extra strong bitter; there is considerably more candied citrus character and more weedy pungency. The hopping is American in quality as well as quantity. All these fruity and floral notes are incredibly pleasant when combined with the caramel sweet scent of the malts.

In accordance with the 'imperial' tag, everything has been intensified - the maltiness as well as the hoppiness. While toffee flavour figures to be bigger and bolder, it's the resounding tastes of pine, grapefruit and other citrus that come through most. There is also a vividly earthy, weedy, leafy sensation, as if we were eating the hops from the vine.

There's no doubt this is brewed for an 'American-ized' palate - even despite ensuring the requisite toffee, biscuity maltiness it's the acidic grapefruit and weedy herbal notes that shine through. Bitterness, too, is extra strong (even for an extra strong bitter) although it's not as noticeable given that the caramel flavours have also been intensified.

If you prefer a greater ratio of hops to malts then you can thank Rogue for tinkering with the proportions. A beer like XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter is quite telling about both the capabilities as well as the mentality of this 'rogue' brewery: they can brew classic, established recipes as fine as anyone else... but they prefer to do it their own (bolder) way instead.

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XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter from Rogue Ales
87 out of 100 based on 147 ratings.