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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

207 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 207
Reviews: 146
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.49%
Wants: 10
Gots: 8 | 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:
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 added by: klewis on 01-15-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 207 | Reviews: 146 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of puboflyons
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 7 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on July 31, 2010. It pours a mahogany, tree-like brown with about a half inch foamy beige head. The aroma is full of caramel malts with a a sidebar of hops. The taste comes across as bitter with a nice wallop of hops at the end. I wish I had picked up the larger bottle.

puboflyons, Jul 31, 2010
Photo of GregPearson33
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this from one of those great 7oz X-series ponies...

Appearance: Dark caramel/amber with a bit of haze, topped by a tight cream colored head.

Smell: Floral and sweet with orangey-zesty citrus hop notes

Taste: bready with a strong malt backbone that's rounded by a piney, earthy hop presence. It wasn't really what I expected from the nose but overall I like it, just a little thrown off.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: the beer is well carbonated which keeps it reasonably light on the palate but the end is marked by a somewhat syrupy, thick mouth-coating.

Overall it's two saving graces were the bottle size and the carbonation. I would say it's a solid beer, but not one I would necessarily seek out and definitely not one to session.

GregPearson33, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of popery
3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

7 oz bottle. Interesting beer. It has a big biscuit, apricot/plum and caramel malt flavor with a good dose of piney hops. The hops seem a bit faded but still manage to reign in the sweet malt. The flavor is mildly sweet, though drier than expected, given all the malt. Carbonation is average. There is a good hoppy bite in the finish. The beer is a darkened amber with a creamy white head that dissipated rather quickly. Unfortunately, the little nip bottle isn't really appropriate, in my opinion. It's not a terribly strong beer and the flavor doesn't tire the palate quickly or anything, so I don't really see the point. If the special malt and hops that Rogue used are expensive or limited in quantity, they should have just put it in more limited distribution. In my opinion, there should be a point to using such small bottles.

popery, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of bamadog
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this as an extra in a trade with black13 - thanks for the beer! Plus, he's a great trader. Review is from notes taken on 7/21/2010 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a dark apricot color with some coppery aspects; starts with a one finger off-white creamy head with very solid retention; body is cloudy and hazy, and shows strong carbonation and some floating sediment; a full curtain of lacing is left on the back of the glass and random spots elsewhere.

Smell: Not bad -- some floral hops combine with some dry and biscuity graininess and a touch of lemon. Could be more robust though.

Taste: A fair blend of floral/grassy bitter hops and that toasty dry biscuity graininess; a very slight hint of sweet malts (with no real attributable flavor) and a mild presence of warm alcohol; overall, it's a pretty simple beer -- nothing very special about it, but it's certainly very solid.

Mouthfeel: A thick and semi-dry coating is left holding firm to the roof of the mouth; body is medium light and the carbonation is very soft and makes the body seem creamy; the gums are left a little tingly and the belly is left warm.

Drinkability: Not bad, simple and fairly refreshing with the bitterness; ABV is a tad high, but because of the ridiculously small bottle (WTF, Rogue?), getting through a couple of these wouldn't be a problem. Not the best offering from this brewery I've had, but certainly not the worst.

bamadog, Jul 24, 2010
Photo of beerthulhu
3.4/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a hazy, dark ice-tea color with a beach sand frothy head about a finger high. Against natural light the coloring appeared a firebrick red, revealing a steadfast effervesce of micro-bubbles. The lacing was slight, of very low coverage area, while the head retention was good, leaving a skim coating for the remainder of the drink.

S: The alcohol was most noticeable upfront. There were some instances of ripe tomatoes, toasted grains and a hop spiciness of warm cooked pineapples, and leafy green stem notes. Overall the bitterness was soft, mostly masked by the forefront of alcohol.

T: The flavor appeared a bit thin at first with warm watery citrus and toasted grains highlighted by a bit of alcohol warmth. The finish finds a bittering of warm pine juice and alcohol. The alcohol seems to be the main focus here, while the malting and hop bitterness play a weak second fiddle.

M: Medium body with hardly a mention of carbonation. Warm citrus and alcohol appear on the finish. Lacked a good residual coating, a bit light and mostly fueled by alcohol then anything else.

D: The alcohol seemed a bit excessive, though I've had much bigger, this tells me this just wasn't balanced to well. A drink of limited quantities. Overall I would prefer a more traditional take and the 7oz played well here.

End musings: this sample came from a 7oz. Nip bottle, which I think is probably the bare minimal to base a review of, but somehow still didn't seem enough for me. At the price they charge $4.60 I would say its not worthy of its high price for its limited volume and appeal.

beerthulhu, Jul 20, 2010
Photo of Clydesdale
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark reddish-amber color, with a creamy, medium sized burnt orange head. Retention is fairly sturdy, leaving a bit of lace along the glass as I drink.

S: A firm crystal malt presence in the nose, venturing into brown sugary territory. A robust earthiness is accompanied by pleasant notes of orange rind and herbal hoppiness.

T: Noticeably sweet up front, thanks to a big dose of caramel malt. Some mild brown sugar flavor. Hops are bold and spicy/herbal, with citric and earthy contributions. A bit fruity overall. Bitterness is moderately high, and while the alcohol is well-masked, it isn't completely absent.

M: Fairly full-bodied. Carbonation is on the light side, lending a somewhat sticky feel. Smooth overall.

D: A nice brew from Rogue that straddles the line between ESB and strong ale pretty nicely. Drinkability is pretty nice, and this beer has a little something for everyone - definitely sweet and malty, but with a hoppy focus and a fruity character.

Clydesdale, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of silver0rlead
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber color with a small tan head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma has some toffee and caramel upfront, along with peppery and floral hops, fruity ale esters, mineral, orange zest, and alcohol. The flavor kicks it up a notch (BAM!) with some citrusy and spicy hops upfront, along with caramel and toffee, biscuit, fruity esters, minerals, orange marmalade, and a little alcohol. The mouthfeel is full and rich and drinkability is pretty good considering the ABV. A very tasty beer even though it bears little resemblance to an authentic English bitter, but being a Rogue beer I expected that going in.

silver0rlead, Jul 14, 2010
Photo of engisch
3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

7.1% in a 7oz bottle?! Is Rogue becoming a Nanny?

Light ruby brown, with a small head. Does not seem to have much head formation, but may be how I poured it. When pouring, I didn't think about the 7oz volume not having a need to worry about trying to fit it in the glass. When purchasing it at the store, I had comments from the customers and staff that can be summed up as, "cute".

It smells grassy and sweet. Smells quite malty.

For such a small beer it tastes rather big. It is malty sweet and biscuity with a significant bitterness from the hops.

Satisfying full mouthfeel with just a little sharp carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. A 12oz bottle would be a fine serving size, and I'm not sure why the 7oz size, as it's drinkability is not a problem. It is bigger than most bitters, but nothing all that significant considering the 7.1%, which is almost a norm in bottles served as 22oz bombers (probably to be shared, like wine). Dings in drinkability, as I'm not going to make my arms tired opening so many bottles. Nonsense.

I really question the 7oz serving size, and will not be purchasing this again, as the price of the bottle was as much as many larger bottles of better beer. Poor decisions Rogue! I feel like you ripped me off by making such a small 7oz bottle. I'd understand if it was a >10% bomb, but this makes no sense. John's head must have swelled, and now he's trying to make a wallet to match! None the less, decent beer, albeit nothing exceptional or beer hunter worthy.

engisch, Jul 11, 2010
Photo of lordofthewiens
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 7oz bottle poured into a snifter.
Hazy amber color with a small tan head.
Floral aroma, caramel. Boozy.
The alcohol was noticeable, but not intrusive. A taste of caramel apple and piney hops. Some malt.
Balanced mouthfeel.
Would drink this one again.

lordofthewiens, Jul 08, 2010
Photo of thagr81us
2.73/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from 7 oz bottle into a Stone nonic. Pours a hazy red-orange with a one finger white head. Maintains lacing throughout. The aroma is comprised of malt, hops, and skunky. The flavor is of malt, subtle hop, and wood. It is medium on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall I did not really enjoy this brew much. The flavor was quite harsh and not appealing. I think the skunky aroma was also a turnoff on this one. I was expecting more, but was unfortunately let down. A rare miss from Rogue...

thagr81us, Jul 02, 2010
Photo of cavedave
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to black13 for the chance to try this gem!

It pours a beautiful dark amber, topped by a small beige cap that relaxes to a skim island and persistent ring.

The smell is a medium aroma, nice bready malt and floral hops, just a hint of bitter at the edge, a hint of mildly tart yeast.

It has medium/full flavor, light caramel, bready sweet, luscious and complex floral hop straight through into a finish that picks up some effervescent and tasty bitter. No hint of the 7 plus ABV. One of the better domestic attempts at an English specialty. The distinctive hop profile really makes this beer delicious.

Mouthfeel is perfect for what is advertised as an Imperial ESB, whatever that is, nice low carb., just viscous enough, excellent finish, clean and tasty. Perhaps too viscous to compete against a few lower ABV brews in this style, but ...

Drinkability is superb. I could imagine this as a session beer, regardless of the ABV.

Impression: Yet another superb Oregon beer. I'm moving to Oregon.

cavedave, Jun 23, 2010
Photo of Brad007
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a mild amber color with no head into my glass. That's probably my doing. Otherwise, good presentation.

Aroma is chock full of alcohol warmth followed by grassy hops and buttery malt. Seems about right for the style.

Taste seems muted with more of a buttery malt presence with hops taking a backseat. Whatever there is of hops, they are grassy and not much else. Not bad overall. I fail to see the "imperial" part of this.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering buttery malt and grassy hops. Not much else except that alcohol warmth has cooled.

A decent example of the style but again, I don't see the "imperial" part and you'd be better off to just buy the regular Younger's Special Bitter.

Brad007, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of Ego
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2 full fingers of craggy somewhat cracklin' head, deep orange to light ruby hue, lacing is spot on with a clingy curtain of micro foam sliding down the glass, carbonation lazily meanders to the head for replenishment, nice.

honey biscuits, honey muffins, underlying candy sweetness, that distinct odor of non crazy alpha hops (I know it has amarillo but it does not reek of same), slight faint citrus note, caramel, this smells chewable... damn!

taste etc...
carbonation. dead. spot. on. wow. Just smooth as silk to drink, the carb is there but never becomes more than a vehicle for this liquid gold, lingering bitterness lays around after the sip inviting another tug on the mug, the flavor is actually mild-ish but that is not a complaint, we have medium body to just light enough to really sit around and enjoy. This should go great with basic pub food as the bitterness is enough to cleanse the palate but not enough to ruin your grub, everything detected in the nose is at play here in the flavor.

$14.99... this is close to worth it imo. I wish they would make this in normal bombers instead of the ceramic ones... but hey, buggers can't be choosers...

Ego, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of danielharper
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amazingly well-balanced for an ESB of this strength. Lots of hops, sure, particularly Goldings, but with a great biscuity malt balance that really makes for a drinkable beer experience. A bit intense for people devoted to traditional English beers, but American beer fans should find this a very nice bottle.

danielharper, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of woosterbill
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ceramic bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Slightly hazy, medium reddish-amber body with a 1" head of light tan foam. Average retention and light lacing.

S: Rich biscuity malt, slight caramel sweetness, and assertive floral hops. Enjoyable and intense for the style.

T: Complex malt profile that starts out with sweet caramel and transitions into a dry, toasty breadiness. Solid hops bitterness on the finish. Quite good.

M: Smooth medium body with light carbonation.

D: Nothing too special, but it certainly doesn't show its strength at all.

Notes: Thanks to my buddy Drew for letting me get a glass of this - Lord knows I wouldn't pay $16 for an ESB. Even as good as this beer is, the bottle is almost certainly worth more.


woosterbill, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of notlob
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Caramel apples and sweet alcohols. A little nutty and some citrus hops coming through.

Appearance: Pours a medium-light brown with a thick frothy two inch off-white head that sits there for quite some time.

Flavor: Very smooth yet a little chewy. Lots of citrus hop overtones and a moderate caramel-sweet maltiness. A nice balance of bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Slick and soft. Low to moderate carbonation. WEIRD.

Overall Impression: Meh, I don't think I let it cool enough. Would be otherwise quite an easy drinking, refreshing beer, despite its imperial existence. I think I need to try more ESBs to see how this compares...

notlob, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of CampusCrew
4.47/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep amber, kinda of reddish, nice head retention

smell: loaded citrus from this beer and strong hop aroma

taste: a nicely hopped ale, and I was very surprised. lots of citrus and decently balanced

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: awesome beer and all of the XS beers I have had so far have been awesome

CampusCrew, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of Kkottonmouthkngz
4.28/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Second of the Rogue Imperial series that ive tried and this one is just as good as the last (Imperial IPA). Due to my increasing love of a nice bitter beer, this one scores high on the charts. Excellent malty backbone and hits all the right spots as it kind of engulfs your taste buds. Probably the only time ill want to spend the 18 bucks on one, but well worth the money, and the experience. Unfortunately it just leaves you wanting just a little bit more...

Kkottonmouthkngz, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of WesWes
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a stronger English bitter scent which boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a better than average dose of hops. The taste is good as well. It has a dry, bitter flavor that screams hops with a nice touch of caramel malt to balance it out. It's extremely smooth and easy drinking even at 7%. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good beer. It takes an easy drinking session beer and gives it some attitude.

WesWes, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml ceramic swing-top bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep golden brown color with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramelized malts, nuts, tea, a good amount of hops and some citrus.

T: The taste is well-balanced and starts with mildly sweet flavors of caramel, nuts and citrus. Then a strong but not over-powering hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy. The after-taste is slightly hoppy.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, nice kick, good representation of style while adding a little extra strength, this is a good beer with substance and flavor to drink for a long time.

TheManiacalOne, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of ImusBeer
3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another 11oz pour, not a problem but I wish they had some glasses other than the white wine stems.

It came a clear copper color with a white head and large bubbles. Died rather quickly.

The aromas started with citus then a slight malt. The flavours were of citrus, mostly orange and a sour aftertaste.

nothing much in the way of piney bitterness I was expecting but it was light and dry almost thin IMHO, bitter at the end mostly in the form of dryness.

ImusBeer, Oct 26, 2009
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz, ceramic black swingtop bottle I purchased on sale at Bestways in Greensboro, NC. Pours a clear and slightly hazy amber color with a large, white, frothy and sticky white. A heavy dose of lacing renders the glass nearly opaque with protein layers on the glass.

Aroma is matly with a bit of metallic aromas as well. Caramel, a touch of fruitiness, and a solid earthy hop presence. The slightest bit of chocolate lends a very nice aroma to this one.

Sweet at first with that caramel sweetness but immediately followed by a strong hop bitterness. Actually, this one has quite a bite to it. Earthy and fruity hop flavor. Good malty flavor with great balance, leaning towards hoppy.

Really creamy in the mouthfeel. Bitter hop bite. Sticky in the finish with a lingering hop bitterness that is accompanied for nearly the entire ride with a sweet, malty, caramelly stickiness.

A really easy drinker. Perfect for the fall months as it is malty for the fall but the bitterness and slight alcoholic warmth makes this a "comfort food" type beer that would go well with any hearty stew. I may have to return to get more of this while it is on sale (plus, the bottles are awesome for homebrew!). A definite winner.

SaCkErZ9, Oct 10, 2009
Photo of juhl31
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a swing top actually....come on now

-dark amber, caramel, all those golden dark brown words apple here. good head with excellent lacing

-you can start smelling it from the pour. malt comes at me first, little sweet, little yeasty

-man that's good. malty goodness, bitter goodness. real glad i got a 6 pack of these for $25 at the rogue yard sale.

-real smooth, a hint of carb. good

-if i wasnt paying attention, i could drink 3 pints of this real quick.

juhl31, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of EliottJW
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep amber, almost orange with a soapy head. tons of lacing makes this a reeeaaally attractive beer. just murky enough for my tastes... this is really one of the better looking beers I've seen in quite a while!

smells pretty damn awesome... just a TOUCH citrusy with strong, sugary overtones and a hint of bread. really looking forward to this!

WOW!... seriously, wow... I'm REALLY enjoying this. I know right as this hits my mouth, it's 4.5s across the board... faint red apple right at the start quickly becomes sweet, bready malts and finishes with bitter hops... no hop FLAVOR, just bitter... this is REALLY nice... and dangerous... and really makes me want to use lots of ellipses... which means it makes me very contemplative...

mouth is great! not to heavy, not to light... a touch creamy with just the right carbonation... only off putting is a little astringency, but hardly any at all.

this is a dangerous beer... I'm glad jay picked up a half case for like 30% normal price... booyah.

EliottJW, Sep 09, 2009
Photo of blaje
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber in colour, little orange and brown note. Thin head fadding quickly. Perfectly translucid at first but becoming more hazy as you go down the bottle. Bottle conditioning???

Nose: Sweet malt, candied sugar. Tea like aroma. Apple.

Mouth: Bitterness feal more than double then its little sister, the YSB, This gives me the feeling of a crossover between an american IPA and an english IPA. Carbonation is more like an english bitter, medium-low.

Beautiful bottle but pricey.Definitely like it better the the YSB. More hops is a good amelioration for me.

blaje, Aug 29, 2009
XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter from Rogue Ales
88 out of 100 based on 207 ratings.