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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

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Brutal Bitter Ale
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BA SCORE
88
very good

1,853 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,853
Reviews: 1,064
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 66
Gots: 71 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
**NOTE: This beer is now called "Brutal IPA" **
It has also been bottled as "Portland State IPA" (2010).

An Imperial bitter with exotic traditional floor malts, citrusy, hoppy flavor and stupendous hop aroma. Rogue brewmaster John Maier describes his Brutal IPA as a cross between a Very Extra Special Bitter and an Indian Pale Ale. Hedonistic!

8 INGREDIENTS: 2-Row, Carawheat, C15 & Rogue Farms Dare™ & Risk™ Malts; Rogue Farms Alluvial™ Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast.

22oz Bottle & Draft / 15° Plato / 46 IBU / 81 AA / 13° Lovibond

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,853 | Reviews: 1,064 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by MCDub:
Photo of MCDub
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%

MCDub, Oct 17, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep hazy orange with a real nice fluffy head that leaves some great lacing,aroma hops hops and more hops,very citric and resiny.Taste is definently hop tilted very zesty,oily and dry I get a slight dry maltiness but not much.Iam not a hophead but gotta give this brew props,by far the most hoppy ESB I have ever had.

oberon, Apr 07, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This is a deep, rich, thick orange in color with a modest head. The head was OK, but the body is just gorgeous. It looks like that Lite-Bright orange, a solid, cloudy orange with a light in the background barely shining through.

Smell – Ah, I love the scent that the Crystal hops give up. It is very sharp and distinctive and a bit rank, like some aged Indo. The lightly-toasted malt backbone is not to be ignored.

Taste – This is so good it’s hard to put down. The hops are tremendous at the taste and very tell done. They provide a perfect balance to the toasty malts. It almost tastes dry-hopped though because the Crystal hops are so dominant in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied ESB has great carbonation and really isn’t “brutally dry” as the name would suggest. It’s much more easy in the cheeks than the bottled version.

The key here is the smoothness, which also enhances Drinkability. It goes down in long, beautiful swallows. It’s almost therapeutic to the tongue and cheeks. I haven’t found a beer that I enjoy holding in my mouth more than tapped Brutal Bitter.

Drinkability – It’s hard to find fault in this ESB. It goes down like silk and is one of the smoothest tapped beers that I’ve ever had.

RoyalT, Apr 20, 2006
Photo of TCHopCraver
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes scrawled on 3/23/11.

Brutal pours golden-amber and not see-through into a larger snifter. The head is densely fluffy, pure white, and a healthy two fingers. The carbonation looks excitable and plentiful, and lacing left on the glass is fairly globby and intricate.

Leafy and grassy hops are the first smells my nose detects. A light grapefruit smell is present, along with some earthy, metallic hops. A slight caramel and heavy biscuit malt aroma complements the hop smells.

The taste presents a smoother balance of malt and hops than I thought I would find after smelling the beer. I wouldn't say it's a "Brutal IPA," per se. the caramel and biscuit malt really synthesizes with the hops and takes the alpha acid edge off of them. This is not a blah flavor, but it isn't all that potent for an IPA. The flavor is really somewhat sweet with a leafy aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is smooth and rather creamy for an IPA. It's a medium bodied beer with a slight bitter twinge at the end of each sip. Not exactly your typical IPA mouthfeel.

Bitter Ale is certainly a sessionable IPA that is not overly bitter. However, it's not memorable enough for me to seek it out again. If I saw this on tap at a bar for a reasonable price, though, I would go for it.

TCHopCraver, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.72/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in nonic

Look (4.5/5) Pours a very hazy deep-gold to orange color. The head is really great! Pours a huge three or so fingers that rises a bit slowly with a cascade. It comes up big and off-white. Great stand and great lacing. Nice carbonation on the glass.

Smell (4.5/5) The nose if obviously hoppy. It had some bready malt in there. Hops pine and resin with some grapefruit; pretty standard north-west flavors. Some light fruitiness comes through, but the finish is very dry with a hint of gypsum.

Flavor (5/5) Really good. The malt (bread crust, lightly sweet) gives a great backbone. The hop flavor is pretty strong and complex. The same as on the nose. Bitterness is a little less than expected, which really puts the balance between the hop flavor and the light sweetness of the malt which work well.

Feel (4.5/5) Medium-light body with medium-high carbonation make for a fluffy feel and dry out the finish a lot, which is really nice because there is a bit less bitterness.

Drink (4.5/5) a really great brew that finds some middle ground between an APA and an IIPA. Highly drinkable!

Rijtjeshuis, Jul 17, 2011
Photo of tbryan5
4/5  rDev 0%

tbryan5, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of SIRIUS2
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from bottle into a pint glass producing a foamy off-white head with about okay retention and good lacing. Color was a ruddy orange with a light haze.

S: A nice clean floral nose with minor secondary hint of citrus.

T: Reasonable and enjoyable hops are prominent over a light tasting yet medium bodied brew. A light caramel maltiness is there if you look for it beyond the hops.

M & D: Good body and perfect carbonation combine with great flavored hops makes this go down smooth. The finish is great with a light lingering of the hop bitterness.

Very nice beverage! A nice bitter has got to be one of my favorites and this one didn't disappoint. Although a bit heavy on the finishing hops, the body of the ale is balanced well with the malts allowing everything to blend nicely. Very nice.

SIRIUS2, Feb 02, 2008
Photo of rugbycritic
4.83/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is awesome stuff. Great hops, great malt, great alcoholic warming. This is legendary. It's the one we go to after a few, then stay for the evening.

Wonderful warm amber reddish darkness, sparkling white head with massive nose, a bit craggy if you will, with lace. The first taste on a clean palate is stunning. First is hops, then warmth, then hops, then a bit of sweet, then hops, then just nirvanna

rugbycritic, Sep 20, 2004
Photo of Dmann
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer, and if it were not $9.00 a six pack I would get this way more often! I loved the color of this beer, the outer edges were a nice medium gold color, but as you got to the middle it became more of a dark copper color with nice bubbles and a great head as well. The smell was inviting with its light hop oil and sweet fruity scent. The taste was excelent and definantly a imperial bitter. The hops were assertive but not overpowering and blended well with the malt. The aftertaste was lightly sweet and made me grab for another drink very quickly while the nice carbonation tickled my tounge and made this beer very refreshing. A great choice and highly recommended!

Dmann, Jun 06, 2005
Photo of blitz134
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice two finger off white, lumpy head formed with a fairly aggressive pour which stuck around for a while. Aroma is citrusy and grassy.

Flavor isn't overly hoppy, but has the right amount of kick to handle the entire bomber. Hops include a grassy aroma with a touch of that usual hoppy citrus flavor. I enjoy drinking this one because it is only flavored with a single hop. It just goes to show that hops don't need to be mixed to offer up an awesome flavor. The balance in this beer is nice with some slight malt undertones.

Mouthfeel is slightly oily and hangs around for a bit. Probalby a medium mouthfeel overall. Again quite pleasurable. Overall this is a good brew which is highly drinkable due to the hops not being overdone and a great balance overall.

blitz134, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of bulldogg915
4/5  rDev 0%

bulldogg915, Mar 06, 2014
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Down in Tampa, found this store that advertised 3000 beers, bought some different offerings from Rogue. This was a hit. It was an amber color with a minimal head. It had a sweet, fruity odor, not unpleasant. The taste was all fruit and hops, with the hop's bitterness lingering. Smooth in the mouth, a good beer for those hot summer days.

lordofthewiens, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of NWer
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent pour into chalice. Cloudy amber appearance. Second pour from bomber cloudier than the first. Apparently unfiltered, lots of yeast sediment.
Taste gives mild hop presence up front that lingers well. Not a hop bomb by any stretch if that's what you're looking for. More like a bitter ale than an IPA.
A very pleasant likable IPA that sips well on a rainy Northwest afternoon.
Note: Tasted a bottle weeks earlier that was unrefrigerated and unimpressive. Second bottle was refrigerated. This beer clearly drinks better cold.

NWer, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of andyfrancis
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks like a glass of cloudy apple juice, with an off-white head that disappeared almost immediately. Floral and citrus in my nose...just a hint of sweetness. Slighty heavier than I expected, but it does have a clean finish. True to it's name, it is bitter, but not overbearingly so. I'd gladly drink this again, but won't make it a point to seek it out.

andyfrancis, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of warnerry
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No bottle date

A - Pours hazy deep straw/orange with three fingers of head and lots of rising carbonation. Head has good retention and leaves some lacing behind.

S - Smell seems to be mostly bready malts. Nothing too intriguing, but not bad.

T - Bitterness up front followed quickly by bread malts and a bit of an iced tea flavor. Doesn't really seem like an IPA. Subtle, but tastes good. Seems undeserving of the name Brutal, but maybe the bottle is a bit old.

M - Medium full mouthfeel that leaves a slight lingering bitterness.

O - A good, drinkable beer, if not particularly interesting. A stronger hop presence would make me more likely to get this again.

warnerry, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of sponberg
3.15/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled: On tap, pint glass

The aroma is almost purely hop, with a bit of malt behind it. An intensely hoppy beer - starts with malt and bitterness, and ends like you're sucking on a grapefruit rind that's been dipped in pale ale. Personally, I prefer more of a malt-hop balance - this bad boy leans too far to the hop side for repeated drinking. Given that, one of these from an icy cooler poolside on a broiling hot day could be a nearly religious experience.

sponberg, May 09, 2002
Photo of grynder33
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

first sniff was a nicely balanced cloud of malt and hop, with the hops starting to predominate on the second pass. Not as strong or forceful of a taste as I expected. An IPA grapefruit taste was evident, but subtler than an IPA, very wonderful bitter aftertaste as good as an aftertaste than I've had in a long time. Another great Rouge beer.

grynder33, May 16, 2004
Photo of Beaver13
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a cloudy golden orange with a smallish fluffy white head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is spicy floral hops, a little melon, and some almost malt liquorish malt that was off-putting (but it did dissipate as I drank).

The flavor is bitter grassy and slightly fruity hops with a nice initial malt backbone. It has a long bitter finish. It's medium bodied and smooth.

Overall, a very hoppy ESB. It matches up well with IPAs, but it is a little pricey ($10.50 per 6 pack). I was expecting more fruitiness in the aroma and flavor.

Beaver13, Jul 27, 2005
Photo of Duster72
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy amber color with a off white one finger head with decent retention. Aroma is mild bitter hops with some sweet breads and citrus. Taste is excellent with sweet malts playing off the hops bitterness perfectly. Smooth mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability, perfect session candidate. Awesome beer.

Duster72, May 10, 2007
Photo of iemailjack
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%

iemailjack, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz bomber with no freshness date to be found.

Appearance: Copperish amber hued brew with a pillowy off white head with a mild chill haze.

Smell: Pungent (mild rind), piney sweet, raw hop aroma is very dominant. Smells like raw hops oils basically.

Taste: Very smooth with a semi chewy malt mouth feel, a touch of malt sweetness peeks its head out yet the hops take over and release a big pungent bitterness (hint of rind) with a very inviting oily hop flavour that is a little sweet in the finish.

Notes: For as much hops as they used for this brew it is balanced quite well. Very interesting with the use of only one hop variety ... the Crystal hop, a cross between Hallertauer and Cascade. An amazing brew and becoming a cult classic among the hopheads and veteran beer geeks. A "not for the faint of heart brew".

Jason, Jun 10, 2002
Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a slightly hazy, orange amber color. Beige head has good retention and lasts for several minutes. Puffs of lace are left all over the glass. Aroma shouts out loud, with bigtime westcoast hops. Grapefruit and spruce pine are here in spades. Mouthfeel is a mouthful of the same hops. Sour and bitter, plenty of bite, and lots of carbonation. Taste kicks off with the same hops bitterness. Lots of pine and sour grapefruit, a hint of mandarin orange...a hop lover's delight. The English malts keep a low profile here. I was expecting some malty nuttiness like an English ESB, but this one is closer to a big IPA. Hop oils and resins are in abundance. Some malt flavors try to emerge as it nears room temperature, but just can't make the journey through the enormous hops profile. Plenty of flavor here, especially if you enjoy big westcoast hops, but I was hoping for a more assertive malt profile out of the Brit floor malts. Very enjoyable and highly drinkable for what it is.

merlin48, Feb 17, 2004
Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle, w/o freshness indication. Pours cloudy dark apricot/brown in color, very cloudy. Head is light tan, showing good retention and leaving stringy, fine and well developed lacing. Nose is strongly of minty and oily hops. This a wonderful beer, IMHO. Balanced, but still with a nice hoppy presence They call it "an imperial style bitter" on the label and that hits the mark. Its tastes like a well crafted and highly drinkable Brit. bitter, but Americanized/kicked up. Still subtle, still very drinkable, just with some extra Rogue attitude and zip.

As the label also says "Hedonistic!"

Fine everyday, high quality, good drinking suds

Billolick, Jul 21, 2005
Photo of tigg924
3.23/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: orange-brown in color, 1 inch head, cloudy, high carbonation

Smell: hops and lots of floral scents

Taste: a bready start with a super hoppy finish

Mouthfeel: smooth, super bitter, medium body

Drinkability: I expected a bit more balance, but this is really bitter. The hops are featured here. This is a sipper and I would only have one per session max.

tigg924, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Common Table in Dallas.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of citrus and a bit of floral. Overall, this is a very citrus-forward American IPA. The flavor is more of the same with a little bit of pine mixed in. I also get a nice bit of biscuit malt mixed in to keep the bitterness to a low to medium level. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Glad I got to try this one.

Mora2000, Jan 12, 2011
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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
88 out of 100 based on 1,853 ratings.