Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,011 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,011
Reviews: 1,093
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 78
Gots: 144 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001

**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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,011 | Reviews: 1,093
Photo of hopstorm
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely perfect. This is the equivalent to heavens ambrosia. Pours a hazy golden color. Creamy head. Its almost like each sip is a chewy bite of goodness. The malt-hop balance is uncanny. Crystal hops dance on the palate and the malt combination is just fantastic, mostly marris otter I believe. It smells like its going to be hoppier than it is, and while it is hoppy, its just balanced so well. The pac man yeast is probably what pulls it all together. Unlike any traditional british bitter I've ever had. I could drink this all day every day. Rogue really out did themselves here. I really don't know why I buy anything else. A bit pricey at 12 for a 6er but well worth it IMO. Try this one, you won't be disappointed!

Photo of HopsHops
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

man,.,how picky do you gotta be?

An orange/ gold color with a nice lasting head ...a rich hoppy bitterness u cant deny....IN YOUR FACE!!! flavor for a beer... i thought this was going to be a dark black color i was surprised with it and i absolutely love it...a sweet but bitter smell...the name is a bit much but it IS bitter and i love that...a bitter piece of gold i cant say anything bad about it ....cheers @ rogue

Photo of prosper
4.97/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a slightly hazy copper colour with a dense off-white foamy head. Leaves a bit of lacing.

Smells very hoppy; a strong grapefruit citrus hop with a creamy malty body backing things up without stealing the show.

Tastes much the same as it smells. Citrus hops dominate, with lots of fruity esters and a nice maltiness rounding things out. Despite the name, it's not at all bitter. More malt presents as it warms up. Ideally this should be served at 10 to 15 degrees, I'd say.

Lightly carbonated, with a medium body and a nice creamy texture.

Stop whatever you're doing right now and go buy some of this.

Photo of mattmaples
4.94/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great presentation, light amber color desent head. Wonderful pine/grapefruit hop character. I know it says "Brutal Bitter" but there are plenty beers out there more bitter than this and this one unlike some is well balanced. In fact the hop flavor is what dominates this brew and not the bitterness. I'm not a hop head (but I play one on TV) but I would go for one of these on a regular basis.

Photo of John
4.94/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Brutal is something to gradually build toward during any session. Once you get here, there's no going back. Superbly hopped in the fine Rogue tradition. Outstanding.

Photo of trumick
4.92/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a light amber color with a big head and lots of lacing all around.

Scent is incredible citrus hop and more hops.

Taste is superb lightly sweet malt with nice bittering hops that finishes with a dry grapefruit hop taste that holds on forever.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp with perfect carbination.

Drinkability will suit all hop heads. I could puth these away all day, but this beer is very expensive. Due to the expense, I can only drink these sparingly once in a while.

I have yet to be disapointed with a Rogue product. This is one of the best beers I have ever had.

Photo of WalterHeisenberg
4.9/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Aggressive pour into goblet
A: cloudy orange fat off white head. Dies slowly good lacing. Looks mighty tasty
S: Biscuity big lemon orange citrus malty floral hops.smells bitter. Smells as good as it looks
T:Biscuty malty hoppy Bitter orange rind Bitter malty orange dry finish. Malt orange bitter hops linger BUT all balanced very well. Hoppy over the toppy. It ain't called brutal bitter for nothing
M: a tad bit thin at first. Then smooth chewey sticky.
O: It is bitter all around but not brutally. But it's a balanced bitter. Very smooth. Overall a top notch IPA looks smell taste are all quality.You can definetly do way worse I can see this being a bitter pale ale.And this particular bottle was old. I found it in the back of my pantry. Been there 10-12 months. Still pretty nice.

Photo of mempath
4.89/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into my 'mini' hybrid pilsen/ale half-pint glass

pours a cloudy, orange marmalade hue with slighty off-white head...beautiful on top (pancake batter), but sides reveal big, active carbonation...creamy lacing lingers nicely. very pretty

smell is wow, oranges again...citrus sweetness, mandarin...then it shifts to the bitter/sour grapefruit sense, though retaining that sugariness...did i say wow?

like Stone's Ruination, there is nothing really ruining OR brutal here...that is, those are key words for hop heads and warnings to those who don't like the in your face qualities of hoppy brews. the taste is tremendous, unique...perhaps the best Rogue bottling i've had yet. definitely not over hoppy, but this is art, a true craftbrew and the balance is key, making this (along with near perfect mouthfeel of creaminess and crispness) a very drinkable, session brew. i can see this with food, but i wouldn't want to share the palate with anything else. a new favorite for me! should've gotten the bomber...

edit: one more swallow reveals a torrential downpour, a heady constellation of hops all over the mouth, like some sort of supercollider experiment. savor this. or take huge gulps. you can't escape the unique character of this bottling. gotta compare this to Torpedo AND FF Hopfish as potential everyday beer.

another sniff...this is the Earl Grey of brews...;)

Photo of Bali_hi
4.86/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Quality Ipa. Smooth, fruity taste that bitters out and finishes as a bright and addictive beer.

Photo of timholio
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my new favorite top 5 beers. I like it as much as Fullers ESB which is the classic for this style according to others. This beer seems fresher than Fullers and seems to have more grapefruit flavors but Fullers a bit flatter and slighty 'soapier'(hops?).

I find this beer very drinikable - not too strong in ABV. I really like a bitter beer. So far I haven't found one thats 'too bitter', I'm not sure such a beer exists - if so bring it on. Good job on this one from Rogue.

Photo of meeekyh
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer came in a 12oz bottle I am sure is not super-fresh. The price on Rogue beers went up from $8.99 to $10.59 on average about 7 months ago. I bet this beer is from that era.

I note the beer is a nice amber color, on the brown side as opposed to red, and slightly hazy. The head is slight and tan in color, creamy and leaves great lacing.

Nose is floral and a bit citrusy. I would call it subdued but add that there is a fullness that transcends the apparent. The hop character sure comes through.

Despite the name this is not a particularly bitter beer. What I notice in particular is a tangy zip, grainy flavors with a bit of fresh grasses. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is nicely creamy and full without coating or having a pronounced aftertaste. Primo beer to be sure, and not that 'Hawaiian' Primo either, though I don't hate that beer either.

Quaffability is hard to beat. I once made this beer my session beer of choice, when the price was slightly lower. I will not grade against the drinkability for the price though because I would give it a 5.5 for drinkability if I could.

In short this is one of my favorite beers ever and continues to please me, especially after the hiatus I took. Distance makes the heart...etc.

Slainte

Photo of neonbrown82
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This weekend has been an awesome weekend for beer. I just got back from the grocery store after having been pleasantly surprised by this 22oz gem on the shelf. This is one of the few Rogue bombers that has eluded me since I started drinking better beer a little over a year ago. This is much better than the Younger's Special Bitter, in my opinion.

It pours to a cloudy dark golden/amber color with a perfectly retaining head bursting of hops aroma. The taste was slightly bitter, but not brutally so. In fact, the bitterness seems to come hand in hand with a sweetness across my palate. This is one beer that has lived up to its hype of drinkability.

I went to the store to pick up a six pack of Three Floyds Pride & Joy since I liked it so much when I tried it last night, but I was shocked to see that the store I used to work at (which used to sell 3F's products) didn't have any 3F's in stock. I was very pleased when I saw this, though, and it seems to be filling the same void. Very highly drinkable, very balanced... enough hops to get me off, enough malts to keep me tongue happy, and just a beautifully crafted brew all around. I suggest you seek it out if you can.

Photo of jeffboo
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one hits it pretty well for me, an American style hop dream.

Grapefruits bouncing off the wall, bouncing into the creamy, frothy, lake. Splash, Splash, as they dance in the copper colored pool. Pine trees surround this lake next to the grapefruit grove. A light breeze blows in other citrus aromas throughout the air but the grapefruits are the ones having fun in this lake. Plunging into this body of water, one is overwhelmed by the complexity of it. It is sooo sweet and lightly toasty, and intermingles nicely with our fruit friends.

As I awake, I feel drawn to the grapefruit in the bowl on the table. I'm not sure why but I know that this is my mission.....find this place from my dream..................

Photo of TastyTaste
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from one of Rogue's signature screen-printed brown bombers. Hazy copper color, creamy white head. Smells of cotton candy sweetness and hops bitterness. Very appealing. Taste is very remarkable. That same sweetness is evident when in the mouth, but there is an avalanche of bitterness that leaves your mouth tingling, and your throat feeling cold. A great beer, maybe almost an IPA, but as a bitter it is just awesome.

Photo of DogFood11
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is far from a typical ESB but then again when does rogue go down the middle of the road. Much lighter in color bordering on golden. Unfiltered appearance, subtle head but it retains and laces nicely.

Pick up some grapefruit and of course a big fresh hop presence.

It actually comes across pretty smooth. I didn't pucker and got a sweet fruit/peach type middle. ended very bitter, hopped up to the hilt. A Damn pleasant experience. Bitter as hell but balanced? huh? how do they do this time after time.

If it wasn't for the price I'd gobble Rogue's lineup of beers all the time. They all seem to have this amazing mouthfeel and drinkability no matter what the style. This is no exception. I need to get a keg of this.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best ESB ever?

Pours a hazy apricot color with a dense cap with incredible retention. chunks of lace stick to the glass, very nice. The amount of haze surprise me, even though I let it sit for 24 hours and poured carefully, it looks like a hefeweizen. Lots of sediment stuck to the base of the bottle.

The aroma is hoppy, very floral and citrusy with a delicate malt base. The taste is the same with a good does of bitterness throughtout. Lots of grapefruit and a bit of pine mingle with a soft bready malt base. Mmmm its too drinkable. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with tiny carbonation bubbles. The finish is bitter and long but also balanced with some malt sweetness.

This beer is so damn quaffable. Crystal hops are very tastey. Its pretty much in IPA territory to me. Still its perfectly balanced... a session beer for a hophead.

Photo of HoppyBastard
4.81/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber to a shaker pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Cloudy, hazy and has a slightly orange color with about an inch-plus creamy head and a fair amount of lacing.

SMELL: Assertive combination of bread and citrus, floral hops.

TASTE: Citrus and biscuit malt flavor, then you get the hops. This brew has less pronounced hop profile than most IPA's and is very well balanced. It has a delicious aftertaste that really stays with you, in a good way. As the beer warmed it tasted even better.

PALATE: Medium bodied and chewy bread.

OVERALL: This beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy! I think this is the finest IPA ever because it has found the perfect balance between malt and hops. I have some constructive criticism for Rogue Ales; I would appreciate a six pack of 12 ounce bottles option as opposed to the 22 ounce bomber. In addition, this beer is too expensive compared to other similar beers available. You made a great beer but are your own worst enemy. Apparently, "Dare, Risk and Dream" only applies to the Brew Master, not the Sales/Marketing Department.

Photo of rugbycritic
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
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

Photo of Godspeed
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Until this past weekend I had trouble locating this particular Rogue beer. The local package stores I frequent never had it in stock, despite carrying most of the other selections from this fine brewery.

Needless to say I was surprised to see a whole shelf dedicated to this marvelous concoction at Trader Joe's in Cambridge: a grocery store with a small but impressive selection of micros. They had Brutal Bitter in stock, and plenty of them. All in 22 ounce bomber form.

I tipped the bottle, and out flowed a hazy orange liquid. The bubbly head materialized soon after and then diminished slowly, leaving a thin oily lacing. I swirled the newly poured beverage and sniffed. Orange rinds and grapefruits wafted through my nose. I found the tart, hoppy aroma to be quite enticing. I took a sip and was surprised at the smooth, fresh character of this beer. Not at all what I expected from an ESB. Creamy malt sweetness with a citrusy, crisp hop flavor. Overall very well balanced considering the powerful hop presence. Very, very drinkable. Yes, I could see myself downing several of these in rapid succession.

In retrospect I guess I had modest expectations. To be frank, "Brutal" and "Bitter" are adjectives I normally wouldn't associate with such an appetizing beverage. Well I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a session beer like none other. I dare say it's my favorite Rogue brew.

Photo of rogueleonardi
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Cloudy amber orange color, with a thick off white head

S - Has a great balance between Sweet and Spicy. The malt is sweet smelling with strong citrus and floral scents from the grapefruit and hops.

T - Delicious, lots of citrus flavor from the grapefruit. The hops add a nice bitterness that hangs around for awhile. There's a definite sweet taste that I can't really put my finger on. (I think my taste buds are just using it as an excuse to have another very soon)

M - Good carbonation, nice bitterness that sticks around for awhile. Goes down easy with no hint of alcohol.

O - This is a very good IPA, and is exactly what a west coast IPA should taste like. Tons of citrus, little malt, and strong hop bitterness.

Photo of Shiredave
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The more I drink this beer, the more I like it. I just had to come back and raise my scores. Its nice to have it available in 12oz bottles now, tho I never had a problem drinking 22oz of it.

Bright copper with a firm white head draping the inside of the glass. Great retention ; 1/2 in. head kicks up w/ a few swirls. Slow, sparse carbonation.
Intensley flowery and piney aroma, rich vanilla and warm jelly sweetness sucks your nose into the glass.
Flavor is sharp up front - grapefruit and bitter spruce tips take a juicy bite on the tongue and dominates. Crystal is apparently one potent cone! The hop outshines the underlying grainy malt, but doesnt overpower it..
Medium body struggles to balance the FULL Hop flavor. Honey and bread notes come thru faintly but cant gain a foothold against all the hop going on untill the finish where malt sweetness coats the mouth surounding the sharp bittering.
I love this beer. Cask conditioned, it was near perfect having more balance, mellower bittering and fuller, softer mouth feel.
Amazing "One Hop" showcase Ale.

Photo of pmcadamis
4.79/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - This one is a hazy orange with a nice thick white head. Good lacing and retention, but nothing mind-boggling.

S - Wow. Hops out the ying-yang. This is floral, breezy, and fresh with a contrasting sharp hop note. Fresh bread, yeast, and grassy hops. Nice!

T - Super hoppy and bitter! This is a hop-heads wet dream, but its also very balanced and relatively even keeled.

M - Medium bodied, ridiculously fresh, and tingly with effervescent carbonation. This produces an odd fuzzy sensation on my tongue that I really like.

D - Super-session material for sure. This is one of the best all-arounders I've had in a long time. This (other than the easy going, but far from bland appearance) is a jack of all trades, and pretty much a master of them too. Ridiculously good beer.

Photo of Naerhu
4.79/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a screamingly good beer. It makes me giddy.

Distinticive hop aroma tearing out of the bottle upon opening.

A - Opaque orange body and frantic off-white head.
S - I am floating on a bed of extra spicy hop aroma.
T - This is a bitter, but complex and soft brew. The bitterness is smooth, unlike any other beer. There is a long oily-sweet after taste that pulls on my soul.
M - The beer is of medium body. The brilliance of the complexity comes from the malt integrity.
D - This is amazing.

Photo of Murph
4.78/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful hazy copper color with a thick creamy head that persists for about 20 minutes. Bitter grapefruit/fruity hops smells are abundant as is the smooth, creamy malt that is the backbone to this beer. Sweet, creamy, slightly toasty malt flavors start off on the tongue while the crystal hops play in the background. The hops come to the forefront towards the end of the beer making for a lingering bitter finish. As the beer warms the malt flavors become more pronounced and really make this one smooth brew. Not sure if I have had any brews made with this hop variety before but I definitely like it, somewhat cascadish but different at the same time. The brews is smooth, creamy, and crisp as it rolls across the tongue. This is one extremely drinkable brew. Possibly my favorite Rogue offering to this point, along with the Shakespeare Stout, this is one seriously awesome brew.

Photo of twelvsies
4.76/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very bright hazy orange color. Big huge rocky head afloat that laces quite nicely. Retains extremely well. If you pour it right, a little foam shape will sit on top of the beer all the way down to the bottom. Spicy hop aromas waft up from the glass and citrussy notes remind me of a standard IPA, but a little more subtle and a tad more musty and dusty. The taste of this brew seems at first to be subtle and mellow, but the finish really attacks the palate with super musty bitterness. Wow. I'm picking up on tastes like iced tea and spicy herbal hops. A real floral approach to hops, and toned down a bit. The hop bitterness is there for sure though, in full affect. What a great sensation... A mellow wheaty malt is present and adds a very subtle sweetness. This beer hits the palate with flavors from very subtle, like the mild sweet malts, mustyness, and floral hop flavor, to the extreme spicy bitterness that really defines this beer. The best part about all this though is that no particular flavor overpowers another, which creates an awesome complex brew. Aside from the taste, this beer has a mouthfeel which is simply awesome. One of the top few I've come across for sure. While it's fairly light to medium bodied, it's just super velvety smooth. Can't really describe it, you gotta go try it for yourself. Super dry as well, you'll need a glass of water after this beer. I'm so pumped that I finally tried this beer. I find it to be very unique and different than a lot of the other beers in my general rotation, and I'm sure it'll be an old staple for me soon enough.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 2,011 ratings.