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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,089 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,089
Hads: 2,068
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 14.71%
Wants: 83
Gots: 170 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,089 | Hads: 2,068
Photo of Dantes
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Package: 22oz. crowned bottle, labeled 76 IBU and 15º Plato. I don’t know how to convert this, but I’d love to know the ABV. Short description, ingredients list, and dedication.

Cost: $3.49 at Bottle King

Presentation: ~18oz. in an Imperial pint glass at ~45º

Appearance: A lambent, peach-apricot cloudy body; with a picture-perfect dense, long-lasting, bone-colored head resembling the soft contours of a Caribbean beach. Lacing worthy of Alençon.

Smell: Right away, the aroma put me on notice that I was about to taste something significant. I did not sense the coffee aroma promised by the bottle, but was more than compensated by the fruity bouquet anchored by a wonderful toasted maltiness. Truly biscuity. Complexly hoppy with citrus and piney notes.

Taste: Wow. This delivers flavor with no questions asked. Some have questioned the legitimacy of calling this a bitter, but it earns this term with its excellent balance of sweet, toasted malt; fruity notes; and liberal dose of hops. This is unmistakably a bitter with an American twist and not an APA or IPA. The resinous pine and citrus elements are filled out by a subtle sweetness and enough toasted malt to sink your teeth into. It is this elusive “bready” quality that screams bitter. Full-flavored with a long finish. Tasted better on the cooler side. I'd recommend pouring it at 45º.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, yet refreshingly astringent at the same time.

Drinkability: Another example of why I don't like 22oz. bombers. This is so drinkable, one bomber is not enough. Filling one Imperial pint leaves a woefully inadequate 4oz., so you have to open another bomber if you want more (which you will)! If I had a kegerator, this would take up permanent residence!

A PhD. in bitter in a glass. Anyone looking to learn how a bitter differs from an IPA need only refer to this beer. I probably haven’t described it well enough, but one taste will tell you all you need to know. It's like a brash but accomplished American IPA that has earned a Rhodes Scholarship (or like Churchill, a combination of the best of America and Britain). I'm a big fan of British bitters (and the benchmark Fullers in particular) and was ready to grade this harshly, but it really delivered the goods. One suggestion: come up with a better name. Brutal Bitter conveys the wrong impression and may scare away the less adventurous.

Backwash: Worthy of a knighthood. Cries out to be sold in 550ml bottles or sixers for serious pounding. Why is it so much more expensive (by volume) than Fuller’s?

NB: Bottle info above is from a run of misprinted bottles. IBUs should be 59.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thank you beer gods, for bestowing this gift of delightful Rogue upon your faithful son. For some reason, the purple and yellow colors of this 22 oz. bomber make this beer highly appealing before I even crack the crown. I pour. Light barely eeks through the cloudy tan body. A rocky, pillowy white head retains perfectly. Aroma could pass for a strong IPA. Hops! Orange peel and citrus aromas abound as well. Despite the hoppiness of the nose, the flavor is not nearly as hoppy, which is great, leaving room for the many other flavors to come out. So well balanced. Signature Rogue yeast flavor, grapefruit, wheat-like malty middle, finishes dry and hoppy. Awesome, awesome beer.

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Photo of JohnParadee
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thin head, but good lacing on pour from 22oz bottle. Pleasant floral grapefruit nose. Opaque orange color. Very smooth citrusy taste. Ample but not overpowering hops, and alcohol well integrated (almost hidden). Comfortable mouthfeel. Really like this well balanced IPA. Would (will) drink this one over and over again (I hope).

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Photo of TripelJ
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Rogue Brutal Bitter

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber. Several glasses out of short stemmed flute.

The first thing one will notice upon cracking the seal on this bomber is the wonderfully clean hop aroma. Pours a hazy copper/caramel with a thick white head. Lacing is sticky down the glass. Nice citrus and hop aromas beg you to take that first sip, which is not nearly as "brutal" as I had anticipated. In fact, its a smooth creamy symphony of citrus (ruby red grapefruit) and hops and lingers to a bittersweet end, which comes too soon with *only* 22 oz.... Yes its bitter, but its not overly so, in fact it exceeds my expectations of the normally "extreme" rogue....

Overall: While not as drinkable as the youngers special bitter, this is definitely a great beer that I will be going back to.

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Photo of ClassicBrad
4.59/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Poured an opaque copper with a velvety head that dissipates with no real sign of lace. Smell is of a 'brutally bitter' suggestion of apple and tart fruit and in-your-face hops. Taste is exceptionally pleasant for the style and the reputation. Mouthfeel was average but could have used more texture. For something called "Brutal Bitter Ale" this thing can be drunk all night. Too bad that I only have one.

Note: I found it odd that there was a good amount of sediment at the bottom of this bottle.

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Photo of ericj551
4.59/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served room termperature, Brutal Bitter pours a cloudy light amber with a bubbly white head. The aroma immediately brings to mind sweet, hoppy unfermented wort. I've never noticed it before but thats all I can smell with this beer. The taste is sweet and malty at first, than changes quickly to a nice bitterness with a lot of hop flavor. Just like Dead Guy and the Old Crustacean barleywine, if the price were more towards the norm for the style, these would definitely be in my fridge every night.

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Photo of paceyourself
4.59/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very cloudy amber pour with a small tight white head that slowly fades.Great aroma of lightly roasted coffee with a floral background. The sweet fruity flavors are sharp at first then a strong oily bitterness takes over and hold your attention for some time. This is a excellent bitter and i enjoyed the whole bomber but while drinking this i wondered how this would be on draught, it must be incredible. Another winner from Rogue.

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Photo of nortmand
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light copper pour with white head and good lacing. Slight chill haze.

Huge orange aroma. Background of pine resin. Pure cascade.

Rounded citrus flavor up front. Thin maltiness midtongue. Clean bitter in the back of a tongue. Leaves a grainy aftertaste. A bit of funk in the aftertaste as well.

A bit thin bodied, but very nice otherwise. Plenty of flavor and very drinkable.

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Photo of rdrummer
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I admit to being a hop nut so it is no surprise that I found this beer to be awesome. I may like this better than any other Rogue that I've tried. I appreciate the attempt at a single-hopped bitter.

It poured a hazy light amber with medium head that lasted longer than seemed possible. The lacing was thin but extensive. Altogether, a good start to an experience. I could talk about all the hints of aromas that I smelled but this is all about the hops. There is a heavy hint of citrus but it is overwhelmed quickly by hops.

The taste is hoppy beyond belief but there is a sweet malt that somehow balances this a little. It is well-rounded enough that I'm not sure that brutal is the right definition although bitter certainly is.

I love the feel of a hoppy beer in the mouth. It was cleansing and acerbic but also refreshing. This was good from first sip until last. I will be returning to the Brutal Bitter

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy reddish-orange color with a small white head. Aroma is hoppy and fruity, with some underlying caramel. Taste is hoppy, but balanced. Very nice. Faint citrus flavors. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and lively carbonated. Overall, this is a very good beer. I really like this beer's balance. It's nice and bitter, but still has a solid matl backbone.

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Photo of Skidz
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out bright gold and sits golden amber in the glass with a large off-white head. Nice and bright in the glass. Fades to a light skim on the surface.

Smells nice a malty up front, filled with aromas of golden raisins caramel and apples. Hop aroms is mildly citric with hints of orange rind and lime. Both combine to create a tangy, taffy like aroma.

Tastes lightly malty up front, smoothed out flavors of caramel, pears and grape skins all placed into a nice toasty package of crisp, crackery flavors. Hop bitterness finds it's place and provides a few faint hints of oranges and some scant grassy and herbal flavors. Finish is well bittered with lingering flavors of citrus and some nuttiness.

Smooth all the way through with a pleasant and well-balanced carbonation all bundled in a medium body. Hard to swallow, 'cause it feels so good in the mouth.

Addictingly drinkable, glass touched the table only so I could type. Bottle gone moments later. I have no problems drinking this absolutely tasty brew.

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Photo of LPorter33
4.56/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Purchased 22oz bomber from Martignetti's

Appearance = Lacing holds nicely..looks absolutely delicious and near perfect with a creamy looking, opaque orange-brown color.

Smell = Strong hops present with a bit of fruit flavor, mostly resembling pineapple.

Taste = Not sweet at all like the scent hinted at. Very tart and bitter upfront, with a strong citrus tone but not overwhelming in the least, blends together perfectly. Some malt is there to balance out the hops so it's not swayed too much in one direction. Absolutely delicious. I'm almost through with this 22oz'er in a few minutes. Thick on the mouth but not heavy on the palate. An exceptionally crafted beer and the best ESB I've had.

Mouthfeel = Silky smooth and near perfect. Feels like liquid satin in the mouth.

Overall = A masterfully crafted beer that overachieves in all facets. These guys at Rogue certainly know what they're doing. HIGHLY recommended.

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Photo of racer2k
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bomber pour into a pint glass

A: Pours a cloudy hazy dark amber/orange color with one finger cake batter colored head. Minimal lacing around the glass.

S: Citrus, Grapefruit, floral hops, pine, and a sweet malty aroma, at first blush it smells a lot like a high powered IPA.

T: Nice balance of hops, malt and bitterness with an earthy floral overtone. This beer has an excellent balance of malt and hops. There are also hints of a biscuits and sweet bread. The finish is malty. Nice complexity of flavors here.

M: Medium mouth feel with light carbonation and a nice hoppy aftertaste

D: Very nice beer that has tremendous complexity but is extremely drinkable. This is one of the most interesting "Bitters" that I have tasted. Great work Rogue Team!

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Photo of terryeckmeier
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

picked up a bottle of this as soon as I saw it on the shelf. We don't get to many American craft beer up in Toronto, especially from the west coast. Looks great, smells great, taste great. Great head retention, great carbonation and a beautiful medium dark amber colour. Nice mouth feel smooth and leaves a nice dryness after you has a drink. Nice an bitter as it says but not over the top well maybe if you are use to drinking Canadian or Coors but great lingering bitter taste almost like whole wheat toast or something along those lines. Nice maltiness and very well balanced between the hop flavour, malt and bitterness. Would buy it again

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Photo of bosco7
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic with a monster pillowy head. Slight haze. Smells like Spring (extremely floral) and very clean with a slight biscuit aroma. Oh my god this ESB tastes great! Starts toasty, malty, with a lot of caramel flavors and finishes with a very clean florally citrusy bitterness. Mouthfeel is silky smooth with perfect carbonation (maybe just a little more than English varieties).

I love this beer; it is perfectly balanced and extremely enjoyable. Definately not a boring Amber Ale labled as an ESB, this is the real deal.

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Photo of mschofield
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy dark orange-amber, topped with a three finger pillowy off-white head. Leaves sheets of lacing.
Very fragrant floral aroma, spicy, light toast and toffee.
Floral and citrus taste, good grapefruit taste and bitterness. Good malt base in the back of all the hops. Light caramel undertone.
Medium bodied, great session drink anytime beer.

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Photo of corywalston
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A. Slightly aggressive poor 1 inch of white head dissipates to ring around glass within minutes. Color is hazy golden orange. Beautiful.
S. Hops, citrus, light pine.
T. Hops, citrus, sweet maybe honey, pine needles. Good as hell.
M. A little dry crisp, but not a refreshing crisp. Promotes dry mouth.
O. This IPA is the bomb. I like the pine needle taste most. I recommend trying it. Very good buzz for 6% ABV.

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Photo of thatruth
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz from Cornwall Corner Store poured into a pint glass at Dave's.

Pours a champagne color with a pear like tint. Middle finger head with chalky, off white lacing: both which last for days. Light amber-copper color with orange peel hues.

Smells hoppy, but not brutally so. I've smelled hoppier. Although, the quality of the hops on the nose is superlative. Equally wheaty as it is citrusy.

Mouthfeel is simply flat and dry with a quick finish. Aftertaste quiches your thirst as you pine for another sip.

Taste- Kindly spicy. Hops are exotic. The hefty bready taste adds to this one greatly and makes the brew filling and makes you want for more. A hearty brew.

Overall - A badass brew. Impressed for the 8 bucks I spent. Great color, great look, great taste.

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Photo of jwilli7122
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy tangerine-copper color with a large, puffy white head and moderate lacing.
Smell is mainly spicy hops,
Strong malt tastes, with some breadiness, a medium hop spiceyness, a mellow earthiness, and a hint of fruit flavors: lemon, peach. Fairly full bodied for this style. Extremely smooth and very enjoyable
Brutally bitter? Not quite. Tasty? Absolutely.
Without question the best ESB (if that's what it is) I've ever had.

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Photo of railcaider
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

When poured into a glass, this beer is an opaque amber color that's just shy of orange. The head is white and holds well for the entire duration of the drink, with just the enough carbonation to give a mouthfeel that nice and thick while still being very smooth.

The strongest smells present are sweet citrus and raspberry, but there's also a richer layer of aroma reminiscent of honey and vanilla. The first taste is a sharp hop bitterness tinged with fruit. While the strength of the bitterness is comparable to that of an IPA, it's balanced out by the fruit tastes hinted at in the smell. This is definitely one of the most flavorful bitters that I've had.

Rogue Ales generally makes excellent product, but this beer in particular stands out as one of their finest. In terms of taste and body it's similar to their Dead Guy Ale, but with more of an emphasis on hops. The complexity of the flavor is tempered by the balance between the elements present, which makes for one great beer. This one has quickly become one of my favorites and I make sure to stock up on it when I get the chance.

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Photo of shadow1961
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I dropped by the Eclectic Cafe in Brainerd, MN, which has a decent
selection of Rogues in bottle and on tap.

Rogue's Brutal Bitter pours out (according to my notes) a
rocky head over a cloudy yellow brew. The nose is rich
with citrus and herbal notes. The carbonation was active,
and the brew was full of all sorts of flavors beyond malt.
There was hop, of course, but also hints of citrus, pine, and
vanilla. The aftertaste was not unexpectedly of pine and hops.
It was clean, with a big hop flavor that at the same time wouldn't
make a sidewalk pucker if you poured some on it. This is what we
call balance. Super good.

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Photo of veggiemafia
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz. into a pint.

Pours light amber with a substantial, fluffy head. Nice looking beer.

Smell is great, good balance of the malt and hops, and really just solid all the way around. Fruitiness and grassiness from the hops, and kind of a caramel sweetness lingering from the malt.

Taste is more of the same, just clean, perfect balance of a lot of great flavors. Citrusy hop balanced with bready yeast and malt.

Mouthfeel is crisp, bubbly, a little tingly. Nice and clean, like everything else about this one.

Drinkability is the highest I've ever had. One of the best session beers on Earth as far as I'm concerned.

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Photo of palma
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this beer kicks ass...

Appearance: Hazy light amber with an orange hue. Lots of fiery bubbles shooting up from the bottom of the pint glass. Smaller than expected initial head, though a good lasting lace sticks around forever.

Nose: Big malt and big yeast. Some clove spice. Very nice. Couldn't wait to take the first sip.

Taste: There is so much flavor in this brew. I just love it. Big sweet malts upfront followed by a very significant hop flavor. There are a lot of hops in here! Get some MF!

Mouthfeel: Very creamy on the palate, yet a very noticeable lively carbonation. Pretty cool. Would you believe me if I say this beer has a complex MOUTHFEEL? Well, it does.

Drinkablilty: Awesome. I could drink this all day long. Only problem is that the ABV is up there so watch your back, kids. This aint no session brew.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Light orange with an off-white head that stays the night and leaves nice lacing to boot! The aroma is a wonderfully fresh blend of citrusy/piney hops and sweet, fruity malts. I also smell some lovely bread-like aromas and an interesting spicy aroma that I cannot fully describe. The taste is all that the aromas hint at. Fruity, hoppy, spicy, and lovely. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very, very creamy and the drinkability is absolutely amazing. Finishing a bomber of this stuff is like finishing a liter of Fiji water after a 5 mile jog! A good rogue offering, but suprisingly light and refreshing for them. There is nothing brutal, about this "bitter"!

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Photo of BierReise
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This has become my favorite everyday ale of choice. Got to hand it to the folks at Rogue, that work horse of a brewery that keeps churning them out, year after year. This ale pours a cloudy amber with a huge frothy head that really sticks. Aroma of crystal hops is huge and pleasant with floral notes and a slight citric character. You really need to drink this at 50f or warmer to appreciate the aroma and flavor. An outstanding blend of malt and crystal hops that is bitter but definitely not brutal in any sense. Body is full and smooth and extremely drinkable.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,089 ratings.