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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

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

1,898 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,898
Reviews: 1,071
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 72
Gots: 94 | 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: 1,898 | Reviews: 1,071 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of michele97394
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of zbkai189
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of M_Burkey
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of bunbury
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Urs
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of saintwarrick
4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A little stronger than most ESBs I have had before. This beer pours a golden amber with a great head that's not too sticky. The aroma is pure hops and hop oil, but the English malts also shine through. Taste is a perfect 10, smooth, bitter (but not too), only slightly dry with grapefruit, butterscotch and a little light citrus taste there as well.

A well crafted beer and great balance, the American hops and the English malt really create a uniquely drinkable beer.

Photo of TheWahrMachine
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Bighuge
4.75/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This hazy reddish-amber colored beer throws out a hefty and rocky head with good retention. Lovely hop boquet. Oily and flowery. I love this taste. This is the first time I've tried the Brutal Bitter and it has exceeded my expectations. There's such a great refined bitterness. A very nice spiciness to it. Some definite citrus undertones. Must have a nice malt load as this beer doesn't seem unbalanced. I am not a big fan of the Bitter style and sub-styles (unless I am having a nice bitter out of a cask at a brewpub). But I would have to say this is one of the best, if not THE best, bitters I've had from a bottle. I could throw back a lot of these.

Photo of ArtoriosCastus
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of MikeDAdams
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of rao2100
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of BJasny
4.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of rjimlad
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a thick and persistent head. Opaque caramel colour with moderate carbonation. The initial esters were a potpourri of floral and fruity notes. I kept sniffing it to see how many things were hidden away in the aroma. Very rich.
Flavour is astonishingly rich and fruity. Grapefruit abounds but also a hint of toffee maybe or caramel that prevents too much puckering. This is a massively flavoured bitter. The label says it's Hedonistic and it is. It's almost too much flavour which makes the drinkability score lower but everything is balanced perfectly. Awesome.

Photo of drpimento
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Watch out Brits, Rogue's giving you a run for your money with this beer! If they had this on a beer engine, it would be an example of divinity on earth. Poured with a creamy, yet frothy and foamy off-white head that lasts forever with loads of lace. Color is an amber hued copper. Aroma is very malty caramel with lots of hop in a mix of British and American hop fragrances. Enticing! Flavor is vedy, vedy British with perfectly complimentary American flavs - rich malt, toffee, caramel, hops, bittersweet. a slight bit toasty. Body is to die for: full yet not too heavy. Finish is just right so you want to have another sip. Session beer extraordinaire.

Photo of Ralphus
4.71/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lets just preface this whole thing by saying that when this beer is good, it's amazing. However, it does vary quite a bit from bottle to bottle. I've had some that were downright delicious and others that bordered on peculiar. Temperature plays a big factor as well.. this beer seems to best about 5-10C below room temperature. This review assumes a great Brutal Bitter. If your experience differs - try a different bottle.

Off the pour, when it's good, this is one of the best looking beers around. It has a BIG creamy white head that stays around for a long time and leaves chunks of lacing all the way down the glass. Combine that with a very respectable amber body and you have a winner in the looks dept.

In the smell there's a mixture of piney hops and fruitiness. It's also very good and really just a sample of what's to come. For this beer really shines in the taste dept.. big fruit and caramel taste up front followed by respectable amount of piney hops towards the end. Excellent balance and mouthfeel allow this beer to go down in gulps.

As a result - drinkability is very high. Dangerously high even.

Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
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!

Photo of Deconstructionis
4.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorites beers.


It's a cloudy bright amber, almost orange in the light. with a thick finely beaded head that not only persists but will cling to the edge of the glass above the "water-line." This is a bottle conditioned ale so there is some sediment

The aroma is rich with prominent hops and a toasted malt/ fresh yeast bread character.. The taste is boldly bitter and the hops are upfront (of course), but it's not overly dry as the rich malt balances well. It's medium body with somewhat more carbonation than the ales of this type you'll get on tap in Britain. Very drinkable. ESBs are not everyone's favorite but for fans of this style-- this is a world-class offering.

Photo of paulrwelch
4.68/5  rDev +17.3%

Photo of cjgator3
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coppery amber color with a large creamy white head. Aroma is hops, hops and more hops! Citrusy hops dominate the taste as well. Under all the hops, you can pick up some sweet malt. Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly chewy. Overall, this is an absolutely delicious brew for hopheads like I.

Photo of Elemental
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woo hoo - this lives up to its name brutally bitter. Who'd a thought that there is only one type of hops used in this beer (crystal). The taste is light but with a large amount of bitterness. The taste is great all the way through from the beginning to the end. It has a wonderful aroma with a hint of coffee and citrus. Lots of head to bring out the hopiness with a light amber gold color.
Excellent beer.

Photo of hossua34
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky, hazy caramel color. Looks like cider. A medium-large head that fades pretty fast but leaves a lasting layer of bubbles. Could have a little more lacing, but overall very good.

S - Bitersweet fruity smell; I detect what smells like passion fruit and pineapple. Caramelly, citrusy, malty-hoppy goodness. Amazingly well balanced. I don't see how it could smell any better.

T - Very fruity and hoppy. Hints of passion fruit and grapefruit. The tartness is nicely tempered by a burned sugar, malty-sweet finish. A little on the hoppy side but not unbalanced.

M - Fantastic mouthfeel. Thick but not too thick, smooth, and evenly carbonated.

D - A tiny bit of a sour aftertaste, but it's not a huge concern. Hearty and filling, but it's totally possible to not sip this brew; one of the best from a fantastic brewery.

Photo of loren01
4.67/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours an orangish color, good frothy white head, good lace all the way down the glass
S: Smell is very pleasant. Smells of citrusy hops, slight bit of yeast smell as well
T: Taste is sligtly malty up front with a nice crisp citrusy hop taste toward the end. I expected a more bitter beer with the name and all but its actually pretty well balanced out which is fine.
M: Medium bodied beer with medium to high amount of carbonation
D: I love this beer!! One of my all time favorite beers from Rogue I would have to say.

Photo of Troyone
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured with a three inch head that dissipated to half an inch with a good proportion of lacing, has lots of carb action, and a wheat apple juice hazy type of color.
Light cookie toasted caramel malt smell with a resin orange hoppy aroma.
A light sweet and moderate bitter taste; toasted caramel malt and pine orange background with hints of butterscotch, honey, and light cola.
Has a medium body, dry and slightly watery texture, soft and lively carbonation, and although this has a slight metallic feel the finish is chalky smooth.
Maybe the best ESB that I've had in a bottle, definitely a session beer.

Photo of bultrey
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh yeah. This is the shiznit right here. On cask at Fathead's in Pittsburgh, this was a real treat that I won't soon forget. A nice hazy gold color, with a decent head and nice, full carbonation for a cask. The smell was fresh and hoppy, of the grassy, herbal variety. This thing tasted so damn good, fresh, clean and crisp... some real herbaceous hop notes. This had many of the same flavors as the hop wallop I recently tried for the first time, except this was much more balanced and smooth. The hops bitterness lingered on well after each sip, but faded enough to invite sip after sip, making this an extremely drinkable beer. I really loved this and would jump at the chance to have it on cask again.

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This poured a hazy amber with a huge, dense, foamy head that left copious lacing on the glass.

The aroma was of very strong rich citrus and powerful hops. Well done!

The taste was like a HUGE explosion of hops in my mouth, along with a flavor blend of citrusy flavors and a strong pine overtone. Excellent!

The mouthfeel was perfect for the flavor, and I would definitely drink more than one of these in a sitting, regardless of the larger bottle size. A GREAT beer from Rogue, and I recommend it highly.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,898 ratings.