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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: 84
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
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Reviews: 1,089 | Hads: 2,068
Photo of SometimesIfart
2.01/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Popped the top and was instantly met by an overflow. Pours a murky orange with a three finger slightly off-white head. Left good lacing.

S - Upon twenty attempted whiffs, i could not pick up a damn thing.

T -A small amount of grapefruit and pineapple quickly transition to nothing but water.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

O - What. The. FUCK. This beer is neither brutal nor bitter. Where's the flavor? it tasted like grapefruit flavored water. And even that didn't stick around for more than half a second. Yes i checked the date on the bottle and it's only a few weeks old. this was the blandest IPA ( If you can even call it that ) That I have ever had. I wasted nearly 8 bucks on this atrocity.

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Photo of oracle
2.32/5  rDev -42.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

this was a 22 oz bomber serverd in a chalice glass. I allowed it to warm 10 full minutes on the counter before tasting, as somebody had adjusted the fridge to be far too cold.

Beer poured a very cloudy (with rather large flakes of sediment) even though I was careful with the bottle.

Smell was charateristicly hops. Noticably lacking was any kind of malt.

Tasted like it smelled but only more so. This beer is very appropriately named. I tasted pure bitterness and nothing else. No malt, no orangy or grapefruity flavors like you sometimes find in very hoppy beers. The best way to describe it was bitter but yet strangely devoid of any actual flavor.

No thanks.

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Photo of beckje01
2.38/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A- Cloudy look with light honey colored head.

S- Has a nice hop smell.

T- Ok balance but really a touch too much hops for an ESB throwing it out of whack.

M- Too much carbonation for the flavors it is distracting.

D- Overall it is too harsh a beer to be a good ESB. If you like hops or are looking for a good tasting beer go head and have this one but if you want a good well balanced ESB pass on this one.

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Photo of jtierney89
2.5/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Coors Light pale in color with a big bright white head. Very very biscuity on the nose. Head dissipates rather quickly leaving behind lots of sticky lacing. Some herbal hop presence is starting to make itself known on the nose along with touches of earthy and nutty scents. This bottles only about 3 months old so I can't imagine the hops being that faded. Pretty muted nose though.

Flavors, like other rogue beers I've had are pretty subdued. Biggest flavor present is the sweet biscuit flavor up front followed by touches of fruit and a moderate hop presence. Medium in body but kind of watery on the finish. Could use a bit more carbonation maybe. Balance is pretty good.

One of the better rogue beers I've had and unfortunately it's still not great. I respect what rogue does but haven't found a beer by them I can really get behind yet, they're all kind of, well like this. With some missing the balance or some just missing flavor marks all together. Drinkable but my money could be better on a different product.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.53/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a nice big head and has a brownish orange color. It has almost no lacing. Poured a little yeast in there so it's very cloudy. Smell is hoppy with some fruity smells, kind of like candy. The flavor reminds me of the sticky carpet my mom used to vaccum up. It's just so bad, these flavors are wrong, something bad has happened between the brewery and this. Mouthfeel is alright, not very impressive. Overall it would take a lot for me to try this again.

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Photo of TheBungyo
2.72/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours a golden orange, with a nice 1/2 inch white head. Nose is awful, like rancid chicken soup or boiled corn. Yuck.
Taste is better, but this doesn't taste like a bitter to me. I'd almost say an IPA, but it isnt hoppy enough. Taste is a cross of lemon and grapefruit and that's it. Very one dimensional. Mouthfeel is pretty good but at this point who cares? Nope, don't want to buy it again. I'll opt for a real IPA or bitter if the mood strikes me.

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Photo of tobyandgina
2.77/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A finger of off-white foamy head, quickly dissipating.
Orange in color, murky, big chunks of sediment.

Citrusy, hop aroma, kind of stinky maltiness.

Thin, mild mouthfeel with bitter, piney hops. Some apple skinand resin aftertaste.

A not-too-exciting offering from Rogue.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.82/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I drank this from the bottle into a tulip.

It pours a medium brown with a white head, poor retention and lacing.

The aroma is mostly hops, pretty disappointing.

The taste is always disappointing, not what I thought it would be. The front end is really sweet and there is not a bitterness to the beer at all.

Mouthfeel is ok, hard to drink down one, let alone many.

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Photo of jdoolin
2.84/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22 oz bomber, poured into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Deep copper with a nice three finger head that never completely went away.

Aroma: Hops. The Crystal hops dominate the aroma. The malt is there, but overpowered by hops.

Taste: This has a wonderful flavor. Nice caramel malt and prominent hop flavor. But I don't taste the balance that an ESB should have. The hops weigh far more than the malt in this beer.

Notes: This tasted like a very good IPA, but did not have the balance I was expecting, for an ESB. A great beer, but didn't fit the style as well as I would have liked.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.87/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

650ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired at a local Ralph's market.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Not paired with food.

A: Pours a two and a half finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, some lacing, and above average retention. Colour is a predictable transparent copper. No visible yeast particles.

Sm: Hops - both floral and bittering in a seeming equal balance. Clean malts. Pine. Crystal malt. Grapefruit. Citrusy hops. A mild to moderate strength aroma. Somewhat fresh.

T: Piney with rounded fruit citrus ester hops. Some grapefruit, but restrained and only noticeable about the climax and on the finish. Weak cream on the open. Clean malts - some crystal - form the weak foundation. Hops are mainly floral and fruity, with obscured bitterness in the third act. The bitterness is awkardly concealed, lending the third act an empty dull feel. In this regard, it's structurally imbalanced but flavorfully decently balanced. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Built in a pretty standard manner for an IPA. There's nothing unique or special here. Feels somewhat fresh, but I'd stop short of calling it refreshing. Pleasant and enjoyable to drink.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some weak cream. A touch overcarbonated, giving it a sharpness that prevents one from gulping it and inhibits its drinkability. Too thick, likely from poor planning of the malts - which are too present in the flavour profile anyway. Complements the flavours generally at best.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. Rather average for an IPA, but I find it fairly pleasant. If I got it again, it'd have to be on draught. Subdued for the style - which isn't a bad thing. The piney character is a nice touch. There's really nothing brutal about it, but I'm glad they didn't get sucked into the IBU/Hop content war.

Drank okay out of my Guinness pint glass. I couldn't recommend a better vessel. Maybe a tulip?

Would pair decently with spicey food.

A poor candidate for aging.

Low C

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Photo of FickleBeast
2.93/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

12 oz bottle poured into a Savor snifter. Not able to find a date code on bottle - my bottle has a red label . Pours a cloudy orange color with two fingers of foam that fill the glass and coat the edges as it recedes very slowly. Aroma is fairly subdued. Kind of citrusy, with a hint of melon. Expected more from the nose.

First sip is is mostly bitter. Thin bodied with a lot of astringency. However, there is not much hop flavor, only bitterness. The malt backbone really isn't there, so this tastes mostly unbalanced to me. I'm not sure if this is an off bottle or not, but I really don't understand how this is rated so highly. I will come back and update if the other bottles in the 6 pack are better, but for now I can't recommend this.

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Photo of CraigTravor
3.01/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

This beer was served in a bomber bottle and poured into a pint glass.

A. It pours with a light head to an opaque orange color

S. The smell is attractive. It brings me to like this more

T. Packs a solid wallop. Brutal is a good adjective.

M. As it fills the mouth it brings a citrusy zest with it.

O. I am not a big IPA fan, but for the type this is a good beer.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.03/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a lightly hazed typical orangish amber color with about two fingers of white foam that lasts for two to three minutes, leaving behind medium amounts of lacing. Medium body and carbonation levels.

I don't understand what is so "Brutal" about this beer, and I'm not even sure it passes as an IPA. It smells and tastes of a very green, zesty, and leafy medium-light hopping with orange peel and herbals being the central focus over a lighter toasted / crackery malt that presents the flavor and aroma spectrum of a fairly good PA, but most certainly not an IPA, much less a "Brutal IPA". If the label didn't lie to me, I'd have almost nothing negative to say about this one. It really pushes my buttons when labels misrepresent the bottle contents like this.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.03/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this at the LCBO in Waterloo.

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a 1½ finger, medium looking, fluffy, off-white head with good retention. Clear gamboge orange in color with slightly higher levels of carbonation for the style. Head fades to a thin wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. Goof, full wisp remains and leaves nice lacing down the glass. Good looking, but a touch too much carbonation for the style perhaps.

SMELL: Pale malts, home honeydew melon, light bread notes, citrus and floral hops on the nose. Bold enough.

TASTE: Caramel notes, pale malts, some light bread notes and some floral bitterness at the swallow. Bolder and lingering finish is bitter with floral flavors, notes of bread and some caramel sweetness. Okay, but not that much hop flavor really.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation. A touch thinner perhaps, and quite light on the palate. Creamy enough, goes down smooth and finishes very dry. Not much residual sweetness at all, which may or may not be your thing.

OVERALL: This is alright, but not really my style of IPA. I'd appreciate a bit more hop flavor, as this one is more bitter for the sake of being bitter, and it's too dry for my palate. I usually appreciate a slightly higher FG and a bit more body. That said, it's a good drink and worth a shot, especially if you like drier beers.

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Photo of Narbage
3.04/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

I was really looking forward to this beer. I really was. As it turned out it was an okay ipa but my expectations were far higher. I was slightly disappointed that it was not as bitter as I was hoping. I wish the beer was hoppier than it was.It was not worth the 9 dollars considering the abv was low for this IPA. Overall it was an okay beer to drink it just doesn't stand out like other IPAs.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This bottle is still labeled as Brutal Bitter, so it may be old?

Pours murky orange amber, with a huge off-white head with nice lacing and unfortunately, a fair amount of sediment.

Smell is of sweet caramel malts, slight bitter floral hops, and soapiness.

Taste is smooth and mild, certainly not brutal. Some fleeting piney bitter hops in the middle and a clean finish.

Feels creamy and easy to drink.

Overall, this barely qualifies as an IPA. Flavors are all on the weaker side. No bite, no punch, low abv. All this may be attributed to a possibly old bottle, except the abv. All the rest is understandable, but the low abv is just criminal.


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Photo of drinkininthewood
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

* This is a re-review of Brutal Bitter now formerly known as Brutal India Pale Ale.*

650ml bomber from the LCBO priced $6.50 a bottle.

A- Murky, copper colored beer with a fluffy pillow of slightly off-white foam and good lace.

S- Touch of molasses with some grassy hops. Fairly subdued.

T- The beer is well balanced with a nice malty back bone offering a touch of sugar and fresh bread while the hops used add a grassy, lemon/citrus bitterness that works well.

M- Carbonation is good but the mouth-feel i found to have a smooth feeling but just a tad watery to be honest.

D- service-able ale.

Overall i was left fairly confused when i purchased this bottle from the LCBO as i did not know that this beer in fact replaced the old version of Rogue Brutal Bitter. I found the new version to be fairly plain. Not much going on really. I much prefer the old recipe of Rouge Brutal Bitter containing the Maris Otter, Cara Vienna/wheat malts and the crystal hops. I would rate this as a decent English style ale but in terms of an IPA its not such a good rep of the style.

(old review)
Bottle purchased from the LCBO.

Served from a 650ml brown bomber into a pint glass.

A- Foggy orange with nice frothy cap of foam settling leaving behind some mad nice lacing.

S- Full of floral hop aromas. Lots of citrusy hop resins in the nose.

T- Dominated by some really great oily hop flavors of pink grapefruit, oranges, pine. Lemony/bittersweet aftertaste. Im a fan of crystal hops and this magnificent brew just reinforces this. What a great tasting beer. Tried to find some maltiness to it with no luck but im not complaining.

M- Medium bodied with some chewiness. Adequate carbonation.

D- Oh man...All Day!

What an Excellent beer. Very pricey ( in Canada ) and worth every cent.


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Photo of FarmHouseJam
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy Orange/ gold color
Bitter but with the the rogue grain selection....nothing is too bitter, everything is very malty, almost to the point of an ice tea taste.

The beer is still balanced which is key in my mind for worth wile drinking....

this is a malt liqour? "Don't let me down" is how I feel about this brew.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - Hazy orange amber with almost no head, yet impressive retention for said "almost no head." I suppose it is fueled by the intense carbonation visible through the head. No lacing.

S - A very strong hop presence somewhere between pine and diesel. Odd, yet not unpleasant.

T - Strong hops, but not as an upfront pine, rather a very potent (dare I say brutal) bitterness that lingers long. It is definitely of the same vein as that smell. There is a fainter pleasant malt profile that is negligible next to the hops. It is an enjoyable bitterness to say the least.

M - Carbonation is way too strong, thin, and a tiny bit drying from the hops.

D - This is the only beer that I have had to date which simply knocks me out. I must have a reaction to this particular style of hops. Three quarters of the way through the beer I passed out. I like it, but I could never session this. It makes me feel like I've been drugged. So, drinkable for most, not for me. If I drank this with turkey it is likely that I would OD on hops and tryptophan. It should be noted though that I do like the beer. I will have it again, maybe the next time I have insomnia.

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Photo of Jwaks
3.06/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a chill hazed honey yellow with peach highlights, half a finger of appealing white foam decorate the top of this brew with a touch of very fine, lively carbonation throughout the brew. An admirable ring of lace clings to the glass just above a dense, patchy foam cap. Lacing, head retention are good, carbonation and color are a bit lacking; other esbs boast a more colorful, fuller body with better carbonation.

Aromas of hop bitters, citrus, lemongrass and an odd grainy, funky character come through on the nose along with very subtle hints of wheat, moldy old cheese and hay. Not very complex and moderately appealing, except for the odd aromas, this smells like a moderately strong engish style bitter.

As advertised brutal bitter hops strike the palate upon entry reinfoced by a bit of pine resin and citrus zest. An interesting mid palate offers more bitter citrus with odd grainy corn and moldy cheese flavor that lasts until the moderately dry, bitter and slightly blowsy finish. The aftertaste features bitter leafy greens and hints of mint with a refreshing citrus flavor. Supporting malt is severely lacking, all the tasty bitters would benefit from well tuned pale malt to reduce the impact of off flavors and give the bitters body and depth.

This brew offers a medium body lending a good grip on the finish though it is very unidimensional. "Brutal bitters" are not totally overwhelming and when paired with the dry finish I was able to finish a pint without a problem.

Overall, a good example of an traditional English bitter.


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Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.08/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

What's brutal about this beer? I was expecting a hop bomb with the extreme title but it wasn't so hoppy.
head didn't last and quickly formed large bubbles.
color is hazy amber orange.
taste was balanced, malt is not pronounced, and is not overly hopped.
Overall I enjoyed the beer but had different expectations.

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Photo of KChardstock
3.08/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought this bottle a few days ago after having their shakespeare, and chocolate stout. good stuff. but this one not so much. brutal bitter pours great into a a nice fluffy foam. foam retention is good and locks in taste. the appearance is an orange haze with dense carbonation. the orange appearance is followed up with a citrus flavor. The taste is infact bitter, but not very brutal. i liked this beer, but it didn't strike much of a fancy.

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Photo of hotstuff
3.1/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

If you like very, very hoppy and bitter beers, this one's for you!! This one was just way too bitter and hoppy, but then again, I'm not a hophead. It poured a small sized ivory head that contained fine-large sized bubbles that was mostly diminishing. The body was cloudy and uncarbonated with a yellow-gold hue. The nose was heavily hopped and the flavor was as well and also heavily bitter with a lingering fore and aftertaste. The mouthfeel was tingly and medium bodied. The lacing was fair.

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Photo of sethmeister
3.1/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

cloudy amber with 2 fingers of ecru head

scent is fresh bread with strong grapefruit notes

taste starts nicely with sharp grapefruit hops, a salty tang, and a mineral flavor. grainy wheat flavor. doesn't seem to have staying power though. short dry finish.

mouthfeel is a little chalky

easy drinking mild ipa but doesn't really stand out.

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Photo of harrymel
3.12/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle date: unk

Pours a diaphanous golden ale with a finger of light yellow foam. this sticks around a time before falling. Some grapefruit, onion, resin and bicuity malts in the nose. Nothing spectacular. Taste is actually sweet up front with a fairly specfically grapefruit character and some hints of bitterness, but nothing brutal about it. Mouth is medium with moderate carb. A decent enough IPA, average on scale I'd say. Although the flavor is more Pale Ale than IPA for me, I would still drink this in a pinch.

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