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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,083 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,083
Hads: 2,042
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 79
Gots: 157 | 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
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Reviews: 1,083 | Hads: 2,042
Photo of beernbbq
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A potent and heady elixir, both in look and taste. Like ESB on steroids. Appearance is cloudy orange with a firm white head. I love the sweet taste of the Maris Otter malt they use. The Crystal hops balance the sweetness nicely, giving it an appealing bitterness. More bodied up than your average ESB (and some IPAs for that matter) and finishes off nicely. (357 characters)

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very few ESB's are as good as this. That's all you need to know. I think only Fuller's ESB is a better ESB. But this comes close.

The taste is pretty well-balanced between hops and malt. They aren't using Cascade but, according to the bottle, Crystal hops. The beer needs to warm a little to achieve it's balance. It poors with a nice head which goes down to a nice lace which stays. Very drinkable once it warms.

I highly recommend this. (444 characters)

Photo of TerryW
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well, I would hardly call this beer "brutal" in any way, shape or form. The name is just flat out misleading axs I've had IPAs far rougher than this one. It is, however, one kickass beer - quite excellent.

Big head settles to a solid cap, lots of lace all the way. Hazy apricot orange in colour. Quite handsome. Great hoppy nose, more orange citrus than anything else, underlaid by malt. Los of orange to taste up front when it's cold, but that gives way to grapefruit as the beer starts to warm and the bitterness of it becomes more pronounced. Fairly soft to drink, nice lingering flavours and bitterness. Just comes across as an all round well-crafted beer.

Excellent job and thank you. (691 characters)

Photo of nomad
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a highly murky and highly browned orange color. Had a white pillowy head, lots of tiny swift carbonation underneath, dots and things of stain, and a nice dispersing lace.

Smell explodes with pine scents: light, clean, clear and dizzying at first. A nice malt mixes Caramel and Maris Otter well with a grainy touch from the cara wheat. These differing scents come together as the beer opens to form a honeycomb-like aura, while also opening to the nice spice and light floral tone of Crystal hops. All combine to form an ambrosia of sweet but hearty and tough bitter hop scents. Lovin' it.

Tastes of tasty bitters with a strong graininess washing over some citric notes. With the hops its spiciness grows as its acidity recedes - intersting. In the middle some sweet british maltiness is perceived alone as a flash but then deftly undergirds the beer’s whole profile. Finish was of a more citrusy type of grapefruit flavor mixed heavily with hearty amounts of earthy grain tones - a great finish. Can't forget the pleasing grapefruit burp – a very good sign.

Nice moderate mouthfeel, real easy to drink, this is a Rogue but not overdone bitter. A biased favorite, this hits my british ale spots hard. (1,227 characters)

Photo of mophie
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Whoa. First off, this is a hoppy beer. If you don't like hops, you won't like this. Fascinating appearance, with a hazy copper color that grows deeper toward the center of the glass. Beautiful foamy head that dissipates to a trace of lingering tiny bubbles. Smell of grapefruit rind and a touch of pine (and toast?). A bitter, grapefruit and pine taste that improves as the beer warms. Carbonation that lingers on the tongue. Whoa. (431 characters)

Photo of PCaravan
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been waiting for a while to try this one and finally found it.

Amber gold in color that pours a thin white head that quickly fades but leaves a ring of foam around the edge of the glass that clings.

Clean smooth and strong floral citrusy aroma but not overpowering.

Taste is primarily of the hops and of the same profile as the aroma. Bitterness is substantial but very soft and smooth and lingers in the finish. Nice balance.

Mouthfeel has a nice carbonation level and has a very creamy feal.

Highly drinkable due to it's soft, smooth, and balanced bitterness.

Reminds me a lot of a American style pale ale but not nearly as pungient or rough as many of those (and I like them too). (708 characters)

Photo of mzwolinski
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I was ready to dislike it with the first sip. Well, with the first sniff, actually. Massive citric hop aroma and little else. The taste, too, struck me as overpoweringly bitter. "Another novelty beer," I thought. To be admired, perhaps, but not enjoyed regularly. But this beer has a lot more going for it than first appearances. Actually, that might be a bad way to put it, because its appearance is quite lovely. Hazy sunset orange/gold with a fluffy three-finger head, and a good lace once you start draining it. And drain it you will. Because once you get past the first sniff, and your first sip, you will discover some real complexity in this beer. The massive grapefruit-liek citric hop aroma doesn't dissapear, mind you, but it makes room for more floral hop scents, and perhaps even a bit of honey-like malt sweetness. The taste, too, develops. Malt becomes more evident mid-palate, and the undeniably bitter finish gives way for a slightly sweet, though acidic, fruity aftertaste. The body is full and slightly chewy, but the drink is almost creamy smooth. The crystal hops are an unusal choice, and really make themselves known throughout this beer, but not to the detriment of balance. Strong enough to pair against any meal, yet refreshing and enjoyable on its own. A very fine beer. (1,296 characters)

Photo of fl0w
4.51/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass from bottle.

Orange/copper appearance, inch and a half white head which receded rather quickly, with little lacing.

Wonderful smell, strong fresh hops and a bit of citrus. Wish I had a better glass for this smell, I had my nose in this the whole time, the smell was really that good.

The taste was great, more citrus, maybe grapefruit, giving way to hops. While less bitter then I expected, it did have a great hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. For those put off thinking this is going to be too bitter, it isn't. The bitterness is just right.

Mouthfeel was bready, slightly dry, with the perfect amount of carbonation.

I could definitely drink a few of these, was disappointed I only had 2 (722 characters)

Photo of railcaider
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (1,094 characters)

Photo of shadow1961
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (634 characters)

Photo of veggiemafia
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (631 characters)

Photo of palma
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (840 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
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"! (660 characters)

Photo of BierReise
4.52/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (564 characters)

Photo of thatruth
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
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. (765 characters)

Photo of jwilli7122
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
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. (438 characters)

Photo of racer2k
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
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! (761 characters)

Photo of terryeckmeier
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
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 (643 characters)

Photo of bosco7
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
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. (537 characters)

Photo of mschofield
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
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. (352 characters)

Photo of corywalston
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
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. (411 characters)

Photo of LPorter33
4.56/5  rDev +13.2%
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. (936 characters)

Photo of nortmand
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
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. (383 characters)

Photo of rdrummer
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
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 (917 characters)

Photo of KarlHungus
4.57/5  rDev +13.4%
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. (359 characters)

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,083 ratings.