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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,756 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,756
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 60
Gots: 48 | 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:
**NOTE: This beer is now called "Brutal IPA" **
It has also been bottled as "Portland State IPA" (2010).

Malts: 100% Floor-malted Maris Otter, Cara Vienna, Cara Wheat.
Hops: Crystal.
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

59 IBU
76.1 AA
14.2º Lovibond

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,756 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of StevieW


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber bottle. Cloudy copper color. Medium thick, bubbly beige head. Sticky and clings to the glass. Super rich bitter hop aromas. Nice fresh smell despite being in my fridge for 2 months. First taste was exactly what I expected and hoping for. Nice fresh hop charge of tastes. Mouth puckering bitterness through and through. Moderately rich and subtle sweet malty undertone. Resin hop stickiness lingers on the tongue. Super smooth, medium to full bodied. Uncommonly smooth. Really good beer to match with my favorite meal of tangy barbecue grilled chicken.
Another Rogue worth searching for.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2003 17:38:02 | More by StevieW
Photo of Kromes


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A hazy orange color with a huge, fluffy white head that sticks to the sides of the glass.

S: Floral and citrus hops with a sweet malt aroma.

T: Bready malts and citrus hops. There is a nice floral hop flavor in the beer also. The finish is both sweet and bitter with a citrus fruit flavor.

M: Medium body, smooth feel and good carbonation to provide a spicy feel to the beer.

O: Very good IPA. One of the best I've had in a while.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2012 23:46:43 | More by Kromes
Photo of nqdell


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a glass from the bottle

A- A good finger head quickly dissipates but leaves a solid lining over the top of the beer and laces the glass the entire way

S- Nothing, light hop smell, carmel notes.

T- Bold and bitter with a hint of sweetness. The after taste tingles the sides of my mouth

M- The creamy smooth swallow leaves a slime in my mouth

O- A great IPA or Bitter that lives up to the Brutal name. A little heavy on the gut.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 00:20:27 | More by nqdell
Photo of BMoney575


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 3-18-07

Pours a hazy gold with an infinite number of microscopic floaters. No real head but good lacing.

Smell is a light maltiness and easy floral hops.

Taste is very good, grapefruit and other citrus dominate but are countered by a subtle malt backbone. Very fruity but very balanced.

Mouthfeel is good, a resiny hop thickness and perfect carbonation.

Drinkability is also good, hoppy but with a very balanced bitterness.

Overall a very good beer, and a nice refreshing change. The style fits very well just below an IPA.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2007 02:22:20 | More by BMoney575
Photo of Bruiser81


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color of this beer was a cloudy orange color with a bubbly white head, little to no lacing. A good looking brew. The aroma consisted of lemon, light caramel, and very strong alcohol spice. The taste up front was lemon and citrus (mostly grapefruit). There was a definite spice in the taste as well as. The finish has a little bit of malt mixed in with the bitterness which lingers well into the aftertaste. Medium consistency, goes down smooth. Quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2003 04:07:46 | More by Bruiser81
Photo of JordanPhraczek


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Baxter Brewery Can-shaped glass out of a 22oz Bottle bought at Depot Liquors in Beverly, MA.

A - Clear dulled orange body with a quickly rising beige head. Bubbles in this burst apart like molten lava and eventually dissipate into a one finger head. Filtered.

S - Smooth citrus hop smell. No alcohol detected. I dipped my nose into the head because the smell was luring me in, I wish it was even stronger. Pine notes upon exhalation.

T - Crystal hops with a nice earthy malt taste, lighter but this beer delivers. The namesake of this beer would not lead you to believe it is 5.8% alcohol, but given all the IPAs that raise the alcohol % way up to achieve this kind of flavor, I'd say this beer flawlessly delivered a drinkable ale with great hop taste. As with lots of Rogue beers and some of the other Northern Cali/Oregon beers the cleanliness of the brew is noticeable.

M - The malt sticks to your tongue and forms an even film on your tongue that the hop taste builds off, so the mouthfeel in this beer is pretty outstanding. The head on the beer lasted until the end and formed a pillow of foam to drink once the beer was finished.

O - I thought because of the name that I was getting a DIPA, and I am pleasantly surprised that this beer was lighter than most northwest IPAs with this kind of flavor. A clean, crisp, earthy offering from Rogue that reminds you of great home brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2013 22:33:52 | More by JordanPhraczek
Photo of BurnsTau


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber with a decent amount of head. Good lacing through the last sip.

The aroma is great. Hops are immediately recognizable and are just awsome.

The tastes is obviously of hops, definitely a good balance here, but more on the hop side. A good mouthfeel, not too thing, I think about just right. This beer is excellent and definitely lives up to the other Rogue beers I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2005 01:18:20 | More by BurnsTau
Photo of DrinkinBuddy

New York

4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice cloudy amber color with a pretty weak 1 finger head that disappears relatively quickly. Smell is very sweet with a nice citrus hop aroma shining through. Initial taste is a sweet fruity pleasure (peachy almost, possibly apricot) with a little malt and nice grapefruity rind bitter finish. A nice balance of flavors and carbonation make this ESB a delight for most palates.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2007 19:29:50 | More by DrinkinBuddy
Photo of GJ40

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle in a standard pint glass.

Copper color with a slight haze and signs of life throughout. It's got a nice thick head that stays around for the whole experience. Slightly sweet, toasted smell. Taste is slightly bitter and hoppy with a slight malty sweetness in the background.

This is a really good beer. I could drink them over and over again. It's a little expensive ($12/6 pack in my area) but very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2008 21:39:21 | More by GJ40
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark gold with a touch of almost brown with a sizeable white head. Nose is Extremely hoppy and super sweet. Flavor is thick with hops and a very slight bite. Just barely bitter as the hops take over the flavor profile, but don’t make it too unbearable with too hoppy a tone. Mouthfeel is good on carbonation and this one is extremely drinkable. This is the 13th beer I have reviewed from Rogue and yet again they deliver. I just want to try more, and more, and more...

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 06:42:56 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Romulus141


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Hefe-Weisse glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber with a slight tint of orange. The initial head is fluffy. It dissipates after a pour, leaving a layer of foam. Lacing is apparent and viscous. Just by sight alone, I could tell this was going to be a quality beer.

Smell: This has a nice sweet smell. There are notes of citrus. The smell is full, but not overpowering. A very nice balance that complements the appearance.

Taste: A wonderful splash of bitterness followed up with a bready taste that finishes incredibly crisp. There is a slight citrus note within the flavor, as the aroma suggests. The flavor comes in an intense burst, and fades quickly. The hops flavor from this brew is noteworthy. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel: There is a nice density, and thankfully the carbonation is kept to a minimum. When it comes to the other ESBs I've tried, I've been irked by a thin mouthfeel and overcarbonation. Not so with this one. It's actually somewhat dry too, without any oily characteristics, which is nice.

Drinkability: This is a beer to savor, but it's not so heavy that you can't drink a couple in one sitting. I wouldn't session with this, as it's way too good to waste like that, but it goes done smoothly.

One of the best ESBs I've tried. This was my first sampling of the Rogue brewery, and I hope to try more. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2007 01:51:11 | More by Romulus141
Photo of DrJay


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear auburn beer topped by a frothy, rocky, cream coloured head. Nice lacing and retention. Tons of Cascade hops (citrus, pine, some spice) in the aroma, backed by a rich, toasted maltiness. Malty flavour up front which carries through the finish. Moderate bitterness appears at the mid-point, with hop flavour coming out more towards the end. Very well balanced from beginning to end. Medium body and carbonation with a creamy texture. Another excellent offering from Rogue.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 00:04:06 | More by DrJay
Photo of Applesauce1


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got the Brutal Bitter at the Pit Stop in Nelsonville, OH

Appearance: poured it into my Arrogant Bastard pint glass and got about a half inch head; the head disappeared a little quick but still looked good; bronze color

Smell: hops and something else (not sure), not bad, but nothing great

Taste: this is the stuff; hoppy with some unique malt (very similar to bitterness you get from Rogue's American Amber Ale) I think all of Rogue ales have a similarity in the same way Sam Adams' beers do. There may also be hint of orange in here. Excellent!

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied; good carbonation
Drinkability: could drink at least two in a night

This is another quality beer from Rogue. I'll have to visit the brewery sometime.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2006 00:06:37 | More by Applesauce1
Photo of NickLovesBeer


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brutal Bitter pours a golden amber body with a massive white head laced with carbonation. As I was pouring the smell hit me like a ton of bricks, hops hops and more hops permeated the air and with in a minute you could smell it all the way across the room. The taste was surpisingly smooth and while extemely bitter and hoppy it was not was not overpowering creating the "bitter beer face" and finished with a nice sweetness to it. Brutal Bitter is another excellent brew by Rogue, and probably my favorite ESB.


Serving type: bottle

11-10-2003 01:55:52 | More by NickLovesBeer
Photo of alexgash


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light haze, golden apricot nectar with a gooey thick, glass-scaling, light khaki head. Nice. Nose is yeasty biscuit malt with a little sugar. Sharp citrus hops pound and bludgeon the nostrils. Butterscotch and biscuit malt up front on the palate. Tangy yeast and minerals. Thirst quenching bitterness: very citrusy and grapefruit explosion! Medium-bodied. Dry finish. Solid and quaffable.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2006 05:14:07 | More by alexgash
Photo of dcoux09


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a Fuller's ESB at the Red Lion near Westminster in London, an this kicked it's ass. I often feel that many IPAs are too hoppy and unbalanced, however, I really enjoyed this brew. When it was poured, it looked almost like apple cider with an off white head, which strangely enough reminded me of the bitter/sour taste of a pressed cider. I expected this to be another decent IPA, but it was really wonderful. It was more sour that bitter in my mind, which was a pleasant surprise, but it was well balanced with a creamy feel. It was much more complex that a Fuller's ESB, and for that, I really enoyed it. Great brew, would definitely recommend.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2009 23:23:30 | More by dcoux09
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rogue- Brutal Bitter

Appearance- copper/ cloudy orange with a nice finger thick head and lotsa lacing.
Smell- pine and orange/ grapefruit rind hops.
Taste- sweet malt balanced with a nice pine hop. Fruity orange grapefruit pokes through eventually.
Mouthfeel- actually quite smooth for a bitter. Balanced malt and hop. Slighty bitter and dry up front but fruity and bursting with flavor in the backend.

Overall- I knew I would like this beer. A new favorite and a beer I'll go back to again soon.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2006 22:44:13 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of jmz62565


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A full two finger head and a dark amber color.The smell is very aromatic with a earthy feel,full hop, barley and wheat.This is very refreshing,but very bitter.I really like it,but I can see some people not liking it.A real nice m/f with a full flavor.Brutal Bitter is a great beer that I will look for in the future.It may not be for everyone,but if you don't want it I'll take it !!

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2005 16:08:30 | More by jmz62565
Photo of GeoffRizzo


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, cloudy orange fuzz hue. Still as can be. Has a fresh fruit aroma, orange and lemon dominated nose. Juicy and sweet, with some hints of citrus and hops. Ultra-smooth, a lingering bitterness after each sip. Medium bodied with a slight warming affect; oily slick hops dominate the body; English-malts combined with the hop-blast and fruity tastings make this well balanced. Extremely clean, oh so smooth; and hops? With Rogue, do you need to ask about them? They are there, my friend! Awesome stuff.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2005 01:40:17 | More by GeoffRizzo
Photo of morimech


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy, hazy orange color with a thick, billowing head that sticks around and leaves heavy lacing. A lot of citrus in the nose. A lemon/lime smell. It has a bit of a hop bite with more citrus flavors. It finishes dry and refreshing. Outstanding. This is an active brew after the pour and is well carbonated. I really enjoyed this beer and will have another.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2007 23:08:11 | More by morimech
Photo of MmmIPA


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass.

A-Faint color,amber,Huge head

T-Very hoppy,citrus with some pine.

S-Very hoppy smell with hints of citrus.


D-I loved it!I thought it wasnt really bitter but then maybe ive been drinking Bitter beers for the past 2 weeks.I would love to have it on tap.I want more and Highly recommened to anyone who likes a bitter beer.


A year and some days later I try this beer again since im a better reviewer now.

Amber hue with a small white head that fell pretty fast to a ring and some small patches.

The aroma is piney hops.You can also smell some malt in there as well.

The taste is bittering hops and some of the hop taste taste like "tea".I think this bottle isnt the freshest.The bittering hops still make you pucker.Grapefruit is in the taste also.

The mouthful is pretty awesome on this beer.It is in between of thin and thick.Very easy to drink and goes down very smooth.

This stuff is still awesome and im glad I got to try it again.This is the epitomy of a ESB in my book.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2006 14:05:05 | More by MmmIPA
Photo of stjarnflikka


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Oliver Twist!

Pours a hazy, orangelike beer with some head that rather quickly leaves a nice lacing behind. Lots of yeast left in the bottle after the pour, not as much in the glass :)

Smell is mainly hops, very dominant here, together with some sweet citric fruit (maybe oranges). Find some yeast in there to.

Taste is bitter :) this really has no match in my book, bitter with lots of citric hops, some yeast and a touch of alcohol and carbonation to lift the heavy lid of hops. Really chewy taste, very bitter, very nice. Long soothing bitter aftertaste that seemed endless along the barcounter.

This beer really live up to its name. Brutal bitter is a damn good brew, damn tasty and damn well balanced.
This feels like a brew that dancing along the mountainedge, either to bitter or perfect. To bad i had to pay about 12$ for this bottle ;)

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2005 13:22:28 | More by stjarnflikka
Photo of jar2574


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice thick frothy foam. Cloudy, copper color.

Very pleasant, sweet smell. Spices, hops, and citrus.

Reminds me of an IPA, but it's got an earthier touch and it's not as bitter as an IPA. Hops are stronger than malts, but there's a nice balance.

There's a touch of chalkiness in the mouthfeel, but it goes down smooth. Aftertaste is hoppy with quite a bit of residue on the tongue. But there's less pine flavor than with IPAs, which I think is a great thing.

Foam clings to the sides on the way down. It looks, smells and tastes like a great beer. I feel like it's a beer that's meant to be savored, but you could enjoy several in one sitting if that suits you.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2008 00:58:59 | More by jar2574
Photo of acrawf6


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love getting a pint of this at Lager's (Metairie, LA)... only place i know where to get a pint of this, or even a bottle at that matter.

Served a nice orange amber with a just slightly tan head with a little good lacing.

Smell. Nice good smells of hops, good esb aromas that are caramel smelling just slightly piney. Very nice.

Taste. Very good. I almost look at this beer differently of other esb's because it just seems more potent than others of it's style. Good tastes of a caramel sweetness and some citrus notes. It really is quite nice.

Mouthfeel is good. Mouthfeel is good, fuller than others in it's style. Good amount of carbonation, great balance.

Overall, i think this is a great beer, better than the style it claims to be. Has a very solid flavor others do not have, i need to check, buy i would guess they have pacman yeast in this beer too. Very good!

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2006 05:05:12 | More by acrawf6
Photo of zeff80


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pourd out an orange/amber color with a small, white head. No lace.

S - It smelled strongly of citrus and light malt. Maybe some piney notes.

T - It was spicy and sweet. Great citrus and pine flavors. The bitterness was subtle and understated.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a great tasting brew. Although it tastes more like an APA.

Serving type: bottle

04-18-2008 02:08:15 | More by zeff80
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,756 ratings.