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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,926 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,926
Reviews: 1,077
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 76
Gots: 108 | 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: 1,926 | Reviews: 1,077 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shand
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint. This is a relatively fresh bottle from my discernation, with the Brutal IPA name and the Dare*Risk*Dream tag.

This brew pours a hazy yellow-range color with two fingers of head that retains well. The aroma is alright, it's got a bit of hops, but mostly orange and caramel malts. It's a bit weak in the nose department to be honest. The taste here is very good. Don't come in here expecting a "brutal" IPA, this is a very balanced brew with juicy fruit flavors over a nice hop backbone that isn't very assertive. Caramel malts hang out in the back. Delicious.

The mouthfeel is nice, it's well carbonated and goes down very smoothly. The drinkability is amazing, this bomber disappeared in front of me in the span of about 10 minutes. This is a delicious brew. Why isn't this in six packs, Rogue? Move the Mocha Porter over to bombers, and throw this in sixers. It'd sell like hotcakes, I know I'd buy a lot of this at a 12-14 dollar six pack instead of a 7 dollar bomber! As it stands, I'll drop another two bucks and buy a Sculpin if I'm buying an IPA bomber. It was a nice treat though, for sure.

Photo of SykDoc
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a clear orange color and forms a 1.5 inch off-white head that slowly reduces leaving a very nice lacing.

The aroma is primarily orange/citrus with a touch of breadiness and caramel malt in the background.

The taste has an orange rind component that provides the citrus and bitterness component. Not real stiff in intensity. A nice caramel sweetness lurks in the backgroung.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a somewhat sharp carbonation. It then becomes smooth and finishes with a light dryness.

Overall, this beer is decent. I wish the intensity had been a bit more intense, but the components are reasonable.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.61/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a very foamy one finger head on top - slightly off white in color. Great head retention, just sitting on top and going nowhere. Rings of lace around the glass.

S: Not a ton going on here, some light orange and some caramelized malt.

T: Not really what I was expecting at all. With a name like Brutal IPA, I expected it to be over the top with the hop flavors and a bitter finish, however, its a bit subdued. There is a lot of orange on the flavor profile with a bit of grainy malt. Relatively simple.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes slightly dry, but not bitter.

O: Easy drinking, but not very hoppy at all. Drinking it blindly, I would have guessed it a pale ale probably. Not bad, just not what I was hoping for.

Photo of andrenaline
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the bombers I bought before my departure from Calgary's plethora of a beer selection.

A - Pours a hazy golden orange colour, solid finger of head wit hsolid retention and some nice sheeting lacing.

S - Solid citrus hop presence, with an earthy cedar comign through, sweet caramel and toffe undertones.

T - Sweet citrus hops off the to, nice subtle bitterness and some caramel apple on the finish. A sweeter take on an otherwise bitter style, which was fantastic.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and surprisingly wet.

O - Certainly one of my favourites from Rogue to date. Fantastic ale with plenty of flavours to satisfy all palettes.

Photo of jondeelee
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brutal Bitter smells of citrus and hops, or more simply, like a glassful of grapefruit and orange juice, with a bit of grenadine. There are good brown sugar malts beneath that aroma, and the promise of stickiness around the mouth of the bottle.

On the tongue, the beer is far maltier than the nose would suggest, with nuanced brown sugars, dark caramels, hints of marbled rye bread, molasses, lychee nut, walnut, and wildflower honey streaming across the tastebuds. A good smattering of hops balances out the beer nicely, providing a simultaneous rosewater and grapefruit (with only light hints of pine) support structure. The beer is listed at 59 IBUs, but most of those don't come across until late in the mouthful, when the sugars peel back and reveal the bitter base. The aftertaste is largely hops, and fades fairly quickly. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is quite decent fare, though, as many have already mentioned, the beer doesn't quite live up to its "Brutal Bitter" title. Nevertheless, it's worth trying, as the flavors are full and round, and don't fade with subsequent mouthfuls.

Photo of xnicknj
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the wishing well in philly - i cant believe i havent reviewed this yet

Pours a slightly hazed caramel color with some brighter orange hues. A thinner white head dissolves into wispy film, leaving plenty of spotty lacing behind.

Bready and malty in the nose, with hints of sweetness and a flair of hops. Fairly soft though overall, would like to see more hop presence here.

Nice bitter bite up front with some pine and softer citrus notes. A touch of orange before the larger malt backbone comes crashing through. Biscuit and bread crust with touches of caramel and faint honey. A bit sweet, and finishes with some residual hop bitterness.

Medium bodied, nice carbonation, a little creamy and sticky. A pretty decent drinker, especially if you like a larger malt presence in your IPAs.

Photo of sethmeister
3.1/5  rDev -22.3%
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.

Photo of huhl23
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off this IPA is not Brutal. Tasty yes but I expected more of a hop ass kicking than I got. It actually is a very easy drinker. Pours a light amber orange with two finger head, and decent lacing. Good nose, with some fruit and floral. Taste is a little more malty than hoppy so I'd prefer it to be a bit more balanced but overall a good brew. Might want to change the name to Not Quite So Brutal though.

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 ktrillionaire
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The pour is a bronze-amber hue and is capped by a thick off-white froth. The brew offers a tremendously vibrant fruity dank cannabis sensibility tinged with a hint of evergreen, and it is resting atop a mild sugar cookie malt with just a smidge of caramel. Very well balanced, easy drinking, and lighter in body than the average IPA. Overall, this is a very enjoyable IPA and is one of the top-tier Rogue offerings in my mind.

Photo of chodinheaven
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy orange color with a healthy sea foam head on top. Excellent stickage with a little retention. Pine and citrus hop nose, nice grapefruit notes that smell appetizing.

Nice grapefruit notes in the taste as well, excellent fruity and citrus tastes to the hops. Barley adds a balancing malt that works well with this brew. Its not so bitter as to take away from the excellently understated fruitiness of the hops, making this one go down incredibly easy. The creamy texture of the mouthfeel lends a hand in balancing out the perfect amount of hops, and finally leaving a nice bitter aftertaste that isn't overwhelming. Overall this is a really solid IPA, even if there isn't anything incredibly unique about it.

Photo of darjoh
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into pint glass.
An old local favorite to Newport Oregon, as well as mine. Anytime I find this in the store I grab at least one, and save for a semi-special occasion. Only found in the 1pt.6oz bottle in the stores, and known as Brutal Bitter in the brewpub. I appreciate this Ale more for the fact it is not widely available, even just 50 miles from Newport.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a plain tumbler pint glass at Eli Cannon's in Middletown, Conn.

A: Bright, copper amber color with an orange hue and slightly chilled haze. A two-finger head of white, creamy foams leaves loads of lacing on the glass.

S: Citrusy, herbal aroma of hops meets a citrusy, lemongrass and orange peel scent that's inviting.

T: Sweet-roasted malts throw a bit of chewy wheat at the palate before blasting through with juicy, acidic Crystal hops. Assertive hops last through the finish where a bittersweet rush of fruity malts balances things out, leaving a spicy and resinous aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied IPA with great drinkability and slightly, bitter pull behind those 58 IBUs.

O: A really potent IPA at under 6% ABV, Brutal Bitter impressed me. Really versatile drinkability and enough of a hop fiz without tanking the palate. Wheat and pale malts keep things light and moving while letting you appreciate the hop bill thrown into the kettle. I'd certainly get it again.

Photo of mrnobody
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 ml bomber poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a cloudy dark orange with a finger and a half of off-white head; dies down quickly to a thin layer of foam but leaves some sticky lacing.

S: Has a strong citrus hop/grapefruit aroma.

T: Seems fairly malty for a west coast IPA (which may be why it was not originally called an IPA) but is well hopped with a nice bitter grapefruit finish.

M: The thin side of medium with a nice lively carbonation.

D: Drinkability is fairly high.

Photo of kflorence
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy, golden amber in color with a perfect, thick, frothy head atop. Carbonation levels look good. Lacing around the glass as you drink. I'm loving the haziness, and the foam isn't overly carbonated; more on the sticky/filmy side. This one is a looker!

S: Not an overly prominent aroma, but a pleasant one. Hops are dominant, seemingly of the citrus variety. There is a little bit of a flower and honey thing going on and something more bready in the background.

T: Lovely, smooth and balanced on the palate. An amalgamation of grapefruit and apricot citrus with a bit of yeast, bread, caramelized sugar and a twist of lemon. The hops are definitely the backbone of this brew, but they are complimented nicely by the subtle, light malts. I can definitely see how others would liken this to an ESB, since it has many similar attributes, but with a bit more of a hop edge. Definitely not "brutally" hoppy nor bitter, but in my case this is a pleasant surprise!

M: Medium-bodied with a bit of chewiness and a good amount of carbonation. Rolls down the tongue with ease with a dry, bitter finish.

O: I wasn't sure what to expect from this brew judging by the name ("brutal" is quite an ambitious word), but it turned out to be a nicely balanced, tasty and quite drinkable hybrid English ESB/West Coast IPA. Of course, Rogue never disappoints and this one is no exception. Cheers!

Photo of AleBop
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm impressed by this IPA. Very clean and distinctly bitter flavor will have me buying again. IPA's are my ales of choice and I'm always looking for another good one to add to my choices. I tend to like quite hoppy ales and Stone IPA is my standard purchase available everywehre I shop. Lagunitas IPA and Pliny The Elder are topping my list of favorites at this time. Enjoy Hop Stoopid too.

Photo of nickthegun12
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a good sturdy ipa!!!

red to brown in color with a foamy white head and nice thick lacing

there a smells from the aromatic hops...and nice base malts....slightly fruity

taste is very well balanced the hops don't overpower the beer....the malt comes out well too...ever so slightly fruity on the finish

the feel is dry but not overly dry....carbonation is decent

overall this is a high class session beer....obviously perfected by the rogue brewery

Photo of WillCarrera
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber with redesigned "Brutal IPA" label poured into a pint glass

A- Pours a very hazy golden amber color. The head is really great on this beer, huge and fluffy off-white, leaves lots of nice lacing.

S- You can pick up on a bit of floral, resiny hops and maybe some honey, but the protagonist of the nose is definitely the fruit, lots of grapefruit and other citrus (It reminds me of a toned-down version of the nose you'd get from some of the better DIPAs like Pliny, it's not as good but the comparison is still valid and definitely complimentary to this beer).

T- Not the hop onslaught I was expecting. They're definitely there, with lots of nice floral, pine, and hop oil flavors, but they're balanced by some strong malts, which are bready and light and just a bit sweet.

M- Has a relatively smooth and chewy feel while not being viscous, medium carbonation.

O- I don't know if the term "Brutal" is really appropriate, the bitterness is strong but doesn't slap you in the face like Hop Wallop or Hop Devil do, but this is a delicious brew that is very drinkable because it's so well-balanced. Definitely give this one a try, one of the better IPAs I've had recently.

Photo of hopsolutely
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An excellent beer!

My LCBO imported bottle claims 6.5%ABV - but a remarkably easy-drinking beer. Awesome tropical aroma, followed by an even more enjoyable taste. West-coast citrus and pineapple, with caramelized malt sweetness and a well balanced finishing hop bitterness.

Brilliant bomber that I will track down again, whenever possible...

Photo of bryehn
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, rusty caramel colour with an abundant tan head that leaves a fair amount of lace behind. Settled as a thick collared film. Its look reminds me of many DIPAs

More of a sweet, fruity aroma than a typical AIPA; like cherries in syrup with a thick, bready maltiness. Clementine or tangerine peel citrus.

Strongly bitter up front, with a well-balanced malty sweetness. There is a faint citrus tang too that gives it a bit of pop before going back to bitter. Unassuming, but solid, not sure why they stopped calling it Brutal Bitter.

Fairly thick and heavy on the tongue like yeast at first. A medium carbonation eases it down and somehow it seems to get even more bitter in the finish, but remains tame enough to prevent puckering or dry cheeks.

Well this is like a hybrid of a fruity English ESB that has a slight citrus character like a west coast IPA. It's a blend that works quite well and one I'll seek out again. Probably my favourite out of the 5 Rogue offerings I've tried.

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours a burnt orange color with a TON of sediment on the bottom. I didn’t realize there was so much in there or I would have prepared my pour better. The head is a spongy white and the lacing lingers forever, very nice.

S: Smells pungent with apricots and tangerines, a bit of fig and sweet, biscuit maltiness. Surprisingly, not a lot of hops in the aroma, but...

T/M: ...they’re in the flavor. They’re the primary characteristic but not “brutally” so, as the name imparts. It has medium carbonation with a fruity citrus finish.

This is one very well balanced IPA, not an overly strong IPA. Well done once again Rogue, well done. *Golf clap*

Photo of peensteen
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange/copper colour, one finger off white sticky dense head, good lace left behind. Smell is hoppy, citrus, grapefruit, balanced by a bready malt. Taste is hoppy, light pine notes, biscuit, firm malty presence, slight citrus in finish and aftertaste, dry up front, firm bitterness throughout. Medium weight, medium carbonation, dry and lightly creamy, at times oily and quite slick. Pretty solid, nothing that will blow you away, but drinkable and would have again.

Photo of heebes
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 ml.
Part of the brewery feature from LCBO.

Pours a hazy orange with a thin off white head. Nose is noticeably sweet, notes of caramel malt and citrus. Taste is balanced and not overly malty or bitter. Name is a bit of a throw off since this isn't particularly brutal at all but rather a pretty middle of the road IPA. Some decent bitterness in the finish is enjoyable. Mouthfeel is dry and medium bodied. Overall a decent drinkable beer that isnt overly available in Ontario as of now so very much appreciated to be able to get some for the time being.

Photo of ummswimmin
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer in pint glass with a nice T-bone. The beer paired decently with the steak and the warm evening.

On the initial pour I had pretty good amount of foam. It was nice and fluffy foam. I enjoyed sampling this tasty head.

I smelled the grapefruity hops from the pour. Also coming through was a little bit of floral.

It was a nice tan, yellow color with floating sediment typical to the lack of filtering.

The flavor was good, but it didn't taste "brutal" to me. I expected an over the top IPA, but it seemed pretty subtle. There was some bitterness as the beer warmed. As another reviewer noted, this is more like an ESB.

The beer is good, but the expectations of brutal bitterness is over stated.

Photo of MaryMoTu
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this bottled as 'Brutal IPA' so I was expecting my eyes to water from the hops, but it turned out to be really well-balanced, quaffable, and almost more like an ESB than an IPA. Poured out caramel gold with great head retention and some lacing. Subtle sweet notes on the nose. Very smooth flavor with crisp citrusy tastes well balanced to hints of sweet malty flavors. Not overly bitter at all. Light to medium and smooth mouthfeel. Overall a delicious, drinkable beer. I would definitely place it more firmly as an ESB than an IPA.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,926 ratings.