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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,699 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1699
Reviews: 1055
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 10.47%

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
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Ratings: 1,699 | Reviews: 1,055 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of dbell23


4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Libation Station for having this on draft. It's now called Brutal IPA. Poured from a growler into a tulip glass. Hazy amber orange in color, with a two finger head with good retention and great lacing.

Smell is sweet hoppy with malt undertones. Not hoppy like an ipa but more sweet hoppy with malt. Doesn't smell like an ipa.

Taste is really good. Slightly hoppy to start with sweet citrus hoppy in the middle and a really nice hoppy finish. Not hoppy like an ipa just really smooth hop flavor. This is an incredibly balanced beer. Almost perfect hop malt balance.

Mouthfeel is almost perfect as well. Really smooth with an almost oily mouthfeel.

Overall this is one of my favorite Rogue beers. Brutal? No. Ipa? No. Really good beer? Oh yeah. It's definitely an esb. If you go by the name and are expecting a smack in the mouth ipa you will be disappointed. If you like a great esb you'll really like this beer. Far be it from me to give advice to Rogue's marketing department, but if they called this what it is-an esb, they'd sell more beer.

Serving type: growler

09-15-2012 21:06:57 | More by dbell23
Photo of RoyalT


4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This is a deep, rich, thick orange in color with a modest head. The head was OK, but the body is just gorgeous. It looks like that Lite-Bright orange, a solid, cloudy orange with a light in the background barely shining through.

Smell – Ah, I love the scent that the Crystal hops give up. It is very sharp and distinctive and a bit rank, like some aged Indo. The lightly-toasted malt backbone is not to be ignored.

Taste – This is so good it’s hard to put down. The hops are tremendous at the taste and very tell done. They provide a perfect balance to the toasty malts. It almost tastes dry-hopped though because the Crystal hops are so dominant in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied ESB has great carbonation and really isn’t “brutally dry” as the name would suggest. It’s much more easy in the cheeks than the bottled version.

The key here is the smoothness, which also enhances Drinkability. It goes down in long, beautiful swallows. It’s almost therapeutic to the tongue and cheeks. I haven’t found a beer that I enjoy holding in my mouth more than tapped Brutal Bitter.

Drinkability – It’s hard to find fault in this ESB. It goes down like silk and is one of the smoothest tapped beers that I’ve ever had.

Serving type: growler

04-20-2006 01:14:54 | More by RoyalT
Photo of jorjoria

New York

4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked up a growler at Finger Lakes Beverage Center.


A: Has a nice caramel color but very little carbonation and practically no head. (This could be because the keg was a little flat)

S: Great raw hoppy smell.

T/M: The hops cut through in a big way. The beer is very crisp and lingers on the back of tongue. Despite the hoppiness the beer is very well balanced and pleasure to drink. I'm really going to enjoy this growler.

Serving type: growler

01-23-2006 23:40:51 | More by jorjoria
Photo of GoblueMS


3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have recently tried this as it is now available here in MS. Rogue has been around a long time, and I have never had opportunity to try any Rogue IPA offering (not even sure that they offered IPA). Bought 7 bombers last night at a local grocery for 99 cents each--WOW!! And they were not "ruint" as they say around here! Every once in a while we quality ale quaffers win big, and this is one of those times. From a bomber to my 20 oz. mug.

A: Thick creamy head two fingers high diminishing to a thin layer. Love the unfiltered aspect.

S: A bit malt forward, with hops slightly subdued.

T: Smooth with the yeast adding body to the ale (filtered ales tend to taste and mouthfeel thin).

M: As mentioned smooth. Definitely a decent brew. I like this particular style of IPA, though others on my favorites list are more aggressive on the pallet.

O: What a find at 99 cents!! Even though it has a lower alcohol content, sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered. Rogue knows what they are doing, and they have been in the business a long time. This ale is worthy.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 22:44:29 | More by GoblueMS
Photo of cjgiant

District of Columbia

4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The pour is a standard hazy yellow-orange with decent lacing from the soapy head. The smell is grapefruit and mango, and the taste follows suit. The taste is a bit more earthy than bitter to start, and when the grapefruit takes over, it leaves a gap in the feel that gives it a temporary watery taste. The bite of the grapefruit quells that as it drifts into a resiny dry bite on the back of the tongue.

Overall this is basically a nice, solid, enjoyable straight up get-what you expect IPA. That's gotta be worth something.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 00:49:16 | More by cjgiant
Photo of nqdell


4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
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 CraigTravor


2.98/5  rDev -25.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2014 19:23:49 | More by CraigTravor
Photo of safaricook


4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

bought at Sterk delicatessen in Amsterdam, where they got a nice shipment of Rogue
nice fine off white head, slightly murky red-golden body
grapefruit, tropical fruits, pine
caramel balances hoppy bitterness
medium body, little resiny
typical American IPA Cascade hop profile nicely balanced by a good caramel body. And this balance makes it a real good one.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 20:24:49 | More by safaricook
Photo of theteleman


4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass. This beer looks amazing. Orangey Copperish with a creamy looking head. Smell is citrusy and hoppy…really nice.Hops come through on the taste but this brew is balanced really nicely, getting some citrus notes too on the taste. Not a typical west coast hop bombardment by any means, kind of a creamy mouthfeel to it with good lacing on the glass. Really have enjoyed both brews I've had from the boys in Oregon. I recomended this one as well as the Hazlenut Brown, both are great!

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 06:15:12 | More by theteleman
Photo of rdilauro


3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I-- rated this one straight down the line.
From the initial pour, which was ok, to the almost absent detectable nose, to the mouthful and aftertaste, there was not a lot I can praise about this beer, but at the same time, I could not find fault with it.

To me, it could be the stepping stone for someone who has been used to the normal 30 /36 packs of canned beer to craft beers

Its a very easy beer, totally drinkable.

I intend on using this beer as a transitional beer for people who dont know what craft beers is all about. A good way to learn

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 05:17:35 | More by rdilauro
Photo of thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

650 mL bottle from the LCBO; listed at 6.5% and packaged on Sept. 7 2013. It has been a while since my last Rogue experience. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a hazy golden-amber colour, topped with slightly more than one finger of foamy, resilient off-white head. It slowly seeps away over the next few minutes, coating the glass with a doily pattern of lacing before settling into a thin, dense cap. The aroma is fairly inviting - a little citrusy, with notes of orange, lemon zest, pine and caramel malts. Appropriate for the style, but not outstanding in any way.

The same can be said of the flavour, actually - the malt bill is a little more prominent than is usually the case in this style, providing some caramel sweetness and toasted grains. The restrained hop bill is very citrus-focused - tangerine, orange peel and pink grapefruit are all detectable, with the pine notes playing a very minor role up to the aftertaste. At that point, they provide a mild resiny bitterness to complement the citrus. This one is quite well-balanced... or the hops have fallen off; I'm not sure which. Medium-bodied, with moderate carbonation and a somewhat slick mouthfeel from the hops. One thing I will say about this brew is that it's extremely drinkable, and one of the few IPAs I could probably drink all night without destroying my palate. Too bad the price point makes that an unlikelihood.

Final Grade: 3.75, a B grade. I've been re-trying a lot of my favourite local IPAs over the last few days, and I'm sorry to say that Rogue's Brutal IPA just doesn't quite compare to them. To be fair, this beer is over four months old and has been shipped across the country - but B.C. is roughly the same distance and I've had plenty of good IPAs shipped from there. This isn't a brutal beer in either a good or bad sense - just a serviceable, shrug-worthy one. When I can pick up two tallboys of a tastier, fresher, domestic IPA for the same price, there's not much point in revisiting this, although perhaps if it were a fresher sample I could be convinced...

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2014 05:07:36 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of JohnParadee


4.61/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thin head, but good lacing on pour from 22oz bottle. Pleasant floral grapefruit nose. Opaque orange color. Very smooth citrusy taste. Ample but not overpowering hops, and alcohol well integrated (almost hidden). Comfortable mouthfeel. Really like this well balanced IPA. Would (will) drink this one over and over again (I hope).

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 00:12:24 | More by JohnParadee
Photo of DenisKolkin

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Has this on-tap with dinner the other night. Served into a 16oz Rogue glass. Served well-chilled.
Advertised as 6.7% ABV on the menu.

Appearance - Clear amber / copper color with a few bubbles and a nice 1 finger of foamy head that dissipates into a smaller cap that will linger for the duration of the beer.

Smell - Some significant hop presence but also some floral undertones and faint tropical fruits before bring it altogether with a slightly earthy pine aroma.

Taste - Moderately bitter, but just enough malt blends with some faint fruits flavors to cut through the hops. Not a complete hop bomb, but still big hop flavors and a bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Cool wet and refreshing, and while smooth it didn't strike me as otherworldly in this category. Pretty solid.

Overall - A fine IPA, one of the better ones I've had and nicely balanced between the hop and malt profiles. Would recommend again and would get on tap again should I make my way out to dinner at the local restaurant.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2013 01:46:43 | More by DenisKolkin
Photo of T-34-85

New York

4.01/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Nice straw/light orange color, and filtered/clear appearance. Minimal head with some residual lacing.

Smell: Not overly hoppy (not overpowering), but solid, with a nice grassy unique note from the crystal hops.

Taste: Well-balanced bitterness and sweetness with a good hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: A thin mouthfeel.

All around, a good well balanced IPA. Would be even better as a summer/warm weather IPA.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 01:32:11 | More by T-34-85
Photo of hoptualBrew


3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Murky sunrise gold, good amount of thick, white head up top.
Bread, cereal grain, honey, lemongrass, sweet citrus, touch pine in the aroma.
On the palate is honey tea, sweet malt, toast, lemongrass, pine, slight bitter pull in the finish.
Medium-light mouthfeel, well carbonated pushes the flavors and emphasizes the bitterness.
Overall, descent brew, would love to try this on tap. I honestly don't know how long this bottle had been sitting in the store fridge. No bottle on date to be found.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2013 00:39:06 | More by hoptualBrew
Photo of superspak


3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, orange zest, lemon zest, floral, grass, light pine, light honey, bread, herbal, and floral earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop notes with moderate malt presence; and good strength. Taste of grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange zest, floral, grass, light pine, herbal, light honey, bread, and floral earthiness. Fair amount of earthy floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, floral, grass, light pine, bread, herbal, and floral earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of citrus/floral hop flavors and moderate malt presence; with a crisp malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice IPA. All around good balance and complexity of crisp hop flavors with a fair amount of malt presence; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2013 04:21:08 | More by superspak
Photo of cyclonece09


4.14/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tall glass. Pours cloudy reddish orange with a large fluffy head. Smells of nice piney and citrusy hops, very inviting. Tastes of curtsy and earthy hops with a bit of tang. Beer is carbonated well goes down great medium body. Overall a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2013 22:20:17 | More by cyclonece09
Photo of alienlifeforcecube


3.06/5  rDev -23.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2013 03:50:05 | More by alienlifeforcecube
Photo of polloenfuego

Ontario (Canada)

3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

A: orange and hazy with a heavy looking two finger head that slowly dissipated leaving some lacing.

S: Citrus hops and faint pine.

T: Citrus and sweetness followed by bitterness.

M: medium body and mouth feel and fairly light carbonation.

O: Brutal IPA is really quite a nice IPA. It is not overly hoppy, but has a nice hops profile. I think it would make a good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2013 21:56:18 | More by polloenfuego
Photo of Chaney

District of Columbia

4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a DC Brau tulip.

A: Poured a very cloudy, bright orange color, with about a 2 finger head that was pretty much white with some orange highlights.

S: Hops? Hell yes!!! Very fresh indeed with orange peel and grapefruit. Pretty potent.

T: Nice and bitter, but with more of a malt backbone than I was expecting. The more I drank though, the hops became more pronounced.

M: Creamy and somewhat bitter, with more of an "orange sherbet" quality as opposed to a West Coast hop pow-wow. Mild splotches left on the glass and pretty clean overall.

O: Think East Coast IPA with a little added umph. I dug it.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2013 20:21:49 | More by Chaney
Photo of JAFoley

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Pale golden yellow, nice dense white head. Great retention and decent lacing.

S - Citrus, grapefruit

T - All citrus hop, no piney'ness or floral flavors. Underneath is a quiet and sweet malt base. I think a boost of alcohol would have been nice.

M - Medium/light with very light amount of carbonation. The light carbonation lends itself to the creaminess of the beer.

O - This is a very tasty and drinkable, definitely a good summer beer. I would not describe this as "brutal" but rather smooth. I would really like to try a an amped up double version of this with higher ABV and maybe stronger carbonation. But regardless I'll definitely be coming back to this.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2013 23:36:41 | More by JAFoley
Photo of Narbage

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2013 21:55:25 | More by Narbage
Photo of deeznuts420


3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

a decent example of a sessionable ipa, and that's about it. the bottle cost me almost $9, and with a 5.8 abv your not getting your bang for the buck. good flavors of a typical ipa, especially considering they used one type of hop. just not worth the cheese, as with most rogue products

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2013 09:46:09 | More by deeznuts420
Photo of HoppyBastard


4.83/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber to a shaker pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Cloudy, hazy and has a slightly orange color with about an inch-plus creamy head and a fair amount of lacing.

SMELL: Assertive combination of bread and citrus, floral hops.

TASTE: Citrus and biscuit malt flavor, then you get the hops. This brew has less pronounced hop profile than most IPA's and is very well balanced. It has a delicious aftertaste that really stays with you, in a good way. As the beer warmed it tasted even better.

PALATE: Medium bodied and chewy bread.

OVERALL: This beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy! I think this is the finest IPA ever because it has found the perfect balance between malt and hops. I have some constructive criticism for Rogue Ales; I would appreciate a six pack of 12 ounce bottles option as opposed to the 22 ounce bomber. In addition, this beer is too expensive compared to other similar beers available. You made a great beer but are your own worst enemy. Apparently, "Dare, Risk and Dream" only applies to the Brew Master, not the Sales/Marketing Department.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2013 05:24:30 | More by HoppyBastard
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2013 19:22:41 | More by Jeffo
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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,699 ratings.