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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,821 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,821
Reviews: 1,062
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 65
Gots: 61 | 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).

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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,821 | Reviews: 1,062 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ujsplace
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic

Pours a hazy orange with thick yeast particles suspended throughout. Creamy white head with nice lacing.

Smells of bready yeast and citrus and a hint of malt sweetness.

Big hop bitters - citrusy... grapefruit and maybe a hint of lemon. Biscut-like bready yeasts.

Medium mouthfeel - nice carbonation, crisp.

This is a very drinkable - yet bitter brew. Not overly hoppy, which makes it drinkable for those who are not hopheads.

ujsplace, Apr 24, 2010
Photo of ritzkiss
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from the LCBO, pours a hazy light golden orange with a good three fingers of head built up from the pour, terrific retention as a layer of bubbles sticks around for the whole 22oz and leaves sticky lacing down the glass.

Nose is light grapefruit and lemon, some pine and floral hops. Not much malt coming up off the nose. Not overpowering or particularly exciting.

Floral and citrus hops dominate with a light honey and caramel sweetness running through, slightly herbal and grassy. Nothing 'bitter' about this style wise, pale malt, fruity/floral 'west-coast' profile. Not too much bitter about it in the taste as well, pretty mild bitterness, less than robust hop profile. Easy drinking.

Reminds me of an Ontario IPA which isn't really a compliment. Not terrible but nothing I would desire except in a pinch when there's no better IPAs around. Just not enough punch, though I suppose it is an easy drinking IPA which would pair well with meals. Some good, some bad.

ritzkiss, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of pootz
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Re review of an old favorite:

22oz bottle: Pours a beautiful clouded amber orange with an impressive sticky 3 finger cap.

Aroma is intense, apricot-grapefruit-grass over substantial caramel tones.

Rich body, silky smooth mouth feel, Big caramel malts in the front (not cloying though) surprisingly delicate fruity notes in the center mingle with increasing resinous bittering...finishes balanced and clean.... lightly drying with lasting metallic bittering.

A very fine ale, nicely executed and easy to drink.

pootz, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of dgilks
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich, caramel malt aroma. Light notes of grapefruit and cinnamon.

Mostly clear, gold colour with a fluffy, off-white head. Decent head retention.

It's not back. The malt is fairly laid back in the flavour with it playing a supporting role. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have a star to support. The hops are reclusive, sitting back with just a moderate bitterness and a light sprinkling of citrus hop flavour coming out to play. It's okay but certainly nothing special. A light twang in the background suggests that there is a possible infection but it isn't significant enough to pick what it is.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. It's okay.

At the end of the day, this is a moderately decent beer. There isn't anything particularly wrong with it but it lacks the 'brutal' Rogue character I expected.

dgilks, Apr 14, 2010
Photo of arizcards
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stopped in at the Rogue Ale Public House in late March. Had a pint for $5.75.

The beer poured a beautiful orange color with a nice 2 inch sustaining head that left a nice trail of rings in my glass. Nose is of floral hops and citrus. Taste is pretty much as advertised, a blast of floral hops and that hint of citrus lingers afterwards. Mouthfeel is a perfect combination of the lively hops dancing on my palate yet is very smooth and has an almost creamy fullness. Overall drinkability is good. ESB is not my favorite style but this beer does the style proud!

arizcards, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of mintjellie
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden orange body sits below a towering off-white head. The head is extremely retentive and almost completely coats the walls of my glass with lace as it slowly dissipates. Biscuit, floral, and pine notes lurk behind it's juicy & ripe mango aroma. It's a tropical paradise in your mouth as the flavour of mango and passion fruit explodes on your palette across a bread & caramel backdrop. Contrary to its name, the lengthy and firm bitterness it finishes with is more moderate than brutal, with just enough malty sweetness to provide the perfect foil to it. Very balanced.

Medium bodied with an oily & resinous mouthfeel. Its slickness is especially noticeable between sips. More carbonation than the typical English bitter, but it's use of American hops make it far from typical to begin with. Some of Rogues other offerings like Hazelnut Brown Nectar or Mom Hefeweizen have left me slightly undewhelmed in the past, especially at the premium price point their brand commands. At $6.10, Brutal Bitter is worth every last dime you pay for it. Delicious.

mintjellie, Apr 10, 2010
Photo of Lukecook
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass

A-Golden orange in color with a nice creamy head, decent lacing.

S-Citrus, pine, and bready malts.

T- Mild citrus and bitterness,bready malts, nice dry finish.

M- Light to medium body.

D- Good beer, the beer was refreshing and crisp, I would definetly buy it again.

Lukecook, Apr 09, 2010
Photo of andyfrancis
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks like a glass of cloudy apple juice, with an off-white head that disappeared almost immediately. Floral and citrus in my nose...just a hint of sweetness. Slighty heavier than I expected, but it does have a clean finish. True to it's name, it is bitter, but not overbearingly so. I'd gladly drink this again, but won't make it a point to seek it out.

andyfrancis, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of Long813
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dated: N/A
From: LCBO, 650ml

G: Chimay Chalice

A: Cloudy orange body with two fingers of frothy white head with poor retention and minimal lacing.

S: Citrus, hops, some floral notes. Smells like it's going to taste mighty fine.

T: Huge upfront of earthy hops with citrus notes following. Very pleasant mixture. This is much more bitter than I thought it would be.

M: Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation. Earthy/citrus aftertaste lingers in the mouth for a long time. Nice full bodied feeling makes it a pleasure to drink,

D: This is one great ESB. Good about of bitterness that's not oddly overpowering, but very well balanced.

Long813, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of drizzam
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date on the bottle.

A - The body of the brew is a cloudy dark amber in color with huge chunks of sediment settling on the bottom of my pint glass and floating around in the beer. All of this was topped by a fluffy white head that had excellent retention and left wispy lacing down the inside of the glass.

S - Big citrus hop aroma. Smells bitter...and inviting.

T & M - Some serious hop flavor in this brew...almost more earthy with a citrus tang. Seems to balance out with a small amount of malt about 3/4 of the way through, and ends with a bitter hop aftertaste. Medium bodied and crisp. Nothing brutal about this brew!

D - The Rogue website proclaims that this brew has 59 IBU's...I would have thought it to be higher. An excellent brew, any hop lover would enjoy this beer. Absolutely recommended.

drizzam, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of webmanspidey
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass. This pours a caramel color with medium carbonation. Smell combines mild hops and citrus fruits. Taste combines fresh hops, caramel, and citrus.. very well balanced. Light to medium body. Extremely drinkable.

This is an all-around solid beer. Very delicious and drinkable.

webmanspidey, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of robsharpe
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

With each new year I resolve to try a new (to me) beer or ale style with the hopes of learning the intricacies of and to develop a sincere appreciation of the style. Last year I resolved to try IPA's as I had, since my early beer enjoying days, always adored the more malty ales. This year I have sought to try the various ESB's that populate the shelves and bars in the area. Last night I tried Rogue's Brutal Bitter.

From the first smell I felt the ale would be well balanced, which I feel was verified with the first taste. I found the bittering hops to be most pronounced immediately after the drink but they faded quickly to a pleasant aftertaste. As I drank through the bottle I was able to taste more of its malty qualities which, paired with the bitter aftertaste, made for a pleasant overall experience.

So far of the ESB's I've tried this year Rogue's Brutal Bitter is my favorite. I'll need to come back to this beer in the future.

robsharpe, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of ocelot2500
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy pale orange with a thick white head that leaves a solid sheet of lacing on the glass.

Smells of citrus and floral hops.

Tastes of the hops on top of a layer of malts. Malts are mostly biscuity and bready pale malt, but there is a touch of caramel that makes its way through. Hops have a big floral character with some orange peel and grapefruit notes as well. Not overly bitter, but hop flavor is certainly present with what I find to be a good balance between bitter and sweet for an IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium with a fizzy, effervescent amount of carbonation.

ocelot2500, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of beergod1
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice surprise, I like Rogue a lot too, but never tried the Bitter until the Brewfest in Erie PA, at the Brewerie at Union Station, Nice balance of dried fruit and a hop undertone, somewhat malty finish, some here say it's not a well balanced beer....wondering if they had a bad batch? The hop aroma is floral and earthy with some citrus, tropical fruit and resin, backed by caramel from the malt. The flavor is a decent balance of sweetness and bitterness.

beergod1, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of jminsc76
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, pours a big, thick, creamy head that sticks around for a long time. The lacing is almost ice cream-like around the inside of the glass. The body a murky orange-ish/yellow with plenty of rising carbonation.

Aromas are fairly tame, exhibiting hints of citrus, some orange peel, and a little bit of grapefruit. Also a slight aroma of breadiness or biscuit. As it warms and I agitate, more floral notes start popping through and the bouquet improves.

Flavors include an excellent balance of malt and hops (like any good bitter should), with some slight caramel and orange on the front end and more apple and kiwi on the finish. The hops really start coming through as it warms. The great part is it transitions from a British-style bitter to an American IPA over the course of the session.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, exhibiting a light and tingly feeling to a soft and chewy consistency as it warms.

This is an excellent brew. Complex, enjoyable, and constantly surprising me.

jminsc76, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of Andreji
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So the BBA was my second choice at the DC in the upper east side. I was even offered by the waiter whether i should just "try a bit" before ordering the whole pint- all this after my 100 ipa pint from magic hat- but still i just asked for the whole deal at once. i'm not one to not drink my whole beer regardless.

Pour is orange golden toned, translucent but still fairly thick to be too generously thin appearing. head is very short, predictive of what the nose and taste wound up being.

Smell is hoppy, but in this rather brassy sense. nothing too expressive. and the malt is well hidden, atypical thing to do. So the taste simply is this blandish but still malty undercarbonated pint with a characteristic hoppy-to-ethanol-ness. by no means a bad feel, not exceptional either. still very subte for what it preaches to be, dunno whether this is a good or a bad thing but it's a decent beer all in all.

Andreji, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of ecoastman
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the greatest heads I've seen on a beer, Brutal Bitter produces a thick, dense frothy top that could pass for whipped cream. The bottom layer is a nice hazy golden orange that glows warmly.

Not overpowering, the aroma delivers what you'd expect with citric and herbal-pine hops and is balanced well with some sweet honey like malt.

Don't let the name fool you, Brutal Bitter is relatively gentle and delivers a friendly punch to the taste buds. Like the aroma, the malt starts smooth with a light honey sweetness but quickly converts to the citric (orange peel and grapefruit) and herbal world of hops. The finish is quite good with medium level of bitterness and dryness. The only complaint that I have is that it's not quite as complex as I'd hope and is a bit thin in the finish and aftertaste, but it's still very enjoyable.

Meanwhile, the courseness is kept low while maintaining adequate carbonation. Quite drinkable.

A nice offering that's available in Ontario. I'll buy again when I'm feeling rich ($$$).

ecoastman, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of timholio
4.88/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my new favorite top 5 beers. I like it as much as Fullers ESB which is the classic for this style according to others. This beer seems fresher than Fullers and seems to have more grapefruit flavors but Fullers a bit flatter and slighty 'soapier'(hops?).

I find this beer very drinikable - not too strong in ABV. I really like a bitter beer. So far I haven't found one thats 'too bitter', I'm not sure such a beer exists - if so bring it on. Good job on this one from Rogue.

timholio, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Into the pint glass, this beer is hazy orange in color with a 1 cm of sticky head. The aroma is flowery and piney and oh so hoppy. More hops on the palate. There is a bit of balance from the from starchy malt, but the flavor is dominated by the hops leaving the palate dry with lots of lingering hops flavors.

A very hoppy, but drinkable beer.

BeardedBoffin, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of WeedKing4
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle pours a cloudy orange with a decent amount of foam using a rogue pint glass. There was a bit of grapefruity bitter taste upfront, but its kinda bleak. Drinkability is ok considering, but it still lacks overall flavour. This is a great beer for beginners to craft beer, but its very average if you are a veteran. I definately have drank a lot worse beers then this, but this is probably the last time I will pick up a bottle.

WeedKing4, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of claminat420
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- poured a cloudy orange color with a white fluffy head. light carbonation.

S- orange and piney

T- same as smell but with a light caramel malt in the middle.

M- medium bodied. nice carbonation.

D- not to bad. wish these had more taste backing up the bitterness.

claminat420, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of meeekyh
4.88/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer came in a 12oz bottle I am sure is not super-fresh. The price on Rogue beers went up from $8.99 to $10.59 on average about 7 months ago. I bet this beer is from that era.

I note the beer is a nice amber color, on the brown side as opposed to red, and slightly hazy. The head is slight and tan in color, creamy and leaves great lacing.

Nose is floral and a bit citrusy. I would call it subdued but add that there is a fullness that transcends the apparent. The hop character sure comes through.

Despite the name this is not a particularly bitter beer. What I notice in particular is a tangy zip, grainy flavors with a bit of fresh grasses. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is nicely creamy and full without coating or having a pronounced aftertaste. Primo beer to be sure, and not that 'Hawaiian' Primo either, though I don't hate that beer either.

Quaffability is hard to beat. I once made this beer my session beer of choice, when the price was slightly lower. I will not grade against the drinkability for the price though because I would give it a 5.5 for drinkability if I could.

In short this is one of my favorite beers ever and continues to please me, especially after the hiatus I took. Distance makes the heart...etc.


meeekyh, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of eat
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque and just-off clear. Honey in colour with a rocky off-white head. Pouring in the last inch of the bottle darkens the colour and adds some murky suspended solids, changing the look significantly. Great retention and awesome sticky lacing all up the side of the glass.

The nose is buttery with sweet grapefruit and caramel malt. Real nice.

Lots of hops in the flavour, seeming like a combination of English and American hop varieties. A bit of cracker, some grapefruit, no alcohol. Drying finish.

Great medium body and medium carbonation.

I've never been a fan of bitters and while this one hasn't changed my mind, it's easily the best I've had. I've attempted to review to style, since my opinion of bitters in general would have biased the review. Quite drinkable in spite of my preferences, I'd drink this again if it was offered to me.

eat, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of TommyW
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Copper/gold body with a tall, white head.

S- Smell of hops dominates the nose with a piney and fresh scent.

T- A slight malt sweetness is noticeable but quickly over-taken by the piney/raw hop profile; creating a bitter finish.

M- Medium to full feel with a nice carbonation.

D- A nice hoppy beer that isn't too boozy; great beer you cant drink a few of when you have a hop craving.

TommyW, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of funkengruven
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice find at the Waterdown LCBO, this pours a dark cloudy amber with nice head retention. Some foam but not a lot of lace. Smell is a good balance of malt and hops, I would say hops are a bit more prominent in this one than most of this style I have tried. Flavor is exceptionally nice. I find that the hop bitterness balances the malt perfectly, and unlike some of the British examples I have tried, the sweetness is subdued somewhat making for a delicious and smooth drink. Drinkability is definitely a plus here and if it wasn't for the strength of this brew it'd be a nice session beer.

Yes, at $7 a bomber it's expensive. However it's worth it, very nice stuff.

funkengruven, Mar 06, 2010
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,821 ratings.