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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,835 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,835
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 65
Gots: 66 | 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: 1,835 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of elricorico
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep orange colour with a finger of foamy white head. Fairly clear, carbonation can be seen rushing up through the glass. Looks good.

First smell is all citrus hop. Grapefruit if I had to narrow it down. Pine starts to make itself known as the beer warms a bit. Remains basically all hops in the smell though.

In the taste, I know there is malt there, but it takes a backseat to a very pleasant hop flavouring. Citrus and pine, very fresh tasting. Grapefruit and lime. Not roughly bitter, but certainly for those that like the hops.

Carbonation is a bit coarser than I'd like, but the body is good, not heavy but not watery.

This is the kind of beer you could have any time. I imagine it to be very refreshing in the hot weather due to the freshness of the flavour. Glad to have picked it up, and would have it again.

elricorico, Nov 15, 2006
Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on draft at the Brick Store pub in suburban Atlanta. A very nice a bright, golden amber color with a very stiff white head. Tons of lacing. Almost like melted marshmallows on top of this bright beer.

Aroma is strictly fruit and hops. Fruits includ mango and pineapple and melon. Light citrus hops support the fruits.

Taste is exotic fruits as well. Definitely mango and musk melon and watermelon. Terrificaly fruity.

Nice mouthfeel and great drinkabilty. I am glad I gave this one a try. You should too.

SaCkErZ9, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of malty
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No freshness date on this, but it's been in my fridge for 6 months.

Pours a clear golden orange color with an off-white 1/2" head with visible streams of racing carbonation. Nice sheets of white lace.

A honeyish pine scent pleasantly whiffs through my nostrils. A few brisk swirls of the liquid evoke an earthy, rustic malt component that reminds me of dried leaves - somewhat timely for the season actually.

The honey sweetness follows through in the flavor along with an attenuated hop flavor, from Rogue's regular standards I mean. A harmonious balance of a soft sweet malt and citrusy prickly hop flavors dance nicely together. The flavors are actually very delicate compared to most of Rogues line-up of hoppy beers, for which I'm very grateful. There's a bit of sugary lemon flavor in here as well - very refreshing. The understated hop flavor grows at the finish though.

Mouthfeel is great. The fine carbonation feels very playful. On the lighter side of medium bodied with a flavorful, slightly dry finish.

Drinkability is also great. Nothing too potent or overpowering to scare away rookies, though there's enough quality present to keep the veterans satisfied.

Overall a well crafted British-style ESB. Maybe not enough body to put side-to-side with a Fuller's, but definitely has solid characteristics to keep it on the same stage. A very quaffable and solid brew for sure. Great flavor, body & finish - definitely a winner in my book.

malty, Nov 11, 2006
Photo of Kendo
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bomber bottle into a Sam Smith's pint glass, Brutal Bitter appears hazy orange-ish amber, with a 1-finger bubbly white head that settled to a white film. Foamy lacing clings to the side of the glass.

S: Fruity -- grapefruit and orange -- and piney hops dominate, but a bready malt undertone is present as well. Nice balance, even if the scales are tipped in favor of the hops.

T: Mild biscuity malt at first, then a fruity and piney hop presentation follows. Finally, a dry, minerally hop sensation wraps things up, coating the back of your tongue and cleansing the palate nicely. Alcohol warmth is noticeable on the way down. The more I drink, the hoppier it gets. Methinks I like this Crystal hop hybrid they've come up with. . . .

M: Good carbonation, medium bodied but just slightly chalky.

D: Excellent. It's not a heavy beer, but it's got lots of flavor and a nice dry hops finish that really encourages that next sip. I could drink more than a couple bombers of this and be happy about it.

Notes: If I were going to try and brew my own version of the perfect English Ale, it would be a lot like Rogue Brutal Bitter -- i.e., a slightly hopped-up Americanized version with a creamy mouthfeel and good, balanced flavors. Well done, Rogue. . . .

Kendo, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of Budlum
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The ale pours with large amounts of fluffy, white head that lasts long in to the first sips. Very nice head retention. The body a slightly hazy, textbook amber showing a lot of carbonation.

There isn't a whole lot to mention about aromas other than a textbook hop smell with hints of orange and honey.

The flavors are immediately hop-laden and never cease. The hops provide a lot of earthy and "dirty" flavors. There is a lot of hop spice that adds a peppery flavor. This one really smooths out as it warms up. The hop flavors mellow and a malty sweetness appears to balance all of the flavors.

This beer is nicely carbonated, spicy and very dry in the mouth. The palate is left pretty clean after each sip.

Drinkability is great. Very refreshing and hoppy without killing the taste buds. A nice session brew and a great candidate for hand pump or cask service. Brutal bitter? I think not.

Budlum, Nov 06, 2006
Photo of Cadyfatcat
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cloudy for an ESB, perhaps some organic material left from dry hoping?
Murky light brown colour

gingery hops, taste all over the mouth - the tongue-the top of the mouth-the tonsils-all over. Different levels and dynamics of hop character and bittering. No overpowering floral hop notes that may be more appropriate in an IPA. Earthy and mellow bittering. Berry tea character also comes through, somewhat reminiscent of the malt character in certain dunkel weizen.

A full mouth experience, quite an enveloping beer! Begs to be drunk!

Cadyfatcat, Nov 03, 2006
Photo of mmcave
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler, the body is the color of a yellowy orange light amber. The head is pillowy, not as full as the fullest of head, but nice and clumpy. It leaves lacing in patchy clumpy lumps. At first sniff it is hard to separate the integral elements other than the noticeable hop presence. The Rogue yeast strain is definitely present, nestled between nice semi sweet malts and balanced with hoppy piny scents. Smells like grapefruit, caramel, citrus, pine and all the sort of standard stuff. The taste is much the same, with compacted sweet bitter combo very well balanced a little sticky, medium crispness and into a dry bitter finish. I'm not terribly familiar with the strong bitter style, but this is definitely a nice beer, not one I'd buy all the time or always have around, but a good beer all the same.

mmcave, Oct 30, 2006
Photo of Beertracker
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rogue's Brutal Bitter is best served at cellar temperatures (45-50F). Brutal Bitter pours up rather brashly with a low tannish-white head that sits atop a deep copperish-tawny body into a Rogue house/logo pint. The appearance is very murky with definite "chill-haze" that detracts greatly from the overall appearance. The aroma starts off with a plethora of fresh, green flowery-citrus hop notes with some earthy (e.g. black currants), spicy-peppery notes thrown in for good measure. The hops are thoroughly backed-up by a solid underlying caramel maltiness (e.g. Melba toast, marbled bread, toffee cake). The aroma certainly makes up for the appearance! The flavor starts off with a fresh complex graininess that's backed-up by some audacious caramel that carries towards a fruity, spicy hoppiness that's atypical of most classic Rogue beers. The finish is bold, complex and packed with flavor. This medium-full bodied ale pushes the boundaries for a traditional English Pale Ale/ESB but that's what 100% Rogue brewing is all about. This one is even better on draught paired with a generous slice of freshly baked, brick oven pizza. Here's to the Rogue in each of us!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Beertracker, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of RedChrome
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour produced a slightly murky medium amber colored beer. A smal white head of half an inch shrank to a slick on top. Small amount of carbonation rising.

A very bitter aroma wafted from glass. A noseful of scent had a very citric hops quality. A decent pine aroma also is prominant. Slight note of yeast is hard to detect, but comes and goes.

Nice balance of the bittering effect of the hops and a light malty sourdough aftertaste. Citrus ranges from grapefruit to tangerine. A very bitter aftertaste has a light plastic quality.

Decent body. Not a huge burst of carbonation left me wanting something more to burst on the tastebuds.

A decent offering. Definitly above the average for the style. I would love this by itself, but would also pair well with a saltier cheese. Pick on up and try it for yourself if you are looking for something in the style.

RedChrome, Oct 28, 2006
Photo of Melchizedek
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber-gold, chill-hazed, with a towering off-white head and streaming carbonation.

Nose is all dry hop, citric mainly. Fairly light-bodied, with a nice array of hop flavors, citrus and resin, and a bit of mineral-water bite. It's essentially a solid, bitter pale ale, with a lot of strength and kick. Easier to drink than it should be - ye hopheads, be warned. It'll satisfy the need for your fix, but get overeager and it'll bite back. Yum.

Melchizedek, Oct 27, 2006
Photo of maek228
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a cloudy burnt orange...the head is about two fingers at first and has some cling...but it has that ocean foam look to it, which doesnt please me. but overall it looks inviting

Smell: Since i have a stuffy nose, I'm giving a "4" just on the basis of how it tastes...since it tastes good i assume it smells good. i can't smell a damn thing right now

Taste: starts with crisp, light, bready malts that give way to a singular hop punch that hits hard. i hear that this brew uses only one type of hop and that is quite evident in the taste. the hop flavor is simple and strong. rogue must have wanted to make a point. the flavor of the hops is piney and somewhat resiney. nice, simple, bitter, and refreshing. good taste.

Mouthfeel: crisp....great quality for a refreshing brew.

Drinkability: it's nice to see a beer that gets the job done and doesn't try to hard.

*this tastes very similar to Yards' IPA

maek228, Oct 15, 2006
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this locally at PDQ Market. Pours a really nice golden orange color. Smell is of faint citrus. Taste is a very strong citrusy hops, very tasty actually. Good mouthfeel. Overall very drinkable and a really nice beer. But brutal bitter? Just in name only unless your used to sweet beers. I guess they needed a name. It's good stuff, go for it.

Manosbeeroffate, Oct 10, 2006
Photo of largadeer
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear amber without much head to speak of, but a lingering, foamy lace.

S: Hops, pine, citrus - this beer smells great.

T: Lots of hops, bitter grapefruit, lemon zest. A straightforward brew, but delicious all the same.

M: Medium-bodied, bubbly carbonation, extremely refreshing.

This is one of my favorite Rogue beers. While it's not as complex as some of their others, the flavor is delicious and the aroma very enticing. A great "thirst-quenching" beer.

largadeer, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of Cresant
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 12 oz., undated brown bottle into a .5 L Spaten mug. Huge, puffy 4+ fingers of off-white head gently receded leaving stringy clumps of lace. Body was cloudy and the color of fresh apricots. Pretty.

Smelled of citrusy hops. Earthy. Mild.

Tasted not surprisingly of citrus-like hops (100% Crystal). Very well balanced considering the name. Even more malty as it warmed. Quenching and quickly consumed.

Medium body. Not complex but very easy to drink, worth purchasing again.

Cresant, Sep 29, 2006
Photo of stouty1
3.4/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Didn't get much head with my pour. Wrong glass? I poured into a Chalis. Anyway what was there was only a fine sparse head which looked like it could be a creamy very light marshmallow color.

Smells of hops and fruit. Some Apples or Pear and citrus definitely citrusy.

Taste is oily hops with a bite of too much carbonation (like a Coke). (I don't drink soda so it really stings me.) Not much to the flavor except hops and bitterness. Mouthfeel is weak with no chewyness at all.

Leaves a slight bitterness afterwards which leaves your mouth dry. Very drinkable and goes down quickly. Probably the light mouthfeel.

stouty1, Sep 29, 2006
Photo of UncleFlip
3.45/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tongiht's CD to review by: 'Iguana Iguana' by The Reptile Palace Orchestra
Tonight's reviewing glass: Grumpy Troll Brewpub pint glass

Picked this one up from a friend recently, but can't remember where or when. At 6.5%, it's on the "only if we change the law" list here in Bama.

First thing I notice is the very active fluffly just off-white head. Liquid is honey to peach, just ever so slightly hazy, with many bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Smell is all about fruity to piney hops. If one inhales deeply enough to snort, there's some malt there.

The flavour is rather fruity and spicy up front. There's some fresh orange, apricot, and nuts here. There's some woody spice along the way the whole time, with a kind of sharp dryness at the end.

Mouthfeel is just a little too harsh on the carbonation. The liquid is hearty, and just a touch oily.

It has its drawbacks, but is actually rather drinkable. It would make a decent sessioner, I think.

Be well

UncleFlip, Sep 20, 2006
Photo of williamherbert
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy dark orange color with a formidable head. I've never tried this one and it looks a bit intimidating. Enticing hoppy aroma.

Strong hoppy flavor. Very strong. The hops sit right at the base of the tongue and stick around for a while. Nice but strong hoppy aftertaste. Although it doesn't have an extraordinarily high %ABV, has a bit of that strong alcoholic flavor. This is a strong bitter. [Note: alcoholic flavor mellows out as the beer warms up.]

Has a thick body, but an easy drinkability. This one will fill you up. Unusually heavy for an IPA/bitter. A sipper, not a chugger. Incredibly dry.

williamherbert, Sep 20, 2006
Photo of kimcgolf
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a cloudy golden orange with medium off-white head that reduced to a white foam on top and decent lacing. Aroma was very strongly hops, with hints of florall and citrus. Taste was brutally bitter as the name implied, with the hints of citrus again. Finish was dry, as expected. This was a very tasty beer, and once again, Rogue did not disappoint.

kimcgolf, Sep 20, 2006
Photo of loving44
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Whole Foods Market in Torrance, CA. No freshnes date on silk-screened label.

Appearance: Pours slightly syrupy with a quick rising bubbly head that fades to 1/2 an inch. dark amber like fresh apple cider.

Smell: Simple aroma...citrus with sweet malty backing. Very crisp and inviting, it makes the back of my tongue twinge with anticipation.

Taste: sweet rich malty and doughy up front followed by herbal hop flavor reminiscent of unsweetened iced tea, ending with prickly bitter hops. This ale is extremely well balanced as a good ESB should be.

Mouthfeel: Thick with nice carbonation. Smooth as a bed sheet sliding over your tongue. Very nice.

This would make a great session brew, well balanced flavor, not overwhelming yet very flavorful. Grab one if you're in the mood for something simple and enjoyable; with a meal or with friends.

loving44, Sep 19, 2006
Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.3/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass at approximately 35 degrees.

Not very pleased with this offering from Rogue. It poured a nice orange/light brown with a 2 inch head. Smells nice, too - of citrus and hops with a little spice. Very hoppy but not much to balance the hop-kick. The citrus smell didn't carry over to the taste buds and I had a hard time figuring out the taste because of that...kept expecting more than I was getting out of it.

Not in my top list of Rogue brews...not a good balance of hops and taste.

JohnnyM2002, Sep 18, 2006
Photo of tattooedtolley
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Copper/orangish in color. White foamy head that stuck around and left some nice looking lacing.

Smell: Piney and citrusy aroma of hops.

Taste: Plenty of hops in this beer, more than I expected from this ESB. It has the bitterness and hop flavor that I always hoped would be in an ESB with enough malt to bring a bit of balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body.

Drinkability: Great, easy to drink beer. I enjoyed it and would buy it again.

tattooedtolley, Sep 14, 2006
Photo of TheBeerWolf
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a orangish amber color. The head poured white and left pretty quick with mine but left some lacing.

S: The first thing that hits you is the piney hops and then citrus aromas.

T: Wow! Lots of hops man. The bitter hops were the first thing that hit my tongue. Toasty malt notes are there too with a sweet cirtus aftertaste. The bitterness pretty much dominates as the name implies. If you like the more bitter beers you will enjoy this one otherwise might want to pass on this.

M: The moutfeel is kind of oily from the hops. Quite a bit of carbonation but as others have said not too dry.

D: Not too bad but the bitterness might be too much for some. But then again you would not be buying this style if you did not like bitter right? Me personally after having one of these I would move to something a little less bitter.

Overall a good quality beer and if your in the mood for a bitter can't go wrong with this one.

TheBeerWolf, Sep 12, 2006
Photo of nicefix
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wicked copperish amber color. Cloudy with a thick chunky off white head. Very attractive.

Big oily piney hop aroma. Quite pleasing.

The taste reminds me of a big American IPA. Very hoppy, floral, piney. With a malty bitter slightly sweet finish. I love the taste.

This is a fantastic beer. Right up the hophead's alley.

nicefix, Sep 10, 2006
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.

Applesauce1, Sep 09, 2006
Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a bright copper with orangish hues from the light, pinky thick white head.
the aroma of hopsack lofts out of the bottle and smacks you across the face followed by a firm base of malt.
the flavor is rich with malt and hops, spicy, little pepper, grassy, drops off to a lingering hopsack.
this is a great beer love the flavor, but brutal is correct, since i started drinking it, i think i am having an alegric reaction to the hops or something. skin is atarting to itch and turn red. like what happens with me and red wine :-(

plaztikjezuz, Sep 08, 2006
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,835 ratings.