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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,085 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,085
Hads: 2,051
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 14.71%
Wants: 80
Gots: 162 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,085 | Hads: 2,051
Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Toned down bitter. Hazy orange. Froth dissipitates from the bomber. Smells like a citrus IPA with pine. Fruit midsip. Downs bitter yet toned down with a faint lemoniness and Bittersweet aftertaste. Oily 59 IBU. Americanized ESB. Forget Wheat, this at the end of the hot day.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Haven Gastropub in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a hazy honey orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of citrus fruit, citrus zest, and honey. Taste is much the same with a malt finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink but it’s definitely not brutal in any sense.

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Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is hazy orange-amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of floral hops are present in the nose along with notes of caramel malts.
T: The taste generally follows the smell, except that that the malts are slightly more prominent and the hops contribute a light to amount of bitterness that lingers through the finish.
M: It feels nearly medium-bodied and somewhat crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer might not be as bitter as other IPAs, but seems to be quite bitter because it is a litter lighter in body compared to other beers in the style and the aromas and flavors also aren't as strong. This beer is extremely drinkable.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a light copper color with a nice white head. The nose brings hops that are floral, citric, and a bit herbal in character. A tad bit of light bready malt in the background. The flavor has some nice hops and a dry earthy character. Good, light, and bitter mouthfeel. Drinks quite well, although not nearly as well as it could given the fairly hefty price point for a sixer of this.

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Photo of brentk56
4.41/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a medium amber color and a beaten eggwhite head; boistrous lacing all over the pint glass

Smell: Fruity aroma with apricot and grapefruit esters

Taste: Apricot flavors on the front end are joined by a steady progression of piney bitter flavors; a touch floral on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium/heavy bodied with low carbonation

Drinkability: Superb drinker - nicely balanced between the fruity and bitter flavors

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Photo of Knapp85
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this with a few other IPA's I picked up and wanted to split with a friend. The list of beers that night was Bavarian Barbarian 2x4, Brutal IPA, Terrapin So Fresh So Green and Lukcy Basartd Ale.

This beer came in 3rd in my opinion to the ones we had that night. The Terrapin was 4th. This beer seemed like it something I'd love, The name sounded great and the ratings were high. It had a lot going for it.

The beer pours out at a light copper color with a pretty good head on it. The aroma is very good along with the appearance. The smell is strong with hops which I love. The taste was hoppy but it just didn't seem to have enough kick to it. I didn't find it to be "Brutal". The mouthfeel was on the lighter side as well. It's a good beer but I wouldn't rave about it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good beer. Always a fan of ESB's, I've been looking for a flavor like this. Pours a dark, carbonated coper. Slightly yellowish head that retained and laced really well. Smells are what you expect (malt, caramel, toffee, and a sharp hop bite) only a bit more aggressive. Tastes nicely with barley malt, caramel, vanilla, coffee, and spicy American hops. The hops add complexity, florals, esters, and flavor. Balanced out with a big malt body, the hops stay within balance. Not an IPA or an APA, this beer has custom English flavor with American hops. A good blend.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a light hazy brown color ale with a huge bubbly head with slightly better then average retention. Aroma of cirtusy hops is clearly dominant. Taste is huge on cirtusy hops, which provide some bitterness, but is well back by some malt. This beer really seems to be halfway between an ESB and an IPA. Interesting and would definitely like top try this again.

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Photo of largadeer
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bomber. My initial encounter with this beer involved my ex-girlfriend, and me puking outside her mom's car after a family (hers) wedding. Lesson learned? Beer ain't the problem - drinking shitty Greek brandy with her brother was.

This beer pours a hazy medium golden amber colour, with three fingers of dense, tightly puffy, and weakly foamy off-white head, which leaves consistent rings of webbed lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of gritty, bready caramel malt, citrus and pine hops, and a further slightly perfumed floral essence. The taste is musty, clammy caramel malt, muted, indistinct citrus, wet pine needles, and more outlying floral, grassy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, and generally laissez-faire on my tongue, the body on the light side of medium weight, and underwhelmingly smooth, as the lack of overt hoppiness doesn't mean what one might think. It finishes off-dry, with tangy, slightly sour malt, and floral, citrusy hops.

If I had to peg this outside the myriad BA distractions, I would claim it to be a bit of a ramped-up ESB, or failing that, a beginner's IPA. Too much middling about in the maltiness, and with a hoppiness that seems incapable of duly assaulting my palate, especially given the ultimate proximity of this brewery to the physical west coast.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gauzy peachy orange with what looks like dust motes swirling within the liquid. The light beige head persists for a bit as a thick, sponge-like disk atop the beer and leaves chunky scraps of lace on the glass.

The nose is impressively hoppy. If I didn't know better, I'd have said that Cascade, Centennial or a combination of the two make up the hop bill. So this is what Crystal hops smell like. They smell more like pink grapefruit than white and I think that I can pick out some pineapple esters as well. Malt, schmalt. This one is all about the hops.

Upon tasting... it appears as though I can add another hop to my growing list of favorites. I don't absolutely love Crystal as I do some others, but it is very, very good. Pithily bitter citrus fruit is front and center with pink grapefruit leading the way.

In terms of flavor contribution, malt is in the background. I'm only aware of its presence because the bittering is so well-supported and because there's a hint of underlying pale malty sweetness. The body is full enough to be pleasurable in the mouth while being light enough to allow the beer to be downed scarily quickly. I'm finding out firsthand that a bomber of 6.5% ESB is fully capable of mounting a sneak attack if gulped.

Brutal Bitter is yet another first-rate beer from Rogue. I'm glad to have made the acquaintance of another fine hop of the citric persuasion and I'm even more glad that this beer is available in my local grocery. Brutal Bitter isn't brutally bitter, but it is significantly hoppy and it is mighty good.

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Photo of zeff80
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep hazy orange with a real nice fluffy head that leaves some great lacing,aroma hops hops and more hops,very citric and resiny.Taste is definently hop tilted very zesty,oily and dry I get a slight dry maltiness but not much.Iam not a hophead but gotta give this brew props,by far the most hoppy ESB I have ever had.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Barleys, this was a very nice treat. Poured a nice light amber with a off white head that was slow to recede. A good lace present down the sides. Smell was highly hopped, with lots of pine resin apparent here and it melded well into the flavor profile which was just about the same. Good smooth feel with a light balance that let it more the sessionable. A really dry bitter after taste that linger for a good long while. This was the perfect beer to have with a slice of pizza, just blended so perfectly. Really a nice treat and was very pleased with it. Awesome but I would really call this an IPA

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.51/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Fine-looking murky copper body with a creamy, off-white head. Plenty of lacing throughout.

Smell: Hmm. An acutely cakey aroma paired with a fresh floral-citrus scent.

Taste: Zestful citrus flavors, perhaps a little bit of earthy pine, too, with a small amount of malts bouncing in amongst the hops. Crisp, lasting (though in no way overwhelming) bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. The carbonation is fine, and somewhat prickly at times.

Drinkability: Well, its anything but brutal. But whatever, it still makes for easy drinking.

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Photo of nickfl
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep orange-copper color with impenetrable haze and a tiny, half inch of off white head.

S - Immediate estery citrus aroma, with floral/ herbal hops coming in behind. Nice, fresh smell.

T - Lots of fruitiness, mostly citrus, up front. Citrus hops flavors and chalky bitterness are up next, followed by biscuity malt notes. All of the citrus character comes back together in the finish for a lingering, harmonious grapefruit note.

M - Medium carbonation with a fairly full body and a very dry, chalky finish.

D - Quite easy to drink. Certainly not hard to put down the 22 of this fresh, fruity beer. It is an interesting take on the ESB style, having a lot of features I might more associate with an IPA. The citrus characteristics are very nice and they nailed the dry, English bitterness that many brewers can't seem to capture in their bitters.

I paired this with a chunk of seared tuna, marinaded in soy sauce and honey. The citrus notes matched the soy/honey glaze very well and the hops did not over power the tuna's flavor the way I feared they might.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a tumbler at The Tribes.

I figure I should try some more of Rogue's offerings for some reason. Might as well, right? This one pours a clear sunset brass topped by a finger of light off-cream-white foam. The nose comprises greens, buttery caramel, grass, and some very light leek. The taste brings in more of the same, with the caramel coming off a bit darker and the grass increased ever-so-slightly. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a pretty silky feel. Overall, an okay beer, nothing close to outstanding or impressive, but nothing really bad, either. I'd pass if offered this again.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy, deep amber in color. The ivory colored head is thin with limited retention. The aroma is a very nice combination of sweetish toasty maltiness and cascade hops that appear more piney than citrusy. The body is medium/light with a very fine and gentle carbonation which gives it a very smooth and lightly creamy mouthfeel. If they were going for an "English" look & feel, they've certainly achieved it. Very nice. The hops flavors really come through in the flavor, giving it complexity with notes of citrus fruits, pine resin, light earthiness, and at times, even mint. The malt is very lightly caramel-like, bready and softly toasty - the Vienna malt shows and adds a nice richness. Bitterness is, of course, well represented in any Rogue beer, but this is clearly balanced more to show off malt & hops in a drinkable session ale. A unique beer that puts an American-hop spin on an English bitter.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains mostly caramelized malts and pale hops.

T: The taste is nicely balanced, which I wasn't really expecting with a name like "Brutal Bitter", with a pale hops bitterness and a faint but complimentary caramel and citrus sweetness. The malt character is hearty and provides some good substance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, nice representation of style, an ESB isn't usually my first choice of style, but this is a good beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.85/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Market Cross Pub in Shippensburg, poured chilled into a 1/2 pint from the 12oz brown bottle.

A - The appearance is clear pale honey w/ very good clarity and rocky beige head of approximately 2 fingers. The lace clings well and retention is good.

S - A honeyed fruit, citrus rind and mild biscuit aroma w/ light bitter orange accents and grassy tinges in the hop aroma

M - A very bitter fell right off(duh) w/ a mild malt and moderate carbonation. An almost creamy middle but too much lingering bitterness IMO, the style should have more of a malt backbone, finishes on the dry side

T - A crisp spiced hop taste up front w/ citrus acidity from the NW hops and very light malt flavor. The citrus rind taste lingers and a creamy bitter combo is tasted w/ only a mild accent of malt as it finishes

D - The drinkability is better than average but for this I consider it a mediocre example of the style. It is overly hopped and tastes like a hoppy pale to me

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

Presentation: 22oz bomber with no freshness date to be found.

Appearance: Copperish amber hued brew with a pillowy off white head with a mild chill haze.

Smell: Pungent (mild rind), piney sweet, raw hop aroma is very dominant. Smells like raw hops oils basically.

Taste: Very smooth with a semi chewy malt mouth feel, a touch of malt sweetness peeks its head out yet the hops take over and release a big pungent bitterness (hint of rind) with a very inviting oily hop flavour that is a little sweet in the finish.

Notes: For as much hops as they used for this brew it is balanced quite well. Very interesting with the use of only one hop variety ... the Crystal hop, a cross between Hallertauer and Cascade. An amazing brew and becoming a cult classic among the hopheads and veteran beer geeks. A "not for the faint of heart brew".

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Photo of kojevergas
2.87/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

650ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired at a local Ralph's market.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Not paired with food.

A: Pours a two and a half finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, some lacing, and above average retention. Colour is a predictable transparent copper. No visible yeast particles.

Sm: Hops - both floral and bittering in a seeming equal balance. Clean malts. Pine. Crystal malt. Grapefruit. Citrusy hops. A mild to moderate strength aroma. Somewhat fresh.

T: Piney with rounded fruit citrus ester hops. Some grapefruit, but restrained and only noticeable about the climax and on the finish. Weak cream on the open. Clean malts - some crystal - form the weak foundation. Hops are mainly floral and fruity, with obscured bitterness in the third act. The bitterness is awkardly concealed, lending the third act an empty dull feel. In this regard, it's structurally imbalanced but flavorfully decently balanced. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Built in a pretty standard manner for an IPA. There's nothing unique or special here. Feels somewhat fresh, but I'd stop short of calling it refreshing. Pleasant and enjoyable to drink.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some weak cream. A touch overcarbonated, giving it a sharpness that prevents one from gulping it and inhibits its drinkability. Too thick, likely from poor planning of the malts - which are too present in the flavour profile anyway. Complements the flavours generally at best.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. Rather average for an IPA, but I find it fairly pleasant. If I got it again, it'd have to be on draught. Subdued for the style - which isn't a bad thing. The piney character is a nice touch. There's really nothing brutal about it, but I'm glad they didn't get sucked into the IBU/Hop content war.

Drank okay out of my Guinness pint glass. I couldn't recommend a better vessel. Maybe a tulip?

Would pair decently with spicey food.

A poor candidate for aging.

Low C

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
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...

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Photo of russpowell
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours deep honey with an off the charts beaded san colored head. good lacing and head retention

Smell: earthy hop notes &honey malt notes

Taste: Piney & citrussy hops (grapefruit) with a sweet malt up front. Great hop finish, perhaps a little too much for the style, but it works for me

MF: Rich & ballanced, good carbonation

Very drinkable, think this is more like a DIPA, would love to ty this side by side with SNCA, yummy

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.22/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears: Slightly cloudy amber brown copper tone with a cream off white nice thick and substantial head, great amount of lacing even and full. Aroma: Frivilous hopping here floral, piney, and citrus toned hops explode upon my senses but that doesn't set aside this beer from other Rogues what does is the malty syrupy sweetness that is also represented here in teh aroma very balanced. Taste: Syrupy sweet mixture of hops so good the piney edge to the hops complements the caramel malt so well, true to the style by bringing true balance to the table that can only be compared to the American amber that they brew. Mouthfeel: Fuller bodied smooth best beer yet from Rogue. Drinkability: If I didn't have to drive I may of had a few more pints from this one so drinkable on draft I must be sure to sample it in the bottle to compare.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,085 ratings.