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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,087 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,087
Hads: 2,065
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 14.71%
Wants: 82
Gots: 169 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,087 | Hads: 2,065
Photo of TheBeerWolf
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

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Photo of slagle9480
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper tones with an off-white head that looked too enticing to just sit and admire.

S: Bring on the hops! This ESB smells great. The hops are definitely present. There's also some citrus here.

T: Hell yes. Rogue brews kick ass. The malt and hops blend beautifully. What a sick beer. Love this ESB.

M: Smooth as hell. Medium-bodied, kinda creamy. Nice mouthfeel.

D: I could drink this brew all day. The 6.5% alcohol isn't overpowering and the hops are just too good to stop at one. If you can get this at your local grocery market I envy you.

Great beer from Rogue. Props on the Crystal hops. I'm a fan.

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Photo of nqdell
4.31/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of JordanPhraczek
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Baxter Brewery Can-shaped glass out of a 22oz Bottle bought at Depot Liquors in Beverly, MA.

A - Clear dulled orange body with a quickly rising beige head. Bubbles in this burst apart like molten lava and eventually dissipate into a one finger head. Filtered.

S - Smooth citrus hop smell. No alcohol detected. I dipped my nose into the head because the smell was luring me in, I wish it was even stronger. Pine notes upon exhalation.

T - Crystal hops with a nice earthy malt taste, lighter but this beer delivers. The namesake of this beer would not lead you to believe it is 5.8% alcohol, but given all the IPAs that raise the alcohol % way up to achieve this kind of flavor, I'd say this beer flawlessly delivered a drinkable ale with great hop taste. As with lots of Rogue beers and some of the other Northern Cali/Oregon beers the cleanliness of the brew is noticeable.

M - The malt sticks to your tongue and forms an even film on your tongue that the hop taste builds off, so the mouthfeel in this beer is pretty outstanding. The head on the beer lasted until the end and formed a pillow of foam to drink once the beer was finished.

O - I thought because of the name that I was getting a DIPA, and I am pleasantly surprised that this beer was lighter than most northwest IPAs with this kind of flavor. A clean, crisp, earthy offering from Rogue that reminds you of great home brew.

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Photo of SingleCell
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

650ml bottle poured into a mug after warming out of the fridge for 20 mins. Best before 31 March 2010.

A: Beautiful straw, light rust, burnt orange colour. An aggressive pour produced a two inch cream coloured head which subsided slowly leaving and almost cob web like lacing on the side of my mug.

S: I was greeted by the smell as soon as I pried the cap off the bottle. Very citrusy hoppy aroma. Pungent grapefruit, slight orange peel, just a hint of caramel maltiness. Alcohol cannot be detected at all.

T: Bitter hops right up front. Behind is the pungent and bitter grapefruit detected earlier in the nose, slightly spicy. Finish is bitter with hints of bready yeast, caramel and more grapefruit. Alcohol can just be detected behind all the flavours featured in this beer.

M: Medium to heavy carbonation. Light to medium bodied. Hops leave a bitter mouthfeel but are balanced out by the malts in the finish.

D: Very drinkable. ABV is just above what I like to consider a session beer.

Overall an excellent beer. My first of the style and it did not disappoint. I'll have to pick up a few more from my local LCBO before the disappear. Cheers everyone!

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Photo of liddytime
4.35/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Copper color

S: Tart with a nice hop aroma.

T: Perfect hoppiness with a lingering bitterness, definitely not overpowering. They use solely Cascade hops for this brew and the pure taste comes through nicely.

M: Nice, full body.

D: Excellent! Certainly not brutal, and not all that bitter! This is one of my favorite Rogue beers. Great with burgers! I wish I had another....

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Photo of n0rc41
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured beer into a pint glass from bottle.

A= Great copper penny color with good head, creamy white 1" head or so.

S= Aroma is nice pine, bread smell.
T= Great taste I love it. nice bitterness, but with some low pine and caramel. doesnt linger really at all on the palate.

M=Mouthfeel is great nice smooth, carbonated just right. doesnt linger..

D= great drinkability I could easily down a few more.

I bought this from world market(only place I can find good beer in this town) Its a great overall beer, Great taste color and aroma, Taste is perfect. I Just thought it would taste a little more bitter, for being "brutal bitter" name beer

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Photo of mightymoksha
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in pint glass.

Pours a deep, translucent copper, with a light khaki head. Head retains nicely. Visible particulate suspended throughout.

Piney, resiny, floral hop aroma is dominant, with a pecan-like sweetness backing it up.

Floral, oily hop flavor dominates the flavor profile here. A toasty malt sweetness is lingering in the background, which balances nicely. Notes of pine, honey and citrus rind also present. A dry, mildly spicy finish.

Mouthfeel is medium in body, smooth and slightly chewy, with a pleasant carbonation. Particulate is undetectable.

Nothing too exciting, but very tasty.

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Photo of buck1futter
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a-pumpkin in color haziy with very small yeast particles. decent creamy colored head.

t-malt sweetness with a little tart. not much else

t-bitterness hits quick then settles to a mild sweetness, with some breadyness'.This taste more so of an esb than an ipa for sure. as for an ipa its ok but it should be labled and esb imo. a very good esb though.

m- very soft and creamy, goes down really really easy. slightly watery at the end.

ITS A ESB NOT IPA, now labled brutal ipa.

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Photo of Seumas
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I never realized what the Brutal in Brutal Bitter meant until I tasted it back-to-back with the equally hoppy but considerably more refined Southern Tier IPA.

Brutal Bitter, which I supped second, came up much more earthy and lingeringly bitter than the IPA. Not more bitter, it's just that the bitterness in the Brutal just stuck to the tongue much longer than that of the IPA. If I had to guess, I'd put it down to late and aroma hopping in the latter, and continuous hopping in the former.

I can't imagine how much Crystal you'd have to put into a brew to arrive at the advertized 59 IBU from a relatively low-alpha, aroma hop like that. I should imagine you'd have to put in one heck of a lot and put it in steadily throughout the boil.

Come to think of it, Brutal Bitter bears more than a passing resemblance to Dogfish Head's 60 Minute IPA, which supposedly does use continuous hopping.

In all, Brutal Bitter is a good solid ESA/APA for hop heads who aren't looking for much finesse.

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Photo of BobThomas
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. It's a hazy orange color, lots of carbonation with a 2.5 inch head that faded to about an inch, then finally to a thick lacing. It's pretty. Really not too much to the smell. It could be that i have a cold, but I'm only getting the fruit from the hops. The taste is a bit nicer, lots of hops still, but it's nicely balanced with toasty malt. It feels light and clean in the mouth and finishes long and crisp with a lingering hoppy orange flavor that lasted longer than I had expected. Very refreshing. I could drink it all day.

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Photo of terryeckmeier
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

picked up a bottle of this as soon as I saw it on the shelf. We don't get to many American craft beer up in Toronto, especially from the west coast. Looks great, smells great, taste great. Great head retention, great carbonation and a beautiful medium dark amber colour. Nice mouth feel smooth and leaves a nice dryness after you has a drink. Nice an bitter as it says but not over the top well maybe if you are use to drinking Canadian or Coors but great lingering bitter taste almost like whole wheat toast or something along those lines. Nice maltiness and very well balanced between the hop flavour, malt and bitterness. Would buy it again

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Photo of Colt4540
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

A- It's a cloudy light brown color. With a finger and a half think off white head. It leaves a pretty good head all the way trought the beer and leaves nice lacing all the way down.

S- Has a pretty strong pine and floral hop smell. Maybe a little bit of a citrus twang to it.

T- As the name suggests it's pretty bitter, but it has a real nice pine and citrus taste that keeps the insane amount of hops in check. There is something else there that I can't quite put my finger on.

M- The hops mixed with the pine and citrus taste leads to a pretty zesty almost tingley mouth feel. That finishes crisp and clean.

D- Fits right in with your normal IPA. A good easy drinking beer.

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Photo of Chapter40z
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. A hazy golden orange, slightly off white head. Very inviting.

S. Hops, and some citrus not a very powerful smell.

T. I'd hardly call this brutally bitter. I do enjoy the taste though, good strong hops and well balanced flavors.

M. Good carbonation on the tongue, mid to full body on this one.

D. Could drink a ton of this stuff, another good brew from the guys at rogue.

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Photo of barleypop
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I stepped up to this one after trying their Younger's Special Bitter. I knew I was taking a big step up in hop class.

The appearance was your typical pale ale. Golden sunshine with amber streaks.

I could smell this one from across the room. Hops anyone? I wonder if I have the courage to take a sip.

I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful sweet citrus flavors that accompanied the blast of hops. Lots of character in this one. Just as soon as it takes hold of your tongue it leaves with a nice dry finish.

Overall a big thumbs up for the depth of flavor and character that this one possesses. A bit more hoppy than my usual tastes but nonetheless very enjoyable. Hopheads rejoice!

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Photo of jbennett1919
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden yellow with a nice one finger head.

Smell is of nice floral hops and grapefruit.

Tastes absolutely great. This beer should be called an IPA and not a bitter. Taste is of hops and grapefruit. Solid finish!

Mouthfeel is pleasant from start to finish.

I did not expect a solid IPA to come out of this 'Brutal Bitter' bottle; I was taken off-guard, but for a pleasant surprise. I think this is probably my second favorite Rogue brew behind the Juniper Ale.

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Photo of PCaravan
4.51/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've been waiting for a while to try this one and finally found it.

Amber gold in color that pours a thin white head that quickly fades but leaves a ring of foam around the edge of the glass that clings.

Clean smooth and strong floral citrusy aroma but not overpowering.

Taste is primarily of the hops and of the same profile as the aroma. Bitterness is substantial but very soft and smooth and lingers in the finish. Nice balance.

Mouthfeel has a nice carbonation level and has a very creamy feal.

Highly drinkable due to it's soft, smooth, and balanced bitterness.

Reminds me a lot of a American style pale ale but not nearly as pungient or rough as many of those (and I like them too).

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Photo of HopsHops
5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

man,.,how picky do you gotta be?

An orange/ gold color with a nice lasting head ...a rich hoppy bitterness u cant deny....IN YOUR FACE!!! flavor for a beer... i thought this was going to be a dark black color i was surprised with it and i absolutely love it...a sweet but bitter smell...the name is a bit much but it IS bitter and i love that...a bitter piece of gold i cant say anything bad about it ....cheers @ rogue

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

The aroma is a floral hop smell, wirh a caramel malt sweetness in the background. The taste is identical. Very enjoyable caramel/brown sugar sweetness up front, sliding into a nice clean bittering from the floral hops toward the back. The finish is nice and clean, and has a pleasant hoppy bitterness. Medium mouthfeel. Very drinkable; I could easily do 5 or 6 of these. Excellent beer overall.

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Photo of NickLovesBeer
4.34/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brutal Bitter pours a golden amber body with a massive white head laced with carbonation. As I was pouring the smell hit me like a ton of bricks, hops hops and more hops permeated the air and with in a minute you could smell it all the way across the room. The taste was surpisingly smooth and while extemely bitter and hoppy it was not was not overpowering creating the "bitter beer face" and finished with a nice sweetness to it. Brutal Bitter is another excellent brew by Rogue, and probably my favorite ESB.


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Photo of gottajiboo2
4.27/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a cloudy amber orange-ish with viable small bits swirling around. it formed a medium head that quickly faded into a thin white halo around the glass. a delicious hop aroma embraced my nose, and tasted a bubbly bitter delight finishing a slight sticky bitter finish, nice mouth feel. I could drink a number of these. very tasty.


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Photo of FarmHouseJam
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy Orange/ gold color
Bitter but with the the rogue grain selection....nothing is too bitter, everything is very malty, almost to the point of an ice tea taste.

The beer is still balanced which is key in my mind for worth wile drinking....

this is a malt liqour? "Don't let me down" is how I feel about this brew.

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Photo of vrushing88
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Copper, thin off-white head.

S - Heavy on Carmel malts.

T- Floral, extremely hoppy, and citrisy

F - Light, refreshing, easy drinking

O - Overall a great IPA. Comparable to Stone Ruination, but with a more citrusy character. Very easy drinking, and clearly higher in ABV, but well hidden.

Great Brew.

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

a- orange, leaf color, thin lacing, 2 inch head.

s- really sweet, citrus, pear, some malts.

t- biscuit, soy, a little bit of hops, good balance, some malts

m- really dry, nice refreshing, leaves you wanting more.

d- i could really drink a lot of this if i wanted to.

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Photo of rm0312
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle into my own Rogue pint glass - Loved the hoppiness of this beer as well as the bitter (but not too bitter) finish. Something of a citrus hint in there somewhere too. Great with steak or just about any hearty meal. One of my favorites...

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,087 ratings.