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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,926 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,926
Reviews: 1,077
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 76
Gots: 109 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,926 | Reviews: 1,077 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Romulus141
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Hefe-Weisse glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber with a slight tint of orange. The initial head is fluffy. It dissipates after a pour, leaving a layer of foam. Lacing is apparent and viscous. Just by sight alone, I could tell this was going to be a quality beer.

Smell: This has a nice sweet smell. There are notes of citrus. The smell is full, but not overpowering. A very nice balance that complements the appearance.

Taste: A wonderful splash of bitterness followed up with a bready taste that finishes incredibly crisp. There is a slight citrus note within the flavor, as the aroma suggests. The flavor comes in an intense burst, and fades quickly. The hops flavor from this brew is noteworthy. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel: There is a nice density, and thankfully the carbonation is kept to a minimum. When it comes to the other ESBs I've tried, I've been irked by a thin mouthfeel and overcarbonation. Not so with this one. It's actually somewhat dry too, without any oily characteristics, which is nice.

Drinkability: This is a beer to savor, but it's not so heavy that you can't drink a couple in one sitting. I wouldn't session with this, as it's way too good to waste like that, but it goes done smoothly.

One of the best ESBs I've tried. This was my first sampling of the Rogue brewery, and I hope to try more. Recommended.

Photo of AlephNull
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very hazy golden color with a sticky, chunky head of about 2 fingers. It dissipates slowly leaving a thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Hops come to the forefront grapefruity citrus scent.

T- Very well balanced grapefruity hops flavor opens up. The malty base is a smooth carmel that comes in afterwards. It's got a little bit of a piney finish that's quite refreshing.

M- Not an extremely thick beer. Maybe closer to watery, but not bad.

D- Very drinkable ESB. I've not been thrilled with the few Rogue beers I've had in the past, but this is good. I'll have to open up myself up to a few more Rogues.

Photo of cookin420
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a pubglass.

Big head with a moderately non-aggressive pour, receding quickly and leaving splotchy but thick lace. Color is a pale copper(Like Mark Fuhrman) with a touch of yellow. Minimal haze.

Not heavy on aroma but you definitely know there are hops here. Smells like Cascades but the bottle says Crystal hops witch I've never used but must be similar.

Very bitter. Brutality? Probably not quite, but close. Orange fruit; Orange, tangerine, clementine. Only traces of grapefruit and lime. Malt-wise there is just enough to make this drinkable and I mean that in a very good, good way. Very sweet and very bitter. Yes.

Certainly not a low F.G.

I've found this to be expensively drinkable.

Not cheap but not pricey either, IMO worth every tongue swelling, mouth puckering cent. 59 IBU? well used.

Photo of Mounty4Life
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap blue dust slightly hazy and orangish
Little lacing and minimum head. Nice hoppyness early in nose but subtle not brutal! Smooth Med bodied easy to drink good aftertaste nice and bitter. Overall more a bitter than ipa but has hops in aftertaste that assures you you have quality beer.

Photo of mickstepp
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I picked up a single bottle just as a test and now I wish I had purchased several. Pretty pumpkin color that stays a little cloudy. Head stays but is not substantial. Has a clean aroma almost like a wheat beer. Very, very tasty and drinkable. Hops are present but not, as the name would suggest, brutal. Light to medium body. A real thirstquencher. I can see how it would be easy to throw down way too many of these on a hot day. This was my first Rogue. Now I intend to work my way through them all.

Photo of ChappyCubsFan
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bitter, yes. But brutally bitter, not really. It is a nice change from the real hoppy brews I'm used to and that I thoroughly enjoy. This one has a consistently bitter taste with a smooth hop flavor and some interesting citrus taste. It pours a creamy golden color and it's got a nice aroma and lacing too. I had forgotten about what a nice change of pace this one is from an IPA or double IPA. It's almost at a mid point between a good, hearty IPA and a good, semi-hoppy pale ale.

Photo of mydeadguy
4.62/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22oz bomber. Pours a hazy tawny amber with an inch or so of fluffy head that drops fairly quickly, leaving plenty of lace. Aroma is of hop oils, slightly astringent (pine?), bitter, herbal notes .

This beer does not shy away from the hop bitterness and lives up to it's name. Also the malty sweetness in the mix balances well, a hop monster, maybe, but house trained. The finish is a lingering hop bitterness that is just sublime. Mouthfeel is full and round, rich, oily (again the hops). Drinkability, don't get me started, if this wasn't my second review, and I could stand the Red Sox traffic, I would be on my way to the store to pick up as many as they have...

Overall, this beer blows me away, just perfect.... Rogue does it again. If your the type who loves bitter hops, and you haven't tried this, do yourself a favor.

4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a hazy golden amber with a billowy, relentless off-white head that left beautiful lacing all the way to the bottom of the galss.

S: Pine resin and citrus with toasted almond.

T: The standout flavor was that of kumquats. The finish tastes of bitter citrus and light bready yeast.

M: Medium with perfect carbonation.

D: I'll definitely be picking up plenty more of this in the future.

Photo of Deanstreat
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of BeerWatcher
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%

Pours a murky burnt orange, with a thick white head that settles down rapidly. Aromas of citrus hops, and caramel malts. Quite well balanced in this regard. Tastes start off citrus and turn to caramel malts in the middle of the process, as it flows over the tongue, finishing with a lemon zest tingle. Overall, in a word, balanced.

Photo of heyitsbyron
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a single bottle ($1.35) into a pint glass.

Sold head, nice and tight, lingers awhile. Copper color, clearer than I expected. Not totally sparkling, but pleasant anyway.

Piny resinous hops, but mild too. Maltiness fills the nose. Fruit and floral flavors remain in the background only.

Thin and perhaps a bit washed out. Nonetheless, I like it very much. Hop flavor is way down compared what I had thought, and it sort trails off into a mild fruit juice flavor. It's sweet and though all these adjectives seem unpleasant, it really hits the spot. Not "brutal" in my opinion.

Standard in the mouth. Average all the way around, from carbonation to body. Makes for quick drinking.

I could and probably will drink 6 of these in a sitting sometime. Outstanding in terms of value, drinkability, and taste. Won't knock you down, but you get a lot of flavor along the ride. Exceptional.

Photo of WoodenLeg410
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of CaskofFlyingDog
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: It has a good head and has great lacage. The color is an orangy brown haze.

Smell: It's excitingingly fruity and refreshingly beery. That's all I can come up with.

Taste: Hop heaven with a little apricotish bite if you search for it.

Mouthfeel: This is surprisingly smooth, light, and thin. It's almost "fluffy."

Drinkability: Easy as hell to drink. You may get tired of being so bitter after a while though.

Photo of abar22
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First review! My palate is in its infancy so I will do my best.

A - Poured a hazy orangish-brown with a 2 finger head into a Sam Adams Sensory Glass. Nice lacing all around the glass and kept a small head throughout.

S - All hops in the smell with a subtle hint of flower coming through

T - Hops are all over the taste as well. Malts hit at first but were immediately taken over by the hops. The end has a hoppy dry bitterness to it.

M - Medium body that never feels watery. I feel the tang of each drink well after it goes down.

D - At 6.5% it's not a classic session beer but I definitely could throw a few back while relaxing after work.

Photo of rwdkosak
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap, presented in pint glass at below cellar temp with a light ecru color head that was present for the first third of the session. A cloudy gold color with a pleasing hoppy nose that honestly was the best part of the beer.

Taste was good, nothing to wow about, certainly not brutally bitter as the title would suggest but not to disrespect the taste, it was simply a good full taste without the 'pop' of other ESB's out there. A drinkable brew, good feel, enough on the palate to be a pleasurable drink but certainly one that I personally would place first on a list.

Photo of Hellyeahimdrinking
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of RyanMcAndrew
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Photo of fattychubs
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was on fire sale at the local tap room, a Rogue beer on fire sale?

Color of a bruised peach, served with a small but frothy off white head that laced nicely. Nose is sweet but floral hops with citrus. Taste is not as bitter as I expected starts slightly malted, then floral strong bitter hops, but ends citrus and sweet, reminded me of a grapefruit taste in there, but better. Decent medium body.

Better then I expected balanced the hops nicely, not as bitter as the name suggests.

Photo of methtlcai
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

First off, I can't believe that I haven't reviewed this yet cuz its easily in my top 5 favorite beers of all time.
Appearance: copperish opaque amber with a frothy off white head that is one finger thick but stays that thick all the way down leaving rings of lace
aroma: smells that same crispy hoppyness that all rogue beers seem to have with a hint of grapefruit and some breadiness
taste: so balenced. Its got that juicy hop bite but also some rich toffee flavors too from the malt. makes my mouth water just thinking about it

This isnt BRUTAL or BITTER really but a great balanced beer with hops aplenty. Session beer anyone?

Photo of loving44
3.83/5  rDev -4%
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.

Photo of DrinkinBuddy
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice cloudy amber color with a pretty weak 1 finger head that disappears relatively quickly. Smell is very sweet with a nice citrus hop aroma shining through. Initial taste is a sweet fruity pleasure (peachy almost, possibly apricot) with a little malt and nice grapefruity rind bitter finish. A nice balance of flavors and carbonation make this ESB a delight for most palates.

Photo of brahdeel
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of BillH200174
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy orange-amber. Very inviting hoppy nose. More aromatically hopped than bitterly hopped. Hops are juicy, citric and fruity; non-traditional in that way, but nevertheless tasty. Malts are not too heavy, but definitely pronounced; some light bread flavors.

Photo of bnewms87
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%

Photo of Bali_hi
4.86/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Quality Ipa. Smooth, fruity taste that bitters out and finishes as a bright and addictive beer.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,926 ratings.