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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,945 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,945
Reviews: 1,080
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 78
Gots: 112 | 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: 1,945 | Reviews: 1,080
Photo of Bfarr
3.51/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy amber with some light highlights, a thin tan head, and nice lacing. Light citrus aroma. Balanced sweet citrus with such light hop linger. Smooth velvety feel.

Smooth easy IPA but really the hopping is so light it’s nearly a pale ale. Pleasant clean flavor sure not to offend anyone.

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

Low ABV, well balanced IPA. Pours a dark amber color with a thin white head. Smells of muted sweet hops. Taste a little caramel, some citrus and a bunch of sweet hops, not so much bitter as the title would suggest. This is a very smooth and drinkable Ipa. I'd buy this again

Photo of JayS2629
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When you call it brutal you make my expectations go too high with this one. It pours fine with a clear amber color with orange hints, a creamy two finger head, nice retention and ok lacing.

The aroma is of grass, citrus, and pine with caramel. Simple and nothing pungent.

Grapefruit dominates the flavor with caramel underneath. Hints of pine. Simple and elegant, but a little boring.

Smooth and medium bodied, slight creaminess.

Easy enough to drink, but nothing that stands out. Quality and nice balance.

Photo of EricCioe
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This pours opaque orange with a small off-white head that leaves bits of lace and dies out quickly. On the nose there is a giant, pungent citrus note, mostly grapefruit, with little or nothing in the way of malt backbone. In the mouth, the hops almost fly solo over a bed of caramel malt, which is like a flash in the pan with the hops sizzling on afterwards. The body is pretty light, with the buzzsaw hops dominating over almost nothing. It seems strangely unsupported.

Overall, this is a nice brew, something of a session IPA, with intense bitterness without the intense alcohol sometimes associated with it.

Photo of adam42381
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes at World of Beer - Fort Myers on 11/3/11.

Poured on draft into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy light golden caramel with a 1 finger white head. Good lacing.

Smell: Tangerine and other sweet citrus fruits and a touch of lemon zest.

Taste: Pine and lemon zest up front followed by bready malt in the middle before ending with a sweet fruitiness at the finish. Aftertaste is bitter with a touch of sweet fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Good drinkability. Very smooth.

Overall: Good beer overall. I don't think it was brutal in any way. It's definitely worth a try.

Photo of vrushing88
4.63/5  rDev +16%
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.

Photo of boyermi206
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Light orange/tangerine kind of murky not all that clear.

S- smells good, malty but more fruity, "crisp" smelling I want to say apple smell.

T-citrus dominates but again I am getting some apple taste

M-a little thin, but not bad, probably just the right amount of carbonation.

O-I really like this beer, something I will buy again and look forward to. I can only imagine that thi beer would be exceptional on tap.

Photo of BarrytheBear
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle labeled Brutal IPA with no discernible bottling date.

Pours a medium bodied orange with an inch thick head that dips to a thinner though steady cover. Lacing is thick and comprehensive: a nice looking IPA.

Smells of grass, kumquats, and biscuity malts. Not unappealing but it seems a bit faded.

Kumquatiness is uncanny and I happen to enjoy these fruits. Some rind from the skins is evident. Creamy through the middle with a finish that's modestly bitter and baby aspiriny. Malts help carry the mothfeel and the hops.

Creamy and light though dusty and not as poppy as anticipated. Would love to know if I'm getting the best this beer has to offer. A good, but not great, stab at the style.

Photo of Cyberkedi
3.18/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had as Brutal IPA. Pours a nice clear amber with a rather thick and persistent fluffy white head. Aroma is hoppy and, though not strong, inviting with just a touch of citrus. Strongly, if not fierce, hoppy flavor has a woody undertone and just a whisper of orange. Average-bodied texture is fairly smooth, not much tingle. OK, not Rogue's best, but worthy of at least a try!

Photo of Schwarzwald
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice heady pour into glass. Hoppy smell with a lot of citrus fruit. Not as hoppy as I would imagine but very very nice. Some IPA can be a little much and I am not a huge fan of the style, but this is great. Beautiful rich red-ish orange amber color with a huge 3-4 finger head. Head stayed with drink and loved the flavor complexity that I come to expect with Rogue. Very very nice!

Photo of pBRale
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From tasting notes 9-29-11

Appearance: Amber pour with an off white head that quickly fades and leaves a faint bit of lace here and there down the glass.

Smell: A bit of a caramel malt background and some resinous and citrus hops.

Taste: The taste is a well balanced mix of hops and malt. The distinctive hop flavor I am picking up is some grapefruit. The taste is good but not really that impressive. Seems a bit one dimensional. Also, I would say this is more similar to a bitter than an IPA.

Mouthfeel: Good feel--medium body, medium carbonation, nice crisp finish lends itself to be very drinkable and enjoyable.

Overall: Overall a pretty good beer, but like I said, to me it is just a bit one dimensional.

Photo of mrfrancis
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Although this beer is now called Brutal IPA, I think the recipe has changed somewhat. Having tried both Brutal Bitter and Brutal IPA side by side, the two are slightly different in terms of appearance, and noticeably different in terms of smell and flavor.

A: Pours a hazy golden amber with a compact, lingering white head. Nothing to write home about, but far from unappealing.

S: Aromas of toffee, prunes, sorghum, and honey make their presence known gradually. The nose is very subtle and restrained. Honestly, it smells more like an ESB/strong bitter than a typical American IPA.

F: A malty, sweet entry quickly gives way to notes of toffee, vanilla, sorghum, prunes, herbs, citrus, and tobacco. Finishes in a pleasantly bitter fashion with a quick hit of citrusy, herbal hop flavors. Again, it tastes like a hopped-up ESB.

F: This is a medium-bodied beer with a firm, fairly dry feel to it. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. Comes off as a bit restrained compared to some of Rogue's other products.

O: I like this one, but I feel that Brutal IPA is a slight improvement. To me, this ale is stuck between being an American IPA and a hoppier-than-average ESB.

4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap served into a Pint Glass.Enjoyed on sept´11.Pours bright orangish copper in color.Foggy appearance.Off-white,small bubbled,creamy froth creates a thick layer & lasting crown leaving lacing collars.Yeast, pine & woody resin to the nose.The upfront is a dry bitter at first sip like many IPAs;surprisingly, slightly toasted malts come producing an smooth velvet palate, notes of grapefruit & citrics.All this makes the big difference from others!!Then a sharp hoppy flavor explotes while invading the drink making us remember that an IPA will always be an IPA.Rough quince hint finish.Medium body.Medium carbonation & gentle oily mouthfeel.Woody aftertaste complets a well balanced & refreshing beer.Comments: Much better than in bottle.

Photo of Tucquan
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2011-08-09 at Rivermont Pizza in Lynchburg, VA

A - Hazy, straw-orange with a short head and mild lacing.

S - Mild malt and not much else.

T - Spice, pepper, salt, orange citrus tang. Finishes fairly bright and dry with some residual orange.

M - Light body and light-medium carbonation. Smooth yet crisp.

O - Pretty bland. I've had much better low ABV IPAs.

Photo of buck1futter
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Photo of Djedhead360
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy orange,light
Smell:Malty with strong hop flavor and Soapy aftertaste/bitter
Taste:smooth malty hopy
Overall: good beer drinking out of Tulip a little watery good carbonation and taste a nice light drink. Definitly a good barbeque beer with some steak

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

22oz bomber poured into perfect pint glass

A: This beer is burnt orange in color, clear and crisp and has plenty of tiny bubbles making their way to the top. The head was about two fingers on a hard pour. It is creamy and white. It is leaving a generous amount of lacing as it dissipates. (note: there was a lot of sediment in the bottle, so on the second pour, the beer was cloudy with tiny floaters visible. The head was also more pronounced. It still looked good).

S: I get a scent of slightly toasty, biscuity malt with fresh, citrusy, slighty dank hops.

T: This beer has a solid fresh, flowery hop taste backed up by a good amount of biscuit tasting malt. I also taste an ever-so-slight grapefruit taste. I seem to get that grapefruit taste up front and then with the immediate aftertaste: the first few breaths out. The hop bitterness is present but not overwhelming to me.

M: I find this beer to be medium bodied with a taste that fills the palate. It finishes medium-long and does not leave a bitter hop aftertaste on the tongue or roof of the mouth as some IPAs do.

O: I have really enjoyed this beer. Despite its name, it does not seem brutally bitter to me. This is likely because I drink a bunch of super hoppy 100+ IBU IPAs on a regular basis. This past month I have added several IPA to my at-home rotation that I have really enjoyed. They all seem to be around the 60 IBU mark. I am finding that I really like this area for IPAs when I don’t want to challenge my palate too much.

Overall I found this IPA very drinkable. It is balanced extremely well. You can tell these brewers are exceptional with the kiss of grapefruit that shines through at certain moments in the most appropriate way. This is my first time having it (surprisingly), and I do have a soft spot for Rogue. This was the first American brewery to introduce me to awesomely adventurously phenomenal beer with Dead Guy Ale well over 10 years ago. I have always found their beers to be really solid.

Photo of jsled
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

P: 3/5. Very hazy straw/gold. minimal head, receeding as well. some carbonation.

A: 3/5. fruity citrus hops. herbal. some bubblegum. some malty notes, but minor.

F: 7/10. bitter. slightly sweet. relatively well balanced. some astringency.

M: 3/5. good. some lingering aftertaste, but nothing dramatic or unpleasant.

O: 7/10. a good ipa, though not great.

Photo of puboflyons
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 22 ounce bottle. Sampled on August 25, 2011. The pour is copper-orange with a soft and delicate head that slowly diminishes and lingers. Slightly cloudy. The aroma boasts a lot of earth, pine, and floral hops with this teaser of sweet malts matching it one to one. The body is above medium and quite enticing. The hops are more muted in the flavor but they come on strong just the same to step all over the mellow maltiness that is putting up a good fight. Nice bitter finish. Very interesting.

Photo of shand
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint. This is a relatively fresh bottle from my discernation, with the Brutal IPA name and the Dare*Risk*Dream tag.

This brew pours a hazy yellow-range color with two fingers of head that retains well. The aroma is alright, it's got a bit of hops, but mostly orange and caramel malts. It's a bit weak in the nose department to be honest. The taste here is very good. Don't come in here expecting a "brutal" IPA, this is a very balanced brew with juicy fruit flavors over a nice hop backbone that isn't very assertive. Caramel malts hang out in the back. Delicious.

The mouthfeel is nice, it's well carbonated and goes down very smoothly. The drinkability is amazing, this bomber disappeared in front of me in the span of about 10 minutes. This is a delicious brew. Why isn't this in six packs, Rogue? Move the Mocha Porter over to bombers, and throw this in sixers. It'd sell like hotcakes, I know I'd buy a lot of this at a 12-14 dollar six pack instead of a 7 dollar bomber! As it stands, I'll drop another two bucks and buy a Sculpin if I'm buying an IPA bomber. It was a nice treat though, for sure.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a clear orange color and forms a 1.5 inch off-white head that slowly reduces leaving a very nice lacing.

The aroma is primarily orange/citrus with a touch of breadiness and caramel malt in the background.

The taste has an orange rind component that provides the citrus and bitterness component. Not real stiff in intensity. A nice caramel sweetness lurks in the backgroung.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a somewhat sharp carbonation. It then becomes smooth and finishes with a light dryness.

Overall, this beer is decent. I wish the intensity had been a bit more intense, but the components are reasonable.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.61/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a very foamy one finger head on top - slightly off white in color. Great head retention, just sitting on top and going nowhere. Rings of lace around the glass.

S: Not a ton going on here, some light orange and some caramelized malt.

T: Not really what I was expecting at all. With a name like Brutal IPA, I expected it to be over the top with the hop flavors and a bitter finish, however, its a bit subdued. There is a lot of orange on the flavor profile with a bit of grainy malt. Relatively simple.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes slightly dry, but not bitter.

O: Easy drinking, but not very hoppy at all. Drinking it blindly, I would have guessed it a pale ale probably. Not bad, just not what I was hoping for.

Photo of andrenaline
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the bombers I bought before my departure from Calgary's plethora of a beer selection.

A - Pours a hazy golden orange colour, solid finger of head wit hsolid retention and some nice sheeting lacing.

S - Solid citrus hop presence, with an earthy cedar comign through, sweet caramel and toffe undertones.

T - Sweet citrus hops off the to, nice subtle bitterness and some caramel apple on the finish. A sweeter take on an otherwise bitter style, which was fantastic.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and surprisingly wet.

O - Certainly one of my favourites from Rogue to date. Fantastic ale with plenty of flavours to satisfy all palettes.

Photo of jondeelee
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brutal Bitter smells of citrus and hops, or more simply, like a glassful of grapefruit and orange juice, with a bit of grenadine. There are good brown sugar malts beneath that aroma, and the promise of stickiness around the mouth of the bottle.

On the tongue, the beer is far maltier than the nose would suggest, with nuanced brown sugars, dark caramels, hints of marbled rye bread, molasses, lychee nut, walnut, and wildflower honey streaming across the tastebuds. A good smattering of hops balances out the beer nicely, providing a simultaneous rosewater and grapefruit (with only light hints of pine) support structure. The beer is listed at 59 IBUs, but most of those don't come across until late in the mouthful, when the sugars peel back and reveal the bitter base. The aftertaste is largely hops, and fades fairly quickly. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is quite decent fare, though, as many have already mentioned, the beer doesn't quite live up to its "Brutal Bitter" title. Nevertheless, it's worth trying, as the flavors are full and round, and don't fade with subsequent mouthfuls.

Photo of xnicknj
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the wishing well in philly - i cant believe i havent reviewed this yet

Pours a slightly hazed caramel color with some brighter orange hues. A thinner white head dissolves into wispy film, leaving plenty of spotty lacing behind.

Bready and malty in the nose, with hints of sweetness and a flair of hops. Fairly soft though overall, would like to see more hop presence here.

Nice bitter bite up front with some pine and softer citrus notes. A touch of orange before the larger malt backbone comes crashing through. Biscuit and bread crust with touches of caramel and faint honey. A bit sweet, and finishes with some residual hop bitterness.

Medium bodied, nice carbonation, a little creamy and sticky. A pretty decent drinker, especially if you like a larger malt presence in your IPAs.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,945 ratings.