1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,864 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,864
Reviews: 1,065
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 67
Gots: 77 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,864 | Reviews: 1,065 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pour is hazy reddish golden. The head is medium large and compact. Dissipation is slow and leaves nice lacings.

S: Some caramell malt, kind of sweet. But the hops is what this beer is about, at least when it comes to the smell - lots of citric notes, grapefruits and lemons. Beside the floral hops there's also a nice hoppy bitterness.

T: Dry and very bitter at first, then a bit sweet. Caramell malt, and floral American hops - citric and piney at the same time. Bitter hops.

M: Aftertaste holds the bitterness for a decent time. Body is medium and carbonation mild to medium.

D: This is my first Rogue-beer. I'll keep my eyes open for more; more of this one and more of other Rogue-beers.

Evil_Pidde, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of Elimination
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very nice golden yellow with a slight haze, a pretty good thin looking head.

Smell is very sweet, slight citrus, grapefruit, sugar sweet, and slight strawberry

Taste is a subtle bitterness, pine, citrus, vert clean tasting, I have a love hate relationship with pacman yeast, it does great in stouts, porters, etc but with anything else it its a hit or miss it seems.

Mouthfeel is very light, has a slickness that quickly subsides leaving a dry sticky tongue.

This is a pretty good ipa, but there is much better for much better of a bargain out there

Elimination, Nov 19, 2010
Photo of weller1js
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: pours a cloudy brownish-amber, lighter carbonation, light foam with filmy lacing.

smell: light, slight dry bitterness lingers in the scent.

taste: begins very dry, bitterness becomes apparent late in the start, enhancing the dry-hop taste, with a notable lingering in the finish.

mouthfeel: I don't typically review mouthfeel, but the dry bitterness provides an above average sensation that enhances the taste.

drinkability: very drinkable, while the bitterness is the intended emphasis, the dry hop taste helps it achieve that bitter end, unique and palatable.

weller1js, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of tchenery
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice unfiltered ipa. It looks hazy and very malty. It's a deep, rich brownish orange color. Not much head on this one though especially for being a "live" beer.

Smells super citrussy, bubblegum flavor on the nose. It smells a lot like homebrew which is encouraging.

It is really bitter, but not overly bitter, very well rounded. Pretty malty flavor too and a nice citrussy finish.

I'm very impressed with this beer. It has an awesome hoppy punch from the Northeast but doesn't overdo it like you would think.

Rogue Nation.

tchenery, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of papat444
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewing here as my bottle says Brutal Bitter Ale.

Thanks to SlovakSniper (ratebeer) for this one. Shared with my wife over our teriyaki salmon with green beans and cucumber salad.

Poured from a bomber with a best before code of M0910 (Unsure of what the actual date is and when i questioned Rogue, they actually claimed that code is a production date so go figure).

Appearance:A very hazy body the color of slightly congealed honey with a massive white head.

Smell: Floral a little, tangerine, some sweetness and lots of malt.

Taste: Juicy fruit, orange/tangerine, strong on the malt with a biscuity character. Hops are evident and the bitterness is low though flavor is still acceptable.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation and a smooth body that might be slightly thin in some aspects though it doesn't detract from a pleasant feel.

Drinkability: A good drinking ale. I'd have it again, especially more fresh.

Overall: I'm not sure how old this really is (you can fault Rogue for that) and it's certainly not brutal but it remains a decent brew.

papat444, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of StaveHooks
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy copper with an off-white head with average retention.

S - Toasted caramel malt, orange and grapefruit citrus.

T - Muted orange, apricots, and melon on top of a semi sweet buttery malt. Earthy yeast resides in the background. Slight bitterness starts in the middle and floral hops come through towards the finish.

M - Full bodied and slightly chewy. Good carbonation.

Not as bitter as I expected. Nice aromas but the flavors seem to be a little too buttery. It lacked crispness that I look for in an IPA. There's not date on the bottle so I hope it's not out of date.

StaveHooks, Nov 12, 2010
Photo of climax
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice size head formed above a cloudy caramel body. Retention was excellent. Yep, that foam's goin' nowhere.

The nose is more balanced than I was anticipating/hoping. Seems to be too malt strong, perhaps it was sitting on the shelf too long. No date on the bottle.

The flavor is more of what I was expecting, however still tame. Most of the hop character comes from the finish, dry and floral. Cookies, caramel, and malted milk balls come from the nice bouquet of malt varieties Rogue used.

The body and feel are spot on I think. Smooth with good thickness and carbonation bite. The finish is dry, and the flavor none too potent for an IPA, making this one an easy drinker.

climax, Oct 30, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
4.25/5  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.

Thorpe429, Oct 24, 2010
Photo of PhillyStyle
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pizzeria Paradiso, Washington, DC:

The beer appeared a nice, slightly hazy deep orange color with a nice white, thick head. The aroma of the beer was good, a nice strong hoppy aroma, but the taste was much different. I felt that it was weak. I expected a very hoppy, bitter beer, but did not get that at all. I would say that it was on par with an average IPA. Not sure what happened given the rating and usually Pizzeria Paradiso beer quality is very good, so I am not sure if it was the beer or not. The beer had a medium body to it and had decent drinkability, but I am sure that would have improved if the beer lived up to its rating. I will have to give this beer another shot at a later date.

PhillyStyle, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of kjyost
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

No date on 660 mL bottle purchased in July at the LCBO in Ottawa. Poured into a beer mug

Pours a beautiful sunset orange with a gorgeous white head that caps and laces beautifully. Literally nothing more I could ask for from a beer. The aroma though lacks. Initially I got soap followed by a lightly spicy, though mainly earthy hop aroma. The taste is somewhat sweet with a viscous mouthfeel with a bit of hop flavours, and the bitterness comes into play over time. Enjoyable, though not fantastic. At times reminds me of a weak barleywine. Worth having again, though only if I see it, don't seek it...

kjyost, Oct 21, 2010
Photo of vette2006c5r
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This ipa pours a hazy amber color with very little head. There isnt much of a smell, very weak put some hops ca be distingushed. The taste is much different. As the name implies, its very bitter strong hoppy taste as well, but its actually drinkable. Overall a reallly nice beer.

vette2006c5r, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of champ103
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a lightly hazy amber/orange color. A two finger white head forms quickly, but recedes in a second. Light lace is left behind.
S: Big grapefruit and citrus hops up front. A substantial, but not over barring bitterness. Really nothing else.
T: Follows the nose. Big grapefruit and citrus hops. A substantial bitterness. I can't help but think that a bread and biscuit malt balance would make this exceptional. As is, this does not reach that level.
M/D: A lighter body than I would have thought. Fairly crisp and dry though. Not hard to drink, but nothing that I am going to come back to often.

Not bad at all. Though it is really one dimensional, to the beers detriment. If there was just some sweetness or bread/biscuit flavor for balance this would be exceptional. As is it, this is still very much worth a try and a worthy year-round IPA.

champ103, Oct 08, 2010
Photo of Brad007
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy amber/blond color with a one-finger head into my pint glass. I'm not sure if cloudiness is what the doctor ordered here.

The aroma is full of strong hints of citrus and grainy malt. Highly reminiscent of a DIPA due to the strong aroma.

Grassy hops with a slight citrus twist greet the tongue from the first sip. Bitter in more ways than one and it lingers in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering citrus hops and grassiness. Not much else here.

It's definitely bitter as hell. Still, not quite the best example that I've seen out there.

Brad007, Oct 02, 2010
Photo of taverncast
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

3 out of 5 stars - some confusion over what happened with the recipe - the beer has changed names in the past year, and seemingly even the recipe, although differing sources have differing information on this. We tried both labels, and found a significant difference in the two bottles.

The original label, Brutal Bitter was a drinkable, malty, but very low IBU bitter with a mild hoppy, sweet nose, malt and sugar flavors and a slightly bitter finish.

The new label, Brutal IPA was distinctly different - having a pronounced hop and fruit smell, and heavy grapefruit flavor with melon overtones - so pronounced in fact that the beer took on a wheat beer character.

Check out our full audio review of both beers: http://www.taverncast.com/shows/taverncast-on-tap-02.mp3

taverncast, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of BeerNinja007
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got a pint at Ramuntos in Lebanon NH with two specialty slices of pizza for $9.99.

A: Thin bleach white head, dense and foamy, clings strongly to the glass to form a thick meniscus. Clear honey-colored brew. Leaves decent lace.

S: Good amount of sweet thin malts supporting a moderately hoppy bite of pine and grass.

T: Sugar syrup sweetness, not quite as hoppy as the smell, but very clean so that the hop stands out strong and distinctive. A bit of vanilla appears in the background that balances the hop well without interfering. The hop is a good wide-spectrum mix of pine, grass, grapefruit.

M/D: Thin but creamy, very smooth. Easy drinker, seriously quaffable, I could drink a ton of this stuff.

BeerNinja007, Oct 01, 2010
Photo of montecristo2
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Pours a golden color with a two and a half fingered rocky head.

A good aroma-smells of citrus/grapefruit.

Tasty-tastes of citrus hops. A low IBU for a "brutal" bitter, but I don't care, cause this beer tastes awesome. I do enjoy IPA's, but this is very tasty and extremely drinkable.


montecristo2, Sep 24, 2010
Photo of mudbug
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From the bomber into a pint glass, pours a slightly hazy orange with brown tints with a nice fluffy half inch head that sticks around for the party.
Aroma is grapefruit and astringent hops, bitter is the word with the taste following suit, Is a bit creamy up front with tight carbonation that holds the overall bitterness in check.
Easy to drink because of the fine carbonation balancing the grapefruit rind bitterness, a well done brew amd probably my favorite Rogue beer.

mudbug, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours a slightly hazy gold colour with a decent size frothy bright white head. I can see an average amount of carbonation. There is also some gorgeous lacing and the head lasted for a few minutes.

Smell - Hops, citrus zest herbal/floral notes, are the most noticeable. Also a biscuit like scent and a sugar sweetness.

Taste & Mouth - Mouth feel is just about perfect on this one, a decent amount of carbonation on the tongue. I'm not sure it lives up to its name; as I've had lots of other IPA's that were way more bitter than this one. It is far from brutal; the hop taste is actually moderate - and enjoyable. The hops give way to a citrus sweetness and biscuit/malt flavour, and then I was left with a bitter aftertaste.

Drink - I really enjoyed this beer, and I will keep my eyes peeled for more so I can stock up. It's a nice drinkable hoppy beer.

spinrsx, Sep 18, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good ESB, a poor IPA though. I'm going to go ahead and ignore the IPA at the top of the screen.

Beer is red and forms a decent head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Beer is clear, mostly, and is moderately carbonated, looks fine.

Aroma is mildly bitter with some malt notes to it.

Beer is malty and big bodied wtihout being sweet, its bitter but not harshly so, there is minimal hop character although its obvious that the bitterness is from the hops. Its moderately drinkable, 22 ounces was a bit much here but its not difficult to choke down at all. Its well flavored and has that balance people talk so much about. Like I said at the beginning, its not a very good IPA but its a good bitter.

drabmuh, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of TangTKE402
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber bottle into an imperial pint glass. Thick 3 finger head appeared that settled down to a nice 1 finger head that lasted the duration of the beer.

Warm aromas of rye, pine, and a touch of hay persisted.

The taste is dry and a little thin. Caraway seeds, a touch of cornstarch and a little bit of resin are the overall notes. This beer has some nice dry bitterness to it, without any major hop notes to speak of: absent are the floral flavors of other IPAs. Perhaps it's the Willamette hops used.

The mouthfeel is a tad thin, and a slightly metallic taste hits you on the swallow right before the bitterness leaves your mouth high and dry.

Overall, not a bad IPA, but a bit thin on character for my tastes.

TangTKE402, Sep 02, 2010
Photo of claspada
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours s a nice hazy golden orange, with a thick, dense frothy head. Quite visually appealing, good start.

The aroma is not what I expected, it's not all hops. There is the typical citrus and herbal/pine hops but it is also balanced well with some sweet honey/caramel malts.

Don't let the name fool you, Brutal Bitter is relatively gentle and delivers a friendly punch to the taste buds. Like the aroma, the malt starts smooth with a light honey/caramel sweetness but then switches to the citrus and herbal hops. The finish is quite good with medium level of bitterness and dryness. Very fitting of the English Style Bitter/IPA category in my opinion. I wouldn't call it an American IPA by any means. Quite drinkable and another great offering from a great brewery.

claspada, Aug 28, 2010
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange-ish/ yellow color with an off white head. In the aroma, a sweet malt and some citrus hops. In the taste, a nice mixture of hops, citrus and pine. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry hop aftertaste. A nice hop, but feels like an ESB than an IPA to me.

OWSLEY069, Aug 25, 2010
Photo of jdense
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at EOU Faculty Lounge, The Big, OR, 8.23.2010.

One finger white head in frosted pint glass (ugh), medium dissipation with above average lacing. Deep gold clear body, some trails of carbonation rising from bottom of glass. A bit of tropical fruit in the nose, caramel and bready malts in the middle, some resiny hops on the backend. Taste mirrors nose, though IMO this may have been an old keg given minimal bitterness. Medium full mouthfeel, good effervescence. This is a really drinkable beer, but the lack of hop presence was troublesome.

jdense, Aug 24, 2010
Photo of joemcgrath27
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle is Brutal IPA, but apparently the same thing.
A - bubbly copper amber, two finger of off white head that retained very well and laced extremely well up the glass
S - very fruity, piney, and floral hop domination, some light caramel malts, and i'm getting notes of pineapple and grapefruit
T - a great hop mix as mentioned above, there is some light caramel sweetness, and the very nice fruity grapefruit flavour is lasting
M - fairly bubbly, a nice hop bitter that is balanced that balanced well by a smooth feel and not the typical dry of IPA's
D - a hop bomb for sure, but the emphasis on fruit and citrus flavours makes it very refreshing, and a good amount of bitter, a great American IPA

joemcgrath27, Aug 18, 2010
Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this at the huge kickbacks dinner in Jacksonville, FL. I took some notes but mostly doing this from memory.
Appearance: golden color,
Smell: loads of orange intense hop
Taste: nice and bitter ale, very sessioable and light, pairs well with lots of foods

CampusCrew, Aug 17, 2010
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,864 ratings.