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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,899 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,899
Reviews: 1,071
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 72
Gots: 96 | 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: 1,899 | Reviews: 1,071 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JDV
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a glowing orange color and a beige head atop. Very pleasant nose with an apricot fruitiness and sweet juicy hoppiness about it. Taste is mild apricot and fruity, and more hoppy than expected for the style, but very welcomed as it makes this a fantastic ESB. Very drinkable and suprisingly good despite a quick finish. Easily one of Rogues best beers in my opinion.

Photo of bort11
3.57/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Hobgoblin tall shaker pint. Tall rocky head that stands nearly two inches high. Very slow to recede and leaves a spotty ring around the glass. Color is a very hazy peach, with some very fine sediment floating around.

Smell has a grapefruit citrus aroma mingled with a honey sweet malt. Taste is an almost astringent bitter. It mellows as it warms and moves to a pink grapefruit pucker.

Mouthfeel is a bit gritty and has a husky dryness. this is OK, but seems more like an APA than a bitter.

Photo of Antilochus
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yet another 2008 LCBO Spring Release! I've been eagerly anticipating tasting this one. 6.00% abv, 650mL bottle. Best before '31C09', whenever that is. More from the bottle: 59 IBU, 15 Plato. Only crystal hops. Poured into white wine glass.

Slightly hazy orange body, rocky white cap with gobs of lace. Good retention. Nice.

Nose is like hop tea - grapefruit sourness with some subtler orangeyness. Just a fresh floral hint. Big resinous pine notes too, just a bit of malty biscuitness out back to give some substance. A little alcoholic too, but like dry erase markers. Very straightforward nose.

Oily, medium feel with a bit of fizz. Palate is very curious, much less obvious than the nose. Grapefruit and rind, for sure, but some other fruitiness that I can't put my finger on... blueberry pancakes? Juniper? Bit of candy sugar too. Some organic woody smoke too- toasty. Exceptionally long rindy bitter finish.

Good on the LCBO for bringing this up, it is a very distinctive bitter and hopefully we'll see more from Rogue in the future. With the hop shortage this is like drinking liquid gold. Yum.

Photo of JamesS
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a great dark orange/copper color with a very nice headd and great lacing. Great aroma, a nice bit of bitter hoppiness with a slight sweet scent. Excellent taste, as well, a nice mixture of malts and hops, leaning towards a nice hoppy/bitter flavor and aftertaste. Very smooth beer, a great ESB.

Photo of ElGrecoVerde
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jackie, I can no longer look at the bottle without thinking of Jeff Goldblum, which reminds me of Jurassic Park, and makes me wonder if "there will be any dinosaurs on this dinosaur tour."

I wasn't expecting to like this beer, considering I usually don't like the style. Maybe it was the ingredients, or maybe my tastes are maturing, but I thought this was great.

The smell was excellent. One of the best smelling beers I've ever had, for what that's worth. Strong smell of apples and citrusy flavors. Also some clean wheat aromas. But the apples... It really smelled like an orchard.

Taste followed up with more crisp, yet tart fruit. There's bitterness throughout this brew, but it really helps balance the flavors. Finishes smooth and somewhat dry, leaving a hint of tart apples as an aftertaste inviting you to drink more.

This was a highly enjoyable beer.

Photo of CanuckRover
4.39/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy, light amber. Orange-tinged white head, about a finger width thick, small bubbles. Doesn't last. Lacings are spotty.

A really nice aroma. Sweet lemonade with a touch of orange. Faint grain behind that with a caramel tinge.

More hops than we're used to in these parts (or at least, different hops... hop) but this is still well balanced. Quite an organge citrus taste, clementines come right out at me. There is the pine and grapefruit you'd expect but it isn't as, some might say, boring, as you'd expect. There are some other nice flavours going on. The hops take over fairly quickly and after it hits the back of your tongue the bitterness will overshadow the rest of the beer, but with that first intake you get some nice sweet caramel from the malt.

Very drinkable beer, the hops aren't as overdone as I had been expecting. Well balanced, hopefully I can pick up a few more.

Photo of DontCallMeSurly
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. I'd say there was about 1.5 inches of very frothy, highly carbonated head on top which dissipated to about a quarter of an inch within minutes of pouring. The beer itself is a golden-ish, peachy, honey color. All I get from scent is a bread-like, doughy aroma. I can't smell any hops. Finally, onto the taste. Again, the hop profile isn't coming through, I taste a lot of malts. The alcohol is somewhat easily detected too.

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

The Brutal bitter hits you right away. It pours a light amber color with a finger foam head that leaves the film on the side of the glass with nice webbing.

The aroma is a lovely citrusy hop smell. The taste hits you with a medicine like flavor which was unique(minty dentist flavor as a kid?). Not familiar with the method.

In the mouth it leaves its bitterness and hop aroma around your head. Very enjoyable brew and I will buy it again. I feel like I should go to a pub and drink a sixer or two.

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a warm hazy apricot color with a light foamy beige head.

Aroma of sweet malts, and cirtusy hops.

Taste is sweet and malty along with a touch of grapefruit and orange. Finish is slightly bitter.

Medium bodied, smooth and dry with light carbonation.

Overall, this is a nice bitter from Rogue. Definitely worth a try.

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

Review from notes. Poured into my Rogue pint glass. Dark brown-orange in color, with a fluffy off white head. Not much lacing. Aroma is quite sweet, with a lot of juicy citrus hops and sugary malt. Taste is mainly caramel/toffee, but there's a nice floral hoppiness that complements it well. Finish is bitter but not overly so. Very tasty and very smooth.

Photo of shamus
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is called brutal bitter and it is. There is no false advertising here. I like bitter so long as the hops come through and they do. A lovely addition to the LCBO, however I fear it is a one time deal for my store. I hate how they bring in new products that turn out to be great and then you never see them again. I don't know what to say except this is a very noble product that I could consume regularly. MMMM the fresh hop fragrance lingers long after the first sip.

Photo of bobsy
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First sampled at the San Francisco Rogue Public House on draught, and then at home from the bottle. This is a nice bitter. Pours an amber body with a medium white head that diminishes to a film, but leaves moderate lacing. Malt and hops are abundant in the pleasant aroma. The flavour is somewhat bready and moderately bitter due to the hops (definitely not brutal), and nice citric grapefruit notes. The beer tails of with a nice dry finish full of mouth-puckering bitterness. Drinkability is pretty high on this one.

Photo of Lothar666
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured an orange translucent amber body with a frothy, bubbly bone white head that was two full fngers thick. Lacing was light and very minimal, while the head retention was excellent, remaining at least a full finger thick for over a full minute after the initial pour.

S- Sweet malts and something that reminds me of honey in the nose.

T- At the same time very swee and slightly bitter, though not at all what I would call brutal. Rather, this one turns out to be a pleasantly sweet session beer whose flavor profile consists of rich malts, clover honey and just a tad of hops to balance out the finish. Very nice.

M- Sticky and full bodied like honey with a pleasant, bready mouth texture. Most enjoyable.

D- This one is not at all what I was expecting but was enjoyable nonetheless. I goes down smooth and easy and leaves the mouth begging for more. Smooth enough to gulp but better as a sipper.

Photo of fitzy84
3.86/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The drink settled with a reddish-amber appearance with little head. The smell had a little spice too it, but it was mostly a mixture of malt and citrus. The taste was somewhat bitter, but a little sweet overall. It had a medium body that allowed it to be smooth but slightly crisp. In the end, this was a surprisingly, not so bitter, ale. Very good.

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 daliandragon
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an attractive, cloudy, cider color with a generous display of fluffy white head that shows determined retention. Nose is muted but pleasantly hoppy, with light, unaggressive pine and citrus. Also smells fresh and somewhat yeasty.

Deep, broad flavor with plenty of hops up front but more tasty than overpowering. Finish is balanced and satisfying. This is a nice thirst quencher and would be great with spicy food. Not overly complex but very nice in itself.

A little stronger and more overtly hops dominated than many in the style and a bit of an APA/ESB cross (no surprise coming from the West Coast) but certainly highly enjoyable and drinkable.

Photo of Kwak
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

nice copper color with a thick fluffy head

the smell was of pine cones, very thick and heavy with hops and a little sweet.

smooth malty taste sweet with a nice hoppy bite not overbearing as the name would have you believe.
it had a real stiff bitterness that was balanced nice with the sweetness.
a nice blend of bitter and sweet, a strong taste but very good

Photo of PhageLab
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic pint.

A - Hazy orange color, huge head of froth. Both retention and lacing were simply superb.

S - Nice aroma of bready yeasts and something just a tad sour.

T - Tasty bitterness initially, then a full malty body with a touch of yeast. There is even a nice yet subtle hop tinge in the body which gives this one a decent balance. Surprisingly clean finish.

M - Light bodied, mild carbonation, slightly dry feel.

D - Very well put together brew, I could easily enjoy another. Probably one of my favorite Rogue offerings. Reco.

Photo of jar2574
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice thick frothy foam. Cloudy, copper color.

Very pleasant, sweet smell. Spices, hops, and citrus.

Reminds me of an IPA, but it's got an earthier touch and it's not as bitter as an IPA. Hops are stronger than malts, but there's a nice balance.

There's a touch of chalkiness in the mouthfeel, but it goes down smooth. Aftertaste is hoppy with quite a bit of residue on the tongue. But there's less pine flavor than with IPAs, which I think is a great thing.

Foam clings to the sides on the way down. It looks, smells and tastes like a great beer. I feel like it's a beer that's meant to be savored, but you could enjoy several in one sitting if that suits you.

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

A: Poured a hazy golden tangerine color with a fluffy white head.

S: some citrusy hops, caramel sweetness and a light fruitiness.

F: For flavor there was a toasted malt palate with dry citrus peels and a slight grainy maltiness. was expecting a little more hoppines from this style and name wise. bittering was actually well rounded and smooth.

M: The mouthful was medium-full body with good carbonation detected providing a soothing bitterness on the fade.

D: Relatively smooth and subtle bitternss contrary to name making for an easy drinking bitter per style.

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

It pours hazy gold wtih a bright white and creamy head. Aromas of hops, hops, and more hops rise up; grapefruit and pineapple stickiness above all else.

Sweet and bready starts it off, but the resinous hops add an astringency that clears that out right away. There is something of a lack of serious depth and intricacy, but nevermind -- it's excellent all the same. Smooth and easy going, stiff bitterness that isn't overwhelming, and seriously drinkable. I like it a lot.

Photo of BMan1113VR
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very nice brew. Aroma is a pretty combonation of floral hops and cassis with a touch of raspberry. The appearence of this fine bitter is a barely hazy medium orange with an average sized off-white head with great lacing. The taste rounds out a bit bitter and fruity. Goes down quite well.

Photo of ajmoody76
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bought this at the local beer store. 6 pack of 12 oz. bottles. poured beer into a tulip glass. copper color with a little haze. thin off white head that disipates to a fine layer all the way down. looks good.

hoppy aroma up front. a little sweet malts in there. no off odors detected.

spicy hop taste. pretty high hop presence for an esb. i dig though. there is a decent malt taste to balance it out pretty well. dry aftertaste.

low carbonation. medium bodied. no lace. those are good things. i like hops so i dig this beer. could do a session with this one. would love to have this beer agan. maybe a little hoppy on style but good to go.

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

Thanks to JDV for letting me try this one.

A: peachy color, with a good head.

S: orange zest up front, but the musty horseblanket almost urine like smell kind of ruins it for me.

T: Hops come out more in the flavor. not my favorite hop variety, but the beer is pretty balanced.

M: excellent carbonation, and a good bitter bite from the hops.

D: This actually gets better as I drink it.

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

Served on tap at the Blind Tiger on Bleecker street in New York City.

A - Thick orange with a deep cloudiness, 1 finger head.

S- Spicy, citrus, and vanilla aromas.

T- Hoppy, bitter as the name would suggest, but it is balanced properly and tastes great.

MF- Leaves a bit of a pepper spice on your taste buds.

D- This may very well be the first beer that I have sampled from Rogues and I am certainly satisfied.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,899 ratings.