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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,755 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,755
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 60
Gots: 48 | 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).

Malts: 100% Floor-malted Maris Otter, Cara Vienna, Cara Wheat.
Hops: Crystal.
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

59 IBU
76.1 AA
14.2º Lovibond

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,755 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cadyfatcat

New York

4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cloudy for an ESB, perhaps some organic material left from dry hoping?
Murky light brown colour

gingery hops, taste all over the mouth - the tongue-the top of the mouth-the tonsils-all over. Different levels and dynamics of hop character and bittering. No overpowering floral hop notes that may be more appropriate in an IPA. Earthy and mellow bittering. Berry tea character also comes through, somewhat reminiscent of the malt character in certain dunkel weizen.

A full mouth experience, quite an enveloping beer! Begs to be drunk!

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2006 05:55:29 | More by Cadyfatcat
Photo of mmcave


3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tumbler, the body is the color of a yellowy orange light amber. The head is pillowy, not as full as the fullest of head, but nice and clumpy. It leaves lacing in patchy clumpy lumps. At first sniff it is hard to separate the integral elements other than the noticeable hop presence. The Rogue yeast strain is definitely present, nestled between nice semi sweet malts and balanced with hoppy piny scents. Smells like grapefruit, caramel, citrus, pine and all the sort of standard stuff. The taste is much the same, with compacted sweet bitter combo very well balanced a little sticky, medium crispness and into a dry bitter finish. I'm not terribly familiar with the strong bitter style, but this is definitely a nice beer, not one I'd buy all the time or always have around, but a good beer all the same.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2006 23:22:08 | More by mmcave
Photo of Beertracker


4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rogue's Brutal Bitter is best served at cellar temperatures (45-50F). Brutal Bitter pours up rather brashly with a low tannish-white head that sits atop a deep copperish-tawny body into a Rogue house/logo pint. The appearance is very murky with definite "chill-haze" that detracts greatly from the overall appearance. The aroma starts off with a plethora of fresh, green flowery-citrus hop notes with some earthy (e.g. black currants), spicy-peppery notes thrown in for good measure. The hops are thoroughly backed-up by a solid underlying caramel maltiness (e.g. Melba toast, marbled bread, toffee cake). The aroma certainly makes up for the appearance! The flavor starts off with a fresh complex graininess that's backed-up by some audacious caramel that carries towards a fruity, spicy hoppiness that's atypical of most classic Rogue beers. The finish is bold, complex and packed with flavor. This medium-full bodied ale pushes the boundaries for a traditional English Pale Ale/ESB but that's what 100% Rogue brewing is all about. This one is even better on draught paired with a generous slice of freshly baked, brick oven pizza. Here's to the Rogue in each of us!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2006 21:03:34 | More by Beertracker
Photo of RedChrome


3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour produced a slightly murky medium amber colored beer. A smal white head of half an inch shrank to a slick on top. Small amount of carbonation rising.

A very bitter aroma wafted from glass. A noseful of scent had a very citric hops quality. A decent pine aroma also is prominant. Slight note of yeast is hard to detect, but comes and goes.

Nice balance of the bittering effect of the hops and a light malty sourdough aftertaste. Citrus ranges from grapefruit to tangerine. A very bitter aftertaste has a light plastic quality.

Decent body. Not a huge burst of carbonation left me wanting something more to burst on the tastebuds.

A decent offering. Definitly above the average for the style. I would love this by itself, but would also pair well with a saltier cheese. Pick on up and try it for yourself if you are looking for something in the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2006 23:07:26 | More by RedChrome
Photo of Melchizedek


3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber-gold, chill-hazed, with a towering off-white head and streaming carbonation.

Nose is all dry hop, citric mainly. Fairly light-bodied, with a nice array of hop flavors, citrus and resin, and a bit of mineral-water bite. It's essentially a solid, bitter pale ale, with a lot of strength and kick. Easier to drink than it should be - ye hopheads, be warned. It'll satisfy the need for your fix, but get overeager and it'll bite back. Yum.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2006 00:12:46 | More by Melchizedek
Photo of maek228


4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a cloudy burnt orange...the head is about two fingers at first and has some cling...but it has that ocean foam look to it, which doesnt please me. but overall it looks inviting

Smell: Since i have a stuffy nose, I'm giving a "4" just on the basis of how it tastes...since it tastes good i assume it smells good. i can't smell a damn thing right now

Taste: starts with crisp, light, bready malts that give way to a singular hop punch that hits hard. i hear that this brew uses only one type of hop and that is quite evident in the taste. the hop flavor is simple and strong. rogue must have wanted to make a point. the flavor of the hops is piney and somewhat resiney. nice, simple, bitter, and refreshing. good taste.

Mouthfeel: crisp....great quality for a refreshing brew.

Drinkability: it's nice to see a beer that gets the job done and doesn't try to hard.

*this tastes very similar to Yards' IPA

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2006 03:03:37 | More by maek228
Photo of Manosbeeroffate


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this locally at PDQ Market. Pours a really nice golden orange color. Smell is of faint citrus. Taste is a very strong citrusy hops, very tasty actually. Good mouthfeel. Overall very drinkable and a really nice beer. But brutal bitter? Just in name only unless your used to sweet beers. I guess they needed a name. It's good stuff, go for it.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2006 20:37:25 | More by Manosbeeroffate
Photo of largadeer


3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear amber without much head to speak of, but a lingering, foamy lace.

S: Hops, pine, citrus - this beer smells great.

T: Lots of hops, bitter grapefruit, lemon zest. A straightforward brew, but delicious all the same.

M: Medium-bodied, bubbly carbonation, extremely refreshing.

This is one of my favorite Rogue beers. While it's not as complex as some of their others, the flavor is delicious and the aroma very enticing. A great "thirst-quenching" beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2006 07:34:19 | More by largadeer
Photo of Cresant


4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 12 oz., undated brown bottle into a .5 L Spaten mug. Huge, puffy 4+ fingers of off-white head gently receded leaving stringy clumps of lace. Body was cloudy and the color of fresh apricots. Pretty.

Smelled of citrusy hops. Earthy. Mild.

Tasted not surprisingly of citrus-like hops (100% Crystal). Very well balanced considering the name. Even more malty as it warmed. Quenching and quickly consumed.

Medium body. Not complex but very easy to drink, worth purchasing again.

Serving type: bottle

09-29-2006 22:29:20 | More by Cresant
Photo of stouty1


3.4/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Didn't get much head with my pour. Wrong glass? I poured into a Chalis. Anyway what was there was only a fine sparse head which looked like it could be a creamy very light marshmallow color.

Smells of hops and fruit. Some Apples or Pear and citrus definitely citrusy.

Taste is oily hops with a bite of too much carbonation (like a Coke). (I don't drink soda so it really stings me.) Not much to the flavor except hops and bitterness. Mouthfeel is weak with no chewyness at all.

Leaves a slight bitterness afterwards which leaves your mouth dry. Very drinkable and goes down quickly. Probably the light mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2006 23:31:04 | More by stouty1
Photo of UncleFlip


3.45/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tongiht's CD to review by: 'Iguana Iguana' by The Reptile Palace Orchestra
Tonight's reviewing glass: Grumpy Troll Brewpub pint glass

Picked this one up from a friend recently, but can't remember where or when. At 6.5%, it's on the "only if we change the law" list here in Bama.

First thing I notice is the very active fluffly just off-white head. Liquid is honey to peach, just ever so slightly hazy, with many bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Smell is all about fruity to piney hops. If one inhales deeply enough to snort, there's some malt there.

The flavour is rather fruity and spicy up front. There's some fresh orange, apricot, and nuts here. There's some woody spice along the way the whole time, with a kind of sharp dryness at the end.

Mouthfeel is just a little too harsh on the carbonation. The liquid is hearty, and just a touch oily.

It has its drawbacks, but is actually rather drinkable. It would make a decent sessioner, I think.

Be well

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2006 04:20:41 | More by UncleFlip
Photo of williamherbert

New York

3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy dark orange color with a formidable head. I've never tried this one and it looks a bit intimidating. Enticing hoppy aroma.

Strong hoppy flavor. Very strong. The hops sit right at the base of the tongue and stick around for a while. Nice but strong hoppy aftertaste. Although it doesn't have an extraordinarily high %ABV, has a bit of that strong alcoholic flavor. This is a strong bitter. [Note: alcoholic flavor mellows out as the beer warms up.]

Has a thick body, but an easy drinkability. This one will fill you up. Unusually heavy for an IPA/bitter. A sipper, not a chugger. Incredibly dry.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2006 02:50:50 | More by williamherbert
Photo of kimcgolf


3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured to a cloudy golden orange with medium off-white head that reduced to a white foam on top and decent lacing. Aroma was very strongly hops, with hints of florall and citrus. Taste was brutally bitter as the name implied, with the hints of citrus again. Finish was dry, as expected. This was a very tasty beer, and once again, Rogue did not disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

09-20-2006 00:41:35 | More by kimcgolf
Photo of loving44


3.88/5  rDev -3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2006 02:50:17 | More by loving44
Photo of JohnnyM2002


3.3/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass at approximately 35 degrees.

Not very pleased with this offering from Rogue. It poured a nice orange/light brown with a 2 inch head. Smells nice, too - of citrus and hops with a little spice. Very hoppy but not much to balance the hop-kick. The citrus smell didn't carry over to the taste buds and I had a hard time figuring out the taste because of that...kept expecting more than I was getting out of it.

Not in my top list of Rogue brews...not a good balance of hops and taste.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2006 02:25:12 | More by JohnnyM2002
Photo of tattooedtolley


4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Copper/orangish in color. White foamy head that stuck around and left some nice looking lacing.

Smell: Piney and citrusy aroma of hops.

Taste: Plenty of hops in this beer, more than I expected from this ESB. It has the bitterness and hop flavor that I always hoped would be in an ESB with enough malt to bring a bit of balance.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body.

Drinkability: Great, easy to drink beer. I enjoyed it and would buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2006 14:24:26 | More by tattooedtolley
Photo of TheBeerWolf


3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2006 19:53:23 | More by TheBeerWolf
Photo of nicefix


4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wicked copperish amber color. Cloudy with a thick chunky off white head. Very attractive.

Big oily piney hop aroma. Quite pleasing.

The taste reminds me of a big American IPA. Very hoppy, floral, piney. With a malty bitter slightly sweet finish. I love the taste.

This is a fantastic beer. Right up the hophead's alley.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2006 00:20:31 | More by nicefix
Photo of Applesauce1


4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got the Brutal Bitter at the Pit Stop in Nelsonville, OH

Appearance: poured it into my Arrogant Bastard pint glass and got about a half inch head; the head disappeared a little quick but still looked good; bronze color

Smell: hops and something else (not sure), not bad, but nothing great

Taste: this is the stuff; hoppy with some unique malt (very similar to bitterness you get from Rogue's American Amber Ale) I think all of Rogue ales have a similarity in the same way Sam Adams' beers do. There may also be hint of orange in here. Excellent!

Mouthfeel: medium to full bodied; good carbonation
Drinkability: could drink at least two in a night

This is another quality beer from Rogue. I'll have to visit the brewery sometime.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2006 00:06:37 | More by Applesauce1
Photo of plaztikjezuz


4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a bright copper with orangish hues from the light, pinky thick white head.
the aroma of hopsack lofts out of the bottle and smacks you across the face followed by a firm base of malt.
the flavor is rich with malt and hops, spicy, little pepper, grassy, drops off to a lingering hopsack.
this is a great beer love the flavor, but brutal is correct, since i started drinking it, i think i am having an alegric reaction to the hops or something. skin is atarting to itch and turn red. like what happens with me and red wine :-(

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2006 02:45:42 | More by plaztikjezuz
Photo of wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ever since my first encounter with this beer served on cask last year at the BSF bar, GBBF05, my mind has been pre-occupied with the explosive flavour that it showed. No cask this time round at the BSF 06, but I did manage to get a bottle for take-away. No freshness info. printed on the bottle, served cool in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: translucent dark reddish-orange in colour, coming with a thick layer of off-white foam with ve...ry good retention; constantly gentle streams of carbonation full of medium-sized bubbles.
S: Goldings+Challenger like fruity hops with sweetened citric-zests and tangerine juice, plus juicy peaches and longan-fruits, caramely malts, a fatty and slightly piney body of fresh hops, and a flow of warming alc. behind; smelling more like an American IPA to me, maybe due to the big and aromatic hoppyness on the balance.
T: a tannic, fat, oily smooth flow of sweet-citric hops lubricates the tongue so smoothly, followed in no time by plenty of longan-fruits, marmalade, caramely malts, as well as a flowery honeyish edge of late-harvested Muscat wine hidden down the sides of the tongue... slightly piney and tannic hop bitterness gradually builds up--not harsh but rather soothing, leading towards an aromatic, tangy bitter-sweet aftertaste full of malts and soft hoppyness and lingering forever down the throat...
M&D: the softer-than-soft mouthfeel results from consistently creamy carbonation, on top of a solid body and a full flavour profile... perhaps because it's served at the temp. more like a cask-conditioned ale, the mouthfeel overall really is smooth and great... Not as "brutal" nor bitter as my first encounter last year, yet the end result with an utterly harmonious balance b/w malts and hops makes it a great beer to quaff or sip, depending on one's mood. If given less sweetness on the nose, it could've been an impeccable premium bitter. Top quality stuff by Rogue, firmly in my top ten Premium Bitters.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2006 00:49:14 | More by wl0307
Photo of PCaravan


4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
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).

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2006 02:11:27 | More by PCaravan
Photo of TrickKnee


3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never being a big Bitter fan i was a little curious to how i was going to like this, thinking it was going to compare to a fullers, however I must say it was very good. Poured a nice amber color with a very sweet smell. Overall not as bitter as some people might think, i have had regular IPA that had more of a bitter taste than this. Was definitly another great output from Rogue.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2006 13:24:12 | More by TrickKnee
Photo of DarkerTheBetter


3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a bright orange copper with ample bubbles clinging to the sides of my pint. These were releasing and steaming upwards, sustaining the uneven film of creamy dirty white that left some messy steaks of lace. Half way through my pint, the head was nowhere to be found.

Upon smelling, I let out a long, drawn out, “Wow.” There’s a huge amount of dehydrated pineapple here nestled atop a base of honey, mushrooms and diner rolls. Very nice.

The flavor begins with an intense woody hop that has elements of birch bark, mushroom and juniper. The malt base consists of a soft oat and cantaloupe. In the finish, the hops dry out even more and reveal a residual coffee. Seemed way to strong for the style.

The mouth feel is medium bodied with a very active mini-carbonation. For the flavors involved, this seemed a bit much.

Although this is a very tasty beer, I am uncertain as to how this fits in with it’s stated style. Other ESBs I have had have been far more subtle and delicate where as the hops in this one really stand up and cause quite a commotion. Perhaps this one is better touted as a Double ESB?


So I finished my review and proceeded to get lost in the BA forums (like ya do). When I finished my pint, I got up to pour the rest of the bottle into my glass. Not realizing this was bottle conditioned, I just tipped the bottle back and got all the goodies on the bottom into my glass. It looked really terrible, but upon tasting, the grains were really amplified and there was an expected nuttiness to it. Although it tremendously and negatively impacted the appearance, this really balanced out the hop profile of this one quite a bit.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2006 21:23:39 | More by DarkerTheBetter
Photo of bruachan

District of Columbia

3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this is one of those beers i see all the time and don't bother to pick it up precicesly because of that. i finally did; let's see how it is

toasty malt aromas, with caramel and some nice sweetness. flavors from the vienna malt shine through, though hops overshadow them to a certain degree.

crowning a nice copper body, is some great lacing and a thin foam, which is sustained by carbonation that really is too intense to fit the ESB mold. also, Brutal is definitely too bitter and hop-focused to be a real ESB. that's not all i'm considering, however, in my rating

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2006 23:44:25 | More by bruachan
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,755 ratings.