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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 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.

Photo of SIRIUS2
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from bottle into a pint glass producing a foamy off-white head with about okay retention and good lacing. Color was a ruddy orange with a light haze.

S: A nice clean floral nose with minor secondary hint of citrus.

T: Reasonable and enjoyable hops are prominent over a light tasting yet medium bodied brew. A light caramel maltiness is there if you look for it beyond the hops.

M & D: Good body and perfect carbonation combine with great flavored hops makes this go down smooth. The finish is great with a light lingering of the hop bitterness.

Very nice beverage! A nice bitter has got to be one of my favorites and this one didn't disappoint. Although a bit heavy on the finishing hops, the body of the ale is balanced well with the malts allowing everything to blend nicely. Very nice.

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

12 oz bottle poured into traditional pint glass

A - Pours a nice and cloudy, hazy orange color with yellow tint. Nice white/light tan head that reaches one inch before falling slowly. Nice lacing.

S - Clean floral and citrus hop scent, very Northwest/Pacific scent. A touch soapy with just a bit of toasted malt flavor. Hop dominated scent.

T & M - Mouth puckering citrusy hops with nice carbonation from the beginning. Backed by a medium bodied malt grain flavor. Like the scent, its a bit soapy in the aftertaste with plenty of bitterness and a mild drying flavor.

D - Claims itself as a type of "imperial bitter" and the strong hop component would seem to agree. However, that definitely knocks down the balance that should be evident in the style. Hard to judge, because its a pretty tasty and well crafted beer, it just doesn't meet the style guidelines for an ESB. Should there be an imperial ESB category? Anyway, this beer is very drinkable if you like hops and clean citrus flavor.

Photo of hustlesworth
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at winking lizard, i got the last pint of the keg (for free!).

A- golden amber brew with a minimum haze, off white creamy puffy foam leaves a decent amount of lace like streaks of soap suds.

S- sweet caramel bread, dry spicy woodsy & honeysuckle floral hop aroma with notes of citrus pith. toasted malt and a warm nutty quality that is very inviting, along with the light fresh pine aroma near the end.

T- stale whole grain bread, and very hoppy almost like a baby IPA. enough malt to go around as well its bittersweet and caramel and almost a little chocolatey with some white raisins and apple. as for the flowers, it's spicy citrus pine grapefruit, which rogue does very well. taste is very fresh, and there's a long dry bitter finish.

MF- crisp and fresh, yet resinous and slightly oily, medium body and carbonation.

D- let's just say i'll be on the lookout for this one every chance it get.

Photo of GoreStorm
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

bomber bottle poored into a liter beer mug.

A - i really like the way this beer looks. generally i favor the look of darker beers with my eyes but this is exceptional. poored with a big rocky head that mostly stayed to the bottom of the glass. the color and look of the beer could easily be mistaken for an unfiltered spun honey. very nice.

S - floral and hoppy, i don't get too much of a malt profile here, or rather, not as much as i'd like.

T - pretty damn solid, a very good hop flavor here with a nice sweet malt background.

M - the carbonation is moderate and pleasant, solid.

D - even with an above average ABV i could put these back all night, this is a super drinkable beer.

additional notes - hooray for rogue, they're one of the first craft brewers i fell in love with back when i first started to get into good beer and they still impress me today, i'll be buying much more of their product.

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

12 oz bottle, paper label, purchased from Jerry's in Bethlehem for $1.75, poured into a pint glass.

Cracked the lid and started pouring and was immediately hit with the smell of floral hops. Mmmm, nice. Its rogue, so it is obviously big on hops, and it delivers in the nose. Color was a slightly cloudy amber with a nice white cap that had fair retention and left a good bit of lacing.

Nose is mostly hops, but not overbearingly so. Taste is bitter but balanced with some roasted and sweet malts. Body and carbonation are medium. A pretty big brew, but is actually somewhat well balanced. I almost guzzled mine and had to slow myself down. A fine beer and one that sits right in line with other rogue brews.

Photo of timbro81
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I absolutely love this beer. Pours an ever so slightly hazey orange color crowned with a cloud-like head that settles to a fine ring. Smell is very intense yet not over bearing floral hops. This is repeated again in the taste but also backed up by a nice biscuity maltiness. A very well balanced beer that is simple yet complex all at once. A helluva good ESB. If you have never had this beer you should try it now.

Photo of Scoobydank
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: Orange cloudy color. Off white frothy head
S: Yummy peach/grapefruit smell. A tad bit of sweet malt as well.
T:Those grapfruit pine needle hops come out right away. Light sweet malt with a touch of peach lingers.
M: It is a bit thin, but in a good way. The thinness alows it to slip down the middle of the tounge.
D:Yet another great brew by rouge. I could drink multiple of these right in a row.

Photo of AylwinForbes
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orange amber colour with modest haze, poured carefully into a tall glass and only a small head appeared, some lacing. Nose was quite muted, slightly malty. The taste is the thing here: it bore remarkable resemblance to a fine English bitter ( Brakspears from the old days or Fuller's ESB for example but without as much body as that fine beer), emphasis on the dry bitter with muted citrus fruit.

It lacks the impact of the double IPA heavyweights but is very drinkable and slips down easily.

Photo of Biscuit033
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Light amber(almost orange) with three finger head that settles nice to a small but frothy layer. There is moderate lacing.

S: Caramel malts and a light piney/earthy nose.

T: Caramel and toffee malts with a touch of citrus and pine notes. There is plenty of malt taste and feel here and those the overwhelming hop flavors aren't present they keep the malts balanced.

M: Nice carbination and body with a crisp, clean finish.

D: This is a great ESB. But in the tradition of sesionasble ESB's this is a bit high on the ABV. This is a beer that I would choose over most other ESB's.

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

22-oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

A = Translucent orange liquid, producing a large head with a mix of medium and large bubbles Leaves lots of lacing as it dissipates and as the beer is drunk.

S = Piney hops are front and center, but sweeter malt scents are there underlying the big hoppy primary aroma. Not a very complex smell and too piney for the style, really just a very nice American beer somewhere between an American Pale Ale and and American IPA. Definitely not an ESB.

T = Bitterness is the first thing to hit the tongue and it continues as it cascades to the back of the mouth. Primarily pine tastes, but citrus tastes are in there, too. At mid-palate and in the finish there are very light traces of sweet nutty malt flavors, but the focus never really shifts from both the hops taste and hops bitterness. Still, as it swirls around the mouth there are a bevy of different flavors making it more complex than the smell alone indicated.

M = Light to medium bodied, good carbonation which gets frothy when swished around in the mouth, good coating of the mouth, too, that really helps get a full taste and a long finish.

D = If you like bitter beers this is a definite one to try. Still, not for non-hopheads, and not an ESB.

Photo of nickfl
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep orange-copper color with impenetrable haze and a tiny, half inch of off white head.

S - Immediate estery citrus aroma, with floral/ herbal hops coming in behind. Nice, fresh smell.

T - Lots of fruitiness, mostly citrus, up front. Citrus hops flavors and chalky bitterness are up next, followed by biscuity malt notes. All of the citrus character comes back together in the finish for a lingering, harmonious grapefruit note.

M - Medium carbonation with a fairly full body and a very dry, chalky finish.

D - Quite easy to drink. Certainly not hard to put down the 22 of this fresh, fruity beer. It is an interesting take on the ESB style, having a lot of features I might more associate with an IPA. The citrus characteristics are very nice and they nailed the dry, English bitterness that many brewers can't seem to capture in their bitters.

I paired this with a chunk of seared tuna, marinaded in soy sauce and honey. The citrus notes matched the soy/honey glaze very well and the hops did not over power the tuna's flavor the way I feared they might.

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

Cloudy apricot color with medium sized fuzzy off-white head. Smells of sweet citrus orange hops and toasted malts. Dry, fresh, and creamy carbonation on the palate. Crystal and toasted malts with an earthy, piney hop bitterness that is brutal in the last. Very refreshing and drinkable. Seems like another solid Rogue offering, but I'm not too familiar with the style at this point.

Photo of dmamiano
3.12/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium straw color...good head and lacing.
Not much to be noticed in the nose...some sweet malts, a little bready. Maybe biscuit.
Taste is somewhat malty and bitter..imagine that.
No hop flavor profile, but the bitterness hangs an.
Good mouthfeel. Maltyiness is nice.
Pretty good beer, but not worth the price paid.

Photo of dsa7783
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another strong selection from Rogue... any bitterness present in this sample is masked by an uncanny smoothness as the beer goes down very cleanly without any negative lingering aftertaste... appearance was very good - full bodied amber / copper color with modest head... smell was very bready and slightly hoppy with bread-like aroma coming through... taste was very good... butter flavor and earthiness present... great mouthfeel and good drinkability... no alcohol detected and bitterness masked by an ultra smooth finish... Recommended...

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A thick white foamy head sits atop a cloudy orange colored beer. the head has a death grip on the side of the glass, which is nice.

Aroma is mostly that of big citrusy hops. The flavor starts out with citrus fruitiness and some caramel sweetness, then quickly turns brutally bitter. Some alcohol warmth mixed in with bitter hops for a long lingering finish that's worth the price of admission.

Big body, with visible viscosity. It's gonna take some work to get this one down. The rest of this sixer will be spaced out pretty far throughout the course of this winter, I can assure you of that.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark gold with a touch of almost brown with a sizeable white head. Nose is Extremely hoppy and super sweet. Flavor is thick with hops and a very slight bite. Just barely bitter as the hops take over the flavor profile, but don’t make it too unbearable with too hoppy a tone. Mouthfeel is good on carbonation and this one is extremely drinkable. This is the 13th beer I have reviewed from Rogue and yet again they deliver. I just want to try more, and more, and more...

Photo of tonistruth
3.16/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- cloudy, darker shade of straw for color of the beer, 1 finger fluffy, cloud like, white head with fantastic retention

S- hoppy (herbal and grapefruit), bready, musky scent

T- bready malt plays a strong supporting role to hops throughout, slightly citric and herbal hops, mostly earthy

M- medium body with a coarse finish

D- doesn't taste to much like most ESB's I've had, but this is Rogue, so thats expected, wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination but i wouldn't turn to this when looking for a solid ESB...I'm not exactly sure where i would place beer, feels in between a pale and an IPA

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz from the Boise Coop... shared with a coworker.. mine from a shaker pint.

Big 2" fluffy off white head... sits atop a only slightly hazy golden orange brew.

Awesome grapefruity aroma... some fruity esters... only the slightest smell of pale malts.

Nice low/medium mouthfeel.... relatively low carbonation... larger than average bitterness... with mouthcoating oily citrus hops... enough malts to balance (in a hophead's mind) .. but this brew is a showcase for the hop.

In a blind tasting, I would call this an IPA hands down everytime... A really nice Rogue brew... and another of my goto bottles... very very drinkable and enjoyable even on a cold Idaho night.

Photo of NitroGen
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P: 20 oz. Brown Bomber bottle

A: Poured into a Sam Adams glass a light brown and orange pour with a finger of foam that quickly lowers to a scant cover with the carbonation raising from the etched bottom to form adding to the cover with little lacing.

S: Roasted malt, green grains, sweet florals and a crisp nose of citrus pith.

T: Roasted malts followed by green bitter hops with no discernable alcohol bite. Tongue and palate are treated with the myriad flavors slowly revealing themselves.

M: A real treat for the mouth! Tongue is kicked awake with the bold tastes, the mouth quickly joins in taking in the flavors with the palate left with a dry and crisp feeling where they flavors slowly reveal themselves.

D: Must be coming around to the hops as I find this one really well balanced and not overly bitter, despite it’s name and a complete absence of any overwhelming bitter hop flavors Well balanced and an enjoyable drink. I like it a lot!

Photo of edbeered
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the Happy Gnome, the day after a Rogue beer dinner, this pours a hazy amber color, with a minimal white head that subsides quickly, yet leaves fine white lace on the glass. Even after warming up, the smell is minimal, with a hint of hops. The taste is of floral hops, with a sweet malty backing. There is a hint of piney hop flavor as well. This beer is very smooth, with a nice creamy mouthfeel. This a good session beer and is very drinkable. This is a nice example of a flavorful yet uncomplicated Bitter.

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

12oz. bottle into pint glass. No date on bottle.

A - Beautiful looking hazy orange, almost caramel colored body with perfect one-finger rocky light beige head. Nice bubbles of carbonation flow through this thick brew. Half-finger head remained until the end, leaving some fair lacing as well.

S - Pleasant floral hop bouquet with some perfume and resiny qualities coming out as well. Malt is sweet caramel, toffee and candy with a bit of grainy cereal way in the back. Slight tinge of alcohol, especially as the liquid warmed up.

T - Starts out a little sweet, but the hops take over rather quickly, resulting in a pretty heavy, long bitter finish.

M - This is a fairly full-bodied, chewy brew with an oily texture and lively carbonation. It finishes up lightly alcoholic and moderately astringent with a mild burnt quality. Resiny hops coat the back of the tongue and hang on for a while.

D - Pucker up, because this is definitely one bitter beer. The complex hop character works well with the caramel and sweet candy qualities. Finishes up nice and bitter, but not too harsh. One of my favorite offerings from Rogue.

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from a 22 oz bottle named after Max's tap house. The liquid is orange with good carbonation. The head is big off white and leaves good lace.

The smell is ok a bunch of bitter earthy hops and some bready malt to add balance.

The taste is not so great, a bit of a soapy flavor over earth and flowal hops and malt/

The mouthfeel is good, ni ce body and good carbonation.

The drinkability in not up to my par, I would not seek this out as the taste just does not seem to work for me. MK

Photo of umustdrink
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark orange color. White head fades to a thick film. Good lacing, sticking in thick strips.

S - Light fruity hops, green and ripe smelling, very spicy and peppery caramel malts and some overtones of sugary sweetness.

T/M - Starts out with a sharp carbonation bite, hits of green bitterness and some caramely maltiness. Then some warm biscuity malts with a good hoppy background. Finish leaves a light bitterness and some brown sugar.

D - Another excellently well-rounded brew from Rogue, not to be missed.

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