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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,756 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,756
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,756 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dreadnatty08

District of Columbia

4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light orange amber color. Bottle conditioning gives it a real hazy translucency. Head is minimal, not much to speak of. Aromas are dominated by I believe floral and citrusy American hops. The description of the beer claims its made solely with crystal hops. Hops are dominated in the brew with an intense flavor and bite at the end. Slick in the mouth, carbonation is medium, a great mouthfeel. A bit heavier than a typical IPA which I suppose is all it sets itself apart from that style. A joy to find locally though limited, and with a high price tag at $10 a 6er. Something I would love to try again but most other IPAs would offer the same experience.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2006 17:30:09 | More by dreadnatty08
Photo of

3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber. Beer poured a hazy amber color, with a large, off-white head. Carbonation was not very lively. Aroma was a nice balance of malt and citrus. Flavor leaned towards the hop end, with some malt taste coming through in the middle. Finish was bitter (surprise!). Mouthfeel was fairly light, with more carbonation than was apparent on the pour. Drinkability was fairly high, as the beer was quite drying. Each sip left you wanting another.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2006 14:00:53 | More by
Photo of superdavex


3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is like you typical dark gold ESB hue with a decent level of carbonation. It leaves a nice sticky lacing.It smells like an IPA with a hoppyness that exceeds that of your everyday ESB.It tastes like a malty IPA also. Very hoppy and very bitter backed by a decent amount of malt to push it back into the ESB category and out of the IPA. A thin mouthfeel feeds into the drinkability category which is excellent. A very unique beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2006 22:17:58 | More by superdavex
Photo of CaskofFlyingDog


4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: It has a good head and has great lacage. The color is an orangy brown haze.

Smell: It's excitingingly fruity and refreshingly beery. That's all I can come up with.

Taste: Hop heaven with a little apricotish bite if you search for it.

Mouthfeel: This is surprisingly smooth, light, and thin. It's almost "fluffy."

Drinkability: Easy as hell to drink. You may get tired of being so bitter after a while though.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2006 03:31:11 | More by CaskofFlyingDog
Photo of Metalmonk

North Carolina

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

Looks great, a captivating dirty orange color, plenty of carbonation and long-lasting head that features tight, compact bubbles.

Hops and malt fight for dominance in the aroma, with both coming on strong and fragrant. Smells more like a barley wine than an ESB.

Flavorwise this is not your typical ESB, and this is a great example of a beer that blurs style distinctions. My first sip reminds of a double IPA, with a robust, grapefruity sourness thanks to the hops...and then the strong malt essence kicks in, and this reminds more of a barley wine, as there's an earthy molasses swing to it...and with both malt and hop elements well-balanced and assertive, it certainly sits easily in the ESB category.

Doesn't really matter. Whatever it is, it's great. Combined with a slick and creamy mouthfeel, and a piney finish, this goes down well (and too quickly!) as long as you appreciate bitterness in abundance. Impressive.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2006 22:01:58 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of Drew966


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

Brutal Bitter Ale pours a hazy copper with a white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. Citrusy/pine like aroma. Extremely hoppy flavor, in that typical northwestern U.S. fashion. I like this, in fact, I think I like it better than the double IPA's that seem to be popping out of every micro brewer around (I know it's not the same style, but this is a great hoppy beer). Excellent beer, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2006 00:26:23 | More by Drew966
Photo of pibbxtrasucks


4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Beer pours a golden/amber color with a decent head that doesn't last too long. As soon as I opened the bottle I swear I could already smell the hops. After the pour I took a big wiff and it was nothing but hops. in a good way. A bitter, hop taste hits you as you take the first sip, and it closes out with a nice earthy, mlty taste. perfect carbonation and nice mouth feel. his is a very good beer, easy to drink and overall very impressive.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2006 22:26:47 | More by pibbxtrasucks
Photo of hmc

Nova Scotia (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650ml bottle into my trusty Duval tulip, I write this after my first and during my second.

A & S:
This beer grabs you right away with its dusty orange color, a bit of sweet maltiness, and verrry pronounced hoppiness. based on the nose, I check the bottle again to make sure I didn't grab the IPA from the fridge.

It starts toasty and with hints of the Maris Otter malt, but moves quickly to a piney, citrusy hop flavour which lasts and lasts. If you like a bitter that leans toward an American IPA, this is your beer.

Smooth mouthfeel is enhancd by the 1/2" creamy head that subsides to a thin creamy top that lasts most of the glass.

For me, very drinkable. The second 650ml was as good as the first. I believe the hop/malt blend, although leaning to hop side more, is well balanced and begs for another to be quaffed, just to make sure it was as good as you first thought.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2006 19:49:49 | More by hmc
Photo of bigdeuce


3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very interesting brew, to say the least. Very much an ESB with an IPA-esk kickback. Nice tawny, citrusy look and smell to it. Beautiful lacing down the glass. Some hints of yeast and hops and some grapefruit going on in there. Kinda looks like a german Hefe-Weizen. Very good brew!!

Serving type: nitro-bottle

07-02-2006 00:24:11 | More by bigdeuce
Photo of msubulldog25


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

On-tap (pint glass) at Capt. Ankeny's Portland, OR:

A: Hazy light orange, moderate head w/ lots of lacing around the glass. Gentle steady carbonation.

S: Fresh citrus and piney hops.

T: Of course, lots of hop bittering. Hints of orange zest and grapefruit, mild malt sweetness in the finish. Nicely balanced and intensely rich on the palatte.

M: Bitterness lingers towards the back of the tongue. Medium to full body. A little heavy, not a "refreshing" beer.

D: Quite enjoyable. Great at the pub today for lunch, watching World Cup with friends. A bit heavy on the abv for atrue session beer, but I could have easily enjoyed one or two more...

Serving type: on-tap

06-21-2006 20:34:44 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of deejaydan


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

Thanks to Imstillthegman and BIF 33 for the chance to try this. Pours a hazy, cloudy orange color, outstanding head retention. Aroma is slightly grassy hops, earthy. Taste is hoppy hoppy hoppy, but in an english hop way, with the earthy flavors, I don't the the grapefruit flavor that is almost expected from Rogue. There is some balance, some malt playing in the background, but this is an up front hoppy beer. Mouthfeel is nice, carbonation is low, but just enough to clean your palate and make it want more. Drinkability is awsome, I think this could be a great session beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2006 21:20:40 | More by deejaydan
Photo of scottoale


4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 650ml brown bomber into a Sam Adams BL taster flute. It has a nice coppery-amber glow with a finger of off-white head. The head melts to 1/4 inch and gets real creamy. Thick heavy lace and a steady flow of fine carbonation bubbles keep the head at 1/4 inch throughout the review.

Sweet rich roasty malt nose that gives way rather quickly to a citrusy, pine hoppy nosefill, all the way to the end.

The taste mimmics the smell and magnifies it up a notch. Nice mildly sweet roasted malt starts the tastebuds off and into a citrus grove, mainly of orange. From the grove, briskly into the forest, a nice forest full of pine. It's a pretty big forest, the pine keeps going all the way to the end, then into a crisp and pleasantly bitter clearing...a very tasty, yet bitter journey through the ale.

A medium-plus body and smoothly bittering mouthfeel with enough alcohol to please and satisfy, this is still one of my favorites from Rogue and would definetly recommend it to everyone, especially the hoppy minded...Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2006 11:12:53 | More by scottoale
Photo of rhoadsrage


3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a hazy orange body with a big bubbly yellowish-white head. There is a gentle carbonation that keeps the head going for a bit.

S- The smell of big piney green hops has a faint floor dried malt note that has good complexity with a slight caramel malt hint.

T- The light pale malt is quickly overpowered by green pine hops with a faint pineapple note and a bitterness that last for days.

M- This beer has a medium-full body and a nice mouthfeel

D- This is a brutal bitter. It is to bad that all that great Maris Otter malt is washed out by the big hops that punish the taste buds.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2006 23:03:48 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of Phocion


4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a Fuller's nonic. Dark, golden color with an explosive head which settles into a nice thin, but creamy layer that seems like it's here to stay to the end. Nice lacing around the glass as well.

A little toasty, with some very slight citrus scents coming through. But mostly the hops. Is this an ESB or an IPA? Not really sure what to expect with this one, but as a fan of both styles, my expectations are high...

The hops are still there, but not quite as overpowering as the smell is. Roasted malt and the hops are nicely balanced here, with a nice tang of lemon peel in the background. As it warms up and I get farther down into the glass the hops come more alive. This isn't a typical ESB, but it tastes damned good nonetheless.

This is definitely a full-bodied beer, very creamy and soft on the palate.

The only downfall. This beer is not very refreshing, and it's a little heavy for a 6.5%, as well. I think I'll switch to something a little lighter after this one...

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2006 05:33:21 | More by Phocion
Photo of DuqTroops


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

Appearance - hazy copperish color.

Smell - lots of hops and sweetness to the aroma.

Taste - smooth and refreshing. Out of an evening of beer tasting, this was one that I really enjoyed.

Drinkability - loved it, very smooth yet refreshing. definitely drink this again.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2006 14:21:41 | More by DuqTroops
Photo of MeLikeBeer


3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dark amber haze in the glass with an inch-thick creamy head.

Smells hoppy and bitter with definite citrus scents.

The taste is amazingly balanced...very smooth. Very hoppy, but with a clean finish. I could drink this all night...it's definitely not "brutal" at all. The hops linger for a few seconds on the palate and then dissipates. There are brief hints of honey and fruit as well. I wish I had discovered this sooner.

Seek it out.

Serving type: on-tap

05-27-2006 16:02:12 | More by MeLikeBeer
Photo of Phatz


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

New name for the Brutal bitter: Max's Taphouse 20th Anniversary Bitter Ale

Appearance: This beer pours a faded orange color with a large off white head and decent lacing. Very active with carbonation bubbles rising constantly and maintaining a frothy cap on the beer. Very nice.

Smell: The aroma is easy and light but pleasant. Citrus hops, a hint of lemon and orange as well as a sweet apple juice and a bit of lightly caramelized malts, land in the back of the nose.

Taste: Extremely quaffable. The magnificence of this beer lies in its subtlety. It is so well balanced that you really don't notice much but the urge to continue enjoying it. It is far from what I would consider 'Brutal' though. I would describe it as 'Easy Bitter' or ‘Velvet Glove Firm Bitter’ but that wouldn't sell as well. There is a strong bitter aftertaste causes each sip to bring on the next one. Okay so I am getting ahead of myself. It starts off silky smooth with a light but firm hop tingle and a sweet malt backbone. Through the middle it remains solid and finishes very easily with a wonderful lingering citric bitter aftertaste, but after the first wave of lip smacking pine bitter there is also a residual caramel sweetness. MMM!

Mouthfeel: Solid all the way through creamy and spicy / tingly from beginning to end. This is a beer that feels constantly active in you mouth. Tingly around the edge but slick through the center.

Drinkability: This is what I love about ‘Brutal Bitter’ it is so easy to drink. I haven’t often repeated myself since I joined BA I have been attempting to try new things and with the exception of my regular always have beers I usually pick op individuals or bombers of beers I haven’t yet reviewed. This is however, about the fifth or 6th time I have bought Brutal Bitter, it always gets consumed with friends before I can review it just so often suits. So I finally get to review it =)

Hope this is helpful.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2006 06:31:53 | More by Phatz
Photo of Imstillthegman


3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very cloudy copper with lighter orange hues on the edges. Light head that doesn't last very long. Leaves light lacing. The smell is fairly subdued with a light citrus scent from the hops about all I can notice. The citrusy hops are more dominant in the taste. A touch of sweetness up front quickly overtaken by the hop bitterness. Medium body with low carbonation as is usual for this style. Nice brew to celebrate a great beer bar.

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2006 16:31:20 | More by Imstillthegman
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a medium amber color and a beaten eggwhite head; boistrous lacing all over the pint glass

Smell: Fruity aroma with apricot and grapefruit esters

Taste: Apricot flavors on the front end are joined by a steady progression of piney bitter flavors; a touch floral on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium/heavy bodied with low carbonation

Drinkability: Superb drinker - nicely balanced between the fruity and bitter flavors

Serving type: cask

05-11-2006 00:52:39 | More by brentk56
Photo of WeisGuy

New York

4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - cloudy dark amber color; off-white head, about a half-inch high, leaves pretty quickly; nice lacing

s - hops dominate with fruity hints

t - a nice sweetness to start, then the hoppy bitterness midway through that only become more prounounced and moves back on the tongue, then sweetness again on the tail end; wonderful balance of sweet and bitter

m - can definitely feel the carbonation in the mouth; very lively; clean feel

d - very drinkable, I could certainly drink several of these and not get tired of it; the taste, as other have said, could pass as an IPA, but it's very well balanced

Overall, another excellent Rogue offering. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and really wish I had another.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2006 00:06:02 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of heyitsbyron


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured a single bottle ($1.35) into a pint glass.

Sold head, nice and tight, lingers awhile. Copper color, clearer than I expected. Not totally sparkling, but pleasant anyway.

Piny resinous hops, but mild too. Maltiness fills the nose. Fruit and floral flavors remain in the background only.

Thin and perhaps a bit washed out. Nonetheless, I like it very much. Hop flavor is way down compared what I had thought, and it sort trails off into a mild fruit juice flavor. It's sweet and though all these adjectives seem unpleasant, it really hits the spot. Not "brutal" in my opinion.

Standard in the mouth. Average all the way around, from carbonation to body. Makes for quick drinking.

I could and probably will drink 6 of these in a sitting sometime. Outstanding in terms of value, drinkability, and taste. Won't knock you down, but you get a lot of flavor along the ride. Exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2006 02:42:10 | More by heyitsbyron
Photo of evanackerman


4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

beer pours a hazy orange with a two finger head that sticks and leaves lacing.

aroma is dominatied by hops of the fruity variety.

taste is very unique, at first i thought this tasted like so many IPAs out there but then i was hit by some kind of roasty flavor that i know is familiar but hard to describe, almost like a toasted sunflower seed, whatever it is it contributes a unique quality to this beer and sets it apart from the masses.

mouthfeel is medium viscosity and a bit astringent, but very good.

overall, this is another winner from Rogue, very tasty ale, tasty to the extreme, these guys are great ale makers! definitely try this one!

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2006 20:45:50 | More by evanackerman
Photo of sinstaineddemon


4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - a rich honey color, with 3/4 finger of off white foamy head, that slowly laces and craters, moderate carbonation is clearly visible

S - ooh, i love my IBU's and this smells like its gonna be good, a hoppy bitter aroma with hints of honey, and a faint hint of spiciness, hard to place maybe ginger or clove

T - ohhh yeah, that hits the spot, this is just how i like'em, bitter and sweet, smooth and refreshing, has a great bitter kick to it the whole way through, but there is a sweetness to it in the background, like honey (a recurring theme), man, these hops are great, i wish i had got more than one 12 oz'er, i will DEFINITELY get more of this

M - so smooth while so bitter while so sweet, what balance, a great ESB i love this, this is in my top 5

D - high, if you like you're IBU's, so poundable, must .... drink...more brutal bitter ....(Homer drool noise)

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2006 03:21:58 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of crwills

Ontario (Canada)

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

Got a couple bottles of this to try from Beers of the World in Rochester, NY.

Pours a cloudy orange, quite nice and unique looking, very bright with a good, white 1/2 inch head.

Aroma is powerful American hops, grapefruit. This is going to be very bitter.

Taste is dry and hoppy, with some yeastiness and a bit of unidentifiable spice. Citrus is actually quite reserved, making this a very easy-to-drink brew. Bit of alcohol presence. Dry, crackery aftertaste (again, makes it an easy drinker), and a light, refreshing mouthfeel.

Did I mention I could drink this all day?

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2006 19:02:07 | More by crwills
Photo of Enola

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brutal Bitter poured with minimal head. The color is just a shade lighter than is typical with the style. Not a lot though. The smell is piney and sweet. The taste is very good. There is a hoppy presence with a good lasting bitter aftertaste. The mouthfeel is smooth. There are no overpowering harsh tones. A drinkable brew. Very good for the style. Probably not as aggressive as others. A subtle example of an ESB.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2006 20:57:31 | More by Enola
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,756 ratings.