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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,765 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,765
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 60
Gots: 49 | 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
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Ratings: 1,765 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of acrawf6


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Love getting a pint of this at Lager's (Metairie, LA)... only place i know where to get a pint of this, or even a bottle at that matter.

Served a nice orange amber with a just slightly tan head with a little good lacing.

Smell. Nice good smells of hops, good esb aromas that are caramel smelling just slightly piney. Very nice.

Taste. Very good. I almost look at this beer differently of other esb's because it just seems more potent than others of it's style. Good tastes of a caramel sweetness and some citrus notes. It really is quite nice.

Mouthfeel is good. Mouthfeel is good, fuller than others in it's style. Good amount of carbonation, great balance.

Overall, i think this is a great beer, better than the style it claims to be. Has a very solid flavor others do not have, i need to check, buy i would guess they have pacman yeast in this beer too. Very good!

Serving type: on-tap

08-04-2006 05:05:12 | More by acrawf6
Photo of MiScusi


3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. Appearance was a translucent orange, with a big fluffy white head. Left very nice lacing the entire way.

Smell was mainly of floral hops.

Taste contained a pretty strong bitterness, with floral and grassy hop notes as well. Some caramel peaks through as it warms up, but barely.

The feel was a little too carbonated, but pretty nice and light but not watered down body. Drinkability is good.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2006 02:53:59 | More by MiScusi
Photo of Padron4KM


3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

hazy orange with a solid 2 finger head and nice lacing.

Lemon cookie aroma

Flavor is grapefruit with some pine and a touch of sweetness.

Tingly bitter finish.

Name is a little misleading, not brutally bitter, but nicely bitter.
Very tasty well balanced beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2006 06:33:19 | More by Padron4KM
Photo of FranklinPCombs


3.3/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange amber color, murkey with a decent beige head, little lacing. Smell was dominantly burnt chocolatey and mossy notes up front, with a bit of malt and cherry finish. Taste was slightly bitter, but more what I would describe as sharp and chalky. Same burnt taste, but most everything is masked by the "bitter". The mouthfeel is, again, dry and chalky, and there is a strange sharpness on the back, but had decent body. I was looking for a much more balanced beer, but this one didn't deliver that.

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2006 22:23:06 | More by FranklinPCombs
Photo of BlindPig


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

Appearance- 2½” off white head, which fades pretty quick. Darker golden/copper color that is cloudy. Thick lacing which slowly goes to just a nice lacing. See light carbonation if you look closely and head sticks to side of glass on way down.

Smell- Hops. Sweet, citrusy with a light malt background maybe light woody.

Taste- pretty bitter aftertaste. Light carbonation. Citrusy hops and very upfront with them. Very bitter taste and after taste

Mouthfeel- medium/ thick body, light carbonation. Has a heavy feel to it.

Drinkability- Really like it. Seems more bitter than the Ruination but not as good of a flavor.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2006 16:50:19 | More by BlindPig
Photo of veech


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

This is one excellent beer and the only thing bitter about the entire experience is me in that I didn't have this available in my area sooner. Pours a slightly hazy deep golden orange with a good 3 fingers of head, resilient carbonation and nice lacing. The floral hoppiness of the nose is very well balance by just the right amount of malted barley. The balance is even more evident in the taste. It starts out a little hoppy, but the substantive body of the malt evens everything out. This results is an excellent drinkability. A 6 pack was $10.69 @ Kroger which is a little spendy for a beer that's not high gravity or high alcohol, but damn is it tasty. Yet more praise for Rogue.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2006 06:05:27 | More by veech
Photo of wingman14


4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange with a nice white head. Smell is very hoppy with notes of citrus. Very strong and inviting smells. The taste is more a mix between an ESB and an IPA, neither the bitter or hop presence are overpowering, it is a very good balance. This is a medium to full bodied brew, with a clean finish. No huge aftertaste, quite mellow. This has a fantastic mouthfeel, pretty smooth, and very easy to drink. I stayed away from this selection even though I am a huge Rogue fan, and now that I have tried it I am disappointed that I didn't pick it up soon. Another great beer from the folks at Rogue!

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2006 04:49:21 | More by wingman14
Photo of SwillBilly


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

12 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours a deep, murky amber with a minimal off-white head that dissipates quickly to a wispy lacing topping the beer. Visible yeast particles float through the beer and are present in the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Aromas of baked sweet potato with a slight apricot like fruitiness making an appearance. Slight hint of orange peel.

Taste: Begins with an impressive hop bitterness right of the bat that transitions to a malty sweetness that balances out the hops. Finishes nicely balanced with a pleasant citrusy hop bitterness lingering on the tongue.

Mouthfeel. Medium mouthfeel with ample carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: Brutal Bitter lives up to its name, more like an APA/IPA than an ESB. Nicely balanced with a hoppiness that I like and a good malt backbone. Lively carbonated and a dry finish makes you you want to drink this rather quickly. Very easy to drink, alcohol is not present in the flavor profile. Definitely sessionable. Brutal Bitter is one I will seek again and you should too.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2006 00:08:53 | More by SwillBilly
Photo of Gaisgeil


3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not exactly an ESB yet not an IPA either, this one walks the line. Pours a deep gold in color, looking like it could be either with a thin white head with decent retention. Nose is pretty hoppy, more hoppy than any ESB I've ever had for certain. Taste follows that theme, fairly malty, but not enough to balance the pretty extreme bitterness for the style. Quite nice though overall and nicely drinkable.


Serving type: bottle

07-20-2006 09:33:04 | More by Gaisgeil
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
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,765 ratings.