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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,811 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,811
Reviews: 1,062
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 63
Gots: 58 | 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: 1,811 | Reviews: 1,062 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of plaztikjezuz


4.33/5  rDev +8.3%

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 :-(

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

United Kingdom (England)

4.45/5  rDev +11.3%

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.

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


4.53/5  rDev +13.3%

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).

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


3.78/5  rDev -5.5%

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.

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


3.83/5  rDev -4.3%

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.

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

District of Columbia

3.78/5  rDev -5.5%

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

08-31-2006 23:44:25 | More by bruachan
Photo of clabaugh


4.13/5  rDev +3.3%

Appearance: Poured a cloudy burnt orange out of a handsome bomber bottle. A fluffy white head rests on top. The head, inflected with yellowish hints, retains lustily. Lace clings in clumps to the glass.

Smell: Citrusy hops interspersed with clean, bready malts. Caramel, and nectar, with some hoppy vigor that is very refreshing.

Taste: Boldly malty and hoppy at once. Thoroughly flavorful, yet in excellent balance. Bitter, floral hops meet up with caramelly, toasty malts and throw a taste party.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, spruced up with carbonation. Enduring bitterness. Refreshing.

Drinkability: Per the style, a highly drinkable beer. Refreshing, with fine flavor, and relaxing properties.

08-31-2006 18:51:35 | More by clabaugh
Photo of Deconstructionis

West Virginia

4.72/5  rDev +18%

One of my favorites beers.

It's a cloudy bright amber, almost orange in the light. with a thick finely beaded head that not only persists but will cling to the edge of the glass above the "water-line." This is a bottle conditioned ale so there is some sediment

The aroma is rich with prominent hops and a toasted malt/ fresh yeast bread character.. The taste is boldly bitter and the hops are upfront (of course), but it's not overly dry as the rich malt balances well. It's medium body with somewhat more carbonation than the ales of this type you'll get on tap in Britain. Very drinkable. ESBs are not everyone's favorite but for fans of this style-- this is a world-class offering.

08-28-2006 13:44:30 | More by Deconstructionis
Photo of egajdzis


3.73/5  rDev -6.8%

Poured a cloudy amber color with a tight white head and nice lacing. Nice citrus (predominantly orange) hop aroma. It's nice having a brew with one type of hop, it helps you learn what each nop smells/tastes like. Bitter grapefruit flavor. Nicely balanced

08-28-2006 12:50:59 | More by egajdzis
Photo of jettjon


4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours a hazy, cloudy pale reddish-orange-brown with a few tiny bubbles rising up. Smallish brow tan head, quickly fades to a thin cap, leaving decent lacing. Nose is bold strong hops and malt. Taste: yep, hops all right, pushing IPA status. However, the hops is rapidly dominated or balanced by the malt. Finishes bitter, lingers on the palate, dry and bitter. Mouth is semi-creamy, semi-syrupy, substantial yet watery and smooth. Good drinkability due to mouthfeel and flavor balance.

Overall: A good bitter ale, nice hops presence with good flavor balance. Definitely recommended, especially for hops lovers.

08-26-2006 00:02:08 | More by jettjon
Photo of Toddv29424

District of Columbia

4.15/5  rDev +3.8%

This beer pours with a traditional dark gold color, but has a very unconventional cascade effect when poured vigorously. Smell is a well balanced blend of hops and malt, with the hops slightly overpowering. There is a surprising amount of hops for a Bitter, but I would expect nothing less from Rogue. They give it a very fruity taste with a perfect amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel is also great, again with a good balance of flavor and carbonation.

08-20-2006 22:25:50 | More by Toddv29424
Photo of ericj551

Alberta (Canada)

4.58/5  rDev +14.5%

Served room termperature, Brutal Bitter pours a cloudy light amber with a bubbly white head. The aroma immediately brings to mind sweet, hoppy unfermented wort. I've never noticed it before but thats all I can smell with this beer. The taste is sweet and malty at first, than changes quickly to a nice bitterness with a lot of hop flavor. Just like Dead Guy and the Old Crustacean barleywine, if the price were more towards the norm for the style, these would definitely be in my fridge every night.

08-20-2006 02:04:48 | More by ericj551
Photo of gunnerman


4.33/5  rDev +8.3%

Bottle poured into a pint glass, looks is very reddish brown with a nice foamy head that leaves some lacing on the glass. The smell, this is where this comes alive, it smells very hoppy with citrus smells of oranges that are not ripe just yet. The taste is very bitter, I can taste earthy dirt, maybe some cypress tree bark as well, very strong and rich and leaves a good after taste as well. I enjoy this brew just for its sipping behavior, I love to sip one of these after a good meal. Great job Rogue on this fine brew, nothing else like it.

08-19-2006 00:20:09 | More by gunnerman
Photo of IntriqKen


4.28/5  rDev +7%

On tap at Goat Hill Tavern, Costa Mesa.
Pours a crystal clear golden with a half finger head that melts to fine lacing.
Aroma is very hoppy....sweet fresh citrus hops.
Mouthfeel is refreshingly drying with the sharp bite of ample tiny carbonation.
Taste is at first a very fresh sweetness that follows up immediately with a burst of grapefruit and orange rind hops. Both the grapefruit and light malt intensify as the beer warms.
Wonderful thirst quencher and great session beer.

08-17-2006 19:36:38 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of cjgator3


4.65/5  rDev +16.3%

Pours a coppery amber color with a large creamy white head. Aroma is hops, hops and more hops! Citrusy hops dominate the taste as well. Under all the hops, you can pick up some sweet malt. Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly chewy. Overall, this is an absolutely delicious brew for hopheads like I.

08-16-2006 00:46:36 | More by cjgator3
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.85/5  rDev +21.3%

Best ESB ever?

Pours a hazy apricot color with a dense cap with incredible retention. chunks of lace stick to the glass, very nice. The amount of haze surprise me, even though I let it sit for 24 hours and poured carefully, it looks like a hefeweizen. Lots of sediment stuck to the base of the bottle.

The aroma is hoppy, very floral and citrusy with a delicate malt base. The taste is the same with a good does of bitterness throughtout. Lots of grapefruit and a bit of pine mingle with a soft bready malt base. Mmmm its too drinkable. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with tiny carbonation bubbles. The finish is bitter and long but also balanced with some malt sweetness.

This beer is so damn quaffable. Crystal hops are very tastey. Its pretty much in IPA territory to me. Still its perfectly balanced... a session beer for a hophead.

08-14-2006 17:33:58 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of MmmIPA


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%

22 oz. bomber poured into a pint glass.

A-Faint color,amber,Huge head

T-Very hoppy,citrus with some pine.

S-Very hoppy smell with hints of citrus.


D-I loved it!I thought it wasnt really bitter but then maybe ive been drinking Bitter beers for the past 2 weeks.I would love to have it on tap.I want more and Highly recommened to anyone who likes a bitter beer.


A year and some days later I try this beer again since im a better reviewer now.

Amber hue with a small white head that fell pretty fast to a ring and some small patches.

The aroma is piney hops.You can also smell some malt in there as well.

The taste is bittering hops and some of the hop taste taste like "tea".I think this bottle isnt the freshest.The bittering hops still make you pucker.Grapefruit is in the taste also.

The mouthful is pretty awesome on this beer.It is in between of thin and thick.Very easy to drink and goes down very smooth.

This stuff is still awesome and im glad I got to try it again.This is the epitomy of a ESB in my book.

08-14-2006 14:05:05 | More by MmmIPA
Photo of jdoolin


2.83/5  rDev -29.3%

Presentation: 22 oz bomber, poured into an imperial pint glass.

Appearance: Deep copper with a nice three finger head that never completely went away.

Aroma: Hops. The Crystal hops dominate the aroma. The malt is there, but overpowered by hops.

Taste: This has a wonderful flavor. Nice caramel malt and prominent hop flavor. But I don't taste the balance that an ESB should have. The hops weigh far more than the malt in this beer.

Notes: This tasted like a very good IPA, but did not have the balance I was expecting, for an ESB. A great beer, but didn't fit the style as well as I would have liked.

08-10-2006 00:49:27 | More by jdoolin
Photo of Byeast


3.85/5  rDev -3.8%

Appearance: orange copper , hazed . creamy off white head

Smell: lots of raw hop smell , some citric/tangerine like hop and piney aromas.

Taste: very hoppy , citrus rind , some sweet maltiness , fairly bitter but not quite overpowering , lots of raw hop flavor

Mouthfeel: a bit creamy , full

Drinkability: a good brew to grab if your in need of a hop injection.

08-09-2006 04:31:00 | More by Byeast
Photo of hanco005


4.33/5  rDev +8.3%

12 oz single bottle purchased at Cellar’s at Larp and Lex, poured into a pint glass

A—light copper and cloudy liquid with a tan 1 inch pillow top head, fades down in a few minutes, moderate bubbly lacing is produced

S—citrus and floral hop tones with some sweet sugar malt notes, it’s all balanced well for an inviting aroma

T—moderate bitterness with floral flavors as strongest, some mild sweetness lingers until the bitter dry finish wraps this one up nicely

M—a little rough, but it adds to the experience, medium bodied, lighter carbonation

D—a solid ESB, very refreshing…I would have this again and again.

08-08-2006 02:24:16 | More by hanco005
Photo of malthead


3.53/5  rDev -11.8%

Orange, amber color, but little head. Smell is citrus, lemony hops... grapefruit. I don't get the caramel flavor I expect from an ESB, either in the taste or smell. So, good smell and all, but taste just doesn't do it for me. I realize the "Brutal" part of the name is referencing the sharp citrus hop presence, but... the traditional ESB "Bitter" part is kinda lacking. Light and very drinkable, but I'm afraid it's not what I had expected in an ESB... needs more malt, in my opinion, but given my name, maybe I'm a little biased...

08-05-2006 02:59:38 | More by malthead
Photo of acrawf6


4.38/5  rDev +9.5%

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!

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


3.98/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

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


3.48/5  rDev -13%

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.

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


3.3/5  rDev -17.5%

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.

07-30-2006 22:23:06 | More by FranklinPCombs
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,811 ratings.