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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,754 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,754
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.5%
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: 1,754 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Luigi

North Carolina

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

Hazy copper color with a big pillowy off head head. The aroma is full of piney citrusy hops. The flavor is full of oily hops. A strong bitter hop is matched with a sweet malt. The body is smooth and slighty cheawy. Finishes of bitter and dry. The hops linger on the tongue for a while. This brew is a must for any hop head. One must have a strong palate to handle this one. I loved it!

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2006 05:06:34 | More by Luigi
Photo of fightingwords


3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought as a single bottle and served into a 16oz American pint glass.

A--Amberish, Golden-orange color. Hazy unfiltered appearance with noticable carbonation. A a strong fizzy head that eventually dissapated to a light head with good lacing all the way down. Alot more "pale" than I had expected from a beer listed as an ESB.

S--Over the top hop odor with earthy hints of fruits. Like an IPA but a bit more subdued. One good whiff gave me a bit of a bitey alcohol hint.

T--Not a very balanced bitter, but balanced isnt what I would have expected from Rouge. This had very earthy hop tones that finished with a sweetness that must have been the from what little malt I could make out. I dont have the discriminating palate to pull out all the flavors or a beer that is complex as this. As the beer warmed a bit the hops began to fall back and it became a really good beer. The alcohol was noticable at all times, but enjoyable.

M--Earthy and strong, good finish. Definately felt like I was drinking full flavored beer.

D--Wouldn't drink more than 2 in a sitting. To be honest the whole time I drank this I considered eating food but for the sake of the review I resisted. I dont know if people would consider this a food beer, but I would really enjoy this beer with a cheeseburger.

O--A unique interpretation on a beloved style of mine. I can see where people would consider this an IPA/Bitter hybrid. A beer for when I'm feeling like a unique treat. There are less expensive more traditional bitters out there for sure--but when has Rouge been traditional.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2006 21:21:51 | More by fightingwords
Photo of NEhophead


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

Creamy white, mellow head that leads to a semi-intact sheet. Trails of thin and spotted lace with good strength. Crisp copper color with a slight haze.

Hefty floral hop aroma, nicely balanced with a semi-sweet caramel scented backbone. Touches of juicy hop resin: lemon, pine, and grapefruit.

Earthy, unsweetened caramel maltiness met by a swarm of hop intensity. A grainy, husky hop profile; dark floral hop flavors with a hint of pine and pepper. The bitterness is truly 'brutal' in intensity with a dry finish. An aftertaste of floral hops and pine-infused wheat.

Medium bodied; gritty and a little heavy mouthfeel which backs up the intense flavors.

What a powerful and pleasant tasting brew. This borders an IPA in terms of hop presence. A classic offering from Rogue, that I always end up going back to for more.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2006 01:57:42 | More by NEhophead
Photo of kcsc007


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

650 ML bottle poured into a room temp pint glass. I purchased this bottle in Bozeman, Montana.

The first thing I noticed was the smell. Right after the pour, I could clearly smell the hops exploding from this brew. It appeared opaque, like a traditional hefeweizen, with a blonde color, like water steeped with hay. Very similar to a Marzen. Pretty average bubbly head dissapating after 10 minutes or so.

The taste was certainly hoppy, with floral overtones, but overall well balanced between the malt and hops. Surely a bitter, but not over-resiny in flavor; the hops were mild yet present. A slight tinge of metallic flavor on the roof of my mouth near the back. The front of my mouth feels very satisfied, with a lasting, savory flavor. It felt surprisingly full in my mouth, thicker and more broad than some other ESBs. Again, this beer reminds me of a more bitter Marzen.

I highly recommend this beer, even if you are not a fan of ESB/Bitters, although I should think 1 or 2 pints would satisfy anyone's palate. Don't be fooled, this brew is not as brutal as it seems.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2006 04:38:35 | More by kcsc007
Photo of cracgor


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

pours a nice amber, a little cloudy with one of the stickiest lifght heads I have seen in awhile. just clumped all over the glass. Smells very hoppy, pine-like and very citrusy. It is a pretty bitter beer. It has a nice kick of malts in it that come out, especially in the aftertaste to balance it out though. The hops taste like the smell with a bit more of an ester, fruity flavor. This is enjoyable if you like the astringent bitter mouthfeel. It is moderate to full bodied. An enjoyable beer for me, but it may be offenseve to others who don't like bitter beer. Should they consider buying something called brutal bitter anyway?

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2006 21:34:50 | More by cracgor
Photo of bennetj17


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

Appears reddish-orange in color. Cloudy, with a half-inch head that dissipates speedily. Smell is nice, but faint. Malt aroma is lightly sweet with nice spicy hops. Taste is dominated by the strong hops but malt sweetness is fairly subdued. Finish is moderately bitter, but perhaps not that "brutal". Alcohol is well-hidden. Mouthfeel is medium thick, with nice carbonation. I remember this being more enjoyable when served on tap, but I still recommend it as it is one of Rogue's better selections.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2006 02:58:17 | More by bennetj17
Photo of Vancer


4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Always like the chunky pours, brews with some substance! Hazy /cloudy amber pour with a small, but quite sticky tan head – nice lacing down the glass, nice.

Citrusy and ah oh, floral (not a big fan of the cascade flower). But the cascade was not over-dominant, as I’ve experienced in other brews- it blends in quite well. First quaff was rather intense with the floral and piney hops, but it does settle down by mid-bottle. (or, my taste buds have withered and died).

Final summary – a solid brew, that packs a potential kick your ass abv. I picked up a sixer of 12ozs, dangerous unless spread out over the afternoon (or evening).

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2006 16:30:15 | More by Vancer
Photo of gbarron


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

A - light amber, orange hues. Slight chill haze it appears. White head, lots of tight bubbles, about a finger thick. Stays around all the way through the entire pint. Leaving very nice lacing.

S - citrusy, grapfruit, strong American NW hop aroma. Hops predominate. Slight toasty malt in the background.

T - citrusy hop flavor and bitterness up front, followed by sweet, caramel malt. After the hop flavor hits you, malt comes through nicely. Sweet, earthy, smoky malt. Maybe a little bit of Victory or Munich malt in here? The aroma and initial flavor leads you to think this will be a very hoppy IPA-type beer, yet after the hops pass your tongue first, malt kicks in. Extremely well balanced beer.

M - medium to low carbonation, medium to thin body.

D - highly drinkable, nice session beer. Could have easily drank three or four of these.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2006 02:30:30 | More by gbarron
Photo of EStreet20

New Jersey

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

22 ounce bomber poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - Pours out a fairly cloury golden color with a tiny red tinge. A very thick, bubbly two finger head sits atop and has a lot of staying power. Nice rings of lacing circle the glass.

S - A very nice, strong citrus hop profile on the nose. Very inviting for a confirmed hophead type such as myself.

T - A nice citrusy hop taste, with some sweet malts up front. A very nice but subdued tea like flavor is in there too. The taste finishes with the hops leaving a nice feel on your tongue.

M - Nice and smooth on the tongue with a nice bit of carbonation. The feel is great for a beer with such a distinct hop profile.

D - This taste is nice and unique for such a hoppy beer. It's got a flavor a bit different than other bitters I've tried, basically just more flavor which makes it want more. The hoppiness might scare off some non-hopheads but for a hop fan this is an extremely drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2006 01:23:48 | More by EStreet20
Photo of nouseforotacon


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

This poured out a rich golden color with a lovely red-orange glow that danced reflective light off my fingertips. A rush of tiny bubbles formed a thick white head that dissipated at an average pace, leaving foamy crystals that clung to the sides of my tulip glass. Superb!

Smell contained diacetyl notes in the background, warm alcohol, and a flesh floral bouquet. Sweet smelling malts present, too, not bad at all.

This is bitter stuff, but by no means brutal. The bitter hops enveloped my taste buds and rushed down my throat, leaving a twangy butterscotch and lingering grapefruit aftertaste. Slight alcohol smell also resurfaced itself in the taste, leaving the flavor a bit unbalanced.

Surprisingly, the bitterness clamed down after the first few gulps and became much less overwhelming. My palate felt numbed, and the nicely balanced mouthfeel (slightly wet on the tongue, but still dry overall) left me thirsting for more.

Highly drinkable, and I would definitely try this again. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 00:01:11 | More by nouseforotacon
Photo of tweeder263


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

Pours out a cloudy amber brew with a one finger head. Kick ass grapefruit smell,,good shit. Taste,,HOPS. A dry beer with mad hopping,,not much else shows thru ,,not a bad brew could use a little more balance but what do you expect with a name like brutal bitter? Has a nice mouthfeel to it.. A decent brew good once in a while, if i were to go for something of the sort id have to go with a hopdevil or a 90 minute first

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2006 01:39:27 | More by tweeder263
Photo of nlmartin


4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a slightly cloudy copper coloration. The head was thick and creamy off white. Streaks of lacing left behind on the glass.

Smell: Floral hoppy smells float on a bed of malty sweetness.

Taste: This has one hell of a hop punch. Truthfully I did not expect it to hit like this. A very nice sweet malt base supports the hops.

Mouthfeel: This is one slick light to meduim bodied beer.

Drinkability: This is one well balanced beer. I wish I had tried this one sooner. This beer will be on my frequent buy list.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2006 14:19:00 | More by nlmartin
Photo of bigblueheron


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

The presentation was a 22 oz bottle poured into a room temperature glass. Rich honey-amber appearance and fresh smell adhered to my expectations. I was anxious for a taste. It started out great, but what a bitter finish punch that lingered forever. I don't doubt this is a well-regarded example, but I didn't have my game face on for this experience.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2006 03:11:39 | More by bigblueheron
Photo of curtisb8


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

Appreance: Nice, amber brown appreance, white medium body head.

Smell: Citrus, grapefruit, with a hint of oak

Taste: Citrus bitter upfront, hoppy finish, with a smooth finish

I could have a few of these through the course of a night, definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2006 02:59:21 | More by curtisb8
Photo of AltBock


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

12oz. bottle with the picture of the usual Rogue guy, but this time he's wearing a purple shirt and crooked sunglasses. Like all of the Rogue bottles, no date on the front or back.

Appearance: Poured a hazy golden orange color with a nice head of white foam that dissipated fast. When it dissipated, it did leave some fizzy bubbly rings around the mug though.

Smell: The only thing I could detect was some sweet grapefruit and that's it. A little lacking in the aroma department.

Taste: Up front I detected plenty of citrus fruits, most predominate the grapefruit. After those citrus fruits, there was this bitter piney hops taste in the back. Not a strong hops flavor, not a light hops flavor, but just right. Nice!

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, not too dry, and some sweetness in the background. Those bitter hops do linger on for a while after you finish this beer.

Drinkability: Overall a nice light refreshing ESB from Rogue. One of the better offerings from Rogue and might be something I might enjoy again. Very Good!

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2006 23:13:55 | More by AltBock
Photo of nvsblman


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

Hazy copper with about a half finger of white head. Some sticky lacing as I drink this. Piney aroma with a little caramel. Piney and grassy hops up front with a nice sweet malt background. Lingering piney aftertaste. A little creamy and well carbonated. This is very refreshing, I'll defintely be enjoying this one again!

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2006 02:47:07 | More by nvsblman
Photo of jorjoria

New York

4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked up a growler at Finger Lakes Beverage Center.


A: Has a nice caramel color but very little carbonation and practically no head. (This could be because the keg was a little flat)

S: Great raw hoppy smell.

T/M: The hops cut through in a big way. The beer is very crisp and lingers on the back of tongue. Despite the hoppiness the beer is very well balanced and pleasure to drink. I'm really going to enjoy this growler.

Serving type: growler

01-23-2006 23:40:51 | More by jorjoria
Photo of kmpitz2


4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid lightly ambered golden color with a few fingers of off white head that falls to just under a finger. Nose is light bready and toasty, with modest caramel and moderate earthy British hop following. Flavor is very nice. More caramel comes through, but the earthy hops are full on. After swallowing, there is a crisp, almost lenony herbal character to the bitterness that really makes it nice on the finish. Burps are really nice british toasty caramel malt. Bitterness hangs on just a slight bit into the finish, making me want more. A tasty tasty brew. Feel is solid moderate with a moderate carbonation. Good balance between the two. I think this brew is doing what it needs to on all counts. Flavor is really working well for me. I'm not usually a fan of the British hops, but they are in harmony with the malts in this, not surprising with the style. I will definately have this one again.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2006 02:01:25 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of clvand0


4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Pours a light amber color with a moderate head that falls fast and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is very hoppy (mostly floral) with quite a bit of caramel malt backing things up. The flavor is very much the same. Lots of floral hop flavors along with a solid malt backing make for a fairly tasty beer. Body is moderate and the drinkability is good.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2006 16:07:30 | More by clvand0
Photo of maddamish


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

What you have here is a solid bitter. This is a well balanced bitter that is not as sweet as I like on the initial tasting but gets the bitter part just right.

A dry butterscotch taste is followed by a dry bitter bite in the aftertaste. The two compliment each other well. This is what I like in my bitters.... interesting and complex flavors competing with each other. You get something different in the initial draw compared to what you get in the aftertaste.

Just fantastic!

Please pick this up if you see it on the shelves! It is worth it!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2006 03:27:32 | More by maddamish
Photo of Terp96

North Carolina

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

I have heard so much about this that I had to try it. Why is Rogue getting $5.99 for a bomber these days anyway? Must be the free range water.

Brutal Bitter pours a nice hazy apricot color with a decent amount of head and exceptional head retention throughout.

Smell is underwhelming for a Rogue product. I am used to being hit in the face with something when I open a bottle of Rogue but this beer lacks that punch. I know the style is not one that takes the senses to extremes but I expected more hop and more malt aroma.

The taste satisfys. This is not Fuller's ESB. This may be Fuller's on steroids. The beer becomes increasingly bitter/dry as you progress. However, it is well balanced with the sweet malt backbone.

Mouthfeel is good as well. This beer is slightly syrupy and oily. It is not overwhelmingly warming but it does manage to dry your palate over time.

Brutal Bitter has some very good qualities and is very drinkable IMO. However, I am not sure if this one really fits in the style in which it is classified. I have had better Rogue products.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2006 01:47:50 | More by Terp96
Photo of Tupperwolf


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

Pours a summery, hazy strawberry blonde color into my nonic with a fluffy, sticky 1/2" yellowish head that ends up covering my beer in a complete, soapy froth. Looks like it wants to climb up the walls - and does as I drink, leaving behind a thick, soapy residue of lace. In fact, it looks so good the further I get I'm bumping it up to a crazy 4.5.

Wow, definite punch of fruity hops in the nose! It comes in alongside caramel and sweet grain scents, slick and inviting.

The scent is sweet but the taste has a rounded, full flavor that starts and finishes with the sprucey, fruity sweet-bitter hops but has a creamy, malty, almost woody tasting middle that sets it apart from an IPA.

The mouthfeel has a nice bitter-tart astringency with a soapy carbonation (I just can't help but use that term for the way this one's carbonated!) that's pleasing. A lazy creamy bitter aftertaste hangs out afterwards.

I think this is a pretty slick offering from Rogue; It's a bit more aggressive in its style than the other ESBs I've tried recently, and can't help but wonder along with other BAs how well this fits into that category, but as far as beers go, this is handsome and tasty.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2006 11:02:00 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of marksto


3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy gold due to bottle conditioning. Nice "Americanized" example of the style. A fragrant hop aroma gives way to a pleasantly bitter flavor balanced well with assertive maltiness. It's an ESB with a U.S. flair in the form of American hops. Not as exceptional as some of the other Rogue products I've had, but very nice nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2006 01:43:49 | More by marksto
Photo of joecast


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

ok, first off, im no style nazi. i dont care if you put your beer in a white can with a blue stripe across it with "beer" on the label. that being said, this aint no esb. this is an apa and a damn good one at that.

pours a hazy as hell orange/amber color. looks great though as light reflects of every spec giving it a glowing look. thin off white head sticks around fopr the duration.

being single hopped with crystal is not a bad move by any means. i would lean towards centennial, but what do i know. brutal bitter still has a very good citrus aspect to the aroma. still lets through a bit of sweet maltiness as well.

ok, i think im showing i dont know s**t about beer (or have a really bad memory), but im picking up fullers esb, just more citrus, in the taste. yeah, i know, i thought the same thing for dead guy but im trying to be honest. might be some dull yeast if i try to pick out anything else, but really, this is a sweet sticky malt and citrus hop brew mostly with a good dose of bitterness.

a good mouthfeel, and would probably get filling if made into a session as its a bit sweet in the finish. but man, have a pint of this, and you wont be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2005 06:40:16 | More by joecast
Photo of Dithyramb


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

Sampled on cask at the real ale festival in Baltimore (review from long thought dead notes)
Slightly hazy amber, ripe peach looking brew. Fluffy, long lasting off-white head with excellent lacing.
Grapefruity hop aromas
Biscuity malt undertone balances well with some citrus inspired, though simple bitter flavor. Dry hopping allows for a long bitter mouthfeel that stays with you.
Overall, expected more of a hop punch from a west coast "brutal bitter" though it may have lost some umph in the cask variety. Great session brew nonetheless. Worth having several.

Serving type: cask

12-05-2005 15:04:24 | More by Dithyramb
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,754 ratings.