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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,833 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,833
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 65
Gots: 65 | 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: 1,833 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Tupperwolf, Jan 10, 2006
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.

marksto, Jan 09, 2006
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.

joecast, Dec 20, 2005
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.

Dithyramb, Dec 05, 2005
Photo of Bitterbill
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle(room temp) with a quickly diminishing head.
The beer is a cloudy medium gold.

The smell is a wonderful mix of hops and malt...you can just about taste the beer from the aroma alone and you *know* it's gonna be good.

The taste is a wonderful balance of the sweetness and bitterness with the hops taking over in the aftertaste and leaving me wanting more.. That's how drinkable this brew is. A *must* try if you see it in your local store.

Bitterbill, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of orfeu
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy amber with a fluffy, off-white eggshell colored head. Aroma is floral hops, fruits (peach, apple...?), slight whiff of candied ginger. Taste is earthy hops, bready; toasted biscuits; pleasantly bitter hop finish. Chewy and satisfying mouthfeel. Excellent balance between bitterness of the hops and bready malts. Plenty of hops, for sure. A damn excellent session brew for hopheads.

orfeu, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of xoqx
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - This beer arrived copper colored with an offwhite, one finger head exhibiting light retention and light lacing.

Smell – A spicy, caramelly, smells here. This smells more like a Belgian style to me than an ESB.

Taste - This beer has a much fruiter taste than I expected and is almost more focused on the malt than the hops that provide a medium length bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is chewy.

Drinkability – This is an outstandingly drinkable beer. I could envision drinking these all night.

xoqx, Dec 01, 2005
Photo of Derek
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This bottle was a little gusher.

A: Rusty orange, pours with plenty of white head, not much retention, but some nice lace!

S: Grapefruit from the hops, with a little fruityness from the yeast.

T: Nice pale english malt, with strong hit of grapefruity hops. I'm surprised there's 59 IBU's, it seems really well balanced, and the bitterness is very smooth. The 6.5% ABV is surprising as well... it's not very apparent.

M: Light to moderate body, a little creamy, moderate to high carbonation (perhaps a little much for a bitter).

D: Truely exceptional. Too bad it's finished.

Derek, Nov 23, 2005
Photo of ghostwalker
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy orange/brown. Maybe 1 finger of head. Head falls off fast, no lacing.

Nose is all hops. Nice, juicy grapefruit smelling west coast hops.

Taste is outstanding. Brash, bold hops with an oily hop finish. I can tell that the malt backbone is there, but it never really comes through over the hops.

Mouthfeel is tangy and sharp. Tasty!

Drinkability is very good. Would be great with almost any meal. Easy to drink and easy to enjoy.

Overall, very nice but tastes more like an IPA than an ESB.

ghostwalker, Nov 22, 2005
Photo of BurnsTau
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber with a decent amount of head. Good lacing through the last sip.

The aroma is great. Hops are immediately recognizable and are just awsome.

The tastes is obviously of hops, definitely a good balance here, but more on the hop side. A good mouthfeel, not too thing, I think about just right. This beer is excellent and definitely lives up to the other Rogue beers I've tried.

BurnsTau, Nov 22, 2005
Photo of Fugazme
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky copper/orange color with flickers of light peaking through.
Head is creamy white and dissipates quickly into lace around the glass and over the beer. Look is good.

First whiff is floral and hoppy. Citrus. Next whiff is near the same but a touch of spice comes through... maybe cinnamon.

Bitter is right. Bitter in a good bitter way. Bitter heaven. Damn good!
Hoppy and bright and delicious. Feisty. Lingering. Some acidic aftermath on the palate, but overall very good. I'm buying two next time.

Fugazme, Nov 11, 2005
Photo of putnam
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

20 year old copper penny colored with a quick, scaly, sticky top of off white. Aromas of lemon peel, cinnamon candy and crunchy dried herbs. A mouthful is a bitter tonic of sticks and herb infusions along with sugary caramel flavored alcohol. The finish is dry and balanced. A common style with signature Rogue bitter sweet flavors.

putnam, Nov 10, 2005
Photo of BeerBob
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brutal Bitter Ale pours a hazy deep golden amber from a 650ml very dark brown glass bottle with a pry off cap. Head went to over three fingers before settling out to a full firm carpet of light tan foam and ample lacing along the walls of my 26oz beer glass.

Nose is a most fragrant floral hops with no hint of anything else. Palate is a bitter beyond bitter... slightly citrus with just a touch of pine... soberingly well done bitter.

Rogue Brutal Bitter Ale should satisfy the most demanding hop head among us.

BeerBob, Nov 09, 2005
Photo of numenor1
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, muted orange with a creamy head that holds a decent collar. Smells a bit of lemons, pale malts and typical rogue yeast. Taste is up front sweet pale malts, a touch grainy, then it melds with citrusy, piny hops, with a fair bit of spice. Hops do carry the show, but for all the flavor there is very little bitterness. Dries out in the finish with rogue yeast and slight pith. Very nice beer, more of an IPA to me than an ESB (no typical musty fruitiness and too much carbonation), but altogether refreshing. I do particularly like rogue's yeast. Body is medium with fairly spritzy carbonation, working to nice effect. Eminently drinkable. I still prefer their american amber to this by a long shot.

numenor1, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of garymuchow
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma shows a nice malty base with ever increasing sour/grassy hops. Nice blending. Familiar aroma to other Rogue beers.
Orange/brown amber. Somewhat cloudy. Smallish head but settles slowly and shows lacing.
Boy, they sure like the hop thing at Rogue. This is another hop fest. Sour, bitter, grassy. Pretty intense, with only mild malt balancing and virtually no malt taste. It does increase in time and it's soft and mild. Long dry finish.
Soft carbonation that lends a fullness. Medium to heavy body.
Another enjoyable beer from Rogue. Must like hops.

garymuchow, Nov 05, 2005
Photo of rousee
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Murky apricot color. Small head of foam leaves very little lace. The smell is balanced hoppy/malty witth some chalkiness and woody elements. These are apparent on the palate as well. A good dry hoppy beer. Finishes dry with a fairly nice smooth mouthfeel. Good drinkability. One of the better ones I have had from Rogue.

rousee, Oct 29, 2005
Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

To me this is an IPA or definitely a different kind of ESB. Pours a cloudy amber, nice carbonation, small head, some nice lacing. Scents of of citrus, hops. Very nice bitter taste with a nice bite at the end. Medium body. This is very drinkable, will buy more and will recommend to others. Way to go Rogue!

Wasatch, Oct 27, 2005
Photo of wingnutter
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My 1st ESB beer.

Poured a cloudy amber with a fluffy head that disappeared quickly.

Smells bready and citrusy, with hop notes present.

Taste: Bitter and good. Nice hops and citrus. Very light mouthfeel - an easy drinker.

Not my favorite style, as I like more hoppy beers, but a nice offering of a ESB. Rogue means good beer, and this one is no exception.

wingnutter, Oct 24, 2005
Photo of DogFood11
4.83/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is far from a typical ESB but then again when does rogue go down the middle of the road. Much lighter in color bordering on golden. Unfiltered appearance, subtle head but it retains and laces nicely.

Pick up some grapefruit and of course a big fresh hop presence.

It actually comes across pretty smooth. I didn't pucker and got a sweet fruit/peach type middle. ended very bitter, hopped up to the hilt. A Damn pleasant experience. Bitter as hell but balanced? huh? how do they do this time after time.

If it wasn't for the price I'd gobble Rogue's lineup of beers all the time. They all seem to have this amazing mouthfeel and drinkability no matter what the style. This is no exception. I need to get a keg of this.

DogFood11, Oct 07, 2005
Photo of Naes
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden orange in color with a tall white head.
The aroma is of hops and has a trace of grapefruit.
Its flavor is a wonderful compliment to its aroma. It’s a bit fruity and has a dominant hop presence which is smoothed out by a subtle maltyness.
The mouth feel is medium bodied and is mildly carbonated.
This is a unique take on the ESB as it has a stronger citrus presence than most.

Naes, Oct 07, 2005
Photo of BrewMaster
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Bright, near glowing reddish orange colored beer with a slight haze to it. Big fluffy off white head that thins to lacy islands after a long while. Very nice and sticky lacing on the sides of the glass as it is consumed.

Smell: Sweet malty nose with a big fruity scent to back it up. Pineapple and a bit of citrus.

Taste: Sweet, fruity, and malty up front followed quickly by a quick burst of hop bitterness. The bitterness gives way to a citrusy hop flavor and more sweet maltiness. More fruit flavors show up as the beer warms. Apple and some pear along with some faint candy sweetness and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and thicker on the palate than it looks. Smooth and syrupy as it coats the palate with a thick layer of goodness.

Drinkability: This beer has everything I want in an ESB. It's crisp and malty all the while being sweet and fruity (and a nice 6.5%). All around an excellent beer with a great flavor and a great feel. Yummy.

BrewMaster, Sep 28, 2005
Photo of jmz62565
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A full two finger head and a dark amber color.The smell is very aromatic with a earthy feel,full hop, barley and wheat.This is very refreshing,but very bitter.I really like it,but I can see some people not liking it.A real nice m/f with a full flavor.Brutal Bitter is a great beer that I will look for in the future.It may not be for everyone,but if you don't want it I'll take it !!

jmz62565, Sep 27, 2005
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My experiences with Rogue beers have left me a little disappointed. However, this one is right on.

Hazy, unfiltered, unpasturized. Looks like apple cider. Not much in the way of head retention or lacing. Tasting this beer has provided me with one new sensation. Bitter, bitter, bitter. A little overpowering, but that's the point. I really cannot smell many of the floral tones that were there on the first sip. Taste damn good.

First experience with this type, I like it.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Sep 27, 2005
Photo of yelterdow
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served alongside a buffalo burger today for lunch. 22 oz. bomber right from the fridge into a nonic.

Appearance- Hazed amber, almost orange, with a 1" off-white head on a pretty aggressive pour. Sporadic, sticky lacing inches down my glass. Soapy, foamy suds with moderate popping and fizzing grace the crown.

Smell- Bright, fat citrus hops... everything I love about West Coast big-ass hopping without the crushing assault. Damn fine.

Taste- "Brutally bitter" fits nicely... the sides of the tongue get it instantly and the finish is long and very nice. Sticky bitterness inside the cheeks. Big citrus hops with a well balanced malt display, this one drinks almost more like a DIPA than a bitter!

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Sudsy and slick, creamy and smooth as hell. While you're drinking it, it's fabulous. Maybe a tad too strong and hoppy for a full-on session, but an amazing one-off for fun. Great burps, almost as good coming up as they were going down!

note- I love how Rogue actually lists their ingredients, as this helps educate us in recognizing flavors. Kudos, all!

yelterdow, Sep 25, 2005
Photo of davidchollar
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is good shit.

looks really good , perfect golden orange
smells great. fresh and sour like breakfast with grapefruits.
tastes wonderful ... i wouldn't say it is brutally bitter but it definitely packs a punch. remarkably tasty, perhaps a little intense, so i give it a 4 for drinkability.

the best ESB i've tried.

davidchollar, Sep 24, 2005
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,833 ratings.