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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,778 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,778
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 61
Gots: 53 | 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: 1,778 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of lackenhauser
lackenhauser

Maryland

3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice deep hazy orange color with a great big head that pretty much lasts the whole way down-nice lacing as well.Not as big an aroma as I expected-actually there was none at first when poured. As it warmed slightly there was a noticeable citrusy hop presence.Floral.Not as much hop flavor as I expected either-a nice maltiness upfront but a definate strong hop presence is there.Not overwhelmingly bitter.Full bodied-nice creamy overall feel to it.Definately a quaffable brew-I think I was expecting a bigger brew from some previous reviews/press I had read.Still,quite nice and worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2004 01:41:00 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of Tballz420
Tballz420

Minnesota

4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a hazy orange colored body, with a cream colored foam head. Left behind is a sheet of lace. An enticing citrus hop scent is featured with this beer. It has a very bitter taste, some orange peel, big orange taste to be exact. Medium bodied, bitter aftertaste. Believe the name, great brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2004 20:12:23 | More by Tballz420
Photo of avylover
avylover

Virginia

4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a hazy orange color with a nice large white head. Aroma is has some spicey hops, some citrousy notes,, and a bit of bready malt back there. This is a fairly unique tasting brew. There is not that ciruos explosion that you would expect, rather a solid maltiness followed by straight bittering hops. The finish is not dry as expected, but rather wet and tasty with some citrousy overtones. The bitterness here is just a sudden jolt, but doesn't seem to linger. Not an IPA by any means. think an IPA without the floeral/citrous blast.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2004 22:44:24 | More by avylover
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Copper / orange in color with a nice 1" head and decent lacing developed through the drink. The aroma is floral and slighlty fruity. The flavor is great as malt and bitterness are all over this, and some mild fruit tones are detectable. The bitterness level is brutal as the label says - and it's great !

Very smooth and slightly dry on the finish. Medium bodied. Bitterness lingers forever on the tongue. Absolutely a great beer to sit and have several of.

Serving type: on-tap

04-30-2004 19:26:34 | More by Gavage
Photo of bditty187
bditty187

Nebraska

4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful golden-copper hue with tawny highlights, specks of sediment are suspended and a small amount of animation slowly saunters towards the rocky white head that reached almost two fingers in height. The head retention was decent, it faded to a finger quickly but the foam that remained lasted for a long time. Subsequent lacing was widespread, very webby. This is an attractive looking beverage. I didn’t think the potency of the nose was that powerful; however the aromas I could detect were awesome! The combination of hops were lovely, spicy, pine needles, grapefruit rinds, citrus fruit zest, and a bit of rounded candied fruit. A suggestion of caramel malt was also noticeable. The invitation is clear; I couldn’t wait to take my first sip yet I wanted to smell it more. The palate is very impressive. First of all, the name Brutal Bitter is stupid; this is a succulent, well-crafted ale and not some one-dimensional hop monster hell-bent on domination. Yes, it is bitter. And yes, the hops are the focal point but the blend of hops is gorgeous! The taste is sometimes piney, sometimes grapefruit rinds, sometimes citrusy flesh, pleasantly leafy at the back. The malt plays a secondary role, vague notes of caramel and hints of toastiness occasionally shine through before the finish. The long aftertaste of dry, lots of leafy hops, this is so appetizing. This is the biggest “small” beer I have ever tasted, of course it was brewed Rogue-style, thus the “imperial” tag. The mouthfeel was uneventful, I’m not saying that is a bad thing; moderately high carbonation and it doesn’t seem forced, medium in body. Exceedingly drinkable, I really wish this were available locally as I would quaff this regularly. I am at least glad I bought a 22-ounce bomber in Loveland, CO. Still, I wish I had more. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2004 22:45:18 | More by bditty187
Photo of kmo1030
kmo1030

Massachusetts

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

big white fluffy head over a cloudy deep amber ale. real nice fresh hop nose, with grass, pine, grapefruit and spice. not as brutal as the name states, but very highly hopped and very good. piney hops dominate with lemony citrus with something reminiscent of a barelywine type maltiness underneath, probably the yeast and slight fruitiness. i want to give this a little bit higher rating for taste but i don't think it deserves a 4.5. real smooth drinking though with full medium body, and good carbonation. this seems a lot more like an IPA than an ESB, i'm not taking points off for that though, cause it's still damn good.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2004 19:16:37 | More by kmo1030
Photo of jwilli7122
jwilli7122

Minnesota

4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy tangerine-copper color with a large, puffy white head and moderate lacing.
Smell is mainly spicy hops,
Strong malt tastes, with some breadiness, a medium hop spiceyness, a mellow earthiness, and a hint of fruit flavors: lemon, peach. Fairly full bodied for this style. Extremely smooth and very enjoyable
Brutally bitter? Not quite. Tasty? Absolutely.
Without question the best ESB (if that's what it is) I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2004 04:19:43 | More by jwilli7122
Photo of luvND
luvND

Pennsylvania

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

Pres: 22oz bomber collector's bottle

Appearance: Copper color with significant chill haze. Head is short lived and thin.

Smell: Hop oil essence! Very pleasing. Reminds me a bit of Sierra Nevada Celebration.

Taste: Way bitter, but a nice malt backbone. Bitterness remains long after the swallow, but is not unpleasant. A little heavy on the hop for what I expect from an ESB/strong bitter.

Mouthfeel: Nice. Good level of carbonation. Very smooth, full, but not overly dense.

Drinkability: A 22oz bottle is perfect. 12 wouldn't be enough, but more than this may put you on hop overload, depending on your tolerance. The strong bitter aftertaste, though not unpleasant, limits the amount you can drink.

Overall: Another stellar offering from a great brewery.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2004 12:44:50 | More by luvND
Photo of granger10
granger10

Wisconsin

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

This beer poured an orangish color with copper highlights. Head was an off white color and airy in thickness. Smell was extremely hoppy, very floral and decently bitter. I was thinking that this was going to be just like an ipa. But I was surprised to find a balance character that was totally different from the nose of this beer. Caramel sweetness upfront. Slightly bitter hops come next but are soon washed out by a floral character. Finish is slightly on the sweet side and lingers for a bit. Very thick and chewy body. This is my first real ESB and I need to try more to compare but this was an awesome beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2004 00:03:18 | More by granger10
Photo of gentlebubbles
gentlebubbles

Massachusetts

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

Finally remembered I had this beauty lurking in my pantry. Though spring is approaching, the bottle is still cool enough to call cellar temp.

I crack it open and pour a beautiful clear amber under frothy white head. Entrancing sweet citrus scent, followed by the grapefruit taste, sweaty bite, metallic finish. Mild carbonation, mellow malt.

The best Americanized bitter I've yet to find.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2004 22:59:41 | More by gentlebubbles
Photo of shirfan
shirfan

New York

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

A shade between amber and gold, with a moderate but clingy white head. Slightly cloudy.

Aroma primarily of pine resin, with a bread-and-fruit followup.

Taste achieves an excellent level of balance. Adequate hops (or a single hop strain, per the bottle); enough to keep hopheads happy, but not a dumptruck full per bomber, as with some other Rogue ales. Malt is allowed to have its say.

Fairly neutral between sweet and dry; malt flavor shines through and plays off of the moderate hopping. Marris Otter demands another sip as soon as you've put down the glass; a hint of toffee in the finish and the faintest whisper of diactyl.

No offensive yeasts here, although the last pour from my bomber produced something as murky as any respectable german wheat beer.

If I could tailor a session brew to my own specifications, it would be damn well near this one. Very, very impressive.

Serving type: bottle

04-08-2004 03:45:28 | More by shirfan
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

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

Pours a deep hazy orange with a real nice fluffy head that leaves some great lacing,aroma hops hops and more hops,very citric and resiny.Taste is definently hop tilted very zesty,oily and dry I get a slight dry maltiness but not much.Iam not a hophead but gotta give this brew props,by far the most hoppy ESB I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2004 20:00:13 | More by oberon
Photo of beergeek279
beergeek279

Pennsylvania

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

Served on draft at D's. The color was copper, with a wispy white head. The smell was a strong citrusy hop. The taste was quite bitter, certainly more so than other ESBs, and unlike other ESBs had a citrus character to the hopping. Mouthfeel was average. As for drinkability, though the IBUs numb the tongue after a while, I wouldn't have been disappointed drinking a few more.

Certainly amongst the best ESBs I've ever had...Rogue didn't forget the B stands for bitter, that's for sure!! From everything I've heard about this beer, I surely wasn't disappointed to give it a try, and I'll have it again when I see it around.

Serving type: on-tap

04-06-2004 22:56:22 | More by beergeek279
Photo of mikeys01
mikeys01

Colorado

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

Served on tap today at the Moan and Dove, Amherst, MA. Poured into the glass a just slightly hazy orangey/light copper color with plenty of white foamy head. Smells nice and citrus hoppy, plenty of bright grapefruit here, though a bit of maltiness is detectable as well. Taste is right up front bitter and hoppy, with grapefruit and pineapple plantations springing to mind, but without being offensive, and is much more balanced with sweet pale malt than expected. Mouthfeel is certainly no more than medium, this is a very drinkable Bitter, if it can be called that, I'd call it much closer to an IPA. Wish I could find it on tap more often!

Serving type: on-tap

04-04-2004 05:43:38 | More by mikeys01
Photo of 99bottles
99bottles

Pennsylvania

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

Very nice indeed. I tried a pint of this at KClinger's instead of the 15th Anniversary (I think it was 4X4 Pale Ale at the time). I think I made the right choice.
Appearance: Brutal bitter pours a deep orange-brown color, with a thin lace that faded. Looks like I'm in for a treat.
Smell: There is a good smell of hops in the nose. Some sweet malts play second fiddle to the resinous hop smell.
Taste: Mmmm. Smooth. This is one craft brew! The flavors are balanced so nicely in this beer. A sweet flavor of malt covers everything, with the hops dancing around in the mouth. You swallow, and you're left with a satisfying but not puckering bitter. Next sip, yor swimming in sweet malt again, but you notice something more. Absolutely wonderful.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Good weight in the mouth, thick enough to satisfy but not so much that it would hurt the drinkability. I'd easily get more if I could. Really well put together. Rogue does it again!

Serving type: on-tap

04-01-2004 13:06:38 | More by 99bottles
Photo of TastyTaste
TastyTaste

Minnesota

4.83/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from one of Rogue's signature screen-printed brown bombers. Hazy copper color, creamy white head. Smells of cotton candy sweetness and hops bitterness. Very appealing. Taste is very remarkable. That same sweetness is evident when in the mouth, but there is an avalanche of bitterness that leaves your mouth tingling, and your throat feeling cold. A great beer, maybe almost an IPA, but as a bitter it is just awesome.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2004 00:01:07 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of LuckySevens82
LuckySevens82

Florida

4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber.
Pours a dull orange, perhaps copper with massive carbonation, this, of course, leads to a very nice 2 finger head. This beer has great lacing. The head sticks to the glass from the top all the way down to the very last drop.
Smells very malty with some hops aromas (I have read reviews where the aroma is nothing but hops, my beer was hoppy but not nearly excessively so...certainly not as strong as a good IPA). Nice citrus as well.
Taste very much is influenced by the hops. There is some malt characteristic to the brew but the major flavor comes from the Crystal hops.
At 6.5% abv, this isn't a session, but this is a very nice brew that I could see myself picking up on occasion. Rogue has once again proved that they consistently make quality brews.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2004 04:07:44 | More by LuckySevens82
Photo of watermelonman
watermelonman

California

4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured to an almost glowing brown color with a medium fluffy head. The lacing is minor but it looks good.

It smells crisp for the style. The taste is a bit bitter but delicious, and definitely not overwhelmingly bitter.

Overall this is a very nice beer. It's exactly what I would expect from a high-quality American brewery taking on this classic British style.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2004 23:29:53 | More by watermelonman
Photo of ChappyCubsFan
ChappyCubsFan

California

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

Bitter, yes. But brutally bitter, not really. It is a nice change from the real hoppy brews I'm used to and that I thoroughly enjoy. This one has a consistently bitter taste with a smooth hop flavor and some interesting citrus taste. It pours a creamy golden color and it's got a nice aroma and lacing too. I had forgotten about what a nice change of pace this one is from an IPA or double IPA. It's almost at a mid point between a good, hearty IPA and a good, semi-hoppy pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2004 03:51:12 | More by ChappyCubsFan
Photo of BeerManDan
BeerManDan

California

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

Poured a nice golden color. Was prepared for a big bite with a lot of bitterness, but, instead received a surprised expereince. The smell of hop's and citrus filled the nose and the taste was a medium hoppy flavor with a hint of citrus on the palate. There was a well balance of bitterness and sweetness in this beer. Maybe because I drank it on tap, that it was a little mellow to be called "Brutal Bitter"!

Serving type: on-tap

03-17-2004 00:36:22 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of MuddyFeet
MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great color: A burnt orange which made the appearance look great. Almost as bitter as some Australian bitters I had while Down Under. The hops are noticable in both the taste and the aroma. Unfortunately, I think this beer is too bitter for me to handle more than a couple of these.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2004 02:00:41 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of RedDiamond
RedDiamond

Oregon

4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fabulous beer, though it strays so far afield from the English tradition that it is puzzling why Rogue bothered to call it a bitter. Perhaps the “Brutal” adjective describing it is an appropriate corrective measure. My pint at Rogue’s Public House in downtown Portland was dense saffron color and served with a skinny white head. I was immediately impressed with the substantial malt body – a Rogue hallmark – which was solid enough to uphold the profuse citrus-hop flavor.

I’m no hop authority, but I had no difficulty in promptly ascertaining the absence of Fuggles or Goldings hops. Sure enough, a quick inquiry into Brutal’s vital statistics reveals that it’s brewed exclusively with Oregon grown Crystal hops. Stylistically, I’d call this an American pale ale with a strong northwestern accent. But I won’t nitpick style boundaries further except to say that traditionalists won’t find what they’re looking for in this “bitter” and you still have to call it something.

Your timid friends will also be put off by the unapologetically bold character but of course, who needs timid friends? I enjoyed the heck out of Brutal Bitter for its forward leaning hop potency with its juicy overtures to grapefruit. The light fragrant aroma belittles such potency, but the finish is sharp as a Gerber blade. I’d love to see this on cask.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2004 01:38:07 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

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

22 oz bomber pours a slightly hazy, orange amber color. Beige head has good retention and lasts for several minutes. Puffs of lace are left all over the glass. Aroma shouts out loud, with bigtime westcoast hops. Grapefruit and spruce pine are here in spades. Mouthfeel is a mouthful of the same hops. Sour and bitter, plenty of bite, and lots of carbonation. Taste kicks off with the same hops bitterness. Lots of pine and sour grapefruit, a hint of mandarin orange...a hop lover's delight. The English malts keep a low profile here. I was expecting some malty nuttiness like an English ESB, but this one is closer to a big IPA. Hop oils and resins are in abundance. Some malt flavors try to emerge as it nears room temperature, but just can't make the journey through the enormous hops profile. Plenty of flavor here, especially if you enjoy big westcoast hops, but I was hoping for a more assertive malt profile out of the Brit floor malts. Very enjoyable and highly drinkable for what it is.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2004 00:36:43 | More by merlin48
Photo of Crosling
Crosling

Colorado

4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful color. A hazy orangish peach that glows. The head doesn't disappoint with the retention or the lace. Both were fantastic.

Mandarin oranges, lemons, spruce, and grapefruit. Very delicately hopped aroma. Looking forward to this one.

Big bouquet of hops throughout the beer. Tons of grapefruits and lots of other spicy fruits. Malt presense is high but intolerant compared with the high hop rate. The hops are citrusy, resiny, oily and juicy. Pretty delicious.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2004 04:49:02 | More by Crosling
Photo of CortexBomb
CortexBomb

Michigan

4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a lovely off reddish brown and hazy with a massive head. The initial smell is hoppy floral with a hint of citrus in the background.

Taste is not anything that I'd term brutal at all though, this is one smooth drinking heavily hopped ale! The taste starts out with a healthy dollop of hops with a tad of pine, and then switches over to a pungent ruby red grapefruit with smooth malts also present, and then finishes with a tingly, yet not overstated amount of bitterness that hangs around for a bit, but doesn't wear out it's welcome.

Mouthfeel is medium decent, it's definitely 'right' for the beer, but I generally like em thicker. Drinkability is not an issue with this, some bombers are a war to get through, this one ended up polished off in pretty short order, Brutal Bitter is definitely on my 'buy again' list!

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2004 23:42:37 | More by CortexBomb
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,778 ratings.