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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,900 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,900
Reviews: 1,071
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 71
Gots: 97 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001

**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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,900 | Reviews: 1,071 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ghostwalker
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Photo of BurnsTau
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
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.

Photo of Fugazme
4.32/5  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.

Photo of putnam
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

Photo of BeerBob
4.32/5  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.

Photo of numenor1
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of garymuchow
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of rousee
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +9%
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!

Photo of wingnutter
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of DogFood11
4.82/5  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.

Photo of Naes
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

Photo of BrewMaster
4.63/5  rDev +16%
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.

Photo of jmz62565
4.35/5  rDev +9%
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 !!

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of yelterdow
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
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!

Photo of davidchollar
4.64/5  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.

Photo of palma
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this beer kicks ass...

Appearance: Hazy light amber with an orange hue. Lots of fiery bubbles shooting up from the bottom of the pint glass. Smaller than expected initial head, though a good lasting lace sticks around forever.

Nose: Big malt and big yeast. Some clove spice. Very nice. Couldn't wait to take the first sip.

Taste: There is so much flavor in this brew. I just love it. Big sweet malts upfront followed by a very significant hop flavor. There are a lot of hops in here! Get some MF!

Mouthfeel: Very creamy on the palate, yet a very noticeable lively carbonation. Pretty cool. Would you believe me if I say this beer has a complex MOUTHFEEL? Well, it does.

Drinkablilty: Awesome. I could drink this all day long. Only problem is that the ABV is up there so watch your back, kids. This aint no session brew.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 22 oz bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Brown with slightly red hues.

Smell: Very hoppy aroma, with some maltiness also.

Taste: Very enticing hoppy flavor, with maltiness on the backside.

Notes: I need to try more ESB's in order to have a valid opinion of this style, but I definitely like this one!

Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange colored ale with a tan head that disappears fairly quickly.

Smell is sweet malt and spicy yeast with a faint scent of pine, citrus and tea.

Taste is a bit malty and quite full of herbal hop flavor from the very start. Faint flavor of pineapple and vanilla at first and then the hops take over. Flavors of pine and citrus and tea. Somewhat astringent, this beer is all about hops.

Mouthfeel is good.

Tasty beer that is highly hopped but never goes too far. Still I don't know that I would spend $6 to drink this one again.

Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rogue's Brutal Bitter poured from a 22 oz. "bomber" bottle with a screened label that lacked any kind of best by or bottling date.

The beer poured a beautiful copper color with an ivory or off white colored head that retained a about 3/8 in. head that left a ring of lacing where I had stopped the initial pour.
I could smell the hoppiness of the brew as I poured it from the bottle, and after putting my nose to the rim of my standard pint glass I noticed a wonderful caramel pressence as well. The beer tasted just as one would expect with a wonderful aroma like it has: a hoppy complexity with citrus hints to it and also a caramel character and a wonderful finishing bitterness to it. I noticed a slightly dry finish as well.

This is a great, and - to me at least - surprising ESB. It's not brutally bitter, as I've seen other reviewers remark as well, but actually wonderfully balanced. I enjoyed this one. Rogue's Brutal Bitter is just drinkable, almost overly so. It is 6.5% abv so it's probably a little too high in the alc. department to be a session brew, but one I'll be returning to again and again.

Photo of tgbljb
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a deep peach, copper color with moderate head that fell to a thin ring. Smell is big time hoppy with pine and toasted malt notes present. Tast starts of very dry and bitter, but begins to mellow as the beer warms to allow so maltiness through. Finish is very dry and beckons for more. A good beer, but not great.

Photo of MarineHokie
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz bottle

Appearance: Thin creamy head. Deep copper with orange highlights, slightly cloudy with yeast sediment.

Smell: Lite pine & toffee/malt.

Taste: Smooth, big bitter up front, lite toffee notes. Bitterness fades and smooths out, but lingers to the end. Nice thick, but not heavy mouthfeel.

Notes: Have had this from a handpump @Eli Cannons in the past...awesome!

Photo of cubedbee
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 22 oz bomber, hazy amber body with a thin finger of off-white head that vanishes pretty fast. Hoppy pine scent that I've come to expect from Rogue dominates, but over a very nice toffee sweetness. Taste is excellent, with a very strong caramel malt flavor giving way to a big smooth grassy hop and leaving a very pleasant, somewhat toffee flavored, yet noticeably bitter, aftertaste. Very nice smooth creamy mouthfeel. This is a really great beer, hoppier than most ESBs, but as good as any in the style.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good beer. Always a fan of ESB's, I've been looking for a flavor like this. Pours a dark, carbonated coper. Slightly yellowish head that retained and laced really well. Smells are what you expect (malt, caramel, toffee, and a sharp hop bite) only a bit more aggressive. Tastes nicely with barley malt, caramel, vanilla, coffee, and spicy American hops. The hops add complexity, florals, esters, and flavor. Balanced out with a big malt body, the hops stay within balance. Not an IPA or an APA, this beer has custom English flavor with American hops. A good blend.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,900 ratings.