1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,949 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,949
Reviews: 1,082
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 78
Gots: 114 | 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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 1,949 | Reviews: 1,082
Photo of dirtylou
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz single, Steve's - University

appearance: pours a super hazy pulpy amber-peach into one of my Sweetwater pint glasses...huge yeast presence in the bottom of the bottle, a cloud-like white head forms with strong retention and lacing

smell: fresh hop presence, grapefruit, orange, lemon zest, yeasty...sweet toasty malt backbone evident, slightly peppery, nice and floral

taste: i really haven't had that many esb's but this is my favourite thus far...a very pleasant citric hop presence backed by gentle sweet malt, a peppery spice, slightly bready, touch of pine, yeast. solid esb from Rogue and a nice beer to enjoy after cooling down from the afternoon jog (i think its a soft j)

mouthfeel: a little chalky, pulpy, slight hop bitterness

drinkability: very drinkable, refreshing

Photo of akorsak
3.17/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am drinking a 650 mL (22 oz) capped bottle poured into an Ommegang Witte glass. The ale is slightly below room temperature.

Appearance: The ale is a light orange color. The body of the ale is very hazy to the point that one can't see through it. There is minimal head and a smattering of lace around the ale.

Smell: Funny thing is, when I smell it I don't find anything. No malt sweetness, no hop bitterness, nothing.

Taste: The ale has a fruity taste to it, one that conjures up an orange (?!?). Not too shabby, although there is little malt character and the hops clearly dominate.

Mouthfeel: The ale sits smoothly on the tongue, with the hops giving a fruity bitterness that really takes control of the beer.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable, although I'd like more malt assertiveness to combat the hops.

Photo of jhammerly
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pouring a dark gold body with a frothy head that leaves clumps of foam lacing the sides as it dwindles down slowly. Good head retention. The citrus aroma of hops stand out with a hint of pine. As the name states, this has a bitter taste with some sweet malt flavor to balance things out. A medium body that has good drinkability, but maybe too heavy for a session. This is a good beer that is in the vein of an English IPA.

Photo of russpowell
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours deep honey with an off the charts beaded san colored head. good lacing and head retention

Smell: earthy hop notes &honey malt notes

Taste: Piney & citrussy hops (grapefruit) with a sweet malt up front. Great hop finish, perhaps a little too much for the style, but it works for me

MF: Rich & ballanced, good carbonation

Very drinkable, think this is more like a DIPA, would love to ty this side by side with SNCA, yummy

Photo of redelephantdane
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a- orange, leaf color, thin lacing, 2 inch head.

s- really sweet, citrus, pear, some malts.

t- biscuit, soy, a little bit of hops, good balance, some malts

m- really dry, nice refreshing, leaves you wanting more.

d- i could really drink a lot of this if i wanted to.

Photo of custardcb
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big old 22oz bottle poured ever so smoothely. Built a nice two finger head with some large bubles that was rather frothey. Nice golden peach color and is a bit hazey. The nose is a little hoppy with some citrus and other fruitey aromas.

The taste doesn't live up to the name of being brutal but is beautifully bontiful of hops and only the slightless twinge at the end while being a little dry. The higher ABV is detectable but isnt too harsh. Pretty drinkable overall and this is just a very good beer.

Photo of abcsofbeer
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22ouncer. The color is a hazy orange that hints at copper with a good deal of carbonation. The rising bubbles indicate the opposite of the style. The head is fairly thin, light tan in color, and leaving no lace to speak of.

The aroma is sweet and citrusy, but not overpowering like an IPA. The taste is excellent and very well blended. I enjoyed the well hopped taste that accompanies the mild fruit flavor and citrus oil. Overall, this beer goes along with my favorite style, the IPA. Very good beer from Rogue.

Photo of nortmand
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light copper pour with white head and good lacing. Slight chill haze.

Huge orange aroma. Background of pine resin. Pure cascade.

Rounded citrus flavor up front. Thin maltiness midtongue. Clean bitter in the back of a tongue. Leaves a grainy aftertaste. A bit of funk in the aftertaste as well.

A bit thin bodied, but very nice otherwise. Plenty of flavor and very drinkable.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a light hazy brown color ale with a huge bubbly head with slightly better then average retention. Aroma of cirtusy hops is clearly dominant. Taste is huge on cirtusy hops, which provide some bitterness, but is well back by some malt. This beer really seems to be halfway between an ESB and an IPA. Interesting and would definitely like top try this again.

Photo of wedge
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Bottle

Golden orange with a thick, frothy head. Pleasant hoppy aroma - fresh citrus rind and floral with sweet malts and a touch of grain. Full of hoppy flavor yet somewhat mellow. There's a solid rich maltiness structuring the whole thing - seems very balanced. Floral and sweet - slightly nutty. Mouthfeel is far from brutal, in fact I didn't find it to be very bitter at all. Medium and smooth. Super-drinkable.

For using only crystal hops, this is a complex ESB. Very enjoyable.

Photo of tastybeer
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beautiful glowing brownish tangerine colored fog with an oily dense bubble head that leaves a nice topping over my beer for the duration. Good mellow malty nose with a nice blend of biscuit, oil, and flowers. Taste is lush and very well balanced. Soft slightly sweet malts with a large range of dry yummy hops. This has a ton of dimensions too it but its deceptive. I can't pick out what exactly is going on because this beer takes balance to the max. Not to mention, I would say extremely pleasantly bitter, not brutally bitter. ''Extremely Pleasant Bitter" for a more accurate title perhaps. Great llliiiingering finish makes me drool for more. Oh so drinkable.

I could see this as being a great session beer. Give me a case and I'll have no problem finishing it off. Awesome.

Photo of alexgash
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light haze, golden apricot nectar with a gooey thick, glass-scaling, light khaki head. Nice. Nose is yeasty biscuit malt with a little sugar. Sharp citrus hops pound and bludgeon the nostrils. Butterscotch and biscuit malt up front on the palate. Tangy yeast and minerals. Thirst quenching bitterness: very citrusy and grapefruit explosion! Medium-bodied. Dry finish. Solid and quaffable.

Photo of SilentSabre
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This stuff is fantastic!! It poured a copper orange with a snow white pitted craggy head with thick, sticky lacing. There is some sediment visible. The head dies down after a minute or so, but the lacing is still very much present and sticky as ever. This looks tasty!! Nice malty smell with and evenly blended hoppiness. "Balanced" smell....if that makes any sense. The taste is great!! Nice bitter hop bite with a toastes malt finish as it washes down the back of your tounge and down the hatch. Very well balanced. Mouthfeel has a nice weight to it and is easy to drink. Carbonation level seems to be just right. I could pound this stuff, making it very sessionable, indeed. Fantastic!! I'd recommend anyone to give this a go.
Blessed Be

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

12oz. into a pint.

Pours light amber with a substantial, fluffy head. Nice looking beer.

Smell is great, good balance of the malt and hops, and really just solid all the way around. Fruitiness and grassiness from the hops, and kind of a caramel sweetness lingering from the malt.

Taste is more of the same, just clean, perfect balance of a lot of great flavors. Citrusy hop balanced with bready yeast and malt.

Mouthfeel is crisp, bubbly, a little tingly. Nice and clean, like everything else about this one.

Drinkability is the highest I've ever had. One of the best session beers on Earth as far as I'm concerned.

Photo of BDTyre
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lots of sediment in the bottle, but I don't see this as a bad thing. As a result, when shaken up, this pours cloudy with a big head. Perfect ESB colour of golden deep amber. The head shrinks quickly but hangs on for dear life/

The smell is pleasant, fruity and yeast. Akin to O' Hanlon's Royal Oak, but a bit fruitier and with sour scents to it. Smells very much like an English ESB; I can easily liken it to Fuller's or O' Hanlon's and find it holds its own against them.

Tastewise, this is one of the better ESBs I've had. Again, in the same vein as Fuller's and O' Hanlon's. A bit more on the fruity side, with a definite sour taste to it, but again it can hold its own against my English favourites.

This is the first time in years I've had anything by Rogue, and I'm quite impressed. This is a well done ESB, and I would easily snatch up a six pack of this if I could get it on a regular basis.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Down in Tampa, found this store that advertised 3000 beers, bought some different offerings from Rogue. This was a hit. It was an amber color with a minimal head. It had a sweet, fruity odor, not unpleasant. The taste was all fruit and hops, with the hop's bitterness lingering. Smooth in the mouth, a good beer for those hot summer days.

Photo of sevineyes
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown bottle with the typical Rogue guy on the cover in purple.

A: Orangey brass. Decent head. Leaves very chunky lacing.

S: Sugared lemon rind and grapefruit.

T: Sweet, but ultimately giving way to ruby red grapefruilt tastes.The aftertaste keeps coming back with more and bitterness.

M: Coating and slick. ends tart.

D: Great for those hot summer days.

Overall: Take this beer for what it's worth. I believe this is Rogues way of saying "our hops are bigger than yours". Not really much complexity or refinement, but it does live up to its namesake.

Photo of Mandrake
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly dull copper with a big, creamy off-white head that leaves tons of lacing. Smell is malty, with some citrus fruits and spiciness as well, along with a hoppy note. Taste is spicy, with plenty of hoppiness which is very well balanced by the malts, which have a buttery and fruity tone in them. Mouthfeel is crisp and sharp, while still rich and thick, and the drinkability is very good. A different sort of bitter, but a very enjoyable one.

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rogue- Brutal Bitter

Appearance- copper/ cloudy orange with a nice finger thick head and lotsa lacing.
Smell- pine and orange/ grapefruit rind hops.
Taste- sweet malt balanced with a nice pine hop. Fruity orange grapefruit pokes through eventually.
Mouthfeel- actually quite smooth for a bitter. Balanced malt and hop. Slighty bitter and dry up front but fruity and bursting with flavor in the backend.

Overall- I knew I would like this beer. A new favorite and a beer I'll go back to again soon.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.05/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - Hazy orange amber with almost no head, yet impressive retention for said "almost no head." I suppose it is fueled by the intense carbonation visible through the head. No lacing.

S - A very strong hop presence somewhere between pine and diesel. Odd, yet not unpleasant.

T - Strong hops, but not as an upfront pine, rather a very potent (dare I say brutal) bitterness that lingers long. It is definitely of the same vein as that smell. There is a fainter pleasant malt profile that is negligible next to the hops. It is an enjoyable bitterness to say the least.

M - Carbonation is way too strong, thin, and a tiny bit drying from the hops.

D - This is the only beer that I have had to date which simply knocks me out. I must have a reaction to this particular style of hops. Three quarters of the way through the beer I passed out. I like it, but I could never session this. It makes me feel like I've been drugged. So, drinkable for most, not for me. If I drank this with turkey it is likely that I would OD on hops and tryptophan. It should be noted though that I do like the beer. I will have it again, maybe the next time I have insomnia.

Photo of Luigi
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
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!

Photo of fightingwords
3.72/5  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.

Photo of NEhophead
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Photo of kcsc007
4.15/5  rDev +4%
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.

Photo of cracgor
4.27/5  rDev +7%
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?

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,949 ratings.