Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,881 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,881
Reviews: 1,069
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 67
Gots: 85 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,881 | Reviews: 1,069 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brewnut11
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange color. A thin tight white dreamy head. Nice hop aroma , smells cutriusy, but not over powering aroma. A very strong bitter bite up front and in your face. This is not for the faint hearted, and the beer has a nice body to it. One of the better hoppy beers I have had and I could drink it all night. This beer is deffinately on the outer edge.

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

Pours a cloudy dark orange color with a small creamy white head. Very appealing aroma of floral hops, a touch of malt, and faint notes of citrus and black pepper. Palate is quite assertive, with a huge amount of hoppy bitterness up front, tempered by a very light sweetness from the malt towards the back of the mouth. Notes of grapefruit, pepper, and a touch of vegetable can be detected. Aftertaste is surprisingly mellow given the hop punch up-front. Sturdy body yields a slightly creamy mouthfeel. A beautiful beer from a can't-fail brewery..

Photo of mynie
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice APA pour. Hazy caramel and gold with a nice head.

Smells of dry hops and pacman yeast. It's a full smell; rich and bold.

Taste is dry, bitter hops up front that gain some complexity in the middle, taking on brief nodes of pine and fruit, yeasty malt in the middle too, which increases gradually as the hops fade. The aftertaste is bitter and dry.

This is one heck of a beer and wish I could find it in sixers.

Photo of packetknife
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A color as if you've burned amber with a thin but dense tan head that laced. Hops and grapefruit on the nose, quote powerful and fills the senses well. When it first hits your tongue you thing it's going to be more sweet and acidic but then the bitter clobbers your senses into submission. Almost exclusively when I've offered this to people they've noted it has more kick and that they like it. Some metallic tones as you work your way through the glass. Hops kick on the finish too. It was reasonably carbonated and you won't notice the warming on a cool night.

Photo of ddarden
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz Bottle that I had in the cellar for atleast 6 months. The beer was a cloudy dark copper color with a small white head. The smell was of bready malts and slight hop aroma. I was suprised by the lack of hop smell to this beer, but it could have been due to the age of the bottle.

The first sip had a great malt/ hop balance with a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue. Almost no citric or pine flavor left in the beer, which made this a very balance beer. The mouthfeel is a very nice medium and it was very drinkable. This is a beer I could drink very regularly. I think I liked this bottle better than some of the fresher ones I have had in the past. Highly recommended.

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

Undated bomber poured into an imperial pint.

Slightly hazed amber with a light tan one finger head that clings to the glass leaving chunky lace in the glass.

Man, those crystal hops have a nice combination of citrus and pine aromas! Juicy and mouth watering. There's some malt sweetness underneath, but you have to search for it a bit.

Again, I'm impressed with this strain of hop. The bitterness builds but stays tasty without going too far. Nice lingering herbal aftertaste from them that never wears out its welcome. The malts are in there too. Just enough to give this one balance and a mouthfeel that is moderate and isn't numbed by the hops.

Rather expensive ($6 a bomber!), but I could drink this all night on a special occasion.

Photo of Fish113d
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presented in a 22 oz bottle, I poured this amber ale into a pint glass. It left a 1 1/2" head with little retention, however it did leave decent lacing on my glass.

Aroma is very floral in hops that are overpowering to my senses. Some grapefruit tones come through along with a somewhat grassy hint as well.

Taste...HOLY HOPS BATMAN!!! Rather smooth even if it DOES make ya pucker just a bit, and some sugar comes through on the swallow. SOme alcohol hits a little on the finish also, which is nice.

Overall, I enjoyed this one very much! Another winner from Rogue!

Photo of canucklehead
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very tasty ESB/IPA cross that has all the hop power needed but lo and behold a sense of balance. The bitterness is there all right but adds rather than detracts from the whole. This beer maintains some semblance of English style by the use of only one hop but the muscle is pure PNW.

Photo of GreenWBush
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Searching the county for residual Rogue Imperial Stout, I was shocked to find a stray six-pack of Brutal Bitter on the shelves of gorgeous Fort Wayne, Indiana. I had purchased the beer more than a few times at Kahn's Fine Wines in Indianapolis for the relatively steep price of $10.99/6 and enjoyed every drop of it, so I figured that I couldn't go wrong dropping that much in this modest, mediocre, middle-class town.

My eyes popped out when I got the final ticket: $13.99 a SIX PACK. I hadn't been informed that I was actually in Manhattan, not the painfully urban sprawled ghost-town of Fort Wayne so lets just say I was a bit taken aback. But still, great beer deserves a little wallet devestation, right?

NO. What the fuck happened to Rogue, let alone the Brutal Bitter? Price your beers through the roof: understandable. Raw materials are becoming more expensive. Transit, more expensive. Keeping the genius of John Maier, probably pretty goddamned expensive.


A modest English bitter this is; no potent hop quotient is left in this beer AT ALL.

A tasty beer? HELL YES. Something worth that much money? FUCK NO. This beer has become incredibly water and just downright boring. This is a delicious session beer, but nothing more.

I remember the days when this beer would knock everyone's socks off, even two years old in the bomber. Now, the universal response anyone and everyone can muster is "meh. Tasty".

When I drop 1400 pennies for 72 ounces of liquid I expect world class. This is something my neighbor down the street could brew a 5-gallon batch of for the same price I paid.

I love you Rogue, but you're losing me...and quick.

Photo of Dmann
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer, and if it were not $9.00 a six pack I would get this way more often! I loved the color of this beer, the outer edges were a nice medium gold color, but as you got to the middle it became more of a dark copper color with nice bubbles and a great head as well. The smell was inviting with its light hop oil and sweet fruity scent. The taste was excelent and definantly a imperial bitter. The hops were assertive but not overpowering and blended well with the malt. The aftertaste was lightly sweet and made me grab for another drink very quickly while the nice carbonation tickled my tounge and made this beer very refreshing. A great choice and highly recommended!

Photo of smcolw
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, neutral amber color. The milky head dissipates quickly but starts at two fingers. Spotty lace.

Beautiful hop bouquet, obviously fresh whole aroma hops. A touch of malt for balance. Reminds me of fresh cut flowers.

Starts with a strong bitter hop bite (although I wouldn't term it "brutal"). In fact, the malty liquid appears simply to be the medium to deliver the hop jolt. Balanced beer, this is not. Still it is extremely flavorful...but it's hop giving way to hop and the aftertaste is exclusively hoppy...and that aftertaste is very long lasting. Good body and moderate carbonation.

I like this beer because I'm a hophead. If you share my passion, you'll love it too. If your preferences are closer to bocks or scotch ales, then this will likely be too much for you.

Photo of BigPapaLager
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This bitter poured a nice slow head. As per the style it was easy drinking with very little lacing. I could drink this beer all day. Anyone looking for a session beer should look here, as the drinkability is high on this one, though tastes are not notably

Photo of John1985
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Cloudy amber color with a white head that has nice lacing down the glass. Good piney hop aroma, flavor is nicely balanced with a lively hopped flavor. Very balanced with malt and not overpowering in the hopped flavor. Smooth aftertaste & drinkable! I could drink 3 or 4 without a problem. A very fine ale but not very brutal, I was expecting a little more bracing bitterness.

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

12 oz bottle with a black label with a guy in purple tipping his hat.

Appearance: Very light brown with amber tones. Slightly cloudy but that is because I poured a little of the sediment in accidently. Not much of a head.

Smell: Slight hoppy odor.

Taste: That is one bitter beer!!! But actually not that bad of an aftertaste bitterness like some others. Nice hop flavor as well.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, slight creaminess.

Drinkability: This is a nice and even bitter. Not necessarily my cup of tea, but a great example of the style.

Photo of BeerFink
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy burnt orange color with stickly looking white head. As the brew is consumed, sticky rings of lacing are left behind. Hops are potent in the nose, presenting very bitter citrous and some pine. Some sugary caramel is also apparent in the aroma. Sweet caramel and toasty malt are first on the palate, but they are quickly overcome by oily hops. Hops are pungent and slightly spicy, but the bulk of the presence is made up of very bitter citrous rind and a lingering pine flavor. The toastiness is short lived, but the caramel is able to hold on til the end. Hop oils dominate the finish leaving a slightly dry, bitter aftertaste. A little heavy for an ESB, but that's ok by me. A hell of a good beer regardless.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy golden-orange with a big white head that leaves nice lacing down the glass. The smell is a citrusy hop aroma followed by a sweet caramel malt background, quite excellent for an ESB. The taste, at first you get a mildy sweet malt character (perhaps toffee or caramel, a sticky sweet flavor) followed by a complex hops taste. The hops begin with a floral taste, then a citrusy lemon rind taste that leads into an earthy, grassy hops bitterness. This is a bitter brew, but its balanced by a sweet malt character that makes this complex and highly drinkable. The mouthfeel is creamy and smooth and is perfect for an ESB. The drinkability is high and this could make an excellent session beer, as the alcohol is hardly noticeable. Probably my favorite ESB, an excellent brew from Rogue.

Photo of beersarang
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper orange with light tan head. Nice retention, slight chill haze.

Nice grapefruit/lemon hop aroma, hints of alcohol.

Pretty big beer from the beginning, strong malt background, good citrusy hop flavor and bite. Hop bitterness is very India pale ale esque, but this is just shy of being an IPA. Overall quite not overly complex, simple hop bitteness, malt background, and mildly noticeable alcohol. Overall well balanced. However I do feel that this shouldn't be classified as an ESB because it is not truly an English style ESB. It definitely tends more towards and American styled Pale or IPA because of it's citrus hop character.

Smooth and drinkable, coats palate and goes down easy.

Photo of whartontallboy
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great big ESB, but I'm not sure it's brutal. Pours a deep coppery orange with a thin white head that leaves a lot of lace. There's a lot of hop in the nose, but there's also a fruitiness that keeps things nicely rounded out. It does smell quite bitter, and the taste doesn't disappoint in this department. Huge bitter hoppiness with a sweet piney fruitness that pulls it all together. Quite a good ESB; I dig this much more than Rogue's Younger's. Definitely worth picking up.

Photo of phunknerd
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ye Gods, a monster among us! This is, as has been said numerous times above, a big, scary ESB. (Although I don't disagree totally with the comparisons to IPA.)

Appearance: It looks slightly like the o.j. of satan. Cloudy, light-bronze, and I noticed some sediment at the bottom of my glass. (Did I get a bum bottle or is it actually unfiltered?)

Smell: Not the strongest of aromas, but I smoke, so this is probably not my strongest suit. Hints of citrus are about all I can detect.

Taste: Here we go! A massive blast of hops, citrus, pine, and something else I honestly can't put my finger on, are only partially ameliorated by a little hint of malt at the beginning. Sort of like an apology for the delightful ravaging to follow.

Mouthfeel: Slightly astringent, but surprisingly clean and pleasant. A pleasant bite, all double entendres aside.

Drinkability: I rated this somewhat lower simply because it just doesn't seem feasible to drink three or four at a time. It's an absolutely first-rate beer, but one's taste buds need a rest after a bomber.

Photo of amicar
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy almost orange color with minimal white head. The smell is of citrusy and fruity hoppiness and burns out the nostrils. The taste is an immediate slap in the face of citrus and pine and a solid bitterness that eventually gives way to a malty undertone with tiny bits of residual sweetness nicely balanced. Feels smooth and silky in the mouth. For all the hoppiness, not too course. The overwhelming hoppiness may limit the ease of drinkability in this one.

Overall, a nice monster of hops; Not for the timid.

Photo of woemad
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on-tap at The Elk Public House in Spokane for $4.

Poured a hazy orange with a big, creamy white head. Lots of lace.

Smell was of sharp hoppiness, with a very well balanced maltiness. Smelled good!

This was a really tasty beer. Probably my new favorite ESB. Most American examples seem to be very medicinal in flavor. This is like an IPA that someone put too much malts into - I mean that in the nicest way possible. Definitely the most flavorful beer I've had all week.

No complaints in the mouthfeel department. This was a medium bodied ale with just the right amount of carbonation.

If I hadn't had to go to work in half an hour (and I'd had more money - $4 a pint is a bit much for more than one), I could easily have had several more. This is a great beer.

Photo of RushLimbmalt
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange color and has sticky white head. It's aroma is very hoppy and piney. The first sip brings a decent wave of bitter hops that carry on to the finish, but there is enough malt to balance the flavor well. It is a decent ESB, but not a Fuller's.

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

22 oz bottle pours a cloudy golden orange with a huge foamy off white head that leaves a sticky lacing in my glass. A good dose of citrus in the aroma, fruity grapefruit, pear, pineapple and caramel flavors, medium to full bodied with a soft and creamy mouthfeel, finishes with a lingering bitterness.

Photo of trancefishy
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice oktoberfesty colour, as in, fall time pumpkin orange. big ol' head with big ol' bubbles, dies down but leaves some soap bubble lacing.

aroma is a nice pale ale kinda smell, hops poking through

taste is all about the aroma hops, and i can't think of hte name of them. have brewed with them for sure. tastes much like picking off a bit of hops and chewing on them, while swigging down some pale ale. i can't taste anything else but hops. is my taste off?

mouthfeel is good, as is carbonation, though, it's a bit turbulent, like soda pop i guess.

good stuff, first time having it, and i like it. will get it again next time i'm out west. i don't understand how this is not an IPA, though, it doesn't have any realy malty characteristics, it tastes like alcoholic hop tea, but, i like it.

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

Poured a clear copper with a thick white head that subsided slowly. The aroma is a blend of citrusy and almost noble hops with some malt sweetness that is more toasty than caramel like with a fruty ester touch to it as well. The flavor begins with a smooth slighty sweet, toasted malt flavor that gets quickly overtaken by a rush of a citrusy, earthy hop bitterness. The malt and hops flavors intermingle very nicely reminding one of a well crafted English Bitter but the hops are definetly at American levels and the Gravity is higher than a normal ESB as well but this beer is very well crafted. The mouthfeel is crisp lending a refreshing quality to an otherwise overpowering hop bitterness, the carbonation is good as well as the head has nice retention but the beer dosen't have too much carbonic bite. Very drinkable this beer is good but it's high gravity makes it hard to call a bitter but if you drink it in place of an IPA then you will be pleasently surprised.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,881 ratings.