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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,926 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,926
Reviews: 1,077
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 76
Gots: 109 | 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: 1,926 | Reviews: 1,077 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of methtlcai
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

First off, I can't believe that I haven't reviewed this yet cuz its easily in my top 5 favorite beers of all time.
Appearance: copperish opaque amber with a frothy off white head that is one finger thick but stays that thick all the way down leaving rings of lace
aroma: smells that same crispy hoppyness that all rogue beers seem to have with a hint of grapefruit and some breadiness
taste: so balenced. Its got that juicy hop bite but also some rich toffee flavors too from the malt. makes my mouth water just thinking about it

This isnt BRUTAL or BITTER really but a great balanced beer with hops aplenty. Session beer anyone?

Photo of Wonka
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 PT. 6 FL.OZ.

76 AA 14.2 L

6 INGREDIENTS; 100% Floor-Malted Maris Otter, Cara Vienna, Cara Wheat, and a Single Hop (Crystal), Free Range Coastal Waters & Top Fermenting Pacman Yeast. No Chemicals, Preservatives or Additives.

Dedicated to Justin Finch, the Shade Man.

Appearance – very cloudy light brown/slight orange body; great carbonation rush throughout body at pour; Rogue seems to drop a great head on every beer but this one is below their standard; velvety white, pinkie-thick head drops away rather early; lace is sparse

Smell – not strikingly strong but there’s a cool mix below; nice churn of caramel, toffee, spice and hop

Taste – first thought -- now that’s a unique taste; caramel/toffee takes a strong line past the tongue and bullies a sharp hop below; pleasant, long-term, sharp hop arises in the aftertaste after the caramel/toffee wears away earlier in the ‘after’; the taste is rather good overall, but I’d rather the brew live up to its name and apparent brutal aim

Mouthfeel – light but adequate body, slighty crisp thoughout; bitter tinge on the tongue throughout that increases late; generally smooth and clean at close

Drinkability – the lack of big dryness and low carbonation enhance the drinkability as does the unique taste which is intriguing enough to chase

This was a fun beer to analyze. Give it a shot.

Photo of fisherman34
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly cloudy and orange in colour, with familiar Rogue Ales aromas of bready malts and a touch of floral hops. Fairly malty flavors are balanced nicely by some great "green" hop flavors and bitterness. Not quite as "brutally bitter" as the name would suggest, but the bitterness is indeed lasting. It doesn’t really taste like many ESB’s that I’ve had, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless.

Photo of Beaver13
3.69/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a cloudy golden orange with a smallish fluffy white head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is spicy floral hops, a little melon, and some almost malt liquorish malt that was off-putting (but it did dissipate as I drank).

The flavor is bitter grassy and slightly fruity hops with a nice initial malt backbone. It has a long bitter finish. It's medium bodied and smooth.

Overall, a very hoppy ESB. It matches up well with IPAs, but it is a little pricey ($10.50 per 6 pack). I was expecting more fruitiness in the aroma and flavor.

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fresh from a 22-ounce bomber, poured into a pint glass. Pours a very light amber, with hints of orange and blonde. Has a half a finger head which leaves a pleasant-looking lacing even as the head goes down to about a centimeter after a few minutes. Smell is very hoppy, with hints of pine, but also balanced off by a almost sugary sweet aroma, like partially cooked sugar. Taste reveals probably one of the most appropriate name-taste combinations of all time. Hops take less than half a second to hit the tastebuds, but are far from overpowering - a pleasant awashing of hop aroma and bitterness rises through the back of the tongue to the nostrils. Upon swallowing the "bitter" is immediately evident - I literally felt the a mild but pressing linger on the sections of my tongue which contain bitter-recepting tastebuds. A truly unique sensation, as no other beer I have tasted has produced quite the same effect. Mouthfeel is good, very smooth, but aftertaste is slightly astringent. Overall a wonderful ESB.

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

07/22/05- On tap at the Rogue Ale House in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- From the tap into two sets of 4oz samplers.

Appearance- Darker golden in color, 3/4 inch creamy white head. Good overall lacing.

Smell- Large amount of bitter woody hops.

Taste- Very little malt here. Maybe a touch. Pine hops carry this beer. Maybe a touch grainy?

Mouthfeel- A touch creamy with medium carbonation.

Drinkability- Overall a nice bitter ESB. One of the better ones.

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

A delightfully good ESB. Brutal? Not in the least, this one is delicious. An orangey hued ale, it retains a healthy head for much of its short life. There's a prominent hop aroma, with a hint of sweetness in the back. The taste is the opposite, with a butterscotch sweetness in the forefront with mild yet floral hops in the rear. Very tasty. Creamy and smooth, after a few sips I really loved this one.

Photo of SwillinBrew
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dang, I really like the look of this beer. It poured a cloudy burnt orange color that was beautiful to look at. It was like looking through a stained glass window. There was also a nice light tan head but i was too busy looking at the brew.

Its aroma was of a piney blanket giving way to notes of sweet malt, nice and strong.

My tasting picked up alot of clover honey with a dry and balanced finish. I wasnt expecting this but it could be because i was at an IPA tasting. I'll have to taste this again by itself. I let is sit and warm up a tad and I preferred the taste as it warmed just a bit. I'm going to revisit this one.

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

Bomber bottle, w/o freshness indication. Pours cloudy dark apricot/brown in color, very cloudy. Head is light tan, showing good retention and leaving stringy, fine and well developed lacing. Nose is strongly of minty and oily hops. This a wonderful beer, IMHO. Balanced, but still with a nice hoppy presence They call it "an imperial style bitter" on the label and that hits the mark. Its tastes like a well crafted and highly drinkable Brit. bitter, but Americanized/kicked up. Still subtle, still very drinkable, just with some extra Rogue attitude and zip.

As the label also says "Hedonistic!"

Fine everyday, high quality, good drinking suds

Photo of sabrills70
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy medium amber with a 1 finger head and OK lace. Nice malty fruity aroma that is earthy and somewhat spicy hop presence. Initial taste is of hops - IPA like but its more earthy on the malt side. More fruits come through and it is a bit heavier than the typical IPA. Slight alcohol presence. OK dinkability as I am not a hop head but a very tasty and quality brew. You can always count on Rouge.

Photo of krberg
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Hazy-bronze. I have made homebrew that is brighter than this. Nice rocky, white head.

Great lemony hop smell! Maybe more like lemongrass. Wonderful.

Soap-like hops in the same way cilantro is soapy. Bitter with a citrus tang. Probably not the freshest batch I've had but... I'm moving soon. Nice flowery flavor hops intermingling with biscuity malt. Very rose-like.

Initial mouthfeel is standard for a bitter or ESB, but there is a slight oily feel on the tongue. Lots of CO2.

Nice session beer. Refreshing.

I really like Brutal Bitter, but it is hard for me to call it an ESB. I would actually consider it an IPA. Very hoppy, copper-colored and 6.5%. It certainly quacks like a duck.

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

Pours a cloudy reddish-orange color with a small white head. Aroma is hoppy and fruity, with some underlying caramel. Taste is hoppy, but balanced. Very nice. Faint citrus flavors. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and lively carbonated. Overall, this is a very good beer. I really like this beer's balance. It's nice and bitter, but still has a solid matl backbone.

Photo of LPorter33
4.56/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Purchased 22oz bomber from Martignetti's

Appearance = Lacing holds nicely..looks absolutely delicious and near perfect with a creamy looking, opaque orange-brown color.

Smell = Strong hops present with a bit of fruit flavor, mostly resembling pineapple.

Taste = Not sweet at all like the scent hinted at. Very tart and bitter upfront, with a strong citrus tone but not overwhelming in the least, blends together perfectly. Some malt is there to balance out the hops so it's not swayed too much in one direction. Absolutely delicious. I'm almost through with this 22oz'er in a few minutes. Thick on the mouth but not heavy on the palate. An exceptionally crafted beer and the best ESB I've had.

Mouthfeel = Silky smooth and near perfect. Feels like liquid satin in the mouth.

Overall = A masterfully crafted beer that overachieves in all facets. These guys at Rogue certainly know what they're doing. HIGHLY recommended.

Photo of DrJay
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear auburn beer topped by a frothy, rocky, cream coloured head. Nice lacing and retention. Tons of Cascade hops (citrus, pine, some spice) in the aroma, backed by a rich, toasted maltiness. Malty flavour up front which carries through the finish. Moderate bitterness appears at the mid-point, with hop flavour coming out more towards the end. Very well balanced from beginning to end. Medium body and carbonation with a creamy texture. Another excellent offering from Rogue.

Photo of hero27
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber with the "Shade Man" silk-screened on the bottle.
Pours a hazy copper color. The somewhat bubbly head doesn't last very long, even with a strong pour. Leaves minimal lacing.
Aroma is predominantly piney Crystal hops, which they obviously used a lot of...it's extremely fragrant. It's very lively in the mouth and obviously hoppy..although it has a huge malt sweetness to back it up. Quite bitter indeed as well..but I'm not too sure about "brutal". Mouthfeel is somewhat wheaty and dry..but quite smooth considering how bitter it really is. Throw some Cascade hops in this and boost the ABV a bit, and this thing would be a monster. But overall, a great ESB and another strong offering from Rogue. This beer definitely leaves other ESBs in it's wake.

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bomber into a goblet where it looked quite pretty; hazy with an offwhite head, deep amber hue.
I found it smelled more alcoholic than it tasted; the alcohol was well concealed in the flavor. The smell is also much gentler than the taste.
A dumbed down version of Arrogant Bastard?
I found me some chocolate malt flavor notes and a very bubbly (to me appropriate) mouthfeel.
Not nearly as brutal as I was expecting but I guess I've gotten used to intense tasting brew.
Very easily worth a try.

Photo of JackStraw22
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown/orange, with not very much head at all. Wonderful fresh hop aroma. Oily, piney, and wonderful, smells like a fresh hop flower. Just enough sweet aroma to back it up too. Tastes much as it smells, tons of hops, bitter indeed. It's a very clean bitterness, a little astringent, though. Enough sweetness to give it at least some balance. It's brutal all right, but in a good way. An all around good beer, very nice.

Photo of scooter231
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy, cloudy golden amberish color with a lot of white head that fades to a nice ring and leaves a nice amount of lacing on the glass. Smells... floral. Hoppy. Malty. Smell is kind of all over the place- with each smell, something different dominates.

Taste, however, is way more equally balanced. Taste has definite caramel notes, a hint of chocolate, some floral stuff going on. Also some citrus, but not as heavily. A nice balance of hops and malt going on in here which is also well balanced by the bitterness.

Mouthfeel has a good carbonation going on, chewy, lip-smacking even. Makes you want to go, "ahhh." Drinkability factor- decent. As the name suggests, it is bitter- which could get to be too much after a while. But besides that, it's quite lovely. Refreshing, not as heavy as I thought it would be, and complex enough to keep you coming back for another sip.

Photo of TongoRad
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mostly clear saturated coppery amber with a dense two-finger slightly tan head which settles down to one-finger and stays there. The appearance holds a lot of promise, there is a nice boldness about it.

Aroma is tremendously hoppy and malty. Lots of bright fruit is here- mango, kiwi, maybe a touch of pineapple. The malt has primarily a caramel characteristic. The hops give hints of grass, lemon peel, and maybe hibiscus flowers. The overall impression of the bouquet is big yet gentle. There is also a good dose of alcohol underneath it all.

Big chewy caramel malt again dominates the palate. The fruit and lemon are there as well. Bitterness is right where it needs to be, but the beer is almost undone by a pretty hot alcohol component. What could have been great is merely good as a result.

Photo of brewnut11
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
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
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
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
4.35/5  rDev +9%
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
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
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
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,926 ratings.