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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

1,766 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,766
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 61
Gots: 50 | 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: 1,766 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MJR
MJR

Missouri

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

Appearance: Pours a great looking pale amber with copper edges. There's a bit of chill haze. It's light tan head starts out rich and full, and slowly shrinks down to a solid cap that leaves a thick ring at every sip mark.

Smell: Like the bottle brags, this one has a stupendous hop aroma! Lots of citrus, most notably grapefruit. Under that is a solid foundation of the distinct, sweet Maris Otter base malt.

Taste: The flavor is firmly bitter, with the Crystal hops being the center of attention from beginning to end. Again, there's lots of citrus, with a huge amount of grapefruit. A bit of pine resin as well. The clean bitterness tends to overshadow the rich Maris Otter malt a bit, but it still manages to break through the seemingly impenetrable wall of hops. Finishes like it began, bitter and hoppy, along with a slighty burnt character and a touch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, with a dry finish that borders on astringent.

Drinkability: Yet another solid brew from Rogue. Basically an overhopped ESB, this is a beer I could drink on a regular basis. It's slighty alcoholic finish and strength prevent it from being any kind of session beer though.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2003 06:10:12 | More by MJR
Photo of BeerBuilder
BeerBuilder

Minnesota

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

Pours to a orange-copper color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is super fruity and citrusy. Wow, the first sip was like biting into a fresh grapefruit. It is very citrusy; it is bitter but not overpoweringly so. It finishes dry with a fruity bitterness. It was an excellent medium-bodied brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2003 15:49:54 | More by BeerBuilder
Photo of kevinl6
kevinl6

South Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Whoa!!! I'd say this one is appropriately named! It is a cloudy, apricot color with a silky, one finger deep head. It has a very strong, very nice aroma. Fruity, albeit not too specific, is what comes to my mind. Very fruity. The taste has a citris 'bite' in it, and man is it bitter! Mouthfeel was perfect for me....slightly tingly, but at the same time silky smooth and gentle on the palate. I liked the bitterness and the taste of this one, but to be honest, I split it with my drinkin bud, and neither of us wanted another. I'll be drinking this again though! Another fine/different offering from Rogue.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2003 01:27:30 | More by kevinl6
Photo of Bruiser81
Bruiser81

Kansas

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

The color of this beer was a cloudy orange color with a bubbly white head, little to no lacing. A good looking brew. The aroma consisted of lemon, light caramel, and very strong alcohol spice. The taste up front was lemon and citrus (mostly grapefruit). There was a definite spice in the taste as well as. The finish has a little bit of malt mixed in with the bitterness which lingers well into the aftertaste. Medium consistency, goes down smooth. Quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2003 04:07:46 | More by Bruiser81
Photo of jeffboo
jeffboo

Minnesota

4.85/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one hits it pretty well for me, an American style hop dream.

Grapefruits bouncing off the wall, bouncing into the creamy, frothy, lake. Splash, Splash, as they dance in the copper colored pool. Pine trees surround this lake next to the grapefruit grove. A light breeze blows in other citrus aromas throughout the air but the grapefruits are the ones having fun in this lake. Plunging into this body of water, one is overwhelmed by the complexity of it. It is sooo sweet and lightly toasty, and intermingles nicely with our fruit friends.

As I awake, I feel drawn to the grapefruit in the bowl on the table. I'm not sure why but I know that this is my mission.....find this place from my dream..................

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2003 18:09:24 | More by jeffboo
Photo of PatandDavid
PatandDavid

Massachusetts

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

Had this many times, but only reviewed it today.

Poured a cloudy pumpkin color. Very nice head, and lace left through-out the glass. The aroma was definitely one of hops.

I have to say, the taste leans more toward the hoppy than the malty. While the malt sweetness provides a backbone, the hops are nicely present, with that citrusy (grapefuit?) style favor.

Definitely not a hop monster, but you will notice and appreciate the hops present. Would get again. pat

Serving type: on-tap

07-19-2003 01:25:16 | More by PatandDavid
Photo of fattychubs
fattychubs

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was on fire sale at the local tap room, a Rogue beer on fire sale?

Color of a bruised peach, served with a small but frothy off white head that laced nicely. Nose is sweet but floral hops with citrus. Taste is not as bitter as I expected starts slightly malted, then floral strong bitter hops, but ends citrus and sweet, reminded me of a grapefruit taste in there, but better. Decent medium body.

Better then I expected balanced the hops nicely, not as bitter as the name suggests.

Serving type: on-tap

07-09-2003 19:01:28 | More by fattychubs
Photo of Jon
Jon

Illinois

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

As Rogue describes, this ale is an invention, not a style. Brutal Bitter pours a hazy apricot color with a rocky, off-white head. Some lacing is present down the glass. Aroma is primarily of hops. Loads of hops. A wonderful thing. Taste is excellent with notes of grapefruity, citric hops and a sufficient malt backbone. This is very well balanced with a dry, bitter finish. Mouthfeel is somewhat carbonated, but mainly smooth. Drinkability is quite strong. An excellent "invention" overall.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2003 20:34:27 | More by Jon
Photo of Stingray5
Stingray5

New York

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

Pours a cloudy brown/orange with a thick fluffy white head that lasts. The hops hit first in the aroma, settling to some fruity, nutty malt notes. Thick and buttery in the mouth, the hops let you know they mean business. Is this beer or grapefruit juice?! The malt makes itself known in a very balanced fashion, but this one is still all about the hops. Dry, tangy finish with long lasting bitterness. Just as good if not better as it warms. Wow this is a good beer!

Extremely balanced and drinkable. Massive hops. Excellent!

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2003 19:22:44 | More by Stingray5
Photo of tavernjef
tavernjef

Minnesota

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

Color is a nice cloudy deep copper with a small head of tight ivory colored froth with incredible stitched lace rings. Smell is peachy citrus, dark orange hops, juicy and fat, great little piney freshness. Great hop nose. Taste starts of sweet malt and light wheat and heads for the hops soon there after with grapefruitish sweet bittering sour dryness and woody pine solidness. Whoa... this bittering hits heavy and late. I count nearly six to ten seconds before it decides to make its presense felt. Amazing. Feel is a quick thin start then a bit harsh, bold texture with a solid full body with a huge hop kick late. The name "Brutal Bitter" suits it. It takes some getting use to.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2003 06:20:27 | More by tavernjef
Photo of euskera
euskera

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well.. slap my ass and call me Sally!!

Hoppy, hoppy, and did I say hoppy. Smacks you in the face and won't let go. Great appetizing beer that goes down well. Excellent on a summer afternoon.

Pours out a cloudy brownish-yellow with a nice foamy head. Smell is hoppy with a malt overtone. Taste is fresh, with a little citrus in the foreground. Mouthfeel is a little briny with all the hops. Well balanced with a very forceful hop finish. Bravo

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2003 11:39:29 | More by euskera
Photo of jcalabre
jcalabre

California

3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Originally sampled on 28 December 2002. I am writing this review from my notes. This baby has hops out the wazoo, but it is surprisingly well balanced. This beer is quite drinkable. I think that it is one of Rogue's better efforts. I know that I'll enjoy having this one again.

Serving type: on-tap

06-20-2003 19:57:29 | More by jcalabre
Photo of Mitchster
Mitchster

Michigan

3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Brutal combines Oregon hops with English Malts. The Oregon grown Crystal hop is a triploid variety developed from the German Hallertau aroma hop variety with contributions from Cascade, Brewers Gold, and Early Green. Crystal is the only hop used in brewing Brutal and it provides a massive amount of aroma without dry-hopping. The English malts used are floor malted Pipkin (a mellow cross of Maris Otter and Warboys, from an English company called Beeston), Cara Vienna and Cara Wheat."-from the Rogue website.

Sampled at Rogue Ale House in Portland, OR.
59 IBU, 14.3 Lovibond, 76 AA, 15 degrees Plato.

Cloudy light caramel with a thin white head and poor retention and lacing. Aroma is very floral with hops so juicy they smell sweet..apples..tons of fruits. Gotta love that Pac-man yeast. Taste begins very floral with potent flavor hoppings, sweet cookie-like malts, toast, biscuits, and a potent yet brisk, dry spicy bitterness. While a very good brew, this seems a little outside Rogue's very high standards...this seems more like a standard brewpub offering. The mouthfeel is a tad dry and little harsh. A very good brew, but probably the weakest of those sampled.

Serving type: on-tap

06-18-2003 19:09:24 | More by Mitchster
Photo of nixhecks
nixhecks

Rhode Island

3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presented in a 22 oz bomber (my favorite). Poured cloudy copper color with a nice foamy head that had long retention and was very thick. Wonderful hop aroma on the nose, very floral and very mouthwatering. The taste is pretty complex, the hoppy bitterness takes full control, but at the same time there is an underlying sweetness throughout as well. This brew is very strongly hopped though, I wouldn't recommend it for someone trying out the style for the first time, but I always love a unique brew with character that presses the extremes, and this is one of 'em.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2003 12:07:09 | More by nixhecks
Photo of dwarbi
dwarbi

New York

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

Monstrous white head. Very thick and it goes nowhere. The beer itself is not completely transparent. Smells of hops and bitter. Pleasant taste. Creamy and very smooth. Bitter aftertaste, but tremendously drinkable. Elaborate, hard to pin combination of flavors.

Serving type: cask

05-29-2003 19:33:13 | More by dwarbi
Photo of MissOrch
MissOrch

New York

4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Last night was my second time sampling this fine brew, but this time it was on cask. It poured a cloudy caramel color, allowing a very minimal glow of light through the glass, but I still couldn't see all the way through. The head was thick and spongy like shaving cream, bobbing on top of the beer.

A very sticky sweet smell wafted over the sides of the glass. I was overwhelmed with a nose of strong grapefruit, mandarin orange, and notes of malt. It smelled like a cross between a candy and a malt liquor, like if I spilled some on a marble floor, my shoes would stick permanently.

The beer had a smooth, creamy, low carbonation cask feel with a squeaky, almost tannin like bitter finish. The first sip was very sweet and malty. The next flavor that kicked in was burned caramel, and finished with a brutally bitter hop taste that left a surprisingly clean finish. I had no problems finishing the whole pint, although I was reeling a little by the end. Packs a lot of flavor-- I like it!

Serving type: cask

05-29-2003 12:54:37 | More by MissOrch
Photo of Dantes
Dantes

New Jersey

4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Package: 22oz. crowned bottle, labeled 76 IBU and 15º Plato. I don’t know how to convert this, but I’d love to know the ABV. Short description, ingredients list, and dedication.

Cost: $3.49 at Bottle King

Presentation: ~18oz. in an Imperial pint glass at ~45º

Appearance: A lambent, peach-apricot cloudy body; with a picture-perfect dense, long-lasting, bone-colored head resembling the soft contours of a Caribbean beach. Lacing worthy of Alençon.

Smell: Right away, the aroma put me on notice that I was about to taste something significant. I did not sense the coffee aroma promised by the bottle, but was more than compensated by the fruity bouquet anchored by a wonderful toasted maltiness. Truly biscuity. Complexly hoppy with citrus and piney notes.

Taste: Wow. This delivers flavor with no questions asked. Some have questioned the legitimacy of calling this a bitter, but it earns this term with its excellent balance of sweet, toasted malt; fruity notes; and liberal dose of hops. This is unmistakably a bitter with an American twist and not an APA or IPA. The resinous pine and citrus elements are filled out by a subtle sweetness and enough toasted malt to sink your teeth into. It is this elusive “bready” quality that screams bitter. Full-flavored with a long finish. Tasted better on the cooler side. I'd recommend pouring it at 45º.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, yet refreshingly astringent at the same time.

Drinkability: Another example of why I don't like 22oz. bombers. This is so drinkable, one bomber is not enough. Filling one Imperial pint leaves a woefully inadequate 4oz., so you have to open another bomber if you want more (which you will)! If I had a kegerator, this would take up permanent residence!

A PhD. in bitter in a glass. Anyone looking to learn how a bitter differs from an IPA need only refer to this beer. I probably haven’t described it well enough, but one taste will tell you all you need to know. It's like a brash but accomplished American IPA that has earned a Rhodes Scholarship (or like Churchill, a combination of the best of America and Britain). I'm a big fan of British bitters (and the benchmark Fullers in particular) and was ready to grade this harshly, but it really delivered the goods. One suggestion: come up with a better name. Brutal Bitter conveys the wrong impression and may scare away the less adventurous.

Backwash: Worthy of a knighthood. Cries out to be sold in 550ml bottles or sixers for serious pounding. Why is it so much more expensive (by volume) than Fuller’s?

NB: Bottle info above is from a run of misprinted bottles. IBUs should be 59.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2003 15:36:04 | More by Dantes
Photo of tigerpaws
tigerpaws

South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A exceptional beer IMO....pours a very dark amber with an ample head. The aroma is for sure there with a mixute of scents, you can detect the malt, but also the crisp hoppy smell comes through to prevail. The taste is close to an IPA withou being one ( so I was happy ). Not for the average beer drinker but one the true beer lovers will enjoy....................CHEERS

Serving type: on-tap

05-25-2003 13:24:20 | More by tigerpaws
Photo of ADR
ADR

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now that the bombers and singles have invaded Minnesota, we have more Rogue here than ever before!

Hazy sienna-orange with a beautifully pillowy 3/4 inch head...cottony laces. Nice mix of buttery malts and slight hop flower to the smell...GACK! This is a "hopster", lots of sweetened tangerine and associated citrus with a medium malty mouthfeel to pull the balance about. Finishes with a decided but over-the-top hop tone and a hot and dry backbone. Well, this may be an "Imperial" Bitter, but I'll pass on this in favor of a more subtle and superiorly balanced Fuller's ESB any day. Challenging beer, a little bit too much of a west coast show-off to my taste.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2003 12:35:19 | More by ADR
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

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

Appearance: a bright, but hazy, apricottish hue, with a thick, bubbling, off-white lace-leaving head. Aroma: absolutely bristling with pine, pineapple, grapefruit, all sorts of citrus, very spikey, alert and lively, seriously delirious!
On the palate, a monsoon ensues, a blast of brilliant bitterness, that fades a bit, yes, but returns with every sip. Texture is a treat, tangy, delicious, smooth, but tasty. Long, even eternal, finish. Ultimately, very dry, mouth watering, thirst quenching...yeah! It got me to thinking...this is the hophead's "lawnmower beer"! And me, I've got to live in an apartment! It's an "anytime" ale, I say!
The name protests too much. It's not too brutal, but then I'm used to, and I welcome, a barrage of hops on my tongue at anytime I wish.
The label reads "an Imperial style bitter" (aren't "bitters" UNbitter, such as ESBs?) using exotic traditional floor malts (huh?) Free Range Coastal Waters (okay, I'm lost, free range chicken I get, but free range water?) etc., etc.
No matter my confusion, it's a damned great ale, not shy at all with the hops, and loaded down with flavor. Happily consumed from a generous 22oz. bomber.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2003 02:46:08 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of StevieW
StevieW

Florida

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

22 oz bomber bottle. Cloudy copper color. Medium thick, bubbly beige head. Sticky and clings to the glass. Super rich bitter hop aromas. Nice fresh smell despite being in my fridge for 2 months. First taste was exactly what I expected and hoping for. Nice fresh hop charge of tastes. Mouth puckering bitterness through and through. Moderately rich and subtle sweet malty undertone. Resin hop stickiness lingers on the tongue. Super smooth, medium to full bodied. Uncommonly smooth. Really good beer to match with my favorite meal of tangy barbecue grilled chicken.
Another Rogue worth searching for.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2003 17:38:02 | More by StevieW
Photo of beernut7
beernut7

Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Being a rogue brew I was expecting a certain level of hop overkill, and I was far from disappointed. Pouring a hazy honey color with a creamy head, the HUGE sharply spicy aroma hits one in the face with reckless abandon. The first flavor brings the grapefruitiest hop flavor in existence stopming on what might be a decent amount of malt--we may never know. Brutal is definitely an accurate portrayal of this ale. More on the level of an IPA than any bitter I have ever tasted. One must be in the mood for this beer, not one for the faint of heart.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2003 17:33:08 | More by beernut7
Photo of far333
far333

Connecticut

3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden color with an orange head. The head was nearly two inches high. Not sure if that's typical or if the barkeep gave me a bad pour. Didn't expect that for a cask beer. Nice lacing down the glass as I drank. Aroma of citrus and pine, followed by a hoppy flavor with citrus tones. Taste is very hoppy from start to finish, but not overpowering, even when served at the appropriate temperature for a cask beer. A pretty drinkable beer, but with aroma and flavor just a bit above average for my tastes, it's not one that I would choose often.

Serving type: cask

05-04-2003 06:31:45 | More by far333
Photo of AtLagerHeads
AtLagerHeads

Ohio

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

The pour was a nice looking copper amber with a huge ivory head. There was a bit of cloudiness, likley from the chill hazing. The head lasted quite well into the glass and produced very fine lacing. The smell is of fruity hops with a good bitter sense of rind. There was a fine sense of fullness in the feel and a bit of an oily finish, likely from the hop endowment. This is a very good bitter.

Serving type: on-tap

04-12-2003 18:07:43 | More by AtLagerHeads
Photo of Brent
Brent

Kentucky

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

Much as I love cascades hops, it was nice to have a hoppy brew dedicated to another variety - crystal. The bottle noted a coffee aroma, of which I got none. The aroma was sweet, almost candy-ish, hops. Nice balance of malt and hops, although there was the slightest touch of metal at the front, but not enough to be a problem. Very smooth and even tempered for the hops punch. Perhaps a little on the hoppy side for an ESB, but what else would you expect from Rogue?

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2003 07:02:39 | More by Brent
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,766 ratings.