Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales
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Ratings: 1,807 | Reviews: 1,062 | Display Reviews Only:
4.05/5 rDev +1.3%
This is a fabulous beer, though it strays so far afield from the English tradition that it is puzzling why Rogue bothered to call it a bitter. Perhaps the Brutal adjective describing it is an appropriate corrective measure. My pint at Rogues Public House in downtown Portland was dense saffron color and served with a skinny white head. I was immediately impressed with the substantial malt body a Rogue hallmark which was solid enough to uphold the profuse citrus-hop flavor.
Im no hop authority, but I had no difficulty in promptly ascertaining the absence of Fuggles or Goldings hops. Sure enough, a quick inquiry into Brutals vital statistics reveals that its brewed exclusively with Oregon grown Crystal hops. Stylistically, Id call this an American pale ale with a strong northwestern accent. But I wont nitpick style boundaries further except to say that traditionalists wont find what theyre looking for in this bitter and you still have to call it something.
Your timid friends will also be put off by the unapologetically bold character but of course, who needs timid friends? I enjoyed the heck out of Brutal Bitter for its forward leaning hop potency with its juicy overtures to grapefruit. The light fragrant aroma belittles such potency, but the finish is sharp as a Gerber blade. Id love to see this on cask.
02-23-2004 01:38:07 | More by RedDiamond
4/5 rDev 0%
22 oz bomber pours a slightly hazy, orange amber color. Beige head has good retention and lasts for several minutes. Puffs of lace are left all over the glass. Aroma shouts out loud, with bigtime westcoast hops. Grapefruit and spruce pine are here in spades. Mouthfeel is a mouthful of the same hops. Sour and bitter, plenty of bite, and lots of carbonation. Taste kicks off with the same hops bitterness. Lots of pine and sour grapefruit, a hint of mandarin orange...a hop lover's delight. The English malts keep a low profile here. I was expecting some malty nuttiness like an English ESB, but this one is closer to a big IPA. Hop oils and resins are in abundance. Some malt flavors try to emerge as it nears room temperature, but just can't make the journey through the enormous hops profile. Plenty of flavor here, especially if you enjoy big westcoast hops, but I was hoping for a more assertive malt profile out of the Brit floor malts. Very enjoyable and highly drinkable for what it is.
02-17-2004 00:36:43 | More by merlin48
4.05/5 rDev +1.3%
A beautiful color. A hazy orangish peach that glows. The head doesn't disappoint with the retention or the lace. Both were fantastic.
Mandarin oranges, lemons, spruce, and grapefruit. Very delicately hopped aroma. Looking forward to this one.
Big bouquet of hops throughout the beer. Tons of grapefruits and lots of other spicy fruits. Malt presense is high but intolerant compared with the high hop rate. The hops are citrusy, resiny, oily and juicy. Pretty delicious.
02-16-2004 04:49:02 | More by Crosling
4.55/5 rDev +13.8%
Pours out a lovely off reddish brown and hazy with a massive head. The initial smell is hoppy floral with a hint of citrus in the background.
Taste is not anything that I'd term brutal at all though, this is one smooth drinking heavily hopped ale! The taste starts out with a healthy dollop of hops with a tad of pine, and then switches over to a pungent ruby red grapefruit with smooth malts also present, and then finishes with a tingly, yet not overstated amount of bitterness that hangs around for a bit, but doesn't wear out it's welcome.
Mouthfeel is medium decent, it's definitely 'right' for the beer, but I generally like em thicker. Drinkability is not an issue with this, some bombers are a war to get through, this one ended up polished off in pretty short order, Brutal Bitter is definitely on my 'buy again' list!
02-12-2004 23:42:37 | More by CortexBomb
4.2/5 rDev +5%
Poured a hazy dark amber color into my pint glass, leaving a fluffy, thick, off-white head. The aroma was floral hops with hints of unidentified citrus fruits. The taste was very smooth with a wonderfully complex arrangement of floral hops and citrusy fruits. The bitterness is definitely there, but is softened nicely by the floral/fruity aspects. Also, there seems to be a healthy malt presence that contributes to the softening of the bitterness. The aftertaste is fruity with the same soft bitterness combination. There is a healthy dose of carbonation, which contributes to a fairly substantial mouthfeel. It is extremely drinkable, I could have easily spent the night drinking many of these. Unfortunately, it was a work night so I only had one 22oz bottle.
The is a wonderfully complex tasting and extremely drinkable beer. It was my first foray into the ESB world and I wonder whether they all taste this good...
02-12-2004 13:39:06 | More by Hagbard
4.2/5 rDev +5%
Pours out hazy orange amber with a rough frothy tall head that stuck around a while. Smells of grass, pine, and yeasty sourdough bread. Malt profile is not as complex as Fuller's ESB. Generally pale and caramel malts that are easily dominated by the American hops. Tasted pine and spruce with a distinct snap of hop bitterness and a hint of citrus flavors. Little too harsh for the style and to make a good session beer. Would be a great IPA. Just not as good as a bitter.
02-09-2004 03:09:19 | More by rajendra82
4.08/5 rDev +2%
Purchased a 22 ounce bottle at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.
Pours a radiant amber with a soapy orange head that subsided quickly, leaving pizza-crust-bubble-like lacing on the glass.
Smell is faint to my nose. What finds its way through is a gritty, lemony hop bitterness with a thin sheet of malts backing it up.
I expected the mouthfeel to be thicker, but it's got sufficient body -- just not perfect.
Fist sip: blew me away with the flood of hops.
Second sip: I taste the subtle malt notes before the symphony of hops.
Long-lasting aftertaste of dry, toasty hops with a citrus crust.
Not a bad beer for my 20th review. In fact, it's quite good. Will try it again for sure.
01-31-2004 22:28:29 | More by RootedFool
3.95/5 rDev -1.3%
Appearance: Pours a hazy medium copper with a light frothy and sticky bone-white head.
Aroma: Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy. Good citrus and bitterness in control. Awesome!
Taste: Slight malt is attacked by massive hop bitterness and dryness. Spicy hop finish. My kind of brew!
Mouthfeel: Flavorful, bit amazingly light. Hoppy dryness throughout. Nice, but needs more body, IMO.
Drinkability: A great beer for a hophead. Good bitterness, but still slightly balanced. Hunt for this one if you love hoppy bitterness.
01-25-2004 22:30:10 | More by winomark
4/5 rDev 0%
OK bought in the 22 oz bomber..what else would it be in , :-).
After a fairly careful pour this beer still has a large frothy pure white head atop a dark orange , slighly hazy beer..nice to look at..but alas we must drink.
smell? well one word will suffice HOPS..spicy hops.
the taste while its brutally clear that this is a hop driven beer..there is a detectable undertone of the English malts..it keeps this monster together..but its clear hops dominate.
actually quite smooth and almost creamy on the tongue..though prickly at the end.
I am not a real "hophead" but i found this very drinkable.
01-25-2004 05:02:30 | More by Reidrover
3.4/5 rDev -15%
The beer is a hazy orangey amber, topped with a thick dollop of off-white foam. Great head retention, lasting past the liquid, with clumpy rings of lace stepping all the way down the glass. Very attractive cascade from the hand pump, as well.
The aroma is dominated by grapefruity citric hops. The malt barely breaks through the pacific northwest onslaught, providing a trace of toasty aroma. Some yeast is apparent, with a bit of appley esters sneaking under the hop radar as the beer approaches room temperature, along with a faint waft of alcohol. Plenty of piney and herbal hop aroma, as well. The dry hopping and late additions must be insane to produce this kind of hoppiness.
The flavor starts out with a pretty solid toasty maltiness, almost instantly overpowered by rind-like citric hops. A rather oily feel, with tons of hop bitterness. The carbonation is nice and smooth, typical cask fare, supporting a rather heavy full body. Faint apple/pear esters in the middle, which are quickly trampled by the hops. Most of the subtleties are blotted out in a hop fugue, only barely perceptable as your palate deadens enough to the hops to taste anything else. Some piney and herbal hopping is apparent in the finish. It tastes like some sort of cascade crossbreed, maybe with something german. A slight yeasty breadiness in the finish, with a trace of alcohol. The aftertaste....what do you think?
Eli Cannon's in Middletown, CT used to have this on the beer engine all the time. I actually got tired of it pretty quick, and just started to pass it up in favor of regular tap beers. Really unusual for me. It's a good beer, but not my idea of ESB. Definitely more like an IPA. The hops really aren't incredibly powerful, but not quite what I was expecting at first. It's pretty much an imperial bitter, if there was such a thing.
01-20-2004 10:40:13 | More by UnionMade
4/5 rDev 0%
Orange/amber in color. Hazy appearance. This is an IPA you couldn't see through. It also had a nice head with decent lace. The smell was both floral and fruity at the same time, yet wasn't overpowering in any way. The taste was the same way. Fruity and floral, yet well balanced, like most Rogue beers. It was a great beer and I look forward to drinking more.
01-05-2004 02:21:19 | More by CBFanWish
4/5 rDev 0%
bomber size bottle poured 1 & 1/2 into the pint glass. Nice mellow gold color with tight white head. Hoppy aromas, almost IPA levels. Cool crisp malt flavors with super citrusy hop flavor at the end of each mouthful. Good balance between the sweet malt and the dry hops. Would make an easy session beer. Very refreshing carbonation levels. The second half of the bottle poured with the yeast added a different level of flavor and made the beer a little chewy, almost like bread, but good - more complex. I always like that part of bottle conditioned beers.
Good marks all along on this beer
01-02-2004 15:04:26 | More by counselor
4.45/5 rDev +11.3%
Sampled from the infamous Rogue 22oz bomber with tons of info except dates.
Appearance: Dull orange honey color. Very cloudy, hazy, and completely opaque. Big, thick, froathy head with thick weblike lacing. The wheat malt is very evident in the appearance.
Smell: Malt and wheat goodness. Citrusy floral hops. Like somebody fused an IPA and a German Hefe fascinating and nearly maddening all at once. Many unique and varried aromas mingling together wonderfully.
Taste: Sweet malt, wheat, and then bitter citrus. Some floral hop flavors and a little clove. Very well balanced sweet malt and bitter hops.
Mouthfeel: Good medium body, but a bit on the dry side for my tastes. Good carbonation
Drinkability: Great. A wonderful blend of malt, hops, and wheat that could be enjoyed anytime of year.
12-25-2003 13:11:49 | More by Loki
4.22/5 rDev +5.5%
It pours a golden orange, very much like honey, and quite hazy. There's a quick, off-white head of various sized bubbles and foam, which retains nicely and well. The head falls to a lumpy coat of foam across the surface, and there's some delicate lacing.
The first whiff brings a solid assertion of grapefruity hops, with a very understated touch of floral tones. The malt smells slightly sweet, with a pleasant blend of caramel in the background.
The first sip brought a light toffee semi-sweetness from the malt, with an almost simultaneous washing of the dry Crystal hops across the tongue. There's a lingering light-citrus fruity background. It finishes with a dry hop tingle on top and a light malt grainy sweetness underneath, giving the overall flavor a genuine texture.
It's medium bodied, coating nicely then sliding down and back with a little viscosity, leaving behind the dry legacy of the hops.
It's not especially complex, very straightforward in fact, but it's honest and damned good. There's the easy sweetness of the malt well-balanced by the lightly floral dry citrus bitterness of the hops. It's very drinkable, crisp and fun, making more than one a virtual certainty. Stacked against beers with so much multi-dimensional complexity, this beer readily shows that sometimes simple is the way to go.
12-19-2003 13:30:04 | More by Foxman
3.7/5 rDev -7.5%
Head of variegated small-to-medium sized white bubbles fades out very slowly and slowly slips down sides of glass leaving slight lace; a few lazy streamers. Drop-dead gorgeous color: bronzest bronze at the top of my pint fades through to burnt orange at the bottom with honeyish highlights; very hazy and practically glows when held to light. Aroma is basically all grapefruity hops with a reedy quality; now don't get me wrong--it's a great smell--just sorta one-dimensional. It's compensated for in the flavor by leafy, citrusy hops, and how grapefruity they are! grapefruit flesh, and especially rind to a tee; leaning towards orange as they bite sweetly into sides of the mouth and grab hold; bit of pine sap and the barest butteriness in a tart, refreshing finish. Mouthfeel is very smooth--hop is bitter but not "twangy"--and slightly tingly, leaving resins that had me running my tongue across my teeth for minutes afterward, trying to get every last flavor. Very balanced for drinkabililty although not as serviceable as a standard Pale Ale. I would like to try this again in the summer and see if the marks improve; unfortunately this was the last bottle at the shop!
12-17-2003 20:15:18 | More by NearerMyBeerToMe
4.83/5 rDev +20.8%
The more I drink this beer, the more I like it. I just had to come back and raise my scores. Its nice to have it available in 12oz bottles now, tho I never had a problem drinking 22oz of it.
Bright copper with a firm white head draping the inside of the glass. Great retention ; 1/2 in. head kicks up w/ a few swirls. Slow, sparse carbonation.
Intensley flowery and piney aroma, rich vanilla and warm jelly sweetness sucks your nose into the glass.
Flavor is sharp up front - grapefruit and bitter spruce tips take a juicy bite on the tongue and dominates. Crystal is apparently one potent cone! The hop outshines the underlying grainy malt, but doesnt overpower it..
Medium body struggles to balance the FULL Hop flavor. Honey and bread notes come thru faintly but cant gain a foothold against all the hop going on untill the finish where malt sweetness coats the mouth surounding the sharp bittering.
I love this beer. Cask conditioned, it was near perfect having more balance, mellower bittering and fuller, softer mouth feel.
Amazing "One Hop" showcase Ale.
12-07-2003 00:12:54 | More by Shiredave
4.6/5 rDev +15%
Thank you beer gods, for bestowing this gift of delightful Rogue upon your faithful son. For some reason, the purple and yellow colors of this 22 oz. bomber make this beer highly appealing before I even crack the crown. I pour. Light barely eeks through the cloudy tan body. A rocky, pillowy white head retains perfectly. Aroma could pass for a strong IPA. Hops! Orange peel and citrus aromas abound as well. Despite the hoppiness of the nose, the flavor is not nearly as hoppy, which is great, leaving room for the many other flavors to come out. So well balanced. Signature Rogue yeast flavor, grapefruit, wheat-like malty middle, finishes dry and hoppy. Awesome, awesome beer.
11-30-2003 19:04:45 | More by IrishRedRock
4/5 rDev 0%
A hazy golden copper brew with a massive fluffy off-white head on top. The aroma is nice and spicy with a lot of citrus. There are subtle sweet notes thrown in the mix as well.
The body is medium with a bubbly and crisp mouthfeel. It is hoppy, but not really intensly bitter. Orange peels and a floral character lead the way with a touch of sweet malts to balance. It is smooth and very drinkable. A real nice beer across the board.
11-17-2003 15:39:58 | More by ElGuapo
4.35/5 rDev +8.7%
Brutal Bitter pours a golden amber body with a massive white head laced with carbonation. As I was pouring the smell hit me like a ton of bricks, hops hops and more hops permeated the air and with in a minute you could smell it all the way across the room. The taste was surpisingly smooth and while extemely bitter and hoppy it was not was not overpowering creating the "bitter beer face" and finished with a nice sweetness to it. Brutal Bitter is another excellent brew by Rogue, and probably my favorite ESB.
11-10-2003 01:55:52 | More by NickLovesBeer
3.98/5 rDev -0.5%
pours a cloudy orange colour with a nice, frothy, just plain huge head. instant smells of hops and citrus with some of earthy wood tones and some bread hints as well. the taste here is pure hoppiness. hops are all over this one and clearly dominate. there's a bit of a bite to this one that, whilst not detracting from the drink, could have been toned down just a notch. this was much better as it warmed up so let it sit for 5 or 10 mins if need be.
11-08-2003 00:00:48 | More by SixpointJMH
4.5/5 rDev +12.5%
Poured a highly murky and highly browned orange color. Had a white pillowy head, lots of tiny swift carbonation underneath, dots and things of stain, and a nice dispersing lace.
Smell explodes with pine scents: light, clean, clear and dizzying at first. A nice malt mixes Caramel and Maris Otter well with a grainy touch from the cara wheat. These differing scents come together as the beer opens to form a honeycomb-like aura, while also opening to the nice spice and light floral tone of Crystal hops. All combine to form an ambrosia of sweet but hearty and tough bitter hop scents. Lovin' it.
Tastes of tasty bitters with a strong graininess washing over some citric notes. With the hops its spiciness grows as its acidity recedes - intersting. In the middle some sweet british maltiness is perceived alone as a flash but then deftly undergirds the beer’s whole profile. Finish was of a more citrusy type of grapefruit flavor mixed heavily with hearty amounts of earthy grain tones - a great finish. Can't forget the pleasing grapefruit burp – a very good sign.
Nice moderate mouthfeel, real easy to drink, this is a Rogue but not overdone bitter. A biased favorite, this hits my british ale spots hard.
11-05-2003 04:02:08 | More by nomad
3.85/5 rDev -3.8%
I stepped up to this one after trying their Younger's Special Bitter. I knew I was taking a big step up in hop class.
The appearance was your typical pale ale. Golden sunshine with amber streaks.
I could smell this one from across the room. Hops anyone? I wonder if I have the courage to take a sip.
I was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful sweet citrus flavors that accompanied the blast of hops. Lots of character in this one. Just as soon as it takes hold of your tongue it leaves with a nice dry finish.
Overall a big thumbs up for the depth of flavor and character that this one possesses. A bit more hoppy than my usual tastes but nonetheless very enjoyable. Hopheads rejoice!
11-03-2003 19:47:17 | More by barleypop
3.08/5 rDev -23%
If you like very, very hoppy and bitter beers, this one's for you!! This one was just way too bitter and hoppy, but then again, I'm not a hophead. It poured a small sized ivory head that contained fine-large sized bubbles that was mostly diminishing. The body was cloudy and uncarbonated with a yellow-gold hue. The nose was heavily hopped and the flavor was as well and also heavily bitter with a lingering fore and aftertaste. The mouthfeel was tingly and medium bodied. The lacing was fair.
10-26-2003 22:48:35 | More by hotstuff
4.13/5 rDev +3.3%
This is one of the best Rogues I've had. Not as excessively hoppy as some of their beers (very misleading title, probably would have tried it sooner if I had known). Acheives an excellent balance. I had a Fuller's ESB in between glasses from this bomber. This bears no resemblance to the Fuller's in any way. Much more of a micro-ale for sure, but an excellent one. Pours a beautiful glass of beer, with a thick foamy head, great retention. Smells of fruity hops. Finishes a little dry and bitter, but not nearly as much as some micro-ales. I liked this so much, I bought two more bombers today.
10-26-2003 16:32:20 | More by JohnnyDuvel
4.53/5 rDev +13.3%
This has become my favorite everyday ale of choice. Got to hand it to the folks at Rogue, that work horse of a brewery that keeps churning them out, year after year. This ale pours a cloudy amber with a huge frothy head that really sticks. Aroma of crystal hops is huge and pleasant with floral notes and a slight citric character. You really need to drink this at 50f or warmer to appreciate the aroma and flavor. An outstanding blend of malt and crystal hops that is bitter but definitely not brutal in any sense. Body is full and smooth and extremely drinkable.
10-26-2003 07:21:48 | More by BierReise
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,807 ratings.