Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

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very good

1,884 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,884
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
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Ratings: 1,884 | Reviews: 1,069 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mrfrancis
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Although this beer is now called Brutal IPA, I think the recipe has changed somewhat. Having tried both Brutal Bitter and Brutal IPA side by side, the two are slightly different in terms of appearance, and noticeably different in terms of smell and flavor.

A: Pours a hazy golden amber with a compact, lingering white head. Nothing to write home about, but far from unappealing.

S: Aromas of toffee, prunes, sorghum, and honey make their presence known gradually. The nose is very subtle and restrained. Honestly, it smells more like an ESB/strong bitter than a typical American IPA.

F: A malty, sweet entry quickly gives way to notes of toffee, vanilla, sorghum, prunes, herbs, citrus, and tobacco. Finishes in a pleasantly bitter fashion with a quick hit of citrusy, herbal hop flavors. Again, it tastes like a hopped-up ESB.

F: This is a medium-bodied beer with a firm, fairly dry feel to it. Again, nothing out of the ordinary. Comes off as a bit restrained compared to some of Rogue's other products.

O: I like this one, but I feel that Brutal IPA is a slight improvement. To me, this ale is stuck between being an American IPA and a hoppier-than-average ESB.

4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap served into a Pint Glass.Enjoyed on sept´11.Pours bright orangish copper in color.Foggy appearance.Off-white,small bubbled,creamy froth creates a thick layer & lasting crown leaving lacing collars.Yeast, pine & woody resin to the nose.The upfront is a dry bitter at first sip like many IPAs;surprisingly, slightly toasted malts come producing an smooth velvet palate, notes of grapefruit & citrics.All this makes the big difference from others!!Then a sharp hoppy flavor explotes while invading the drink making us remember that an IPA will always be an IPA.Rough quince hint finish.Medium body.Medium carbonation & gentle oily mouthfeel.Woody aftertaste complets a well balanced & refreshing beer.Comments: Much better than in bottle.

Photo of Tucquan
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2011-08-09 at Rivermont Pizza in Lynchburg, VA

A - Hazy, straw-orange with a short head and mild lacing.

S - Mild malt and not much else.

T - Spice, pepper, salt, orange citrus tang. Finishes fairly bright and dry with some residual orange.

M - Light body and light-medium carbonation. Smooth yet crisp.

O - Pretty bland. I've had much better low ABV IPAs.

Photo of buck1futter
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a-pumpkin in color haziy with very small yeast particles. decent creamy colored head.

t-malt sweetness with a little tart. not much else

t-bitterness hits quick then settles to a mild sweetness, with some breadyness'.This taste more so of an esb than an ipa for sure. as for an ipa its ok but it should be labled and esb imo. a very good esb though.

m- very soft and creamy, goes down really really easy. slightly watery at the end.

ITS A ESB NOT IPA, now labled brutal ipa.

Photo of Djedhead360
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy orange,light
Smell:Malty with strong hop flavor and Soapy aftertaste/bitter
Taste:smooth malty hopy
Overall: good beer drinking out of Tulip a little watery good carbonation and taste a nice light drink. Definitly a good barbeque beer with some steak

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

22oz bomber poured into perfect pint glass

A: This beer is burnt orange in color, clear and crisp and has plenty of tiny bubbles making their way to the top. The head was about two fingers on a hard pour. It is creamy and white. It is leaving a generous amount of lacing as it dissipates. (note: there was a lot of sediment in the bottle, so on the second pour, the beer was cloudy with tiny floaters visible. The head was also more pronounced. It still looked good).

S: I get a scent of slightly toasty, biscuity malt with fresh, citrusy, slighty dank hops.

T: This beer has a solid fresh, flowery hop taste backed up by a good amount of biscuit tasting malt. I also taste an ever-so-slight grapefruit taste. I seem to get that grapefruit taste up front and then with the immediate aftertaste: the first few breaths out. The hop bitterness is present but not overwhelming to me.

M: I find this beer to be medium bodied with a taste that fills the palate. It finishes medium-long and does not leave a bitter hop aftertaste on the tongue or roof of the mouth as some IPAs do.

O: I have really enjoyed this beer. Despite its name, it does not seem brutally bitter to me. This is likely because I drink a bunch of super hoppy 100+ IBU IPAs on a regular basis. This past month I have added several IPA to my at-home rotation that I have really enjoyed. They all seem to be around the 60 IBU mark. I am finding that I really like this area for IPAs when I don’t want to challenge my palate too much.

Overall I found this IPA very drinkable. It is balanced extremely well. You can tell these brewers are exceptional with the kiss of grapefruit that shines through at certain moments in the most appropriate way. This is my first time having it (surprisingly), and I do have a soft spot for Rogue. This was the first American brewery to introduce me to awesomely adventurously phenomenal beer with Dead Guy Ale well over 10 years ago. I have always found their beers to be really solid.

Photo of jsled
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

P: 3/5. Very hazy straw/gold. minimal head, receeding as well. some carbonation.

A: 3/5. fruity citrus hops. herbal. some bubblegum. some malty notes, but minor.

F: 7/10. bitter. slightly sweet. relatively well balanced. some astringency.

M: 3/5. good. some lingering aftertaste, but nothing dramatic or unpleasant.

O: 7/10. a good ipa, though not great.

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

From the 22 ounce bottle. Sampled on August 25, 2011. The pour is copper-orange with a soft and delicate head that slowly diminishes and lingers. Slightly cloudy. The aroma boasts a lot of earth, pine, and floral hops with this teaser of sweet malts matching it one to one. The body is above medium and quite enticing. The hops are more muted in the flavor but they come on strong just the same to step all over the mellow maltiness that is putting up a good fight. Nice bitter finish. Very interesting.

Photo of shand
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint. This is a relatively fresh bottle from my discernation, with the Brutal IPA name and the Dare*Risk*Dream tag.

This brew pours a hazy yellow-range color with two fingers of head that retains well. The aroma is alright, it's got a bit of hops, but mostly orange and caramel malts. It's a bit weak in the nose department to be honest. The taste here is very good. Don't come in here expecting a "brutal" IPA, this is a very balanced brew with juicy fruit flavors over a nice hop backbone that isn't very assertive. Caramel malts hang out in the back. Delicious.

The mouthfeel is nice, it's well carbonated and goes down very smoothly. The drinkability is amazing, this bomber disappeared in front of me in the span of about 10 minutes. This is a delicious brew. Why isn't this in six packs, Rogue? Move the Mocha Porter over to bombers, and throw this in sixers. It'd sell like hotcakes, I know I'd buy a lot of this at a 12-14 dollar six pack instead of a 7 dollar bomber! As it stands, I'll drop another two bucks and buy a Sculpin if I'm buying an IPA bomber. It was a nice treat though, for sure.

Photo of SykDoc
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a clear orange color and forms a 1.5 inch off-white head that slowly reduces leaving a very nice lacing.

The aroma is primarily orange/citrus with a touch of breadiness and caramel malt in the background.

The taste has an orange rind component that provides the citrus and bitterness component. Not real stiff in intensity. A nice caramel sweetness lurks in the backgroung.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a somewhat sharp carbonation. It then becomes smooth and finishes with a light dryness.

Overall, this beer is decent. I wish the intensity had been a bit more intense, but the components are reasonable.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a very foamy one finger head on top - slightly off white in color. Great head retention, just sitting on top and going nowhere. Rings of lace around the glass.

S: Not a ton going on here, some light orange and some caramelized malt.

T: Not really what I was expecting at all. With a name like Brutal IPA, I expected it to be over the top with the hop flavors and a bitter finish, however, its a bit subdued. There is a lot of orange on the flavor profile with a bit of grainy malt. Relatively simple.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes slightly dry, but not bitter.

O: Easy drinking, but not very hoppy at all. Drinking it blindly, I would have guessed it a pale ale probably. Not bad, just not what I was hoping for.

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

One of the bombers I bought before my departure from Calgary's plethora of a beer selection.

A - Pours a hazy golden orange colour, solid finger of head wit hsolid retention and some nice sheeting lacing.

S - Solid citrus hop presence, with an earthy cedar comign through, sweet caramel and toffe undertones.

T - Sweet citrus hops off the to, nice subtle bitterness and some caramel apple on the finish. A sweeter take on an otherwise bitter style, which was fantastic.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and surprisingly wet.

O - Certainly one of my favourites from Rogue to date. Fantastic ale with plenty of flavours to satisfy all palettes.

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

Brutal Bitter smells of citrus and hops, or more simply, like a glassful of grapefruit and orange juice, with a bit of grenadine. There are good brown sugar malts beneath that aroma, and the promise of stickiness around the mouth of the bottle.

On the tongue, the beer is far maltier than the nose would suggest, with nuanced brown sugars, dark caramels, hints of marbled rye bread, molasses, lychee nut, walnut, and wildflower honey streaming across the tastebuds. A good smattering of hops balances out the beer nicely, providing a simultaneous rosewater and grapefruit (with only light hints of pine) support structure. The beer is listed at 59 IBUs, but most of those don't come across until late in the mouthful, when the sugars peel back and reveal the bitter base. The aftertaste is largely hops, and fades fairly quickly. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is quite decent fare, though, as many have already mentioned, the beer doesn't quite live up to its "Brutal Bitter" title. Nevertheless, it's worth trying, as the flavors are full and round, and don't fade with subsequent mouthfuls.

Photo of xnicknj
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the wishing well in philly - i cant believe i havent reviewed this yet

Pours a slightly hazed caramel color with some brighter orange hues. A thinner white head dissolves into wispy film, leaving plenty of spotty lacing behind.

Bready and malty in the nose, with hints of sweetness and a flair of hops. Fairly soft though overall, would like to see more hop presence here.

Nice bitter bite up front with some pine and softer citrus notes. A touch of orange before the larger malt backbone comes crashing through. Biscuit and bread crust with touches of caramel and faint honey. A bit sweet, and finishes with some residual hop bitterness.

Medium bodied, nice carbonation, a little creamy and sticky. A pretty decent drinker, especially if you like a larger malt presence in your IPAs.

Photo of sethmeister
3.08/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

cloudy amber with 2 fingers of ecru head

scent is fresh bread with strong grapefruit notes

taste starts nicely with sharp grapefruit hops, a salty tang, and a mineral flavor. grainy wheat flavor. doesn't seem to have staying power though. short dry finish.

mouthfeel is a little chalky

easy drinking mild ipa but doesn't really stand out.

Photo of huhl23
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off this IPA is not Brutal. Tasty yes but I expected more of a hop ass kicking than I got. It actually is a very easy drinker. Pours a light amber orange with two finger head, and decent lacing. Good nose, with some fruit and floral. Taste is a little more malty than hoppy so I'd prefer it to be a bit more balanced but overall a good brew. Might want to change the name to Not Quite So Brutal though.

Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.72/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in nonic

Look (4.5/5) Pours a very hazy deep-gold to orange color. The head is really great! Pours a huge three or so fingers that rises a bit slowly with a cascade. It comes up big and off-white. Great stand and great lacing. Nice carbonation on the glass.

Smell (4.5/5) The nose if obviously hoppy. It had some bready malt in there. Hops pine and resin with some grapefruit; pretty standard north-west flavors. Some light fruitiness comes through, but the finish is very dry with a hint of gypsum.

Flavor (5/5) Really good. The malt (bread crust, lightly sweet) gives a great backbone. The hop flavor is pretty strong and complex. The same as on the nose. Bitterness is a little less than expected, which really puts the balance between the hop flavor and the light sweetness of the malt which work well.

Feel (4.5/5) Medium-light body with medium-high carbonation make for a fluffy feel and dry out the finish a lot, which is really nice because there is a bit less bitterness.

Drink (4.5/5) a really great brew that finds some middle ground between an APA and an IIPA. Highly drinkable!

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

The pour is a bronze-amber hue and is capped by a thick off-white froth. The brew offers a tremendously vibrant fruity dank cannabis sensibility tinged with a hint of evergreen, and it is resting atop a mild sugar cookie malt with just a smidge of caramel. Very well balanced, easy drinking, and lighter in body than the average IPA. Overall, this is a very enjoyable IPA and is one of the top-tier Rogue offerings in my mind.

Photo of chodinheaven
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Hazy orange color with a healthy sea foam head on top. Excellent stickage with a little retention. Pine and citrus hop nose, nice grapefruit notes that smell appetizing.

Nice grapefruit notes in the taste as well, excellent fruity and citrus tastes to the hops. Barley adds a balancing malt that works well with this brew. Its not so bitter as to take away from the excellently understated fruitiness of the hops, making this one go down incredibly easy. The creamy texture of the mouthfeel lends a hand in balancing out the perfect amount of hops, and finally leaving a nice bitter aftertaste that isn't overwhelming. Overall this is a really solid IPA, even if there isn't anything incredibly unique about it.

Photo of darjoh
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into pint glass.
An old local favorite to Newport Oregon, as well as mine. Anytime I find this in the store I grab at least one, and save for a semi-special occasion. Only found in the 1pt.6oz bottle in the stores, and known as Brutal Bitter in the brewpub. I appreciate this Ale more for the fact it is not widely available, even just 50 miles from Newport.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a plain tumbler pint glass at Eli Cannon's in Middletown, Conn.

A: Bright, copper amber color with an orange hue and slightly chilled haze. A two-finger head of white, creamy foams leaves loads of lacing on the glass.

S: Citrusy, herbal aroma of hops meets a citrusy, lemongrass and orange peel scent that's inviting.

T: Sweet-roasted malts throw a bit of chewy wheat at the palate before blasting through with juicy, acidic Crystal hops. Assertive hops last through the finish where a bittersweet rush of fruity malts balances things out, leaving a spicy and resinous aftertaste.

M: Medium-full bodied IPA with great drinkability and slightly, bitter pull behind those 58 IBUs.

O: A really potent IPA at under 6% ABV, Brutal Bitter impressed me. Really versatile drinkability and enough of a hop fiz without tanking the palate. Wheat and pale malts keep things light and moving while letting you appreciate the hop bill thrown into the kettle. I'd certainly get it again.

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

650 ml bomber poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a cloudy dark orange with a finger and a half of off-white head; dies down quickly to a thin layer of foam but leaves some sticky lacing.

S: Has a strong citrus hop/grapefruit aroma.

T: Seems fairly malty for a west coast IPA (which may be why it was not originally called an IPA) but is well hopped with a nice bitter grapefruit finish.

M: The thin side of medium with a nice lively carbonation.

D: Drinkability is fairly high.

Photo of kflorence
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a hazy, golden amber in color with a perfect, thick, frothy head atop. Carbonation levels look good. Lacing around the glass as you drink. I'm loving the haziness, and the foam isn't overly carbonated; more on the sticky/filmy side. This one is a looker!

S: Not an overly prominent aroma, but a pleasant one. Hops are dominant, seemingly of the citrus variety. There is a little bit of a flower and honey thing going on and something more bready in the background.

T: Lovely, smooth and balanced on the palate. An amalgamation of grapefruit and apricot citrus with a bit of yeast, bread, caramelized sugar and a twist of lemon. The hops are definitely the backbone of this brew, but they are complimented nicely by the subtle, light malts. I can definitely see how others would liken this to an ESB, since it has many similar attributes, but with a bit more of a hop edge. Definitely not "brutally" hoppy nor bitter, but in my case this is a pleasant surprise!

M: Medium-bodied with a bit of chewiness and a good amount of carbonation. Rolls down the tongue with ease with a dry, bitter finish.

O: I wasn't sure what to expect from this brew judging by the name ("brutal" is quite an ambitious word), but it turned out to be a nicely balanced, tasty and quite drinkable hybrid English ESB/West Coast IPA. Of course, Rogue never disappoints and this one is no exception. Cheers!

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

I'm impressed by this IPA. Very clean and distinctly bitter flavor will have me buying again. IPA's are my ales of choice and I'm always looking for another good one to add to my choices. I tend to like quite hoppy ales and Stone IPA is my standard purchase available everywehre I shop. Lagunitas IPA and Pliny The Elder are topping my list of favorites at this time. Enjoy Hop Stoopid too.

Photo of nickthegun12
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a good sturdy ipa!!!

red to brown in color with a foamy white head and nice thick lacing

there a smells from the aromatic hops...and nice base malts....slightly fruity

taste is very well balanced the hops don't overpower the beer....the malt comes out well too...ever so slightly fruity on the finish

the feel is dry but not overly dry....carbonation is decent

overall this is a high class session beer....obviously perfected by the rogue brewery

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,884 ratings.