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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,083 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,083
Hads: 2,040
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 79
Gots: 156 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,083 | Hads: 2,040
Photo of Knapp85
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this with a few other IPA's I picked up and wanted to split with a friend. The list of beers that night was Bavarian Barbarian 2x4, Brutal IPA, Terrapin So Fresh So Green and Lukcy Basartd Ale.

This beer came in 3rd in my opinion to the ones we had that night. The Terrapin was 4th. This beer seemed like it something I'd love, The name sounded great and the ratings were high. It had a lot going for it.

The beer pours out at a light copper color with a pretty good head on it. The aroma is very good along with the appearance. The smell is strong with hops which I love. The taste was hoppy but it just didn't seem to have enough kick to it. I didn't find it to be "Brutal". The mouthfeel was on the lighter side as well. It's a good beer but I wouldn't rave about it. (777 characters)

Photo of Tucquan
3.4/5  rDev -15.6%
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. (373 characters)

Photo of UnionMade
3.39/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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. (1,835 characters)

Photo of KTCamm
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the colorful 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Poured an orange copper color with a thick head of white creamy foam that took some time to disssapate. Didn't lace as much as I expected.

Smell if hoppy, malty, citrus. Faint smell, not very strong.

Taste was a well balanced ESB - the citrus flavor comes through, backed by malt, with a prominent hop taste throughout. The bittering isn't truly "brutal" - instead its well brewed and serves to contribute to the taste, dominating, but never overpowering.

A drinkable beer, tasty and well made. (553 characters)

Photo of jeffmonarch
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Cloudy yellow orange with a thick white head.

S - Malt and hops. Very mild.

T - Very strong wheat flavor with good bitters taste. Very good.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - Good beer. I am not a fan of ESB's but for the style this is good. (292 characters)

Photo of xnicknj
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
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. (801 characters)

Photo of TheDeuce
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Rouge Brutal Bitter Ale...on tap at Mugs Ale House

Appearance-Amber with gold notes in the color on the pour into a pint glass, medium to large head sizes up, disappears after a few seconds.

Smell-piney with hops but also very noticeable malt, still a dry pungent smell befitting a powerful beer.

Taste/Mouthfeel-bitter is right, hop flourish mixed with alcohol makes for a dry tart hop smash, full mouthfeel, rash finish of burnt malt and fruity pine.

Drinkability-rash but no big flaws

Overall-decent, a little much on the rashness but it balances out ok, certainly worth a try but not overwhelmingly great. (614 characters)

Photo of dmatsui
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a Chimay Goblet. Tulip was dirty, so sue me.

Two-finger off white head, good retention. Looks like a typical, unfiltered IPA.

Mostly malt characteristics in the nose but with some grassy hops, There's a sweet, raw honey-esque sweetness.

Good spicy hops, clean malts and good mouthfeel. The hops are not particularly strong or robust, but very clean. The mouthfeel is perfect.

Overall Brutal is a fairly standard IPA in my opinion but very well balanced and is definitely a quality brew. (516 characters)

Photo of bigblueheron
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The presentation was a 22 oz bottle poured into a room temperature glass. Rich honey-amber appearance and fresh smell adhered to my expectations. I was anxious for a taste. It started out great, but what a bitter finish punch that lingered forever. I don't doubt this is a well-regarded example, but I didn't have my game face on for this experience. (350 characters)

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from a 22 oz bottle named after Max's tap house. The liquid is orange with good carbonation. The head is big off white and leaves good lace.

The smell is ok a bunch of bitter earthy hops and some bready malt to add balance.

The taste is not so great, a bit of a soapy flavor over earth and flowal hops and malt/

The mouthfeel is good, ni ce body and good carbonation.

The drinkability in not up to my par, I would not seek this out as the taste just does not seem to work for me. MK (495 characters)

Photo of FranklinPCombs
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange amber color, murkey with a decent beige head, little lacing. Smell was dominantly burnt chocolatey and mossy notes up front, with a bit of malt and cherry finish. Taste was slightly bitter, but more what I would describe as sharp and chalky. Same burnt taste, but most everything is masked by the "bitter". The mouthfeel is, again, dry and chalky, and there is a strange sharpness on the back, but had decent body. I was looking for a much more balanced beer, but this one didn't deliver that. (500 characters)

Photo of TangTKE402
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber bottle into an imperial pint glass. Thick 3 finger head appeared that settled down to a nice 1 finger head that lasted the duration of the beer.

Warm aromas of rye, pine, and a touch of hay persisted.

The taste is dry and a little thin. Caraway seeds, a touch of cornstarch and a little bit of resin are the overall notes. This beer has some nice dry bitterness to it, without any major hop notes to speak of: absent are the floral flavors of other IPAs. Perhaps it's the Willamette hops used.

The mouthfeel is a tad thin, and a slightly metallic taste hits you on the swallow right before the bitterness leaves your mouth high and dry.

Overall, not a bad IPA, but a bit thin on character for my tastes. (728 characters)

Photo of Dalem
3.31/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy gold in color with a fair amount of sediment floating around. Head was there and gone but still left a fair amount of lacing around the glass. The description on the side of the bottle talks about a "stupendous hop aroma" but really all that I'm detecting is a lot of malt up front and a slight citrus like hop scent in the distance. The hops seem to jump out much more in the taste though but not until after sweet malt introduction. The odd thing is that this is a bitter (and supposedly a "brutal" one at that) but there's almost a mix orange and mint gumdrop flavorings going on. Not as obnoxiously sweet and gooey as a gumdrop or anything but for some reason there's something about the way of the sweetness of this has me thinking that. As it goes down the throat the hop taste shows up a little more along with some peppery undertones but not really all that bitter and far from brutal. (900 characters)

Photo of jsled
3.3/5  rDev -18.1%
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. (359 characters)

Photo of RickS95
3.28/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I spun the bottle a little to mix up the goodness at the bottom and was rewarded with a hazy pale orange pour. Up top was a couple fingers of cloud. As the white bubbles dissipated, it gave great lacing.

Initially, there is a nice kick of citrus, but it left quickly. In the background is a combination of flowers and pine...kind of like a forest.

There's not a lot of flavor. You'll pick up a bit of pine and what I'm thinking is orange peel, but nothing dominates.

This is anything but a brutal IPA. It's the mildest IPA I've ever had. The mouthfeel is slightly neutral most of the way thru with just a slight hoppy bite in the swallow.

I expected a lot more based on the name alone. It's barely strong enough to be a pale ale and certainly not worthy of being called an IPA. In general, it goes down pretty easy, but for the style, it's pretty lacking. (859 characters)

Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.28/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass at approximately 35 degrees.

Not very pleased with this offering from Rogue. It poured a nice orange/light brown with a 2 inch head. Smells nice, too - of citrus and hops with a little spice. Very hoppy but not much to balance the hop-kick. The citrus smell didn't carry over to the taste buds and I had a hard time figuring out the taste because of that...kept expecting more than I was getting out of it.

Not in my top list of Rogue brews...not a good balance of hops and taste. (529 characters)

Photo of tigg924
3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: orange-brown in color, 1 inch head, cloudy, high carbonation

Smell: hops and lots of floral scents

Taste: a bready start with a super hoppy finish

Mouthfeel: smooth, super bitter, medium body

Drinkability: I expected a bit more balance, but this is really bitter. The hops are featured here. This is a sipper and I would only have one per session max. (367 characters)

Photo of BeerBelcher
3.27/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm stunned at the rating of this beer on this site. I had this beer from a bottle at Comet Cafe, and thought it to be rather disappointing although by no means a horrible beer. It was somewhat hoppy, but not nearly as bitter as I expected, or as I was hoping for. However, the beer was extremely balanced with some nice maltiness.

Appearance was an amber color with a commercial-looking head of small uniformly sized bubbles. Aroma was hop and significant maltiness which struck me as very balanced. A watery mouthfeel struck me before the flavor, which was a soft hoppiness that kind of masked the bitterness of this beer. While I appreciate the fact this beer was balanced, it was still nonetheless disappointing.

I would recommend this beer, yet I would still characterize it as highly over-rated. (807 characters)

Photo of Shadman
3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Impressive looking ale. Kinda a dirty, hazy orange. Think orange juice with a bit of cola. Very hazy. If i waited for the head to dissapate, I be writing this two days from now. Tons of lacing.

Aroma was muted until the beer warmed a little. Citrus like hop and some sweet, albeit muted, caramel malt.

Taste was a bit one dimensional in that the hop seems to dominate. Not in a blaster sort of way, but other than what one reviewer described as an apirin like taste after the initial hop hit.

Decent carbonation. i found it maybe a tad less creamy than I would have liked.

Was, in my mind, a typical West Coast offering. Good, decent, maybe a tad over hopped..but worth a try. (681 characters)

Photo of treehugger02010
3.26/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I got this 650 ml bottle from the Foodery in Center City Philadelphia, Pa. I poured it into a pint glass, well twice I guess.
Appearance: It poured a light amber color producing about a finger of head. There was thin lacing the way down. The head was a whitish color, but not quite white.
Smell: The smell was a nice hoppy and yet mild, certainly not "extra" bitter.
Taste: The taste left something to be desired. It had a wonderful hop, but no background at all.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was similar, leaving much to be desired.
Drinkability: This was a pretty drinkability beer even though it was a bit lacking.
Don't drink and review. (643 characters)

Photo of sevineyes
3.23/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown bottle with the typical Rogue guy on the cover in purple.

A: Orangey brass. Decent head. Leaves very chunky lacing.

S: Sugared lemon rind and grapefruit.

T: Sweet, but ultimately giving way to ruby red grapefruilt tastes.The aftertaste keeps coming back with more and bitterness.

M: Coating and slick. ends tart.

D: Great for those hot summer days.

Overall: Take this beer for what it's worth. I believe this is Rogues way of saying "our hops are bigger than yours". Not really much complexity or refinement, but it does live up to its namesake. (583 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It has been a slow Christmas day here at Chez Wood, reading a Noir fiction anthology and awaiting tomorrow's fest at World Cafe Live with bated breath. The label mentions "a hedonistic experience" and I could use a little of that right about now.

My pour created slightly better than a finger-and-a-half of off- white head with good retention. Color was a slightly hazy deep- amber. Nose smelled faintly of grapefruit/citrusy hops but with a smoky undertone. Mouthfeel was medium and I got a mild hop bite on the tongue, but not much more than that. This seemed a bit underwhelming for an American IPA and it was not the hedonism that I was hoping for, either. Finish was still slightly bitter, but not "Brutal" by any stretch. I was left underwhelmed by the experience. By the way, I found the date stamp on the bottom - it was bottled on 265 day, or late-September. It was fresh enough that it should have been better. (921 characters)

Photo of JBogan
3.19/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy light copper color and had no head to speak of. This Rogue also left no lacing in my glass.

A nice malty aroma with a slight hint of what seemed to be pine.

The alcohol content was well concealed, mainly malt is what I detected.

This had an average mouthfeel. Not much carbonation to speak of, very smooth.

A pretty easy to drink beer, as most Rogues are. Not something I'd drink on a regular basis but it was enjoyable. (440 characters)

Photo of sponberg
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled: On tap, pint glass

The aroma is almost purely hop, with a bit of malt behind it. An intensely hoppy beer - starts with malt and bitterness, and ends like you're sucking on a grapefruit rind that's been dipped in pale ale. Personally, I prefer more of a malt-hop balance - this bad boy leans too far to the hop side for repeated drinking. Given that, one of these from an icy cooler poolside on a broiling hot day could be a nearly religious experience. (465 characters)

Photo of avalon07
3.18/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: When poured into a pint glass from a bottle, this had a bright amber hue and a somewhat thick texture. Not much head to speak of.

S: Rich in hops and some fruits, maybe a bit of malts.

T: I wasn't so impressed with this. While the hops were immediately noticable, there wasn't much else to crow about. It didn't seem all that complex.

M: There was a below average amount of carbonation with this beer. Kind slick finish.

D: This one didn't do much for me. It wasn't the worst I've ever had, but not the best either. It simply lacked complexity. Not without its charms, though. (584 characters)

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,083 ratings.