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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

1,822 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,822
Reviews: 1,062
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 65
Gots: 61 | 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: 1,822 | Reviews: 1,062 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This poured a hazy amber with a huge, dense, foamy head that left copious lacing on the glass.

The aroma was of very strong rich citrus and powerful hops. Well done!

The taste was like a HUGE explosion of hops in my mouth, along with a flavor blend of citrusy flavors and a strong pine overtone. Excellent!

The mouthfeel was perfect for the flavor, and I would definitely drink more than one of these in a sitting, regardless of the larger bottle size. A GREAT beer from Rogue, and I recommend it highly.

connecticutpoet, Nov 01, 2004
Photo of dbell23
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Libation Station for having this on draft. It's now called Brutal IPA. Poured from a growler into a tulip glass. Hazy amber orange in color, with a two finger head with good retention and great lacing.

Smell is sweet hoppy with malt undertones. Not hoppy like an ipa but more sweet hoppy with malt. Doesn't smell like an ipa.

Taste is really good. Slightly hoppy to start with sweet citrus hoppy in the middle and a really nice hoppy finish. Not hoppy like an ipa just really smooth hop flavor. This is an incredibly balanced beer. Almost perfect hop malt balance.

Mouthfeel is almost perfect as well. Really smooth with an almost oily mouthfeel.

Overall this is one of my favorite Rogue beers. Brutal? No. Ipa? No. Really good beer? Oh yeah. It's definitely an esb. If you go by the name and are expecting a smack in the mouth ipa you will be disappointed. If you like a great esb you'll really like this beer. Far be it from me to give advice to Rogue's marketing department, but if they called this what it is-an esb, they'd sell more beer.

dbell23, Sep 15, 2012
Photo of loren01
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours an orangish color, good frothy white head, good lace all the way down the glass
S: Smell is very pleasant. Smells of citrusy hops, slight bit of yeast smell as well
T: Taste is sligtly malty up front with a nice crisp citrusy hop taste toward the end. I expected a more bitter beer with the name and all but its actually pretty well balanced out which is fine.
M: Medium bodied beer with medium to high amount of carbonation
D: I love this beer!! One of my all time favorite beers from Rogue I would have to say.

loren01, Aug 02, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle(room temp) with a quickly diminishing head.
The beer is a cloudy medium gold.

The smell is a wonderful mix of hops and malt...you can just about taste the beer from the aroma alone and you *know* it's gonna be good.

The taste is a wonderful balance of the sweetness and bitterness with the hops taking over in the aftertaste and leaving me wanting more.. That's how drinkable this brew is. A *must* try if you see it in your local store.

Bitterbill, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of davidchollar
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

mmmm...
this is good shit.

looks really good , perfect golden orange
smells great. fresh and sour like breakfast with grapefruits.
tastes wonderful ... i wouldn't say it is brutally bitter but it definitely packs a punch. remarkably tasty, perhaps a little intense, so i give it a 4 for drinkability.

the best ESB i've tried.

davidchollar, Sep 24, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This is a deep, rich, thick orange in color with a modest head. The head was OK, but the body is just gorgeous. It looks like that Lite-Bright orange, a solid, cloudy orange with a light in the background barely shining through.

Smell – Ah, I love the scent that the Crystal hops give up. It is very sharp and distinctive and a bit rank, like some aged Indo. The lightly-toasted malt backbone is not to be ignored.

Taste – This is so good it’s hard to put down. The hops are tremendous at the taste and very tell done. They provide a perfect balance to the toasty malts. It almost tastes dry-hopped though because the Crystal hops are so dominant in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied ESB has great carbonation and really isn’t “brutally dry” as the name would suggest. It’s much more easy in the cheeks than the bottled version.

The key here is the smoothness, which also enhances Drinkability. It goes down in long, beautiful swallows. It’s almost therapeutic to the tongue and cheeks. I haven’t found a beer that I enjoy holding in my mouth more than tapped Brutal Bitter.

Drinkability – It’s hard to find fault in this ESB. It goes down like silk and is one of the smoothest tapped beers that I’ve ever had.

RoyalT, Apr 20, 2006
Photo of ClassicBrad
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Poured an opaque copper with a velvety head that dissipates with no real sign of lace. Smell is of a 'brutally bitter' suggestion of apple and tart fruit and in-your-face hops. Taste is exceptionally pleasant for the style and the reputation. Mouthfeel was average but could have used more texture. For something called "Brutal Bitter Ale" this thing can be drunk all night. Too bad that I only have one.

Note: I found it odd that there was a good amount of sediment at the bottom of this bottle.

ClassicBrad, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of JahNoth
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The name brutal need not be there because this beer is everything but. English malts meet northwest hops in a most delectable way. After the almost tea-like aroma, there is a lovely hint of grapefruit. As the beer warms the malt characteristics come alive making this a complex but extremely palatable ale.

JahNoth, Nov 17, 2002
Photo of BrewMaster
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Bright, near glowing reddish orange colored beer with a slight haze to it. Big fluffy off white head that thins to lacy islands after a long while. Very nice and sticky lacing on the sides of the glass as it is consumed.

Smell: Sweet malty nose with a big fruity scent to back it up. Pineapple and a bit of citrus.

Taste: Sweet, fruity, and malty up front followed quickly by a quick burst of hop bitterness. The bitterness gives way to a citrusy hop flavor and more sweet maltiness. More fruit flavors show up as the beer warms. Apple and some pear along with some faint candy sweetness and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and thicker on the palate than it looks. Smooth and syrupy as it coats the palate with a thick layer of goodness.

Drinkability: This beer has everything I want in an ESB. It's crisp and malty all the while being sweet and fruity (and a nice 6.5%). All around an excellent beer with a great flavor and a great feel. Yummy.

BrewMaster, Sep 28, 2005
Photo of TripelJ
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Rogue Brutal Bitter

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber. Several glasses out of short stemmed flute.

The first thing one will notice upon cracking the seal on this bomber is the wonderfully clean hop aroma. Pours a hazy copper/caramel with a thick white head. Lacing is sticky down the glass. Nice citrus and hop aromas beg you to take that first sip, which is not nearly as "brutal" as I had anticipated. In fact, its a smooth creamy symphony of citrus (ruby red grapefruit) and hops and lingers to a bittersweet end, which comes too soon with *only* 22 oz.... Yes its bitter, but its not overly so, in fact it exceeds my expectations of the normally "extreme" rogue....

Overall: While not as drinkable as the youngers special bitter, this is definitely a great beer that I will be going back to.

TripelJ, Aug 15, 2003
Photo of paceyourself
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very cloudy amber pour with a small tight white head that slowly fades.Great aroma of lightly roasted coffee with a floral background. The sweet fruity flavors are sharp at first then a strong oily bitterness takes over and hold your attention for some time. This is a excellent bitter and i enjoyed the whole bomber but while drinking this i wondered how this would be on draught, it must be incredible. Another winner from Rogue.

paceyourself, Jan 27, 2003
Photo of JohnParadee
4.61/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thin head, but good lacing on pour from 22oz bottle. Pleasant floral grapefruit nose. Opaque orange color. Very smooth citrusy taste. Ample but not overpowering hops, and alcohol well integrated (almost hidden). Comfortable mouthfeel. Really like this well balanced IPA. Would (will) drink this one over and over again (I hope).

JohnParadee, Dec 16, 2013
Photo of russpowell
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours deep honey with an off the charts beaded san colored head. good lacing and head retention

Smell: earthy hop notes &honey malt notes

Taste: Piney & citrussy hops (grapefruit) with a sweet malt up front. Great hop finish, perhaps a little too much for the style, but it works for me

MF: Rich & ballanced, good carbonation

Very drinkable, think this is more like a DIPA, would love to ty this side by side with SNCA, yummy

russpowell, Apr 04, 2006
Photo of rdrummer
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I admit to being a hop nut so it is no surprise that I found this beer to be awesome. I may like this better than any other Rogue that I've tried. I appreciate the attempt at a single-hopped bitter.

It poured a hazy light amber with medium head that lasted longer than seemed possible. The lacing was thin but extensive. Altogether, a good start to an experience. I could talk about all the hints of aromas that I smelled but this is all about the hops. There is a heavy hint of citrus but it is overwhelmed quickly by hops.

The taste is hoppy beyond belief but there is a sweet malt that somehow balances this a little. It is well-rounded enough that I'm not sure that brutal is the right definition although bitter certainly is.

I love the feel of a hoppy beer in the mouth. It was cleansing and acerbic but also refreshing. This was good from first sip until last. I will be returning to the Brutal Bitter

rdrummer, Sep 24, 2004
Photo of LPorter33
4.6/5  rDev +15%
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.

LPorter33, Jul 09, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Part of the Poitras/VA 2004 vacation.

Enjoyed on cask at Capital Ale House - Innsbrook, Glen Allen, VA

Imperial pint glass presentation. Dense tan 1/2" head over a dark copper brew, and laced admirably. Good hoppy aroma, with the flavor exhibiting an intense malt character for an IPA, which works well with the strong hops. Surprisingly well-balanced in my mind for a product named "Brutal Bitter". Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent.

ppoitras, Jul 09, 2004
Photo of terryeckmeier
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

picked up a bottle of this as soon as I saw it on the shelf. We don't get to many American craft beer up in Toronto, especially from the west coast. Looks great, smells great, taste great. Great head retention, great carbonation and a beautiful medium dark amber colour. Nice mouth feel smooth and leaves a nice dryness after you has a drink. Nice an bitter as it says but not over the top well maybe if you are use to drinking Canadian or Coors but great lingering bitter taste almost like whole wheat toast or something along those lines. Nice maltiness and very well balanced between the hop flavour, malt and bitterness. Would buy it again

terryeckmeier, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of Dantes
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.

Dantes, May 27, 2003
Photo of bosco7
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic with a monster pillowy head. Slight haze. Smells like Spring (extremely floral) and very clean with a slight biscuit aroma. Oh my god this ESB tastes great! Starts toasty, malty, with a lot of caramel flavors and finishes with a very clean florally citrusy bitterness. Mouthfeel is silky smooth with perfect carbonation (maybe just a little more than English varieties).

I love this beer; it is perfectly balanced and extremely enjoyable. Definately not a boring Amber Ale labled as an ESB, this is the real deal.

bosco7, Apr 22, 2007
Photo of IrishRedRock
4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

IrishRedRock, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of ericclements
4.6/5  rDev +15%

ericclements, Aug 30, 2014
Photo of KarlHungus
4.58/5  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.

KarlHungus, Jul 18, 2005
Photo of ericj551
4.58/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served room termperature, Brutal Bitter pours a cloudy light amber with a bubbly white head. The aroma immediately brings to mind sweet, hoppy unfermented wort. I've never noticed it before but thats all I can smell with this beer. The taste is sweet and malty at first, than changes quickly to a nice bitterness with a lot of hop flavor. Just like Dead Guy and the Old Crustacean barleywine, if the price were more towards the norm for the style, these would definitely be in my fridge every night.

ericj551, Aug 20, 2006
Photo of Skidz
4.58/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out bright gold and sits golden amber in the glass with a large off-white head. Nice and bright in the glass. Fades to a light skim on the surface.

Smells nice a malty up front, filled with aromas of golden raisins caramel and apples. Hop aroms is mildly citric with hints of orange rind and lime. Both combine to create a tangy, taffy like aroma.

Tastes lightly malty up front, smoothed out flavors of caramel, pears and grape skins all placed into a nice toasty package of crisp, crackery flavors. Hop bitterness finds it's place and provides a few faint hints of oranges and some scant grassy and herbal flavors. Finish is well bittered with lingering flavors of citrus and some nuttiness.

Smooth all the way through with a pleasant and well-balanced carbonation all bundled in a medium body. Hard to swallow, 'cause it feels so good in the mouth.

Addictingly drinkable, glass touched the table only so I could type. Bottle gone moments later. I have no problems drinking this absolutely tasty brew.

Skidz, Dec 21, 2004
Photo of Mrinternet
4.56/5  rDev +14%

Mrinternet, Aug 16, 2014
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,822 ratings.