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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

1,754 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,754
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.5%
Wants: 60
Gots: 48 | 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).

Malts: 100% Floor-malted Maris Otter, Cara Vienna, Cara Wheat.
Hops: Crystal.
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

15º PLATO
59 IBU
76.1 AA
14.2º Lovibond

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,754 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RoyalT
RoyalT

Ohio

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.

Serving type: growler

04-20-2006 01:14:54 | More by RoyalT
Photo of ClassicBrad
ClassicBrad

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2007 21:14:27 | More by ClassicBrad
Photo of JahNoth
JahNoth

New York

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2002 14:51:31 | More by JahNoth
Photo of BrewMaster
BrewMaster

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2005 04:44:45 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of TripelJ
TripelJ

Florida

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2003 01:14:05 | More by TripelJ
Photo of paceyourself
paceyourself

Connecticut

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2003 16:20:57 | More by paceyourself
Photo of JohnParadee
JohnParadee

Delaware

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).

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 00:12:24 | More by JohnParadee
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

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

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2006 03:26:09 | More by russpowell
Photo of rdrummer
rdrummer

New Jersey

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

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2004 23:54:41 | More by rdrummer
Photo of LPorter33
LPorter33

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2005 00:44:06 | More by LPorter33
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: cask

07-09-2004 11:50:25 | More by ppoitras
Photo of terryeckmeier
terryeckmeier

Ontario (Canada)

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

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2009 19:27:24 | More by terryeckmeier
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 bosco7
bosco7

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2007 03:28:19 | More by bosco7
Photo of IrishRedRock
IrishRedRock

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2003 19:04:45 | More by IrishRedRock
Photo of KarlHungus
KarlHungus

Minnesota

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.

Serving type: bottle

07-18-2005 16:09:34 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of ericj551
ericj551

Alberta (Canada)

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2006 02:04:48 | More by ericj551
Photo of Skidz
Skidz

Wisconsin

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2004 04:02:25 | More by Skidz
Photo of racer2k
racer2k

Massachusetts

4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz bomber pour into a pint glass

A: Pours a cloudy hazy dark amber/orange color with one finger cake batter colored head. Minimal lacing around the glass.

S: Citrus, Grapefruit, floral hops, pine, and a sweet malty aroma, at first blush it smells a lot like a high powered IPA.

T: Nice balance of hops, malt and bitterness with an earthy floral overtone. This beer has an excellent balance of malt and hops. There are also hints of a biscuits and sweet bread. The finish is malty. Nice complexity of flavors here.

M: Medium mouth feel with light carbonation and a nice hoppy aftertaste

D: Very nice beer that has tremendous complexity but is extremely drinkable. This is one of the most interesting "Bitters" that I have tasted. Great work Rogue Team!

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2009 00:28:15 | More by racer2k
Photo of nortmand
nortmand

Virginia

4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Light copper pour with white head and good lacing. Slight chill haze.

Huge orange aroma. Background of pine resin. Pure cascade.

Rounded citrus flavor up front. Thin maltiness midtongue. Clean bitter in the back of a tongue. Leaves a grainy aftertaste. A bit of funk in the aftertaste as well.

A bit thin bodied, but very nice otherwise. Plenty of flavor and very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2006 23:43:27 | More by nortmand
Photo of CortexBomb
CortexBomb

Michigan

4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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!

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2004 23:42:37 | More by CortexBomb
Photo of shadow1961
shadow1961

Minnesota

4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I dropped by the Eclectic Cafe in Brainerd, MN, which has a decent
selection of Rogues in bottle and on tap.

Rogue's Brutal Bitter pours out (according to my notes) a
rocky head over a cloudy yellow brew. The nose is rich
with citrus and herbal notes. The carbonation was active,
and the brew was full of all sorts of flavors beyond malt.
There was hop, of course, but also hints of citrus, pine, and
vanilla. The aftertaste was not unexpectedly of pine and hops.
It was clean, with a big hop flavor that at the same time wouldn't
make a sidewalk pucker if you poured some on it. This is what we
call balance. Super good.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2007 03:36:12 | More by shadow1961
Photo of mschofield
mschofield

Massachusetts

4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy dark orange-amber, topped with a three finger pillowy off-white head. Leaves sheets of lacing.
Very fragrant floral aroma, spicy, light toast and toffee.
Floral and citrus taste, good grapefruit taste and bitterness. Good malt base in the back of all the hops. Light caramel undertone.
Medium bodied, great session drink anytime beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2004 21:17:57 | More by mschofield
Photo of jwilli7122
jwilli7122

Minnesota

4.55/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy tangerine-copper color with a large, puffy white head and moderate lacing.
Smell is mainly spicy hops,
Strong malt tastes, with some breadiness, a medium hop spiceyness, a mellow earthiness, and a hint of fruit flavors: lemon, peach. Fairly full bodied for this style. Extremely smooth and very enjoyable
Brutally bitter? Not quite. Tasty? Absolutely.
Without question the best ESB (if that's what it is) I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2004 04:19:43 | More by jwilli7122
Photo of thatruth
thatruth

Washington

4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz from Cornwall Corner Store poured into a pint glass at Dave's.

Pours a champagne color with a pear like tint. Middle finger head with chalky, off white lacing: both which last for days. Light amber-copper color with orange peel hues.

Smells hoppy, but not brutally so. I've smelled hoppier. Although, the quality of the hops on the nose is superlative. Equally wheaty as it is citrusy.

Mouthfeel is simply flat and dry with a quick finish. Aftertaste quiches your thirst as you pine for another sip.

Taste- Kindly spicy. Hops are exotic. The hefty bready taste adds to this one greatly and makes the brew filling and makes you want for more. A hearty brew.

Overall - A badass brew. Impressed for the 8 bucks I spent. Great color, great look, great taste.

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2012 21:09:48 | More by thatruth
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,754 ratings.