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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

1,866 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,866
Reviews: 1,065
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 66
Gots: 77 | 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: 1,866 | Reviews: 1,065 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This truly is a brutally bitter ale, in a good way.

Deep orange hint of brown color, craggy. Aroma, big hop nose, old school.

Taste = truth in advertising. The best kind of bitterness, puckering, but quenching and the cycle repeats.

Mouthfeel, despite the puckering effect, there are still nuances of something, not pine, but some kind of tree (juniper) that is very mellow. Interesting. Drinkable at Shenanigan's in Reno, because $5 a pint or whatnot, what a deal, its even cheaper than buying a bomber at a liquor store. One of, if not, the best Rogue effort.

Beerandraiderfan, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My experiences with Rogue beers have left me a little disappointed. However, this one is right on.

Hazy, unfiltered, unpasturized. Looks like apple cider. Not much in the way of head retention or lacing. Tasting this beer has provided me with one new sensation. Bitter, bitter, bitter. A little overpowering, but that's the point. I really cannot smell many of the floral tones that were there on the first sip. Taste damn good.

First experience with this type, I like it.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Sep 27, 2005
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.

puboflyons, Aug 26, 2011
Photo of ocelot2500
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy pale orange with a thick white head that leaves a solid sheet of lacing on the glass.

Smells of citrus and floral hops.

Tastes of the hops on top of a layer of malts. Malts are mostly biscuity and bready pale malt, but there is a touch of caramel that makes its way through. Hops have a big floral character with some orange peel and grapefruit notes as well. Not overly bitter, but hop flavor is certainly present with what I find to be a good balance between bitter and sweet for an IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium with a fizzy, effervescent amount of carbonation.

ocelot2500, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of bcm119
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a beautifuly fine, off-white head. Clear copper in color. Aroma is very fresh and alive with a young, citrusy/pine hop smell. Nose is bright and clear with tangy hop flavors, that barely allows a slight raw grain/bready malt flavor to peak through as it warms. The body is surprisingly light for such a flavorful beer, and the finish is nice- cool and slightly fruity, then quenchingly bitter, with a slight minerally aftertaste. Interesting beer, very drinkable and complex enough to keep you tasting/sniffing, until you suddenly realize your glass is empty.

bcm119, Sep 05, 2002
Photo of wcdoyle
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a luscious copper color and maintains a cloudiness even after a few minutes settling: oh, those painful minutes. Head initially pours thick and tight, but this settled down and left a thin head. Awesome lacing. Carbonation is moderate.

Flavor seems bright citrus (more lemon than anything) at first which sticks around as the maltiness fills in. The malts fade and your left with the hops. I tried this in late winter (on a warm day) and it made me wish it was the height of summer, when this beer would really shine.

wcdoyle, Feb 22, 2007
Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy light copper hue with a one and a half finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a light resiny hop with hints of sweet orange and mild pepper. A nice doughy malt as well.

The taste consisted of an upfront sweet orange hop with a solid, yet soft, biscuity malt. Peppery hop at the finish.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness.

Overall a tasty and very well balanced ESB. Very drinkable.

plaid75, May 30, 2007
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

4.5 A: Hazy rusty orange color with a head that don't quit (retains well). Lots of lacing, very nice.

4.0 S: Big citrus aroma. Light fruits. Floral hops for balance.

4.0 T: Hops dominate lending their bittery goodness and a great amount of flavor. Malts are there but don't quite balance out hops.

4.0 M: Medium body that's a bit low on carbonation. Really smooth, a bit chewy.

4.0 D: Good beer, but one is plenty. Maybe alternating this hop bomb with a malty treat would be the ticket. Either way, quality brew.

DavoleBomb, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of daliandragon
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an attractive, cloudy, cider color with a generous display of fluffy white head that shows determined retention. Nose is muted but pleasantly hoppy, with light, unaggressive pine and citrus. Also smells fresh and somewhat yeasty.

Deep, broad flavor with plenty of hops up front but more tasty than overpowering. Finish is balanced and satisfying. This is a nice thirst quencher and would be great with spicy food. Not overly complex but very nice in itself.

A little stronger and more overtly hops dominated than many in the style and a bit of an APA/ESB cross (no surprise coming from the West Coast) but certainly highly enjoyable and drinkable.

daliandragon, Feb 29, 2008
Photo of WillCarrera
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber with redesigned "Brutal IPA" label poured into a pint glass

A- Pours a very hazy golden amber color. The head is really great on this beer, huge and fluffy off-white, leaves lots of nice lacing.

S- You can pick up on a bit of floral, resiny hops and maybe some honey, but the protagonist of the nose is definitely the fruit, lots of grapefruit and other citrus (It reminds me of a toned-down version of the nose you'd get from some of the better DIPAs like Pliny, it's not as good but the comparison is still valid and definitely complimentary to this beer).

T- Not the hop onslaught I was expecting. They're definitely there, with lots of nice floral, pine, and hop oil flavors, but they're balanced by some strong malts, which are bready and light and just a bit sweet.

M- Has a relatively smooth and chewy feel while not being viscous, medium carbonation.

O- I don't know if the term "Brutal" is really appropriate, the bitterness is strong but doesn't slap you in the face like Hop Wallop or Hop Devil do, but this is a delicious brew that is very drinkable because it's so well-balanced. Definitely give this one a try, one of the better IPAs I've had recently.

WillCarrera, Jun 21, 2011
Photo of Douglas14
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very hazy golden/ light amber color. Strong floral and pine smell come out immediately. It has minimal head with not much retention. Medium to light body. Tastes better and more complex than the smell...hoppy, malty, fruity even. Overall, awesome twist in a traditional English ale

Douglas14, Sep 24, 2007
Photo of PhageLab
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a nonic pint.

A - Hazy orange color, huge head of froth. Both retention and lacing were simply superb.

S - Nice aroma of bready yeasts and something just a tad sour.

T - Tasty bitterness initially, then a full malty body with a touch of yeast. There is even a nice yet subtle hop tinge in the body which gives this one a decent balance. Surprisingly clean finish.

M - Light bodied, mild carbonation, slightly dry feel.

D - Very well put together brew, I could easily enjoy another. Probably one of my favorite Rogue offerings. Reco.

PhageLab, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of bryehn
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy, rusty caramel colour with an abundant tan head that leaves a fair amount of lace behind. Settled as a thick collared film. Its look reminds me of many DIPAs

More of a sweet, fruity aroma than a typical AIPA; like cherries in syrup with a thick, bready maltiness. Clementine or tangerine peel citrus.

Strongly bitter up front, with a well-balanced malty sweetness. There is a faint citrus tang too that gives it a bit of pop before going back to bitter. Unassuming, but solid, not sure why they stopped calling it Brutal Bitter.

Fairly thick and heavy on the tongue like yeast at first. A medium carbonation eases it down and somehow it seems to get even more bitter in the finish, but remains tame enough to prevent puckering or dry cheeks.

Well this is like a hybrid of a fruity English ESB that has a slight citrus character like a west coast IPA. It's a blend that works quite well and one I'll seek out again. Probably my favourite out of the 5 Rogue offerings I've tried.

bryehn, Jun 17, 2011
Photo of NeutroMan
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazy orange with an ambue hue. Modest half-finger off-white head faded quickly to a thin cap.

Smell: Piney, floral hops predominate.

Taste: Hops take on a more medicinal quality upon hitting the taste buds. Malt sweetness struggles to break through the hop dominance and balance it out. Rich, chewy mouthfeel cuts through some of the hop blast. About what you'd expect from a well-crafted west coast IPA.

NeutroMan, May 13, 2012
Photo of AmishT
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep golden honey amber in color. Translucent. A one finger white head develops upon pouring, but recedes quickly and leaves little lacing.

S - Piney, citrus hops are the most prevalent aroma. A faint malt character is also detectable. It's a pleasant nose, but I feel that the aromas should be a little bit stronger than they are.

T - The taste begins with the citrus malts which are balanced a little bit by a malt character a little later on. The finish is pretty clean; some faint, grassy hops linger. It's certainly not brutally bitter, but there is a pleasant bitterness. I still think the hop flavors could be more robust.

M - The bold earthy hops blend extremely well with the carbonation. Light bodied. Gets smoother as it warms up. Wonderful mouthfeel.

D - Good flavor, light bodied. ABV is a bit high to be a great session beer, but still mildly sessionable. Definitely enjoyable; have to pick this one up again.

AmishT, May 19, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07/22/05- On tap at the Rogue Ale House in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- From the tap into two sets of 4oz samplers.

Appearance- Darker golden in color, 3/4 inch creamy white head. Good overall lacing.

Smell- Large amount of bitter woody hops.

Taste- Very little malt here. Maybe a touch. Pine hops carry this beer. Maybe a touch grainy?

Mouthfeel- A touch creamy with medium carbonation.

Drinkability- Overall a nice bitter ESB. One of the better ones.

GClarkage, Jul 23, 2005
Photo of thain709
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - What a pour...a hazy, yet glowing, orange body with loads of sediment suspended throughout the entire body...a three finger, rocky, off white head forms...great retention with loads of lacing

S - A very inviting hop aroma full of sweet citrus and bitter pine...a great sweet malt backbone to show balance

T - The beer is loaded with the citrus hops up front...some orange and grapefruit flavors linger around...the sweet, caramel malts make a show and really provide the force to take the edge off the hops...because the bitter, piney hops come at the end and really linger

M - Medium bodied...smooth with a great lasting bitterness

D - This beer showed some great balance but the bitterness was able to shine through at the end...maybe not as "brutal" as you would expect...a solid brew from Rogue as you would expect

thain709, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was a nice looking copper amber with a huge ivory head. There was a bit of cloudiness, likley from the chill hazing. The head lasted quite well into the glass and produced very fine lacing. The smell is of fruity hops with a good bitter sense of rind. There was a fine sense of fullness in the feel and a bit of an oily finish, likely from the hop endowment. This is a very good bitter.

AtLagerHeads, Apr 12, 2003
Photo of Durge
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear copper color with a solid off-white creamy head and absolute walls of lacing. The aroma offers pleasant pine hop, but very subdued, almost grassy. The flavor brings a beautiful blend of citrus and pine hops with plenty of bite but in a malty bath of bitterness. Very palatable and drinkable. Tasty, in a medium body brew with very even carbonation.

Durge, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of Redwood21
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great amber color with an amazing head. the head is thick and foamy that lasts and sticks to the wall of the glass. the smell is hoppy but not overwhelming or particularly strong. the taste is really good. a little light and not as bitter or hoppy as i would have expected. very good regardless a very enjoyable and drinkable beer. the mouthfeel is a little lighter than i would like but medium to light in nature.

thoughts: extremely good beer i would enjoy a six pack if i could get anthing other than 22ouncers. def worth a try.

Redwood21, Apr 19, 2007
Photo of gmcfarre
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into traditional pint glass

A - Pours a nice and cloudy, hazy orange color with yellow tint. Nice white/light tan head that reaches one inch before falling slowly. Nice lacing.

S - Clean floral and citrus hop scent, very Northwest/Pacific scent. A touch soapy with just a bit of toasted malt flavor. Hop dominated scent.

T & M - Mouth puckering citrusy hops with nice carbonation from the beginning. Backed by a medium bodied malt grain flavor. Like the scent, its a bit soapy in the aftertaste with plenty of bitterness and a mild drying flavor.

D - Claims itself as a type of "imperial bitter" and the strong hop component would seem to agree. However, that definitely knocks down the balance that should be evident in the style. Hard to judge, because its a pretty tasty and well crafted beer, it just doesn't meet the style guidelines for an ESB. Should there be an imperial ESB category? Anyway, this beer is very drinkable if you like hops and clean citrus flavor.

gmcfarre, Jan 29, 2008
Photo of Tupperwolf
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a summery, hazy strawberry blonde color into my nonic with a fluffy, sticky 1/2" yellowish head that ends up covering my beer in a complete, soapy froth. Looks like it wants to climb up the walls - and does as I drink, leaving behind a thick, soapy residue of lace. In fact, it looks so good the further I get I'm bumping it up to a crazy 4.5.

Wow, definite punch of fruity hops in the nose! It comes in alongside caramel and sweet grain scents, slick and inviting.

The scent is sweet but the taste has a rounded, full flavor that starts and finishes with the sprucey, fruity sweet-bitter hops but has a creamy, malty, almost woody tasting middle that sets it apart from an IPA.

The mouthfeel has a nice bitter-tart astringency with a soapy carbonation (I just can't help but use that term for the way this one's carbonated!) that's pleasing. A lazy creamy bitter aftertaste hangs out afterwards.

I think this is a pretty slick offering from Rogue; It's a bit more aggressive in its style than the other ESBs I've tried recently, and can't help but wonder along with other BAs how well this fits into that category, but as far as beers go, this is handsome and tasty.

Tupperwolf, Jan 10, 2006
Photo of zerk
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was a little surprised when I ordered this, I was expecting an English-Style Bitter... this is definately not that. More of an APA in my opinion, Brutal Bitter is a cloudy orange-amber with a thin, but persisant layer of foam on top. Aroma is very hoppy... almost as if you're smelling citrusy hop resin. Flavor is also dominated by citrusy hops, with just a hint of sweetness. Mouthfeel is oily, with a medium body, and quite a bit of carbonation. This one doesn't have quite enough malt for me, but it's definately a very tasty brew.

zerk, Oct 03, 2002
Photo of aquaderek
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured the beer into a session glass. The beer is golden orange classic esb color. The nose is toasty, some hops, caramel, and grapefruit. The taste toasty malts followed by hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is viscous and has the hoppy bitterness. This would be a good beer for more than one, but after that the bitterness may get to you.

aquaderek, Apr 16, 2008
Photo of Fish113d
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presented in a 22 oz bottle, I poured this amber ale into a pint glass. It left a 1 1/2" head with little retention, however it did leave decent lacing on my glass.

Aroma is very floral in hops that are overpowering to my senses. Some grapefruit tones come through along with a somewhat grassy hint as well.

Taste...HOLY HOPS BATMAN!!! Rather smooth even if it DOES make ya pucker just a bit, and some sugar comes through on the swallow. SOme alcohol hits a little on the finish also, which is nice.

Overall, I enjoyed this one very much! Another winner from Rogue!

Fish113d, Jun 14, 2005
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,866 ratings.