1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,769 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,769
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 61
Gots: 50 | 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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,769 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jasonjlewis


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I couldn't put my finger on the hop type of this beer, it's somewhat like cascade, but not quite. I like it though. I like cascades more than centennial hops.

This beer had an awesome strong aroma that was very hoppy. The taste was hoppy in balance to the malts, which were much more complex. A bready and biscuitiness was there as well as some caramel malt flavor.

Most ESBs I've had are more balanced than this one, yet this beer is still good and maitains a sense of balance. The malts lead the complexity here but the hop flavor is dominant. It's interesting as the undertones are more complex. A nice brew that I would welcome in my fridge any time.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2007 08:50:34 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of soupyman10

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There was a strange dark sprinkling on the top of this beer, and I'm not quite sure where it came from, or if it affected the flavor. I'll reivew like it wasn't even there. Appearance is a nice copper color with an excellent head on top that basically never went away. Solid lacing as well. Nose is nicely balanced; some sweet toffee malt as well as salty, bitter hops. Some sweet dried fruit shows up as you keep drinking, too. Taste is much hoppier. Lots of salty, ESB-style hops comes through first. Some light, sweeter malt in the middle, although it definitely doesn't exert the same presence that it had in the nose. Ends with more hops, although the after-taste is drying like some ESBs. Feel is excellent; so full bodied it's almost stout-like. Really impressive, especially for the style. Overall, I like this one. I'm not sure if it beats the Fuller's ESB for me, but it's definitely one to try, especially if you're an ESB lover.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2007 22:25:11 | More by soupyman10
Photo of safaricook


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

bought at Sterk delicatessen in Amsterdam, where they got a nice shipment of Rogue
nice fine off white head, slightly murky red-golden body
grapefruit, tropical fruits, pine
caramel balances hoppy bitterness
medium body, little resiny
typical American IPA Cascade hop profile nicely balanced by a good caramel body. And this balance makes it a real good one.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2014 20:24:49 | More by safaricook
Photo of Manosbeeroffate


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this locally at PDQ Market. Pours a really nice golden orange color. Smell is of faint citrus. Taste is a very strong citrusy hops, very tasty actually. Good mouthfeel. Overall very drinkable and a really nice beer. But brutal bitter? Just in name only unless your used to sweet beers. I guess they needed a name. It's good stuff, go for it.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2006 20:37:25 | More by Manosbeeroffate
Photo of crookedhalo


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I can't believe I haven't reviewed this beer thus far. I've had it on-cask, on-draught, out of the 22 oz. bottle and, like the one I'm reviewing now, the 12 oz. bottle. Pours up a nice lightly hazed bronze and orange color with a beautiful, fluffy bone white head. Excellent retention, stickage and lacing as the bitter was consumed. Aromas are mostly of grassy hops, with underlying biscuit and caramel from the malt. A bit of pine and citrus in the aroma, but not as pronounced as some left-coasted IPAs. Honeyed malt sweetness tries to make a run for the border, but gets detained by the Hop Patrol. Bitterness plays a controlling factor in this beer, but it is not absolute. The hops are quite subtle and grassy in their character providing a plentiful hop character without the overall feel of a "hop bomb". Some toasty malt sweetness comes through, but is mostly pale malted in flavor. Astringency is throughout, but pretty tame. This must be the best example of an "American Bitter" brewed with regards to it's British counterparts. Mouthfeel is light and creamy, adding to its excellent drinkability. Like I'd stated before, I've had it numerous times, and this bitter doesn't ever cease to please my senses.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2007 00:24:37 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of bartle

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful clear rusted orange with a very thick and frothy cloud white head. Great retention and looks amazing to see it lace all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Smells of clementines, light specks of lemon zest, some caramel malt and a nice splash of pine. Deep within there is a sense of sugared cereal. Nice.

This is full of bitterness. Not a tongue burner, but pleasant on the palate for hop lovers. There is a lot of great citrus flavours, grapefruit, clementines, a touch of honey and grain, with a floral backing from the hops that leave a very nice hop flavour on the tongue.

It seems to be on the higher side of carbonated, but that adds to the drinkability of this beer. It goes down clean, full mouthfeel without being too rich. It's a great summer rainy day beer or to pair with a nice curry.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2010 00:49:44 | More by bartle
Photo of IronLover


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Weathered copper orange in color with and murky. Poured with a thick, dense foam that quickly reduced to a wispy cap. Pungent, ripe, citrus hop aromas, orange, pineapple, and apricot, with sweet bready and caramel malt beneath. Creamy smooth feel in the middle on the tongue, and a tangy, puckering bitterness on the edges of the mouth. Flavors are a bit more balanced than aromas, but are still hop forward. Pungent ripe citrus hop flavors up front with pine hop flavors beneath. A solid sweet caramel and bready malt flavor props up the bitter hop character. Finishes semi-dry with a sour bread and bitter pine hop aftertaste.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2012 02:18:39 | More by IronLover
Photo of redelephantdane

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a- orange, leaf color, thin lacing, 2 inch head.

s- really sweet, citrus, pear, some malts.

t- biscuit, soy, a little bit of hops, good balance, some malts

m- really dry, nice refreshing, leaves you wanting more.

d- i could really drink a lot of this if i wanted to.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2006 21:00:18 | More by redelephantdane
Photo of Nipitato


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Copper hue that pours with a thick nearly white head that drops down to about 1/4 inch. Great retention. Poor clarity. Sticky lacing.

S: Really nice. Hop aroma medium but subdued. Sweet caramel malt adds balance. Fruity esters come through apricot/apple - sweet. Smells like an ESB should smell.

T: A well balanced flavor. Sweet caramel malt and hop flavor share equal billing. Fruity esters are quite prominent and add complexity - character is apricot and melon. Hop flavor is unpronounced but plenty bitter.

MF: Medium body - just right. Lightly carbonated.

D: A well balanced beer good session beer. I can't believe that this is my first Rogue. Much more subdued and balanced than I was expecting.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2007 16:44:04 | More by Nipitato
Photo of AMo


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rogue Brutal Bitter pours an extremely attractive copper amber hue that can just barely be seen through. It has a medium smell, mostly of hops. The taste isn't nearly what the name suggests, but it does have a smooth well balanced hop taste. This beer to me is a bit mellow, but still very drinkable. Definetly a good call.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2007 16:17:12 | More by AMo
Photo of CowsCanBark


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a beautiful murky orange hue with an off-white two-finger head. A very nice amount of lacing is left as I drink.

Smell: Citrus, mainly oranges, and flowery hops are the dominant smell, followed by a moderate smell of malts and biscuits.

Taste: A fairly balanced mixture of citrusy hops, flowery hops, and a very noticeable malt character, more so than in your usual IPA. Mild bitterness throughout, as well as a watery finish.

Mouthfeel: Great. It's a moderate body with fairly high carbonation, but it goes down easy and is very refreshing. There is a certain likeable smoothness to it as well.

Overall: An interesting IPA that I'll surely be sampling again. More malty than your average IPA, this one is certainly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 04:15:31 | More by CowsCanBark
Photo of RootedFool


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a 22 ounce bottle at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Pours a radiant amber with a soapy orange head that subsided quickly, leaving pizza-crust-bubble-like lacing on the glass.

Smell is faint to my nose. What finds its way through is a gritty, lemony hop bitterness with a thin sheet of malts backing it up.

I expected the mouthfeel to be thicker, but it's got sufficient body -- just not perfect.

Fist sip: blew me away with the flood of hops.

Second sip: I taste the subtle malt notes before the symphony of hops.

Long-lasting aftertaste of dry, toasty hops with a citrus crust.

Not a bad beer for my 20th review. In fact, it's quite good. Will try it again for sure.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2004 22:28:29 | More by RootedFool
Photo of BucannonXC5


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-oz. bottle into a pint glass. Color was honey orange brown, similar to iced tea. About an inch of head. A nice lacing with some bubbles and clouds mixed in. Minimal film on the sides.

Smelled big of citrus hops right up front with tangerine taking the lead. Some grapefruit in there, too. Potent citrus hops.

Citrus hops city and tangerine was the mayor. Bitter finish on the end of the tongue. Also some caramel or chocolate in there, too.

Medium body. Oily texture? Average carbonation. Astringent, bitter finish.

Not a bad beer overall. Pretty consistent taste of tangerine. Refreshing as well.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 10:02:08 | More by BucannonXC5
Photo of hosehead83


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. "bomber" bottle into a standard pint glass.
Cloudy apricot in color, with a nice, two-inch head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Sweet toasted malt, fruit
Taste-Biscuit malt,orange, fruity hops, orange rind, pink grapefruit.
To my hophead tastes not "brutal" at all, but nicely balanced and flavorfull. Still, with a name like Brutal Bitter and styled as an American IPA I was expecting a little more "hopsmack" from this brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2012 18:17:58 | More by hosehead83
Photo of mmmbeer


4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date - brewed with lots of Cascade hops. It pours an unfiltered orangey/amber with medium carbonation leading up to an inch of off-white head that leaves nice webs of lace. The aroma is lightly vinous (too old?) with piney/green and citric hops (grapefruit, orange, lemon/lime?). It tastes of strong pine and citric hops which contribute a bracing, yet maintainable bitterness (59 IBUs) backed by lightly toasted/caramel malts. The body is medium with light/medium carbonation, and lots of coating hop oils that suck the moisture from my mouth. Overall a tasty ale, even if this sample is a bit old - a definite fix for hopheads like myself.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2007 23:53:22 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of DESTRO


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a copper color with a small head. aromas of pine and big juicy hops rise up and out of the pour. the taste is basically bitter hops, just like the name implies. a tad of malt comes out but it cant contend with the bitter hop rush. nice medium smooth mouthfeel and pretty drinkable. a drinkable big beer huge on the hops and bitter just like the name implies. delicious if your into something full of flavor and hefty.

$4.99 a bomber.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2003 20:52:46 | More by DESTRO
Photo of PhantomVodoo


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orangeish color with some sediment and an off-white head. Aroma of mostly citrus with some toasted malt thrown in. Taste shows a well hopped beer with plenty of malts to balance with the bitters winning in the end. Another solid, drinkable Rogue with plenty of character.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2002 20:16:56 | More by PhantomVodoo
Photo of Orrshow

Alberta (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This beer is a very cloudy orange with yellowish tones. The head is plentiful, frothy, and a nice off white. Some lacing is left on the glass.

Smell – Smell is dominated by hops. Floral and fruit aromas arise from these hops and are complimented by a pine like smell as well.

Taste – Right off the bat this beer makes you know it’s hoppy. Floral hop flavors are present with strong citrus along with it. That pine aspect from the smell is present in the flavor and some malt sweetness gives this beer a nice balance.

Mouthfeel – Substantial body with a slightly oily texture. Carbonation is there but not overpowering.

Drinkability – Good. I find this easy to quaff or sip.

A stand up beer. One I plan to reunite with here and then when I crave a nice bitter.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2007 01:15:09 | More by Orrshow
Photo of bloberglawp

Quebec (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a medium orangish yellow, a fair head that dissipates to a thin film, some lace.

Aroma of hops and spice. Flavor of astringent (but not overly so) malt and a hoppy bitter finish. Lots of american hop and malt carracter.

Quite a hoppy ESB, runs more into american IPA territory. A good ale none the less.

Buy it, drink it! :-)

Serving type: bottle

09-16-2008 02:36:28 | More by bloberglawp
Photo of 3Vandoo

Quebec (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice orangish beer with a shy foamy and thick head. Limpid clear body with a vivid carbonation.

smell is great, aromas of fruits, citrus, hops, bitter and grapefruit.

Taste is quite similar to the sense as the smell, grapefruit flavours hit you right away followed by hops and then a shy malty presence. The malty caramel flavours actually hit your tongue when drinking, mixing a bit of bitter and sweet at the same time that end with a medium bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2009 05:05:03 | More by 3Vandoo
Photo of tzieser


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy amber color with a small head that settles into a lacing around the sides of the glass. looks nice

smells great. lots of floral hops up front, maybe some biscuity malts in the back somewhere-- but the hop oils are the main smell on this one

tastes good. flowery hops dominate the palate, with some malts in the background to balance the hop heavy flavor. the alcohols aren't very recognizable-- which is good. this is a very hoppy beer, but its balanced well to keep the hops from scaring me away. very nice

drinkability is good. i wouldnt wanna have a ton of these (the hops might get to me after a while), but i could definitly have 2 or 3 no problem.

pverall-- this is quite a good beer. it's nice-- hoppy and bitter but balanced perfectly to keep things from getting out of hand. not as bitter as i thought it was gonna be, but i'm actually thnakful of that. try it for sure if you haven't yet.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2009 23:43:33 | More by tzieser
Photo of foles


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another AUD$18 outlay to try a highly rated Rogue beer (sigh).

Pours a pure rich cloudy orange with a fluffy white head that reduces to a clean lacing. Little carbonation. Herbaly citric explosion on the nose. A little more american like in hop profile. Lots of rough hoppy goodness also. Clean bitterness for a 59 IBU monster. Not just straight bitterness, but more of a bitterness profile that transforms in your mouth. Although this beer contains a single hop (crystal), the hop profile is quite complex - love it!

Focus is squarely on hops instead of the malt, but there is a decent backbone there - maybe not rounded enough but bloody good

Another splendid ale from Rogue.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2009 09:19:37 | More by foles


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

10-03-2011 23:03:56 | More by GONZALOYANNA
Photo of atigerlife


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange with 1 finger cramy slightly off white head. Minimal carbonation rising.

Aroma is of grapefruit, nectarine and peach. Lots of stuff going on here. Very nice.

Taste has hops [of course] which is dominated by peach and pine flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, dry and cleansing.

Overall, very drinkable and enjoyable. Definitely worth having again.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2010 17:19:45 | More by atigerlife
Photo of zacharius


4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a hazy orange color with a foamy lacy head. The aroma of this beer is basically hops but with a complex floral smell. Taste is again mostly hops but there is a sweet caramal undercurrant to the taste. The bitterness is there but the hops seem to me more noble type rather than typical NW hops. This beer is medium bodied and moderatly carbonated with makes it slide down your throat. Drinkability is good and you wont' get bored of this one.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2005 00:41:26 | More by zacharius
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,769 ratings.