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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,821 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,821
Reviews: 1,062
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 65
Gots: 60 | 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: 1,821 | Reviews: 1,062 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JAFoley
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%

A - Pale golden yellow, nice dense white head. Great retention and decent lacing.

S - Citrus, grapefruit

T - All citrus hop, no piney'ness or floral flavors. Underneath is a quiet and sweet malt base. I think a boost of alcohol would have been nice.

M - Medium/light with very light amount of carbonation. The light carbonation lends itself to the creaminess of the beer.

O - This is a very tasty and drinkable, definitely a good summer beer. I would not describe this as "brutal" but rather smooth. I would really like to try a an amped up double version of this with higher ABV and maybe stronger carbonation. But regardless I'll definitely be coming back to this.

JAFoley, Oct 01, 2013
Photo of beersarang
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%

Pours a copper orange with light tan head. Nice retention, slight chill haze.

Nice grapefruit/lemon hop aroma, hints of alcohol.

Pretty big beer from the beginning, strong malt background, good citrusy hop flavor and bite. Hop bitterness is very India pale ale esque, but this is just shy of being an IPA. Overall quite not overly complex, simple hop bitteness, malt background, and mildly noticeable alcohol. Overall well balanced. However I do feel that this shouldn't be classified as an ESB because it is not truly an English style ESB. It definitely tends more towards and American styled Pale or IPA because of it's citrus hop character.

Smooth and drinkable, coats palate and goes down easy.

beersarang, Apr 28, 2005
Photo of burnstar
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%

Pours murky reddish copper with big persistant off white head. Aroma is dominated by citrusy hops. Lemony. Some toaste malt is dominated by citrus hops. Lemony again. Nice lingering bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and nicely carbonated. Pretty drinkable. This tends to be a little more hoppy and a little less balanced than I'd expect from an ESB. But hey I like hops and this is a good beer so I'm not complaining.

burnstar, Sep 09, 2007
Photo of Flounder57
4.04/5  rDev +1%

22 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer and left some lacing on the glass. It is a hazy pale orange color with some clarity and bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Pale caramel and bready malts followed by light grapefruit and tangerine notes.

Taste: Nice citrus notes balanced with the pale and bready malts. A little tingly bitterness in the end. Very tasty brew.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, drinkable, medium bodied, low to medium bodied, and a little chewy.

Overall: Pretty awesome IPA. I can't believe I waited so long to grab a bottle. I guess it was worth the wait.

Flounder57, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of LukeVolky
4.04/5  rDev +1%

LukeVolky, Aug 13, 2014
Photo of jcdiflorio
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

served into pilsner glass from 12oz. brown bottle long neck crimped-on cap with painted label.

Hazy,clouded medium copper color. Thick,rocky head very chunky looking,good retention leaving thick curtians of lace down the glass.

Good clean aroma very citrusy,sweet and carmelly nice balance to aroma,very inviting.

Intense citrus taste,some pine and grapefruity,good clean mid taste. Crisp,sharp hop bitterness. Leaves a pleasing bittersweet taste on the palate.

A suprizingly light mouthfeel,airy feel to it. Mouthwatering,really makes the tounge swell. Good drinkability,refreshing wish I has another. Reminds me of an IPA. Very good beer would drink this one again.

jcdiflorio, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of BadBadger
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

While not really brutal, this fine beer will leave you smacking your lips. If you enjoy a nice bitter beer then this is a very nice option. Pours a rich amber color. A foamy head is present, though not overwhelming. Smell is a mixture of citrus, malts and hops. Taste is definitely nice and bitter. A dry finish. Enjoy one!

BadBadger, Jul 09, 2004
Photo of Beertracker
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Rogue's Brutal Bitter is best served at cellar temperatures (45-50F). Brutal Bitter pours up rather brashly with a low tannish-white head that sits atop a deep copperish-tawny body into a Rogue house/logo pint. The appearance is very murky with definite "chill-haze" that detracts greatly from the overall appearance. The aroma starts off with a plethora of fresh, green flowery-citrus hop notes with some earthy (e.g. black currants), spicy-peppery notes thrown in for good measure. The hops are thoroughly backed-up by a solid underlying caramel maltiness (e.g. Melba toast, marbled bread, toffee cake). The aroma certainly makes up for the appearance! The flavor starts off with a fresh complex graininess that's backed-up by some audacious caramel that carries towards a fruity, spicy hoppiness that's atypical of most classic Rogue beers. The finish is bold, complex and packed with flavor. This medium-full bodied ale pushes the boundaries for a traditional English Pale Ale/ESB but that's what 100% Rogue brewing is all about. This one is even better on draught paired with a generous slice of freshly baked, brick oven pizza. Here's to the Rogue in each of us!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Beertracker, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of avylover
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours out a hazy orange color with a nice large white head. Aroma is has some spicey hops, some citrousy notes,, and a bit of bready malt back there. This is a fairly unique tasting brew. There is not that ciruos explosion that you would expect, rather a solid maltiness followed by straight bittering hops. The finish is not dry as expected, but rather wet and tasty with some citrousy overtones. The bitterness here is just a sudden jolt, but doesn't seem to linger. Not an IPA by any means. think an IPA without the floeral/citrous blast.

avylover, May 07, 2004
Photo of bluejacket74
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Served in a mug, the beer pours an amber color with about an inch and a half puffy white head, head retention is good. It smells mostly like hops (grapefruit), but there's some apple and caramel in there too. It tastes mostly like hops (grapefruit and pine), but with a bit of malt too. There's a good amount of hop bitterness, with a lingering bitter aftertaste. Good flavor to this beer, but more hoppy than I expected for an ESB. Mouthfeel is medium, with a medium amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's easy to drink. I think this is a pretty good beer, I'd definitely buy it again.

bluejacket74, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of MaryMoTu
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

I got this bottled as 'Brutal IPA' so I was expecting my eyes to water from the hops, but it turned out to be really well-balanced, quaffable, and almost more like an ESB than an IPA. Poured out caramel gold with great head retention and some lacing. Subtle sweet notes on the nose. Very smooth flavor with crisp citrusy tastes well balanced to hints of sweet malty flavors. Not overly bitter at all. Light to medium and smooth mouthfeel. Overall a delicious, drinkable beer. I would definitely place it more firmly as an ESB than an IPA.

MaryMoTu, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of dsa7783
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Another strong selection from Rogue... any bitterness present in this sample is masked by an uncanny smoothness as the beer goes down very cleanly without any negative lingering aftertaste... appearance was very good - full bodied amber / copper color with modest head... smell was very bready and slightly hoppy with bread-like aroma coming through... taste was very good... butter flavor and earthiness present... great mouthfeel and good drinkability... no alcohol detected and bitterness masked by an ultra smooth finish... Recommended...

dsa7783, Jan 03, 2008
Photo of Mark
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Had this with lunch at a nearby alehouse. I remembered this is a favorite of Johnny P. so it was a no brainer. Dark amber with a thin head that left decent lacing. Subtle hoppy nose screamed refreshing. While it had a hop bite it was not as hoppy as I expected. I still enjoyed this beer and it had a very full bodied smooth character to it. Had a bit of a kick to it. Rogue is allright.

Mark, Nov 11, 2002
Photo of RunDWP
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

I didn't find this brutal at all. Strong, sturdy, and bitter it is, but not brutal. Budweiser Chelada? Now you're talking brutal!

It's one of the most unique and interesting beers I've tried. It poured a hazy, tan color with a surprising amount of fizziness in my tulip with a slight foamy white head. For all that malt, really not the study head of foam and lacing I would expect. I have a weak nose, and had to strain a little to pick up some malty, floral aromas wafting up from the liquid. From this unassuming beginning, it was struck by its unique taste. Lots of biscuity malt, well balanced by lots of grassy, herbal hops. Did I detect a notes of taragon and grapefruit in there? As it warmed, the balance changed and the hops character got a little more bitter, but this is one of those brews that rifts on its flavor theme as it warms, rather than getting out of balanced as it warmed. It was enjoyable to warm the tulip in my hands a little and see what this guy would taste like next. It's not a smooth, easy drinking beer but gets good drinkability marks for that type of enjoyment.

May your life be this Brutal.

RunDWP, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of cvstrickland
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

12 oz bottle requires two pours to fit in an imperial pint seidel. 3+ fingers of creamy white head reduces to a sheet and leaves spotty, fuzzy lacing. Pretty, hazy orange-amber body.

Smells citrusy with a hint of pineapple and an earthy quality lurking amidst some caramel sweetness.

Taste is a balance of toasty malt and fruity hops; dry, with a dose of pine needles, and bitter, but nothing "brutal" about it.

Lightly sticky and coating in the mouth, but nicely carbonated and drying to make it all go down too easy.

cvstrickland, Apr 25, 2008
Photo of bfields4
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Small frothy head. Hazy light copper body.

Floral hoppy smells. A little sweetness maybe a hint of spiciness I can't quite place.

Hoppy tastes come through to the taste. The spice comes through as well. Bit of biscuity flavor too.

little carbonation and a nice malty creamy body.

bfields4, May 14, 2009
Photo of Naugros
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

An amazing head and the lace is sticky as all hell. I may need to scrub the glass to get it off. The cloudy pale orange seems perfect for this beer. Oh yeah, careful pouring this one or you'll be sucking suds or swabbing the deck...your choice. The suds are tastier and where I opted. Drain your glass and you'll have a quarter of it still full with beer clouds. I've never seen head retention like this outside of Belgium. Very impressive!

The smell is ALL hops. Nothing else can get through. Hmm, after a few more snorts of this, you can sense the sweetness of the malts. Nice. If you get your nose too close you will have suds hanging off your nose. Do it on purpose and amuse your friends. Still, you have to appreciate this aroma. From it you can tell that the boys at Rogue used a few types of hops and not the omnipresent Cascades. If you read the side of the bottle, they tell you what they used. Duh! Rogue always does this and I love them for it. Willamette hops should get their props as they make this beer a little more sophisticated than the Cascade teas that everyone else loves to brew.

"Brutal" bitter? No, I've had some brutally bitter beers and this is not brutal. I really like this one and I'm not a hop head. Yes, the hops are prevalent, but there's a nice sweetness up front that gives this beer some balance. The malts almost give an impression of potato bread and the hops lend more than bitterness, there's also a citrus tang that doesn't end in pithy yuckitude.

As mentioned above, there's no harsh aftertaste or lingering bitterness. It's got an easy-going medium body.

This went down so easily it's scary. But then my fears are alleviated as I scroll up to the top of this page and see the ABV is just over 6%. I could take down a few of these 650s and be able to type. I keep reminding myself that this isn't Stone...it's Rogue. They don't feel the need to showcase Cascades or bump the alcohol up to insane levels. Not that there's anything wrong with either, it's just not Rogue's style and it's a refreshing change of pace for what is becoming the norm in American craft brews.

Naugros, Jul 09, 2010
Photo of chodinheaven
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Hazy orange color with a healthy sea foam head on top. Excellent stickage with a little retention. Pine and citrus hop nose, nice grapefruit notes that smell appetizing.

Nice grapefruit notes in the taste as well, excellent fruity and citrus tastes to the hops. Barley adds a balancing malt that works well with this brew. Its not so bitter as to take away from the excellently understated fruitiness of the hops, making this one go down incredibly easy. The creamy texture of the mouthfeel lends a hand in balancing out the perfect amount of hops, and finally leaving a nice bitter aftertaste that isn't overwhelming. Overall this is a really solid IPA, even if there isn't anything incredibly unique about it.

chodinheaven, Jul 05, 2011
Photo of ecoastman
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

One of the greatest heads I've seen on a beer, Brutal Bitter produces a thick, dense frothy top that could pass for whipped cream. The bottom layer is a nice hazy golden orange that glows warmly.

Not overpowering, the aroma delivers what you'd expect with citric and herbal-pine hops and is balanced well with some sweet honey like malt.

Don't let the name fool you, Brutal Bitter is relatively gentle and delivers a friendly punch to the taste buds. Like the aroma, the malt starts smooth with a light honey sweetness but quickly converts to the citric (orange peel and grapefruit) and herbal world of hops. The finish is quite good with medium level of bitterness and dryness. The only complaint that I have is that it's not quite as complex as I'd hope and is a bit thin in the finish and aftertaste, but it's still very enjoyable.

Meanwhile, the courseness is kept low while maintaining adequate carbonation. Quite drinkable.

A nice offering that's available in Ontario. I'll buy again when I'm feeling rich ($$$).

ecoastman, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of Rumrunner
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

22oz. bottle. Graphic of man on bottle is clenching his fist and he looks confused. Maybe he's had too many bitter brews?

Pours a deep hazy amber. When held up to the light the sides produce a lighter hazy orange. Not much head and very little lacing. The scents feel very oily on the nose. The first scent is the pine and the hops hit the olfactory like a ton of bricks. A sweet citrus finishes off the scents.

The flavors are bitter at the start. The pine is strong. Some minor grass and grain taste as well. Hop bitterness prevails. A citrus rind flavor and then for the mellow finish. A sweet malt finds its way out among the hops. This provides a balance and a nice finish. I usually do not enjoy over sweet flavors but for this ale it creates a uniqueness and combats the bitter.

A great feel. A crisp mouthfeel. A medium dense quality that is excellent. I could not drink too many of these at one time. It does drink nice with a bite at the beginning and smooth quality at the end. Nice job Rogue.

Rumrunner, Sep 04, 2003
Photo of aforbes10
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

had a bottle of this at our April beer club meeting. cloudy, white head. very hoppy odor, fresh smelling. good, bitter taste. lots of fresh lip smacking hops. bitterness goes away after the first couple of swigs and leaves just the hoppy ale flavor. nice crisp mouthfeel. good and drinkable.

aforbes10, Apr 12, 2006
Photo of mjurney
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Brutal IPA

Color color, hazy. Some carbonation. Foamy head. Lacing looks very nice on the glass.

Citrus hops, sweet malts, fruity.

Citrus hops up front along with malt background. Hop character is not too aggressive like most IPA, but I get fresh hops… Very juicy, citrus, floral. Nice malt background that balance the beer, sweet, slight caramel. There’s some fruitiness in the taste. Medium-light bodied, carbonation is nice.

Crisp finish. Very smooth. Slight dry-floral aftertaste.

It’s more like an American Pale Ale than IPA or Bitter. It’s very delicious beer, highly drinkable.

mjurney, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

This is a very good ESB, a poor IPA though. I'm going to go ahead and ignore the IPA at the top of the screen.

Beer is red and forms a decent head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Beer is clear, mostly, and is moderately carbonated, looks fine.

Aroma is mildly bitter with some malt notes to it.

Beer is malty and big bodied wtihout being sweet, its bitter but not harshly so, there is minimal hop character although its obvious that the bitterness is from the hops. Its moderately drinkable, 22 ounces was a bit much here but its not difficult to choke down at all. Its well flavored and has that balance people talk so much about. Like I said at the beginning, its not a very good IPA but its a good bitter.

drabmuh, Sep 13, 2010
Photo of Gatch
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Great on the palate and the low carbonation helps it go down easy. Abundance of hops is definitely noticeable. The copper color is nice too. Haven’t had many bitters, but I’m sure this is one of the better ones out there. Reminds me of an IPA, which didn’t make it stand out much. Definitely going to try as much as I can from Rogue.

Gatch, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of Wonka
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

1 PT. 6 FL.OZ.

76 AA 14.2 L

6 INGREDIENTS; 100% Floor-Malted Maris Otter, Cara Vienna, Cara Wheat, and a Single Hop (Crystal), Free Range Coastal Waters & Top Fermenting Pacman Yeast. No Chemicals, Preservatives or Additives.

Dedicated to Justin Finch, the Shade Man.

Appearance – very cloudy light brown/slight orange body; great carbonation rush throughout body at pour; Rogue seems to drop a great head on every beer but this one is below their standard; velvety white, pinkie-thick head drops away rather early; lace is sparse

Smell – not strikingly strong but there’s a cool mix below; nice churn of caramel, toffee, spice and hop

Taste – first thought -- now that’s a unique taste; caramel/toffee takes a strong line past the tongue and bullies a sharp hop below; pleasant, long-term, sharp hop arises in the aftertaste after the caramel/toffee wears away earlier in the ‘after’; the taste is rather good overall, but I’d rather the brew live up to its name and apparent brutal aim

Mouthfeel – light but adequate body, slighty crisp thoughout; bitter tinge on the tongue throughout that increases late; generally smooth and clean at close

Drinkability – the lack of big dryness and low carbonation enhance the drinkability as does the unique taste which is intriguing enough to chase

This was a fun beer to analyze. Give it a shot.

Wonka, Aug 07, 2005
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,821 ratings.