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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,797 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,797
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 63
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)
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Ratings: 1,797 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cvstrickland

North Carolina

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.

04-25-2008 23:33:55 | More by cvstrickland
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.

05-14-2009 03:01:39 | More by bfields4
Photo of Naugros

New Jersey

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.

07-09-2010 02:17:18 | More by Naugros
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.

07-05-2011 23:09:12 | More by chodinheaven
Photo of ecoastman

Ontario (Canada)

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 ($$$).

03-19-2010 01:10:54 | More by ecoastman
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.

09-04-2003 07:05:34 | More by Rumrunner
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.

04-12-2006 19:03:12 | More by aforbes10
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.

04-24-2011 21:55:09 | More by mjurney
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.

09-13-2010 14:52:24 | More by drabmuh
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.

12-12-2006 05:26:46 | More by Gatch
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.

08-07-2005 17:31:13 | More by Wonka
Photo of JackStraw22


4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours a murky brown/orange, with not very much head at all. Wonderful fresh hop aroma. Oily, piney, and wonderful, smells like a fresh hop flower. Just enough sweet aroma to back it up too. Tastes much as it smells, tons of hops, bitter indeed. It's a very clean bitterness, a little astringent, though. Enough sweetness to give it at least some balance. It's brutal all right, but in a good way. An all around good beer, very nice.

07-04-2005 20:21:20 | More by JackStraw22
Photo of Crosling


4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

A beautiful color. A hazy orangish peach that glows. The head doesn't disappoint with the retention or the lace. Both were fantastic.

Mandarin oranges, lemons, spruce, and grapefruit. Very delicately hopped aroma. Looking forward to this one.

Big bouquet of hops throughout the beer. Tons of grapefruits and lots of other spicy fruits. Malt presense is high but intolerant compared with the high hop rate. The hops are citrusy, resiny, oily and juicy. Pretty delicious.

02-16-2004 04:49:02 | More by Crosling
Photo of RedDiamond


4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

This is a fabulous beer, though it strays so far afield from the English tradition that it is puzzling why Rogue bothered to call it a bitter. Perhaps the “Brutal” adjective describing it is an appropriate corrective measure. My pint at Rogue’s Public House in downtown Portland was dense saffron color and served with a skinny white head. I was immediately impressed with the substantial malt body – a Rogue hallmark – which was solid enough to uphold the profuse citrus-hop flavor.

I’m no hop authority, but I had no difficulty in promptly ascertaining the absence of Fuggles or Goldings hops. Sure enough, a quick inquiry into Brutal’s vital statistics reveals that it’s brewed exclusively with Oregon grown Crystal hops. Stylistically, I’d call this an American pale ale with a strong northwestern accent. But I won’t nitpick style boundaries further except to say that traditionalists won’t find what they’re looking for in this “bitter” and you still have to call it something.

Your timid friends will also be put off by the unapologetically bold character but of course, who needs timid friends? I enjoyed the heck out of Brutal Bitter for its forward leaning hop potency with its juicy overtures to grapefruit. The light fragrant aroma belittles such potency, but the finish is sharp as a Gerber blade. I’d love to see this on cask.

02-23-2004 01:38:07 | More by RedDiamond
Photo of jettjon


4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

Pours a hazy, cloudy pale reddish-orange-brown with a few tiny bubbles rising up. Smallish brow tan head, quickly fades to a thin cap, leaving decent lacing. Nose is bold strong hops and malt. Taste: yep, hops all right, pushing IPA status. However, the hops is rapidly dominated or balanced by the malt. Finishes bitter, lingers on the palate, dry and bitter. Mouth is semi-creamy, semi-syrupy, substantial yet watery and smooth. Good drinkability due to mouthfeel and flavor balance.

Overall: A good bitter ale, nice hops presence with good flavor balance. Definitely recommended, especially for hops lovers.

08-26-2006 00:02:08 | More by jettjon
Photo of CaptMaelstrom


4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

A - Cloudy and orange.

S - Hoppy.

T - The first time I tried this beer, I thought it was a perfect 5. Now, I'm not sure it's hoppy enough. Still nicely balanced and quite bitter.

M - Smooth and creamy, like a wheat beer more than an IPA.

O - Balanced. Doesn't really live up to the brutal namesake. But good.

03-29-2013 19:05:26 | More by CaptMaelstrom
Photo of greencovesteve

North Carolina

4.05/5  rDev +1.3%

A: firey orange in color, resembles high test gasoline.

S: citrus, oranges, cinnamon, pine, a quite pleasant smell.

T: a flat sweet malt ending with a bitter hop.

M: balanced carbonation makes the intro dance slowy on your tongue, this is followed by a slow dry curling of your tongue to finish. Leaves a nice dry hoppy taste and makes you thirsty for more.

O: great front poarch sipper anytime of the year. The mild sweetness and bitter end makes me want more. A great Rogue beer.

02-17-2012 23:21:56 | More by greencovesteve
Photo of Kremlock

Ontario (Canada)

4.06/5  rDev +1.5%

A: Thick white frothy head that is 1 inch thick. high lacing with big legs. Some of the foam sticks in chunks to the glass. Beer is unfiltered, hazy and orange in colour.

S: Orange, grapefruit and citrus aromas. Malty, bready backbone balances the hop aromas.

T: Citrus flavours well balanced with some bready malt.

M: med-high body, balanced flavours, dry finish.

O: This is a great ipa. Well balanced 50-50 hop to malt.

04-21-2013 00:20:58 | More by Kremlock
Photo of MeneerBeerSnob

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev +2%

Bomber poured into a stein.

A-Cloudy orange amber with finger of foamy head that quickly fades

S-Hops, bicuit malt, citrus and some light floral notes

T-Delicious hops followed by caramel biscuit malt, there's some orange rind and bready yeast almost like an after taste of orange marmalade toast

M-Chewy and sticky with a lot of carbonation

O-Truly delicious simple American IPA. I will definitely be having again when in the mood for a basic refreshing IPA.

07-01-2013 01:11:44 | More by MeneerBeerSnob
Photo of Golden2wenty1


4.08/5  rDev +2%

Picked up a single at Riley's here in Madison.

Pours a bright hazy golden orange with a few fingers of white foam. Nose is juicy with citrusy hop oils and apricot. Taste starts off with that oily hop bitterness then releases into sweet, bready caramel malts. Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety. This is my first ESB so I didn't know what to expect. Frankly, if I was told this was an IPA I wouldn't have known any better. Regardless of the style, this is a tasty, refreshing, hoppy ale that I would recommend to any hophead.

04-25-2006 02:37:58 | More by Golden2wenty1
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +2%

On tap at Barleys, this was a very nice treat. Poured a nice light amber with a off white head that was slow to recede. A good lace present down the sides. Smell was highly hopped, with lots of pine resin apparent here and it melded well into the flavor profile which was just about the same. Good smooth feel with a light balance that let it more the sessionable. A really dry bitter after taste that linger for a good long while. This was the perfect beer to have with a slice of pizza, just blended so perfectly. Really a nice treat and was very pleased with it. Awesome but I would really call this an IPA

05-27-2007 17:45:09 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of jasonjlewis


4.08/5  rDev +2%

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.

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

District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev +2%

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.

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


4.08/5  rDev +2%

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.

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


4.08/5  rDev +2%

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.

10-10-2006 20:37:25 | More by Manosbeeroffate
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,797 ratings.