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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,844 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,844
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 65
Gots: 70 | 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: 1,844 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AmishT
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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 +0.8%
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
Photo of argock
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a clear nonic pint glass at Boylan Heights (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Amber-gold with a thin cap of head which does leave a couple lace trails.

S: Pink grapefruit and floral aromas with a hint of tropical fruit don't leave much room for malt but their is some light roasted maltiness there

T: This is a very nice beer, and probably second favorite from Rogue after Shakespeare Stout. Big hops presence including grapefruit and orange flavors, smidge of evergreen, and a big floral contribution. The Maris Otter malt isn't too different than pale in this brew, but it does add a layer of toastiness to the mix. Very bitter no doubt.

M: Nice medium body on this, still very sessionable while putting down a nice hops coating.

O: I really liked this brew, and I don't say that about many Rogue brews. Very bitter with nice citrus overtones and a medium body make this one a winner.

argock, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of maek228
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: a cloudy burnt orange...the head is about two fingers at first and has some cling...but it has that ocean foam look to it, which doesnt please me. but overall it looks inviting

Smell: Since i have a stuffy nose, I'm giving a "4" just on the basis of how it tastes...since it tastes good i assume it smells good. i can't smell a damn thing right now

Taste: starts with crisp, light, bready malts that give way to a singular hop punch that hits hard. i hear that this brew uses only one type of hop and that is quite evident in the taste. the hop flavor is simple and strong. rogue must have wanted to make a point. the flavor of the hops is piney and somewhat resiney. nice, simple, bitter, and refreshing. good taste.

Mouthfeel: crisp....great quality for a refreshing brew.

Drinkability: it's nice to see a beer that gets the job done and doesn't try to hard.

*this tastes very similar to Yards' IPA

maek228, Oct 15, 2006
Photo of t2thebro
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- murky orange with hints of amber color, full two finger head. Sticky lacing.

S- light biscuity malt, and earthy sweet grass smell.
Some orange zest and apricot scents.

T- this beer has maybe the strangest bitterness I have tasted. There is a balance in the hop, and alchohol bitterness. Neither dominates but both are subtle flavors to balance a huge hop bill. Starts fresh, fruity, grassy and ends with a defined earthy pine note. Makes for a long stretch of differing flavors. Wonderful balance in hops not so much grains.

M- medium to low carb, smooth.

O- I think rogue is over rated from time to time but this is a great beer. If I could get it in six packs I would definitely pick it up from time to time but at $7 for two glasses I can find a comparable beer for much less cost. Strangely amazing balance of hop flavors, which compliment each other well. This is a hop ale not an ipa, brewers need to get off the ipa fad and use either a apa or hop ale label. Not an India pale ale.

Beer snobs unite!

t2thebro, Oct 19, 2012
Photo of JAFoley
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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 02, 2013
Photo of beersarang
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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 10, 2004
Photo of Beertracker
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,844 ratings.