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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,087 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,087
Hads: 2,066
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 14.71%
Wants: 82
Gots: 169 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001

**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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,087 | Hads: 2,066
Photo of dmamiano
3.12/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium straw color...good head and lacing.
Not much to be noticed in the nose...some sweet malts, a little bready. Maybe biscuit.
Taste is somewhat malty and bitter..imagine that.
No hop flavor profile, but the bitterness hangs an.
Good mouthfeel. Maltyiness is nice.
Pretty good beer, but not worth the price paid.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not a bad beer by any means but with all the other IPA selections out there...this beer is pretty middle of the road.

A bit floral and the citrus is extremely tame, like it wants to come out just doesn't. Tasted more like a bolder Pale Ale, and somewhat bready.

I'd never turn one of these down but will not be spending any of my money on it.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a tumbler at The Tribes.

I figure I should try some more of Rogue's offerings for some reason. Might as well, right? This one pours a clear sunset brass topped by a finger of light off-cream-white foam. The nose comprises greens, buttery caramel, grass, and some very light leek. The taste brings in more of the same, with the caramel coming off a bit darker and the grass increased ever-so-slightly. The body is a rather light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a pretty silky feel. Overall, an okay beer, nothing close to outstanding or impressive, but nothing really bad, either. I'd pass if offered this again.

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Photo of Floydster
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle from BevMo in Torrance

Very dark for an Extra special brew or a bitter with lots of hops when poured into my chilled pint glass

Smell was filled with lemons and strong citrus

Could really taste the malt as it warmed, smoky and roasty as well

Could drink a good amount of these even though alcohol is high, pretty light for an ESB

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.13/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours slightly hazy straw yellow with generous white head. Extremely clean & fresh scent on aroma with hop citrus. Fairly simple and straightforward.

On the palate the ale is quite tame considering the name. Not much "brutal" about it, other than the price.

Overall hop tang dominates and bit of sourness, finishes with a suggestion of alcohol. Could be a lot better.

Easy to drink though.


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Photo of tonistruth
3.16/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- cloudy, darker shade of straw for color of the beer, 1 finger fluffy, cloud like, white head with fantastic retention

S- hoppy (herbal and grapefruit), bready, musky scent

T- bready malt plays a strong supporting role to hops throughout, slightly citric and herbal hops, mostly earthy

M- medium body with a coarse finish

D- doesn't taste to much like most ESB's I've had, but this is Rogue, so thats expected, wasn't bad by any stretch of the imagination but i wouldn't turn to this when looking for a solid ESB...I'm not exactly sure where i would place beer, feels in between a pale and an IPA

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Photo of akorsak
3.17/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am drinking a 650 mL (22 oz) capped bottle poured into an Ommegang Witte glass. The ale is slightly below room temperature.

Appearance: The ale is a light orange color. The body of the ale is very hazy to the point that one can't see through it. There is minimal head and a smattering of lace around the ale.

Smell: Funny thing is, when I smell it I don't find anything. No malt sweetness, no hop bitterness, nothing.

Taste: The ale has a fruity taste to it, one that conjures up an orange (?!?). Not too shabby, although there is little malt character and the hops clearly dominate.

Mouthfeel: The ale sits smoothly on the tongue, with the hops giving a fruity bitterness that really takes control of the beer.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable, although I'd like more malt assertiveness to combat the hops.

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Photo of sponberg
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled: On tap, pint glass

The aroma is almost purely hop, with a bit of malt behind it. An intensely hoppy beer - starts with malt and bitterness, and ends like you're sucking on a grapefruit rind that's been dipped in pale ale. Personally, I prefer more of a malt-hop balance - this bad boy leans too far to the hop side for repeated drinking. Given that, one of these from an icy cooler poolside on a broiling hot day could be a nearly religious experience.

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Photo of avalon07
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: When poured into a pint glass from a bottle, this had a bright amber hue and a somewhat thick texture. Not much head to speak of.

S: Rich in hops and some fruits, maybe a bit of malts.

T: I wasn't so impressed with this. While the hops were immediately noticable, there wasn't much else to crow about. It didn't seem all that complex.

M: There was a below average amount of carbonation with this beer. Kind slick finish.

D: This one didn't do much for me. It wasn't the worst I've ever had, but not the best either. It simply lacked complexity. Not without its charms, though.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.18/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had as Brutal IPA. Pours a nice clear amber with a rather thick and persistent fluffy white head. Aroma is hoppy and, though not strong, inviting with just a touch of citrus. Strongly, if not fierce, hoppy flavor has a woody undertone and just a whisper of orange. Average-bodied texture is fairly smooth, not much tingle. OK, not Rogue's best, but worthy of at least a try!

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Photo of JBogan
3.19/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy light copper color and had no head to speak of. This Rogue also left no lacing in my glass.

A nice malty aroma with a slight hint of what seemed to be pine.

The alcohol content was well concealed, mainly malt is what I detected.

This had an average mouthfeel. Not much carbonation to speak of, very smooth.

A pretty easy to drink beer, as most Rogues are. Not something I'd drink on a regular basis but it was enjoyable.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.2/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It has been a slow Christmas day here at Chez Wood, reading a Noir fiction anthology and awaiting tomorrow's fest at World Cafe Live with bated breath. The label mentions "a hedonistic experience" and I could use a little of that right about now.

My pour created slightly better than a finger-and-a-half of off- white head with good retention. Color was a slightly hazy deep- amber. Nose smelled faintly of grapefruit/citrusy hops but with a smoky undertone. Mouthfeel was medium and I got a mild hop bite on the tongue, but not much more than that. This seemed a bit underwhelming for an American IPA and it was not the hedonism that I was hoping for, either. Finish was still slightly bitter, but not "Brutal" by any stretch. I was left underwhelmed by the experience. By the way, I found the date stamp on the bottom - it was bottled on 265 day, or late-September. It was fresh enough that it should have been better.

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Photo of sevineyes
3.23/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown bottle with the typical Rogue guy on the cover in purple.

A: Orangey brass. Decent head. Leaves very chunky lacing.

S: Sugared lemon rind and grapefruit.

T: Sweet, but ultimately giving way to ruby red grapefruilt tastes.The aftertaste keeps coming back with more and bitterness.

M: Coating and slick. ends tart.

D: Great for those hot summer days.

Overall: Take this beer for what it's worth. I believe this is Rogues way of saying "our hops are bigger than yours". Not really much complexity or refinement, but it does live up to its namesake.

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Photo of Shadman
3.26/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Impressive looking ale. Kinda a dirty, hazy orange. Think orange juice with a bit of cola. Very hazy. If i waited for the head to dissapate, I be writing this two days from now. Tons of lacing.

Aroma was muted until the beer warmed a little. Citrus like hop and some sweet, albeit muted, caramel malt.

Taste was a bit one dimensional in that the hop seems to dominate. Not in a blaster sort of way, but other than what one reviewer described as an apirin like taste after the initial hop hit.

Decent carbonation. i found it maybe a tad less creamy than I would have liked.

Was, in my mind, a typical West Coast offering. Good, decent, maybe a tad over hopped..but worth a try.

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Photo of treehugger02010
3.26/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I got this 650 ml bottle from the Foodery in Center City Philadelphia, Pa. I poured it into a pint glass, well twice I guess.
Appearance: It poured a light amber color producing about a finger of head. There was thin lacing the way down. The head was a whitish color, but not quite white.
Smell: The smell was a nice hoppy and yet mild, certainly not "extra" bitter.
Taste: The taste left something to be desired. It had a wonderful hop, but no background at all.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was similar, leaving much to be desired.
Drinkability: This was a pretty drinkability beer even though it was a bit lacking.
Don't drink and review.

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Photo of tigg924
3.27/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: orange-brown in color, 1 inch head, cloudy, high carbonation

Smell: hops and lots of floral scents

Taste: a bready start with a super hoppy finish

Mouthfeel: smooth, super bitter, medium body

Drinkability: I expected a bit more balance, but this is really bitter. The hops are featured here. This is a sipper and I would only have one per session max.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.27/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm stunned at the rating of this beer on this site. I had this beer from a bottle at Comet Cafe, and thought it to be rather disappointing although by no means a horrible beer. It was somewhat hoppy, but not nearly as bitter as I expected, or as I was hoping for. However, the beer was extremely balanced with some nice maltiness.

Appearance was an amber color with a commercial-looking head of small uniformly sized bubbles. Aroma was hop and significant maltiness which struck me as very balanced. A watery mouthfeel struck me before the flavor, which was a soft hoppiness that kind of masked the bitterness of this beer. While I appreciate the fact this beer was balanced, it was still nonetheless disappointing.

I would recommend this beer, yet I would still characterize it as highly over-rated.

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Photo of RickS95
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I spun the bottle a little to mix up the goodness at the bottom and was rewarded with a hazy pale orange pour. Up top was a couple fingers of cloud. As the white bubbles dissipated, it gave great lacing.

Initially, there is a nice kick of citrus, but it left quickly. In the background is a combination of flowers and pine...kind of like a forest.

There's not a lot of flavor. You'll pick up a bit of pine and what I'm thinking is orange peel, but nothing dominates.

This is anything but a brutal IPA. It's the mildest IPA I've ever had. The mouthfeel is slightly neutral most of the way thru with just a slight hoppy bite in the swallow.

I expected a lot more based on the name alone. It's barely strong enough to be a pale ale and certainly not worthy of being called an IPA. In general, it goes down pretty easy, but for the style, it's pretty lacking.

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass at approximately 35 degrees.

Not very pleased with this offering from Rogue. It poured a nice orange/light brown with a 2 inch head. Smells nice, too - of citrus and hops with a little spice. Very hoppy but not much to balance the hop-kick. The citrus smell didn't carry over to the taste buds and I had a hard time figuring out the taste because of that...kept expecting more than I was getting out of it.

Not in my top list of Rogue brews...not a good balance of hops and taste.

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Photo of jsled
3.3/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

P: 3/5. Very hazy straw/gold. minimal head, receeding as well. some carbonation.

A: 3/5. fruity citrus hops. herbal. some bubblegum. some malty notes, but minor.

F: 7/10. bitter. slightly sweet. relatively well balanced. some astringency.

M: 3/5. good. some lingering aftertaste, but nothing dramatic or unpleasant.

O: 7/10. a good ipa, though not great.

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Photo of TangTKE402
3.31/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber bottle into an imperial pint glass. Thick 3 finger head appeared that settled down to a nice 1 finger head that lasted the duration of the beer.

Warm aromas of rye, pine, and a touch of hay persisted.

The taste is dry and a little thin. Caraway seeds, a touch of cornstarch and a little bit of resin are the overall notes. This beer has some nice dry bitterness to it, without any major hop notes to speak of: absent are the floral flavors of other IPAs. Perhaps it's the Willamette hops used.

The mouthfeel is a tad thin, and a slightly metallic taste hits you on the swallow right before the bitterness leaves your mouth high and dry.

Overall, not a bad IPA, but a bit thin on character for my tastes.

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Photo of Dalem
3.31/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy gold in color with a fair amount of sediment floating around. Head was there and gone but still left a fair amount of lacing around the glass. The description on the side of the bottle talks about a "stupendous hop aroma" but really all that I'm detecting is a lot of malt up front and a slight citrus like hop scent in the distance. The hops seem to jump out much more in the taste though but not until after sweet malt introduction. The odd thing is that this is a bitter (and supposedly a "brutal" one at that) but there's almost a mix orange and mint gumdrop flavorings going on. Not as obnoxiously sweet and gooey as a gumdrop or anything but for some reason there's something about the way of the sweetness of this has me thinking that. As it goes down the throat the hop taste shows up a little more along with some peppery undertones but not really all that bitter and far from brutal.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from a 22 oz bottle named after Max's tap house. The liquid is orange with good carbonation. The head is big off white and leaves good lace.

The smell is ok a bunch of bitter earthy hops and some bready malt to add balance.

The taste is not so great, a bit of a soapy flavor over earth and flowal hops and malt/

The mouthfeel is good, ni ce body and good carbonation.

The drinkability in not up to my par, I would not seek this out as the taste just does not seem to work for me. MK

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Photo of FranklinPCombs
3.33/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange amber color, murkey with a decent beige head, little lacing. Smell was dominantly burnt chocolatey and mossy notes up front, with a bit of malt and cherry finish. Taste was slightly bitter, but more what I would describe as sharp and chalky. Same burnt taste, but most everything is masked by the "bitter". The mouthfeel is, again, dry and chalky, and there is a strange sharpness on the back, but had decent body. I was looking for a much more balanced beer, but this one didn't deliver that.

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Photo of TheDeuce
3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Rouge Brutal Bitter Ale...on tap at Mugs Ale House

Appearance-Amber with gold notes in the color on the pour into a pint glass, medium to large head sizes up, disappears after a few seconds.

Smell-piney with hops but also very noticeable malt, still a dry pungent smell befitting a powerful beer.

Taste/Mouthfeel-bitter is right, hop flourish mixed with alcohol makes for a dry tart hop smash, full mouthfeel, rash finish of burnt malt and fruity pine.

Drinkability-rash but no big flaws

Overall-decent, a little much on the rashness but it balances out ok, certainly worth a try but not overwhelmingly great.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,087 ratings.