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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 dmatsui
3.35/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a Chimay Goblet. Tulip was dirty, so sue me.

Two-finger off white head, good retention. Looks like a typical, unfiltered IPA.

Mostly malt characteristics in the nose but with some grassy hops, There's a sweet, raw honey-esque sweetness.

Good spicy hops, clean malts and good mouthfeel. The hops are not particularly strong or robust, but very clean. The mouthfeel is perfect.

Overall Brutal is a fairly standard IPA in my opinion but very well balanced and is definitely a quality brew.

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

The presentation was a 22 oz bottle poured into a room temperature glass. Rich honey-amber appearance and fresh smell adhered to my expectations. I was anxious for a taste. It started out great, but what a bitter finish punch that lingered forever. I don't doubt this is a well-regarded example, but I didn't have my game face on for this experience.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the colorful 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Poured an orange copper color with a thick head of white creamy foam that took some time to disssapate. Didn't lace as much as I expected.

Smell if hoppy, malty, citrus. Faint smell, not very strong.

Taste was a well balanced ESB - the citrus flavor comes through, backed by malt, with a prominent hop taste throughout. The bittering isn't truly "brutal" - instead its well brewed and serves to contribute to the taste, dominating, but never overpowering.

A drinkable beer, tasty and well made.

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Photo of jeffmonarch
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Cloudy yellow orange with a thick white head.

S - Malt and hops. Very mild.

T - Very strong wheat flavor with good bitters taste. Very good.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - Good beer. I am not a fan of ESB's but for the style this is good.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the wishing well in philly - i cant believe i havent reviewed this yet

Pours a slightly hazed caramel color with some brighter orange hues. A thinner white head dissolves into wispy film, leaving plenty of spotty lacing behind.

Bready and malty in the nose, with hints of sweetness and a flair of hops. Fairly soft though overall, would like to see more hop presence here.

Nice bitter bite up front with some pine and softer citrus notes. A touch of orange before the larger malt backbone comes crashing through. Biscuit and bread crust with touches of caramel and faint honey. A bit sweet, and finishes with some residual hop bitterness.

Medium bodied, nice carbonation, a little creamy and sticky. A pretty decent drinker, especially if you like a larger malt presence in your IPAs.

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Photo of UnionMade
3.39/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer is a hazy orangey amber, topped with a thick dollop of off-white foam. Great head retention, lasting past the liquid, with clumpy rings of lace stepping all the way down the glass. Very attractive cascade from the hand pump, as well.
The aroma is dominated by grapefruity citric hops. The malt barely breaks through the pacific northwest onslaught, providing a trace of toasty aroma. Some yeast is apparent, with a bit of appley esters sneaking under the hop radar as the beer approaches room temperature, along with a faint waft of alcohol. Plenty of piney and herbal hop aroma, as well. The dry hopping and late additions must be insane to produce this kind of hoppiness.
The flavor starts out with a pretty solid toasty maltiness, almost instantly overpowered by rind-like citric hops. A rather oily feel, with tons of hop bitterness. The carbonation is nice and smooth, typical cask fare, supporting a rather heavy full body. Faint apple/pear esters in the middle, which are quickly trampled by the hops. Most of the subtleties are blotted out in a hop fugue, only barely perceptable as your palate deadens enough to the hops to taste anything else. Some piney and herbal hopping is apparent in the finish. It tastes like some sort of cascade crossbreed, maybe with something german. A slight yeasty breadiness in the finish, with a trace of alcohol. The aftertaste....what do you think?
Eli Cannon's in Middletown, CT used to have this on the beer engine all the time. I actually got tired of it pretty quick, and just started to pass it up in favor of regular tap beers. Really unusual for me. It's a good beer, but not my idea of ESB. Definitely more like an IPA. The hops really aren't incredibly powerful, but not quite what I was expecting at first. It's pretty much an imperial bitter, if there was such a thing.

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Photo of Spidey13
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brutal Bitter pours a cloudy orange-amber with a nice white head that leaves a good amount of lacing behind. The smell is very nice, with some juicy, grassy hops with some citrus-orange notes in there.

There is a bit of malt to the flavor, but the bitterness quickly takes over. Some breadiness shows up on the finish, but the bitterness really seems to dominate the flavor for me. The mouthfeel is nice, with medium body and carbonation.

This beer seems a bit one-dimensional to me with the bitterness, but not too bad; a decent brew.

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Photo of praufs01
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Hazy amber with a creamy off white head.

Aroma - Light grass smells over a strong malty/bready backbone.

Palate - Moderate amount of carbonation.

Flavor - Clean well balanced malt and hop flavor.

Final thoughts - Very good and very sessionable.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this with a few other IPA's I picked up and wanted to split with a friend. The list of beers that night was Bavarian Barbarian 2x4, Brutal IPA, Terrapin So Fresh So Green and Lukcy Basartd Ale.

This beer came in 3rd in my opinion to the ones we had that night. The Terrapin was 4th. This beer seemed like it something I'd love, The name sounded great and the ratings were high. It had a lot going for it.

The beer pours out at a light copper color with a pretty good head on it. The aroma is very good along with the appearance. The smell is strong with hops which I love. The taste was hoppy but it just didn't seem to have enough kick to it. I didn't find it to be "Brutal". The mouthfeel was on the lighter side as well. It's a good beer but I wouldn't rave about it.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on 2011-08-09 at Rivermont Pizza in Lynchburg, VA

A - Hazy, straw-orange with a short head and mild lacing.

S - Mild malt and not much else.

T - Spice, pepper, salt, orange citrus tang. Finishes fairly bright and dry with some residual orange.

M - Light body and light-medium carbonation. Smooth yet crisp.

O - Pretty bland. I've had much better low ABV IPAs.

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Photo of froghop
3.41/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a cloudy burnt orange with a medium size off white head, and good lacing.

smells of citrus, some caramel, some earth, and floral.

taste is light, slightly bitter, hops, grain, slightly sour, some malt, and a little fruit, end is slightly bitter, and somewhat sour.

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Photo of UncleFlip
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tongiht's CD to review by: 'Iguana Iguana' by The Reptile Palace Orchestra
Tonight's reviewing glass: Grumpy Troll Brewpub pint glass

Picked this one up from a friend recently, but can't remember where or when. At 6.5%, it's on the "only if we change the law" list here in Bama.

First thing I notice is the very active fluffly just off-white head. Liquid is honey to peach, just ever so slightly hazy, with many bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Smell is all about fruity to piney hops. If one inhales deeply enough to snort, there's some malt there.

The flavour is rather fruity and spicy up front. There's some fresh orange, apricot, and nuts here. There's some woody spice along the way the whole time, with a kind of sharp dryness at the end.

Mouthfeel is just a little too harsh on the carbonation. The liquid is hearty, and just a touch oily.

It has its drawbacks, but is actually rather drinkable. It would make a decent sessioner, I think.

Be well

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Photo of stouty1
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Didn't get much head with my pour. Wrong glass? I poured into a Chalis. Anyway what was there was only a fine sparse head which looked like it could be a creamy very light marshmallow color.

Smells of hops and fruit. Some Apples or Pear and citrus definitely citrusy.

Taste is oily hops with a bite of too much carbonation (like a Coke). (I don't drink soda so it really stings me.) Not much to the flavor except hops and bitterness. Mouthfeel is weak with no chewyness at all.

Leaves a slight bitterness afterwards which leaves your mouth dry. Very drinkable and goes down quickly. Probably the light mouthfeel.

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Photo of tar
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, copperish amber, with a few finger thick white head. The head leaves behind a nice trail of lacing throughout consumption. The aroma is pleasant--malty sweet and mildly of spicy hops, although a bit underwhelming, especially given the bottle's claim of "a stupendous hop aroma". Nice hop flavors leave the tongue with a bit of a tingle. Some malty sweetness comes through nicely as a "second" taste, but this soon gives way to a good bitterness in the finish. Overall, despite the name, this is a very well balanced beer which is certainly not dominated by any one flavor component. A nice medium bodied beer, it feels smooth, almost oily in the mouth. This is a pretty good beer, its not going to be listed among my favorites, but I certainly wouldn't mind having it again.

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Photo of Elimination
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very nice golden yellow with a slight haze, a pretty good thin looking head.

Smell is very sweet, slight citrus, grapefruit, sugar sweet, and slight strawberry

Taste is a subtle bitterness, pine, citrus, vert clean tasting, I have a love hate relationship with pacman yeast, it does great in stouts, porters, etc but with anything else it its a hit or miss it seems.

Mouthfeel is very light, has a slickness that quickly subsides leaving a dry sticky tongue.

This is a pretty good ipa, but there is much better for much better of a bargain out there

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Photo of xgrigorix
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twentytwo ounce brown silk screened bottle. No dates.

Deep burnished orange colour. Hazy, with fast moving carbonation. Topped by an impressive off white head. Foam is dense & retains very well, leaving plenty of sticky lace on the glass.

Some biscuity malt aromas lie beneath pithy citrus aromatics.

Plenty hoppy - loads of citrusy flavours. Malt is muted, and overall the flavour is just "plain jane." Medium bodied, rugged carbonation.

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Photo of vanrassel
3.44/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 mL bomber with a nice hazy apricot colour and a foamy two-finger head. The head had great retention and left sticky pillows of lace hanging from the side of my glass.

The smell was pretty one-dimensional: grapefruit hops. Some caramel became evident as it warmed but this is an ESB — not an American IPA. I thought the same thing about the taste, primarily citric hops, some aspirin and not much else.

This is a decent beer in its own right, but I don't think it particularly conforms to the style.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pizzeria Paradiso, Washington, DC:

The beer appeared a nice, slightly hazy deep orange color with a nice white, thick head. The aroma of the beer was good, a nice strong hoppy aroma, but the taste was much different. I felt that it was weak. I expected a very hoppy, bitter beer, but did not get that at all. I would say that it was on par with an average IPA. Not sure what happened given the rating and usually Pizzeria Paradiso beer quality is very good, so I am not sure if it was the beer or not. The beer had a medium body to it and had decent drinkability, but I am sure that would have improved if the beer lived up to its rating. I will have to give this beer another shot at a later date.

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Photo of marksto
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy gold due to bottle conditioning. Nice "Americanized" example of the style. A fragrant hop aroma gives way to a pleasantly bitter flavor balanced well with assertive maltiness. It's an ESB with a U.S. flair in the form of American hops. Not as exceptional as some of the other Rogue products I've had, but very nice nonetheless.

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Photo of jaluria
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appeared a slightly murky, heavily carbonated, soft-orange and yellow color with a thin head that dissipated quickly. Aromas of alcohol, malt, and hops. The flavor was as expected for this style with a nice balance between malt and hops, though hops grow in strength as the session continues. Crisp and flavorful with a hoppy finish. A hint of fruit comes out in the finish as well. Interesting and enjoyable, but too thin and hoppy for the style. I would definitely enjoy another, but not if I was in the mood for a bitter or ESB.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/20/2008 (bottle):

Pours a huge foamy head, whitish, diminishing. Body is very clear golden amber body. Very hoppy grapefruity aroma. Hoppy taste but a big balancing malty taste, some nuttiness like hazelnut. Nice taste, would make a good session beer. Very carbonated mouthfeel. Drying aftertaste. A little much after a bit.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle labeled Brutal IPA with no discernible bottling date.

Pours a medium bodied orange with an inch thick head that dips to a thinner though steady cover. Lacing is thick and comprehensive: a nice looking IPA.

Smells of grass, kumquats, and biscuity malts. Not unappealing but it seems a bit faded.

Kumquatiness is uncanny and I happen to enjoy these fruits. Some rind from the skins is evident. Creamy through the middle with a finish that's modestly bitter and baby aspiriny. Malts help carry the mothfeel and the hops.

Creamy and light though dusty and not as poppy as anticipated. Would love to know if I'm getting the best this beer has to offer. A good, but not great, stab at the style.

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Photo of gkunkle
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber color, definitely on the darker side of IPAs. Head is about 1" in my imperial pint glass. Retention is okay, leaves a little lacing. Smells of citrus and pine hops, pretty standard for this area, not really catching any malts. Taste is dominated by grapefruit/citrus hops, pine hops play second fiddle, and a bit of malt is in the background. Mouthfeel is medium, good amount of carbonation. Overall, a decent beer, glad I tried it, but it's a bit spendy and there are other northwest IPAs I enjoy more.

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Photo of ralree
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Really cloudy orange, nice head, good retention and lacing. 1.5 fingers.

S: Sweet yet toasty malt, weird fruit smell - almost a little too sweet - it's turning me off from it. Hops come through nicely - very flowery. Some spices in this one as well.

T: A nice hop flavor - really aromatic, but with a big bitter bite. Bitterness lingers on the tongue after swallowing. Malt is nice and toasty, and there's a lot of banana flavor in this. Now, the banana flavor isn't coupled with an overwhelming sugary flavor like in some other beers, so it's tolerable, but i would have preferred some more citrus. The alcohol makes itself known, but it's tolerable. It's a little too much banana and not enough citrus for me in this style to balance out the bitterness and alcohol.

M: Good carbonation, slightly astringent, a little oily. Medium-heavy body.

D: It drinks alright - goes down pretty easy, but the banana flavor gets old pretty quick. I don't find it very refreshing. There's definitely some alcohol in this one, which slows my normal quaffing pace. All in all though, not too bad.

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Photo of KajII
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[BThe pour was a light hazy orange with a huge (3-4 finger) white frothy head that was mostly diminishing and had some fair spotty lacing.

The aroma was kind of mild of a light biscuit malt, citrus hops and a cobweb scented yeast with notes caramel and citrus (grapefruit).

The taste was bitter and lightly sweet with a caramel presence early on, and progressed into a nice bitter hoppy taste that was a tad acidic with a note or citrus towards the end. The flavor hung on for a long while with a tasty hoppy citrus finish.

Mouthfeel was light in body and dry in texture with a medium carbonation.

Overall a nice basic IPA that was hoppy, citrusy and quite tasty with an awesome drinkability...
est served in a Shaker glass]

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