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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,833 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,833
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 65
Gots: 65 | 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: 1,833 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of beergod1
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice surprise, I like Rogue a lot too, but never tried the Bitter until the Brewfest in Erie PA, at the Brewerie at Union Station, Nice balance of dried fruit and a hop undertone, somewhat malty finish, some here say it's not a well balanced beer....wondering if they had a bad batch? The hop aroma is floral and earthy with some citrus, tropical fruit and resin, backed by caramel from the malt. The flavor is a decent balance of sweetness and bitterness.

beergod1, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of jminsc76
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, pours a big, thick, creamy head that sticks around for a long time. The lacing is almost ice cream-like around the inside of the glass. The body a murky orange-ish/yellow with plenty of rising carbonation.

Aromas are fairly tame, exhibiting hints of citrus, some orange peel, and a little bit of grapefruit. Also a slight aroma of breadiness or biscuit. As it warms and I agitate, more floral notes start popping through and the bouquet improves.

Flavors include an excellent balance of malt and hops (like any good bitter should), with some slight caramel and orange on the front end and more apple and kiwi on the finish. The hops really start coming through as it warms. The great part is it transitions from a British-style bitter to an American IPA over the course of the session.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, exhibiting a light and tingly feeling to a soft and chewy consistency as it warms.

This is an excellent brew. Complex, enjoyable, and constantly surprising me.

jminsc76, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of Andreji
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So the BBA was my second choice at the DC in the upper east side. I was even offered by the waiter whether i should just "try a bit" before ordering the whole pint- all this after my 100 ipa pint from magic hat- but still i just asked for the whole deal at once. i'm not one to not drink my whole beer regardless.

Pour is orange golden toned, translucent but still fairly thick to be too generously thin appearing. head is very short, predictive of what the nose and taste wound up being.

Smell is hoppy, but in this rather brassy sense. nothing too expressive. and the malt is well hidden, atypical thing to do. So the taste simply is this blandish but still malty undercarbonated pint with a characteristic hoppy-to-ethanol-ness. by no means a bad feel, not exceptional either. still very subte for what it preaches to be, dunno whether this is a good or a bad thing but it's a decent beer all in all.

Andreji, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of ecoastman
4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 timholio
4.88/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my new favorite top 5 beers. I like it as much as Fullers ESB which is the classic for this style according to others. This beer seems fresher than Fullers and seems to have more grapefruit flavors but Fullers a bit flatter and slighty 'soapier'(hops?).

I find this beer very drinikable - not too strong in ABV. I really like a bitter beer. So far I haven't found one thats 'too bitter', I'm not sure such a beer exists - if so bring it on. Good job on this one from Rogue.

timholio, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Into the pint glass, this beer is hazy orange in color with a 1 cm of sticky head. The aroma is flowery and piney and oh so hoppy. More hops on the palate. There is a bit of balance from the from starchy malt, but the flavor is dominated by the hops leaving the palate dry with lots of lingering hops flavors.

A very hoppy, but drinkable beer.

BeardedBoffin, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of WeedKing4
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle pours a cloudy orange with a decent amount of foam using a rogue pint glass. There was a bit of grapefruity bitter taste upfront, but its kinda bleak. Drinkability is ok considering, but it still lacks overall flavour. This is a great beer for beginners to craft beer, but its very average if you are a veteran. I definately have drank a lot worse beers then this, but this is probably the last time I will pick up a bottle.

WeedKing4, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of claminat420
3.63/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- poured a cloudy orange color with a white fluffy head. light carbonation.

S- orange and piney

T- same as smell but with a light caramel malt in the middle.

M- medium bodied. nice carbonation.

D- not to bad. wish these had more taste backing up the bitterness.

claminat420, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of meeekyh
4.88/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer came in a 12oz bottle I am sure is not super-fresh. The price on Rogue beers went up from $8.99 to $10.59 on average about 7 months ago. I bet this beer is from that era.

I note the beer is a nice amber color, on the brown side as opposed to red, and slightly hazy. The head is slight and tan in color, creamy and leaves great lacing.

Nose is floral and a bit citrusy. I would call it subdued but add that there is a fullness that transcends the apparent. The hop character sure comes through.

Despite the name this is not a particularly bitter beer. What I notice in particular is a tangy zip, grainy flavors with a bit of fresh grasses. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is nicely creamy and full without coating or having a pronounced aftertaste. Primo beer to be sure, and not that 'Hawaiian' Primo either, though I don't hate that beer either.

Quaffability is hard to beat. I once made this beer my session beer of choice, when the price was slightly lower. I will not grade against the drinkability for the price though because I would give it a 5.5 for drinkability if I could.

In short this is one of my favorite beers ever and continues to please me, especially after the hiatus I took. Distance makes the heart...etc.


meeekyh, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of eat
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque and just-off clear. Honey in colour with a rocky off-white head. Pouring in the last inch of the bottle darkens the colour and adds some murky suspended solids, changing the look significantly. Great retention and awesome sticky lacing all up the side of the glass.

The nose is buttery with sweet grapefruit and caramel malt. Real nice.

Lots of hops in the flavour, seeming like a combination of English and American hop varieties. A bit of cracker, some grapefruit, no alcohol. Drying finish.

Great medium body and medium carbonation.

I've never been a fan of bitters and while this one hasn't changed my mind, it's easily the best I've had. I've attempted to review to style, since my opinion of bitters in general would have biased the review. Quite drinkable in spite of my preferences, I'd drink this again if it was offered to me.

eat, Mar 08, 2010
Photo of TommyW
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Copper/gold body with a tall, white head.

S- Smell of hops dominates the nose with a piney and fresh scent.

T- A slight malt sweetness is noticeable but quickly over-taken by the piney/raw hop profile; creating a bitter finish.

M- Medium to full feel with a nice carbonation.

D- A nice hoppy beer that isn't too boozy; great beer you cant drink a few of when you have a hop craving.

TommyW, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of funkengruven
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice find at the Waterdown LCBO, this pours a dark cloudy amber with nice head retention. Some foam but not a lot of lace. Smell is a good balance of malt and hops, I would say hops are a bit more prominent in this one than most of this style I have tried. Flavor is exceptionally nice. I find that the hop bitterness balances the malt perfectly, and unlike some of the British examples I have tried, the sweetness is subdued somewhat making for a delicious and smooth drink. Drinkability is definitely a plus here and if it wasn't for the strength of this brew it'd be a nice session beer.

Yes, at $7 a bomber it's expensive. However it's worth it, very nice stuff.

funkengruven, Mar 06, 2010
Photo of uno99
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottle purchased at LCBO shops at donmills

A: nice cloudy orangey brown. excellent fluffy and rocky head with lots of retention. great beer to be seen holding.

S: untraditional smell. bitterness more upfront than the defacto fullers ESB. nice spicy aroma with malt backbone

T: definitly a notch beyond the average ESB. however perhaps a little unbalanced. the hops really overpower the malt, but tasty non the less

M: Oily but also realtively thin. lots of carbonation.

D: I can think of other more drinkable beers from this catagory. This one is a little more hardcore than what im used to from an english ale.

$7 for a 650ml. I feel for the price there are better choices out there; however, this is a good beer for the style - I just prefer the "real" deal from england - Sam smiths and Fullers etc.

uno99, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of kwjd
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big soapy white head that sticks around and leaves lacing down the glass. It's a pleasing bright orange colour. It has a smell of citrusy hops. I love the taste of this. It has the bitterness, but not over-the-top as you may expect from the name. It works quite well with the subdued citrusy hop flavour. Has a nice sweetness to it and a bit of pine as well. This may be my favourite beer I've had of the style. I could drink this anytime.

kwjd, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of Hoves
4.47/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The brutal bitter pours like a wheat beer, thick and heady. The head sticks around for a good while and when it dissipates it releases a sweet hoppy smell.

As most rogue beers are, it is hopped perfectly for the hopheads among us. The taste of the brutal bitter is in the back of your mouth and the after taste lingers briefly and not too strongly.

The mouthfeel offers perfect carbonation with a slight hint of caramel and a little bit of a lingering yeast flavor.

All in all, this is another great creation by the men and women in Oregon.

Hoves, Feb 24, 2010
Photo of jmerloni
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Opaque gold-orange with nice pillowy head that has good retention and lacing.

S - Pretty nice aroma; citrus with a bit of malty yeast; can definitely smell the hops as well.

T - Pretty good but lacking something. Follows the nose with a bitter, quenching aftertaste. If you hold a sip in the back of your mouth this beer's hops really dance on your tastebuds. But it's lacking something.

M - Great mouthfeel. Light to medium and leaves a great dry, quenching afterbite that's very nice.

D - The drinkability of this brew is definitely up there and I'd go as far as to say it's pretty sessionable. It's light, quenching, and has a mid-level ABV. This should probably be sold in 6-packs if they could get the price down. I might buy it in a 6-pack for say 9.99 but for the price, I wouldn't ever buy a bomber again. I don't think this brew is worth $7 a bomber.

jmerloni, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of klkatz
3.6/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On a whim I stopped into a small boutique grocery store near Rittenhouse Square. (19th and Spruce, I think it's called Food and Friends) I was on a trek with my 6 month old son, in an effort to get out of the house after 2 feet of snow was dumped on the city. I was really looking for prune juice for my constipated son, but thought I'd check out the beer selection also. I got a 6 pack variety (3 for me... 3 wheat beers for the Mrs.) The American Amber Ale was one of my three.

The beer doesn't live up to its name... I like bitter beer... having never tried this beer, I thought it would be a little hoppier.

It is slightly hoppy with a light body - it's well carbonated - has the feeling of an american IPA but with less hop character.

I wasn't impressed. Maybe I'll try this again without Mac & Cheese.

klkatz, Feb 13, 2010
Photo of flagmantho
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich golden orange color with a touch of haze. Head is several fingers in thickness and of a rocky ivory foam. Attractive.

Smell: bright, metallic, citrus hops abound with just a tiny touch of funkiness. No malt aroma stands a chance against this olfactory assault. Brutal, not exactly; but pretty intense.

Taste: highly citrusy flavor from the hops, although the hops grow a little more complex here with the added characteristic of floral-ness. The malt is a little sweet which makes this almost a dessert beer. Again, not brutal, but damn tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with low carbonation, the mouthfeel of Brutal Bitter did not wow me. It is well-crafted, however, and totally acceptable.

Drinkability: highly drinkable. I would easily session a few pints of this.

flagmantho, Feb 10, 2010
Photo of goldbot
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange amber, a bit of haze present. Thinnish white head and decent carbonation.

Smells of an even, balanced mix of malt and hops. Bready, doughy malt with a touch of caramel, with a touch of pine tree and floral hops. This has a very clean, bright flavor. Along with aromas identified, there is also a hint of lemon flavor which adds to the brightness. There is some bitterness but it is not too intense.

Light bodied and smooth feel. A very balanced, smooth beer with light crispness. While certainly not "brutal", this is a great, clean tasting beer which is an excellent candidate for a lot of food pairings.

goldbot, Feb 08, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This truly is a brutally bitter ale, in a good way.

Deep orange hint of brown color, craggy. Aroma, big hop nose, old school.

Taste = truth in advertising. The best kind of bitterness, puckering, but quenching and the cycle repeats.

Mouthfeel, despite the puckering effect, there are still nuances of something, not pine, but some kind of tree (juniper) that is very mellow. Interesting. Drinkable at Shenanigan's in Reno, because $5 a pint or whatnot, what a deal, its even cheaper than buying a bomber at a liquor store. One of, if not, the best Rogue effort.

Beerandraiderfan, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of MbpBugeye
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Dark orange, totally hazed over. Big fluffy white head, decent retention.

S- Kinda weak, but good. Lemon sweetness, faint floral hops, faint malts, salt and spice.

T- Sweet, juicy lemon/citrus at first. It then breaks to a caramel malt middle, then a hoppy, piney finish. This is really balanced and interesting. You can taste the flavors shifting as you sip.

M- Average mouthfeel. Not too full not too thin. Carbonation thats there but not over done.

D- I think this beer. It is well balanced and easy to drink. The abv is bordering the session beer cut off but a bomber of this is totally easy for one person.

MbpBugeye, Feb 06, 2010
Photo of BeerSingh
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the 2 Rogue beers available in India (other being St Rogue Red). Poured into my favourite tulip glass. The body cascaded from a orange / amber hue to a dark peach from top to down. Even holding the glass against the light could only elucidate the cloudiness. Without the off white head, it could be mistaken for a Orange Juice laced with grenadine (like a Tequila Sunrise). The rapidly gushing head which started as an inch sized crown quickly receded to 1 cm, leaving small peaks of lacing. The aromatic hops pan from soapy to grassy, combining with a bold caramel nose coming from the malts. The taste is panoramic - a caramel and toffee sweetness goes hand in hand with a herbal bitterness, only that the bitterness dissolves into your palate and recedes very slowly, turning your palate moist and soft, readying it for more Brutal Bitterness. The beer is very smooth on your palate, completely bereft of any coarseness or bite. A second aggressive pour gets the beer gushing out of the glass.

Brutal Bitter is not brutal on any count - it surprises you with its easy character and well balanced flavour. An Ace from Rogue.

BeerSingh, Jan 29, 2010
Photo of RedSpecial1
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On initial pour a thick off white head of about 2-3 fingers lingers. Not much lacing remains as it recedes. The beer itself pours a murky amber/orange, it seems a touch cloudy.

It smells faintly oily grassy smell, with hints of caramel malt in the background. The first taste off the bat is a strong bitterness, but not overpowering with some of the grassiness balancing it out. There's also a distinct hoppiness, probably the source of both of these flavors. This beer has a little sharpness at first sip, but again, it's not overpowering. This beer is pretty tasty, and could be a pretty decent session beer, although this probably wouldn't be the case for everyone.

RedSpecial1, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of wnh
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a muddled, murky reddish amber with a large, creamy and rocky off-white head.

Rich, balanced nose, showing bitter oily citrus hops on top of a strong caramel malty base. Underneath is a touch of toasty malt and grassy hops, both very faint. I'm having a difficult time getting much out of this, really, but it smells good.

First sip was a shock. Smooth and soft and velvety on the palate; somehow ribbon-like. Rich but subtle caramel alongside lightly bitter hop resins and a touch of earthy dryness. Fades into a soft toasty maltiness, with a longish but soft bitter finish.

Medium bodied and, again, soft and velvety. Eminently quaffable, surprisingly so for a beer called "Brutal Bitter." Sessionable and flavorful and a delight to drink.

wnh, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of atigerlife
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange with 1 finger cramy slightly off white head. Minimal carbonation rising.

Aroma is of grapefruit, nectarine and peach. Lots of stuff going on here. Very nice.

Taste has hops [of course] which is dominated by peach and pine flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, dry and cleansing.

Overall, very drinkable and enjoyable. Definitely worth having again.

atigerlife, Jan 10, 2010
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,833 ratings.