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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,083 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,083
Hads: 2,039
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 79
Gots: 154 | 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
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Reviews: 1,083 | Hads: 2,039
Photo of Stingray5
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy brown/orange with a thick fluffy white head that lasts. The hops hit first in the aroma, settling to some fruity, nutty malt notes. Thick and buttery in the mouth, the hops let you know they mean business. Is this beer or grapefruit juice?! The malt makes itself known in a very balanced fashion, but this one is still all about the hops. Dry, tangy finish with long lasting bitterness. Just as good if not better as it warms. Wow this is a good beer!

Extremely balanced and drinkable. Massive hops. Excellent! (528 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is a nice cloudy deep copper with a small head of tight ivory colored froth with incredible stitched lace rings. Smell is peachy citrus, dark orange hops, juicy and fat, great little piney freshness. Great hop nose. Taste starts of sweet malt and light wheat and heads for the hops soon there after with grapefruitish sweet bittering sour dryness and woody pine solidness. Whoa... this bittering hits heavy and late. I count nearly six to ten seconds before it decides to make its presense felt. Amazing. Feel is a quick thin start then a bit harsh, bold texture with a solid full body with a huge hop kick late. The name "Brutal Bitter" suits it. It takes some getting use to. (683 characters)

Photo of euskera
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well.. slap my ass and call me Sally!!

Hoppy, hoppy, and did I say hoppy. Smacks you in the face and won't let go. Great appetizing beer that goes down well. Excellent on a summer afternoon.

Pours out a cloudy brownish-yellow with a nice foamy head. Smell is hoppy with a malt overtone. Taste is fresh, with a little citrus in the foreground. Mouthfeel is a little briny with all the hops. Well balanced with a very forceful hop finish. Bravo (450 characters)

Photo of jcalabre
3.6/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Originally sampled on 28 December 2002. I am writing this review from my notes. This baby has hops out the wazoo, but it is surprisingly well balanced. This beer is quite drinkable. I think that it is one of Rogue's better efforts. I know that I'll enjoy having this one again. (277 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Brutal combines Oregon hops with English Malts. The Oregon grown Crystal hop is a triploid variety developed from the German Hallertau aroma hop variety with contributions from Cascade, Brewers Gold, and Early Green. Crystal is the only hop used in brewing Brutal and it provides a massive amount of aroma without dry-hopping. The English malts used are floor malted Pipkin (a mellow cross of Maris Otter and Warboys, from an English company called Beeston), Cara Vienna and Cara Wheat."-from the Rogue website.

Sampled at Rogue Ale House in Portland, OR.
59 IBU, 14.3 Lovibond, 76 AA, 15 degrees Plato.

Cloudy light caramel with a thin white head and poor retention and lacing. Aroma is very floral with hops so juicy they smell sweet..apples..tons of fruits. Gotta love that Pac-man yeast. Taste begins very floral with potent flavor hoppings, sweet cookie-like malts, toast, biscuits, and a potent yet brisk, dry spicy bitterness. While a very good brew, this seems a little outside Rogue's very high standards...this seems more like a standard brewpub offering. The mouthfeel is a tad dry and little harsh. A very good brew, but probably the weakest of those sampled. (1,179 characters)

Photo of nixhecks
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presented in a 22 oz bomber (my favorite). Poured cloudy copper color with a nice foamy head that had long retention and was very thick. Wonderful hop aroma on the nose, very floral and very mouthwatering. The taste is pretty complex, the hoppy bitterness takes full control, but at the same time there is an underlying sweetness throughout as well. This brew is very strongly hopped though, I wouldn't recommend it for someone trying out the style for the first time, but I always love a unique brew with character that presses the extremes, and this is one of 'em. (566 characters)

Photo of dwarbi
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Monstrous white head. Very thick and it goes nowhere. The beer itself is not completely transparent. Smells of hops and bitter. Pleasant taste. Creamy and very smooth. Bitter aftertaste, but tremendously drinkable. Elaborate, hard to pin combination of flavors. (261 characters)

Photo of MissOrch
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Last night was my second time sampling this fine brew, but this time it was on cask. It poured a cloudy caramel color, allowing a very minimal glow of light through the glass, but I still couldn't see all the way through. The head was thick and spongy like shaving cream, bobbing on top of the beer.

A very sticky sweet smell wafted over the sides of the glass. I was overwhelmed with a nose of strong grapefruit, mandarin orange, and notes of malt. It smelled like a cross between a candy and a malt liquor, like if I spilled some on a marble floor, my shoes would stick permanently.

The beer had a smooth, creamy, low carbonation cask feel with a squeaky, almost tannin like bitter finish. The first sip was very sweet and malty. The next flavor that kicked in was burned caramel, and finished with a brutally bitter hop taste that left a surprisingly clean finish. I had no problems finishing the whole pint, although I was reeling a little by the end. Packs a lot of flavor-- I like it! (997 characters)

Photo of Dantes
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Package: 22oz. crowned bottle, labeled 76 IBU and 15º Plato. I don’t know how to convert this, but I’d love to know the ABV. Short description, ingredients list, and dedication.

Cost: $3.49 at Bottle King

Presentation: ~18oz. in an Imperial pint glass at ~45º

Appearance: A lambent, peach-apricot cloudy body; with a picture-perfect dense, long-lasting, bone-colored head resembling the soft contours of a Caribbean beach. Lacing worthy of Alençon.

Smell: Right away, the aroma put me on notice that I was about to taste something significant. I did not sense the coffee aroma promised by the bottle, but was more than compensated by the fruity bouquet anchored by a wonderful toasted maltiness. Truly biscuity. Complexly hoppy with citrus and piney notes.

Taste: Wow. This delivers flavor with no questions asked. Some have questioned the legitimacy of calling this a bitter, but it earns this term with its excellent balance of sweet, toasted malt; fruity notes; and liberal dose of hops. This is unmistakably a bitter with an American twist and not an APA or IPA. The resinous pine and citrus elements are filled out by a subtle sweetness and enough toasted malt to sink your teeth into. It is this elusive “bready” quality that screams bitter. Full-flavored with a long finish. Tasted better on the cooler side. I'd recommend pouring it at 45º.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, yet refreshingly astringent at the same time.

Drinkability: Another example of why I don't like 22oz. bombers. This is so drinkable, one bomber is not enough. Filling one Imperial pint leaves a woefully inadequate 4oz., so you have to open another bomber if you want more (which you will)! If I had a kegerator, this would take up permanent residence!

A PhD. in bitter in a glass. Anyone looking to learn how a bitter differs from an IPA need only refer to this beer. I probably haven’t described it well enough, but one taste will tell you all you need to know. It's like a brash but accomplished American IPA that has earned a Rhodes Scholarship (or like Churchill, a combination of the best of America and Britain). I'm a big fan of British bitters (and the benchmark Fullers in particular) and was ready to grade this harshly, but it really delivered the goods. One suggestion: come up with a better name. Brutal Bitter conveys the wrong impression and may scare away the less adventurous.

Backwash: Worthy of a knighthood. Cries out to be sold in 550ml bottles or sixers for serious pounding. Why is it so much more expensive (by volume) than Fuller’s?

NB: Bottle info above is from a run of misprinted bottles. IBUs should be 59. (2,644 characters)

Photo of tigerpaws
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A exceptional beer IMO....pours a very dark amber with an ample head. The aroma is for sure there with a mixute of scents, you can detect the malt, but also the crisp hoppy smell comes through to prevail. The taste is close to an IPA withou being one ( so I was happy ). Not for the average beer drinker but one the true beer lovers will enjoy....................CHEERS (369 characters)

Photo of ADR
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Now that the bombers and singles have invaded Minnesota, we have more Rogue here than ever before!

Hazy sienna-orange with a beautifully pillowy 3/4 inch head...cottony laces. Nice mix of buttery malts and slight hop flower to the smell...GACK! This is a "hopster", lots of sweetened tangerine and associated citrus with a medium malty mouthfeel to pull the balance about. Finishes with a decided but over-the-top hop tone and a hot and dry backbone. Well, this may be an "Imperial" Bitter, but I'll pass on this in favor of a more subtle and superiorly balanced Fuller's ESB any day. Challenging beer, a little bit too much of a west coast show-off to my taste. (665 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: a bright, but hazy, apricottish hue, with a thick, bubbling, off-white lace-leaving head. Aroma: absolutely bristling with pine, pineapple, grapefruit, all sorts of citrus, very spikey, alert and lively, seriously delirious!
On the palate, a monsoon ensues, a blast of brilliant bitterness, that fades a bit, yes, but returns with every sip. Texture is a treat, tangy, delicious, smooth, but tasty. Long, even eternal, finish. Ultimately, very dry, mouth watering, thirst quenching...yeah! It got me to thinking...this is the hophead's "lawnmower beer"! And me, I've got to live in an apartment! It's an "anytime" ale, I say!
The name protests too much. It's not too brutal, but then I'm used to, and I welcome, a barrage of hops on my tongue at anytime I wish.
The label reads "an Imperial style bitter" (aren't "bitters" UNbitter, such as ESBs?) using exotic traditional floor malts (huh?) Free Range Coastal Waters (okay, I'm lost, free range chicken I get, but free range water?) etc., etc.
No matter my confusion, it's a damned great ale, not shy at all with the hops, and loaded down with flavor. Happily consumed from a generous 22oz. bomber. (1,166 characters)

Photo of StevieW
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber bottle. Cloudy copper color. Medium thick, bubbly beige head. Sticky and clings to the glass. Super rich bitter hop aromas. Nice fresh smell despite being in my fridge for 2 months. First taste was exactly what I expected and hoping for. Nice fresh hop charge of tastes. Mouth puckering bitterness through and through. Moderately rich and subtle sweet malty undertone. Resin hop stickiness lingers on the tongue. Super smooth, medium to full bodied. Uncommonly smooth. Really good beer to match with my favorite meal of tangy barbecue grilled chicken.
Another Rogue worth searching for. (601 characters)

Photo of beernut7
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Being a rogue brew I was expecting a certain level of hop overkill, and I was far from disappointed. Pouring a hazy honey color with a creamy head, the HUGE sharply spicy aroma hits one in the face with reckless abandon. The first flavor brings the grapefruitiest hop flavor in existence stopming on what might be a decent amount of malt--we may never know. Brutal is definitely an accurate portrayal of this ale. More on the level of an IPA than any bitter I have ever tasted. One must be in the mood for this beer, not one for the faint of heart. (548 characters)

Photo of far333
3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden color with an orange head. The head was nearly two inches high. Not sure if that's typical or if the barkeep gave me a bad pour. Didn't expect that for a cask beer. Nice lacing down the glass as I drank. Aroma of citrus and pine, followed by a hoppy flavor with citrus tones. Taste is very hoppy from start to finish, but not overpowering, even when served at the appropriate temperature for a cask beer. A pretty drinkable beer, but with aroma and flavor just a bit above average for my tastes, it's not one that I would choose often. (542 characters)

Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.03/5  rDev 0%
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. (395 characters)

Photo of Brent
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Much as I love cascades hops, it was nice to have a hoppy brew dedicated to another variety - crystal. The bottle noted a coffee aroma, of which I got none. The aroma was sweet, almost candy-ish, hops. Nice balance of malt and hops, although there was the slightest touch of metal at the front, but not enough to be a problem. Very smooth and even tempered for the hops punch. Perhaps a little on the hoppy side for an ESB, but what else would you expect from Rogue? (466 characters)

Photo of wofat
4.11/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a golden amber ESB with a light and creamy head. It suprised me in that it looked like a slightly darker version of a weiss beer. I was a bit surprised at what I think is a lack of real big aroma that I would expect, mild but pleasant hints of fruit and coffee.

This is a smooth bitter. Light roasted flavor combined with a very smooth crystal hop and dry, bitter finish. Do I detect oranges? The cara wheat really comes through in this ESB.

This is a good, medium bodied beer who's little tiny carbonation bubbles really carry that flavor straight to your tastebuds! This is a beer I could really drink all afternoon... err... morning. Since I am drinking this in my hotel room with nothing better to do, I may just have to run back out and pick up a couple more!

Smooth and tasty! (800 characters)

Photo of scottum
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Better on tap than bottled. This is truely an awesome brew. Finally a bitter than means bitter. The hops are fantastic! Finding this on tap in Boston is a hophead's dream. Very balanced. A bit of sweet malt does the balancing trick quite nicely. The real show however is the hop hop hop hop fest. (296 characters)

Photo of Elemental
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woo hoo - this lives up to its name brutally bitter. Who'd a thought that there is only one type of hops used in this beer (crystal). The taste is light but with a large amount of bitterness. The taste is great all the way through from the beginning to the end. It has a wonderful aroma with a hint of coffee and citrus. Lots of head to bring out the hopiness with a light amber gold color.
Excellent beer. (408 characters)

Photo of 49degrees
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I kicked off my first venture to the Issaquah Brewing Company (AKA Rogue Brewery) this past week with a bit pint of Brutal Bitter Ale. This extremely strong, bitter, and flavorful beer was a joy to behold.

It poured a nice deep copper color and gave off a large white rocky head that quickly flowed over the edges on the draw and lasted for considerable time in the glass while drinking. In addition to the long last head, the lacing on the glass was fairly extensive from the first to last drop.

Just like the Imperial India Pale Ale (I2PA) from Rogue, the Brutal Bitter doesn’t slug you in the face like some of the most exuberant bitter beers recently brought to market by other brewers. It’s that refined stance that this Brutal Bitter takes that helps make this an enjoyable and very drinkable bitter beer. This one also presents a unique characteristic that gives it a very smooth body like that of an English Bitter with an added malt hit, but still manages to rear the fierce bitter hit that makes this a truly enjoyable ale. In addition to the extensive hoppy characteristics, the Brutal Bitter has a nice blend of citrus fruit, which helps keep the palette tingling, and the flavors ever expanding to further the enjoyment.

Rogue’s Brutal Bitter is a very drinkable bitter beer; so much so, I grabbed a case of it on the way out the door. If you’re a bitter beer drinker, this one is sure to please.

[ STATS:>> SERVING: 16 oz. pint / ABV: unlisted / PRICE: $4.00 USD ] (1,500 characters)

Photo of Quaffer
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle

Appearance: This beer was a perfect copper color. It had a huge rocky, light-colored head that persisted for quite awhile. It left a respectable amount of lace on the glass.

Smell: Strong odors of sharp hops, combined with a fruity sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin. Would have liked a fuller, smoother texture.

Taste: The first drink of this beer was like a slap in the face. A very strong hop bitterness. There was a sharp aftertaste of bitterness as well, reminding me of grapefruit. I think the bottle said 76 IBUs. I would've thought it was even higher after tasting. I didn't detect any malt flavors, even though they have to be there to balance out those hops.

UPDATE 08/11/03
I tweaked the "taste" and "mouthfeel" numbers up a bit after finally revisiting this beer. I think that I was a little hard on it the first time, considering how much I enjoyed it this time. I still think there needs to be more malt to balance out the hops, though. (980 characters)

Photo of aaronh
4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Cask conditioned at Fathead's.

Deep amber color. Sizeable creamy head that lasts the entire glass. Hints of sweet malt and hops in the aroma. Smooth malt sweetness with a pronounced smooth grapefruit flavor. Decent bitterness onthe finish cleans things up. The aftertaste hits you with more pink grapefruit flavors. The mouthfeel is very smooth, which leads to an excellent drinkability. Who knew Brutality could be so smooth? An excellent offering from Rogue. (463 characters)

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on tap at Redbones and re-reviewed 12-02-03.

This beer poured a cloudy/hazy, red-brown, light chestnut color with white foam that clung to the glass well. The smell was a very nice, fruity, floral hop aroma balance with malt. The taste was sweet malt and dry hops, both floral and bitter, nicely balanced and not over the top. The mouthfeel was smooth and sweet up front with a dry finish. The body was medium-full with medium carbonation. This was a very nice brew and a fine job. (492 characters)

Photo of paceyourself
4.59/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very cloudy amber pour with a small tight white head that slowly fades.Great aroma of lightly roasted coffee with a floral background. The sweet fruity flavors are sharp at first then a strong oily bitterness takes over and hold your attention for some time. This is a excellent bitter and i enjoyed the whole bomber but while drinking this i wondered how this would be on draught, it must be incredible. Another winner from Rogue. (431 characters)

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,083 ratings.