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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,879 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,879
Reviews: 1,069
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 67
Gots: 84 | 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: 1,879 | Reviews: 1,069 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vette2006c5r
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This ipa pours a hazy amber color with very little head. There isnt much of a smell, very weak put some hops ca be distingushed. The taste is much different. As the name implies, its very bitter strong hoppy taste as well, but its actually drinkable. Overall a reallly nice beer.

Photo of champ103
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a lightly hazy amber/orange color. A two finger white head forms quickly, but recedes in a second. Light lace is left behind.
S: Big grapefruit and citrus hops up front. A substantial, but not over barring bitterness. Really nothing else.
T: Follows the nose. Big grapefruit and citrus hops. A substantial bitterness. I can't help but think that a bread and biscuit malt balance would make this exceptional. As is, this does not reach that level.
M/D: A lighter body than I would have thought. Fairly crisp and dry though. Not hard to drink, but nothing that I am going to come back to often.

Not bad at all. Though it is really one dimensional, to the beers detriment. If there was just some sweetness or bread/biscuit flavor for balance this would be exceptional. As is it, this is still very much worth a try and a worthy year-round IPA.

Photo of Brad007
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy amber/blond color with a one-finger head into my pint glass. I'm not sure if cloudiness is what the doctor ordered here.

The aroma is full of strong hints of citrus and grainy malt. Highly reminiscent of a DIPA due to the strong aroma.

Grassy hops with a slight citrus twist greet the tongue from the first sip. Bitter in more ways than one and it lingers in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering citrus hops and grassiness. Not much else here.

It's definitely bitter as hell. Still, not quite the best example that I've seen out there.

Photo of taverncast
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

3 out of 5 stars - some confusion over what happened with the recipe - the beer has changed names in the past year, and seemingly even the recipe, although differing sources have differing information on this. We tried both labels, and found a significant difference in the two bottles.

The original label, Brutal Bitter was a drinkable, malty, but very low IBU bitter with a mild hoppy, sweet nose, malt and sugar flavors and a slightly bitter finish.

The new label, Brutal IPA was distinctly different - having a pronounced hop and fruit smell, and heavy grapefruit flavor with melon overtones - so pronounced in fact that the beer took on a wheat beer character.

Check out our full audio review of both beers: http://www.taverncast.com/shows/taverncast-on-tap-02.mp3

Photo of BeerNinja007
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got a pint at Ramuntos in Lebanon NH with two specialty slices of pizza for $9.99.

A: Thin bleach white head, dense and foamy, clings strongly to the glass to form a thick meniscus. Clear honey-colored brew. Leaves decent lace.

S: Good amount of sweet thin malts supporting a moderately hoppy bite of pine and grass.

T: Sugar syrup sweetness, not quite as hoppy as the smell, but very clean so that the hop stands out strong and distinctive. A bit of vanilla appears in the background that balances the hop well without interfering. The hop is a good wide-spectrum mix of pine, grass, grapefruit.

M/D: Thin but creamy, very smooth. Easy drinker, seriously quaffable, I could drink a ton of this stuff.

Photo of montecristo2
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a golden color with a two and a half fingered rocky head.

A good aroma-smells of citrus/grapefruit.

Tasty-tastes of citrus hops. A low IBU for a "brutal" bitter, but I don't care, cause this beer tastes awesome. I do enjoy IPA's, but this is very tasty and extremely drinkable.

Cheers!

Photo of mudbug
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From the bomber into a pint glass, pours a slightly hazy orange with brown tints with a nice fluffy half inch head that sticks around for the party.
Aroma is grapefruit and astringent hops, bitter is the word with the taste following suit, Is a bit creamy up front with tight carbonation that holds the overall bitterness in check.
Easy to drink because of the fine carbonation balancing the grapefruit rind bitterness, a well done brew amd probably my favorite Rogue beer.

Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance - The beer pours a slightly hazy gold colour with a decent size frothy bright white head. I can see an average amount of carbonation. There is also some gorgeous lacing and the head lasted for a few minutes.

Smell - Hops, citrus zest herbal/floral notes, are the most noticeable. Also a biscuit like scent and a sugar sweetness.

Taste & Mouth - Mouth feel is just about perfect on this one, a decent amount of carbonation on the tongue. I'm not sure it lives up to its name; as I've had lots of other IPA's that were way more bitter than this one. It is far from brutal; the hop taste is actually moderate - and enjoyable. The hops give way to a citrus sweetness and biscuit/malt flavour, and then I was left with a bitter aftertaste.

Drink - I really enjoyed this beer, and I will keep my eyes peeled for more so I can stock up. It's a nice drinkable hoppy beer.

Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good ESB, a poor IPA though. I'm going to go ahead and ignore the IPA at the top of the screen.

Beer is red and forms a decent head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Beer is clear, mostly, and is moderately carbonated, looks fine.

Aroma is mildly bitter with some malt notes to it.

Beer is malty and big bodied wtihout being sweet, its bitter but not harshly so, there is minimal hop character although its obvious that the bitterness is from the hops. Its moderately drinkable, 22 ounces was a bit much here but its not difficult to choke down at all. Its well flavored and has that balance people talk so much about. Like I said at the beginning, its not a very good IPA but its a good bitter.

Photo of TangTKE402
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

Photo of claspada
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours s a nice hazy golden orange, with a thick, dense frothy head. Quite visually appealing, good start.

The aroma is not what I expected, it's not all hops. There is the typical citrus and herbal/pine hops but it is also balanced well with some sweet honey/caramel malts.

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/caramel sweetness but then switches to the citrus and herbal hops. The finish is quite good with medium level of bitterness and dryness. Very fitting of the English Style Bitter/IPA category in my opinion. I wouldn't call it an American IPA by any means. Quite drinkable and another great offering from a great brewery.

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange-ish/ yellow color with an off white head. In the aroma, a sweet malt and some citrus hops. In the taste, a nice mixture of hops, citrus and pine. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry hop aftertaste. A nice hop, but feels like an ESB than an IPA to me.

Photo of jdense
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at EOU Faculty Lounge, The Big, OR, 8.23.2010.

One finger white head in frosted pint glass (ugh), medium dissipation with above average lacing. Deep gold clear body, some trails of carbonation rising from bottom of glass. A bit of tropical fruit in the nose, caramel and bready malts in the middle, some resiny hops on the backend. Taste mirrors nose, though IMO this may have been an old keg given minimal bitterness. Medium full mouthfeel, good effervescence. This is a really drinkable beer, but the lack of hop presence was troublesome.

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle is Brutal IPA, but apparently the same thing.
A - bubbly copper amber, two finger of off white head that retained very well and laced extremely well up the glass
S - very fruity, piney, and floral hop domination, some light caramel malts, and i'm getting notes of pineapple and grapefruit
T - a great hop mix as mentioned above, there is some light caramel sweetness, and the very nice fruity grapefruit flavour is lasting
M - fairly bubbly, a nice hop bitter that is balanced that balanced well by a smooth feel and not the typical dry of IPA's
D - a hop bomb for sure, but the emphasis on fruit and citrus flavours makes it very refreshing, and a good amount of bitter, a great American IPA

Photo of CampusCrew
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

had this at the huge kickbacks dinner in Jacksonville, FL. I took some notes but mostly doing this from memory.
Appearance: golden color,
Smell: loads of orange intense hop
Taste: nice and bitter ale, very sessioable and light, pairs well with lots of foods

Photo of beerbrains
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a Brutal IPA bottle.

Pours a hazy orange-gold topped with a nice white head.

Aroma is hoppy citrus with some fruity sweetness mixed in.

Biscuit malts and grassy citrus hops.... delicious.

The hops and malt are more balanced than expected from an American IPA.

Overall, a well crafted beer I will return to again and again.

Photo of appenzeller
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy dark gold with big, pillowy white head. Aroma is more subdued than expected, hops forward but not overwhelming. Taste is well balanced for an IPA, discernible underlying maltiness with hops dominating through the taste. Highly resinous and oily taste, mouthfeel is the consistency of a hefeweizen, fairly thick yet refreshing all the same. Average to good drinkability for the style.

Photo of TheDeuce
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
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.

Photo of rfgetz
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed coppery gold color with minimal ring of head. Scent is very mild, light herbal and citrusy hops, musty grain smell and bready yeast. Taste is a little more aggressive with some citrus up front, evolving into a strange mangled bitter rush of pine and herbal hops - almost juniper and gin like. A slight crackery and carmel background smooths out the finnish just a touch. Medium bodied, lightly carbonated, slightly harsh lingering tastes. Like many Rougue Beers, comes out mild where it should be aggressive and aggressive where it should be mild, lacks balance.

Photo of malloyca
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 22 oz bottle was labeled Brutal IPA, rather than Brutal Bitter Ale, but it looks like they are the same thing. Poured a clear, amber-gold color without a large head. There were aromas of clove and orange, little maltiness and some mild hops. Fairly restrained as far as American IPAs go, this lacked overwhelming, mouth drying hop flavors, but had good depth of flavor.

Photo of nazbotica
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Well for once the title "Bitter" seems appropriate for a beer of this style. I drank this beer from a standard pint glass.

A - The beer poured a hazy dark gold, almost a dark khaki color. Even up to natural light it is almost completely opaque. It is topped by a two finger head that slowly subsides to one finger and sustained until I began drinking.

S - A pungent piney aroma hit me mid-pour. The slight biscuity malt note was almost completely obscured by a strong Centennial hop smell.

T - The first taste that hits you is a buttery toffee flavor that is characteristic for the style, but, as with the smell, that taste is completely overwhelmed by rush of harsh, piney bitter hops flavor. This could be a bit more balanced, but I really like the taste this bitterness leaves in my mouth. It is sort of minerally like spring

M - The body is thicker/heavier than I expected. Although a low carbonated beer, it is initially quite creamy and soft on the palate, which matches well with the toffee flavor, however brief this is.

D - Overall I like this beer. This is my first Imperial Bitter, and I am not well acquainted with the style. It is definitely a more bitter, "Bitter" than I am used to, which is inline with the Imperial tag and the fact that it is an American beer. We Americans seem to take everything to its extreme. As I said before, would prefer more balance between malt and hop, particularly the harsh, dry finish. However, any fan of hoppy beers, as I am, will probably enjoy this one.

Photo of JayQue
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one may be labeled "Brutal" because of its dry, hoppy presence - little malt balance. Of course that works for hop heads like me!!!! Poured into a 25 oz Hooters mug. Hazy orange color with lots of sediment. Huge white head, especially on the opposite side of the glass. Thast is citrus hops, tangerine and grapefruit - bitter - little balance

Mouthfel is crisp, dry and bitter. Not everybodys cup of tea, but it works for me!!!

Drinkability was good. I drank the bomber...could have had more.

Photo of Naugros
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An amazing head and the lace is sticky as all hell. I may need to scrub the glass to get it off. The cloudy pale orange seems perfect for this beer. Oh yeah, careful pouring this one or you'll be sucking suds or swabbing the deck...your choice. The suds are tastier and where I opted. Drain your glass and you'll have a quarter of it still full with beer clouds. I've never seen head retention like this outside of Belgium. Very impressive!

The smell is ALL hops. Nothing else can get through. Hmm, after a few more snorts of this, you can sense the sweetness of the malts. Nice. If you get your nose too close you will have suds hanging off your nose. Do it on purpose and amuse your friends. Still, you have to appreciate this aroma. From it you can tell that the boys at Rogue used a few types of hops and not the omnipresent Cascades. If you read the side of the bottle, they tell you what they used. Duh! Rogue always does this and I love them for it. Willamette hops should get their props as they make this beer a little more sophisticated than the Cascade teas that everyone else loves to brew.

"Brutal" bitter? No, I've had some brutally bitter beers and this is not brutal. I really like this one and I'm not a hop head. Yes, the hops are prevalent, but there's a nice sweetness up front that gives this beer some balance. The malts almost give an impression of potato bread and the hops lend more than bitterness, there's also a citrus tang that doesn't end in pithy yuckitude.

As mentioned above, there's no harsh aftertaste or lingering bitterness. It's got an easy-going medium body.

This went down so easily it's scary. But then my fears are alleviated as I scroll up to the top of this page and see the ABV is just over 6%. I could take down a few of these 650s and be able to type. I keep reminding myself that this isn't Stone...it's Rogue. They don't feel the need to showcase Cascades or bump the alcohol up to insane levels. Not that there's anything wrong with either, it's just not Rogue's style and it's a refreshing change of pace for what is becoming the norm in American craft brews.

Photo of bmwats
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 650 ml bottle, into a becker.

A: Deep golden color. Carbonation rises throughout. Pours a large cascading frothy white head. Settles very slowly, leaving little peaks and craters, and sticky carbonation on the sides of the glass. Never fully settles. Almost like an ice cream float type of thing going on. Substantial amounts of dry sticky spider web lacing.

S: A little malty, very hoppy. Maple syrup, pine nuts, and a touch of bittersweet chocolate. Some oak, and a bit of a floral component as well.

T: More malty than the nose gives off. I think that's because the hops and pine squeeze it out in the nose. Anyway... very hoppy, as you might expect. Piny and bitter. Does have a hint of sweet honey or caramel very subtle, but pervasive.

M: Bitter hops really infiltrate the palette. A hint of sweet in the smart, very dry in the finish.... bitter throughout.

D: The bitterness will compel you to sip it slowly.

Atmosphere is great on this. Pretty formidable appearance, and a full nose. Flavor is very well balanced given it's nature. The hops are not too overwhelming to overshadow the other components (kinda' seems that way in the nose, but doesn't end up that way). Overall, this is a really good quaff.

Photo of callmescraps
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I often pass on the rogue, but this was at a decent price point. So I'll give it a bid.

Appearance- A little cloudy orange/gold. Half inch of off-white soapy head. Almost yellowish. Minimal lacing.

Smell- Plenty of grapefruit up front. Definitely some pineapple in the background as well. Nice and fruity. A hint of graininess as well. Maybe some apricot.

Taste- Some nice hoppiness. The fruits are subdued. It's got a big bitter finish. A little grainy. Orange peel. A strange vegetal on the end. Pale malt sweetness comes in as well.

Mouthfeel- Nice. Not too thick. Goes down well.

Drinkability- No issues on that. Would buy again.

Certainly a good beer. Nothing special or particularly noteworthy. Better beers in this category readily available.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,879 ratings.