1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,835 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,835
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 65
Gots: 66 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,835 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of vkv822
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber into 4oz. taster glass.

Pours a bright cloudy golden color with a nice off-white head. It has a pleasant floral hoppy nose. Again more of a very nice floral and hoppy flavor,with a fruity note and some malty sweetness has an after note. With a good medium bodied mouth feel, this is a very, very drinkable beer, I could and in the future will definitely drink more of this!

vkv822, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of mrcarterxxl
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rogue brutal bitter

pours a cloudy amber hue with small bubbles ans a thin white head.

smells of peaches,mandarin oranges and bergamot.

tastes of oranges, grains of paradise,hops. theirs a orange peal essence on the back.

theirs a full mouth feel with small bubbles and medium carbonation

this beer has a exotic taste to it not really expected a real must buy.


mrcarterxxl, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of ledzepp817
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rogue does it again!

After ever beer I try from this brewery, I am amazed how great they make their beers. I just bought this one because of the name. I am a huge fan of bitter ales , and the name of this one kinda of jumped out at me.

Well, this Ale did not disappoint, its actually a very good Ale. Very hoppy, a little citrus flavor, and bitter as hell. A solid dark amber color that when held up to a light revealed a rich, reddish hue that showed me the way.

A wonderful beer that is good for 2 or 3 for a session, any more, and you would not be able to taste anything for a week.

ledzepp817, Jan 03, 2010
Photo of foxbat2500
4.53/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle from Bevmo.

A = Orange copperish. Like a new penny as others have said.

Smell = Maybe I am hard of smell today, but there is not much here. Very faint.

Taste = Very nice. Orange and pine & biscuit. Like a nice orange scone. Nice bitterness. Warm alcohol feeling at the end.

M & D = I would be happy to drink this all night.

foxbat2500, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of n0rc41
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured beer into a pint glass from bottle.

A= Great copper penny color with good head, creamy white 1" head or so.

S= Aroma is nice pine, bread smell.
T= Great taste I love it. nice bitterness, but with some low pine and caramel. doesnt linger really at all on the palate.

M=Mouthfeel is great nice smooth, carbonated just right. doesnt linger..

D= great drinkability I could easily down a few more.

I bought this from world market(only place I can find good beer in this town) Its a great overall beer, Great taste color and aroma, Taste is perfect. I Just thought it would taste a little more bitter, for being "brutal bitter" name beer

n0rc41, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of Durge
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clear copper color with a solid off-white creamy head and absolute walls of lacing. The aroma offers pleasant pine hop, but very subdued, almost grassy. The flavor brings a beautiful blend of citrus and pine hops with plenty of bite but in a malty bath of bitterness. Very palatable and drinkable. Tasty, in a medium body brew with very even carbonation.

Durge, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of sprucetip
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. I still remember the first time I found this one, on tap at Humpys, and being quite smitten with it. Now 'tis fairly easily obtainable in bottles... Pours amber/bronze, very active with huge frothy white head, great retention and lacing. Amazingly attractive.

SMELL is pleasant but not bold. Citrus and spicy hop aroma, with some barely perceptible malt presence. Was hoping for more.

TASTE Malty sweetness prominent up front but is balanced well and consistently by a moderately aggressive hop presence. Hops impart some piny flavors and a bitterness that increases and grows dominant in the finish, then lingers.

FEEL medium body, rich smooth texture, some slight dryness and lingering mild bitterness.

OVERALL fairly balanced, very smooth. Deep hoppy flavor with solid malty backing more this one more than worth a try. A toned down yet close relative of the west coast IPA>

sprucetip, Dec 22, 2009
Photo of ludachris
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy blood orange hue with 1.5 fingers of off-white bubbly head. Decent retention and nice patchy lacing. Carbonation is fairly strong and visible.

Bready malts, fresh orange peel, light pine, biscuit, and caramel. Smells like an EIPA with a hoppier kick.

Herbal and floral hops, orange and lemon peels, and a good dose of pine are all followed by a nice bready finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp, clean, and finishes dry. Excellent balance, refreshing, and very easy to put down.

Another great beer from Rogue. Compared to the other ESB's I've had, this one is much more hoppier and more refreshing. The balance is great and I would place this right next to Fuller's ESB in terms of taste, and overall quality.

ludachris, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of wordemupg
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into pint glass dec20 2009

A orange brass in color with lots of suspended particles being moved around the glass by the insane amount of bubbles. two fingers worth of head that slowly fall leaving a fair amount of lace

S citrus with some bread and caramel

T a little pine to go along with what I smell, and everything comes together for a nice balance

M foams up in your mouth just a bit but it's not so bad, almost seams to thicken it up a little

D this beer went down pretty quick and had several small things working for it making it quite enjoyable overall

another good beer from Rogue and well worth trying. I would drink this whenever I was craving some hops but nothing too crazy.

wordemupg, Dec 21, 2009
Photo of dcoux09
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a Fuller's ESB at the Red Lion near Westminster in London, an this kicked it's ass. I often feel that many IPAs are too hoppy and unbalanced, however, I really enjoyed this brew. When it was poured, it looked almost like apple cider with an off white head, which strangely enough reminded me of the bitter/sour taste of a pressed cider. I expected this to be another decent IPA, but it was really wonderful. It was more sour that bitter in my mind, which was a pleasant surprise, but it was well balanced with a creamy feel. It was much more complex that a Fuller's ESB, and for that, I really enoyed it. Great brew, would definitely recommend.

dcoux09, Dec 16, 2009
Photo of LittleCreature
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.0
Pours a thumb's thickness of cream coloured head that gradually reduced to a thin layer over a hazy body of deep amber-copper with lots of suspended particles.

Smell - 4.0
Surprisingly subtle and restrained, sweet and cake-like upfront, juicy citrus fruit and pine needles from the hops taking over towards the end.

Taste - 4.5
Flavours of sweet biscuit and toffee, orange zest, spicy and piney hops, moderately bitter and very well balanced overall. Alcohol warmth comes on late, but never overwhelms.

Mouthfeel - 4.0
Fine and lively carbonation gives creamy mouthfeel to this full bodied ale. Becomes a little syrupy with warming, so better relatively cold.

Drinkability - 4.0
Not as sessionable as the best ESBs, but still quite moreish and definitely a beer I would come back to.

To date this is the best beer from Rogue that I have had the pleasure of drinking. A very tasty ESB that I would rank ever so slightly below the benchmark, Fuller's ESB. Still, a wonderful beer that I would be happy to drink anytime.

LittleCreature, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of randawakes
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reminds me of Deschutes ESB but more smooth, not too extreme. The bitterness is there. Pours a hazy amber. Hoppyness and citrus in effect and soothes to bitterness, very likeable.

Had this in the Rogue Ales Public House in San Fran along with several other rogues. How does it compare to the black brutal bitter?

randawakes, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of thain709
4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - What a pour...a hazy, yet glowing, orange body with loads of sediment suspended throughout the entire body...a three finger, rocky, off white head forms...great retention with loads of lacing

S - A very inviting hop aroma full of sweet citrus and bitter pine...a great sweet malt backbone to show balance

T - The beer is loaded with the citrus hops up front...some orange and grapefruit flavors linger around...the sweet, caramel malts make a show and really provide the force to take the edge off the hops...because the bitter, piney hops come at the end and really linger

M - Medium bodied...smooth with a great lasting bitterness

D - This beer showed some great balance but the bitterness was able to shine through at the end...maybe not as "brutal" as you would expect...a solid brew from Rogue as you would expect

thain709, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of NightINgale
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

650ml/22oz bomber poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - Cloudy amber body with a frothy rich light-tan head. Some sediment traces settle on the bottom of the glass. Very good lacing and head retention. A bit pale for an ESB though.

S - Very fruity, with many different notes (apple, citrus, plum). Some caramel, a touch of honey, and a nice floral feel to it.

T - Very fruity from the beginning to end. A decent hop bite. The maltiness is quite complex, but not as complex as in original English ESB's. The bitterness was quite mild at first, but as I was drinking it, it became more apparent. The finish is bready, with some bitterness, and a hint of citrus.

M - Definitely medium-bodied. Some crisp carbonation. Pretty soft on the palate.

D - Decent. It's quite filling, and I cannot see myself drinking more than the one bomber I had, though.

Overall, this is a good Rogue ale, but I'd still stick with the traditional English ESB's.

NightINgale, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of hossua34
4.65/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky, hazy caramel color. Looks like cider. A medium-large head that fades pretty fast but leaves a lasting layer of bubbles. Could have a little more lacing, but overall very good.

S - Bitersweet fruity smell; I detect what smells like passion fruit and pineapple. Caramelly, citrusy, malty-hoppy goodness. Amazingly well balanced. I don't see how it could smell any better.

T - Very fruity and hoppy. Hints of passion fruit and grapefruit. The tartness is nicely tempered by a burned sugar, malty-sweet finish. A little on the hoppy side but not unbalanced.

M - Fantastic mouthfeel. Thick but not too thick, smooth, and evenly carbonated.

D - A tiny bit of a sour aftertaste, but it's not a huge concern. Hearty and filling, but it's totally possible to not sip this brew; one of the best from a fantastic brewery.

hossua34, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of CrazyDavros
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours vibrant amber with a towering head.
Nose shows lots of sweet fruity hops, with citrus blossom, apples, confectionery and piney resin, along with loads of caramel malt and hints of toffee.
Flavours are lovely, with a mix of crystal malt and intense fruity hops first, before a full-on hoppy bitterness kicks in. Well balanced, though still very bitter for the style.
Carbonation is a bit high, further drying out the finish.
If you were expecting a ESB*, think again. This would be better classified as an American IPA, considering the American hops, lashings of crystal malt and the powerful bitterness. Ignoring style though, this was great.
*Ah, I see they’ve renamed it.

CrazyDavros, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of Dawkfan
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - 4 fingers of off white head sit a top of a cloudy-hazy orange colored ale. Chunky webed like lace left behind. Carbonation is noticeable.

S - Smelled this one as soon as I cracked it open. Nice piney resiny smell. There's some citrusy sweetness in the background. This is one inviting smell.

T - I didn't think this was all that bitter when I started drinking this, but as I got near the finish I really started to appreciate this for what it is. Citrus hop flavors give way to the sweet toasted malts & honey. The finish is very dry and piney. The bitterness lingers on for awhile.

M - Extremly smooth, great feel in the mouth. Medium body, medium carbonation.

D - What a great beer from Rogue. definitely one of the best I've had from them. No problem putting a couple of these down.

Dawkfan, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of Blitzstyle
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. A nice golden hazy orange. Nice 2 fingers of head and good retintion.

Smelled of sudel citrus (grapefruit) and something sweet.

Nice and citrusy, some honey and maybe some orange peel. Not as bitter as I was expecting. Very nice.

Dry finish and lively carb medium heavy body. Nice and smooth goes down easy with a lingering aftertaste.

Blitzstyle, Nov 18, 2009
Photo of feelmefoam
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nice golden grain color, very hazy but sparkling in the light. With a nice amount of carbonation running up the glass, this beer has the appearance of a bubbly wheat beer. Two fingers of off-white foam came with the pour, leaving a moderate amount of lacing down the glass.

Brutal Bitter presents a nice hop aroma in the nose, specifically putting forth a nice grapefruit scent mixed with some other citrusy/spicy scents.

This is certainly a tasty beer; the hops are up front and clean with a nice citrus and grapefruit flavor. Although this beer is advertised as "brutal" that is not the adjective I would use to describe it, as the hop presence is certainly not overwhelming. Maybe a better adjective is scrumptious. Either way, after the nice hop kiss there is a slight showing of pale malts used to balance out the flavor. Very tasty.

A smooth, crisp, medium body accentuated with a decent amount of carbonation allows the beer to dance around on your tongue a bit before you swallow.

A very drinkable, flavorful, yet not intimidating beer that I could drink several of in one sitting. Its bark is worse than its bite, but I don't mind at all, because the bite hurts so good.

feelmefoam, Nov 17, 2009
Photo of clockwerk
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a 22oz wine glass.

A- Very nice. I'm not sure what to call the colour. Deep gold? Basically, it's the same colour as urine after a night of whisky, with a couple drops of bile from that kidney punch you got when your sloppy drunk ass started that fight. That's a good thing. It's a rich colour. Slightly hazy. Nice foamy head forms and recedes at a normal pace leaving a nice lacing and forming a foamy cap. It's not blowing my mind, but it's definitely pretty.

S - I guess that's Crystal? Nice, I like it. Strong citrus aroma hits the nose right away. It's pretty dominant. I get whiffs of other things underneath but frankly, it's so subtle compared to the citrus it's adequate to just say there's some balance. It's a really nice, clear and crisp smell. I'd go so far as to call it "fresh" smelling. But not like laundry detergent "fresh". Not at all.

T - I guess that's Crystal again. The taste follows the smell. Bitter citrus fruit balanced against a little sweetness in the background and the mildest touch of warmth from the alcohol. I like that it's one supremely well expressed hop. The bitterness kicks in nicely at the end drying out the mouth.

M - Medium bodied (I think) and well carbonated. (To me that means there's enough carbonation to make it feel lively without being distracting).

D - This is my new "go to" beer for things like sporting events. It goes down easy.

Notes: I like this single hop idea. It's pretty artful. I'll admit I was skeptical of Rogue after the Nut Brown Nectar, but this was a seriously pleasant surprise. I've gone back and picked up a few more bottles to have on hand. I guess my free form conclusion to this beer is "It's a great session beer, that provides maximum flavour without being too assertive. It doesn't force me to pay attention to it. It just repeatedly makes my mouth happy while doing something else".

clockwerk, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of thecarster1
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a- bottle poured into a pint, one finger creamy head that fades slowly to an uneven thin layer of lace, it's got a hazy burnt orangey chestnut brown color with only a few streams of bubbles.

s- grapefruit, sweet caramel malt, smells good and very aromatic, a bit peppery with maybe a hint of vanilla.

t- grapefruit off the bat, thats backed up very nicely by an almost equal measure of sweet caramel malt, there are some pepper notes and some vanilla too that i smelled before, there is a nice amount of bitterness that lingers long.

m- medium body with a creamy texture and a bit of slickness.

d- really nice, i enjoyed this as a welcome change of pace from the ipas that i know and love, yet another solid offering from rogue, i paired this with a creamy, peppery penne pasta with sausage and peas, it went so well. i'd definately drink this again.

thecarster1, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of eljefe21
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Hazy orange with tints of yellow. Single finger head of off white foam sinks to a thin but constant layer. Nice, fine lacing.

S: Crisp, clean hoppy smell emanates from the glass. Full, heady and enticing.

T: Crisp hop taste rolls over the outer edges of the tongue to blend with a sweetish biscuit-y malt flavor in the center of the tongue.

M: Carbonation bite on the outer tongue is followed by a long, dry finish on the center tongue. Medium bodied mouthfeel.

D: I think/hope this is pretty low alcohol. I could definitely find myself putting back a few of these in a night. Heavy and thick enough to hold up to cool weather, while crisp and dry enough to work in warm weather.

Served: in a standard pint glass.

Review from notes taken on: 11/10/09.

eljefe21, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of mightymoksha
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in pint glass.

Pours a deep, translucent copper, with a light khaki head. Head retains nicely. Visible particulate suspended throughout.

Piney, resiny, floral hop aroma is dominant, with a pecan-like sweetness backing it up.

Floral, oily hop flavor dominates the flavor profile here. A toasty malt sweetness is lingering in the background, which balances nicely. Notes of pine, honey and citrus rind also present. A dry, mildly spicy finish.

Mouthfeel is medium in body, smooth and slightly chewy, with a pleasant carbonation. Particulate is undetectable.

Nothing too exciting, but very tasty.

mightymoksha, Nov 11, 2009
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,835 ratings.