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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,950 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,950
Reviews: 1,082
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 78
Gots: 115 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,950 | Reviews: 1,082
Photo of paxkey
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rogue Brutal IPA

pours an orange/honey color. very cloudy. large fluffy white head.

typical west coast aroma. grapefruit citrus hops, something sweet under that maybe honey.

drinks silky. the mouthfeel is very pleasing. no harsh carbonation. this beer drinks great.

bitter with a little sweet going down and lots more bitter on the follow up. cannot taste the alcohol at all.

very well made drinkable delicious beverage.

Photo of jrenihan
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark caramel, with a thick and full slightly off-white head.

The hops are quite noticeable in the nose, a little bit soapy and a lot of grapefruit. Very aromatic.

Taste is fairly bitter, particularly at the finish. Citrus is present at the beginning, but is not as present as in the nose. Sweet malts are noticeable at the finish. but are overpowered by the bitterness from the hops. A fairly good beer, but not great, and not as nice as the smell.

As for mouthfeel, beer is surprisingly light bodied, and feels a bit "dead"- not sure how to describe that any more (it is not a carbonation problem, which is moderate and fine), but it is not the sort of beer that I enjoy just swishing around in my mouth.

Overall, decent but not on of my favourite IPAs. Not very well balanced, and not particularly complex.

Photo of mithrascruor
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Pours a very cloudy/hazy dark copper/amber color. Off-white head with very good retention and a bit of lacing. Nice citrus aroma with some underlying semi-sweet malts. Nice, slightly acidic flavor. Good citrus, but not too bitter; quite tasty. Medium-bodied with light carbonation.

Easy to drink and not brutal at all. Instead, very tasty and nice to drink. A nice surprise discovery.

Photo of PicoPapa
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap. Pours a burnt amber color with an inch of frothy head. Tons of lacing. Smells floral with some aromas of tea. A bit of citrus, maybe a bit of apricot. Interesting aroma all around. Flavor is alot more citrusy than it smelled. Sweet tangerine as well as floral. Its called" Brutal Bitter" but it isn't all that bitter. Very drinkable. This is a very interesting IPA. Its aroma and taste are hard to pinpoint. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for an IPA but its still very good. Overall, I enjoyed it and it is a different IPA than I usually get. Worth grabbing again.

Photo of edonovan0
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy dark orange, amber. Nice thick 1.5 finger head. Not much visible carbonation, mostly due to the deep hazy colour. Head holds nicely and leaves a nice lacing.

S - Subtle summer fruits. Peach, Apricot styles, which is different to the usual tart citrus esters, like the Grapefruit and Pineapple, that are common. Balanced well with the malts.

T - Really well balanced. Not in your face as the name suggests, but very nice. There is a hop bitterness there, but is quite smooth.

M - Quite full, but not too heavy. Carbonation is there. Smooth

O - Very nice. As some have stated, not a traditional IPA. I think of it more as a hoppy ESB. Would drink many of these.

Photo of DNICE555
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle of IPA on Cinco De Mayo - couldn't do corona, dos equis, or negro modelo. We did listen t mariachi music and eat tacos though.

Hazy orange/yellow body. Creamy white head.

Orange, grapefruit, citrus, bread, sweetness.

Citrus hops, orangey sweetness, grapefruit bitterness, malts.

Clean mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Thick feel for an ipa.

Still haven't had a Rogue beer that I haven't liked.

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

Bottle of Brutal IPA, no dating. Slighty hazy body that is light orange/yellow in color. Good two finger creamy white head that dissipates and leaves a little lacing on the glass.

The aroma features mostly orange and a little grapefruit citrus notes. A little sweet, bready malt in the background.

Solid IPA flavor of citrusy hops leaning toward the sweet side of the citrus family, like orange and tangerine. A little grapefruit and floral hop flavor in the background. Malty finish that blends it all together very well.

Light to medium mouthfeel that finishes cleanly and is easy to drink. My first Rogue beer, odd since so many are available in my area. Now I'm sure to try more because this is a solid IPA.

Photo of DIM
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: This was a hazy, blood orange tinted amber color. It poured with a smallish, short lived fizzy head. I left some significant chunks in the bottle.

s: Citrusy tea comes to mind. Oranges and maybe some grapefruit rind backed some sweet pale and caramel malt with some distinctly tea like spiciness.

t: Mirrors the smell for the most part. Lightly sweet up front with flavors of tea and caramel before the more flavorful than bitter citrusy hop finish. There was a long, lingering spicy tea flavor.

m: On the smaller side with gently fizzy carbonation.

o: This does kind of straddle the ESB/IPA line and it makes for an interesting beer. Good stuff.

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

Brutal IPA

Color color, hazy. Some carbonation. Foamy head. Lacing looks very nice on the glass.

Citrus hops, sweet malts, fruity.

Citrus hops up front along with malt background. Hop character is not too aggressive like most IPA, but I get fresh hops… Very juicy, citrus, floral. Nice malt background that balance the beer, sweet, slight caramel. There’s some fruitiness in the taste. Medium-light bodied, carbonation is nice.

Crisp finish. Very smooth. Slight dry-floral aftertaste.

It’s more like an American Pale Ale than IPA or Bitter. It’s very delicious beer, highly drinkable.

Photo of Tartarus
3.72/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A&S: Pours opaque honey/amber colored with very little head and a healthy amount of sediment... much more than I was expecting and kind of spooked me as someone who doesn't have a ton of experience with sediment. After doing some googling I determined that this was not unheard of with beers from Rogue, so I continued. Smell is sweet and slightly hoppy.

T&M: Taste is a smooth slightly hoppy flavor. Pretty mild. Much thicker than most other IPAs that I've had and the taste is less of a "smack you in the face" type flavor. Mouthfeel is smooth, with only slight carbonation, and as I mentioned, thick and pretty heavy tasting.

O: It's good. I'm still getting over the slightly odd look of tons of sediment floating in the pour and left at the bottom of the bottle. A very middle of the road IPA for when I want hoppy flavor but don't want my taste buds torn off.

Photo of doubleipa
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: head was creamy and white, Color was clear yellow
Aroma: Light hops, light flower, litghe pine, and light grapefruit.
Palate: in between dry and watery.
Overall: I expected something with more hoppiness and grapefuit.
I had this on tap in Portland in 2006, but this was weak , incomparison.

Photo of Knapp85
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

Photo of tinusch
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a weizen glass. pours thin and nearly headless - just a thin cap of white froth atop a clear, amber-honey-colored complexion. smells very subtly - some sweet, earthy fruitiness, an almost-sour yeasty twist reminding me of a farmhouse ale. almost.

light and prickly on the tongue, caramely and bready upfront, a little dry and almost walnutty, light sweep of floral hops at the back end, just a touch of the sourness from the smell. overall a quick, buttery husky toasted malt presence with light, perfumey and almost powdery hoppiness fringing the edges for a brief sweet and bitter finish.

a little watery and fizzy as far as body goes. becomes more enjoyably thick and sticky as it warms though.

i mainly felt compelled to review this beer as a vehicle to spout my thoughts on the name change. i'd never had this beer as "rogue brutal bitter" - i purchased this brew for the first time as "rogue brutal ipa." maybe that speaks to the success of the marketing strategy: that i'd probably seen the brutal bitter in stores countless times and never considered picking it up until now that it has a more palatable name and fire-engine-red labeling. that said, this aint no "brutal ipa," and hardly an ipa at all now that i dwell on the matter. the name "brutal ipa" pretty explicitly suggests a beer much, much unlike what's contained in this bottle, and while i wasn't unsatisfied with the brew, that name has simply got to change.

but call it what you will, my bomber is now empty and i could easily quaff another.

Photo of CrazyMike
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy copper/golden appearance with minimal head that quickly disappears. Smell is very malty and floral with a hint of grain and orange.

Taste is very malty and grainy with a hint of citrus and brown sugar. Has a strong taste of hops, simple and clean taste overall. Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Aftertaste is bitter and malty.

This is an excellent, no nonsense, IPA. It's simple but still has some good characteristics and refreshing. This is worth a try for any beer fan.

Photo of London1985
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Im a great fan of the IPA's that America is producing and im also a big fan of Rogue so was very excited to try this.

Poured into a Meantime Brewery branded pint bowl glass. Poured a very nice copper colour with complete cloudiness. Looks nice.

Smells like a very natural and organic IPA. Taste is very pleasent. The wave of flavours roll out across your taste buds very smoothly unlike other IPA's which blast your mouth to pieces with their flavours.

The only thing that let me down with this was the carbonation. I like my IPA's to be a little more carbonated, this was kind of flat.

Overall, a good brew and i would happily drink it again.

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

Decent pour into chalice. Cloudy amber appearance. Second pour from bomber cloudier than the first. Apparently unfiltered, lots of yeast sediment.
Taste gives mild hop presence up front that lingers well. Not a hop bomb by any stretch if that's what you're looking for. More like a bitter ale than an IPA.
A very pleasant likable IPA that sips well on a rainy Northwest afternoon.
Note: Tasted a bottle weeks earlier that was unrefrigerated and unimpressive. Second bottle was refrigerated. This beer clearly drinks better cold.

Photo of vandemonian
3.61/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rogue Brutal Bitter has an orange colour and a 4 mm head that fades to excellent lacing. The smell is sour fruit... I didn't expect that. The taste is bitter sour fruitiness into a crisp, bitter finish. This beer is nice and frothy in my mouth. This beer packs a flavour punch. It was interesting, but not something I want to drink a lot of.

Photo of ChefCook730
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first review and what a better beer to be my first than one from the Rogue Brewery. I can still remember a trip to Syracuse 12 years ago, finding Hazlenut Brown Nectar in a local liquor store and instantly being mesmerized by what craft beer can be.

As an adolescent we drank plenty of beer, not craft beer, but the cheapest crap with the highest ABV's we could get an adult to purchase for us... Bud Ice, Milwaukee's Best (The Beast) and the like.. 40 oz.'ers of Olde English Malt Liquor.. I hated the taste, it made me sick. The first beer I ever enjoyed was a Mississippi Mud Black and Tan purchased at a 7-11. After discovering Rogue as a freshman in college I decided I'd avoid drinking crap beer at all costs for the rest of my life. I've got a collection of beers now on hand for anytime and also many bottles aging. I've been heavy into craft beer for over a decade now but am only now starting to review it.. Looking forward to getting active in the BA community and writing more beer reviews.

A: I poured the entire 22 oz. bottle into a tall glass I got in Bermuda at the Frog & Onion Pub. The head measured the width of my pinky, just under an inch. Dissipated quickly.
The color is of hay but very deep orange, like beautiful auburn hair on a woman.

S: The beer doesn't have an overwhelming or even hardly noticeable smell. There is some hops grapefruit hops aroma which comes through tremendously when you taste it.

T: A good balance of malt to hops; considering the style.. I like the crisp drinkability. The malt sweetness to counter both that sour flavor and the overall bitterness. Keeps you coming back for more. The type of beer that converts novices into IPA fanatics. A healthy addition of hops but the quality of those hops comes through.. That clean grapefruit and lemon-like aroma is a pleasant characteristic compared to other IPAs that are straight bitter and have no fruitiness to speak of.

M: In the mouth the beer is smooth.. I mentioned an excellent balance in taste. As I enjoy the beer it is not only the delicate balance of sweet with sour and bitter but also the balance of dry/hot alcohol with the robust sweet malty-ness and bitter yet bright hops. Outstanding, must be that "Free Range Coastal Water" they're getting up in Newport, Oregon..

O: Overall, I find most beers from the Rogue Brewery to be above average making them one of my favorite of the larger national craft breweries that are well established and have been around for years. This Brutal Bitter is just another fine example of the folks at Rogue using the best ingredients and providing the customer with a beer worth drinking!! Buy craft beer; all else is doodie!

Photo of argock
4.02/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a clear nonic pint glass at Boylan Heights (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Amber-gold with a thin cap of head which does leave a couple lace trails.

S: Pink grapefruit and floral aromas with a hint of tropical fruit don't leave much room for malt but their is some light roasted maltiness there

T: This is a very nice beer, and probably second favorite from Rogue after Shakespeare Stout. Big hops presence including grapefruit and orange flavors, smidge of evergreen, and a big floral contribution. The Maris Otter malt isn't too different than pale in this brew, but it does add a layer of toastiness to the mix. Very bitter no doubt.

M: Nice medium body on this, still very sessionable while putting down a nice hops coating.

O: I really liked this brew, and I don't say that about many Rogue brews. Very bitter with nice citrus overtones and a medium body make this one a winner.

Photo of RickS95
3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I spun the bottle a little to mix up the goodness at the bottom and was rewarded with a hazy pale orange pour. Up top was a couple fingers of cloud. As the white bubbles dissipated, it gave great lacing.

Initially, there is a nice kick of citrus, but it left quickly. In the background is a combination of flowers and pine...kind of like a forest.

There's not a lot of flavor. You'll pick up a bit of pine and what I'm thinking is orange peel, but nothing dominates.

This is anything but a brutal IPA. It's the mildest IPA I've ever had. The mouthfeel is slightly neutral most of the way thru with just a slight hoppy bite in the swallow.

I expected a lot more based on the name alone. It's barely strong enough to be a pale ale and certainly not worthy of being called an IPA. In general, it goes down pretty easy, but for the style, it's pretty lacking.

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

reviewed from notes:

appearance: orangish brown with a 2 finger head

smell: citrus, hops, malts,

taste: hops, sweet malts, bitter finish

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: Not bad but wasn't great either. I might seek it out again but there are so many better IPA's out there.


Photo of gkunkle
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
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.

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

taste- crisp hops, spices, bready malt flavors

color- honey

clarity- foggy

smell- citrusy hops, sulfur, biscuits

body- medium-weight body and medium-length finish. drink is a heavy refresher. pale malts are present for sure. a little hop bite at the front of the tongue and oily of the edges.

appearance- slightly off-white creamy head, great carbonation when agitated, then it fades pretty fast with spotty lace retention depending on the pour. beer has a mandarin hue to it...very interesting. bottle pours spent yeast

overall impression- okay beer, nothing i would seek out anytime soon. probably be refreshing in warm weather conditions. beer is slightly above average across the board

notes and comments- really disappointed if this is the beer that replaced brutal bitter...a far superior effort in my opinion. drinkers are mislead if they think they're in for a "brutal" experience...not!

beer spy- bevmo, danville ca, 2/5/11, 22 oz. bottle

glassware: pint

Photo of jsprain1
3.57/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a somewhat hazy dark golden. One and a half finger head leaves some lacing.
S- Smell is pleasantly hoppy. Some citrus, plenty floral. Pale malts.
T- Taste has nowhere near the amount of hops as it smelled. Inital hint of hops is overwhelmed by pale malts.
M- Somewhat dry. Medium body. Below typical carbonation.
D- Not a terrible beer but nothing to be excited about.

Photo of leedorham
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of those I never really want to buy a bottle of but really enjoy on tap. The bar I had it at last night listed as brutal bitter so I'm reviewing it that way. Not sure why Rogue is so wishy-washy on the name.

A - Ever so slightly cloudy orange with not much head mostly due to the bartender filling the glass to the tippy top.

S - Good hop aroma. Not the west-coast pop I expected. A bit more mellow and floral. Some pine, a little tomato plant pungency.

T - Fruity esters with a mild hop profile. Balanced by a good malt backbone. Very well balanced. Uncomplicated.

M - Medium carbonation and the slight sweetness to the palate doesn't make you too eager to get it down the hatch.

D - I will continue to order this one whenever it is available. I like it.

This is one of the best if not Rogue's best beer in my opinion. It should get more credit but I realize there's no skeletons on the label or Japanese writing on a ceramic bottle so not surprised it doesn't.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,950 ratings.