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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

1,926 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,926
Reviews: 1,077
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 76
Gots: 109 | 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: 1,926 | Reviews: 1,077 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of carln26
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was fortunate to try this beer the 1st time on tap at RedBones, and I wasn’t disappointed. It pours a deep copper with a nice 1 inch head, and lace on the rim that stayed for each sip. The aroma was mildly floral with a nice citrus backing from the hops, and just a hint of the malt. The taste was of the citrus from the hops with just a hint of caramel. A mild bite in the middle of the taste with the malt on the finish. This would be a great session beer. It had a medium mouth feel and a very high drinkability. Pour me another.

Photo of mschofield
4.55/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy dark orange-amber, topped with a three finger pillowy off-white head. Leaves sheets of lacing.
Very fragrant floral aroma, spicy, light toast and toffee.
Floral and citrus taste, good grapefruit taste and bitterness. Good malt base in the back of all the hops. Light caramel undertone.
Medium bodied, great session drink anytime beer.

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

Cask Draught: A nice find at Eli Cannons. Served at proper cellar temperature. It pours a slightly amber, dark golden color. Mine ended up with quite a bit of head on it, which did linger awhile. It was dense with very small bubbles. The aroma is rich and malty, with hints of pine and grapefruit hops. Well balanced malt body with a bit of a hop bite. Very good example of this style.

Photo of Godspeed
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Until this past weekend I had trouble locating this particular Rogue beer. The local package stores I frequent never had it in stock, despite carrying most of the other selections from this fine brewery.

Needless to say I was surprised to see a whole shelf dedicated to this marvelous concoction at Trader Joe's in Cambridge: a grocery store with a small but impressive selection of micros. They had Brutal Bitter in stock, and plenty of them. All in 22 ounce bomber form.

I tipped the bottle, and out flowed a hazy orange liquid. The bubbly head materialized soon after and then diminished slowly, leaving a thin oily lacing. I swirled the newly poured beverage and sniffed. Orange rinds and grapefruits wafted through my nose. I found the tart, hoppy aroma to be quite enticing. I took a sip and was surprised at the smooth, fresh character of this beer. Not at all what I expected from an ESB. Creamy malt sweetness with a citrusy, crisp hop flavor. Overall very well balanced considering the powerful hop presence. Very, very drinkable. Yes, I could see myself downing several of these in rapid succession.

In retrospect I guess I had modest expectations. To be frank, "Brutal" and "Bitter" are adjectives I normally wouldn't associate with such an appetizing beverage. Well I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a session beer like none other. I dare say it's my favorite Rogue brew.

Photo of francisweizen
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Light orange with an off-white head that stays the night and leaves nice lacing to boot! The aroma is a wonderfully fresh blend of citrusy/piney hops and sweet, fruity malts. I also smell some lovely bread-like aromas and an interesting spicy aroma that I cannot fully describe. The taste is all that the aromas hint at. Fruity, hoppy, spicy, and lovely. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very, very creamy and the drinkability is absolutely amazing. Finishing a bomber of this stuff is like finishing a liter of Fiji water after a 5 mile jog! A good rogue offering, but suprisingly light and refreshing for them. There is nothing brutal, about this "bitter"!

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gauzy peachy orange with what looks like dust motes swirling within the liquid. The light beige head persists for a bit as a thick, sponge-like disk atop the beer and leaves chunky scraps of lace on the glass.

The nose is impressively hoppy. If I didn't know better, I'd have said that Cascade, Centennial or a combination of the two make up the hop bill. So this is what Crystal hops smell like. They smell more like pink grapefruit than white and I think that I can pick out some pineapple esters as well. Malt, schmalt. This one is all about the hops.

Upon tasting... it appears as though I can add another hop to my growing list of favorites. I don't absolutely love Crystal as I do some others, but it is very, very good. Pithily bitter citrus fruit is front and center with pink grapefruit leading the way.

In terms of flavor contribution, malt is in the background. I'm only aware of its presence because the bittering is so well-supported and because there's a hint of underlying pale malty sweetness. The body is full enough to be pleasurable in the mouth while being light enough to allow the beer to be downed scarily quickly. I'm finding out firsthand that a bomber of 6.5% ESB is fully capable of mounting a sneak attack if gulped.

Brutal Bitter is yet another first-rate beer from Rogue. I'm glad to have made the acquaintance of another fine hop of the citric persuasion and I'm even more glad that this beer is available in my local grocery. Brutal Bitter isn't brutally bitter, but it is significantly hoppy and it is mighty good.

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Innsbrook Alehouse during the 7/24 gathering.

Arrived in an imperial pint glass with a wonderfully thick and creamy 2" white head over top a cloudy orange body. Distinct rings of lace all the way down the glass. Very nice. Aromas are hoppy, to say the least. Grapefruit juice mixed in with some floral notes dominate the old schnoz. Flavor is delightfully enhanced by sticking it on the beer engine. A smooth, yet deceptively bitter flavor that was the perfect way to start my day of quaffing. Only token sweetness attempts to control the eventual hop landslide that occupies your palate. Finishes with a resinous hop oil spill. Very, very smooth and pretty full-bodied. Massively drinkable. A great experience that was enhanced by the conditioning.

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

Appearance: Pours a deep amber color with a rocky white head about an inch high that never wants to recede. When it finally makes up its mind to go down it nicely laces the glass.

Smell: Huge aroma of hops. Citrusy bitter yummy hops. Also a slight bread like malt aroma is present.

Taste: Initially this beer shows off its strong hop characteristic. There's some fruitness and some lemon with a nice hop bite to it, followed by some caramel and breadlike malts. Also there is a nice spice to this beer which lingers on the tongue throughout the beer. Finishes with a beautiful juicy/oily hop finish that just sticks to your mouth.

Mouthfeel: This beer is nice and crisp and well rounded. The hops dominate, but the malts are right behind.

Drinkability: I could drink this beer all day. End of story.

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

While not really brutal, this fine beer will leave you smacking your lips. If you enjoy a nice bitter beer then this is a very nice option. Pours a rich amber color. A foamy head is present, though not overwhelming. Smell is a mixture of citrus, malts and hops. Taste is definitely nice and bitter. A dry finish. Enjoy one!

Photo of ppoitras
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Part of the Poitras/VA 2004 vacation.

Enjoyed on cask at Capital Ale House - Innsbrook, Glen Allen, VA

Imperial pint glass presentation. Dense tan 1/2" head over a dark copper brew, and laced admirably. Good hoppy aroma, with the flavor exhibiting an intense malt character for an IPA, which works well with the strong hops. Surprisingly well-balanced in my mind for a product named "Brutal Bitter". Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent.

Photo of necoadam
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Eli Cannon's

Came in a pint glass. Orange/amber color with a huge amount of carbonation that never really settled. Looked pretty nice. Smell consisted of various items. Pine, malts, toasted aroma's, hops and some citrus as well. Taste was pretty hoppy. Finished on the piney/citrus side. That grapefruit really showed up well on the draft verison. I probably wouldn't want more than two of these, but having one of these once in a while wouldn't hurt.

Photo of MobBarley
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cloudy orange with a light-honey colored head that stays bubbly til' the finish. Hops galore in the nose...calling all hopheads. One dimensional but mouthwatering aroma. Flavor is hops all the way through with a (very) brief rest stop for some mild caramel maltiness. Rindy hop notes abound with some grassy ones and even some sweet, herbal flavors smiling back at me from my glass. Mouthfeel is oily and smooth and quite refreshing. Drinkability is good but I imagine the sheer abundance of hops would take a toll with multiple bottles. Yum, yum, yum.

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

Appearance: Reddish copper, a bit of an orange hue. Very good retention.

Aroma: Sweet Malty balanced by grapefruity citrus. Very pleasant aromas, throughout the pint.

Taste: Sweet toasted caramel, bitterness strikes hard near the end of the sip. The bitterness from the hops lingers on your tongue. The finish feels very full. Mouthfeel is nice.

Notes: This beer is very solid. I haven't seen it in the bottle in NC lately, but it is a regular on tap at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh. And I'll usually default to it when I'm drinking there.

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very few ESB's are as good as this. That's all you need to know. I think only Fuller's ESB is a better ESB. But this comes close.

The taste is pretty well-balanced between hops and malt. They aren't using Cascade but, according to the bottle, Crystal hops. The beer needs to warm a little to achieve it's balance. It poors with a nice head which goes down to a nice lace which stays. Very drinkable once it warms.

I highly recommend this.

Photo of Ahhdball
3.62/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Red with a bold hop aroma and 1/8 inch head distributed nicely across the top. Caramel and strong hops burst on to my tongue with out missing a beat. A slight pine and lemon rhine flavor is hinted but not strong. Bitterness lasts quite a while, almost too long. Malt and caramel finish. Great flavor and a chewy mouthfeel made this a very good beer.

Photo of rkhaze
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden/amber with a big creamy off white head. Left good lace.
Smells of perfumey hops with the accent on citrus and pine. There was a hint of malt and fruit.
Big grassy hop bitterness. Earthy, resinous and citrusy upfront. Malt and a bit of caramel and fruit show up in a futile attempt to give it some balance. The bitterness really lingers.
Medium bodied with good carbonation and a slightly oily mouthfeel.
Seemed one dimensional, it was bitter just for the sake of being bitter, damn everything else. Not much balance at all, but I guess that's why it's called Brutal Bitter. It certainly lives up to its name.

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

22oz Bomber with no freshness date. This one pours a dark orange color with a great frothy off-white head that has great retention. Pleasantly strong hop aroma comes from this one, citrus and floral with some malt lurking about. The aroma also is quite bitter and strong enough to smell even when the beer is on the table. Good hop flavoring stands out the most with some malt balancing it out. A light bitter finish that lingers about is quite pleasant. Medium body with plenty of carbonation. This a very smooth beer that would make a good session brew.

Photo of daledeee
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I will give anything from Rogue a shot. This one is a cloudy orange with a nice shaving cream head. Some citrus and malt in the nose. The taste is reminiscent of an IPA or pale. This is a little sweet, a little citrusy, a little hoppy(a lot actually) and some nice balance with malt. The mouthfeel is exceptional. Nice and thick tasting.

A very nice beer.

Photo of Southernbrew
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange-amber, big bubbly head that lasts nearly forever, good lacing too.

Strong hops aroma, even when not leaning in to smell. Big piney aroma with a weak bitterness mixed in.

Medium-full body, big carbonation. Very smooth considering the amount of hops here. Big IPA flavors with a moderate bitterness following it up. Very strange for a bitter. Finishes with a light bitter that's very pleasant. Leaves a light hoppy aftertaste.

For all the hops this is a very balanced beer. Certainly the hoppiest bitter I've ever had. Definitely sessionable.

Photo of ark57
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a cloudy dark orange with a big light tan head that is almost meringue like. The aroma is mostly hops (floral, earthy, and some citrus) and there is some malt detectable as well. It is malty with some caramel and herbal earthy hops. The finish is quite bitter and long lasting. Pretty good balance despite the heavy bitterness, but the aftertaste is all hops.

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

The beer pours a dark gold color with a frothy white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a complex, but pale malt malt scent with intensely bitter hops. It has a very bitter hop aroma. The taste is great. It has a mildly intense malt core which is dominated by pale and carapils malts. The hop flavor is the focus of this brew. It has a very powerful citrous hop flavor that is quite bitter. The mouthfeel is good. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an excellent beer with great hop qualities and extreme bitterness.

Photo of grynder33
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

first sniff was a nicely balanced cloud of malt and hop, with the hops starting to predominate on the second pass. Not as strong or forceful of a taste as I expected. An IPA grapefruit taste was evident, but subtler than an IPA, very wonderful bitter aftertaste as good as an aftertaste than I've had in a long time. Another great Rouge beer.

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

Toned down bitter. Hazy orange. Froth dissipitates from the bomber. Smells like a citrus IPA with pine. Fruit midsip. Downs bitter yet toned down with a faint lemoniness and Bittersweet aftertaste. Oily 59 IBU. Americanized ESB. Forget Wheat, this at the end of the hot day.

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

Nice deep hazy orange color with a great big head that pretty much lasts the whole way down-nice lacing as well.Not as big an aroma as I expected-actually there was none at first when poured. As it warmed slightly there was a noticeable citrusy hop presence.Floral.Not as much hop flavor as I expected either-a nice maltiness upfront but a definate strong hop presence is there.Not overwhelmingly bitter.Full bodied-nice creamy overall feel to it.Definately a quaffable brew-I think I was expecting a bigger brew from some previous reviews/press I had read.Still,quite nice and worth a try.

Photo of Tballz420
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a hazy orange colored body, with a cream colored foam head. Left behind is a sheet of lace. An enticing citrus hop scent is featured with this beer. It has a very bitter taste, some orange peel, big orange taste to be exact. Medium bodied, bitter aftertaste. Believe the name, great brew.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,926 ratings.