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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
89
very good

1,848 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,848
Reviews: 1,063
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 65
Gots: 72 | 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: 1,848 | Reviews: 1,063 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A coppery orange color, pours with a cream/ tan colored head when roused sufficiently, this beer had a relatively low carbonation level (which in my book is good for this style). It is cloudy at first, but this is just chill haze, as it warms up it becomes quite clear. There is a floral woody, almost medicinal, aroma to this beer. The floral hoppy aroma travels the furthest from the glass though. It is much thicker bodied than I was expecting but perfectly in line with how the beer is advertised on the bottle (I am not sure why I was not expecting this). There is a solid malt presence that is infused with a pronounced hop presence in both the flavor and the bitterness. The bitterness starts at the back of the tongue and then hangs out in ones mouth as you swallow the beer, and then is even there after the beer has disappeared down ones throat. This beer is definitely a hoppy ale, in the American style but featuring a not so typical hop (the Crystal variety), which is a nice contrast to the typical cascady type flavor found in most American examples. There are definite notes of citrus but a grassy sharp flower nectar note asserts itself as well. I love beers that are of a single hop varietal, it gives me the chance to try and pick out what a specific hop contributes to a beer.

Gueuzedude, Sep 10, 2003
Photo of byrd
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured with a large light yellow head that settled in for a while as a think rocky top. The head eventually dissipates to a sticky think lace. Beautiful hazy orange color. Aroma is of very citrusy hops, very slight malt aroma if any. This was the grapefruit juice of beers. There’s a very slight malt start that is quickly followed by lots of juicy, tart hops. Hops flavors are primarily citrusy in nature with grapefruit being the main influence that my palette picks up. Finishes bitter (again with more citrusy notes that linger), yet there is a slight hint of malt sweetness in the end. The sweetness does become more noticeable as the beer warms a bit. Moderate carbonation. Upon starting the bottle, I thought the drinkability of this beer would be harmed by the bitterness, but it became more and more addictive.

byrd, Sep 09, 2003
Photo of rastaman
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dig the hazy appearance, nice glowing murky orange-gold. The nose is very hoppy, very fruity (lychees, grapefruit) and piney nose. The flavour is quite sweet at the start, very hoppy, with a citric bitter finish, as i've come to expect in Americaan bitters/IPA's/Pale ales, Out of the the Rogue beers i've had this is one of my favourites, really fresh and summery, had this sitting in my dads backyard in the sun.

rastaman, Sep 09, 2003
Photo of Rumrunner
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle. Graphic of man on bottle is clenching his fist and he looks confused. Maybe he's had too many bitter brews?

Pours a deep hazy amber. When held up to the light the sides produce a lighter hazy orange. Not much head and very little lacing. The scents feel very oily on the nose. The first scent is the pine and the hops hit the olfactory like a ton of bricks. A sweet citrus finishes off the scents.

The flavors are bitter at the start. The pine is strong. Some minor grass and grain taste as well. Hop bitterness prevails. A citrus rind flavor and then for the mellow finish. A sweet malt finds its way out among the hops. This provides a balance and a nice finish. I usually do not enjoy over sweet flavors but for this ale it creates a uniqueness and combats the bitter.

A great feel. A crisp mouthfeel. A medium dense quality that is excellent. I could not drink too many of these at one time. It does drink nice with a bite at the beginning and smooth quality at the end. Nice job Rogue.

Rumrunner, Sep 04, 2003
Photo of Shaw
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another near-perfect brew from the masters at Rogue, this beer will teach you that you don't need a variety of hops in a beer to have an amazing character. Brutal Bitter uses only Crystal hops. And brother, that's all you need.

Take a big whiff before drinking. Ahhh, amazing! What a hop aroma. And note the aftertaste. A friend described it perfectly: grapefruit.

Shaw, Sep 04, 2003
Photo of freed
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't know what it is about this beer, but I've been intrigued since the first draught I had back in school. The bartender wouldn't sell us pitchers of the stuff, so we had did it the hard way.

Imperial pint, rich golden with a touch of amber. Somewhat obscured either by haze or scratches in the well worn pint glass. Tight head that persists through the beer. Leaves evidence on the sides of the glass as a slight lace.

Aromatic fore sure, with a somewhat green, pasture hop aroma. A wild aroma, and not as citrusy as many. A sip pulls clean, quick tart pucker, fulfilling malt profile that stands its own. Definately a Rogue mix. Leaves the palate with a sweet grass finish. Wonderful, and goes surprisingly well with fish & chips.

freed, Aug 19, 2003
Photo of TripelJ
4.63/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Now Quaffing: Rogue Brutal Bitter

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber. Several glasses out of short stemmed flute.

The first thing one will notice upon cracking the seal on this bomber is the wonderfully clean hop aroma. Pours a hazy copper/caramel with a thick white head. Lacing is sticky down the glass. Nice citrus and hop aromas beg you to take that first sip, which is not nearly as "brutal" as I had anticipated. In fact, its a smooth creamy symphony of citrus (ruby red grapefruit) and hops and lingers to a bittersweet end, which comes too soon with *only* 22 oz.... Yes its bitter, but its not overly so, in fact it exceeds my expectations of the normally "extreme" rogue....

Overall: While not as drinkable as the youngers special bitter, this is definitely a great beer that I will be going back to.

TripelJ, Aug 15, 2003
Photo of MJR
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a great looking pale amber with copper edges. There's a bit of chill haze. It's light tan head starts out rich and full, and slowly shrinks down to a solid cap that leaves a thick ring at every sip mark.

Smell: Like the bottle brags, this one has a stupendous hop aroma! Lots of citrus, most notably grapefruit. Under that is a solid foundation of the distinct, sweet Maris Otter base malt.

Taste: The flavor is firmly bitter, with the Crystal hops being the center of attention from beginning to end. Again, there's lots of citrus, with a huge amount of grapefruit. A bit of pine resin as well. The clean bitterness tends to overshadow the rich Maris Otter malt a bit, but it still manages to break through the seemingly impenetrable wall of hops. Finishes like it began, bitter and hoppy, along with a slighty burnt character and a touch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, with a dry finish that borders on astringent.

Drinkability: Yet another solid brew from Rogue. Basically an overhopped ESB, this is a beer I could drink on a regular basis. It's slighty alcoholic finish and strength prevent it from being any kind of session beer though.

MJR, Aug 13, 2003
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a orange-copper color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is super fruity and citrusy. Wow, the first sip was like biting into a fresh grapefruit. It is very citrusy; it is bitter but not overpoweringly so. It finishes dry with a fruity bitterness. It was an excellent medium-bodied brew.

BeerBuilder, Aug 08, 2003
Photo of kevinl6
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Whoa!!! I'd say this one is appropriately named! It is a cloudy, apricot color with a silky, one finger deep head. It has a very strong, very nice aroma. Fruity, albeit not too specific, is what comes to my mind. Very fruity. The taste has a citris 'bite' in it, and man is it bitter! Mouthfeel was perfect for me....slightly tingly, but at the same time silky smooth and gentle on the palate. I liked the bitterness and the taste of this one, but to be honest, I split it with my drinkin bud, and neither of us wanted another. I'll be drinking this again though! Another fine/different offering from Rogue.

kevinl6, Aug 07, 2003
Photo of Bruiser81
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color of this beer was a cloudy orange color with a bubbly white head, little to no lacing. A good looking brew. The aroma consisted of lemon, light caramel, and very strong alcohol spice. The taste up front was lemon and citrus (mostly grapefruit). There was a definite spice in the taste as well as. The finish has a little bit of malt mixed in with the bitterness which lingers well into the aftertaste. Medium consistency, goes down smooth. Quite drinkable.

Bruiser81, Aug 02, 2003
Photo of jeffboo
4.85/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This one hits it pretty well for me, an American style hop dream.

Grapefruits bouncing off the wall, bouncing into the creamy, frothy, lake. Splash, Splash, as they dance in the copper colored pool. Pine trees surround this lake next to the grapefruit grove. A light breeze blows in other citrus aromas throughout the air but the grapefruits are the ones having fun in this lake. Plunging into this body of water, one is overwhelmed by the complexity of it. It is sooo sweet and lightly toasty, and intermingles nicely with our fruit friends.

As I awake, I feel drawn to the grapefruit in the bowl on the table. I'm not sure why but I know that this is my mission.....find this place from my dream..................

jeffboo, Jul 27, 2003
Photo of PatandDavid
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this many times, but only reviewed it today.

Poured a cloudy pumpkin color. Very nice head, and lace left through-out the glass. The aroma was definitely one of hops.

I have to say, the taste leans more toward the hoppy than the malty. While the malt sweetness provides a backbone, the hops are nicely present, with that citrusy (grapefuit?) style favor.

Definitely not a hop monster, but you will notice and appreciate the hops present. Would get again. pat

PatandDavid, Jul 19, 2003
Photo of fattychubs
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was on fire sale at the local tap room, a Rogue beer on fire sale?

Color of a bruised peach, served with a small but frothy off white head that laced nicely. Nose is sweet but floral hops with citrus. Taste is not as bitter as I expected starts slightly malted, then floral strong bitter hops, but ends citrus and sweet, reminded me of a grapefruit taste in there, but better. Decent medium body.

Better then I expected balanced the hops nicely, not as bitter as the name suggests.

fattychubs, Jul 09, 2003
Photo of Jon
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As Rogue describes, this ale is an invention, not a style. Brutal Bitter pours a hazy apricot color with a rocky, off-white head. Some lacing is present down the glass. Aroma is primarily of hops. Loads of hops. A wonderful thing. Taste is excellent with notes of grapefruity, citric hops and a sufficient malt backbone. This is very well balanced with a dry, bitter finish. Mouthfeel is somewhat carbonated, but mainly smooth. Drinkability is quite strong. An excellent "invention" overall.

Jon, Jul 03, 2003
Photo of Stingray5
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
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!

Stingray5, Jul 02, 2003
Photo of tavernjef
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

tavernjef, Jul 01, 2003
Photo of euskera
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
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

euskera, Jun 21, 2003
Photo of jcalabre
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

jcalabre, Jun 20, 2003
Photo of Mitchster
3.95/5  rDev -1%
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.

Mitchster, Jun 18, 2003
Photo of nixhecks
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

nixhecks, Jun 09, 2003
Photo of dwarbi
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

dwarbi, May 29, 2003
Photo of MissOrch
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
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!

MissOrch, May 29, 2003
Photo of Dantes
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
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.

Dantes, May 27, 2003
Photo of tigerpaws
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
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

tigerpaws, May 25, 2003
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,848 ratings.