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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,948 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,948
Reviews: 1,081
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 78
Gots: 114 | 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: 1,948 | Reviews: 1,081
Photo of rowew
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 12 oz long neck bottle (woohoo! six packs of Brutal Bitter!!). No information or freshness info on bottle.

Appearance: Copper colored with a slight haze. Large off white head.

Smell: Mmm... hops, hops, and more hops. Smells like a mixture of grapefruit and pine. Did I mention the hop aroma?

Taste: Very nice malt base (tastes slightly carmelly). Great hop flavor that leaves a nice bitter finish. Low carbonation and smooth mouthfeel.

Overall impression: Great ESB - nice bitter hops flavor. Even with all the hops it is nicely balanced .. I think this could be a great session beer.

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, cloudy orange fuzz hue. Still as can be. Has a fresh fruit aroma, orange and lemon dominated nose. Juicy and sweet, with some hints of citrus and hops. Ultra-smooth, a lingering bitterness after each sip. Medium bodied with a slight warming affect; oily slick hops dominate the body; English-malts combined with the hop-blast and fruity tastings make this well balanced. Extremely clean, oh so smooth; and hops? With Rogue, do you need to ask about them? They are there, my friend! Awesome stuff.

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

I was in Portland, OR earlier this week on a business trip and stopped by the Rogue Ales Public House. Wanting to try as many of their products as possible, I took advantage of their "sampler" offer: A 4 oz. sample of any 4 of their beers for $5. Of the 4 I sampled, this was my favorite, and I took home a bomber of it even though I had very limited space in my luggage!

Pours a hazy, orange-amber with a thick, rich white head with good retention and leaving fine lace, mostly at the top of the glass. Aroma is a clean, citrus aroma with maybe a little yeasty scent. Initially sweet malt flavor up front followed by big hop bitterness on the back of the tongue. At the same time, you notice the spicy, orange-rind flavor of the Crystal hops. A nice bitterness and orange-rind taste linger after the swallow. Very smooth mouthfeel with medium body. (I think the on-tap sample was a little smoother, but this is a review of the bottled product.) Another excellent Rogue ale!

Photo of twelvsies
4.76/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very bright hazy orange color. Big huge rocky head afloat that laces quite nicely. Retains extremely well. If you pour it right, a little foam shape will sit on top of the beer all the way down to the bottom. Spicy hop aromas waft up from the glass and citrussy notes remind me of a standard IPA, but a little more subtle and a tad more musty and dusty. The taste of this brew seems at first to be subtle and mellow, but the finish really attacks the palate with super musty bitterness. Wow. I'm picking up on tastes like iced tea and spicy herbal hops. A real floral approach to hops, and toned down a bit. The hop bitterness is there for sure though, in full affect. What a great sensation... A mellow wheaty malt is present and adds a very subtle sweetness. This beer hits the palate with flavors from very subtle, like the mild sweet malts, mustyness, and floral hop flavor, to the extreme spicy bitterness that really defines this beer. The best part about all this though is that no particular flavor overpowers another, which creates an awesome complex brew. Aside from the taste, this beer has a mouthfeel which is simply awesome. One of the top few I've come across for sure. While it's fairly light to medium bodied, it's just super velvety smooth. Can't really describe it, you gotta go try it for yourself. Super dry as well, you'll need a glass of water after this beer. I'm so pumped that I finally tried this beer. I find it to be very unique and different than a lot of the other beers in my general rotation, and I'm sure it'll be an old staple for me soon enough.

Photo of tar
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, copperish amber, with a few finger thick white head. The head leaves behind a nice trail of lacing throughout consumption. The aroma is pleasant--malty sweet and mildly of spicy hops, although a bit underwhelming, especially given the bottle's claim of "a stupendous hop aroma". Nice hop flavors leave the tongue with a bit of a tingle. Some malty sweetness comes through nicely as a "second" taste, but this soon gives way to a good bitterness in the finish. Overall, despite the name, this is a very well balanced beer which is certainly not dominated by any one flavor component. A nice medium bodied beer, it feels smooth, almost oily in the mouth. This is a pretty good beer, its not going to be listed among my favorites, but I certainly wouldn't mind having it again.

Photo of Skidz
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours out bright gold and sits golden amber in the glass with a large off-white head. Nice and bright in the glass. Fades to a light skim on the surface.

Smells nice a malty up front, filled with aromas of golden raisins caramel and apples. Hop aroms is mildly citric with hints of orange rind and lime. Both combine to create a tangy, taffy like aroma.

Tastes lightly malty up front, smoothed out flavors of caramel, pears and grape skins all placed into a nice toasty package of crisp, crackery flavors. Hop bitterness finds it's place and provides a few faint hints of oranges and some scant grassy and herbal flavors. Finish is well bittered with lingering flavors of citrus and some nuttiness.

Smooth all the way through with a pleasant and well-balanced carbonation all bundled in a medium body. Hard to swallow, 'cause it feels so good in the mouth.

Addictingly drinkable, glass touched the table only so I could type. Bottle gone moments later. I have no problems drinking this absolutely tasty brew.

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

I had this out of a 22 oz brown bottle bomber. Picked this up at Trader Joe's for $4.69. The label reads that this beer is an imperial style bitter. I couldn't find a freshness date.

Burnt amber orange in color with a massive, fluffy head on top.

Strong aroma of pine, hops and citrus.

Syrupy sweet pine mouthfeel that is very smooth. A sharp, biting presence of hops bursts through every sip. Grapefruit-like tartness.

This beer is a treat. Its truly an imperial ESB...you could tell me this an IPA and it would make sense. Another quality beer from Rogue.

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

Cask-conditioned draft at Delaney's Tap Room (New Haven, CT). A touch darker and hazier than in a bottle. Ultra thich,smooth creamy head. Aroma of toasted malts, butterscotch, pine notes, floral/herbal notes and bread. Smell profile is totally different than bottled. Doesn't even taste like the Brutal Bitter I know, but is still damn tastey. Much maltier with a less aggressive hop profile with a very light mouthfeel due to cask-conditioning. The floral and piney hops come through at the end leaving my palate satisfied and wanting another sip. Very good and very different from what I was expecting.

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

US trip Aug-Dec 04

Nice rich amber colour with a strong full head that persists. Good lacing and medium carbonation.

Nose is very hoppy with some pine like notes backed up well by sweet malt and even a touch of roasty grains. The floral notes are very present by the end of the pint.

What an aptly name beer. This is very bitter and it took me a little while to get used to is. At first it is a stinging bitterness but soon evolves a good malty backbone to try and off-set the hops (only slightly though)

A little too bitter for my taste buds (therefore drinkability is not so high), but still a quality brew from Rogue (as always)

Photo of beertaster13
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a refreshing beer. Pours a nice orange amber with 2 inch thick head that is an off-white cream beauty. The smell is of a nice english butter with toast and a great floral smell that will linger in your thoughts for a lifetime. The taste is a perfect blend of sweet and sour, it is incredible, some beers have it some don't, this beer goes great with shellfish in my opinion, very good and very consistant, if you want a solid esb this is the one

Photo of blitz134
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice two finger off white, lumpy head formed with a fairly aggressive pour which stuck around for a while. Aroma is citrusy and grassy.

Flavor isn't overly hoppy, but has the right amount of kick to handle the entire bomber. Hops include a grassy aroma with a touch of that usual hoppy citrus flavor. I enjoy drinking this one because it is only flavored with a single hop. It just goes to show that hops don't need to be mixed to offer up an awesome flavor. The balance in this beer is nice with some slight malt undertones.

Mouthfeel is slightly oily and hangs around for a bit. Probalby a medium mouthfeel overall. Again quite pleasurable. Overall this is a good brew which is highly drinkable due to the hops not being overdone and a great balance overall.

Photo of bultrey
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh yeah. This is the shiznit right here. On cask at Fathead's in Pittsburgh, this was a real treat that I won't soon forget. A nice hazy gold color, with a decent head and nice, full carbonation for a cask. The smell was fresh and hoppy, of the grassy, herbal variety. This thing tasted so damn good, fresh, clean and crisp... some real herbaceous hop notes. This had many of the same flavors as the hop wallop I recently tried for the first time, except this was much more balanced and smooth. The hops bitterness lingered on well after each sip, but faded enough to invite sip after sip, making this an extremely drinkable beer. I really loved this and would jump at the chance to have it on cask again.

Photo of connecticutpoet
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This poured a hazy amber with a huge, dense, foamy head that left copious lacing on the glass.

The aroma was of very strong rich citrus and powerful hops. Well done!

The taste was like a HUGE explosion of hops in my mouth, along with a flavor blend of citrusy flavors and a strong pine overtone. Excellent!

The mouthfeel was perfect for the flavor, and I would definitely drink more than one of these in a sitting, regardless of the larger bottle size. A GREAT beer from Rogue, and I recommend it highly.

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presented in a 22oz bomber and poured into an imperial pint glass. Description on the bottle states Brutal Bitter is an "imperial" version of the ESB style.
Appearance: very nice to the eye. Clear amber color topped by a large dense white head that displayed great durability and left sticky clumps of lace in its wake.
Smell: intensely hoppy aroma that displaces all other aromas. Loaded with sappy pine and fresh-cut grapefruit notes. Lingering undercurrent of toasted grains. Smells like a big-ass IPA.
Taste: well, the hop profile certainly didn't let up after the smell. Equally potent citrus rinds and resinous pine needle hoppiness slathers the tongue with juicy bitterness. Has a subtle perfumey, floral taste up front. Lurking on the fringe are flavors of toasted grain and caramel, kinda like little kids wishing they could sit at the adult's table for Thanksgiving. The malt character is a definite sideshow with this brew.
Feel: medium/full, with a dry finish that contrasts with the initial juiciness.
Overall: well, the name certainly fits here. Fortunately, I happen to love a tasty hops-laden brew and Brutal Bitter fits the bill. Dangerously drinkable stuff and one I'd love to find on tap somewhere, sometime. A great offering from Rogue and worthy of having the word "imperial" attached.

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

Pours a hazy orangey-copper with an orange-tinted tan head. Head is very creamy and lots of fine lace all the way down. Smells of citrusy hops and grapefruit. Lightly grassy.

Upon sippins, it is immediately crisp and bitingly bitter. Mellows (a bit) to an acidic citrusy flavor. Some floral hoppy flavors in there as well underpinned by a light caramel malt. Sweet in the middle and dry in the finish. A bold, full-bodied beer. Great hops! My mouth is happy from this brew. Very drinkable and tasty to my palate. My only disappointment is that I waited so long to try this out.

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

Packaging is the standard 22oz silk-screened bomber from Rogue. I like these bottles. The bitter citrusy hop aroma assaulted my nose as soon as I opened the bottle. I poured this out into a standard tumbler pint glass. The body of the beer is a dark, rugged shade of amber, almost leaning towards a brown shade. The body is somewhat lively with carbonation and the head is sticky and leave fat clumps of lace on the glass on the way down. Nice, piney, citrusy nose, backed up solidly by caramelly malts smells. Taking a sip reveals a nice, brutal even, smack of hops across the tongue. Across my palate the hops register mainly as a flat pulsating bitterness that registers thickly with a resinous pine presence. The malts attempt to make their presence known but are quickly slapped back into place. The malts are definitely there but cannot stand up to the assault of the bombastic hops. Hot damn this is a good beer! I love single hopped beers because now I will definitely know when I taste crystal hops. Chalk another one up for Rogue.

Photo of trumick
4.92/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a light amber color with a big head and lots of lacing all around.

Scent is incredible citrus hop and more hops.

Taste is superb lightly sweet malt with nice bittering hops that finishes with a dry grapefruit hop taste that holds on forever.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp with perfect carbination.

Drinkability will suit all hop heads. I could puth these away all day, but this beer is very expensive. Due to the expense, I can only drink these sparingly once in a while.

I have yet to be disapointed with a Rogue product. This is one of the best beers I have ever had.

Photo of rdrummer
4.57/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I admit to being a hop nut so it is no surprise that I found this beer to be awesome. I may like this better than any other Rogue that I've tried. I appreciate the attempt at a single-hopped bitter.

It poured a hazy light amber with medium head that lasted longer than seemed possible. The lacing was thin but extensive. Altogether, a good start to an experience. I could talk about all the hints of aromas that I smelled but this is all about the hops. There is a heavy hint of citrus but it is overwhelmed quickly by hops.

The taste is hoppy beyond belief but there is a sweet malt that somehow balances this a little. It is well-rounded enough that I'm not sure that brutal is the right definition although bitter certainly is.

I love the feel of a hoppy beer in the mouth. It was cleansing and acerbic but also refreshing. This was good from first sip until last. I will be returning to the Brutal Bitter

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

This is awesome stuff. Great hops, great malt, great alcoholic warming. This is legendary. It's the one we go to after a few, then stay for the evening.

Wonderful warm amber reddish darkness, sparkling white head with massive nose, a bit craggy if you will, with lace. The first taste on a clean palate is stunning. First is hops, then warmth, then hops, then a bit of sweet, then hops, then just nirvanna

Photo of xgrigorix
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twentytwo ounce brown silk screened bottle. No dates.

Deep burnished orange colour. Hazy, with fast moving carbonation. Topped by an impressive off white head. Foam is dense & retains very well, leaving plenty of sticky lace on the glass.

Some biscuity malt aromas lie beneath pithy citrus aromatics.

Plenty hoppy - loads of citrusy flavours. Malt is muted, and overall the flavour is just "plain jane." Medium bodied, rugged carbonation.

Photo of SheepNutz
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22oz. bomber poured into a nonick pint glass. It pours a hazy medium orange color with two fingers of head. There is a good amount of lacing. The smell has lots of hops, both citrus and piney hops. A little bit of biscuit malt in there as well. A fairly nice smell. The taste starts with some bready malt, lightly toasted and sweet. The finish is all hops, very floral. The mouthfeel is nice and thick for the style. The drinkability is really good for a 6.5% bitter. Another damn good beer by the people at Rogue.

Photo of yeagerbm
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poures a hazy orange with a thick white head. Smell and taste is awesome, tastes like a great ESB only kicked up a notch! Incredible citrusy and earthy hop aroma. This is very well balanced with flavorful malt and pronounced english hops, a delicious beer for hopheads.

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.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 1,948 ratings.