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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,088 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,088
Hads: 2,067
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 14.71%
Wants: 82
Gots: 169 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,088 | Hads: 2,067
Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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Photo of rkhaze
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of meathookjones
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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Photo of daledeee
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of Southernbrew
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of ark57
3.97/5  rDev -1%
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.

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Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of grynder33
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of Tballz420
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Photo of avylover
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a hazy orange color with a nice large white head. Aroma is has some spicey hops, some citrousy notes,, and a bit of bready malt back there. This is a fairly unique tasting brew. There is not that ciruos explosion that you would expect, rather a solid maltiness followed by straight bittering hops. The finish is not dry as expected, but rather wet and tasty with some citrousy overtones. The bitterness here is just a sudden jolt, but doesn't seem to linger. Not an IPA by any means. think an IPA without the floeral/citrous blast.

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Photo of Gavage
4.48/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Copper / orange in color with a nice 1" head and decent lacing developed through the drink. The aroma is floral and slighlty fruity. The flavor is great as malt and bitterness are all over this, and some mild fruit tones are detectable. The bitterness level is brutal as the label says - and it's great !

Very smooth and slightly dry on the finish. Medium bodied. Bitterness lingers forever on the tongue. Absolutely a great beer to sit and have several of.

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Photo of bditty187
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful golden-copper hue with tawny highlights, specks of sediment are suspended and a small amount of animation slowly saunters towards the rocky white head that reached almost two fingers in height. The head retention was decent, it faded to a finger quickly but the foam that remained lasted for a long time. Subsequent lacing was widespread, very webby. This is an attractive looking beverage. I didn’t think the potency of the nose was that powerful; however the aromas I could detect were awesome! The combination of hops were lovely, spicy, pine needles, grapefruit rinds, citrus fruit zest, and a bit of rounded candied fruit. A suggestion of caramel malt was also noticeable. The invitation is clear; I couldn’t wait to take my first sip yet I wanted to smell it more. The palate is very impressive. First of all, the name Brutal Bitter is stupid; this is a succulent, well-crafted ale and not some one-dimensional hop monster hell-bent on domination. Yes, it is bitter. And yes, the hops are the focal point but the blend of hops is gorgeous! The taste is sometimes piney, sometimes grapefruit rinds, sometimes citrusy flesh, pleasantly leafy at the back. The malt plays a secondary role, vague notes of caramel and hints of toastiness occasionally shine through before the finish. The long aftertaste of dry, lots of leafy hops, this is so appetizing. This is the biggest “small” beer I have ever tasted, of course it was brewed Rogue-style, thus the “imperial” tag. The mouthfeel was uneventful, I’m not saying that is a bad thing; moderately high carbonation and it doesn’t seem forced, medium in body. Exceedingly drinkable, I really wish this were available locally as I would quaff this regularly. I am at least glad I bought a 22-ounce bomber in Loveland, CO. Still, I wish I had more. Recommended.

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Photo of kmo1030
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

big white fluffy head over a cloudy deep amber ale. real nice fresh hop nose, with grass, pine, grapefruit and spice. not as brutal as the name states, but very highly hopped and very good. piney hops dominate with lemony citrus with something reminiscent of a barelywine type maltiness underneath, probably the yeast and slight fruitiness. i want to give this a little bit higher rating for taste but i don't think it deserves a 4.5. real smooth drinking though with full medium body, and good carbonation. this seems a lot more like an IPA than an ESB, i'm not taking points off for that though, cause it's still damn good.

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Photo of jwilli7122
4.53/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy tangerine-copper color with a large, puffy white head and moderate lacing.
Smell is mainly spicy hops,
Strong malt tastes, with some breadiness, a medium hop spiceyness, a mellow earthiness, and a hint of fruit flavors: lemon, peach. Fairly full bodied for this style. Extremely smooth and very enjoyable
Brutally bitter? Not quite. Tasty? Absolutely.
Without question the best ESB (if that's what it is) I've ever had.

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Photo of luvND
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pres: 22oz bomber collector's bottle

Appearance: Copper color with significant chill haze. Head is short lived and thin.

Smell: Hop oil essence! Very pleasing. Reminds me a bit of Sierra Nevada Celebration.

Taste: Way bitter, but a nice malt backbone. Bitterness remains long after the swallow, but is not unpleasant. A little heavy on the hop for what I expect from an ESB/strong bitter.

Mouthfeel: Nice. Good level of carbonation. Very smooth, full, but not overly dense.

Drinkability: A 22oz bottle is perfect. 12 wouldn't be enough, but more than this may put you on hop overload, depending on your tolerance. The strong bitter aftertaste, though not unpleasant, limits the amount you can drink.

Overall: Another stellar offering from a great brewery.

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Photo of granger10
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured an orangish color with copper highlights. Head was an off white color and airy in thickness. Smell was extremely hoppy, very floral and decently bitter. I was thinking that this was going to be just like an ipa. But I was surprised to find a balance character that was totally different from the nose of this beer. Caramel sweetness upfront. Slightly bitter hops come next but are soon washed out by a floral character. Finish is slightly on the sweet side and lingers for a bit. Very thick and chewy body. This is my first real ESB and I need to try more to compare but this was an awesome beer.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally remembered I had this beauty lurking in my pantry. Though spring is approaching, the bottle is still cool enough to call cellar temp.

I crack it open and pour a beautiful clear amber under frothy white head. Entrancing sweet citrus scent, followed by the grapefruit taste, sweaty bite, metallic finish. Mild carbonation, mellow malt.

The best Americanized bitter I've yet to find.

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Photo of shirfan
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A shade between amber and gold, with a moderate but clingy white head. Slightly cloudy.

Aroma primarily of pine resin, with a bread-and-fruit followup.

Taste achieves an excellent level of balance. Adequate hops (or a single hop strain, per the bottle); enough to keep hopheads happy, but not a dumptruck full per bomber, as with some other Rogue ales. Malt is allowed to have its say.

Fairly neutral between sweet and dry; malt flavor shines through and plays off of the moderate hopping. Marris Otter demands another sip as soon as you've put down the glass; a hint of toffee in the finish and the faintest whisper of diactyl.

No offensive yeasts here, although the last pour from my bomber produced something as murky as any respectable german wheat beer.

If I could tailor a session brew to my own specifications, it would be damn well near this one. Very, very impressive.

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep hazy orange with a real nice fluffy head that leaves some great lacing,aroma hops hops and more hops,very citric and resiny.Taste is definently hop tilted very zesty,oily and dry I get a slight dry maltiness but not much.Iam not a hophead but gotta give this brew props,by far the most hoppy ESB I have ever had.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on draft at D's. The color was copper, with a wispy white head. The smell was a strong citrusy hop. The taste was quite bitter, certainly more so than other ESBs, and unlike other ESBs had a citrus character to the hopping. Mouthfeel was average. As for drinkability, though the IBUs numb the tongue after a while, I wouldn't have been disappointed drinking a few more.

Certainly amongst the best ESBs I've ever had...Rogue didn't forget the B stands for bitter, that's for sure!! From everything I've heard about this beer, I surely wasn't disappointed to give it a try, and I'll have it again when I see it around.

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Photo of mikeys01
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap today at the Moan and Dove, Amherst, MA. Poured into the glass a just slightly hazy orangey/light copper color with plenty of white foamy head. Smells nice and citrus hoppy, plenty of bright grapefruit here, though a bit of maltiness is detectable as well. Taste is right up front bitter and hoppy, with grapefruit and pineapple plantations springing to mind, but without being offensive, and is much more balanced with sweet pale malt than expected. Mouthfeel is certainly no more than medium, this is a very drinkable Bitter, if it can be called that, I'd call it much closer to an IPA. Wish I could find it on tap more often!

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Photo of 99bottles
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very nice indeed. I tried a pint of this at KClinger's instead of the 15th Anniversary (I think it was 4X4 Pale Ale at the time). I think I made the right choice.
Appearance: Brutal bitter pours a deep orange-brown color, with a thin lace that faded. Looks like I'm in for a treat.
Smell: There is a good smell of hops in the nose. Some sweet malts play second fiddle to the resinous hop smell.
Taste: Mmmm. Smooth. This is one craft brew! The flavors are balanced so nicely in this beer. A sweet flavor of malt covers everything, with the hops dancing around in the mouth. You swallow, and you're left with a satisfying but not puckering bitter. Next sip, yor swimming in sweet malt again, but you notice something more. Absolutely wonderful.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Good weight in the mouth, thick enough to satisfy but not so much that it would hurt the drinkability. I'd easily get more if I could. Really well put together. Rogue does it again!

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,088 ratings.