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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,095 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,095
Hads: 2,094
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 14.71%
Wants: 88
Gots: 186 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States | website

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: 1,095 | Hads: 2,094
Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

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Photo of BadBadger
4.05/5  rDev +1%
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!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

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Photo of necoadam
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.17/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of beerinator
4/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

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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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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,095 ratings.