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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,864 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,864
Reviews: 1,065
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 67
Gots: 77 | 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: 1,864 | Reviews: 1,065 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Knapp85
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this with a few other IPA's I picked up and wanted to split with a friend. The list of beers that night was Bavarian Barbarian 2x4, Brutal IPA, Terrapin So Fresh So Green and Lukcy Basartd Ale.

This beer came in 3rd in my opinion to the ones we had that night. The Terrapin was 4th. This beer seemed like it something I'd love, The name sounded great and the ratings were high. It had a lot going for it.

The beer pours out at a light copper color with a pretty good head on it. The aroma is very good along with the appearance. The smell is strong with hops which I love. The taste was hoppy but it just didn't seem to have enough kick to it. I didn't find it to be "Brutal". The mouthfeel was on the lighter side as well. It's a good beer but I wouldn't rave about it.

Knapp85, Apr 22, 2011
Photo of tinusch
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into a weizen glass. pours thin and nearly headless - just a thin cap of white froth atop a clear, amber-honey-colored complexion. smells very subtly - some sweet, earthy fruitiness, an almost-sour yeasty twist reminding me of a farmhouse ale. almost.

light and prickly on the tongue, caramely and bready upfront, a little dry and almost walnutty, light sweep of floral hops at the back end, just a touch of the sourness from the smell. overall a quick, buttery husky toasted malt presence with light, perfumey and almost powdery hoppiness fringing the edges for a brief sweet and bitter finish.

a little watery and fizzy as far as body goes. becomes more enjoyably thick and sticky as it warms though.

i mainly felt compelled to review this beer as a vehicle to spout my thoughts on the name change. i'd never had this beer as "rogue brutal bitter" - i purchased this brew for the first time as "rogue brutal ipa." maybe that speaks to the success of the marketing strategy: that i'd probably seen the brutal bitter in stores countless times and never considered picking it up until now that it has a more palatable name and fire-engine-red labeling. that said, this aint no "brutal ipa," and hardly an ipa at all now that i dwell on the matter. the name "brutal ipa" pretty explicitly suggests a beer much, much unlike what's contained in this bottle, and while i wasn't unsatisfied with the brew, that name has simply got to change.

but call it what you will, my bomber is now empty and i could easily quaff another.

tinusch, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of CrazyMike
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy copper/golden appearance with minimal head that quickly disappears. Smell is very malty and floral with a hint of grain and orange.

Taste is very malty and grainy with a hint of citrus and brown sugar. Has a strong taste of hops, simple and clean taste overall. Medium bodied with decent carbonation. Aftertaste is bitter and malty.

This is an excellent, no nonsense, IPA. It's simple but still has some good characteristics and refreshing. This is worth a try for any beer fan.

CrazyMike, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of London1985
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Im a great fan of the IPA's that America is producing and im also a big fan of Rogue so was very excited to try this.

Poured into a Meantime Brewery branded pint bowl glass. Poured a very nice copper colour with complete cloudiness. Looks nice.

Smells like a very natural and organic IPA. Taste is very pleasent. The wave of flavours roll out across your taste buds very smoothly unlike other IPA's which blast your mouth to pieces with their flavours.

The only thing that let me down with this was the carbonation. I like my IPA's to be a little more carbonated, this was kind of flat.

Overall, a good brew and i would happily drink it again.

London1985, Apr 15, 2011
Photo of NWer
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Decent pour into chalice. Cloudy amber appearance. Second pour from bomber cloudier than the first. Apparently unfiltered, lots of yeast sediment.
Taste gives mild hop presence up front that lingers well. Not a hop bomb by any stretch if that's what you're looking for. More like a bitter ale than an IPA.
A very pleasant likable IPA that sips well on a rainy Northwest afternoon.
Note: Tasted a bottle weeks earlier that was unrefrigerated and unimpressive. Second bottle was refrigerated. This beer clearly drinks better cold.

NWer, Apr 14, 2011
Photo of vandemonian
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rogue Brutal Bitter has an orange colour and a 4 mm head that fades to excellent lacing. The smell is sour fruit... I didn't expect that. The taste is bitter sour fruitiness into a crisp, bitter finish. This beer is nice and frothy in my mouth. This beer packs a flavour punch. It was interesting, but not something I want to drink a lot of.

vandemonian, Apr 07, 2011
Photo of ChefCook730
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My first review and what a better beer to be my first than one from the Rogue Brewery. I can still remember a trip to Syracuse 12 years ago, finding Hazlenut Brown Nectar in a local liquor store and instantly being mesmerized by what craft beer can be.

As an adolescent we drank plenty of beer, not craft beer, but the cheapest crap with the highest ABV's we could get an adult to purchase for us... Bud Ice, Milwaukee's Best (The Beast) and the like.. 40 oz.'ers of Olde English Malt Liquor.. I hated the taste, it made me sick. The first beer I ever enjoyed was a Mississippi Mud Black and Tan purchased at a 7-11. After discovering Rogue as a freshman in college I decided I'd avoid drinking crap beer at all costs for the rest of my life. I've got a collection of beers now on hand for anytime and also many bottles aging. I've been heavy into craft beer for over a decade now but am only now starting to review it.. Looking forward to getting active in the BA community and writing more beer reviews.

A: I poured the entire 22 oz. bottle into a tall glass I got in Bermuda at the Frog & Onion Pub. The head measured the width of my pinky, just under an inch. Dissipated quickly.
The color is of hay but very deep orange, like beautiful auburn hair on a woman.

S: The beer doesn't have an overwhelming or even hardly noticeable smell. There is some hops grapefruit hops aroma which comes through tremendously when you taste it.

T: A good balance of malt to hops; considering the style.. I like the crisp drinkability. The malt sweetness to counter both that sour flavor and the overall bitterness. Keeps you coming back for more. The type of beer that converts novices into IPA fanatics. A healthy addition of hops but the quality of those hops comes through.. That clean grapefruit and lemon-like aroma is a pleasant characteristic compared to other IPAs that are straight bitter and have no fruitiness to speak of.

M: In the mouth the beer is smooth.. I mentioned an excellent balance in taste. As I enjoy the beer it is not only the delicate balance of sweet with sour and bitter but also the balance of dry/hot alcohol with the robust sweet malty-ness and bitter yet bright hops. Outstanding, must be that "Free Range Coastal Water" they're getting up in Newport, Oregon..

O: Overall, I find most beers from the Rogue Brewery to be above average making them one of my favorite of the larger national craft breweries that are well established and have been around for years. This Brutal Bitter is just another fine example of the folks at Rogue using the best ingredients and providing the customer with a beer worth drinking!! Buy craft beer; all else is doodie!

ChefCook730, Apr 04, 2011
Photo of argock
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a clear nonic pint glass at Boylan Heights (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Amber-gold with a thin cap of head which does leave a couple lace trails.

S: Pink grapefruit and floral aromas with a hint of tropical fruit don't leave much room for malt but their is some light roasted maltiness there

T: This is a very nice beer, and probably second favorite from Rogue after Shakespeare Stout. Big hops presence including grapefruit and orange flavors, smidge of evergreen, and a big floral contribution. The Maris Otter malt isn't too different than pale in this brew, but it does add a layer of toastiness to the mix. Very bitter no doubt.

M: Nice medium body on this, still very sessionable while putting down a nice hops coating.

O: I really liked this brew, and I don't say that about many Rogue brews. Very bitter with nice citrus overtones and a medium body make this one a winner.

argock, Mar 29, 2011
Photo of RickS95
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I spun the bottle a little to mix up the goodness at the bottom and was rewarded with a hazy pale orange pour. Up top was a couple fingers of cloud. As the white bubbles dissipated, it gave great lacing.

Initially, there is a nice kick of citrus, but it left quickly. In the background is a combination of flowers and pine...kind of like a forest.

There's not a lot of flavor. You'll pick up a bit of pine and what I'm thinking is orange peel, but nothing dominates.

This is anything but a brutal IPA. It's the mildest IPA I've ever had. The mouthfeel is slightly neutral most of the way thru with just a slight hoppy bite in the swallow.

I expected a lot more based on the name alone. It's barely strong enough to be a pale ale and certainly not worthy of being called an IPA. In general, it goes down pretty easy, but for the style, it's pretty lacking.

RickS95, Mar 27, 2011
Photo of THECPJ
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

reviewed from notes:

appearance: orangish brown with a 2 finger head

smell: citrus, hops, malts,

taste: hops, sweet malts, bitter finish

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium body,

overall: Not bad but wasn't great either. I might seek it out again but there are so many better IPA's out there.


THECPJ, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of gkunkle
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber color, definitely on the darker side of IPAs. Head is about 1" in my imperial pint glass. Retention is okay, leaves a little lacing. Smells of citrus and pine hops, pretty standard for this area, not really catching any malts. Taste is dominated by grapefruit/citrus hops, pine hops play second fiddle, and a bit of malt is in the background. Mouthfeel is medium, good amount of carbonation. Overall, a decent beer, glad I tried it, but it's a bit spendy and there are other northwest IPAs I enjoy more.

gkunkle, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of NorCalYeti
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

taste- crisp hops, spices, bready malt flavors

color- honey

clarity- foggy

smell- citrusy hops, sulfur, biscuits

body- medium-weight body and medium-length finish. drink is a heavy refresher. pale malts are present for sure. a little hop bite at the front of the tongue and oily of the edges.

appearance- slightly off-white creamy head, great carbonation when agitated, then it fades pretty fast with spotty lace retention depending on the pour. beer has a mandarin hue to it...very interesting. bottle pours spent yeast

overall impression- okay beer, nothing i would seek out anytime soon. probably be refreshing in warm weather conditions. beer is slightly above average across the board

notes and comments- really disappointed if this is the beer that replaced brutal bitter...a far superior effort in my opinion. drinkers are mislead if they think they're in for a "brutal" experience...not!

beer spy- bevmo, danville ca, 2/5/11, 22 oz. bottle

glassware: pint

NorCalYeti, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of jsprain1
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a somewhat hazy dark golden. One and a half finger head leaves some lacing.
S- Smell is pleasantly hoppy. Some citrus, plenty floral. Pale malts.
T- Taste has nowhere near the amount of hops as it smelled. Inital hint of hops is overwhelmed by pale malts.
M- Somewhat dry. Medium body. Below typical carbonation.
D- Not a terrible beer but nothing to be excited about.

jsprain1, Feb 06, 2011
Photo of leedorham
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of those I never really want to buy a bottle of but really enjoy on tap. The bar I had it at last night listed as brutal bitter so I'm reviewing it that way. Not sure why Rogue is so wishy-washy on the name.

A - Ever so slightly cloudy orange with not much head mostly due to the bartender filling the glass to the tippy top.

S - Good hop aroma. Not the west-coast pop I expected. A bit more mellow and floral. Some pine, a little tomato plant pungency.

T - Fruity esters with a mild hop profile. Balanced by a good malt backbone. Very well balanced. Uncomplicated.

M - Medium carbonation and the slight sweetness to the palate doesn't make you too eager to get it down the hatch.

D - I will continue to order this one whenever it is available. I like it.

This is one of the best if not Rogue's best beer in my opinion. It should get more credit but I realize there's no skeletons on the label or Japanese writing on a ceramic bottle so not surprised it doesn't.

leedorham, Jan 15, 2011
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Common Table in Dallas.

The beer pours an orange color with a white head. The aroma is a mix of citrus and a bit of floral. Overall, this is a very citrus-forward American IPA. The flavor is more of the same with a little bit of pine mixed in. I also get a nice bit of biscuit malt mixed in to keep the bitterness to a low to medium level. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Glad I got to try this one.

Mora2000, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of madjr80
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Light bodied ipa with nice floral hop aroma. This is not overly bitter, and the hop flavor does not linger long on the pallet, but it is a nice balanced beer. At 5.8 % alcohol, it goes down smooth, creating great drinkability. It goes down clean and does not leave the residue in the glass like typical ipas.

madjr80, Jan 12, 2011
Photo of Goatshaver
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Nice orange/amber color. Nice two finger head that tapers off after a minute.

S. Citrus smells, I smell a little malt.

T. Nice subtle hops start, that is not really brutal but pleasant. Finish taste is citrus peel, grassy mixed with the hops bitterness.

M. A medium body, a nice warm feeling after.

D. Not the most "Brutal" ipa I've had but a decent brew that is enjoyable to drink.

Goatshaver, Jan 07, 2011
Photo of vfgccp
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Opalescent orange amber. Frist glass poured clear while everything else poured with a murky haze.

S - Surprisingly mild. Orange, touch of pine and grass. Underwhelming considering the "brutal" label.

T - Soft malt into bright hops with a blend of citrus rind and pine. Sharp bitter bite right as the hops drop off in the aftertaste.

M - Dusty finish with a soft lingering sweetness.

D - The hops really pop mid profile, but the bitterness doesn't really cling to your palate in the way a lot of other IPAs do.

vfgccp, Jan 01, 2011
Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed yellowish orange color with a thick off white head and a little lacing. Smells of piney hops and not much else. Hops dominate the flavor as well. Pine and some citrus here but not much else. Mouthfeel is medium with a fairly strong carbonation. Drinkability is medium.

TheKingofWichita, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of TheBear11D
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1pt 6oz bottle

Pours a cloudy yellowish orange color with a long lasting cream colored head with good lacing.

Smells strongly of pine hops--an impressive overpowering aroma of hops. No malt is present in the nose.

No surprise here, but the hops dominate the flavors here. I am picking up grapefruit mostly with orange and pine hops also present.

Medium body with perfect carbonation to compliment the intense hops.

Great brew! Definitely something to have again when I need a punch in the mouth of hops.

TheBear11D, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of woodychandler
3.18/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It has been a slow Christmas day here at Chez Wood, reading a Noir fiction anthology and awaiting tomorrow's fest at World Cafe Live with bated breath. The label mentions "a hedonistic experience" and I could use a little of that right about now.

My pour created slightly better than a finger-and-a-half of off- white head with good retention. Color was a slightly hazy deep- amber. Nose smelled faintly of grapefruit/citrusy hops but with a smoky undertone. Mouthfeel was medium and I got a mild hop bite on the tongue, but not much more than that. This seemed a bit underwhelming for an American IPA and it was not the hedonism that I was hoping for, either. Finish was still slightly bitter, but not "Brutal" by any stretch. I was left underwhelmed by the experience. By the way, I found the date stamp on the bottom - it was bottled on 265 day, or late-September. It was fresh enough that it should have been better.

woodychandler, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For some reason this is called Brutal IPA in california, or at least where I picked it up.

Generous head requires semi-careful pouring. Cloudy dark golden color. Excellent head, excellent lacing.

Bit of hops on the nose, bit of fruit as well. Sweeter smelling that I thought it would be.

Taste is kind of where this beer fell flat. There is nothing Brutal about it, and it really doesn't taste much like an IPA. At least not to my West Coast taste buds. I've honestly had hoppier APAs. Bit of grassy after taste, but luckily it evolves into a sweeter after-after taste.

Mouthfeel is nice. medium-light with decent carbonation.

Drinkable. It's tasty, but not a great representation of an IPA.

AWolfAtTheDoor, Dec 23, 2010
Photo of smibroncos
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A. Poured a hazy golden apricot, nice one finger off whie diminishing head great lacing on the glass.

S. Citrus, hay, bread

T. Big bitterness,but still a nice malty sweetness a great IPA allout yummy nice duration, fruity lemon peel, and pine

M. Medium bodied, good carbonation, dry

D. I find it hard to stop drinking this brew. A superb ale.

smibroncos, Dec 19, 2010
Photo of philbertk
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rogue Ales--Oregon Brewing Company--Brutal IPA India Pale Ale--2010 22 oz. Bottle. 5.70% ABV? 59 IBU's. (4.0 / 5.0) EX-Brutal Bitter reformulated with Dare and Risk Malts, and homegrown hops. Foamy lacy white head. Pretty cloudy bright orange gold color. Fruity floral mild grapefruit citrus front. Mellow sweet creamy malty grapefruit hint crisp golden wheat hint zesty body. Refreshing mild hop spice citrus fruit ester clean end. Sampled 6/19/2010. 2 @ $6.50 Each. Overpriced.

Earlier Rating: 3/19/2010 Total Score: 4.4
Rogue Ales--Oregon Brewing Company--Brutal Bitter. 1999 Release--22 oz. Bottle. 6.50% ABV. (5.0 / 5.0) ESB--Hazy amber red color. Rich earthy floral hop front. Rich malt body with yeast fruit character, but dominated by spicy hop profile that lasts from start to finish. Used Crystal Hops only. WOW BREW! Sampled 4/26/1999.

1999 Release--22 oz. Bottle. 6.50% ABV. (4.5 / 5.0) ESB--Saved for aging from April 1999. Best ESB I have ever taste on tap. 59 IBU's. Sampled 7/1/1999. 2000 Blue Shades 22 oz. Bottle. 6.25% ABV. (4.25 / 5.0) ESB--Starts a clear amber golden. Hazes to a creamy apple cider orange amber. Floral hop front with fruit yeast aroma. Rich lace. Malty fruit body. Good texture and wild flavor. Clean smooth citrus end. Unique. Sampled 10/12/2000.

2002 Industrial Rogue 22 oz. Bottle Release. 6.50% ABV--76 IBU's. (4.25 / 5.0) Imperial ESB. Hazy bright orange golden color. Huge rich earthy floral hop front. Huge pellicle mellows crisp sweet rich citrus pale malt body. Clean hoppy citrus end. IPA-Weizen. Rich tasty hoppy brew. Sampled 6/2/2002. 2005 12 oz. Bottle Release. 5.75% ABV--59 IBU's. (4.75 / 5.0) ESB--Mild lace head. Hazy flecked bright amber orange color. Rich floral yeast ester malt hop front. Creamy earthy rich doughy caramel ester body. Earthy bitter hop spice clean mild citrus end. Yeast amped ESB. Sampled 9/12/2005.

Rogue Ales--Brutal IPA--India Pale Ale--**DARE**RISK**DREAM**--2010 22 oz. Bottle. 5.78% ABV? Calculated from 15 P 77 AA Spec. 59 IBU's. (4.0 / 5.0) Lacy dense big white head lasts. Unfiltered with big loose fresh Bottle Conditioned sediment. Cloudy bright dark orange color. Mellow floral citrus fruit hop front. Refreshing smooth mild sweet fruit creamy hint Mild hop infused spicy body. Soft balanced clean hop citrus fruit smooth end. Subtly hopped rich tasty refreshing, not BRUTAL, IPA. Yeast ester notes enhance & smooth hops. Sampled 12/16/2010. Purchased for $4.99 each @ Fred Meyer--Ballard, Seattle on 12/16/2010.

philbertk, Dec 18, 2010
Photo of DCon
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1st) Enjoyed at the iTap House (Chesterfield) in an O'Fallon Brewery Pint Glass. This was my 5th beer of the night.
2nd) Bought a 1 Pint 6 Fl Oz bottle of this @ the Old Mill Stream (Upper Bar) in St. Charles, MO for $9 and shared it with loldmopar. Poured from the non-marked (no freshness date) bottle into a 20oz Weizen Glass.

Appearance- Orange Color with Thick Cloud and 2 fingers of Head

Smell- Type of Citrus Fruit (Orange or Lemon?), Hops Galore, and Bitterness blended in

Taste- Discovered an extremely hoppy beer with fruit and wide variety of ingredients that hit me tongue (great amounts of yeast and hop)

Mouthfeel- Medium body, nothing special after hits palate but bitterness. Made my mouth pucker afterwards and this made it an interesting beer for me.

Drinkability- Too bitter and hoppy for the others in my group but I enjoyed thoroughly. Rogue has been a great Brewery in my eyes and will continue to be.

Overall- Lighter hop than I remember... Very good, citrusy and glad I was able to find this one again! (different label and bottle on the 2nd try)

DCon, Dec 17, 2010
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,864 ratings.