Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

2,007 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,007
Reviews: 1,093
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.78%
Wants: 78
Gots: 141 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,007 | Reviews: 1,093
Photo of shirfan
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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.

Photo of beergeek279
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
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.

Photo of mikeys01
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
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!

Photo of 99bottles
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
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!

Photo of TastyTaste
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from one of Rogue's signature screen-printed brown bombers. Hazy copper color, creamy white head. Smells of cotton candy sweetness and hops bitterness. Very appealing. Taste is very remarkable. That same sweetness is evident when in the mouth, but there is an avalanche of bitterness that leaves your mouth tingling, and your throat feeling cold. A great beer, maybe almost an IPA, but as a bitter it is just awesome.

Photo of LuckySevens82
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber.
Pours a dull orange, perhaps copper with massive carbonation, this, of course, leads to a very nice 2 finger head. This beer has great lacing. The head sticks to the glass from the top all the way down to the very last drop.
Smells very malty with some hops aromas (I have read reviews where the aroma is nothing but hops, my beer was hoppy but not nearly excessively so...certainly not as strong as a good IPA). Nice citrus as well.
Taste very much is influenced by the hops. There is some malt characteristic to the brew but the major flavor comes from the Crystal hops.
At 6.5% abv, this isn't a session, but this is a very nice brew that I could see myself picking up on occasion. Rogue has once again proved that they consistently make quality brews.

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

This poured to an almost glowing brown color with a medium fluffy head. The lacing is minor but it looks good.

It smells crisp for the style. The taste is a bit bitter but delicious, and definitely not overwhelmingly bitter.

Overall this is a very nice beer. It's exactly what I would expect from a high-quality American brewery taking on this classic British style.

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

Bitter, yes. But brutally bitter, not really. It is a nice change from the real hoppy brews I'm used to and that I thoroughly enjoy. This one has a consistently bitter taste with a smooth hop flavor and some interesting citrus taste. It pours a creamy golden color and it's got a nice aroma and lacing too. I had forgotten about what a nice change of pace this one is from an IPA or double IPA. It's almost at a mid point between a good, hearty IPA and a good, semi-hoppy pale ale.

Photo of BeerManDan
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice golden color. Was prepared for a big bite with a lot of bitterness, but, instead received a surprised expereince. The smell of hop's and citrus filled the nose and the taste was a medium hoppy flavor with a hint of citrus on the palate. There was a well balance of bitterness and sweetness in this beer. Maybe because I drank it on tap, that it was a little mellow to be called "Brutal Bitter"!

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Great color: A burnt orange which made the appearance look great. Almost as bitter as some Australian bitters I had while Down Under. The hops are noticable in both the taste and the aroma. Unfortunately, I think this beer is too bitter for me to handle more than a couple of these.

Photo of RedDiamond
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fabulous beer, though it strays so far afield from the English tradition that it is puzzling why Rogue bothered to call it a bitter. Perhaps the “Brutal” adjective describing it is an appropriate corrective measure. My pint at Rogue’s Public House in downtown Portland was dense saffron color and served with a skinny white head. I was immediately impressed with the substantial malt body – a Rogue hallmark – which was solid enough to uphold the profuse citrus-hop flavor.

I’m no hop authority, but I had no difficulty in promptly ascertaining the absence of Fuggles or Goldings hops. Sure enough, a quick inquiry into Brutal’s vital statistics reveals that it’s brewed exclusively with Oregon grown Crystal hops. Stylistically, I’d call this an American pale ale with a strong northwestern accent. But I won’t nitpick style boundaries further except to say that traditionalists won’t find what they’re looking for in this “bitter” and you still have to call it something.

Your timid friends will also be put off by the unapologetically bold character but of course, who needs timid friends? I enjoyed the heck out of Brutal Bitter for its forward leaning hop potency with its juicy overtures to grapefruit. The light fragrant aroma belittles such potency, but the finish is sharp as a Gerber blade. I’d love to see this on cask.

Photo of merlin48
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber pours a slightly hazy, orange amber color. Beige head has good retention and lasts for several minutes. Puffs of lace are left all over the glass. Aroma shouts out loud, with bigtime westcoast hops. Grapefruit and spruce pine are here in spades. Mouthfeel is a mouthful of the same hops. Sour and bitter, plenty of bite, and lots of carbonation. Taste kicks off with the same hops bitterness. Lots of pine and sour grapefruit, a hint of mandarin orange...a hop lover's delight. The English malts keep a low profile here. I was expecting some malty nuttiness like an English ESB, but this one is closer to a big IPA. Hop oils and resins are in abundance. Some malt flavors try to emerge as it nears room temperature, but just can't make the journey through the enormous hops profile. Plenty of flavor here, especially if you enjoy big westcoast hops, but I was hoping for a more assertive malt profile out of the Brit floor malts. Very enjoyable and highly drinkable for what it is.

Photo of Crosling
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful color. A hazy orangish peach that glows. The head doesn't disappoint with the retention or the lace. Both were fantastic.

Mandarin oranges, lemons, spruce, and grapefruit. Very delicately hopped aroma. Looking forward to this one.

Big bouquet of hops throughout the beer. Tons of grapefruits and lots of other spicy fruits. Malt presense is high but intolerant compared with the high hop rate. The hops are citrusy, resiny, oily and juicy. Pretty delicious.

Photo of CortexBomb
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a lovely off reddish brown and hazy with a massive head. The initial smell is hoppy floral with a hint of citrus in the background.

Taste is not anything that I'd term brutal at all though, this is one smooth drinking heavily hopped ale! The taste starts out with a healthy dollop of hops with a tad of pine, and then switches over to a pungent ruby red grapefruit with smooth malts also present, and then finishes with a tingly, yet not overstated amount of bitterness that hangs around for a bit, but doesn't wear out it's welcome.

Mouthfeel is medium decent, it's definitely 'right' for the beer, but I generally like em thicker. Drinkability is not an issue with this, some bombers are a war to get through, this one ended up polished off in pretty short order, Brutal Bitter is definitely on my 'buy again' list!

Photo of Hagbard
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy dark amber color into my pint glass, leaving a fluffy, thick, off-white head. The aroma was floral hops with hints of unidentified citrus fruits. The taste was very smooth with a wonderfully complex arrangement of floral hops and citrusy fruits. The bitterness is definitely there, but is softened nicely by the floral/fruity aspects. Also, there seems to be a healthy malt presence that contributes to the softening of the bitterness. The aftertaste is fruity with the same soft bitterness combination. There is a healthy dose of carbonation, which contributes to a fairly substantial mouthfeel. It is extremely drinkable, I could have easily spent the night drinking many of these. Unfortunately, it was a work night so I only had one 22oz bottle.

The is a wonderfully complex tasting and extremely drinkable beer. It was my first foray into the ESB world and I wonder whether they all taste this good...

Photo of rajendra82
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out hazy orange amber with a rough frothy tall head that stuck around a while. Smells of grass, pine, and yeasty sourdough bread. Malt profile is not as complex as Fuller's ESB. Generally pale and caramel malts that are easily dominated by the American hops. Tasted pine and spruce with a distinct snap of hop bitterness and a hint of citrus flavors. Little too harsh for the style and to make a good session beer. Would be a great IPA. Just not as good as a bitter.

Photo of RootedFool
4.01/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a 22 ounce bottle at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Pours a radiant amber with a soapy orange head that subsided quickly, leaving pizza-crust-bubble-like lacing on the glass.

Smell is faint to my nose. What finds its way through is a gritty, lemony hop bitterness with a thin sheet of malts backing it up.

I expected the mouthfeel to be thicker, but it's got sufficient body -- just not perfect.

Fist sip: blew me away with the flood of hops.

Second sip: I taste the subtle malt notes before the symphony of hops.

Long-lasting aftertaste of dry, toasty hops with a citrus crust.

Not a bad beer for my 20th review. In fact, it's quite good. Will try it again for sure.

Photo of winomark
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy medium copper with a light frothy and sticky bone-white head.

Aroma: Hoppy, hoppy, hoppy. Good citrus and bitterness in control. Awesome!

Taste: Slight malt is attacked by massive hop bitterness and dryness. Spicy hop finish. My kind of brew!

Mouthfeel: Flavorful, bit amazingly light. Hoppy dryness throughout. Nice, but needs more body, IMO.

Drinkability: A great beer for a hophead. Good bitterness, but still slightly balanced. Hunt for this one if you love hoppy bitterness.

Photo of Reidrover
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK bought in the 22 oz bomber..what else would it be in , :-).
After a fairly careful pour this beer still has a large frothy pure white head atop a dark orange , slighly hazy beer..nice to look at..but alas we must drink.
smell? well one word will suffice HOPS..spicy hops.
the taste while its brutally clear that this is a hop driven beer..there is a detectable undertone of the English malts..it keeps this monster together..but its clear hops dominate.
actually quite smooth and almost creamy on the tongue..though prickly at the end.
I am not a real "hophead" but i found this very drinkable.

Photo of UnionMade
3.39/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer is a hazy orangey amber, topped with a thick dollop of off-white foam. Great head retention, lasting past the liquid, with clumpy rings of lace stepping all the way down the glass. Very attractive cascade from the hand pump, as well.
The aroma is dominated by grapefruity citric hops. The malt barely breaks through the pacific northwest onslaught, providing a trace of toasty aroma. Some yeast is apparent, with a bit of appley esters sneaking under the hop radar as the beer approaches room temperature, along with a faint waft of alcohol. Plenty of piney and herbal hop aroma, as well. The dry hopping and late additions must be insane to produce this kind of hoppiness.
The flavor starts out with a pretty solid toasty maltiness, almost instantly overpowered by rind-like citric hops. A rather oily feel, with tons of hop bitterness. The carbonation is nice and smooth, typical cask fare, supporting a rather heavy full body. Faint apple/pear esters in the middle, which are quickly trampled by the hops. Most of the subtleties are blotted out in a hop fugue, only barely perceptable as your palate deadens enough to the hops to taste anything else. Some piney and herbal hopping is apparent in the finish. It tastes like some sort of cascade crossbreed, maybe with something german. A slight yeasty breadiness in the finish, with a trace of alcohol. The aftertaste....what do you think?
Eli Cannon's in Middletown, CT used to have this on the beer engine all the time. I actually got tired of it pretty quick, and just started to pass it up in favor of regular tap beers. Really unusual for me. It's a good beer, but not my idea of ESB. Definitely more like an IPA. The hops really aren't incredibly powerful, but not quite what I was expecting at first. It's pretty much an imperial bitter, if there was such a thing.

Photo of CBFanWish
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange/amber in color. Hazy appearance. This is an IPA you couldn't see through. It also had a nice head with decent lace. The smell was both floral and fruity at the same time, yet wasn't overpowering in any way. The taste was the same way. Fruity and floral, yet well balanced, like most Rogue beers. It was a great beer and I look forward to drinking more.

Photo of counselor
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber size bottle poured 1 & 1/2 into the pint glass. Nice mellow gold color with tight white head. Hoppy aromas, almost IPA levels. Cool crisp malt flavors with super citrusy hop flavor at the end of each mouthful. Good balance between the sweet malt and the dry hops. Would make an easy session beer. Very refreshing carbonation levels. The second half of the bottle poured with the yeast added a different level of flavor and made the beer a little chewy, almost like bread, but good - more complex. I always like that part of bottle conditioned beers.

Good marks all along on this beer

Photo of Loki
4.45/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from the infamous Rogue 22oz bomber with tons of info except dates.

Appearance: Dull orange honey color. Very cloudy, hazy, and completely opaque. Big, thick, froathy head with thick weblike lacing. The wheat malt is very evident in the appearance.

Smell: Malt and wheat goodness. Citrusy floral hops. Like somebody fused an IPA and a German Hefe fascinating and nearly maddening all at once. Many unique and varried aromas mingling together wonderfully.

Taste: Sweet malt, wheat, and then bitter citrus. Some floral hop flavors and a little clove. Very well balanced sweet malt and bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Good medium body, but a bit on the dry side for my tastes. Good carbonation

Drinkability: Great. A wonderful blend of malt, hops, and wheat that could be enjoyed anytime of year.

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

It pours a golden orange, very much like honey, and quite hazy. There's a quick, off-white head of various sized bubbles and foam, which retains nicely and well. The head falls to a lumpy coat of foam across the surface, and there's some delicate lacing.

The first whiff brings a solid assertion of grapefruity hops, with a very understated touch of floral tones. The malt smells slightly sweet, with a pleasant blend of caramel in the background.

The first sip brought a light toffee semi-sweetness from the malt, with an almost simultaneous washing of the dry Crystal hops across the tongue. There's a lingering light-citrus fruity background. It finishes with a dry hop tingle on top and a light malt grainy sweetness underneath, giving the overall flavor a genuine texture.

It's medium bodied, coating nicely then sliding down and back with a little viscosity, leaving behind the dry legacy of the hops.

It's not especially complex, very straightforward in fact, but it's honest and damned good. There's the easy sweetness of the malt well-balanced by the lightly floral dry citrus bitterness of the hops. It's very drinkable, crisp and fun, making more than one a virtual certainty. Stacked against beers with so much multi-dimensional complexity, this beer readily shows that sometimes simple is the way to go.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 2,007 ratings.