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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,819 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,819
Reviews: 1,062
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 64
Gots: 58 | 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: 1,819 | Reviews: 1,062 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shaw
4.5/5  rDev +12.5%

Another near-perfect brew from the masters at Rogue, this beer will teach you that you don't need a variety of hops in a beer to have an amazing character. Brutal Bitter uses only Crystal hops. And brother, that's all you need.

Take a big whiff before drinking. Ahhh, amazing! What a hop aroma. And note the aftertaste. A friend described it perfectly: grapefruit.

Shaw, Sep 04, 2003
Photo of freed
4.38/5  rDev +9.5%

I don't know what it is about this beer, but I've been intrigued since the first draught I had back in school. The bartender wouldn't sell us pitchers of the stuff, so we had did it the hard way.

Imperial pint, rich golden with a touch of amber. Somewhat obscured either by haze or scratches in the well worn pint glass. Tight head that persists through the beer. Leaves evidence on the sides of the glass as a slight lace.

Aromatic fore sure, with a somewhat green, pasture hop aroma. A wild aroma, and not as citrusy as many. A sip pulls clean, quick tart pucker, fulfilling malt profile that stands its own. Definately a Rogue mix. Leaves the palate with a sweet grass finish. Wonderful, and goes surprisingly well with fish & chips.

freed, Aug 19, 2003
Photo of TripelJ
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%

Now Quaffing: Rogue Brutal Bitter

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber. Several glasses out of short stemmed flute.

The first thing one will notice upon cracking the seal on this bomber is the wonderfully clean hop aroma. Pours a hazy copper/caramel with a thick white head. Lacing is sticky down the glass. Nice citrus and hop aromas beg you to take that first sip, which is not nearly as "brutal" as I had anticipated. In fact, its a smooth creamy symphony of citrus (ruby red grapefruit) and hops and lingers to a bittersweet end, which comes too soon with *only* 22 oz.... Yes its bitter, but its not overly so, in fact it exceeds my expectations of the normally "extreme" rogue....

Overall: While not as drinkable as the youngers special bitter, this is definitely a great beer that I will be going back to.

TripelJ, Aug 15, 2003
Photo of MJR
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%

Appearance: Pours a great looking pale amber with copper edges. There's a bit of chill haze. It's light tan head starts out rich and full, and slowly shrinks down to a solid cap that leaves a thick ring at every sip mark.

Smell: Like the bottle brags, this one has a stupendous hop aroma! Lots of citrus, most notably grapefruit. Under that is a solid foundation of the distinct, sweet Maris Otter base malt.

Taste: The flavor is firmly bitter, with the Crystal hops being the center of attention from beginning to end. Again, there's lots of citrus, with a huge amount of grapefruit. A bit of pine resin as well. The clean bitterness tends to overshadow the rich Maris Otter malt a bit, but it still manages to break through the seemingly impenetrable wall of hops. Finishes like it began, bitter and hoppy, along with a slighty burnt character and a touch of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body, with a dry finish that borders on astringent.

Drinkability: Yet another solid brew from Rogue. Basically an overhopped ESB, this is a beer I could drink on a regular basis. It's slighty alcoholic finish and strength prevent it from being any kind of session beer though.

MJR, Aug 13, 2003
Photo of BeerBuilder
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%

Pours to a orange-copper color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is super fruity and citrusy. Wow, the first sip was like biting into a fresh grapefruit. It is very citrusy; it is bitter but not overpoweringly so. It finishes dry with a fruity bitterness. It was an excellent medium-bodied brew.

BeerBuilder, Aug 08, 2003
Photo of kevinl6
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%

Whoa!!! I'd say this one is appropriately named! It is a cloudy, apricot color with a silky, one finger deep head. It has a very strong, very nice aroma. Fruity, albeit not too specific, is what comes to my mind. Very fruity. The taste has a citris 'bite' in it, and man is it bitter! Mouthfeel was perfect for me....slightly tingly, but at the same time silky smooth and gentle on the palate. I liked the bitterness and the taste of this one, but to be honest, I split it with my drinkin bud, and neither of us wanted another. I'll be drinking this again though! Another fine/different offering from Rogue.

kevinl6, Aug 07, 2003
Photo of Bruiser81
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%

The color of this beer was a cloudy orange color with a bubbly white head, little to no lacing. A good looking brew. The aroma consisted of lemon, light caramel, and very strong alcohol spice. The taste up front was lemon and citrus (mostly grapefruit). There was a definite spice in the taste as well as. The finish has a little bit of malt mixed in with the bitterness which lingers well into the aftertaste. Medium consistency, goes down smooth. Quite drinkable.

Bruiser81, Aug 02, 2003
Photo of jeffboo
4.85/5  rDev +21.3%

This one hits it pretty well for me, an American style hop dream.

Grapefruits bouncing off the wall, bouncing into the creamy, frothy, lake. Splash, Splash, as they dance in the copper colored pool. Pine trees surround this lake next to the grapefruit grove. A light breeze blows in other citrus aromas throughout the air but the grapefruits are the ones having fun in this lake. Plunging into this body of water, one is overwhelmed by the complexity of it. It is sooo sweet and lightly toasty, and intermingles nicely with our fruit friends.

As I awake, I feel drawn to the grapefruit in the bowl on the table. I'm not sure why but I know that this is my mission.....find this place from my dream..................

jeffboo, Jul 27, 2003
Photo of PatandDavid
4/5  rDev 0%

Had this many times, but only reviewed it today.

Poured a cloudy pumpkin color. Very nice head, and lace left through-out the glass. The aroma was definitely one of hops.

I have to say, the taste leans more toward the hoppy than the malty. While the malt sweetness provides a backbone, the hops are nicely present, with that citrusy (grapefuit?) style favor.

Definitely not a hop monster, but you will notice and appreciate the hops present. Would get again. pat

PatandDavid, Jul 19, 2003
Photo of fattychubs
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%

This beer was on fire sale at the local tap room, a Rogue beer on fire sale?

Color of a bruised peach, served with a small but frothy off white head that laced nicely. Nose is sweet but floral hops with citrus. Taste is not as bitter as I expected starts slightly malted, then floral strong bitter hops, but ends citrus and sweet, reminded me of a grapefruit taste in there, but better. Decent medium body.

Better then I expected balanced the hops nicely, not as bitter as the name suggests.

fattychubs, Jul 09, 2003
Photo of Jon
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%

As Rogue describes, this ale is an invention, not a style. Brutal Bitter pours a hazy apricot color with a rocky, off-white head. Some lacing is present down the glass. Aroma is primarily of hops. Loads of hops. A wonderful thing. Taste is excellent with notes of grapefruity, citric hops and a sufficient malt backbone. This is very well balanced with a dry, bitter finish. Mouthfeel is somewhat carbonated, but mainly smooth. Drinkability is quite strong. An excellent "invention" overall.

Jon, Jul 03, 2003
Photo of Stingray5
4.4/5  rDev +10%

Pours a cloudy brown/orange with a thick fluffy white head that lasts. The hops hit first in the aroma, settling to some fruity, nutty malt notes. Thick and buttery in the mouth, the hops let you know they mean business. Is this beer or grapefruit juice?! The malt makes itself known in a very balanced fashion, but this one is still all about the hops. Dry, tangy finish with long lasting bitterness. Just as good if not better as it warms. Wow this is a good beer!

Extremely balanced and drinkable. Massive hops. Excellent!

Stingray5, Jul 02, 2003
Photo of tavernjef
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%

Color is a nice cloudy deep copper with a small head of tight ivory colored froth with incredible stitched lace rings. Smell is peachy citrus, dark orange hops, juicy and fat, great little piney freshness. Great hop nose. Taste starts of sweet malt and light wheat and heads for the hops soon there after with grapefruitish sweet bittering sour dryness and woody pine solidness. Whoa... this bittering hits heavy and late. I count nearly six to ten seconds before it decides to make its presense felt. Amazing. Feel is a quick thin start then a bit harsh, bold texture with a solid full body with a huge hop kick late. The name "Brutal Bitter" suits it. It takes some getting use to.

tavernjef, Jul 01, 2003
Photo of euskera
4.28/5  rDev +7%

Well.. slap my ass and call me Sally!!

Hoppy, hoppy, and did I say hoppy. Smacks you in the face and won't let go. Great appetizing beer that goes down well. Excellent on a summer afternoon.

Pours out a cloudy brownish-yellow with a nice foamy head. Smell is hoppy with a malt overtone. Taste is fresh, with a little citrus in the foreground. Mouthfeel is a little briny with all the hops. Well balanced with a very forceful hop finish. Bravo

euskera, Jun 21, 2003
Photo of jcalabre
3.6/5  rDev -10%

Originally sampled on 28 December 2002. I am writing this review from my notes. This baby has hops out the wazoo, but it is surprisingly well balanced. This beer is quite drinkable. I think that it is one of Rogue's better efforts. I know that I'll enjoy having this one again.

jcalabre, Jun 20, 2003
Photo of Mitchster
3.95/5  rDev -1.3%

"Brutal combines Oregon hops with English Malts. The Oregon grown Crystal hop is a triploid variety developed from the German Hallertau aroma hop variety with contributions from Cascade, Brewers Gold, and Early Green. Crystal is the only hop used in brewing Brutal and it provides a massive amount of aroma without dry-hopping. The English malts used are floor malted Pipkin (a mellow cross of Maris Otter and Warboys, from an English company called Beeston), Cara Vienna and Cara Wheat."-from the Rogue website.

Sampled at Rogue Ale House in Portland, OR.
59 IBU, 14.3 Lovibond, 76 AA, 15 degrees Plato.

Cloudy light caramel with a thin white head and poor retention and lacing. Aroma is very floral with hops so juicy they smell sweet..apples..tons of fruits. Gotta love that Pac-man yeast. Taste begins very floral with potent flavor hoppings, sweet cookie-like malts, toast, biscuits, and a potent yet brisk, dry spicy bitterness. While a very good brew, this seems a little outside Rogue's very high standards...this seems more like a standard brewpub offering. The mouthfeel is a tad dry and little harsh. A very good brew, but probably the weakest of those sampled.

Mitchster, Jun 18, 2003
Photo of nixhecks
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%

Presented in a 22 oz bomber (my favorite). Poured cloudy copper color with a nice foamy head that had long retention and was very thick. Wonderful hop aroma on the nose, very floral and very mouthwatering. The taste is pretty complex, the hoppy bitterness takes full control, but at the same time there is an underlying sweetness throughout as well. This brew is very strongly hopped though, I wouldn't recommend it for someone trying out the style for the first time, but I always love a unique brew with character that presses the extremes, and this is one of 'em.

nixhecks, Jun 09, 2003
Photo of dwarbi
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%

Monstrous white head. Very thick and it goes nowhere. The beer itself is not completely transparent. Smells of hops and bitter. Pleasant taste. Creamy and very smooth. Bitter aftertaste, but tremendously drinkable. Elaborate, hard to pin combination of flavors.

dwarbi, May 29, 2003
Photo of MissOrch
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%

Last night was my second time sampling this fine brew, but this time it was on cask. It poured a cloudy caramel color, allowing a very minimal glow of light through the glass, but I still couldn't see all the way through. The head was thick and spongy like shaving cream, bobbing on top of the beer.

A very sticky sweet smell wafted over the sides of the glass. I was overwhelmed with a nose of strong grapefruit, mandarin orange, and notes of malt. It smelled like a cross between a candy and a malt liquor, like if I spilled some on a marble floor, my shoes would stick permanently.

The beer had a smooth, creamy, low carbonation cask feel with a squeaky, almost tannin like bitter finish. The first sip was very sweet and malty. The next flavor that kicked in was burned caramel, and finished with a brutally bitter hop taste that left a surprisingly clean finish. I had no problems finishing the whole pint, although I was reeling a little by the end. Packs a lot of flavor-- I like it!

MissOrch, May 29, 2003
Photo of Dantes
4.6/5  rDev +15%

Package: 22oz. crowned bottle, labeled 76 IBU and 15º Plato. I don’t know how to convert this, but I’d love to know the ABV. Short description, ingredients list, and dedication.

Cost: $3.49 at Bottle King

Presentation: ~18oz. in an Imperial pint glass at ~45º

Appearance: A lambent, peach-apricot cloudy body; with a picture-perfect dense, long-lasting, bone-colored head resembling the soft contours of a Caribbean beach. Lacing worthy of Alençon.

Smell: Right away, the aroma put me on notice that I was about to taste something significant. I did not sense the coffee aroma promised by the bottle, but was more than compensated by the fruity bouquet anchored by a wonderful toasted maltiness. Truly biscuity. Complexly hoppy with citrus and piney notes.

Taste: Wow. This delivers flavor with no questions asked. Some have questioned the legitimacy of calling this a bitter, but it earns this term with its excellent balance of sweet, toasted malt; fruity notes; and liberal dose of hops. This is unmistakably a bitter with an American twist and not an APA or IPA. The resinous pine and citrus elements are filled out by a subtle sweetness and enough toasted malt to sink your teeth into. It is this elusive “bready” quality that screams bitter. Full-flavored with a long finish. Tasted better on the cooler side. I'd recommend pouring it at 45º.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, yet refreshingly astringent at the same time.

Drinkability: Another example of why I don't like 22oz. bombers. This is so drinkable, one bomber is not enough. Filling one Imperial pint leaves a woefully inadequate 4oz., so you have to open another bomber if you want more (which you will)! If I had a kegerator, this would take up permanent residence!

A PhD. in bitter in a glass. Anyone looking to learn how a bitter differs from an IPA need only refer to this beer. I probably haven’t described it well enough, but one taste will tell you all you need to know. It's like a brash but accomplished American IPA that has earned a Rhodes Scholarship (or like Churchill, a combination of the best of America and Britain). I'm a big fan of British bitters (and the benchmark Fullers in particular) and was ready to grade this harshly, but it really delivered the goods. One suggestion: come up with a better name. Brutal Bitter conveys the wrong impression and may scare away the less adventurous.

Backwash: Worthy of a knighthood. Cries out to be sold in 550ml bottles or sixers for serious pounding. Why is it so much more expensive (by volume) than Fuller’s?

NB: Bottle info above is from a run of misprinted bottles. IBUs should be 59.

Dantes, May 27, 2003
Photo of tigerpaws
4.4/5  rDev +10%

A exceptional beer IMO....pours a very dark amber with an ample head. The aroma is for sure there with a mixute of scents, you can detect the malt, but also the crisp hoppy smell comes through to prevail. The taste is close to an IPA withou being one ( so I was happy ). Not for the average beer drinker but one the true beer lovers will enjoy....................CHEERS

tigerpaws, May 25, 2003
Photo of ADR
3.58/5  rDev -10.5%

Now that the bombers and singles have invaded Minnesota, we have more Rogue here than ever before!

Hazy sienna-orange with a beautifully pillowy 3/4 inch head...cottony laces. Nice mix of buttery malts and slight hop flower to the smell...GACK! This is a "hopster", lots of sweetened tangerine and associated citrus with a medium malty mouthfeel to pull the balance about. Finishes with a decided but over-the-top hop tone and a hot and dry backbone. Well, this may be an "Imperial" Bitter, but I'll pass on this in favor of a more subtle and superiorly balanced Fuller's ESB any day. Challenging beer, a little bit too much of a west coast show-off to my taste.

ADR, May 18, 2003
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.33/5  rDev +8.3%

Appearance: a bright, but hazy, apricottish hue, with a thick, bubbling, off-white lace-leaving head. Aroma: absolutely bristling with pine, pineapple, grapefruit, all sorts of citrus, very spikey, alert and lively, seriously delirious!
On the palate, a monsoon ensues, a blast of brilliant bitterness, that fades a bit, yes, but returns with every sip. Texture is a treat, tangy, delicious, smooth, but tasty. Long, even eternal, finish. Ultimately, very dry, mouth watering, thirst quenching...yeah! It got me to thinking...this is the hophead's "lawnmower beer"! And me, I've got to live in an apartment! It's an "anytime" ale, I say!
The name protests too much. It's not too brutal, but then I'm used to, and I welcome, a barrage of hops on my tongue at anytime I wish.
The label reads "an Imperial style bitter" (aren't "bitters" UNbitter, such as ESBs?) using exotic traditional floor malts (huh?) Free Range Coastal Waters (okay, I'm lost, free range chicken I get, but free range water?) etc., etc.
No matter my confusion, it's a damned great ale, not shy at all with the hops, and loaded down with flavor. Happily consumed from a generous 22oz. bomber.

feloniousmonk, May 16, 2003
Photo of StevieW
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%

22 oz bomber bottle. Cloudy copper color. Medium thick, bubbly beige head. Sticky and clings to the glass. Super rich bitter hop aromas. Nice fresh smell despite being in my fridge for 2 months. First taste was exactly what I expected and hoping for. Nice fresh hop charge of tastes. Mouth puckering bitterness through and through. Moderately rich and subtle sweet malty undertone. Resin hop stickiness lingers on the tongue. Super smooth, medium to full bodied. Uncommonly smooth. Really good beer to match with my favorite meal of tangy barbecue grilled chicken.
Another Rogue worth searching for.

StevieW, May 07, 2003
Photo of beernut7
3.48/5  rDev -13%

Being a rogue brew I was expecting a certain level of hop overkill, and I was far from disappointed. Pouring a hazy honey color with a creamy head, the HUGE sharply spicy aroma hits one in the face with reckless abandon. The first flavor brings the grapefruitiest hop flavor in existence stopming on what might be a decent amount of malt--we may never know. Brutal is definitely an accurate portrayal of this ale. More on the level of an IPA than any bitter I have ever tasted. One must be in the mood for this beer, not one for the faint of heart.

beernut7, May 04, 2003
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,819 ratings.