Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

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

2,008 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,008
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
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Ratings: 2,008 | Reviews: 1,093
Photo of brewnut11
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange color. A thin tight white dreamy head. Nice hop aroma , smells cutriusy, but not over powering aroma. A very strong bitter bite up front and in your face. This is not for the faint hearted, and the beer has a nice body to it. One of the better hoppy beers I have had and I could drink it all night. This beer is deffinately on the outer edge.

Photo of railcaider
4.52/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

When poured into a glass, this beer is an opaque amber color that's just shy of orange. The head is white and holds well for the entire duration of the drink, with just the enough carbonation to give a mouthfeel that nice and thick while still being very smooth.

The strongest smells present are sweet citrus and raspberry, but there's also a richer layer of aroma reminiscent of honey and vanilla. The first taste is a sharp hop bitterness tinged with fruit. While the strength of the bitterness is comparable to that of an IPA, it's balanced out by the fruit tastes hinted at in the smell. This is definitely one of the most flavorful bitters that I've had.

Rogue Ales generally makes excellent product, but this beer in particular stands out as one of their finest. In terms of taste and body it's similar to their Dead Guy Ale, but with more of an emphasis on hops. The complexity of the flavor is tempered by the balance between the elements present, which makes for one great beer. This one has quickly become one of my favorites and I make sure to stock up on it when I get the chance.

Photo of Hoves
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The brutal bitter pours like a wheat beer, thick and heady. The head sticks around for a good while and when it dissipates it releases a sweet hoppy smell.

As most rogue beers are, it is hopped perfectly for the hopheads among us. The taste of the brutal bitter is in the back of your mouth and the after taste lingers briefly and not too strongly.

The mouthfeel offers perfect carbonation with a slight hint of caramel and a little bit of a lingering yeast flavor.

All in all, this is another great creation by the men and women in Oregon.

Photo of hopstorm
5/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely perfect. This is the equivalent to heavens ambrosia. Pours a hazy golden color. Creamy head. Its almost like each sip is a chewy bite of goodness. The malt-hop balance is uncanny. Crystal hops dance on the palate and the malt combination is just fantastic, mostly marris otter I believe. It smells like its going to be hoppier than it is, and while it is hoppy, its just balanced so well. The pac man yeast is probably what pulls it all together. Unlike any traditional british bitter I've ever had. I could drink this all day every day. Rogue really out did themselves here. I really don't know why I buy anything else. A bit pricey at 12 for a 6er but well worth it IMO. Try this one, you won't be disappointed!

Photo of ledzepp817
4.37/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rogue does it again!

After ever beer I try from this brewery, I am amazed how great they make their beers. I just bought this one because of the name. I am a huge fan of bitter ales , and the name of this one kinda of jumped out at me.

Well, this Ale did not disappoint, its actually a very good Ale. Very hoppy, a little citrus flavor, and bitter as hell. A solid dark amber color that when held up to a light revealed a rich, reddish hue that showed me the way.

A wonderful beer that is good for 2 or 3 for a session, any more, and you would not be able to taste anything for a week.

Photo of crazyfraser
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is kind of a little cloudy/goldy/amber.

Smell is very nice, hoppy, citrus zest.

Taste is a little hoppy, not very bitter at all, very light.. Taste is on the small side, I like a little more, I guess that all i can say is that I was hoping for a little more in the flavor department. but don't get me wrong, what flavor is there is good, I just want more of a punch when it come to IPA's I guess that why I like Doubles.

Mouthfeel is nice, very smooth, easy to drink

Overall, decent, I would recommend for a newbe

Photo of TJBOtt
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very good IPA. Citrussy,, not too heavy, but with a very nice flavor. Its my favorite IPA that is regularly available in the liquor stores locally (LCBO) here in Ontario.

I'm not sure about the brewer's description, as a blend between an ESP and an IPA though. Intriguing.

Photo of dcoux09
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had a Fuller's ESB at the Red Lion near Westminster in London, an this kicked it's ass. I often feel that many IPAs are too hoppy and unbalanced, however, I really enjoyed this brew. When it was poured, it looked almost like apple cider with an off white head, which strangely enough reminded me of the bitter/sour taste of a pressed cider. I expected this to be another decent IPA, but it was really wonderful. It was more sour that bitter in my mind, which was a pleasant surprise, but it was well balanced with a creamy feel. It was much more complex that a Fuller's ESB, and for that, I really enoyed it. Great brew, would definitely recommend.

Photo of alemakesmestrong
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this bad boy in a pitcher w/ my wife at Ankeny's in Portland, OR. I had no idea this was in the vain of an extra extra special bitter. I was impressed with the appearance and feel of this beer right away. With my first beer nerd whiff I wanted to drain the entire pitcher. About halfway through this pitcher, I realized that it was a hefty mother. The drinkability was not high, but if you were to have just a few pints, a great choice. Nice malt profile, man that brewmaster is the man. Nice choice of English hops, but done in Rogue form---up your ass! All together the kind of beer to serve your son on his 18th birthday.

Photo of exlex
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Cloudy amber with little to no head retention

Aroma: Sweet caramel with light floral hops

Taste: Perfectly balanced sweet malt and hop bitterness, with a great lingering finish

A fantastic beer, good sesionability. The high IBU's create a refreshing bitterness while the sweetness of the malts give it the body it needs to keep you coming back for more. Highly recommend this one.

Photo of darjoh
4.24/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into pint glass.
An old local favorite to Newport Oregon, as well as mine. Anytime I find this in the store I grab at least one, and save for a semi-special occasion. Only found in the 1pt.6oz bottle in the stores, and known as Brutal Bitter in the brewpub. I appreciate this Ale more for the fact it is not widely available, even just 50 miles from Newport.

Photo of boyermi206
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Light orange/tangerine kind of murky not all that clear.

S- smells good, malty but more fruity, "crisp" smelling I want to say apple smell.

T-citrus dominates but again I am getting some apple taste

M-a little thin, but not bad, probably just the right amount of carbonation.

O-I really like this beer, something I will buy again and look forward to. I can only imagine that thi beer would be exceptional on tap.

Photo of jercasper
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

A great IPA. Didn't find the balance of flavors to be as even as one might taste in other IPAs but not enough to deter me from ordering this IPA gem again.

Photo of GoblueMS
3.76/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have recently tried this as it is now available here in MS. Rogue has been around a long time, and I have never had opportunity to try any Rogue IPA offering (not even sure that they offered IPA). Bought 7 bombers last night at a local grocery for 99 cents each--WOW!! And they were not "ruint" as they say around here! Every once in a while we quality ale quaffers win big, and this is one of those times. From a bomber to my 20 oz. mug.

A: Thick creamy head two fingers high diminishing to a thin layer. Love the unfiltered aspect.

S: A bit malt forward, with hops slightly subdued.

T: Smooth with the yeast adding body to the ale (filtered ales tend to taste and mouthfeel thin).

M: As mentioned smooth. Definitely a decent brew. I like this particular style of IPA, though others on my favorites list are more aggressive on the pallet.

O: What a find at 99 cents!! Even though it has a lower alcohol content, sometimes that is just what the doctor ordered. Rogue knows what they are doing, and they have been in the business a long time. This ale is worthy.

Photo of nazbotica
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Well for once the title "Bitter" seems appropriate for a beer of this style. I drank this beer from a standard pint glass.

A - The beer poured a hazy dark gold, almost a dark khaki color. Even up to natural light it is almost completely opaque. It is topped by a two finger head that slowly subsides to one finger and sustained until I began drinking.

S - A pungent piney aroma hit me mid-pour. The slight biscuity malt note was almost completely obscured by a strong Centennial hop smell.

T - The first taste that hits you is a buttery toffee flavor that is characteristic for the style, but, as with the smell, that taste is completely overwhelmed by rush of harsh, piney bitter hops flavor. This could be a bit more balanced, but I really like the taste this bitterness leaves in my mouth. It is sort of minerally like spring

M - The body is thicker/heavier than I expected. Although a low carbonated beer, it is initially quite creamy and soft on the palate, which matches well with the toffee flavor, however brief this is.

D - Overall I like this beer. This is my first Imperial Bitter, and I am not well acquainted with the style. It is definitely a more bitter, "Bitter" than I am used to, which is inline with the Imperial tag and the fact that it is an American beer. We Americans seem to take everything to its extreme. As I said before, would prefer more balance between malt and hop, particularly the harsh, dry finish. However, any fan of hoppy beers, as I am, will probably enjoy this one.

Photo of mikesnotesonbeer
4.68/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy, orange-gold.
S: Hoppy and citrusy. Light pine.
T: Citrusy upfront, with a nice hoppy finish.
M: Refreshingly crisp, though a little dry.
O: It’s hoppy, but not enough to be off-putting. This is an IPA that both a novice and a connoisseur can appreciate.

Photo of Godspeed
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Until this past weekend I had trouble locating this particular Rogue beer. The local package stores I frequent never had it in stock, despite carrying most of the other selections from this fine brewery.

Needless to say I was surprised to see a whole shelf dedicated to this marvelous concoction at Trader Joe's in Cambridge: a grocery store with a small but impressive selection of micros. They had Brutal Bitter in stock, and plenty of them. All in 22 ounce bomber form.

I tipped the bottle, and out flowed a hazy orange liquid. The bubbly head materialized soon after and then diminished slowly, leaving a thin oily lacing. I swirled the newly poured beverage and sniffed. Orange rinds and grapefruits wafted through my nose. I found the tart, hoppy aroma to be quite enticing. I took a sip and was surprised at the smooth, fresh character of this beer. Not at all what I expected from an ESB. Creamy malt sweetness with a citrusy, crisp hop flavor. Overall very well balanced considering the powerful hop presence. Very, very drinkable. Yes, I could see myself downing several of these in rapid succession.

In retrospect I guess I had modest expectations. To be frank, "Brutal" and "Bitter" are adjectives I normally wouldn't associate with such an appetizing beverage. Well I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a session beer like none other. I dare say it's my favorite Rogue brew.

Photo of curtisb8
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appreance: Nice, amber brown appreance, white medium body head.

Smell: Citrus, grapefruit, with a hint of oak

Taste: Citrus bitter upfront, hoppy finish, with a smooth finish

I could have a few of these through the course of a night, definitely worth a try.

Photo of TheLocust830
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

a-hazy copper. Looks like some sediment was stirred up on the car ride. 1 finger head dissipated down to a foam that will not leave along with some very sticky lacing.

s-sweet citric hops, maybe some wet grass or dull piney scent over that.

t-far from brutal unless you are not a hophead. at first is a jolt of tart sweetness, then the hops kicks in in great balance. the hops taste seemed almost the opposite the smell, more pine than citrus. bitter aftertaste recedes quickly leaving me craving another sip.

m/d-seems fairly high carbonation and still very fizzy to the end although it didn't last that long. very drinkable, i could drink it like water and i recommend doing just that. delicious.

Photo of fl0w
4.51/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a pint glass from bottle.

Orange/copper appearance, inch and a half white head which receded rather quickly, with little lacing.

Wonderful smell, strong fresh hops and a bit of citrus. Wish I had a better glass for this smell, I had my nose in this the whole time, the smell was really that good.

The taste was great, more citrus, maybe grapefruit, giving way to hops. While less bitter then I expected, it did have a great hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste. For those put off thinking this is going to be too bitter, it isn't. The bitterness is just right.

Mouthfeel was bready, slightly dry, with the perfect amount of carbonation.

I could definitely drink a few of these, was disappointed I only had 2

Photo of KChardstock
3.08/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I bought this bottle a few days ago after having their shakespeare, and chocolate stout. good stuff. but this one not so much. brutal bitter pours great into a a nice fluffy foam. foam retention is good and locks in taste. the appearance is an orange haze with dense carbonation. the orange appearance is followed up with a citrus flavor. The taste is infact bitter, but not very brutal. i liked this beer, but it didn't strike much of a fancy.

Photo of taverncast
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

3 out of 5 stars - some confusion over what happened with the recipe - the beer has changed names in the past year, and seemingly even the recipe, although differing sources have differing information on this. We tried both labels, and found a significant difference in the two bottles.

The original label, Brutal Bitter was a drinkable, malty, but very low IBU bitter with a mild hoppy, sweet nose, malt and sugar flavors and a slightly bitter finish.

The new label, Brutal IPA was distinctly different - having a pronounced hop and fruit smell, and heavy grapefruit flavor with melon overtones - so pronounced in fact that the beer took on a wheat beer character.

Check out our full audio review of both beers: http://www.taverncast.com/shows/taverncast-on-tap-02.mp3

Photo of drinkHoppy
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 22oz(right?) bottle. This was in the fridge at my store for probably two years now, so I grabbed it. Obvious amount of sediment in the bottle.

Appearance: Copper/amber/orange. Light but opaque and obviously cloudy with sediment. You can pour a nice sized head without much effort, but notice it quickly start to fizz away. Settles to a thin layer but lasts for much of the glass, not all of it. I really had to stir around the last few sips, and saw what looked like red strings in the bottom, part of the sediment. Cool looking!

Smell: Pleasant smell. Hoppy. Grapefruit and citrus, the obvious stuff.

Taste: Just how it smells. Smooth, great tasting beer if you like hops (and i do). On the strong side.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, you feel it on your tongue! I enjoyed every sip actually, but then it lingers. A bit slimy but tasty.

Drinkability: I gave this a low score on drinkability not because it was hard to drink this beer, it tasted great, but because two pints was enough for me. I could have more but still only a few.

Photo of tinusch
4.15/5  rDev +4%
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.

Photo of cougznthebear
4.27/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Though i would pop my reviewing cherry on this hop bomb.

A - Poors Hazy almost amber color.

S- Smells resinous dank greenery, some sweet malt notes

T- Hoppy with a piney/citrus hop bite. toasted sweet malts, Finishes with a orange peel bitterness thats not over the top and quite pleasant

M- Medium Body, the carbonation was a little thin but in this case it works, lets the hops shine.

O- A Extremely well balanced ipa(doesn't make my mouth feel abused afterward) pity its so expen$ive here.

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
89 out of 100 based on 2,008 ratings.