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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

1,779 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,779
Reviews: 1,060
rAvg: 4
pDev: 10.75%
Wants: 61
Gots: 53 | 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: 1,779 | Reviews: 1,060 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bomber. My initial encounter with this beer involved my ex-girlfriend, and me puking outside her mom's car after a family (hers) wedding. Lesson learned? Beer ain't the problem - drinking shitty Greek brandy with her brother was.

This beer pours a hazy medium golden amber colour, with three fingers of dense, tightly puffy, and weakly foamy off-white head, which leaves consistent rings of webbed lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of gritty, bready caramel malt, citrus and pine hops, and a further slightly perfumed floral essence. The taste is musty, clammy caramel malt, muted, indistinct citrus, wet pine needles, and more outlying floral, grassy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, and generally laissez-faire on my tongue, the body on the light side of medium weight, and underwhelmingly smooth, as the lack of overt hoppiness doesn't mean what one might think. It finishes off-dry, with tangy, slightly sour malt, and floral, citrusy hops.

If I had to peg this outside the myriad BA distractions, I would claim it to be a bit of a ramped-up ESB, or failing that, a beginner's IPA. Too much middling about in the maltiness, and with a hoppiness that seems incapable of duly assaulting my palate, especially given the ultimate proximity of this brewery to the physical west coast.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2009 00:02:12 | More by biboergosum
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.68/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Clear amber without much head to speak of, but a lingering, foamy lace.

S: Hops, pine, citrus - this beer smells great.

T: Lots of hops, bitter grapefruit, lemon zest. A straightforward brew, but delicious all the same.

M: Medium-bodied, bubbly carbonation, extremely refreshing.

This is one of my favorite Rogue beers. While it's not as complex as some of their others, the flavor is delicious and the aroma very enticing. A great "thirst-quenching" beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2006 07:34:19 | More by largadeer
Photo of JAHMUR
JAHMUR

Connecticut

3.25/5  rDev -18.8%

11-23-2011 04:57:20 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Slightly hazy, deep amber in color. The ivory colored head is thin with limited retention. The aroma is a very nice combination of sweetish toasty maltiness and cascade hops that appear more piney than citrusy. The body is medium/light with a very fine and gentle carbonation which gives it a very smooth and lightly creamy mouthfeel. If they were going for an "English" look & feel, they've certainly achieved it. Very nice. The hops flavors really come through in the flavor, giving it complexity with notes of citrus fruits, pine resin, light earthiness, and at times, even mint. The malt is very lightly caramel-like, bready and softly toasty - the Vienna malt shows and adds a nice richness. Bitterness is, of course, well represented in any Rogue beer, but this is clearly balanced more to show off malt & hops in a drinkable session ale. A unique beer that puts an American-hop spin on an English bitter.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2002 19:56:20 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of nickfl
nickfl

Florida

4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep orange-copper color with impenetrable haze and a tiny, half inch of off white head.

S - Immediate estery citrus aroma, with floral/ herbal hops coming in behind. Nice, fresh smell.

T - Lots of fruitiness, mostly citrus, up front. Citrus hops flavors and chalky bitterness are up next, followed by biscuity malt notes. All of the citrus character comes back together in the finish for a lingering, harmonious grapefruit note.

M - Medium carbonation with a fairly full body and a very dry, chalky finish.

D - Quite easy to drink. Certainly not hard to put down the 22 of this fresh, fruity beer. It is an interesting take on the ESB style, having a lot of features I might more associate with an IPA. The citrus characteristics are very nice and they nailed the dry, English bitterness that many brewers can't seem to capture in their bitters.

I paired this with a chunk of seared tuna, marinaded in soy sauce and honey. The citrus notes matched the soy/honey glaze very well and the hops did not over power the tuna's flavor the way I feared they might.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2008 04:34:57 | More by nickfl
Photo of RblWthACoz
RblWthACoz

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark gold with a touch of almost brown with a sizeable white head. Nose is Extremely hoppy and super sweet. Flavor is thick with hops and a very slight bite. Just barely bitter as the hops take over the flavor profile, but don’t make it too unbearable with too hoppy a tone. Mouthfeel is good on carbonation and this one is extremely drinkable. This is the 13th beer I have reviewed from Rogue and yet again they deliver. I just want to try more, and more, and more...

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 06:42:56 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of TheManiacalOne
TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains mostly caramelized malts and pale hops.

T: The taste is nicely balanced, which I wasn't really expecting with a name like "Brutal Bitter", with a pale hops bitterness and a faint but complimentary caramel and citrus sweetness. The malt character is hearty and provides some good substance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, nice representation of style, an ESB isn't usually my first choice of style, but this is a good beer to drink for a while.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2008 03:02:51 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz bomber with no freshness date to be found.

Appearance: Copperish amber hued brew with a pillowy off white head with a mild chill haze.

Smell: Pungent (mild rind), piney sweet, raw hop aroma is very dominant. Smells like raw hops oils basically.

Taste: Very smooth with a semi chewy malt mouth feel, a touch of malt sweetness peeks its head out yet the hops take over and release a big pungent bitterness (hint of rind) with a very inviting oily hop flavour that is a little sweet in the finish.

Notes: For as much hops as they used for this brew it is balanced quite well. Very interesting with the use of only one hop variety ... the Crystal hop, a cross between Hallertauer and Cascade. An amazing brew and becoming a cult classic among the hopheads and veteran beer geeks. A "not for the faint of heart brew".

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2002 07:10:42 | More by Jason
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2003 02:46:08 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of WVbeergeek
WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appears: Slightly cloudy amber brown copper tone with a cream off white nice thick and substantial head, great amount of lacing even and full. Aroma: Frivilous hopping here floral, piney, and citrus toned hops explode upon my senses but that doesn't set aside this beer from other Rogues what does is the malty syrupy sweetness that is also represented here in teh aroma very balanced. Taste: Syrupy sweet mixture of hops so good the piney edge to the hops complements the caramel malt so well, true to the style by bringing true balance to the table that can only be compared to the American amber that they brew. Mouthfeel: Fuller bodied smooth best beer yet from Rogue. Drinkability: If I didn't have to drive I may of had a few more pints from this one so drinkable on draft I must be sure to sample it in the bottle to compare.

Serving type: on-tap

10-14-2003 13:50:01 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

4.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours deep honey with an off the charts beaded san colored head. good lacing and head retention

Smell: earthy hop notes &honey malt notes

Taste: Piney & citrussy hops (grapefruit) with a sweet malt up front. Great hop finish, perhaps a little too much for the style, but it works for me

MF: Rich & ballanced, good carbonation

Very drinkable, think this is more like a DIPA, would love to ty this side by side with SNCA, yummy

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2006 03:26:09 | More by russpowell
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a very good ESB, a poor IPA though. I'm going to go ahead and ignore the IPA at the top of the screen.

Beer is red and forms a decent head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Beer is clear, mostly, and is moderately carbonated, looks fine.

Aroma is mildly bitter with some malt notes to it.

Beer is malty and big bodied wtihout being sweet, its bitter but not harshly so, there is minimal hop character although its obvious that the bitterness is from the hops. Its moderately drinkable, 22 ounces was a bit much here but its not difficult to choke down at all. Its well flavored and has that balance people talk so much about. Like I said at the beginning, its not a very good IPA but its a good bitter.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2010 14:52:24 | More by drabmuh
Photo of SocalKicks
SocalKicks

California

4/5  rDev 0%

01-23-2013 05:05:19 | More by SocalKicks
Photo of Slatetank
Slatetank

Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this at Market Cross Pub in Shippensburg, poured chilled into a 1/2 pint from the 12oz brown bottle.

A - The appearance is clear pale honey w/ very good clarity and rocky beige head of approximately 2 fingers. The lace clings well and retention is good.

S - A honeyed fruit, citrus rind and mild biscuit aroma w/ light bitter orange accents and grassy tinges in the hop aroma

M - A very bitter fell right off(duh) w/ a mild malt and moderate carbonation. An almost creamy middle but too much lingering bitterness IMO, the style should have more of a malt backbone, finishes on the dry side

T - A crisp spiced hop taste up front w/ citrus acidity from the NW hops and very light malt flavor. The citrus rind taste lingers and a creamy bitter combo is tasted w/ only a mild accent of malt as it finishes

D - The drinkability is better than average but for this I consider it a mediocre example of the style. It is overly hopped and tastes like a hoppy pale to me

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2009 13:56:47 | More by Slatetank
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2004 00:59:26 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

4/5  rDev 0%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

01-12-2011 07:02:07 | More by Mora2000
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours slightly hazed light copper with a off-white head that leaves some lacing.

The smell is of light citrus with sweet grainy malt in the back.

The taste is citric with sweet malt backing. Can't say it's complex, but it is tasty. A good dose of hops with plenty of malt backing makes it bittersweet. A certain wheat-like crispness in the finish.


Smooth in a fuller side of medium body. Some chewiness to it.

Drinkable and enjoyable, despite a bit of rawness about it. This one fits the bill of a boosted-up bitter. A uniquely intense ESB.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2007 14:21:48 | More by jwc215
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A coppery orange color, pours with a cream/ tan colored head when roused sufficiently, this beer had a relatively low carbonation level (which in my book is good for this style). It is cloudy at first, but this is just chill haze, as it warms up it becomes quite clear. There is a floral woody, almost medicinal, aroma to this beer. The floral hoppy aroma travels the furthest from the glass though. It is much thicker bodied than I was expecting but perfectly in line with how the beer is advertised on the bottle (I am not sure why I was not expecting this). There is a solid malt presence that is infused with a pronounced hop presence in both the flavor and the bitterness. The bitterness starts at the back of the tongue and then hangs out in ones mouth as you swallow the beer, and then is even there after the beer has disappeared down ones throat. This beer is definitely a hoppy ale, in the American style but featuring a not so typical hop (the Crystal variety), which is a nice contrast to the typical cascady type flavor found in most American examples. There are definite notes of citrus but a grassy sharp flower nectar note asserts itself as well. I love beers that are of a single hop varietal, it gives me the chance to try and pick out what a specific hop contributes to a beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2003 17:33:00 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Rochefort10nh
Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev 0%

11-21-2011 18:36:10 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of zestar
zestar

California

3.75/5  rDev -6.3%

11-12-2013 10:01:49 | More by zestar
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, neutral amber color. The milky head dissipates quickly but starts at two fingers. Spotty lace.

Beautiful hop bouquet, obviously fresh whole aroma hops. A touch of malt for balance. Reminds me of fresh cut flowers.

Starts with a strong bitter hop bite (although I wouldn't term it "brutal"). In fact, the malty liquid appears simply to be the medium to deliver the hop jolt. Balanced beer, this is not. Still it is extremely flavorful...but it's hop giving way to hop and the aftertaste is exclusively hoppy...and that aftertaste is very long lasting. Good body and moderate carbonation.

I like this beer because I'm a hophead. If you share my passion, you'll love it too. If your preferences are closer to bocks or scotch ales, then this will likely be too much for you.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2005 00:28:51 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, from a six-pack,

A: Dark, cloudy orange, with a small head, which leaves a bit of lace.

S: Hoppiness, lots of grapefruit and papaya.

T: Quite hoppy, though more subdued than your average IPA, lots of grapefruit and citrus, with biscuity pale malt, has a sweetness in the end that is very delightful.

M: Smooth, but quite chewy and resiny at the same time, with a bit of acidity to hold it all together.

D: A good bitter, this could definitely be a session beer, even at 6.5%, another good beer from Rogue.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2007 05:10:41 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of Gavage
Gavage

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-30-2004 19:26:34 | More by Gavage
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

2.83/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

650ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired at a local Ralph's market.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Not paired with food.

A: Pours a two and a half finger head of fair cream, decent thickness, some lacing, and above average retention. Colour is a predictable transparent copper. No visible yeast particles.

Sm: Hops - both floral and bittering in a seeming equal balance. Clean malts. Pine. Crystal malt. Grapefruit. Citrusy hops. A mild to moderate strength aroma. Somewhat fresh.

T: Piney with rounded fruit citrus ester hops. Some grapefruit, but restrained and only noticeable about the climax and on the finish. Weak cream on the open. Clean malts - some crystal - form the weak foundation. Hops are mainly floral and fruity, with obscured bitterness in the third act. The bitterness is awkardly concealed, lending the third act an empty dull feel. In this regard, it's structurally imbalanced but flavorfully decently balanced. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Built in a pretty standard manner for an IPA. There's nothing unique or special here. Feels somewhat fresh, but I'd stop short of calling it refreshing. Pleasant and enjoyable to drink.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some weak cream. A touch overcarbonated, giving it a sharpness that prevents one from gulping it and inhibits its drinkability. Too thick, likely from poor planning of the malts - which are too present in the flavour profile anyway. Complements the flavours generally at best.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. Rather average for an IPA, but I find it fairly pleasant. If I got it again, it'd have to be on draught. Subdued for the style - which isn't a bad thing. The piney character is a nice touch. There's really nothing brutal about it, but I'm glad they didn't get sucked into the IBU/Hop content war.

Drank okay out of my Guinness pint glass. I couldn't recommend a better vessel. Maybe a tulip?

Would pair decently with spicey food.

A poor candidate for aging.

Low C

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2012 05:50:18 | More by kojevergas
Photo of GClarkage
GClarkage

California

4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

07/22/05- On tap at the Rogue Ale House in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- From the tap into two sets of 4oz samplers.

Appearance- Darker golden in color, 3/4 inch creamy white head. Good overall lacing.

Smell- Large amount of bitter woody hops.

Taste- Very little malt here. Maybe a touch. Pine hops carry this beer. Maybe a touch grainy?

Mouthfeel- A touch creamy with medium carbonation.

Drinkability- Overall a nice bitter ESB. One of the better ones.

Serving type: on-tap

07-22-2005 23:39:19 | More by GClarkage
Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,779 ratings.