Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,082 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,082
Hads: 2,022
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 79
Gots: 151 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,082 | Hads: 2,022
Photo of smcolw
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
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. (787 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.32/5  rDev +7.2%
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. (1,166 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (734 characters)

Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours lightly hazy golden amber color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big grapefruit, tangerine, orange zest, lemon zest, floral, grass, light pine, light honey, bread, herbal, and floral earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop notes with moderate malt presence; and good strength. Taste of grapefruit, tangerine, lemon zest, orange zest, floral, grass, light pine, herbal, light honey, bread, and floral earthiness. Fair amount of earthy floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, citrus zest, floral, grass, light pine, bread, herbal, and floral earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of citrus/floral hop flavors and moderate malt presence; with a crisp malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice IPA. All around good balance and complexity of crisp hop flavors with a fair amount of malt presence; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering. (1,394 characters)

Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (554 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

On tap.
A favorite some years back after a visit to Oregon, I found that it was not as exceptional as I remembered. Still, a solid, spicy/herbal IPA. Only moderately strong and medium bitter; certainly not 'brutal'. The flavor seemed stronger than the aroma. Appropriately hoppy with some good balancing from malts.

Feel: medium body and carbonaton; smooth. (360 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.95/5  rDev -2%

A: Pours a pretty hazy orange-ish copper in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and moderate golden yellow + amber highlights. The beer has a two finger tall sudsy foamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of caramel malts with moderate aromas of floral and pine hops.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of slightly sweet caramel malts, though not too sweet. That is followed by moderate flavors of slightly bitter floral, herbal, and pine hops which contributes a moderate amount of bitterness which fades slowly.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly crisp and smooth.

O: I imagine when this beer first came out, it was probably one of the most bitter IPAs available but that is no longer the case - though the bitterness is higher than I would expect for the body of the beer. Not too difficult to drink but not one that I would want to have more than one of... (1,142 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (560 characters)

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (424 characters)

Photo of mdaschaf
3.61/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy orange color with a very foamy one finger head on top - slightly off white in color. Great head retention, just sitting on top and going nowhere. Rings of lace around the glass.

S: Not a ton going on here, some light orange and some caramelized malt.

T: Not really what I was expecting at all. With a name like Brutal IPA, I expected it to be over the top with the hop flavors and a bitter finish, however, its a bit subdued. There is a lot of orange on the flavor profile with a bit of grainy malt. Relatively simple.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Finishes slightly dry, but not bitter.

O: Easy drinking, but not very hoppy at all. Drinking it blindly, I would have guessed it a pale ale probably. Not bad, just not what I was hoping for. (775 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.03/5  rDev 0%
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. (473 characters)

Photo of woodychandler
3.2/5  rDev -20.6%
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. (921 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
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. (1,296 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.48/5  rDev +11.2%
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. (460 characters)

Photo of tdm168
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - orange with a huge, towering, white head that has good retention

S - faint bread, some citrusy hop aromas

T - faint bready malt, citrusy, pineapple, grapefruit, mildly bitter finish

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is an easy drinking IPA, but there isn't much here. The flavor is good, but simple. Despite the "brutal" promise it just doesn't deliver. I get more citrus than bitter. Overall, not a bad beer and it may be worth a tick, but it's not one that I'll purchase again. (493 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (535 characters)

Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle, w/o freshness indication. Pours cloudy dark apricot/brown in color, very cloudy. Head is light tan, showing good retention and leaving stringy, fine and well developed lacing. Nose is strongly of minty and oily hops. This a wonderful beer, IMHO. Balanced, but still with a nice hoppy presence They call it "an imperial style bitter" on the label and that hits the mark. Its tastes like a well crafted and highly drinkable Brit. bitter, but Americanized/kicked up. Still subtle, still very drinkable, just with some extra Rogue attitude and zip.

As the label also says "Hedonistic!"

Fine everyday, high quality, good drinking suds (653 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head Ale glass. Kind of odd this one has eluded me and slipped my mind, so perfect for IPA day!

A real nice glowing tangerine orange body color. Opaque. A light tan and very creamy three finger head is produced off the pour with some nice clumpy retention. Pretty nice looking brew and settles with a thick one finger collar, and soapy lacing while finishing.

Nose has a nice citrus angle, hints of orange and grapefruit, and herbal tea like bitterness for the hop angle. Some nice biscuity quality too which makes this seem like an English American mish mash of style.

Palate fills nicely. Good hop citrus grapefruit but mellow and in control. Slight tea like bitterness on the swallow, and a little juicy feel in the mouth to go with it. Kind of basic, but all the parts fit. Biscuity malts really are noticeable on this and quite chewy to go along with the hop compliment. Lots of tea like aromatics giving a nice orange pekoe like sensation.

Overall, it seems very old school since IPAs have taken off, but still does the job without question. (1,089 characters)

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Hazel in color with little to no head.

S. Floral notes and some hops in there for sure.

T. Hops are in the forefront here, and not as bitter as anticipated. Its reminiscent of an IPA but its not very well balanced.

M. A little slick on the palate but it leaves a definate zing.

D. I could put down a few of these, not half bad at all. (342 characters)

Photo of DoubleJ
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The bottle looks its been sitting on the shelf of my local liquor sotre, but the beer inside should be fine. On th the beer:

The fresh smell of hops rise from bottle after its opened, eliminating most of my doubt. Anyways, clug, clug, clug goes the beer into a Harp pint glass, where it has a dark orange/copper glow and a compact head on top. The smell, as I hinted earlier, is of clean, crisp hops. More hops and resin in the overall flavor too. Very clean for the style, with just a bit of toffee and diacetyl. Alcohol is hidden well. The bitterness decreases while the diacteyl increases when the beer warms slightly, making for a more authentic (and tastier) ESB. Yum. (674 characters)

Photo of tempest
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good, but too similar to Dry-Hopped St. Rogue Red. It also doesn't resemble an ESB, but the the style's just a suggestion I guess. The aroma was surprisingly strong, the hops and roasted caramel hit me while I was still pouring. Strong malt followed in the flavor with a lingering aftertaste of citrus tang and paler grains. (324 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours anice copperish amber with a very finely beaded head and decent lacing. The smell is of very balanced hops and malt, and a slight toastiness from roasted grain. Their is a nice clean floral hop flavor with a good degree of delicious bitterness. Not super citrusy at all. The mouthfeel is a little thin, but not grainy or overly malty. Pretty balanced wih a touch more bitterness than usual for the style, and quite drinkable. Had on tap at the Brick Store Pub. (466 characters)

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

Pours a cloudy orange colored ale with a tan head that disappears fairly quickly.

Smell is sweet malt and spicy yeast with a faint scent of pine, citrus and tea.

Taste is a bit malty and quite full of herbal hop flavor from the very start. Faint flavor of pineapple and vanilla at first and then the hops take over. Flavors of pine and citrus and tea. Somewhat astringent, this beer is all about hops.

Mouthfeel is good.

Tasty beer that is highly hopped but never goes too far. Still I don't know that I would spend $6 to drink this one again. (555 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an amber brown with a nice off white head. You can smell the hops, this beer just smells delicious. extremely well balanced. I really like the slight hop bite this beer had. really nice beer and a pretty nice example of the style. A staple ESB and a darn good one by Rogue. Cheers!! (289 characters)

Photo of wl0307
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Ever since my first encounter with this beer served on cask last year at the BSF bar, GBBF05, my mind has been pre-occupied with the explosive flavour that it showed. No cask this time round at the BSF 06, but I did manage to get a bottle for take-away. No freshness info. printed on the bottle, served cool in a straight imperial-pint glass.

A: translucent dark reddish-orange in colour, coming with a thick layer of off-white foam with ve...ry good retention; constantly gentle streams of carbonation full of medium-sized bubbles.
S: Goldings+Challenger like fruity hops with sweetened citric-zests and tangerine juice, plus juicy peaches and longan-fruits, caramely malts, a fatty and slightly piney body of fresh hops, and a flow of warming alc. behind; smelling more like an American IPA to me, maybe due to the big and aromatic hoppyness on the balance.
T: a tannic, fat, oily smooth flow of sweet-citric hops lubricates the tongue so smoothly, followed in no time by plenty of longan-fruits, marmalade, caramely malts, as well as a flowery honeyish edge of late-harvested Muscat wine hidden down the sides of the tongue... slightly piney and tannic hop bitterness gradually builds up--not harsh but rather soothing, leading towards an aromatic, tangy bitter-sweet aftertaste full of malts and soft hoppyness and lingering forever down the throat...
M&D: the softer-than-soft mouthfeel results from consistently creamy carbonation, on top of a solid body and a full flavour profile... perhaps because it's served at the temp. more like a cask-conditioned ale, the mouthfeel overall really is smooth and great... Not as "brutal" nor bitter as my first encounter last year, yet the end result with an utterly harmonious balance b/w malts and hops makes it a great beer to quaff or sip, depending on one's mood. If given less sweetness on the nose, it could've been an impeccable premium bitter. Top quality stuff by Rogue, firmly in my top ten Premium Bitters. (1,970 characters)

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,082 ratings.