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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

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

1,083 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,083
Hads: 2,042
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 79
Gots: 157 | 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: 1,083 | Hads: 2,042
Photo of biegaman
3.91/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ripened apricot that gleams as though it's been harboring an entire summer's worth of sunshine. All this bright, glowing luminosity thrives despite a heavily hazed complexion. Although initially both thick and responsive, I'm beginning to question this head's staying power; unyielding splashes of lace imply it should prove tenacious after all.

The aroma is far, far more hoppy than a typical draft of bitter, not only in proportion but in character as well. The acidic, fruity scent of citrus has me expecting to find piths floating around. This reeks of grapefruit in particular, there's no chance of overlooking that feature. The sharp, citric flavour of grapefruit is unmistakable even to an untrained nose.

As it is in flavour, albeit slightly more faded. Now, however, there's a great deal of lemon-water as well. The forward, assertive hopping denotes this as a true American West Coast offering but the taste of chewy, caramel-laden malts also typifies this as the intended style of an English bitter. Beyond the citrus, indeed, lay flavours of nougat and sticky toffee.

Although it bears 'bitter' in its name, the beer also offers up a fair bit of sweetness. The combination of the two makes for a very balanced beer that is well suited to its 22 ounce serving size. If only local bars were to get it on tap this would surely become the 'regular' of every beer lover in Toronto. Make no mistake, there's nothing 'brutal' about this.

Generally, I feel hops can do no wrong. In this case, they've made a typically plain style that much more exciting with the addition of zestful citrus. A pint of English Bitter is suppose to be a sociable, sessionable beverage - this is most certainly still that, the aggressive hopping and extra couple notches of alcohol notwithstanding. (1,789 characters)

Photo of liamt07
3.81/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from the LCBO, 650ml into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy rusty orange, with a big offwhite head of decent height. Webbed sticky lace and medium retention. Nose is orange, citrusy with some pine. Substantial malt backing, sugary/sweet biscuit malt, light caramel also. Taste has some grapefruit, pine and orange again from the hops, lesser malt than the nose yet still sufficient to provide some good backing on this. Adequate carbonation, and a good feel to it. Bitterness is about right, and not overdone. A servicable and qutie drinkable IPA. (548 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)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a hazy orange body with a big bubbly yellowish-white head. There is a gentle carbonation that keeps the head going for a bit.

S- The smell of big piney green hops has a faint floor dried malt note that has good complexity with a slight caramel malt hint.

T- The light pale malt is quickly overpowered by green pine hops with a faint pineapple note and a bitterness that last for days.

M- This beer has a medium-full body and a nice mouthfeel

D- This is a brutal bitter. It is to bad that all that great Maris Otter malt is washed out by the big hops that punish the taste buds. (646 characters)

Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy light copper hue with a one and a half finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a light resiny hop with hints of sweet orange and mild pepper. A nice doughy malt as well.

The taste consisted of an upfront sweet orange hop with a solid, yet soft, biscuity malt. Peppery hop at the finish.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness.

Overall a tasty and very well balanced ESB. Very drinkable. (465 characters)

Photo of akorsak
3.17/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am drinking a 650 mL (22 oz) capped bottle poured into an Ommegang Witte glass. The ale is slightly below room temperature.

Appearance: The ale is a light orange color. The body of the ale is very hazy to the point that one can't see through it. There is minimal head and a smattering of lace around the ale.

Smell: Funny thing is, when I smell it I don't find anything. No malt sweetness, no hop bitterness, nothing.

Taste: The ale has a fruity taste to it, one that conjures up an orange (?!?). Not too shabby, although there is little malt character and the hops clearly dominate.

Mouthfeel: The ale sits smoothly on the tongue, with the hops giving a fruity bitterness that really takes control of the beer.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable, although I'd like more malt assertiveness to combat the hops. (822 characters)

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

To me this is an IPA or definitely a different kind of ESB. Pours a cloudy amber, nice carbonation, small head, some nice lacing. Scents of of citrus, hops. Very nice bitter taste with a nice bite at the end. Medium body. This is very drinkable, will buy more and will recommend to others. Way to go Rogue! (306 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Hazy orange with half a finger of bubbly white head.

S - Some bitter hops up front with bready malts. Some citrus and sweetness.

T - Bitterness from hops up front but not a typical IPA hop palate. The hops did not have a distinct flavour (citrus, pine, floral, etc.) they just contributed general bitterness. Bready malts provide a good balance and a hint of sweetness to this ale. Bitter on the finish.

M - Light body, Slight chew.

D - A good beer but not one I would crave to drink again. (525 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz from the Boise Coop... shared with a coworker.. mine from a shaker pint.

Big 2" fluffy off white head... sits atop a only slightly hazy golden orange brew.

Awesome grapefruity aroma... some fruity esters... only the slightest smell of pale malts.

Nice low/medium mouthfeel.... relatively low carbonation... larger than average bitterness... with mouthcoating oily citrus hops... enough malts to balance (in a hophead's mind) .. but this brew is a showcase for the hop.

In a blind tasting, I would call this an IPA hands down everytime... A really nice Rogue brew... and another of my goto bottles... very very drinkable and enjoyable even on a cold Idaho night. (670 characters)

Photo of vfgccp
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Opalescent orange amber. Frist glass poured clear while everything else poured with a murky haze.

S - Surprisingly mild. Orange, touch of pine and grass. Underwhelming considering the "brutal" label.

T - Soft malt into bright hops with a blend of citrus rind and pine. Sharp bitter bite right as the hops drop off in the aftertaste.

M - Dusty finish with a soft lingering sweetness.

D - The hops really pop mid profile, but the bitterness doesn't really cling to your palate in the way a lot of other IPAs do. (517 characters)

Photo of ppoitras
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Part of the Poitras/VA 2004 vacation.

Enjoyed on cask at Capital Ale House - Innsbrook, Glen Allen, VA

Imperial pint glass presentation. Dense tan 1/2" head over a dark copper brew, and laced admirably. Good hoppy aroma, with the flavor exhibiting an intense malt character for an IPA, which works well with the strong hops. Surprisingly well-balanced in my mind for a product named "Brutal Bitter". Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent. (443 characters)

Photo of beerthulhu
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a hazy golden tangerine color with a fluffy white head.

S: some citrusy hops, caramel sweetness and a light fruitiness.

F: For flavor there was a toasted malt palate with dry citrus peels and a slight grainy maltiness. was expecting a little more hoppines from this style and name wise. bittering was actually well rounded and smooth.

M: The mouthful was medium-full body with good carbonation detected providing a soothing bitterness on the fade.

D: Relatively smooth and subtle bitternss contrary to name making for an easy drinking bitter per style. (570 characters)

Photo of flagmantho
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich golden orange color with a touch of haze. Head is several fingers in thickness and of a rocky ivory foam. Attractive.

Smell: bright, metallic, citrus hops abound with just a tiny touch of funkiness. No malt aroma stands a chance against this olfactory assault. Brutal, not exactly; but pretty intense.

Taste: highly citrusy flavor from the hops, although the hops grow a little more complex here with the added characteristic of floral-ness. The malt is a little sweet which makes this almost a dessert beer. Again, not brutal, but damn tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with low carbonation, the mouthfeel of Brutal Bitter did not wow me. It is well-crafted, however, and totally acceptable.

Drinkability: highly drinkable. I would easily session a few pints of this. (829 characters)

Photo of Derek
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This bottle was a little gusher.

A: Rusty orange, pours with plenty of white head, not much retention, but some nice lace!

S: Grapefruit from the hops, with a little fruityness from the yeast.

T: Nice pale english malt, with strong hit of grapefruity hops. I'm surprised there's 59 IBU's, it seems really well balanced, and the bitterness is very smooth. The 6.5% ABV is surprising as well... it's not very apparent.

M: Light to moderate body, a little creamy, moderate to high carbonation (perhaps a little much for a bitter).

D: Truely exceptional. Too bad it's finished. (588 characters)

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pour is hazy reddish golden. The head is medium large and compact. Dissipation is slow and leaves nice lacings.

S: Some caramell malt, kind of sweet. But the hops is what this beer is about, at least when it comes to the smell - lots of citric notes, grapefruits and lemons. Beside the floral hops there's also a nice hoppy bitterness.

T: Dry and very bitter at first, then a bit sweet. Caramell malt, and floral American hops - citric and piney at the same time. Bitter hops.

M: Aftertaste holds the bitterness for a decent time. Body is medium and carbonation mild to medium.

D: This is my first Rogue-beer. I'll keep my eyes open for more; more of this one and more of other Rogue-beers. (698 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Clear auburn beer topped by a frothy, rocky, cream coloured head. Nice lacing and retention. Tons of Cascade hops (citrus, pine, some spice) in the aroma, backed by a rich, toasted maltiness. Malty flavour up front which carries through the finish. Moderate bitterness appears at the mid-point, with hop flavour coming out more towards the end. Very well balanced from beginning to end. Medium body and carbonation with a creamy texture. Another excellent offering from Rogue. (476 characters)

Photo of cjgator3
4.67/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coppery amber color with a large creamy white head. Aroma is hops, hops and more hops! Citrusy hops dominate the taste as well. Under all the hops, you can pick up some sweet malt. Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly chewy. Overall, this is an absolutely delicious brew for hopheads like I. (295 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle(room temp) with a quickly diminishing head.
The beer is a cloudy medium gold.

The smell is a wonderful mix of hops and malt...you can just about taste the beer from the aroma alone and you *know* it's gonna be good.

The taste is a wonderful balance of the sweetness and bitterness with the hops taking over in the aftertaste and leaving me wanting more.. That's how drinkable this brew is. A *must* try if you see it in your local store. (464 characters)

Photo of Bighuge
4.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This hazy reddish-amber colored beer throws out a hefty and rocky head with good retention. Lovely hop boquet. Oily and flowery. I love this taste. This is the first time I've tried the Brutal Bitter and it has exceeded my expectations. There's such a great refined bitterness. A very nice spiciness to it. Some definite citrus undertones. Must have a nice malt load as this beer doesn't seem unbalanced. I am not a big fan of the Bitter style and sub-styles (unless I am having a nice bitter out of a cask at a brewpub). But I would have to say this is one of the best, if not THE best, bitters I've had from a bottle. I could throw back a lot of these. (665 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This truly is a brutally bitter ale, in a good way.

Deep orange hint of brown color, craggy. Aroma, big hop nose, old school.

Taste = truth in advertising. The best kind of bitterness, puckering, but quenching and the cycle repeats.

Mouthfeel, despite the puckering effect, there are still nuances of something, not pine, but some kind of tree (juniper) that is very mellow. Interesting. Drinkable at Shenanigan's in Reno, because $5 a pint or whatnot, what a deal, its even cheaper than buying a bomber at a liquor store. One of, if not, the best Rogue effort. (564 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into pint glass dec20 2009

A orange brass in color with lots of suspended particles being moved around the glass by the insane amount of bubbles. two fingers worth of head that slowly fall leaving a fair amount of lace

S citrus with some bread and caramel

T a little pine to go along with what I smell, and everything comes together for a nice balance

M foams up in your mouth just a bit but it's not so bad, almost seams to thicken it up a little

D this beer went down pretty quick and had several small things working for it making it quite enjoyable overall

another good beer from Rogue and well worth trying. I would drink this whenever I was craving some hops but nothing too crazy. (716 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 22 ounce bottle. Sampled on August 25, 2011. The pour is copper-orange with a soft and delicate head that slowly diminishes and lingers. Slightly cloudy. The aroma boasts a lot of earth, pine, and floral hops with this teaser of sweet malts matching it one to one. The body is above medium and quite enticing. The hops are more muted in the flavor but they come on strong just the same to step all over the mellow maltiness that is putting up a good fight. Nice bitter finish. Very interesting. (503 characters)

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

Rich, caramel malt aroma. Light notes of grapefruit and cinnamon.

Mostly clear, gold colour with a fluffy, off-white head. Decent head retention.

It's not back. The malt is fairly laid back in the flavour with it playing a supporting role. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have a star to support. The hops are reclusive, sitting back with just a moderate bitterness and a light sprinkling of citrus hop flavour coming out to play. It's okay but certainly nothing special. A light twang in the background suggests that there is a possible infection but it isn't significant enough to pick what it is.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. It's okay.

At the end of the day, this is a moderately decent beer. There isn't anything particularly wrong with it but it lacks the 'brutal' Rogue character I expected. (815 characters)

Photo of Brad007
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy amber/blond color with a one-finger head into my pint glass. I'm not sure if cloudiness is what the doctor ordered here.

The aroma is full of strong hints of citrus and grainy malt. Highly reminiscent of a DIPA due to the strong aroma.

Grassy hops with a slight citrus twist greet the tongue from the first sip. Bitter in more ways than one and it lingers in the mouth.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering citrus hops and grassiness. Not much else here.

It's definitely bitter as hell. Still, not quite the best example that I've seen out there. (560 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 220z bomber.

Appearance- Poured a one finger head into my Carlsberg Imperial pint glass. The head slowly moves to a film, then nothing for al 22 ounces. Color is a dark, cloudy orange peel.

Smell- A mix of amber mlats, citrusy, floral hops, and soup broth.

Taste- Starts out with a good balance of grapefruity hops and medium bodied malts. This balances out to some bitter iced tea. Not bad for a bitter.

Mouthfeel- Definetly bitter...as the style name would imply. The bitterness looses some bite as you let it warm up. Thats when the iced tea flavor hits the middle of the tongue. (611 characters)

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,083 ratings.