Brute - Ithaca Beer Company

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BruteBrute

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

389 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 389
Hads: 828
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 4.82%
Wants: 1,098
Gots: 142 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: albern on 06-22-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Brewed with vintage (aged) local hops, barley, wheat, corn, aged in oak with Brett and finished with three types of champagne yeast.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 389 | Hads: 828
Photo of Retsinis
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A fellow BA (thanks Adam) was generous to bring this to share at my birthday gathering.

Poured from a 750 ml bottle, (I belive this was a 2009 bottle) into a Bruery tulip glass.

The beer pours a hazy bright golden yellow, with a fluffy billowing white head that rose a good two inches, and retained for quite a while. Eventually faded a bit, but was still a generous inch of head or so throughout. Some light lacing.

The aroma's, to me were a mixture of sour funk, crisp apples, a hint of oak, and wet hay. Also some lemon citrus notes as well.

The taste was refreshing, and crisp. On the draw, I got some initial tartness, sour peaches, oak, and green apples. This was followed by that barnyard funk, a bit of spice, and a dry bitter finish. The flavors reminded me of a sour carbonated chardonnay wine a bit, if such a thing exists.

Mouth feel was medium to high carbonation, dry, not unlike champagne (which it sounds like they were going for that)

I will admit, I do not crave sours. I knocked the beer just a bit on drinkability for that reason, and of the 6 oz I got, it was enough for me personally. I've had a few sours, not been offended by any, but when I see them on the shelf, I tend to pass. Slowly, I'm starting to appreciate them, and this bottle helped that. Reminded me of a fine champagne, just with less alcohol. (1,342 characters)

Photo of claspada
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of fastpass17.

Pours a light golden yellow with crazy amounts of foam and carbonation here. Would have thought is was champagne if I didn't know any better.

Aromas are quite vinous as well. White grapes, tart green apples. In the background there is a little mustiness and light citrus fruits.

Tastes begin with a lot of tart green apples and apple skin. Slightly earthy and musty from the Brett and also maybe the wheat malt. I also get some more white wine vinous notes and lemon rind in the sweet yet dry finish.

The mouthfeel is light and dry and crisp on the palate, just like a champagne. Plenty of carbonation in this brew, makes it kind of hard to drink which is my only major issue with this beer.

Overall I enjoyed this beer. While it is not my favorite style it was still quite enjoyable. It's one of those beers that drinks so dry/tart that it makes you sip more and the process is repeated, which I find dangerous because the glass is empty before you know it, such is life. (1,008 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Batch E!037.

A: Pours a brilliant orange-tinted gold, with a finger and a half of foamy bright white head. Excellent retention, with a thick ring of foam lasting forever, but minimal lacing. Champagne-like effervescence.

S: Initial impression is loads of pineapple, along with earth, orange, funk, tangerine, and golden ale. The aroma subsides substantially after the initial impression.

T: More subtle flavors on the palate than the nose. A little pineapple and tropical flavors, water, earthiness, with a medium length, quite dry, round citrus and malt finish.

M: Creamy/milky mouthfeel, medium-high, almost-sharp carbonation and medium body.

O: Aroma is nice, but the taste is pretty watery, which really detracts from the experience. There are lots of other shelf sours out there which have this beaten by a furlough. (828 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
3.93/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a sampling glass, reviewed from notes.

Pours a light slightly cloudy light wheat color with a very small white head. Nose is sweet and tart and a bit funky.

Taste is also quite tart and funky, it's got some sharp carbonation that works really well with the tart funkiness which adds to the drinkability. Finish is super dry. (345 characters)

Photo of sybilyang
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's true to its style. It is definitely sour and puckery - in that proper Belgian way. It would pair nicely with a sweet lemony dessert - and that's exactly what I did - a lemon mouse.

The beer poured out of the bottle with that amber haziness that reflects bottle conditioning. Good thick foamy head that settled into about 1" after a few minutes. Not nearly as sour as sucking on a lemon, but close. Drink either on a really hot summer day, or pair with a fish dish or something that needs a clean kick on the pallet. (521 characters)

Photo of BeckyFreesTibet
3.96/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip, (although a flute might be even more appropriate), from a corked and capped 750 ml bottle--much like a bottle of champagne.

Cloudy and peachy-gold in color with visible champagne-like carbonation. The head was thick, bright white and formed stiff, meringue-like peaks.

The aroma was yeasty and lightly funky like a saison. Citrus, especially lemon zest, was apparent immediately. A sweetness creeps in as it opens up. All in all, there was not enough aroma for my liking.

The taste is immediately tart and citrusy with notes of sour apples and other under-ripe tree fruit. Noticeably wheaty and yeasty with a sweetness in the aftertaste to balance it out. The taste is fairly interesting and extreme, but not very complex.

The carbonation is extremely aggressive, just like a good champagne. Very dry finish. The mouthfeel is certainly not something everyone would love, but I was fascinated by how similar it is to champagne.

Drinkability is surprisingly good despite the over-the-top carbonation, tartness and dryness. The wine-like qualities give it a lightness so that it that doesn't feel like a 6.5% ABV beer.

The three strains of champagne-yeast really do make a product that's remarkably similar to champagne. Not for those who don't appreciate bubbly, but a fantastically creative (and tasty)wild ale. (1,336 characters)

Photo of ptykozoon
3.98/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ridiculously tight cork eventually gives in, happily spraying Brute on me. Pours with a strong cloudy white head and good lacing.

Citrus, mostly orange notes, light lemon.

Moderately sour with a decent amount of yeastiness which I never approve of in wild ale's. No concrete fruit notes, with not a lot of complexity but an overall clean, refined, wine-like, refreshing, well polished taste.

Average mouthfeel, peppy, not subtle, not overpowering.

A strong wild ale with a pleasing taste, solid mouthfeel and great drinkability. (533 characters)

Photo of Naugled
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served in chalis

Great looker! hazy straw color, nice light white head that dies to a thin layer but is persistent. Visually carbonated.

Strong tart sour smell in a good way, makes your mouth water

More tart and sour than expected, makes you pucker at first taste, but then your mouth relaxes. Citrus and spice notes come through the complexity

It is a very dry spritzy beer but the spritz is a soft feeling with some slipperiness. And the low bitter and sour tend to linger.

Over all a very good beer. I plan to purchase another bottle for saving. (553 characters)

Photo of albern
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at the American Craft Beer Fest and it was a very good change up from the preponderance of IPAs at the festival. They labeled this beer as an American Golden Sour Ale, which really doesn't exist as a separate style. It is a Farmhouse ale with all of its yeasty sourness. As to the availability, I have no idea of this beers frequency, so you'll have to seek it out on its own terms. This beer poured a fairly cloudy pale color with a stong nose of vinegar, florals, and yeast. The taste reminded me of some fig and/or Hibiscus Flowers. I also got a strong flavor of juniper and maybe some ginger. The farm house style isn't may favorite, the sourness is a bit yeasty, not nearly as sourly refreshing as say the Belgian Flemish reds, but I appreciated it as one of the few of its style at the festival. (812 characters)

Photo of bonkers
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap today at Capones. It was served in a 9 ounce snifter, turbid gold in color with a fizzy white head. Tart fruit dominate the nose. The flavors of green apples and oak dominate. The beer is tart, but not vinegary, and the finish is bone dry. For me this was a sipper that I am glad I got to try. (311 characters)

Photo of Brez07
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Chimay glass. Batch E!027

A: Golden orange, cloudy. 1 finger fluffy white head. Good retention throughout the glass. No lace

S: Very gueze like, but there is a touch of sweetness. Dry, white grapes. Some barnyard funk

T: Again, similar to a gueze. Not quite as sour, but there is a definite tartness that hits you up front. There's definitely an acidic presence. Brett not as prevalent as expected but enough to add a nice funk

M: Light bodied. Lots of carbonation. Crisp, dry finish

D: Very tasty wild ale. Had sour and tart aspects without going crazy overboard. Easy to finish the bottle on my own. Will look to grab another one of these (672 characters)

Photo of johnd513
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light hazy orange in color with a fizzy white head. Smells sour and citrusy. Tastes of lemon, citrus, funk and oak. The mouthfeel is highly carbonated and tickles the taste buds. Drinkability is good, I had no trouble finishing the bottle. Overall top notch for the style. (278 characters)

Photo of Dubber55
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful presentation. Looks like a label from a champagne bottle. Very classy. Bottle cap with a cork inside. Pours a hazy golden color. 2 finger head.

I smell apple cider, fresh cut grass, wet hay, barnyard funk, lemon, and I think some leather. Possibly some band aid as well.

The taste follows the smell. Tart green apples, lemon, fresh cut grass, wet hay, oak, and some sour fruits . I am tasting some biscuity malt as well. Dry finish. Leaves you wanting another sip.

Prickly carbonation. Works very well with this particular beer. Very champagne like.

I was not really able to detect any alcohol. It wouldnt be too dificult to finish the bottle but the dry and acidic nature of this beer could begin to wear on you. I would have liked some more funk in the flavor profile. With that being said, this is an excellent beer (834 characters)

Photo of twelvsies
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Really glad to see more American brewers doing these kinds of beers. And doing them well. This is a real handsome brew - golden bubbly hazy yellow, I love the way the head just fluffs up after the pour, and holds up strong. Full of brett and oak in the nose, a bit of a soft creamyness as well. Approachably sour at first, giving way to a nice profile of lemon and crab apple, with a bit of old mustyness. So crisp. I don't believe this is what the brewer was going for, but I could stand to see a bit more of a malt backbone to fill this beer out, but as is this beer is incredibly light and refreshing. This is the perfect beer to introduce people to sour ales or lambics. It's got enough of the funk to keep those in the know interested, yet it isn't too sour or brash to really challenge an uninitiated palate. This beer makes you say "Ahh".... and smile. (859 characters)

Photo of Damian
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from a corked and capped 750 ml/1 pint 9.4 fl oz bottle
Batch# E!010
Served in a tulip

Hazy, straw yellow in appearance with a tight, foamy, bright white, one-finger head that left copious amounts of lacing along the glass. The head slowly faded to a resilient frothy mass.

The aroma was crisp and zesty. Yeasty and dry with notes of lemon zest. A touch funky and musty, but the funk was rather restrained for the style. As the beer warmed, the nose became a bit more complex. Ripe fruits and a phenolic yeasty quality appeared.

The taste was similar to the aroma in many regards. Crisp, tart and dry. Super lemony. The lemon zest notes were in full effect from start to finish. Wheaty. Fruity with indications of granny smith apples and under ripe pears. The finish was ultra clean, crisp and dry. Slightly oaky.

The mouthfeel was lighter bodied with an aggressive, big bubbled, Champagne-like effervescence. It was apparent that the three strains of Champagne yeast were indeed doing their job.

Drinkability was quite good. This is a clean, refreshing, easy-drinking beer that would be well received in warmer weather months.

I am really glad to see that the Ithaca Beer Company is continuing to put out impressive releases in their Excelsior! series. Although I enjoyed this offering, it did seem a bit one-dimensional flavor-wise. I would love to see what this could become with a greater assortment of wild yeast strains and possibly a bit more age. Nevertheless, if you are a fan of Champagne, you must seek out this beer. (1,544 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been holding onto this since September, shared at a tasting last night. Batch E!027 (2010 release I think)

Hazy bright orange with a huge white head that takes a while to fall. Retains at a finger eventually and leaves a little lacing.

Bracing sourness and oak on the nose.

Taste - Sour all the way, warheads, oak, vinegar, mustiness, white grape, green apple, wheat/yeast. Definitely some champagne flavors going on and bit of vanilla. Really sour and vinegary. It reminds me of Temptation a little.

Definitely more sour than I expected... a little one-note seeming for a wild ale but good.

**9/9/11 - more notes**

Had the pleasure of trying an 08-11 vertical at Armsby Abbey, 4oz pours or so of each, great to have these side by side.

2011 was very low on the sour/brett scale, this was very light feeling and fruit forward, and left a pretty killer toasty finish.

2010 was probably my favorite overall, great balance between sourness and fruit. 2009 was similar. 2008 seemed a bit subdued or maybe a little past it's prime. (1,040 characters)

Photo of kscaldef
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage

A: Huge frothy head.

S: Lemon and funky barnyard aromas

T: Good pure sour with moderate tartness and slight sweetness.

M: High carbonation and a long linger

O: Not the most complex sour, but clean, tasty, and refreshing. Somewhat gueuze-like. (260 characters)

Photo of harrymel
4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch E!037

A: pours a turbid apricot ale with three fingers of bone whIte foam. This falls in a few mOments to a solid sheet of the same. Ringed and spotty lacing.

S: lots of lemon and Brett tones. Some sour peach. Pretty and simple.

T: not nearly as tart as the nose lets on. Sweet and grainy. Some subtle appearances of hay, grass and mineral flavors.

M: medium on heavy for the style. Slightly lo carb. Semi dry finish.

O: good stuff. Not too tart and offers up a refreshing profile. Good stuff. (508 characters)

Photo of Lazerlobe
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 Batch

Look: Brilliant golden hue with neat white foam, holding tight for the 15 minutes since my pour.

Smell: Lemon, must, fruity esters

Taste: Melon, lemonade, bubblegum, light cobwebbiness and a mild tartness prevail with a dry, crisp finish. Awesome flavors but the bubblegum is a little off-putting.

I'd like to give this a little time to let the brett take more of an assertive role. Great sour overall and I'm proud to be sipping on something from my own backyard. (480 characters)

Photo of portia99
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a Portsmouth goblet. Batch E!010. Received in trade with Mikeyv35. Thanks!!

A - Pours a bright, cloudy yellow...just a hint of orange. Three finger white head. Mix of medium and small bubbles. Dissipates after a couple of minutes. Some thin, uneven lacing on the sides of the glaas. Very good looking beer.

S - Lots of aroma...very strong..and good. Can detect the sourness easily, but get a lot of fruity, citrusy, bubblegum aromas. Great combination of aromas...really makes you want to take that first sip.

T - Very tart and sour. Lots of citrus - orange, lemon...almost like sucking on an orange Vitamin C tablet. A tiny, little bit of breadiness...finishes very dry. No discernable hop presence.

M - Medium bodied, highly carbonated...prickly, but very fine carbonation. Quite puckering. Very nice.

D - I'd say drinkability is medium on this one. Very good sour...shared the bottle...this was very good, but 1 is perfect for a sitting. (971 characters)

Photo of Urbancaver
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Golden colour with smooth head which disipates quickly.. a bit murky
S- smells sour and funky with light fruity smells
T- tastes like a funky champagne. Sweet and sour with fruity undertones
M/D- A sharp highly carbonated sipper... A bit too sour to be that highly drinkable (277 characters)

Photo of Kadonny
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap at Capones sour event into a tasting glass.

A: Cloudy pale yellow color that looks exactly like grapefruit juice. Slight thin white head no lacing.

S: Tart fruits with apple and some funk.

T: Again the tart blasts out first with sour apples, apricot, pear and some grape. A sugar sweetness offsets the sour for a few seconds but that sour funk comes pounding back in. I got some grassy hops that offset the sour and smooth out the finish. Not as crisp and clean as the Temptation. Finish is not near as lingering either.

M: Tart, crisp but a bit thin on finish but overall very smooth. No alcohol traces at all.

D: High, these are much more mellow and smoother than the Temptation, thus more drinkable.

Overall a great beer that left me wanting just a little bit more. It is still awesome and a beer I would drink anytime. (844 characters)

Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"Ithica Take Over" at the Blue Monk. A night of terrific beers, some of which will never be seen again.

Appearance:
Light golden orange with a fluffy white head, which eventually faded into a light blanketing. Good carbonation throughout, little lacing.

Smell:
The beer was served far too cold to let the wild ale breathe and invigorate my senses. Light vinegary sourness, we shall see how much this beer drys and whether or not it satisfies.

When warming the beer does become more alive.

Taste:
Delightful, a tremendous american wild ale with a palatable amount of vinegary sourness, but still a hearty golden ale backbone. The carbonation and vinegar leave an overwhelming seltzer-like burn. This beer is very refreshing and cleanses the palate for my next sip.

Mouthfeel:
Strong and biting mouthfeel with a residual drying sourness. The beer is sweet at the end like a warhead. Very interesting beer to drink; it goes through many phases to keep you captivated.

Overall:
This beer is priced fairly, rages with complexity and is stirring with character. It's unfortunate that this beer is currently unavailable, I would have liked to hold onto a bottle for a later date. If Ithica decides to repeat I will definitely indulge and recommend to others. (1,259 characters)

Photo of Phelps
4.06/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle shared by ejyoung at a tasting. Brute’s a beastly beer brewed with American barley, wheat and corn, fermented on oak for months with brett and finished with three types of champagne yeast. Into a snifter it goes. Excelsior!

Pale sunflower with a very slight haze, topped with a one-finger head of puffy white that fizzles away to a gaunt, bubbly ring.

Smells tart. Orange and lemon peel, light apricot, oodles of vinous oak. Bright and champagne-like, with incredible balance.

Moderate to high tartness in the flavor, with notes of oak, grapefruit, lemon, green apple and a bit of sweet apricot again, along with hints of honey.

Light carbonation with big bubbles and a soft fizziness. As ejyoung said, “It’s got that bubbly going on.” Medium-light body. The tartness is brash, but not completely ass-puckering.

A drinkable, well-balanced sour. It’s lacking the depth and complexity of world class wild ales, but it’s right on the edge of awesome. (988 characters)

Photo of klikger
4.07/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml pour served in a Duvel tulip

A - Light yellowish-grey, decent head which died down quickly, decent lacing

S - Diapers, summer fruits - peaches & raspberries, & champagne

T - Initially tastes like some of the better gueuzes I've had - yeast & funk are evident right away --> wild yeast, essence of fresh fruits --> finish is sour, but pretty smooth at the same time

M - Carbonated nicely, light to medium-bodied

D - Very drinkable - I'd down a bottle myself no prob.

Brute is definitely tasty, and I look forward to trying it again. That having been said, there weren't particular elements that stood out for me - it was reminiscent of $15 gueuzes that I can buy off the shelf every day of the week. Very nice, just not spectacular. (749 characters)

Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
96 out of 100 based on 389 ratings.