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Brute - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

389 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 389
Hads: 835
Avg: 4.39
pDev: 9.34%
Wants: 1,087
Gots: 141 | FT: 7
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 389 | Hads: 835
Photo of gregc
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Pours a cloudy yellowish color with a nice white head.
Aroma hits you as you pour it. Nice sour lemon, brett funk, and i get a trace of the aged hops used in this beer.
Taste is wonderful, its full or brett and lacto funk, sour lemons, nice balance, and again i taste a small amount of the aged hops.
Beautiful carbonation, very champagne like. Very drinkable, this is up there on my favorite sour list.

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Photo of ClevoPiwo
4.13/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch E!010

Pours a nice, and very hazy, deep yellow or golden color. Lots of carbonation, as expected, and a very nice head. The head is pretty big fizzy from all the carbonation.

Smell is tart and acidic. Yeast and spices come through as well as possibly some notes of citrus. The tartness is definitely most present though, that brett yeast isn't hiding.

This beer hits the palate with lots of fizzy and tickling carbonation. Very tart up front and throughout. The finish is slightly citrus-like and dry. No hop flavor comes through.

Overall, very light, crisp and refreshing with huge flavor. Very drinkable at about 7%.

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and capped, batch E!018

A - hazy, indeed "turbid" light gold. 2 finger, quickly dissipating head with absolutely 0 lace. Perpetual carbonation.

S - hmmm, how do you describe a "sour" smell? strong odors of green apple skins, lemon, and fermentation.

T - matches the fantastic smell. strong green apple, lemon, and orange with a strong acidic bite accompanying the dry finish.

M - very nice and light gracias a the champagne yeast and high carbonation.

D - this is definitely a great sour, and one I will come back to. Not something made to drink all night, but excellent with food.

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Photo of kfsv034
4.34/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a golden yellow with a white head that foams up to a 2 or 3 fingers and slowly dissipates leaving a thin ring on the edges

S - pretty freakin amazing, super funky, earthy funk, lemon tart, sour apples, maybe some woody smell.

T - Lemon tart, funk, sour apple, more earthy funk, a dry woodiness

M - medium bodied

D - Very drinkable and super tasty would love to age a bottle or two to see if the funk becomes even more prominent

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Photo of Dubber55
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
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

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Photo of Cakanator
4.92/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml at turkeyday. One of my all time favorites, poured into my Portsmouth tulip. Nice hazy golden color with great lacing, reminds me of liquid gold. Aromas are sour and earthy with plenty of funk, it literally made my mouth water. First sip is crazy not crazy sour but enough to put it over the edge. Citrus acidity and mindblowing sour makes the finish dry. More please!

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Photo of chalsk
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a gift from Damico. Held off on cracking this open until now... New Years Eve. Pours a golden orange color with a white foam head. Has an aroma of lemon, grass and funk with pehaps a hint of cherry. Has a dry sweet taste with a nice sour hit. Some gentle bitters mixed in. Nice medium mouthfeel from the carbonation kick up. Very champagne like. Here’s to 2011 kicking 2010’s backside. Happy New Year to my RateBeer campaneros Leafs93 and Damico.

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Photo of wd40
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage served on-tap

Golden yellow color with amber hues. Barely any head on the beer. Smelled great, lots of apple which paired with the acidic tartness. Taste was really nicely balanced between acidity, fruit, and tartness. Pretty subtle sour beer. Doesn't hit you over the head, but is really pleasant. It was not as complex as I expected, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes simplcity when executed really well is more rewarding. In fact, if I had no limitations on my ability to aquire and drink sours, I'd probably drink this one pretty regularly as a nice easy going aperitif. Part of this is due to its lack of sweetness and the dryness of its finish. Its lightness and subtly remind me a lot of Russian River's Temptation, which is one of my favorite sours. If anyone can get their hands on this, it's worth a try.

Edit: I forgot to mention that the carbonation was perfect for my taste. It was effervescent without being at all rough.

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Photo of caresville
4.29/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a- fizzy and foamy, right from the pop of the cork!! piss yellow with tons of carbonation and a bright and bubbly cloud white head!! gorgeous!!

s- very funky, smells like its an IPA thats been sitting out all week opened. apricots and moldy peaches funk up the pour. all of the sours i have had smell like they are going to taste like last weeks beer.

t&m- the second you sip this your mouth automatically puckers up and you savor the sweet tastes on your palate. for some reason lemon sour patch kids and honey graham crackers come to mind while swallowing this before the ripe sweet fruits take over as you swallow. you cannot stop your mouth from watering or licking your lips. its just not possible.

d- this stuff is really good. it is very sour and there is no booze to detect what so ever. it makes your lips pucker and your mouth water... what else could you ask for in a beer like this?

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Photo of route66pubs
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jctribe25 (Patrick) for the wonderful, completely unexpected and totally unsolicited bottle. It was a wonderful thing you did, sir!

Batch E!018.

Pours a yellow golden blissful color, with lots of visible tiny carbonation bubbles running throughout, and a slightly unfiltered appearance shading the fingers held between the glass and the light. Slight white head stays for awhile, but does not hold to the glass well at all with each sip.

Quick to the funk in the aroma, the brett seemed to explode out of the bottle upon opening. Sour grapefruit notes followed with the pour. Once in the tulip glass, additional slight peppery notes followed, along with some fruit, mostly apple.

I readily admit that as a whole, sours are not my favorite style. This, however, is one of those that is so wonderful that I enjoy it heartily. Crisp fruity sourness are the only flavors I get, much like a sour apple pie without the pie.

Champagne yeast provides for wonderful, continual, tiny-bubble carbonation throughout the drinking experience. Very crisp continual sour bite continues from start to finish.

The sourness in this leaves a dry, wanting aftertaste, raising the drinkability score. But the fact remains, it is a sour, and how much of this can you really have?

Overall an extremely wonderful experience and one I will happily have again. (And the sour is a precursor drink for my expectations of how the United States will leave me feeling after the World Cup, which starts tomorrow.)

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Photo of SDDanC
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have been holding on to this for a while now. I am very happy to review it. Poured from bottle into this narrow snifter I have. Nice fluffy white head with incredible rushes of carbonation bubbles from the bottom. Hazy golden, yellow color. Nose is full of funkyness, tart, green apple, slight bananas, and dry yeast. On the tongue this is great. Lots of flavor from the funk apples. Champange bubbles really exercise the dry, farmhouse notes. A nice sour treat. Mouthfeel is fluffy, and bubbly, almost like a cider. Easily enjoyable and intensely drinkable. Very great beer.

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Photo of antilogic
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First off -- this is a great beer. I pop'ed a 750ml bottle (!E010) of Brute to celebrate finishing the GMATs. Nice to see the brew co from my old college town really turning up the quality on beers. It's great to see a $15 beer that gives the $20-30 JP,RR, LA sours a run for their money.

Color was cloudy gold with a white thin head. Aroma was slightly funky/sour with a nice mix of fruit and floral. Taste is definite sour, with some sweet with a hint of wine or mead (honey). Non-overpowering sourness, maybe apple. This beer is dangerously drinkable. I'm going to do my best to get a few bottles of this when I'm on the east coast this winter.


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Photo of animortician
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Light Golden with a little bit of haze. White head that stuck around and left some lacing.

S: Great aroma pouring off this beer, spicy, fruity, champagne like.

T: Clean, Crisp, fruity, hints of peaches. Great sour flavor but not to much bight. Great light finish, almost dry at the end.

M: Light, good carbonation. Feels very dry and open upon swallowing.

O: Very refreshing and enjoyable beer. Great sour ale with a lot of interesting flavors blended together really well.

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Photo of infestaxion
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch E!010

A - Very hazy golden blonde with a fluffy white head that hangs around forever.

S - Very sour and funky. Lightly fruity. Kiwi maybe? Very nice. I wish they made candles that smelled like this.

T - Nice and tart. Very good sourness to it. That fruit smell is there in the background but very subdued. The funk is also not as noticeable in the taste as the smell. Very, very good.

M - It is very tingly. I love it.

D - I'm going to try very hard not to take down this whole 750 in the next 15 minutes.

In my opinion, this is easily one of the best American Wild Ales around. Happy birthday to me indeed.

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Photo of Katahdin
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An interesting beer that belies its small ABV. Definitely seesm much bigger. Has a heavy citrus aroma on the pour and a tangy taste to it. The oak aging is tough to discern in the taste or the feel but one can definitely taste the champagne yeast. Very chewy at times, probably from the corn and malt. Compares to Otter Creek's Quercus but not as good of a beer as that.

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Photo of mrand01
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle labeled batch E!027 poured in to a generic Crate & Barrel tulip.

A: Golden, opaque. Thin head that stays thicker towards the rim of the pour. Sticky lacing.

S: Funk, citrus zest, tart. Spicy in some way, but very hard to place.

T: Again, I've never had such a hard time describing a beer. Everyone I was drinking with agreed that it's most likely the addition of corn that contributes to the sweet & savory taste, but it's very difficult to describe.

M: Medium bodied with a playful champagne-like carbonation.

O: Knockout brew from Ithaca. Really wish this was getting distributed again instead of becoming a brewery exclusive.

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Photo of Reino
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I owe Paul (Lum) a ZJ for hooking me up with this beer.
Batch# E!010 7%abv
Consumed on Oct. 1st 2008

Appearance- My initial cautious pour produces 2 fingers of effervescent head that I figured would fade quickly. Boy was I wrong. The head settles into a tight/dense and flat finger that would probably still be around two days later if I gave it the chance. The lacing is solid as the head crawls down.
The beer itself is an apricot gold (noticed my man Joe used apricot to describe this, too. Wasn't trying to steal your words, that's just how I had it in my notes big guy.) Looking through the bottom, there is about a quarter of an inch gradient from a hefe blond into the apricot gold. This is such a great looking beer. I poured the second half for my wife, and must have poured some yeast in hers as well because it was much more blond than mine. Still pretty, though. Wish I could give this a 4.75, but you know how it is.

Smell- My first thought was fruity B.O. which is not a diss at all. The cast of smells that probably caused me to think that were: tart cherries, faint barnyard, raspberry juice, apricots and just the slightest bit of spiciness. As I drink on, the nose develops a bit of medicinal funk accompanied by sweet lemon and a bit of an earthy/produce aroma. Knowing that corn was used in this beer is making me think that I get a bit of corn, but that could be bullshit. Once again, the wife's glass with the yeast differs from mine. The yeast makes hers much more funky and less sweet. Mine is a delicious sweet/funk explosion. Once again I'm on the fence with the score. Just more reason to get another bottle from Paul ;) and redo the scores later.

Taste- A very sour and tart front accompanied by delicious fruity flavors and mild funk middle to end. What makes this beer so delicious and effective is the transition of flavors. Yeah, it's sour upfront, but these great sweet flavors sweep in to balance it out along with the horse blanket, grassy funk. It's not so sour that the fruit gets lost and it's not so devoid of sourness that I'm disappointed. If I drank this at a blind tasting, I'd think I'm drinking a crazy kriek or framboise, not a golden sour. The sweet/tart combo reminds me distinctly of a strawberry and orange juice smoothie, but with tart cherries, and earthy funk thrown in the blender. Each sip provides a different combination of fruit flavors on my tongue, and each pairing is exquisite. This a complex and sour piece of heaven.

Mouthfeel- Nice and bubbly, but not to a champagne extent. The carbonation has the fruit flavors bouncing all over my tongue, and I love it. The edges of my tongue, as well as my cheeks, tingle from the tartness, but not so much that it hinders my ability to enjoy the other flavors going on.

Drinkability- It's dumb how drinkable this beer is. 7% tastes like 3%. If I wasn't a newly wed, I probably would have snagged the other glass out of my wife's hands. Actually, I regret not doing it. I'm not sure if "it's better to have loved and lost" applies to this beer. I'm extremely sad that I cannot have this beer in my weekly rotation. How will I go on?

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Photo of RodneyX
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Golden colored beer that had some white head on it and some lacing as well. It smells great with good tartness and reminds me of RR Temptation. Taste is really good as well with some tartness and sweetness that goes down real easily and finishes a little bit dry. The carbonation makes it light and refreshing. I loved this beer and am trying to get more.

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Photo of TheKingsOfHop
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Corked and capped 750ml. bottle, batch E!018.
Poured into our Portsmouth tulip glasses:

A: An opaque pale orange body with a once towering white head, that quickly vanished leaving just a lace covering the surface. There is a beautiful effervescent carbonation rising ever so fast bringing streams of bubbles to the top.

S: Lots of champagne yeast, with tart green apple, and orange peel. Hint of banana with a touch of oak.

T: White grapes, champagne yeast, banana, and unripened tree fruits like apricots, apples and pears make up this sour/sweet mesh. The Brute causes you to clench your jaw, as the sides of your tongue squirm salivating for more.

M: Light bodied and extremely carbonated from the champagne yeast. Very refreshing brew.

D: From the popping of the cork to the last drops in our glasses. The Brute had our full attention... Highly recommended.

The Kings Of Hop

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Photo of SpruceFish
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thank to Knifesyles for the trade

A- very cloudy yellow white billowing head and a white lacing around the glass

S-tart funk horse blanket the funk is amazing i would think this is was gueuze if i didnt know the sour is very pronounced and lemon grass

T- wow so tart and funky i love it i feel like im drinking gueuze there is no vinegar to this at all so funky horse blanket all over the place this is the best American wild i have ever had the brett come this so nicely

M- perfect carbonation medium body

D- i think im going to drink this hole bottle soooo smooth

notes- i have to say this brings amrican sours to a hole new lever

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Photo of Ambiorix
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A cloudy, golden pour, topped with a dense white head. Wonderful to look at and indicative of good things to come.

S: Sour, brettanomyces funk, barnyard, wet hay, lemon drops.

T: Intensely sour, lemongrass, barnyard funkiness, wonderful brett bitterness, spicy undertones.

M: Well carbonated, nicely dry finish.

D: A wonderful beer. Definitely one to seek after and hoard in your cellar when you can find it. My only gripe is the use of an artificial cork that is very difficult to remove. My trys with a butler's thief, which I use to good effect on natural corks, resulted in chipped glass, which was thankfully confined to the exterior of the bottle. I will use a conventional corkscrew next time, but no bottle should be this hard to open. Would much prefer a mushroom cork with a cage.

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Photo of jefferz5000
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to stakem for this surprise bottle!

Poured into my awesome Portsmouth glass that STEG sent me. This is one of the most beautiful beers to grace any glass of mine. Pours a hazy peachy hue with some serious white bubbly head that eventually fades away almost completely. Brute is such a pretty color.

Smells sour. Surprise! It's got a nice tart funky aroma, suggesting I will surely enjoy this one. If I didn't feel compelled to taste it, I would just keep sniffing it.

Taste follows the nose. Funky. Sour. Unripe stone fruits, maybe? I like to pretend at least. It's very well rounded. Def tart, but not overwhelming. The more you consume, the fuller the taste seems to become.

Carbonation starts out high, but delivers a pretty smooth finish. It starts off similar to the feel of champagne, but I feel like it finishes differently, which I like for sure.

Well, I just finished my first glass, and am about to pour another, with no hesitation. I'd say the drinkability is pretty high. And while 7% isn't an off the charts ABV, I'd guess lower. Nom nom.

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Photo of deliriumfest
4.94/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Consumed on 1/17/09

750ml bottle

First of all, I'm going to have to agree with Mikesgroove and say that this is the best American sour I have had to date! Believe me, I bow down to my Russian River brews every time I see them reining over my beer closet but man this one was good. Poured a cloudy yellow/copper with not much head at all although if there were more I would have to say it would be nice and white. The aroma was plein de brett, brett et plus de brett. The taste was beautifully funky and citrusy. The mouthfeel was smooth - went down the hatch easy as pie thanks to the beautiful carbonation. The drinkability on this one is huge due to all its awesomeness and funkiness. I have to note that I brought this one to the Twin Cities January BA Gathering and it was the star of the show. I want to thank Ithaca for making this beer and I really hope they do it again in the future because I only have two bottles of this one left.

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Photo of calise1122
4.72/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was so excited to hear that a local store received a couple cases... I changed my plans instantly, headed down and loaded up. What a beautiful Spring Sunday and what a perfect beer to enjoy it with. Top it off that I just bottled my first batch of homebrew and it came out not just drinkable, but actually tasty!

I throw on shuffle all, and Stevie Wonder guides the way with Black Man from Songs in the Key of Life... and away we go.

As I watch it pour, it reminds me of the time I just crushed the heck out of green grapes... the color of the pour has that faintly green sort of hue to it as it finds the palm of the glass. But as the tart smelling juice spreads around the wine glass... it settles into a beautiful orangey golden color. Nice light head settles on top and caps off... leaving incredible lacing. It looks great, and as I attempt to use the Brute filled glass as a telescope, I realize that it is cloudy and thick and that the golden hue is deep and full and I can't see through it at all. And while this looks really really pretty... I can't dodge that sour amazing aroma.

My nose meets my hand and the glass halfway and I freeze... unable to move from this position because the smell is intoxicating. My fiancée walks in and gives me that look that I get when I geek out by myself with beer... you know the look... it's a mixture of confusion, doubt, humor all sewn together with respect and love... she shakes her head, laughs and walks out. I am still hunched over with my nose acting as a diving board on the rim of the glass. The brett is obvious, giving it that wet cat meets hockey equipment meets an old...

(Song change, Jeff Tweedy covering Dylan's "Simple Twist of Fate"... off the I'm Not There album... what a compilation)

...afghan blanket that has been tucked in the attic for to many years. The citric lemon, sour champagne smell is there as well... with a nice, fairly subtle but noticeable oak character. Man, that is a good smelling beer.

So, I have been into sours for a while now... and I often find myself at a bar like say, the Tiger, with a good pal that likes good beer, just doesn't seek it out or really buy it. The other day I was there with a great buddy from Chicago and the lady. I order three beers, let him try them all and pick his favorite... in the mix we had a sour. He decided to go with the Aventinus, thinking on first sip the sour was to much. A few minutes later he asked for another sip, then another... and after essentially drinking my entire beer explained; "it's like Tabasco... Not necessarily the taste I expect to want or like, but the more you have the more you need". I can't help but think that sums it up for me. I need it, and once I get that initial brett/sour taste I need more quick. Brute is incredibly dry and tart, leaving your mouth pleading for more...

(Song change, Lykke Li, "Complaint Department". Saw her a few months back and she was captivating, if you get the chance check her out)

...Citric, sour, lemon, orange, all under the umbrella of Brett and his manly mustiness... giving it that funk. Sour apple is really dominating at first, but it those other fruits start to poke their heads out more as it warms.

Brute is extremely carbonated giving it a great mouthfeel... reminds me of Cuvee de Castleton in its medium body, dry finish, yet incredibly full of carbination. It's the type of beer I could swish around my mouth for hours (or minutes, maybe a couple seconds)


(Song Change, now we get the real thing... Dylan, off of Blonde on Blonde, "I want you". Great song "The drunken politicians, leaps upon the street where mothers weep, and the saviors who are fast asleep... they wait for you.")

... very drinkable. It is so dry that it takes some resistance to slow down and enjoy each sip.

Overall, great, great beer. Ran into the brewer at a CL beer dinner and he said that he, at first, didn't think it was that good. It took his customers to let him know how damn good it was to start and feel confident behind it. Great offering, great beer, great Sunday

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Photo of Estocker
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice golden color

Smell is a big relief. In fact, I am actually starting to salivate. Nice aromas of funk and apple, grape skins, slightly yeasty. I want to say I smell some apricots as well.

WOW! This is perfectly sour. This immediately reminds me of Temptation, but I believe it is even more sour. The taste of green apple, green grape skins, and some citrusy fruits are dominant and a slight barnyard funk lingers. This is delicious.

The mouthfeel is perfect. It's well-carbonated and incredibly sour. I opened this at Xmas with my family and I only poured them 1-2oz pours so that I could finish the rest of the bottle by myself.

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