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Brute - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
BruteBrute

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

823 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 823
Reviews: 390
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 9.03%
Wants: 1,111
Gots: 143 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 823 | Reviews: 390
Photo of DucksFan16
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of axeman9182
4.17/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle from 2009 (batch E!018) poured into my Duvel tulip.

The beer pours a very nice hazy gold, with a voluminous white head. Retention is decent, but an almost complete lack of lacing keeps me from giving it a higher appearance score. This beer was aged in barrels with brett and then allowed to sit in the bottle for a year, and all that is evident with the first whiff. The nose is overwhelmingly of the classic barnyard funk, with some background tartness and faint apple sweetness. The taste is largely the same, though there was a certain harshness to the brett flavors while this beer was still warming. Once it approached room temperature though things smoothed out and Brute became a much better beer. The mouthfeel was great, very dry and a great bubbly, but not overbearing, carbonation. Like with the taste, Brute's drinkability gets dinged by how much worse of a beer it was right out of the fridge. Wild ales are such natural slow sippers though that most of this beer was consumed at an appropriate temperature. I look forward to hopefully getting my hands on some of this year's Brute and trying it with a little less age on it.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!010 poured into a Riedel Extreme Burgundy glass 'cause I haven't used it in a while and it seemed like it would work nicely. Have at it, we will...

Pours like a Champagne at first. Bready, lemon/light honey color with plenty of vibrant head - about 3 fingers worth of a big bubble bath. Second pour is a little more restrained. Carbonation is nicely present.

The yeast strains in this combined with a moderate wheat component mix it up with the Brett hay, gentle horse blanket and prominent citric sourness to generate a fair amount of electricity. There's some light pine or baso woodiness from the light grains and mild hop presence. Depth expands and softens with warmth.

One of the brighter sours I've encountered - most likely the champagne yeast is helping this along. Very nice light grains complement the sour funk of this all - perhaps the power of suggestion but it does have a Champagne-like component that really brings it all together. Nice very light woodiness provides a good yet mild hop and grain component.

Some wild ales require an adjustment period. Not necessarily this one. Sure, the first taste has that sour stable pucker, but it really softens over time and transforms into a lighter, more pleasant, medium-bodied and well-balanced ale. The light grains, yeast and Brett strains and a little bit of hop pine are working in Beautiful Chemistry. By no means over the top but very well-balanced.

While this is a rare treat that is quite contemplative and complex, it really drinks well - not only for the style but overall. I was very disappointed to see the end of this bottle. When this ages for a while it will be very interesting to sample. Another incredibly well-balanced effort from the Excelsior! series.

Photo of gueuzegossage
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of sgoro
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of blabaer
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of TubaDan
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of BillHilly
4/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of funkyaudio
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of zac16125
4.96/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

750mL bottle into a Teku
Batch # !010 (ie batch 1, bottled in 2008)

A huge thanks to dtmets84 for sending this one over in a trade. One of my top wants for a long time!

Beer review #521, and #95 out of the top 100 I set out to complete a couple years ago.

A: Pours an absolutely crystal clear pale golden yellow with 3 plus fingers width of white colored head. Head hangs around for a while before dissipating down to an outer ring. Leaves effectively zero lacing.

S: At first I get a big fruity aroma like apricots and peach, coupled with a white grape champagne dryness. There is also a citric and lactic tartness, and a subtle musty aroma. I then get barrel notes with oak and a bit of vanilla. Absolutely intoxicating aroma with a great combination of sweetness and tart sourness. I think this is the best aroma I have ever experienced in a sour ale.

T: Aggressive tartness up front, with lots of sour citrus notes. Subtle apple cider vinegar. Sour up front, with fruit flesh like peaches and apricot on the back end, then finishing up with a vanilla sweetness that lingers forever in the aftertaste. There are some funky Brett notes as well, that I can only describes as musty rather than barnyard. The sourness is puckering at times, in a really fantastic way. Wonderful balance; the sweetness on the finish pairing with the tartness up front, and just the perfect amount of funk. So complex, and so delicious.

M/D: There is a liveliness to the mouthfeel, with a huge effervescent bubbly carbonation. It has a medium body, and is drying on the finish. Drinkability is great, as I can't wait to take each sip.

O: Probably my favorite sour/wild ale to date and overall one of the best beers I have ever had.

Photo of chcfan
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of ChrisPro
4.24/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL Batch 010 from 2008 tasted on 1/1/10 (Happy New Year!)

Pours beautiful gold with gigantic frothy white head that lingers. Champagne like effervescence lasts for many many mniutes. One of the most gorgeous beers I've ever seen. Lemon and grapefruit aroma. Barely some honey sweetness then an incredible tart lemon finish. Great carb but champagne bubbles make this one smooth sour. Definitely one of the best sours I've ever tried.

Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Pahn
4.89/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Batch E!027, 2010. ABV: 7% this batch.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a three inch white head that dissipates steadily, leaving a few spots of lacing. Pours a hazy fulvous (I found this color 'fulvous' on wikipedia, and though it's more hilarious for me to just flatfootedly say 'fulvous', I leave this parenthetical note anyway). Doesn't leave much lacing to speak of.

Smell: At first it's effervescent and acetic, moving quickly to tart apple and peach, with some faint funk in the background. Freshly cut orange. While it stays effervescent, the acetic character pretty much drops out and the smell moves from tart fruit to sweet peach to citrus to a mild, creamy oak and vanilla to various berries. There's more happening (and more good happening) than I can meaningfully record.

Taste: So subtle and balanced, but so full-flavored. Tart but smooth, lots of fruit, with a big brett note in the finish. It tastes like it smells, but with a significantly larger brettanomyces influence at the end, more barnyard and musty than tangy. There's flavors reminiscent of champagne and white wine, and a persistent acetic character that keeps everything sour but never distracts from the beautiful fruit, wine, and funk.

Like the smell, there's too much happening here to describe it all, but what I can say is: the taste is flawless. I hate to give out 5s, but this really couldn't be better for what it is. It could be more sour, the oaky notes could be stronger, the brett (which is surprisingly big) could be bigger, but none of that is the point. Those flavors are all here (along with more), they're all distinct, they're all in harmony, they're all delicious. Drinking this beer is like listening to a brilliant symphony for the first time; you're picking out things you love, you're enjoying it thoroughly, but you know it has depths further than you can appreciate or understand in one listen.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Tart, but soft and creamy, with a dry finish. Fairly carbonated but not overboard. The feel is like the smell and the taste: all subtlety and class.

Drinkability: This beer is refreshing, complex, restrained, and delicious. I would drink this regularly. It's one of those beers such that, despite having a refrigerator full of world class beer, when its bottle is empty, I will be sad.

Honestly, I think Brute is flawless. It's a shame that it's relatively hard to get, because it would be a perfect gateway beer for wild ales. If these flavor profiles didn't make sense to you before, they would after having Ithaca Brute.

Photo of dcloeren
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into oversized wine glas. If I'm reading this correctly, it's batch# E!018.

Beautiful pour - 2F of thick, white head floating atop of an opaque golden body. Pretty heavenly when held to the light. Light carbonation showing at bottom.

Heavy musty smell, with vinegar cider, and a little lemon zest.

Flavor was of tart lemon hard candy, green apple skin, old white grapes, plenty of bretty funk, and more than just a little reminiscent of champagne flavor.

MF had a good bite to it, but not puckering sour. Pretty thin. Nice and dry.

I can't see dropping $25 on another one of these, but it would make for a good malternative to any situation that calls for white wine or champagne.

Photo of nataku00
4.08/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle, batch E'027, poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a hazy golden color with a big three finger white foamy head consisting of loose large bubbles. Head dissipates after a few minutes leaving light lacing to a half a finger. Carbonation streaming up from the bottom of the glass.

Nose is sweet stone fruits, apricot and peaches, light lemon, lactic acid, light floral hops.

Taking a sip, light lactic acidity upfront, then stone fruits and fruity esters, lemon. Some earthy funk as the beer warms on the tongue, combined with floral flavors. Lingering acidity on the finish, with stone fruit sweetness balancing it out.

Light body and very carbonated, bubbles quickly scrubbing your tongue clean with each sip and swallow.

Photo of marine1975
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of kevanb
4.09/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a WLV Zwanze 2012 stemmed glass. Thanks to Sweemzander for the share. Review is from notes.

Pours a nice golden color, hazy complexion, a few bubbles rising to the top of the glass. A nice, taught white head rises out of the beer, a half finger high before receding into a slight film leaving no lacing. The aroma is very nice, funky brett, pale grain, light citrus, tart apple with some floral notes as well, very light, effervescent and more importantly inviting. The flavors are bit muddled relative to the nose and a bit dirtier as well, the funky brett is definitely there but it's a bit mustier and earthier than in the nose, light citrus, tart fruit, apples for sure, light sweet grain, a touch of acidic vinegar with some floral elements behind it, almost a bit medicinal. The body is nice, definitely has a bubbly champagne quality, lively, prickly on the tongue, but finishes very smoothly.

Verdict: An impressive sour from Ithaca. I prefer LeBleu to this one for sure, but this is certainly an enjoyable beer and worth tracking down for any sour lover.

Photo of nzerbe
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of korguy123
4.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!037 into tulip

A- Dark orange pour with two finger bubbly white head. Drops to thin cap. Champagne is working overtime in the glass. Gobs of sticky lacing.

S- Lemon, grass and a touch of sweetness. There is a vanilla with a light floral hop.

T- Bright lemon tartness, slight vinegar acidity. Sour apples and grape skins.

M- Medium bodied, huge carbonation from the champagne yeast.

O- Wild ale and champagne hybrid. Very good.

Photo of alcstradamus
4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Extremely careful pour still engulfs the glass with 4 fingers of head that camps out forever and leaves thick lacing. Murky golden straw color with some effervescent bubbles rising to the top.

Smell is faintly tart grapes, orange peel, tangerine, pineapple, a little sour twang, and traces of Brett.

The taste is an absolutely wonderful blast of citric fruit up front. Pineapple galore, brett funk, oranges, apples, lots of pear, white grapes. Sourness is fairly subdued but still noticeable mid palate. Not quite puckering, but still enough to add another flavor dimension. The taste of this beer is absolutely phenomenal, there is really no better way to describe it.

Mouthfeel is light with a truckload of prickly carbonation. Fairly normal for the style, but I would have a bit less prickle in a perfect world.

Drinkability is off the charts here. I almost want to chug this, and that is a rare occurance for a sour beer. The citrus component of this beer is insanely complex, and the subdued levels of funk and sourness may disappoint some people but I personally feel they are at perfectly fine for what this beer is trying to be. Bravo to Ithaca, I regret not trying this beer sooner.

Photo of theminutemen
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of drseamus
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice light straw body with a touch of white head. Good carbonation.

S: Light appley fruit on the nose. Somewhat typical for a wild ale.

T: Very light and restrained but with noticeable brett. A touch of dustiness but with great tartness.

M: Very light with not much body added by the tartness.

D: All day baby...very drinkable.

Photo of sendsilk
3/5  rDev -32.3%

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Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
98 out of 100 based on 823 ratings.