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Brute - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
BruteBrute

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

389 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 389
Hads: 830
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 4.82%
Wants: 1,094
Gots: 141 | 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: 830
Photo of number1bum
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks as always to BeerTruth for this goodie from Ithaca.

Pours a slightly hazed golden color with a fizzy two plus inches of white head. Although it's on the fizzy side it does keep a very full, yet thin lace, and leaves a bit of stick.

The second I popped the cork out of this one I could smell the sour. I've had a handful of Wild Ales as of late and this is probably the most sour nose I've experienced. There's a lot more than just fruit going on, though; lemon zest, bready grain, a bit of sweetness even, some pepper, oak and a hint of vanilla.

The taste also starts off sour, with fruity lemon tartness especially. The nose had some sweetness but there really isn't any residual sweetness in the taste. There is some black pepper, as well. Gets very dry through the finish, with a cracker sort of dryness lingering in the mouth. Not as much oak in the taste as there is in the smell, which is too bad because it was really nice in the aroma.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, with ample carbonation but also a light creaminess. It's quite dry through the finish.

As sours go this is a really good one that is quite drinkable. Really prominent sourness in both aroma and taste. Awesome job here by Ithaca. (1,214 characters)

Photo of lightindarkness
4.57/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Lum for this bottle!

750mL capped and corked, 7% alcohol

A - Pours a full, frothy, tiny-bubbled, white, three finger cap over a hazy hay-yellow body.

N- Smells tart and sour, with tons of bretty hay and barnyard, crisp and clean. Dry oaky wood over tart crisp green grape skins, underripe pear and melon. A little grainy background, all very nicely blended.

T - Whoa, sour punch up front that quickly fades into a very interestingly balanced body that smoothes out nicely. Hay and tart horse stall funkiness start somewhat sharp and then ease into citric acid, blending further into a nice full stale grain flavor at the finish, still highlighting plenty of brett. Throughout the sip are notes of lemon zest, melon rind, honey, and crisp yellow apple, all wrapped up nicely by a bright tannic oak flavor. Combination of brett and champaign yeasts serve to create a very crisp clean flavor with nice depth and complexity.

F - Lighter medium body comes across as being very light from the tight crisp champaign bubbles and a dry clean mouthfeel.

D - Simply put, I could drink a lot of this. It's refreshing, satisfying, smooth, crisp, light, full, and extremely tasty all at the same time. I'm sure I've had better beers than this (maybe), but few that were this easy to drink. (1,294 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was thinking hey I'll wait until tomorrow to try this one. Ha! Who am I kidding. I want some wild, dammit.

Pours a clouded yellow with a thicker creme head that falls fairly quickly. As I poured I took a whiff and when the Bret hit my nose I almost had an orgasm. Almost. Tart dryness really grabs the nose as well. God I love this style. Flavor is sour and dry. Hits the palate and fades, but leaves a lasting impression and a quite tolerable aftertaste. Sour is well balanced (in it's own way of course.) I even feel like I an getting some vanilla on the mix here. Feel is higher in carbonation and the liquid is a bit thick.

Ahhhh. That is just so good. I really wish more wild ales were available. I had planned to trade all my extras away of this (besides the two I have set aside already to pass on). But after trading and giving away all my Cuvee de Castleton this year, you'll have to really kiss up to me (or trade me an Isabelle, Cuvee de Tomme, Ichabod, Fifth Element, Upland lambic, etc., etc.) to get this out of my sour fingers. I just love this style. And this is another fine example of why.

Crazy love to charlesw for the hookup on this. Thanks a million man!! (1,184 characters)

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the one and only Buffalo Brute, Sir Lum.

Beautiful golden bottle for a beautiful golden sour. Capped and corked with some new futuristic super processed rubber cork goo.

Pours a nice looking quite cloudy yellow/light orange with a fizzy stark white head. head fizzles to a ring quickly and lacing is minimal, but this is a sour were talking about here.

Nose is an indication of a quality sour right off the bat here with some fresh apple, crabapple, and tart lemon zest, brett is quite evident with some horseblanket here.

Taste follows the nose, almost to a T. Starts right off the bat with a tart apple and crabapple jolt. Very crisp. Horse blanket and brett flavor come roiling out half way through the taste. A slight sweetness, and more tart apple through the middle, slight tart lemony crispness, just before the real mouth puckering sourness kicks in. Some slight peach in here as well. A nice sour one with good pucker effect, however a bit less sour than your average RR, similar sour profile to Cuvee de castleton, in fact i think they are quite comparable. Apple and horse linger on the very dry finish.

Mouthfeel is unique on this one as it is slightly (very) more carbonated than your average american sour, but the carbonation is very soft. Noticeably bigger, but softly so. Hard to explain. Makes the "Champagne yeasts" on the label stick out a little more. Mouthfeel is quality here.

Drinkability is very very nice on this one. The slight added carbonation makes it quite nice. A more gentle sour, than your balls out beatification types, but very very good in flavor, and make no mistake, this is a sour beer.

Overall, this beer is quite impressive. TEN turned my eyes toward Ithaca and Brute has reassured this confidence in the Excelsior! series. Love the tart apple effect in here. A very tasty sour. Make no mistake, this is in the top quality sours made on this side of the pond. A very well crafted beer. Certainly one of my new favorite wild ales. Thanks again to the original Greybush. NOBODY! circles the wagon like Lum.

Edit: Batch 2 is quite similar, but there is a significantly greater awesome green apple presence in the nose especially but also in the taste, a bit more lemon zest as well. Also inspired me to increase the mouthfeel to 4.5. This is one amazing beer folks. If you get the opportunity to get ahold of one, DO NOT let it slip away. A true gem. (2,411 characters)

Photo of Reino
4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
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? (3,143 characters)

Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to beertruth for the chance to try this great beer! What stood out most for me on this beer was a real nice complimentary apricot, pineapple, malt note with a great balance of sour and tart. acid level is modest which works for me too! One of the better American wild ales I've had. Well worth trying if you get a chance. (328 characters)

Photo of aerozeppl
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to dmeadows again.

I have been wanting to try this for a while now but had not been able to track a bottle down.

A: Hazy golden color. Almost no head which was white. Some lacing.

S: Sour in the nose. Not really much else.

T:Subtle tartness. Really reminded me of a bolder version of Magic Hat's sour ale. The sour is there but it is not overpowering. A slight touch of funk but as usual I wanted more.

M: Medium body. Well carbonated.

D: Amazing drinkability. Perfect beer for a glorious day. I would love to sit on a patio on a late summer day and sip this all day. Next time more funk though. Always could use more. (631 characters)

Photo of cvstrickland
4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my friend Lum for making an exception to his trading hiatus and getting this sexy Brute into my greedy little hands!! Prost, homeboy!!

Handsome gold-labeled corked and capped Champagne-style bottle opened with a healthy pop!, poured into a small tulip glass yields a bright golden-lemonade body with some haze and plenty of streamers of active carbonation feeding a thick cap of soft bright white foam. The head retains at a thick sheet and leaves blobs of foam and irregular fat rings of lacing on the glass.

The smell of the drink is somewhat fruity with an herbal note and some light Bretty funkiness that leans towards sour, but not at all eye-crossingly so. A bit of pale malt is buried deep in the profile, but it's there and provides a bit of footing for the yeasty fireworks show.

The taste is crisp, a touch fruity and dryly tart with a deeper level of sourness that rolls around the back of the tongue before going quietly into a clean finish. This "Golden Sour Ale" remains more 'tart' than 'sour' throughout the drink, with a juicy note reminiscent of fresh cider without the associated sweetness until the drink begins to warm and soften a bit. As my evaluation of this brew progresses, just a touch of sushi vinegar emerges to supplement the sour character, but never threatens to take control of the drink, even as a sweet woody note of oak rises to help counterbalance all the twang. Brute is dry, dry, dry throughout the encounter, with just a little bit of tooth-squeaking astringency that fits the character of this Ithacan masterpiece just perfectly.

The drink is on the burly side of medium-bodied with a wonderful sizzle of carbonation that lightens the impact of the sourness on the palate and refreshes the drinker masterfully. Though certainly "wild", this Brute is no dumb one, but is instead a big cuddly sour that makes me glad I have a second one languishing in the bullpen. Superb. Stupendous. Kickass. Thanks again, Lum! (1,965 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer easily produces a three-finger thick, pale, cream colored head in my 25cl tulip. The beer is a murky, pale amber color that shows an almost completely opaque, yellow, straw color when held up to the light. The aroma is pleasingly tart but with a slightly sweet, fruity, white wine grape like aroma. There is an interesting note that is sort of a cross between musk melon, honeydew and the sweat from someone who drank too much wine the night before. Fruit aromas of Muscat grapes, a musky tropical fruit, some tart / sweet apple and a touch of star fruit are all found in the aroma too. I like how the funkiness has taken a turn that I have never quite experienced in a beer before, the Brett is much more sweaty, but in a clean non-barnyard way, than usual.

Wow, much more dry and tart than I was expecting; with all of the fruit notes in the aroma I expected there to be a fair amount of sweetness left in this beer, but there is none at all. While bone dry this still has a nice, creamy body to it that is also note hindered by the fizzy carbonation that causes the beer to foam up as it rolls across the tongue. The texture of this beer is quite exquisite. The oak character here is quite soft and subtle; actually it is most noticed by it effect on the texture of this beer. There is a touch of oak-spiciness towards the finish as well as a slight woody oak note.

My second pour of this has me noticing a spicy oak component in the aroma that I did not pull out the first time around. Flavors of Lactic acid define the sourness in this brew, which, along with the oak really makes this seem like a dry, tart, oaked white wine. While in many ways this is much like a Lambic, it has a much softer feel to it somehow. Certainly the acidity is not approaching the levels of a hard Lambic and the funkiness is actually quite subtle (apart from the sourness). This does have a touch of the sweatiness that was noticeable in the aroma, as well as a touch of mustiness to it. As the beer warms up it picks up just a hint of sweetness, which does a good job of accentuating a nice white wine grape fruitiness.

A tasty beer, though it could use a boost in complexity (more funk would certainly suit me right). The aroma definitely is quite a bit more complex than the flavor, it promises ample funk and a substantial fruitiness that the flavor just doesn't quite deliver upon. Still this is quite enjoyable and it is quite easy for me to finish off this 750ml bottle. (2,476 characters)

Photo of almychristopher
4.2/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a really cloudy golden color with a thick white head that fades to thick lacing. The aroma that it puts off is exceptional very sour, the yeast esters are very noticeable, the malt still comes through nicely. the taste is exactly what I would like from a sour beer the nice grapefruit citrus flavor ends on a dry note. the mouthfeel is a of a medium to heavy body with effervescence sliding up the side of the glass. a great beer, I don't think that I would drink too many of them for fear of heartburn, but still a quality product. (538 characters)

Photo of WesWes
4.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a very cloudy gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a super sour scent that explodes with brett yeast esters. The malt bill seems simple; pale malts with maybe one other specialty grain. The taste is awesome! This is one sour brew. It's a pucker from start to finish. Again it seems like just pale and maybe some wheat malt along with a healthy dose of brett. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a tremendous tasting beer. Ithaca is really brewing some world class beers of late. Hail to the Chief!!! (627 characters)

Photo of Nickls
3.8/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Gold color all the way, a little cloudy, and with a head that looked like champagne to me

S - Fruity, tangy (I'm thinking really tangy actually with that wild yeast), and a bit more like a champagne smell

T - Sour, tangy, fruity, lots of yeastiness

M - Bubbly! Lots of great carbonation

I could definitely put this away quickly, but I think the tang and champagne-like nature are just a bit much for me. That being said, this is one of the most interesting brews that I have had in a while. Great job Ithaca! (516 characters)

Photo of BeerTruth
4.62/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a few of these the day of the release on August 1st at the brewery. They had a sixtel for samples that day, but after that keg kicked that was it. The sample I had made me even more anxious to open a bottle as soon as possible.

750 ml. corked bottle poured into the Excelsior! tulip glass for review, where it should be, not a 2 oz. sampling glass. Batch# 010!

Pours a cloudy golden hue with a white two finger head that falls to a thin layer of bubbles. Lacing is pretty minimal but there's some here and there. The aroma begins light and floral with a sweet honey scent as well. White grapes and a touch of oak tickle the nose with some brett and bread. Taste starts off much more funky than the smell gives off. Sour apples, pears, and lemon up front on the tongue. Honey wheat and yeast midway with a grassy flavor mixed in. The sour kick comes in the aftertaste with a zesty sting. Light body with soft and pillowy feel that's extremely refreshing. The carbonation is strong and very champagne like, but that's how it should be. I've had a few Wild Ales and they have suffered a bit in the drinkability department. Brute is the complete opposite, I finished the bottle much too quick. Luckily I have a few stashed in the cellar because I've been told through the grapevine this will be a pleasant surprise in 10 years, just in time for their 20th anniversary :) 250 cases were bottled for mostly brewery only purchase, get your hands on this one for sure. Chief and IBC continue to raise the bar, this beer is not to be missed. Love it, love it, love it. (1,571 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)

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