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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
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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 Casey10
4.4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at winchester wine and liquiors a couple of months ago and actually drank on New Years and New Years Day as had this before and after midnight.

A - Hazy golden yellow wispy head really nice.

S - Sour funk definate champaign notes.

T - Again taste sour really more like a champaign then a beer but understand the difference.

M - Gives that puckering sour feel that is amazing for a great beer like this !!

D - I had had this a the Belgian Beer Fest back in October, I had sat on this bottle for a bit before opening it, it is really nice but can't rate higher because of the specialty of it.

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

Saison yellow, hazy and effervescent. Decent head, pretty and gold.

Smells like beer yeast and sour candy. That's almost too simple an explanation for something that seems so alive. Like, if your son took his first steps and all you said in response was "Timmy is taking his first steps." It's technically accurate, yes, but doesn't capture it. Well--hrm... pretend I used a bunch of exclamation marks in this paragraph.

Tastes like yeast, real lemon juice, candy lemon flavoring, and the aftertaste of moderately sweet champagne. Again, add exclamations.

I'd say this is well balanced, but there's nothing really there that counteracts the sweetness. This is simply sweet at the exactly perfect intensity, backed up by just enough yeasty berriness to make it interesting from start to finish.

Photo of HopStoopid120
4.92/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch E!018 (Batch 2)

Brute pours an insane golden orange, that is cloudy, almost to the point of being opaque at first. There is an enormous white billowing head, that consumes nearly half of my glass. The head consists of large vigorous bubbles, due to the rapid carbonation racing from the bottom of the glass. The head recedes to thin ring around the edge of my glass, and there is no lacing.

Citrus. Lemon (zest), some funky (almost must like) aromas just leap from the glass. Vinegar is also present, but in a very appealing way. I am actually aware of most of the scents before even pouring this beer... from the second I pullled the cork, my nose was very aware of the magic inside of this bottle.

Sour, tart and funky, but not overdone by any means. A pucker is forced out of me but not to the point of pain (which I have found in some other wilds). There is a lot of citrusy fruits going on in here as well, and even a very faint sweetness, think the scent but more. Brute drinks dry, almost like a champagne (due to champagne yeast, probably) and with every sip, I cannot wait to take another.

The mouthfeel is around medium and perfect for the style. This beer probably has the most perfect carbonation. The bubbles just roll all over my mouth. It's awesome.

I could drink Brute every day. It is almost too easy to put back a 750 by myself.

Photo of bulletrain76
3.88/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

75cl bottle courtesy of illidurit. Hazy yellow with a big white head. Funky brett and sour aroma with a fresh yeast touch and light oak. The flavor is sour and relatively clean, but the acidity is somewhat subdued. Dry crackery malt adds some complexity. Light-medium body with higher carbonation. Good but a pretty indistinctive sour ale.

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 illidurit
4.32/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy kmurray. Pours a hazy light gold color with a creamy white head, displaying good retention for a sour. Aroma is sweet and pastry-like, lemon meringue, white wine grapes, a touch of bretty chlorine. Flavor is lemons, chardonnay, lacto, vanilla. Moderately acidic and sour. Not a super harsh sour, pretty drinkable. Comparable to Duck Duck Gooze.

Photo of prototypic
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to csmiley for the bottle. You're generous dood and I appreciate it.

Batch E!OIO

Brute pours a light gold color. It's very clearly and is a very bright shade of gold with light behind it. Active carbonation yields a huge, fluffy white head. It's easily over three fingers tall. It was very slow to recede. Thick chunks of lace line the glass as it descends.

The nose kicks off with a very musky, earthy scent. It's a little barnyardish and funky, but not to an offensive degree. Frankly, it's probably moderate on the Brett intensity scale. That suits my preference nicely. It features some nice, light fruit notes. Lemon, apple, and pear are the most notable. There may be others present to a lesser extent. Yeast is subtle and light smelling. Alcohol is as good as absent. I'm not picking up any. This is a very nice smelling beer. The musky, earthy scents tend to overshadow some of its other fine notes. But, it's still very good. Just an observation.

The flavor really delivers in a special way. Everything comes together much better and creates an explosively delicious beer. Fruit flavors appear earlier. Lemon, apple, and pear are noted. They're a little sweet. They blend well with a distinct earthy, musky, and funky flavor. Again, the Brett impact is moderate and not overdone at all. Brute is exceptionally balanced in that respect. It's anchored down nicely with pale malts. Alcohol never really seems to be a factor. It's buried. I'm not getting any here either. It finishes musky, a little funky, and dry. I'm really impressed with the flavor. Ithaca did an excellent job.

Brute has a light body that graduates to light-medium with a little warming. It's nice and smooth. Active carbonation is slightly buzzy, but doesn't throw things too far off track. It has a good feel that's close to the next highest score. Drinkability is very high. It has an excellent flavor that keeps drawing you back. This 750 is going disappearing far too fast. At 7%, it's not too intimidating. I wish I had more.

Ithaca certainly deserves outstanding marks for Brute. It's a very nice addition to the Excelsior Series. It may well be the best of the bunch. The flavor is nothing short of delicious. Its balance is its strongest asset. The nose doesn't display quite how good it really is, but that's nitpicking. Brute is an excellent beer that should be sought out. Highly recommended. Thanks a ton, Chris.

Photo of woosterbill
4.29/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked bottle (batch E:018) into a Mad Elf tulip.

A: Slightly hazy yellow-gold body with greenish hints; 1.5" pillowy head of pure white foam. Fairly quick dissipation and minimal lacing.

S: Piquant aroma of sour apple and pear, funky Brett, and a round spiciness. Fresh, complex, and intriguing.

T: Light, sweet & sour fruitiness at first, with the funky barnyard Brett dominating the palate through the middle. A dry, crisp finish rounds things out nicely.

M: Fresh, light, and lively with a veritable explosion of fine effervescence. Perfect for the style.

D: Stays fresh and crisp throughout the 750, leaving me thirsty for more.

Notes: This is the first Wild Ale I've reviewed (and only the second I've tried), and I'm definitely seeing the reason for their popularity. Brute has a terrific balance of fruitiness, funkiness, and tartness, and was well worth the fairly hefty price tag. Great beer.

Cheers!

Photo of tmoneyba
4.27/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle cap and cork. Poured a clear yellow color with a large frothy white head that mostly lasted with fair lacing. Moderate to heavy sour citrus and yeast aroma. Medium to full body with a sticky texture and soft carbonation. Medium to heavy sour flavor with a medium to heavy sour & sweet finish of moderate to long duration. This is a standout beer for style.

Photo of caresville
4.29/5  rDev -3.2%
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?

Photo of Mora2000
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mar for sharing this bottle.

Pours a yellow straw color with a huge white head. The aroma is very tart with some citrus and oak character. Flavor is very citric and somewhat oaky. Lots of lemon and some tangerine. Some funk but more tart than funky. Highly carbonated and extremely drinkable.

Photo of hooliganlife
4.23/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

to celebrate an awesome 2009...

pours a semi bright golden haze. big fluffy white head lets you know there was champagne yeast used.

sour grapes, barnyard funk, bright citrus, floral, light oak

sour up front, but not overpowering. light lemon zest, and white grape. a hint of sour apple. light hints of oak. the finish is a dry malty taste with a light sour flavor.

very carbonated. light body overall. tingles the mouth all over.

a GREAT sour. most of what i have had from the east coast has been rather dry and very sour. this is more well rounded which makes it perfect for anyone wanting to try something new.

Photo of FeDUBBELFIST
4.16/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip.

A: Looks beautiful. Large, lasting, billowy white head. Decent lacing left behind from the head. The golden yellow body was so hazy that it rendered it completely opaque. Gorgeous.

S: Mostly bready malts with a bit of hay or straw. Lemony hops. The yeast was earthy and very funky.

T & M: White grape and green apples clobbered the palate. Additional flavors of pear and peach come through as well. Flavors are reminiscent of oak aged white wine. The mouthfeel was so sour & tart and completely stimulating. Despite the dry finish, this brew makes you salivate. The duration is long and the acidity is harsh. The effervescence of the Brute is so lively that it feels like the carbonation is cleaning your tongue. Your entire mouth is dominated by the concentrated flavor and extreme mouthfeel. Quite a memorable experience.

D: As with all beers of this nature, this one rates the highest on my personally altered drinkability scale. The Brute is a premier American wild ale.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.65/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Chad and someone else for sharing this. An 08 and 09 comparison, of which I took nearly identical notes, so I'll just summarize.

Slightly cloudy, radiantly golden with a lovely white head in my Duvel tulip. Nice patches of lace.

A little bit of a white wine aroma, pleasing and a hint of Brettanomyces funkiness, but not over the top. The tartness cuts through the light aromas of peach, pear, green apple, and yeast.

Wonderfully tart and puckering. Muscat grapes, sour apples, touch of cranberry and pears. Yeasty, which I like. A very soft oak character. Not sure if it has been oak aged but it certainly has that quality. This is delicious and nearly unsurpassed thus far in my adventure in sour ales.

Creamy and light body, carbonation dances on the tongue. Wish it had a touch more body. Quite dry too.

Damn, this is a good beer. I just think it's a bit weird that it's brewed like 90 miles away from me and I can't get it here in NY.

Photo of gibby
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired via trade through younger35, thanks again Dan for this and the 09' darkness. Been sitting on this for a few months so I decided to crack it open for Christmas. New to the sour world so my reviews kind of suck.

Poured a very nice gold color into my duvel tulip glass. Little bit of pillowy white head that went away rather quickly. A lot of bubbles, reminiscent of a champagne. Smelled a lot of lemon and other citrus qualities. Taste goes right back to the lemon with a really nice sourness. I found the sourness to be very pleasing to to the palate. Great mouth feel with nice carbonation. I thought the drinkability was very high. I drank the 750ml on my own and I enjoyed every drop. Highly recommended. Well done Ithaca.

Photo of infi
4.17/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #E!013, courtesy of BA r0nyn.

Poured into a snifter.

Golden yellow-orange pour sits in glass and is full of vigorous bubbling activity, almost like a champagne. A thin, white and bubbly head sits atop with some generous amounts of lacing on the glass. Smell is full of lemon zest, lemon rind, lemon juice and lemon pith. Essentially lemons and yeast with a good amount of funkified juice from the Brettanomyces. It surprisingly dominates the Gueuze Cuveé in funk and sourness.

Taste is quite a novelty with it starting off being substantially sour and tart and then transitioning into an incredible breadiness and yeastiness. The breadiness in the aftertaste is adds a real nice dimension in the taste, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Sourdough bread in a glass. Never had anything like this honestly, so this was quite nice in taste difference.

Mouthfeel is was light and crisp, again like a champagne. Lots of bubbly can be felt on the tongue and on its way down. Quite effervescent in that respect. The drinkability is moderate - not too fast and not too slow. The sourness and tartness might be the hardest to get through at first but the breadiness that shines through helps ameliorate it.

Photo of aglose45
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review number 50, and on Christmas Eve!

A: Pours a nice hazy, light golden/straw color, with a frothy, almost white head. There are a bunch of tiny little bubbles, this really looks fantastic.

S: The nose has a pretty complex, mostly sour, smell to it. There is a nice bretty smell, followed by some ripe fruit (white grapes and tart peaches). These smells are quickly followed by a real dry, bready malt scents.

T: The taste starts off with a blast of sour, tart fruits..the same ones as in the nose. Next is a bit of a funky Brett attack. This lasts for a few seconds post-swallow before a dry, almost stale, bread malt flavor becomes present. As I move through the bottle, the flavor gets a bit sweet from the yeast.

M: The carbonation is nice and prickly, however, I feel that this beer gets a little bit watery near the end.

D: This beer is very drinkable for. It is one of my favorite Wild Ales.

Photo of mjl21
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired via trade...thanks Mike. 750ml bottle poured into a tulip glass. Comes in at 7%. Part of Batch:E!010.

A-I found the cork to be a real pain in the ass to get out. Once it was removed it pours a clear golden straw yellow. It has a one and a half finger off white head that rests at about half its initial size. Tons of bubbles can be seen rising from the bottom.

S-Nice smelling sour. There is a definite funk from the brett. It has a lemon tartness. It also has lots of oaky white wine character.

T-It is tart and salty upfront. Fruit flavors such as white grapes and unrippened green apple come out fast. It is not as funky as it is in the nose. The sourness is at a nice level that is strongest at the start of each sip.

M-Medium bodied with a lively amount of carbonation.

D-A really well done sour. I consumed the bottle over the course of 3 hours

I really enjoyed this beer. I would gladly have this again. Not as sour as I was expecting, but still great none the less.

Photo of jampics2
4.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy gold into my Cantillon tasting glass. Just a great looking beer!

Smell is amazing. Apple skin, sour funk (this is a batch 2, so going on a year old I believe so the Brett is very present), strawberries.

Taste follows the nose. Sour peaches and a touch of zing from the yeast are present. The sour apple is dominating. Amazing on the pallate.

The mouthfeel on this beer is second to none IMO. The fizziness is in your face, but the body holds up and makes this just a delight. I think this is the best mouthfeel I've experienced on an American Wild. Nicely done!

Drinkability is exceptional. Not too acidic, just a pure joy as it makes its way down my throat. Wow. This is what great beer is all about, one of my faves!

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled a 6 oz. pour at Brett Fest at Spuytin Duyvil in Brooklyn, NY in August 2009.

A: 1-finger lasting head, very fizzy.

S: Brett-forward nose and makes you wanna scream "it's time to get funky"!

T: Not sure what batch this was, but probably older as it developed a little bit of a dull prune taste. Very sour and tart as it hits the back of the mouth.

M: The bubbles compliment this beer well as they make this Golden Sour Ale not as lip-puckering.

D: The best feature of this beer. You can drink the 750ml bottle this comes in with no problem.

Overall, one of the best wild ales I've had.

Photo of corby112
4.28/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very hazy dark golden yellow with a ruddy ripe banana hues and a one and a half frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Earthy bretty funk aroma with some barnyard horseblankety character. Dry brett and earthy oaky funk complimented by some crisp golden fruit notes, especially apple.

Slightly dry with some nice earthy bretty funk which becomes mellowed out by a smooth lactic creaminess and subtle bready yeast character. Prominent light crisp fruit notes, especially apple and pear along with some banana. Nice dry champagne effervescence complimenting the tart dry funky wild yeast. Dry finish. This beer is sweeter and not as sour/tart as I expected. I was told that this was the most recent batch so maybe it needs a while for the brett to develop. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it and recommend it to both sour fans and those looking to delve into the style

Photo of youbrewidrink
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I sampled this at BCTC this past summer and knew I had a new best friend.

The color is a hazy straw with a tight white head.

The aroma is of citrus and green apple.

The taste is a fresh and tart with a noticeble corn flavor accompanied by the bright fruit. the funk is present but very subtle. I love this beer.

The carbonation was dead on giving this a great mouth feel.

The drinkablity is way up there due to the taste and carbonation balance.

Photo of philbe311
4.23/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - An extremely hazy pale lemony yellow color... Did I mention hazy??? Even with the haze, this one has a certain glow about it... One fingers worth of fluffy slightly rocky white head sits a a tap... Loaded with fast paced carbonation...

S - Green Apples... Sour lemons... Wheat... Yeast... Some white grapes...

T - Granny Smith Apples... Lemon Zest... Tart peaches... A pinch of salt... Yeast... The funkiness of the brett is present, but not overwhelming... More tart than funk, but that's okay by me...

M - Light to medium body... Highly fizzy, yet quite sturdy... Even and consistent... Dry... Soft... Delicate... Sophisticated...

D - I could drink this all day and night long, each and every day... Overall, this one is better than the sums of it's parts... I would gladly move aside most other beers for another oppurtunity to be reunited with this one... This one is anything but a Brute... Awesome beer...

Photo of Kadonny
4.05/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Photo of bonkers
4/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

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