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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 GClarkage
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

06/07/09- Received in a trade with Younger35 and shared at a tasting.

Presentation- 750ml bottle. Not sure of a release date. Poured into my Orval chalice.

Appearance- Champagne-like looking pour with a smaller head and effervescent bubbles. Light yellow in color and ultra light lace spotting left behind.

Smell- A very nice brett aroma with sourness, some light urine and horse blanket notes. Tart fresh lemon rind as well.

Taste- All the flavors you would like in a wild ale (buckets of brett, tart lemon juice) but needs something to hold it totally together. Something was missing, but I'm not quite sure what it was.

Mouthfeel- Seems a touch watery with a sparkling wine carbonation mouthfeel. Good tart aftertaste.

Drinkability- A nice wild ale, but as stated above, missing something to make it to the top tier of wild ales.

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Photo of Gtreid
4.12/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into my Stone RIS tulip. Thanks go out to jamie2dope for a great beer.

A: Super cloudy, straw yellow color. The pour produced over a quarter size white head that hangs around and leaves minimal lace.

A: Citrus, lemon, green apple, white grape, and pear. Sharp and acidic. Some nice bready malts, and citrusy, earthy hops. Just a precurser to what's to come.

T: Sour citrus and champagne. Lemon, white grape, and the pear really come through. The bready malts and citrusy hops are balanced nicely. Very tart from the brett. Kinda a cross between a chardonay, champagne, and beer. Very nice. Finishes smooth and dry.

M: Light body. Aggressive carbonation. Very tart and sharp, but smooth at the same time, from the oak aging.

D and overall impression: Drinkabiliy is somewhat limited due to the tartness, but the ABV is certainly manageable. Overall, very nice example of a sour. Would definately have again. Skal.

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Photo of abecall98
4.11/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle in a trade from newtonty, thanks!

A - golden pale with a thick creamy white head. Looks so soft, I want to lay in it.

S - very minmal. Light sour smell, but not much else.

T - starts off rather spur, then the sourness subdues. Taste turns sweet and hints of orange come through. Very pleasant taste and flavor profile.

M - very smooth, creamy, and a dry quick mouthfeel. The carbonation is medium and perfect. Mouthfeel is great.

D - this beer is very light compared to other wild Ales and the fact that it is in overly carbonated makes this a very drinkable beer. The flavor and mouthfeel comebine to make you wanting more.

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Photo of Spider889
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Ryan011235 for sharing this at our impromptu tasting.

Batch: E!OR8

The appearance is very nice. Super bright boiled corn yellow-orange. The head on my pour into a Lost Abbey tulip was tall and white. Despite a lackluster dull pop of the cork, with the pour this beer still came alive!

Crystal clarity too. The only issue is a lack of lace... only the most intermittent smears of foam dotted this glass after each sip.

The smell is of Duvel with brettanomyces added. Others were smelling PBR in this. I was not. Though a sourdough/lager-y type aroma is there.

Quite tart, I find Brute to be really brett forward. Corn is noticeable in the flavor, but not anything too far out there. The tartness leads into mild citrus and lemon specifically.

Bright and crisp, the carbonation is much stronger than we first anticipated. The finish is of dull boiled corn and crackery malt and doughy sourdough yeastiness.

Overall I enjoyed this a lot. Thanks Ryan for yet another Ithaca tick!


Got to try a B1 Brute recently and it was even more sour than the more recent batch. I liked it even more.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Batch #E!018 on the bottle. Received in a trade from JayOh. Thanks Tim!

A: Pours an extremely murky straw color (with the milky look of an unfiltered hefeweizen) that thickens to golden in the center of the glass. Active effervescence up the sides signals that this beer is lively, but I already picked up on that from the huge, fluffy off-white head that filled most of the glass in a short pour. It subsided in a minute or so into a film on top of the brew. No lacing that sticks, but it does coat the glass nicely in bubbles whenever I sip.

S: Tart, with white wine grapes, green apples, lemon, leather, and earth. Very tantalizing.

T: Tart white grapes and lemon set the tone up front. They gradually give way to oak and green apple, with a noticeable undercurrent of leather and sweat. I'm guessing this is the brett contribution; not as much barnyard funk as I was expecting. Interesting development. Lactic sourness throughout, but it plays second fiddle to the tartness -- I'd love to see this stepped up. It's not very acetic, either. Oak and spice in the finish. It's nicely balanced; no flaws, very tasty.

M: Tart, lighly sour, with a semi-dry finish. Despite the fine bubbles, it rolls pleasantly across the palate without stinging. The overall effect is of a light white wine.

D: Not as much sourness as I had hoped, but it captures the right level of tartness and dryness that I enjoy. I don't plan to seek this out actively in the future, given that I can find some local sours that fit my preferences better. Nonetheless, I wouldn't turn it down in a future trade if I heard they made some tweaks while going along.

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Photo of tai4ji2x
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at deep ellum, in allston, ma, on april 23, 2009, during the week of the craft brewers conference. served in orval chalice.

hazy straw blonde. nice creamy head, stays around as a wispy layer. lacing doesn't stick though.

aroma is more vinegary than the bottled version. citrus hint. funk later on as it warms.

sour tartness is still nice, but is a bit sharper than the bottle.

texture is more acidic as well.

compared to the bottled version, everything just seems less refined. still a nice sour, but the complexities seem muted. when asked, max (owner/manager of deep ellum) believes there is still champagne yeast involved. but somehow i have my doubts, or at least that's what my palate tells me. can someone at ithaca please illuminate?

frankly i am also not a fan of open, un-tuliped or untapered abbey-style chalices - at least not for tasting/reviewing purposes. also, it was served quite cold, so i had to wait a while for it to come to temperature.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.09/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at Woodshop 7 held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Pours a slightly murky yellow with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is sour, tart, and funky with some grain and acidic aromas. Taste is much the same with an interesting Pez candy flavor in the mix. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is quite drinkable but smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

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Photo of kevanb
4.09/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

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Photo of nickd717
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle via trade thanks to Ineedabeerhere. Shared at a BA tasting.

A - Pours hazy golden yellow with a lasting white head and nice lacing.

S - Funky lemony aroma with a hint of other sour light fruits.

T - Flavor is mouth-puckering lemony, bretty tartness - not too sour though - with barnyard, green apple, and mild floral hops. A tiny bit of malty/grainy sweetness pokes through.

M - Sharp and acidic on the palate with medium body.

D - Well, it's sour. But it's almost like RR Temptation in that the tartness is not overwhelming and it's pretty damn light and refreshing. This is a nice sour overall.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Batch E!037. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Golden orange. Huge white head. Excellent lacing.

Smell - Acidic with a lot of hay and wheat. Lemony acidity. No real funk, but I guess that isn't the point of this.

Taste - Spritzy acidity. Good lemon sourness. Same grainy malts as the aroma. Not overpowering. Just a hint acetic. Dry and oaky in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Light and effervescent. Sprizty and champagney. All of those adjectives mean the same thing. Over carbonated, really, but it adds to the experience a lot more than it detracts.

Overall - Maybe not an exciting sour, but extremely well made. Technical excellence.

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Photo of nataku00
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

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Photo of liamt07
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle shared by Sammy, 2011 vintage - batch E!037. Into a tulip.

Hazy gold with a brilliant bubbly white head. Good retention and light lacing. Nose of tart apple, champagne yeast, a bit of sourness, lemon, a bit of funk and general fruitiness. Tastes quite tart, some lemon, a bit funky and yeast notes again. Effervescent mouthfeel, champagne yeast stands out. Tart, medium body, and no alcohol. A very drinkable brut, but not the best I've had in the style. Still very well done.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one looks like champagne. Light chardonnay looking body, bubbles kind of all over the place. The head indicates that, yes, this is a beer. A semi-dense head, tight bubbles, not a whole lot of staying power.
Sharp aroma, a bit sour. White grape, lemon, green fruit. Effervescent in the nose.

Tangy and tannin in the taste. The white grape becomes a bit sour and the lemon is juicy. Lime and golden apples. Thin body, but it does a number on the palate. The carbonation combines with the sour to cut through anything before it. Quite a nice aperitif if you're starting out on a meal.

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Photo of TheViolator666
4.08/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750 ml corked bottle into pint glass.

Batch# E!010

This really is best served on the colder side, right out of the fridge. The sourness decreased as the temperature increased.

A: Pours a turbid golden hue with a nice big and fluffy white head that sparkles and fizzes as you pour it into your glass. The head thins down to a thin white cap and leaves no lacing.

S: You can smell how sour this one is! Notes of citrusy tartness.

T: Tastes incredibly sour. Pretty funky as well, truly tastes like what I'd imagine an American Lambic to taste like. Finishes pretty clean and and along with the tartness, leaves a citrusy lemon flavor as well as a tad bit of dryness. The Brettanomyces provides an excellent mouth puckering tartness that leaves your tongue craving more.

M/D: This one has the body of a wheat and the carbonation of a champagne thanks to the blend of three champagne yeasts as indicated on the bottle.

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Photo of klikger
4.07/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of Phelps
4.06/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

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Photo of Lazerlobe
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of portia99
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
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

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Photo of Kadonny
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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Photo of harrymel
4.04/5  rDev -8%
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.

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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 twelvsies
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of Damian
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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