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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: 1,095
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 389 | Hads: 830
Photo of Chico1985
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been holding onto this since September, shared at a tasting last night. Batch E!027 (2010 release I think)

Hazy bright orange with a huge white head that takes a while to fall. Retains at a finger eventually and leaves a little lacing.

Bracing sourness and oak on the nose.

Taste - Sour all the way, warheads, oak, vinegar, mustiness, white grape, green apple, wheat/yeast. Definitely some champagne flavors going on and bit of vanilla. Really sour and vinegary. It reminds me of Temptation a little.

Definitely more sour than I expected... a little one-note seeming for a wild ale but good.

**9/9/11 - more notes**

Had the pleasure of trying an 08-11 vertical at Armsby Abbey, 4oz pours or so of each, great to have these side by side.

2011 was very low on the sour/brett scale, this was very light feeling and fruit forward, and left a pretty killer toasty finish.

2010 was probably my favorite overall, great balance between sourness and fruit. 2009 was similar. 2008 seemed a bit subdued or maybe a little past it's prime. (1,040 characters)

Photo of kscaldef
4.03/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage

A: Huge frothy head.

S: Lemon and funky barnyard aromas

T: Good pure sour with moderate tartness and slight sweetness.

M: High carbonation and a long linger

O: Not the most complex sour, but clean, tasty, and refreshing. Somewhat gueuze-like. (260 characters)

Photo of Naugled
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served in chalis

Great looker! hazy straw color, nice light white head that dies to a thin layer but is persistent. Visually carbonated.

Strong tart sour smell in a good way, makes your mouth water

More tart and sour than expected, makes you pucker at first taste, but then your mouth relaxes. Citrus and spice notes come through the complexity

It is a very dry spritzy beer but the spritz is a soft feeling with some slipperiness. And the low bitter and sour tend to linger.

Over all a very good beer. I plan to purchase another bottle for saving. (553 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)

Photo of bonkers
4/5  rDev -8.3%
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. (311 characters)

Photo of Brez07
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle poured into a Chimay glass. Batch E!027

A: Golden orange, cloudy. 1 finger fluffy white head. Good retention throughout the glass. No lace

S: Very gueze like, but there is a touch of sweetness. Dry, white grapes. Some barnyard funk

T: Again, similar to a gueze. Not quite as sour, but there is a definite tartness that hits you up front. There's definitely an acidic presence. Brett not as prevalent as expected but enough to add a nice funk

M: Light bodied. Lots of carbonation. Crisp, dry finish

D: Very tasty wild ale. Had sour and tart aspects without going crazy overboard. Easy to finish the bottle on my own. Will look to grab another one of these (672 characters)

Photo of johnd513
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours light hazy orange in color with a fizzy white head. Smells sour and citrusy. Tastes of lemon, citrus, funk and oak. The mouthfeel is highly carbonated and tickles the taste buds. Drinkability is good, I had no trouble finishing the bottle. Overall top notch for the style. (278 characters)

Photo of ptykozoon
3.98/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ridiculously tight cork eventually gives in, happily spraying Brute on me. Pours with a strong cloudy white head and good lacing.

Citrus, mostly orange notes, light lemon.

Moderately sour with a decent amount of yeastiness which I never approve of in wild ale's. No concrete fruit notes, with not a lot of complexity but an overall clean, refined, wine-like, refreshing, well polished taste.

Average mouthfeel, peppy, not subtle, not overpowering.

A strong wild ale with a pleasing taste, solid mouthfeel and great drinkability. (533 characters)

Photo of BeckyFreesTibet
3.96/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip, (although a flute might be even more appropriate), from a corked and capped 750 ml bottle--much like a bottle of champagne.

Cloudy and peachy-gold in color with visible champagne-like carbonation. The head was thick, bright white and formed stiff, meringue-like peaks.

The aroma was yeasty and lightly funky like a saison. Citrus, especially lemon zest, was apparent immediately. A sweetness creeps in as it opens up. All in all, there was not enough aroma for my liking.

The taste is immediately tart and citrusy with notes of sour apples and other under-ripe tree fruit. Noticeably wheaty and yeasty with a sweetness in the aftertaste to balance it out. The taste is fairly interesting and extreme, but not very complex.

The carbonation is extremely aggressive, just like a good champagne. Very dry finish. The mouthfeel is certainly not something everyone would love, but I was fascinated by how similar it is to champagne.

Drinkability is surprisingly good despite the over-the-top carbonation, tartness and dryness. The wine-like qualities give it a lightness so that it that doesn't feel like a 6.5% ABV beer.

The three strains of champagne-yeast really do make a product that's remarkably similar to champagne. Not for those who don't appreciate bubbly, but a fantastically creative (and tasty)wild ale. (1,336 characters)

Photo of sybilyang
3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's true to its style. It is definitely sour and puckery - in that proper Belgian way. It would pair nicely with a sweet lemony dessert - and that's exactly what I did - a lemon mouse.

The beer poured out of the bottle with that amber haziness that reflects bottle conditioning. Good thick foamy head that settled into about 1" after a few minutes. Not nearly as sour as sucking on a lemon, but close. Drink either on a really hot summer day, or pair with a fish dish or something that needs a clean kick on the pallet. (521 characters)

Photo of kingcrowing
3.93/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap poured into a sampling glass, reviewed from notes.

Pours a light slightly cloudy light wheat color with a very small white head. Nose is sweet and tart and a bit funky.

Taste is also quite tart and funky, it's got some sharp carbonation that works really well with the tart funkiness which adds to the drinkability. Finish is super dry. (345 characters)

Photo of claspada
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of fastpass17.

Pours a light golden yellow with crazy amounts of foam and carbonation here. Would have thought is was champagne if I didn't know any better.

Aromas are quite vinous as well. White grapes, tart green apples. In the background there is a little mustiness and light citrus fruits.

Tastes begin with a lot of tart green apples and apple skin. Slightly earthy and musty from the Brett and also maybe the wheat malt. I also get some more white wine vinous notes and lemon rind in the sweet yet dry finish.

The mouthfeel is light and dry and crisp on the palate, just like a champagne. Plenty of carbonation in this brew, makes it kind of hard to drink which is my only major issue with this beer.

Overall I enjoyed this beer. While it is not my favorite style it was still quite enjoyable. It's one of those beers that drinks so dry/tart that it makes you sip more and the process is repeated, which I find dangerous because the glass is empty before you know it, such is life. (1,008 characters)

Photo of pmarlowe
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Batch E!037.

A: Pours a brilliant orange-tinted gold, with a finger and a half of foamy bright white head. Excellent retention, with a thick ring of foam lasting forever, but minimal lacing. Champagne-like effervescence.

S: Initial impression is loads of pineapple, along with earth, orange, funk, tangerine, and golden ale. The aroma subsides substantially after the initial impression.

T: More subtle flavors on the palate than the nose. A little pineapple and tropical flavors, water, earthiness, with a medium length, quite dry, round citrus and malt finish.

M: Creamy/milky mouthfeel, medium-high, almost-sharp carbonation and medium body.

O: Aroma is nice, but the taste is pretty watery, which really detracts from the experience. There are lots of other shelf sours out there which have this beaten by a furlough. (828 characters)

Photo of Retsinis
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A fellow BA (thanks Adam) was generous to bring this to share at my birthday gathering.

Poured from a 750 ml bottle, (I belive this was a 2009 bottle) into a Bruery tulip glass.

The beer pours a hazy bright golden yellow, with a fluffy billowing white head that rose a good two inches, and retained for quite a while. Eventually faded a bit, but was still a generous inch of head or so throughout. Some light lacing.

The aroma's, to me were a mixture of sour funk, crisp apples, a hint of oak, and wet hay. Also some lemon citrus notes as well.

The taste was refreshing, and crisp. On the draw, I got some initial tartness, sour peaches, oak, and green apples. This was followed by that barnyard funk, a bit of spice, and a dry bitter finish. The flavors reminded me of a sour carbonated chardonnay wine a bit, if such a thing exists.

Mouth feel was medium to high carbonation, dry, not unlike champagne (which it sounds like they were going for that)

I will admit, I do not crave sours. I knocked the beer just a bit on drinkability for that reason, and of the 6 oz I got, it was enough for me personally. I've had a few sours, not been offended by any, but when I see them on the shelf, I tend to pass. Slowly, I'm starting to appreciate them, and this bottle helped that. Reminded me of a fine champagne, just with less alcohol. (1,342 characters)

Photo of glazeman
3.88/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into a snifter, thanks to airohead2001 for procuring this long-time want. On a side note, this is the first bottle I had that was corked and capped, which was a little confusing at first.

A: the beer pours a hazy golden straw color with a one finger white head. The head has fairly good retention and lacing.

S: Lots of funk and sour patch kids on the nose. Not much fruit, citrus, or earthiness. Pleasant, but somewhat uninteresting.

T: Fairly sour, although I wouldn’t classify it as mouth puckeringly sour a la beatification. The main flavors are tart tangerines and tart cherries, mixed with sour candy and a bit of funk, but not much. Good, but left me wanting more.

M: Appropriate carbonation for the style. Nice aftertaste, but not much lingering sour. Average viscosity.

O: Glad to try this beer, but for me it was only slightly above average on the scale of sours I’ve had. (898 characters)

Photo of Cavery
3.88/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle was sent to me to cellar for my brother (Klym) over the holidays. Unfortunately this thing tarted to leak, and there was dark soy smelling residue all over the neck and body. Such a bummer, but the only thing to do is to crack fresh and hope for the best. Fortunately I'd say my sample was very sound.

Poured into a Lost Abbey Tulip. 2011 sample.

A: Looks a lot like that artificial butter that people smother all over their popcorn. A really homogonized fluffy cloudy yellow butter look to it. It has a really strong resemblance in color to most fats. Some egg shell foam remains pretty consistently atop the body of the beer giving it more of a lemony dessert tart look. Happy that it looks reasonable considering my plight.

S: Light roasted peanuts, corn, popcorn, and a dab of whipped yeast. A little bit of funky yellow leathers in the nose that make me a bit concerned, they swirl in a kind of purgatory between going bad and spoiled. The nose returns in the end with some consistent notes of brown olives and peanut oils. Little bit strange, but some light lemon zest helps clean up any inconsistencies. In the very least, it covers them up.

T: Some mildly tart yeast that comes off very buttery. In the world between butters and yeast we get some nice visits from baked garlics. A little bit of acorn funk in the middle that comes off a bit greener than I'd like, but is low in the acidity. Nutty oak takes over with the corn giving it that sugary oily note. However, the corn is done great justice by going nutty with the oak. A mild taste of avocado near the skin. Quite good, quite a relief.

M: Still pretty well carbonated for a light-medium body the sizzles only moderately. The mouth does an interesting thing where a three way battle takes place for mouth-feel supremacy. Nutty oaks clash with drying champagnes, and both are flanked by a weakened canola oil. Due to the conflicting feels, it more or less finds a stasis somewhere at the crossroads of all three. It's not too astringent, oily, or acidic. The balance is pretty nice, and I think this might improve a little if the oak took over.

O: All things considered I can't be so upset about the status of this beer. I'm very glad to have tried it, but I certainly feel that I had more than a few really funky rips throughout the course of my glass. Some very strange old avocado and dead salty yeast flavors attacked me when I least expected it. If this hadn't occurred, I think the overall score would have benefited. I'd love to acquire another bottle to hold onto, but it's hard to justify when this beer seems to be as much of a risk to ship as it is. I will revisit this, but take the necessary precautions when sending or receiving this beer coast to coast -- You'll be glad that you did. (2,783 characters)

Photo of tewaris
3.88/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brute
Thanks SourNotes for sharing a long time want.

Bubbly, very very bubbly. Clear golden color and big white head is inviting. Aroma is funky and leathery. Taste is dominated by acetic sourness but the (extremely) high carbonation keeps it alive... I am not a fan of vinegar in some Flanders style beers because it seems to settle on the palate but it works in Brute.

Very much champagne like as was expected... a simpler beer with great drinkability.

4.5, 4, 3.5, 4.5, 4 (477 characters)

Photo of bulletrain76
3.88/5  rDev -11%
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. (339 characters)

Photo of Gmann
3.87/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 750ml corked, capped, and foiled bottle. Pours a bright golden straw color with a soapy pure white head that dissipated into a light ring. The aroma is of dry champagne grapes and tart lemon concentrate. The taste is of lemon, unripe green apples, champagne, perhaps an unripen cherry as well. I don't pick up much in the way of malt or hops. The sour and tart characteristics hit me right in the back of the jaw. The feel is light and ultra fizzy; sour and tart all over the place. I don't have much experience with the style and its not one of my favorite styles. However, Ithaca seems to nail down the style. Very champagne like with a good punch of tartness. Clean and crisp. (686 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.86/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Thanks to whoever brought this to the Dec. '12 Philly suburbs bottle share!

Poured a hazy yellow color with a foamy white head; moderate retention and doily lacing. Slightly lacto-tart in the nose, with scents of lemon and white grape, earthy. Tasty, but not a mouthgasm as the hype would indicate. The tartness here was very mellow, which is nice, the flavor was a bit subdued, but crisp and clean...this isn't a face-puckering sour. Lemongrass came to mind, with a mild farmhouse character, grassy, earthy, and a hint of Chardonnay. Body was pretty light, crisp, generous carbonation. Not bursting with flavor, instead humble and refined...which made the name "Brute" come off kind of ironic to me. Maybe that's what they were going for. Or maybe I'm just being too philosophical. Quite drinkable and enjoyable overall. (822 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Funky aroma. Golden coloured bodied and lacey. Bg mouthfeel. Strawberry and grape tartness, as well as lemon in the finish. Good drinkability for its sourish characteristics. Not as good as the hype, still a very interesting.
Thanks Tim for saving me one. (255 characters)

Photo of Katahdin
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
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. (370 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.85/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, batch E!010. Pours a hazy light yellow with a thick, bubbly white head. Aroma of light tartness, wheat malt, sour grapes, grapefruit, bitter hops, and a hint of barnyard funk. Most reminiscent of JP Bam Biere to me. Flavor is initially quite tart and sweet with lots of sugar candy notes and wheaty malt. Not very acidic, but certainly sour and tart. Very champagne-like too. This one grew on me a bit--very nice. (421 characters)

Photo of tarheels86
3.83/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL 2009 ed courtesy of nimbleprop. Pours a slightly hazy yellow with a thick, white head that has little to no lace (probably because of the unmalted wheat and just low sugar content in general). Aroma is Bretty, lemonade, cotton candy. Taste is tart, lightly acidic, lemonade, lemon squares. Reminds me of Berliner Weiss. 6/7/2010 8/4/7/4/14=3.7

750mL 2010 ed courtesy of kramer. Poured with a massive head that left excellent sheety lacing. Much drier, more funky in the nose with powerful light fruits, apricot, dust, leather. Taste is much drier, more complex, oak and white wine dryness coming through atop minimal sourness and heavy carbonation. Lively on the palate. Much improved. 9/16/2010 8/5/7/4/15=3.9 (717 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)

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