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Brute - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

815 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 815
Reviews: 388
rAvg: 4.43
pDev: 9.03%
Wants: 1,119
Gots: 144 | 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: 815 | Reviews: 388 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jeffthecheff
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright gold color with a fluffy, two finger white head with great retention. There is a touch of haze, with carbonation bubbles adding liveliness.

The aroma is deep, acidic, and fruity with a large amount of funkiness from the yeast and bacteria. Lemon juice comes to mind, as well as some hay. Maybe some old hay. The smell of the air after a rainy day also came to mind.

The flavor is much less funky than the nose. It's very sour with lemon notes and a large amount of acid. The flavor is kept simple and almost clean, but with a very unique sourness to it.

The mouthfeel is light bodied and dry, with a decent amount of carbonation, perhaps even a bit low. Overall this really impresses me, although I wish I had some more help finishing the bottle.

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

750 mL Bottled 2010, batch E!027
Poured in to my Portsmouth tulip

A: This beer pours a beautiful hazy golden color with a ridiculous three finger of foamy, rocky white head. Head recedes at a moderate pace leaving chunky sheets of lacing.

S: Nose is s-o-u-r. Nice sour notes, apricot, funky, and lemon zest.

T: Taste starts rather a bit more mellow than the nose would indicate. Light sour fruit notes - apricot and peach come through. A bit of light hay comes in and mild corn. Finish is lemon, grapefruit zest funk that hit the top of your mouth and hang a bit. Peach notes hit in the aftertaste too.

M: Lighter side of medium body, moderate carbonation, very dry body but then has a bit sticky finish.

O: Goes down easily, very tasty, not too filling, mild kick and a great representation of style. This isn't the blow your hair back sour Wile ale. It's a well crafted, complex beer that is rather fruity with a nice sour funk that really balances the beer and enhances the flavors.

Photo of jefferz5000
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to stakem for this surprise bottle!

Poured into my awesome Portsmouth glass that STEG sent me. This is one of the most beautiful beers to grace any glass of mine. Pours a hazy peachy hue with some serious white bubbly head that eventually fades away almost completely. Brute is such a pretty color.

Smells sour. Surprise! It's got a nice tart funky aroma, suggesting I will surely enjoy this one. If I didn't feel compelled to taste it, I would just keep sniffing it.

Taste follows the nose. Funky. Sour. Unripe stone fruits, maybe? I like to pretend at least. It's very well rounded. Def tart, but not overwhelming. The more you consume, the fuller the taste seems to become.

Carbonation starts out high, but delivers a pretty smooth finish. It starts off similar to the feel of champagne, but I feel like it finishes differently, which I like for sure.

Well, I just finished my first glass, and am about to pour another, with no hesitation. I'd say the drinkability is pretty high. And while 7% isn't an off the charts ABV, I'd guess lower. Nom nom.

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

A: Lightly clouded deep gold color. Poured a coarse white 2 finger head that dissipated quickly to a skim thickened at the edges. Thin, inconsistent lacing. Decanted continually.

S: Sweet, floral and fruity; reminded me of some white wines. There is a deep bread and honey sweetness that dies with a pungent yeast funk.

T: Bread and honey sweetness. Green apple and grape sourness puntuate the middle. Other light-colored fruit flavors come through (like peach, pear) with a subtle sourness as well. Finishes with champagne and a lingering wild yeast funk.

M: Light body. Ample carbonation. Smooth and dry.

D: My personal bias, I like the style in small doses so I would not normally rate it as highly drinkable. That said, its really classic in smell, taste and mouthfeel and a very good beer for the style so I'm rating the 4.5 based on that along with the way IBC did a nice job on the balance.

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

750ml bottle received in a trade with jjayjaye. Thanks for the opportunity!

Appearance: Slightly cloudy urine yellow body with a bright white 2 finger crown that exhibits some retention and nice lacing.

Smell: Very acidic notes of lemon zest, some muscat grapes, and a touch of horse blanket.

Taste: Very nice dry puckering sourness! Green apple, lemon zest, oak, muscat grapes, etc.

Mouthfeel: Lots of carbonation, enjoyably thin and effervescent.

Drinkability: If it wasn't so sour it would of rated higher. Addictive for a sour lover though :)

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

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

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

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

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

D: All day baby...very drinkable.

Photo of amphion1065
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle, Batch E!037, poured into a Duvel tulip. Kudos to Chris.

After removing the vaguely disturbing, slug-like orange wax cork, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is quite a pretty beer. Hazy pale gold, almost peach. A huge, billowing, shockingly pure white head, an easy two fingers' worth. Crazy retention and lacing.

Aroma is rich with bretty funk. Huge citrus overtones, with big notes of lemon juice. Hay and grass, almost wheat-like. Some pineapples are in the mix as well.

The taste is more sour than funky, and it's delicious. Lots of tart, acidic citrus flavors. This is very lemony, with the kind of puckering sourness I long for in AWAs. Big brett notes, but without too much earthy, mineral funk.

Great, lively carbonation - I really dig the mouthfeel. I started to feel the burn after a little while, but couldn't bring myself to stop.

A really excellent wild ale, and it hit every note I look for in the style. I'd love to try one with a little age on it, and can only wonder how the sourness intensifies over time. I really hope this makes it into distro next year, though I won't hold my breath.

Photo of popery
4.39/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From notes, 1/31/11. Good sour. Pours golden and cloudy. Very little head. Just a few stray bubbles. Very lemony and vinous. Peaches, apricots and berries show up as well. Quite tart. A complex fruity sour flavor. Very enjoyable. Feel is lively and the beer is light on the palate. Some brett and funk, but it’s background to the tart fruit flavors. Quite dry. Should age well.

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

Effin' excellent brew. I'm an amateur here, so I'm totally unqualified to talk about hop notes or brett or lacing or whatever. I'm doing my homework on beer 101, but in the meantime I'd like to enjoy some. This I can.

Brute has a distinct type of sour that finishes clean but leaves me thinking about granny smith apples in the dryness of champagne. The carbonation and head are great, and I feel classy drinking this. Buy me another and take me home.

I almost feel bad calling it beer. But I don't feel bad calling it awesome. Would drink again - for sure.

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

Huge thanks to bankhead for this longtime want, particularly from a style I'm still warming up to.

Appearance: Proteus93's pour is clear, crisp, and golden, while mine is of course hazy, orangey-yellow, capped by a good two fingers of slightly dull white head that fizzes and fades relatively quickly but nonetheless leaves a good ring of bubbly spongy lacing and a few smatterings of surface dusting. There may very well be carbonation in this brew, but the haziness does a fair job of denying me that.

Aroma: Faint, quenching, tart vinegar qualities, but a slew of complexities as well. Only a faint amount of cheesy funk, really, that comes across as faintly sweaty, faintly cheesy, farmhouse-y, and largely tart. The remainder of this brew is citrusy - orangey, largely lemony - slightly malty - in a golden, malty, sweet, soft sort of way - with none of those unpleasant medicinal smells and tons of those pleasant fruity, slightly spicy ones.

Taste: Ohhh damn. Quenching tartness, dry malts, tons of citrus, a fair amount of funk ... just an amazingly complex and balanced brew. Ohhh my god I just cleansed my palette and it just hit me all over again. This one's hugely tart, wonderfully complex, sweet, simple, and well-rounded. Lemon notes add a palette-quenching aspect to this one that augments the orange notes and faintly topical notes. Oy.

Mouthfeel: Hugely effervescent carbonation, with smooth, crisp, and terribly soft effervescence filling up a moderately smooth body that I would imagine would be sticky, thick, and syrupy if it weren't so dry and quenching.

Drinkability: Flavorful, complex, enjoyable, yet ... approachable. This reminds me a lot of Isabelle Proximus, actually - tart, complex, soft, smooth, flavorful. It's truly an amazingly well-made beer, not overly tart or overly funky or overly sour. It's just terribly balanced and terribly drinkable, and - at 6.5% - was a sober up beer for me at this period of the tasting. Not anything wrong with this one, actually, and I'm truly looking forward to batch 2 of this fantastic brew.

Photo of Soonami
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to mikereaser for hooking me up with a bottle of 2010 Ithaca Brute. This was an excellent beer and easy trade.

Brute is a hazy hay colored beer that fills the glass with it's voluminous head. It looks like lemonade topped with egg foam. The sparkling white fluff stays on the entire time. The beer smells grainy and only faintly sour like ripening lemons. The acidity of Brute is actually less than I thought and was preparing myself for (especially after consuming a Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek) but was well balanced with the residual sweetness from the grain. The flavor is lemony and crisp with sour apples and a bit of wood-like phenol or tannin from the hops. This is a delicious beer that has good body (The Brewing Network interview with the brewer revealed a 4 Plato finishing gravity) and mouthfeel that looks great in a glass.

When this is released again this year, I'm going to try to get a case.

Photo of thagr81us
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Massive thanks to nyrangerfan for a bottle of this in a recent trade. Batch #3! Served from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Poured a pale yellow-orange with a three finger very slightly off-white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, sourt, tart, and citrus. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, tart, and slight funk. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was quite the excellent brew. I had gotten a sample of this at the recent ORF release at Foothills and HAD to have more of it. The reason being is that this is just an excellent tasting brew. Also a very nice aroma going on here as well. If you like sour/funky beers and haven't had this one yet, you need to get off your ass and do so. Even if you have to trade for it... It is worth it.

Photo of younger35
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this brew from the ever famous BeerTruth. I've been sitting on this one for way to long and can't wait to try it. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip while watching the Broncos vs. Jets.

Batch# E!010

Appearance- Pours a very hazy light yellow with a huge 2 finger fluffy white head that seems to last forever. The head never really falls below one finger as that cap leaves loads of frothy lacing.
Smell- Lightly fruity from the start with a lightly sweet, very melon like nose. Cantaloupe, honeydew, and maybe even a tinge of banana smell absolutely wonderful. Not as sour smelling as I was expecting but definitely light tinges of apple cider vinegar and earthy funk. The oak and vanilla really open up as the beer warms and maybe gets a hint sourer in the nose.
Taste- Whoa! Way more sour than the nose led me to believe! Bone dry and not all that fruity it has way more rice wine vinegar than melon fruitiness. Quenching and pleasing as a bit of green apple and white grape does show slightly as the beer warms. More wine than beer at times but none-the-less, delicious. Finishes with a light lingering vanilla woodiness that is my favorite part of these barrel aged sours. The aftertaste tastes EXACTLY like Russian Rivers Temptation.
Mouthfeel- Medium body that's very crisp and clean with sharp vibrant carbonation that would give any bottle of Champaign a run for the money. Very dry and quenching.
Drinkability- The first sip of this brew was fairly puckering but I acclimated quickly. I'm nearly finished with the bottle and I'm almost done with my review. The subtle oak and extreme dryness are really nice and make this an exceptionally easy drinking brew. Perhaps the easiest drinking Wild Ale I've tried. Big, HUGE thanks to Adam for sharing!

Photo of trappistlover
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(750ml bottle at RBWG!). Pours hazy golden with massive white head. Decent carbonation. Awesome funky aroma with some fruit (apricot, green apple, and papaya. Taste is tart/funky with a nice amount of vinegar that isn’t typical of many american beers. Medium bodied with a dry finish. This is a bright, incredible sour. This is a fantastic beer!

Photo of hippityhops85
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle poured into champagne flute

Pours an opaque orange/lemon peel color. Minimal head that forms a nice ring around the circumference of the glass

The nose is exceptional. Tons of lemon peel, citrus, bretty goodness. Granny Smith apples play a big role here as well.

The taste follows suit on the nose. Really exceptional and clean. Tons of tart lemony flavors along with a big Granny Smith apple puckering flavor. Very Dry. Yum.

The mouth feel is surprising but not expected. It is pretty aggressive on the carbonation but I feel that it adds to the tart characteristics of the beer rather that distract. Embraces the "Brute" label. Highly recommended. I hope this gets to see distribution again rather than a brewery release.

Photo of rlee1390
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!37

A-Cloudy yellow-orange, two finger head well carbonated but goes flat after a while.

S-Lemon, tartness with some wheat.

T-Lemon, wheat. Not overly sour more of a well balanced tartness.

M-Light an very carbonated at first, but it starts to go flat after a while.

O-A wonderful beer. Not extremely sour but tart borderline sour. The lemon and wheat flavor is great. Glad I went to the release.

Photo of bert13tj
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours like a champagne. Golden color

Smells very sweet and a little sour.

Taste a bit sour, but not overbearing. You can definently taste the champagne yeast used to brew this beer.

Not something I would drink everyday, but I would definently buy this again.

Photo of jlindros
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Armsby Abbey, four vintages 08-11.

Fizzy light head, opaque murky pale color, fresher is fairly clear but all the aged ones are very murky.

Nose funky, sour tart fruit, lemon citrus, brett funk, fresher has more of the golden Belgian malts and it gets funkier and more tart lemon as it ages.

Taste on the fresh had nice golden malts with light funk. Gets more funk and a lot more sour as it ages. Light funky barnyard brett, tart lemon citrus fruit dry grainy bready finish. Some weird sour peach and pear in some of them. Light grape skin as well. 09 is really nice sour and funky, nice fruits. 08 seems to drop off a bit but is still very tart and smooth finish. 10 is most fruit fresh peach and tart. Fresh has little funk and sour more nice Belgian ale. Nice tart sour lemon finish and a bit flemmy finish on all of them. My mouth is watering for a long time after making me continue to sip.

Mouth is med bodied, good carb.

Overall awesome, age about 3 years for perfection.

Photo of womencantsail
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Batch 1 courtesy of imperialking and opened to share at the PtY release on 2/5/10.

A: The pour is a cloudy light golden straw color with a fluffy white head.

S: The nose is not terribly complex nor funky, but has a very nice amount of lactic tartness. This provides a refreshing citrus and white grape aroma which I find very pleasing in wild ales. There is a slight touch of oak and Brett, to keep things in check.

T: This is not a terribly "funky" beer, but that does not bother me. The lemon, green apple, and grape notes go quite well with the dry and tannic feel of the beer from the wood and the Brett.

M: The body is a bit on the light side with a very high level of carbonation and a dry finish. The champagne yeast definitely provides a little something different here.

D: I've heard mixed reviews of this beer, but I found Batch 1 to be quite delicious at this point. I have a bottle of Batch 2 which I will be saving for some time as it appears this one gets better with age.

Photo of flexabull
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle courtesy of charlesw, thanks again!

I'm been curious about this one for a while now. I feel that the best American Sours are made in Northern California by Vinnie at Russian Russian, let's see how a sour from upstate New York compares. This one certainly has some great scores on here.

Pours a bright and cloudy gold color. With a very big white head. It has some floaters, but it really has a nice glow to it.

Bright sour aromas. Lots of lemon, grasses, apples, pears, and really light vinegar. This one has some funk, but also has some pleasant sour fruit notes too.

Taste is very clean and crisp. Light green apple flavors, puckering lemon, and a dry mineral like bite on the finish. Sourness and brett is present, but subdued much more than I thought it would be. It adds a nice funky light vinegar backdrop, it's there, but certainly not up in your face. In a strange sort of way, this kind of reminds me of a wit beer that is brewed with brett.

Mouthfeel is good, could use a little more depth on the finish, but it's not bad at all.

Wow, I am impressed. This is a very drinkable sour. Nice sour flavors, but not over the top. Kind of reminds me of Sanctification Jr. Good stuff, and kudos Ithaca, this is a very nice interpretation of the style.

Photo of bamadog
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this with my buddy Jeff the other night. The review is from notes taken on 6/10/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a light coppery/apricot color and starts with a short 1/2 finger white, frothy head that fades quickly to an uneven skim on the surface; body is a little cloudy from the various yeasts; only a couple faint spots of lacing are left behind holding on to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Uh oh, when I finally managed to get the cork out, I was actually frightened by the scent as the cheese and funky barnyard blasted forth from the bottle and assaulted my nose, however, after a moment of letting it breathe, it mellowed out quite a bit and became more of a funky mulch that's actually quite pleasant and tempting; a nice citric blast of sour and tart orange and lemony zest and a bit of a sweet, syrupy corn-like scent emanates as well.

Taste: A welcome blast of citric and tart sourness that makes me pucker with every sip; the funk is really hidden by the tartness and the sweet syrupy corn flavors bring about a bit of balance that's lacing in other beers with brett that I've sampled thus far; there's a bit a sweet, powdery yeasty/light breadiness to it as well. Quite awesome.

Mouthfeel: Great spritz and carbonation to it; the sour tartness is potent and makes me pucker after each sip; a thick, sticky coating that's a little dry is left all over the mouth; the acidic nature does get to the tummy a bit, but it's not awful and pretty easy to get by when I think of the great and perfectly lively body.

Drinkability: Awesome flavors, and I love the mouthfeel and the potent pucker that it brings; a great beer for the warm summer nights; definitely not a wild to start with, and I'm still pretty early in my career with this style, but if you've had a couple beers with brett and are accustomed to the funkiness, this is definitely a beer you can enjoy immensely.

Photo of crashlimo
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch E!027

A: Pours a hazy golden yellow with apparent carbonation. A small amount of white head accumulates, but does not stick to the glass.

S: Sour citrus notes and funk permeate the air. Crisp smell with hints of apple.

T: Ever so crisp, dry and tart. Strong flavor of green apples, and hints of sour peach. Very refreshing, yet not understated. Wonderfully sour.

M: Mild carbonation created by the champagne yeast creates a light, crisp mouthfeel that compliments the light flavors.

D: Finishes slightly dry with a mild sour aftertaste that leaves you craving more, and more...and more. Flavors are just powerful and complex enough to stun ones taste buds into a slow leisurely drink (otherwise I'd worry about the urge to suck it down too fast)

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap, served in an 8oz snifter

Slightly cloudy golden color with a firm paper white cap. Good staying power with some decent retention.

Huge sour notes. Lemons, hay, barnyard, some oak, and tart fruit. The Brett is really pronounced here. Tons of layers and complexity.

On the palate, oak comes out a little more, adding a layer of woody dryness on top of the tartness and barnyard funk from the Brett. Loads of citrus and some cider vinegar lend a pretty potent sour punch.

Light bodied, effervescent and extremely crisp and dry. This is a funky little number that finishes with a nice dryness. Surprisingly easy to drink.

This beer is very impressive. Had been chasing this one for a while and finally found it on tap. It did not disappoint. Excellent sour beer.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
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!!

Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
98 out of 100 based on 815 ratings.