Brute - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.
BruteBrute

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

389 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 389
Hads: 828
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 4.82%
Wants: 1,098
Gots: 142 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: albern on 06-22-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Brewed with vintage (aged) local hops, barley, wheat, corn, aged in oak with Brett and finished with three types of champagne yeast.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 389 | Hads: 828
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden with a relatively thin but tightly beaded head that sticks around. A nice golden glow to this beer. Smells acetic to start, then spicy oak, and then a more mellow creaminess on the finish. Very nice flavors here. Lots of big acetic notes. a slight touch of funk, big spicy oak, and some nice horseblanket notes. Outstanding. Prickly and very sour in the mouth, this beer is extremely refreshing. I really enjoyed on a late summer day in Atlanta. (465 characters)

Photo of myatomicpolygon
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was opened on my birthday. Batch # E027.

Appearance- I gave it a violent pour into my Duvel tulip and am rewarded with a billowing huge white head that settles down to about a finger after several minutes. It has a beautiful hazy orange color and I can hear the bubbles as they rise to the surface. After about 20 minutes the head completely disappears.

Smell- fantastic aroma. the barnyard funkiness associated with the brett mingles well with a citrus orange peel fruitiness and the wood from the oak. I could sit and smell this one all day.

Taste- sour apple, tart, citrus...with a long dry finish that leaves you puckering and longing for more. well balanced....the tart is very inviting and seeks to enliven the taste buds rather than destroy.

Mouthfeel- medium to full bodied with slight oily slick characteristics and champagne like dryness and effervescence.

Drinkability- smooth and dry...very easy to drink...and after every sip I'm already going in for another. Though a little pricey at 20 dollars a bottle...this one is definitely worth the extra money. (1,083 characters)

Photo of DmanGTR
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
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. (954 characters)

Photo of Estocker
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice golden color

Smell is a big relief. In fact, I am actually starting to salivate. Nice aromas of funk and apple, grape skins, slightly yeasty. I want to say I smell some apricots as well.

WOW! This is perfectly sour. This immediately reminds me of Temptation, but I believe it is even more sour. The taste of green apple, green grape skins, and some citrusy fruits are dominant and a slight barnyard funk lingers. This is delicious.

The mouthfeel is perfect. It's well-carbonated and incredibly sour. I opened this at Xmas with my family and I only poured them 1-2oz pours so that I could finish the rest of the bottle by myself. (644 characters)

Photo of fastsrt
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 poured in a wine glass.

A: bright yellow, hazy, huge fluffy head that laces the glass as it mellows.

S: fuit, apples, grapes, oak

T: apples, lemon, oak, balanced to the point that I will keep going back for more

M: smooth, champaign like.

D: this bottle went down in minutes it was a truly amazing beer I have not been a big fan of sours, only been able to handle about 1 glass or so, untill this one. (410 characters)

Photo of craytonic
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: cloudy pale straw yellow-gold; huge champagne bubble head, nice lacing

Smell: Sour, with a bit of vinegar and lots of delicious brett and some chardonnay grape, peach, pear, apricot, pineapple, lemon, melon, tropical fruits, soft oak, fiji apple and honeydew aromas.

Taste: Deliciously sour with a touch of funk; not as much funk as others but I appreciate the soft nature of it in this one, goes well with the subtle wood and light carbonation. Perhaps not as complex as it could be is the only complaint.

Mouthfeel: Perfect creamy champagne carbonation and incredibly tart and bone dry. (5.0)

Drinkability: Light and delicious, I couldn't believe the bottle was empty (5.0) (691 characters)

Photo of Dobby
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my Dixie Red Cup. Here's to being classy!

A: Hazy straw yellow with about a one finger head.

S: Lots of lemon/citrus notes, a little funk, some grass

T: Love this sour. Lots of lemon/citrus coming out, a good tart flavor overall.

M: Well carbonated. Sour but not too sour so it doesnt wreck the palate.

D: One of my favorite sours overall. I brought this on a trip with me so my non-BA friends could get a taste (hence the classy red cups). Everybody loved it, just wish I could get this locally! (526 characters)

Photo of KeefD
4.66/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Once again, another huge thanks go out to Knifestyles for this lovely treat!

Batch E!018

Pours a lovely golden color with light orange in the middle, hazy pineapple if you will, with an enormous white head that left some generous lacing all down the Tripel Karmeliet tulip. Looks perfect.

Aroma is a nice blend of funk, light leather, citrus, oak, and white wine acidity. I used to think I liked the nose of wild reds more than whites, but this opinion may be changing after the last two wilds I've tried.

Wonderful citric, tart flavor. Plenty of lemon, maybe some orange, and pineapple, oak, light bitterness, and very light sourness. I'm even picking up a little bit of peach and mango in there. Wow, this is tasty! There is some sweetness up front, but it quickly dries out on the finish. Beautiful balance in this beer between the lightly sweet malts, the wood, and the funky/tart brett flavors. It's definitely more tart than it is funky, but it's awfully delicious.

It's sour/tart but not puckeringly so. Plenty of carbonation, but it's very smooth. I mean, I can see a zillion tiny carb bubbles in the glass, but I can barely feel them on the tongue. This is exactly what I want in a wild as far as mouthfeel goes.

All around, this is a great beer. I only wish I could trade for more of these sours because I would love to see how they do with age.

Thanks once again, Chris, for providing me with another fantastic East Coast goodie! (1,452 characters)

Photo of Proteus93
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of Bankhead.... this is an Ithaca beer in particular that I have wanted to check out for some time, and I'm glad to have finally had a chance to look into it.

A: Blonde, yet nothing but shadows appear through... it is so murky, the light works to make it through. Totally unfiltered, there is just no clarity here.

S: There's a tart fruitiness, but nothing that stands out in particular - mostly the peels of fairly fresh fruit - pear, apple, and even a little dash of peach. Wood aging doesn't appear to really add a whole lot of aroma

T: It's not often that I come across a sour that is quite so savoury. Mostly a sour apple, without being such a simplistic flavour. There is a soft taste of 'funk' in there, but not a whole lot of farmhouse flavours. Lemon, without being hugely citrus. It's a soft, complex beer. It is mouth watering and wonderful.

M + D: I am astounded by how well this beer has held up with age, how well it has been brewed, how pleasant it feels in general. There's s wonderfully pleasing dryness that takes a moment to make itself noticed - slightly delayed, yet appropriate. It's a highly accessible sour that I feel could be appealing to those who struggle with the style... even a potentially appropriate 'gateway,' yet it is brewed in such a way that the fans of 'more assertive' beers would be pleased. This is an excellent beer, one that I am pleased to have had the opportunity to have tried... I regret missing out on getting it earlier! (1,487 characters)

Photo of cosmicevan
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

surprised not to have a review for this one...must be in the backlog of notes? none-the-less opened E!037 and filled a russian river tulip.

a - brew poured a transparent yellow orange with visible champagne like carbonation. a massive bubbly head filled half the glass and slowly fizzled away leaving spotty but chunky lacing on the side of the glass. fairly frothy for all those bubbles.

s - wonderful tart. acidy citric peach and tropical fruit with a glaze of sour candy sweetness. you can almost smell the fizziness.

t - really well balanced and complex sour flavors. the perfect meld of fruitiness and sourness. the taste is really spot on. oaky. extremely refreshing. fruitiness is orange peel mixed with citrus with a hint of peaches and a tropical almost kiwi like splash to finish it off.

m - prickly carbonation. finishes a bit dry and bitter...just a BIT. easy drinker, light and thirst quenching...ideal for the current heat wave.

o - overall, i've always dug brute, but i forgot how great it is. this is truly one of the better sours out there. the balance is mind blowing. if you don't like over the top sours, but still enjoy sours, this is your beer. wonderful tropical fruit flavorings with a nice burst of sour. non offensive...really well crafted sour. (1,276 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared at my tasting on May 29, 2010.

Brute appears a light, golden hue with a tiny head that leaves no lacing, which isn't terribly surprising for a wild ale. Aromas of wild yeast, particularly brettanomyces, straw, and hay are wonderful and inviting. This is going to be a tasty beverage, I can tell. The taste is absolutely wonderful, and even exceeded my expectations based on the aroma. This beer is smooth and easy to drink. The feel is slightly thin, but not necessarily in a negative way. This is a really fantastic beer. Highly recommended. (550 characters)

Photo of Tilley4
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to a semi-local BA for hooking me up with this unbelievable brew... Never thought I'd get to try this one...

A clear golden pour topped my an active white foamy head releases some of the most magnificent aromas I've ever smelled in a beer... An old wooden musty basket full of sour green apples... A decaying barn loaded with still damp hay... A crisp semi-dry white wine that's just been freshly bottled...I don't get the same thing twice... Old weathered leather along with roughly hewn oak... Tart and funky as hell... Loads of aromas...

Bracingly tart green apples and white wine comes to mind first but that's quickly overtaken by a leathery dry oakiness that finishes abruptly leaving me wanting the next sip... This isn't overly tart as some others of the style but rather rides alongside the other flavor aspects... World class palate... Lush and full and luxurious in the mouth...

World class brew all the way... I was saddened to see this one come to an end... Enjoyed every sip of it and wanted more... (1,028 characters)

Photo of mrand01
4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle labeled batch E!027 poured in to a generic Crate & Barrel tulip.

A: Golden, opaque. Thin head that stays thicker towards the rim of the pour. Sticky lacing.

S: Funk, citrus zest, tart. Spicy in some way, but very hard to place.

T: Again, I've never had such a hard time describing a beer. Everyone I was drinking with agreed that it's most likely the addition of corn that contributes to the sweet & savory taste, but it's very difficult to describe.

M: Medium bodied with a playful champagne-like carbonation.

O: Knockout brew from Ithaca. Really wish this was getting distributed again instead of becoming a brewery exclusive. (646 characters)

Photo of DaggerEyes
4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours beautifuly. Super fine champagne like carbonation a fizzy head that doesn't stick around too long. Hazy golden straw color with a thin white collar.

Funky vineous nose. Vinegar. Grapefruit, cideresque, a bit of lemon

crisp refreshing taste very much in line with what one would expect from the nose. Also some sour green apple and perhaps a bit of melon?

Medium thin mouthfeel. Fine bubbled carbonation. Dry finish.

Awesome beer. (443 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage. Batch# E!010

Pours into my glass a wonderfully clear golden yellow with super active carbonation that forms a cragly mountain of white foam on top of the brew. Aromas of crisp malts bathed in a wall of bright Brett and earthy barnyard accents. Grape and citrus fruit accents run throughout. Lemon zest as well.

First sip is a mix of bright fruit flavors and Brett with a crisp dryness throughout. Grape, citrus, lemon zest moving into a puckering tartness. A touch acidic with a nice barnyard funk kick. Flavors run all over the palate with a lingering tartness. Awesome brew.

Mouthfeel is crisp and refreshing with fast moving carbonation. Goes down easily and is a pleasure to drink. Quite an exemplary wild ale here, not too funky and not too sour. Just packed full of flavor. Well worth seeking out. (820 characters)

Photo of Wisconsinality
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured into tulip.

Thanks to Beerwolf77 for this one.

A- This beer pours a hazy apricot with a half finger worth of head. It dies down slowly and leaves some spotty lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Big hints of wild yeast with nice fruity and grape notes. There is also a good amount of funk to it as well.

T- Starts out with good tartness with some sour grapes and a nice balance of funk. There is also some good yeast presence and a wine like character.

M- Lighter bodied with sparkling carbonation that tickles the tongue. Pretty dry on the finish and a little sour puckering.

O- This brew lives up to its billing. Great flavors with a nice sour bite to it all while maintaining great balance throughout. Get this if you can. (751 characters)

Photo of Popkas
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch: E!018

A: Pours a shiny light golden hue with a foamy top with tons of lacing. Very nice.

S: A heavy barnyard must melded with nice citrusy notes.

T: Nice complex taste that runs from a biting citrus front then the middle and back is almost perfectly sour. Just on the cusp of puckering making this extremely drinkable.

M: Light and everevescent.

D: See "T". (370 characters)

Photo of Sideswipe
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. 2011 batch. I've received bottles of this from AleWatcher and Palmej1. Huge thanks to both!

An aggressive pour yields a huge four finger head which threatens to overflow my glass. The foam recedes leaving a white coaster floating atop the golden hued brew. The nose is fruity and sour, almost champagne like. Taste opens with notes of sour green apples and barnyard funk. Mid-palate there's a nice tartness which sets up a refreshingly dry finish. The beer is medium bodied with a smooth, creamy texture. Brute is a wonderful example of an American Wild Ale. An almost perfect blend of tart, sour, funky flavors combined with an expertly crafted body make this brew a joy to imbibe. Highly recommended (716 characters)

Photo of ngeunit1
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy super bright golden-yellow color with a big two-fingers of frothy white head. The head hangs around forever afterwards and eventually fades down to a still sizeable layer.

S - Aroma is a fine balance of tart and sour grape aromas. There is also some other fruity sweet background flavors, some malt and wheat, and just a touch of hops mixed in.

T - Starts off with a great mix of tart and sour grape flavor. There is a bit of malt in the background to provide just a hint of balance. Through the middle, the sour and tart flavors mingle back and forth with a bit of wheat flavor and other fruit esters. The finish is a mix of sour and tart grape flavors that mingle nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The tart flavors really create a nice dry mouthfeel that also feels really crisp and refreshing. The sour and tart also linger nicely.

D - Very drinkable. It is amazing how rich the flavors are and how the beer avoids to feel overly heavy. The sour and tart flavors are very nicely balanced and keep that balance throughout. (1,066 characters)

Photo of Gyle41386
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes:

E!010 on the bottle.

Golden, lemonade-like pour. Pretty nice head, with good retention and some great lacing.

Tart, sour aroma and flavor. Lemon zest and white grape. The flavor is outstanding. It's pretty tart, but not overwhelming at any point. No sharpness, not vinegar-y. Fantastic.

Good lively carbonation, airy and light, as you'd expect from the blend of Champagne yeasts. Super easy drinker for a sour. (433 characters)

Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a nice opaque bright yellow. huge white head. outstanding retention and lacing.

S: huge aroma of brett. massive sour notes. tons of citrus.

T: like sex in a glass for me. great sours and brett flavors. an amazing wild ale. great pale malt flavors with a ton of sour citrus. lemons.

M: mild body. huge carbonation level. nice tart mouthfeel. very clean and crisp. (376 characters)

Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.7/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and capped, batch E!018

A - hazy, indeed "turbid" light gold. 2 finger, quickly dissipating head with absolutely 0 lace. Perpetual carbonation.

S - hmmm, how do you describe a "sour" smell? strong odors of green apple skins, lemon, and fermentation.

T - matches the fantastic smell. strong green apple, lemon, and orange with a strong acidic bite accompanying the dry finish.

M - very nice and light gracias a the champagne yeast and high carbonation.

D - this is definitely a great sour, and one I will come back to. Not something made to drink all night, but excellent with food. (595 characters)

Photo of calise1122
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Was so excited to hear that a local store received a couple cases... I changed my plans instantly, headed down and loaded up. What a beautiful Spring Sunday and what a perfect beer to enjoy it with. Top it off that I just bottled my first batch of homebrew and it came out not just drinkable, but actually tasty!

I throw on shuffle all, and Stevie Wonder guides the way with Black Man from Songs in the Key of Life... and away we go.

As I watch it pour, it reminds me of the time I just crushed the heck out of green grapes... the color of the pour has that faintly green sort of hue to it as it finds the palm of the glass. But as the tart smelling juice spreads around the wine glass... it settles into a beautiful orangey golden color. Nice light head settles on top and caps off... leaving incredible lacing. It looks great, and as I attempt to use the Brute filled glass as a telescope, I realize that it is cloudy and thick and that the golden hue is deep and full and I can't see through it at all. And while this looks really really pretty... I can't dodge that sour amazing aroma.

My nose meets my hand and the glass halfway and I freeze... unable to move from this position because the smell is intoxicating. My fiancée walks in and gives me that look that I get when I geek out by myself with beer... you know the look... it's a mixture of confusion, doubt, humor all sewn together with respect and love... she shakes her head, laughs and walks out. I am still hunched over with my nose acting as a diving board on the rim of the glass. The brett is obvious, giving it that wet cat meets hockey equipment meets an old...

(Song change, Jeff Tweedy covering Dylan's "Simple Twist of Fate"... off the I'm Not There album... what a compilation)

...afghan blanket that has been tucked in the attic for to many years. The citric lemon, sour champagne smell is there as well... with a nice, fairly subtle but noticeable oak character. Man, that is a good smelling beer.

So, I have been into sours for a while now... and I often find myself at a bar like say, the Tiger, with a good pal that likes good beer, just doesn't seek it out or really buy it. The other day I was there with a great buddy from Chicago and the lady. I order three beers, let him try them all and pick his favorite... in the mix we had a sour. He decided to go with the Aventinus, thinking on first sip the sour was to much. A few minutes later he asked for another sip, then another... and after essentially drinking my entire beer explained; "it's like Tabasco... Not necessarily the taste I expect to want or like, but the more you have the more you need". I can't help but think that sums it up for me. I need it, and once I get that initial brett/sour taste I need more quick. Brute is incredibly dry and tart, leaving your mouth pleading for more...

(Song change, Lykke Li, "Complaint Department". Saw her a few months back and she was captivating, if you get the chance check her out)

...Citric, sour, lemon, orange, all under the umbrella of Brett and his manly mustiness... giving it that funk. Sour apple is really dominating at first, but it those other fruits start to poke their heads out more as it warms.

Brute is extremely carbonated giving it a great mouthfeel... reminds me of Cuvee de Castleton in its medium body, dry finish, yet incredibly full of carbination. It's the type of beer I could swish around my mouth for hours (or minutes, maybe a couple seconds)

Very...

(Song Change, now we get the real thing... Dylan, off of Blonde on Blonde, "I want you". Great song "The drunken politicians, leaps upon the street where mothers weep, and the saviors who are fast asleep... they wait for you.")

... very drinkable. It is so dry that it takes some resistance to slow down and enjoy each sip.

Overall, great, great beer. Ran into the brewer at a CL beer dinner and he said that he, at first, didn't think it was that good. It took his customers to let him know how damn good it was to start and feel confident behind it. Great offering, great beer, great Sunday (4,071 characters)

Photo of Ambiorix
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A cloudy, golden pour, topped with a dense white head. Wonderful to look at and indicative of good things to come.

S: Sour, brettanomyces funk, barnyard, wet hay, lemon drops.

T: Intensely sour, lemongrass, barnyard funkiness, wonderful brett bitterness, spicy undertones.

M: Well carbonated, nicely dry finish.

D: A wonderful beer. Definitely one to seek after and hoard in your cellar when you can find it. My only gripe is the use of an artificial cork that is very difficult to remove. My trys with a butler's thief, which I use to good effect on natural corks, resulted in chipped glass, which was thankfully confined to the exterior of the bottle. I will use a conventional corkscrew next time, but no bottle should be this hard to open. Would much prefer a mushroom cork with a cage. (797 characters)

Photo of infestaxion
4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch E!010

A - Very hazy golden blonde with a fluffy white head that hangs around forever.

S - Very sour and funky. Lightly fruity. Kiwi maybe? Very nice. I wish they made candles that smelled like this.

T - Nice and tart. Very good sourness to it. That fruit smell is there in the background but very subdued. The funk is also not as noticeable in the taste as the smell. Very, very good.

M - It is very tingly. I love it.

D - I'm going to try very hard not to take down this whole 750 in the next 15 minutes.

In my opinion, this is easily one of the best American Wild Ales around. Happy birthday to me indeed. (619 characters)

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