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 AshleyMiller
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a special thanks to Ejeffer11 again for this beer! poured into a stone snifter. batch E!037.

a- the perfect warm sunny yellow-brown, an opaque masterpiece with thousands of tiny champagne bubbles

s- heavenly, brett in all its glory

t- much the same as the smell, quick tart apple-pear tinge with a clean finish, not acidic mouth-puckering, but sour non the less

m- the body of the trickle off of third dam, a lesser known ithaca waterfall, a rush of balanced sour on the tongue, softening quickly

o- truly a delight to drink. not overwhelming. simple elegance in a bottle. will be seeking this one out permanently. (620 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 ChadQuest
3.55/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The pour presents a hazy golden hue that resembles a sunshine lit straw prairie at sunset. large voluminous head that is white as the bone of skeletor.
The aroma has some levels of funk but not a massive onslaught of funk and sour notes, about the level i would expect a good authentic saison to have, with some subtle barnyard notes and some mild fruits.
The flavors are enjoyable and refreshing, subtle and pulls you into itself to seek out the funk, pears, apples, peach, straw and wheat, and some citrusy notes.
This beer is really dry and attenuated, super clean and refreshing on the mouthfeel with crisp light bubbles and intice another sip. (649 characters)

Photo of homebrew311
4.32/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to the Central PA crew for sending this in the Gang Bang BIF. This was one of the highlights of our tasting.

A: pours a hazy yellow, good lacing, decent retention of a thin dense white head

S: white grapes, dashes of vinegar, lactobacillus, and oak. Nose hints at a wonderfully sour experience on the palate...

T: very tart up front, slightly puckering, notes of fruit come through at the end, dry finish, very refreshing

MF: high carbonation, very refreshing mouthfeel, fits the beer well

O: this is a great Wild Ale. It features a acidic sour profile and a nice balance. This is a must try for any fan of sours/Wild Ales. (639 characters)

Photo of BigPlay1824
4.33/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed in a snifter

A: Pours a very nice medium yellow with plenty of character and a slight orange hue. pours with a nice finger of very active and fizzy head that dissipates quickly, leaves minimal lacing, has a solid amount of carbonation bubbles. very hazy throughout
S: sweetness, tart, raspberries and also something like white wine of white grape juice, stings the nostrils
T: great taste for the style, like white grape juice with more tartness and bite,
M: very strong on the carbonation from the second it hits the lips, smooths out towards the middle end and leaves and nice sweetness and awakened feeling in the mouth
O: sweet, sour, tart, bright, complex, its got everything, beautiful representation of the style, cant wait to see what this one does with a few years of aging under its belt (807 characters)

Photo of suspect
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle, corked and capped, into a pint glass. Batch E!037.

A: Cloudy straw color. Semi-aggressive pour leads to a big-time fizzy head that disappears quickly. Little to no lacing evident.

S: Dry, champagne-y smell with lemon zest and earthy, barnyard funk. Wonderful nose that gets better and better as the beer warms.

T: Lemon-heavy citrus hits first followed by the funk of the brett and quickly followed by the bready yeast of the finished champagne yeast. A touch of apple cider flavor here as well that fills out the tartness of this brew. Really complex and well done.

M: Hugely fizzy, light bodied. The tart really makes me pucker up and then go back for more. Nice smooth dry finish.

O: Stellar, stellar beer. Really glad I was able to pick up a case because this is a beer that will really test my will to not open one after the other. (869 characters)

Photo of Mrmarmot
4.34/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tap at Ithaca Brewery on Release day.

very Fizzy light head, murky pale color

Nose Odd, sour tart fruit, lemon citrus.

Taste had nice golden malts with light off taste. I am not a big sour fan but this was not bad it was more on the lighter side of the sours i have had.

Mouth is light bodied, Lots of Carb.

Overall Good (325 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (990 characters)

Photo of SFLpunk
4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Shrek806 for this hook-up. 750mL brown-glass cork and capped. E!037.

Pours a hazy orange with frothy white head. Nose is very bretty, orange juice ladden, and a note of hay.

Palate is full-on tart heading sour. Orange juice with pulp, lime zest, wood chips, sweet hay. Really complex palate with luscious mouthfeel. Tart and juicy, dripping with citrus.

Notes: The best Ithaca beer I've had yet and heads-and-shoulders above Le Blue (451 characters)

Photo of auroracrisis
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!037, 750ml into a RR tulip.

Hazy, golden straw yellow with a one inch head upon pouring. The head dissipates and forms a collar of foam around the edges of the glass as it is drank down. Lots of bubble dance to the top of the beer as it rests.

Granny smith apples, lemons and pears up front with a candy like tartness to it. A bit of cheesey funk with some gym socks. Tannin and some must, then more candy like sour qualities that would be easily compared to taffy or jelly candies too.

Fruity with pears and green apples dominating on the tongue. Again, cheesey with some of those sour taffy or jelly candy undertones. Tannin with a nice round sweetness and citrus bite. Drying mid-palate on the finish, with some sweeter grain flavors.

Somewhat crisp, medium bodied with spritzy carbonation. A touch of drying on the end.

Nice pear and apple flavors with some citrus and funk bite. Major potential for aging here, I could see this one becoming very complex with some time. But right now it is still a great wild ale. Sad that Ithaca moved this to a brewery only release, I'd love to get more of this one to sit on for the next couple years. (1,156 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 airohead2001
3.48/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Very pretty beer - cloudy orange/yellow with a small half finger head that lingers around. Smell is decent, but mainly just sour with a small amount of funk. Taste is average sourness up front, but does have a nice biscuity aftertaste. This ones a little too bubbly for me. Overall, this is a good beer. But top 100?? Racial expletive, please. (343 characters)

Photo of VaTechHopHead
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Opaque/cloudy yellow and hazy. Big white head when poured with a gratuitous amount of carbonation on display.

S - Very impressed. Dry and tart aromas with hints of lemon, yeast funk, hay, and barnyard. Complex to say the least

T - Again, very dry and tart with a lot of brett funk right off the bat. Transitions to dry hay in the middle. The corn adds a lot of carbonation and a nice earthy/dusty flavor. Light citric notes from the champagne yeast and finishes dry and woody.

M - Lots of carbonation on this one that fills the palate. Light/medium body that leaves the palate bone dry almost. A sipper due to the dryness and amount of carbonation present.

O - A superb example of style IMO and a very interesting line-up of ingredients. The brett blends excellently with the champagne yeast and the flavors produced are spot on. (837 characters)

Photo of SummitVA
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 4 (E!037)

A - Bottle opens with a solid pop. Murky pale straw pour into Excelsior tulip. Smallish head falls down slowly. Lacing is exquisite.

S - Lemon, citrus, huge earthy funk, as well as barnyard and leather character (leather especially as the glass warms), along with big green apple.

T - Sweet malt (pils and corn sweetness apparent) opens to Brett earthiness and green apple. Light lemon and citrus initially. Some other indistinct light fruit, a cider flavor, with pear standing out, as well. Leather and decent level of tartness in the finish, in addition to some tannins from the oak. Really interesting balance between sweetness, earthiness/funk. Was expecting more tartness or sour in the finish, but there is plenty there as is to balance out the beer.

M - Light-medium bodied.

O - After having batches 1-3, I was expecting more tartness or sourness in the finish. However, this is a wonderfully balanced, complex brew. If the acedic character of batch 3 got you down, this is the Brute for you. My only regret is that I wasn't up in Ithaca for the release, but happy as always to have gotten my share. Cheers to Jeff on another fantastic batch of Brute. (1,181 characters)

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Matt (Huhzubendah) for bringing this to a recent tasting at my place, been wanting to try this in a 'controlled' tasting setting for a long time having only tried this at festivals.

A: Very pretty orange color with a ring of white head with minimal lacing. Pretty.

S: A very refined smell of clean citrus tartness, farmhouse malt and robust yeast (nice!), and great light fruit overall. I get a nice helping of brett in the nose as well as the oak. Overall seems like a tart version of a great white wine.

T: Excellent full layer of flavor here. Has a defined taste up front of tart citrus, a bigger fruit rind and sweeter middle, and a little bittering finish with ripe fruit. Overall, oak and vanilla preside over all of this. Very excellent clean and refined tartness and flavor.

M: Clean and juicy without any annoying 'overtart' or overdrying qualities.

Overall a great beer I'll be looking to have again sometime. (940 characters)

Photo of harrymel
4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
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. (508 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 CharlieMurphy
4.83/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Thick orange moon. Looks as if you squeezed your own orange juice fresh.

S: Super tart, dank funky brett, the sourness I smell makes my nares stand.

T: Pretty much perfect. So even and balanced and pleasant. Mild approach slipping slightly into some sourness that rises like the tide and is capped just like the white of a wave.

M: Sourness is not astringent at all. I feel like I could tackle more than one bottle alone and keep my palate intact.

O: Again, pretty much perfect. Gotta stress my overwhelming support for Champagne yeast finishing in AWAs. This is how they should be done. (598 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 jtingue
4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Vintage- poured into a snifter.

Appearance. Very hazy golden orange. Beautiful pure white head with great lacing that lingers indefinitely. Reminiscent, in a way, to a hefeweisen in cloudiness and the behavior of the head.

Smell. Fresh cut oak complements a slightly spicy and very fruity nose. Some sourness, like green apple, is detected but not overwhelming.

Taste. A quick malty sweetness is quickly followed by a very tart sour apple flavor. This fades creamy, more muted aged fruit flavor. Finally a very dry sourness lingers until the next sip.

Mouthfeel. Great champagne like effervescence dominates the mouthfeel. The body is light to medium, but is pleasant for the style.

Just picked it up at the brewery. This is my first Brute, and I am quite impressed. The beer is kind of rough right now, lots of big flavors, but you can realize the potential for an incredible complexity to surface in the beer. Will definitely be aging a few in the cellar. (972 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

Big thanks to the Central PA group of the Gang Bang BIF for this bottle!

Batch E!027. Heard some good things about this beer for over a year now, about time I got to see how true the statements have been. It pours a clear golden straw topped by a finger of white foam. The nose comprises tart orange, light horse blanket, white wine, tart peach, and very light graham crackers. The taste brings in more of the same, though the horse blanket is diminished, and some tart white grape and somewhat sweet red grape is added to the mix. The body is a light medium, with a moderate carbonation and a dry, sticky finish. Overall, a very nice wild, one that doesn't go overboard on the Brett (good touch) and doesn't o'erwhelm with sourness. An enjoyable brew indeed. (805 characters)

Photo of StoneTSR
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Deep copper and very rich looking. Nice, big head with a lively, bubbly appearance. The Brute looks like a tough, strong ale.

SMELL: I've never said this about a beer before, but it almost smells a little cheesy. Oddly, this is not a bad thing. There also seems to be some red pepper, it's sort of pizza-like and I have absolutely not been eating pizza or anything like it tonight.

TASTE: I've tasted plenty of Wild Ales before, but nothing quite like this. It is not nearly as sour as most of the others and a sweet, tart flavor dominates while a million others all vie for attention from the palate. I'm still trying to sort them all out. Lemon certainly makes a strong showing, apricot and grapefruit seem to round out the heavy hitting fruits. Towards the end of the sip the grapefruit takes over and just a whiff of piney hops teases the palate before fading away with a nice, bitter aftertaste. The one thing that holds it all together is a general sense, feel and taste of funk. This is not James Brown, it's Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins all rolled into one beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Strong carbonation. This is how every beer should feel. Dry, refreshing and palate cleansing, but not so rough that it dries the palate out over the long haul.

OVERALL: This is a unique and excellent beer. Funky, funky. funky and certainly wild, but not so overly sour like so many other wilds. Once again, I have to say, Ithaca knows how to brew beer. By far my favorite brewery on the East Coast. (1,531 characters)

Photo of Jayli
4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (991 characters)

Photo of RodneyX
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Golden colored beer that had some white head on it and some lacing as well. It smells great with good tartness and reminds me of RR Temptation. Taste is really good as well with some tartness and sweetness that goes down real easily and finishes a little bit dry. The carbonation makes it light and refreshing. I loved this beer and am trying to get more. (355 characters)

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.01/5  rDev -31%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A long time want, knocked off the list by Ryan011235. Batch E!018.

Appearance
This is a pretty one. Lots of lively carbonation can be seen through it's clear, pale golden body.

Aroma
I do love a stinky, funky beer. This one is very horsey with a shot of lemon sourness. It has a chalky, earthy, funky yeast profile to the overall bouquet.

Taste
I'm really not enjoying this as much as I expected to. Its acidic and quite sour. The flavors of the vinegar acidity comprise a bit of a tomato ketchup flavor that I just can't shake.

Mouthfeel
This beer feels as carbonated as it looks, but the bubbles aren't so sharp as to be painful. The finish is semi dry and the body is light. It really does have the feel down for an easy drinking wild.

Overall
I could take it or leave it. Its visually appealing and smells good. From there, however, it seems this beer slipped. I can't call it a bad beer, but average is close enough. (931 characters)

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