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Brute - Ithaca Beer Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

389 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 389
Hads: 835
Avg: 4.39
pDev: 9.34%
Wants: 1,087
Gots: 141 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
American Wild Ale |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

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

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Brewed with vintage (aged) local hops, barley, wheat, corn, aged in oak with Brett and finished with three types of champagne yeast.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 389 | Hads: 835
Photo of stakem
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 750ml brown bottle stuck with a yellow synthetic corked and capped, poured into my favorite snifter. This is the most recent batch #E!027. Tonight is a celebratory type of night and this is the closest thing I have to champagne...only better.

Brute pours a hazed light golden orange color with more than 2 fingers of white head that slowly receeds leaving some patches of leggy lace about the glass. After the initial surge of carbonation and head formation, it settles to a thin cap supported by some rising bubbles. A light swirl revives the head back to a finger's strength. The orange glow that this brew displays is interesting. Even though it appears somewhat cloudy, it doesn't have any particles floating around or stuck in suspension that I can see.

The aroma of brute includes some sharp citrus notes reminescent of lemon upfront. All through the nose is the scent of brett with a contrasting smell somewhat like that of wet leather and funky goodness that is somewhat cheesy. Underneath the predominant character of brett and lemony citrus is a light grainy sweetness that ties it all together and really accents the citrus component of the nose. Once brute reaches warmer temperatures, some alcohol character comes out and really gives the first indication of some woodsy notes.

The taste of brute is tart upfront with the lemony citrus character that has a minor puckering quality. Some of the alcohol's presence comes through here and highlights the sharpness of this brew's flavor. Beyond the citrus aspect is a light grainy sweetness that blends into the brett's contribution of funk, cheese and leather. This brew finishes with a dry woodsy flavor that has a light grainy taste that offsets the tartness and acidity.

Brute is a light bodied brew with a moderately high level of carbonation that is prickly and light on the tongue. This beer is crisp, refreshing, complex and overall just well balanced without brett overkill to allow you to enjoy everything that is going on inside this brew. It has an excellent amount of drinkability and enough alcohol that allows you to enjoy another glass but without the effects playing too much of a factor.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of WesWes
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a very cloudy gold color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a super sour scent that explodes with brett yeast esters. The malt bill seems simple; pale malts with maybe one other specialty grain. The taste is awesome! This is one sour brew. It's a pucker from start to finish. Again it seems like just pale and maybe some wheat malt along with a healthy dose of brett. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a tremendous tasting beer. Ithaca is really brewing some world class beers of late. Hail to the Chief!!!

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Photo of billab914
4.45/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch # E!010 poured from a 750ml bottle into my brand new Lost Abbey sinner stemware. It poured a bright, golden amber color with a huge bubbly and active head to it. The head faded but kept a nice white covering over the beer well into drinking it. Decent lacing as well.

The aroma has a relatively sharp, acidic, sourness to it. Some sour fruit flavors come through with some apple and grape like qualities. A good amount of tartness is present along with some lemony and orange citrus flavors coming through as well. Some great sour and tart flavors to it overall.

The taste is sharp with an acidicness at first. More of the tart and sour fruits start to come through pretty quickly though. The soured grape and tart apple flavors are there and add some nice flavors. Just a hint of the woody oak shows in it. It finishes with more of a dry, tart and sour flavor. Excellent flavors overall.

The mouthfeel is pretty light with carbonation being very high. Pretty good mouthfeel for the style. Drinkability is very good, it had some great sour and tart flavors to it. It was complex and flavorful and a great version of the style. Very enjoyable and drinkable beer overall.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Mora2000
4.8/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to mar for sharing this bottle.

Pours a yellow straw color with a huge white head. The aroma is very tart with some citrus and oak character. Flavor is very citric and somewhat oaky. Lots of lemon and some tangerine. Some funk but more tart than funky. Highly carbonated and extremely drinkable.

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Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch # E!0I0, $14.99 @ Cable bev. in Bardonia, NY. Large bottle, capped and plastic corked. Pours hazy yellowy medium amber, the head initially is HUGE, light and fluffy with lots of air in it, nice retention shown, then a light whispy film and collar a slippery thicker lacing. I get some earthy mustyness in the nose and perhaps some light citrus. Yummy wild ale, with more then a moderate sour bite. I get plenty of lime, light barnyard, bracing tartness. Thirst quenching, palate cleansing, thoroughly pleasing AWA.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.82/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml corked bottle into a large wine glass. Batch 10 in the excelsior series. Thanks goes out to Goryskhewych for the bottle in a trade. I tried a sample of this in a bottle before and had it on tap, I just cant get enough of this stuff.

A- Taking out the cork. Brute pours a bright golden color with some spots of yellow. Brute has a cloudy appearance from all that was put into making it. A nice streamed pour yielded little to no head but what was there was white and fizzy. A nice golden color in sight. This is very gueze like in presense and looks great in the wine glass.

S- Sweet sour heaven. Not sweet in that sense but scents of barnyard and funk mixed with various types of yeast(champagne variety) making for a wonderful nose. Getting a lot of brett aroma's telling me this was expertly innoculated. Getting some citrus notes as brute opens up and does its thing. A great smelling beer to sum up.

T- I first had a 2oz sample of this a while ago and i've been searching for this since since it wowed me, and brute did it again. I simply am in awe over this and need more. A nice innoculated golden ale with funky brett and champagne yeast, what's not to love? The champagne yeast used really gives brute a face of it's own in an ever increasing sour market. Brute is funky with barnyard written all over it. Some earthy and floral qualitys with some sour green apple thrown in as well. Simple but elegant.

M- Crisp and very nicely carbonated. Brute has it all. A nice mouth puckering sourness that's not overkill, well at least not for me. This is very light bodied and has a good nice dry finish. This almost reminded me of wine sometimes and has a similar profile to temptation IMO. A great beer to pair with cheese, meat, lamb, whatever.

D- A low abv and a great taste make this an exceptional sour in my book. The mouthfeel is also to die for. I would drink a bottle of this to myself no problem and now that Brute is getting some distribution I very well may do that. I cant wait for the next batch. I will say this, Brute is my favorite east coast sour by far. Congratz Ithaca!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.22/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This beer easily produces a three-finger thick, pale, cream colored head in my 25cl tulip. The beer is a murky, pale amber color that shows an almost completely opaque, yellow, straw color when held up to the light. The aroma is pleasingly tart but with a slightly sweet, fruity, white wine grape like aroma. There is an interesting note that is sort of a cross between musk melon, honeydew and the sweat from someone who drank too much wine the night before. Fruit aromas of Muscat grapes, a musky tropical fruit, some tart / sweet apple and a touch of star fruit are all found in the aroma too. I like how the funkiness has taken a turn that I have never quite experienced in a beer before, the Brett is much more sweaty, but in a clean non-barnyard way, than usual.

Wow, much more dry and tart than I was expecting; with all of the fruit notes in the aroma I expected there to be a fair amount of sweetness left in this beer, but there is none at all. While bone dry this still has a nice, creamy body to it that is also note hindered by the fizzy carbonation that causes the beer to foam up as it rolls across the tongue. The texture of this beer is quite exquisite. The oak character here is quite soft and subtle; actually it is most noticed by it effect on the texture of this beer. There is a touch of oak-spiciness towards the finish as well as a slight woody oak note.

My second pour of this has me noticing a spicy oak component in the aroma that I did not pull out the first time around. Flavors of Lactic acid define the sourness in this brew, which, along with the oak really makes this seem like a dry, tart, oaked white wine. While in many ways this is much like a Lambic, it has a much softer feel to it somehow. Certainly the acidity is not approaching the levels of a hard Lambic and the funkiness is actually quite subtle (apart from the sourness). This does have a touch of the sweatiness that was noticeable in the aroma, as well as a touch of mustiness to it. As the beer warms up it picks up just a hint of sweetness, which does a good job of accentuating a nice white wine grape fruitiness.

A tasty beer, though it could use a boost in complexity (more funk would certainly suit me right). The aroma definitely is quite a bit more complex than the flavor, it promises ample funk and a substantial fruitiness that the flavor just doesn't quite deliver upon. Still this is quite enjoyable and it is quite easy for me to finish off this 750ml bottle.

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

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

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

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch E! 018
Brought this back from the brewery on a recent NY trip.
Pours a slightly hazy golden straw color with a huge fluffy white head that sticks around forever. Aroma is fruity and funky and phenolic mmm mmm mmm. Light citrus, strawberry, and raspberry aromas being bullied about by some barnyard funk. The taste is lemony sour at first then you get some of the passion fruit, sour cherries, and tart acidic raspberries. Lemons and sour green apples kick in before the dryness moves in and leaves a lingering sour patch kids taste on your palette. Carbonation is crisp, medium body, puckering mouthfeel. Wow this is good! Makes me wish I hadn't traded two of these away.

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Photo of tempest
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to my friend Keith for sharing a bottle from Ithaca. This was a fantastic sour that reminded me of the best gueuzes I'm sampled. The main difference between this and its Belgian counterparts was the lack of the barnyard character that make a lambic extra funky. This, instead a had a lightly sweet, but mostly sour herbal lemon tang. The oak aging adding a subtle candy vanilla while the champagne yeast helps with a dry finish to round the beer out. If you like sours, you need to find this.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle shared by beandip with starrdogg. Batch !018

Beer 4 in our tasting, following DDG, Blabaer and Flaming Fury sets a high bar for this beer and provided some nice perspective on it. Tasting this after a break with a clean palate, Brute stand out as an exceptional American Wild. While not comparing apples to apples, side by side with the others Brute was clearly a level or two beneath them, though still enjoyable.

Pours a hazy golden honey color with a dense, fluffy white head. Moderate retention with abundant rings of lacing. Aroma is a dominated by champagne yeast, bread, lemon, grass, apple; pleasantly sour and tart. Sour and effervescent up front and throughout the beer. Nowhere near as complex or nuanced as DDG; almost balanced and smooth to a fault. Not as much funk as expected either. Extremely high, prickly carbonation as expected producing a light, fluffy full bodied mouthfeel. Better than most, but lacking the complexity to make this exceptional

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

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

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

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

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Photo of Gobzilla
4.21/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: poured a bubbly golden yellow in color with pale yellow highlights and a thin bubbly head that left slight wisps of lacing sticking to the glass.

S: plenty of funky brett was noticeable upfront on the nose with great citrusy notes, oaky wood character, mild vinegar coming through and slight vinous fruit.

5. The funky brett character was more apparent on the palate alongside some citrusy twang, very nice oaky barrel accents, champagney bubbly dry flavor accompanied by vinous fruit notes and a touch of vanilla.

M: the brew was medium in body with a good amount of bubbly carbonation which had a sweet, bretty funky, oaky, citrusy, mild vinous tart and dry finish.

O: thought it was a solid brew all around and the yeast definitely brought out champange characteristics.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours vibrant golden and slightly hazy into my snifter. The white head is mountainous and cavernous with excellent retention. Thick lacing is left behind after the head recedes.

The aroma is lemon and other light fruits, with oak and Brett. The Brett imparts mustiness and barnyard notes. Some acetic acid is evident in the nose. As the beer warms, citrus is coaxed out of hiding and soft notes of orange, grapefruit, and apricot to shine.

The taste is an immediate lemon zing, with noticeable oakiness. The Brett has some horse blanket and barnyard with some tartness, but it's not overwhelmingly funky. This beer has a nice balance of dry funk and fruit. Some earthiness is noticeable. The finish is very dry, exhibiting just a touch of sweetness, and fruity tartness lingers.

The beer is light bodied and effervescent with a dry mouthfeel.

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Photo of weeare138
4.49/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

on tap at TJs...
Appears a hazy light straw toned gold. Acfluffy white cap slowly fades into a mild head. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, light oak, lemon zest, light funk, and earthiness.
Taste is of the aromas with an apple flavor and dry white wine flavor pulling through. Delicious stuff.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, salty, sweet, fruity, funky, and tart. Citrusy, tart, and dry.

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Photo of Duff27
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage.

Inch tall off white head, fizzy bubbly head. Body is a dull peach. Cap and collar. Recede after about 4 minutes.

Grapes. Tart peaches, champagne yeast influenced.

More with the sour grapes with a funk presence this time. Beneath all of this there is a balancing sweetness about it.

Very lively bubble mouthfeel and carbonation level. Unique and perhaps my favorite aspect of Brute.

A solid, well built sour. Balanced with a great lively mouthfeel and carbonation. Thanks kawilliams81 for the long time want share! Thanks Kent.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Solmon420 for sharing this with the wife and I.

Poured a nice golden color with a nice white head. Nose is sour with lots of fruit and tartness going on. I picked up on lemon, wood, green apples. Taste is very smooth and the ABV was well hidden on this. Big tartness up front with highlights of orange, lemon, wood, apples. Very tasty and very drinkabke. The wife loved it too. Winner all the way and its so smooth I could finish the damn thing myself.

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Photo of kscaldef
4.03/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of akorsak
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A corked and capped 750 mL bottle purchased at the brewery on the day of release, July 31.

A: The cork came out without even a phhtz. In my glass, ale is hazy like a weizen with a pale straw tone. The carbonation is evident in the pour, generating nearly two fingers in my snifter before disappearing with no lace.

S: The nose is acidic and tart, sour from the very first drag. Lemon and green apple are prickly, driving the funk.

T: The tartness immediately caused me to pucker up. So as you'd imagine, the lemony sour aspect is particularly high. What is so surprising though is the pale malt base that follows up tartness. Before the biscuit malts arrive though, the ale becomes dry, bone dry. That dryness is where the apple flavor is most pronounced. The sweeness of the malts are a nice contract to the dry flavors, lingering nicely on the palate. An abundant citrusy lemon flavor crops up at the end of each sip, blindingly tart with a nice finish. Even my burps have a sweet lemony finish.

M: I like the pucker factor, it almost causes me to cringe at the bite. The lemon and green apple really drive the flavor but the malty sweetness (nicely described by others as Juicy Fruit-like) is a counterpoint that works nicely.

D: The bottle says 7.0%, BA says 6.5%. Either way, the ale never betrays its strength. The combination of sweet and sour makes this very accessible despite the immediate tartness.

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Photo of aasher
4.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 vintage. This bottle was courtesy of thagr81us in a massive trade a few months back. Thanks for hitting this HUGE want of mine Calton!

This beer pours a very cloudy and medium bodied tangerine orange in color with a two finger and beady head. This beer appears to have a lot of activity. It has a really nice nose. You get citrusy tartness, funk, brett, chapagne yeast, chardonnay barrel, and a white grape like fruitness. The flavors feature a nice tart white grape aspect, funk, brett, citrus peels, brett, and it finishes really smooth. This beer has insane drinkability for the style. It has the perfect level of tartness and is mouthwatering. I expected a lot from this beer and it delivered and then some. This beer is somewhat comparable to Temptation for me and I loved it. I'll have to track down a few more bottles.

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Photo of corby112
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very hazy dark golden yellow with a ruddy ripe banana hues and a one and a half frothy white head that slowly settles into a lasting ring. Spotty lacing left behind.

Earthy bretty funk aroma with some barnyard horseblankety character. Dry brett and earthy oaky funk complimented by some crisp golden fruit notes, especially apple.

Slightly dry with some nice earthy bretty funk which becomes mellowed out by a smooth lactic creaminess and subtle bready yeast character. Prominent light crisp fruit notes, especially apple and pear along with some banana. Nice dry champagne effervescence complimenting the tart dry funky wild yeast. Dry finish. This beer is sweeter and not as sour/tart as I expected. I was told that this was the most recent batch so maybe it needs a while for the brett to develop. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed it and recommend it to both sour fans and those looking to delve into the style

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