XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter | Rogue Ales

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XS Imperial Younger's Special BitterXS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
8 Ingredients:
Malts: 2-row pale and Crystal.
Hops: Willamette, Kent Golding
and Amarillo
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

52 IBU
76 AA
35º Lovibond

Added by klewis on 01-15-2007

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Reviews: 148 | Ratings: 222
Photo of Dotcubed
4.71/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big heavy swing top gray ceramic 750 ml.

Not sure if I should drink it all or save some for tomorrow night.

This looks so damn good out of the bottle. Hazey redish orange, nice finger of old lace colored foam. Amazing retention that clings to the glass. Looks like light carbonation. Seems like a nice old English ale.

Smells like a nice, well hopped beer.

Intense bitter, light & piney. Good depth. Not overpowering, very mild. But long. Some roasted sweet malts to balance it out a bit. Very dry and a bit warm from the alcohol.

This would be an awesome beer on tap. I wish I could have this at a restaurant.
Maybe too cold. I'm going to enjoy it warming up.

I wish it had a date on it so I could get it aged.

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Photo of Cresant
4.53/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed a pint of this beer at Rich O's in New Albany, IN. Served at just the right temperature in an imperial pint tulip. Clear, mellow golden brown color. Minimal head left patches of fine lace on the sides of the glass. Looked just like an ESB should.

Smell was malty and floral. Perfume-y, but not over the top. Interesting.

Taste was fantastic.Well balanced. Like the aroma the taste was also perfume-y, in a good way. Very well hidden alcohol.

Mouthfeel was incredibly smooth, like glass. Moderately/mildy carbonated, again just like an ESB should be. I would love to have this one again.

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Photo of EliottJW
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a deep amber, almost orange with a soapy head. tons of lacing makes this a reeeaaally attractive beer. just murky enough for my tastes... this is really one of the better looking beers I've seen in quite a while!

smells pretty damn awesome... just a TOUCH citrusy with strong, sugary overtones and a hint of bread. really looking forward to this!

WOW!... seriously, wow... I'm REALLY enjoying this. I know right as this hits my mouth, it's 4.5s across the board... faint red apple right at the start quickly becomes sweet, bready malts and finishes with bitter hops... no hop FLAVOR, just bitter... this is REALLY nice... and dangerous... and really makes me want to use lots of ellipses... which means it makes me very contemplative...

mouth is great! not to heavy, not to light... a touch creamy with just the right carbonation... only off putting is a little astringency, but hardly any at all.

this is a dangerous beer... I'm glad jay picked up a half case for like 30% normal price... booyah.

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Photo of juhl31
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a swing top actually....come on now

-dark amber, caramel, all those golden dark brown words apple here. good head with excellent lacing

-you can start smelling it from the pour. malt comes at me first, little sweet, little yeasty

-man that's good. malty goodness, bitter goodness. real glad i got a 6 pack of these for $25 at the rogue yard sale.

-real smooth, a hint of carb. good

-if i wasnt paying attention, i could drink 3 pints of this real quick.

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Photo of Fatduck
4.49/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A friend of mine brought this bottle to me. It pours a hazy tan color, looks very much like their other "Imperial" offerings. It smells like a bitter, lots of hops and a distinctly European maltyness. Tastes like a strong bitter ale, which is exactly what I expected. Crisp and light, it dances all the way down to your belly. The bottle was gone all too fast.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.48/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 22oz, ceramic black swingtop bottle I purchased on sale at Bestways in Greensboro, NC. Pours a clear and slightly hazy amber color with a large, white, frothy and sticky white. A heavy dose of lacing renders the glass nearly opaque with protein layers on the glass.

Aroma is matly with a bit of metallic aromas as well. Caramel, a touch of fruitiness, and a solid earthy hop presence. The slightest bit of chocolate lends a very nice aroma to this one.

Sweet at first with that caramel sweetness but immediately followed by a strong hop bitterness. Actually, this one has quite a bite to it. Earthy and fruity hop flavor. Good malty flavor with great balance, leaning towards hoppy.

Really creamy in the mouthfeel. Bitter hop bite. Sticky in the finish with a lingering hop bitterness that is accompanied for nearly the entire ride with a sweet, malty, caramelly stickiness.

A really easy drinker. Perfect for the fall months as it is malty for the fall but the bitterness and slight alcoholic warmth makes this a "comfort food" type beer that would go well with any hearty stew. I may have to return to get more of this while it is on sale (plus, the bottles are awesome for homebrew!). A definite winner.

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Photo of Lemke10
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a single 7 oz. bottle as part of an M&M 6-pack from Everetts in South Beloit, IL for $9.99.

Pours a hazy medium brown color with a decent lasting head. Scent has a mixture of semi-sweet malts and bitter hops. Taste is rather smooth and mild and works it's way to a bold ending. Has a smooth carmel taste that ends in a dry slighty bitter taste. Very well made and tasty I just can't understand why they put such a good tasting beer in only a 7oz bottle. Definetly worth trying!

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.47/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep amber, kinda of reddish, nice head retention

smell: loaded citrus from this beer and strong hop aroma

taste: a nicely hopped ale, and I was very surprised. lots of citrus and decently balanced

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: awesome beer and all of the XS beers I have had so far have been awesome

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Photo of scarletfire79
4.42/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

got this one for free at the rogue public house. looks nice in the glass, smells extremely inviting and backs everything up with a kick ass balanced flavor. there's almost a caramel sweetness that balances the bitterness and makes every sip extremely enjoyable. i personally think this is better than the brutal bitter, which i felt is an awesome beer in its own right. good job rogue.

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Photo of HugePlume
4.41/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Rogue alehouse, from notes

A- Wow, what a looker! A light rusty red, with a thick tan head that is slow to dissipate. Best lacing i have seen on a special bitter ale. Laces all the way down the glass to the last sip. Sublime.

S- Nothing special about the nose, a faint grainy malt and a tangy yeast odor.

T- Malty, many different notes here, hard to pin down anything in particular. The higher alcohol and the malt give it a dry finish, some hop bitterness, but its mostly alcohol stinging the tongue a wee bit. Balanced though, very palatable.

M- Light body, finishes exceptionally clean and quick.

O- Great high octane version of my favorite style, would be an excellent pairing with some spicier food that normally you would not have a special bitter with.

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Photo of Derek
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, what a brew. Not over-the-top like some of their brews, but just packed full of flavour and texture.

At 52 IBU, it doesn't seem very bitter for 7.1%. The EKG gives it an authentic ESB flavour, but then there's a pleasant addition of Amarillo that really takes it up a notch.

Unbelievably smooth and creamy. There's a plethora of hop flavour and a solid bitterness, but acidity doesn't come through.

Really great stuff.

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Photo of horshack7
4.4/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: From a 750ml ceramic bottle and into a mug. The color is a dark brown capped with a light foamy head about a finger thick. Mahogany hues around the edges.

Aroma: At the start it does have a little bit of pecan aroma with a nice bit of pear. Toffee makes an appearance along with the fruity hoppiness.

Taste: The mouthfeel is a rather buttery texture with notes of nutiness. Toffee this time is joined by the bready malts. The hops add a nice bit of a floral hop nibble.

Notes: This is quite a hearty beer. Cheers.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brassy burnished orange that looks to have a reddish tint when backlit with sunshine. It's a bold, rich color that is perfect for an Imperial ESB. The pale orange-almond colored head is both bubbly and impressively sticky, like caramelizing sugar. Thick, honeycomb-like lace is plastered all over the upper reaches of the glass. Subsequent pours murk things up nicely, changing the color to glowing sunset tawny.

The nose is pleasant, but it could stand to be more aromatic. The standard Younger's uses Willamette and East Kent Goldings. This beer uses Willamette, U.S. Goldings and then adds Amarillo (hopbacked) for aroma. Although the Amarillo aren't exploding out of the glass, they are identifiable.

It's been a long time since I've had the non-Imperial YSB, but I do remember that I liked it quite a bit. It's no surprise, then, that I like this turbocharged version just as much. It isn't exactly a session bitter, not at 7.1%, but then it wasn't designed to be. It's a fantasically delicious, ingredient-intensive ale, the likes of which Rogue does very, very well.

The malt backbone is a perfect combination of sugar cookies (Maris Otter), drizzled with thick ribbons of brown sugar-caramel icing (Crystal). The hops are orange peel zesty and English Breakfast tea-like, the exact flavors that I normally associate with a beer of this style. Orange blossom honey notes abound as well. I love the exquisite balance, coupled with the taste bud saturating amount of flavor.

I'm not a bit surprised that the brewers have nailed the mouthfeel. It's light enough to be easily drinkable, yet there's a heavenly silkiness that coats the mouth and tongue with a microthin layer of lingering stickiness. This stuff is pure pleasure.

Rogue has yet another winner on their hands. Given the $15 price tag (at least half of which is due to the painted ceramic bottle), I probably won't be buying it again. I'm still glad that I splurged and bought this one. I plan to display it proudly on my bookcase at work.

Imperial Younger's Special Bitter Ale (brewed to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Horse Brass Pub in Portland) is... wait just a minute... I've just emptied the last of the '750' into my glass. I had no idea that it was disappearing that fast. On second thought, maybe a second bottle is in order. Hey Rogue, put this beer in bombers and watch it fly off the shelves.

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Photo of danielharper
4.35/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amazingly well-balanced for an ESB of this strength. Lots of hops, sure, particularly Goldings, but with a great biscuity malt balance that really makes for a drinkable beer experience. A bit intense for people devoted to traditional English beers, but American beer fans should find this a very nice bottle.

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Photo of fsimcox
4.33/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a ruby amber color. Fluffy off-white head that stands firm. Very nice lacing.

Smells of hops, but not that strong. Some hints of citrus. But not over-powering.

Creamy up front, then hops and citrus. Some malt hints in the background, and a mild grapefruit-hop aftertaste. The hops linger.

Mouthfeel has a hint of creaminess upfront, some carbonation, and a dry finish.

A solid bitter, surprisingly smooth with an abv of 7.1%.

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Photo of dansmcd
4.32/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark and hazy orange/amber. Solid, frothy eggshell head. Spits of lacing.

S - Caramelised malt is the feature here, backed by some mild floral hop, grapefruit and pear.

T - Follows the nose, sweet with an addition of cinnamon.

M - Full bodied, moderately carbonated with a dry sweet finish.

O - A beautiful drop with good complexity. A real smooth nectar from Rogue.

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Photo of cdkrenz
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Hue bubbles in a monsterously frothy eggshell head. This is a your big boy when it comes to heads. Lots of carbonation in the body of copper.

S - The aroma of medium roasted grains and fine fruity hops.

T - Very fine combination of rich caramelly malt and citrusy hops. The flavors don't overwhelm one-another, instead they feed each other.

M - Slightly sticky on my lips and mildly coarse in the back of my throat. Could be a bit stickier.

~ This is a very good beer. I'm very pleased with the overall goodness in each sip. It starts good and finishes just as good.

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Photo of OlRasputin989
4.31/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into pint from 7 oz bottle..

A: Pours a cloudy bronze with a bubbly tan head

S: german chocolate cake is a welcomed suprise with a nicely put together hop profile of earthy pine, orange, and grapefruit peel

T: nutty, caramel sweetness opens up to a spicy and fruity profile that finishes with a big, bitter, and spicy hop finish

M: chewy, creamy medium body with a dry finish with some alcoholic warmth

Overall, a unique well rounded brew that would do great as an appetizer or dessert.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml white painted ceramic bottle

Pours a dark and murky brown/amber color with a small off white head. A very nice slightly sweet malty aroma is enhanced by some hops (grapefruit) in the nose. Much like the aroma, the taste is extremely well balanced between the sweet malt and the citrusy hop flavors. This brew is very drinkable as the alcohol is dangerously hidden. Overall, this is another great brew from Rogue.

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Photo of WesWes
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a stronger English bitter scent which boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a better than average dose of hops. The taste is good as well. It has a dry, bitter flavor that screams hops with a nice touch of caramel malt to balance it out. It's extremely smooth and easy drinking even at 7%. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a very good beer. It takes an easy drinking session beer and gives it some attitude.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml Swing Top Ceramic Gray Bottle

Poured into a Rogue Dead Guy glass a hazy burnt orange color, very nice carbonation, nice little creamy off-white head, there is some nice sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is a very good balance of malts/hops, slight pines, and caramel. The taste is slightly sweet (very nice), malty, slight hoppiness, pines/caramel. Medium body, the alcohol is hidden very well, goes down pretty easy/smooth. Very drinkable, another very tasty brew from Rogue, especially the 750ml bottles, have not had a semi-ordinary one yet. Recommended.

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Photo of Ego
4.3/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2 full fingers of craggy somewhat cracklin' head, deep orange to light ruby hue, lacing is spot on with a clingy curtain of micro foam sliding down the glass, carbonation lazily meanders to the head for replenishment, nice.

honey biscuits, honey muffins, underlying candy sweetness, that distinct odor of non crazy alpha hops (I know it has amarillo but it does not reek of same), slight faint citrus note, caramel, this smells chewable... damn!

taste etc...
carbonation. dead. spot. on. wow. Just smooth as silk to drink, the carb is there but never becomes more than a vehicle for this liquid gold, lingering bitterness lays around after the sip inviting another tug on the mug, the flavor is actually mild-ish but that is not a complaint, we have medium body to just light enough to really sit around and enjoy. This should go great with basic pub food as the bitterness is enough to cleanse the palate but not enough to ruin your grub, everything detected in the nose is at play here in the flavor.

$14.99... this is close to worth it imo. I wish they would make this in normal bombers instead of the ceramic ones... but hey, buggers can't be choosers...

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Photo of drizzam
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Another HUGE thank you to my good friend cdkrenz...this guy makes all my beer dreams come true!

A - Big head, even with an easy pour. Cloudy dark amber body with humongous carbonation (likely explaining the excessive head). Head retention was excellent and it left generous lacing down the inside of my glass.

S - Caramelized malts are front and center, with some unidentified fruitiness making things interesting.

T & M - The Caramel malt plays nicely with that unidientified fruit I smelled in the nose...wondering if maybe it's pears or a combination of pears and apples? There is also a small amount of hop bitterness to help make things interesting. Nice complexity here. Medium bodied with a bit of a coarse mouthfeel, likely from the huge carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden.

D - This is a very tasty brew! The excellent flavor, along with the moderate ABV make for a beer that I really wish I could get locally. Lucky I have friends that remember me when they travel!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.27/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I recently procured this wee 7-fl. oz. bottle and given a recent Rogue kick, I decided to open it this evening. I have no explanation for what I do any more.

From the bottle: Lots of stats, but they seem different from the Notes, so hereby included for posterity - "8 INGREDIENTS: Crystal & Rogue Micro Barley Farm Risk (tm) Malts; Cascade, Golding, Willamette & Rogue Micro Hopyard Revolution Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast."; "17 [deg.] Plato [-] 52 IBU [-] 76 AA [-] 35 [deg.] Lovibond".

I Pop!ped the cap, but having noticed some sediment as well as being faced with a wee tasting glass, I decided to go gentle into this good night. Even so, I still produced a finger of dense, tawny head head with reasonable retention. Color was Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17) with NE-quality clarity, hence my calculated pour. Nose smelled of a Lancaster County (PA) field in summer. Honeysuckle, freshly mown grass and maple syrup seemed to dominate and I was transported to my maternal grandparents' house in the (then) countryside. PapPap loved buckwheat pancakes with maple syrup and honey just before he would head out to mow the grass. Gad, he has been passed for nearly forty years! Where has the time gone? Where has the beer gone? Granted, I only had a tiny (comparatively) bit, but it seems to have evaporated during my wool-gathering. Caution: This beer may induce nostalgia. The taste was more aligned with the style, becoming more bitter than sweet, but still evocative of those buckwheat pancakes. Mouthfeel was solidly medium. Finish was semi-dry, but it held enough of a honey-like sweetness to offset its inherent bitterness.

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Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Pizza Plant on Main tonight,poured into a goblet a clear amber/bronze with a thinner white head.Big fruity,gummy notes intertwines with resiny hop a passing alcohol presence as well shows itself,it was a joy to drink big malty profile that of juicy,gummy fruit with a hint of caramel sweetness melding into a resiny,piney hop finish that lingers.To me this is near strong ale category its big and malty with healthy dose of hops,me I loved it.

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XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter from Rogue Ales
3.9 out of 5 based on 222 ratings.
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