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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 222 |  Reviews: 148
Photo of Naugros
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 7oz bottle into a 7oz glass.

Murky brown in color with a light tan head that is very loosely constructed and short-lived. When it's gone, it's gone...no floaters film or crown.

I was expecting more of a hop smell to this, but the nose is very subdued. Hops are the main element, but there is some brown bread malt backing it up. The hops are bit piny...another surprise as I was expecting citrus.

Bitter and resinous, the hops dominate the taste. The bitterness is not just at the back of the throat but front-to-back on the tongue and in the sides of your mouth, prompted salivation. Pine and brown bread dominate with some spiciness thrown off the hops as well. Dry, but not the driest, with just a smidgen of treacle sweetness.

If you're looking for an ESB then this is the mouthfeel you were going for. This is exactly what they're supposed to feel like in your mouth...medium-bodied, low carbonation and hitting everywhere with bitterness. Well, maybe not exactly...this may tend toward the upper end of medium-bodied, but not as thick as a barleywine.

ESB are not known for their drinkability. Unless it's one of your favorite styles it's not one that you go running back to either...especially in the US where we get our IBU fix from our IPAs which can exceed ESBs threefold.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml black ceramic bottle - 8.2% ABV worth of gov't proclaimed heat in this one.

This beer pours a hazy, very dark copper orange colour, with a teeming amount of thick foamy, rocky pale beige head, which sticks in for a spell, eventually scooting, and leaving some nice layered fine lace around the glass. It smells of roasted butterscotch, creamy citrus, and some bitter leafy hops. The taste is sweet biscuity, buttered bread malt, a soft hit of caramel, and then crisp and zippy, grassy and earthy hops. The carbonation is average, if a bit prickly, the body quite full for the style, smooth, and strangely creamy amongst the probing bitterness. It finishes radiating with strong, but reserved bitter herbal, astringently woody hops.

A very enjoyable strong bitter, the balance keenly struck. Any purported extra points of alcohol are all but invisible. But for the strength of the flavours, notwithstanding the booze, we have here an agreeable multi-rounder. Oh, wait - this Sith-bottle provides just that itself...

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Photo of theWrkncacnter
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one in the cooler for at least 4 years. I love the Rogue ceramic bottles, as they're perfect for aging. Pours a very deep apple cider like color. Cloudy to the point of being almost opaque. Head was initially very creamy but gradually reduced to only a minimal amount of lacing. Smells of rich caramel malts with a little bit of piney hop notes in the background. Some alcohol comes through in the nose as it warms up. Taste is a deep malty base with a wonderful lingering hop finish. Caramel malts come through the most but it has a good hop bitterness, even for 52 IBU. The one thing holding this beer back is that it feels a little thin. By that I mean that a beer with this heft in it's taste should be a little thicker. Also a suprising amount of alcohol comes through at only 7%. Overall though a great beer and one that has aged really well.

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Photo of thain709
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - A dark copper body with some hazy to it...a creamy, off white head stands about two fingers tall...retains nicely into a wispy cap...decent lacing

S - Toasted, buttery grains with a backbone of earthy hops

T - The flavors from the nose are present and they are very nicely balanced...toasted malts are first and they give that buttery bread flavor...in the middle there is a nice sweetness from the caramel malts...the finish is as to be expected...bitter, with the earthy hops kicking in

M - Medium to full bodied...smooth and a touch of creaminess...pleasant bitterness

D - This was a decent ESB but as for being "imperial" and in the "XS" series I guess I was expecting more...it was nice to try but I won't seek it out again

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Photo of russpowell
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Mine is in the tiny nip bottle

Pours caramel colored. Good lacing average head retention with a finger of cream colored head

S: Herbal hops & apricots

T: Herbal hops, dark fruit & leafy hops up front, with just a touch of caramel. Woody hops, slight booze warmth & apricot all blend as this warms. Finishes with woody & herbal hops, plus more apricot & a touch of pear

MF: Medium bodied, low carbonation, somewhat chewy with pretty nice balance

Drinks easy, not a bad take on the style, but a bit too boozey

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Photo of drabmuh
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

7 ounce bottle into a RR wine glass. Beer is brown with haze, thin head of tan bubbles, minimal lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, has that Rogueness to it, and some caramel. Smells OK.

For such a big beer its rather weak in all the flavor departments. There is some lead off sweetness and malt character but overall its just not happening in the taste department. Its almost flat and plasticy on the palate. I did not dislike it but there is almost nothing to enjoy about it at the same time.

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Photo of beertunes
3.49/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 7oz bottle into 10oz glass. Poured a slightly hazy coppery-orangeish amber color with just a wee small ring of off-white head that no retention or lacing.

The aroma was a nice mix of grainy malt, a bit of spicy yeast and a trace of hops. There was a bit of alcohol in the background. On the tongue, the hops showed through with more of a presence, the grains provided a very solid base and the yeast added a bit of spice at the end. The alcohol was noticeable, but not overpoweringly so.

The body was nicely full and smooth. Drinkability was good, while I'm happy to see brewers putting big beers into smaller servings, I think 12oz would have been just right for this brew.

Overall, a very nice beer. Certainly worth trying if you see it.

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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 nickfl
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours with a small, off white head on top of a clear, copper colored body. Nice lace and good retention.

S - Rich, caramel and bread malt aromas with some toffee and red apple yeast notes. A little cinnamon in the background as well.

T - Bready malt and fruity yeast notes of red apple up front. Some sweet toasted malt in the middle with spicy hops and lightly fruit yeast flavors. The beer finishes bitter and toasty with moderately high bitterness.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

D - Very nice, this is an interesting interpretation of an odd style. I would normally think that an Imperial bitter would turn out to be a ill-conceived Frankenstein of a brew, but this works much better than expected. The red apple yeast character melds nicely with the rich malt and there is just enough hop character to keep things drinkable.

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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 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 spicelab
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ceramic bottle.

Copper/bronze with an immense thick creamy head. Some pleasing sudsy bubbles can also be seen amongst the overwhelming dense carbonation network. Absolutely gorgeous.

Roasted almonds, butterscotch and chocolate eclairs. You can actually smell the creaminess if that makes any sense...

Well balanced trio of malt, bitter hops and rich creaminess. Only criticism is that it lacks a trifle of complexity and doesn't develop or evolve throughout.

Wonderfully smooth all over the palate. Almost nectar like.

Could so easily drink this all night. Unfortunately that would be seriously detrimental to my finances.

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Photo of merlin48
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Seven ounce bottle. Pours a slightly hazed copper amber body with a creamy beige head that retains well and leaves plenty of sticky patch lace.

Aroma is slightly nutty, with some toffee, Pacman yeast, and a hint of ripe pears.

Medium bodied and slightly creamy with moderate carbonation.

Taste has caramel maltiness, slightly nutty, with a balancing earthy bitterness that has just a vague hint of fruit. No hint of alcohol.

A good ESB, but it doesn't taste any different than the regular Younger's to me. At over four dollars for this tiny bottle I won't be buying any more.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Presented in an adorable 7 oz bottle. Just enough for a good taste.

Pours a really gorgeous deep red mahogany colour, with a crown of creamy off-white foam that's both heady and boisterous. Lacing is thick and intricate in the best English traditions of the genre. Looks a good drop of beer.

Such a lovely hybrid nose. Deep, slightly nutty, slightly roasted English malt characters (even though apparently the malts are local), with some odd blackberry hop characters mingled with sharper and more pungent West Coast aromas. It's very interesting indeed.

Taste is incredibly smooth and very well done. Despite the creeping hint of American hoppiness on the nose, the palate gives way to a creamy malt centre laced with a touch of very English feeling earthy organic hop bitterness on the back. Feel is divine, so smooth and yet so clear, a lovely feel for an English style ale. I feel like I've not had a better mouthfeel from a bottle.

7.1%? Pah! No such thing. This is a smooth and sessionable ale, roaring with character, but smooth and supple on the palate. A fabulous ESB, and a stylistically true one. Oh America, you never cease to amaze me.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.21/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Ceramic bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a nice ruby red, very crisp and clear with a small bright white head. Nose Is malty and a bit bitter.

Taste is sharp and fairly bitter, it's a bit funky and odd but pretty tasty and creamy. It's got a sharp bitterness. Pretty decent beer.

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Photo of ebby82
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a tiny bottle, poured into a snifter glass. Dark golden, with very little head. The smell is hops, sweetness, and a fruity yeastyness. The taste is slightly hoppy, yet bitter. The bittering doesn't really seem to be a result of the hops. A very bitter aftertaste which lingers.

Mouthfeel is average. Drinkability is perhaps sub par. Overall, an interesting beer, but nothing particularly special.

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Photo of obywan59
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7 oz. bottle. A follow-up to Rogue XS Imperial India Pale Ale.

I gave it a rather hard pour which yielded nearly a 3 finger light tan head and thick lacing. The body was cloudy and near-mahogany in color.

Sweet malt on the nose, not much hop presence at all except for a bit of ripe citrus. Caramel with sweet milk chocolate.

Mostly sweet and caramelly again, with some light bitterness late.

Medium-full bodied with a nice alcohol burn in the throat.

A decent drinker. A touch syrupy being so sweet, but a fine brew overall.

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Photo of Spider889
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this little gem on tap at Mellow Mushroom.

Appears very deep mahogany, with a nice one-finger head. The foam is thick and sticky, leaving 3D lace - yes, lace that had noticeable depth to it.

Smelled rich and malty off the bat. Followed by earthy hops with plenty of pine and grassy character.

This is easily one of the best ESB's I've ever had. It's a style I normally shy away from because if I want hops I'll just order an IPA/DIPA. But this one was very bitter - loads of English hops and sticky amber malts.

Medium bodied, well carbonated, and pretty sticky.

This is a great brew, but I don't see myself asking for seconds right away. Definitely worth revisiting in the future though.

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Photo of yesyouam
3.94/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rogue Imperial Younger's Special Bitter Ale is cloudy and amber with a thin, sand colored head that vanishes quickly. It has a hoppy aroma with notes of grapefruit and juniper. It's pretty light bodied and smooth with a crisp, dry finish. It's quite bitter, top-heavy and dry. It tastes like grapefruit peel, juniper and grass. The grapefruit peel bitterness lingers. It's very drinkable, but probably a little too bitter to be a session ale.

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Photo of evilkalla
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: 7oz bottle into a short glass.

A: Pours a clear copper color with 1/8 to 1/4 inch of head which dissipated pretty fast. A fair amount of carbonation is visible.

S: Has a noticeably hoppy pale ale smell to it, very pleasant.

T: Smooth, malty, with a hop bitterness that is very subtle and doesn't really jump out at you. It has the malt profile of a strong IPA but quite a lesser level of hops. Pretty good.

M: Feels pretty smooth and balanced in the mouth.

D: This is a pretty smooth brew. Would definitely drink it again.

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Photo of bagpiper2005
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Medium red-amber color. A finger of off-white head that retains decently and leaves a little lacing on the glass.

Smell: Caramel and brown sugar with a strong alcohol presence. Medium-strong hop character that gives of aromas of grapefruit and pine.

Taste: Rich, sweet molasses front end with a little bit of caramel and toffee. A hint of tart cherries in there as well. The back end finishes up with a moderately intense piney hop bite. Alcohol much less present than in the aroma.

Mouthfeel: Fairly heavy body and high carbonation. Slightly creamy.

Drinkability: Very smooth drinking beer. Fills you up pretty quickly, though.

Final Notes: A delicious ESB, even if a bit on the strong side. Bordering IPA with the hops and alcohol content, but still has that super sweet ESB front end. Not really a session beer, save it for a cold night.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7 oz min-bottle.

Pours a hazy, warm brown into my Stone Old Guardian goblet, with a beige head that quickly disappears into a ring of tiny bubbles around the glass.

Malty aroma with a touch of bran muffin and toffee. Taste is soft and sweet and slightly cloying, with notes of brown bread. The alcohol adds a subtle bite, and I think I'm getting some hops as well at the edges.

Interesting and pretty good.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep hazy copper color ale with good carbonation and good head retention with some lacing as well. Aroma of dry and lightly bitter hops is interesting with a nice bready dry caramel malt backbone. Taste is also dominated by dry and bitter notes, though not as bitter as expected with a huge dry caramel malt backbone with bready notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation. Interesting though not necessarily something I would need to have on a regular basis.

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Photo of cannabanaceae
3.23/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured with a slight head that dissipated to nothing, probably a half oz. of yeast at the bottom.

The beer smells oxidized like an old barley wine, sweet, and bready.

The taste was no different than an average ESB. Exept for the oxidation. I bet it sat on the self for awhile because people were not as stupid as me, to spend $5 on 7oz of nothing special.

Mouthfeel was sticky, It finished with a Ho hum ending.

If your thinking about buying this beer DONT. It was pretty average, not bad per say but at a RIP OFF price. This is a gimmicky beer.

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Photo of bashiba
2.88/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured a deep and slightly cloudy amber with a thin line of off white head.

The smell is very mild with a light toasted malt odor.

The flavor is mild with a bit of grain in the backbone and a mild citrus and pine hop flavor dominating the finish.

The mouthfeel is fine, a bit sticky.

A very average beer with nothing special to speak of, then considering the ridiculous price of this it really brings it down. Why is this so expensive? There are no special or rare ingredients that would drive the price up, also no special barrel aging or time constraints that would drive the price up. Easily one of the most overpriced beers I have ever had, and makes me feel embarrassed for purchasing it when I was so completely sure this would be the case.

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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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