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 ImusBeer
3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another 11oz pour, not a problem but I wish they had some glasses other than the white wine stems.

It came a clear copper color with a white head and large bubbles. Died rather quickly.

The aromas started with citus then a slight malt. The flavours were of citrus, mostly orange and a sour aftertaste.

nothing much in the way of piney bitterness I was expecting but it was light and dry almost thin IMHO, bitter at the end mostly in the form of dryness.

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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 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 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 blaje
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep amber in colour, little orange and brown note. Thin head fadding quickly. Perfectly translucid at first but becoming more hazy as you go down the bottle. Bottle conditioning???

Nose: Sweet malt, candied sugar. Tea like aroma. Apple.

Mouth: Bitterness feal more than double then its little sister, the YSB, This gives me the feeling of a crossover between an american IPA and an english IPA. Carbonation is more like an english bitter, medium-low.

Beautiful bottle but pricey.Definitely like it better the the YSB. More hops is a good amelioration for me.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.16/5  rDev -19%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

16 ounce pint - $7.25 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Clear, rich mahogany-hued body with a ½ inch of off-white suds on top.

Smell: Lightly toasty pale maltiness with some distinct crystal malt whiffs and, of course, the hops, with earthy, floral notes and a fair amount of Amarillo.

Taste: Pale malts with some toasted undertones and a distinct crystal malt sweetness present. Floral, earthy hop flavors along with a hearty dose of citrus pith and line pine. Medium-high bitterness. The malts attempt to rebound late with a smidgen of brown sugar, but it soon submerges beneath the heavy hop tastes. As expected from a Rogue offering, this one wraps up particularly dry and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: An ESB crossed with American hops, Rogue's typically higher bitterness, and a solid bump of alcohol which, I'm continually being told, is what folks are into these days. Personally, I found the full entire sixteen ounces to be a bit of a chore to finish.

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Photo of JamesS
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very deep copper color, although with very little head and no lacing to speak of. Nice deep hoppy scent a good amount of Amarillo with some nice EK in there, too. Fairly deep hoppy taste, some nice floral and slight pine attributes, with enough malt to keep it thick and balanced. Goes down fine, if not overly smooth. Honestly, it reminds me of my own first try at an APA recipe as a homebrewer. Not sure if that means good things to me or that this is just a decent beer that's not worth the huge cost of one bomber.

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

Harking back to Younger's Special Bitter, the Imperial version does a great job of holding onto that cask-ale crisp maltiness and soft textures. Rogue's Pacman yeast is built for these bready, fruity, Enlgish-style ales.

Very fruity nose brings out apples, peaches, pears, and a hint of dates. Caramelized malts rise and eventually set the stage for the beer. Bready, shortbread aromas and herbal hops round on the aroma.

A glowing dark amber color shows no haze, very nice head formation and retention. Nice lacing throughout. I very nice look.

Flavors of the caramel and bready malts give a solid base to the beer. Fruity esters give a deep and complex flavor to the malts while bitter pine and tropical hops give a resiny pineapple finish to the taste.

Robust malt textures are cut by assertive (but controlled) bitterness. Alcohol serves as a bit of a thinning agent, allowing the dryness of the hops and the maltiness of the barley to shine with no interference from much residual sweetness.

Tasty Enlish Ale that could easlily be mistaken for an English IPA. A pleasure to drink- nice and enjoyable but not a standout.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a rich clear reddish copper with a not very thick but fine-bubbled head. Malty aroma has undertone of cinnamon. Rich, malty, spicy and lively flavor has a hint of hops and a firm cinnamon undertone. Texture is lively, fizzy and edgy, leaving a spicy finish.

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

Got it on tap at the Lionheart in Albany, 5-4-09. Not sure if this was an old keg or if this has been "unretired" -- I seem some other recent reviews of this beer on tap, so maybe Rogue has resurrected this one. . . .

A: Coppery body with a small cream-colored head. Plenty of slow-rising bubbles. Good lace. Looks good.

S: Some piney hops over a faint caramel malt. Balanced like you'd expect for an ESB, but amped up like you'd expect from an "Imperial." It walks that fence perfectly in the nose.

T: First impression: hop bitterness -- piney, grassy and maybe leafy hoppiness -- is noticeable right away. Grassy hops linger. There's also a decent foundation of caramel malt, maybe cookie dough. Some sort of spice seems to show up towards the finish, and alcohol heat is felt down the gulley.

M: Medium-bodied, good all-around feel to it.

D: Very good. Went down easily.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL swing-top black ceramic bottle. No date.

Appearance: Poured into a 26oz imperial pint. 1.5 fingers of fluffy off-white head with lots of retention. Grips the glass leaving bands. Slightly hazy amber colored.

Nose: Sweet English malts and some dusty hop/pine cone notes.

Palate: Medium-bodied with lots of biscuit and dirty pine cone flavors. Old hops, dry as a bone on the palate, but not scathing. A little fruitiness hides underneath all that hop flavor and bitterness.

Notes: Seems like a lot of bittering hops were used, and the flavor hops must be something without the citrus notes. This beer is dry and lovely. Exactly what I was hoping it would be. A little pricey, but a great brew.

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Photo of hooliganlife
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

poured on tap at the stable.

color was deep amber and brown with a thick white head that stuck around forever. left very thick lacing along the sides of the glass.

scents were very strong malts with nutty scents and light floral hop notes.

huge bitterness from start to finish with each drink. the hops were actually quite faint in the background with floral notes.

fairly full bodied but very smooth at the same time. light carbonation.

this was a tuff one to finish. very bitter and by the end of the glass my gums were numb. a god beer but also a one at a time beer.

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Photo of ricke
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Serving date: 2009-03-21. Best before: August 2010. Served in big wine glass.

A: Copper colored with big red hues. Slightly yellow, small and uneven head that looks rather creamy. The liquid is clear at first, but towards the end of the bottle it gets cloudy. The last pour leaves big dark floaters in the glass.

S: A pleasant smell, but not as powerful as I had expected. Nice malty backbone, caramel, toffee. Raisins. Decent amount of hop aromas as well, mostly citric-like. Some aromas of cloudberries as well.

T: At first, I don't think there's much going on in the taste. It almost seems boring and uninteresting. But after a while, the beer opens up and things start to happen. Big malt flavors, caramel, butterscotch. Some raisins and fudge. It gets slightly bready for a moment. Then the hop flavors take over. Floral notes, pine-needles, grass and restrained fruity flavors. The hops are quite powerful but never get harsh. Pretty decent bitterness in the finish, but it's manageable. Some minerals and fading floral notes in the finish as well.

M: Medium body going towards full. Soft carbonation but it still feels somewhat crisp.

D: As noted, this one became better after a while. It gets a bit rounder and develops a decent malty backbone to balance the bitterness that is too dominant initially. In the end, it comes out quite good. But I'm not sure it lives up to the quite hefty prize tag.

NOTE: ABV is 7,4% according to the label.

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Photo of stephens101
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this out of one of the newer Rogue black XS series 750 ml ceramics. Not for sure if Rogue's pulling a Brett Favre or not here as supposedly this one is retired. Anyway, a prolific, bubbly tan head sits patiently atop a dark amber brew. Retention is excellent, and when it finally recedes, a dense, chunky lacing is left behind.

Smells of earthy, piny hops, with some faint citrus in the background. Tastes of more piny hops and faint citrus. Following the hops some caramel malts come into play, mixing perfectly. Eventually some faint dark chocolates and honey are also noticed floating around the palate, adding extra taste and texture, and reflecting the choice ingredients used. Mouth-feel lies on the heavy side of medium, and there's a fair amount of carbonation.

At 52 IBU's this one is probably not going to excite the extreme hopheads, but the bitterness is noticeable, and most importantly it works in concert with the other elements in the brew.

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

Had this on tap at the brewery in Newport. I wish I could have had this in the bottle so I could have that beautiful image of Don Younger on a horse, but anyway. This is where my notes start to get a little less legible. Appearance was good. Red in Color this off white head. Not too much lacing, My notes say it was mostly malty with a faint taste of hops in the middle. Thin to medium bodied. I'm not a huge bitter fan but this was good.

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Photo of Floydster
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought this crazy looking flip top white ceramic 750 ml bottle about a year ago at Wally's Wine for around fifteen dollars, decided to crack this open a few minutes ago, splitting it with my dad, poured into my Rubicon snifter, color is a mix between a dark orange and copper color, 3/4 inch soapy off white head that stays around a few minutes, no lacing, aroma consists of hops, caramel, sweetness, grassy accents, musk, mild booze, and toasted malts, the taste is dry all the way through and enjoyable, little complexity thrown in with the malts and very mild fruit, mostly citrus, finish is bitter and can be harsh until it warms fully, you have to like bitter and dry beers to be able to enjoy this one, if you do then it is a nice brew to sit back and sip on, went well with all the garlic we are eating right now, medium bodied, dry and bitter mouthfeel, seems a bit syrupy at times and could probably use some more carbonation, could have drank this whole bottle probably, not overly heavy or anything, only thing that really hurts it is the relentless dry flavors and feel, other than that is goes down easy and the alcohol is hidden, not a bad brew from Rogue, the hops are still lively in this one after at least year of age, one of thier better imperial beers, would drink again, recommended

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 10/3/08. On tap at Ginger Man. Pours a clear brown/orange with a thick light tan head. Aroma of caramel and toasted malts, bitter hops, and sweaty socks. Flavor is quite bitter with some caramel malt to balance it out. Yep, pretty much the best word to describe this beer is bitter. But it was tasty too.
7/4/7/4/14 (3.6/5)

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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 IronDjinn
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a large black ceramic flip-top bottle like the other Rogue Imperials. Abv. listed at 7.4% Looks like they've brought this stuff back into production once again, especially if we're getting it up here in Alberta. Pours out an intense hazy copper with a tall cream coloured head that settles to a broken chunky cap.

Sweet and puckering tart tangerines and ruby grapefruit on the nose, along with some chewy malt akin to bread pudding. Intense and inviting at the same time.

The flavour is smokey and earthy at first, and the hops dig their claws in pretty early as well, tearing deeper and deeper along the palate and across the tongue towards the finish. The bomb really drops in the aftertaste however, coming in wave upon IBU wave like little green nuggets of napalm, astringent like dandelion leaves.

Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium-bodied, smooth, a bit chewy in places and becomes oily on the finish from the hops.

A pretty bang on ESB, even with the extra high octane behind it, it packs a bit of a whallop, but is smooth, not rough around the edges, very well contained.

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Photo of travisd13
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a black 750ml ceramic into a Pike Tulip.

A- Pours a clear, medium amber color with an off-white / tan head...nice lace!!

S- Hops! Earthy hops with a nice malt balance...Pacman!!

T- Same earthy hop flavor as the smell...a little on the sweet side...alcohol is very well hidden.

M- Medium body...good carbonation.

D- Goes down very easy! As mentioned above the alcohol is very well hidden. Another ceramic bottle that I wish were a glass...that way I could drink it again...just too costly in the ceramic.

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Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This must have been re-released - This came in a black ceramic swing-top bottle:

Pours hazed amber with an off-white head that becomes a patch.

The smell is of some caramel with leafy, earthy, slightly citric notes.

The taste is of caramel sweetness with balancing earthy, leafy, slightly citric bitterness. A hint of alcohol shows in the bittersweet finish.

Medium-bodied, pretty smooth.

An interesting brew - and very good too - nice balance - An American ESB that mixes English and American characteristics. Don't know if it's quite worth the price tag - though the cool ceramic bottle probably has something to do with that. Worth picking up to try it at least once though!

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

Black ceramic 750mL bottle into a Corsendonk tulip. Pours a crisp dark amber with a decent off-white head that is slow to diminish and leaves spotty lacing on the glass. Aroma is crisp earthy hops and sweet malt with that unmistakable Pacman yeast tinge. The taste is more like an IPA than an ESB, but like many people have said, an Imperial ESB cannot truly be an ESB. The taste is dominated by crisp pine hops and burnt caramel. The beer is medium bodied with slight alcohol presence that is not too overbearing. This is certainly an enjoyable beer, but, like the other expensive Rogue XS bottled beers, I won't be drinking it that often.

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Photo of elniko
4.02/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Rogue Brewery Brewers on the Bay in Newport in goblet style glass.

A: Deep amber, half finger of head with very little carbonation.

S: The smell of hops is overwhelming on the nose.

T & M: Highly bitter, the mouthfeel is awesome; the bitterness sticks around but does not overwhelm.

D: I enjoyed this beer but so bitter not sure if I could have more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's

A: Clear copper with a thin white head. Nice lace

S: Candy-sweet with a lot of grassy hops

T: Starts hoppy with earth and grass - it's almost like chewing on a stalk of a flower! This is followed but a mild sweetness and a dry finish with mild sweetness.

M:Well carbonated with a great, dry finish!

D: I'd drink it again

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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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