XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter | Rogue Ales

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XS Imperial Younger's Special BitterXS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter
Very Good
222 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 222 |  Reviews: 148
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 timbro81
3.93/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to paulthebeerguru for the opportunity. Pours a nice slightly hazed rich copper topped by a nice fluffy head that lingers around. Smells pretty tame, could be that it is a year or so old bur considering that its from a ceramic bottle I won't hold age too much against it. Malty sweetness is all that I am really getting from the nose. Some earthy hops subtly excite the tongue upon intial sip. Medium to full bodied, good silkiness. Noticable malts in the middle, nice nutty sweetness too. Good carbonation in the mouth. Nice earthy/spicy hops in the aftertaste. Nicely balanced. Can't imagine it being too badly affected by the age considering the root style (Special Bitter). Yum!

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Photo of Douglas14
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just picked this up...I got lucky and found it hidden in the back of the beer store (thought I couldn't find this beer anymore). Love the ceramic bottles that Rogue has been doing. It pours a rich amber color with amazing clarity. Nice, thick, fluffy head, not much retention but leaves a lot of lace. It has a nice aroma, very floral and fresh. Awesome taste...nice subtle bitterness with perfectly balanced sweetness. Also a bit of floral flavors. I bet this would go great with spicy food. It has a nice mouthfeel; velvety and good carbonation. Awesome beer...glad I was able to drink it.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.55/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - a dull fuzzy dark orange pour. Quite an active bead, though hard to see. A soft soapy head of about a half-finger, pale mocha in color. A very sticky ring of lace around the top.

Aroma - faint floral citrus, some basic graininess, but nowhere near enough to do all that bottle art justice.

Taste - sweet and juicy, a modest roasted grain following. The hop element is varied but restrained. The bitterness has properties of earthiness, grapefruit rind, and juicy citrus. Mild alcohol warmth after a while. The aftertaste is fruity, a bit dry with hops gaining in their bitterness.

Mouthfeel - a fine creaminess throughout and muted carbonation make this go down so easily.

Drinkability - though it's a fine beer, it's certainly a bit cost prohibitive to having much in stock. I could drink another one but it isn't really necessary to have an excess of these unless you're looking for some spiffy bottles to hold your homebrew. I'm happy to have this one!

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

Served on cask, with a lot of friendly sass at the Horse Brass in Portland. One of the finer ESBs I’ve tasted. All I can say is, wow! Pours a burned orange-gold with a thin head. Aroma is rich with caramel, light fruit, and Amarillo/NW hops. Yum! Body is creamy and smooth and the booze is invisible. Breakfast tea and orange are big flavors. Caramel is also present. Somewhat bready and biscuity. Hints of grapefruit. Downable by the gallon. Simple but exceptional.

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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 ccrida
3.72/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On draft at the Public House in Portland, the Imperial YSB is a hazy orangish amber, with an eggshell head that quickly fades to a slight collar.
The aroma is soft and mellow, sweet malt and bright fresh citrusy hops that makes me think this is dry hopped.
The taste is smooth and mellow malt, slighty sweet and nutty, with a tang of citrus from the hops, fading to a nice, mildly bitter finish. Even though the hops contribute a lot to the taste here, they are mellow, particularly for Rogue!
The mouthfeel was okay, medium bodied and very low on carbonation.
This was quite drinkable, especially for something labeled imperial. Interesting that most NW breweries jack up the ABV on their ESBs beyond the traditional range, and even more unusual for Rogue to nod towards tradition and acknowledge this does not abide! Still, it is pretty light and easy drinking, tasty enough that'll you'll want another!

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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 peabody
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a cloudy amber brown with off-white suds . Lacing does occur here.
Smell is mild hops and cane sugar with roasted malt.Raisin and bread mix with the sugar.
Taste is hoppy sugar with a hint of grape and grapefruit. Can't taste the alcohol here. There needs to be more flavors here.
Mouthfeel is very clean and the alcohol is barely detectable.Not a lot of carbonation here.
This is a good beer no doubt, but Rogue makes much better brews so don't spend 14 bucks on a bottle of this unless you save bottles.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap during a recent visit to Sunset Bar & Grill in Boston. Typed from notes.

Poured a burnt mahogany amber color. Slight off-white head that receded to a thin veneer. Nose is more malty than hoppy, which have just a slight presence.

I really like the bready flavors in this beer. Very unexpected considering the style. Hops are also a tad more subdued than expected and balance out the malty wholeness with a slight spruce-ness. Some heat from the alcohol is not very well concealed though. Mouthfeel is perhaps a tad thinner than ideal but no great knock. Interesting take on the style and I can definitely enjoy more of these.

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Photo of cbn
3.96/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cloudy amber body with pillows of creamy off-white foam head
pour from a white ceramic 750 ml.

very light, thin malty aroma. barely a hint of hop in the nose.

light malty flavors lead to a subtle hop bitterness, very well balanced!

mild and creamy this bitter ale is quite drinkable.

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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 DrJay
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, deep amber with a light reddish tint topped by a thick, off-white head. The foam produced solid, chunky lacing that formed rings down the glass. The aroma was mostly hops (citrus, grapefruit, earthy) with a little grainy malt. Solid bitterness that was still quite soft and balanced, plus lots of grapefruit and tangerine hop flavours that kicked in part way through and lingered into the finish. The malt was bready and there was a fruity sweetness. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The small bubbles were well-integrated but still remained lively. Off-dry with a nice texture. Highly drinkable with a good balance, well put together beer.

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Photo of isaac
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml. ceramic bottle to chalice.

A - Hazy, dark-caramel colored body, with small white head that sinks to bubbles and thin film.

S - dirty, musky scent with noticeable booze. hops are present as grapefruit rind and dried mango. malts also are somewhat sweet, like hawaiian dinner rolls.

T - strong, savory malts mix well with juicy, resiny hops of a sort of pine flavor. finish is smooth well balanced with an added yeastiness.

M - medium to thick body, with mid-level carbonation - very nice.

D - this was better on tap, but, i'm very glad to have this at home and have no problem splitting the bottle with my roommate.

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

On tap at the Rogue pub in San Francisco.

Amber-colored bitter with a ring of foam, served in a Rogue pint glass. Sweet and malty nose. The taste reveals a decent backbone of hops and citrus to go along with the dominant caramel malt flavor. Great mouthfeel on this one; the medium body and moderate carbonation make it incredibly drinkable for an imperial strength beer. I greatly prefer this over the standard YSB; it's a shame that Rogue isn't adding this to their regular lineup.

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

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a deep golden honey colored body that is clear with a nice carbonation of tiny bubbles. There is a medium size light head that fades to a thin film but last a long time and sticks to the glass nicely.

S- This beer has a soft pale malt note with a very light toasted malt note . There is a hint of fresh malt that is almost like a biscuit note but much better and is hard to describe, maybe a lightly toasted biscuit is more on point.

T- This beer has a soft pale malt note with a soft tartness to it. There are notes of caramel malt and a hint of honey biscuit malt in the backbround. There is a smooth hop bitterness that is very mellow but balances the malts. The more I sip the more I notice a hint of orange in between the hops and malt and a slight tartness to that.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel that is just a bit too watery but it has a smooth quality to the texture.

D- This beer was served very cold so it was hard to pull out the subtle flavors but it was a very smooth nice session beer and would be amazing on cask.

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

Dark burnished copper with a clingy ecru foam cap. Decent lacing, with stringy webs. Surprisingly mild nose, with buttery grapefruit notes and biscuity malt aromas predominating. Lightly buttered biscuity malt flavors form the basis of the taste, with mellow citric grapefruit pith punctuating the top of the flavor profile. Slight mineral twinge at the finish with a smooth, toasted biscuit with grapefruit marmalade aftertaste. Not unlike a somewhat ballsy English IPA. Interesting idea. Medium-full body with a noticeable alcohol slickness. I'm a huge fan of the "regular" Younger's Special Bitter -- in fact, I think it's one of the most sessionable ales in Rogue's stable. This "imperialized" version is very tasty, but its increased size and alcohol content lacks a bit of charm. Nevertheless, I'll have no problem finishing this growler in a day or so.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft about a week ago at Mad Mex Robinson, appears a cloudy bronze amber hue with an off white thin beige head leaves even fine lacing around these Rogue JLS always seem a bit under carbonated, which I can deal with. Aroma seems a bit muted caramel malts sweet ripe plums and raisini qualities with mild alcohol and light pine/citrus hop combo presenting itself. Flavors really mix nicely with some seemingly soft refrained British malts that bring caramel and ripe fruit sweetness more fig, plum, and raisin glazed with alcohol and sugar, overall a moderate solid bitterness but not anything too extreme on hops for Rogue of course. Mouthfeel is medium to fuller bodied the lighter carbonation allows the beer to sit on the palate with some resisual sugar stickiness noted. Drinkability always a pleasure to try Rogue small batches great brewery that keeps innovating, good stuff try it if you find it.

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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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Photo of Sammy
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A Rogue on tap, at Transit Pizza Plant. Yellow body with soapy head, and neutral aroma, though some alcohol present. Taste notes of yeast, wheat. Decent bitterness, but more on sweet side and on balance than another overhopped beer. Only knew the style after the fact. Another style bender. Recommended.

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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 klewis
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at The Brewkettle, Strongsville, OH - 1/14/07

A: Pours a dark copper color. Little head, but plenty of lacing.

S: A very subtle smell with roasted malt aromas.

T: An example of a perfectly balanced bitter. A smooth maltiness is noted up front followed by a noticible but gentle bitterness. The 7.1 ABV is totally hidden.

M: Full-bodied, smooth, and creamy with a fine carbonation, this is one of the beer's best traits.

D: Dangerously drinkable. It's taste and it's mouthfeel make this a perfect candidate for session drinking, but watch out for the ABV.

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XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.9 out of 5 with 222 ratings