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 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 centbeerfest
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased in a 7 oz bottle for $4.99. It was the ridiculous price of the very small portion that really made me wonder how good this beer could really be.

Was lacking a glass so drank it out of the bottle and it was just good. Price played a big part of my expectations and as an ESB lover, I thought it was just okay.

Nice balance but the high alcohol was the predominant take away. Big fan of Rogue but in this case I would avoid this choice again.

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

7 ounce bottle (!) on sale for “only” $1.99 at DeCicco’s in Ardsley, NY.

Pours clouded darker amber, luxuriously tight knit head, leaves nice looking splashes of lacing.

Nose is of maple malts with a hint of smokey peat lingering in the rear.

Malty and quite yummy. Loads of sweet malts, maple, and caramel brownie goodness. Quite smooth and easy flowing over the tongue.

I’ve consciously refused to shell out the crazy expensive amounts Rogue charges for the pretty ceramic bombers of this one, but glad to give it a try even if the serving size was on the comical side

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

7 oz. bottle poured into a wine glass.

The pour is a very light reddish brown color. Very unique, I have never seen a beer wuite like this. Not much of a head, a slight ring around the edge of the glass. No lacing.

The smell throws me off. It smells nice and sweet, almost like a cupcake. Very pleasant to the nose.

The taste... wow. Nice mellow sweetness with periods of snappy bitterness. Very tolerable though, the bitterness makes itself known, but in a very easy-going enjoyable way. What a combination of flavors!

Overall, I am very satisfied with this beer. Just wish it was a little cheaper or came in larger sizes. This is a great ESB.

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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 smcolw
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

7 ounce bottle that creates two-finger head that settles slowly. Leaves some streaky and spotty lace. The broth is cloudy with orange tint to a dirty, dark gold color.

Strong caramel aroma that covers up most of the hop bitterness.

Rich, full-bodied mouthfeel. The taste starts off creamy. The swallow is bitter but the aftertaste is surprisingly short-lived.

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Photo of July2Nov
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Cloudy brown with a slight orange hue around the edges. Thin lacing.

Smell: Sweet and sour with a little burnt tinge, malty with a raisin/plum scent.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Spikes up the mouth. Burnt like taste that warms you up. Sour malitiness follow through. Smooths out a tad bit and becomes bitter/sour with a tongue coating film. Some tastes of dark fruits and a little bit of smokiness and butter. Good combination of hops and malts.

Overall: Good ESB. Only wish the bottle was bigger.

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

copper in color with a nice head of white coming up and over the top quite nicely I have to say. Rich side glass lacing that leaves spider like webs all over the sides and bottom of the glass.

caramel malts right up from, balanced well against a pine tar like touch. As it warms some more grassy and herbal notes begin to show their nose and provide some really nice balance to the overall profile. As it warms more and more come through and it actually picks up a great deal of hoppiness by the end. Huge malt bomb at first, followed the aroma quite nicely, becoming hoppy and bitter as I progressed though. Nice touch of boozy in it as well now. Overall very nicely done, well balanced and nice and strong.

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Photo of dgilks
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mostly clear amber colour with a small and short lasted light tan head. Poor head retention.

Earthy, fruity hop character with a nice background of toffee malts. Quite nice.

Smooth light toffee malts with a dose of bitterness and a good fruit character. The characteristic Pacman flavour isn't coming through which is nice. Mild hop character that works nicely here.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A nice ESB with solid flavour but as much as I like it something seems to be lacking for me.

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

Rogue XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter Ale
7.0% ABV - 7oz bottle

appearance... medium brown color with a short beige/white head, which sticks to the glass. it has a hazy look remeniscent of a dubbel.

smell... honey, malts, brown sugar, light fruit. i can't detect a presence of hops although there is a clean crisp scent at the back end.

taste... the things that stands out at the forefront is the rounded and smooth texture of the beer. It's almost syrupy with a light oily quality. that doesn't sound good, but its a very pleasant texture in the mouth. Earthy. No dominant fruit or flavors. light bitter finish, which lingers for a few seconds. Despite the lack of flavors its a very pleasant and easy style of beer, unless you're very averse to bitterness.

mouthfeel... rice smooth texture. good carbonation. overall a very pleasant in this respect.

overall... i really like this beer and having enjoying this 7oz bottle, I find myself wishing that the bottle was larger or that i had bought two. it's not a spectacular beer, but it is a very very good beer. definitely worth trying.


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

On-tap at Rogue Public House, in San Francisco.

This Younger's is not only stronger in alcohol, but seemingly flashier too; flashy golden and amber streaks light up like sirens when held overhead. Its head, though not terribly huge, appears no worse for wear. While the beer is perfectly transparent, its complexion is more than a little blurred, much like a picture taken with a badly focused camera.

The aroma is similar in character, but much larger in scope, than that of a typical extra strong bitter; there is considerably more candied citrus character and more weedy pungency. The hopping is American in quality as well as quantity. All these fruity and floral notes are incredibly pleasant when combined with the caramel sweet scent of the malts.

In accordance with the 'imperial' tag, everything has been intensified - the maltiness as well as the hoppiness. While toffee flavour figures to be bigger and bolder, it's the resounding tastes of pine, grapefruit and other citrus that come through most. There is also a vividly earthy, weedy, leafy sensation, as if we were eating the hops from the vine.

There's no doubt this is brewed for an 'American-ized' palate - even despite ensuring the requisite toffee, biscuity maltiness it's the acidic grapefruit and weedy herbal notes that shine through. Bitterness, too, is extra strong (even for an extra strong bitter) although it's not as noticeable given that the caramel flavours have also been intensified.

If you prefer a greater ratio of hops to malts then you can thank Rogue for tinkering with the proportions. A beer like XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter is quite telling about both the capabilities as well as the mentality of this 'rogue' brewery: they can brew classic, established recipes as fine as anyone else... but they prefer to do it their own (bolder) way instead.

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

On tap at Rogue Public House PDX, $4.75 with Rogue Nation discount, poured into XS chalice, enjoyed before Fred's Beer and Cheese Tasting in memory of The Old Tavern Rat, 7.27.11

Clear orange body, multiple streams of carbonation, thin layer of white head on top, some lacing. Nose is pretty malty and dry, bready, some grassy hop notes. Taste mirrors nose, a bit of sweetness comes through, some bitterness from the Amarilllos, ABV fairly noticeable, especially in comparison with regular cask version. Medium mouthfeel, a bit sticky. Pretty boozy for an ESB, but given the heritage of the beer, one that should be tried by all.

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Photo of boudreaux
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: pours a hazy, amber/copper, with a thick, 1/2 finger off-white head; leaves minimal, sticky lacing

S: sweet; caramel maltiness, toffee, resine; bitterness, with hoppy, earthy notes; pine, citrus, foral notes; yeast/bread aromas, and alcohol

T: roasted caramel malts; fruit, citrus, honey, brown sugar; bitter hops balance sweetness, with hoppy, wheat flavors

M: smooth and creamy, with a long, dry hoppy finish; spicy and crisp; medium body, with foamy, medium carbonation

O: quite enjoyable, but not sessionable; surprisingly true to ESB

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Photo of portia99
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

7oz bottle gifted to me at the Rogue Pub in San Francisco last week. Poured into a Brooklyn snifter.

A - Pours an especially deep shade of amber that trends a bit toward brown. Fairly hazy overall with only the thinnest of head briefly appearing and leaving behind a thin collar of tannish foam around the edge of the glass. Has almost an oily appearance to it.

S - A bit boozy with some noticeable alcohol sweet aroma, floral and perfumey hops are pretty noticeable as well. Some nuttiness underneath the hops and a bit of roasted malts and just a bit of citrus.

T - Roasty, nutty, dry up front with the malt taking the lead but followed closely by floral and earthy hop flavors and a sharp, clean and decently powerful hop bitterness. This bitterness stays with you til the end and lingers well past the swallow. The slight booze from the aroma appears towards the swallow and wafts up into the nose a bit.

M - Pretty smooth and creamy carbonation at a somewhat lower level of intensity. Body is medium and it feels pretty slick on the tongue.

O - A solid effort overall. Not sure it holds up to the cost of the bottle (normally - this one was free for me) which is substantial, given the size. Tasty beer, pretty good drinkability despite the boozy aspects. Good balance and smooth.

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

Poured a dark amber with little head or lacing from a 7 ounce nip bottle. Not much in the aroma department but has great flavor, excellent balance between the hops and malt. Alcohol is noticeable but pleasant. Very nice, full mouthfeel; strong, but drinkable. I really liked this one as a one-off...don't know if I'd need more than a single nip bottle at any one time though.

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Photo of PhageLab
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip.

A - Hazy brownish orange color, nice bit of froth, sticky lacing. Sediment? Air bubbles? Not sure what they are, but they look as though they are suspended in jelly.

S - Malty aroma, a tad biscuity, nicely bitter.

T - Rich bitter flavor with some citrus notes. Tasty, but almost too rich. I began having some difficulty drinking it.

M - Medium bodied, mildly carbonated, with a finish that is mostly dry.

D - Interesting beer, but a little too much for me. The flavor profile was good, but ultimately I couldn't finish it, it was too rich.

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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 glid02
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a clear brownish-copper color with a tan head that leaves decent lacing.

Smells of deep caramel malts with hints of heavier toasted malts. Also present are mild amounts of citrus and earthy hops with hints of butterscotch.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though more robust. Mildly dry caramel malt flavors up front are joined quickly by solid citrus hops. Midway through the flavor profile turns more bitter with the addition of earthy hops. Very light hints of butterscotch come into play near the end, fading out into a mildly bitter ending. Mouthfeel is good, with smooth carbonation.

Overall I wasn’t a huge fan of this beer, which I can’t be terribly surprised about given the fact that I enjoy the subtlety of the little beer and the imperial version is lacking that. Not terrible, but not worth seeking.

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

7oz bottle purchased as a single from Glen Beverage, Glen, NH.

Poured into an Otter Creek Imp Series tulip, formed a 1/2" tan head over the slightly cloudy copper brew. Head holds on well, with leggy, lasting lace. Aroma is earthy hops, with pine and citrus undertones.

Taste starts sweet, but quickly gives way to citrus, closes with lemony bitterness. Slight numbing aftertaste. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, and drinkability is good as well. Glad these are back in the non-ceramic bottles, those were just too much of a $$$ investment.

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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 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 metter98
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is cloudy copper in color and has lots of particles floating in suspension and a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that slowly died down and left wispy patterns of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of caramel and toasted malts plus citrus hops in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell, except that the malty flavors are a bit stronger with additional notes of fruit and toffee; the hops help to balance off the malty flavors from being overpowering and contribute some citrus flavors and hints of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Drinking this beer is a breeze because there’s an excellent balance between the malts and the hops and there are no traces of alcohol perceptible in the taste considering its strength.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.45/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

7 oz bottle into a ½ pint glass.

Pours a mostly clear copper, with lot of suspended oils present, and is topped with a finger of off-white head. This retains with a foamy ¼ finger that throws some frothy swathes of lacing up that sticks. The aroma smells grassy and lightly spicy, with citric fruit character that is layered on top of some doughy grains. A big of light alcohol warmth is showing itself as well.

The taste starts with a green citric bitterness that is set against a flat feeling toasted graininess and a splash of sweet caramel. There is a ripe and earthy component to this that lingers in the finish along with a deep pithy and spicy dryness. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied, with a sharp carbonation that is undercut by some beefy alcohol warmth that distinctly hangs on the breath after each sip.

This was decent enough, with a bold bitterness to it that was mostly well balanced. Unfortunately, this showed a bit too much of it’s ABV in spots, which took some of the drinkibility and overall enjoyment of this away from me. The 7 oz bottle here was a more than enough of this though.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.37/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

One freakin' dollar an ounce. Hey, a tick is a tick. $6.99 for a tiny 7 ounce bottle from Perry's Liquor, on to the beer:

Dark reddish orange in color. The head on top forms small and somewhat creamy, retaining its head mediocrily. The aroma is strong; diacetyl is dominant, hints of apricot hanging around. Also some rusty grain.

Very strong is the flavor. The bottle doesn't list an alcohol value, so I'm left to guessing it. I would have over 8% easy, but BA lists it at 7.1%. Diacetyl and bittersctch pair to make a strong base flavor. Hints of apricot skin, a vague veggie note diversify the portfolio. Some alcohol is present. In the mouth, the beer has a buzzy feel, primarily from the alcohol sppeing through. A little metallic and butterscotch run into the aftertaste.

An interesting concept; an imperial ESB. To be frank, I don't think this style needs any intensifying, as this offering shows.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.38/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 7 oz splits bottle into a small chalice. Pours a slightly hazy amber-brown, like unfiltered iced-tea, with a 1/4" off-white head that soon reduces to a mere skim of head.

Smells sweet and yeasty, with hints of toffee, alcohol, apricot, and pear. Not exactly what I was expecting smell-wise from an ESB.

Starts bitter, but that flavor quickly rolls off in favor of a weak sweet tea taste with lingering bitter, almost like an echo. Notes of tobacco, spice, and earthy, herbal leafiness mid-taste, ending like the beer is trying to escape without being tasted.

Mouthfeel is rather light and unimpressive.

This is the third or fourth of the 7 oz splits XS beer I've had from Rogue. While I generally like their beers, this XS series has been underwhelming, particularly given that each tiny bottle is costing me $4-$5. I've not had one yet where I'd say the taste was such that I'd want to buy and drink another.

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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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