XS Imperial Younger's Special Bitter | Rogue Ales

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222 Ratings
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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 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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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

ANother in the line of way overpriced 7 oz. bottles...Pours a ruddy brown with some haze from the bottle conditioning. No head or lacing at all. Smell is very hoppy, with some honey notes, some alcohol, and overripe melon. Flavor is expressive and powerful. Hits instantly with great tangy bitterness, pretty complex also. This is really good beer. Well balanced between the biting hop bitterness in the front, and mellows out into a long, smooth bitter-in a good way finish, punctuated here and there with some fruitiness and lots of malt. Great beer, but way over priced, which brings down its drinkability for me.

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Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a somewhat hazy, amber color with a tan, two-finger, bubbly head of foam. Nice retention with some rings of sticky lace.

S - It smelled boozy with a strong punch of sweet maltiness. There was a floral and citric hop presence.

T - It starts with a strong hop bite. It had a sweet maltiness with caramel, toffee and mild chocolate notes.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer with a dry finish.

D - This is a very good ESB. Overprice (like most Rogue products) but good.

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Photo of Dewey0603
3.56/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear burnt honey with some mahogony. The head is large with frothy tan colors and lacing that lasts. The smell is strong with roasted malt,brown sugar,bread yeast,and alcohol. The taste has a bitter alcohol flavor along with roasted malt,honey,brown sugar,and a bit of a weak watery aftertaste. The m/f is light with the flavors mixing OK. Not a bad beer,but not my favorite Rogue.

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

Had on draft at taco MAC prado. Pours a hazy rust color. Initial taste is caramel and a sweet yeasty- ness. The mouthful definitely gives you more of the yeasty-ness with nice sweet hops in the after taste. Definitely recommend, it does kind of remind me of a sweet sour dough roll.

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

From the 7 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on July 31, 2010. It pours a mahogany, tree-like brown with about a half inch foamy beige head. The aroma is full of caramel malts with a a sidebar of hops. The taste comes across as bitter with a nice wallop of hops at the end. I wish I had picked up the larger bottle.

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Photo of GregPearson33
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this from one of those great 7oz X-series ponies...

Appearance: Dark caramel/amber with a bit of haze, topped by a tight cream colored head.

Smell: Floral and sweet with orangey-zesty citrus hop notes

Taste: bready with a strong malt backbone that's rounded by a piney, earthy hop presence. It wasn't really what I expected from the nose but overall I like it, just a little thrown off.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: the beer is well carbonated which keeps it reasonably light on the palate but the end is marked by a somewhat syrupy, thick mouth-coating.

Overall it's two saving graces were the bottle size and the carbonation. I would say it's a solid beer, but not one I would necessarily seek out and definitely not one to session.

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Photo of popery
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

7 oz bottle. Interesting beer. It has a big biscuit, apricot/plum and caramel malt flavor with a good dose of piney hops. The hops seem a bit faded but still manage to reign in the sweet malt. The flavor is mildly sweet, though drier than expected, given all the malt. Carbonation is average. There is a good hoppy bite in the finish. The beer is a darkened amber with a creamy white head that dissipated rather quickly. Unfortunately, the little nip bottle isn't really appropriate, in my opinion. It's not a terribly strong beer and the flavor doesn't tire the palate quickly or anything, so I don't really see the point. If the special malt and hops that Rogue used are expensive or limited in quantity, they should have just put it in more limited distribution. In my opinion, there should be a point to using such small bottles.

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

Received this as an extra in a trade with black13 - thanks for the beer! Plus, he's a great trader. Review is from notes taken on 7/21/2010 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a dark apricot color with some coppery aspects; starts with a one finger off-white creamy head with very solid retention; body is cloudy and hazy, and shows strong carbonation and some floating sediment; a full curtain of lacing is left on the back of the glass and random spots elsewhere.

Smell: Not bad -- some floral hops combine with some dry and biscuity graininess and a touch of lemon. Could be more robust though.

Taste: A fair blend of floral/grassy bitter hops and that toasty dry biscuity graininess; a very slight hint of sweet malts (with no real attributable flavor) and a mild presence of warm alcohol; overall, it's a pretty simple beer -- nothing very special about it, but it's certainly very solid.

Mouthfeel: A thick and semi-dry coating is left holding firm to the roof of the mouth; body is medium light and the carbonation is very soft and makes the body seem creamy; the gums are left a little tingly and the belly is left warm.

Drinkability: Not bad, simple and fairly refreshing with the bitterness; ABV is a tad high, but because of the ridiculously small bottle (WTF, Rogue?), getting through a couple of these wouldn't be a problem. Not the best offering from this brewery I've had, but certainly not the worst.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.4/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Poured a hazy, dark ice-tea color with a beach sand frothy head about a finger high. Against natural light the coloring appeared a firebrick red, revealing a steadfast effervesce of micro-bubbles. The lacing was slight, of very low coverage area, while the head retention was good, leaving a skim coating for the remainder of the drink.

S: The alcohol was most noticeable upfront. There were some instances of ripe tomatoes, toasted grains and a hop spiciness of warm cooked pineapples, and leafy green stem notes. Overall the bitterness was soft, mostly masked by the forefront of alcohol.

T: The flavor appeared a bit thin at first with warm watery citrus and toasted grains highlighted by a bit of alcohol warmth. The finish finds a bittering of warm pine juice and alcohol. The alcohol seems to be the main focus here, while the malting and hop bitterness play a weak second fiddle.

M: Medium body with hardly a mention of carbonation. Warm citrus and alcohol appear on the finish. Lacked a good residual coating, a bit light and mostly fueled by alcohol then anything else.

D: The alcohol seemed a bit excessive, though I've had much bigger, this tells me this just wasn't balanced to well. A drink of limited quantities. Overall I would prefer a more traditional take and the 7oz played well here.

End musings: this sample came from a 7oz. Nip bottle, which I think is probably the bare minimal to base a review of, but somehow still didn't seem enough for me. At the price they charge $4.60 I would say its not worthy of its high price for its limited volume and appeal.

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

A: A dark reddish-amber color, with a creamy, medium sized burnt orange head. Retention is fairly sturdy, leaving a bit of lace along the glass as I drink.

S: A firm crystal malt presence in the nose, venturing into brown sugary territory. A robust earthiness is accompanied by pleasant notes of orange rind and herbal hoppiness.

T: Noticeably sweet up front, thanks to a big dose of caramel malt. Some mild brown sugar flavor. Hops are bold and spicy/herbal, with citric and earthy contributions. A bit fruity overall. Bitterness is moderately high, and while the alcohol is well-masked, it isn't completely absent.

M: Fairly full-bodied. Carbonation is on the light side, lending a somewhat sticky feel. Smooth overall.

D: A nice brew from Rogue that straddles the line between ESB and strong ale pretty nicely. Drinkability is pretty nice, and this beer has a little something for everyone - definitely sweet and malty, but with a hoppy focus and a fruity character.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy amber color with a small tan head that leaves nice lacing. The aroma has some toffee and caramel upfront, along with peppery and floral hops, fruity ale esters, mineral, orange zest, and alcohol. The flavor kicks it up a notch (BAM!) with some citrusy and spicy hops upfront, along with caramel and toffee, biscuit, fruity esters, minerals, orange marmalade, and a little alcohol. The mouthfeel is full and rich and drinkability is pretty good considering the ABV. A very tasty beer even though it bears little resemblance to an authentic English bitter, but being a Rogue beer I expected that going in.

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Photo of engisch
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

7.1% in a 7oz bottle?! Is Rogue becoming a Nanny?

Light ruby brown, with a small head. Does not seem to have much head formation, but may be how I poured it. When pouring, I didn't think about the 7oz volume not having a need to worry about trying to fit it in the glass. When purchasing it at the store, I had comments from the customers and staff that can be summed up as, "cute".

It smells grassy and sweet. Smells quite malty.

For such a small beer it tastes rather big. It is malty sweet and biscuity with a significant bitterness from the hops.

Satisfying full mouthfeel with just a little sharp carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. A 12oz bottle would be a fine serving size, and I'm not sure why the 7oz size, as it's drinkability is not a problem. It is bigger than most bitters, but nothing all that significant considering the 7.1%, which is almost a norm in bottles served as 22oz bombers (probably to be shared, like wine). Dings in drinkability, as I'm not going to make my arms tired opening so many bottles. Nonsense.

I really question the 7oz serving size, and will not be purchasing this again, as the price of the bottle was as much as many larger bottles of better beer. Poor decisions Rogue! I feel like you ripped me off by making such a small 7oz bottle. I'd understand if it was a >10% bomb, but this makes no sense. John's head must have swelled, and now he's trying to make a wallet to match! None the less, decent beer, albeit nothing exceptional or beer hunter worthy.

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

A 7oz bottle poured into a snifter.
Hazy amber color with a small tan head.
Floral aroma, caramel. Boozy.
The alcohol was noticeable, but not intrusive. A taste of caramel apple and piney hops. Some malt.
Balanced mouthfeel.
Would drink this one again.

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Photo of thagr81us
2.76/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from 7 oz bottle into a Stone nonic. Pours a hazy red-orange with a one finger white head. Maintains lacing throughout. The aroma is comprised of malt, hops, and skunky. The flavor is of malt, subtle hop, and wood. It is medium on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall I did not really enjoy this brew much. The flavor was quite harsh and not appealing. I think the skunky aroma was also a turnoff on this one. I was expecting more, but was unfortunately let down. A rare miss from Rogue...

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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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