Black Brutal '07 (JLS Release #23) | Rogue Ales

very good
33 Ratings
no score
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Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BuckeyeNation on 03-05-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 33 |  Reviews: 31
Photo of grahamboudreaux
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jaxon53
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Amish_Ambush
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served: On tap at the Brew Kettle 3-31-2007

This beer is part of the "John Locker Stock" releases. John Maier is the head brew master for Rogue and they produce specialty beers under the JLS name. They are only available on draft and then only through select retailers across america. Well, I just happened to walk in the door of this great brew pub and there it was.

This medium bodied beer was presented with a medium tan head that laced nicely. The color of this English Bitter was jet black if you can believe it (Black brutal... go figure.) Traditional bitters have more of a amber/copper color to them. Not this beer. It was so black that I could not see through it even when held up to the light. Pretty neat. Although they are called bitters, they are not usually bitter. This beer tasted a little more like an IPA than an English Bitter.

The taste profile was mostly a bitter grapefruit flavor with a nice smokey malt aftertaste. The aroma notes include oatmeal, coffee beans, grapefruit, toast and chocolate.

A very good beer that through divine providence I was able to enjoy.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Summits, Snellville, GA. Served in a traditional American pint glass.

Appearance: Great retention on the slightly offwhite head, sitting foamy, even on top of a dark brown brew. Lacing is really attractive, sticky, stringy, throwing webs all over the sides of the glass. Very good start.

Aroma: Faint toasted malts, with the obligatory coffee/chocolate one-two, accompanied by some barebones spicy hoppy notes, pine-like in places. Way too faint, and a little simplistic here.

Taste: Coffee is strong, but it's a light roast, espresso-like. Faint pine brings with it a moderate bitterness that melds well with the other spicy hop notes. It's like a coffee-infused IPA, almost. Very interesting, unique almost.

Mouthfeel: Slightly uneven, medium thickness, medium bodied, with a good, average level of effervescence.

Drinkability: Very truly a brutal black bitter, and I liked this one a lot. I have a thing for dark IPAs (Stone XIth, for instance) - it's almost like drinking a diet barleywine, in my opinion. This one has a lot of those good characteristics - a solid hop presence, a nice toasty malt profile - and has a wonderfully low abv% to boot. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of Douglas14
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany with a nice beige head that seems to have a gray hue to it. It has a wonderful roasted characteristic to it. Similar to the brutal bitter but very different also. This beer is awesome. The roasted notes really make it impressive. And like many Rogues, the drinkability is outstanding.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A really good bitterness, enjoyed on-tap yesterday at the Tap and Mallet. Perhaps the way it was served, was getting only a modest roast and citrus hop. Dark ruby colour, lots of creative lace on my glass.Very fresh, was getting chocolate malt and coffee.Drinkable but more of a sipper than an IPA. Cross betwee IPA and a shwartzbeer, with good citrus.

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Photo of Strix
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark cloudy mahogany, with good head and retention. A strange mix of styles, but a good-looking beer.

Smells mainly of grapefruity hops.

The taste is surprising given the looks. Grapefruit and pine are in the forefront, accompanied by malt in the far background, and a long finish with a note of roastiness, but eventually gets back to grapefruit as the hops work their magic.

Mouthfeel smooth with medium carbonation.

I am a sucker for Rogue's beers, but I found this one really intriguing. A black IPA. Really drinkable.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on Tap at 1702, Tucson AZ; 2008 JLS Release
This beer arrives with a brown tinged, tan colored, creamy textured, one-finger thick head. The beer is a very dark brown color and quite clear. The aroma smells of chocolate / cocoa and toasted malt up front and once you start to dig around, some notes of pine and citrus. As the beer warms up a bit the hop character becomes much more noticeable in the nose and actually ends up on equal footing with the malt in the aroma.

The flavor is so much more hop focused than I expected (based on the aroma at least); there is a ton of bitterness, lots of pine flavors and notes of candied citrus peel. This is definitely a bit green in its hop intensity, a bit astringent, but still nicely balanced for a very hoppy beer (e.g. it doesn't get too harsh). This is really an super hoppy IPA that was brewed with dark malts. There is a touch of roasted, toasty grain and maybe a touch of chocolate that struggles to be noticed through all of the hop character. This is quite quaffable with a light-medium fullness that is just enough to carry the hops.

Quite a tasty beer, enjoyable if you have a hop-hankering and the dark malt adds a light, other-dimensioned note to what is otherwise a hoppy IPA.

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Photo of Viggo
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Coles. Review #1300!

Pours an opaque dark brown, almost black, thick tan head forms, drops down leaving a ton of lace, good layer, nice. Smell is wicked, caramel, roast, chocolate, nice floral/citrus hoppiness, charred wood, molasses, great. Taste is woody, caramel, intense roast, chocolate, very thick flavour, nice citrus and floral bitterness, smooth caramel finish, great bitterness from hops and roast. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with medium to high carbonation, a little prickly, still damn good!

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, approaching opaqueness, with some highlighting around the edges. Pitted thick oatmeal-stout-grey cap, great retention although the legs aren't much as it turns out.

Aromas of citric zest and roasted malt, just about equally. Good power, very aromatic and enticing.

Again, great balance between the grapefruity West Coast hops and the subtle sweet-and-bitter dance of the roasted black malts. Reading the other reviews, JLS 07 has clearly faded with age, leaving what was in your face hopping now delightfully meshed with the other characteristics of the brew.

Medium mouthfeel for a beer of this color, pretty damn good for style. The finish is chocolate-malty, with a tang of hoppy bitterness, quite creamy and smooth.

I wish I could side by side with a fresh Black Brutal, as this was very mellow and approachable, a bit of a misnomer in the way that Brutal Bitter is in no way overly descriptive (for a hop head). Excellent beer to find on tap.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the Brew Kettle in Strongville OH. listed as a Schwarzbier on the menu, I knew something was amiss.
Served cold in a standard pint glass.

A - An opaque almost pure black w/ full 2 fingers of med tan w/ great head retention and good lace stickage.

S - Deep caramel w/ cocoa and a slightly piney and mocha aroma. Plenty of cocoa notes w/ nice malty sweet odors.

M - Crisp malt, yet roasty w/ a slight piney acidic texture. Creamy and dry in equal measure w/ a moderate carbonation and toasty medium bodied feel.

T - Like a toasted porter has rich dark malt, but smooth and hardly any roasted malt flavor. The hops match the malt the hops have spice/pine flavor and then some. very tasty bitter w/ a little dark malt thrown in and Nw Hops. This beer has great balance and nice flavor combination going on.

D - Rich toasted flavor @ 6% this is highly quaffable and nice of use of spice for a black bitter. This is very enticing - definitely a must try

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Summits in Snellville, GA at their monthly cask night last month I believe. Poured black wwith browwn highlights, and a big bubbled tan head that fades. decent carbonation ffor a cask. Aromas are creamy and roasty and a bit nutty. Not much hop proffile comes through the roastiness. Taste is similar. There are some earthy hops, but the flavors are dominated by a roasty, nutty, creamy profile. Especially creamy and with roasted pecan flavors at the finish. Creamy and smooth in the mouth, with a bit of drying in the finish. Nice on cask, but I'd probably like it less on draft. Where is the hoppiness?

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Photo of weeare138
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes 2/08...On tap at Capone's.
Appears a dark brown with black notes when held up to the light. The small, off-white head fades into a mild cap. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of earthy, grapefruit, bitter granes, black patent malt, and fresh hops.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with stronger, bitter grapefruit and a touch of coffee.
Mouthfeel is bitter overkill with bitter, astringent, black grains running along the tongue. Nice hop presence but not the best balance between the malts and hops.

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Photo of Kendo
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got it on tap at the Lionheart in Albany. . . . Hand-written note on the tap handle says "Black Bitter." A quick search here and I was a little confused as to whether it was the Black Brutal Bitter (aka "Skullsplitter") or the JLS Release #23, Black Brutal '07. I checked the Rogue website and there's a "redux" note after the Black Brutal '07, so I'm guessing that means they've issued it again. Given that, and after comparing my notes to the style descriptions and some of the latest reviews of both, I've concluded that it was likely the JLS Release I had last night. . . .

A: In a dimly-lit bar, the body appears black. However, held up to a light, the edges look more dark or even medium brown with mahogany hues. A 1-finger light beige head settles to leave good rings of lace down the glass.

S: Kind of muted - a little bit of roasted malt and a little bit of hops - just a tad bit piney, I think, but not terribly dominant in the nose.

T: Basic impression is this: roasted malt with a very dry and strong bitterness at the finish. As it warms a little, I get a hint of roasted coffee and even some fruit underneath that bitterness. The dry, bitter finish coats the mouth nicely and lingers long after each sip. The hop bitterness was kind of neutral, if that makes sense -- maybe a tad bit lemony, but otherwise didn't impart heavy hop flavors like citrus or pine or grass. Instead, it was about basic bitterness. I liked it.

M: Light to medium in heft, good carbonation.

D: Very good. I tend to mix up my beers, rarely drinking the same one twice when there's a lot on tap to try. But I liked this so much that I ordered a second pint. Both went down very easily.

Notes: Thanks to mikelionheart for the recommendation. A good beer that I was glad to try.

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Photo of MuddyFeet
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on-tap at the San Francisco Public House. Was described to me as a mix of a brown ale and IPA.

The lighting was dark but it looked a fairly thin brown black in color. Moderate carbonation that was more felt than seen. Slight head that completely dissolved into the beer. Nose was peated malts but with a bit more hops than usualy with such malts.

Flavor was a blend of two styles. Not quite sure where to drop this. Had mild characteristics of an IPA but with some malty and smokey tidbits of certain brown ales. Quite a nice blend. Not overly hoppy. Medium mouthfeel that was not oppressive on the palate. Very nice offering.

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Photo of Derek
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Cole's, April 2008. I'm assuming this is the same as the last (2007) recipe.

A: Reddish-black with a light tan head, very little retention, some lacing.

S: American hops (citrus & pine) with a hint of roasted malt aroma.

T: Big piny hop flavour with grapefruit citrus and a little underlying roastyness. Bitterness is strong but pleasant.

M: Moderate body has a dry finish.

D: Very drinkable (strangely, it seems fairly balanced).

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Photo of Avryle
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Wasn't quite sure what I was getting when I ordered this one- just another stop on my Mahar's tour. Suprised to get a black IPA!

A- dark brown-black, one-finger of creamy tan head. Great lacing

S- Citrus hop nose, grapefruit especially along with pine. Aromas of roasted malt and a little chocolate.

T- Citrusy hops dominate. Again, especially the west coast grapefruit-like hops. Hints of chocolate, coffee & nuts. Bitter finish

M- Light-bodied with a dry finish

D- Very drinkable. Light bodied & low alcohol

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Photo of naproxen
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap at Eli Cannon's, middletown ct

im on board with Mikejo, Stouts and IPAs are my favorite styles of beer, and a dark IPA or hoppy stout just makes me smitten.

It was poured into a ceramic mug with a thick toasted almond head that retained itself for a good 5 minutes, but kept me from appreciating whatever color it really was inside. This is quite a hoppy ale that is complemented wonderfully by the malts and coffee often experienced in stouts. Brutal Bitter is quite drinkable, it really gets a nice balance in its flavors.

I would definitely order and or purchase this again and again.

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Photo of mikejo
4.62/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap @ Tir-Na-Nog in Daytona Beach

I was confused at first because I order a brutal bitter from the waitress. but received this pitch black treat.

a - black as night with a tan head, good lacing

s - smelled of roasted caramel and maybe a little chocolate

t - good complex taste, like mixing a good dark stout with an strong IPA pretty much amazing as far as im concerned

m - medium body with noticeable hops and a bitter end

d - I could drink it all night

My two favorite beer styles are stouts and IPAs, and this beer manages to incorporate some of the best elements of both

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Photo of tonistruth
4.48/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

on tap @ Freakin Frog in Las Vegas,NV

A- pitch black, two finger, fluffy light tan head with great retent, tan lacing coats glass

S- roasted, creamy, caramel, milky

T- roasted malt, creamy, chocolate, caramel, hoppy, citrus, grassy, strong roasted dark chocolate & creamy after, complex, hints of dark fruit, oats, and burnt malts

M- medium body, creamy, coats palate, hops noticeable toward finish & after, dry finish that gets sticky

D- dangerously drinkable, absolutely complex and delicious, highly recommended

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Photo of soupyman10
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Waitress advertised this one as the Brutal Bitter, so I have to say I was a little confused at first sip. But after discussing it with the bartender, got it all figured out, and enjoyed it. Pours a nice looking dark amber-brown color with a good bit of head. Nose is fairly mild, hops with a little fruitiness too. Taste is solid IPA; hops at the start and end, a touch of stout-ish coffee in the middle, but this one didn't seem as out there as some reviews seem to show. Feel is solid, medium body. Overall, it's a tasty IPA, although not particularly original in my book.

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Photo of Willibomb
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As a big fan of brutal bitter, this was no large jump for me. This particular brew however, has less of the citrus taste of the brutal, while retaining the crisp finish that I was hoping for.

Where this brew excells is in it's color, quality, and drinkability. I am part of the 100 beer club in a local bar, so it behooves me to try a new beer every time I order, however, this brew was always my first, last and often some in between.

It has a rich, dark, amber color and smells of crisp hops. The flavor changes as you drink it, starting dark, turning rich and ending very crisp.

If you ever meet me in the mellow mushroom, you will certainly see me with a pint!

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Photo of AlexJ
3.62/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obviously black in color, but not as opaque as a stout. A mighty head of wheat hued froth whips up craggy peaks with great retention and ultra-thick lace. Awesome to behold.

Unfortunately the aroma is not as majestic...dark bread, grain, and earthy, green hop notes with undertones of pine and roasty cocoa.

Flavor steps up a notch, generous dark malt, roasty and charred. A hint of weak coffee and dry leather are followed by pine and gentle citrus hops. IPA meets Porter?

Body is medium, creamy, and has a slick texture with decent drinkability. More stout and filling than a traditional IPA, but interesting nevertheless.

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Photo of atsprings
4.97/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer was served a dark black with a decent off-white head that was slow to diminish and left great lacing on the glass. The aroma was a great blend of black malt and earthy hops. The taste was absolutely wonderful! It was a very complex blend of dark malts and earthy pine and citrus hops. The hop taste lingered in the finish and provided a wonderful bitterness. The beer was nice and light and very refreshing. This is an absolutely wonderful and truly unique beer, I would love to see it in six packs.

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Photo of Foxman
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a murky-looking Stygian black, more like a stout than a bitter, English or otherwise. A finger or so of tan head dwindles soon to frothy cosmos. Lacing hands in tapestries along the inside of the glass.

The aroma is a duel between baked bread grain and floral and citrus hops. The malt is dusty and sweet, and the hops tote a general spice character as well as pine, and a touch of coffee came as little surprise, considering.

Upon tasting, the roasted grain is prominent initially, with crusty biscuit mingling with a sugary but subversive sweetness. Dark cherries precede the hop-driven citrus, with dry grapefruit and once again pine, but with the bitterness more notable than the actual flavors. A dark chocolate presence moves into a decidedly crisp and lingering bitter finish. The flavor is nothing the appearance would lead you to expect, but it is fine in its own right.

Between light and medium bodied, it is reasonably slick, coating and ebbing in a rapid cycle, and leaving a peppery glow in its wake.

You can't help but think stout, or at least porter, when you see it, and so the aroma and flavor come across a bit off-center, and that's a plus in this instance. Maybe it's not something that would stand out without a bit of novelty backing it, but neither would it be anything short of tasty and nicely drinkable. It's a limited-release beer that bucks the BIG BEER trend and it's refreshingly enjoyable because of it. This is the kind of good thing that can happen when you switch up a bit and sit at the front bar at Monk's instead of the back.

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Black Brutal '07 (JLS Release #23) from Rogue Ales
4.14 out of 5 based on 33 ratings.
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