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

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Average: 4.11 | pDev: 7.79%

Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 33

American Black Ale | 5.50% ABV

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Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Notes: This beer is retired; no longer brewed. 
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Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 33
Reviews by Georgiabeer:
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
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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More User Reviews:
Photo of Chaz
3.98/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Bell's tulip. I was under the impression that this was a British Bitter, and as such I found the nose on-style (I'll have to try again and re-rate.) Poured with a half-finger tan head and minimal lacing.Deep, deep ruby-amber in color, black to the casual observer. Tangy and slightly lactic bitter on the first sip. Astringent and drying, absolutely ramped-up on hops. If there's a 180 degree equivalent of 'cloying' on the 'dry' side of the spectrum, this beer would have the needle buried pretty deep. It's cleansing on the tongue, and not from the carbonation! Not much in the way of sweetness here, but the malt profile is nonetheless expressive, with biscuity notes, a touch of light cocoa, and a very mildly slick character towards the end of the palate. A touch of lightly roasted malt notes, and a bing cherry-like bitterness. Light bodied and almost thin for the style. Very readily drinkable, and altogether a welcome turn of character from a brewer that brews some heavy-hitters. It's light on the alcohol too (it's almost imperceptible) and that's also a welcome change, must be the fact that Spring's around the corner? This paired very well with some spicy, tangy chicken wings, and I can see it working well with a richer, gamier entree also. I'll be back for more!

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Photo of oberon
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Leave it to Rogue to make a black IPA,I was really enthused with the pour kind of a murky black not quite ink black but black a very thin almost non exsistant head atop if thats what you wanna call it.Lighter aromas I picked up some pine and dark bread with just a hint of honey,the flavors were more forthcoming that trusty Rogue resiny,piney hop profile shows thru overtop of pumpernickel-like bready flavors with a touch of sweetness but the hops are the main flavor I picked up and for me thats always a good thing.Different is a word I would use to describe tis beer I liked it but I wouldnt run out to grab another still Iam glad I tried it nonetheless.

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Photo of weeare138
3.53/5  rDev -14.1%
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 Gueuzedude
4/5  rDev -2.7%
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 NJpadreFan
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rogue- Black Brutal Bitter

On tap at The Drafting Room- SpringHouse, PA.
1 of, only, 2 kegs shipped to Eastern PA.

Appearance- Dark murky black with a thick creamy head.
Smell- Roasted malt with pine and citrus hops.
Taste- A perfect blend of roasted malt with a oily pine and citrus hop flavor.
Mouthfeel- Very creamy smooth with a slight dry bitter finish.

Overall- A delicious beer. I thought it tasted like an IPA/ Stout mix!? Regardless a beer that will be had to come by but should be sought out!

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Photo of Foxman
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
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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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.18/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Even though Black Brutal Bitter (Skull Splitter Ale) already exists in the database, I made the decision to add this particular beer under a new heading for several reasons. First, because the brewery considers this John Locker Stock release to be a new offering, hence the '07 of the name. Second, because it's a 5.5% IPA rather than an American strong ale. My thanks to Scott at Rogue for providing the above information. He admitted that it's closest to an IPA, but doesn't fit neatly into any given style.

Mahogany with blurry cherry and gold edges. The beer is close to, but not quite, opaque... as long as bright light is available. The slim beige cap was densely creamy and left quite a bit of feathery lace on the glass. Obviously, this is the darkest IPA the world has ever seen.

The nose was wall-to-wall grapefruit zest; only two walls instead of four since it wasn't all that aromatic. I tried and I tried, but I couldn't appreciate much dark malt. I've just noticed that my notes read 'IPA?' (I didn't call Rogue until I got home). A common theme throughout this review is that, other than color, there was very little impact made by the malt.

I found Black Brutal to be more deserving of the Brutal portion of its name than Brutal Bitter, which I don't think is brutally bitter at all. Having said that, the pint that I had a few nights ago was noticeably more hoppy and more bitter than the bottled version. I'm sure freshness has a lot to do with it.

Given the hop bill (Summit, Simcoe, Amarillo), I was surprised at how each sip was a white grapefruit juice explosion with none of the tropical flavors that I usually associate with those last two hops. I would have bet that one or more of the C-hops was present. In fact, the beer tasted a little like Bell's Two Hearted Ale (100% Centennial) on steroids. Notice that I haven't yet mentioned malt.

A mellow chocolate maltiness danced around the edges of the taste buds from first contact to lingering finish. It was ever present, but was never even close to providing more than a hint of flavor. Whenever it wanted to do more than whisper, the hops would punch it in the face until it shut up. Never have 60 IBUs felt more like 90.

The mouthfeel is about what one would expect for a relatively low ABV IPA. It firmed up a fraction over time and provided me with an impressively creamy finish. In addition, the zippy carbonation was a perfect match for the buzzsaw nature of the hops.

Black Brutal '07 is black in name and color only. I love the fact that John Maier brews outside the box and that the brewery had a hard time coming up with a style for this beer. The only thing that matters is that it's a deliciously hoppy ass kicker. It probably isn't different enough from the standard Brutal Bitter to be a regular release, but it sure as hell is a masterful creation.

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Photo of Sammy
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
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 MuddyFeet
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
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 brentk56
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives at the table with an espresso color and a foamy, thick tan head that sheets the pint glass with lace

Smell: Not too much aroma - predominately bready with modest piney undertones

Taste: Starts out with a black bread flavor that turns slightly fruity, mid-palate; after the swallow, a bitter, almost astringent wave overtakes the bready elements and provide an almost burnt, smokey finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Normally I wouldn't care for the astringent bitterness in a standard IPA, but with this beer it provides and interesting foil to the black bread malty flavors

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Photo of Viggo
4.15/5  rDev +1%
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 Douglas14
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
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 AlexJ
3.62/5  rDev -11.9%
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 neonbrown82
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Sanctuary in Iowa City. The third John's Locker Stock brew to be featured at said establishment. Coincidentally, all three of these released have been my favorite beers from Rogue, however similar they may be, with exception to the consistency of the body.

This beer pours to a nice black color, as one would expect, with only a hint of an amber hue shining from the sides. Of course, the Sanctuary is quite dimly lit, so it may or may not have been closer to a shade of brown. Has a nice collar of brown head with a good retention and lacing.

The smell is great. Nice orange and grapefruit hoppiness with a hint of pine resin. An even smaller hint of chocolate malt underlying. This one is all about the hops, though, it seems.

The flavor is excellent as well. Very nice orange flavor with hints of peach and apricot as well as a subtle pine. Very little roasted malt character for such a dark beer. Sure, there is a bit of a chocolate malt flavor to it, but none of the roastiness that usually comes with it. As I said before, this one is all about the hops. Very lovely hops, I might add. None of the pacman diacetyl flavors I usually get from a Rogue beer (with a few exceptions, particularly the JLS series).

The body is medium. Crisp carbonation offsets the wonderful bitterness. The alcohol is light, making this quite a poundable brew. I will be back for it, that's for sure.

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Photo of Derek
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
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 Kendo
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
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 tonistruth
4.48/5  rDev +9%
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 jaxon53
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of WeisGuy
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap at the Mellow Mushroom in Tampa.

a - deep dark brown nearly black, one-finger light tan creamy head with good retention and great lacing

s - big citrusy hop aroma, a little orange and grapefruit, some piney hints, light aroma of roasted malt and a little chocolate and dark chocolate thrown in there

t - much like the aroma, big citrusy hops dominate the flavor, lots of grapefruit, a bit of pine, nice hints of chocolate and slight coffee taste, finish is long and bitter, very nice

m - a little light-bodied perhaps, moderate carbonation, mildly dry finish

d - quite drinkable and at 5%, almost qualifies as a sessionable beer, taste is interesting and alcohol is not evident

Very interesting beer indeed. Not knowing that this was an IPA when I ordered it, imagine my surprise to hoist the near-black brew up and get big whifs of citrusy hops. Too bad this brew is more widely available because it's definitely one of the best Rogue offerings I've had. Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of BretSikkink
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
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 atsprings
4.97/5  rDev +20.9%
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 Slatetank
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
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 Avryle
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
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 younger35
4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank and reviewed on 02-22-07...

Drank out of a pint glass. I absolutely love Brutal Bitter so I couldn't wait to try.

Appearance- A very dark chocolatey brownish/black all around. Has a very creamy off-white head that left fantasic sticky, creamy lacing. Almost looked like a root beer float with vanilla icecream floating on top.
Smell- Had a surprisingly floral, almost piney hop smell that you don't expect from a beer that's this dark. Light chocolate and coffee malts, but very feint.
Taste- Pretty weird but very good. A nice piney citrus hop blast that was not overpowering. Unexpected roasted malt flavors sneek in behind the hops. Not something you normally expect. Very smooth.
Mouthfeel- Has a subtle alcohol warming that goes nicely with the mild carbonation. A very smooth almost thin, creamy feel.
Drinkability- This is a very very drinkable beer that I'm very excited to have tried. It's one of the more unique beers I've had because of some unexpected flavor combinations. Highly recommended.

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Black Brutal '07 (JLS Release #23) from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 33 ratings