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Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

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Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale
Very Good
2,157 Ratings
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
**NOTE: This beer is now called "Brutal IPA" **
It has also been bottled as "Portland State IPA" (2010).

An Imperial bitter with exotic traditional floor malts, citrusy, hoppy flavor and stupendous hop aroma. Rogue brewmaster John Maier describes his Brutal IPA as a cross between a Very Extra Special Bitter and an Indian Pale Ale. Hedonistic!

8 INGREDIENTS: 2-Row, Carawheat, C15 & Rogue Farms Dare™ & Risk™ Malts; Rogue Farms Alluvial™ Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast.

22oz Bottle & Draft / 15° Plato / 46 IBU / 81 AA / 13° Lovibond

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,157 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of sgn4779
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of Melchizedek
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber-gold, chill-hazed, with a towering off-white head and streaming carbonation.

Nose is all dry hop, citric mainly. Fairly light-bodied, with a nice array of hop flavors, citrus and resin, and a bit of mineral-water bite. It's essentially a solid, bitter pale ale, with a lot of strength and kick. Easier to drink than it should be - ye hopheads, be warned. It'll satisfy the need for your fix, but get overeager and it'll bite back. Yum.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bomber. My initial encounter with this beer involved my ex-girlfriend, and me puking outside her mom's car after a family (hers) wedding. Lesson learned? Beer ain't the problem - drinking shitty Greek brandy with her brother was.

This beer pours a hazy medium golden amber colour, with three fingers of dense, tightly puffy, and weakly foamy off-white head, which leaves consistent rings of webbed lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of gritty, bready caramel malt, citrus and pine hops, and a further slightly perfumed floral essence. The taste is musty, clammy caramel malt, muted, indistinct citrus, wet pine needles, and more outlying floral, grassy hops.

The carbonation is moderate, and generally laissez-faire on my tongue, the body on the light side of medium weight, and underwhelmingly smooth, as the lack of overt hoppiness doesn't mean what one might think. It finishes off-dry, with tangy, slightly sour malt, and floral, citrusy hops.

If I had to peg this outside the myriad BA distractions, I would claim it to be a bit of a ramped-up ESB, or failing that, a beginner's IPA. Too much middling about in the maltiness, and with a hoppiness that seems incapable of duly assaulting my palate, especially given the ultimate proximity of this brewery to the physical west coast.

 1,318 characters

Photo of heebes
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650 ml.
Part of the brewery feature from LCBO.

Pours a hazy orange with a thin off white head. Nose is noticeably sweet, notes of caramel malt and citrus. Taste is balanced and not overly malty or bitter. Name is a bit of a throw off since this isn't particularly brutal at all but rather a pretty middle of the road IPA. Some decent bitterness in the finish is enjoyable. Mouthfeel is dry and medium bodied. Overall a decent drinkable beer that isnt overly available in Ontario as of now so very much appreciated to be able to get some for the time being.

 557 characters

Photo of Docer
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just pouring...

- Cloudy orange/yellow almost hefe-like appearance with a little bit of off-white bubbly head quickly down to a lot of lacing.

- Sweet malty backbone with a bitter punch to the nose... and some alcohol as well. Sweet with some citrus. Smells strong.

- Rather mild and sweet with some earthy hop tones, bitter bite, and lemony zest... overall not bad! Creamy in a way...

- Bit sweet and slightly chewy.. certainly dry, but the zing adds saliva.

- Pretty good, and much more drinkable than the nose would provide information for...

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 oz. bomber, purchased both in Calgary and Edmonton from time to time.The purple and orange label colour motif reminds me of Halloween...

Pours out a hazy marmalade hue, tall chunky off-white head that recedes slowly and leaves all sorts of crazy lacing along the way.

The aroma, surprisingly enough, is quite subtle. Mild caramel malt, and faint citrusy hops. Am I missing something here?

Then we reach flavour country, and everything starts to come out of hiding. Hops predominate from the very beginning, but in layers. Not the tongue-ripper I was expecting either, the brutal part is in jest. Tangerine, grapefruit, pine, and it gets more oily in texture as it reaches the finish. There is malt behind all of that somewhere, biscuity and semi-sweet, but it is easily over powered. Still, the hops behave themselves, are very user-friendly and won't bite your hand off (or your tongue). I can dig it.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied but slick, oily from the hops.

An easy drinker for having the name "Brutal" in the title, very enjoyable. I plan on grabbing it once again off the shelf next time I see it.

 1,127 characters

Photo of Grabbin2nd
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

from notes: 9/5/08
Rogue Brutal Bitter from a 22 oz. Bomber 59 ibu's no abv??

-Big initial 3 finger head, long retention. Off white head
-Good full mouth feel, carbonation but just fine
-I haven't had that much exposure to "bitter" beers but I'd say this is a good drinkable example of the style.
-Bitter finish, not overwhelming, finishes clean
-Good balance of flavors, nothing really sticks out
-Good color, almost the exact color of the label on the bottle
-The definition of a good beer, nothing bad, nothing special.

Need more hops!!!
I'd buy again

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Photo of RushLimbmalt
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange color and has sticky white head. It's aroma is very hoppy and piney. The first sip brings a decent wave of bitter hops that carry on to the finish, but there is enough malt to balance the flavor well. It is a decent ESB, but not a Fuller's.

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Photo of constantine_272
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Golden orange with a heavy court haze. A big thick foam rose up and remainder only in a sticky glass clinging mess.

Bright herbal nose which oak leaves and pine twigs.

This beer a nice mix of light malt and creamy wheat intermingled with a citrus grapefruit rind. A mineral graphite note grows through the middle with prickly carbonation and the bitter orange and grapefruit.

Feel is stingly from the high carbonation but both dry and sweet from the malt and the hops. It really does show a spectrum of texture because of the high carb, high malt and high hops.

Overall a nicely crafted, full powered beer. A touch on the thick dry side for my IPA taste, but still great.

 675 characters

Photo of nighthawk
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650mL bottle with no freshness date poured into imperial pint.

Pours a quite hazy orange with brown hues. A large, foamy white cap forms, slowly settling to a ring and leaving some sticky clumps on the glass. Retention is fantastic.

Smell is all hops. Citrus and floral.

Taste is citrus hops up front, followed by a creamy sweet malt middle before bringing the hops back for a mildly bitter finish. There's a mild biscuity feel to the finish that cleans things up a bit.

Mouthfeel is fairly soft at first, light to medium body, then the carbonation kicks in with a pleasant bite. Well, more of a nibble really, it doesn't overpower the palate.

Very refreshing and drinkable beer.

 684 characters

Photo of Terp96
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have heard so much about this that I had to try it. Why is Rogue getting $5.99 for a bomber these days anyway? Must be the free range water.

Brutal Bitter pours a nice hazy apricot color with a decent amount of head and exceptional head retention throughout.

Smell is underwhelming for a Rogue product. I am used to being hit in the face with something when I open a bottle of Rogue but this beer lacks that punch. I know the style is not one that takes the senses to extremes but I expected more hop and more malt aroma.

The taste satisfys. This is not Fuller's ESB. This may be Fuller's on steroids. The beer becomes increasingly bitter/dry as you progress. However, it is well balanced with the sweet malt backbone.

Mouthfeel is good as well. This beer is slightly syrupy and oily. It is not overwhelmingly warming but it does manage to dry your palate over time.

Brutal Bitter has some very good qualities and is very drinkable IMO. However, I am not sure if this one really fits in the style in which it is classified. I have had better Rogue products.

 1,074 characters

Photo of Lothar666
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured an orange translucent amber body with a frothy, bubbly bone white head that was two full fngers thick. Lacing was light and very minimal, while the head retention was excellent, remaining at least a full finger thick for over a full minute after the initial pour.

S- Sweet malts and something that reminds me of honey in the nose.

T- At the same time very swee and slightly bitter, though not at all what I would call brutal. Rather, this one turns out to be a pleasantly sweet session beer whose flavor profile consists of rich malts, clover honey and just a tad of hops to balance out the finish. Very nice.

M- Sticky and full bodied like honey with a pleasant, bready mouth texture. Most enjoyable.

D- This one is not at all what I was expecting but was enjoyable nonetheless. I goes down smooth and easy and leaves the mouth begging for more. Smooth enough to gulp but better as a sipper.

 906 characters

Photo of SwillBilly
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours a deep, murky amber with a minimal off-white head that dissipates quickly to a wispy lacing topping the beer. Visible yeast particles float through the beer and are present in the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Aromas of baked sweet potato with a slight apricot like fruitiness making an appearance. Slight hint of orange peel.

Taste: Begins with an impressive hop bitterness right of the bat that transitions to a malty sweetness that balances out the hops. Finishes nicely balanced with a pleasant citrusy hop bitterness lingering on the tongue.

Mouthfeel. Medium mouthfeel with ample carbonation and a dry finish.

Drinkability: Brutal Bitter lives up to its name, more like an APA/IPA than an ESB. Nicely balanced with a hoppiness that I like and a good malt backbone. Lively carbonated and a dry finish makes you you want to drink this rather quickly. Very easy to drink, alcohol is not present in the flavor profile. Definitely sessionable. Brutal Bitter is one I will seek again and you should too.

 1,047 characters

Photo of illidurit
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Poured into my Rogue pint glass. Dark brown-orange in color, with a fluffy off white head. Not much lacing. Aroma is quite sweet, with a lot of juicy citrus hops and sugary malt. Taste is mainly caramel/toffee, but there's a nice floral hoppiness that complements it well. Finish is bitter but not overly so. Very tasty and very smooth.

 355 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a nonic. Poured a translucent orange-gold with lots of tiny bubbles visible in solution. One-inch dense off-white head finally yielded to a quarter skim of foam within minutes; however, head was refreshed with each vigorous pour. Lots of fluffy, stikcy lacing. Light grassy smell with a hint of citrus and pine; very clean. Taste is somewhat biscuity (more sweet than bready), as well as more citrus astringency. Slight hops bitterness at the finish, but that character does not linger for too long between sips. Flavors are very well balanced. Mouthfeel is very subdued. Very smooth with little carbonation present; surprising considering the volume of the head. Goes down easy and not at as bitter as the name implies. Alcohol is well-hidden, but a 12oz offering would have better suited me.

 803 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange/amber with an off-white head. No true lace.

Big pine aroma. Some malt, but very resinous in the nose.

Big heavy hop leaf and pine bitterness up front. Some depth to the bitterness, with some toasted malt and mild sweetness bringing up the rear. As the palate clears, the hops stay on the palate, with good bitterness and a sticky pine bite. SOme toasty malt in the end, but this one just is a hop bomb.

Tacky mouthfeel, with medium body brew.

Overall, it is what it is. Big juicy punch of hops in the mouth. I dug it.

 534 characters

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Cloudy deep orange. Minimal head. Slight lacing as well.

S-Not very intense. Piney hops. Citrusy too. Hoppy but not eccentrically hopped. Overall, not highly aromatic.

T-Hop forward but not a strong flavor. Lighter bread malt. Fairly clean. Pretty nice flavor. I would't call it 'Brutally Bitter'. Its simply not bitter enough to garner such a title. Still, a yummy drink.

M-Lighter. Good sessionable feel with plenty of carbonation. Crisp too.

O/D-More mild than the name would lead you to believe. Not very brutal. A nice IPA from Rogue; plain and simple.

 564 characters

Photo of Boto
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask Draught: A nice find at Eli Cannons. Served at proper cellar temperature. It pours a slightly amber, dark golden color. Mine ended up with quite a bit of head on it, which did linger awhile. It was dense with very small bubbles. The aroma is rich and malty, with hints of pine and grapefruit hops. Well balanced malt body with a bit of a hop bite. Very good example of this style.

 385 characters

Photo of AltBock
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle with the picture of the usual Rogue guy, but this time he's wearing a purple shirt and crooked sunglasses. Like all of the Rogue bottles, no date on the front or back.

Appearance: Poured a hazy golden orange color with a nice head of white foam that dissipated fast. When it dissipated, it did leave some fizzy bubbly rings around the mug though.

Smell: The only thing I could detect was some sweet grapefruit and that's it. A little lacking in the aroma department.

Taste: Up front I detected plenty of citrus fruits, most predominate the grapefruit. After those citrus fruits, there was this bitter piney hops taste in the back. Not a strong hops flavor, not a light hops flavor, but just right. Nice!

Mouthfeel: Nicely carbonated, not too dry, and some sweetness in the background. Those bitter hops do linger on for a while after you finish this beer.

Drinkability: Overall a nice light refreshing ESB from Rogue. One of the better offerings from Rogue and might be something I might enjoy again. Very Good!

 1,039 characters

Photo of sstackho
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz purchased from LCBO in Grimsby. Nice, but slightly restrained hoppy aroma. First taste is rich, with nice fruity hops. Very nicely balanced. Pretty much exactly what I was hoping for. More fruitiness in the hops than most IPAs, but not lacking in overall hop bitterness. Interesting to read that the only hop used is Crystal from Oregon.

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Photo of dnichols
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a 12 ounce brown capped bottle into a pint glass.

A: It poured a thick, cloudy, orangish body with a moderate one finger head that receded fast. There was an even and dense lacing that clung to the side of the glass long into the drink.

S: It had a light toasted malt base with a distinct and powerful blend of floral and bitter and spicy hops.

T: It was a well balanced brew with a toasted and creamy malt base and a powerful and spicy hop profile. The hops blend well but remain distinct and defining. The alcohol is well hidden.

M: It was a medium bodied beer with a smooth and creamy body accented by spices that gently bite the tongue. It has moderate carbonation and finishes dry and clean.

D: It is a powerful and flavorful ESB...among the best IMHO. It was smooth and filling with a modest ABV and wonderful mouthfeel.

 844 characters

Photo of AlexJ
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask-conditioned draft at Delaney's Tap Room (New Haven, CT). A touch darker and hazier than in a bottle. Ultra thich,smooth creamy head. Aroma of toasted malts, butterscotch, pine notes, floral/herbal notes and bread. Smell profile is totally different than bottled. Doesn't even taste like the Brutal Bitter I know, but is still damn tastey. Much maltier with a less aggressive hop profile with a very light mouthfeel due to cask-conditioning. The floral and piney hops come through at the end leaving my palate satisfied and wanting another sip. Very good and very different from what I was expecting.

 604 characters

Photo of fattychubs
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was on fire sale at the local tap room, a Rogue beer on fire sale?

Color of a bruised peach, served with a small but frothy off white head that laced nicely. Nose is sweet but floral hops with citrus. Taste is not as bitter as I expected starts slightly malted, then floral strong bitter hops, but ends citrus and sweet, reminded me of a grapefruit taste in there, but better. Decent medium body.

Better then I expected balanced the hops nicely, not as bitter as the name suggests.

 497 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears reddish-orange in color. Cloudy, with a half-inch head that dissipates speedily. Smell is nice, but faint. Malt aroma is lightly sweet with nice spicy hops. Taste is dominated by the strong hops but malt sweetness is fairly subdued. Finish is moderately bitter, but perhaps not that "brutal". Alcohol is well-hidden. Mouthfeel is medium thick, with nice carbonation. I remember this being more enjoyable when served on tap, but I still recommend it as it is one of Rogue's better selections.

 499 characters

Photo of Mit
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice pour with a very long lasting head. Nice amber cloudiness in the glass.

Smell was hop heavy with the expected citrus notes present in the front with a slight sweet finish.

Taste was not nearly as hoppy as the smell would suggest. Again hoppy in the front with a nice malt finish. Very balanced. A nice lingering bitterness finishes it off in keeping with the name.

Mouthfeel was somewhat light when you realize that this is a somewhat strong brew. I found it thick enough that it didn't seem to get watery as it sat, but it wasn't syrupy either. I think it was perfect.

Drinkability....I could drink these all night.

 630 characters

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 2,157 ratings
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