Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

2,149 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,149 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of Goatshaver
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Nice orange/amber color. Nice two finger head that tapers off after a minute.

S. Citrus smells, I smell a little malt.

T. Nice subtle hops start, that is not really brutal but pleasant. Finish taste is citrus peel, grassy mixed with the hops bitterness.

M. A medium body, a nice warm feeling after.

D. Not the most "Brutal" ipa I've had but a decent brew that is enjoyable to drink.

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

poured into a weizen glass. pours thin and nearly headless - just a thin cap of white froth atop a clear, amber-honey-colored complexion. smells very subtly - some sweet, earthy fruitiness, an almost-sour yeasty twist reminding me of a farmhouse ale. almost.

light and prickly on the tongue, caramely and bready upfront, a little dry and almost walnutty, light sweep of floral hops at the back end, just a touch of the sourness from the smell. overall a quick, buttery husky toasted malt presence with light, perfumey and almost powdery hoppiness fringing the edges for a brief sweet and bitter finish.

a little watery and fizzy as far as body goes. becomes more enjoyably thick and sticky as it warms though.

i mainly felt compelled to review this beer as a vehicle to spout my thoughts on the name change. i'd never had this beer as "rogue brutal bitter" - i purchased this brew for the first time as "rogue brutal ipa." maybe that speaks to the success of the marketing strategy: that i'd probably seen the brutal bitter in stores countless times and never considered picking it up until now that it has a more palatable name and fire-engine-red labeling. that said, this aint no "brutal ipa," and hardly an ipa at all now that i dwell on the matter. the name "brutal ipa" pretty explicitly suggests a beer much, much unlike what's contained in this bottle, and while i wasn't unsatisfied with the brew, that name has simply got to change.

but call it what you will, my bomber is now empty and i could easily quaff another.

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

Pours a mostly clear saturated coppery amber with a dense two-finger slightly tan head which settles down to one-finger and stays there. The appearance holds a lot of promise, there is a nice boldness about it.

Aroma is tremendously hoppy and malty. Lots of bright fruit is here- mango, kiwi, maybe a touch of pineapple. The malt has primarily a caramel characteristic. The hops give hints of grass, lemon peel, and maybe hibiscus flowers. The overall impression of the bouquet is big yet gentle. There is also a good dose of alcohol underneath it all.

Big chewy caramel malt again dominates the palate. The fruit and lemon are there as well. Bitterness is right where it needs to be, but the beer is almost undone by a pretty hot alcohol component. What could have been great is merely good as a result.

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

Hazy amber with some orange highlights. Just barely off white head with decent retention and good lace. Smell has a very nice bready and biscuity smell followed by some citrus and hop. Well balanced taste with a great hop character that really comes through in the finish. Really like the hops in this one. Above average for what I expect from Rogue these days. Very silky. Good full/medium body and very smooth. I like the fact that esb does not necessarily mean bitter bitter. It just mean extra special. Good job. Quality beer. Not my fav esb of all time, but a pleasant beer that I would gladly and will gladly enjoy again and again I'm sure.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The pour is a standard hazy yellow-orange with decent lacing from the soapy head. The smell is grapefruit and mango, and the taste follows suit. The taste is a bit more earthy than bitter to start, and when the grapefruit takes over, it leaves a gap in the feel that gives it a temporary watery taste. The bite of the grapefruit quells that as it drifts into a resiny dry bite on the back of the tongue.

Overall this is basically a nice, solid, enjoyable straight up get-what you expect IPA. That's gotta be worth something.

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Photo of Cresant
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 12 oz., undated brown bottle into a .5 L Spaten mug. Huge, puffy 4+ fingers of off-white head gently receded leaving stringy clumps of lace. Body was cloudy and the color of fresh apricots. Pretty.

Smelled of citrusy hops. Earthy. Mild.

Tasted not surprisingly of citrus-like hops (100% Crystal). Very well balanced considering the name. Even more malty as it warmed. Quenching and quickly consumed.

Medium body. Not complex but very easy to drink, worth purchasing again.

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Photo of jkal13
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Golden color. Carbonation is very apparent. Grapefruit/citrusy taste, rich and smooth.

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Photo of JDV
4.16/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a glowing orange color and a beige head atop. Very pleasant nose with an apricot fruitiness and sweet juicy hoppiness about it. Taste is mild apricot and fruity, and more hoppy than expected for the style, but very welcomed as it makes this a fantastic ESB. Very drinkable and suprisingly good despite a quick finish. Easily one of Rogues best beers in my opinion.

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Photo of Hagbard
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy dark amber color into my pint glass, leaving a fluffy, thick, off-white head. The aroma was floral hops with hints of unidentified citrus fruits. The taste was very smooth with a wonderfully complex arrangement of floral hops and citrusy fruits. The bitterness is definitely there, but is softened nicely by the floral/fruity aspects. Also, there seems to be a healthy malt presence that contributes to the softening of the bitterness. The aftertaste is fruity with the same soft bitterness combination. There is a healthy dose of carbonation, which contributes to a fairly substantial mouthfeel. It is extremely drinkable, I could have easily spent the night drinking many of these. Unfortunately, it was a work night so I only had one 22oz bottle.

The is a wonderfully complex tasting and extremely drinkable beer. It was my first foray into the ESB world and I wonder whether they all taste this good...

 923 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz from the Boise Coop... shared with a coworker.. mine from a shaker pint.

Big 2" fluffy off white head... sits atop a only slightly hazy golden orange brew.

Awesome grapefruity aroma... some fruity esters... only the slightest smell of pale malts.

Nice low/medium mouthfeel.... relatively low carbonation... larger than average bitterness... with mouthcoating oily citrus hops... enough malts to balance (in a hophead's mind) .. but this brew is a showcase for the hop.

In a blind tasting, I would call this an IPA hands down everytime... A really nice Rogue brew... and another of my goto bottles... very very drinkable and enjoyable even on a cold Idaho night.

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Photo of southeastmat
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Great burnt orangish color. A little hazy and small amount of head. It's a pretty IPA.

S: Huge grapefruit. A lot of tangerine on the back end. Resinous effect and nary a whiff of malt. It almost smells sticky.

T: Whoa, what a nice balance in this beer. That brutal label is a little misleading. It drinks so well you don't notice the huge IBUs in this brew. Doesn't pucker the lips. The only drawback is the after taste which for me is a bit too sweet for an IPA.

M: One of the chewier IPAs I've had, even without the malt character. A little syrupy for me.

O: It drinks amazingly well. For folks looking for a hop bomb, it's not here. If you want an IPA that you can come back to and maybe have more than one - this is it. Fantastic offering.

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Photo of skrabbenhoft
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of n00tz
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Golden-copper body, blonde head that diminishes, excited carbonation right out of the bottle.

S - Sweet bready yeast scent right off the bad, followed quickly by a bitter bite.

T - Flowery hop flavor initially, quick sweetbread hint before a sharp bitter hop takes the stage. Great ESB.

M - Warms the tongue in a blanket of carbonation, finishes leaving the floral hops on the palate and bread in the subsequent burps.

D - Very enjoyable ESB offering from Rogue. I will gladly have this again.

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

Poured a nice golden color. Was prepared for a big bite with a lot of bitterness, but, instead received a surprised expereince. The smell of hop's and citrus filled the nose and the taste was a medium hoppy flavor with a hint of citrus on the palate. There was a well balance of bitterness and sweetness in this beer. Maybe because I drank it on tap, that it was a little mellow to be called "Brutal Bitter"!

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Photo of MobBarley
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cloudy orange with a light-honey colored head that stays bubbly til' the finish. Hops galore in the nose...calling all hopheads. One dimensional but mouthwatering aroma. Flavor is hops all the way through with a (very) brief rest stop for some mild caramel maltiness. Rindy hop notes abound with some grassy ones and even some sweet, herbal flavors smiling back at me from my glass. Mouthfeel is oily and smooth and quite refreshing. Drinkability is good but I imagine the sheer abundance of hops would take a toll with multiple bottles. Yum, yum, yum.

 565 characters

Photo of KCCO_JSV
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of timbro81
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I absolutely love this beer. Pours an ever so slightly hazey orange color crowned with a cloud-like head that settles to a fine ring. Smell is very intense yet not over bearing floral hops. This is repeated again in the taste but also backed up by a nice biscuity maltiness. A very well balanced beer that is simple yet complex all at once. A helluva good ESB. If you have never had this beer you should try it now.

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Photo of ImusBeer
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this at my local Mall of Georgia Taco Mac.
They were pouring this out of a draft cask with some extra hoppyness with some simco hops.

It poured a light orange amber, a bit hazy with off white head. The head died quickly which may have had something to do with the extra hop filter.

It smelled hoppy but not overly so, with some citrus.

The taste was mainly citrus, possibly some Peaches and Apples? A hoppy mouthfeel but light along with some bitterness at the finish. A very good a beer all around.

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Photo of Chapter40z
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. A hazy golden orange, slightly off white head. Very inviting.

S. Hops, and some citrus not a very powerful smell.

T. I'd hardly call this brutally bitter. I do enjoy the taste though, good strong hops and well balanced flavors.

M. Good carbonation on the tongue, mid to full body on this one.

D. Could drink a ton of this stuff, another good brew from the guys at rogue.

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Photo of Derek
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

This bottle was a little gusher.

A: Rusty orange, pours with plenty of white head, not much retention, but some nice lace!

S: Grapefruit from the hops, with a little fruityness from the yeast.

T: Nice pale english malt, with strong hit of grapefruity hops. I'm surprised there's 59 IBU's, it seems really well balanced, and the bitterness is very smooth. The 6.5% ABV is surprising as well... it's not very apparent.

M: Light to moderate body, a little creamy, moderate to high carbonation (perhaps a little much for a bitter).

D: Truely exceptional. Too bad it's finished.

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Photo of dwarbi
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Monstrous white head. Very thick and it goes nowhere. The beer itself is not completely transparent. Smells of hops and bitter. Pleasant taste. Creamy and very smooth. Bitter aftertaste, but tremendously drinkable. Elaborate, hard to pin combination of flavors.

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Photo of snohojimbo
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of shirfan
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A shade between amber and gold, with a moderate but clingy white head. Slightly cloudy.

Aroma primarily of pine resin, with a bread-and-fruit followup.

Taste achieves an excellent level of balance. Adequate hops (or a single hop strain, per the bottle); enough to keep hopheads happy, but not a dumptruck full per bomber, as with some other Rogue ales. Malt is allowed to have its say.

Fairly neutral between sweet and dry; malt flavor shines through and plays off of the moderate hopping. Marris Otter demands another sip as soon as you've put down the glass; a hint of toffee in the finish and the faintest whisper of diactyl.

No offensive yeasts here, although the last pour from my bomber produced something as murky as any respectable german wheat beer.

If I could tailor a session brew to my own specifications, it would be damn well near this one. Very, very impressive.

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Photo of EStreet20
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber poured into a nonic pint glass.

A - Pours out a fairly cloury golden color with a tiny red tinge. A very thick, bubbly two finger head sits atop and has a lot of staying power. Nice rings of lacing circle the glass.

S - A very nice, strong citrus hop profile on the nose. Very inviting for a confirmed hophead type such as myself.

T - A nice citrusy hop taste, with some sweet malts up front. A very nice but subdued tea like flavor is in there too. The taste finishes with the hops leaving a nice feel on your tongue.

M - Nice and smooth on the tongue with a nice bit of carbonation. The feel is great for a beer with such a distinct hop profile.

D - This taste is nice and unique for such a hoppy beer. It's got a flavor a bit different than other bitters I've tried, basically just more flavor which makes it want more. The hoppiness might scare off some non-hopheads but for a hop fan this is an extremely drinkable beer.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.18/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid lightly ambered golden color with a few fingers of off white head that falls to just under a finger. Nose is light bready and toasty, with modest caramel and moderate earthy British hop following. Flavor is very nice. More caramel comes through, but the earthy hops are full on. After swallowing, there is a crisp, almost lenony herbal character to the bitterness that really makes it nice on the finish. Burps are really nice british toasty caramel malt. Bitterness hangs on just a slight bit into the finish, making me want more. A tasty tasty brew. Feel is solid moderate with a moderate carbonation. Good balance between the two. I think this brew is doing what it needs to on all counts. Flavor is really working well for me. I'm not usually a fan of the British hops, but they are in harmony with the malts in this, not surprising with the style. I will definately have this one again.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
4.01 out of 5 based on 2,149 ratings.
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