Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale
Liked This Beer
3.98 w/ 2,154 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,154 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of Naugros
4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An amazing head and the lace is sticky as all hell. I may need to scrub the glass to get it off. The cloudy pale orange seems perfect for this beer. Oh yeah, careful pouring this one or you'll be sucking suds or swabbing the deck...your choice. The suds are tastier and where I opted. Drain your glass and you'll have a quarter of it still full with beer clouds. I've never seen head retention like this outside of Belgium. Very impressive!

The smell is ALL hops. Nothing else can get through. Hmm, after a few more snorts of this, you can sense the sweetness of the malts. Nice. If you get your nose too close you will have suds hanging off your nose. Do it on purpose and amuse your friends. Still, you have to appreciate this aroma. From it you can tell that the boys at Rogue used a few types of hops and not the omnipresent Cascades. If you read the side of the bottle, they tell you what they used. Duh! Rogue always does this and I love them for it. Willamette hops should get their props as they make this beer a little more sophisticated than the Cascade teas that everyone else loves to brew.

"Brutal" bitter? No, I've had some brutally bitter beers and this is not brutal. I really like this one and I'm not a hop head. Yes, the hops are prevalent, but there's a nice sweetness up front that gives this beer some balance. The malts almost give an impression of potato bread and the hops lend more than bitterness, there's also a citrus tang that doesn't end in pithy yuckitude.

As mentioned above, there's no harsh aftertaste or lingering bitterness. It's got an easy-going medium body.

This went down so easily it's scary. But then my fears are alleviated as I scroll up to the top of this page and see the ABV is just over 6%. I could take down a few of these 650s and be able to type. I keep reminding myself that this isn't's Rogue. They don't feel the need to showcase Cascades or bump the alcohol up to insane levels. Not that there's anything wrong with either, it's just not Rogue's style and it's a refreshing change of pace for what is becoming the norm in American craft brews.

 2,117 characters

Photo of kirkse
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of berley31
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of DoctorDog
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz bottle into a nonic.

A- Orange color, and quite hazy. Pours with a full 3 fingers of tan/off white head, which fades slowly to a nice cap. Ample lacing noted.

S- Slightly fruity. Some biscuit notes, and mineral/metallic edge.

T- Herbal, slightly citrus hopiness jumps straight out, with a nice strong bitter finish. Sweet bready maltiness and some fruity notes move forward a bit as the drink warms a bit.

M- Moderately carbonated and quite full feeling. Very good.

D- Quite good. Would be a solid session beer. Moderately ABV%, excellent flavor, outstanding body.

Future outlook: One of the better beers I've had from Rogue so far. Quite enjoyed this one, and wouldn't mind having it again.

 717 characters

Photo of rogerdandy
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rogue just keeps impressing me with their brews. This one is a personal favorite of mine as I love IPA's and Bitters. This beer is well balanced and smooth. Everytime I have this on tap I think how great it would be to have it on cask. Hops and malt blend perfectly to make this beer very tasty and drinkable. I recommend to everyone.

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Photo of freed
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't know what it is about this beer, but I've been intrigued since the first draught I had back in school. The bartender wouldn't sell us pitchers of the stuff, so we had did it the hard way.

Imperial pint, rich golden with a touch of amber. Somewhat obscured either by haze or scratches in the well worn pint glass. Tight head that persists through the beer. Leaves evidence on the sides of the glass as a slight lace.

Aromatic fore sure, with a somewhat green, pasture hop aroma. A wild aroma, and not as citrusy as many. A sip pulls clean, quick tart pucker, fulfilling malt profile that stands its own. Definately a Rogue mix. Leaves the palate with a sweet grass finish. Wonderful, and goes surprisingly well with fish & chips.

 743 characters

Photo of crwills
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Got a couple bottles of this to try from Beers of the World in Rochester, NY.

Pours a cloudy orange, quite nice and unique looking, very bright with a good, white 1/2 inch head.

Aroma is powerful American hops, grapefruit. This is going to be very bitter.

Taste is dry and hoppy, with some yeastiness and a bit of unidentifiable spice. Citrus is actually quite reserved, making this a very easy-to-drink brew. Bit of alcohol presence. Dry, crackery aftertaste (again, makes it an easy drinker), and a light, refreshing mouthfeel.

Did I mention I could drink this all day?

 583 characters

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, cloudy orange fuzz hue. Still as can be. Has a fresh fruit aroma, orange and lemon dominated nose. Juicy and sweet, with some hints of citrus and hops. Ultra-smooth, a lingering bitterness after each sip. Medium bodied with a slight warming affect; oily slick hops dominate the body; English-malts combined with the hop-blast and fruity tastings make this well balanced. Extremely clean, oh so smooth; and hops? With Rogue, do you need to ask about them? They are there, my friend! Awesome stuff.

 502 characters

Photo of Lexluthor33
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy orange in color with a one inch head and a great long lasting lace.
The aroma of hops,some malts and an earthy scent.

The taste of sweet,caramel malts with a citrus twinge and a hop punch with an oily finish. Mildly bitter and crisp.
It had medium carbonation and a very smooth body. Not heavy or light.

Notes: Really good beer. Session worthy for sure and so well balanced.This did not disappoint at all.

 414 characters

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle with no freshness date.

A: Looks light until most of it is in the glass, then it is a pumpkin shade of yellow and orange. Not crystal clear and there was a good amount of sediment, about an eighth inch. Small head that receded to a nice little cap. Many small bubbles rising, many. No lacing.

S: Earthy English hops and bread and biscuit malt. Not smacking the drinker around with anything at all and it does tell the whole story.

T: I think that this and the Great Divide Denver Pale Ale I had last night are quite similar to Fat Tire. I think calling Fat Tire an amber ale is incorrect, and that it fits into the English bitter or pale ale category. All your standard bread here, not sweet and not very bitter. Some diacetyl richness.

M: Full and satisfying.

D: It is full of nice hop aroma but the malt is too singular. I would not buy more than one because I do not prefer biscuit malt only. Other than that personal taste, nothing wrong. This bottle is likely very old and most of the hops have gone.

 1,022 characters

Photo of johunnic
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of SurlyDuff
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite Rogues, and one of the highest rated esb's out there.

A rich glowing reddish copper color, with a nice robust foam.

Aroma at first is their propietary pacman yeast,then ofcourse big floral hoppiness and with a high alpha impression.

A raw pithy rind kinda taste at first. Pine and grapefruit like a big ipa up front, but it fades to a nice crisp bitterness. Other breweries would call this a big beer or a reserve series, but this is just one of Rogues several flagships. A great drinker in every respect. A have fond memories of sitting down with a bomber of this in college and sipping it for a good hour or more. mmmm....

 649 characters

Photo of twelvsies
4.76/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very bright hazy orange color. Big huge rocky head afloat that laces quite nicely. Retains extremely well. If you pour it right, a little foam shape will sit on top of the beer all the way down to the bottom. Spicy hop aromas waft up from the glass and citrussy notes remind me of a standard IPA, but a little more subtle and a tad more musty and dusty. The taste of this brew seems at first to be subtle and mellow, but the finish really attacks the palate with super musty bitterness. Wow. I'm picking up on tastes like iced tea and spicy herbal hops. A real floral approach to hops, and toned down a bit. The hop bitterness is there for sure though, in full affect. What a great sensation... A mellow wheaty malt is present and adds a very subtle sweetness. This beer hits the palate with flavors from very subtle, like the mild sweet malts, mustyness, and floral hop flavor, to the extreme spicy bitterness that really defines this beer. The best part about all this though is that no particular flavor overpowers another, which creates an awesome complex brew. Aside from the taste, this beer has a mouthfeel which is simply awesome. One of the top few I've come across for sure. While it's fairly light to medium bodied, it's just super velvety smooth. Can't really describe it, you gotta go try it for yourself. Super dry as well, you'll need a glass of water after this beer. I'm so pumped that I finally tried this beer. I find it to be very unique and different than a lot of the other beers in my general rotation, and I'm sure it'll be an old staple for me soon enough.

 1,589 characters

Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a nice turbid orange-peach color with white head that sticks around for a while. Nice lacing.

S- Lots of pleasant citrus hops here. Some light caramel in the background, but hops are the main player.

T- Some citrus hops, nice leafy and resinous hops, balanced with a decent caramel-like backbone. Tastes kind of like an IPA. Refreshing. Somewhat of an earthy finish. I wish there was some more malt character though.

M- A bit over-carbonated for my taste. Light bodied, dry finish.

D- This is supremely enjoyable. Light and refreshing, this one's an easy drink. Not the best quality beer from Rogue, but I definitely enjoy it.

 639 characters

Photo of climax
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice size head formed above a cloudy caramel body. Retention was excellent. Yep, that foam's goin' nowhere.

The nose is more balanced than I was anticipating/hoping. Seems to be too malt strong, perhaps it was sitting on the shelf too long. No date on the bottle.

The flavor is more of what I was expecting, however still tame. Most of the hop character comes from the finish, dry and floral. Cookies, caramel, and malted milk balls come from the nice bouquet of malt varieties Rogue used.

The body and feel are spot on I think. Smooth with good thickness and carbonation bite. The finish is dry, and the flavor none too potent for an IPA, making this one an easy drinker.

 678 characters

Photo of BradMacMullin
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of iemailjack
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of HippieDave56
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of gnikola
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of bconsidine
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of seand
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a cloudy light amber with a big, 3-4 finger thick bubbly white head. Excellent retention and lacing.

S: Light citrus hops, grapefruit is evident.

T: Much like the smell. It's fairly bitter, well into IPA territory. The bitterness lingers for quite a while on the aftertaste.

M: Good carbonation. Very crisp and dry. The bitter flavor feels a little sticky.

D: The sticky bitterness lowers the drinkability a bit, but it's by no means a difficult beer to drink.

 506 characters

Photo of khiasmus
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Appearance takes a major hit because ESB is supposed to have excellent clarity... this looks like a wheat beer. Pumpkin color with soapy white head.

S- Good. Smooth caramel malt balanced by intense piney and grapefruity hops.

T- Almost like a double pale ale. There are so few true examples of ESB here in the US that this flavor is rare, but it's exactly to style, and quite good.

M- Smooth, medium body, high carbonation and a dry finish. mmm.

D- A hophead's delight. cheers.

 492 characters

Photo of KlayWey
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of eat
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours opaque and just-off clear. Honey in colour with a rocky off-white head. Pouring in the last inch of the bottle darkens the colour and adds some murky suspended solids, changing the look significantly. Great retention and awesome sticky lacing all up the side of the glass.

The nose is buttery with sweet grapefruit and caramel malt. Real nice.

Lots of hops in the flavour, seeming like a combination of English and American hop varieties. A bit of cracker, some grapefruit, no alcohol. Drying finish.

Great medium body and medium carbonation.

I've never been a fan of bitters and while this one hasn't changed my mind, it's easily the best I've had. I've attempted to review to style, since my opinion of bitters in general would have biased the review. Quite drinkable in spite of my preferences, I'd drink this again if it was offered to me.

 857 characters

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 80.3% out of 100 with 2,154 ratings
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