Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

2,144 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,144 |  Reviews: 1,109
Photo of MeisterMayhem
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of BRLockwood
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of tizride
3.25/5  rDev -19%

Photo of pschie1
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of grnmtnman
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.8/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For some reason this is called Brutal IPA in california, or at least where I picked it up.

Generous head requires semi-careful pouring. Cloudy dark golden color. Excellent head, excellent lacing.

Bit of hops on the nose, bit of fruit as well. Sweeter smelling that I thought it would be.

Taste is kind of where this beer fell flat. There is nothing Brutal about it, and it really doesn't taste much like an IPA. At least not to my West Coast taste buds. I've honestly had hoppier APAs. Bit of grassy after taste, but luckily it evolves into a sweeter after-after taste.

Mouthfeel is nice. medium-light with decent carbonation.

Drinkable. It's tasty, but not a great representation of an IPA.

 696 characters

Photo of OBIrish24
4/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Farky87
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of Tupperwolf
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a summery, hazy strawberry blonde color into my nonic with a fluffy, sticky 1/2" yellowish head that ends up covering my beer in a complete, soapy froth. Looks like it wants to climb up the walls - and does as I drink, leaving behind a thick, soapy residue of lace. In fact, it looks so good the further I get I'm bumping it up to a crazy 4.5.

Wow, definite punch of fruity hops in the nose! It comes in alongside caramel and sweet grain scents, slick and inviting.

The scent is sweet but the taste has a rounded, full flavor that starts and finishes with the sprucey, fruity sweet-bitter hops but has a creamy, malty, almost woody tasting middle that sets it apart from an IPA.

The mouthfeel has a nice bitter-tart astringency with a soapy carbonation (I just can't help but use that term for the way this one's carbonated!) that's pleasing. A lazy creamy bitter aftertaste hangs out afterwards.

I think this is a pretty slick offering from Rogue; It's a bit more aggressive in its style than the other ESBs I've tried recently, and can't help but wonder along with other BAs how well this fits into that category, but as far as beers go, this is handsome and tasty.

 1,185 characters

Photo of CraftBeerRunner
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bitter IPA - Oakland Nov 2016

29 characters

Photo of Viking
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pretty good brew. Nice and hoppy. Wonderful spicy hop aroma, with some citrusy undertones. Very bitter - I'd say 'Brutal' is stretching it, but it's not too far off. The hop bitterness is especially apparent in the finish of this brew. Mouthfeel is nice and oily, but too much lingering carbonation adds an almost acidic feeling on the tongue. That's something I don't want from a bitter. Still, this a damn fine bitter, especially when you consider this is bottled.

 473 characters

Photo of egajdzis
3.76/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy amber color with a tight white head and nice lacing. Nice citrus (predominantly orange) hop aroma. It's nice having a brew with one type of hop, it helps you learn what each nop smells/tastes like. Bitter grapefruit flavor. Nicely balanced

 255 characters

Photo of MrMonkey
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange/amber with a two-finger off-white head that lasts for much of the glass but leaves scant lacing.

Smell is orange and grapefruit, a hint of caramel, and some burnt bread crusts.

Taste doesn't have any of the citrus that the nose has. It begins with an assault of bitter floral hops, followed by the burnt bread crusts, before a very long, dry, extremely bitter finish.

Medium-bodied, crisp mouthfeel.

A very solid ESB, and a great everyday-drinking beer.

 479 characters

Photo of meeekyh
4.85/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer came in a 12oz bottle I am sure is not super-fresh. The price on Rogue beers went up from $8.99 to $10.59 on average about 7 months ago. I bet this beer is from that era.

I note the beer is a nice amber color, on the brown side as opposed to red, and slightly hazy. The head is slight and tan in color, creamy and leaves great lacing.

Nose is floral and a bit citrusy. I would call it subdued but add that there is a fullness that transcends the apparent. The hop character sure comes through.

Despite the name this is not a particularly bitter beer. What I notice in particular is a tangy zip, grainy flavors with a bit of fresh grasses. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is nicely creamy and full without coating or having a pronounced aftertaste. Primo beer to be sure, and not that 'Hawaiian' Primo either, though I don't hate that beer either.

Quaffability is hard to beat. I once made this beer my session beer of choice, when the price was slightly lower. I will not grade against the drinkability for the price though because I would give it a 5.5 for drinkability if I could.

In short this is one of my favorite beers ever and continues to please me, especially after the hiatus I took. Distance makes the heart...etc.


 1,239 characters

Photo of M_Burkey
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%

Photo of beckje01
2.38/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A- Cloudy look with light honey colored head.

S- Has a nice hop smell.

T- Ok balance but really a touch too much hops for an ESB throwing it out of whack.

M- Too much carbonation for the flavors it is distracting.

D- Overall it is too harsh a beer to be a good ESB. If you like hops or are looking for a good tasting beer go head and have this one but if you want a good well balanced ESB pass on this one.

 418 characters

Photo of HATS4BATS
4.25/5  rDev +6%

Photo of Mandrake
4.11/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly dull copper with a big, creamy off-white head that leaves tons of lacing. Smell is malty, with some citrus fruits and spiciness as well, along with a hoppy note. Taste is spicy, with plenty of hoppiness which is very well balanced by the malts, which have a buttery and fruity tone in them. Mouthfeel is crisp and sharp, while still rich and thick, and the drinkability is very good. A different sort of bitter, but a very enjoyable one.

 454 characters

Photo of wheelinshirt
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, paper label, purchased from Jerry's in Bethlehem for $1.75, poured into a pint glass.

Cracked the lid and started pouring and was immediately hit with the smell of floral hops. Mmmm, nice. Its rogue, so it is obviously big on hops, and it delivers in the nose. Color was a slightly cloudy amber with a nice white cap that had fair retention and left a good bit of lacing.

Nose is mostly hops, but not overbearingly so. Taste is bitter but balanced with some roasted and sweet malts. Body and carbonation are medium. A pretty big brew, but is actually somewhat well balanced. I almost guzzled mine and had to slow myself down. A fine beer and one that sits right in line with other rogue brews.

 709 characters

Photo of DeeMalloy
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%

Photo of witster18
3.87/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is half IPA and half a best bitter. There's some really piney hops going on here much like Sam Adam's Hallertau and it has a pretty good kick. Not real bitter though. An interesting cook pear/apple thing goin on in the backdrop there and dry to the bone. I like the taste of this though it has an original sweetness all it's own...kinda like Paulaner Brews do...

Hoppy bitter IPA that is great for one or too but a bit heavy on the palate for much more. Will definately buy again and keep in fridge as a 'jus got home need 2-3 staple'....

everything from rogue is pretty *&$# good.

 589 characters

Photo of RootedFool
4.01/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased a 22 ounce bottle at the North Coast Co-op in Arcata, California.

Pours a radiant amber with a soapy orange head that subsided quickly, leaving pizza-crust-bubble-like lacing on the glass.

Smell is faint to my nose. What finds its way through is a gritty, lemony hop bitterness with a thin sheet of malts backing it up.

I expected the mouthfeel to be thicker, but it's got sufficient body -- just not perfect.

Fist sip: blew me away with the flood of hops.

Second sip: I taste the subtle malt notes before the symphony of hops.

Long-lasting aftertaste of dry, toasty hops with a citrus crust.

Not a bad beer for my 20th review. In fact, it's quite good. Will try it again for sure.

 712 characters

Photo of feelmefoam
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12-oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a nice golden grain color, very hazy but sparkling in the light. With a nice amount of carbonation running up the glass, this beer has the appearance of a bubbly wheat beer. Two fingers of off-white foam came with the pour, leaving a moderate amount of lacing down the glass.

Brutal Bitter presents a nice hop aroma in the nose, specifically putting forth a nice grapefruit scent mixed with some other citrusy/spicy scents.

This is certainly a tasty beer; the hops are up front and clean with a nice citrus and grapefruit flavor. Although this beer is advertised as "brutal" that is not the adjective I would use to describe it, as the hop presence is certainly not overwhelming. Maybe a better adjective is scrumptious. Either way, after the nice hop kiss there is a slight showing of pale malts used to balance out the flavor. Very tasty.

A smooth, crisp, medium body accentuated with a decent amount of carbonation allows the beer to dance around on your tongue a bit before you swallow.

A very drinkable, flavorful, yet not intimidating beer that I could drink several of in one sitting. Its bark is worse than its bite, but I don't mind at all, because the bite hurts so good.

 1,242 characters

Photo of BeerSingh
4.33/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the 2 Rogue beers available in India (other being St Rogue Red). Poured into my favourite tulip glass. The body cascaded from a orange / amber hue to a dark peach from top to down. Even holding the glass against the light could only elucidate the cloudiness. Without the off white head, it could be mistaken for a Orange Juice laced with grenadine (like a Tequila Sunrise). The rapidly gushing head which started as an inch sized crown quickly receded to 1 cm, leaving small peaks of lacing. The aromatic hops pan from soapy to grassy, combining with a bold caramel nose coming from the malts. The taste is panoramic - a caramel and toffee sweetness goes hand in hand with a herbal bitterness, only that the bitterness dissolves into your palate and recedes very slowly, turning your palate moist and soft, readying it for more Brutal Bitterness. The beer is very smooth on your palate, completely bereft of any coarseness or bite. A second aggressive pour gets the beer gushing out of the glass.

Brutal Bitter is not brutal on any count - it surprises you with its easy character and well balanced flavour. An Ace from Rogue.

 1,134 characters

Photo of IWannaEatFood
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
4.01 out of 5 based on 2,144 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.