Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

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Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale
Very Good
2,155 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: 2,155 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of Coastal_Brew
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of DMACH
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of quakeroatmealstout
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of FeloniousDrunk
3.31/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber bottle into an imperial pint glass. Thick 3 finger head appeared that settled down to a nice 1 finger head that lasted the duration of the beer.

Warm aromas of rye, pine, and a touch of hay persisted.

The taste is dry and a little thin. Caraway seeds, a touch of cornstarch and a little bit of resin are the overall notes. This beer has some nice dry bitterness to it, without any major hop notes to speak of: absent are the floral flavors of other IPAs. Perhaps it's the Willamette hops used.

The mouthfeel is a tad thin, and a slightly metallic taste hits you on the swallow right before the bitterness leaves your mouth high and dry.

Overall, not a bad IPA, but a bit thin on character for my tastes.

 728 characters

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Pours a hazy golden orange color with a light head and minimal lacing.

Smell – Piney hops, with a very light touch of citrus and sweet apricot.

Taste – Light hops (definitely not “brutal”), malt, and a small hint of grapefruit.

Mouthfeel – Good carbonation; goes down easy.

Drinkability – An easy drinking IPA. Not at all “brutal bitter”.

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Photo of BadBadger
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

While not really brutal, this fine beer will leave you smacking your lips. If you enjoy a nice bitter beer then this is a very nice option. Pours a rich amber color. A foamy head is present, though not overwhelming. Smell is a mixture of citrus, malts and hops. Taste is definitely nice and bitter. A dry finish. Enjoy one!

 323 characters

Photo of jmerloni
3.55/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Opaque gold-orange with nice pillowy head that has good retention and lacing.

S - Pretty nice aroma; citrus with a bit of malty yeast; can definitely smell the hops as well.

T - Pretty good but lacking something. Follows the nose with a bitter, quenching aftertaste. If you hold a sip in the back of your mouth this beer's hops really dance on your tastebuds. But it's lacking something.

M - Great mouthfeel. Light to medium and leaves a great dry, quenching afterbite that's very nice.

D - The drinkability of this brew is definitely up there and I'd go as far as to say it's pretty sessionable. It's light, quenching, and has a mid-level ABV. This should probably be sold in 6-packs if they could get the price down. I might buy it in a 6-pack for say 9.99 but for the price, I wouldn't ever buy a bomber again. I don't think this brew is worth $7 a bomber.

 867 characters

Photo of budsboy
4.27/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber, nearing brown with a bone white head that sticks to the glass. Just a bit hazy.

Very malty aroma: dark fruit, raisin and plum, a bit of citrus and candy sugar. All very inviting.

Much hoppier than I expected. But well balanced with a dark fruit and berry sweet flavor. I'm not certain this is to style, but I'm liking it. Finishes with a tea-like bitterness that lasts. The hops are the typical west coast flavors ... pine, citrus, even grapefruit. Wow. That's good.

Smooth and medium bodied.

I've avoided this one, and I have no idea why. I like nearly everything Rogue does. It's always around and now I know to grab a sixer when I feel like a having a nicely balanced, easy drinking session. Good stuff.

 730 characters

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this locally at PDQ Market. Pours a really nice golden orange color. Smell is of faint citrus. Taste is a very strong citrusy hops, very tasty actually. Good mouthfeel. Overall very drinkable and a really nice beer. But brutal bitter? Just in name only unless your used to sweet beers. I guess they needed a name. It's good stuff, go for it.

 348 characters

Photo of MeisterMayhem
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of BRLockwood
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of tizride
3.25/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of pschie1
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of CraftBeerRunner
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bitter IPA - Oakland Nov 2016

29 characters

Photo of grnmtnman
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of AWolfAtTheDoor
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
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 +0.5%

Photo of Farky87
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of Tupperwolf
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
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 C_Pel
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Viking
4.02/5  rDev +1%
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 -5.5%
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 -5.3%
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 +21.9%
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 +19.3%

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 2,155 ratings
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