Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale
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 callmescraps
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I often pass on the rogue, but this was at a decent price point. So I'll give it a bid.

Appearance- A little cloudy orange/gold. Half inch of off-white soapy head. Almost yellowish. Minimal lacing.

Smell- Plenty of grapefruit up front. Definitely some pineapple in the background as well. Nice and fruity. A hint of graininess as well. Maybe some apricot.

Taste- Some nice hoppiness. The fruits are subdued. It's got a big bitter finish. A little grainy. Orange peel. A strange vegetal on the end. Pale malt sweetness comes in as well.

Mouthfeel- Nice. Not too thick. Goes down well.

Drinkability- No issues on that. Would buy again.

Certainly a good beer. Nothing special or particularly noteworthy. Better beers in this category readily available.

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Photo of railcaider
4.52/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

When poured into a glass, this beer is an opaque amber color that's just shy of orange. The head is white and holds well for the entire duration of the drink, with just the enough carbonation to give a mouthfeel that nice and thick while still being very smooth.

The strongest smells present are sweet citrus and raspberry, but there's also a richer layer of aroma reminiscent of honey and vanilla. The first taste is a sharp hop bitterness tinged with fruit. While the strength of the bitterness is comparable to that of an IPA, it's balanced out by the fruit tastes hinted at in the smell. This is definitely one of the most flavorful bitters that I've had.

Rogue Ales generally makes excellent product, but this beer in particular stands out as one of their finest. In terms of taste and body it's similar to their Dead Guy Ale, but with more of an emphasis on hops. The complexity of the flavor is tempered by the balance between the elements present, which makes for one great beer. This one has quickly become one of my favorites and I make sure to stock up on it when I get the chance.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured in to Duvel tulip

A - Hazy orange with half a finger of bubbly white head.

S - Some bitter hops up front with bready malts. Some citrus and sweetness.

T - Bitterness from hops up front but not a typical IPA hop palate. The hops did not have a distinct flavour (citrus, pine, floral, etc.) they just contributed general bitterness. Bready malts provide a good balance and a hint of sweetness to this ale. Bitter on the finish.

M - Light body, Slight chew.

D - A good beer but not one I would crave to drink again.

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

Pours a beautiful clear rusted orange with a very thick and frothy cloud white head. Great retention and looks amazing to see it lace all the way to the bottom of the glass.

Smells of clementines, light specks of lemon zest, some caramel malt and a nice splash of pine. Deep within there is a sense of sugared cereal. Nice.

This is full of bitterness. Not a tongue burner, but pleasant on the palate for hop lovers. There is a lot of great citrus flavours, grapefruit, clementines, a touch of honey and grain, with a floral backing from the hops that leave a very nice hop flavour on the tongue.

It seems to be on the higher side of carbonated, but that adds to the drinkability of this beer. It goes down clean, full mouthfeel without being too rich. It's a great summer rainy day beer or to pair with a nice curry.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.41/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Passed this by many times at the LCBO. Never again. A tall, 650ml bottle with what looks like a (still-living) Weekend at Bernie's character.

Poured into a nonic glass. A lovely apricot orange hue, slightly opaque. A good inch and a half of head, that receded into a sturdy, 1/4 inch head that creeps along the sides of the glass. Lots of lacing in patches. Brilliant.

Nose is a malty, earthy, hoppy affair, with notes of pinapple, apricot and grapefruit. About what I'd expected from a West Coast IPA.

Taste is superb, very enjoyable. Earthy and malty up front, with a touch of toffee or caramel. Not horrifically bitter; a good balance with a malty, fruit backing. The finish, in particular, is surprisingly citrussy, with notes of orange, pinapple and peach. Finishes slighty dry, invites you back for more.

Mouthfeel is slightly creamy, with steady, thorough carbonation. The longevity of the head is doing wonders for this brew.

Wow; great stuff, highly enjoyed sipping on this one. Not nearly as bitter as I'd expected, but I rarely go for brews whose sole marketing feature is their IBU count. Rogue's put together a fine product here; I'll certainly be back for more bottles of this, and whatever else I can get my hands on. A tip of the cap.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I thought this was different from Brutal Bitter but it looks like the name has changed as has the recipe. I liked the old silkscreen better. But I digress...

Pint glass pour and a hazy apricot colored ale is produced with a heaping scoop of egg white foam. Major lacing throughout session. Malty aroma with some sweet fruits (mango, pineapple) present. Very pleasing aroma. Taste is a rare combination of a bitter hop bite but a sweet finish. Grapefruit kick to the buds on the initial sip, but a floral, fruity swallow. Just a tad bitter aftertaste but not much to speak of. Dry finish but salivating occurs. Nice drinkability which makes me think the recipe has changed a little. I recall this being much more bitter in the past. There is a more pronounced floral aspect to this brew from what I recall. I like this subtle change...if this has occurred and recommend giving this brew a try. I'll be seeking this out again.

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Photo of drtth
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Samuel Smith's nonic imperial pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the beer is slightly hazed apricot color with a ¾" ivory white head with lots of large and small bubbles. As the head slowly recedes there are partial sheets and patches of foam clinging to the sides of the glass. Throughout most of the beer sipping leaves lots of speckled lacing and the rings and sheets of foam still cling to the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aroma is fresh, lightly toffied and lightly citric, with hints of grapefruit and a bit of pineapple mixed in.

Taste: The flavor is rich with sweet toffee malt character nicely supporting the hops that dominate and provide grapefruit bitterness tinged with pineapple.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and soft with gentle persistent carbonation that continues to feed the head in dozens and dozens of small streams of bubbles. The finish begins with the sweet blend of hop flavors and sweet toffee from the malt. Then the malt fades from the scene leaving the grapefruit and pineapple to take over. Next the pineapple fades away leaving the grapefruit. As that fades all that is left is a dry bitterness in the back of the palate.

Drinkability: This is a very drinkable beer. Each sip leads on easily to the next and each glassful invites another. I can certainly see myself having this beer again in the future.

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

A - Murky apple juice, near white head, about an inch, retains for awhile. Reduces to ring. Some cling lace, mostly near that ring.

S - Deep sweet malt for me, with hops making a presence but secondary.

T - Stop. Turn them around for taste. TONS of bitter hops, with a sweet malt finish that doesn't even come near quashing the hops.

M - Med body, nice coating, not very balanced, obviously.

D - Gets in my hop fix. Nice offering.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dirty, cloudy near orange color. Has a white head that settles to a lace head. Has some lacing, not much.

Brew smells of fruits, grains and wheat.

Brew is bitter, has a smooth mouthfeel. Has a grainy, bready fruit base in the flavor. Finishes dry. Very unique taste and feel to it.

This is a very drinkable brew despite its "brutal bitterness". I really dig this flavor and the mouthfeel. This is a nice drinkable brew. Enjoyable.

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

Poured into a nonic

Pours a hazy orange with thick yeast particles suspended throughout. Creamy white head with nice lacing.

Smells of bready yeast and citrus and a hint of malt sweetness.

Big hop bitters - citrusy... grapefruit and maybe a hint of lemon. Biscut-like bready yeasts.

Medium mouthfeel - nice carbonation, crisp.

This is a very drinkable - yet bitter brew. Not overly hoppy, which makes it drinkable for those who are not hopheads.

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.59/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle from the LCBO, pours a hazy light golden orange with a good three fingers of head built up from the pour, terrific retention as a layer of bubbles sticks around for the whole 22oz and leaves sticky lacing down the glass.

Nose is light grapefruit and lemon, some pine and floral hops. Not much malt coming up off the nose. Not overpowering or particularly exciting.

Floral and citrus hops dominate with a light honey and caramel sweetness running through, slightly herbal and grassy. Nothing 'bitter' about this style wise, pale malt, fruity/floral 'west-coast' profile. Not too much bitter about it in the taste as well, pretty mild bitterness, less than robust hop profile. Easy drinking.

Reminds me of an Ontario IPA which isn't really a compliment. Not terrible but nothing I would desire except in a pinch when there's no better IPAs around. Just not enough punch, though I suppose it is an easy drinking IPA which would pair well with meals. Some good, some bad.

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Photo of pootz
4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Re review of an old favorite:

22oz bottle: Pours a beautiful clouded amber orange with an impressive sticky 3 finger cap.

Aroma is intense, apricot-grapefruit-grass over substantial caramel tones.

Rich body, silky smooth mouth feel, Big caramel malts in the front (not cloying though) surprisingly delicate fruity notes in the center mingle with increasing resinous bittering...finishes balanced and clean.... lightly drying with lasting metallic bittering.

A very fine ale, nicely executed and easy to drink.

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Photo of dgilks
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich, caramel malt aroma. Light notes of grapefruit and cinnamon.

Mostly clear, gold colour with a fluffy, off-white head. Decent head retention.

It's not back. The malt is fairly laid back in the flavour with it playing a supporting role. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to have a star to support. The hops are reclusive, sitting back with just a moderate bitterness and a light sprinkling of citrus hop flavour coming out to play. It's okay but certainly nothing special. A light twang in the background suggests that there is a possible infection but it isn't significant enough to pick what it is.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. It's okay.

At the end of the day, this is a moderately decent beer. There isn't anything particularly wrong with it but it lacks the 'brutal' Rogue character I expected.

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

Stopped in at the Rogue Ale Public House in late March. Had a pint for $5.75.

The beer poured a beautiful orange color with a nice 2 inch sustaining head that left a nice trail of rings in my glass. Nose is of floral hops and citrus. Taste is pretty much as advertised, a blast of floral hops and that hint of citrus lingers afterwards. Mouthfeel is a perfect combination of the lively hops dancing on my palate yet is very smooth and has an almost creamy fullness. Overall drinkability is good. ESB is not my favorite style but this beer does the style proud!

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Photo of mintjellie
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden orange body sits below a towering off-white head. The head is extremely retentive and almost completely coats the walls of my glass with lace as it slowly dissipates. Biscuit, floral, and pine notes lurk behind it's juicy & ripe mango aroma. It's a tropical paradise in your mouth as the flavour of mango and passion fruit explodes on your palette across a bread & caramel backdrop. Contrary to its name, the lengthy and firm bitterness it finishes with is more moderate than brutal, with just enough malty sweetness to provide the perfect foil to it. Very balanced.

Medium bodied with an oily & resinous mouthfeel. Its slickness is especially noticeable between sips. More carbonation than the typical English bitter, but it's use of American hops make it far from typical to begin with. Some of Rogues other offerings like Hazelnut Brown Nectar or Mom Hefeweizen have left me slightly undewhelmed in the past, especially at the premium price point their brand commands. At $6.10, Brutal Bitter is worth every last dime you pay for it. Delicious.

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Photo of Lukecook
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a pint glass

A-Golden orange in color with a nice creamy head, decent lacing.

S-Citrus, pine, and bready malts.

T- Mild citrus and bitterness,bready malts, nice dry finish.

M- Light to medium body.

D- Good beer, the beer was refreshing and crisp, I would definetly buy it again.

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Photo of andyfrancis
3.89/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks like a glass of cloudy apple juice, with an off-white head that disappeared almost immediately. Floral and citrus in my nose...just a hint of sweetness. Slighty heavier than I expected, but it does have a clean finish. True to it's name, it is bitter, but not overbearingly so. I'd gladly drink this again, but won't make it a point to seek it out.

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Photo of Long813
4.26/5  rDev +7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dated: N/A
From: LCBO, 650ml

G: Chimay Chalice

A: Cloudy orange body with two fingers of frothy white head with poor retention and minimal lacing.

S: Citrus, hops, some floral notes. Smells like it's going to taste mighty fine.

T: Huge upfront of earthy hops with citrus notes following. Very pleasant mixture. This is much more bitter than I thought it would be.

M: Medium bodied with medium-high carbonation. Earthy/citrus aftertaste lingers in the mouth for a long time. Nice full bodied feeling makes it a pleasure to drink,

D: This is one great ESB. Good about of bitterness that's not oddly overpowering, but very well balanced.

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

Poured from the brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date on the bottle.

A - The body of the brew is a cloudy dark amber in color with huge chunks of sediment settling on the bottom of my pint glass and floating around in the beer. All of this was topped by a fluffy white head that had excellent retention and left wispy lacing down the inside of the glass.

S - Big citrus hop aroma. Smells bitter...and inviting.

T & M - Some serious hop flavor in this brew...almost more earthy with a citrus tang. Seems to balance out with a small amount of malt about 3/4 of the way through, and ends with a bitter hop aftertaste. Medium bodied and crisp. Nothing brutal about this brew!

D - The Rogue website proclaims that this brew has 59 IBU's...I would have thought it to be higher. An excellent brew, any hop lover would enjoy this beer. Absolutely recommended.

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Photo of webmanspidey
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass. This pours a caramel color with medium carbonation. Smell combines mild hops and citrus fruits. Taste combines fresh hops, caramel, and citrus.. very well balanced. Light to medium body. Extremely drinkable.

This is an all-around solid beer. Very delicious and drinkable.

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Photo of robsharpe
4.4/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

With each new year I resolve to try a new (to me) beer or ale style with the hopes of learning the intricacies of and to develop a sincere appreciation of the style. Last year I resolved to try IPA's as I had, since my early beer enjoying days, always adored the more malty ales. This year I have sought to try the various ESB's that populate the shelves and bars in the area. Last night I tried Rogue's Brutal Bitter.

From the first smell I felt the ale would be well balanced, which I feel was verified with the first taste. I found the bittering hops to be most pronounced immediately after the drink but they faded quickly to a pleasant aftertaste. As I drank through the bottle I was able to taste more of its malty qualities which, paired with the bitter aftertaste, made for a pleasant overall experience.

So far of the ESB's I've tried this year Rogue's Brutal Bitter is my favorite. I'll need to come back to this beer in the future.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy pale orange with a thick white head that leaves a solid sheet of lacing on the glass.

Smells of citrus and floral hops.

Tastes of the hops on top of a layer of malts. Malts are mostly biscuity and bready pale malt, but there is a touch of caramel that makes its way through. Hops have a big floral character with some orange peel and grapefruit notes as well. Not overly bitter, but hop flavor is certainly present with what I find to be a good balance between bitter and sweet for an IPA.

Mouthfeel is medium with a fizzy, effervescent amount of carbonation.

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Photo of beergod1
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice surprise, I like Rogue a lot too, but never tried the Bitter until the Brewfest in Erie PA, at the Brewerie at Union Station, Nice balance of dried fruit and a hop undertone, somewhat malty finish, some here say it's not a well balanced beer....wondering if they had a bad batch? The hop aroma is floral and earthy with some citrus, tropical fruit and resin, backed by caramel from the malt. The flavor is a decent balance of sweetness and bitterness.

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Photo of jminsc76
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Into a pint glass, pours a big, thick, creamy head that sticks around for a long time. The lacing is almost ice cream-like around the inside of the glass. The body a murky orange-ish/yellow with plenty of rising carbonation.

Aromas are fairly tame, exhibiting hints of citrus, some orange peel, and a little bit of grapefruit. Also a slight aroma of breadiness or biscuit. As it warms and I agitate, more floral notes start popping through and the bouquet improves.

Flavors include an excellent balance of malt and hops (like any good bitter should), with some slight caramel and orange on the front end and more apple and kiwi on the finish. The hops really start coming through as it warms. The great part is it transitions from a British-style bitter to an American IPA over the course of the session.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied, exhibiting a light and tingly feeling to a soft and chewy consistency as it warms.

This is an excellent brew. Complex, enjoyable, and constantly surprising me.

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Photo of Andreji
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

So the BBA was my second choice at the DC in the upper east side. I was even offered by the waiter whether i should just "try a bit" before ordering the whole pint- all this after my 100 ipa pint from magic hat- but still i just asked for the whole deal at once. i'm not one to not drink my whole beer regardless.

Pour is orange golden toned, translucent but still fairly thick to be too generously thin appearing. head is very short, predictive of what the nose and taste wound up being.

Smell is hoppy, but in this rather brassy sense. nothing too expressive. and the malt is well hidden, atypical thing to do. So the taste simply is this blandish but still malty undercarbonated pint with a characteristic hoppy-to-ethanol-ness. by no means a bad feel, not exceptional either. still very subte for what it preaches to be, dunno whether this is a good or a bad thing but it's a decent beer all in all.

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