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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Ratings: 2,149 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of eat
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of TommyW
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Copper/gold body with a tall, white head.

S- Smell of hops dominates the nose with a piney and fresh scent.

T- A slight malt sweetness is noticeable but quickly over-taken by the piney/raw hop profile; creating a bitter finish.

M- Medium to full feel with a nice carbonation.

D- A nice hoppy beer that isn't too boozy; great beer you cant drink a few of when you have a hop craving.

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Photo of funkengruven
4.45/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A nice find at the Waterdown LCBO, this pours a dark cloudy amber with nice head retention. Some foam but not a lot of lace. Smell is a good balance of malt and hops, I would say hops are a bit more prominent in this one than most of this style I have tried. Flavor is exceptionally nice. I find that the hop bitterness balances the malt perfectly, and unlike some of the British examples I have tried, the sweetness is subdued somewhat making for a delicious and smooth drink. Drinkability is definitely a plus here and if it wasn't for the strength of this brew it'd be a nice session beer.

Yes, at $7 a bomber it's expensive. However it's worth it, very nice stuff.

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Photo of uno99
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottle purchased at LCBO shops at donmills

A: nice cloudy orangey brown. excellent fluffy and rocky head with lots of retention. great beer to be seen holding.

S: untraditional smell. bitterness more upfront than the defacto fullers ESB. nice spicy aroma with malt backbone

T: definitly a notch beyond the average ESB. however perhaps a little unbalanced. the hops really overpower the malt, but tasty non the less

M: Oily but also realtively thin. lots of carbonation.

D: I can think of other more drinkable beers from this catagory. This one is a little more hardcore than what im used to from an english ale.

$7 for a 650ml. I feel for the price there are better choices out there; however, this is a good beer for the style - I just prefer the "real" deal from england - Sam smiths and Fullers etc.

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Photo of kwjd
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big soapy white head that sticks around and leaves lacing down the glass. It's a pleasing bright orange colour. It has a smell of citrusy hops. I love the taste of this. It has the bitterness, but not over-the-top as you may expect from the name. It works quite well with the subdued citrusy hop flavour. Has a nice sweetness to it and a bit of pine as well. This may be my favourite beer I've had of the style. I could drink this anytime.

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Photo of Hoves
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The brutal bitter pours like a wheat beer, thick and heady. The head sticks around for a good while and when it dissipates it releases a sweet hoppy smell.

As most rogue beers are, it is hopped perfectly for the hopheads among us. The taste of the brutal bitter is in the back of your mouth and the after taste lingers briefly and not too strongly.

The mouthfeel offers perfect carbonation with a slight hint of caramel and a little bit of a lingering yeast flavor.

All in all, this is another great creation by the men and women in Oregon.

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Photo of jmerloni
3.55/5  rDev -11.5%
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.

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Photo of klkatz
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On a whim I stopped into a small boutique grocery store near Rittenhouse Square. (19th and Spruce, I think it's called Food and Friends) I was on a trek with my 6 month old son, in an effort to get out of the house after 2 feet of snow was dumped on the city. I was really looking for prune juice for my constipated son, but thought I'd check out the beer selection also. I got a 6 pack variety (3 for me... 3 wheat beers for the Mrs.) The American Amber Ale was one of my three.

The beer doesn't live up to its name... I like bitter beer... having never tried this beer, I thought it would be a little hoppier.

It is slightly hoppy with a light body - it's well carbonated - has the feeling of an american IPA but with less hop character.

I wasn't impressed. Maybe I'll try this again without Mac & Cheese.

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

Poured from 22oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich golden orange color with a touch of haze. Head is several fingers in thickness and of a rocky ivory foam. Attractive.

Smell: bright, metallic, citrus hops abound with just a tiny touch of funkiness. No malt aroma stands a chance against this olfactory assault. Brutal, not exactly; but pretty intense.

Taste: highly citrusy flavor from the hops, although the hops grow a little more complex here with the added characteristic of floral-ness. The malt is a little sweet which makes this almost a dessert beer. Again, not brutal, but damn tasty.

Mouthfeel: medium body with low carbonation, the mouthfeel of Brutal Bitter did not wow me. It is well-crafted, however, and totally acceptable.

Drinkability: highly drinkable. I would easily session a few pints of this.

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Photo of goldbot
3.97/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours orange amber, a bit of haze present. Thinnish white head and decent carbonation.

Smells of an even, balanced mix of malt and hops. Bready, doughy malt with a touch of caramel, with a touch of pine tree and floral hops. This has a very clean, bright flavor. Along with aromas identified, there is also a hint of lemon flavor which adds to the brightness. There is some bitterness but it is not too intense.

Light bodied and smooth feel. A very balanced, smooth beer with light crispness. While certainly not "brutal", this is a great, clean tasting beer which is an excellent candidate for a lot of food pairings.

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

This truly is a brutally bitter ale, in a good way.

Deep orange hint of brown color, craggy. Aroma, big hop nose, old school.

Taste = truth in advertising. The best kind of bitterness, puckering, but quenching and the cycle repeats.

Mouthfeel, despite the puckering effect, there are still nuances of something, not pine, but some kind of tree (juniper) that is very mellow. Interesting. Drinkable at Shenanigan's in Reno, because $5 a pint or whatnot, what a deal, its even cheaper than buying a bomber at a liquor store. One of, if not, the best Rogue effort.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A- Dark orange, totally hazed over. Big fluffy white head, decent retention.

S- Kinda weak, but good. Lemon sweetness, faint floral hops, faint malts, salt and spice.

T- Sweet, juicy lemon/citrus at first. It then breaks to a caramel malt middle, then a hoppy, piney finish. This is really balanced and interesting. You can taste the flavors shifting as you sip.

M- Average mouthfeel. Not too full not too thin. Carbonation thats there but not over done.

D- I think this beer. It is well balanced and easy to drink. The abv is bordering the session beer cut off but a bomber of this is totally easy for one person.

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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.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On initial pour a thick off white head of about 2-3 fingers lingers. Not much lacing remains as it recedes. The beer itself pours a murky amber/orange, it seems a touch cloudy.

It smells faintly oily grassy smell, with hints of caramel malt in the background. The first taste off the bat is a strong bitterness, but not overpowering with some of the grassiness balancing it out. There's also a distinct hoppiness, probably the source of both of these flavors. This beer has a little sharpness at first sip, but again, it's not overpowering. This beer is pretty tasty, and could be a pretty decent session beer, although this probably wouldn't be the case for everyone.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a muddled, murky reddish amber with a large, creamy and rocky off-white head.

Rich, balanced nose, showing bitter oily citrus hops on top of a strong caramel malty base. Underneath is a touch of toasty malt and grassy hops, both very faint. I'm having a difficult time getting much out of this, really, but it smells good.

First sip was a shock. Smooth and soft and velvety on the palate; somehow ribbon-like. Rich but subtle caramel alongside lightly bitter hop resins and a touch of earthy dryness. Fades into a soft toasty maltiness, with a longish but soft bitter finish.

Medium bodied and, again, soft and velvety. Eminently quaffable, surprisingly so for a beer called "Brutal Bitter." Sessionable and flavorful and a delight to drink.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange with 1 finger cramy slightly off white head. Minimal carbonation rising.

Aroma is of grapefruit, nectarine and peach. Lots of stuff going on here. Very nice.

Taste has hops [of course] which is dominated by peach and pine flavors.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, dry and cleansing.

Overall, very drinkable and enjoyable. Definitely worth having again.

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Photo of vkv822
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber into 4oz. taster glass.

Pours a bright cloudy golden color with a nice off-white head. It has a pleasant floral hoppy nose. Again more of a very nice floral and hoppy flavor,with a fruity note and some malty sweetness has an after note. With a good medium bodied mouth feel, this is a very, very drinkable beer, I could and in the future will definitely drink more of this!

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Photo of mrcarterxxl
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rogue brutal bitter

pours a cloudy amber hue with small bubbles ans a thin white head.

smells of peaches,mandarin oranges and bergamot.

tastes of oranges, grains of paradise,hops. theirs a orange peal essence on the back.

theirs a full mouth feel with small bubbles and medium carbonation

this beer has a exotic taste to it not really expected a real must buy.


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Photo of ledzepp817
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rogue does it again!

After ever beer I try from this brewery, I am amazed how great they make their beers. I just bought this one because of the name. I am a huge fan of bitter ales , and the name of this one kinda of jumped out at me.

Well, this Ale did not disappoint, its actually a very good Ale. Very hoppy, a little citrus flavor, and bitter as hell. A solid dark amber color that when held up to a light revealed a rich, reddish hue that showed me the way.

A wonderful beer that is good for 2 or 3 for a session, any more, and you would not be able to taste anything for a week.

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Photo of foxbat2500
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle from Bevmo.

A = Orange copperish. Like a new penny as others have said.

Smell = Maybe I am hard of smell today, but there is not much here. Very faint.

Taste = Very nice. Orange and pine & biscuit. Like a nice orange scone. Nice bitterness. Warm alcohol feeling at the end.

M & D = I would be happy to drink this all night.

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Photo of n0rc41
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured beer into a pint glass from bottle.

A= Great copper penny color with good head, creamy white 1" head or so.

S= Aroma is nice pine, bread smell.
T= Great taste I love it. nice bitterness, but with some low pine and caramel. doesnt linger really at all on the palate.

M=Mouthfeel is great nice smooth, carbonated just right. doesnt linger..

D= great drinkability I could easily down a few more.

I bought this from world market(only place I can find good beer in this town) Its a great overall beer, Great taste color and aroma, Taste is perfect. I Just thought it would taste a little more bitter, for being "brutal bitter" name beer

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

A clear copper color with a solid off-white creamy head and absolute walls of lacing. The aroma offers pleasant pine hop, but very subdued, almost grassy. The flavor brings a beautiful blend of citrus and pine hops with plenty of bite but in a malty bath of bitterness. Very palatable and drinkable. Tasty, in a medium body brew with very even carbonation.

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Photo of sprucetip
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. I still remember the first time I found this one, on tap at Humpys, and being quite smitten with it. Now 'tis fairly easily obtainable in bottles... Pours amber/bronze, very active with huge frothy white head, great retention and lacing. Amazingly attractive.

SMELL is pleasant but not bold. Citrus and spicy hop aroma, with some barely perceptible malt presence. Was hoping for more.

TASTE Malty sweetness prominent up front but is balanced well and consistently by a moderately aggressive hop presence. Hops impart some piny flavors and a bitterness that increases and grows dominant in the finish, then lingers.

FEEL medium body, rich smooth texture, some slight dryness and lingering mild bitterness.

OVERALL fairly balanced, very smooth. Deep hoppy flavor with solid malty backing more this one more than worth a try. A toned down yet close relative of the west coast IPA>

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

Pours a hazy blood orange hue with 1.5 fingers of off-white bubbly head. Decent retention and nice patchy lacing. Carbonation is fairly strong and visible.

Bready malts, fresh orange peel, light pine, biscuit, and caramel. Smells like an EIPA with a hoppier kick.

Herbal and floral hops, orange and lemon peels, and a good dose of pine are all followed by a nice bready finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp, clean, and finishes dry. Excellent balance, refreshing, and very easy to put down.

Another great beer from Rogue. Compared to the other ESB's I've had, this one is much more hoppier and more refreshing. The balance is great and I would place this right next to Fuller's ESB in terms of taste, and overall quality.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into pint glass dec20 2009

A orange brass in color with lots of suspended particles being moved around the glass by the insane amount of bubbles. two fingers worth of head that slowly fall leaving a fair amount of lace

S citrus with some bread and caramel

T a little pine to go along with what I smell, and everything comes together for a nice balance

M foams up in your mouth just a bit but it's not so bad, almost seams to thicken it up a little

D this beer went down pretty quick and had several small things working for it making it quite enjoyable overall

another good beer from Rogue and well worth trying. I would drink this whenever I was craving some hops but nothing too crazy.

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