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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,149 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of alcstradamus
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A--Pours a murky orange color with two fingers of head in my snifter. Nice web of lacing.

S--Fairly pungent earthy hop aroma, lemon zest, spices, banana

T--Doesn't quite bring the hop flavor I was expecting, there is a bit of a biscuit-like maltiness and an empty bitterness, but not much more. A nice little drink but its definitely missing something.

M--On the lighter side of medium bodied, slightly watery. Washes down clean with a slight carbonation sting

D--Nice session brew here but there just isn't as much flavor as I would hope for. Maybe this isn't super fresh, but I don't see a date stamp anywhere on the bottle. Overall this is worth picking up if you see it but its not even worth a drive across town.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

P- Brass Rail Deli

A- a nice aromatic pour that is a hazy burnt orange in color. A sticky bone white lacing of the head coats my pint. The color of my beer reminds me of a burnt orange crayon.

S- buttery citrus hops with some floral smells as well. The hops are quite dominant in the overall smell.

T- taste is that of a grapefruit coated with spray butter. Quite interesting and it is tasty. The hops dominate the malts, in fact i cant taste any of the malts.

M- dry and slick at the same time. Quite hoppy and it feels like i bit into one.

D- This is a good summer type of beer. Hoppy yet quite refreshing. This would be good for sitting on the deck. Easy to throw back as well.

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

Poured an opaque orange with a nice two fingered head. Lacing was pretty good all the way down.

Smelled really nice. Buttery hops and sweet malts.

I thought the hops would dominate, this being named "Brutal Bitter," but it was pretty balanced. Actually, it was very balanced. There's a hop bite which was very nice, but the malts rush in and it almost thickens in your mouth. Finishes smooth and sweet.

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Photo of bfields4
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Small frothy head. Hazy light copper body.

Floral hoppy smells. A little sweetness maybe a hint of spiciness I can't quite place.

Hoppy tastes come through to the taste. The spice comes through as well. Bit of biscuity flavor too.

little carbonation and a nice malty creamy body.

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

650ml bottle poured into a mug after warming out of the fridge for 20 mins. Best before 31 March 2010.

A: Beautiful straw, light rust, burnt orange colour. An aggressive pour produced a two inch cream coloured head which subsided slowly leaving and almost cob web like lacing on the side of my mug.

S: I was greeted by the smell as soon as I pried the cap off the bottle. Very citrusy hoppy aroma. Pungent grapefruit, slight orange peel, just a hint of caramel maltiness. Alcohol cannot be detected at all.

T: Bitter hops right up front. Behind is the pungent and bitter grapefruit detected earlier in the nose, slightly spicy. Finish is bitter with hints of bready yeast, caramel and more grapefruit. Alcohol can just be detected behind all the flavours featured in this beer.

M: Medium to heavy carbonation. Light to medium bodied. Hops leave a bitter mouthfeel but are balanced out by the malts in the finish.

D: Very drinkable. ABV is just above what I like to consider a session beer.

Overall an excellent beer. My first of the style and it did not disappoint. I'll have to pick up a few more from my local LCBO before the disappear. Cheers everyone!

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Poured a hazy orange color with a nice off white head that lasted for a minute and then left a nice thin film.

Smell of flowery hops and spices.Very inviting and rich.

Nice, crisp hopy taste with a smooth citrusy finish at the end. Hops are very present and also some roasted malts and nuts at the end.

Very clean feeling on the tounge with perfect balance of carbonation.

Overall a very good beer. Could have a couple back to back. I haven't tried all of Rogues treats but the ones I have, have been great.

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Photo of seand
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of steeler
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I finally grabbed one of these from my local LCBO. Pours out a hazy orangey coppery color, with a nice thick whispy 1.5 inch head, that laces all the way down the glass. Really Nice. This smells great, you can really smelly the citrusy hops, and smells extremely fresh, this truly is a very nice smelling beer. The taste is just what I'm looking for, nice and hoppy, finishes dry and clean, with a lingering hop bitterness, this is great. Mouthfeel is nice and light, and goes down exceptionally smooth. Drinkability is perfect on this, this is something you could easily drink on a nice hot day, but be careful after a few of these big bottles, it will creep up on you. This is an exceptional beer.

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Photo of drinkHoppy
3.63/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

From a 22oz(right?) bottle. This was in the fridge at my store for probably two years now, so I grabbed it. Obvious amount of sediment in the bottle.

Appearance: Copper/amber/orange. Light but opaque and obviously cloudy with sediment. You can pour a nice sized head without much effort, but notice it quickly start to fizz away. Settles to a thin layer but lasts for much of the glass, not all of it. I really had to stir around the last few sips, and saw what looked like red strings in the bottom, part of the sediment. Cool looking!

Smell: Pleasant smell. Hoppy. Grapefruit and citrus, the obvious stuff.

Taste: Just how it smells. Smooth, great tasting beer if you like hops (and i do). On the strong side.

Mouthfeel: Great carbonation, you feel it on your tongue! I enjoyed every sip actually, but then it lingers. A bit slimy but tasty.

Drinkability: I gave this a low score on drinkability not because it was hard to drink this beer, it tasted great, but because two pints was enough for me. I could have more but still only a few.

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Photo of 3Vandoo
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice orangish beer with a shy foamy and thick head. Limpid clear body with a vivid carbonation.

smell is great, aromas of fruits, citrus, hops, bitter and grapefruit.

Taste is quite similar to the sense as the smell, grapefruit flavours hit you right away followed by hops and then a shy malty presence. The malty caramel flavours actually hit your tongue when drinking, mixing a bit of bitter and sweet at the same time that end with a medium bitterness.

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Photo of zoso1967
3.57/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours dark amber with plenty of yeast sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Light carbonation but fairly good head retention. Smells of caramel and floral hops. Flavor is nicely complex. Firm bitterness plays well off of the malt backbone. Taste of floral hops grass and some subtle citrus like tones mingle with the smooth malt flavor. More bitterness lingers after swallowing. Mouthfeel is medium full and pleasant. I find it to be a little bit more carbonated then I like my ESBs.

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

Pours and orangey amber with about 3 fingers of head, which falls back to 1 pretty quickly but never disspates completely. A little cloudy held up to the light, with clusters of tiny bubbles rising constantly.

Smells of citrus fruits: rind, pith, fruit, the whole deal. Grapefruit, earl grey tea (bergamot), very overripe pineapple and a weird... shoe smell under it all. Not unpleasant, but disconcerting at first.

Sweetish caramel malt as well as a proper assault of citrusy hops, as foreshadowed in the nose. Straightforward and just ****ing bursting with flavour. Creamy mouthfeel, medium body. Finished dry and a little astringent, with a bitter twang lingering on every surface of the mouth.

I wish I'd bought another, and I will. For now though, maybe it's because I skipped lunch and/or because this was delicious and I drank it all in no time flat, but I'm starting to get a little buzz on. 4 for drinkability seems fair, cause if I had another bomber I'd probably want to go to bed a little early.

Massively flavourful beer. Not an ESB like I'm used to, but man, nice work.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.38/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the colorful 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Poured an orange copper color with a thick head of white creamy foam that took some time to disssapate. Didn't lace as much as I expected.

Smell if hoppy, malty, citrus. Faint smell, not very strong.

Taste was a well balanced ESB - the citrus flavor comes through, backed by malt, with a prominent hop taste throughout. The bittering isn't truly "brutal" - instead its well brewed and serves to contribute to the taste, dominating, but never overpowering.

A drinkable beer, tasty and well made.

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

A respectable citrus ESB.

A: Marigold and quite cloudy with a thin and fleeting head.

S: A good whiff of acidic, citrus hops.

T: A nice citrus hop presence that takes over you entire tongue... not brutal at all though... must be marketing. Underneath lies a nondescript malt foundation.

M: a bit chalky, but good viscosity.

D: Fairly filling... no sessioning here.

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

20oz bottle

A - Very cloudy bright orange-copper with significant white head that leaves a pretty good lacing.

S - Citrus hops, light fruit, and a nice flowery scent.

T - Big hop presence up front, and the spicy bitterness really hits the back of the tongue/roof of the mouth. Very little malt present immediately, but a slight sweetness mid-sip is noticable as it warms.

M - Medium body, finishes somewhat dry despite the hint of sweet you get out of the brew.

D - Goes well, though I'd find other bitters to session with before this.

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Photo of mafiasentinel21
4.43/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz. poured into a pint glass.

A: Very enticing hazy gold that doesn't leave much transparency. A one inch head from a pretty soft pour stays for about ten seconds. Little lacing stays on the glass.

S: Well...hops. I'm getting floral undertones but there is a definite hop domination.

T: Wow. Very, very tasty. I feel like I'm drinking crispy hop oils, and yet it remains not too overpowering. This is a very vibrant beer, and the balance and the crispness are absolutely insane. Spices just dance around on the palate. Whatever these bittering hops are, they're classy. The finish doesn't have the as strong a punch as I would hope, but it's still nice.

M: Medium - it's pretty smooth. This is a well carbonated beer, erring if at all on the conservative side.

D: Pretty damn high. This beer just drinks very well. Seeing as how it is focused on bitterness rather than the thicker malty Rogue that is usually par for the course, a 6'er is definitely not out of the question.

Overall one of my favorite beers. Just so crisp and hoppy, and it's even more impressive that Rogue can step out of its element to make such a brew. They have a trademark dense fruit + malt taste that this beer doesn't adhere to. Don't ignore this one based on the price tag!!! Hop-heads especially give it a go, you'd be nuts not to!!

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Photo of TheMistler
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a yellow orange, slightly hazy. Good sized frothy white head displays very nice retention and good, spotty as well as drapery lacing.

Citrus filled nose, but pretty sweet, as well. A smell of marmalade, pink grapefruit. Some biscuit malt hovering in the background.

Pink grapefruit to the taste, as well. More bitter in taste than I would've thought from the nose, though the hoppiness is no surprise. Some caramel.

Medium bodied. "Round" feeling from the carbonation, and then it crisps up, with some prickliness. Easy drinking, I could sit with some of this for a while. Though I would not say it was sessionable, what with the speed with which I downed a few and the slightly high ABV for a session brew.

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Photo of mempath
4.89/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into my 'mini' hybrid pilsen/ale half-pint glass

pours a cloudy, orange marmalade hue with slighty off-white head...beautiful on top (pancake batter), but sides reveal big, active carbonation...creamy lacing lingers nicely. very pretty

smell is wow, oranges again...citrus sweetness, mandarin...then it shifts to the bitter/sour grapefruit sense, though retaining that sugariness...did i say wow?

like Stone's Ruination, there is nothing really ruining OR brutal here...that is, those are key words for hop heads and warnings to those who don't like the in your face qualities of hoppy brews. the taste is tremendous, unique...perhaps the best Rogue bottling i've had yet. definitely not over hoppy, but this is art, a true craftbrew and the balance is key, making this (along with near perfect mouthfeel of creaminess and crispness) a very drinkable, session brew. i can see this with food, but i wouldn't want to share the palate with anything else. a new favorite for me! should've gotten the bomber...

edit: one more swallow reveals a torrential downpour, a heady constellation of hops all over the mouth, like some sort of supercollider experiment. savor this. or take huge gulps. you can't escape the unique character of this bottling. gotta compare this to Torpedo AND FF Hopfish as potential everyday beer.

another sniff...this is the Earl Grey of brews...;)

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Photo of Seanstoppable
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out into an opaque orange color, similar to orange pop, with a nice fluffy head that produced moderate lacing. Smells slightly of oranges, to go with color. My first taste resulted in a 'wow, that is bitter' exclamation, but further tastes did not. Overall taste is somewhat bitter, somewhat citrus-like, as is there was a touch of lemon, graperfuit, or other similarly bitter citrus fruit.

Overall, I wouldn't say it is an ESB - at least, not in comparison to some other ESB I have sampled. However, it remains a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of FarmHouseJam
3.05/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy Orange/ gold color
Bitter but with the the rogue grain selection....nothing is too bitter, everything is very malty, almost to the point of an ice tea taste.

The beer is still balanced which is key in my mind for worth wile drinking....

this is a malt liqour? "Don't let me down" is how I feel about this brew.

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

the amber coloured beer has a slight haze. The foam has big bubbles.
the aroma is citrus and hoppy. Inthe taste there is a lot of bitterness to. A light caramel taste in the following taste, afterwards the caramel goes to a little carton flavour, maybe not a very fresh bottle? Best before date is still four months to go.
In total a pleasant beer, but next time I will try to find a fresher bottle.

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Photo of ArodGetsSick
4.12/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into 4 oz snifter from 650 ml bottle.

appearance: poured a straw-amber color, with an orange glow. Nice two finger head.

smell: smell is very sweet,smooth, and pleasing.
Smells pops with mellow hops, kind of malty. Also a slight linger of melon.

taste: An initial bitter taste, though very easy on the palate. The bitter seems to go on a spectrum to another bitter tastse that rest nicely on your tounge. Tatse plentiful in the hop department, although an extrmele balanced beer. Taste some slight malt. I detected some pine, and even some grapefruit.

mouthfeel: taste very full and smooth. Seems very carbonated, a great lean sip.

drinkability: very easy to drink, I could have easily drank the bottle myself.

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a medium amber with a big, frothy head. Excellent cling and a nice 1/4" head retention all the way down.

S: Smell was mostly esters, like pine cones with a bit of hoppiness and maybe a slight lime zest.

T: The initial bitterness gives way to a secondary bitterness followed by the bitterness of the third kind. Lucky for Rogue I like bitter and really dig this beer. There actually was a hint of sweet malt to this beer, but it's overpowered by the bitterness of the hops.

M: Tingly and chewy.

D: I think I have a one bomber at a time limit on this.

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Photo of bum732
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange, nice fluffy head leaving great lacing behind. Smells of citrus fruits, mostly grapefruit and orange, faint bready malt. Tastes of sweet fruity malt followed by pretty intense bitterness. Lots of citrus hop-like flavors throughout. Very smooth throughout, great balance.

A very good beer, although i would say it's a stretch to call in an ESB. The hops run wild in this bad boy, however, their is a decent balance. I found the beer not too heavy which definitely puts it in the sessionable class.

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Photo of Dalem
3.31/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cloudy gold in color with a fair amount of sediment floating around. Head was there and gone but still left a fair amount of lacing around the glass. The description on the side of the bottle talks about a "stupendous hop aroma" but really all that I'm detecting is a lot of malt up front and a slight citrus like hop scent in the distance. The hops seem to jump out much more in the taste though but not until after sweet malt introduction. The odd thing is that this is a bitter (and supposedly a "brutal" one at that) but there's almost a mix orange and mint gumdrop flavorings going on. Not as obnoxiously sweet and gooey as a gumdrop or anything but for some reason there's something about the way of the sweetness of this has me thinking that. As it goes down the throat the hop taste shows up a little more along with some peppery undertones but not really all that bitter and far from brutal.

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