Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
2,149 Ratings
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States
rogue.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,149
Reviews:
1,110
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
10.47%
 
 
Wants:
95
Gots:
218
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,149 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of blaje
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pourred from 650ml bottle in a wide tulip glass. It revealed itself as an hazzy orange with a touch of pink liquid with a nice carbonation. Itforms a nice white head that lasted about 2 minutes, unfortunatly leaving just a ring around the glass. An immidiate citrus smell comes up tinted with pine. Mouthfeel is surprisingly dry with a long aftertaste tha is really nice for hops lover.

 386 characters

Photo of chuckd123
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed a pour of Brutal at the blind tiger in NYC about a month ago. I generally go for IPA or dIPA's, so obviously a hophead, but this was a very good ESB. Poured with a very nice head, about 1.5 fingers and laced up nicely. Tasted a bit high on the carbonation, but the hops were very present and blended nicely with the maltiness. An easy to drink beer, but I do prefer something with a bit more hop flavor.

 411 characters

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

22oz bottle poored into a large mug.

Its a hazey orange with some glowing yellow outlines. Large white craigey head. Smells slightly piney and mostly citrusy on the hop end, with maby a hint of sweet pale malts appearing. Ahh so crystal must be the red grapefruit hop. Bitter red grapefruit flavor throughout with a slight malt appearance that is washed away by a dry bitter finish that leaves you wanting more. It could be slightly heavier in the mouth for me but its surprisingly drinkable given the name and the bitterness was totally refreshing for me.

 557 characters

Photo of Spidey13
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brutal Bitter pours a cloudy orange-amber with a nice white head that leaves a good amount of lacing behind. The smell is very nice, with some juicy, grassy hops with some citrus-orange notes in there.

There is a bit of malt to the flavor, but the bitterness quickly takes over. Some breadiness shows up on the finish, but the bitterness really seems to dominate the flavor for me. The mouthfeel is nice, with medium body and carbonation.

This beer seems a bit one-dimensional to me with the bitterness, but not too bad; a decent brew.

 537 characters

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

L: Pours an orange-amber color with a medium sized and medum bodied white head that laces very nicely on the way down.
S: The smell is of some malts but mainly the citrisy and earthy hops used in this beer. Really bitter aroma in the nose.
T: Follows the nose very well. Nice malts underneath a big citrisy, earthy, hoppy flavor that makes a nice bitter beer. The flavor isn't too bitter as all the tastes are blended well.
M: Very smooth and fresh feeling with the right amount of carbonation.
D: Very drinkable bitter beer that is actually more refreshing than I thought it would be.

 585 characters

Photo of Reagan1984
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber and formed a two finger foamy white head. This head was quite firm and lingered quite a while. Almost immediately you can see a good bit of lacing forming on the sides of the glass. A pretty good amount of carbonation is visible in this light amber beer. The color has a very orange hue.
After drinking a good portion of this beer this has, perhaps, the most lacing I've ever seen. Almost full sheets of it on the side of the glass.

Aroma is very citrus like and of grapefruit and/ or lemon. I also note some spiciness in the aroma.

The taste is very smooth and consistent throughout the flavor profile. It begins with some grapefruit notes balanced with some malty goodness and finishes almost the same way. There is a smoothness to the flavor which is quite satisfying. I do almost wish there was a touch more body and/or malt to go with the hop notes.
A very subtle spiciness comes through in the back of the flavor.

The body is a little thinner than I would have expected. Quite drinkable.

I like this beer, but really wish it had a little more balance and backbone to the malt side of the flavor. While I'm a hop head and enjoy the citrus/hop nature of this beer, it could be a little better balanced.

 1,233 characters

Photo of philbe311
3.66/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Two fingers of foam... Rich hazy dark bronze... Still with little or no carbonation... Looks heavier than expected...

S - Citrus hops first and foremost... Subtle barley and grain undertones... Oh yeah, more hops...

T - Quick first taste of malt and grain quickly fades and replaced with strong citrus hops... Hints of pepper and spice rise towards the end...

M - Silky smooth and rich at first... Turns bitter and hoppy on the backend...

D - Very good brew... Love the mouthfell... A well executed bitter...Not a real surprise considering Rogue does a bang-up job overall...

 583 characters

Photo of tiger88
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy straw-orange with a fluffy white head that dissipates on an average rate to a think white ring. Head left a little spotty lacing. Smells of subtle citrus, a little pine and a passing hemp-like aroma. Tastes really good. Hoppy characteristics come to the forefront followed by the fruity aftertaste that leaves a slight bitterness on the tongue. A really well balanced beer. Mouthfeel is average, nothing too discernable. Goes down fairly smooth and only a slight aftertaste. Drinkability is fair. Maybe 2 and that's it. Too many may ruin your tastebuds if you were wanting to try anything else.

 607 characters

Photo of gonzo46and2
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured very cold. Color is a cloudy orange with a big lacing head. Aroma of grapefruit, spice, and minimal floral hints. Easy to drink and enjoy. They stock this a tiny liqour store in Tampa called PJ's. This one comes in handy when trying to buy a craft beer at say 2AM. For that, Brutal Bitter and PJ's, you remain a fantastic option.

 336 characters

Photo of pinotboy007
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing "Brutal" about it - splendid ale! If the Dead Guy Ale is "Economy Plus," this is Business Class all the way - a nice upgrade.

A - Nice cloudy golden-copper color with a nice, rocky head that fades but never disappears. Modest lacing.

S - Citrus, hops, malt, spice, herbs.

T/M - Superb. Tastes like it smells; perfect hop balance w/carbonation that whispers to you all supported by a nice, spicy frame.

D - Could enjoy this for an evening no problem.

 461 characters

Photo of roadhouse
3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a cloudy orange coppery color with a one finger off-white head that dissipates into a thin coating.

Aroma is pretty fruity and floral. I get pear and apple. There is a sweet malty aroma as well, somewhat biscuity.

Flavor is biscuit and sweet malt up front, followed by a dose of piney, spicy hops, and a bit of citric twang.

Medium-light bodied mouthfeel but a bit rough on the tongue. The carbonation is almost harsh.

Overall, it's what I expected it to be. Good and hoppy, but it's quite balanced. I can drink a few, but I wouldn't really seek it out again.

 616 characters

Photo of GreenCard
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: orange marmalade, a bit hazy, not much head (just a thin crown)

Aroma: fresh-boiled wort, grapefruity hop scent, caramel, grass, nutty

Flavor: full malty base with a concentrated robust flavor and a quick-hitting citrus-peel bitterness and flavor; fresh cut grass, lemon zest; finishes semisweet with a lingering bitterness

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, pert carbonation, slight mineral hardness

Other comments: A really tasty beer, but I wouldn't call it "brutal". A lovely "essence of the NW" version of an English beer style.

 543 characters

Photo of johannasclimacus
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Not quite as bitter as I'd expected. I am getting most of the bitterness towards the end and in the aftertaste. It's got great carbonation and a smooth moutfeel, and I think this is one of the most drinkable beers I've tried.

A good offering from Rogue, perfect for a warm summer evening.

 290 characters

Photo of kzoobrew
3.91/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great copper color with huge pillowy white head, good retention. Some lacing sticks quite well but lacing nothing more than moderate. Slightly hazy.

Strong floral piny hop aroma.

Taste has decent toasted malt flavor up front. Not the bitterness up front I expected, slightly less. Bitterness does kick in on the back end.

Mouthfeel is smooth and oily. Carbonation is perfect for the brew, refreshing.

Very drinkable, nice summer hot day brew.

 447 characters

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

Golden to amber color, somewhat hazy. Very small off-white head disippated pretty quickly.

Floral hop nose with hints of caramel. Taste followed suit - pronounced hop bitterness, but fairly well-balanced by the malt.

Medium body with low levels of carbonation, slight warming presence in the aftertaste.

Overall, a very drinkable, enjoyable ESB. Hop bitterness where expected, but aroma and flavor are balanced by the malt.

 427 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a nonic. Poured a translucent orange-gold with lots of tiny bubbles visible in solution. One-inch dense off-white head finally yielded to a quarter skim of foam within minutes; however, head was refreshed with each vigorous pour. Lots of fluffy, stikcy lacing. Light grassy smell with a hint of citrus and pine; very clean. Taste is somewhat biscuity (more sweet than bready), as well as more citrus astringency. Slight hops bitterness at the finish, but that character does not linger for too long between sips. Flavors are very well balanced. Mouthfeel is very subdued. Very smooth with little carbonation present; surprising considering the volume of the head. Goes down easy and not at as bitter as the name implies. Alcohol is well-hidden, but a 12oz offering would have better suited me.

 803 characters

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a thin white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is kind of faint but contains mostly caramelized malts and pale hops.

T: The taste is nicely balanced, which I wasn't really expecting with a name like "Brutal Bitter", with a pale hops bitterness and a faint but complimentary caramel and citrus sweetness. The malt character is hearty and provides some good substance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, nice representation of style, an ESB isn't usually my first choice of style, but this is a good beer to drink for a while.

 797 characters

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

Slightly hazy orange with a billowy head that leaves lace.

Smells like many other Rogues, toasted flavors, and grapefruit hops with a hint of caramel and honey

Tastes of toasted malts, with a caramel and honey aftertaste. Pink grapefruit in the mix as well.

Smooth mouthfeel and nice drinkability. I dig this.

 312 characters

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

Had on cask.

A: A cloudy orangish color (napalm?) with an off white foamy head. Heavy lacing.

S: Very fruitful, mostly citrus fruits with a hint of grass or hay.

T: A little more pine hop than I enjoy, but balance a bit with citrus (lemon).

M: Obviously it leaves a bitter taste long after each swig. Also leave the tongue a little dry.

D: A great beer for the hop lover.

 377 characters

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A. Hazel in color with little to no head.

S. Floral notes and some hops in there for sure.

T. Hops are in the forefront here, and not as bitter as anticipated. Its reminiscent of an IPA but its not very well balanced.

M. A little slick on the palate but it leaves a definate zing.

D. I could put down a few of these, not half bad at all.

 342 characters

Photo of AmishT
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep golden honey amber in color. Translucent. A one finger white head develops upon pouring, but recedes quickly and leaves little lacing.

S - Piney, citrus hops are the most prevalent aroma. A faint malt character is also detectable. It's a pleasant nose, but I feel that the aromas should be a little bit stronger than they are.

T - The taste begins with the citrus malts which are balanced a little bit by a malt character a little later on. The finish is pretty clean; some faint, grassy hops linger. It's certainly not brutally bitter, but there is a pleasant bitterness. I still think the hop flavors could be more robust.

M - The bold earthy hops blend extremely well with the carbonation. Light bodied. Gets smoother as it warms up. Wonderful mouthfeel.

D - Good flavor, light bodied. ABV is a bit high to be a great session beer, but still mildly sessionable. Definitely enjoyable; have to pick this one up again.

 933 characters

Photo of riversider76
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden amber with a one finger plus white head. Excellent retention and lacing. Aroma is of sweet fruit and piney hops. Body is thick and carbonated. Taste is very well balanced. Hints of sweetness through out with a bitter finish. One of the best!

 256 characters

Photo of TheLocust830
4.3/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pilsner glass.

a-hazy copper. Looks like some sediment was stirred up on the car ride. 1 finger head dissipated down to a foam that will not leave along with some very sticky lacing.

s-sweet citric hops, maybe some wet grass or dull piney scent over that.

t-far from brutal unless you are not a hophead. at first is a jolt of tart sweetness, then the hops kicks in in great balance. the hops taste seemed almost the opposite the smell, more pine than citrus. bitter aftertaste recedes quickly leaving me craving another sip.

m/d-seems fairly high carbonation and still very fizzy to the end although it didn't last that long. very drinkable, i could drink it like water and i recommend doing just that. delicious.

 746 characters

Photo of cyrenaica
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle
6.00% ABV

I tried this beer on March 6, 2008 after purchasing from my local LCBO outlet. The beer poured a hazy coppery-red colour with a large generous fluffy off-white head. The aroma was extremely hoppy. A lot of floral perfumey hints such as pine, and grapefruit. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied, fairly carbonated, and bitter. The flavour was divine. Almost like my morning grapefruit in beer form. My first Rogue beer, and it didn't disappoint.

 464 characters

Photo of aubuc1
3.53/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours a hazy, golden orange with a nice off white head. Smells of malty hops. Not too sweet, but very hoppy. Taste is smooth with hops present. Much more bitter than traditional esb. Does not register as anything special, despite hefty price tag. Nice feel in mouth, but nothing special.

 319 characters

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

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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