Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale
Very Good
2,157 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,157 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of Strix
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
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 -8.3%
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 -11.3%
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 +0.5%
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 +6.3%
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 +8%
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 +9.8%
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 -11.3%
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

Photo of BucBasil
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured from the 650mL bottle into an imperial pint glass. The beer is a dark, cloudy orange color. Head is slightly off-white and grew to about two and a half fingers thick.

Smell: Nice citrusy hop aroma at first, nicely balanced. Simple but very nice.

Taste: Less balanced than the smell, there is a big hop profile on this one, including some citrus, but more piney and leafy hops. There is a bit of malt in the middle there, and then the taste finishes with a refreshing lemony taste.

Overall, not brutal as the name implies, but definitely has the ability to satisfy a hop craving.

 600 characters

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

This beer is, of course, bitter. Not as bitter as you can get, but sacrifices novelty for drinkability.

A- I love the look of this grimy transluscent, caramel/apricot liquid. Reminds me of apple juice with large bubbles sticking to the edge and swirls of smaller carbonation on the inside.

S- Smell is nice and spicy with hoppy bitterness.

T- Tastes good and not brutally bitter. The first sensation on your tongue is alot of carbonation. After that you get a flavor that is like dark fruits(plums, prunes, grapes) with a bite of citrus.

M- Feels delightful. Excellent carbonation balances the bitterness and completely covers it if the beer is drank quickly.

D- Drinks very well for a bitter beer. I thank the beautiful carbonation job.

Overall- A beautiful beer with a feel that matches.

 795 characters

Photo of sstackho
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz purchased from LCBO in Grimsby. Nice, but slightly restrained hoppy aroma. First taste is rich, with nice fruity hops. Very nicely balanced. Pretty much exactly what I was hoping for. More fruitiness in the hops than most IPAs, but not lacking in overall hop bitterness. Interesting to read that the only hop used is Crystal from Oregon.

 342 characters

Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Copper, amber, and orange--the color is a combination of the three. Head is pale beige or tan with amber hints--it lasts for just a bit and recedes to a moderate film over the surface. Minimal lacing.

S: Hops, period. Piney, citrus, and slightly floral hop aromas. Some grapefruit, as well. That's about it--hops dominate the aroma (but in a good way).

T&M: I think I'm getting turned onto hops in a big way... It's got a bitter citrus and piney flavor. I can detect the malt now in the background--but only barely, as it sort of off-sets the full bittering power of the hops. The flavor profile isn't as complex here as some of the darker beers I enjoy, but it's still good. Body is on the light side of medium with a balanced (not oily, not smooth, not astringent) mouthfeel. Lots of carbonation dances across the tongue--further unpacking the bitterness and flavor of the hop profile of the beer.

D: drinkable because of it's balanced bitterness. Some ESBs are too damn bitter to be overly drinkable, but this one hits the spot. Very sessionable, especially on a hot day. Similar in character to Terrapin Rye Pale Ale, but slightly more bitter.

 1,153 characters

Photo of cvstrickland
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle requires two pours to fit in an imperial pint seidel. 3+ fingers of creamy white head reduces to a sheet and leaves spotty, fuzzy lacing. Pretty, hazy orange-amber body.

Smells citrusy with a hint of pineapple and an earthy quality lurking amidst some caramel sweetness.

Taste is a balance of toasty malt and fruity hops; dry, with a dose of pine needles, and bitter, but nothing "brutal" about it.

Lightly sticky and coating in the mouth, but nicely carbonated and drying to make it all go down too easy.

 521 characters

Photo of GJ40
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a 12oz bottle in a standard pint glass.

Copper color with a slight haze and signs of life throughout. It's got a nice thick head that stays around for the whole experience. Slightly sweet, toasted smell. Taste is slightly bitter and hoppy with a slight malty sweetness in the background.

This is a really good beer. I could drink them over and over again. It's a little expensive ($12/6 pack in my area) but very enjoyable.

 439 characters

Photo of irishkyle21
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Great head retention and lacing. Has a hazy orange color. I have not been disappointed by Rogue yet, and I don't think this beer will be the one.

Smells of floral/citric/resiny hops, fruits and a good dose of caramel malt.

Tastes of bitter/resiny hops, some earth and a sweet maltiness. Great beer.

 300 characters

Photo of maddogruss
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a bottle of this into a glass mug.

A: Pours a dark amber body with a thick, off-white head with good retention and excellent lacing along the sides of the glass.

S: A nice, sweet hopyy taste with some grapefruit undertones. Slight, bitter tones, but nothing too noticeable.

T: A nice, strong, bitter hoppy taste with an earthy, spicy aftertaste. Some bitterness, but well rounded by hints of malts.

M: A very silky smooth beer.

D: Ok drinkability overall. A nice, hoppy bitterness with some smooth malts to ease up the aftertaste. Definitely a nice beer and a good session beer. While the bitterness starts to smooth out later, it is still evident and smooth overall.

 679 characters

Photo of zeff80
4.36/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pourd out an orange/amber color with a small, white head. No lace.

S - It smelled strongly of citrus and light malt. Maybe some piney notes.

T - It was spicy and sweet. Great citrus and pine flavors. The bitterness was subtle and understated.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a great tasting brew. Although it tastes more like an APA.

 379 characters

Photo of GodOfBeer
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange colour with a nice creamy head. Citrusy, grassy, bready aroma. Very thirst quenching on a hot day, nice and bitter, grapefruit-citrusy and spicy with notes of hay and vanilla and also somewhat piney. Very drinkable, I would definately buy this beer again.

 277 characters

Photo of aquaderek
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured the beer into a session glass. The beer is golden orange classic esb color. The nose is toasty, some hops, caramel, and grapefruit. The taste toasty malts followed by hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is viscous and has the hoppy bitterness. This would be a good beer for more than one, but after that the bitterness may get to you.

 335 characters

Photo of KeefD
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazy amber-orange color with a nice head and good lacing. Slight floral and citrus notes on the nose. Nice hop flavor, but not brutally bitter as the name would imply. Slightly sweet but a nice balance and good mouthfeel. Hops are nicely balanced by the malts making this an excellent ESB.


 296 characters

Photo of praufs01
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance - Hazy amber with a creamy off white head.

Aroma - Light grass smells over a strong malty/bready backbone.

Palate - Moderate amount of carbonation.

Flavor - Clean well balanced malt and hop flavor.

Final thoughts - Very good and very sessionable.

 262 characters

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

Poured a nice slightly brown orange color decent head settling to a thin foam. Aroma is somewhat citrusy without being overly aggressive. Taste is a bit of piney hop with a good dose of malt sweetness to keep the hops honest. Mouthfeel is somewhat bready, a bit thick on the finish. An all around good ESB. Will definitely pick up more of this.

 344 characters

Photo of turbine2475
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BigJTrucker for this brew:
A - Pours a murky orange with an agressive slightly off white head that disipated slowly into a heavy lace.
S - Fruity citrus hops with touches of sweet taffy with an ending of pine and honey. More complex then I thought it would be. Very nice.
T - Pine, juniper, and tart citrus hops with a touch of sweetness that finishes very dry.
M - Bittersweet dryness that coats the mouth with a moderately high carbonation that stays around for a bit.
D - One of my favorites of the style. Solid bitter punch makes this beer great for any hop lover. A little too much bite and alcohol to be completely sessionable.

 643 characters

Photo of Quej
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Light orangey gold, with some white fluffy head.
S - Lots of nice hops in the nose, with a good sweet malty biscuity smell.
T - A warm sweet biscuity, bready center and nice toffee tastes wrapped in a nice hop cover which dries the mouth and begs for more. Some nice citrusy orange also there in the hops. A slightly American spin on an English smoothness.
M - So very smooth and nicely drinkable.
D - Really quite good.

 424 characters

Photo of GRPunk
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into an Imperial Pint glass.

A- It poured a clearish amber color with a 2 finger fluffy off-white head. There was heavy carbonation and lots of stikcy rings left on the glass. On an additional pour, it became more cloudy toward the end of the bottle.

S- There was a clean hoppy aroma initially. After sitting for a few moments, the scent became slighty muted.

T- The flavor was much more subdued than the scent would suggest. It started with more of a malty flavor and finished with a dry hoppy taste of citrus and pine.

M- There's a slight bite from both the heavier carbonation and generous hopping. The finish was bone dry.

D- You can put more than one of these back in a sitting. I polished off a 650 ML bottle and thought I could use another.

 767 characters

Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.98 out of 5 with 2,157 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.