Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale
Liked This Beer
3.98 w/ 2,154 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,154 |  Reviews: 1,110
Photo of slagle9480
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper tones with an off-white head that looked too enticing to just sit and admire.

S: Bring on the hops! This ESB smells great. The hops are definitely present. There's also some citrus here.

T: Hell yes. Rogue brews kick ass. The malt and hops blend beautifully. What a sick beer. Love this ESB.

M: Smooth as hell. Medium-bodied, kinda creamy. Nice mouthfeel.

D: I could drink this brew all day. The 6.5% alcohol isn't overpowering and the hops are just too good to stop at one. If you can get this at your local grocery market I envy you.

Great beer from Rogue. Props on the Crystal hops. I'm a fan.

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

Pours a nice cloudy amber color with a pretty weak 1 finger head that disappears relatively quickly. Smell is very sweet with a nice citrus hop aroma shining through. Initial taste is a sweet fruity pleasure (peachy almost, possibly apricot) with a little malt and nice grapefruity rind bitter finish. A nice balance of flavors and carbonation make this ESB a delight for most palates.

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Photo of yemenmocha
3.13/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours slightly hazy straw yellow with generous white head. Extremely clean & fresh scent on aroma with hop citrus. Fairly simple and straightforward.

On the palate the ale is quite tame considering the name. Not much "brutal" about it, other than the price.

Overall hop tang dominates and bit of sourness, finishes with a suggestion of alcohol. Could be a lot better.

Easy to drink though.


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Photo of Nipitato
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Copper hue that pours with a thick nearly white head that drops down to about 1/4 inch. Great retention. Poor clarity. Sticky lacing.

S: Really nice. Hop aroma medium but subdued. Sweet caramel malt adds balance. Fruity esters come through apricot/apple - sweet. Smells like an ESB should smell.

T: A well balanced flavor. Sweet caramel malt and hop flavor share equal billing. Fruity esters are quite prominent and add complexity - character is apricot and melon. Hop flavor is unpronounced but plenty bitter.

MF: Medium body - just right. Lightly carbonated.

D: A well balanced beer good session beer. I can't believe that this is my first Rogue. Much more subdued and balanced than I was expecting.

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Photo of udubdawg
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle

pours a peachy orange color, slightly hazed though only a little yeast made it into the glass. Head is off-white and looks very creamy and thick originally, retention is brief. Lace left behind is decent.

Aroma is pleasantly one-sided in favor of grapefruity hops. I'm not looking for anything too complex here, just a tasty refreshing afterwork beverage and this fits the bill.

Taste is a bit more complex and balanced, with a lot of pale and toasted malt showing up. In fact, I'd say the malt is flexing its muscles even more as I continue through the glass - perhaps its the warming. Pleasant bitterness all the way through the drying finish. Far from "brutal." (or maybe I'm a masochist - whatever)
Mouthfeel is nicely full and carbonation just a bit low.

Drinkability is quite high. Really good beer, nothing spectacular. Great summer beverage that I'd buy again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, from a six-pack,

A: Dark, cloudy orange, with a small head, which leaves a bit of lace.

S: Hoppiness, lots of grapefruit and papaya.

T: Quite hoppy, though more subdued than your average IPA, lots of grapefruit and citrus, with biscuity pale malt, has a sweetness in the end that is very delightful.

M: Smooth, but quite chewy and resiny at the same time, with a bit of acidity to hold it all together.

D: A good bitter, this could definitely be a session beer, even at 6.5%, another good beer from Rogue.

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Photo of mentor
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thin layer of light tan head over a very cloudy copper liquid. Must have been some sediment that I poured in. Smells terpene, clean pith, and some orange pulp. Hops and that's pretty much it.

Tastes hop flavored and hop bitter. Flavor is oranges and wood. Bitter is relatively clean of grassy cohumulone and flat heavy hop oils. Early, the hops are supported by a malt sweet that eventually rises to dominate. Touch of metallic in the malty character. Fruity esters are present in the form of pear and mildly of peaches. Md body and modest, but sharp carbonation. The carbonation serves to clean the tongue and keep this a summer refresher.

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Photo of Jmamay22
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy light amber color with a thin white head that leaves no lacing. Smells of piney cascades with a malt background. Smooth mouthfeel provided by the gentle carbonation. The taste is of pine and grapefruity citrus. Toasty, bready malt backbone helps to level out the beer. Very hoppy, but reserved in Rogue standards. English feel though certainly an American taste. A solid beer and an interesting take on an English Bitter. Certainly worth a try.

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

A - Pours a very hazy golden color with a sticky, chunky head of about 2 fingers. It dissipates slowly leaving a thick lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- Hops come to the forefront grapefruity citrus scent.

T- Very well balanced grapefruity hops flavor opens up. The malty base is a smooth carmel that comes in afterwards. It's got a little bit of a piney finish that's quite refreshing.

M- Not an extremely thick beer. Maybe closer to watery, but not bad.

D- Very drinkable ESB. I've not been thrilled with the few Rogue beers I've had in the past, but this is good. I'll have to open up myself up to a few more Rogues.

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Photo of giblet
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

good show! poured nicely with copper color. nice head but settled quickly. nice carbonation with some decent lace. smelled good with a mix of hop and malt. i liked the taste of this beer. i have had bitters from England that i like more but this is good.

not as dry as APA/IPA that i like but it is a great sampler.

suckem up and movem out!


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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.27/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I'm stunned at the rating of this beer on this site. I had this beer from a bottle at Comet Cafe, and thought it to be rather disappointing although by no means a horrible beer. It was somewhat hoppy, but not nearly as bitter as I expected, or as I was hoping for. However, the beer was extremely balanced with some nice maltiness.

Appearance was an amber color with a commercial-looking head of small uniformly sized bubbles. Aroma was hop and significant maltiness which struck me as very balanced. A watery mouthfeel struck me before the flavor, which was a soft hoppiness that kind of masked the bitterness of this beer. While I appreciate the fact this beer was balanced, it was still nonetheless disappointing.

I would recommend this beer, yet I would still characterize it as highly over-rated.

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle straight from the source at the Rogue Ale house at Eugene City Brewery. This is actually an "India style red ale," not an IPA.

Color is a nice deep hazy red-ish brown, nothing pale about this at all. Not a lot of head and not much lacing at all, head fades to a nice little ring. Smell is very piney, with lots of hop oils, and maybe a touch of toasted malts in the background. Very nice smelling. Taste is an instant smack of strong, crisp, piney hops. Some slightly sweet undertones with some deep roasted malts and lots of lingering hops, very nice. Mouthfeel is very smooth and dry, maybe a little undercarbonated. Drinkability is good, goes down fairly easy and very easy to sip.

A great brew. Though it's not an IPA it's definitely in that neighborhood. It's a little meatier and crisper than a typical IPA, though still a hop-head's dream. I'd liken this more to Rogue's Brutal Bitter than anything else. Too bad I only brought one bottle back from Oregon with me.

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Photo of tempest
3.94/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good, but too similar to Dry-Hopped St. Rogue Red. It also doesn't resemble an ESB, but the the style's just a suggestion I guess. The aroma was surprisingly strong, the hops and roasted caramel hit me while I was still pouring. Strong malt followed in the flavor with a lingering aftertaste of citrus tang and paler grains.

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Photo of jayfarley3
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass

A- pours a hazy copper amber with a nice white head that dissapates quickly.

S- aroma is real hoppy with a slight pine and citrus scent.

T- slightly sweet with tons of hoppy bitter goodness.

M- very smooth medium bodied beer.

D- very drinkable, if you like real hoppy bitter beers this one is for you.

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A little stronger than most ESBs I have had before. This beer pours a golden amber with a great head that's not too sticky. The aroma is pure hops and hop oil, but the English malts also shine through. Taste is a perfect 10, smooth, bitter (but not too), only slightly dry with grapefruit, butterscotch and a little light citrus taste there as well.

A well crafted beer and great balance, the American hops and the English malt really create a uniquely drinkable beer.

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

An orange, amber beer with quite some haziness and a creamy, thin head.

Smell is bitter, resinous like raw hop. Not the overwhelming US hops, but rather a European crude hop, possibly German. I also get a little buttery smell and after some time a little grapefruit.

Taste is bitter with light grapefruit notes and earthy raw, resinous hops. Bitterness is not as high as other IPAs I had, this is toned down. It is not sharp or hard bitter. The beer has some dextrinous and light caramellic notes, which are a little sweet and sticky. Body is medium.

Thanks to dogfooddog for this beer.

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Photo of khiasmus
3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Appearance takes a major hit because ESB is supposed to have excellent clarity... this looks like a wheat beer. Pumpkin color with soapy white head.

S- Good. Smooth caramel malt balanced by intense piney and grapefruity hops.

T- Almost like a double pale ale. There are so few true examples of ESB here in the US that this flavor is rare, but it's exactly to style, and quite good.

M- Smooth, medium body, high carbonation and a dry finish. mmm.

D- A hophead's delight. cheers.

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

Cloudy copper in color with the pour emanating a slight head. Aroma consists of citric hops at the forefront, everything else is washed out.

Taste is a nice interplay between hop and malt flavors. Grainy wheat malt provides a solid backdrop for a nice hop bite. Well executed and quite balanced. Good drinkability on account of the slick mouthfeel. Recommended.

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

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

A: Light orange color, thin bubbly white head. Slightly hazy.

S: Some hops, fruitiness. Slight grapefruit.

T: Well, brutally bitter. Strong bitter hops up front, but with a sweet fruit backbone that makes it go down smooth. Slightly drying.

M: Thin, watery, but highly carbonated. Enjoyable.

D: A quite drinkable beer. Hopefully we'll continue being able to get them around here.

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

This is a solid good beer.

A - copper hue, a little 'murky' looking (not a bad thing)
S - I have poor sense of smell so I give them all a 3
T - Not extremely bitter, small malt taste, hoppy bitter aftertaste
D - not a session beer, but could throw back a few

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Photo of mdm46410
3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a murky golden/amber with a small beige head that quickly fades. Leaves some light lacing around the pint glass. Aromas of caramel and hops dominate. Flavor is very malty with a lasting bitter finish. Notes of caramel are still present behind the malt and hop flavors. The beer is medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Overall, this beer is quite drinkable. It is not as bitter as the name suggests. You don’t have to be a Hop Head to enjoy it. Give it a try.

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Photo of plaid75
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a hazy light copper hue with a one and a half finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and sticky lacing.

The smell featured a light resiny hop with hints of sweet orange and mild pepper. A nice doughy malt as well.

The taste consisted of an upfront sweet orange hop with a solid, yet soft, biscuity malt. Peppery hop at the finish.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness.

Overall a tasty and very well balanced ESB. Very drinkable.

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

22oz brown bottle

Rogue Brutal Bitter was amber in color and hazy. It had an off-white head with good retention and left plenty of lacing behind. The aroma was dominated by citrus hops. The taste was heavy on the hop flavor with enough malt to balance with a nice, but not over the top bitterness. The finish was long, dry, and hoppy. It was medium bodied with good carbonation and a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Drinkability was good. This is a very good beer and worth seeking out to try.

 491 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Barleys, this was a very nice treat. Poured a nice light amber with a off white head that was slow to recede. A good lace present down the sides. Smell was highly hopped, with lots of pine resin apparent here and it melded well into the flavor profile which was just about the same. Good smooth feel with a light balance that let it more the sessionable. A really dry bitter after taste that linger for a good long while. This was the perfect beer to have with a slice of pizza, just blended so perfectly. Really a nice treat and was very pleased with it. Awesome but I would really call this an IPA

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

12oz bottle -> pint
no date

Pours a hazed shiney oranged amber with a ton of carbonation clinging to the side of the glass. The small head pulsates from carbonation before settling down to a thin white film. A few small dots of lace.

Nose: Piney hops, sugar

Good balance on this brew with a pleasant lingering bitterness. Malts flavors peek out for a bit, but the rind like bitterness pushes them aside and shines. Sweetness carries through and battles with the bitterness to the end.

Nice almost full mouthfeel, slightly dry.

A well balanced esb that delivers the bitter, although not quite in a brutal sort of way.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 80.3% out of 100 with 2,154 ratings
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