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 Duster72
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a cloudy amber color with a off white one finger head with decent retention. Aroma is mild bitter hops with some sweet breads and citrus. Taste is excellent with sweet malts playing off the hops bitterness perfectly. Smooth mouthfeel. Excellent drinkability, perfect session candidate. Awesome beer.

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Photo of xav33
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rogue Brutal Bitter
22 oz bomber
Moderate pour in an English pint
Recent brewing, enjoyed 04/07.

Poured a slightly hazy dark amber with a large frothy somewhat diminishing white head with fair lacing.

Smelt of moderate caramel, pineapple and lemon.

Taste was upfront strong bitter spruce and grass and moderate sweet caramel followed by a harsh spruce and dry leaves and light sweet citrus on an average length finish.

Palate was light to medium bodied, creamy, softly carbonated and strongly astringent.

Overall, this is a very satisfying beer in terms of taste. Strong flavors and aromas, brutally bitter as expected. Good stuff.

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Photo of rm0312
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the bottle into my own Rogue pint glass - Loved the hoppiness of this beer as well as the bitter (but not too bitter) finish. Something of a citrus hint in there somewhere too. Great with steak or just about any hearty meal. One of my favorites...

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Photo of Hautacam
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy amber with a big foamy head in a pint glass.
The hops piney aroma is mixed in with a bit of steel.
Sweet biscuity caramel malt. Bitter citrus rind hops balance this brew pretty well. A bit of metal near the end. Finishes dry with little aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is medium as is the carbonation.
A pretty drinkable ESB, although more intense than most others of that style that I've had.

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Photo of beckje01
2.38/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A- Cloudy look with light honey colored head.

S- Has a nice hop smell.

T- Ok balance but really a touch too much hops for an ESB throwing it out of whack.

M- Too much carbonation for the flavors it is distracting.

D- Overall it is too harsh a beer to be a good ESB. If you like hops or are looking for a good tasting beer go head and have this one but if you want a good well balanced ESB pass on this one.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date - brewed with lots of Cascade hops. It pours an unfiltered orangey/amber with medium carbonation leading up to an inch of off-white head that leaves nice webs of lace. The aroma is lightly vinous (too old?) with piney/green and citric hops (grapefruit, orange, lemon/lime?). It tastes of strong pine and citric hops which contribute a bracing, yet maintainable bitterness (59 IBUs) backed by lightly toasted/caramel malts. The body is medium with light/medium carbonation, and lots of coating hop oils that suck the moisture from my mouth. Overall a tasty ale, even if this sample is a bit old - a definite fix for hopheads like myself.

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Photo of rkuhnel
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle. Poured a cloudy orange with a huge white head that left lacing that looked like a lace tablecloth. Rich nose of citrus hops. Mouthfeel is very smooth and flavor is nicely bitter over the great citrus background. Hopheads are going to love this one, others beware. Great and long bitter finish.

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Photo of bosco7
4.55/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a nonic with a monster pillowy head. Slight haze. Smells like Spring (extremely floral) and very clean with a slight biscuit aroma. Oh my god this ESB tastes great! Starts toasty, malty, with a lot of caramel flavors and finishes with a very clean florally citrusy bitterness. Mouthfeel is silky smooth with perfect carbonation (maybe just a little more than English varieties).

I love this beer; it is perfectly balanced and extremely enjoyable. Definately not a boring Amber Ale labled as an ESB, this is the real deal.

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Photo of ccrida
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a pint at the Public House in Portland, the Brutal Bitter is an unfiltered burnt orange with a 1/2 finger white, creamy head, which quickly fades to a collar leaving no lace. Love the look of unfiltered beers, something about them seems really fresh to me.
The smell is pungent hops, lots of pine and some citrus that I'd guess is amarillo, with a sweet malt background. This smells a lot like an IPA to me, as was it's appearance...
The taste follows my impression of an IPA. The taste is all about the hops, which are great - lip puckering citrus and pine, more on the flavoring then bittering hops. Still, it is not nearly as hoppy as the aroma, and fairly smooth. However, it's still an IPA in my book, no where near as understated as 'true' bitters as I know them.
The mouthfeel is chewy and a bit oily, but not as heavy as it looks - don't let it being unfiltered full you!
This is very drinkable for an IPA, which is how I'm judging this. As a bitter, it's still good by my taste. A purist with a taste for Brittish bitters would probably find this terrible - actually it's more hoppy then Brittish IPAs. Welcome to Rogue and the PacNW!. As and all this is good, and seriously, is a great introduction to beers out hear. I wonder how it tastes out of the bottle though, as a lot of the pop I like is from it's freshness...

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

From a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Very clear amber in color, with a huge frothy head. Leaves very nice lacing.

Smells... well, bitter :) The aroma makes me want to be in a raucous pub watching the EPL. Slightly oily hops in the nose.

Taste is again very bitter, in a pleasant way. Tastes of wood with a slightly, and oddly sweet aftertaste. Very hoppy. More piney than citrusy.

Very well done ESB. Very good if not the best example of the style I've had.

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Photo of Redwood21
4.03/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great amber color with an amazing head. the head is thick and foamy that lasts and sticks to the wall of the glass. the smell is hoppy but not overwhelming or particularly strong. the taste is really good. a little light and not as bitter or hoppy as i would have expected. very good regardless a very enjoyable and drinkable beer. the mouthfeel is a little lighter than i would like but medium to light in nature.

thoughts: extremely good beer i would enjoy a six pack if i could get anthing other than 22ouncers. def worth a try.

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Photo of Rodan
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a little hazy. It's on the dark side of amber

Smell and taste have similar profiles. There is a combo of caramel, apricot, lychee, and in the taste a well rounded hoppyness. This beer isn't Brutal at all, but it is a nice bitter. It isn't as malty as most English bitters. The hops are more aggressive, along the lines of an APA, but ironically not as present as Three Floyds Pride and Joy "Mild" ale.

I think the name might scare off some folks that would like this beer. People just getting into the craftbrew craze, sometimes shy away from the word bitter, and adding "Brutal" to it isn't going to help the issue. I will buy this again, and serve it to guests. I just won't tell them the name until they've tried it.

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

a - poured a two fingers thick off-white and fizzy head into a tumbler. the body was hazy and the color of golden straw. it leaves a nice sheet and thin lace until about 3/4 of the beer is quaffed.
s - hoppy with hints of grapefruits, orange, pine and grass with a little touch of sweetness.
t - grapefruit and pine with a good malt backbone. very well-balanced.
m - light on the tongue and slightly creamy.
d - very smooth, easily drinkable and a quality beer from rogue. i love this one.

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Photo of BobThomas
3.94/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. It's a hazy orange color, lots of carbonation with a 2.5 inch head that faded to about an inch, then finally to a thick lacing. It's pretty. Really not too much to the smell. It could be that i have a cold, but I'm only getting the fruit from the hops. The taste is a bit nicer, lots of hops still, but it's nicely balanced with toasty malt. It feels light and clean in the mouth and finishes long and crisp with a lingering hoppy orange flavor that lasted longer than I had expected. Very refreshing. I could drink it all day.

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

Poured a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

This beer poured a cloudy copper hue with a frothy head that dies down fairly quick. Lacing is not very sticky at all, if falls from the side of the glass quite easily. Smell is mild, no overpowering odors whatsoever. Subtle sweet pine aromas with a bready malt background. Taste was much more hoppy than I had anticipated. Starts off smooth, but hops take over immediately and dominate throughout. Citrus-pine seem a bit overpowering for this type of beer. Mouthfeel is a bit chewy. Carbonation is low but consistant. Pretty balanced overall but I feel a bit too much on the hop side. Good work once again Rogue.

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

22 oz. Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Gold in color with soft amber hues. Dense off white head pours two fingers thick. Decent retention. Thin sticky lacing.

S: Sweet malts. Pine sap. Wet earth. Bread.

T: Sweet malts dominate the front end of this beer and are followed by a soft citrus taste and pine hops that give off a pleasent bitter bite on the tongue. Tastes of fresh baked bread and wet earth are taken over by more malts. Clean and dry finish.

M: Smooth and clean. Moderate carbonation. Slightly dry.

D: I have always found the style to be bland and quite boring, but this is by far and away the best Extra Special Bitter that I have had to this point. Recommended.

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Photo of scarletfire79
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured an amber brown with a nice off white head. solid lacing. you can smell the hops, this beer just smells delicious. extremely well balanced. i really like the slight hop bite this beer had. really nice beer and a pretty nice example of the style.

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Photo of mwearl
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rich copper in color, this bitter has a thick head with excellent lacing. Nothing special about the smell, maybe a little citrus scent. As the name states, a great bitter beer. Not a lot of complexity as the bitter is very predominent. Overall, a great beer in its class of bitter beers.

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Photo of vanrassel
3.44/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 mL bomber with a nice hazy apricot colour and a foamy two-finger head. The head had great retention and left sticky pillows of lace hanging from the side of my glass.

The smell was pretty one-dimensional: grapefruit hops. Some caramel became evident as it warmed but this is an ESB — not an American IPA. I thought the same thing about the taste, primarily citric hops, some aspirin and not much else.

This is a decent beer in its own right, but I don't think it particularly conforms to the style.

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

Pours anice copperish amber with a very finely beaded head and decent lacing. The smell is of very balanced hops and malt, and a slight toastiness from roasted grain. Their is a nice clean floral hop flavor with a good degree of delicious bitterness. Not super citrusy at all. The mouthfeel is a little thin, but not grainy or overly malty. Pretty balanced wih a touch more bitterness than usual for the style, and quite drinkable. Had on tap at the Brick Store Pub.

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

Appearance – This beer is a very cloudy orange with yellowish tones. The head is plentiful, frothy, and a nice off white. Some lacing is left on the glass.

Smell – Smell is dominated by hops. Floral and fruit aromas arise from these hops and are complimented by a pine like smell as well.

Taste – Right off the bat this beer makes you know it’s hoppy. Floral hop flavors are present with strong citrus along with it. That pine aspect from the smell is present in the flavor and some malt sweetness gives this beer a nice balance.

Mouthfeel – Substantial body with a slightly oily texture. Carbonation is there but not overpowering.

Drinkability – Good. I find this easy to quaff or sip.

A stand up beer. One I plan to reunite with here and then when I crave a nice bitter.

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Photo of Bookseeb
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hazy amber color with an off white head that sticks around. Smell of sweet malt and fruit with a nice hop aroma. Taste has a nice sweet fruity flavor with a hoppy punch. It has a medium mouthfeel that has a nice balance between the sweet malt and the hops, making it full bodied but not as hoppy as expected with a clean aftertaste.

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Photo of younger35
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank out of a regular ol pint glass poured from a 22oz bomber.

Appearance- Poured a very golden color with hues of orange. Slightly hazy but still allows a lot of light. Formed a very nice sticky white head that dissipates pretty quick. Leaves a fair amount of lacing.
Smell- Very citrusy hops dominate the aroma here with tiny wiffs of piney goodness. Subtle sweet doughy malt hides in the background.
Taste- A nice balanced hop malt combo that I didn’t expect. Nice grapefruit citrus comes out right away mellowing nicely. Semi sweet from a light nice malt background. No real alcohol warming is perceived. Not at all Brutal.
Mouthfeel- Medium light carbonation that is pretty nice. Has more of a “thick” type body that what you would expect.
Drinkability- I really like this brew. It’s got a very nice balance to it that is not at all Brutal. Perhaps they should rename it to Pleasantly Bitter.

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Photo of BMoney575
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 3-18-07

Pours a hazy gold with an infinite number of microscopic floaters. No real head but good lacing.

Smell is a light maltiness and easy floral hops.

Taste is very good, grapefruit and other citrus dominate but are countered by a subtle malt backbone. Very fruity but very balanced.

Mouthfeel is good, a resiny hop thickness and perfect carbonation.

Drinkability is also good, hoppy but with a very balanced bitterness.

Overall a very good beer, and a nice refreshing change. The style fits very well just below an IPA.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.53/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a nice big head and has a brownish orange color. It has almost no lacing. Poured a little yeast in there so it's very cloudy. Smell is hoppy with some fruity smells, kind of like candy. The flavor reminds me of the sticky carpet my mom used to vaccum up. It's just so bad, these flavors are wrong, something bad has happened between the brewery and this. Mouthfeel is alright, not very impressive. Overall it would take a lot for me to try this again.

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