Brutal | Rogue Ales

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2,318 Ratings

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: English India Pale Ale (IPA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly known as Brutal IPA, Brutal Bitter Ale, and 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.

15° Plato / 46 IBU / 81 AA / 13° Lovibond

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,318 |  Reviews: 1,132
Photo of swizzlenuts
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

There is a nice aroma to the beer, its very American hop smelling. There is a nice sweet smell to it as well. The head on the beer is off white with a good retention. The beer is caramel coloured and cloudy. There is a great balance with the beer; there is a sweet malt flavour with a bitterness that comes with it. It is perfect for an ESB. The malts are very tasty! The mouthfeel is creamy and it's really drinkable. ESBs are so perfect for sessions beers!

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Photo of clayrock81
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A light brown/Werther's Original taffee brown, with a foamy two-finger head that died slowly and left a lace ring down my mug. Picked up some caramel and butterscotch malts underneath a lot of hops (the malts were springy and a tad soapy, but not overpowering). The smell is balanced and so is the beer as there is a hop zest that passes over the tongue in a light-medium body but they're not overpowering. Instead, the beer passes over smoothly, even slightly creamy with some citric taste as well as some mild malt notes (bread/roasted) that lead to a dry backbite. I don't know what it is, and I am not a huge hophead or prefer bitters, but this beer is great and I'd love to have it again.

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Photo of FuzzyGuy84
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a 16oz pint glass.

A - Light caramel color with an extremely rich, dense tan head. Consistent opaque look with minimal, even carbonation. Stellar head retention.

S - Heavy on the hops but not out of balance. No burning bitterness like on the nose of a DIPA, or something like that. Lots of sweet vanilla and butterscotch notes come through. Strong nose and extremely well balanced.

T - The taste isn't as complex as the nose. Very light in body, with hops coming through over everything else. Not a massive amount of hops, but more than your average ESB or Pale Ale. Nice clean finish with a good amount of lingering hops. Not bad, but I expected more balance based on the nose.

MF - Nice and light for a stronger beer.

D - Very easy drinking, especially for a 6.5% beer. Overall not a bad offering. There's some interesting stuff here, but not at the top of its game.

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Photo of ectomorph
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Very cloudy and dark orange with little head or visible carbonation. Little action on the rim.

S - Hops! Flowers, this one smells really nice.

T - Excellent. IPA'ish in many ways, they are so close to ESB's to me. Hop kick balanced with a mild malt backside.

M - The cloudy full body make up for the lack of head ;)

D - With this 'gourmet pizza', perfect.

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Photo of ralree
3.46/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Really cloudy orange, nice head, good retention and lacing. 1.5 fingers.

S: Sweet yet toasty malt, weird fruit smell - almost a little too sweet - it's turning me off from it. Hops come through nicely - very flowery. Some spices in this one as well.

T: A nice hop flavor - really aromatic, but with a big bitter bite. Bitterness lingers on the tongue after swallowing. Malt is nice and toasty, and there's a lot of banana flavor in this. Now, the banana flavor isn't coupled with an overwhelming sugary flavor like in some other beers, so it's tolerable, but i would have preferred some more citrus. The alcohol makes itself known, but it's tolerable. It's a little too much banana and not enough citrus for me in this style to balance out the bitterness and alcohol.

M: Good carbonation, slightly astringent, a little oily. Medium-heavy body.

D: It drinks alright - goes down pretty easy, but the banana flavor gets old pretty quick. I don't find it very refreshing. There's definitely some alcohol in this one, which slows my normal quaffing pace. All in all though, not too bad.

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Photo of changeup45
3.54/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very murky orange color topped with a somewhat thin head. Kind of looks like this could be pond water. Nice hoppy, citrus (grapefruit?) aroma. Pretty good beer but not nearly as hoppy or as bitter as I was expecting, based on it's name, some other reviews and I guess my anticipation. It's actually a pretty easy drinking brew; a bit hoppy, a malty note followed by a bitter dry finish. Aftertaste is only slightly bitter. Overall pretty solid although a tad expensive, but I'm not sure I'd call it "Brutal Bitter".

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Photo of hurleymanvw
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle

Pours a nice hazy orange in color with a two finger whitish head. Nice malt flavor with a good bitter bite. Flavor is malty and slightly yeasty. Fruity/citrus hop flavor stays with you. Not too bitter but very drinkable...good finish.

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Photo of gfreed
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Floral? Yes. Hoppy? Yes, yes. Bitter? Yes. Brutal? Well, not really. There's a sharp aroma that might presage a ferocious bite, but you may be disappointed to find that the bark (and the label) is worse. Still, not a bad beer. Rather cloudy, sort of like iced tea; plenty of hops, nice malt up front, sharp-enough bitterness, dry feel and a lot of carbonation that will not disappoint fans of this style. But don't call it brutal. You can do much worse.

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Photo of WJVII
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a nice copper color, semi transparent with a nice white thick head dissipating into nothing but leaving a lot of lacing on the glass that sticks when the drink lowers. The aroma is very floral with a strong scent of hops in this brew. The flavor explodes in your mouth with strong hops that tingle your scenes. The finish is fantastic flavors of bitterness. This is a sweet floral example of a great bitter beer! If you like hops this is a brew for you...

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours clear, light copper in color. Head is initially thick and pillowy, slowly dissipating while leaving a thick sheet of lacing.

Aroma is bready caramel malt and mild citrus hop with plenty of fruity esters.

Taste is similar to the nose. Balanced malt and hop. Malt is bready, and a little grainy with a hint of nut and a strong caramel backbone. Hops are resinous and full of grapefruit citrus. However, both malt and hops are well balanced. Finish is clean with a slight metallic twang.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Slight hop oil feel.

Overall a good session beer. Aggressiveness marks this an an American version; lacking some the subtlety and smoothness of an English ESB. That said, this is a quite drinkable brew that is somewhere between an ESB and an APA.

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Photo of badbassrandy
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a much more golden color than I was expecting, which made me happy because I was looking for the extreme hoppiness in a U.S. West Coast style of ESB.

S - This smelled downright scary bitter and hoppy. Not for the faint of heart! A great blend of all kinds of earthy, spicy and hop-infused notes.

T- Hachi Machi! This one blows other bitters away that I've had, in terms of intense hop destruction of the palate. It would make mere mortals' faces implode, it's that bitter and hoppy -- delicious.

M - A nice rollable character in the mouth, not too thin at all but not killer heavy. Coats the mouth, leaving stinging spice from the hops all over.

D - Granted this brew is delicious, however I think it's extreme character means you can't drink them too fast. That being said, it's deliciously drinkable, just not something I would want to session.

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Photo of drseamus
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown body with a nice light cream colored head. Nice caramel aroma that is decently strong. Great malt profile with a bunch of caramel and enough bitterness to balance it out nicely. Aftertaste is all bitterness but not strong at all. Hints of smoke and burnt at the end. Medium bodied with good drinkability.

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Photo of BeerSox
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into nonic.

Thick pillowy three finger off white head that slowly settles to a thick cap, with sticky lacing all over the glass.

Sharp west-coast hops sit on top of a sweet malty backbone. Smells more like an American Pale Ale (APA) than an ESB.

Light toasty hops with some spicy, citrusy, hops. Some mildly sweet fruit flavors are in there as well. The flavor is a little more balanced than the aroma. The finish is the lingering sharp hops.

The bottle says "imperial bitter" which in the definition of a true English Bitter, would be an ESB. However, this one goes a little beyond that and tastes morel ike an American Pale Ale rather than an ESB. I guess it's a little hard to define exactly what an American ESB is, but I guess this is it (I guess an AESB would contain only ingredients from the United States). I don't want to deduct points from it from drifting from the style, since this is a rather tasty beer. It's still somewhat balanced with good flavors. Recommended.

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Photo of Shadman
3.26/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Impressive looking ale. Kinda a dirty, hazy orange. Think orange juice with a bit of cola. Very hazy. If i waited for the head to dissapate, I be writing this two days from now. Tons of lacing.

Aroma was muted until the beer warmed a little. Citrus like hop and some sweet, albeit muted, caramel malt.

Taste was a bit one dimensional in that the hop seems to dominate. Not in a blaster sort of way, but other than what one reviewer described as an apirin like taste after the initial hop hit.

Decent carbonation. i found it maybe a tad less creamy than I would have liked.

Was, in my mind, a typical West Coast offering. Good, decent, maybe a tad over hopped..but worth a try.

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Photo of budsboy
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber, nearing brown with a bone white head that sticks to the glass. Just a bit hazy.

Very malty aroma: dark fruit, raisin and plum, a bit of citrus and candy sugar. All very inviting.

Much hoppier than I expected. But well balanced with a dark fruit and berry sweet flavor. I'm not certain this is to style, but I'm liking it. Finishes with a tea-like bitterness that lasts. The hops are the typical west coast flavors ... pine, citrus, even grapefruit. Wow. That's good.

Smooth and medium bodied.

I've avoided this one, and I have no idea why. I like nearly everything Rogue does. It's always around and now I know to grab a sixer when I feel like a having a nicely balanced, easy drinking session. Good stuff.

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Photo of theopholis
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Body is a clear, deep, rich looking amber. Looks like fine old honey. The head was an impressive3 finger, white loose affair that settled down to a nice, white cap after a few minutes. Nice lacing to.

Aroma- Lots of complex malt sweetness; some buttery caramel. Something else in there to. A hoppy dryness. Smells very inviting.

Taste- Not nearly as bitter as you might expect from a beer called "Brutal Bitter". Has a nice bitterness, along with some Butterscotch, caramelized sugars, and a nice blend of bittering and flavoring hops. Doesn't beat you over the head with anything. A nice balance of everything.

Mouthfeel- Medium body. Decent CO2 level. Nothing to write home about.

Drinkability: An excellent ESB. Try it.

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Photo of Hornet2003
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber-red colour that pours with a large off-white head.

Smell: Nice hops and a sticky malt smell as well. Slight alcohol aroma as well. Incredible classic American ESB smell.

Taste: Wow bitter! Tangy and malty all at the same time. Not the IPA citrus hoppiness, but an English hop flavour. Grassier, but not too grassy. There is a slight alcohol flavour too.

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant. Slightly higher on the carbonation, but overall, quite nice.

Drinkability: Alcohol is not mentioned on the bottle, but I can feel it as I drink it. BA says 6.5% so that's kinda high for high drinkability.

Overall: I like it! I'm not the biggest ESB fan, but this is a nice American twist.

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Photo of genog
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a few six packs of this on a hut summer afternoon, and it did not disappoint at all.

Poured a pale golden color with a decent amount of head foaming up in a cloudy, sudsy way. Aroma is strong floral notes with a lot of good ol american hops. Taste is malt/hop balanced, creating a very nice flavor and overall mouth feel.

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Photo of CrellMoset
4.28/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased from Total Wine in Chantilly a few weeks back. Poured into a DFH pint glass.

Appearance: An average pour yields a huge ol' foamy, coarse-looking two-finger head. Lazy carbonation falls upwards through a hazy orange-brown body. Gorgeous.

Aroma: Tons of sweet, buttery caramel and coarse, vegetal hops, expertly balanced as you'd expect from an ESB, though the particular aromas have a very "American" feel to them.

Taste: Buttery, caramelized sugars again, which the citrus and leafy hops almost balance, but not quite ... a fine, lovely mild bitterness in the tail end that's not distracting or overpowering at all, just a nice send-off to each sip.

Mouthfeel: Rough and uneven initially, though it grows smoother throughout the sip and as the beer warms.

Drinkability: Just a great ESB from a great (though occasionally overpriced!) American brewery. One of the better examples of the style I've had. Recommended.

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Photo of blaje
3.7/5  rDev -6.8%
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.

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Photo of chuckd123
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

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Photo of jordoo
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of Spidey13
3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

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Photo of erosier
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Brutal from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 3.97 out of 5 with 2,318 ratings