Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

1,109 Reviews
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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Reviews: 1,109 | Ratings: 2,144
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orangey-copper with an orange-tinted tan head. Head is very creamy and lots of fine lace all the way down. Smells of citrusy hops and grapefruit. Lightly grassy.

Upon sippins, it is immediately crisp and bitingly bitter. Mellows (a bit) to an acidic citrusy flavor. Some floral hoppy flavors in there as well underpinned by a light caramel malt. Sweet in the middle and dry in the finish. A bold, full-bodied beer. Great hops! My mouth is happy from this brew. Very drinkable and tasty to my palate. My only disappointment is that I waited so long to try this out.

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Photo of FormatKid
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Packaging is the standard 22oz silk-screened bomber from Rogue. I like these bottles. The bitter citrusy hop aroma assaulted my nose as soon as I opened the bottle. I poured this out into a standard tumbler pint glass. The body of the beer is a dark, rugged shade of amber, almost leaning towards a brown shade. The body is somewhat lively with carbonation and the head is sticky and leave fat clumps of lace on the glass on the way down. Nice, piney, citrusy nose, backed up solidly by caramelly malts smells. Taking a sip reveals a nice, brutal even, smack of hops across the tongue. Across my palate the hops register mainly as a flat pulsating bitterness that registers thickly with a resinous pine presence. The malts attempt to make their presence known but are quickly slapped back into place. The malts are definitely there but cannot stand up to the assault of the bombastic hops. Hot damn this is a good beer! I love single hopped beers because now I will definitely know when I taste crystal hops. Chalk another one up for Rogue.

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Photo of trumick
4.92/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a light amber color with a big head and lots of lacing all around.

Scent is incredible citrus hop and more hops.

Taste is superb lightly sweet malt with nice bittering hops that finishes with a dry grapefruit hop taste that holds on forever.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp with perfect carbination.

Drinkability will suit all hop heads. I could puth these away all day, but this beer is very expensive. Due to the expense, I can only drink these sparingly once in a while.

I have yet to be disapointed with a Rogue product. This is one of the best beers I have ever had.

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Photo of rdrummer
4.57/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I admit to being a hop nut so it is no surprise that I found this beer to be awesome. I may like this better than any other Rogue that I've tried. I appreciate the attempt at a single-hopped bitter.

It poured a hazy light amber with medium head that lasted longer than seemed possible. The lacing was thin but extensive. Altogether, a good start to an experience. I could talk about all the hints of aromas that I smelled but this is all about the hops. There is a heavy hint of citrus but it is overwhelmed quickly by hops.

The taste is hoppy beyond belief but there is a sweet malt that somehow balances this a little. It is well-rounded enough that I'm not sure that brutal is the right definition although bitter certainly is.

I love the feel of a hoppy beer in the mouth. It was cleansing and acerbic but also refreshing. This was good from first sip until last. I will be returning to the Brutal Bitter

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Photo of rugbycritic
4.8/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is awesome stuff. Great hops, great malt, great alcoholic warming. This is legendary. It's the one we go to after a few, then stay for the evening.

Wonderful warm amber reddish darkness, sparkling white head with massive nose, a bit craggy if you will, with lace. The first taste on a clean palate is stunning. First is hops, then warmth, then hops, then a bit of sweet, then hops, then just nirvanna

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Photo of xgrigorix
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Twentytwo ounce brown silk screened bottle. No dates.

Deep burnished orange colour. Hazy, with fast moving carbonation. Topped by an impressive off white head. Foam is dense & retains very well, leaving plenty of sticky lace on the glass.

Some biscuity malt aromas lie beneath pithy citrus aromatics.

Plenty hoppy - loads of citrusy flavours. Malt is muted, and overall the flavour is just "plain jane." Medium bodied, rugged carbonation.

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

22oz. bomber poured into a nonick pint glass. It pours a hazy medium orange color with two fingers of head. There is a good amount of lacing. The smell has lots of hops, both citrus and piney hops. A little bit of biscuit malt in there as well. A fairly nice smell. The taste starts with some bready malt, lightly toasted and sweet. The finish is all hops, very floral. The mouthfeel is nice and thick for the style. The drinkability is really good for a 6.5% bitter. Another damn good beer by the people at Rogue.

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

Poures a hazy orange with a thick white head. Smell and taste is awesome, tastes like a great ESB only kicked up a notch! Incredible citrusy and earthy hop aroma. This is very well balanced with flavorful malt and pronounced english hops, a delicious beer for hopheads.

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Photo of carln26
3.92/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was fortunate to try this beer the 1st time on tap at RedBones, and I wasn’t disappointed. It pours a deep copper with a nice 1 inch head, and lace on the rim that stayed for each sip. The aroma was mildly floral with a nice citrus backing from the hops, and just a hint of the malt. The taste was of the citrus from the hops with just a hint of caramel. A mild bite in the middle of the taste with the malt on the finish. This would be a great session beer. It had a medium mouth feel and a very high drinkability. Pour me another.

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

Pours a cloudy dark orange-amber, topped with a three finger pillowy off-white head. Leaves sheets of lacing.
Very fragrant floral aroma, spicy, light toast and toffee.
Floral and citrus taste, good grapefruit taste and bitterness. Good malt base in the back of all the hops. Light caramel undertone.
Medium bodied, great session drink anytime beer.

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

Cask Draught: A nice find at Eli Cannons. Served at proper cellar temperature. It pours a slightly amber, dark golden color. Mine ended up with quite a bit of head on it, which did linger awhile. It was dense with very small bubbles. The aroma is rich and malty, with hints of pine and grapefruit hops. Well balanced malt body with a bit of a hop bite. Very good example of this style.

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Photo of Godspeed
4.8/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Until this past weekend I had trouble locating this particular Rogue beer. The local package stores I frequent never had it in stock, despite carrying most of the other selections from this fine brewery.

Needless to say I was surprised to see a whole shelf dedicated to this marvelous concoction at Trader Joe's in Cambridge: a grocery store with a small but impressive selection of micros. They had Brutal Bitter in stock, and plenty of them. All in 22 ounce bomber form.

I tipped the bottle, and out flowed a hazy orange liquid. The bubbly head materialized soon after and then diminished slowly, leaving a thin oily lacing. I swirled the newly poured beverage and sniffed. Orange rinds and grapefruits wafted through my nose. I found the tart, hoppy aroma to be quite enticing. I took a sip and was surprised at the smooth, fresh character of this beer. Not at all what I expected from an ESB. Creamy malt sweetness with a citrusy, crisp hop flavor. Overall very well balanced considering the powerful hop presence. Very, very drinkable. Yes, I could see myself downing several of these in rapid succession.

In retrospect I guess I had modest expectations. To be frank, "Brutal" and "Bitter" are adjectives I normally wouldn't associate with such an appetizing beverage. Well I couldn't have been more wrong. This is a session beer like none other. I dare say it's my favorite Rogue brew.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.52/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Light orange with an off-white head that stays the night and leaves nice lacing to boot! The aroma is a wonderfully fresh blend of citrusy/piney hops and sweet, fruity malts. I also smell some lovely bread-like aromas and an interesting spicy aroma that I cannot fully describe. The taste is all that the aromas hint at. Fruity, hoppy, spicy, and lovely. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and very, very creamy and the drinkability is absolutely amazing. Finishing a bomber of this stuff is like finishing a liter of Fiji water after a 5 mile jog! A good rogue offering, but suprisingly light and refreshing for them. There is nothing brutal, about this "bitter"!

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

Gauzy peachy orange with what looks like dust motes swirling within the liquid. The light beige head persists for a bit as a thick, sponge-like disk atop the beer and leaves chunky scraps of lace on the glass.

The nose is impressively hoppy. If I didn't know better, I'd have said that Cascade, Centennial or a combination of the two make up the hop bill. So this is what Crystal hops smell like. They smell more like pink grapefruit than white and I think that I can pick out some pineapple esters as well. Malt, schmalt. This one is all about the hops.

Upon tasting... it appears as though I can add another hop to my growing list of favorites. I don't absolutely love Crystal as I do some others, but it is very, very good. Pithily bitter citrus fruit is front and center with pink grapefruit leading the way.

In terms of flavor contribution, malt is in the background. I'm only aware of its presence because the bittering is so well-supported and because there's a hint of underlying pale malty sweetness. The body is full enough to be pleasurable in the mouth while being light enough to allow the beer to be downed scarily quickly. I'm finding out firsthand that a bomber of 6.5% ESB is fully capable of mounting a sneak attack if gulped.

Brutal Bitter is yet another first-rate beer from Rogue. I'm glad to have made the acquaintance of another fine hop of the citric persuasion and I'm even more glad that this beer is available in my local grocery. Brutal Bitter isn't brutally bitter, but it is significantly hoppy and it is mighty good.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.38/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Innsbrook Alehouse during the 7/24 gathering.

Arrived in an imperial pint glass with a wonderfully thick and creamy 2" white head over top a cloudy orange body. Distinct rings of lace all the way down the glass. Very nice. Aromas are hoppy, to say the least. Grapefruit juice mixed in with some floral notes dominate the old schnoz. Flavor is delightfully enhanced by sticking it on the beer engine. A smooth, yet deceptively bitter flavor that was the perfect way to start my day of quaffing. Only token sweetness attempts to control the eventual hop landslide that occupies your palate. Finishes with a resinous hop oil spill. Very, very smooth and pretty full-bodied. Massively drinkable. A great experience that was enhanced by the conditioning.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a deep amber color with a rocky white head about an inch high that never wants to recede. When it finally makes up its mind to go down it nicely laces the glass.

Smell: Huge aroma of hops. Citrusy bitter yummy hops. Also a slight bread like malt aroma is present.

Taste: Initially this beer shows off its strong hop characteristic. There's some fruitness and some lemon with a nice hop bite to it, followed by some caramel and breadlike malts. Also there is a nice spice to this beer which lingers on the tongue throughout the beer. Finishes with a beautiful juicy/oily hop finish that just sticks to your mouth.

Mouthfeel: This beer is nice and crisp and well rounded. The hops dominate, but the malts are right behind.

Drinkability: I could drink this beer all day. End of story.

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Photo of BadBadger
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

While not really brutal, this fine beer will leave you smacking your lips. If you enjoy a nice bitter beer then this is a very nice option. Pours a rich amber color. A foamy head is present, though not overwhelming. Smell is a mixture of citrus, malts and hops. Taste is definitely nice and bitter. A dry finish. Enjoy one!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Part of the Poitras/VA 2004 vacation.

Enjoyed on cask at Capital Ale House - Innsbrook, Glen Allen, VA

Imperial pint glass presentation. Dense tan 1/2" head over a dark copper brew, and laced admirably. Good hoppy aroma, with the flavor exhibiting an intense malt character for an IPA, which works well with the strong hops. Surprisingly well-balanced in my mind for a product named "Brutal Bitter". Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent.

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Photo of necoadam
3.9/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Eli Cannon's

Came in a pint glass. Orange/amber color with a huge amount of carbonation that never really settled. Looked pretty nice. Smell consisted of various items. Pine, malts, toasted aroma's, hops and some citrus as well. Taste was pretty hoppy. Finished on the piney/citrus side. That grapefruit really showed up well on the draft verison. I probably wouldn't want more than two of these, but having one of these once in a while wouldn't hurt.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.17/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cloudy orange with a light-honey colored head that stays bubbly til' the finish. Hops galore in the nose...calling all hopheads. One dimensional but mouthwatering aroma. Flavor is hops all the way through with a (very) brief rest stop for some mild caramel maltiness. Rindy hop notes abound with some grassy ones and even some sweet, herbal flavors smiling back at me from my glass. Mouthfeel is oily and smooth and quite refreshing. Drinkability is good but I imagine the sheer abundance of hops would take a toll with multiple bottles. Yum, yum, yum.

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

Appearance: Reddish copper, a bit of an orange hue. Very good retention.

Aroma: Sweet Malty balanced by grapefruity citrus. Very pleasant aromas, throughout the pint.

Taste: Sweet toasted caramel, bitterness strikes hard near the end of the sip. The bitterness from the hops lingers on your tongue. The finish feels very full. Mouthfeel is nice.

Notes: This beer is very solid. I haven't seen it in the bottle in NC lately, but it is a regular on tap at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh. And I'll usually default to it when I'm drinking there.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very few ESB's are as good as this. That's all you need to know. I think only Fuller's ESB is a better ESB. But this comes close.

The taste is pretty well-balanced between hops and malt. They aren't using Cascade but, according to the bottle, Crystal hops. The beer needs to warm a little to achieve it's balance. It poors with a nice head which goes down to a nice lace which stays. Very drinkable once it warms.

I highly recommend this.

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Photo of Ahhdball
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Red with a bold hop aroma and 1/8 inch head distributed nicely across the top. Caramel and strong hops burst on to my tongue with out missing a beat. A slight pine and lemon rhine flavor is hinted but not strong. Bitterness lasts quite a while, almost too long. Malt and caramel finish. Great flavor and a chewy mouthfeel made this a very good beer.

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Photo of rkhaze
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy golden/amber with a big creamy off white head. Left good lace.
Smells of perfumey hops with the accent on citrus and pine. There was a hint of malt and fruit.
Big grassy hop bitterness. Earthy, resinous and citrusy upfront. Malt and a bit of caramel and fruit show up in a futile attempt to give it some balance. The bitterness really lingers.
Medium bodied with good carbonation and a slightly oily mouthfeel.
Seemed one dimensional, it was bitter just for the sake of being bitter, damn everything else. Not much balance at all, but I guess that's why it's called Brutal Bitter. It certainly lives up to its name.

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

22oz Bomber with no freshness date. This one pours a dark orange color with a great frothy off-white head that has great retention. Pleasantly strong hop aroma comes from this one, citrus and floral with some malt lurking about. The aroma also is quite bitter and strong enough to smell even when the beer is on the table. Good hop flavoring stands out the most with some malt balancing it out. A light bitter finish that lingers about is quite pleasant. Medium body with plenty of carbonation. This a very smooth beer that would make a good session brew.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
4.01 out of 5 based on 2,144 ratings.
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