Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

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BA SCORE
90
outstanding
1,108 Reviews
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
1,108
Ratings:
2,134
Avg:
4.01
pDev:
14.71%
 
 
Wants:
94
Gots:
211
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 1,108 | Ratings: 2,134
Photo of Bighuge
4.75/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This hazy reddish-amber colored beer throws out a hefty and rocky head with good retention. Lovely hop boquet. Oily and flowery. I love this taste. This is the first time I've tried the Brutal Bitter and it has exceeded my expectations. There's such a great refined bitterness. A very nice spiciness to it. Some definite citrus undertones. Must have a nice malt load as this beer doesn't seem unbalanced. I am not a big fan of the Bitter style and sub-styles (unless I am having a nice bitter out of a cask at a brewpub). But I would have to say this is one of the best, if not THE best, bitters I've had from a bottle. I could throw back a lot of these.

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Photo of rjimlad
4.72/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a thick and persistent head. Opaque caramel colour with moderate carbonation. The initial esters were a potpourri of floral and fruity notes. I kept sniffing it to see how many things were hidden away in the aroma. Very rich.
Flavour is astonishingly rich and fruity. Grapefruit abounds but also a hint of toffee maybe or caramel that prevents too much puckering. This is a massively flavoured bitter. The label says it's Hedonistic and it is. It's almost too much flavour which makes the drinkability score lower but everything is balanced perfectly. Awesome.

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Photo of drpimento
4.72/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Watch out Brits, Rogue's giving you a run for your money with this beer! If they had this on a beer engine, it would be an example of divinity on earth. Poured with a creamy, yet frothy and foamy off-white head that lasts forever with loads of lace. Color is an amber hued copper. Aroma is very malty caramel with lots of hop in a mix of British and American hop fragrances. Enticing! Flavor is vedy, vedy British with perfectly complimentary American flavs - rich malt, toffee, caramel, hops, bittersweet. a slight bit toasty. Body is to die for: full yet not too heavy. Finish is just right so you want to have another sip. Session beer extraordinaire.

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Photo of Ralphus
4.71/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lets just preface this whole thing by saying that when this beer is good, it's amazing. However, it does vary quite a bit from bottle to bottle. I've had some that were downright delicious and others that bordered on peculiar. Temperature plays a big factor as well.. this beer seems to best about 5-10C below room temperature. This review assumes a great Brutal Bitter. If your experience differs - try a different bottle.

Off the pour, when it's good, this is one of the best looking beers around. It has a BIG creamy white head that stays around for a long time and leaves chunks of lacing all the way down the glass. Combine that with a very respectable amber body and you have a winner in the looks dept.

In the smell there's a mixture of piney hops and fruitiness. It's also very good and really just a sample of what's to come. For this beer really shines in the taste dept.. big fruit and caramel taste up front followed by respectable amount of piney hops towards the end. Excellent balance and mouthfeel allow this beer to go down in gulps.

As a result - drinkability is very high. Dangerously high even.

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Photo of Rijtjeshuis
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in nonic

Look (4.5/5) Pours a very hazy deep-gold to orange color. The head is really great! Pours a huge three or so fingers that rises a bit slowly with a cascade. It comes up big and off-white. Great stand and great lacing. Nice carbonation on the glass.

Smell (4.5/5) The nose if obviously hoppy. It had some bready malt in there. Hops pine and resin with some grapefruit; pretty standard north-west flavors. Some light fruitiness comes through, but the finish is very dry with a hint of gypsum.

Flavor (5/5) Really good. The malt (bread crust, lightly sweet) gives a great backbone. The hop flavor is pretty strong and complex. The same as on the nose. Bitterness is a little less than expected, which really puts the balance between the hop flavor and the light sweetness of the malt which work well.

Feel (4.5/5) Medium-light body with medium-high carbonation make for a fluffy feel and dry out the finish a lot, which is really nice because there is a bit less bitterness.

Drink (4.5/5) a really great brew that finds some middle ground between an APA and an IIPA. Highly drinkable!

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Photo of Deconstructionis
4.7/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorites beers.


It's a cloudy bright amber, almost orange in the light. with a thick finely beaded head that not only persists but will cling to the edge of the glass above the "water-line." This is a bottle conditioned ale so there is some sediment

The aroma is rich with prominent hops and a toasted malt/ fresh yeast bread character.. The taste is boldly bitter and the hops are upfront (of course), but it's not overly dry as the rich malt balances well. It's medium body with somewhat more carbonation than the ales of this type you'll get on tap in Britain. Very drinkable. ESBs are not everyone's favorite but for fans of this style-- this is a world-class offering.

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Photo of mikesnotesonbeer
4.68/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Cloudy, orange-gold.
S: Hoppy and citrusy. Light pine.
T: Citrusy upfront, with a nice hoppy finish.
M: Refreshingly crisp, though a little dry.
O: It’s hoppy, but not enough to be off-putting. This is an IPA that both a novice and a connoisseur can appreciate.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a coppery amber color with a large creamy white head. Aroma is hops, hops and more hops! Citrusy hops dominate the taste as well. Under all the hops, you can pick up some sweet malt. Mouthfeel is smooth and slightly chewy. Overall, this is an absolutely delicious brew for hopheads like I.

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Photo of Elemental
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woo hoo - this lives up to its name brutally bitter. Who'd a thought that there is only one type of hops used in this beer (crystal). The taste is light but with a large amount of bitterness. The taste is great all the way through from the beginning to the end. It has a wonderful aroma with a hint of coffee and citrus. Lots of head to bring out the hopiness with a light amber gold color.
Excellent beer.

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Photo of hossua34
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky, hazy caramel color. Looks like cider. A medium-large head that fades pretty fast but leaves a lasting layer of bubbles. Could have a little more lacing, but overall very good.

S - Bitersweet fruity smell; I detect what smells like passion fruit and pineapple. Caramelly, citrusy, malty-hoppy goodness. Amazingly well balanced. I don't see how it could smell any better.

T - Very fruity and hoppy. Hints of passion fruit and grapefruit. The tartness is nicely tempered by a burned sugar, malty-sweet finish. A little on the hoppy side but not unbalanced.

M - Fantastic mouthfeel. Thick but not too thick, smooth, and evenly carbonated.

D - A tiny bit of a sour aftertaste, but it's not a huge concern. Hearty and filling, but it's totally possible to not sip this brew; one of the best from a fantastic brewery.

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Photo of loren01
4.67/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Pours an orangish color, good frothy white head, good lace all the way down the glass
S: Smell is very pleasant. Smells of citrusy hops, slight bit of yeast smell as well
T: Taste is sligtly malty up front with a nice crisp citrusy hop taste toward the end. I expected a more bitter beer with the name and all but its actually pretty well balanced out which is fine.
M: Medium bodied beer with medium to high amount of carbonation
D: I love this beer!! One of my all time favorite beers from Rogue I would have to say.

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Photo of Troyone
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured with a three inch head that dissipated to half an inch with a good proportion of lacing, has lots of carb action, and a wheat apple juice hazy type of color.
Light cookie toasted caramel malt smell with a resin orange hoppy aroma.
A light sweet and moderate bitter taste; toasted caramel malt and pine orange background with hints of butterscotch, honey, and light cola.
Has a medium body, dry and slightly watery texture, soft and lively carbonation, and although this has a slight metallic feel the finish is chalky smooth.
Maybe the best ESB that I've had in a bottle, definitely a session beer.

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Photo of bultrey
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh yeah. This is the shiznit right here. On cask at Fathead's in Pittsburgh, this was a real treat that I won't soon forget. A nice hazy gold color, with a decent head and nice, full carbonation for a cask. The smell was fresh and hoppy, of the grassy, herbal variety. This thing tasted so damn good, fresh, clean and crisp... some real herbaceous hop notes. This had many of the same flavors as the hop wallop I recently tried for the first time, except this was much more balanced and smooth. The hops bitterness lingered on well after each sip, but faded enough to invite sip after sip, making this an extremely drinkable beer. I really loved this and would jump at the chance to have it on cask again.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This poured a hazy amber with a huge, dense, foamy head that left copious lacing on the glass.

The aroma was of very strong rich citrus and powerful hops. Well done!

The taste was like a HUGE explosion of hops in my mouth, along with a flavor blend of citrusy flavors and a strong pine overtone. Excellent!

The mouthfeel was perfect for the flavor, and I would definitely drink more than one of these in a sitting, regardless of the larger bottle size. A GREAT beer from Rogue, and I recommend it highly.

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Photo of JahNoth
4.65/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The name brutal need not be there because this beer is everything but. English malts meet northwest hops in a most delectable way. After the almost tea-like aroma, there is a lovely hint of grapefruit. As the beer warms the malt characteristics come alive making this a complex but extremely palatable ale.

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Photo of davidchollar
4.64/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

mmmm...
this is good shit.

looks really good , perfect golden orange
smells great. fresh and sour like breakfast with grapefruits.
tastes wonderful ... i wouldn't say it is brutally bitter but it definitely packs a punch. remarkably tasty, perhaps a little intense, so i give it a 4 for drinkability.

the best ESB i've tried.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Bright, near glowing reddish orange colored beer with a slight haze to it. Big fluffy off white head that thins to lacy islands after a long while. Very nice and sticky lacing on the sides of the glass as it is consumed.

Smell: Sweet malty nose with a big fruity scent to back it up. Pineapple and a bit of citrus.

Taste: Sweet, fruity, and malty up front followed quickly by a quick burst of hop bitterness. The bitterness gives way to a citrusy hop flavor and more sweet maltiness. More fruit flavors show up as the beer warms. Apple and some pear along with some faint candy sweetness and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and thicker on the palate than it looks. Smooth and syrupy as it coats the palate with a thick layer of goodness.

Drinkability: This beer has everything I want in an ESB. It's crisp and malty all the while being sweet and fruity (and a nice 6.5%). All around an excellent beer with a great flavor and a great feel. Yummy.

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Photo of vrushing88
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Copper, thin off-white head.

S - Heavy on Carmel malts.

T- Floral, extremely hoppy, and citrisy

F - Light, refreshing, easy drinking

O - Overall a great IPA. Comparable to Stone Ruination, but with a more citrusy character. Very easy drinking, and clearly higher in ABV, but well hidden.

Great Brew.

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Photo of steeler
4.63/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I finally grabbed one of these from my local LCBO. Pours out a hazy orangey coppery color, with a nice thick whispy 1.5 inch head, that laces all the way down the glass. Really Nice. This smells great, you can really smelly the citrusy hops, and smells extremely fresh, this truly is a very nice smelling beer. The taste is just what I'm looking for, nice and hoppy, finishes dry and clean, with a lingering hop bitterness, this is great. Mouthfeel is nice and light, and goes down exceptionally smooth. Drinkability is perfect on this, this is something you could easily drink on a nice hot day, but be careful after a few of these big bottles, it will creep up on you. This is an exceptional beer.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This is a deep, rich, thick orange in color with a modest head. The head was OK, but the body is just gorgeous. It looks like that Lite-Bright orange, a solid, cloudy orange with a light in the background barely shining through.

Smell – Ah, I love the scent that the Crystal hops give up. It is very sharp and distinctive and a bit rank, like some aged Indo. The lightly-toasted malt backbone is not to be ignored.

Taste – This is so good it’s hard to put down. The hops are tremendous at the taste and very tell done. They provide a perfect balance to the toasty malts. It almost tastes dry-hopped though because the Crystal hops are so dominant in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied ESB has great carbonation and really isn’t “brutally dry” as the name would suggest. It’s much more easy in the cheeks than the bottled version.

The key here is the smoothness, which also enhances Drinkability. It goes down in long, beautiful swallows. It’s almost therapeutic to the tongue and cheeks. I haven’t found a beer that I enjoy holding in my mouth more than tapped Brutal Bitter.

Drinkability – It’s hard to find fault in this ESB. It goes down like silk and is one of the smoothest tapped beers that I’ve ever had.

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Photo of mydeadguy
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 22oz bomber. Pours a hazy tawny amber with an inch or so of fluffy head that drops fairly quickly, leaving plenty of lace. Aroma is of hop oils, slightly astringent (pine?), bitter, herbal notes .

This beer does not shy away from the hop bitterness and lives up to it's name. Also the malty sweetness in the mix balances well, a hop monster, maybe, but house trained. The finish is a lingering hop bitterness that is just sublime. Mouthfeel is full and round, rich, oily (again the hops). Drinkability, don't get me started, if this wasn't my second review, and I could stand the Red Sox traffic, I would be on my way to the store to pick up as many as they have...

Overall, this beer blows me away, just perfect.... Rogue does it again. If your the type who loves bitter hops, and you haven't tried this, do yourself a favor.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.62/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle(room temp) with a quickly diminishing head.
The beer is a cloudy medium gold.

The smell is a wonderful mix of hops and malt...you can just about taste the beer from the aroma alone and you *know* it's gonna be good.

The taste is a wonderful balance of the sweetness and bitterness with the hops taking over in the aftertaste and leaving me wanting more.. That's how drinkable this brew is. A *must* try if you see it in your local store.

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

Pours deep honey with an off the charts beaded san colored head. good lacing and head retention

Smell: earthy hop notes &honey malt notes

Taste: Piney & citrussy hops (grapefruit) with a sweet malt up front. Great hop finish, perhaps a little too much for the style, but it works for me

MF: Rich & ballanced, good carbonation

Very drinkable, think this is more like a DIPA, would love to ty this side by side with SNCA, yummy

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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 dbell23
4.6/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Libation Station for having this on draft. It's now called Brutal IPA. Poured from a growler into a tulip glass. Hazy amber orange in color, with a two finger head with good retention and great lacing.

Smell is sweet hoppy with malt undertones. Not hoppy like an ipa but more sweet hoppy with malt. Doesn't smell like an ipa.

Taste is really good. Slightly hoppy to start with sweet citrus hoppy in the middle and a really nice hoppy finish. Not hoppy like an ipa just really smooth hop flavor. This is an incredibly balanced beer. Almost perfect hop malt balance.

Mouthfeel is almost perfect as well. Really smooth with an almost oily mouthfeel.

Overall this is one of my favorite Rogue beers. Brutal? No. Ipa? No. Really good beer? Oh yeah. It's definitely an esb. If you go by the name and are expecting a smack in the mouth ipa you will be disappointed. If you like a great esb you'll really like this beer. Far be it from me to give advice to Rogue's marketing department, but if they called this what it is-an esb, they'd sell more beer.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,108 ratings.
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