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 HoppyBastard
4.81/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber to a shaker pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Cloudy, hazy and has a slightly orange color with about an inch-plus creamy head and a fair amount of lacing.

SMELL: Assertive combination of bread and citrus, floral hops.

TASTE: Citrus and biscuit malt flavor, then you get the hops. This brew has less pronounced hop profile than most IPA's and is very well balanced. It has a delicious aftertaste that really stays with you, in a good way. As the beer warmed it tasted even better.

PALATE: Medium bodied and chewy bread.

OVERALL: This beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy! I think this is the finest IPA ever because it has found the perfect balance between malt and hops. I have some constructive criticism for Rogue Ales; I would appreciate a six pack of 12 ounce bottles option as opposed to the 22 ounce bomber. In addition, this beer is too expensive compared to other similar beers available. You made a great beer but are your own worst enemy. Apparently, "Dare, Risk and Dream" only applies to the Brew Master, not the Sales/Marketing Department.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.03/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this at the LCBO in Waterloo.

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: Pours a 1½ finger, medium looking, fluffy, off-white head with good retention. Clear gamboge orange in color with slightly higher levels of carbonation for the style. Head fades to a thin wisp and sticks to the sides of the glass. Goof, full wisp remains and leaves nice lacing down the glass. Good looking, but a touch too much carbonation for the style perhaps.

SMELL: Pale malts, home honeydew melon, light bread notes, citrus and floral hops on the nose. Bold enough.

TASTE: Caramel notes, pale malts, some light bread notes and some floral bitterness at the swallow. Bolder and lingering finish is bitter with floral flavors, notes of bread and some caramel sweetness. Okay, but not that much hop flavor really.

PALATE: Medium body and carbonation. A touch thinner perhaps, and quite light on the palate. Creamy enough, goes down smooth and finishes very dry. Not much residual sweetness at all, which may or may not be your thing.

OVERALL: This is alright, but not really my style of IPA. I'd appreciate a bit more hop flavor, as this one is more bitter for the sake of being bitter, and it's too dry for my palate. I usually appreciate a slightly higher FG and a bit more body. That said, it's a good drink and worth a shot, especially if you like drier beers.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours out smoothly, layering out a inch-plus of head, proper. The liquid is very hazy and the color is a burnt red-orange.

Amber grain malts with an earthy hop vibe of dank citrus and woody pine. Zesty enough, but the hop nose is a tad muted. Gives way for some toasy malts to sneer.

Nice earthy hop profile with a light piney sting. Has floral notes and doses of pithy citrus, to boot. Rather mild, except for the bitterness, which has a nice edginess. Really simple in its packaging. Balanced by a toasty malt presence that hints at light roastiness. Pithier and pithier as you go along. Woody with that pineyness, but not sharp. Dank notes almost absent now. Good flavor.

Feels light and tingly on the tongue. Mouthfeel accepts a bright zip. Bitterness stakes its claim with a dryness.

A great IPA, if not merely because of how approachable it is. A clinic on earthy hops.

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Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is hazy orange-amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface and a collar of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of floral hops are present in the nose along with notes of caramel malts.
T: The taste generally follows the smell, except that that the malts are slightly more prominent and the hops contribute a light to amount of bitterness that lingers through the finish.
M: It feels nearly medium-bodied and somewhat crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer might not be as bitter as other IPAs, but seems to be quite bitter because it is a litter lighter in body compared to other beers in the style and the aromas and flavors also aren't as strong. This beer is extremely drinkable.

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Photo of smakawhat
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Dogfish Head Ale glass. Kind of odd this one has eluded me and slipped my mind, so perfect for IPA day!

A real nice glowing tangerine orange body color. Opaque. A light tan and very creamy three finger head is produced off the pour with some nice clumpy retention. Pretty nice looking brew and settles with a thick one finger collar, and soapy lacing while finishing.

Nose has a nice citrus angle, hints of orange and grapefruit, and herbal tea like bitterness for the hop angle. Some nice biscuity quality too which makes this seem like an English American mish mash of style.

Palate fills nicely. Good hop citrus grapefruit but mellow and in control. Slight tea like bitterness on the swallow, and a little juicy feel in the mouth to go with it. Kind of basic, but all the parts fit. Biscuity malts really are noticeable on this and quite chewy to go along with the hop compliment. Lots of tea like aromatics giving a nice orange pekoe like sensation.

Overall, it seems very old school since IPAs have taken off, but still does the job without question.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.44/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours a muted apricot color, a cloudy, hazy orange. White head, nice looking then settles down. Body looks thick.
Smells citrusy and of pine but with a dank musty note that punches through.
This is different to me. There's the citrus rind hovering above the malty bread, and that dank aspect is there, but nice and smooth, not intrusive. Well balanced indeed. I couldnt help but realize that, especially as this warmed, the taste in my mouth reminded me of the flavor aftermath of those funny cigarettes from college. Just saying.
Mouthfeel is medium-thick, as well as carbonation. Very nice.
Not the assault of hops that I expected (based on this brew's name), but the hops were certainly present, subdued by the sweet malt and bitter throughout until the end. Recommended.

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Photo of Oakenator
4/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a brownish amber color with a good head at pour and good retention. Some spotted lacing on the glass.

S: Grassy hops. Mild and more like a pale ale.

T: Some hop bitter flavor up front - again somewhat mild, grassy, herbs. Ample malting dominates the finish - sweet, brown sugar.

M: Creamy full head with a nice pop off the tongue.

O: Nicely balanced and really good brew.

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Photo of MeneerBeerSnob
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into a stein.

A-Cloudy orange amber with finger of foamy head that quickly fades

S-Hops, bicuit malt, citrus and some light floral notes

T-Delicious hops followed by caramel biscuit malt, there's some orange rind and bready yeast almost like an after taste of orange marmalade toast

M-Chewy and sticky with a lot of carbonation

O-Truly delicious simple American IPA. I will definitely be having again when in the mood for a basic refreshing IPA.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.04/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer and left some lacing on the glass. It is a hazy pale orange color with some clarity and bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Pale caramel and bready malts followed by light grapefruit and tangerine notes.

Taste: Nice citrus notes balanced with the pale and bready malts. A little tingly bitterness in the end. Very tasty brew.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, drinkable, medium bodied, low to medium bodied, and a little chewy.

Overall: Pretty awesome IPA. I can't believe I waited so long to grab a bottle. I guess it was worth the wait.

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Photo of patpbr
4.19/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter. An orange body with a fluffy head
S - Hoppy citrus aroma, grapefruit and a little malt
T - Floral with citrus orange and hints of grapefruit. Malt flavors add a nice character. A smooth easy drinker not brutal or to bitter as the name suggests. Rename: Slightly Sweet and Pleasant IPA.
M - Medium body but with a letdown on the finish.
O - A simple well balanced IPA. Enjoyed the flavor changes as it warmed.

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

Well, I would hardly call this beer "brutal" in any way, shape or form. The name is just flat out misleading axs I've had IPAs far rougher than this one. It is, however, one kickass beer - quite excellent.

Big head settles to a solid cap, lots of lace all the way. Hazy apricot orange in colour. Quite handsome. Great hoppy nose, more orange citrus than anything else, underlaid by malt. Los of orange to taste up front when it's cold, but that gives way to grapefruit as the beer starts to warm and the bitterness of it becomes more pronounced. Fairly soft to drink, nice lingering flavours and bitterness. Just comes across as an all round well-crafted beer.

Excellent job and thank you.

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Photo of WalterHeisenberg
4.9/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Aggressive pour into goblet
A: cloudy orange fat off white head. Dies slowly good lacing. Looks mighty tasty
S: Biscuity big lemon orange citrus malty floral hops.smells bitter. Smells as good as it looks
T:Biscuty malty hoppy Bitter orange rind Bitter malty orange dry finish. Malt orange bitter hops linger BUT all balanced very well. Hoppy over the toppy. It ain't called brutal bitter for nothing
M: a tad bit thin at first. Then smooth chewey sticky.
O: It is bitter all around but not brutally. But it's a balanced bitter. Very smooth. Overall a top notch IPA looks smell taste are all quality.You can definetly do way worse I can see this being a bitter pale ale.And this particular bottle was old. I found it in the back of my pantry. Been there 10-12 months. Still pretty nice.

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Photo of Raime
2.01/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A - Popped the top and was instantly met by an overflow. Pours a murky orange with a three finger slightly off-white head. Left good lacing.

S - Upon twenty attempted whiffs, i could not pick up a damn thing.

T -A small amount of grapefruit and pineapple quickly transition to nothing but water.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

O - What. The. FUCK. This beer is neither brutal nor bitter. Where's the flavor? it tasted like grapefruit flavored water. And even that didn't stick around for more than half a second. Yes i checked the date on the bottle and it's only a few weeks old. this was the blandest IPA ( If you can even call it that ) That I have ever had. I wasted nearly 8 bucks on this atrocity.

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Photo of Kremlock
4.07/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Thick white frothy head that is 1 inch thick. high lacing with big legs. Some of the foam sticks in chunks to the glass. Beer is unfiltered, hazy and orange in colour.

S: Orange, grapefruit and citrus aromas. Malty, bready backbone balances the hop aromas.

T: Citrus flavours well balanced with some bready malt.

M: med-high body, balanced flavours, dry finish.

O: This is a great ipa. Well balanced 50-50 hop to malt.

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Photo of JordanPhraczek
4.32/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Baxter Brewery Can-shaped glass out of a 22oz Bottle bought at Depot Liquors in Beverly, MA.

A - Clear dulled orange body with a quickly rising beige head. Bubbles in this burst apart like molten lava and eventually dissipate into a one finger head. Filtered.

S - Smooth citrus hop smell. No alcohol detected. I dipped my nose into the head because the smell was luring me in, I wish it was even stronger. Pine notes upon exhalation.

T - Crystal hops with a nice earthy malt taste, lighter but this beer delivers. The namesake of this beer would not lead you to believe it is 5.8% alcohol, but given all the IPAs that raise the alcohol % way up to achieve this kind of flavor, I'd say this beer flawlessly delivered a drinkable ale with great hop taste. As with lots of Rogue beers and some of the other Northern Cali/Oregon beers the cleanliness of the brew is noticeable.

M - The malt sticks to your tongue and forms an even film on your tongue that the hop taste builds off, so the mouthfeel in this beer is pretty outstanding. The head on the beer lasted until the end and formed a pillow of foam to drink once the beer was finished.

O - I thought because of the name that I was getting a DIPA, and I am pleasantly surprised that this beer was lighter than most northwest IPAs with this kind of flavor. A clean, crisp, earthy offering from Rogue that reminds you of great home brew.

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Photo of SebD
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice hazy golden/orange color to it. It has a nice bubbly off-white head that dies down moderately and leaves nice lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of floral and grassy hops, some light citrus and sweet bready malts.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has some floral notes, grassy hops, some pine resins, a touch of citrus and some sweet bready/toasty malts.

Mouthfeel: It has a low/medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

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Photo of CaptMaelstrom
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Cloudy and orange.

S - Hoppy.

T - The first time I tried this beer, I thought it was a perfect 5. Now, I'm not sure it's hoppy enough. Still nicely balanced and quite bitter.

M - Smooth and creamy, like a wheat beer more than an IPA.

O - Balanced. Doesn't really live up to the brutal namesake. But good.

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Photo of Digimaika2
4.28/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle has a production date of Jan. 10, 2013. Last one on the shelf. It was meant to be.

(4.25) A: Cloudy and copper with a very pleasing frothy/bubbly foam head. Commendable retention and evident lacing down the glass.

(4.25) S: Damp pine, rich buttered bread, oranges, honey, toffee, faint peppermint, and spices. Overall a smooth and gentle aroma that is as much malty as it is hoppy along with a bit of a sweeter emphasis. Not a very strong aroma but what’s there is very nice.

(4.25) T: Wet pine, juicy yet non-tart citrus fruits, floral qualities, rich bread-like backbone, assorted spices, and a tea-like taste. This is very smooth and very well balanced from what I can taste. The hearty malt presence gives the citrus fruits a juicy and modest taste that increases the drinkability as this is very palatable.

(4.5) M: Med-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Nice and oily with a bit of gritty texture. Well done.

(4.25) D: This is real interesting and a nice change of pace from intensely hoppy IPA’s (not that there’s anything wrong with those). The taste profile is quite diverse, flavourful, yet down to earth. I may have to scrounge the liquor stores for more of these.

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Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
3.54/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is ight copper with a smaller than average head that fades quickly. The scent of hop oils is citrus and pine, and while it is a pleasing smell, it seems a bit subdued compared to other IPAs. The taste is a bit subdued as well, as hop bitterness does not overpower a malt y sweetness. Not brutally bitter by any means. Mouthfeel is average. Overall, there is nothing particularly memorable about this beer.

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Photo of Liquoric3
3.62/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice orange golden colour with a two finger white head. Label on the bottle is simple but I like it. Smell is not as intense as in many other IPAs ( think it is an old bottle) I had but still very pleasant, I get light citrus and pine.
Taste is also citrus, but mostly pine and all tastes come in very mild. Pleasant hop bitterness on the palate not very intense but really enjoyable. Body is medium. I think it is a good IPA for beginners who are new to the style but nothing outstanding.

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Photo of tdm168
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - orange with a huge, towering, white head that has good retention

S - faint bread, some citrusy hop aromas

T - faint bready malt, citrusy, pineapple, grapefruit, mildly bitter finish

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is an easy drinking IPA, but there isn't much here. The flavor is good, but simple. Despite the "brutal" promise it just doesn't deliver. I get more citrus than bitter. Overall, not a bad beer and it may be worth a tick, but it's not one that I'll purchase again.

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Photo of fatmusic14
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bomber found at my local store. Poured into a GD pint glass.

One of the prettiest pours I've seen in a long time. Off white creamy head, about half an inch. Little lacing. Color looks like a dried apricot and fried chicken. SO golden brown, really really nice.

Smells kind of generic for an IPA, but not really in a bad way. Smells fresh, hops, earth, piney. Some citrus (maybe grapefruit, but nose is a little more tart). Not quite what I was expecting.

Tastes fantastic. Heavy citrus, hops, floral in nature. Not overpowering as the name might suggest, really smooth and well done.

Mouthfeel is better than expected. Highly drinkable (name is kind of misleading, but I'm ok with that). Great carbonation, bubbles dancing throughout the whole pint. Great tastes, during and after.

Overall I'd recommend this to anyone. A pleasant surprise

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.44/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured entire bomber into a 34oz mug. Cloudy light orange with a thick, foamy white head that sticks around everywhere. Smell is hops and flowers, but subdued by malty sweetness. I found this rebranded as Brutal IPA, and it is an IPA, so I was expecting a more hoppy taste. The hops are more of an equal presence in the flavor, instead of the overbearing leader. This beer seems to follow its name more than its style; it's more akin to an ESB than an IPA in my opinion. Still a great beer, fullbodied despite the average %abv. A solid offering from Rogue (would you expect anything else?)

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Photo of skifreaky
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've consumed a lot of IPAs and I have to say that this has been one of my favorites. It has a nice cloudy appearance with good head, a floral and fruity aroma, a good amount of hops with a nice strong bite, and a very satisfying beer to drink both going down and after. If you are an IPA fan, you will like this beer.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a pumpkin colored brew holding a two and a half finger head of creamy off white bubbles. This shows great retention, leaving sticky, honeycomb lacing down the glass. Carbonation appears moderate. There is a definite haze throughout, with flecks of yeasty sediment from the last quarter of the bottle. The nose gives clean pale malts, fusel booze, lightly browned red apples, marshmallow sugars, cloudy muskiness, bright lemon, and sticky pine for hops. There is a high sweetness in the form of tart citric candy and bittering hoppy rind, but in the sickly sweet kind of way. Warmth brings light plastics, a chalky grittiness, and more floral hop aromas. Our first impression is that the advertised bitterness delivers, with the feel giving surprising airiness. As we sip, pale and caramel malts, with soured chalkiness, meet with bittering floral and grapefruit hops. Booze comes to the peak, with a pale wash of gritty malts, mineral, bready yeast, and those same bittering hops. The finish takes an interesting turn, with the hops quickly becomes subdued by a mineral water wash, more pale malts, light phenolic plastics, and floral notes of hops without the bitterness. The aftertaste breathes of light lactics, plastics, yeasty muskiness, mineral, and faint spiciness of earthy, soapy, and citric hops. The body is lighter, and the carbonation is medium to high. The bubbles don’t prickle the palate as much as coat and pad it. There is good foam, cream, slurp, and pop on each sip, with the lip left with a brush of froth. The entire sip is airy and light. The abv is appropriate, and the beer drinks nicely.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was the drinkability due to the interesting design of the sip. The bitterness expected came all at the start of the sip, with a bit of flow through the center of the mouth. By the finish, however, most of the bitterness and overt hoppiness was washed through by waters and a sweeter malty mash. In this sense, you get all the bitterness of a “brutal IPA” but not the intense flooring pucker through the aftertaste and feel. This makes the beer very drinkable, and keeps you sipping easily throughout.

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