Brutal Bitter Ale | Rogue Ales

1,108 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: 1,108 | Ratings: 2,139
Photo of Goatshaver
4.15/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Nice orange/amber color. Nice two finger head that tapers off after a minute.

S. Citrus smells, I smell a little malt.

T. Nice subtle hops start, that is not really brutal but pleasant. Finish taste is citrus peel, grassy mixed with the hops bitterness.

M. A medium body, a nice warm feeling after.

D. Not the most "Brutal" ipa I've had but a decent brew that is enjoyable to drink.

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Photo of edonovan0
4.23/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Hazy dark orange, amber. Nice thick 1.5 finger head. Not much visible carbonation, mostly due to the deep hazy colour. Head holds nicely and leaves a nice lacing.

S - Subtle summer fruits. Peach, Apricot styles, which is different to the usual tart citrus esters, like the Grapefruit and Pineapple, that are common. Balanced well with the malts.

T - Really well balanced. Not in your face as the name suggests, but very nice. There is a hop bitterness there, but is quite smooth.

M - Quite full, but not too heavy. Carbonation is there. Smooth

O - Very nice. As some have stated, not a traditional IPA. I think of it more as a hoppy ESB. Would drink many of these.

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Photo of SWOhio-aquifer
4.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This beer fits my palate so well.

Why: Uh.. It is just good. Kind of like dead guy with a little less malt a touch more hop.

Balanced-yes. Bitter-no.

Used to be my go to. I remember drinking a ton of it one summer building kayaks and other wood working endeavors.

Just something about it. I recently picked up a six pack. It been years since I have had.

Still great. Should be up their with dead guy but the name throw people a lot. Kind of like the saying don't judge a book .; you know the rest.

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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 CreamAle128
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nothing to complain about! a little cloudy which means some yeast remains. NICE!

Smell: Smells of piney hops, some bready malt, and very fresh

Taste: Instant bitter taste, more bready malt, fresh oily hops, slightly citrusy, it kind of tastes like rogues imperial IPA, only weaker. I can't disect these highly hopped beers well, but I enjoy this very much.

Drinkability: Surprizingly light, but the bitterness and hop might prevent a person from drinking gallons of this stuff. enjoy!

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Photo of timholio
4.85/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of my new favorite top 5 beers. I like it as much as Fullers ESB which is the classic for this style according to others. This beer seems fresher than Fullers and seems to have more grapefruit flavors but Fullers a bit flatter and slighty 'soapier'(hops?).

I find this beer very drinikable - not too strong in ABV. I really like a bitter beer. So far I haven't found one thats 'too bitter', I'm not sure such a beer exists - if so bring it on. Good job on this one from Rogue.

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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 DrDocRudge
4.36/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

As an advertised ESB, this beer misses in terms of taste and smell. As a stand-alone uncategorized beer it is, as are almost all Rogue Ales, an outstanding beer with a good balance between bitterness and alcohol sweetness. A touch less bitterness would rank it among Rogue's two best, the Hazelnut Nektar and Shakesperaean Stout.

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

Last night was my second time sampling this fine brew, but this time it was on cask. It poured a cloudy caramel color, allowing a very minimal glow of light through the glass, but I still couldn't see all the way through. The head was thick and spongy like shaving cream, bobbing on top of the beer.

A very sticky sweet smell wafted over the sides of the glass. I was overwhelmed with a nose of strong grapefruit, mandarin orange, and notes of malt. It smelled like a cross between a candy and a malt liquor, like if I spilled some on a marble floor, my shoes would stick permanently.

The beer had a smooth, creamy, low carbonation cask feel with a squeaky, almost tannin like bitter finish. The first sip was very sweet and malty. The next flavor that kicked in was burned caramel, and finished with a brutally bitter hop taste that left a surprisingly clean finish. I had no problems finishing the whole pint, although I was reeling a little by the end. Packs a lot of flavor-- I like it!

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Photo of pieper
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a solid good beer.

A - copper hue, a little 'murky' looking (not a bad thing)
S - I have poor sense of smell so I give them all a 3
T - Not extremely bitter, small malt taste, hoppy bitter aftertaste
D - not a session beer, but could throw back a few

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Photo of h20mbh
4.42/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

standard ipa color (golden orange) with medium carbonation

smells of grapefruit hops, extremely nice smelling, wow

tastes like it smells, not "brutal" by any means, it is just right, extremly nice taste, grapefriut hops (or whatever techincal term it is) comes through so nice, SO NICE!

nice balanace, a little light in density, but not bad

best beeer I've tasted yet, not a beer snob by any means (yet :) ) but this beer is so good, highly recommend, HIGHLY!

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Photo of RJay
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured a hazy orange color with visible particles suspended. The Carbonation stirs these particles which eventually settle on the bottom of the glass.

Smell: Has a sweet/sour smell, citrus and some alcohol.

Taste: Well it is bitter, but not too bitter; it is actually balanced pretty well. I was expecting to be punched in the face with bitterness.

Mouth feel: Very smooth with lots of carbonation dancing on the tongue and cheeks. It is surprisingly not very gritty with all the particles.

Drinkability: Not bad, I could definitely drink a few of these in a night. However, a 6 pack may be death for a weak stomach and light drinker.

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

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a 22oz wine glass.

A- Very nice. I'm not sure what to call the colour. Deep gold? Basically, it's the same colour as urine after a night of whisky, with a couple drops of bile from that kidney punch you got when your sloppy drunk ass started that fight. That's a good thing. It's a rich colour. Slightly hazy. Nice foamy head forms and recedes at a normal pace leaving a nice lacing and forming a foamy cap. It's not blowing my mind, but it's definitely pretty.

S - I guess that's Crystal? Nice, I like it. Strong citrus aroma hits the nose right away. It's pretty dominant. I get whiffs of other things underneath but frankly, it's so subtle compared to the citrus it's adequate to just say there's some balance. It's a really nice, clear and crisp smell. I'd go so far as to call it "fresh" smelling. But not like laundry detergent "fresh". Not at all.

T - I guess that's Crystal again. The taste follows the smell. Bitter citrus fruit balanced against a little sweetness in the background and the mildest touch of warmth from the alcohol. I like that it's one supremely well expressed hop. The bitterness kicks in nicely at the end drying out the mouth.

M - Medium bodied (I think) and well carbonated. (To me that means there's enough carbonation to make it feel lively without being distracting).

D - This is my new "go to" beer for things like sporting events. It goes down easy.

Notes: I like this single hop idea. It's pretty artful. I'll admit I was skeptical of Rogue after the Nut Brown Nectar, but this was a seriously pleasant surprise. I've gone back and picked up a few more bottles to have on hand. I guess my free form conclusion to this beer is "It's a great session beer, that provides maximum flavour without being too assertive. It doesn't force me to pay attention to it. It just repeatedly makes my mouth happy while doing something else".

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Photo of Grayson
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy, medium-brown color with a finger of medium head.
S: Hoppy, lemony. Seems fruity.
T: Pretty hoppy and floral. Moderately bitter, moderately fruity. Pretty great blend of in-between. Tasting a couple fruit notes, but I could be off.
MF: Medium, thin. Very reasonable.

Overall: A quality IPA. One of the most well-balanced I've had.

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Photo of London1985
3.95/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Im a great fan of the IPA's that America is producing and im also a big fan of Rogue so was very excited to try this.

Poured into a Meantime Brewery branded pint bowl glass. Poured a very nice copper colour with complete cloudiness. Looks nice.

Smells like a very natural and organic IPA. Taste is very pleasent. The wave of flavours roll out across your taste buds very smoothly unlike other IPA's which blast your mouth to pieces with their flavours.

The only thing that let me down with this was the carbonation. I like my IPA's to be a little more carbonated, this was kind of flat.

Overall, a good brew and i would happily drink it again.

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Photo of brewnut11
4.2/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy orange color. A thin tight white dreamy head. Nice hop aroma , smells cutriusy, but not over powering aroma. A very strong bitter bite up front and in your face. This is not for the faint hearted, and the beer has a nice body to it. One of the better hoppy beers I have had and I could drink it all night. This beer is deffinately on the outer edge.

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

When poured into a glass, this beer is an opaque amber color that's just shy of orange. The head is white and holds well for the entire duration of the drink, with just the enough carbonation to give a mouthfeel that nice and thick while still being very smooth.

The strongest smells present are sweet citrus and raspberry, but there's also a richer layer of aroma reminiscent of honey and vanilla. The first taste is a sharp hop bitterness tinged with fruit. While the strength of the bitterness is comparable to that of an IPA, it's balanced out by the fruit tastes hinted at in the smell. This is definitely one of the most flavorful bitters that I've had.

Rogue Ales generally makes excellent product, but this beer in particular stands out as one of their finest. In terms of taste and body it's similar to their Dead Guy Ale, but with more of an emphasis on hops. The complexity of the flavor is tempered by the balance between the elements present, which makes for one great beer. This one has quickly become one of my favorites and I make sure to stock up on it when I get the chance.

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Photo of Hoves
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The brutal bitter pours like a wheat beer, thick and heady. The head sticks around for a good while and when it dissipates it releases a sweet hoppy smell.

As most rogue beers are, it is hopped perfectly for the hopheads among us. The taste of the brutal bitter is in the back of your mouth and the after taste lingers briefly and not too strongly.

The mouthfeel offers perfect carbonation with a slight hint of caramel and a little bit of a lingering yeast flavor.

All in all, this is another great creation by the men and women in Oregon.

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Photo of hopstorm
5/5  rDev +24.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Absolutely perfect. This is the equivalent to heavens ambrosia. Pours a hazy golden color. Creamy head. Its almost like each sip is a chewy bite of goodness. The malt-hop balance is uncanny. Crystal hops dance on the palate and the malt combination is just fantastic, mostly marris otter I believe. It smells like its going to be hoppier than it is, and while it is hoppy, its just balanced so well. The pac man yeast is probably what pulls it all together. Unlike any traditional british bitter I've ever had. I could drink this all day every day. Rogue really out did themselves here. I really don't know why I buy anything else. A bit pricey at 12 for a 6er but well worth it IMO. Try this one, you won't be disappointed!

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Photo of ledzepp817
4.37/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rogue does it again!

After ever beer I try from this brewery, I am amazed how great they make their beers. I just bought this one because of the name. I am a huge fan of bitter ales , and the name of this one kinda of jumped out at me.

Well, this Ale did not disappoint, its actually a very good Ale. Very hoppy, a little citrus flavor, and bitter as hell. A solid dark amber color that when held up to a light revealed a rich, reddish hue that showed me the way.

A wonderful beer that is good for 2 or 3 for a session, any more, and you would not be able to taste anything for a week.

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Photo of crazyfraser
3.67/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is kind of a little cloudy/goldy/amber.

Smell is very nice, hoppy, citrus zest.

Taste is a little hoppy, not very bitter at all, very light.. Taste is on the small side, I like a little more, I guess that all i can say is that I was hoping for a little more in the flavor department. but don't get me wrong, what flavor is there is good, I just want more of a punch when it come to IPA's I guess that why I like Doubles.

Mouthfeel is nice, very smooth, easy to drink

Overall, decent, I would recommend for a newbe

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Photo of TJBOtt
4.34/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very good IPA. Citrussy,, not too heavy, but with a very nice flavor. Its my favorite IPA that is regularly available in the liquor stores locally (LCBO) here in Ontario.

I'm not sure about the brewer's description, as a blend between an ESP and an IPA though. Intriguing.

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Photo of alemakesmestrong
3.98/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this bad boy in a pitcher w/ my wife at Ankeny's in Portland, OR. I had no idea this was in the vain of an extra extra special bitter. I was impressed with the appearance and feel of this beer right away. With my first beer nerd whiff I wanted to drain the entire pitcher. About halfway through this pitcher, I realized that it was a hefty mother. The drinkability was not high, but if you were to have just a few pints, a great choice. Nice malt profile, man that brewmaster is the man. Nice choice of English hops, but done in Rogue form---up your ass! All together the kind of beer to serve your son on his 18th birthday.

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Photo of exlex
4.47/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Cloudy amber with little to no head retention

Aroma: Sweet caramel with light floral hops

Taste: Perfectly balanced sweet malt and hop bitterness, with a great lingering finish

A fantastic beer, good sesionability. The high IBU's create a refreshing bitterness while the sweetness of the malts give it the body it needs to keep you coming back for more. Highly recommend this one.

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Photo of darjoh
4.24/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle into pint glass.
An old local favorite to Newport Oregon, as well as mine. Anytime I find this in the store I grab at least one, and save for a semi-special occasion. Only found in the 1pt.6oz bottle in the stores, and known as Brutal Bitter in the brewpub. I appreciate this Ale more for the fact it is not widely available, even just 50 miles from Newport.

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
4.01 out of 5 based on 2,139 ratings.
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