Brute | Ithaca Beer Company

391 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Ithaca Beer Company
New York, United States

Style: American Wild Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with vintage (aged) local hops, barley, wheat, corn, aged in oak with Brett and finished with three types of champagne yeast.

Added by albern on 06-22-2008

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 391 | Ratings: 843
Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and capped, batch E!018

A - hazy, indeed "turbid" light gold. 2 finger, quickly dissipating head with absolutely 0 lace. Perpetual carbonation.

S - hmmm, how do you describe a "sour" smell? strong odors of green apple skins, lemon, and fermentation.

T - matches the fantastic smell. strong green apple, lemon, and orange with a strong acidic bite accompanying the dry finish.

M - very nice and light gracias a the champagne yeast and high carbonation.

D - this is definitely a great sour, and one I will come back to. Not something made to drink all night, but excellent with food.

 595 characters

Photo of DaggerEyes
4.68/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours beautifuly. Super fine champagne like carbonation a fizzy head that doesn't stick around too long. Hazy golden straw color with a thin white collar.

Funky vineous nose. Vinegar. Grapefruit, cideresque, a bit of lemon

crisp refreshing taste very much in line with what one would expect from the nose. Also some sour green apple and perhaps a bit of melon?

Medium thin mouthfeel. Fine bubbled carbonation. Dry finish.

Awesome beer.

 443 characters

Photo of Proteus93
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Courtesy of Bankhead.... this is an Ithaca beer in particular that I have wanted to check out for some time, and I'm glad to have finally had a chance to look into it.

A: Blonde, yet nothing but shadows appear through... it is so murky, the light works to make it through. Totally unfiltered, there is just no clarity here.

S: There's a tart fruitiness, but nothing that stands out in particular - mostly the peels of fairly fresh fruit - pear, apple, and even a little dash of peach. Wood aging doesn't appear to really add a whole lot of aroma

T: It's not often that I come across a sour that is quite so savoury. Mostly a sour apple, without being such a simplistic flavour. There is a soft taste of 'funk' in there, but not a whole lot of farmhouse flavours. Lemon, without being hugely citrus. It's a soft, complex beer. It is mouth watering and wonderful.

M + D: I am astounded by how well this beer has held up with age, how well it has been brewed, how pleasant it feels in general. There's s wonderfully pleasing dryness that takes a moment to make itself noticed - slightly delayed, yet appropriate. It's a highly accessible sour that I feel could be appealing to those who struggle with the style... even a potentially appropriate 'gateway,' yet it is brewed in such a way that the fans of 'more assertive' beers would be pleased. This is an excellent beer, one that I am pleased to have had the opportunity to have tried... I regret missing out on getting it earlier!

 1,487 characters

Photo of cosmicevan
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

surprised not to have a review for this one...must be in the backlog of notes? none-the-less opened E!037 and filled a russian river tulip.

a - brew poured a transparent yellow orange with visible champagne like carbonation. a massive bubbly head filled half the glass and slowly fizzled away leaving spotty but chunky lacing on the side of the glass. fairly frothy for all those bubbles.

s - wonderful tart. acidy citric peach and tropical fruit with a glaze of sour candy sweetness. you can almost smell the fizziness.

t - really well balanced and complex sour flavors. the perfect meld of fruitiness and sourness. the taste is really spot on. oaky. extremely refreshing. fruitiness is orange peel mixed with citrus with a hint of peaches and a tropical almost kiwi like splash to finish it off.

m - prickly carbonation. finishes a bit dry and bitter...just a BIT. easy drinker, light and thirst quenching...ideal for the current heat wave.

o - overall, i've always dug brute, but i forgot how great it is. this is truly one of the better sours out there. the balance is mind blowing. if you don't like over the top sours, but still enjoy sours, this is your beer. wonderful tropical fruit flavorings with a nice burst of sour. non offensive...really well crafted sour.

 1,276 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared at my tasting on May 29, 2010.

Brute appears a light, golden hue with a tiny head that leaves no lacing, which isn't terribly surprising for a wild ale. Aromas of wild yeast, particularly brettanomyces, straw, and hay are wonderful and inviting. This is going to be a tasty beverage, I can tell. The taste is absolutely wonderful, and even exceeded my expectations based on the aroma. This beer is smooth and easy to drink. The feel is slightly thin, but not necessarily in a negative way. This is a really fantastic beer. Highly recommended.

 550 characters

Photo of Tilley4
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to a semi-local BA for hooking me up with this unbelievable brew... Never thought I'd get to try this one...

A clear golden pour topped my an active white foamy head releases some of the most magnificent aromas I've ever smelled in a beer... An old wooden musty basket full of sour green apples... A decaying barn loaded with still damp hay... A crisp semi-dry white wine that's just been freshly bottled...I don't get the same thing twice... Old weathered leather along with roughly hewn oak... Tart and funky as hell... Loads of aromas...

Bracingly tart green apples and white wine comes to mind first but that's quickly overtaken by a leathery dry oakiness that finishes abruptly leaving me wanting the next sip... This isn't overly tart as some others of the style but rather rides alongside the other flavor aspects... World class palate... Lush and full and luxurious in the mouth...

World class brew all the way... I was saddened to see this one come to an end... Enjoyed every sip of it and wanted more...

 1,028 characters

Photo of mrand01
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL bottle labeled batch E!027 poured in to a generic Crate & Barrel tulip.

A: Golden, opaque. Thin head that stays thicker towards the rim of the pour. Sticky lacing.

S: Funk, citrus zest, tart. Spicy in some way, but very hard to place.

T: Again, I've never had such a hard time describing a beer. Everyone I was drinking with agreed that it's most likely the addition of corn that contributes to the sweet & savory taste, but it's very difficult to describe.

M: Medium bodied with a playful champagne-like carbonation.

O: Knockout brew from Ithaca. Really wish this was getting distributed again instead of becoming a brewery exclusive.

 646 characters

Photo of KeefD
4.66/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Once again, another huge thanks go out to Knifestyles for this lovely treat!

Batch E!018

Pours a lovely golden color with light orange in the middle, hazy pineapple if you will, with an enormous white head that left some generous lacing all down the Tripel Karmeliet tulip. Looks perfect.

Aroma is a nice blend of funk, light leather, citrus, oak, and white wine acidity. I used to think I liked the nose of wild reds more than whites, but this opinion may be changing after the last two wilds I've tried.

Wonderful citric, tart flavor. Plenty of lemon, maybe some orange, and pineapple, oak, light bitterness, and very light sourness. I'm even picking up a little bit of peach and mango in there. Wow, this is tasty! There is some sweetness up front, but it quickly dries out on the finish. Beautiful balance in this beer between the lightly sweet malts, the wood, and the funky/tart brett flavors. It's definitely more tart than it is funky, but it's awfully delicious.

It's sour/tart but not puckeringly so. Plenty of carbonation, but it's very smooth. I mean, I can see a zillion tiny carb bubbles in the glass, but I can barely feel them on the tongue. This is exactly what I want in a wild as far as mouthfeel goes.

All around, this is a great beer. I only wish I could trade for more of these sours because I would love to see how they do with age.

Thanks once again, Chris, for providing me with another fantastic East Coast goodie!

 1,452 characters

Photo of Luk13
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage thanks to Bearsonacid. Sunshine pour with decent white head. Aroma is bretty and barnyard with a so nice candied lemon. Nice yeast. The blend of brett, lemon and champagne yeast flavors are great. The palate is out of this world. Rich yet light at the same time. It really succeed at being a complex tasting brew while being perfectly sessionnable.

 361 characters

Photo of Shaggy9356
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch# E!010
Nice glowing cloudy orange color with 1 cm ring of foam clinging around the edge of my Portsmouth tulip. Smell is brett funkiness and citrus... yum! Crisp with sourness upfront, followed by some lemon lime citrus, a gorgeous clean, dry finish. The carbonation level is maybe a little high, but works for the champagne characteristics. This beer can be enjoyed right away, now sure aging would help this one but would like to try it a year later anyway. Overall an absolute beauty from Ithaca. The best they've put out to date in my opinion and one that can hold its own against any wild sour.

 605 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy golden with a relatively thin but tightly beaded head that sticks around. A nice golden glow to this beer. Smells acetic to start, then spicy oak, and then a more mellow creaminess on the finish. Very nice flavors here. Lots of big acetic notes. a slight touch of funk, big spicy oak, and some nice horseblanket notes. Outstanding. Prickly and very sour in the mouth, this beer is extremely refreshing. I really enjoyed on a late summer day in Atlanta.

 465 characters

Photo of myatomicpolygon
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This bottle was opened on my birthday. Batch # E027.

Appearance- I gave it a violent pour into my Duvel tulip and am rewarded with a billowing huge white head that settles down to about a finger after several minutes. It has a beautiful hazy orange color and I can hear the bubbles as they rise to the surface. After about 20 minutes the head completely disappears.

Smell- fantastic aroma. the barnyard funkiness associated with the brett mingles well with a citrus orange peel fruitiness and the wood from the oak. I could sit and smell this one all day.

Taste- sour apple, tart, citrus...with a long dry finish that leaves you puckering and longing for more. well balanced....the tart is very inviting and seeks to enliven the taste buds rather than destroy.

Mouthfeel- medium to full bodied with slight oily slick characteristics and champagne like dryness and effervescence.

Drinkability- smooth and dry...very easy to drink...and after every sip I'm already going in for another. Though a little pricey at 20 dollars a bottle...this one is definitely worth the extra money.

 1,083 characters

Photo of DmanGTR
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Chad and someone else for sharing this. An 08 and 09 comparison, of which I took nearly identical notes, so I'll just summarize.

Slightly cloudy, radiantly golden with a lovely white head in my Duvel tulip. Nice patches of lace.

A little bit of a white wine aroma, pleasing and a hint of Brettanomyces funkiness, but not over the top. The tartness cuts through the light aromas of peach, pear, green apple, and yeast.

Wonderfully tart and puckering. Muscat grapes, sour apples, touch of cranberry and pears. Yeasty, which I like. A very soft oak character. Not sure if it has been oak aged but it certainly has that quality. This is delicious and nearly unsurpassed thus far in my adventure in sour ales.

Creamy and light body, carbonation dances on the tongue. Wish it had a touch more body. Quite dry too.

Damn, this is a good beer. I just think it's a bit weird that it's brewed like 90 miles away from me and I can't get it here in NY.

 954 characters

Photo of Estocker
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a nice golden color

Smell is a big relief. In fact, I am actually starting to salivate. Nice aromas of funk and apple, grape skins, slightly yeasty. I want to say I smell some apricots as well.

WOW! This is perfectly sour. This immediately reminds me of Temptation, but I believe it is even more sour. The taste of green apple, green grape skins, and some citrusy fruits are dominant and a slight barnyard funk lingers. This is delicious.

The mouthfeel is perfect. It's well-carbonated and incredibly sour. I opened this at Xmas with my family and I only poured them 1-2oz pours so that I could finish the rest of the bottle by myself.

 644 characters

Photo of fastsrt
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 poured in a wine glass.

A: bright yellow, hazy, huge fluffy head that laces the glass as it mellows.

S: fuit, apples, grapes, oak

T: apples, lemon, oak, balanced to the point that I will keep going back for more

M: smooth, champaign like.

D: this bottle went down in minutes it was a truly amazing beer I have not been a big fan of sours, only been able to handle about 1 glass or so, untill this one.

 410 characters

Photo of craytonic
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: cloudy pale straw yellow-gold; huge champagne bubble head, nice lacing

Smell: Sour, with a bit of vinegar and lots of delicious brett and some chardonnay grape, peach, pear, apricot, pineapple, lemon, melon, tropical fruits, soft oak, fiji apple and honeydew aromas.

Taste: Deliciously sour with a touch of funk; not as much funk as others but I appreciate the soft nature of it in this one, goes well with the subtle wood and light carbonation. Perhaps not as complex as it could be is the only complaint.

Mouthfeel: Perfect creamy champagne carbonation and incredibly tart and bone dry. (5.0)

Drinkability: Light and delicious, I couldn't believe the bottle was empty (5.0)

 691 characters

Photo of Dobby
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my Dixie Red Cup. Here's to being classy!

A: Hazy straw yellow with about a one finger head.

S: Lots of lemon/citrus notes, a little funk, some grass

T: Love this sour. Lots of lemon/citrus coming out, a good tart flavor overall.

M: Well carbonated. Sour but not too sour so it doesnt wreck the palate.

D: One of my favorite sours overall. I brought this on a trip with me so my non-BA friends could get a taste (hence the classy red cups). Everybody loved it, just wish I could get this locally!

 526 characters

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.64/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from sour tasting notes

A. Pours a hazy pale yellow with one finger white head that clings to the glass.

S. Tart with light fruit champagne like flavors, very floral-like

T. Similar to the aroma with some additional oak character

M. Medium body with high level of carbonation; this drinks like champagne

D. Very good; I'll certainly pick this up again.

 366 characters

Photo of jrallen34
4.64/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I drank this from a bottle into a tasting glass at EBF.

The beer pours a light murky gold with good retention and lacing on a white head...Aroma is light but its really nice. Funky start to finish, but its so nice and eniticing turns, me on to try...The taste again is nothing spectacular but its awesome funk start to finish...The feel is nice and this is a really drinkable sour...This was one of my highlights at EBF. I couldn't wait to try it and when I did, I had to go back for seconds. A really really really good wild ale.

 531 characters

Photo of BeerTruth
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a few of these the day of the release on August 1st at the brewery. They had a sixtel for samples that day, but after that keg kicked that was it. The sample I had made me even more anxious to open a bottle as soon as possible.

750 ml. corked bottle poured into the Excelsior! tulip glass for review, where it should be, not a 2 oz. sampling glass. Batch# 010!

Pours a cloudy golden hue with a white two finger head that falls to a thin layer of bubbles. Lacing is pretty minimal but there's some here and there. The aroma begins light and floral with a sweet honey scent as well. White grapes and a touch of oak tickle the nose with some brett and bread. Taste starts off much more funky than the smell gives off. Sour apples, pears, and lemon up front on the tongue. Honey wheat and yeast midway with a grassy flavor mixed in. The sour kick comes in the aftertaste with a zesty sting. Light body with soft and pillowy feel that's extremely refreshing. The carbonation is strong and very champagne like, but that's how it should be. I've had a few Wild Ales and they have suffered a bit in the drinkability department. Brute is the complete opposite, I finished the bottle much too quick. Luckily I have a few stashed in the cellar because I've been told through the grapevine this will be a pleasant surprise in 10 years, just in time for their 20th anniversary :) 250 cases were bottled for mostly brewery only purchase, get your hands on this one for sure. Chief and IBC continue to raise the bar, this beer is not to be missed. Love it, love it, love it.

 1,571 characters

Photo of washburnkid
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am ringing in a new era with this one. 750mL magnum to tulip. Four of them, to be exact.

A: Cloudy straw golden, very active and bubbly throughout the body. The head is white and foamy, filling up much of the tulip quickly. Decent retention for the style, in the way of a foamy cap. No lacing.
S: Pungent aromas of sour apple, citrus (mostly lemon). Tart and exciting! I don't get a lot of grainy malt here. The brett and oak give off such wonderful aromas. The nose somewhat reminds me of riesling, grapes and other awesome fruits.
T: Tart and tart, at first anyways. A more subtle apple than expected from the nose. LOTS of lemon emphasized, both the fruity insides and the bitterness from the zest. I get earthy tones as well, but clean and more grass-like than dirt. Faint wood and mustiness from the oak.
M: Medium body with medium carbonation. A nice mouthfeel to complement an incredible beer.
D: One of the most drinkable sours, while not compromising on puckery goodness. I drank this whole bottle myself over roughly 7 hours, but I'd crack this open for a special occasion with friends any day.

 1,107 characters

Photo of gregc
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Pours a cloudy yellowish color with a nice white head.
Aroma hits you as you pour it. Nice sour lemon, brett funk, and i get a trace of the aged hops used in this beer.
Taste is wonderful, its full or brett and lacto funk, sour lemons, nice balance, and again i taste a small amount of the aged hops.
Beautiful carbonation, very champagne like. Very drinkable, this is up there on my favorite sour list.

 411 characters

Photo of pmccallum86
4.62/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very nice bubbly yellow straw colored body with an awesome thin super bubbly head.

Smell is very funky and earthy, lots of barnyard funk and oaky notes. Some acidic qualities as well, quite a nice smelling wild ale.

Taste is awesome, lots of funky earthy notes with a tart and dry finish. Light acidity and leather notes as well. Some lemon flavors come through in the finish along with some wood oakiness. Really good beer.

Truly awesome mouthfeel, light, tart, and bubbly. Awesome.

Very drinkable as well, one of the most drinkable I have ever had.

 562 characters

Photo of Reino
4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I owe Paul (Lum) a ZJ for hooking me up with this beer.
Batch# E!010 7%abv
Consumed on Oct. 1st 2008

Appearance- My initial cautious pour produces 2 fingers of effervescent head that I figured would fade quickly. Boy was I wrong. The head settles into a tight/dense and flat finger that would probably still be around two days later if I gave it the chance. The lacing is solid as the head crawls down.
The beer itself is an apricot gold (noticed my man Joe used apricot to describe this, too. Wasn't trying to steal your words, that's just how I had it in my notes big guy.) Looking through the bottom, there is about a quarter of an inch gradient from a hefe blond into the apricot gold. This is such a great looking beer. I poured the second half for my wife, and must have poured some yeast in hers as well because it was much more blond than mine. Still pretty, though. Wish I could give this a 4.75, but you know how it is.

Smell- My first thought was fruity B.O. which is not a diss at all. The cast of smells that probably caused me to think that were: tart cherries, faint barnyard, raspberry juice, apricots and just the slightest bit of spiciness. As I drink on, the nose develops a bit of medicinal funk accompanied by sweet lemon and a bit of an earthy/produce aroma. Knowing that corn was used in this beer is making me think that I get a bit of corn, but that could be bullshit. Once again, the wife's glass with the yeast differs from mine. The yeast makes hers much more funky and less sweet. Mine is a delicious sweet/funk explosion. Once again I'm on the fence with the score. Just more reason to get another bottle from Paul ;) and redo the scores later.

Taste- A very sour and tart front accompanied by delicious fruity flavors and mild funk middle to end. What makes this beer so delicious and effective is the transition of flavors. Yeah, it's sour upfront, but these great sweet flavors sweep in to balance it out along with the horse blanket, grassy funk. It's not so sour that the fruit gets lost and it's not so devoid of sourness that I'm disappointed. If I drank this at a blind tasting, I'd think I'm drinking a crazy kriek or framboise, not a golden sour. The sweet/tart combo reminds me distinctly of a strawberry and orange juice smoothie, but with tart cherries, and earthy funk thrown in the blender. Each sip provides a different combination of fruit flavors on my tongue, and each pairing is exquisite. This a complex and sour piece of heaven.

Mouthfeel- Nice and bubbly, but not to a champagne extent. The carbonation has the fruit flavors bouncing all over my tongue, and I love it. The edges of my tongue, as well as my cheeks, tingle from the tartness, but not so much that it hinders my ability to enjoy the other flavors going on.

Drinkability- It's dumb how drinkable this beer is. 7% tastes like 3%. If I wasn't a newly wed, I probably would have snagged the other glass out of my wife's hands. Actually, I regret not doing it. I'm not sure if "it's better to have loved and lost" applies to this beer. I'm extremely sad that I cannot have this beer in my weekly rotation. How will I go on?

 3,143 characters

4.6/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

From notes. Actually tasted on 11-15-09.

As I take the cork from this one, a whiff of the cork makes me wince at the oncoming sour promised. This beer sits hazy golden wheat colored with a glow in the glass. head reaches two full fingers of off white head that has excellent retention, but leaves no lace. Nose is full of citrus based sour tones including lemon zest and citrus peel. A bit of soapy yeast is there also. With first sip the sour tone to this one is very balanced with yeasty bready tones followed closely by strong citrus tartness. The Champagne yeast really shines here to create a dry crispness that is lovely. The mouthfeel is really alive on the tongue for this one making you want the next sip. This is a perfectly drinkable sour ale I can't wait to have again.

Note to Ithaca:!: bring this one back. Don't stop making incredible beers.

 868 characters

Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
4.39 out of 5 based on 843 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.