Brute | Ithaca Beer Company

844 Ratings
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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.

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Ratings: 844 |  Reviews: 391
Photo of ritzkiss
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml capped and corked from a recent trade with G311 - thanks man! Split with viggo.

Pours a totally murkey golden yellow with a thinnish wispy head which has some good retention.

This beer has two things really going for it - the fantastic smell that wafts to my nose: a complex lemon tartness, nicely balanced funk and a hint of sweetness. And it's insane drinkability. A complex balance between the lemon tartness, a slightly acidic sourness, sweet biscuity malt base and a hint of earthy oak. The champagne yeast provides a spritzy yet pillowy mouthfeel that makes this one of the few sours where you would gladly sit with a 750 to yourself and not tire by the end.

Not overly complex flavor but the balance is stunning. Clearly well made and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of schwaeh
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle batch E!018 shared by ryan011235.

A: Pours a clear-as-a-bell golden yellow with some lively white head and plenty of bubbles.

S: Smells very funky and sour. Brett is noticable from the get-go. Some wheat, corn, and citrus zest liven things up a bit more.

T: First hit is a big sour sweetness, it makes you start to pucker but then the funkiness brings things back down to earth. Brett and lemon zest work well here to make this refreshing. There is a nice lingering sweetness on the finish. Wheat and corn are kind of noticable on the finish once it warms a bit. Very good flavors.

M: Light and refreshing body, almost spritzy. Prickly carbonation dances on the tongue.

O: I've had one of these bottles hidden for a while and this occasion makes it that much harder to stay away from it. Another beer that brings the funk and doesn't have you making goofy faces while trying to enjoy it. World class sour right here.

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Photo of Ryan011235
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter (1st pour) & a tulip (2nd pour) on 8/8/10

Batch E!018

Bright golden color, especially held to the light. Mostly clear, there is a faint hazy sheen to it. Poured two fingers of vigorous white foam. For all it ample visual carbonation, the head is just as ephemeral, thinning to a skim in short order. Swirling helps a little, though retention is nil by the end; same for lace. Clumpy sediment on the last pour.

The overall aroma seems rather very sour. Quite bold, actually. Crisp notions of tart apples & maybe white grapes. Lightly toasted grain overtones. The wheat I get; not so much for the corn. Brett funk is appreciable in the back but doesn't appear to be the focal point. Musty notes become more assertive as the beer warms. Notes of wood also become more apparent with warmth.

The taste is no less sour. Indeed, it's very sharp & puckering with ripened light fruit esters. Though said sourness hits hard, it opens up mid-swallow, allowing for more barnyard funk to be expressed more than was suggested with the nose. Notions of tired old oak towards the back. As with the nose, grains are light & add subtle layers of earthiness. At times there seems to be a pinch of corn, though fleeting. Faint hints of pepper & earthy hops.

Basically light bodied - crisp & biting. Carbonation is vigorous, especially on the first half of each pour. Even though it tastes slightly over time, it never shies from being prickly. The champagne yeasts really have this one kicking. Funky, dry finish with sourness lingering on.

I must say, this is quite an impressive beer. Despite initially seeming merely awash in sourness, Brute offers up a nice amount of complexity as it graduates from cool to warmer. A very enjoyable Wild Ale. Recommended.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome almost wine like champagne-ish appearance, dark gold, solid 1" white head on it. Aroma was a white wine lemon excursion, lots of oak, and since these are a few years old at this point, solid amount of brettiness to it. Not quite funky, but its musty.

Good clean sour impact, sour is right in the middle on that 1-10 scale, acidity not high, a little more lemon, green apple modestly existing in the mouthfeel, light almost virgin like oak. Wheat plenty noticeable in the mouthfeel too. Pretty cool, light bodied.

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Photo of MrDanno96
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Was browsing the top 100 and realized I never entered my written review. So here goes!

A: Pours a nice golden yellow with a lot of bubbly white head that quickly fades to about half a finger. No lace.

S: Nice n' sour! Some white grape and green apple mixed with some funkiness.

T: A great sour, acidic bite blends well with notes of grape and sour apple.

M: Pretty light, low carbonation, acidic and a dry finish.

D: A really great sour - great puckering bite, but balanced well. Not an everyday drink, but something I can appreciate occasionally.

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Photo of wd40
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage served on-tap

Golden yellow color with amber hues. Barely any head on the beer. Smelled great, lots of apple which paired with the acidic tartness. Taste was really nicely balanced between acidity, fruit, and tartness. Pretty subtle sour beer. Doesn't hit you over the head, but is really pleasant. It was not as complex as I expected, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes simplcity when executed really well is more rewarding. In fact, if I had no limitations on my ability to aquire and drink sours, I'd probably drink this one pretty regularly as a nice easy going aperitif. Part of this is due to its lack of sweetness and the dryness of its finish. Its lightness and subtly remind me a lot of Russian River's Temptation, which is one of my favorite sours. If anyone can get their hands on this, it's worth a try.

Edit: I forgot to mention that the carbonation was perfect for my taste. It was effervescent without being at all rough.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch E!018

The appearance is yellow with a one finger crisp white head. The carbonation is strong enough to kill the head and produce a coca cola like fizz. No lacing.

The smell is good, lemon tart and grass. Does not smell sour, just really sweet and a bit tart.

I was really blown away with how tasty this thing was. It is not very complex, it is a very drinkable Wild. There is a huge lemony tart aspect that is the main flavor. There is a bit of oak, some peach skins, orange or citrus rind, and a bit of gym sock sourness. This is really tasty.

The mouthfeel is good, but not sour and acidic. I like them offensive and brutal, but this one is fun. I finished the bottle fairly fast. I am very glad this one turned out to be a winner.


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Photo of asabreed
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Corked and capped 750 ml. bottle poured into a Brooklyn tulip.

Appearance: A hazy cloudy bright yellow, like someone threw an Alka-Seltzer and a highlighter into some soda water. Nuts. The head with each pour bubbles up into a bright white fountain, slowly going back to the body of the brew, letting nice drops form on the side. This looks damn good in the glass.

Smell: What's weird here is I'm getting a lot of corn smell, which I'm not really digging. I would've questioned that anyway, if the label didn't say it, but you can smell the earthy sweetness of the corn. That said, I'm also getting, of course a ton of Brett sourness, but there's a good undercurrent of brighter red fruits, especially cherry and strawberry. The oak's also evident, of course.

Taste: Wowness. This is not your training wheels Wild Ale, and this is one of those beers I'm glad I had many years after I got into beer. The complexity's up there, but the sourness is going to new levels here. Yet there's also enough sweetness from the fruit esters and the yeast to balance things out. But make no mistake: this sucker's a madly puckering brew. Still, there are lots of bright flavors throughout, from the first pour to the last, including the nice sour cherry component and good but not overly-used oak. And again, the balance here is key, because the fruit and citrus sweetness keep it in check the entire way, making the puckering finish also lip-smacking.

Mouthfeel: I love Ithaca's use of champagne yeast, and if I'm not wrong about this, it seems like more and more breweries are competently experimenting with this finisher. It gives it a completely fizzy yet complex element and softness that makes everything go together very well. It also works well with the complexity of the flavors.

Drinkability: Believe the hype about this brew, especially if you're into Wild Ales. I'll definitely be picking up at least one more bottle if I can find it in the future, and I can't wait to see what Ithaca keeps putting out there in the future.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the one and only Buffalo Brute, Sir Lum.

Beautiful golden bottle for a beautiful golden sour. Capped and corked with some new futuristic super processed rubber cork goo.

Pours a nice looking quite cloudy yellow/light orange with a fizzy stark white head. head fizzles to a ring quickly and lacing is minimal, but this is a sour were talking about here.

Nose is an indication of a quality sour right off the bat here with some fresh apple, crabapple, and tart lemon zest, brett is quite evident with some horseblanket here.

Taste follows the nose, almost to a T. Starts right off the bat with a tart apple and crabapple jolt. Very crisp. Horse blanket and brett flavor come roiling out half way through the taste. A slight sweetness, and more tart apple through the middle, slight tart lemony crispness, just before the real mouth puckering sourness kicks in. Some slight peach in here as well. A nice sour one with good pucker effect, however a bit less sour than your average RR, similar sour profile to Cuvee de castleton, in fact i think they are quite comparable. Apple and horse linger on the very dry finish.

Mouthfeel is unique on this one as it is slightly (very) more carbonated than your average american sour, but the carbonation is very soft. Noticeably bigger, but softly so. Hard to explain. Makes the "Champagne yeasts" on the label stick out a little more. Mouthfeel is quality here.

Drinkability is very very nice on this one. The slight added carbonation makes it quite nice. A more gentle sour, than your balls out beatification types, but very very good in flavor, and make no mistake, this is a sour beer.

Overall, this beer is quite impressive. TEN turned my eyes toward Ithaca and Brute has reassured this confidence in the Excelsior! series. Love the tart apple effect in here. A very tasty sour. Make no mistake, this is in the top quality sours made on this side of the pond. A very well crafted beer. Certainly one of my new favorite wild ales. Thanks again to the original Greybush. NOBODY! circles the wagon like Lum.

Edit: Batch 2 is quite similar, but there is a significantly greater awesome green apple presence in the nose especially but also in the taste, a bit more lemon zest as well. Also inspired me to increase the mouthfeel to 4.5. This is one amazing beer folks. If you get the opportunity to get ahold of one, DO NOT let it slip away. A true gem.

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Photo of hoppymcgee
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sampled a 6 oz. pour at Brett Fest at Spuytin Duyvil in Brooklyn, NY in August 2009.

A: 1-finger lasting head, very fizzy.

S: Brett-forward nose and makes you wanna scream "it's time to get funky"!

T: Not sure what batch this was, but probably older as it developed a little bit of a dull prune taste. Very sour and tart as it hits the back of the mouth.

M: The bubbles compliment this beer well as they make this Golden Sour Ale not as lip-puckering.

D: The best feature of this beer. You can drink the 750ml bottle this comes in with no problem.

Overall, one of the best wild ales I've had.

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Photo of jsanford
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into a Tulip Glass. Batch E!027

A - Poured a hazy gold with a foamy white head that settles to a slight haze and ring.
S - Big aromas of Brettanomyces yeast, citrus hops, Granny Smith apples, lemon zest, and grape skins. Funky and delicious!
T - Quite similar to the nose, citrusy and funky! Tart green apples, white grapes, lemon juice, and orange peel all wrapped up with earthy, funky Brett. Excellent level of sourness, perfectly balanced between the funk and the tart.
M - Light and spritzy with a medium-thin mouthfeel, very crisp carbonation, and a long, dry finish.
O - A superb American Wild Ale that really does something different and new. A perfect celebratory beer, or an excellent way to start a meal!

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to beertruth for the chance to try this great beer! What stood out most for me on this beer was a real nice complimentary apricot, pineapple, malt note with a great balance of sour and tart. acid level is modest which works for me too! One of the better American wild ales I've had. Well worth trying if you get a chance.

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Photo of SDDanC
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have been holding on to this for a while now. I am very happy to review it. Poured from bottle into this narrow snifter I have. Nice fluffy white head with incredible rushes of carbonation bubbles from the bottom. Hazy golden, yellow color. Nose is full of funkyness, tart, green apple, slight bananas, and dry yeast. On the tongue this is great. Lots of flavor from the funk apples. Champange bubbles really exercise the dry, farmhouse notes. A nice sour treat. Mouthfeel is fluffy, and bubbly, almost like a cider. Easily enjoyable and intensely drinkable. Very great beer.

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Photo of KAP1356
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1st time trying this and very psyched to be doing so. Shared with my brother and his girlfriend on 1/1/2011. 750 ml. bottle marked Batch E!027 into a Victory Golden Monkey tulip glass...

A - Poured a very hazy, golden-yellow color which actually looked extremely inviting when placed in the light. Very soapy-white and bubbly 2 finger head slowly recedes to a small layer. Some ever so slight lacing is present. Bubbles are racing to the top of the glass.

S - Bretty, funky, musty, attic-like smell right up front. VERY excited now. Some nice malt backbone and fruits come next; some peaches and lemons.

T - Gotta love that funky barnyard taste! Lots of Brett, funk, acidity and sourness up front. Nice lemon zest flavors follow with a solid malt backbone peeking its head in when it can. Almost gueuze like really.

M - Light bodied with a very nice carbonation, ala champagne. Nice bite from the acididty and a nice dry finish. Really quite nice.

D - Really wishing I had more than 1 bottle of this guy. Great beer and one that I could easily have had multiples of. It is much lighter for the slightly higher ABV (for a Wild Ale) which adds nicely to its drinkability.

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Photo of JordonHoltzman
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

first ever sour ale.

poured into a champagne flute, foams just like champagne, other than the fact that it is not filtered, it pours and looks like champagne. very bubbly, and instead of fizzling out quickly like most champagnes, this has strong head retention.

has the tart and sour citrus smell, characters that derive from the champagne yeast used in the bottle conditioning.

The sourness is an unknown and interesting taste for me since this is the first time i've had a beer of this style, but i like it a lot. It is not mouth puckering strong, which is a good thing. has notes of grapefruit and lemon too.

mouthfeel is like a champagne, as the bubbles are effervescent. made for great carbonation

I look forward to having this beer a second time as well as trying new sour/wilds. great beer

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Photo of jeffthecheff
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bright gold color with a fluffy, two finger white head with great retention. There is a touch of haze, with carbonation bubbles adding liveliness.

The aroma is deep, acidic, and fruity with a large amount of funkiness from the yeast and bacteria. Lemon juice comes to mind, as well as some hay. Maybe some old hay. The smell of the air after a rainy day also came to mind.

The flavor is much less funky than the nose. It's very sour with lemon notes and a large amount of acid. The flavor is kept simple and almost clean, but with a very unique sourness to it.

The mouthfeel is light bodied and dry, with a decent amount of carbonation, perhaps even a bit low. Overall this really impresses me, although I wish I had some more help finishing the bottle.

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Photo of Jayli
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL Bottled 2010, batch E!027
Poured in to my Portsmouth tulip

A: This beer pours a beautiful hazy golden color with a ridiculous three finger of foamy, rocky white head. Head recedes at a moderate pace leaving chunky sheets of lacing.

S: Nose is s-o-u-r. Nice sour notes, apricot, funky, and lemon zest.

T: Taste starts rather a bit more mellow than the nose would indicate. Light sour fruit notes - apricot and peach come through. A bit of light hay comes in and mild corn. Finish is lemon, grapefruit zest funk that hit the top of your mouth and hang a bit. Peach notes hit in the aftertaste too.

M: Lighter side of medium body, moderate carbonation, very dry body but then has a bit sticky finish.

O: Goes down easily, very tasty, not too filling, mild kick and a great representation of style. This isn't the blow your hair back sour Wile ale. It's a well crafted, complex beer that is rather fruity with a nice sour funk that really balances the beer and enhances the flavors.

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Photo of jefferz5000
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to stakem for this surprise bottle!

Poured into my awesome Portsmouth glass that STEG sent me. This is one of the most beautiful beers to grace any glass of mine. Pours a hazy peachy hue with some serious white bubbly head that eventually fades away almost completely. Brute is such a pretty color.

Smells sour. Surprise! It's got a nice tart funky aroma, suggesting I will surely enjoy this one. If I didn't feel compelled to taste it, I would just keep sniffing it.

Taste follows the nose. Funky. Sour. Unripe stone fruits, maybe? I like to pretend at least. It's very well rounded. Def tart, but not overwhelming. The more you consume, the fuller the taste seems to become.

Carbonation starts out high, but delivers a pretty smooth finish. It starts off similar to the feel of champagne, but I feel like it finishes differently, which I like for sure.

Well, I just finished my first glass, and am about to pour another, with no hesitation. I'd say the drinkability is pretty high. And while 7% isn't an off the charts ABV, I'd guess lower. Nom nom.

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Photo of Haybeerman
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Lightly clouded deep gold color. Poured a coarse white 2 finger head that dissipated quickly to a skim thickened at the edges. Thin, inconsistent lacing. Decanted continually.

S: Sweet, floral and fruity; reminded me of some white wines. There is a deep bread and honey sweetness that dies with a pungent yeast funk.

T: Bread and honey sweetness. Green apple and grape sourness puntuate the middle. Other light-colored fruit flavors come through (like peach, pear) with a subtle sourness as well. Finishes with champagne and a lingering wild yeast funk.

M: Light body. Ample carbonation. Smooth and dry.

D: My personal bias, I like the style in small doses so I would not normally rate it as highly drinkable. That said, its really classic in smell, taste and mouthfeel and a very good beer for the style so I'm rating the 4.5 based on that along with the way IBC did a nice job on the balance.

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Photo of koopa
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle received in a trade with jjayjaye. Thanks for the opportunity!

Appearance: Slightly cloudy urine yellow body with a bright white 2 finger crown that exhibits some retention and nice lacing.

Smell: Very acidic notes of lemon zest, some muscat grapes, and a touch of horse blanket.

Taste: Very nice dry puckering sourness! Green apple, lemon zest, oak, muscat grapes, etc.

Mouthfeel: Lots of carbonation, enjoyably thin and effervescent.

Drinkability: If it wasn't so sour it would of rated higher. Addictive for a sour lover though :)

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Photo of drseamus
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice light straw body with a touch of white head. Good carbonation.

S: Light appley fruit on the nose. Somewhat typical for a wild ale.

T: Very light and restrained but with noticeable brett. A touch of dustiness but with great tartness.

M: Very light with not much body added by the tartness.

D: All day baby...very drinkable.

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Photo of amphion1065
4.38/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle, Batch E!037, poured into a Duvel tulip. Kudos to Chris.

After removing the vaguely disturbing, slug-like orange wax cork, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is quite a pretty beer. Hazy pale gold, almost peach. A huge, billowing, shockingly pure white head, an easy two fingers' worth. Crazy retention and lacing.

Aroma is rich with bretty funk. Huge citrus overtones, with big notes of lemon juice. Hay and grass, almost wheat-like. Some pineapples are in the mix as well.

The taste is more sour than funky, and it's delicious. Lots of tart, acidic citrus flavors. This is very lemony, with the kind of puckering sourness I long for in AWAs. Big brett notes, but without too much earthy, mineral funk.

Great, lively carbonation - I really dig the mouthfeel. I started to feel the burn after a little while, but couldn't bring myself to stop.

A really excellent wild ale, and it hit every note I look for in the style. I'd love to try one with a little age on it, and can only wonder how the sourness intensifies over time. I really hope this makes it into distro next year, though I won't hold my breath.

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Photo of popery
4.39/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From notes, 1/31/11. Good sour. Pours golden and cloudy. Very little head. Just a few stray bubbles. Very lemony and vinous. Peaches, apricots and berries show up as well. Quite tart. A complex fruity sour flavor. Very enjoyable. Feel is lively and the beer is light on the palate. Some brett and funk, but it’s background to the tart fruit flavors. Quite dry. Should age well.

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Photo of Casey10
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up at winchester wine and liquiors a couple of months ago and actually drank on New Years and New Years Day as had this before and after midnight.

A - Hazy golden yellow wispy head really nice.

S - Sour funk definate champaign notes.

T - Again taste sour really more like a champaign then a beer but understand the difference.

M - Gives that puckering sour feel that is amazing for a great beer like this !!

D - I had had this a the Belgian Beer Fest back in October, I had sat on this bottle for a bit before opening it, it is really nice but can't rate higher because of the specialty of it.

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Photo of afksports
4.4/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Effin' excellent brew. I'm an amateur here, so I'm totally unqualified to talk about hop notes or brett or lacing or whatever. I'm doing my homework on beer 101, but in the meantime I'd like to enjoy some. This I can.

Brute has a distinct type of sour that finishes clean but leaves me thinking about granny smith apples in the dryness of champagne. The carbonation and head are great, and I feel classy drinking this. Buy me another and take me home.

I almost feel bad calling it beer. But I don't feel bad calling it awesome. Would drink again - for sure.

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Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
4.39 out of 5 based on 844 ratings.
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