Brute | Ithaca Beer Company

844 Ratings

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.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 844 |  Reviews: 391
Photo of alpinebryant
4.43/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch E!018
Pours a healthy blonde head with a white lacing that does not go away.

Smell of sour tart pale malt with some funk.

Taste of pale malt mixed with acidic sourness of citrus, Czech hops, some barnyard and funk. There is a dry champagne finish to state the obvious as stated on the label that it is finished with a blend of three champagne yeasts. Could be slightly more complexity to the malt profile, but this is done well as is.

High carbonation, not gushing from the bottle, but very tasty and very drinkable. This went above my expectations and I am looking forward to many more sour ales from Ithaca Beer Company.

 633 characters

Photo of cfrances33
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of pknyc
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of sukwonee
4.58/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very good looking beer. Huge head (at least 3 fingers) with lots of bubbles and lacing. Cloudy orange body.

S: Lemon, yeast, oak, funk

Taste: Lemon, tart and sour, I also taste some breadiness, earthy-ness, barnyard, very good. Sour and puckering.

M: It's perfect. Good amoung of carbonation, mouth puckering, dry.

O: Very glad I got to try this bottle. It's been one of my top wants for a long time.

 409 characters

Photo of sliverX
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

4.16/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Served in a tulip.

A: Looks beautiful. Large, lasting, billowy white head. Decent lacing left behind from the head. The golden yellow body was so hazy that it rendered it completely opaque. Gorgeous.

S: Mostly bready malts with a bit of hay or straw. Lemony hops. The yeast was earthy and very funky.

T & M: White grape and green apples clobbered the palate. Additional flavors of pear and peach come through as well. Flavors are reminiscent of oak aged white wine. The mouthfeel was so sour & tart and completely stimulating. Despite the dry finish, this brew makes you salivate. The duration is long and the acidity is harsh. The effervescence of the Brute is so lively that it feels like the carbonation is cleaning your tongue. Your entire mouth is dominated by the concentrated flavor and extreme mouthfeel. Quite a memorable experience.

D: As with all beers of this nature, this one rates the highest on my personally altered drinkability scale. The Brute is a premier American wild ale.

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Photo of younger35
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Received this brew from the ever famous BeerTruth. I've been sitting on this one for way to long and can't wait to try it. Drank from my Ithaca Excelsior tulip while watching the Broncos vs. Jets.

Batch# E!010

Appearance- Pours a very hazy light yellow with a huge 2 finger fluffy white head that seems to last forever. The head never really falls below one finger as that cap leaves loads of frothy lacing.
Smell- Lightly fruity from the start with a lightly sweet, very melon like nose. Cantaloupe, honeydew, and maybe even a tinge of banana smell absolutely wonderful. Not as sour smelling as I was expecting but definitely light tinges of apple cider vinegar and earthy funk. The oak and vanilla really open up as the beer warms and maybe gets a hint sourer in the nose.
Taste- Whoa! Way more sour than the nose led me to believe! Bone dry and not all that fruity it has way more rice wine vinegar than melon fruitiness. Quenching and pleasing as a bit of green apple and white grape does show slightly as the beer warms. More wine than beer at times but none-the-less, delicious. Finishes with a light lingering vanilla woodiness that is my favorite part of these barrel aged sours. The aftertaste tastes EXACTLY like Russian Rivers Temptation.
Mouthfeel- Medium body that's very crisp and clean with sharp vibrant carbonation that would give any bottle of Champaign a run for the money. Very dry and quenching.
Drinkability- The first sip of this brew was fairly puckering but I acclimated quickly. I'm nearly finished with the bottle and I'm almost done with my review. The subtle oak and extreme dryness are really nice and make this an exceptionally easy drinking brew. Perhaps the easiest drinking Wild Ale I've tried. Big, HUGE thanks to Adam for sharing!

 1,769 characters

Photo of Spider889
4.1/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Ryan011235 for sharing this at our impromptu tasting.

Batch: E!OR8

The appearance is very nice. Super bright boiled corn yellow-orange. The head on my pour into a Lost Abbey tulip was tall and white. Despite a lackluster dull pop of the cork, with the pour this beer still came alive!

Crystal clarity too. The only issue is a lack of lace... only the most intermittent smears of foam dotted this glass after each sip.

The smell is of Duvel with brettanomyces added. Others were smelling PBR in this. I was not. Though a sourdough/lager-y type aroma is there.

Quite tart, I find Brute to be really brett forward. Corn is noticeable in the flavor, but not anything too far out there. The tartness leads into mild citrus and lemon specifically.

Bright and crisp, the carbonation is much stronger than we first anticipated. The finish is of dull boiled corn and crackery malt and doughy sourdough yeastiness.

Overall I enjoyed this a lot. Thanks Ryan for yet another Ithaca tick!


Got to try a B1 Brute recently and it was even more sour than the more recent batch. I liked it even more.

 1,111 characters

Photo of chinabeergeek
4.1/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at deep ellum, in allston, ma, on april 23, 2009, during the week of the craft brewers conference. served in orval chalice.

hazy straw blonde. nice creamy head, stays around as a wispy layer. lacing doesn't stick though.

aroma is more vinegary than the bottled version. citrus hint. funk later on as it warms.

sour tartness is still nice, but is a bit sharper than the bottle.

texture is more acidic as well.

compared to the bottled version, everything just seems less refined. still a nice sour, but the complexities seem muted. when asked, max (owner/manager of deep ellum) believes there is still champagne yeast involved. but somehow i have my doubts, or at least that's what my palate tells me. can someone at ithaca please illuminate?

frankly i am also not a fan of open, un-tuliped or untapered abbey-style chalices - at least not for tasting/reviewing purposes. also, it was served quite cold, so i had to wait a while for it to come to temperature.

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Photo of roadhouse
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of coldmeat23
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of jkane101
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of ObeMaltKinobee
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.8/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle into red wine glass.

Pours a a light, orangey-gold, warm glow, cloudy with lots of effervescence. 3-finger fluffy white head that recedes into a dense white cap, which eventually thins into a soapy white layer. Sticks to the walls of the glass nicely.

Poured straight out of the fridge, but allowed to warm quite a bit before tasting.

At cellar temp or a bit below:

Nose comes through with green apple skins, some mellow but vivid earthy barnyard funk, hints of tropical fruits, vanilla, and bright citrus. Maybe a bit of white grape skins in there as well. So clean and well balanced though, while still holding on to just enough beautiful musty earthiness from the brett.

Taste is beautifully crisp, tart, dry up front, big explosion of sharp carbonation still can't hide the lemon and green apple notes entirely. The flavors explode around mid palate - again, lemony citrus and green apple are front and center, quite sour, with a lingering finish that's clean and crisp, yet still carries with it a hint of the earthy funk. There's a subtle cidery apple presence on the finish that is fantastic. The flavors are so snappy, they just seem to pop.

Edit: the very last glass was, I think, just a bit warm for this particular beer, and the earthy barnyard really came alive in it, with a bit of wet leather coming out as well. Green apple recedes, lemony citrus sourness remains. I preferred it just a hair cooler to get those amazing fruit notes, but even now, the beer is spectacular.

Mouthfeel is light and sparkling - effervescent and spritzy. Big champagne-like carbonation over a light, refreshing body.

God, I can't wait for the next batch of this beast to be released. Spectacular.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.77/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a slightly hazy yellow color with a thick white fluffy head, the smell is slightly funky and very tart. the taste is very dry, tart with a good funkiness. the mouthfeel is dry and crisp, you can tell that the champagne yeast was used to finish this one off, and it works well for this style. honestly, one of the best wild ales i have had

 354 characters

Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.72/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Brute pours a bright electric yellow, sort of a strange color with a beer. Slight haze in the center, with tons of carbonation supporting a large, foamy head. Bubbles on the side and bottom of the glass rise up, giving the head great retention. Lots of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Green apple, white grape, pear, barnyard funk, a little vanilla, and some oak.

Taste: Oaky and sour. Some bretty funk turns sour, but it is not overwhelming. Tart green apples, white grapes, and a bit of pear. Woody oak helps to tie everything together. Very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy at the same time. Crisp, dry, and medium bodied. The acidity creates a puckering sensation in my lower cheeks.

Drinkability: At this stage in my sour drinking career, balance is something I look kindly upon, and Brute demonstrates an extremely good balance. I will go after this again.

 940 characters

Photo of mattboyer182
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of mjtiernan
4/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of bamadog
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Split a bottle of this with my buddy Jeff the other night. The review is from notes taken on 6/10/2010 and poured from the bottle to a tulip.

Appearance: Pour is a light coppery/apricot color and starts with a short 1/2 finger white, frothy head that fades quickly to an uneven skim on the surface; body is a little cloudy from the various yeasts; only a couple faint spots of lacing are left behind holding on to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Uh oh, when I finally managed to get the cork out, I was actually frightened by the scent as the cheese and funky barnyard blasted forth from the bottle and assaulted my nose, however, after a moment of letting it breathe, it mellowed out quite a bit and became more of a funky mulch that's actually quite pleasant and tempting; a nice citric blast of sour and tart orange and lemony zest and a bit of a sweet, syrupy corn-like scent emanates as well.

Taste: A welcome blast of citric and tart sourness that makes me pucker with every sip; the funk is really hidden by the tartness and the sweet syrupy corn flavors bring about a bit of balance that's lacing in other beers with brett that I've sampled thus far; there's a bit a sweet, powdery yeasty/light breadiness to it as well. Quite awesome.

Mouthfeel: Great spritz and carbonation to it; the sour tartness is potent and makes me pucker after each sip; a thick, sticky coating that's a little dry is left all over the mouth; the acidic nature does get to the tummy a bit, but it's not awful and pretty easy to get by when I think of the great and perfectly lively body.

Drinkability: Awesome flavors, and I love the mouthfeel and the potent pucker that it brings; a great beer for the warm summer nights; definitely not a wild to start with, and I'm still pretty early in my career with this style, but if you've had a couple beers with brett and are accustomed to the funkiness, this is definitely a beer you can enjoy immensely.

 1,937 characters

Photo of craytonic
4.65/5  rDev +5%
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 jjayjaye
4.47/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours like champagne; a hazy pale golden color with a big fizzy bleach white foam head that fades to surface, being kept alive from visible effervescence. Little lacing remains in its wake. The smell is great with an earthy tart lemon character. Full flavored the taste is reflected well...bright tangy fruity lemon tartness with earth oak notes that linger well past the crisp clean finish. Another world class beverage from Team Ithaca!! Congratulations!

 456 characters

Photo of freduardo
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of CityofBals
3.5/5  rDev -21%

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 2,411 characters

Photo of sideshowe
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 4.43 out of 5 with 844 ratings
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