Brute | Ithaca Beer Company

Liked This Beer
4.43 w/ 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 844 |  Reviews: 391
Photo of WTKeene
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml into tulip. From notes. Unsure of batch. Consumed in April 2010.

A- Nice golden pour, fluffy snow white head with pockets of air.

S- Lemony, grassy, a bit funky. Nice nose on this one.

T- White grapes, green apples. Nice and tart, like biting into a granny smith. Really spectacular balance here- nothing is out of place or overbearing. Nice funky yeast notes with a dry finish.

M- Fairly high carbonation, the bubbles are sublime. Very good.

D- One of the most approachable sours, one I could drink a lot of. This stuff is awesome. I think this is one of the best American wild ales out there. Highly reccomended.

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Photo of stevec32
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of Pahn
4.89/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Batch E!027, 2010. ABV: 7% this batch.

Appearance: Careful pour yields a three inch white head that dissipates steadily, leaving a few spots of lacing. Pours a hazy fulvous (I found this color 'fulvous' on wikipedia, and though it's more hilarious for me to just flatfootedly say 'fulvous', I leave this parenthetical note anyway). Doesn't leave much lacing to speak of.

Smell: At first it's effervescent and acetic, moving quickly to tart apple and peach, with some faint funk in the background. Freshly cut orange. While it stays effervescent, the acetic character pretty much drops out and the smell moves from tart fruit to sweet peach to citrus to a mild, creamy oak and vanilla to various berries. There's more happening (and more good happening) than I can meaningfully record.

Taste: So subtle and balanced, but so full-flavored. Tart but smooth, lots of fruit, with a big brett note in the finish. It tastes like it smells, but with a significantly larger brettanomyces influence at the end, more barnyard and musty than tangy. There's flavors reminiscent of champagne and white wine, and a persistent acetic character that keeps everything sour but never distracts from the beautiful fruit, wine, and funk.

Like the smell, there's too much happening here to describe it all, but what I can say is: the taste is flawless. I hate to give out 5s, but this really couldn't be better for what it is. It could be more sour, the oaky notes could be stronger, the brett (which is surprisingly big) could be bigger, but none of that is the point. Those flavors are all here (along with more), they're all distinct, they're all in harmony, they're all delicious. Drinking this beer is like listening to a brilliant symphony for the first time; you're picking out things you love, you're enjoying it thoroughly, but you know it has depths further than you can appreciate or understand in one listen.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Tart, but soft and creamy, with a dry finish. Fairly carbonated but not overboard. The feel is like the smell and the taste: all subtlety and class.

Drinkability: This beer is refreshing, complex, restrained, and delicious. I would drink this regularly. It's one of those beers such that, despite having a refrigerator full of world class beer, when its bottle is empty, I will be sad.

Honestly, I think Brute is flawless. It's a shame that it's relatively hard to get, because it would be a perfect gateway beer for wild ales. If these flavor profiles didn't make sense to you before, they would after having Ithaca Brute.

 2,589 characters

Photo of SFLpunk
4.27/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Shrek806 for this hook-up. 750mL brown-glass cork and capped. E!037.

Pours a hazy orange with frothy white head. Nose is very bretty, orange juice ladden, and a note of hay.

Palate is full-on tart heading sour. Orange juice with pulp, lime zest, wood chips, sweet hay. Really complex palate with luscious mouthfeel. Tart and juicy, dripping with citrus.

Notes: The best Ithaca beer I've had yet and heads-and-shoulders above Le Blue

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Photo of BeerTruth
4.62/5  rDev +4.3%
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 Bendurgin
3.55/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I got the one from the incredibly generous 6DaysBottomOcean who graciously extended his cellar to me. The appearance is hazy golden with a rocky white head about a finger thick. The smell is faintly sour; it reminds me of tart apples with a bit of brett funk and earthy oak flavors. The taste is sour green apples with a bit of vinegar. Slight funk from the brett with a little bit of oakiness. The tartness is perfectly what I want, ever so slight with a bit of sweetness. The mouthfeel is fair, the carbonation being what I would expect, nice and lively with a medium body. Easy to drink but overall not my absolute favorite. Still a solid beer worth trying.

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Photo of Joecaddie
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of jarrgal
4/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of KeefD
4.66/5  rDev +5.2%
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!

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Photo of ritzkiss
4.37/5  rDev -1.4%
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 barleywinebrewer
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 328 characters

Photo of axeman9182
4.17/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle from 2009 (batch E!018) poured into my Duvel tulip.

The beer pours a very nice hazy gold, with a voluminous white head. Retention is decent, but an almost complete lack of lacing keeps me from giving it a higher appearance score. This beer was aged in barrels with brett and then allowed to sit in the bottle for a year, and all that is evident with the first whiff. The nose is overwhelmingly of the classic barnyard funk, with some background tartness and faint apple sweetness. The taste is largely the same, though there was a certain harshness to the brett flavors while this beer was still warming. Once it approached room temperature though things smoothed out and Brute became a much better beer. The mouthfeel was great, very dry and a great bubbly, but not overbearing, carbonation. Like with the taste, Brute's drinkability gets dinged by how much worse of a beer it was right out of the fridge. Wild ales are such natural slow sippers though that most of this beer was consumed at an appropriate temperature. I look forward to hopefully getting my hands on some of this year's Brute and trying it with a little less age on it.

 1,153 characters

Photo of BeerImmediately
4.15/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into oversized wine glas. If I'm reading this correctly, it's batch# E!018.

Beautiful pour - 2F of thick, white head floating atop of an opaque golden body. Pretty heavenly when held to the light. Light carbonation showing at bottom.

Heavy musty smell, with vinegar cider, and a little lemon zest.

Flavor was of tart lemon hard candy, green apple skin, old white grapes, plenty of bretty funk, and more than just a little reminiscent of champagne flavor.

MF had a good bite to it, but not puckering sour. Pretty thin. Nice and dry.

I can't see dropping $25 on another one of these, but it would make for a good malternative to any situation that calls for white wine or champagne.

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Photo of IBUnit63
4.35/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!010 poured into a Riedel Extreme Burgundy glass 'cause I haven't used it in a while and it seemed like it would work nicely. Have at it, we will...

Pours like a Champagne at first. Bready, lemon/light honey color with plenty of vibrant head - about 3 fingers worth of a big bubble bath. Second pour is a little more restrained. Carbonation is nicely present.

The yeast strains in this combined with a moderate wheat component mix it up with the Brett hay, gentle horse blanket and prominent citric sourness to generate a fair amount of electricity. There's some light pine or baso woodiness from the light grains and mild hop presence. Depth expands and softens with warmth.

One of the brighter sours I've encountered - most likely the champagne yeast is helping this along. Very nice light grains complement the sour funk of this all - perhaps the power of suggestion but it does have a Champagne-like component that really brings it all together. Nice very light woodiness provides a good yet mild hop and grain component.

Some wild ales require an adjustment period. Not necessarily this one. Sure, the first taste has that sour stable pucker, but it really softens over time and transforms into a lighter, more pleasant, medium-bodied and well-balanced ale. The light grains, yeast and Brett strains and a little bit of hop pine are working in Beautiful Chemistry. By no means over the top but very well-balanced.

While this is a rare treat that is quite contemplative and complex, it really drinks well - not only for the style but overall. I was very disappointed to see the end of this bottle. When this ages for a while it will be very interesting to sample. Another incredibly well-balanced effort from the Excelsior! series.

 1,747 characters

Photo of gueuzegossage
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of sendsilk
3/5  rDev -32.3%

Photo of funkyaudio
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of unclejazz
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of blabaer
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%

Photo of sgoro
4.25/5  rDev -4.1%

Photo of TubaDan
5/5  rDev +12.9%

Photo of cavedave
4.33/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It pours a cloudy dark straw color, topped by a thick and massive light beige head. Sheets of lace cling to the glass.

The aroma is a mixture of the full range of funk, lighter tart, and even some sweet. It is a strong bouquet, perfectly balanced, with layers of the smells creating enticement.

The taste doesn't disappoint. Like the nose it is strong, a mix of funkiness and lighter tart, a touch of sweet, with staggering complexity in the layers of flavor. As it warms the tart gains a bit, but never overbears, and the clean flavors stay sharp and delicious.

Mouthfeel is perfect, highly carb.'ed, but not overcarb.ed by any means, thick but easy drinking, and an epic finish that is just dry enough.

Drinkability is extremely high for the style.

Impression: The best wild ale I have tried.

 799 characters

Photo of BillHilly
4/5  rDev -9.7%

Photo of marine1975
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%

Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
Beer rating: 97.3% out of 100 with 844 ratings
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