Brute | Ithaca Beer Company

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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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Reviews: 391 | Ratings: 843
Photo of KYGunner
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Listed as a "Golden Sour Ale" it's exactly that! Gorgeous golden coloring, effervescent, lively, bubbly; like a champagne.

The aromas are strong Apple with hints of pear. Sour and sweet.

Big juicy Apple sweetness with a sour airy finish the carbonation plays into the taste and feel. The bubbles dance on the tongue and lift the Apple taste and finish with a light airyness. It's inherent in the style to produce such carbonation so it is understandable that it may detract from the overall experience.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Crittervision -- thanks! Batch E!018

a - pours a bright golden color, quite cloudy, one inch fluffy white head, not much retention or lacing

s - great aroma, lots of barnyard funk and sour lemon, very earthy, light acetic character, aroma is closer to the character of a traditional Belgian lambic than most of the American wild ales I've tried

t - strong tongue ripping lemon sourness and barnyard funk up front, lighter acetic/vinegar notes on the midpalate with the funk and sourness leaving rather quickly, as great as this is initially, the finish is really truncated and disappointing, really my only knock on the beer, finish does extend a bit when the beer warms up, but it's still rather short, alcohol is well-hidden, pretty dry overall

m - medium-bodied, with moderate to lower carbonation, not much alcohol warming, dry finish

d - pretty drinkable for the style, the sourness and funk are intense (up front, at least), but they aren't overly harsh on the palate, the smell and taste are interesting and sufficiently complex, alcohol not an issue

Really good sour overall that would be exceptional if not for the short finish. Really glad to have another bottle to see how it develops.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 mL Batch 010 from 2008 tasted on 1/1/10 (Happy New Year!)

Pours beautiful gold with gigantic frothy white head that lingers. Champagne like effervescence lasts for many many mniutes. One of the most gorgeous beers I've ever seen. Lemon and grapefruit aroma. Barely some honey sweetness then an incredible tart lemon finish. Great carb but champagne bubbles make this one smooth sour. Definitely one of the best sours I've ever tried.

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Photo of M-Fox24
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Small head, hazy Orange(ish) color, beautiful lacing

S: Nice sourness presence and the presence of fruit, grape, cherry, melon, some brett & lemon, oakā€¦.great aroma

T: Similar to the smell: a calm sourness/funk/tartness, oak notes & brett, accompanied by the lemon, grapes, and melon

M: Fizzy/carbonated; usual suspects of the oak, sour, tart, and funk existence; light/medium-bodied

O: Quite a tasty product from Ithaca and a superb demonstration of the sour, funky, wild ale style

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Photo of Duff27
4.24/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage.

Inch tall off white head, fizzy bubbly head. Body is a dull peach. Cap and collar. Recede after about 4 minutes.

Grapes. Tart peaches, champagne yeast influenced.

More with the sour grapes with a funk presence this time. Beneath all of this there is a balancing sweetness about it.

Very lively bubble mouthfeel and carbonation level. Unique and perhaps my favorite aspect of Brute.

A solid, well built sour. Balanced with a great lively mouthfeel and carbonation. Thanks kawilliams81 for the long time want share! Thanks Kent.

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Photo of ixnay21
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-orange,hazy color. finger head, quickly dissolving with no lacing.

S-has a Belgium funk to it with a white grape forefront.

T-very tart up front a bite of carbonation the funk is very apparent in the taste. sourdough bread comes to mind.

M-very dry, with a very nice carbonation bite.

D-Back to the store!!!

A very enjoyable beer would keep this on stock all day, every day!

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

A: Poured a vigorous 1 finger creamy white head with excellent retention. Brew itself was a cloudy lemon. Lacing was almost non-existent and spotty at best.

S: Earthy sour nose with generous whiffs of wooden barrels and an almost farmhouse-like smell.

T: Starts off soft and transitions to a nice mellow sweetness that develops into an intense tart flavor. Finish becomes sweet again as the sourness fades.

M: Light to medium bodied and very coarse. Finish is dry but a sour mouthfeel lingers in the aftertaste.

D: Really intense sourness takes away from the drinkability but the flavor is so complex and develops so well, it keeps you coming back for more.

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Photo of berkey
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After a long day at the office I decided it was time to open one of my 'special' bottles. 750 ml corked and capped bottle poured into a tulip. 2008 bottle received in a recent trade. From 11/05/09 notes.

Very hazy (verging on cloudy) pale yellow-orange body with a nice sized bright and fluffy white head that fades fairly quickly to small crown. Very good for the style, these aren't always the prettiest beers but this is an exception.

Aromas of tart apples, sour bread, light brett earthiness, oak, and a clean dry wine-like finish; all in fairly equal parts. Very nuanced and pleasantly balanced for the most part. I'm getting a somewhat cheesy old hop aroma in there as well, reminiscent of some vintage lambics I've tried.

Flavor profile not as sour or funky as expected. After some initial pungency this is pretty clean. Some musty earthiness and tart fruit cuts through mid sip though, followed by a very smooth dry aftertaste. As it warms gets a little more earthy and tart but it seems they were shooting for something much lighter and cleaner than many other American Wild Ales.

Body is light by design but might be a little too thin for my tastes. Fine carbonation is very nice though. Pretty easy drinking ale.

Overall this is an enjoyable and refreshing change of pace for the style. Brett is very subdued compared to my favorites of the style which drops it just slightly behind ales like RR Temptation or Allagash Confluence but still a very solid and unique beer. Might be a regular if it were more easily available in my area.

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Photo of dmsohyea
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle opened by airfoil, thanks, this was a real treat.

A - Light yellow with just a bit of fizzy head that disapated to a small ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.

S - A little yeasty, but mostly nice table sugar and lemony tartness. Not much funk, just enough, also no cheesy scents that I have come accustomed to with some of these sour styles.

T - Wow, very much like a traditional gueuze. Nice sour funk and lemon peel. A good sweetness to back up the moderate tartness. Very nice, no alcohol present.

M - moderate body with upper moderate carbonation. A touch of astringency, and not at all watery.

O - very impressed with this beer. One of the best American sours I have had.

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Photo of hayesez
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received in a trade with Benanomyces. Been looking forward to trying this for a while now. Cracked it open during a game of Hearts with one of my good friends from Montana as well as my wife and another friend.

Split this one between four different glasses. Poured mine into a Westvleteren chalice. Appears very hazy, yet light. Fizzy. A golden hued body supports a fairly frothy white head. No lacing is left behind.

A subtle funkiness is coupled with a tart lemon-zest. This beer smells crisp and sour and woody- exactly how I like them.

Ah yes, and the taste does not disappoint. There is the dry tart smash that I enjoy so much. It is fairly fizzy, but this does not detract one bit. Often these beers have a sweet entrance followed closely by the tart...not the case with this one. Starts of sour and tart and then quickly disappears. This beer is light, dry, and puckering. We're impressed.

Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Brute. I prefer beers that aren't too sweet, so this one fits right in line. Easy to drink, I had a fun time sharing this with virgin sour drinkers. Definitely looking forward to round two!

Consumed: 4-26-2010

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-pours a hazy golden yellow color with a fluffy, bubbly white head that leaves thick spots of lace on the glass

S-the nose is sweet up front with lots of sparkling grapes, a light tartness lies behind with hints of earthy malts. Peaches and pear, soft golden fruits, in the back

T-the beer is quite tart up front, the bret takes hold right behind the tartness. A soft golden fruit sweetness sets in at the middle accompanied by a touch of tart cherry. Sour grapes, almost chapaigne like take over in the back.

M-medium body and soft on the palate with a prickly high carbonation throughout. Dry in the back and coats the mouth

D-this is extremely easy drinking with a great flavor, nice level of tartness that is quite inviting. The soft feel with all the carbonation is quite awesome.

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Photo of StoneTSR
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Deep copper and very rich looking. Nice, big head with a lively, bubbly appearance. The Brute looks like a tough, strong ale.

SMELL: I've never said this about a beer before, but it almost smells a little cheesy. Oddly, this is not a bad thing. There also seems to be some red pepper, it's sort of pizza-like and I have absolutely not been eating pizza or anything like it tonight.

TASTE: I've tasted plenty of Wild Ales before, but nothing quite like this. It is not nearly as sour as most of the others and a sweet, tart flavor dominates while a million others all vie for attention from the palate. I'm still trying to sort them all out. Lemon certainly makes a strong showing, apricot and grapefruit seem to round out the heavy hitting fruits. Towards the end of the sip the grapefruit takes over and just a whiff of piney hops teases the palate before fading away with a nice, bitter aftertaste. The one thing that holds it all together is a general sense, feel and taste of funk. This is not James Brown, it's Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, George Clinton and Bootsy Collins all rolled into one beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Strong carbonation. This is how every beer should feel. Dry, refreshing and palate cleansing, but not so rough that it dries the palate out over the long haul.

OVERALL: This is a unique and excellent beer. Funky, funky. funky and certainly wild, but not so overly sour like so many other wilds. Once again, I have to say, Ithaca knows how to brew beer. By far my favorite brewery on the East Coast.

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Photo of auroracrisis
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch E!037, 750ml into a RR tulip.

Hazy, golden straw yellow with a one inch head upon pouring. The head dissipates and forms a collar of foam around the edges of the glass as it is drank down. Lots of bubble dance to the top of the beer as it rests.

Granny smith apples, lemons and pears up front with a candy like tartness to it. A bit of cheesey funk with some gym socks. Tannin and some must, then more candy like sour qualities that would be easily compared to taffy or jelly candies too.

Fruity with pears and green apples dominating on the tongue. Again, cheesey with some of those sour taffy or jelly candy undertones. Tannin with a nice round sweetness and citrus bite. Drying mid-palate on the finish, with some sweeter grain flavors.

Somewhat crisp, medium bodied with spritzy carbonation. A touch of drying on the end.

Nice pear and apple flavors with some citrus and funk bite. Major potential for aging here, I could see this one becoming very complex with some time. But right now it is still a great wild ale. Sad that Ithaca moved this to a brewery only release, I'd love to get more of this one to sit on for the next couple years.

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Photo of davewlfpckfan29
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks Dio for bringing this one down!

This pours a beautiful golden/yellow. The head on my pour was nearly perfect. Very foamy and attractive white that sat at the top of the glass and didn't disappear.

Smell was a fruity funky smell. I could tell right away I would like this beer.

In the taste, I get that brett taste that I smelled, along with many fruits. Very tart, but not too tart. Its easy to drink this one fast, its so pleasant and smooth.

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Photo of csmiley
4.25/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch E!010

A - Pours a light golden color. The white head tops out at just over one inch. It's slow to recede given the excessive amount of active carbonation present after the pour. Hefty amounts of lace stay on the glass. Overall, it has a nice refreshing look to it.

S - Aroma is lighter than expected. Good but definitely on the light side. Some sour fruit notes jump out of the glass first - lemon really stands out. Wood shows up quickly behind the fruit. The wood acts as a very nice compliment to the initial tartness. Alcohol is barely noticeable in the smell. Sweeter toward the end with some honey.

T - Sour fruit just dominates this brew right from the start. Let's see...lemon, pineapple, and lime. The "wild" is very prominent in the flavor. The wood starts to take on a musty character midway. Some white grape comes and goes throughout the brew. Very champagne like in the flavor. Alcohol just can't overcome the other flavors and stays completely masked. The very end has a light sweet note. Flavor is surprisingly good.

M - Medium bodied with a very active carbonation. Finish is tart and extremely dry. It hangs around the palate for a while.

D - Drinkability is very good for the Brute. Initially the champagne qualities are tough to get past but after a few sips it starts to come together nicely. This is a very flavorful brew with some nice complex layers. It really seems to have it all - sweet, sour, and tart, all wrapped up in a nice earthy / oak package. I would happily have this beer again if given the chance. Congratulations to Ithaca Beer Company for a well put together brew.

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Photo of punkrkr27
4.26/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle thanks to sarcastro at the Metro Detroit April '10 tasting. Gold pour with a huge, foamy, white head. Floral brett aroma with some lactic acid, soft yeast, and light citrus. More lactic sourness, yeast and citrus in the flavor with a bit of sweetness on the end. Beautiful balance in the flavor! A nice delicate sweetness without overpowering sour lactic component. Dry medium body with lots of carbonation.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got the last beer out of the keg last night at the end of the weekend of TJ's East Coast/West Coast Throwdown. What lucky break! Reviewing from my notes...

A: Pours a pale hazy orangey amber color with a nice cap of 1cm thick frothy head. Thin delicate laces appear on the sides of my tulip as I drink.

S: Completely devoid of horseblanket, this beer's aroma is big and funky. The sourness is incredible, and it makes my nostrils pucker as I enjoy the aroma. There are some wispy notes of citrus, but the sour dominates.

T: The funky sour tangy taste melds nicely with an almost oakey flavor. this is combined with the citrusy flavors of lemon and apricot.

M/D: The initial feeling is a tingly sour sensation that envelops the tongue and insides of my cheeks. Carbonation gives way to a dry, almost acidic finish. Very nicely textured, light but not thin. I wish there was a bit more fruity flavor to this to keep my going, but overall, this is a great beer. I wish there was more, but I will take my last glass and be happy. I would love to have this with a bit of age on it in my cellar, so I may be looking for a bottle soon.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a flute. Big thanks to nyrangerfan for including this as an EXTRA!

4.0 A: Murky light yellow straw color. Three fingers of frothy white head. Most of it falls quickly, but the last 1/4 inch sticks around for a good while. Minimal lacing.

4.5 S: Pleasant lemony tartness hits first. Overripe peachy esters and some straw. Lots of brett funkiness. Hints of some phenols.

4.0 T: The first sip really hits you with how tart it is. The tartness is amplified by the fact that it is super dry. Lemon and peach fruitiness again. Not as much brett funk as I would have expected, but like I already said, there is plenty of sourness. Oak comes through on finish. Peppery phenols.

4.5 M: Light-medium body. Healthy dose of spritzy carbonation that rolls over the tongue. Surprisingly creamy. Very nice.

4.5 D: Really nice beer. Would like to get some more of these and age them for a while.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aggregate review from notes dated 12/19/10 and 4/16/2012.

Appearance: Cloudy with a solid bright gold color. Head is brigh-white with good retention. Tight bubble-structure kept alive by the lively carbonation. Nice streaks and splotches of lacing.

Smell: Tart with a distinct edge of brett. Funky with a mildly damp mustiness. Lemon zest and some very light pale malts. Nice layer of oak gives it some depth. Very light sweet amidst a vaguely lactic tartness.

Taste: Layers of funk and tart/sour. Gets a bit funkier as it warms, giving the brett some room to shine. Lactic tart edge coupled with some lemon zest and juice. A nice clean sour element. Malts are incredibly light and pale, adding a mild backing sweetness. Oak adds a nice layer, lending a woody/earthy element. Almost floral at times. Warms to a funky, slightly musty grass. Wheat sneaks through a bit.

Mouthfeel: Puckering up front, but gives way to a slightly crisp light bodied affair. Moderate carbonation keeps it lively, but not sparkling.

Overall: Et tu Brute.

You're not going to kill someone for this beer, but it would be tough. Gets better with age and has a nice soft complexity. Tart in all the right places with a bit more carbonation than other wilds.

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Photo of orangesol
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite wild's. Finally decided to break down and write a review. Thanks to whoever brought this bottle to Imminent Liquidation II

A - Pours slightly hazy golden yellow with a nice one finger tall white head leaving small stringy lace down the glass.

S - Smells of lemons, granny smith apples, bready yeast, oak, some sweetness and a good amount of lactic sourness. Not as funky as others in the style, but that isn't a bad thing.

T - Starts off with a nice jolt of citric fruit tartness quickly being enveloped by the lactic sourness and hints of chewy grain, green apple and plenty of dry oak tannins. The dryness continues through the finish. Could use a tiny bit more funk but thats just me.

M - Tart, dry feel with a spritzy feel from the moderately high carbonation. The champagne yeast really works well for this one and it isn't overly sour like others in the style.

O - Easily one of the best wild's out there. If you are looking to get into the world of sour beers this is a good starting point. It isn't overly sour and it is easy to drink. Awesome stuff for sure.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A light orangey color that is very hazy. Big creamy head comes without even a very vigorous pour. Retention is good and some sheets of lacing are left to hang around.

Smell is nice. A ton of light fruits like apricots and even peaches are noticeable, along with a bite of sourness and some oak notes.

Taste is surprisingly more sour than sweet. The fruit from the nose is almost non existant and is instead replaced by a good dose of sourness. An ok, woody flavor comes through in the finish. A pretty solid beer, not overly complex but certainly tasty.

Mouthfeel is rather good. Extremely dry and somewhat creamy in thickness. That is until it slides across your tongue and the ramped up carbonation turns Brute into fizz.

This one is really drinkable and a good beer overall. I'd sampled this a few times and was happy to jump on buying the bottle when I ran into it.

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Photo of Reagan1984
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Patrick (Jctribe25) for providing this in trade earlier this year.

The beer is a beautiful bright gold/brass color with excellent clarity and some sparse carbonation. The light fluffy white head form and then vanishes immediately. No signs of lacing anywhere.

Aroma is bright, tart and of white grapes and green apples. Lots of earthy notes and a whiff of dirt.

Flavor is very nice. Light tartness initially greets you, then gives way to some fresh fruits.. Green Apples and some white wine notes. The earthy aroma make their presence known in the finish. You pick up some minerals here along with the earth flavors. Lots to contemplate here.

Body is very light and is certainly reminiscent of champagne. Carbonation is just a prickle on your tongue.

Really a nice beer and one I am glad to have had the chance to try.

Well done.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle cap and cork. Poured a clear yellow color with a large frothy white head that mostly lasted with fair lacing. Moderate to heavy sour citrus and yeast aroma. Medium to full body with a sticky texture and soft carbonation. Medium to heavy sour flavor with a medium to heavy sour & sweet finish of moderate to long duration. This is a standout beer for style.

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Photo of SFLpunk
4.27/5  rDev -2.7%
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 BearsOnAcid
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is outstanding. It has a very beautiful golden color and very cloudy. A small white head forms but quickly fizzes away and diminishes completely, leaving a white ring around the glass.

It smells like champagne with a hint of lemon, hops, and oak in the background. When tasting there is a burst of carbonation followed by a strong tartness that quickly lifts off the palate. A slight bitter hops and a funk taste is left as it goes down. The mouthfeel is nice and smooth.

This beer is good because it has so many layers to it when you taste it and they all come in one at a time. It's an amazing feeling.

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