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 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 RodneyX
4.55/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Golden colored beer that had some white head on it and some lacing as well. It smells great with good tartness and reminds me of RR Temptation. Taste is really good as well with some tartness and sweetness that goes down real easily and finishes a little bit dry. The carbonation makes it light and refreshing. I loved this beer and am trying to get more.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.01/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A long time want, knocked off the list by Ryan011235. Batch E!018.

This is a pretty one. Lots of lively carbonation can be seen through it's clear, pale golden body.

I do love a stinky, funky beer. This one is very horsey with a shot of lemon sourness. It has a chalky, earthy, funky yeast profile to the overall bouquet.

I'm really not enjoying this as much as I expected to. Its acidic and quite sour. The flavors of the vinegar acidity comprise a bit of a tomato ketchup flavor that I just can't shake.

This beer feels as carbonated as it looks, but the bubbles aren't so sharp as to be painful. The finish is semi dry and the body is light. It really does have the feel down for an easy drinking wild.

I could take it or leave it. Its visually appealing and smells good. From there, however, it seems this beer slipped. I can't call it a bad beer, but average is close enough.

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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 Spider889
4.1/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.75/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle into Portsmouth snifter. 2010 vintage. Split with friends.

A: Pours a bright, hazy lemony orange with a thick, fluffy, bright white head that slowly faded to lace. Great head retention.
S: Super clean notes of brett, lemon zest, peaches, apricots, nectarines, straw and pepper. This smells amazing.
T: Lightly tart notes of citrus and lemon zest. Fruit follows the nose, especially the peach. The finish is full of golden fruits and maybe raspberries, and the aftertaste is lightly dry with flavors of straw.
M: Very soft carbonation, velvety soft actually, with a light, dry mouth.
O: Amazingly subtle beer. The flavors are very complex but don’t overwhelm the senses. I really enjoyed the flavor and the mouthfeel especially. Definitely underhyped.

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Photo of mjyoung
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Drank 6/25/11. Split w/ bbb099, scottfrie, et al. Bottled 2010, batch E!027.

A: A thick, robust head that leaves a fine lacing on the glass. A slightly hazy something or other.

S: Whew. Mmmm Brett. Nothing too overpowering, but definitely strong notes of barnyard and a slight hint of oak-y citrus. It's not the most complex smell, but pleasant.

T: The Brett is moderately hidden. Definitely sour, but quite fruity. It's remarkably peachy but not in an overpowering way. I'm having a hard time describing the taste, but it's fantastic.

M: Definitely reminiscent of champagne. The carb is delightfully high and the body is nice and airy. Very very nice.

O: A very good brew. I approve. Many thanks to scottfire for sharing!

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Photo of knucks999
3.55/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch E027. Pours with a lot of head, this beer is definitely carbonated! Aromas of brett funk and vinegar predominate. This beers taste is much the same, mostly lactic sour, but bordering on too much acetic for my liking. Very tart finish and high carbonation result in a very dry tasting beer. Mouthfeel is great with the CO2, nice acidity as well. Cork was a little hard to get out!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch# E!010. Bottle from a long-ago trade with BeerTruth - thanks Adam! Served in a Darkness snifter.

A - Voluminous white foam that settles to a thick cap and leaves behind plenty of splotchy glass-coating lace. The body is transparent golden. Not sure how it could be much better.

S - Vinous notes, lemon, oak and vanilla, lactic acidity, some farmyard brett notes, light sweet malt backdrop. Pretty delicious smelling stuff.

T - Taste is largely the same as the aroma, but with more sweetness and less in the way of vinous and sour flavors. Some malted grains, and perhaps even a hint of sweet corn. More of a fruity brett beer with some acidity than a Cantillon-esque sour. Some similarities to Temptation, but this seems sweeter (we opened a Batch 003 Temptation to confirm this). I like the complexity of the aroma a bit more.

M - Zesty champagne-like carbonation, medium body that has sufficient heft but is still light on the palate. Dry finish that is crisp, clean, and refreshing. Spot on for the golden sour style.

D - Incredibly drinkable stuff. I'll have to get a few more bottles, as it's great for converting champagne lovers. Something I wish were more readily available and a worthy East Coast response to Temptation.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a snifter

Batch 1

A- Hazy appearance, white one finger head, great lacing, yellow straw appearance
S- Awesome aroma, tart, grapes, sour apple, lemon, brett, my mouth is watering.
T- Very puckering, sour, tarty grape taste, slightly vinegary, very tasty brett funkiness, wild yeast, delicious, sour apples, lemon, hints of citrus, as well as oaky earthiness, a lot going on with the taste.
M- Medium mouth feel, puckering, refreshing, excellent carbonation, well balanced sourness
O- One of the best sours I have had, just delicious, sour, refreshing, complex, wish I had more to drink, really easy drinkability, perfect for a hot summer day.

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Photo of LtCracker20
4.82/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Taken from notes. Batch E027.

A- Pours a cloudy gold body with a 2-finger head with excellent retention.

S- Sour! Very Nice. Maybe some cherries, crabapple, and some great funky yeast with some barnyard and tart aromas.

T- Very sour/tart/ Peachiness, apples, grapes, and some sharp earthiness.

MF- Almost champagne like. Great carbonation.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.77/5  rDev +8.7%
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

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.5/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review adapted from notes taken 12/19/10

Appearance: Great golden color, cloudy with a great head and great lacing

Smell: Super sour - tart, with a little Brett funk, some wood, some pale malts... but mostly sour

Taste: Sour! There is some funk, which becomes more apparent as it warms, but this beer seems to be all about the sour - a pretty clean sour - very tart, with some subtle sweet, light fruits - the sweetness helps balance - malts are very light, almost delicate - some hints of wood, but it is muted by the sourness and other tasty flavors

Mouthfeel: Puckering, but also crisp and light - nicely carbonated

Overall: An excellent sour

Yes, a fantastic sour that isn't from California or Belgium... Brute isn't earth-shattering, but it is great. I hope I can get my hands on more.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.7/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy super bright golden-yellow color with a big two-fingers of frothy white head. The head hangs around forever afterwards and eventually fades down to a still sizeable layer.

S - Aroma is a fine balance of tart and sour grape aromas. There is also some other fruity sweet background flavors, some malt and wheat, and just a touch of hops mixed in.

T - Starts off with a great mix of tart and sour grape flavor. There is a bit of malt in the background to provide just a hint of balance. Through the middle, the sour and tart flavors mingle back and forth with a bit of wheat flavor and other fruit esters. The finish is a mix of sour and tart grape flavors that mingle nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The tart flavors really create a nice dry mouthfeel that also feels really crisp and refreshing. The sour and tart also linger nicely.

D - Very drinkable. It is amazing how rich the flavors are and how the beer avoids to feel overly heavy. The sour and tart flavors are very nicely balanced and keep that balance throughout.

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Photo of yourefragile
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle shared by beandip with starrdogg. Batch !018

Beer 4 in our tasting, following DDG, Blabaer and Flaming Fury sets a high bar for this beer and provided some nice perspective on it. Tasting this after a break with a clean palate, Brute stand out as an exceptional American Wild. While not comparing apples to apples, side by side with the others Brute was clearly a level or two beneath them, though still enjoyable.

Pours a hazy golden honey color with a dense, fluffy white head. Moderate retention with abundant rings of lacing. Aroma is a dominated by champagne yeast, bread, lemon, grass, apple; pleasantly sour and tart. Sour and effervescent up front and throughout the beer. Nowhere near as complex or nuanced as DDG; almost balanced and smooth to a fault. Not as much funk as expected either. Extremely high, prickly carbonation as expected producing a light, fluffy full bodied mouthfeel. Better than most, but lacking the complexity to make this exceptional

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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!

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

Thanks to mikereaser for hooking me up with a bottle of 2010 Ithaca Brute. This was an excellent beer and easy trade.

Brute is a hazy hay colored beer that fills the glass with it's voluminous head. It looks like lemonade topped with egg foam. The sparkling white fluff stays on the entire time. The beer smells grainy and only faintly sour like ripening lemons. The acidity of Brute is actually less than I thought and was preparing myself for (especially after consuming a Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek) but was well balanced with the residual sweetness from the grain. The flavor is lemony and crisp with sour apples and a bit of wood-like phenol or tannin from the hops. This is a delicious beer that has good body (The Brewing Network interview with the brewer revealed a 4 Plato finishing gravity) and mouthfeel that looks great in a glass.

When this is released again this year, I'm going to try to get a case.

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Photo of Azurescens
4.33/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and capped bottle, batch E!08 poured into maudite stemmed glass, reviewed on 5/1/11

A: Pours a hazy peach color with tons of fluffy white head, decent retention and lots of lacing around glass.

S: Slightly sweet with plenty of sour and funk. Lots of fruit as well, tart apples, lemons, oranges and earthy yeast.

T: Nice and tart, but not quite as sour as the nose led me to believe. Citrus fruits, grapefruit and lemons along with some funk and earthyness, pretty unique taste.

M: Millions of tiny spritsy bubbles almost like a champagne. Medium bodied, starts sweet and tart, finishes pretty dry

O: Great sour all around with practicly no alcohol detectable anywhere. The citrus flavors work really nicely with the wild and champagne yeasts. Would definitely be buying bottles of this if it were available locally.

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Photo of nrbw23
2.44/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a hazy golden color with a nice fizzy white head. Head forms a ring around the edge.

S- Lemon zest, musty, funky, wet grass, grapes and brett. A bit of bready malts.

T- This one follows the nose and I already know I'm in trouble. Lemons strike first very sour, grapes, and vinegar.

M- Pretty light in body and good amount of carbonation.

O- I understand how you guys like these, but I'm not digging these sours at all. If you like straight up lemon juice this ones for you.

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Photo of AlCaponeJunior
4.23/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL corked bottle. When I popped the cork it overflowed a little, like champagne. No surprise there I guess, given it's got champagne yeast in it.

Very nice looking brew!! Tan in color and relatively hazy clarity. Great big white fluffy head that lasted a long time and left tons of thick lacing.

Smell is a little sweet and a little sour, with funky apples and light fruits, and a touch of grains.

Taste is bold and very flavorful. Great sourness along with apples and tangerines seem to come through first, followed by a great brett funkiness.

Feel is light bodied and very carbonated, almost champagne like in body but sour ale like in taste. Aftertaste is sour apples and crabapples.

Overall it's a fantastic creation that I'll certainly be having again and again!!

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Date: 04/24/2011
Vintage: Batch E!027
Type: 750ml. Bottle
Glass: DFH Tulip

Review #100, really trying to write reviews now for pretty much everything I drink, wish I would have started writing more reviews at the beginning. Anyway, here goes #100.

Pours a golden straw in color w/ a huge 3+ finger head, which I assume is from the Champagne yeast. Nice lacing. Aromas of champagne, citrus fruits, hay, and a touch of breadiness. The taste was mild acidic sour up front, followed by orange peel and strong lemon, w/ a finish of breadiness. Mouthfeel was thin, but almost felt medium bodied due to the higher carbonation levels. Very easy drinker, as the sour notes are mild and transition into citrus flavors rather quickly. Also, the thin body and good carbonation levels make this a refreshing summer brew.

Overall, this is a very well made mild sour that is very enjoyable and refreshing. I would never turn down a glass of Brute and you should'nt either.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
4.05/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"Ithica Take Over" at the Blue Monk. A night of terrific beers, some of which will never be seen again.

Light golden orange with a fluffy white head, which eventually faded into a light blanketing. Good carbonation throughout, little lacing.

The beer was served far too cold to let the wild ale breathe and invigorate my senses. Light vinegary sourness, we shall see how much this beer drys and whether or not it satisfies.

When warming the beer does become more alive.

Delightful, a tremendous american wild ale with a palatable amount of vinegary sourness, but still a hearty golden ale backbone. The carbonation and vinegar leave an overwhelming seltzer-like burn. This beer is very refreshing and cleanses the palate for my next sip.

Strong and biting mouthfeel with a residual drying sourness. The beer is sweet at the end like a warhead. Very interesting beer to drink; it goes through many phases to keep you captivated.

This beer is priced fairly, rages with complexity and is stirring with character. It's unfortunate that this beer is currently unavailable, I would have liked to hold onto a bottle for a later date. If Ithica decides to repeat I will definitely indulge and recommend to others.

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Photo of trappistlover
4.42/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(750ml bottle at RBWG!). Pours hazy golden with massive white head. Decent carbonation. Awesome funky aroma with some fruit (apricot, green apple, and papaya. Taste is tart/funky with a nice amount of vinegar that isn’t typical of many american beers. Medium bodied with a dry finish. This is a bright, incredible sour. This is a fantastic beer!

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Photo of Phelps
4.06/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle shared by ejyoung at a tasting. Brute’s a beastly beer brewed with American barley, wheat and corn, fermented on oak for months with brett and finished with three types of champagne yeast. Into a snifter it goes. Excelsior!

Pale sunflower with a very slight haze, topped with a one-finger head of puffy white that fizzles away to a gaunt, bubbly ring.

Smells tart. Orange and lemon peel, light apricot, oodles of vinous oak. Bright and champagne-like, with incredible balance.

Moderate to high tartness in the flavor, with notes of oak, grapefruit, lemon, green apple and a bit of sweet apricot again, along with hints of honey.

Light carbonation with big bubbles and a soft fizziness. As ejyoung said, “It’s got that bubbly going on.” Medium-light body. The tartness is brash, but not completely ass-puckering.

A drinkable, well-balanced sour. It’s lacking the depth and complexity of world class wild ales, but it’s right on the edge of awesome.

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Photo of kevinv
4.48/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle poured into a champagne flute. I've been lucky enough to have this one multiple times, but this is the first time I've been able to take a break from enjoying it to write a review. Sad to see my last bottle go...

Batch E!018

A - The cork comes out with a nice POP. Pours a brilliant golden yellow. The body is cloudy and the airy, light, bubbly head is nearly 2 fingers.

S - The nose is tart and acidic, but not overpowering. The aromas bring scents of lemon, green apples, and other light citrus.

T - The first sip brings a very manageable puckerness and tartness. Again, wonderful tastes of light juicy green apples. Only the smallest amount of oak notes poke through in the finish. The beer leaves a light drying finish in the mouth. The acidity and sourness here seems to be the perfect amount.

M - Light/medium body with a creaminess to it. Lively carbonation is present. Very sparkling wine/champagne like.

D - Drinkability is over the top. The alcohol is nearly undetectable. This is a very easy drinking sour that would please anybody.

To anybody who hasn't had this, I really recommend taking the time to seek it out.

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