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Brute | Ithaca Beer Company

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391 Reviews
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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.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 391 | Ratings: 841
Photo of mynie
4.89/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Saison yellow, hazy and effervescent. Decent head, pretty and gold.

Smells like beer yeast and sour candy. That's almost too simple an explanation for something that seems so alive. Like, if your son took his first steps and all you said in response was "Timmy is taking his first steps." It's technically accurate, yes, but doesn't capture it. Well--hrm... pretend I used a bunch of exclamation marks in this paragraph.

Tastes like yeast, real lemon juice, candy lemon flavoring, and the aftertaste of moderately sweet champagne. Again, add exclamations.

I'd say this is well balanced, but there's nothing really there that counteracts the sweetness. This is simply sweet at the exactly perfect intensity, backed up by just enough yeasty berriness to make it interesting from start to finish.

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.67/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

surprised not to have a review for this one...must be in the backlog of notes? none-the-less opened E!037 and filled a russian river tulip.

a - brew poured a transparent yellow orange with visible champagne like carbonation. a massive bubbly head filled half the glass and slowly fizzled away leaving spotty but chunky lacing on the side of the glass. fairly frothy for all those bubbles.

s - wonderful tart. acidy citric peach and tropical fruit with a glaze of sour candy sweetness. you can almost smell the fizziness.

t - really well balanced and complex sour flavors. the perfect meld of fruitiness and sourness. the taste is really spot on. oaky. extremely refreshing. fruitiness is orange peel mixed with citrus with a hint of peaches and a tropical almost kiwi like splash to finish it off.

m - prickly carbonation. finishes a bit dry and bitter...just a BIT. easy drinker, light and thirst quenching...ideal for the current heat wave.

o - overall, i've always dug brute, but i forgot how great it is. this is truly one of the better sours out there. the balance is mind blowing. if you don't like over the top sours, but still enjoy sours, this is your beer. wonderful tropical fruit flavorings with a nice burst of sour. non offensive...really well crafted sour.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.37/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks to Jeff for cracking this long time want of mine. A nice displace of gold, orange, and copper pours from the glass with a thick-bubbled and pretty fussy white head topping it off. It sounds and looks volatile, much like you'd expect from a wild ale. Within moments, the head is gone and the slightly hazy brew is left bare, with barely a trace of foam at the edge.

A good grouping of musty lemon and bubblegum-esque Belgian yeast attacks my nostrils up front, slowly followed up by a more acidic, tight cherry-skin sourness. Lacto notes left and right, opening up more and more with time. There's a good barrel presence in this one, too, with plenty of dry oak staves that mix with the mildly funky Brett notes like peanut butter and jelly.

Well, that's quite tart. Even more tart on the tongue than on the nose, I'd say. Brash lemon flesh and voluptuous amounts of pears and sour fruits. The tartness gradient grows from start to finish, and the back-end is downright sour as hell, puckering levels of lactic acid and mild vinegar notes will have your cheeks touching in no time.

Dry and woodsy, though I'm not picking up as much barrel on the palate as I thought I would. The acidity is at a nice level; enough to rip across your taste buds like nothing, but you probably won't be waking up in the middle of the night with a stomach ulcer, either. I love the slightly lactic and oaky, white wine grape finish, with just a hint of vine and tannin. Highly carbonated and effervescent, wafting mouth feel.

Well, well, well. What can I say, besides the fact that I'm disappointed I'll probably never have this beer again. It really is a shame that Ithica's head brewer left and therefore seized the production of this fine wild ale. Hopefully one day we'll see this beer brewed again, even if under a different moniker - it's far too tasty for the recipe to be laid to rest this soon.

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Photo of warnerry
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to woosterbill for this one. Cheers! Batch E!027

A - Pours a hazy golden brown tinged orange. Head has decent retention before fading to a cap.

S - Subtle but persistent funk with some sour apple, oak, Brett and lemon. Some white bread in the aroma as well.

T - Nice sourness. Not mouth puckering, but satisfying and refreshing with a great funky base. Lemon, faint barnyard, Brett, and grain. Nice amount of citrus. Delicious.

M - Mouthfeel is interesting. Definitely has a light crispness, but there is a bit of heft to it as well. Lively carbonation.

O - I could drink this all day long. Nice sourness and funk, without going overboard in any direction. Maintains a bit of fruitiness, and the Champagne yeast adds a nice character.

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Photo of thagr81us
4.41/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Massive thanks to nyrangerfan for a bottle of this in a recent trade. Batch #3! Served from bottle into a Duvel tulip. Poured a pale yellow-orange with a three finger very slightly off-white head. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, sourt, tart, and citrus. The flavor was of sweet malt, sour, tart, and slight funk. It had a light feel on the palate with high carbonation. Overall this was quite the excellent brew. I had gotten a sample of this at the recent ORF release at Foothills and HAD to have more of it. The reason being is that this is just an excellent tasting brew. Also a very nice aroma going on here as well. If you like sour/funky beers and haven't had this one yet, you need to get off your ass and do so. Even if you have to trade for it... It is worth it.

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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 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 AgentZero
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Looks like champaign. Golden yellow with a large foam head. Nice bubbles twisting up to the top. Very pretty looking.

S - Tart lemons, little funk, some nice oak and vanilla. Nicely sour with some obvious barrel influence, smells a little like wine.

T - Very tart. Lemons, apple, a bit like champaign. A nice amount of grape, but mainly you notice the tartness.

M - Light, bubbly, crisp, finishes nicely dry.

D - So good, so easy, would drink this all the time.

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Photo of gford217
4.47/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1 bottle shared at the Brick Store by a generous soul.

Pours a milky golden yellow with a fluffy white head that recedes to a small soapy cap that leaves decent lacing.

The aroma is light and vibrant with tart lemons and some citrus hops. The brett character is present but not dominant as the aroma is seemingly all about the light tart fruit.

The taste starts with a puckering tart sourness. Lots of lemons with a hints of vinegar and funk. There is an underlying fruit sweetness as well with peaches and green apples. It's a very bright tartness overall with a bit of funk and spicy oak in the finish.

The mouthfeel is effervescent with the champagne yeast very evident. It's light to medium bodied and extremely crisp and dry in the finish.

This is a wonderful beer and just so tart in a bright, lemony tart king of way. So refreshing and drinkable.

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Photo of Gmann
3.87/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 750ml corked, capped, and foiled bottle. Pours a bright golden straw color with a soapy pure white head that dissipated into a light ring. The aroma is of dry champagne grapes and tart lemon concentrate. The taste is of lemon, unripe green apples, champagne, perhaps an unripen cherry as well. I don't pick up much in the way of malt or hops. The sour and tart characteristics hit me right in the back of the jaw. The feel is light and ultra fizzy; sour and tart all over the place. I don't have much experience with the style and its not one of my favorite styles. However, Ithaca seems to nail down the style. Very champagne like with a good punch of tartness. Clean and crisp.

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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 illidurit
4.32/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy kmurray. Pours a hazy light gold color with a creamy white head, displaying good retention for a sour. Aroma is sweet and pastry-like, lemon meringue, white wine grapes, a touch of bretty chlorine. Flavor is lemons, chardonnay, lacto, vanilla. Moderately acidic and sour. Not a super harsh sour, pretty drinkable. Comparable to Duck Duck Gooze.

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Photo of francisweizen
3.53/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fiery golden
laced with brett
this beer is certainly a threat
sticky lace
fizzles thin
let the drinking begin

sour apples
tart and free
hints of other fruit
maybe cherry ?

Mouthfeel spritzy
taste is weak
not enough funk for this here freak

Drinkability is good
should you try this?
Yes you should
but it's certainly not the best
but for an American wild it passed the test

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Photo of birchstick
4.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

HUGE thanks goes out to SamuelJackson45 for snagging some bottles of this for me at the release!

A - pours a yellow straw color with a nice white head sitting atop it

S - the nose is apples, sweet lemons, and a lot of champange like notes that sort of hover like a fog over the other aromas

T - sweet fruits open this one up - lemony flavors fade to softer fruits (apples, pears). Soon, however, some sweet champagne flavors from the yeast take over, but yield to some more of the sour, lemony flavors. This is really nice because the sourness isn't crazy intense, but more flavorful than anything; the champagne also keeps the sourness in check and adds a nice sweetness to everything.

M - wow, really soft mouthfeel - goes down great

D - solid American wild on display here. It sour but doesn't bite too hard, which works really well. Highly recommended!

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Photo of woosterbill
4.29/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked bottle (batch E:018) into a Mad Elf tulip.

A: Slightly hazy yellow-gold body with greenish hints; 1.5" pillowy head of pure white foam. Fairly quick dissipation and minimal lacing.

S: Piquant aroma of sour apple and pear, funky Brett, and a round spiciness. Fresh, complex, and intriguing.

T: Light, sweet & sour fruitiness at first, with the funky barnyard Brett dominating the palate through the middle. A dry, crisp finish rounds things out nicely.

M: Fresh, light, and lively with a veritable explosion of fine effervescence. Perfect for the style.

D: Stays fresh and crisp throughout the 750, leaving me thirsty for more.

Notes: This is the first Wild Ale I've reviewed (and only the second I've tried), and I'm definitely seeing the reason for their popularity. Brute has a terrific balance of fruitiness, funkiness, and tartness, and was well worth the fairly hefty price tag. Great beer.


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Photo of DmanGTR
4.65/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Chad and someone else for sharing this. An 08 and 09 comparison, of which I took nearly identical notes, so I'll just summarize.

Slightly cloudy, radiantly golden with a lovely white head in my Duvel tulip. Nice patches of lace.

A little bit of a white wine aroma, pleasing and a hint of Brettanomyces funkiness, but not over the top. The tartness cuts through the light aromas of peach, pear, green apple, and yeast.

Wonderfully tart and puckering. Muscat grapes, sour apples, touch of cranberry and pears. Yeasty, which I like. A very soft oak character. Not sure if it has been oak aged but it certainly has that quality. This is delicious and nearly unsurpassed thus far in my adventure in sour ales.

Creamy and light body, carbonation dances on the tongue. Wish it had a touch more body. Quite dry too.

Damn, this is a good beer. I just think it's a bit weird that it's brewed like 90 miles away from me and I can't get it here in NY.

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

A: clear straw color with heavy carbonation and head of large bubbles.

S: sour apple, pear, and some earthy notes and light grain

T: taste is all funk - pear, apple, tartness/sourness, very fruity and dry but left room for a bit of sweetness.

M: highly carbonated and medium body makes for a crisp, dry feeling. At some points, there was a slight coating feeling of heavier malts, but it passed quickly.

O: more complex than my review can indicate. Great beer overall, thanks to vapodge for the taste!

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

1367th Review on BA
Bottle to Ithaca Excelsior! Tulip
750ml Cap/Cork

Batch E!037

Thanks to Mjtiernan for this one

App- When the cork pops a little bit of a champagne fizz came out. Expected yes! The color of a ripe peach with a good mix of oranges/yellows and golds in the glass. A good density for a sour. Nice coloring. Giant head that was quick to gizz with a nice pond layer of bubbles.

Smell- Just a ton going on in this sour. Amazingly straightfoward but utterly complex. I think the BA below said it best, "Can you smell fizzy?" This was fizzy, brett, citrus, funk and sour. Not overly done either way and close to amazing.

Taste- This was one hell of a sour. Most people wont give credit to the champagne yeast but really adds a wonderful depth of character with the brett bringing a stinging barnyard, funk and earthiness to it. The sour is crisp and biting and a wonderful amount of citrus ties it all together.

Mouth- While a tad thick for such a bubbly sour I found it worthwhile none the less. So bubbly with a light medium body while shouldve been a little lighter. A very high carbonation keeps everything prickly and nicely balanced. Nice residual Brett and funk.

Drink- Huge thanks to Matt for the trade and was glad to drink while my boy who is all of two days old slept next to me in his rocker. Would loe another bottle of this one.

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

Many thanks to csmiley for the bottle. You're generous dood and I appreciate it.

Batch E!OIO

Brute pours a light gold color. It's very clearly and is a very bright shade of gold with light behind it. Active carbonation yields a huge, fluffy white head. It's easily over three fingers tall. It was very slow to recede. Thick chunks of lace line the glass as it descends.

The nose kicks off with a very musky, earthy scent. It's a little barnyardish and funky, but not to an offensive degree. Frankly, it's probably moderate on the Brett intensity scale. That suits my preference nicely. It features some nice, light fruit notes. Lemon, apple, and pear are the most notable. There may be others present to a lesser extent. Yeast is subtle and light smelling. Alcohol is as good as absent. I'm not picking up any. This is a very nice smelling beer. The musky, earthy scents tend to overshadow some of its other fine notes. But, it's still very good. Just an observation.

The flavor really delivers in a special way. Everything comes together much better and creates an explosively delicious beer. Fruit flavors appear earlier. Lemon, apple, and pear are noted. They're a little sweet. They blend well with a distinct earthy, musky, and funky flavor. Again, the Brett impact is moderate and not overdone at all. Brute is exceptionally balanced in that respect. It's anchored down nicely with pale malts. Alcohol never really seems to be a factor. It's buried. I'm not getting any here either. It finishes musky, a little funky, and dry. I'm really impressed with the flavor. Ithaca did an excellent job.

Brute has a light body that graduates to light-medium with a little warming. It's nice and smooth. Active carbonation is slightly buzzy, but doesn't throw things too far off track. It has a good feel that's close to the next highest score. Drinkability is very high. It has an excellent flavor that keeps drawing you back. This 750 is going disappearing far too fast. At 7%, it's not too intimidating. I wish I had more.

Ithaca certainly deserves outstanding marks for Brute. It's a very nice addition to the Excelsior Series. It may well be the best of the bunch. The flavor is nothing short of delicious. Its balance is its strongest asset. The nose doesn't display quite how good it really is, but that's nitpicking. Brute is an excellent beer that should be sought out. Highly recommended. Thanks a ton, Chris.

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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 tpd975
4.28/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a cloudy pale shade of yellow. The head is nice, tall, and puffy. Shows good retention and lace.

S: Nice lemon grass type aromas. Very citric, with light oak, and brett.

T: Lemony up front, nice acid tartness. The Brett is there along with light oak and green apple.

M: Very light, very bubbly.

D: Very good, I really dig the Ithaca sours.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.85/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, batch E!010. Pours a hazy light yellow with a thick, bubbly white head. Aroma of light tartness, wheat malt, sour grapes, grapefruit, bitter hops, and a hint of barnyard funk. Most reminiscent of JP Bam Biere to me. Flavor is initially quite tart and sweet with lots of sugar candy notes and wheaty malt. Not very acidic, but certainly sour and tart. Very champagne-like too. This one grew on me a bit--very nice.

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Photo of Florida9
4.19/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mostly clear, golden yellow in color. Forms a fizzy white head that offers up a bit of retention, but no lacing. Aroma of sweet green apples, rice, and dry yeast. Taste is likewise pleasant. Dry apples, cider, light sweet-tart action before turning dry on the finish. Lively carbonation. Slight tartness. Good shit.

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Photo of ffejherb
4.17/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 1. Poured from 750ml bottle on 10/5/09, courtesy of BA Tanger.

A - Cloudy, unfiltered and cider-esque appearance with half a finger's width of bubbly white head and fizzy carbonation.

S - Sour green apples (think Granny Smith) with some citrus notes. Lots of fruity esters and some spicy notes from the Champagne yeast. Funky and earthy notes are very subtle in the aroma.

T - Initial flavor is very cider-like with a dominant sour apple character. Citrus notes are also apparent, but take a back seat to the tartness of the apples. Sour grapes, perhaps? Some faint earthy hops appear in the backend, but overall this is not bitter at all. A tart, champagne-esque quality and oaky dryness dominates the flavor.

M - Light to medium bodied with fizzy carbonation and a syrupy texture. Fairly astringent on the palate. Finish is crisp and dry, and extremely tart on the palate.

D - Very nice Wild Ale with a pleasant tartness. Brute is quite complex, yet it maintains its drinkability quite nicely.

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Brute from Ithaca Beer Company
4.39 out of 5 based on 841 ratings.
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