The Bitter End Pale Ale | Two Brothers Brewing Company

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The Bitter End Pale AleThe Bitter End Pale Ale
The Bitter End Pale AleThe Bitter End Pale Ale

Brewed by:
Two Brothers Brewing Company
Illinois, United States

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
13.5 Plato and 30 IBU

User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 306 | Ratings: 748
Photo of rodbeermunch
3.69/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hitting those darker than average amber and orange strides in a pale ale, 2/5" white head, some spotty lacing. Aroma hit some good C hop notes, maybe even Simcoe.

Taste definitely delivered on the bitter end (both front and back end) while pairing it with some lemongrass like notes and toasted pale malts. Slight bit of caramel, unsweetened.

Good stuff with a solid +50 ibu impact that isn't tiresome or one dimensional.

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Photo of chuckpalka
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I had this at the Brewery in Warrenville. A nice clear copper color with a thin head and no carbonation. I got a slight floral smell and a bit of tartness in taste with a slight bitter finish. A perfectly named brew. Ok lacing. I can't say it was great but I can't knock it either.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I purchased this at Brass Rail Deli, enjoyed chilled from the 12oz brown bottle in a can shaped glass.

The color is dark golden with lightly hazed look with thin pale cap. The retention is decent with fine bead and spots of lace stick. The smell is lovely with herbal hop aroma and vibrant yeast ester which brings a mix of golden delicious and slight toasted grain in the malt with grain and caramel scent and light tinge of fruitiness from oxidation. The feel is good with moderately carbonated and slightly bitter middle with balance of moderate sweetness with light tannic quality and semi-dry finish.

The taste brings a good yeast flavor with slight herbal hop flavor and mild yeast which has a fruity taste but leans toward an apple or dried fruit type tangy taste with mild malt in the middle which has a subtle caramel quality. Overall a pretty decent pale ale with more English influence -good but not as fresh as it could be..still held up pretty well, enjoyable.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%

A respectable toasted malt foundation is a welcome deviation from what's typical for this style. Woody, dried floral bittering hops are still featured, but also nicely balanced. A beer to be slowly consumed and enjoyed rather than quaffed rather quickly for refreshment.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

9/1....Light amber pour, light peeks through, small white foam lid. Hearty grain bread nose, subtle orange peel too. Mellowed bitter up and then right back down. Citrus below. Bread and some lemon too. Cellared this for a bit which is suspect mellowed the flavor with good results. Good pale.

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Photo of JamesMN
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Clearly labeled best by 6/27/14. Found this one in a dollar bin.

Appearance: Semi-translucent and probably would have been clear without the bit of sediment that came near the end of the pour, as is usual with unfiltered beer. Copper in color with a thin film of off-white foam and some lacing.

Aroma: Caramel malt dunked in orange, but lacking sweetness. Some bread, possibly yeast esters.

Taste: Immense bitterness right from the get-go. A bit of spicy/earthy hop flavor behind 30 IBUs that pack a serious punch. At 5.2% ABV and given how hop-dominated the flavor is, there really isn't any malt presence. The finish is smoother than I expected. By that point the bitterness has dropped off a bit and by the aftertaste it ebbs to a level that is easily manageable. There is a slight sweet orange flavor at times that I imagine is much more present in a fresh bottle. Definitely lives up to its name.

Mouthfeel: About medium, which is heavy for a 5.2% ABV beer so the malt is there, more so than in the flavor department. Good drinkability despite the ferocious bitterness. Sessionable is you are looking to give your palate a good thrashing. It would be difficult to follow this one up with anything lighter or less hoppy. A bit aggressive on the carbonation but nothing a good swirl can't remedy.

Final Thoughts: Quite enjoyable for a beer over a month past its best by date. Highly recommend for those who seek the most bitter beers while maintaining a need for a lower ABV. I especially appreciate the description on the label, "At the end of every glass you will discover how this pale ale got its name." And indeed that rings true. Would I drink it again? Yes.

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Photo of Bierwolf
2.97/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours amber with about one finger of foam,light beige that does not retain and leaves minimal lacing. Clear with decent carbonation showing.

Aroma: Light citrus hop aroma but I did not detect much anything else.

Taste: A mild citrusy hop flavor but not big like a lot of APA's. Overall this beer is pretty mild. Crisp and clean, the hops do linger.

Mouth Feel: Smooth and crisp with a light to medium body. Finishes dry.

Overall: Not a bad beer but I was hoping for a little more out of it. Certainly would drink it again.

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Photo of ChristopherWIU-UTPA
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

It pours clear golden, slowly turned golden orange, with light head, average carbonation, and some lacing. It had an underpowering aroma of light hops,that hung around after the pour, which usually doesn't happen in many beers. It had unique and complex taste that mixed hops, wheat, and malt....with traces of pine oil. It did not have much of edge, when down fairly easy, and left a light malt after tast. It has a light body, no metalic edge, and is not filling.

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 1/12/2014. Pours moderately cloudy golden orange color with a 2 finger dense off white head with good retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of tangerine, grapefruit, lemon zest, orange zest, toast, biscuit, light caramel, floral, grass, and floral earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and malt notes; with good strength. Taste of tangerine, grapefruit, lemon zest, orange zest, floral, grass, toast, biscuit, light caramel, light pine, and floral/toasted earthiness. Light floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of tangerine, grapefruit, orange/lemon zest, floral, grass, toast, biscuit, light caramel, and floral earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity and robustness of hop and malt flavors; with a great hop/malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a smooth, crisp, and slightly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with no warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice pale ale. All around good balance, complexity, and robustness of hop and malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Copper colored with minimal Head, I really like the look of this in the glass

S: citrusy and floral smell, can smell the hop fragrance nicely, not too overpowering

T: moderate bitterness, I liked that there was a nice malt presence to coincide with the bitterness. Too often there’s usually a tradeoff between one and the other. Fruit and floral notes come through.

O: At 30 IBU it’s not an “extreme” IPA and it’s not trying to be. I like this beer if I want to have a few and don’t feel like being overwhelmed. It has a nice palate and a balanced flavor that I can appreciate. In the end, I would take a Domaine DuPage from the Two Brother’s Brewery over this one, it is only a few IBUs less and has a ton of flavor and character, but I still recommend this one as well.


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Photo of Hergestridge
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The Bitter End Pale Ale is very good and one of the best American Ales I've enjoyed.
The bitterness is good without being "sour" . The mouth feel is cool with a slight floral taste. Well done and Bravo, Two Brothers! You do Illinois Proud!

edit: after trying numerous IPA's.. Needed to Bump Up 2 Bros. :) Thank you 2 bros.!!!!
Carry on Citizens!

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Photo of mrchrisray
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

not much head, not much retention but ok lacing. looks like is very bubbly.

smells sweet, with a little hops and some roasty malts.

hoppy but not bitter, malty, caramely, and roasted. very smooth.

really good, very carbonated and not in a bad way. not too light or too heavy, just a good every day drinking apa that is above the fold.


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Photo of tut2528
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a light brown golden body with moderate transparency. it creates a thin 1/2 fingers worth of head formation that is just slightly off-white in color.

S: nice piney hops right up front with a solid sweet malt backbone. some minor notes of citrus orange peel and grapefruit. not much complexity, but i really enjoy the balance.

T: not complex by any means, but wonderful balance between a nice hop profile, a light and sweet caramel backbone, and a nice crisp finish. some touches of tropical fruits in their as well.

M: light on the tongue, leaves a light sweetness of malty caramel and just a tinge of hops on the palate.

O: highly drinkable beer and actually quite enjoyable. as already stated, its not complex but it has a terrific balance in my opinion.

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Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

Pours a slightly clear and translucent strong copper color with some gold edges. There is a nice dense egg shell white head that forms that is about 1 inch tall. The head is quite sticky and has great retention. Seemingly holding on for dear life while leaving some nice lacing.

Aroma of bread and pale malts dominate the forefront. There is a nice slight grassy and citrus hop element to the middle of the brew. After which a nice earthy grain note comes back to balance that aroma out. There is some slight caramel sweetness mixed in there but mostly there is that nice clean and bready malt flavor.

Flavor is typical to more traditional APAs. Bready, biscuity malt notes start things of while a quick punch of citrus hops comes up to balance the sweetness. The hops are quite subdued and don't take center stage but in fact help to bring balance and completeness to the brew and the more malty and earthy bread notes. The nice sharp citrus notes and bitterness play very well with the malt sweetness and there is a nice creamy yet light body to the brew.

Pretty standard and good APA. Nice balance of flavors and well-crafted.

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Photo of themind
4.04/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At first the aroma was weak to me but one sip of this brew told me it was more. The beer pours a small head with decent carbonation to it. For a Pale Ale this beer rocks in the flavor department. Again I am surprised that this is not rated higher. I recommend this beer for Pale Ale lovers.

Bottom Line: A very good Pale Ale.

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Photo of mvanaskie13
3.98/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a sam adams glass, color is bright, transparent copper, head presents at 1/4 inch thick but dissipates quickly, leaving some nice lacing.

Smell is lightly toasted malt blended with some simple hop notes, citrus the prominent note.

Taste is more bready than expected from the smell, lighter toast flavors more biscuit, solid bitter flavors, hop flavors are clean, mostly on the citrus and bittering flavor profile.

Mouthfeel is pretty spot on for a pale ale, crisp, refreshing, some lingering malt sweetness.

Overall a very solid pale ale, really like the light biscuit notes, a little crisper in carbonation but not a big knock.

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Photo of emerge077
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

One of those ubiquitous beers that I never got around to reviewing until now for some reason. Poured into a mug with a frothy head of soapy foam. Lots of lace in the glass and lasting head retention. Bright clarity, deep orange hue.

Caramel malt sweetness with a little tiny bit of dried orange peel and funky yeast aroma.

Flavors are similar, caramel malt is a little tired out, mild to moderate bitterness after a bigger sip. Light to medium bodied, average carbonation, lingering grassy bitterness in the aftertaste. This is a passable beer, pretty standard for the style, not especially hoppy or unique.

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Photo of TheSSG
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice, dense, resiny head that is persistent and creates nice lacing. Nice aroma is dominated by an orange rind hop aroma, with a backing of malt. Golden-straw color with a touch or an amber-honey. Starts off with a nice grapefruit hop flavor, surprisingly not-too-bitter (for the hop aroma/flavor), though. This builds into a medium bitterness, with malt breaking through after the bitterness peaks. I detect a quick, actually pleasant metallic flash (so fast, you'll probably miss it) as this transition occurs (first time I can recall feeling that way about a metallic flavor). As you sip it, and it warms, there is a more noticeable pine aspect to the hops.

Overall, a well done Pale Ale.
I, always, have a preference for the aromatic Pales, and this one is aromatic enough to make me content. A good hop flavor, and I love that it's not overly bitter; a textbook definition for a winning Pale Ale.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Clear ruby orange, some carbonation, one finger head that lingers.

S-Malt, more than I'd like, caramel, dirt and grass.

T-Starts with malt, caramel, the finish has some dirt/grass. Not much bitterness at all, is sweet though.

M-Light to medium bodied, not much carbonation, a few hop resins.

O-Too malty. An APA should not have that much malt. (Best by was in January)

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Photo of jtierney89
2.65/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Semi hazed tarnished orange. Big sticky and craggy mountainous head with an aggressive pour. Really sticky lacing. Sweet mixed fruit bowl on the nose. Good mix of malt and hop smells are detectable.

Reminds me of english ipa more than an american one. Very malt forward with a fresh soft biscuit like taste. Sweet breads are balanced by an underlying bitterness. Hops lend more to balance than flavor. Thins out on the finish. Interesting, very malty but has a bitterness too it. Not crazy about it.

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Photo of larryarms847
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark golden hay yellow with decent head retention and nice bubbles.

Light citrus, fresh grains, toasted malt, and bready.

Bread, toast, grainy, fresh citrus.

Light-bodied, high carbonation, dry, bitter finish.

Overall, nothing to write home about but a well balanced brew.

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Photo of BierStein711
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Typical for the style.

This is a blah beer from a good brewery

Two finger head, burnt orange body

Not a great one, but not too bad.

Aroma: hop and malt

Taste piney, hempy, and malty

Very herbal at the finish

Overall, the mouthfeel is typical to the style as well.

Ok beer.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The pour is light copperish amber with a white head and some larger bubbles. Nose is a fair amount of orange citrus and resinous hop. Taste is hop forward, apricot and citrus, lightly resinous, syrupy body and light carbonation. Finish is a touch flat.

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Odd to say about an IPA but there is a nice solid caramel backbone on this beer reminiscent of an 80-shilling ale. On top of the obvious caramel, there are light fruit esters blanketed with a faint earthiness. Its hard to ignore the obvious malt character in the aroma of this beer. It doesn't smell like a pale ale, but it's a very good aroma, so I give it high marks.

To the eye, The Bitter End is a clear dark orange color with a beautiful stream of carbonation bubbles rising to the top. The head is a tan color, but doesn't last long and falls quickly into the beer. Decent lacing too, Its a pretty beer.

Steady bitterness throughout, despite what you think is coming from the aroma, it's bitter. Flavors are a bit of a muddled variety of peach, nectarine, apricot, and caramel. It's an interesting beer, it's not a hop-forward pale ale which I think is what I've come to expect these days. It's slick in texture with low carbonation and a medium body. It's a good beer, just not what I was expecting.

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Photo of TTAmod
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12. oz bottle poured into pint.

A: Nice, bright slightly opaque orange amber color. Sizable white head with good retention.

S: this the right beer? Smells overly Belgian. I pick up a load of Belgian yeast and sugars, sharp malt, grass, lemon and honey.

A: Tastes Belgian throughout most of the drink. I even taste Brett, crazily enough. Get hints of lemon and grass, as well. There is a bit of citrus, bitter hops at the very end, but it doesn't end dry at all.

M: Mouthfeel is actually very nice. Creamy, almost light bodied, nice tingling from the carbonation.

O: I'm not sure what they were going for here...maybe BeerAdvocate misclassifies this one as an APA? If Two Brothers was going for a BPA, then I'd say they hit the mark damn well. I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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The Bitter End Pale Ale from Two Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 748 ratings