The Bitter End Pale Ale | Two Brothers Brewing Company

The Bitter End Pale AleThe Bitter End Pale Ale
747 Ratings
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-14-2002

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 747 |  Reviews: 306
Photo of jhauser3
4.53/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite american Pale Ales. I am biased as it is also local to me. It is exciting to live close to a place that makes such a good beer.
The beauty of this beer is really the last sip. As a hop head, the "bitter end" of the beer leaves a lasting impression that made me want to go back out and get more.
The nice part about this beer is that I am able to bring this home in mass quantities, knowing that most people will enjoy it. It is balanced and sweet enough that even my wife would drink it. The smell of hops on the nose makes me salivate as I try to figure out what type I am smelling.
Overall, this is a great beer!

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.81/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Golden color, two finger head with nice retention and lacing.

Citrusy and flowery aroma.

Sharp bitter Orange Rind, crisp hoppyness, a touch of grassy notes wafting in a breeze, and a hint of sweetness.

nice clean and crisp finish. session/summer beer. Name explains it.

Easy drinking like most pale ales, but maybe a bit easier then most as it's maybe a touch lighter and cleaner then some others that come to mind.

Good solid APA. Not the best in the mid-west, but pretty solid, especially for summer grilling.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to mnwags for this first Two Brothers beer, sent by a blood brother, no less. Cheers Nnnick!

Pours a shiny copper color with red tinting, no haze at all, total clarity. Foamy head of small, tight bubbles, pretty decent retention. Little bits of lace only. Looks the part, basically.

Aroma is a balance between toasty malt, citrus hops and a dash of cinnamon. Light mineral quality to it, but in a good way. Good, if mellow and unassuming.

Light metallic flash on the palate opens to a more bitter, grassy flavor, which is then overtaken by something like sugar cookie dough, although not all that sweet. Nearly astringent bitterness in the finish, as the malt totally dies away. No staying power in the finish. Basically good flavor, but lacking a certain je ne sais quoi.

While carbonation is present, there's a smoothness to the beer that nearly veers toward flatness. There's a buttery roundness I like, I just wonder if it works for this beer style? Then again, it's incredibly close to the kind of smoothness you find on tap, so in that respect I'm impressed. Ultimately not sure how to score the feel, but it definitely grew on me and became the beer's most enjoyable facet.

Some good stuff going on here, but the entirety of the flavor is a tad indistinct. The taste doesn't really last, other than the I guess the beer has the right name, although just a bit more oomph would've done the trick. Not a mindblower, but don't forget: "B" means "good"!

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Photo of pasdachuri
3.35/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a hazy golden color with bright orange highlights and held a large, but short lived sticky head.

Smelled of light floral hops. Some grapefruit and orange peel with maybe a hint of apricot in there.

Starts upfront with a nice combination of malts which melt into a hoppy grapefruit taste as expected. What was not expected was the bitter, burnt after taste which followed. If bitter was what they were going for here they definitley found it.

Pretty heavy carbonation with a dry finish.

Not a bad beer and I believe Two Brothers got what they were looking for with this brew. This is just not my taste and what I look for in an APA.

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Photo of Pahn
3.26/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Stag's Head, NYC. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Hazy copper, with minimal head and a few streaks of lacing.

Smell: Weak malt, and nothing else.

Taste: Nice, mild hop and malt balance. The hops have a nice bite, but almost no character. There's a mild toasted flavor, with some vague fruit (apple?). Pleasant malt aftertaste. Not very bitter, not that sweet (maybe a bit too sweet, but only a bit).

Really, I thought the taste was bland and I was utterly unimpressed, but perhaps its the style and not this instantiation that is too bland for me, so I'm not rating it too low.

Mouthfeel: Decent carbonation, but a bit a watery.

Drinkability: Pretty good. Maybe it would go well with food... On its own, it's hard for me to say that it's very drinkable, since the flavor is so muddy and characterless. Water has high drinkability, but if beer is like water, is it thus drinkable?


I didn't like this beer at all. Perhaps I am not the one to review American pale ales... but I enjoy a good malt / hop balance as much as the next guy. I didn't see anything in this beer to suggest it. As a note, this was my first beer of the day, and I hadn't eaten all day, so it's not like my palate was fried or anything. Honestly, I wanted to like this beer more than I did, but it didn't particularly seem to want me to like it.

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Photo of dnjmed
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a clear copper orange, a color i've come to love because of it's association with pale ales. A good head is formed.

Smells of subtle orange and pine alongside sweet grain and malt. I'm liking the balance.

Taste is a little more weighted towards the hops than the aroma but i like it. while it is bitter as its name implies there is considerable amounts of malt here to make this well balanced and delicious.

feels crisp in the mouth but not too light and is quite sessionable.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.12/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

There seems to be carbonation issues off the bat with minimal head and fine speckled lacing, a clouded amber body . Aroma pungent pine and citrus hops with some turning of the hop profile going on. Semis sweet tones with caramel and malt blanketed with hops on the tongue and palate. Strong ample bitterness makes you forget about the rest of the beer's profile. Mouthfeel is medium bodied slightly slick with hop oils, carbonation is mellow maybe too much so. Drinkability overall is weak due to carbonation issues and slightly stale hop character I'll have to try more bottles to compare it to.

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Photo of beerwolf77
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my pint glass the beer is a clear amber with golden yellow highlights. The off white head reaches about an inch and a half. After settling I'm left with a decent amount of lace.

The aroma is straight forward sweet malt. Some hops can be picked up as well. Light juicy pineapple and grapfruit come through after some warming.

The flavor is very malty. Too much malt for an APA. Some hops are present but they have to fight to be tasted. There's a slight skunkiness in the finish.

Medium to light body. Moderate carbonation.

Overall a slight dissapointment from two bros. Maybe the bottle was off. If I see it again I will have to grab it and give it a go.

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Photo of donniecuffs
3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured amber into an American pint glass, with no carbonation and very little head. The aroma consisted of biscuit, pine, and bitter hops, while the taste was less pleasant. It started on a hoppy note, then dissolved to a sickeningly sweet molasses-type flavor, mixed with hints of biscuit, and then finishes on a dry hop bitter note. Sounds like a nice progression, but in reality it was a little disjointed, and the sweetness mid-palate was unbearable. Medium-bodied, and smooth on the palate; this could be a decent session beer for someone...just not me.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Caramel brown with faint hints of dark orange around the edges. Thin white head that quickly fades to a white ring around the glass. Spotty patches of foam sitting on the top. Limited lacing left on the glass.

S - Surprisingly malty in the nose with lots of caramel and hints of fresh baked bread. Underneath the sweet aroma is a light mix of earthy and floral hops.

T - Lots of sweetness up front with a bitter backing. Lots of caramel and some breadiness. A bit too malt heavy for me with a misplaced bitterness that does not seem to fit well. The bitterness is very floral and tastes well, but just seems to be out of place.

M/D - Medium bodied. Not the best balance which brings the drinkability down a notch for me, but still a tasty pale ale.

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Photo of matjack85
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this single 12oz brown bottle at Trader Joe's in Glen Ellyn, IL for $1.42. (They let you break apart 6 packs there and then charge you 1/6 of the 6 pack price for a single bottle.) The back label has a blurb about the brewery on it along with a clearly marked freshness date of March 22, 2010.

The beer pours a rich, deep, dark golden color, but when held up to light it turned a bright yellow. The beer made a 1½ finger white head that lasted several minutes and left a good amount of lacing.

The smell is weak - just a touch of floral, citrus, and piny hops.

The three hop varieties in here really dominate the taste. There is definitely a sweet malty presence, but it hardly makes a dent into the hop bitterness. Forget about balance - this is a hop lover's delight. I loved the resulting bitter flavor created from mixing the floral, citrus, and piny hops.

The beer is medium bodied, smooth, and heavily carbonated, giving it a spritzy mouthfeel.

Drinkability will depend on how well you like bitter beers. If you're a big fan of IPA's and APA's, then you'll find this to be a very good one and I could drink a whole bunch of them - especially with its low 5.1% abv, but if you're not a fan of bitter beers, you might want to leave this one on the shelf.

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Photo of trbergman
3.31/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a cervoise.

A - Dusky orange with one finger of dense, clinging head.

S - Smells of crystal malt, with caramel and honey; a bit of nutty yeast; plenty of resiny hop aroma comprising pine and orange rind. A whiff of alcohol seems out of place.

T - Hops lead the attack with pine and citrus flavors before making room for malty sweetness. Malt packs a one-two punch of caramel and toffee; there's also a hint of bread crust. The finish is short and balanced.

M - Light and smooth, with low carbonation.

D - A little sweeter than I tend to like in an APA, but worth trying again. Overall, a decent offering from Two Brothers that just happens to lack a distinguishing feature.

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Photo of Blakaeris
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper-amber with a mild white head that quickly dissipates to thick ring.

Aroma is earthy, and slightly nutty. Definite biscuit quality to the caramel malt.

Taste retains the biscuit quality from the nose and adds the a slight woodyness. Earthy hops and malt are very well balanced. Only mildly bitter, the finish lingers with caramel malt along with orange and apple fruit notes.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, adequately carbonated to provide a soft and round feel.

A malty APA with a pleasant biscuit quality. Balanced earthy hop, woody and fruity character keep things interesting.

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Photo of mikey711
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Amber in color with a half inch white head and carbonation rushing up from th bottom.

S: Some pine notes and a bit of sweetness.A bit subdued but still nice

T: Very piney, but some of the hops have faded and there is a heavy caramel note. Some buttery notes there as well. Really not just below expectations

M: It is light, but does not have distinctive quality.

D: I wonder if this bottle is a bit past its prime? It has some good qualities but it is just lacking.

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Photo of atremains
4.62/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is a nice full golden orange with a pure white head that reduces to a ring around the beer. Smell is piney and citrus hops with a malt backbone. Taste is what I want in a pale ale. Crisp light and refreshing with a big flavor that doesnt tax the palate. The carbonation is a little rough but calms down as the beer warms. Drinkability is high here. If I can find this one I would make it my new session regular.

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Photo of cbutova
4.65/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is already got me thinking mini-Hop Juice, and I love Hop Juice. Pours a nice clear dark amber with a two finger head that has good retention. Leaves thick lacing as I drink this one away. Smells of great hops, light malts, and some sweetness, lots of hops for a pale ale but this one smells great. Taste is basically the same, lots of hops (good ones), sweetness, light malts and some pine hops too on the aftertaste. This is what I would want a pale ale to be. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a kick to the tongue of bitterness, smooth with good carbonation and no real creaminess. No off flavors or alcohol to kill this pale ale, flavors stay present throughout the beer. The hops might get taxing on the tongue after a while. Drinkability is good. Great taste, decent price, will buy this if I want a pale ale again, once again the hops might become overkill on this one. Probably buy it again if I see it around for a session beer.

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Photo of Ricochet
2.34/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Oh boy. A little face was made when I sniffed this for the first time. It didn't really smell of beer, but of something you'd eat, like stew. I sniffed again, and I think it's more like V8. A flat malt is all I could think of. Ick. Little head, but a lasting lace around the rim and cloudy amber is how it appeared. It's a little warmer, and I can pick out a little hops, but still. This may be a chore to drink.

Watery and thin mouth, no foam, almost no bitter at the back.

Flavors? Dull candy sweet like juju bees. Only a slight hops character with a back slap of malt. I'd be reaching if I said anything else.

This may be the kind of beer you drink fairly warm in a pub in London, but it's a really mild APA, and not worth my time.

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Photo of NeutroMan
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, with printed best by date of 11/1/09. Poured into a nonic.

Pours a mostly clear amber color with a half-finger off-white head that dissipated almost immediately and left just a thin film. Virtually no lacing.

The nose on this one has a lot of sweet, biscuity malts. Floral hops, too, although they are somewhat muted. Some citrus elements.

Taste starts out with a strong blast of sweet caramel malts that transitions smoothly to earthy/floral hops. Decent malt/hop balance. Citrus (grapefruit, orange peel) lingers in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is is medium bodied with minimal carbonation. Has a velvety smoothness to it that is quite enjoyable. This one goes down pretty easy I could definitely have more than one in a sitting.

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Photo of DIM
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: This was a hazy golden color with bright orange highlights. It poured with a large, but short lived sticky head.

s: Floral bitterness with vanilla cookies and a little caramel.

t: Starts off with spicy, flowery hops and moderately sweet vanilla. The finish is just flavorless bitterness. Hence the name I suppose. (slaps knee and guffaws)

m: A little undercarbonated, making this feel a bit thin.

d: Pretty good APA. Not all that bitter but I like the malt profile.

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Photo of bashiba
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice amber color with a thick and sticky off white head leaving great lacing all the way down.

The smell had a nice bit of buiscuity malt with some nice fresh green hops.

The flavor has a nice toasted malt flavor up front with hints of sourdough and grain with a long even juniper hop finish. The flavors are very balanced.

The mouthfeel is light with some good carbonation and a lingering dry finish.

A very well put together Pale Ale, maybe a tad short on the hops, but very even and drinkable, a great session beer.

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Photo of Gavilan
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nice amber color, head dissipated quickly

S: Maltly, a bit biscuty

T: A strong malty flavor with some nice bitterness on the back

M: Carbonated, a bit spritzy

D: Very drinkable english style pale ale...not stellar but solid.

Best by 10/15/09 on the label

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Photo of NJpadreFan
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Two Brothers- Pale Ale

A- Dark clear copper brown with a small light lacing head.
S- Caramel malt and toasty bread crust grain.
T- Thick sweet grainy malt, bread crust, sunflower seeeds, caramel, pine citrus hops.
M- Thick sweet malt, rainy, smooth pine citrus hop finish.

Overall- Very smooth, clean, and crisp. Solid.

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Photo of jera1350
3.87/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper brown color with one finger head that reduces to a ring after a minute. Leaves a little lace.

Nice light floral hops. Some grapefruit and orange peel. Roasted malt and maybe some apricot.

Nicely balanced. Roasted malt up front followed by a crisp hop profile. Getting some pine at the end. Very clean.

Lighter medium bodied. Nice soft carbonation feel. Smooth and refreshing.

This would make a great session beer. One of the better APA's I've had. It's clean finishing and nicely balanced unlike some I've had before. I would have this again.

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Photo of jwinship83
3.81/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a best by date of 12/10/09 printed on the back. poured into, and drank out of, my sierra nevada hop tulip glass.

A- this one pours an amber/copper colored body with a small eggshell colored head. the head lasts a while and leaves complete rings of lacing on the sides of my glass.

S- the smells coming out of my glass are very mild. caramel malt, citrus and pine. not much else.

T- strong caramel malts upfront. then comes a stronger dose of hops than i was expecting. lots of floral and pine hops here. a bit of grapefruit.

M- medium bodied and decently bitter. too much carbonation.

D- a good beer from my favorite next door brewery. something i dont drink as often as i should. i wish the two brothers got a little more love from the beer world.

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Photo of caminiti
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unfortunately, poured into a plastic cup in a hotel room, forgot to bring a glass on the road. An orange/copper color with a decent head, impressive in a plastic cup? bitter, nad a bit sweet, a pretty tasty beer. Not much of a nose, maybe it was a bit too cold. Easy to drink, carbonation of head did not carry over to the mouth, overall a pretty tasty beer, drinkable, would buy it again.

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The Bitter End Pale Ale from Two Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.75 out of 5 with 747 ratings
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