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Brutal Bitter Ale - Rogue Ales

Not Rated.
Brutal Bitter AleBrutal Bitter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,087 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,087
Hads: 2,066
Avg: 4.01
pDev: 14.71%
Wants: 82
Gots: 169 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rogue Ales visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-28-2001

**NOTE: This beer is now called "Brutal IPA" **
It has also been bottled as "Portland State IPA" (2010).

An Imperial bitter with exotic traditional floor malts, citrusy, hoppy flavor and stupendous hop aroma. Rogue brewmaster John Maier describes his Brutal IPA as a cross between a Very Extra Special Bitter and an Indian Pale Ale. Hedonistic!

8 INGREDIENTS: 2-Row, Carawheat, C15 & Rogue Farms Dare™ & Risk™ Malts; Rogue Farms Alluvial™ Hops; Free Range Coastal Water & Pacman Yeast.

22oz Bottle & Draft / 15° Plato / 46 IBU / 81 AA / 13° Lovibond
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Brutal Bitter Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,087 | Hads: 2,066
Photo of rfgetz
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazed coppery gold color with minimal ring of head. Scent is very mild, light herbal and citrusy hops, musty grain smell and bready yeast. Taste is a little more aggressive with some citrus up front, evolving into a strange mangled bitter rush of pine and herbal hops - almost juniper and gin like. A slight crackery and carmel background smooths out the finnish just a touch. Medium bodied, lightly carbonated, slightly harsh lingering tastes. Like many Rougue Beers, comes out mild where it should be aggressive and aggressive where it should be mild, lacks balance.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not exactly an ESB yet not an IPA either, this one walks the line. Pours a deep gold in color, looking like it could be either with a thin white head with decent retention. Nose is pretty hoppy, more hoppy than any ESB I've ever had for certain. Taste follows that theme, fairly malty, but not enough to balance the pretty extreme bitterness for the style. Quite nice though overall and nicely drinkable.


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Photo of UDbeernut
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the Dutch with a Brutal IPA handle, pours a burnt orange/amber into the cheater pint capped by an impressive foam white head with fair retention. Head reduces to a lacing cap, and rings the glass. Scent is a blast of floral hop. Taste with well balanced pale malt with enough floral hop presence to make it interesting. Mouth is light and almost a bit watery.

I wish Rogue would not market this as an IPA becaue an IPA it surely is not. Just tell me the truth.... its an ESB.

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Photo of champ103
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a lightly hazy amber/orange color. A two finger white head forms quickly, but recedes in a second. Light lace is left behind.
S: Big grapefruit and citrus hops up front. A substantial, but not over barring bitterness. Really nothing else.
T: Follows the nose. Big grapefruit and citrus hops. A substantial bitterness. I can't help but think that a bread and biscuit malt balance would make this exceptional. As is, this does not reach that level.
M/D: A lighter body than I would have thought. Fairly crisp and dry though. Not hard to drink, but nothing that I am going to come back to often.

Not bad at all. Though it is really one dimensional, to the beers detriment. If there was just some sweetness or bread/biscuit flavor for balance this would be exceptional. As is it, this is still very much worth a try and a worthy year-round IPA.

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Photo of Hautacam
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy amber with a big foamy head in a pint glass.
The hops piney aroma is mixed in with a bit of steel.
Sweet biscuity caramel malt. Bitter citrus rind hops balance this brew pretty well. A bit of metal near the end. Finishes dry with little aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is medium as is the carbonation.
A pretty drinkable ESB, although more intense than most others of that style that I've had.

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Photo of Imstillthegman
3.49/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very cloudy copper with lighter orange hues on the edges. Light head that doesn't last very long. Leaves light lacing. The smell is fairly subdued with a light citrus scent from the hops about all I can notice. The citrusy hops are more dominant in the taste. A touch of sweetness up front quickly overtaken by the hop bitterness. Medium body with low carbonation as is usual for this style. Nice brew to celebrate a great beer bar.

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Photo of BMMillsy
3.49/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Overall a disappointing bitter brew, but not a bad beer by any stretch. Not much flavor and not much complexity here. Pours light golden with fluffy white head. Aroma of grassy hops, more on the german pilsner side than the west coast aromatics. Flavor follows with light bitter, subdued sweetness from the malts, sligthly dry. Easy drinking, but pretty standard. Perhaps a good start for those slowly trying to get into enjoying bitter/hoppy beers. Not likely to go for it again, but I wouldn’t turn it down if handed to me.

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Photo of rastaman
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dig the hazy appearance, nice glowing murky orange-gold. The nose is very hoppy, very fruity (lychees, grapefruit) and piney nose. The flavour is quite sweet at the start, very hoppy, with a citric bitter finish, as i've come to expect in Americaan bitters/IPA's/Pale ales, Out of the the Rogue beers i've had this is one of my favourites, really fresh and summery, had this sitting in my dads backyard in the sun.

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Photo of brewerburgundy
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle with no freshness date.

A: Looks light until most of it is in the glass, then it is a pumpkin shade of yellow and orange. Not crystal clear and there was a good amount of sediment, about an eighth inch. Small head that receded to a nice little cap. Many small bubbles rising, many. No lacing.

S: Earthy English hops and bread and biscuit malt. Not smacking the drinker around with anything at all and it does tell the whole story.

T: I think that this and the Great Divide Denver Pale Ale I had last night are quite similar to Fat Tire. I think calling Fat Tire an amber ale is incorrect, and that it fits into the English bitter or pale ale category. All your standard bread here, not sweet and not very bitter. Some diacetyl richness.

M: Full and satisfying.

D: It is full of nice hop aroma but the malt is too singular. I would not buy more than one because I do not prefer biscuit malt only. Other than that personal taste, nothing wrong. This bottle is likely very old and most of the hops have gone.

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Photo of beernut7
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Being a rogue brew I was expecting a certain level of hop overkill, and I was far from disappointed. Pouring a hazy honey color with a creamy head, the HUGE sharply spicy aroma hits one in the face with reckless abandon. The first flavor brings the grapefruitiest hop flavor in existence stopming on what might be a decent amount of malt--we may never know. Brutal is definitely an accurate portrayal of this ale. More on the level of an IPA than any bitter I have ever tasted. One must be in the mood for this beer, not one for the faint of heart.

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Photo of mentor
3.48/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thin layer of light tan head over a very cloudy copper liquid. Must have been some sediment that I poured in. Smells terpene, clean pith, and some orange pulp. Hops and that's pretty much it.

Tastes hop flavored and hop bitter. Flavor is oranges and wood. Bitter is relatively clean of grassy cohumulone and flat heavy hop oils. Early, the hops are supported by a malt sweet that eventually rises to dominate. Touch of metallic in the malty character. Fruity esters are present in the form of pear and mildly of peaches. Md body and modest, but sharp carbonation. The carbonation serves to clean the tongue and keep this a summer refresher.

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Photo of Padron4KM
3.47/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

hazy orange with a solid 2 finger head and nice lacing.

Lemon cookie aroma

Flavor is grapefruit with some pine and a touch of sweetness.

Tingly bitter finish.

Name is a little misleading, not brutally bitter, but nicely bitter.
Very tasty well balanced beer.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle labeled Brutal IPA with no discernible bottling date.

Pours a medium bodied orange with an inch thick head that dips to a thinner though steady cover. Lacing is thick and comprehensive: a nice looking IPA.

Smells of grass, kumquats, and biscuity malts. Not unappealing but it seems a bit faded.

Kumquatiness is uncanny and I happen to enjoy these fruits. Some rind from the skins is evident. Creamy through the middle with a finish that's modestly bitter and baby aspiriny. Malts help carry the mothfeel and the hops.

Creamy and light though dusty and not as poppy as anticipated. Would love to know if I'm getting the best this beer has to offer. A good, but not great, stab at the style.

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Photo of gkunkle
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber color, definitely on the darker side of IPAs. Head is about 1" in my imperial pint glass. Retention is okay, leaves a little lacing. Smells of citrus and pine hops, pretty standard for this area, not really catching any malts. Taste is dominated by grapefruit/citrus hops, pine hops play second fiddle, and a bit of malt is in the background. Mouthfeel is medium, good amount of carbonation. Overall, a decent beer, glad I tried it, but it's a bit spendy and there are other northwest IPAs I enjoy more.

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Photo of ralree
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Really cloudy orange, nice head, good retention and lacing. 1.5 fingers.

S: Sweet yet toasty malt, weird fruit smell - almost a little too sweet - it's turning me off from it. Hops come through nicely - very flowery. Some spices in this one as well.

T: A nice hop flavor - really aromatic, but with a big bitter bite. Bitterness lingers on the tongue after swallowing. Malt is nice and toasty, and there's a lot of banana flavor in this. Now, the banana flavor isn't coupled with an overwhelming sugary flavor like in some other beers, so it's tolerable, but i would have preferred some more citrus. The alcohol makes itself known, but it's tolerable. It's a little too much banana and not enough citrus for me in this style to balance out the bitterness and alcohol.

M: Good carbonation, slightly astringent, a little oily. Medium-heavy body.

D: It drinks alright - goes down pretty easy, but the banana flavor gets old pretty quick. I don't find it very refreshing. There's definitely some alcohol in this one, which slows my normal quaffing pace. All in all though, not too bad.

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Photo of KajII
3.46/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

[BThe pour was a light hazy orange with a huge (3-4 finger) white frothy head that was mostly diminishing and had some fair spotty lacing.

The aroma was kind of mild of a light biscuit malt, citrus hops and a cobweb scented yeast with notes caramel and citrus (grapefruit).

The taste was bitter and lightly sweet with a caramel presence early on, and progressed into a nice bitter hoppy taste that was a tad acidic with a note or citrus towards the end. The flavor hung on for a long while with a tasty hoppy citrus finish.

Mouthfeel was light in body and dry in texture with a medium carbonation.

Overall a nice basic IPA that was hoppy, citrusy and quite tasty with an awesome drinkability...
est served in a Shaker glass]

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Pizzeria Paradiso, Washington, DC:

The beer appeared a nice, slightly hazy deep orange color with a nice white, thick head. The aroma of the beer was good, a nice strong hoppy aroma, but the taste was much different. I felt that it was weak. I expected a very hoppy, bitter beer, but did not get that at all. I would say that it was on par with an average IPA. Not sure what happened given the rating and usually Pizzeria Paradiso beer quality is very good, so I am not sure if it was the beer or not. The beer had a medium body to it and had decent drinkability, but I am sure that would have improved if the beer lived up to its rating. I will have to give this beer another shot at a later date.

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Photo of marksto
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours cloudy gold due to bottle conditioning. Nice "Americanized" example of the style. A fragrant hop aroma gives way to a pleasantly bitter flavor balanced well with assertive maltiness. It's an ESB with a U.S. flair in the form of American hops. Not as exceptional as some of the other Rogue products I've had, but very nice nonetheless.

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Photo of jaluria
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appeared a slightly murky, heavily carbonated, soft-orange and yellow color with a thin head that dissipated quickly. Aromas of alcohol, malt, and hops. The flavor was as expected for this style with a nice balance between malt and hops, though hops grow in strength as the session continues. Crisp and flavorful with a hoppy finish. A hint of fruit comes out in the finish as well. Interesting and enjoyable, but too thin and hoppy for the style. I would definitely enjoy another, but not if I was in the mood for a bitter or ESB.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 12/20/2008 (bottle):

Pours a huge foamy head, whitish, diminishing. Body is very clear golden amber body. Very hoppy grapefruity aroma. Hoppy taste but a big balancing malty taste, some nuttiness like hazelnut. Nice taste, would make a good session beer. Very carbonated mouthfeel. Drying aftertaste. A little much after a bit.

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Photo of vanrassel
3.44/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750 mL bomber with a nice hazy apricot colour and a foamy two-finger head. The head had great retention and left sticky pillows of lace hanging from the side of my glass.

The smell was pretty one-dimensional: grapefruit hops. Some caramel became evident as it warmed but this is an ESB — not an American IPA. I thought the same thing about the taste, primarily citric hops, some aspirin and not much else.

This is a decent beer in its own right, but I don't think it particularly conforms to the style.

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Photo of UncleFlip
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tongiht's CD to review by: 'Iguana Iguana' by The Reptile Palace Orchestra
Tonight's reviewing glass: Grumpy Troll Brewpub pint glass

Picked this one up from a friend recently, but can't remember where or when. At 6.5%, it's on the "only if we change the law" list here in Bama.

First thing I notice is the very active fluffly just off-white head. Liquid is honey to peach, just ever so slightly hazy, with many bubbles clinging to the side of the glass.

Smell is all about fruity to piney hops. If one inhales deeply enough to snort, there's some malt there.

The flavour is rather fruity and spicy up front. There's some fresh orange, apricot, and nuts here. There's some woody spice along the way the whole time, with a kind of sharp dryness at the end.

Mouthfeel is just a little too harsh on the carbonation. The liquid is hearty, and just a touch oily.

It has its drawbacks, but is actually rather drinkable. It would make a decent sessioner, I think.

Be well

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Photo of stouty1
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Didn't get much head with my pour. Wrong glass? I poured into a Chalis. Anyway what was there was only a fine sparse head which looked like it could be a creamy very light marshmallow color.

Smells of hops and fruit. Some Apples or Pear and citrus definitely citrusy.

Taste is oily hops with a bite of too much carbonation (like a Coke). (I don't drink soda so it really stings me.) Not much to the flavor except hops and bitterness. Mouthfeel is weak with no chewyness at all.

Leaves a slight bitterness afterwards which leaves your mouth dry. Very drinkable and goes down quickly. Probably the light mouthfeel.

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Photo of tar
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, copperish amber, with a few finger thick white head. The head leaves behind a nice trail of lacing throughout consumption. The aroma is pleasant--malty sweet and mildly of spicy hops, although a bit underwhelming, especially given the bottle's claim of "a stupendous hop aroma". Nice hop flavors leave the tongue with a bit of a tingle. Some malty sweetness comes through nicely as a "second" taste, but this soon gives way to a good bitterness in the finish. Overall, despite the name, this is a very well balanced beer which is certainly not dominated by any one flavor component. A nice medium bodied beer, it feels smooth, almost oily in the mouth. This is a pretty good beer, its not going to be listed among my favorites, but I certainly wouldn't mind having it again.

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Photo of Elimination
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very nice golden yellow with a slight haze, a pretty good thin looking head.

Smell is very sweet, slight citrus, grapefruit, sugar sweet, and slight strawberry

Taste is a subtle bitterness, pine, citrus, vert clean tasting, I have a love hate relationship with pacman yeast, it does great in stouts, porters, etc but with anything else it its a hit or miss it seems.

Mouthfeel is very light, has a slickness that quickly subsides leaving a dry sticky tongue.

This is a pretty good ipa, but there is much better for much better of a bargain out there

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Brutal Bitter Ale from Rogue Ales
90 out of 100 based on 1,087 ratings.