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Twist Of Fate Bitter Ale - Moonlight Brewing Company

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Twist Of Fate Bitter Ale
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very good

57 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 57
Hads: 99
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 15.63%
Wants: 3
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Moonlight Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: donnebaby on 11-28-2004

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 99
Photo of DoubleJ
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This strong bitter takes the more traditional route of the bitter ale with a soft hop presence, a pleasant fruity and diacetyl combo, and easy drinkability. It's great to find an American made bitter which takes the traditional route.

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Photo of OrestesMethuon
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Sample via a sixteen-ounce pour off the hand-pump at Toronado.

This is a very nice bitter, obviously leaning taste-wise towards the ESB range, but possessing an extraordinarily—and surprisingly pleasing—thinness of texture. A very dark brown, with red tinting backed by light, belies the lack of sweetness or malt flavor. Only on the nose does one detect a hint of grain, but even then the odor is primarily vegetal bitterness. A very good ale for a dingy, dark pub—though perhaps better suited to colder weather than the climate San Francisco usually affords.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Flavor bistro in Santa Rosa and served in a Moonlight brewing pint glass (which are really nice). Dark amber color, massive amazing head, it looks great and I usually don't weight much based on appearance (unless it looks like shit). Aroma was really nice and mild maltiness. Flavor was great, you don't find many delicious American bitters. This was bitter, sort of nougat and caramel, well balanced and just delicious.

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Photo of RaulMondesi
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On Cask at Toronado in San Francisco, CA.

Raul's last brew for the night and he couldn't have thought of a better ending. Like The Disney Land fireworks that he hears from his pad every night, this dang sucker was just popping and blowing up at every chance it got. I mean, this sucker has it going on on all levels. It's smooth, it has a bite, there's some roast, but there is also this delicate caramel aftertaste... Like the plot of "The Big Sleep," there is so much going on, but in the end, it basically smooths out to an almost perfection.

Don't just feel it, my children. Respect it. Respect it with your glorious little hearts.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Twist of Fate pours an amber caramel color with great foam. There’s a subdued but well-defined malty caramel aroma. I get a taste of caramel and a light, sharp roast as I taste it, with a sweetish finish. I love Moonlight brews. This is another winner.

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Photo of flexabull
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On cask at the SF Toronado.

Pulls a bright and clear amber color with a pretty sizable off white head. Looks inviting.

Aromas are muted, but pleasant. Notes of earthy hops and slightly sweet brewed tea.

Taste is like the nose. A bit hoppier than expected though. Starts of with light creamy caramel sweetness, then settles into some slightly spicy brewed tea flavors. Finish has a nice hop bite, mostly an earthy and somewhat resiny quality.

Mouthfeel is full, without being heavy at all.

A bit strong for a traditional bitter, but this is really flavorful, and very satisfying to drink. Yet another winner from Moonlight.

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Photo of Morgan-makes-Cloud
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer could easily become one of my favorites. Hade it on tap at beer revolution and it was exactly what I was looking for. Hoppy red beer with some bite. kind of kicks your ass in the beautiful way where it lasts for some time. Really glad it was recommended to me

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's interesting to me that this is more "abrasive" to me than the Bombay by Boat IPA. I suppose by that I mean more boisterous. Nice oily flavors to it. And I think I'll leave it at that. A well made beer. Intense on appropriate levels, but not really trying to be obnoxious. Another good one by Moonlight. An awesome brewery...apparently.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beer Revolution.
A: Served a very cloudy iced-tea color with a thin white head that faded to sticky lace.
S: Light notes of honey, pale roasted grains, lager yeast and a touch peppery spices.
T: Honey sweetness is there but not strong. Pale grains, citrus rind hops, and a touch of grass/hay come through. Light in flavor with nothing really standing out. Bitter aftertaste lingers long after I swallow. I get a touch of biscuit as well.
M: Medium-thick body, bubbly carbonation. Clean mouthfeel.
O: Definitely on the bitter side. Very easy to drink and refreshing. I know this is a different style than the others but this is not my favorite Moonlight beer.

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Photo of corby112
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Draft at The Linkery in San Diego.

Pours a dark golden amber color with a one finger off white head that slowly fades into a lasting ring.  Spotty lacing left behind.

Floral, earthy aroma with a nice balance of piney and citrus hop notes.  Pine needle, grapefruit and orange peel along with some biscuity malt.

Fuller bodied than expected with a good balance of dry bitterness, citrus rind and sweet malt.  Slightly dry and resinous with some pine needle and floral notes countered by some grapefruit and orange peel. Decent malt backbone provides balance without taking away from the hops.  Slightly sweet with hints of caramel, subtle toffe and biscuit.  Well done.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.66/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Twist of Fate bitter ale has a good look for a beer coming out of a hand-pump. A brown to dark red body has a creamy tan head that has solid retention and lacing.

The aroma is pretty hoppy with resin, pine, grass and a bit of grapefruit. The malt is pretty bready.

This is a super hoppy ESB. Loads more bitter resin and pine with bits of grass thrown in. Some grapefruit also. The malt is hiding in the background, proving just a little of bread flavor.

Great smooth, creamy cask feel.

Good beer that is almost all hops and nothing else.

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Photo of litheum94
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Toad in Hole.

P: amber body with some deep, ruby tones. Thick, tanish head that leaves a strata of lacing all the way down.

A: Soft fruit aromas, apples and pears. Hop aromas consist of pine and spice. Slight minerality to the nose. Biscuit malts.

T: Creamy at first, very subtle malt flavors. Maybe a hint of fruit. Not much going on at first. Then a giant bitterness comes up to smack the palate. Lots of pine hops, with some citric tones as well. The bitterness is long and lasting.

This is one of the most bitter ESBs I've ever had. It drinks really easy as well. Good beer.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Served a clear copper-red color with a finger of frothy/creamy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of rich sweet lightly toasted caramel malts and some piney hops. There is also some biscuit/bready aromas in the background.

T - Starts off with a mix of rich sweet caramel malts and some piney hop bitterness in the background. Through the middle, a bit of biscuit flavors comes through with a touch more grassy hops flavor. The finish is a nice balance of sweetness from the caramel and bitterness from the hops that lingers nicely.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. The beer felt very smooth and had very nice balance from start to finish.

D - Very drinkable. The malt hop balance here was very good. Really exactly what I was looking for in an ESB.

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Photo of treyrab
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Went out to San Francisco to swim Alcatraz and made sure to try as many Moonlight beers as I could. Tasted at Toronado San Francisco for the full effect.

Pulled from the cask into a pint glass at Toronado.

A: Pours in the glass a semi-hazy golden bronze. More of a light brown with crimson hues than gold. The haze is reminiscent of chill haze, as opposed to unsettled yeast. A nice white head forms and sticks around a bit, but eventually recedes and laces only slightly. Looks pretty still, with minimal carbonation (as expected). Very nice.

S: Smells like a nice piece of burnt toast and English hops. A punch of orange, pine, and grass hit you first, followed by a nice caramel backbone traditional of ESBs. Nice toast aroma to go with the pungent hops.

T: Pretty much along the lines of the smell. A softer taste and pretty bitter. A very drinkable English IPA and not overly bitter. The toasted bread qualities really stick out and are very attractive. They blend nicely with the bitterness of the hops.

Overall, a solid beer. Moonlight is impressing me with their work. This is no exception.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Toronado

A: The beer pours an amber in color with a nice tall, creamy, white head.

S: Probably a bit more hoppy than the typical English ESB, but I like that. Nice foral hops with a light citrus character. Plenty of bready malts with a heavy toast character.

T: Starts off with a lot of bready malts and a light toast. A moderate bitterness to the beer which helps to break up the somewhat sweet nature of the malts. Floral hops and a touch of citrus also assist in that.

M: Medium in body with a smooth, slightly creamy mouthfeel.

O: Really a nice beer. One of the better Moonlight offerings and one I wanted to have after a long break from Moonlight beers.

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Photo of veinless
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Jupiter brewpub in Berkeley.

Pours a deep ruby red with a nice two finger white head. Head was very frothy and extensively lacy, leaving sheets. Awesome clarity to the body made this a fantastic looking beer.

Nose was weak, with some biscuit and grain, and a nondescript bitterness. Expected more.

Taste delivered a healthy herbal bitter kick that lived up to the standards I expect from Moonlight. Grainy character wasn't emphasized as much as in the nose, and more cracker and biscuit replaced it. Bitterness is clean, dry, and very pungent. Completely herbal, it cleans your palate almost as well as brushing your teeth with flavorless toothpaste.

Mouthfeel is clean, medium bodied, and never too full or thin. I like the level of carbonation a lot and enjoyed the dry finish a great deal. Drinkability is good because of that, although the herbal bitterness might be too strong for some. Overall it was yet another solid offering from a brewer I now actively seek out.

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Photo of NorCalYeti
3.58/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

taste- roasted malt, bitter hops, caramel, bitter malt finish

color- chestnut

clarity- clear

smell- sweet malt, toast

body- smooth on the palate, light-medium weight mouthfeel, medium length finish

appearance- half finger off-white oatmeal colored creamy head, little visible carbonation, head disipates quickly, full lacing throughout the glass

overall impression- didn't really care for the beer, underwhelming character across the board although drinkable to the casual consumer

beer spy- ben & nick's, oakland ca, 3/27/11, $5.50, 16oz

glassware: pint

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Photo of hophopandaway
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on cask at Monk's Kettle. Met the brewer and his apprentice too and they were a real pleasure to talk to.

This beer is a dark mahogany colour and has a small head that actually stays which is a first for a US brewed cask, although I have to say I've only had a few.

the smell is of malt with a subtle hint of biscuit, maybe a touch of pine.

The beer drinks great with a real nice malty goodness, some oak and medium bitterness, smooth long finnish which starts of as malt and ends with a little biscuit.

The mouthfeel is as a cask bitter should be: full bodied, smooth and oh so drinkable.

This brewery proves that the crazy strengths people seem to be using these days are totally unnecessary.

I really can't say enough about this bitter, if this was sold in one of the many superb cask beer pubs I frequent in England it would definately not be out of place. This guy obviously understands the style and has hit the proverbial nail right on the head with this belter of a beer.

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Photo of kwjd
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at Toronado in San Francisco. Pours a copper colour with thin white head. Nice rings of lacing after each sip. Huge grassy hop aroma with a bready malt, somewhat unusual for an English style bitter, but it is nice. Nice bitterness in the flavour. Smooth carbonation level. I'd definitely have this again.

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Photo of nataku00
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask, hand pumped into a shaker pint glass. Bartender had a really frothy initial few pumps, but let the head settle before pouring the rest of the glass. Beer is a deep brown mahogany color, clear, with only half a finger of head when the bartender tried to be gentle in filling the glass. No carbonation visible and minimal lacing from the small ring of white head left at the top of the beer.

Nose was light caramel malts and a grassy hops, but it was fairly light at cask temperature.

Taste followed the nose, light grassy hops with a light malt backbone to give it slightly above light body. Just a short bitter hops finish before leaving a clean palate. Fairly light bodied beer with very light carbonation, perhaps from the hand pump causing most of the carbonation and initial head to lose all the gas bubbles in the beer.

However, this makes for a very drinkable beer that reminds me of the type of sessionable ales served in english pubs and is an excellent example of this style of beer.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at Toronado San Francisco in August 2009. Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice amber-copper with a big white head and quite a bit of lacing. The nose is pretty hoppy with a big of lighter malt in the background. Good pine, earthy, and floral notes. The taste is not quite as nice as the nose, but works quite well. Nice crisp and bitter feel. A really nice ESB; one of the better ones that I've had.

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Photo of LittleDon
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A pint from cask at Toronado.

Brown red with great lace and decent head retention for cask. Clear. Oily hop aroma. Soft up front with a bit of carbonation. Some subdued fruity malt first. Bitterness waits till late middle to assert itself. Mild fruit returns at the end.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Cask at Toronado SF.

A: Deep amber a big frothy white head.

S: Displays a nice balance of malt and hops, biscuit and pine, with notes of earth. Hops are aggressive for a bitter. Citrus is very light.

T: Moderate bitterness with biscuit and toasted malt. Hop profile is grapefruit and pine. The finish is toasted biscuit and lingering pine.

M: Mouthfeel is great, smooth and sticky.

Overall: A delicious beer. Very bitter for the style and higher in ABV, but such improvements on a classic style are to be expected in California. I wish I had a pint of this in front of me right now.

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Photo of philosobeer
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Toronado in San Francisco.

Appearance - Nice old penny kind of darkened copper color. the head is frothy and creamy and pure white. It's got really good clarity, too. Looks pretty mouthwatering.

Smell - You can smell some nice cereal grain here as well as grassy hops. But then again, some of the aroma here is also plastic and acetone. Fairly phenolic.

Taste - The first thing that hits me is the roasted barley and a lot of toasty notes. Not what I was expecting in an ESB, but really very pleasant. Its dry and the hops come out in the flavor (though not that much). I even get some coffee flavor on top of the crystal malt body, but rather than seeming too far off for the style, this is a real treat. Faint diacetyl.

Mouthfeel - On cask this is really nice and smooth. It goes down easy and the 50° serving temperature probably helped the mouthfeel too.

Drinkability - Very drinkable. I was surprised when I found out this was more than 5% even. I could session this no prob.

Notes - The taste nearly got .5 less from me, but I really was liking it by the end. The aroma was the big problem here. I was expecting the taste would be a chemistry lab after the first sniff.

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Photo of Jmoore50
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Cask at Toronado. Moonlight is working its way up my list, its just a top notch brewery with amazing beer.

The appearance is a dark hazy walnut color, it has amber edges and a great foamy head. The second time I had it I specifically asked for an inch of head, it was delivered with a great foamy white head that stuck to my upper lip, sides of my glass, and tip of my nose from getting a good smell.

The smell was of dry English hops, lots of biscuit and bread malts. A great fresh wood oak smell that is very upfront. A little spice, probably from the hops and a harsh bitter chocolate that I picked up in the flavor as well.

The first sip of had a burst of chocolate paired with much bread and biscuit malt flavor. The bitter hops in this come in at the end, but lots of flavor happens in the first few sips. Great woody cask flavor that contributes greatly to the mouthfeel. So smooth and it leaves a coating all over the palate.

I could drink this a lot, and on cask for four dollars is a great deal. Great beer.


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Twist Of Fate Bitter Ale from Moonlight Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.