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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 francisweizen
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark reddish amber with a small head of foam, just right for a cask ale. Aromas are all fresh citrusy hops and big bready malts in perfect unison. The hops are also a bit floral and spicy with their complexity. All UK hops? Who realy knows. I won't even guess, because I will most likely be dead wrong. After all Brian Hunt is a magician. The taste is so fresh, unique, refreshing, and tasty. Fresh citrusy hops and big doughy malts fight it out and complement one another in perfect unison. Mouthfeel is cask perfection, as is the drinkability of this one. I really can't believe, that I consumed this at a California beer bar. Shocking really. This is one of the best cask beers I have ever imbibed. I can't believe that this is not a UK brew! Try it and see for yourself. Magic, I say....Magic!

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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 brentk56
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives at the bar with a hazy amber color and a modest head that coats the pint glass with lacing

Smell: A fruity aroma of apricot and lychee wafts above the underlying earthy brown bread base

Taste: The earthy brown bread malt flavors are quite distinct up front but the beer gets aggressively bitter by mid-palate with a pithy aspect that is almost sour; after the swallow, it is the fruity flavors from the aroma that arrive and really make the beer very enjoyable; a hint of dusty chocolate powder on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation

Drinkability: An extremely flavorful bitter that you just want to linger over rather than quaff; unique in the way that it is constructed

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Photo of OldSock
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance and Presentation – Tried on cask at the Toranado. Poured dark amber, with red highlights. The beer is slightly hazy with one finger off-white head that has great retention and lacing.

Smell – The aroma is a great combination of bready malts and a variety of hops. The hops run the gambit from piney, to spicy, to earthy, with every sniff I get a new aroma.

Taste – Truly a well rounded flavor. The hops are assertive, mostly piney and earthy, but they do not overpower the malt flavors. The malts contribute both sweetness and a slightly roasted, nutty flavor. There is not much of a yeast, either ester or diacetyl, flavor in this beer as the style would indicate but it is not missed because of the great hops and malts.

Mouthfeel – Solid medium body, carbonation is low which is expected from a hand pump.

Drinkability and Notes – Perfect drinkability, the definition of a session beer. This is a great Americanized version of an English Ale. If you happen to be at the Toranado or anywhere else this beer is served it is a must try.

During my stay in San Francisco I was blown away by Moonlight, I tried three of their beers all of which, while not really to style, were fantastic.

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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 xhcadamx
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - rich toffee copper with a thick merengue head. lots of lacing.

S - straying from Britain... very citrus with biscuit and more interesting malt aromas.

T - VERY BITTER. More so than I was expecting, with a biscuity background.

M- prickly from the bitterness and slick from the hoppiness but somewhat drying end.

D - I want more.

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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 GeoffFromSJ
4.46/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Toronado in San Francisco.

Appearance: thick head throughout. Nice cloudy copper.

Smell: hops noticeable.

Taste: strong hops- didn't reced to access the malt flavors. Very good though.

Mouthfeel: perfect.

Drinkability: More malt flavor peaking through would have made this beer almost perfect. But a hoppy bitter works for me. Very nice. Couldn't imagine having it on anything else besides the handpump.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at "Flavor" in Santa Rosa.

This beer arrived a deep amber-brown with a thick, sticky light tan head which never seemed to go away. You know you've got a good looking brew when everyone else at the table exclaims "wow! that looks really good"

The smell was very, very inviting. There was a nice strong bready malt note that was well complimented by a floral, slightly piney scent. There were also bits of black pepper in there somewhere, making this a very exciting beer to smell. (I almost didn't take the first sip because I was afraid it couldn't be as good as the smell)

Fortunately, I was wrong - the taste is a good compliment to the smell. There's a very solid toasted malt taste to start but the flavor quickly turns to a very spicy, bitter hop note. These aren't the western hops ("four C's") that you'd expect for a west coast brewery but more likely a Fuggles in the traditional English style. Whatever type of hops they use, it's a perfect balance to the malt.

Mouthfeel was good as well - a medium bodied brew with plenty of fine carbonation to finish off each sip. The tongue feels tingly and refreshed rather than coated with oil.

Drinkability? The next time I'm at a local restaurant that features Moonlight brews, this is the one I'm going for - it's a keeper!

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

Came with a finger's worth of thick, deep tan head like a milkshake with good retention. Color was a deep amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose had a mild bitterness. Mouthfeel was so silky smooth that I barely registered it going down. The taste was mildly bitter, very English, not intense at all. Great lacing throughout. Finish was lip-smacking tasty. VERY pleasant, probably sessionable. Again, everyone should try a cask ale at least once in their lifetime.

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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 donnebaby
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Way dark, red brown color body and massively thick, 3 cm swiss cheese foam topping. Beautiful appearance. Nose was mild, of pungent malts, light booze, and a small wheat back, but, hey, it's a bitter, so I have to award style points.

Taste is excellent and unique, by far the most interesting bitter I've had. Sweet on the intake, on the tongue -- unassuming -- quickly changing over to clear bitterness -- and then finishing with an enormous nutty, dry toasted wheat flavor bomb.

Served at a nice cool temperature, the bitterness grows wider and wider as it warms, stretching out the flavor farther than my mouth goes I'm sure, like something really bitter you'd find in a "spring mix" salad.

The booze seems to be "around" as you're drinking (and I hope you are), notes of black cherry liqueur, balanced, salty cherry pie and booze. Mouthfeel has a light foam feel.

Perfectly balanced brew.

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Photo of berkey
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

At Beer Revolution in Oakland on a Beautiful Sunday afternoon. Served in a contoured 12oz glass.

Very small but well retained head caps a lucid auburn body. Splotches of lace are left as I go.

Great yeasty fresh-baked bread aroma with an assertive mostly grassy and slightly citric hop bite. Subtle yet inviting.

Flavor follows the same path but hop bitterness is a little bigger on the aftertaste than I expected. Dry and grassy is the focus, the citrus I picked up on the aroma isn't really coming through much on the taste. Yeast and malt have a somewhat flour-y, doughy, character. Everything comes together just about perfectly here.

I'd have trouble naming a more drinkable beer, even with the moderate abv. I could see myself treating this like a session beer on a nice day like this if I wasn't on a one beer limit today. Really settles in and gets even comfier at room temperature. Fulfills all my expectations of the style plus a bit extra. I hope to see this one back around very soon.

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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 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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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 largadeer
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On cask at Toronado, this was an especially fresh pint.

Appearance: Copper colored with an inch of off-white foam that lasts and lasts.

Smell: Citrus, earth, a hint of toffee. Doesn't smell English at all, more like an American take on the classic English style.

Taste & mouthfeel: Citrusy with a big biscuity malt backbone. Very clean and dry, this definitely has an American yeast character to it, though it manages to retain a hint of that English character. The finish is dry and bitter - very bitter, in fact. The mouthfeel is unbelievable here; creamy and smooth with very light carbonation.

Notes: I loved every drop of this beer, and it certainly helped that the cask was very very fresh.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On handpump at the Toronado. What a remarkable beer.

Mildly hazy copper/amber with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention and gorgeous lacing, this beer is everything a cask beer should be. The nose is excellent too, a blend of toast, toffee and a beautiful hop character, lightly minty, earthy and complex. Opening with a citrus-mint hop combination, the delicate malt flavors take over mid-palate, with biscuit, toffee and a classic English yeast character. A combination of drying, hoppy bitterness and a creamy, dextrinous malt character is present on the finish, with the minty, herbal hop character being most dominant. Creamy on the palate with soft carbonation, this pint of beer lasted about 5 minutes. Oh, how I miss Moonlight!

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Photo of Viggo
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A pint of this on cask at the Toronado in San Fran.

Pours a mostly clear orange/brown, thick white head forms, great retention, leaves a solid ring around the glass, and some lace rings. Smell is great, caramel, bread and biscuits, floral, very malty, some light grains, raisins and strawberry, some grassy hops, dark fruits, real nice. Taste is a nice thick caramel malt base, grains, biscuit, some nice fruitiness, grass, raisins, finishes with a solid spicy bitterness, nicely balanced. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, very smooth, very good ESB. I could drink this stuff all night.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at Toronado, poured from a hand pump. I've had this before on tap, and the cask just accentuates the lovely nature of this beer. Poured into a nonic, looks the classic english bitter. On the darker side with a fine, slightly grainy head and excellent lacing. Smells like a solid English bitter with the biscuity malt and light metallic bite as well as earthy hops. Beautifully balanced flavors of soft malts and earthy hops. Gentle, but memorable. Soft and oh so drinkable. This tastes like a bitter should.

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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 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 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 nickd717
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On cask at Toronado in San Francisco.

Pours a slightly hazy reddish-amber color with a nice creamy whitish head sitting on top. Great lacing.

Aroma is caramel, earth, and a nice citrusy and herbal hop profile.

Flavor is caramel malt, only mildly sweet, lots of earth, and hops. Citrus, resin, and herbs.

Body is medium and carbonation is fairly soft. Great dry, bitter finish.

Drinkability is excellent. You can session the hell out of this one (yes I know it's 5.6% ABV - deal with it, session beer fanatics). I am not a huge fan of the style, but this is definitely a good example.

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Photo of jdense
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask at Toronado SFO 5.29.10 $3.00 happy hour.

One finger creamy white head, slow dissipation and big lacing. Copper amber body no visible carbonation. Nose features a big hop hit, atypical for the style, spicy and piny, the caramel malt notes pushed to background. Taste has the malts really well hidden by the aggressive hop profile, malts are more bready than sweet on the tastebuds, hops no citrus but some grassiness, a pretty significant hop bill. Pretty bitter finish but balanced nicely by maltbill. Not a lot of effervescence in medium mouthfeel, a bit sticky. Quite drinkable, surprising given the out of the norm flavor profile. Moonlight is always a special treat, and the cask version, while not for beer neophytes, is worth a try especially for hopheads. A very pleasant surprise. Most definitely worth a try, especially the cask version.

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