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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
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Reviews: 57
Hads: 98
Avg: 4.03
pDev: 15.38%
Wants: 3
Gots: 2 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 57 | Hads: 98
Photo of Offa
2.02/5  rDev -49.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This definitely is bitter, but it is not "a" bitter - terribly unbalanced, it lacks not only subtlety but the full flavour, complexity, and body to support the bitterness.

Like most, if not all, Moonlight beers, this is beautiful, being dark amber with a big, creamy light tan head that lasts forever and leaves thick lacing.

The aroma is the first sign of trouble for me: powerful citrusy hops, mostly the ubiquitous grapefruit (for me, this quality gets tiresome and is all too often overdone), with just a hint of toasted grain.

The taste is powerfully grapefruity and piney, very bitter and rough, drying my tounge. There is a little toasted grain, but it's too weak to do more than remind you it's there. This is, so far, far and away my least favourite Moonlight beer.

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Photo of opwog
2.53/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I had this on handpump at Toronado this last weekend, but after looking at most other reviews, I have to assume that I got a bum pour. So I won't bother with much detail. Also, I have had this on regular tap many times before and always loved it, but it has been years.

A- Nothing special.
S- almost none.
T- unbalanced
M- I have no problem with cask texture, except when nothing about the beer holds up; as was the case here.
D- I didn't even finish a single pint

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Photo of bbothen
2.98/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at The Trappist in Oakland.

Reddish brown with a big fluffy white head.

Earthy hop aroma with a significant malty/bready presence.

Has a herbal/medicinal taste to me with a maltiness to balance that flavor out. I don't like it so much.

Medium bodied with a lingering herbal taste.

Not my favorite from Moonlight. I was dissapointed. Hey, even Babe Ruth had 0 for 4 games.

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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 Goldorak
3.59/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brownish red, head was a bit thin, but that was likely the barkeep's fault, not the Beer itself.

Smell: Beautiful and delicate flowery hop aromas, with a touch of roasted goodness. I'm a sucker for cask Beer...

Taste: Impressive body that accorded really well with the hoppy flavors that lingered long after the end of my sips. A near perfectly balanced Beer that I enjoyed.

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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 Halcyondays
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ, in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Dark red, with a thin, white to off-white head, pretty typical of a bitter.

S: Toasty malts, biscuits, toffee, with a crisp baked bread smell.

T: Very hoppy for a bitter with lots of pine, very peaty, almost thought it was a derivative of a Scotch-style ale. One of the bitterest bitters that I have ever had, would say it needs to be more mellow, like an English-style bitter, but it is hard to find other faults with this one, they just aren't there, in the taste.

M: Chewy and resiny, though quite smooth, like a bitter is, lowly carbonated, kind of has a light quality to it.

D: A good, well-made bitter, easy to drink, though not quite as quaffable as I would have hoped, a lighter English-style bitter is one of the most drinkable ales around, but overall, it is very good.

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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 tjd25
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great lasting head on a ruby mahogany color body. The smell shows sweet red fruits with some baking notes and hints of grapefruit. Citrus and grapefruit take over the taste with a dry and oily hoppiness circling the mouth that also gets lightly chocolaty and wooden. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth and enjoyably light. Quite drinkable, if it weren't for this kind of overwhelming dry character.

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Photo of illidurit
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at 515 in Santa Cruz. Coppery amber color with a long lasting, creamy, tan head. Nice lacing. Aroma is nutty with caramel and maybe a little bit of orangey hop influence. Flavor is deep dark caramel and maple syrup up front which melts into a piney resinous hoppy finish. Moderate bitterness. A little heavy on the palate for the style. Pretty good beer overall.

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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 ojclark
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at the Toronado. 1/3/2008. Aroma of dark crystal malt, fruity esters, and strong green apple (acetaldehyde) notes. Poured dark brown with good clarity. Nice tan head with moderately low retention and good lacing. Flavors of dark crystal malt, dark brown sugar, and yeast. Fruity, citric flavors with a good level of hop bitterness in the finish. Some spicy hoppiness as well. Slight green apple favor in background. Between dark malts and hops, beer was fairly bitter overall. Medium-light body. Moderately low carbonation.

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Photo of MiScusi
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Flavor Bistro in Santa Rosa, CA.

A: A very dark golden, almost light brown color. Served in a pilsner type glass.

S: Floral hops are dominant.

T: Flowery hops, a brisk but not too aggressive bitterness. Light in the malt as well.

M: Carbonated pretty highly, at least for what I was expecting. Medium-light to heavy-light body.

I was expecting a little bit of a more easy drinker but this one was just slightly more assertive in hops and prickly in mouthfeel than I would have liked. It was still a good beer.

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Photo of WeisGuy
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On handpump at Toronado SF.

a - pours a medium-brown color with ruby highlights, one-finger off-white head with good retention and great lacing

s - a bit muted on the nose, roasted malt and caramel being the predominant aromas, mild citrus hop notes, no alcohol to be found

t - roasty malt and caramel mixed with toffee up front, a mild citrus flavor from the hops on the mid-palate, nice earthy character, more caramel and toasty malt on the finish, like the aroma, no alcohol to be found

m - medium-bodied and very smooth, as is to be expected with a cask ale, no much carbonation and not very active on the palate, that said, it doesn't wear on the palate either

d - par for the style in that it's very drinkable and easy on the palate, not all that interesting, however, and I would probably want to move on to something a bit more flavorful, that said, much tastier than other examples of the style I've tried

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

Had on cask at Toronado's in mid July. The color was murky and auburn, almost opaque, looked pretty good.

I can't say the aroma did a lot for me, but it did smell about right for an English bitter. Kind of neutral leaning to the malty side.

The flavor was slightly malty sweet with a dry bitter after-taste. The carbonation was smooth and authentic (hand-pumped) real ale as if it was served in the UK. Overall not bad.

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Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This Bitter is a moderate brown in color with a huge, explosive, yeasty white head that showed the classic retention associated with the EB style.

Smell – The malts are lightly-toasted and very fresh. The yeast imparts some nice bready notes as well. The bittering hops can be found easily.

Taste – The big, toasty malts come out much stronger at the taste. There’s more bread and the bittering hops are honest.

Mouthfeel – This is shy of medium-bodied but bigger than light. The bittering feels a little different in the mouth but it’s a nice signature creation by the Moonlight brewers.

Drinkability – This is a good drinker. It’s a stiff bitter belt, but why the hell else do you order an EB?

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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 John_M
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Flavor Bistro last night.

The beer pours a dark amber color with very good head retention and lacing. The nose is very attractive in this one, though it also tends to show Moonlight Brewing's fondness for hops. In any event, I get aromas of wet wood, white pepper, underlying citrus and even a whiff of light sour. Flavors on the palate replicate the nose, except the beer has a very dry, roasty, bitter finish. Mouthfeel is pretty light, and you can tell right off that the alcohol is dialed down nicely in this beer. The beer finishes well, with the abv. very well disguised.

This is a very easy to drink ESB, albeit it clearly has considerably more bitterness then what you find in your typical English ESB. This, I would say, is an ESB for hopheads. Nothing wrong with that!

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Photo of Floydster
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pint for three dollars during happy hour at Toronado in San Francisco, consumed 8/13/08 after I got my sour ale fix, reviewed from notes

A-Color was a mix between copper and a medium brown, this beers was cloudy as it could possibly be coming out of that handpump, looked amazing, had 1 1/4 inch white foamy head, awesome retention, crazy lacing
S-Earthiness, lemons, toffee, orange peel, dirt, lots of hoppiness, some bready malt aromas, and straw
T-Taste begins with a whole lot of citrus, particularly juicy lemons, the middle is quite chewy with malts, both bready and biscuit-like, English malt in fact, lots of yeast that make it even dryer than it would be with its large amount of hops already, nicely balanced, gets easier to drink as it warms even more, less dry as time goes by and has an appealing citrusy flavor, malt is still there but mellows out, enjoyable
M-Bitter, somewhat chewy, and citrusy mouthfeel, medium bodied, creamy and smooth, nice level of carbonation, taste seem to linger for a very long time
D-Could have drank a few pints of this, light on the stomach, went down with very little effort being that it was served at room temperature, smooth and sessionable

First of all, I can never turn down a cask conditioned beer, and secondly I cannot turn down a beer from Moonlight, which is why this was a no brainer for me, one of the best beers I have tasted in this style, would love to drink again, recommended

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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 GClarkage
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

10/09/05- On cask at the Toronado in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- Via cask into a typical pint glass.

Appearance- Deep amber colored pour. Slightly murky with bits and pieces of yeast all around. Nice 1/2 inch creamy looking head and excellent clinging lace.

Smell- Very laid back scent. Nothing really jumps out at you. Bits of floral hops here and bits of mild toasted malt there.

Taste- Just as in the scent. A very mild and drinkable bitter. Nice rounded flavor of lightly toasted malt and a medium bitter twang from the hops. Maybe a touch of citrus flavor as well.

Mouthfeel- Almost smooth as silk. No carbonation, just a tiny touch of a watery feel.

Drinkability- Nice English Bitter which is very drinkable. Not to bitter, which is good once and a while.

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