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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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BA SCORE
90
outstanding

93 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 93
Reviews: 57
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 12.16%
Wants: 2
Gots: 0 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: donnebaby on 11-28-2004)
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Ratings: 93 | Reviews: 57 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of veinless
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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

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.

Photo of kwjd
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of LittleDon
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

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

8/14/2010

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.

Photo of philosobeer
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

Photo of Jmoore50
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
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.

J

Photo of berkey
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Photo of jdense
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of nickd717
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of WeisGuy
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
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

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!

Photo of woodychandler
4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

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!

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Photo of illidurit
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

Photo of xhcadamx
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

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.

Photo of Floydster
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
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

Photo of bbothen
2.93/5  rDev -27.3%
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.

Photo of opwog
2.5/5  rDev -38%
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

Twist Of Fate Bitter Ale from Moonlight Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 93 ratings.