1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Iron Thistle - Rahr & Sons Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Iron ThistleIron Thistle

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

235 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 235
Reviews: 66
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 13.25%
Wants: 14
Gots: 36 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company visit their website
Texas, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
SCOTTISH STYLE ALE
Available : February Release
Break out the bagpipes with your lederhosen! We’re proud to present our Iron Thistle Scotch Ale – Rahr’s first National Grand Champion winner. This dark, Scottish ale has a bold taste dominated by a smooth, sweet maltiness balanced with a low, hoppy bitterness. So don your kilts and enjoy. Here’s to your health – Slàinte! Prosit!
ABV
8.5%

IBUS
35

COLOR/SRM
Dark Brown

HOP VARIETIES
Warrior

MALTS
2 Row, Vienna, Crystal, Chocolate, Carafa Special II
TASTING NOTES
Deeply Malty, Caramel, Light Hops
PREFERRED GLASS
Pint
PREFERRED SERVING TEMPERATURE
52°
CHEESE PAIRINGS
Brie, Aged Gouda
FOOD PAIRINGS
According to a well-respected expert, Iron Thistle pairs really well with grilled or steamed vegetables because “they won’t have to scream to be heard.” Since we find screaming vegetables unappetizing, we think this is a perfect pairing.

(Beer added by: roblowther on 05-30-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 235 | Reviews: 66 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of EgadBananas
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very, very dark red/brown, almost black (as the bottle hinted at). Very like tan head of a solid finger adorns and leaves minimal lacing. Lots of bubbles streaming up the glass.

Aroma is malty sweet, very roasted, slightly charred and smoky, nutty, and very bready/doughy/yeasty sweet.

Malty sweet, roasted, hints of booze, some chocolate and caramel notes. Finish is bittersweet.

The feel is maybe medium, more crisp than smooth. Carbonation spikes just a hair. Finishes clean, but feel is overall on the lighter side.

Drink ability is good. Feel aside, it's a right tasty Wee Heavy.

EgadBananas, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of cdwil
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

cdwil, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of gtermi
4.38/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: I poured this out of a 12 oz bottle into my Rahr glass I got from the tour. It pours a very nice dark brown with a red tint. The beer had a very nice white thin head that quickly fade. Just a great looking beer.

S: The smell is very nice too. I am getting a nice amount of roasted malt, a lot of chocolate malt and it also has a little amout of smoke.

T: This is a delicious beer! I have never had this before and it just blows me away. I am getting a lot of chocolate notes and also some roasted malt. I love the malty taste that lingers on the tongue.

M: The beer is very smooth and it just goes down like water. There is a little tingle on the tip of the tongue, but other than that there is no crispness at all. Just an all around amazing mouthfeel.

O: I cant believe the ratings arent higher on this beer. It is very easy to drink, tastes great, looks and smells great. I think this is one of the best beers Rahr has ever put on the market and I am glad that I can find it anywhere.

gtermi, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Exiled, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Davepoolesque
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Davepoolesque, Apr 19, 2014
Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this from a generous Texas BA as part of my SNF winnings.

A-Body is a translucent dark brown hue with mahogany edges when held up to the light. An aggressive pour yields a 1-2 finger head which fades quickly to a thick collar-the collar has great retention. Little lacing left behind in the glass.

S-Caramel malt, chocolate, and molasses come to the nose first. Smells deep at first but then there is a refreshing herbal twinge at the end of the first whiff.

T-Seems like there is not too much going on upfront. Mild presence of caramel and chocolate malts-but thats it. The flavor here is in the later half. It starts with a moderate cocoa presence and then bitter roasted malt and an herbal presence come through for the finish. Faint hints of the whole flavor profile linger briefly after swallowing.

M- Moderate carbonation and medium weight body. The mouthfeel is a lot more "porter" to me than the thick, smooth,syrupy, mouthfeel I have come to expect from Scottish beers.

D- All in all this is a pretty good brew. Its surprisingly drinkable for 8% with no hints of alcohol whatsoever. Definitely worth a try.

PittBeerGirl, Mar 18, 2010
Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +3.9%

TX-Badger, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of emmasdad
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to a JJFoodie for this Texas extra. Pours dark brown, almost black, with a moderate caramel colored head. Aromas of chocolate, smoke and thick chewy malt. On the palate this one is a bit thinner than I anticipated, but still malty and chocolatey with a touch of spiciness and a slight bitter finish. This one is quite drinkable and fairly tasty.

emmasdad, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of jsanford
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Pint Glass.

A - Pours a very dark (almost black) brown with slight reddish highlights and a 1-inch khaki-colored head that dissipates quickly, leaving just the slightest of ring and haze.
S - Dark caramel-y malt, fig preserves, chocolate, and roasted nuts, with a bit of baked cookie. Reminds me of a Fig Newton. Very unique smell, I like it.
T - Nice and malty, with more figs, raisins, chocolate, and baked goods. Slight hint of booze towards the finish. Almost Brandy-like.
M - Medium, slightly creamy body with "prickly" carbonation.
D - Pretty drinkable, not really noticing the ABV. This was a nice surprise, I had no idea what to expect from this brewery.

jsanford, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of Kmlund
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Kmlund, Apr 29, 2014
Photo of Canada_Dan
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Canada_Dan, Jul 02, 2014
Photo of jheezee
4/5  rDev +3.9%

jheezee, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Massive, dense tan head with excellent persistence crowns a nearly opaque amber body.An abundance of Belgian-like lacing adorns the glass wall.

Aroma: Dark, mildly peaty and smoky malt notes utterly dominate the aroma, although there is an abundance of caramel as well.

Taste: Opens with a wave of dark caramel, and and earthy peat flavor. As the taste progresses, wood and smoke flavors appear. Late in the taste, there is bitter cocoa as well, and a bit of coffee. Finishes with moderate, lingering burnt caramel, and peaty earthiness.

Mouth feel: Smooth, rich, very full and pleasant, with just a hint of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Seems a bit off-style, the grains seem over-toasted.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce brown glass long neck bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Pegasus, Jan 15, 2014
Photo of greenspointexas
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

greenspointexas, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of JohnBender
4/5  rDev +3.9%

JohnBender, Jan 29, 2013
Photo of Jame515
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Jame515, Sep 24, 2013
Photo of HardTarget
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 12 oz. twisty, some marketing on the label, but not much info. Served in the branded thistle glass.

A) Deep ruby red/black body shows some clarity with strong backlight. Holds a preacher's collar of dirty tan but doesn't lace the glass.

S) Bready, slightly sweet grape malt with whiffs of alcohol.

T) Mild overall flavor. Malty grape soda base, no hop flavors noted, but no excessive sweetness in the malt either. Hides the alcohol expertly.

M) A bit fizzy, lively carbonation keeps it from being heavy, even a wee heavy. Light prickle after the swallow.

D) Dangerous, I'm taking large pulls and enjoying them. A gentle giant this one, easy laid back smooth talker. Solid work Rahr!

HardTarget, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of n2185
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

n2185, Jan 16, 2013
Photo of CraigTravor
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

CraigTravor, Sep 16, 2014
Photo of Chucker17
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Chucker17, Oct 03, 2014
Photo of uturn
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

uturn, May 16, 2014
Photo of DaveHack
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

DaveHack, Jun 19, 2012
Photo of BeerHunter76
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

BeerHunter76, Jan 19, 2012
Photo of facundoCNB
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A deep brownish red .. Looks black under low light. Finger of head which dissipated immediately. Smells of malt, copper/oxidation.. Slight toasted grains/chocolate notes.
The taste is much better.. Charred bitter flavor up front, heavy dark malts/roasted grains,
Medium in body, medium carbonation.
This beer's alright. It was a throw in, so I can't complain bit it doesn't make sense how this has a higher rating than banhof's Berliner weisse per say. I know it's different styles, but for a wee heavy this is pretty damn bland.. And that other beer is sour and salty as shit and has a lower rating.. Mind control.. Think of just this beer on its own. Still, a meh example on the style.

facundoCNB, Apr 15, 2014
Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

SmellsofMahagony, May 15, 2013
Iron Thistle from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 235 ratings.