Red Thistle Ale | Golden Valley Brewery and Pub

27 Ratings
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Red Thistle AleRed Thistle Ale

Brewed by:
Golden Valley Brewery and Pub
Oregon, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by freed on 12-09-2002

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Ratings: 27 |  Reviews: 16
Photo of rodbeermunch
2.28/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Good colors for the appearance, holds reddish brown all over it, lacks head, lacks clarity, even acknowledging that it is a darker beer. Aroma had that wet, humid red malt thing going, I didn't like it.

Malty, not enough hops to be balanced, mild roasting, but not what it claims to be. Acidic. Bad red malt aftertaste. Way too hot of a beer, says 5.5%, drinks like 11.5%.

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Photo of CoryR
3.63/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of fredmugs
3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of KrisQ
3.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of eggmaggi
4.5/5  rDev +37.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Price to abv to taste ratio is on point.

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Photo of J_Sager
2.7/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Boozecamel
3.5/5  rDev +7%

Photo of NickSMpls
3.5/5  rDev +7%

Photo of mrkinnex
4/5  rDev +22.3%

Photo of jtosch
3/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of shelby415
3/5  rDev -8.3%

Photo of rogerthegill
3.5/5  rDev +7%

Photo of hyprlt
2.43/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz poured into a 16oz tumbler.

A: reddish amber with no head to speak of

S: none at cool temperature. in comparison to beers of same style "ESB," there was higher concentration of aromas

T: no hop bite, more mild flavored acids. somewhat grainy flavor.

M: too thick for an ESB. the wrong parts linger on the tongue for too long. also seems like the carbonation disappears pretty quick.

O: not very good. my parents brought this back when they went to visit my brother. just about everything else from oregon has been awesome. im sure they have good beers, but I was not a fan of the tannen bomb the first time I had it. i wouldnt recommend, but maybe it tastes good on draft. I'm sure a lot of hard work went into the beer, but hard work doesn't always equal success.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.47/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reddish brown color, murky, homebrewesque appearance. Continues in the murky, musty, bad red ale vein in the aroma.

Malty, lacking hops, gritty red ale, but has some roastiness in it for those that it appeals to. Some sweetness. For being labeled as aggressively hopped, this one fails to deliver.

Unpleasant acidity leads to an unpleasant aftertaste, and in conjunction with the sum of its parts, made for an overall unpleasant drinking experience.

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Photo of chumba526
3.12/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appears medium bodied orange with an off-colored white head.

It smells of fruit (raisons and prunes and grapes), I get a strong molasses smell as well. There is also a sweet bready malt smell to the beer. The smell is comprised of sweet malt though the smell is not completely one dimensional.

It tastes initially of earthy molasses and caramel flavored malts. This is soon followed with a sweet fruity aftertaste. The aftertaste is composed of a sweet molasses flavor. It tastes pretty decent though it is a little sweet then I like most ESBs.

The carbonation is medium low the mouth-feel is quite smooth.

The drinkability is limited it is quite rich and is a bit too sweet. Though it does go down quite smoothly.

Overall a average example of the style. though it is a bit too sweet in my opinion.

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Photo of olmatty
3.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours a very thin, sudsy, big- bubbled head with nearly no lacing and poor retention, color is a slightly hazy amber.

Smell- Slightly sweet cereal malts, light hops in background.

Taste- Amber malts, slightly sour and unfinished tasting. Lightly hoppy and a dry finish. Sour aftertaste hangs around too much.

Mouthfeel- Lightly carbonated and moderate bodied

Drinkability- Goes down smoothly at first, but unpleasant aftertaste takes drinkability down. reminiscent of english style ambers. Perhaps it's meant to taste this way, but if so, this flavor does not appeal to me.

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Photo of SurlyDuff
3.9/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Their flagship (since '93). Heavy malt bill with noble hops, according to their beerlist/factsheet.

Amber caramel color, with an offwhite/tan.

Rather mild aroma, but I get a good roasty malt and spicy hops off it.

Taste isn't all too 'big', but the flavors are there, good roasty malt and a spicy herbal earthy hoppiness. Getting a slight bit of pine sap in there too. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, and it has good drinkability.

This one really pairs nicely with food, had it with a good burger on their patio and it was a delicious combination.

It's kinda forgettable, and doesn't touch red ales like BR's Red Rocket or Deschutes' Cinder Cone. It's just not unique or outstanding in any real way.

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Photo of jdhilt
2.76/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Explodes out of bottle with five+ finger cream head that fades to a ring leaving some lace. Cloudy amber color. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Hoppy/caramel nose. Starts sweet becomes balanced then slight bitter/hoppy finish. $1.40 for a 12oz bottle from Liquid Solutions Tigard, Or.

 288 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.41/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dried apricot orange with butterscotch borders (there may be a suggestion of red if I squint and use a little imagination). The surface of the orangish ecru cap isn't exactly rocky, but it is humped and bumped and pitted and pocked. Multiple lace bridges connect head and glass with a good bit sticking in the end. This is an attractive red.

For a beer that boasts of a hop bill consisting of Chinook, Liberty, Willamette, Tettnanger and Fuggles (dry-hopped) and a brewery website that uses the words 'aggressively hopped', Red Thistle has a supremely disappointing nose. Were all those hops really necessary when your beer doesn't smell the least bit hoppy? By the same token, I can't appreciate much of the crystal or chocolate malt either.

This beer just has to be old. With no dating though, it's impossible to know for sure. It doesn't taste stale in the least, but there's such a deficit of flavor that I'm not sure what else could possibly be responsible for bold, flavorful ingredients like these being such a no-show on the palate. Will warming bring out any hidden charms? My Magic 8-ball says... doubtful.

Actually, the middle four ounces have some amount of flavor, while the top four had virtually none. At this rate, I might be less than disappointed by the bottom of the bottle. The beer is relatively well-balanced with caramel malt getting edged out--increasingly so--by bitter, spicy, citric hops. Chinook do not like to tied down and are doing their best to give me something to enjoy.

It's too little, too late though. Even though some degree of resiny hoppiness comes on in the end, the beer just isn't well-constructed enough for me to even think about drinking it again or recommending it to others. Not too many red ales would benefit by being consumed at room temperature, but this one almost requires it.

Red ales have a pretty wide range of acceptability when it comes to body/mouthfeel and Red Thistle falls well within those boundaries. Actually, it's probably on the full side of medium for the style and has enough carbonation to get the job done. I was a little worried after the barely perceptible 'ssst' upon top popping, but I needn't have been.

Golden Valley had the right idea with this beer, it's just that their grand vision didn't come off quite as planned (of course if I'm right and this bottle is a bit long in the tooth, I apologize). Oregonians would be much better off by skipping Red Thistle and drinking the outstanding reds from Full Sail or Deschutes.

 2,519 characters

Photo of Knuckles
2.19/5  rDev -33%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I picked up two beers from Golden Valley while I was at the Seal Rock Grocery: Tannen Bomb and Red Thistle. I had never actually heard of this brewery, and (like most BAs) I'm always interested in trying new things when I'm out and about on vacation. Sadly, these two beers made me wish I'd just grabbed two more Terminal Gravity IPAs, as these both were underwhelming and actually ended up in the drain, rather than my belly.

Appearance: By far the best feature of the beer. Not a deep red, but very solid amber. Poured with minimal head, and what was there left quickly.

Smell: Damn. The cold yeast smell I was dreading. Cold in that the malts really don't have any presence in the nose at all, and yeast as that's all I smell in the finish. No hops whatsoever.

Taste: Well, the malts that I was looking for in the nose were here in the taste, they were just unremarkable. What makes this beer unpleasant for me is the yeasty finish. It almost has a lager yeast quality to it, and I simply don't enjoy it at all.

Mouthfeel: Doesn't have the great mouth presence of a Fat Tire (as much as I may dislike the beer itself, it really is well-crafted) or a Mac & Jack's, but it's ok.

Drinkability: For me, not at all. I won't mark it down as awful, because it wasn't. I just simply didn't like this beer at all. Red is a style I'm very familiar with, and enjoy quite a bit, and this one was way below average in almost all the criteria.

 1,447 characters

Photo of RedDiamond
3.25/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Red Thistle is Golden Valley’s flagship ale, an odd call in my opinion, for the beer’s most standout feature is its lack of standout features. Nothing daring or risqué here. Just a simple, mildly bitter ale that works well with food. It is crimson-brown with a thin head, cameo lace, and an aroma that embodies the properties of light malts, yeasts, and dishwashing detergent.

(I’m serious about the smell of dishwashing detergent. This is an isolated problem, but it absolutely must be remedied.)

Red Thistle is based on a special bitter recipe and leans just slightly to the sweet. It is a decent house standard, but beware of dusty bottles.

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Photo of sinistersteve
3.13/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice thick 1/2 inch head of the pour which setled down to nice layer covering the entire top of the beer which laced nicely down the glass.

Deep amber red color which allowed very little light through.

Not much off the aroma.

Taste is decent...seems to be on the bittersweet side.

Overall, nothing makes this beer stand out above others. Purchase a bottle or two, but stay away from a sixer.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.76/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is pretty subdued ..but what there is ,is fresh and mostly malty. Nice looking beer dark brown with a large light tan head..great lacing.. The flavour is pretty simple..slightly roasted malts and a mellow hop aftertaste. I actually liked that this beer was low carbonated..helkped in drinkability for me.. Reminded me rather of a simple Scottish ale.

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Photo of jtfest
3.53/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very hazy, deep auburn/mahogany color with a large light caramel head that diminishes rapidly. Smelled kind of musty-oak to me. Thin but satisfying mouthfeel with a 'fizziness' to it and a taste that is somewhat grassy, malty, with a slight bitterness. It’s good and interesting, and I'd probably try it on tap -- but there are a lot of brews I would pick over this one when out buying bottles.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.84/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful deep Red color, small white foamy head. A light bodied red ale. Lightly caramelized malts. Mild yet spicy hops. Good flavor. Smooth taste. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is malty with a very slight bitterness.

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Red Thistle Ale from Golden Valley Brewery and Pub
3.27 out of 5 based on 27 ratings.
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