Moonlight Brewing Company

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Moonlight Brewing Company
California, United States
Winter Warmer
4.02 | pDev: 9.7%
Jan 06, 2021
Dec 22, 2003
Very Good
Notes: Adjective in front of the name changes each year.
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Photo of laquebrada
Reviewed by laquebrada from California

3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
Pours with a big tan head, which persists nicely, opaque dark brown color. Spicy, malty aroma. Flavor is similar, but long roasted finish. Definite hop bitterness component in the flavor, but hop flavor is muted. As it says on the label "Homegrown wet hops. Get Lost in this beer!"
Jan 06, 2021
Rated: 4.43 by acurtis from New Jersey

Dec 25, 2020
Photo of jvgoor3786
Reviewed by jvgoor3786 from Arkansas

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours a medium brown with a very thick, soapy tan head and tons of sticky lacing.

The smell is bright orange/citrus hops and milk cocoa. It's a really delicious, unusual nose.

The taste is burnt caramel, orange, chocolate, a hint of spiciness, and a lingering leather finish.

There mouthfeel is medium body with medium/high carbonation.

Overall this is fun dark beer with a nice splash of citrus hops.
Dec 24, 2020
Photo of RaulMondesi
Reviewed by RaulMondesi from California

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Not bad. Not bad at all. Like grabbing some fast food and them getting your order right, not bad. It’s Not the best, but it will do. Slight roast with a lil Christmas-y essence like Aunt Becky from Full House in a Hallmark holiday film before she got sent to the can. Ok, I’m outta here.

Dec 22, 2020
Photo of bret27
Rated by bret27 from California

4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
2020 version. Very complex and tasty.
Dec 21, 2020
Rated: 3.44 by VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

Feb 12, 2020
Rated: 3.54 by jrpapajcik from Illinois

Jan 20, 2018
Rated: 3 by nathanmiller from New York

Jul 27, 2015
Rated: 3.88 by ronricorossi from California

Dec 13, 2014
Rated: 4 by mc4z from California

Dec 14, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by hayesjw from California

Dec 11, 2013
Rated: 3.75 by westcoastbeerlvr from California

Jan 09, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by bostonryan from Massachusetts

Dec 11, 2012
Rated: 4.25 by Bubbles from California

Dec 10, 2012
Rated: 4 by shelby415 from Oregon

Feb 27, 2012
Photo of John_M
Reviewed by John_M from Oregon

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
On tap at Barclay's tonight.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. The aroma profile is intense (typical for moonlight brewing), with coffee and dark chocolate, completely dominated by licorice and some underlying mint. The flavor profile replicates the nose, with once again, the licorice and coffee really dominating. Mouthfeel is medium bodied to full, with a fairly long, smooth, slightly creamy, licorice dominated finish. The beer starts out with some sweetness, but there's some underlying hoppy bitterness that counters that sweetness very well. Alcohol is hard to gauge in this beer... I guess the 6% makes sense, but it could have been 8% or 9% and I'd have never been the wiser.

Not sure this beer is exactly my cup of tea, but there's no denying the quality of the product. Just another well made, well crafted effort from the folks at Moonlight brewing.
Feb 05, 2012
Rated: 4 by yourefragile from District of Columbia

Jan 14, 2012
Rated: 3.5 by rbrefbeerman from California

Jan 06, 2012
Photo of ngeunit1
Reviewed by ngeunit1 from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
A - Served a dark black color with a touch of red mixed in and a finger of frothy chocolate colored head atop. The head fades down very slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate and caramel malts with some earthy hops and some holiday spices mixed in.

T - Starts off with some roasted chocolate malts with some earthy hops in the background. Through the middle some light bitterness comes through with some caramel malt sweetness and some holiday spices. The finish is a mix of earthy hops, caramel and chocolate malts, and some light holiday spices.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and dry finish.

D - Very drinkable. The spices are at a very nice level as they are noticeable, but do not take over like they do in many winter warmers. The earthy hops also compliment the spices and the malt flavors well.
Dec 22, 2011
Rated: 5 by rob133 from California

Nov 14, 2011
Photo of brokensail
Reviewed by brokensail from California

4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
On-tap at Toronado

A: The pour is quite a dark brown color with a finger of off-white/khaki colored head.

S: Smells like what I expect from a winter warmer. Very reminiscent of some of the (good) vintages of Anchor OSA. Lots of pine, spice, and chocolate with a bit of a roasted malt character.

T: The flavor is good as well. Lots of malt flavor that is somewhat roasty and a fair amount of chocolate. There's some caramel and molasses, too. There's a good herbal/spice quality (perhaps juniper?) and a touch of pine.

M: The body is medium and the carbonation is low to medium. Pretty smooth and somewhat creamy.

D: A well done winter seasonal from Moonlight. Really easy to drink my pint of and wouldn't mind having this again.
Dec 26, 2010
Photo of largadeer
Reviewed by largadeer from California

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
On tap at Gourmet Haus Staudt. Clear caramel brown, opaque in the center with translucent edges. Smells like Christmas tree, dark chocolate, toasted biscuits. There's a lot of resiny, sappy pine flavor, along with a firm backbone of biscuit-like toasted and caramelized malt. Fairly dry and quaffable with a medium-full texture. The finish displays a lot of pine and herbal bitterness. Quite an exceptional little winter warmer.
Dec 16, 2010
Photo of nickd717
Reviewed by nickd717 from California

3.47/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
On tap at Zeitgeist in SF on New Years Eve, labeled as "XXXMas."

Dark brown in color with a small off-white head.

Aroma is roast, earth, spices, and pine and citrus hops.

Flavor is not bad but a bit unbalanced, not melding to well together. Roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, earth, spices, and lots of pine/citrus hops.

Medium-plus body with a fairly slick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Overall this is a decent beer, but drinkability is not great.
Jan 02, 2010
Photo of cptierney
Reviewed by cptierney from California

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
On tap at Flavor Bistro in about a 10oz or so pour.

This beer cut a striking figure with a warm brown color that gave way to very little light. The top was crowned with a solid two fingers of hearty brownish foam. The lacing was substantial as the brew disappeared.

The nose had an edge of brown ale to it. While there were definitive notes of pine tree bitter, the major scent was of sweet malts. the warm sweetness was slightly reminiscent of dark fruits and made for an inviting picture.

The mouthfeel was surprisingly light and it drank right at its ABV. The carbonation was consistent and enlivening and served as a pleasant delivery vehicle.

This warmer was sweet forward, with each sip containing hints of caramel, and a touch of maple syrup. The bittering was really secondary and just showed up enough to make for a balanced overall picture.

Moderate marks for drinkability as the beer became a sipper toward the end as its sweet nature made me question another. As a one off though, this was a truly enjoyable drinking companion.
Dec 22, 2009
Photo of mjl21
Reviewed by mjl21 from California

3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
On tap at the Toronado. Poured into a pint glass.

A-Pours a very dark brown with a one finger sandy head that breaks down to a smallish ring at a brisk pace. Leaves some nice lacing.

S-It has a big roast malt nose with noticeable coffee aromas. There is also a touch of sweet malt.

T-It starts with roast malt and a little bit of sweet malt. In the middle I pick up on ripe banana, vanilla, and pine hops. The roast flavor returns at the end. As it warms it does become sweeter.

M-It is a very smooth beer and has a light carbonation level.

D-Not as heavy as it looks. I like that it is a winter beer that is not spiced with the usual suspects (nutmeg, clove, allspice, etc.).

I really enjoyed this one. Lots of flavor and a nice change of pace from the other winter warmers I have consumed this year. Worth checking out, especially if you like Death and Taxes or Bony Fingers.
Dec 21, 2009
Photo of Offa
Reviewed by Offa from California

4.63/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5
I had this finally on tap at Toad in the Hole, Santa Rosa. This is an excellent, complex, full-bodied, but balanced winter-warmer type.

Deep, deep red-brown, almost black, it has a fairly big, dense, creamy dark tan head that shrinks very, very slowly to a permanent, creamy top about 1/2 inch thick, leaving excellent rings of rich lace down the glass.

Aroma is a but subdued, but has firm toasty, character with burnt grapefruit, molasses, caramelised fruit.

The taste is similar, rich toasty-burnt fruit qualities like a stronger stout but not quite so roasty, with burnt orange, caramelised fruit (prunes, etc.) hints of molasses, bittersweet chocolate, and toast. It has excellently balanced sweetness and bitterness throughout, nice well-wounded, well-integrated, balanced and complex character, very consistent and drinkable. It is solid and full-bodied without being overly heavy.
Dec 18, 2009
Photo of DefenCorps
Reviewed by DefenCorps from Oregon

3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
On tap at Flavor Bistro in Santa Rosa.

A: Very dark brown, almost black with reddish brown highlights. No head, thin disk, though.

S: Hoppy with a bitter, very dark roasted bitterness. Hops, espresso, dark, unsweetened chocolate; in ways, it resembles a hoppy pilsener.

T/M: Opens up with a sharp pine bitterness coupled with a very roasty flavor that's almost burnt. Some espresso and chocolate, not very creamy, though. Tons of carbonation and with a dry, bitter finish, this is solid.

D: Enjoyable, maybe a little more bitter than I'd like, though.
Jan 02, 2009
Photo of ojclark
Reviewed by ojclark from California

3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Draft at Zeitgeist, San Francisco. New Years Day, 2008.

Aroma of dark malt with some chocolate notes. Aroma was fairly subtle overall. Poured black with dark brown highlights when held up to light. Not much head aside from a small ring of tan foam. Flavors of very dark malts and bitterness in the forefront. Some piney/citric hop flavor in the background. Some caramel notes and lingering hop flavor and bitterness in the finish. Subtle alcohol in flavor as well. Beer was served fairly cold to begin with. As it warmed, some spice notes (not initially apparent) came out as well, mainly nutmeg and cinnamon.

Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation. Slight alcohol warmth in finish along with some dryness and astringency.
Feb 19, 2008
Photo of Mark
Reviewed by Mark from California

3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
A very dark beer, almost stout like in darkness. No head or lacing but color warranted at least a 3.0. Very hoppy nose, inviting. Sharp hoppy taste bordered on medicinal, hints of citrus tried to come through. This offering from Moonlight was not near my favorite. it is a decent sipping beer for a cold day. Exactly when my favorite beer drinking is done but this beer let down just a bit.
Feb 25, 2007
Photo of watermelonman
Reviewed by watermelonman from California

4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
This came as an extremely dark and thick black with minimal head and lace. The smell brings big spices on top of a nice mix of hops and roasted malts. Roasted malt dominates the front of the taste and then gives way to some spice and then hops complete the finish. The mouthfeel is hefty and pleasing while drinkability is good.

Part strong stout, part winter warmer, this is a winner.
Jan 12, 2006
Photo of Denali
Reviewed by Denali from Colorado

4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
On tap at Toronado.

Presentation: Standard pint glass.

Appearance: Dark brown/black with slight tan head.

Smell: Very spicy aroma, along with dark malts.

Taste: Dark malt flavors hit up front. This is followed by a sweet brown sugar like flavor, and then followed with nutmeg/cinnamon flavors. Finishes with hops to balance everything out. Not too spicy and really well balanced. Nice flavor timeline.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated.

Drinkability: Great drinking beer. I could easily have many of these in a row.

Comments: The Moonlight website lists this beer as a winter seasonal "Dark Strong Ale". I always have one of these when I go to the Toronado. Love the spicy touch and easy drinking. I'm glad its still on, but don't know how long it will last, since it is a winter seasonal. Get it while it lasts.
Jan 11, 2006
Photo of rkhaze
Reviewed by rkhaze from California

4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
Winter seasonal on-tap at Barclays in Oakland. Poured a dark brown cola color with a small dense head. Left good lace.
Aromas of roasted malt, spicy hops and some red fruits.
Earthy, tangy roasted malt upfront with a slight molasses sweetness. The red fruit made a subtle appearance in there but more in the way of red licorice, but not so sweet. Perhaps a hint of cinnamon as well. Good spicy hop bitterness that lingered on.
Soft rich full mouthfeel. Full bodied. Good drinkability.
The bartender didn't know the ABV but guessed around 8%.
I would have to say that was definitly in the ballpark.
Dec 22, 2003
Tipple from Moonlight Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 32 ratings