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Iron Thistle | Rahr & Sons Brewing Company

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very good
76 Reviews
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Iron ThistleIron Thistle

Brewed by:
Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
Texas, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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!


Dark Brown


2 Row, Vienna, Crystal, Chocolate, Carafa Special II
Deeply Malty, Caramel, Light Hops
Brie, Aged Gouda
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.

Added by roblowther on 05-30-2009

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 76 | Ratings: 287
Reviews by roblowther:
Photo of roblowther
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Fresh off winning the 15th Annual US Beer Tasting Championships National Grand Champion award, sampled at The Flying Saucer in FW from its victory lap brewing. It is very dark brown, with a thin white creamy head. The smell is coffee, caramel, and a hint of lemon. The taste is strong malt, slight roasted bitterness, lemons, carob, and a smoky finish. It is mellower than many scotch ales. The mouthfeel is silky, wth nice carbonation. Drinkability is good, but the finish is a bit too smoky to settle into an afternoon of them. All in all, one of the best scotch ales I've had, maybe the best.

 595 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%

Photo of Mora2000
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the brewery during July 2009. Pours a darker brown with a creamy head. Smells of malt with a little smoke. Taste is sweet malt with some peat and smoke. This is not a very heavy beer and is very drinkable for a scotch ale. This is the only time I ever saw this beer, but I would drink it again if it became a seasonal or year-round offering.

 355 characters

Photo of Meyers1023
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Sharbhund
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of dankjohn
3.25/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of awalsh
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of whoneeds8
3.26/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass black with what seemed to be very little carbonation, creating nearly no head what so ever. I've poured three of these with the same results. The scent is rather strong for a Rahr, which is strong of sweet malts. The flavor is much the same, a sweet front that mellows out to a bitter hop taste. The aftertaste isn't bad, but it isn't good either. The mouthfeel is rather thin, which is par for Rahr. Overall, this is a very good beer for Rahr, but that doesn't make it a very good beer.

 512 characters

Photo of valkyre65
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of johndonor3
5/5  rDev +29.5%

Photo of chuckgietzen
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Teenieyogini76
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Excellent, straightforward, nice sweetness. Very well made beer

63 characters

Photo of Djenx
2.25/5  rDev -41.7%

Photo of InfernoBoss
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%

Photo of BeardedRiker
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You know, when I first started drinking Rahr beers, I wasn't too impressed, but over the last year or so I've come to appreciating much more. It probably started when I first tried their Winter Warmer. I thought it was delicious. Then I drank their BBWW and was extremely impressed. It's one of those beers you can't get enough of. Now I've had their Iron Thistle and I'm convinced any of their beers that use roasted and/or chocolate malts then I'll like the beer. The Iron Thistle is no exception. Also, I don't think I've had a Scotch Ale that I've disliked.

Iron Thistle pours out clear and the darkest of brown, but a brown-ruby color when held up to the light. The head is light brown while being about a finger and a half high. It fizzes itself out fairly quickly. No lacing. With the name Iron Thistle, it's not a tantalizing name as far as the beer goes, but this does look good.

Mmm...I like the smell. As expected, it's malty as hell. Dark roasted malts bring out nuttiniess, coffee, and a brown sugar sweetness. Chocolate malt is present too. There's a bit of anise or liquorice. I do get some hops that warm the nose with spice.

The taste is where this beer shines. Coffee and chocolate malts are strong with a brown sugar sweetness that's underneath. It has a nice nuttiness throughout, as well as a slight hint of booze. This sort of reminds me of the BBWW but the flavors are not as strong. You know, at the end I get a sort of tobacco-ish essence with it. I've decided while I'm a hop head, I also love beers that use the roasted, dark malts.

This has a medium-low carbonation that makes it very smooth with its medium body. Iron Thistle is oh so drinkable.

Another Rahr beer that's damn good and another Scotch Ale that I really like. Rahr is now one of my favorite Texas breweries.

 1,805 characters

Photo of ChisholmWest
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Really nice head lasting about 4 or 5 minutes. Left a good amount of lacing all the way to the end. Beautiful color that resembles mahogany.
Smell: wonderful aromas of smoke, nuts, chocolate, and malt
Taste: Strong malt with nice flavors of chocolate, molasses and coffee, with a hint of smoke (why not its a Scotch ale)
Feel: Definitely a higher point beer, not overly boozy but still you can taste the alcohol. A little more hops than I like but not bad.
Overall: An excellent beer, one that I would recommend with out reservation to some one that likes heavier more full bodied brew. Not a beer for someone that lives in the macro lager world. Best serving temp is 52 degrees.

 696 characters

Photo of StewartWatson
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of jheezee
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of mikefuski17
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

Photo of Dwtucker90
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%

Photo of needMIbeer
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JCoff
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of Saxboy10
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of erushing
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Acoke
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%

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Iron Thistle from Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
3.86 out of 5 based on 287 ratings.
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