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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPABelhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.

411 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 411
Hads: 764
Avg: 3.72
pDev: 19.89%
Wants: 21
Gots: 81 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English India Pale Ale (IPA) |  6.10% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ADR on 09-24-2005

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (27) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 411 | Hads: 764
Photo of hoppytaps
2.15/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

LOOK - gold colored beer, sparkling, clean-filtered

SMELL - malty toasted with some fruit

TASTE - wet cardboardy possible oxidation?, not as much hop flavor as I was suspecting and bitterness.

FEEL - smooth and a bit foamy, light-medium bodied

OVERVIEW - I didn't care for it. It was just okay. Also in a clear bottle? I found it boring. I was expecting something more exciting!! like Lakefront IPA or Singlecut IPA

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Photo of pkalix
4.55/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a clear bottle(?) and smells skunky. pours a super light amber, nice color, minimal head but consistent lacing.
smells is skunky from afar and does not smell like the typical IPA. in fact, i think there MUST be some confusion. my bottle looks NOTHING like the bottle up top, nor is it THAT dark. it's not dark at all. and the label states abv is 6.1% has no one else caught these dissimilarities?
taste starts caramel-y and malty and sweet but finishes with the hop bitter and dry. "a bitter dry taste explosion", says the bottle. and it delivers. i like these Belhaven brews. the Wee Heavy is one of my all time favorites.
this isnt the typical IPA, but it is good. not that i like the IPA style. as i drink more i am more aware of the bitterness and it is more prevalent in my mind and mouth than the sweet maltiness i tasted on my first sip. while not my favorite style, i fully respect what they have done with this. 'mouthfeel' wasnt special for me, it seemed kind of 'regular' but the color is beautiful, smell was provocative and different than i was expecting and so was the taste. for me, my ratings are accurate of how i feel about this one....

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 16.9oz clear (UGH!) pop top with cool label and nice info about the beer. No best by date, though there's a sort of date code. Apparently, this beer has a life-span of 18 months, however, and the date MIGHT be January 2012, so this would be ok. Poured into my Black SHeep half-pint chalice in small pours. At least I saw this one come out of the box and onto the shelf today, so it hasn't been sitting in the light long! 6.1% abv.

Appearance: Dark golden brew, with lots of tiny sediment in suspension. A nice creamy ivory cap with nice stick and some lace. Lasting tiny carbonation. Attractive looking beer!

Smell: Toasty and earthy pale and caramel malts, with lightly fruity hops (Challenger and Cascade blend really well, actually). I'd like a bit more in terms of hops in the aroma department, but as this probably isn't super fresh and it's an English-style IPA, it's sufficient.

Taste: Dry toasty malt, fruity alcohol, fruity and lightly earthy hops (fairly light in intensity) and a nice firm, clean bitterness on the finish. This ends dry, with an ever-so-slightly (tea-like) astringency. Very English, and pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than 6%...this feels fairly well-attenuated. Goes nicely with the rest of the beer.

Overall: For $3.99 a pint, this is a tasty English-style IPA that I would probably purchase a bit more often if it wasn't in clear-glass bottles. Nice, fruity, malty, subtly-hoppy, and bitter. Would really like to try it fresh as well! For the price (and before it gets old, light-struck, and with TONS of chunky floaty sediment) this is definitely a 'pick it up now and again' brew for when you're in the mood for an English IPA.

B 85-86

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy honey orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, slight citrus, and some earthy and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a slightly smoky flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

LOOK - very compact, creamy white head, decent retention, some lace - gold colored beer, sparkling, clean-filtered

SMELL - extremely(?) mellow aromas of a fruit-topped pancake, bit of soft hops (EKG?), typical British pale ale aroma (toasted malt, fruity esters)

TASTE - pale-ale / estery base beer - mild and unmistakably FLORAL HOP flavor, faint residual, lingering hop flavor and bitterness - quite mellow, vaguely spicy, a little dry - nice overall balance

FEEL - smooth and a bit foamy, light-medium bodied (any fullness by way of carbonation?), spicy-bitter zip in the finish (tongue feels a bit tingly)...but still easy drinking

OVERVIEW - pretty decent, interesting IPA - and it IS an IPA...

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA has a thin-to-medium, off-white head and a mostly clear, bubbly, orange appearance, with lots of light gray sediment floating about. Some splotchy lacing is left on the glass. There was an initial skunk smell upon pouring the beer, but this almost immediately dissipated. The aroma is of mild fruitiness, malt, and just the slightest hop sting. Taste is of strongly-roasted malt, with even some charcoal, sweet, brown bread, fruitiness, pine resin, and back-end hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and soft, and Belhaven Twisted Thistle finishes dry, refreshing, and easily drinkable. Overall, this is a very good and interesting beer.


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Photo of cfalovo97
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another one of my favorites (which sucks since it is hard to find in my area)

Well balanced and tasty. Very herbal and a little sour with a gentle finish
thick creamy mouthfeel with a smooth finish. tasty twist on the style. I was not expecting to like this beer when i first looked at the bottle, and was very surprised. Always keeping my eye out in the off chance i have the ability to try it again

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure when it changed but my bottle says it's not 6.1% ABV.

A - Well it's easy to spot that it's a clear amber brown since it's in a clear bottle now. Head is minimal with only a finger that reduces to a thick lace ring.

S - Smell is mild but it does have the sweet english malt thing going on. Not very bitter at all maybe some citrus hops?

T - Timid but balanced the hops do provide some bittering in the finish. English malts to balance with some cracker like sweetness. Not bad.

M - Light to medium, easy to drink.

Overall I don't think I will seek it out again. Seems to take like most IPA's that are around 1 or 2 bucks a bottle (yet this one was 4 bucks) Still worth a try since it was on my tick list. Heck even shipped from Scotland it had less sediment than most American offerings (fresher bottle)...

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the glass into a snifter, the beer was almost mauve in color. Incidently, I bet there are not many reviews with the color description of "mauve" on BA. There was a high level of sediment in the bottom of the glass. The thistle, which my assumption of the contents of the sediment, looked like yardwaste. Despite these oddities, the beer gets better. A heavy floral aroma leaps from the glass. The thistle is apparent. The initial taste is malty and mildly hops. The hops do not overwhelm, making this seem as though it is not a real IPA. The floral effects from the thistle stand out, giving the beer a tea-like quality. A note of lemon reinforces the tea hints, giving the impression of Lipton Tea with lemon. The flowery citrus hints continue in the aftertaste with the tartness of tea lingering. I am not sure I would need to drink this again, but it is a unique experience.

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Photo of tdm168
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - transparent, light goledn copper wiht a huge, dense, foamy, off white head that has great retention

S - musty, caramel, faint earthy hop aromas

T - caramel, faint bread, piney, bitter, a bit, earthy

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

The bitterness overpowers the malt character her. The malt comes across as one-dimensional: it's sweet caramel. the hops are bitter, piney, and even a bit resinous. Some balance I think would helo here. Nonetheless, it's drinkable, and smooth. It's a classic so it's worth a try.

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Photo of nrbw23
2.01/5  rDev -46%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A- Pours a darker golden amber with the slightest bit of haze to it. A fairly small biege head and no lacing left behind.

S- A huge amount of herbal hops to it that dominanted the entire brew. An almost marijauna smell to it. I could pick up nothing else.

T- A very strong aspirin taste. Very herbal and grassy. Nothing else came through on this one.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

O- Dominanted by the herbs. A struggle to drink.

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Photo of alysmith4
2.58/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this beer on-tap at a new British restaurant in DC. It wasn't all that good, but it was on happy-hour special so I ended up having two. It was a tad sweet for my taste, and had some kind of sour-y/sweet sugar thing that I couldn't quite put my finger on. It was like "prickly" or something. I suppose it's name is fitting!

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Photo of Cavanaghty
1.81/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured from bottle into a standard beer glass.

Appearance: Clear amber in color. About four fingers of white head with heavy lacing on the glass. I was not impressed by the selections of this particular beer at the store, I got the only bottle that was "fresh" and did not have anything floating in it.

Smell: Alcohol and strong bitter hops that burned my nose when I smelled.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Medium bodied, it had a strong bitter taste throughout the beer, rather unpleasant actually. Strong alcohol taste as well.

Overall: I am a huge fan of pale ales, this one, unfortunatly, did nothing but disappoint me. The other beers in the same batch, that were dated the same, in the case at the store had what looked like orange peels floating in them. This beers was the cleanest looking of them all that day, and I wanted to try an new IPA. The bottle cap was secure like it should have been and was not a twist off. So I'm not sure if this was a bad batch or what. I also noticed that the picture displayed here shows a brown bottle, the one I had was clear. Perhaps I will revisit this brew in the future.

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Photo of TownDunkel
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Twisted Thisle, just had to try it because of the name! Also another perk is that it is unfiltered

Appearance - A golden yellow to almost and amber in the sun. A real radiant color with bits of unfiltered goodness

Smell - A very alcholic and dry scent. It goes through the nose almost all the way to the throat. It almost reminds me of a weak whiskey. Good scent if you like it like that

Taste - I really dont dig most IPA but this one is an exception. It is crisp, clear, and refreshing. It has hints of fresh thrush and maybe berries.

Mouthfeel - not a lot of carbonation that sticks around... wish for some more to perk it up

Overall - this made me think more highly of IPA's for now. I might give them another shot

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Photo of tronester
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #500 for me!

Pours a slightly hazy golden orange with a creamy off white head. The bottle is clear, so worries of skunkiness are present. Luckily my worries were unfounded, as the beer possesses a wonderfull tropical fruit aroma. Taste begins with passion fruit and mango, followed by a rich caramel, bready middle, and a nice bitter grapefruit finish. The signature Belhaven yeast flavor is here and works out wonderfully in my opinion. Rich mouthfeel. Overall a wonderfull IPA. I really lucked out and must have gotten a fresh bottle, as the hop favors and aromas are better than most domestic IPA's that I have had. Highly reccomended.

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Photo of djmitche
2.2/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I have had this beer on tap at Duke of Perth in Chicago many times, and loved it -- it's a great mild IPA with a nice floral aroma.

Out of the bottle? This was massively disappointing. It was ridiculously sweet, smelling of some sort of scent extract and leaving that sticky sugary feeling you get from artificially sweetened juices.

My bottle was had in the US, and was clear glass, claiming to have been brewed in Dunbar.

I'm heading to Scotland in a few weeks, and i will make a point of looking this beer up to see whether it's been Duke of Perth or the bottle deceiving me as to this beer's true nature. I hope Duke of Perth had it right!

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Photo of Rifugium
3.54/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Piper's Pub, Pittsburgh, PA

I'd actually never seen this one on tap, and it caught my eye at the bar, so I figured I'd indulge. Clear, light golden-amber pour, with a small frothy white head. Nose was crisp and flowery, sweet with honey and citrus zest. Pleasant taste, wildflower honey, lavender, orange blossom...it was sweet but light enough to not be sickening or syrupy. Fresh, low carbonation, light-medium body, easily drinkable. Didn't really come off as an IPA, and was pretty low-key even for an EIPA, but it was still a good beer. I'd probably get it again.

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Photo of cyclonece09
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Beer pours a nice amberish straw color with a small white head, but has a little bit of lacing. Smells of very earthy hops and very slight malt, not terribly strong, but still pleasant. Tastes of great earthy notes and slight floral note, but very pleasant. Carbonation is great and this light bodied beer goes down really smooth, with a slight aftertaste, but not unpleasant. Overall, a very good beer.

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Photo of obywan59
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear golden ale with a 3 finger off white head and plenty of lacing.

Dissipating sknunk with the smell of ripening citrus and toasted malt. Very floral as it warms. This would have gotten a higher mark without the initial skunkiness.

Taste of light honey and floral hops in
the front of the mouth, then a spiciness showing up in the back with a rising bitterness that lasts for the duration.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with light carbonation. A stickiness, like that of honey, coats the mouth, especially as the beer warms, becoming creamy.

Aroma, taste, and mouthfeel all improve as the beer warms. I would have given it higher marks if I had let it warm for 15 minutes before sampling.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a deep golden-hued body with great clarity and topped with a frothy, white head. Some bits of lace on the descent.

Smell: Moderately malty, sweet-scented nose that yields touches of honey and golden caramel with notes of bread, orange blossoms, and spicy herbs.

Taste: Gives a sweetish taste of crisp caramel-coated grains (also some honey), a bit of breadiness. A few faint drops of apricot juice precede the hops delivering tastes of spiced bittersweet oranges, florals, and a slight grassiness. Bittersweet, orangey, sudsy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low, subdued carbonation.

Overall: A pleasant, well-balanced ale to drink while tentatively shopping for sofas online (and giving the cat the "don't you dare ruin this one" speech -- I'm fairly certain it went IN one cat ear and OUT the other).

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Photo of BellsFan
2.51/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a clear bottle and it shows. It's a bit skunkey in aroma and in taste. The taste is also astringent with band-aids. So it does not fair too well in my book. Head was nonexistent. I won't buy it again however I'm glad I tried it; I'm always looking to try something new.

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Photo of VaterRoss
3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into Red Oak becker

Pours a crystal clear amber with plenty of active carbonation. white fluffy head, very good head retention. Smell is floral and very grassy, pretty close to a pils really (First smell made me think something was off or it had gone bad). Starts off malty, English malt, in the taste with some light floral hops and finishes with a bit of astringency. Very light body (thin?), med carb.

Not a bad beer, more of an English Pale Ale in my opinion. Lightweight grassy and floral. I'm not a huge fan of the grass tones, astringency, and thin body but none of these are bad by any means. Good English I/PA substitute for hot weather.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

16.9 oz clear bottle with no freshness date poured into a Guinness imperial pint glass.

Orange-y amber with some slight haze. Epic sea-foam head that almost solidified before slowly receding. Spare lacing as the beer drinks down. I think if I would have drank while the head was high and still dense, the lacing would have been better. Looks near perfect. Almost a 5.0.

Great Euro-hop stank. Earthy/floral hops with some slight suggestion of orange citrus. A decently hefty malt bill smells crackery and semi-dry. Lots of grassiness from those Challenger hops. Pretty good stuff here, aromatically.

More floral hops that follow the nose with a direct hit of spice bite in the finish. The malts are a little sweeter in the taste with a wet grains profile. Wonderfully balanced. I detect some earthy pine in there, but this is a floral IPA, through and through.

Incredible mouthfeel. Insanely creamy and with some suds! An IPA that drinks best at cask temperature. This feels better and better the more it warms up. Exactly how an IPA should drink.

I loves me some Belhaven Twisted Thistle. They used to have this as a standard on nitro at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse back in the day and boy, do I miss that! Still pick up a bottle here and there, sit back, and enjoy. An excellent afternoon slugger.

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Photo of DavidST
3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a pint glass, new at the local store, but not sure how fresh, don't like the clear bottle. This pours light golden color with a off white head. The smell from a distance is already a tad skunky, other smells light hops and caramel and biscuit malts. The feel is medium. The taste is better than expected, higher hops than most British ipa, caramel and biscuit malts, not skunky as expected.

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Photo of CowsCanBark
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into Samuel Adams pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice clear copper with an eggshell two-finger head. There is a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Due to the clear bottle, the smell is a bit skunky. However, in the backbone I can smell floral hops and some light malts.

Taste: Despite the smell, the taste is freaking great. The forefront is a generous amount of biscuity malts, with the middle being a fairly strong floral hop taste. There is a general bitterness throughout, it's definitely noticeable but not overbearing. The only downside is that at the end I can slightly taste that skunkiness.

Mouthfeel: Light body and moderate carbonation, smooth and easy to go down.

Overall: An excellent English IPA, more malty than hoppy, delicious nonetheless.

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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
84 out of 100 based on 411 ratings.