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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPABelhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

653 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 653
Reviews: 397
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 14.91%
Wants: 11
Gots: 26 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ADR on 09-24-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 653 | Reviews: 397 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ewright
4.28/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear amber/orange color with little head forming.

S: Big hit of citrusy 'C' hops up front with a mildly smoky background.

T: Good bitterness up front with subtle smokiness building late in the sip. Nice bitter orange peel notes from the hops.

M: Creamy with moderate carbonation.

D: This paired well with smoked sausage and is a nice change from yet another IPA. Contrary to some reviewers, I didn't get an overwhelming contribution from the smoked malt... more of a pleasant secondary note.

ewright, May 19, 2008
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1" creamy, off-white head that retains well at 1/4" and leaves a sheet of lace. Glowing orange with a slight chill haze. Nicely balanced aroma between hops with a delicate fruitiness and a decent malt weight...some cherry in the nose. Rubber/smoke up front. Slight sour flash mid-palate - sour fruit (cherry, orange). Fairly light on bittering hops. Full bodied with low carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel. Unique and enjoyable. Smoky IPA -- different.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Customizable head depending on your pouring power. Light lacing action. A very very light amber colored.

Smell: Floral; fruit basket, specifically green apple and orange, all on a chocolate background. A smell of alcohol was present. Almost smells like perfume.

Taste: Very dissapointing for an IPA. Taste more like apple cider. Some nutty flavors with very little hops or malts. Not a terrible taste but if you want an IPA I wouldn't pick this up. This beer just does not taste like an IPA.

Mouthfeel: Above average carbonation, otherwise mouthfeel is almost a non-factor. Neither smooth nor crisp. A dull mouthfeel taste that dissipates really fast.

ThreeWiseMen, May 10, 2008
Photo of paulthebeerguru
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA
500mL brown bottle

A: poured into a snifter. The brew pours a slightly opaque golden orange color with a nice solid, slightly off-white, head on top. The head has a great retention rate and leads to very nice Belgian lacing.

S: In the back of the aroma is a bit of honey from the malts. A slight bit of sweetness is carried on, but the hops really shine through this beer. The cascade and challenger hops combine for a very floral aroma with a hint of citrus.

T: Nice bold flavors of honey from the malts and some citrus from the hops. A lot more malty than I expected. It almost has a flowery taste.

M: the mouthfeel is almost nectar-like. A little thick, but that is kind of the traditional style. Carbonation is a little high.

D: it is a very nice IPA, but I am not into English IPAs. Good mouthfeel, but less carbonation and thickness

paulthebeerguru, May 09, 2008
Photo of GJ40
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I sampled this from a bottle at the Flying Saucer in Raleigh.

It's got a light, golden color with good clarity and a moderate head. The aroma is sweet and malty with some yeast coming through. The taste is sweet, earthy and malty with some hops coming through. It had good carbonation and was fairly drinkable.

This is a nice cross between a Scottish ale and an IPA but it's not all that compelling.

GJ40, Apr 27, 2008
Photo of Metalmonk
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

She's a beaut: 2-inch ultra-white head of seafoam soapiness, tons of bubbles rushing up to meet it (the etching inside my Unibroue glass is helping those along), and a glowing copper color exhibiting excellent clarity. As the head drops down, the lace clings thick and tight.

Hops are very polite in the aroma, clearly Cascade and something else (a later peek at the back label reveals it's Challenger). Biscuity malt lightness helps give some balance. Not an overwhelming nose, but a pleasant one.

The rich maltiness and butter/caramel feel/flavor often associated with English ales is present, but this is clearly all about the hops, which bristle with a wonderful bitterness. Citrus rind catches up with you in the finish. Flavor is long and lingering, while the texture is moderately carbonated leaning toward a silken creaminess.

Love how the hops just keep on giving after the sip, providing an incredibly long finish. Twisted Thistle (great name!) forces you to remember it. Not in a tongue-ripping way, but no hop enthusiast will walk away unimpressed.

Metalmonk, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of baggio
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Generously donated to me by my father when he came home from his latest visit to Finland where, apparently, this beer can be found.

A: Golden orange with a rich creamy lace that disappears after a while leaving just a thin white head on top.

S: Citric notes, roasted malt, orange, floral hops.

T: Fruits, Caramel, Nuts, Pine.

M: Plenty of carbonation with small bubbles giving a refreshing feeling and ending with a nice malty bitterness.

A good IPA with slightly more malt than normal. A solid and very drinkable brew. Try!

baggio, Apr 18, 2008
Photo of avalon07
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: When I poured this one from a bottle to a pint glass, it had an amber color and cloudy consistency. There was a big head and a solid amount of lacing.

S: There was a strong aroma of hops and citrus here, more than anything else.

T: This had a decently balanced flavor. The hops were at the forefront, but they were aided by orange, malt and some spices. Not as much bite as I would like from an IPA, but it was OK.

M: This could've used just a bit more carbonation, to give it that extra kick. This had a somewhat smooth finish and a medium body.

D: Overall, this is a drinkable beer, but it hardly blew me away. It just didn't have that same vibrancy as others of the style. Still, not a bad effort.

avalon07, Apr 18, 2008
Photo of Bookseeb
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance, a very nice rich amber color with a nice creamy two finger head that disolves slowly. Smell of hops, orange and malt. Taste has hoppiness like a grapefruit bitter, lightly toasted malts and maybe even a little nutty. Mouthfeel is a good silky medium. A little different than what I'm used to in an IPA, but thats what makes tasting these beers more enjoyable.

Bookseeb, Apr 10, 2008
Photo of SurlyDuff
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orangy copper. A tight and tough lacing hugs the sides of my glass. Drinking this one from my Sam Adams uber glass.

Fairly mild aroma/ Some bitter maltiness and a slight aromatic hop presence.

A really good English IPA! Surprisingly, it has Cascade hops in there (which is a us variety), interesting.

Good bitterness and nice dry finish. A earthy peaty finish and aftertaste rounds this one out.

One of the few English IPA's that i've had so far. I am delighted with it. The killer over-the-top PacNW IPA's that I imbibe on a daily basis really make me enjoy the simpler style presented here. A great brew!

SurlyDuff, Mar 30, 2008
Photo of eberkman
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 550 ml bottle.

Crystal-clear amber-gold brew with a foamy white head that shows outstanding stickiness. Lacing clings to the side of the glass for dear life. Very nice.

Smells are not overpowering. What I do detect is a butteriness mixed with floral hoppy notes.

The taste is quite curious. It's definitely a hybrid Scottish Ale/English IPA. It has all the buttery richness of a good Scottish Ale -- caramel, biscuits and diacetyl galore. Meanwhile, it has a snappy hop bite. Both stuff I love. But somehow they don't really meld together. The transition is just too abrupt.

Mouthfeel is an interesting combination of briskness, oiliness and stickiness.

Reasonably drinkable albeit somewhat boozy at a 6.10 percent that you can really feel. I'll enjoy this for much of the 3rd quarter of the Celtics game. But again, there is balance in quantity of the malts and hops, but something just seems too drastic in the transition.

eberkman, Mar 19, 2008
Photo of thierrynantes
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (50cl), tasted in 2007.
Appearance : Clear golden color, white foam head, funny little bubbles
Smell : hops
Taste and Mouthfeel : The flavour has a distinct hoppy bitterness, moderate malty.
Drinkability : good beer in the style India Pale Ale

thierrynantes, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of edbeered
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served into a pint glass from the bottle, this is a hazy pale amber color, with a substantial white head that subsides quickly, leaving minimal lacing on the glass. The smell is slightly biscuity. The taste is malty and biscuity, with a hint of lemon tartness and a slight piny hop bite at the finish. The beer is rich and smooth, but it lacks the hop intensity and complexity one would expect in a good English IPA. As a beer, this tastes fine. As an IPA, it disappoints.

edbeered, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of Kreuger
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a brown bottle:

A - Poured a moderate amber color, and developed a small head which dissipated quickly.

S - Sweet light hops with a moderate malt presence. One of the fainter odors of an IPA.

T - Sweet but not exceptional malt character and a balanced hop bite.

M - Moderate carbonation and a moderate body, sort of like a Bass ale.

D - Goes down easy and finishes clean, I could session this beer until I ran into the collective might of its 6.1 abv.

Kreuger, Feb 23, 2008
Photo of srobertson59
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle:

A - Light copper/orange and clear. Tiny bubbles (damn you Don Ho) rise up to a classic IPA head. Good retention with decent lacing on the glass.

S - Sweet malt with a slight twinge of vinegar...much unexpected! No real sense of hops hit the nose, but there is some "earthy" quality.

T - A buttery sensation mixed with seeds; very similar to baked pumpkin seeds without the salt. Malt tries to break through but clears quickly from the tongue. Finishes clean with little aftertaste of any elements.

M - Really fizzy and somewhat thin for an IPA.

D - Easily consumed, and appears to be a decent "all-day" or session choice (even with a slightly higher ABV). Alcohol is barely noticeable.

So, this is an English IPA with a Scottish twist? Not hateful, but not special either. I will have to explore the Scottish style Ales a bit more before drawing too much conclusion.

I'm going to have to try this one again in the summertime as it would probably be a great brew to satisfy the "yard-work" intake. To me, it just lacks the "something special" to sit down and enjoy its journey.

srobertson59, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of brentk56
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear light amber color with a sturdy head that laces very nicely

Smell: It has got that brewery aroma, for sure, with plenty of malted barley aromatics; smells more Scottish than hoppy, for sure

Taste: Opens with a toffee base that is joined by some buttery elements by mid-palate, along with some earthy hops; after the swallow, the hop flavors become a bit herbal and I am just not enjoying the Challenger/Cascade combination very much

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Sometimes a hybrid works, sometimes it doesn't; an interesting stab at a Scottish take on an IPA but it didn't float my boat

brentk56, Feb 16, 2008
Photo of nbree00
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A: Pours a light copper color with a mid to low level of carbonation.

S: Has a robust malt smell with a hint of honey and hops.

T: I usually don't go for an IPA this delicate, but the combination of a hearty Scottish style maltiness coupled with a blend of Cascade and Challenger hops is a symphony in my mouth. This strikes me as a very mild IPA with more of an emphasis on flavors and drinkability than intensity. Quite amazing.

M: Has a very thin texture to it, definitely filtered.

D: I have often over looked drinkability when it comes to IPA's, and this beer has made me re-evaluate that opinion. Its high drinkability really allows its depth and complexities to manifest into great taste.

nbree00, Feb 07, 2008
Photo of brewQ
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Classic light copper color,
medium head that's not highly charged.

Lightly fruity and floral aroma- not overly hoppy.

Hops on the tongue but quickly cleansed away.
An earthy/grain finish that is slightly warming and sweet.

Seems to be constructed mostly for drinkability.

Decent brew but I'd hoped for more.

brewQ, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of cjgator3
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark golden amber color with a nice off-white head. The aroma is very pleasant and enticing, with sweet buttery malt and piney hops. The taste is balanced very nicely with a strong malty backbone to support a nice bitter finish from the hops. The hops are definately there, but they do not take over the brew like many American IPAs. Overall, this is a very nice IPA that is recommended.

cjgator3, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of 1fastz28
4.22/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a light copper color with a big white head and some small sediment on the bottom and a lot of carbonation. very busy beer, one of the few english ipa's i've had i believe. smell is good, much more malty and subdued that most american IPA's, but it is an interesting change. of course it has some hop aroma to it, but it isn't a specific style, just hops. taste is really flipping good, i enjoy it alot, it almost tastes more like a pale ale with some ipa thrown in, good beer all around.

1fastz28, Feb 06, 2008
Photo of TheTrevor
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a pretty copper color with a fluffy single-finger head. The nose is mostly sweet malts with a faint whiff of something like honey. The taste is largely sweet malts that give way to a fairly unique middle flavor that may very well be the thistles and finishes with a little bit of hops. The mouthfeel is thick and almost creamy. This is a nice drinkable beer, but I'm not sure I could see myself drinking more than one at a time.

TheTrevor, Jan 27, 2008
Photo of jbphoto88
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden orange with a thin fluffy head that is gone before I can throw the bottle in the recycle bin. The liquid isn't cloudy but it isn't 100% clear either. Looks like there is some nice carbonation as fine stalks of tiny bubbles rise in the somewhat hazy beer.

Smell is of very faint hops and slightly sweet malts. Nothing profound to describe here as the scent doesn't have anything grandiose to it.

The taste is also anticlimactic. The best way to describe it is mild mannered. There are some citrus flavors there but they don't last long and fade into a thin malt flavor with a weak hop characteristic.

Its nice in the mouth because its so mild. To me this is a beer you could drink on a while because it doesn't get boring, however it never got exciting. This beer is the pussy cat of IPAs

jbphoto88, Jan 25, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Beveridge Place Pub in W Seattle. They love it there. Pours orange-copper with some un-filtered floating sediment. Half-inch of off-white foam recedes to decent lace. Clearly an english IPA in aroma. Toasty biscuit malts predominate with strong orange marmalade notes and green herbal undertones. Flavor is not as good. Toasted malts, orange and earthy pine hop notes. Finish is dry, toasty, and hoppy, but exhibits unpleasant phenolic defects. The mouth-feel is excellent. Medium-chewy with well-rounded creaminess and a touch of carbonation. Very drinkable indeed.

barleywinefiend, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of oelergud
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 pint .9oz dark brown glass bottle. Purple label sporting a thistle.
Beautiful honey copper, clear transparent body topped with a creamy white buttes head with a rocky center. Great lace and retention.
Buttery IPA scent with something very unfamiliar, something sweet and sour almost like soured milk but not in an unpleasant way.
Sour and sweet malty flavor, pepper and butter combo, lots of malts for an IPA. The aftertaste is a butter hop mildly flowing cover over a slightly spiked sweet edge.
Full body and good coating, even abit slick.
Very drinkable and a different kind of beer. Unusual flavor and very pleasant.


oelergud, Jan 14, 2008
Photo of williamherbert
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look is a big and cloudy dark orange. No clarity whatsoever in the thicker spots. Big puffy head. Looks thick and substantial.

Sweet aroma is more reminiscent of a white wine than a beer. Sweet white grape aroma. Pleasant, but not much like a beer. Heavy floral, wine-like scent. Truly aromatic.

Has a very smoky, steamed first flavor. An ale undertone. Mildly bitter woody (tree bark) hops. Smokyness remains. Really interesting, though to me it's more of a Rauchbier than an IPA.

Medium thickness in the mouth. Wet and smooth but has a tiny sticking thickness. Ashy as it warms. It's a loverly, sweet beer. White wine with a smoky overlay. Really nice indeed.

williamherbert, Jan 13, 2008
Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
83 out of 100 based on 653 ratings.