1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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.
BA SCORE
83
good

648 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 648
Reviews: 397
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 15.18%
Wants: 10
Gots: 24 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 648 | Reviews: 397 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DoubleJ
4/5  rDev +8.4%

On-tap at The Olde Ship in a half-pint sized glass, on to the beer:

Wondering where all those hops in British-styed beers went? They're all in this beer. Very well-balance with more of a sweeter flavor (like sweet citrus), yet mildly hoppy and clean. With a ton of highly bitter beers on the market here on the West Coast, this beer makes a great crossover from the everyday IPA.

DoubleJ, Nov 25, 2007
Photo of sstackho
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%

500mL bottle purchased for $3.50 from LCBO in Toronto. Pours a clear light gold with decent head and a bit of carbonation. Poor lacing. Aroma is decently hoppy but not exactly strong. Taste is nicely bitter in a typical English style. Sessionable and solid.

sstackho, Nov 25, 2007
Photo of JamesS
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%

Pours a nice light amber with a great head and good lacing. Not quite as dark as most other IPAs, but still nice. A great scent! A great hoppy IPA with a wonderful addition of a floral scent. Tastes great, a nice hoppy IPA without overdoing it, although almost no thistle taste. Goes down great, the smoothest IPA I've had in a while.

JamesS, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of drinkininthewood
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%

Served from a 500ml brown bottle into a pint glass.

A- Golden/copper in color with a thick head that leaves big bubbly lace around the glass.

S- Grassy floral hop aroma with aromas of caramel malts in the background.

T- grassy/grapefruit hop bitterness up front with flavors of caramel malt sweetness poping up mid-palate, finishing increasingly bitter but not over power, fairly crisp and clean as well. Excellent balance in this IPA.

M- very smooth and clean with almost perfect carbonation and nice hop acidity in a light bodied IPA.

D- Im gonna have to stock up because this is one of most drinkable beer ive had.

Overall perfect balance and immaculate drinkability make Twisted Thistle IPA a beer for all occasions.

drinkininthewood, Nov 07, 2007
Photo of WillieMoe
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%

This bad boy pours a nice honey amber that is not too thick or cloudy. When going in for the aroma you find a gloriously subtle hop scent. This has the piney bitter taste I enjoy in by IPAs, with the bitterness really hitting you in the back of the mouth and as it goes down the ol' gullet. I could see drinking quite a few of these at a time, that is for sure.

WillieMoe, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of CanuckRover
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%

Mmmm Scottish beers, some of my favourites.

Twisted Thistle is a great looking IPA. A light, clear amber with a great couple of finger widths thick, fluffy white head and sticky lacings coating the glass all the way down. I'd hang a picture of it on my wall!

Fruit and flowers in the aroma. Surprised to see a Scottish Ale with noticeable hops, they're often balanced more towards sweet malt. A very fresh floral smell with citrus fruits. Grain, hay, is certainly noticeable in the background.

Hops up front, nice bitterness with a refreshing citrus note. Floral tastes in the finish that eventually turns to the grainy malt. Interesting to taste an Ale that's back heavy on malt rather than hops. Mouth feel is nice and the lack of strong bitterness in the back ups the drinkability considerably.

CanuckRover, Oct 10, 2007
Photo of ThatWineGuy
2.63/5  rDev -28.7%

Exp Feb. 09. Dark golden, auburn, orange hilights. Two finger head is beige or off-white. Slow moving bubbles, excellent lacing. The smell is hoppy, floral. Taste is all hops, a bit heavy with an alcohol mouthfeel. Bitterness is there but with a sour / tart lingering dry finish, hoppy astringency. All in all, I found this beer pleasantly hopped but a little too heavy, a certain lead quality to the taste and mouthfeel and that took away from the drinkability quotient. It sure looks like a great IPA but just didn't do it for me, this is one beer I'd like to try on tap sometime or again in the bottle with a bit more aging.

ThatWineGuy, Sep 30, 2007
Photo of irishkyle21
4.18/5  rDev +13.3%

Pours with a huge rocky head that seem like it would last for hours. Gobs of lace are left on the glass. Has a clear golden orange color.

Smells of floral hops, a bit of orange, spice and caramel malts.

Tastes of citric/grapefruity hops, yeasty spiciness. This beer is one of the most well made IPA's out there. The malt is in perfect blend with the bitterness of the hops.

irishkyle21, Sep 29, 2007
Photo of TechMyst
2.35/5  rDev -36.3%

My bottle read 6.1% (European standard I guess.) Sampled on 9/4/07 from 500ml bottle into a tumbler (all I had available.) Slightly hazy yellow. Aroma speaks highly of a malt profile. Taste also left me wondering about the hops. Left me with a gummy palate (first ever to do that.) Tons of floaties! Undertones of blueberry/raspberry with slight bitterness. Not much to say about head or lacing. Drinkablilty is seriously dampened by the conditioning, way too much bloating effect for me. To me this is a niche brew; I will not try again.

TechMyst, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%

On tap at Clarks's Ale House.

The hops start out surprisingly with fruit juice note. It's a bit sweet and biting which makes for an odd and somewhat unpleasant feeling and taste. The malt was smooth and almost invisible while the aroma was weak. I guess it was worth trying, but I wouldn't recommend this one.

tempest, Sep 02, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%

So what do we have here, and English IPA, well you don’t say. Me being a huge fan of the hops, and all things IPA. It was only natural to see what the original IPA would taste like compare to the hop bombs I have come to love. I was a little apprehensive to be honest when first trying this as I did not think it would the kinda thing I was used to, and this would later be confirmed. But to think that the style originated over there, and we brought it here and have done wonderous things, almosts makes me think the US IPA should be in its own unique style as they are just soo deifferent, but more on that later, for now onto my thoughts….

A – Poured into a clear glass 24oz mug, it was a nice hazy bright amber, lots and lots of carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass throughout the entire session. Heavy haze almost obscured it, but it could definitely still be seen streaming its way up towards the top. A big two inch plus head of pillow like sticky lace formed on top of the glass almost immediately. Ya know now that I think about it, it had to be bigger then that. This thing poured a monster. The retention was great, really never dipping below an inch until the last few swallows. Great concentric rings of side glass lace too. Really thick on the sides of the glass and it really did not want to fade. It was funny, because the lace was soo thick that it was almost looking like the glass was full of foam by the time you were done with it. Really impressive look on this one, had a really full and robust appearance. Very impressed going into it already.

S – Now it starts to drop off a bit unfortunately. The smell was just way too light. I could hardly detect or pick up much of anything here. Once it settled for a while it started to come though somewhat, I am just used to the big time citrus hop xplosion of a smell and this is not designed to be there in this case. There was a nice grassy I guess would be the best way to describe it kinda of hop smell to it. Fresh most definatly, just not very sharp or terribly bitter. A very nice malted, grainy like back was very present and actually caught my attention more as it was quite well rounded and full of earthy tones with a notable sugary lingering effect to it. The aroma overall was kinda weak, but what was there came through rather nicely.
T – Well see here is where it got strange for me once again. It was not the hoppy IPA I was used to, no this was a sort of hybrid version for me. It was like a great English ale that was flavored with just the right amount of bitterness. Great taste actually. The first thing that really hit me was a nice grainey sort of earthy type grass taste. This was nice, it had a little bit of a bite to it as well. As that washed away it was replaced by a nice cereal and malt back. Good bready tones and a nice amount of sweetness. The finish was good and dry, but not with the usually punch. Just a dry kinda ale type finish. This is what an English IPA should be I suppose. A traditional English ale, packed with enough hops to make it have a little punch and stand up to time a little better, if this is the case, definatly succeeded here.

M – Extremely smooth, and I mean extremely. There was a copious amount of carbonation that really helped set everything in motion. A good clean, crisp feel was what I was used to, but this was much more mellow and smooth, and very rich in texture. You could really feel what was going in. Very nice and a welcome little treat. I was starting to warm up to this one actually.

D –Superb. I could have had another and another again. It was just light and flavorful, but not nearly anything that would have held you back from it at all. I just was sitting there and all of a sudden realized it was gone. I had no idea that it was going to be going away that quickly. Really a great little ale.

Overall I was impressed. I am still a fan of the US version much more, just because I really dig the huge IBU bitterness and that citrus hop punch. But this let me really see how the style originated and how far it has really been pushed. It was extremely drinkable and superbly smooth. To say that this one was good would be about right. I still think there should be different categories for this as opposed to our big hops, but irt can hold its own as a session ale anyday. Very nicely done and something I will be sure to try again.

mikesgroove, Sep 02, 2007
Photo of TurdFurgison
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%

I had this on tap at the Old Forge restaurant in Massachusetts. It was presented in a pint glass, and had a light golden color, clear, with a 2-finger foam. The aroma was muted hops, and although I didn't know this was an authentic UK IPA I commented that I thought it was of the UK style. After seeing it's from Belhaven brewing (on BA) I see my suspicions were correct. Oh well, I was hoping to try local beers but this wasn't bad. The aroma and flavor were balanced but leaning toward the hops side. The body was light, thicker than water but not as much as I prefer. A very easy-to-drink representative of an easy-to like beer category.

TurdFurgison, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of beerphan
4.28/5  rDev +16%

on tap -> pint
Pipers Pub, Pittsburgh, PA

Arrived a slightly ambered orange with a respectable head that deposited some rings of lace. Carbonation appears aggressive.

Nose: Hoppy, citrus and herbal. Strong malts also present, caramel

Smooth and juicy mouth. Initially hits with some citrus malts, then a strong caramel, pale malt. Finishes hoppy with sweet green apple, citrus, pine. Bitterness lingers and is well done. I love an IPA that doesn't forget about the malts and this one surely doesn't.

A great English style IPA, probably the best I've had the pleasure to try. Highly recommended.

beerphan, Aug 13, 2007
Photo of far333
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%

Clear orangey copper with a full inch-high head of white lumpy meringue. Bits of lace dot the sides and slide quickly down the glass.

Aroma of biscuity malt, grassy notes and muted citrus.

Flavor is initially sharp and rugged, full caramel malt accentuated with a tannic, almost smokey flavor. Hops are very understated, tastes almost like a fall seasonal with hop undertones.

Full and rich mouthfeel, very satisfying. Not what I expected at all for the style, but tasty in its own way.

far333, Aug 08, 2007
Photo of OWSLEY069
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%

Pours a clean light copper color with a white head. A nice aroma of grapefruity hops. A nice bitter taste and a graefruity hop end. It also has a nice aftertaste of hops. I was not expecting something this tasty to come from the UK, but it is very good.

OWSLEY069, Aug 06, 2007
Photo of LeftyBWS
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%

Poured from a 16.9 oz. brown bottle into a pint glass. No freshness date or anything like that; it was refrigerated at the store. Labeled as 6.1% ABV.

A: Pours well from this kind of bottle. A strikingly clear, dark-golden color, with a half inch of bubbly head that recedes pretty quickly. Appears very bubbly, with carbonation bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass and popping up from the bottom, too. The second pour to finish the bottle sounded more like a soda than a beer.

S: Floral hops are noticeable up front, along with some fruitier notes, most notably apples.

T: Mild hop presence throughout. Gives way to a more grassy, herby taste, followed by a slightly bitter, but creamy, finish. Generally light and smooth, but all in all, there’s not that much going on. The label claims a blend of Cascade and Challenger hops that lead to a “bitter-dry explosion” that will “have your taste buds tingling.” I don’t taste any explosions, per se, but there is a bubbling of subtle, bitter hoppiness in the middle, which is probably what they are referring to. It’s not what I’d call an “explosion,” but it’s noticeable.

M: This beer is, well, refreshing, but a little watery and unchallenging as far as IPAs go.

D: I could have more than one of these, since they’re not that challenging, but I think I’d opt not to, unless I were really in the mood for an IPA. There are plenty of other drinkable beers with a bit more character. I could certainly drink a bunch of these in a row, which isn’t true for most IPAs, but if I really wanted to drink a lot of beer, I wouldn’t pick an IPA in the first place.

Overall, a moderately interesting beer. Worth checking out once as an example of an IPA from Scotland, but that’s about it.

LeftyBWS, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of jwc215
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%

Pours goolden thin a thin, off-white head.

The smell is of tropical fruit/citrus. Caramel. Earthy tones. Floral notes.

The taste is floral and earthy. Slightly spicy. Tropical/citric notes mix in and out. Firm caramel backing. Cascade and challenger hops (combo works well here) stay just ahead of the maltiness that weaves in and out. Bittersweeet finish.

Smooth, medium bodied, fairly coating.

This is a nice, unique IPA.

jwc215, Jul 11, 2007
Photo of saintwarrick
4.43/5  rDev +20.1%

Perfect gold with a slight orange hint. Suitable head that laces the glass for the remainder of your drink. Smell is only slightly hoppy, dry with citrus and honey dominating the aroma. Taste is refreshing, citrusy, but smooth. A very drinkable beer that belies its 6.1 abv. rating. A very good beer.

saintwarrick, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of Bitterbill
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%

Purchased at Wilbur's Liquors in Ft Collins for US$2.99

This pours from 500ML bottle a hazy orange-gold with a large head of foam that slowly shrinks to a fine broken layer and there's plenty of lacing.

The smell has a strong nose of sweet malt and hops. I also get some fruit.

The taste on first sip follows the nose. Lots of malt, though the sweetness is subdued compared to the smell, followed by a generous amount of hop flavour that is mostly bittering and only slightly citric. It's a pretty different approach to an IPA than I'm used to but I think it works nicely. At least, my palate isn't complaining...I notice that at various times during the session, sometimes the malt dominates, sometimes the hops do and that keeps me interested and makes me want to keep on sipping. I really like this Scottish IPA and I'm sure I'll be picking up some more. The finish is pretty dry and crisp. Man, at about $3 a bottle, this is one heck of a bargain too. My hat's off to Belhaven!!

Bitterbill, Jul 08, 2007
Photo of psinderson
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Served on-tap at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse in Belhaven pint glass.

Appearance: Clear golden amber color and a thick white head. Nice lacing the entire length of the galss.

Smell: Caramel malts, earthy noble hops.

Taste: Smooth noble hop flavor and slight bitter finish. Some sweetness present, but hops prevail. Clean finish.

Mouthfeel: Thin to medium body, light carbonation. Clean feel.

Drinkability: Decent drinkability for an IPA.

psinderson, Jul 08, 2007
Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%

1 pint, .9Fl oz bottle. No date.

A - Poured out an orange cloudy color with a tan, foamy, three-finger head. It left great trails of lace.

S - It smelled of pine needles and grasses. Also, a good toasty malt aroma. There was a citrusy aroma from the Cascade hops.

T - It tasted of spicy hops. Some good bitterness. The malt had a good burnt toast flavor. Also, a slight citrus kick from the Cascade hops.

M - It was crisp and sharp on the tongue. A medium-bodied beer.

D - I really enjoyed this IPA. I've greatly enjoyed every beer that I've had from Belhaven, though, so it was no surprise. Good malt character and hop balance.

zeff80, Jul 06, 2007
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%

Had on tap at my favorite Scottish restaurant. Poured a nice golden amber with a foamy off-white head.

Not much of a hops presence, more of a biscuity maltiness to the smell.

Taste was some caramel maltiness with just enough hops to know they're there. I also noticed a bit of a metallic taste to it.

Medium mouthfeel with a light carbonation.

Not bad for an English IPA but my tastebuds have really developed a fondness for the aggressive American IPAs.

Monkeyknife, Jun 09, 2007
Photo of John_M
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Had this at Frisco's in Columbia today.

The scottish ale is really the only thing I'm familiar with from this brewery, and I've always been mightily impressed by it. Hence, I guess it should be no surprise that this beer was just excellent.

The beer pours an impressive light cloudy orange colar, always the hallmark of any good IPA. The beer has very good head retention and impressive lacing. On the nose one gets the typical IPA citrus nose, but without the pine resin and blaring alcohol one often gets (mostly from DIPA's). On the palate this beer is just gorgeous. The beer has impecable balance, with a wonderful fruit forward flavor (apples, melon, orange and ranier cherry) presence from a perfect blending of hops and malt. As the beer sits in the glass the hops slowly take over and start to dominate the flavor profile. I have no problem with that, but I confess to some surprise seeing this in a British IPA. The beer has a pleasant mouthfeel and is not the least big difficult to drink. Frankly, I appreciate the relatively low abv., which means I might be able to drink more then one or two of these without having to stumble out the door.

This is a VERY impressive IPA. One I wish I saw more of on tap here here in Baltimore (or anywhere else for that matter). Kudos to Frisco's for featuring this very fine beer.

John_M, Jun 05, 2007
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%

Deep copper color / mostly clear / moderate carbonation / mild to moderate head

Mmm hops and sweet roasted malt / sugary sweet and floral perfume

Dark English thick roasted burnt malt / kinda sour and dry tart floral hops herbal with a mild spice / deep caramel sweetness like other Belhaven brews so damn sweet

Good carbonation smooth thick

Good drinkability, but it is rich.

MrHungryMonkey, Jun 04, 2007
Photo of dgallina
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%

1 pint, 9 fluid ounce bottle. No evident freshness dating.

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 and session-able. Wish the phenolic after-taste weren't present.

dgallina, May 24, 2007
Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
83 out of 100 based on 648 ratings.