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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPABelhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

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695 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 695
Reviews: 403
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 14.99%
Wants: 14
Gots: 42 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 695 | Reviews: 403 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rallison
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brownish amber color with a fluffy 2 finger white head that definitely wants to stick around.

S: Caramel malts with a nice touch of piny hops. Sure smells a lot better than the Trader Joe's Hopfest I just had before this.

T: Focus is more towards the malt, with some hops to balance it out. Tasty caramel maltiness with some earthy, piny hops. Malts also have a bit of this earthiness too - I like it. This bottle very well may be older (as many of the imports end up being), so I'd be curious about the hop content fresh. Even so, this is quite a tasty brew right here - delicate balancing of all the flavors, and extremely drinkable. Just don't come in expecting a West Coast IPA.

M: Good carbonation level to keep things lively, and just enough body to keep it from feeling too light. Again, the balance here is well done.

D: I'd pick this as one of the most sessionable beers of the style.

Overall, recommended. I just would love to try it fresh.

Photo of mizzoueng
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Dark yellow / dark gold in color. Very clear, looked good. Head was off-white, some tan hints in there. As for head retention, I had a full 2" of head after a 3/4 pour and the head remained until I finished off this beautiful beer.

Smell - Nothing special here. I expected a distinctive hop aroma but i really didn't get that. I did smell some malts, crystal, a little banana, and then hops. Hops smelled like glacier.

Taste - Again, not hoppy like I expected. Very crisp and refreshing, hops again were subtle and tasted like glacier. Crystal malts and what tasted like honey malts as well.

Mouthfeel - watery, smooth, light, crisp. A good beer for a warm spring night. Not overpowering.

Drinkability - Good. I would deffinetly order this again.

I actually got this beer by accident. One of my buddies ordered a different Belhaven brew and the waitress brought the IPA, so I took it at half off. Can't beat that!

Photo of Gueuzedude
2.84/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Sampled March 2007
Pours with a brilliantly clear, copper color and is topped by a frothy, initially three-finger thick, light tan colored head that leaves some lacing on the sides of my glass. Hmm, the aroma smells cheesy and not in a good way. There are some pine-like hop notes underneath the cheesy notes and at times I can detect some citrus like lemon peel notes as well. Some biscuit like malt character is here as well. The cheesy notes don't entirely dissipate, but they do get a touch better with time, though not really. The aroma just can't shake that moldy cheddar character.

The taste is a bit better, lightly bitter with a zesty hop character. It finishes with a metallic, almost iron-like note. The bitterness is fairly subtle (especially if compared to an American IPA), but is still quite hoppy. Notes of menthol mix with pine, a touch of bergamot and even a hint of cinnamon to form the dominant hop flavors. The body of this beer is quite light, this could definitely be a sessionable brew if it wasn't for that cheesy note. The cheese character really is quite subdued in the flavor (just so long as you aren't particularly inhaling as you take a sip of this brew) and is only noticeable at times. Still the flavor finishes a bit too metallic and a bit too thin to really keep me interested.

Photo of Slatetank
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 16.9 oz brown bottle. I chose the Dogfish head shaped pint glass.
A - A deep golden amber with an off white finely beaded head that left signifigant lace around the glass..

S - Grassy and light herbal hop aromas

M - Light, not exactly watery agressively carbonated. Thirst quenching with minimal bitter feel.

T - A medicinal quality with spice/pepper flavors at the entry point and light herbal notes and a slightly sweet/dry finish.

D - An alright ale, but not a great English Ipa. It has subtle hops and agressive carbonation - a kind of palate cleanser, if you will. Not too strong at 6.1 abv but suitable for style. Not extremely inviting, a shade on the bland side. I might not seek it out, even though it is as good as some bitters I have tasted, decent.

Photo of BlindPig
2.88/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A- Thick off white head on a clear copper body.
S- Fruity aroma. I can smell these little jello Asian things that I used to buy. It is some kind of fruit but I forgot which kind. It is sweeter. Man I wish I could remember that fruit in the jello things.
T- You can taste the aroma in it but it is just pretty big bitter. Both the bitterness and this fruit flavor stay around in the mouth. There is quite a bit of malt in there too.
M- Full body with medium/low carbonation.
D- I really don't like this. Just very weird flavors for me and it just seems like none of it goes together.

Photo of JudgeRoughneck
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is a honey-colored beer with thick, white sheets of lacing that stick like crazy. It gives off the aroma of honey, clover, cracked grain, and grassy hops. The mouthfeel on this beer is quite striking, chewey and grippy. The beer is a creamy blend of herbal hop, bready grain, camomile and other tea flavors, and bitterness that creeps in just at the end. In fact, the artfully subdued bitterness is the only thing that might keep this IPA down in the score for taste. I expect a little more bite.

Photo of jokelahoma
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 16 ounce bottle. Comes out of the bottle a slughtly hazy copper color, with a rocky head that lasts a reasonable amount of time. Good lacing.

The aroma is quite fruity and spicy, with a touch of American hop citrus smells. Malt is barely noticeable in the nose.

The taste is somewhat surprising. It's very, very smooth. Not at all the "in your face" jarring bitterness one expects from American style IPAs. Rather, this one has nice hop flavor that blends well with the malts, but the bitterness level is remarkably average. It's really very good if one remembers this isn't an American IPA, and shouldn't be judged to those standards (even though it does contain Cascades). For a Scottish beer, it's really hoppy. It's also very well balanced between hop and malt flavors. In spite of the 6.1% abv, this one rates as sessionable by taste alone. It's not heavy, it's not cloying, it's not so bitter your eyeballs sink into your head... it's just a good, well balanced, easy to drink beer.

The mouthfeel is lighter than it appears, as the aftertaste carries a substantial oiliness that makes the beer seem heavier than it is. Nothing too thick, mind you, just a good hearty body.

While an American consumer seeing IPA on the label might have the expectations let down a bit, this is overall a very good beer. I comes across more as a hoppy pale than an IPA, but again, we tend to be spoiled by the typical American overkill. But if it's a pale, it's a damn good one. Very easy to drink, and very enjoyable. I'd definitely buy this one again.

Photo of GClarkage
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

10/28/07- Purchased at Ledgers Liquors in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 16.9oz bottle with a date notched on the top of the label. Poured into a imperial pint glass.

Appearance- Dark orange in color. 1/2 inch creamy head which fairly quickly evaporates. Pleasant amounts of patchy and spotted lace.

Smell- Not a super strong aroma, but very interesting. Picture a vinous scent combined with grapefruit hops and grape laffy taffy and you've got...well, an interesting scent.

Taste- Super fresh hop flavor. Is this wet hopped? Sharp grapefruit hoppiness with a solid medium toasted malt to balance it.

Mouthfeel- Sharp carbonation and a lasting flavorful aftertaste.

Drinkability- A nice birthday beer to have. Wasn't thinking much going in, but was pleasantly suprised. Tastes like a cross between and american and english IPA. Doesn't have the normal stale taste I usually equate with the english style. Bright, tasty and a pleasure to drink.

Photo of Sammy
2.73/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked up this pint in New Jersey. Pours a big creamy head on yellow. Lace in glass. Aroma is metallic, as if it was poured from a can. Taste is thin, creaminess and burnt. There is a moderate bitterness and a ignificant maltness overtaken by the burntness. This was not finishable.

Photo of Matteox3
4.42/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer at Trooper Thorn's in Reading, PA. Was carried there on trial, but now is a regular beer there based on customer reviews. This is the only place I have seen this beer in my area.

This IPA is the one beer in the United States that can most match the feel of the beers I tasted in scotland.

As an IPA goes, it has hoppy character, but is more subtle that typical American Style IPA's. This beer also has lower carbonation than most beers which lends itself to high drinkability over a night session.

One of my favorites.

Photo of geexploitation
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours with an apple-cidery hue superimposed on a bright pale ale, with a collar of foam and tons of sticky lacing left on the glass. Big, beefy aroma for an English style beer, with some funky/earthy hops and smoky malts coexisting uneasily. Minty aromas crop up as well. On the tongue, robust pale malts (smoky flavors mixed with caramel malts) bump up against a surprisingly bitter and acidic hop attack. Some nice bready flavors come out toward the finish, along with some metallic notes. This IPA has a lot going on -- lots of different flavors and sensations. Mouthfeel is brash with hop oils, big carbonation, and thick malts. Overall, this is a rather Americanized version of an English IPA, but it's still a good beer. Well made, imbalanced but flavorful, interesting and tasty.

Photo of kernalklink
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I know that the english IPA is another animal far removed from our own in the US, less malts, hops and ABV- but that shouldnt mean a sacrifice in flavor. The pour and aromas were promising enough, great sticky head followed by piney hops and some playful fruity malt. But on the first sip- nothing. Slight malts, more grassy than expected, earthy finish. Flat hop profile, no character, just watery bitterness. Usually a fan of Belhavens brews, but this one comes up very short.

Photo of wagenvolks
4.12/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Impressive pour, leaves an unfiltered golden amber/tan beer with large chunks of yeast floating freely in the glass. Big raspberry aroma, with sweet, buttery toffee notes also present. Very well brewed and the smell shows that.

Taste is of toasted, burnt oak. Bigger malts on the tongue than hops for an IPA (stupid scots, i forgive them though). It's different than most american IPA's and definately tasty. Feels light, dry, and bubbly on the front of the palate, leaving a hoppy finish. I'll probably have this again at some point...good complexity and very refreshing.

Photo of RBorsato
4.8/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on-tap 01/10/07 at St. Andrews pub in Times Square in NY, NY.

Nice golden/copper color with a decent oof-white head. Very nice floral/herb/grassy (heather-like?) hop aroma and flavor. Seems perfectly balanced without being sweet or bitter in any way. Medium bodied and creamy smooth with a nice balanced finish.

One of the best English IPA's that I've ever had... refreshing more so probably because I had it right after the Belhaven Wee Heavy. What a contrast - 2 great but very different beers.

Photo of Morris729
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy pale orange color with a foamy white head that leaves sticky webs of lace across the sides of the glass as it recedes. Nose is dry grains along with earthy and grassy hops. Taste is toasted malt along with smoky peat followed by an herbal hop bitterness. The peat is rather unique in this style of beer, but it seems to work very nicely in this particular brew.

Photo of theopholis
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Golden orange color with impressive but loose white head. Head is very impressive, with lots of staying power, and leaving significant lace.

Aroma: Very nice mix of malty sweetness and floral hops. Catching a lot of citrus to. It smells fairly sour for the stle.

Taste: Nice. Not as hoppy as you might expect from an IPA, but I'm used to the hop monster American versions. Very nice malt profile. Very good balance between bittering and flavoring hops and maltiness. Very smooth.

Mouthfeel: Again, a very nice mouthfeel. Not heavy and syrupy like some English IPAs. Fairly crisp.

Drinkability: Very good. Good, balanced taste, great visuals and aroma, good mouthfeel.

Photo of JMD71
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ap: Deep golden orange color with thick head. Head persists. Carbonation medium.

Ar: Malty profile dominates but hops are definitely in evidence too. Milder in hop aroma than American IPA's but that was expected.

Ta: Very flavorful malty middle with nice hop finish. Well balanced without being overly bitter or not bitter enough.

Mo: Light to medium bodied. Leaves mouth feeling very crisp & clean.

Dr: Highly drinkable. Very crisp & refreshing.

Really enjoyed this English IPA. As my first UK IPA, I thought it was very flavorful without being overly hoppy or bitter as common with American IPA's.

Photo of shadow1961
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

My pub pint of Belhaven's Twisted Thistle IPA poured out a creamy
white head that quickly collapsed into lace. The brew is a hazy amber
color with a lot of happy particulate matter in suspension. Carbonation
is moderate, and the nose is of malt, herb, and citrus. Mouthfeel is brisk
and a little dry. The flavor is of malt and mellow hops. I was expecting a little
more hop bite and hop fragrence since it is called an IPA. This seems more
like a Pale Ale to me. If you're someone who expects a big hop flavor this is
not the brew for you. There's barely any aftertaste whatever. Hops aside, it's
a mellow, flavorful brew. Quite decent.

Photo of nvsblman
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper in color, with a pillowy head. A little yeast in suspension too. Earthy hops in the aroma with some caramel and a slight hint of smoke. Smoky peat flavor with the earthy hops leading into a nicely bitter finish. Also noticing some orange zest. Pretty dry finish and really refreshing.

Photo of Stimack
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was able to give this one a try the other night on tap. The brew poured to a orange to copper color with a fair sized head that surprisingly had a good amount of retention and did leave a fair amount of lacing down the whole side of the glass. The aroma was nice, clear hop scent but it was not overpowering at all. Also was able to pick up a biscuit scent that seemed pretty strong which seemed to mute the hop aroma. For some reason this is what I have grown to expect from a English IPA, more rounded out than our American brews that seemed to be serious hopped up on hops. Either way I love both styles and am not sure that the differences are just something that I am perceiving or not? Anyway, back to this brew, the taste was very good as it has a smooth quality to it. A strong hop taste is noticeable up front but not sure if that is because I was expecting it from the scent of the brew. It did seem to break away from a dominant hop start to have a nice malt flavor in the middle. Over all this is a nice drinking brew, one that is not out of balance and one that I feel would be a great session brew.

Photo of Conrad
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle must have been a fresh one, as there were no floaties or sediment. It poured nice and clean, with an inch thick head that settled but didn't disappear, and left pretty lacing.
The colour is a rich amber on the honey-orange end of the spectrum.
Smell: Had to search through the foam, and noted pine cone, some tart hops, some fruit, and some that I couldn't identify, but were pleasing none the less.
Taste: As an IPA should, this had hops dominating some roasted malt. Some fizz, and alcohol flavour.
Mouthfeel: A creamy moderate body with a clean finish. A nice level of bitterness that says "have another slurp".
Drinkability: Yessir. This is a keeper. Goes down smooth and calls for another.

Photo of mrmanning
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle- Aromas of floral cascade, perfumey hops, pine, and citric rinds. Pours a deep amber,with a solid white , two finger cap, with pretty lace. Tastes pretty piney, bitter, lemon zest, bready matls towards the end, and the challenger really give the cascade a go. This could be the first UK IPA that I actually really like. The UK, and an IPA?? Who knew?

Photo of hunteraw
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Solid example of an English IPA

Appearance: Surprisingly large quantities of floaties, despite not being particularly disturbed.

Smell & Taste: Some citrusy hops, slight diacetyl in the aroma. Flavor is along the same lines - some earthiness I associate with English ales. Not bad, and distinctly an English version of the IPA.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability: Medium body, slightly slick. Good drinkability.

Photo of xav33
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA
English pint bottle
Recent bottling, uprooted 11/06
Medium pour in a pint glass

Poured a hazy orange with a large fizzy somewhat lasting white head with good lacing.

Smelt of moderate peaches, apricot, perfume and flowers.

Taste was upfront moderately bitter sweet bitter pine and light peaches followed by a strong bitter grassy moderate clover honey sweetness and light roasted malt feel on an average length perfume finish. Palate was light to medium bodied, slightly dry, exaggeratedly fizzy, so much that it stings the tongue, and lightly astringent.

Overall, who would have thought the Scots could make such a nancy tasting mellow English-style fruity IPA. It's easy drinking and tasty, but the fizzy palate ruins the whole experience. Kinda reminds me of all the peppy annoying fat high school girls I knew that smelled like fruity crap. Comparable to sniffing girl's panties. Always an interesting proposition. I feel dirty. I need a rauchbier.

Photo of TexIndy
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1Pt, .9oz bottle with notches on back label that I assume are dating but cannot interpret. Nice amberish, honey color with a good couple fingers of head that slowly dissipates to a constant thin head. Good lacing throughout. Smell was hard to pin down. When first poured, I got a citrusy smell with hints of lavender but as the beer warmed the overall smell faded to a non-distinct, light malt smell. The mouthfeel was awesome - very creamy and full bodied. IPA's have not been my style in the past but have been growing into the style lately and could see this in my semi regular rotation. Highly recommend (4, HR/RR, T,Y)

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
83 out of 100 based on 695 ratings.