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.

678 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 678
Reviews: 397
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 15.22%
Wants: 13
Gots: 34 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 678 | Reviews: 397 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NEhophead
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt 9fl oz. No best before date.

Hazy, light camel color with noticeable, small chunks of floating sediment. Densely creamy off-white head that plasters the glass' sides as it slowly recedes to a creamy sheet. Thin and patchy lacing all over the place.

Dark, burnt floral hops; slightly oily. A distinctly creamy, semi-sweet caramel and toffee nose. Yeasty, airy biscuit aroma.

The burnt semi-sweet toffee flavor mixes quite well with the yeasty bread-like maltiness. Although the hops are tasted everywhere, they play a supporting role to the semi-sweet, biscuit flavored malt profile. The finish is yeasty and a touch dry with a mellow bitterness.

Medium bodied; smooth and creamy for the most part with just a touch of grit from the earthen hops.

A well balanced brew with good flavors. Not the recipe I'd use as an ideal IPA for my taste, but a nice offering.

Photo of DaveFL1976
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A really pretty beer. Nice, crystal clear golden/copper colour, with a nice, thick white head that leaves heap of lace.
Cascades are pretty noticable in the smell, as is some malt sweetness. The taste is very well balanced. Chewy malt up front, with a little bit of notocable bittering hop bite at the end. I don't think this would pass as an American style IPA, and it's not an English 'Fuggley' type of bitter, either. Regardless, it's certainly a nice brew. Not overpowering in any regard. Mouthfeel is fantastic, creamy and full. Carbonated, but not overly so. It's tough to find anything wrong with this beer. I would rate it higher if the malt and hops were kicked up a notch, though.

Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pint on tap at the Commercial Taphouse in Richmond.

Appearance: A nice light amber / brown with a fairly decent head that leaves lots of lacing throughout as I drink. A moderate amount of bubbles float around the glass.

Smell: A nice balance of hops and malt, without going too crazy, as I expect an EIPA to achieve. Throughout, as it warms, it gets better. Some mild fruit, citrusy and fruity hops also. I kept going back, so that's a sign for me.

Taste: Ah yes, an extremely balanced--yet something could be much more complex--brew. Lots of fruit all over the place, but nothing in your face. It mostly comes from the malt, but by the time the finish arrives, it's fairly long, fruity, then curbed by the hops into something harmonious.

Mouthfeel: Very nice, not a lot of carbonation but also full nonetheless. And not slick or cloying either.

Drinkability: I was pretty impressed by this. This is a style I need to have more of, because I'm really a fan. I'll be having a pint of this again.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lightly foggy, yeasty, dusky orange with tangerine peel borders. The orangish beige crown is both creamy and firm. Small patches of thick lace adhere to the glass and lead me to wonder if I've poured a better looking English IPA in the past year. I doubt it.

The aroma is good, not great. There's a considerable 'buttered biscuit' aroma from the malt that's at least as aromatic as the hops. Twisted Thistle smells more English (Challenger) than American (Cascade). It's spicy and fruity, although only mildly grapefruity.

There's a fair amount of hoppiness on the palate that is, again, balanced by malt. The malt is sweet, toasted, buttery and almost caramel-like. I can tolerate the shortage of explosive hop flavor given the style and given the fact that this is still mighty delicious beer.

The hops are sweet-tart apple and apricot fruity, with just enough citrus zestiness to provide another layer of depth and complexity. Speaking of complexity, what the hell is peat smoke doing in my IPA? Actually, I love it. No other IPA tastes quite like Twisted Thistle. Not bad for a brewery that specializes in malt-dominant beer.

The mouthfeel is a study in smoothly silky creaminess. If I hadn't popped the cap and poured the beer into the glass myself, I'd swear that I was drinking a cask-conditioned IPA. TT is soft, expansive, fluffy, dreamy and creamy. I've often thought that a quality mouthfeel is the mark of a quality brewery. That maxim has been proved correct once again.

With a (slightly) less assertive maltiness and a more assertive hoppiness, Twisted Thistle could easily be one of my favorite English IPAs of all time. These guys already brew one of the best wee heavies in existence, so I'm not surprised that they were able to nail this style as well.

Photo of tastybeer
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Great tarnished copper orange color body, evenly cloudy, with a nice creamy, froathy creamy colored head. The head reminds me of swiss cheese as I look down on it, with big bubbles separated by very fine dense bubbles. Aroma smells like how I'd expect a Scottist IPA to smell. Nice dank hops, floral and citrus, leaves, peat moss, over a sweet even maltiness. Fresh forest-like aroma. Taste is very alike. Dank floral forest, peat, toffee + toasted malts, pine, oily and dry. Very interesting concoction that is appealing to me. I like how these malts blend with the medium hopping. Mouth could be a little more subtantial though. Mildly dry finish. Drinakbility is easy for me.

Not bad. Definitely worth a try, and I'll probably pick it up again eventually. Not what your looking for if you want a really all out hoppy IPA.

Photo of wedge
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazed orange color with a creamy, bubbly head. Mellow, dry floral hoppy aroma over some soft sweet malts. Well rounded malts blend with herbal hops...a little citrus shines through in the finish as it warms. Some peat in the flavor. Bitterness is fairly gentle and the mouthfeel is medium.

Very mellow all around. I've had better.

Photo of Globetrotter
4.6/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I let out an audible gasp of delight when I saw this brown half liter bottle in a Moscow supermarket I'd never visited before. The brown and silver label shows a close-up of a thistle above the name. Cascade and Challenger hops are the only ingredients listed on the English label. The Russian import label also lists wheat and "sugar syrup." Best before 5/1/07, there was no way I was going to let this one stand in my closet or fridge for long.

Pours a clear copper under a one finger white head with nice consistency and excellent retention (there was still some head left when I finished the glass). The head clung well to the glass, leaving some very nice lace. The nose is wonderful - absolutely full of pine hops. The mouth is very prickly and fairly light, yet manages to stick well on the palate. Classic American IPA taste, despite its British origins, with sweet syrupy malt upfront, followed immediately by strong coniferous hops spice and bitter. Very smooth, despite the strong hops, which hit the finish with a great espresso and pine sap bite. The bitter lingers long after the liquid is gone, coating the jowls and tonsils with a lovely dry sensation. Only the second IPA I've found in 3.5+ years in Moscow, this is my kind of brew. Yum!

Photo of soulgrowl
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Light copper body with big bubbles and a small head. Not unappealing, just unimpressive.

Smell: Passion fruit, citric hops, and buttery malts that add a very nice cake-like aroma. Musty yeast. Good stuff.

Taste: More of the nose. Grape juice. Pretty darn weak in the hops department for an IPA, but still tasty. Somewhat unusual and enigmatic, but not that exciting.

Mouthfeel: Too slick and syrupy for how light it is.

Drinkability: Quite sessionable, if a little on the boring side.

Photo of ggaughan
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a clowdy amber color with a single finger head that lingered for a bit and left someg good lacing. The aroma is a bit piney in my nose yet also a bit sweet. Just what I am looking for. The taste is first some malty sweetness and then a kick of floral hop bitterness, mixed together well. The carbonation is medium and makes for a fairly drinkable brew.

Photo of Suds
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

As much as I love a an all-out American hop-monster, I really appreciate a well-balanced British-style IPA. This one isn’t top-notch, and the American hops are a twist, but it’s a worthy attempt, and didn’t disappoint me at all. It pours a sunset-gold, not-quite-copper color, with a modest head. The aroma is a well-balanced mix of hops and malt. Floral, fruity, sweet, caramel. There’s also a notable smoke character. It’s drier than expected, and a little metallic. Modest carbonation. Medium body. The whole package is quite satisfying.

Photo of dfried
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I didn't have high expectations going into this beer, but I was pretty impressed with it though. The smell isn't anything too dazzling, about average for an IPA, but the flavor was quite impressive, especially the after-taste. This beer is not in your face with hops, but most of the flavor comes with the undertones, the hops and malt work together to mix a variety of fruity flavors, and it's kind of on the dry side which also mixes well. It's a bit cloudy in appearance with an average head, and it got a bit yeasty at the end. This was a pretty good IPA, I am going to try it again.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Belhaven Twisted Thistle pours from the 1 pt, 9fl. oz bottle a deep, slightly cloudy amber orange with a half inch of bubbly white head. A bit of lacing sticks to the glass. Aromas of of citrusy Cascade hops upfront with some nice piney notes as well. A bit roasty with some caramel and maybe even a bit smokey.

First sip brings some nice toasted, caramel malts upfront that quickly meet up with a blast of hoppy flavors. Earthy, citric and a touch of pine are in the mix here. Finishes with a light hint of smokiness, quite dry with a nice bitter hop flavor. A tasty brew overall, maybe even a bit doughy at times.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a big, fast moving carbonation that races across the tongue with each sip. It ends up being a tad bit too bubbly for me. Drinkability is quite good. Much more outwardly hoppy than many English IPA's I have sampled, I could see myself having a few of these in a sitting with no real problem. Nicely balanced while still providing plenty of hoppy goodness.

Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one finger white head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving a little lace. Cloudy amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Piney nose. Starts almost with a malty sweetness, smooth, hops are here but not in your face, finish is mellow. Very good IPA but McEwan's is better. $3.05 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

Photo of sacfly
2.15/5  rDev -41.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours an orange/yellow color with particles in suspension. Very light on the carbonation. Thin head of off white bubbles. Aroma is earthy with a touch of citrus and grass.

Taste… uh… taste is astringent and reminiscent of socks. Stinky, dirty, sweaty, socks. Simply awful. I am so overwhelmed and distracted by this awful sock flavor that I can’t pick up much else. Can’t wait to get the taste out of my mouth.

500ml is way to much of this tragedy. Oh the humanity.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The first 'real' Scottish IPA Ive tried, Im impressed.

Pours a gorgeous orange amber color with a blizzard like multitude of tiny carbonation bubbles languidly floating to the surface. The eggshell cap dissipates quickly but leaves spectacular lace trails and escarpments. The aroma is citrusy and a little piney with some toasted caramel cake. The taste is like a slightly hoppier Fuller's ESB with more citrus. Fruity malt and hops strike a perfect balance. Earthy and grassy hop flavors are also present.

I taste a slight smokeyness like in all the Belhaven beers Ive tried, maybe its my imagination but is there peat smoked malt in here? The mouthfeel is full and flawlessly carbonated. The finish is moderately bitter and slightly grainy.

This is a great IPA, much more hops than usual for a UK version. Its well balanced too, maybe my fav from this brewery.

Photo of bahumutx
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 375 ml bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a hazy orange with a white creamy head.

Smell: Strong pine hops aroma with slight malt, fruit and sweet aroma.

Taste: Starts with out a malt sweetness that moves to a bitter/pine hop flavor. Ends slightly dry. As the beer warms a smokiness comes out which is not overpowering at all but adds to the flavor of the beer.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but slightly chewy Mouthfeel with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: Very drinkable.

This is my first English IPA and thought that this was a good brew. I look forward to trying other beers from this brewery.

Photo of sinistermadman
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a crystal clear golden maple while unleashing a burly head which retains well.

Aroma is evident as soon as you open the bottle. Pine forest nose along with some fruit notes make for an enjoyable scent.

Moderate carbonation with a clean, almost thin to medium body. Taste onsets with some initial hop bite and alcohol astringency and tapers to a earthy, grainy finish. This is pretty bitter up front. The finish reminds me of an unbalanced pilsner. I guess this is what to expect from an English IPA? Not much experience in this arena, although IPA's are another thing. I wish I had the beer vocabulary to describe what it is that ruins this beer for me. Ruin is a bit strong of a word. This isn't a bad beer, it's just not great.

Photo of skizziks
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

375ml bottle into a nonic. Tons of carbonation. A careful pour throws up 3inches of very active off-white foam that slowly dies down into a chunky rocky fluffy pillow. Plenty of lace. The beer itself is a slightly hazy orangey amber. Almost ice tea colored. Nice big aroma sweet with toffee, bread, orange and plenty of hops. The hops are big and very American in character. The bottle mentions a blend of cascade and challenger and both seem evident. The challenger does a nice job of providing body to the cascade.

Hits the tongue with a dual assault of sweet crystal malt and hops. Toffee, caramel, and fresh wholegrain bread are all in abundance along with a rich layer of herbal and spicy hops. The hops meld seamlessly with the malt to give a huge amount of flavor that lays thick on the tongue. Bitterness is apparent but understated. The rich sweet palate here could really use more bitter to balance it out and keep the fatigue down.

Mouthfeel is very full and sticky. Carbonation is high, but not enough to cut the thick malt. Drinkability is reduced as a result, but I would still love to drink more than I should. I was pretty skeptical of a Belhaven IPA but they did a great job with this one. Plenty of Scottiish malt character with enough hops to satisfy most american style hopheads.

Photo of Crosling
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich fruit cocktail hop aroma, with hints of spruce and dried pine, as well as hints of red apple and caramel. This IPA is mellow and balanced, and I like the hop character. It’s not medicinal or floral at all, like other English IPA’s. On the palate, yellow banana peel and red apple notes are present, with fine and sharp hop flavors coming in on the mid-palate. A heavy body comes next, with hints of caramel. Pretty good.

Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours honey colred with a 4 fingers+ fluffy off-white head. Average head retention & some lacing

Smell: Fruit and honey

Taste: Malt sweetness, grapefruitty hops, slight smokeiness. dry citrussy finish

mF: Syruppy with some creaminess

Drinkable enough, but nothing special for the style. Worth a try

Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a hazy dark gold/amber color with a thick frothy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, malty scent that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with a nice bitter hop bite. It's creamy with a slight peated aroma. The taste is great. It has a smooth, malty flavor that is complimented with a bitter hop taste. It is dry with a smokey feel; very nice. The malt flavor is quite complex and well balanced. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium/full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a damn good English IPA. It has good aroma and a wonderful flavor; a good drinker.

Photo of bkett01
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a murky yellow/copper color with visible sediment lingering throughout the pint even though I left the last bit in the bottle. Poured with a healthy head which died away rather quickly. Smells of roasted grains with no hop aroma detectable. I realize English IPA's have less emphasis on hops than American IPA's, but I expected a different smell.

Taste is unlike any other IPA I've ever had. An initial citrus bite on the tongue hints that hops are present after all. This is followed by and finishes with a roasted maltiness that leaves me wishing for more hops. While this one starts strong I don't enjoy the finish and can't say I'll be going back for more.

Photo of CRJMellor
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a amber, orangish amalgamation and very clear. Small, tight white foam with a soap dish type body.
Aroma of relatively fresh hops with a real citrusy character to them. A grass or hay notes linger in the back as well.
Flavors were very muted caramel and malted barely that were quickly overrun by the gritty, bittering present.
Mouthfeel is medium for the most part with just a hint of a metallic bitter hop grind. Not very characteristically UK to me, seemed more PAC NW.
Drinkability is pretty good and condering travel on the import, the beer holds up pretty well. would be intrigued by a draught version.

Photo of kmo1030
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

hazed orangey amber with a thick tan head.
the aroma is sweet caramel, with herbal hops and peat.
lots of sweet toasted caramel backed by a heavy dose of smoked peat flavor. bitter from middle to end. nutty butterscotch behind it all.
medium bodied and smooth with moderate carbonation.
good drinkability, though possibly not for everyone there is a lot of smoky peat in this one. very unique and very good in my opinion though.

Photo of kmpitz2
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16.9 oz bottle poured into a tilip pint. The beer is a lightly coppered orange color with a finger with a little haze. A finger and a half of white head falls to a full coat over the liquid. A very healthy cascade of bubbles flow from the bottom of the glass. The nose is moderate in intensity, with caramel and toasty malt notes dominating, with a crisp lightly citrusy and mildly earthy hop. I like the mild hopping with the malt forward for the English IPA. Flavor is very nice. Definately reminds me a bit of the Belhaven Scottish with the peated malt character being very prevalent in the first sip. The caramel character is much more subdued. Hop notes are light citrusy sweet, but definately not a dominant part of the flavor. The finish is a nice combination between a good peatyness and a clean caramel sweetness. Feel is on the fuller end of moderate, with very mild carbonation. I like the fullness, as it gives me a feel of having a nice substantial brew. Overall, I enjoy this one. The peated character is not too strong, and balances well with the caramel and light hopping. This is a beer I will visit again. Very tasty.

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
83 out of 100 based on 678 ratings.