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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.

663 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 663
Reviews: 397
rAvg: 3.69
pDev: 14.91%
Wants: 12
Gots: 29 | 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: 663 | Reviews: 397 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bahumutx
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
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.

bahumutx, Apr 06, 2006
Photo of sinistermadman
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

sinistermadman, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of skizziks
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

skizziks, Mar 23, 2006
Photo of Crosling
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

Crosling, Mar 22, 2006
Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
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

russpowell, Mar 21, 2006
Photo of WesWes
4.22/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

WesWes, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of bkett01
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

bkett01, Mar 17, 2006
Photo of CRJMellor
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

CRJMellor, Mar 16, 2006
Photo of kmo1030
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

kmo1030, Mar 15, 2006
Photo of kmpitz2
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

kmpitz2, Mar 13, 2006
Photo of oberon
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a rich deep golden with a nice creamy white two finger head that slowly settles leaving a sheet of lace behind.Aromas are English all the way herbal "green" a little minty over top of caramel malt seems to have a hard water elemant as well.Flavors are mild compared to the American more hop driven IPA's,herbal and a touch earthy with a big caramelly sweet malt base wich is just as big as the hop character.This is as balanced an IPA I have had not bad but I want more hops in my IPA I guess.

oberon, Mar 13, 2006
Photo of clvand0
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This one poured a light amber color with a small head that was gone quick and didn't leave any lacing on the glass. The aroma had some toasted malt and quite a bit of European hops. The flavor was much the same. Lots of Euro hop flavors along with a toasted malt character. Interesting. The body is medium and the drinkability is ok.

clvand0, Mar 10, 2006
Photo of Jdiddy
1.93/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

I went into this beer with high hopes and was quickly shot down upon first sip. While I am a big whisky fan as well as an IPA fan, the 2 simply do not mix. The peat was just overpowering and mixed with the hops, it just was plain awful in my book. This soon ended up down the drain. Managed about 2 sips and that was all. Color was nice with a great head but appearance is about all this beer has going for it.

Jdiddy, Mar 09, 2006
Photo of ybnorml
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A orange/amber beer with a slight haze. Has a big creamy off white head and plenty of good lace. The aroma starts as soon as you open the bottle and a distinct piney hop character jumps out. There is also a light orange citrus note along with a caramel malt in the background. OK this IS a Scottish version of an IPA. Because the first thing you get in the flavor is a strong peat smoke character. Then the english toffee flavors come in followed by a light dry piney hop finish.

ybnorml, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Interesting and peculiar. Hopped to the extent that American IPAs would exhibit, but with the English variety. Moderately malty, caramelly, vanilla, and toffee. The hops impart a woodsy (oak), earthy, and a plastic character that's evident in the nose and flavor. Lightly fruity: from peaches and apricots to dates and nuts. Alcohols are light, lending a warm and drying nature to the body and finish. Good beer, just a little peculiar in the hop characteristics.

BEERchitect, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of SwillinBrew
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this on tap but i'm going to review the bottle because i like it a bit more.

A - poured a cloudy burnt orange color with a solid finger of ivory white lace. Good bubbles dancing up the glass.
S - like a damp meadow after a light rain with a very slight touch of of a rounded bitter citrus.
T - Mmmm, i like this. The taste of earthy leaves with a mild hop bitterness that blends into a peaty smokiness. Not overpowering but present, consistent and flavorful. Maybe it's smashed thistle? Dont know but it's good.
M&Dr - good medium body and solid carbonation. Slick on the tongue and leaves an all around good feel in the mouth. I really like this brew. I'm going to be keeping some in my cooler.

SwillinBrew, Mar 04, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a faintly hazy golden orange body with a thin white lacy head. There was very little carbonation but a few slow bubbles gliding to the surface.

S- The soft faint hops note has a citrus note but the citrus is more with the lightly toasted malt notes than with the hops.

T- The pale malt has a hint of dry crystal malt flavor that is a bit earthy. There is a slight soft band-aid taste that might be an off flavor or might be a smoky peat flavor. There is a nice hop bitterness in the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slight creamy texture.

D- I’m not sure about this beer. I can't tell if there was supposed to be that unique band-aid flavor, which was not nearly as strong as some homebrews with infections, or if it was another flavor of malt that I wasn't expecting in an IPA.

rhoadsrage, Mar 02, 2006
Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – The huge, stubborn, foamy head promised the traditional big yeast of the style. The body also was a deep, dark orange, alluding to the same commitment.

Smell – Ah, definitely an Englander. The hops are mild, the nuts pronounce, the yeast . . . uh . . . yeasty, and the malts light but very prominent.

Taste – Oh, man, this has a very strong smoky peat flavor that I missed at the nose. The spices are herblike and very big. The hops and malt from the nose are here but clearly overshadowed by the yeast and spicing.

Mouthfeel – This is actually a solid medium-bodied with some good carbonation (examples of the style imported here into the US are often cheap and fizzy like Alka-Seltzer). The bitterness is very easy on the tongue.

Drinkability – The herbal flavoring takes some getting used to and I didn’t see that big smoky character advertised anywhere on the bottle, but me likes it. Also, the label says that it has Cascade hops, but damned if I could find them. Why would you put Cascade hops in an English-style IPA anyway?

RoyalT, Mar 02, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
4.22/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a light copper with a large, frothy, white head. Decent lacing throughout. A very hop-forwarded nose. Tons of cascade and challenger allow the malt to come through. This is one delicious beer. Lots of citrusy and resinous hops at first which lead into a peaty malt, followed by a pleasently lingering hop bitterness. I only wish that the malt would speak up a bit more, aside from the smokiness. The mouthfeel is full with a good amount of carbonation to liven up the palate. A truly unique IPA.

goochpunch, Feb 28, 2006
Photo of Fugazme
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Great looking beer on the pour. Light copper and slightly hazy. A decent sized head that went away but left a wonderful cap. Great lace. Some suspended floaties. I like it.

Aroma is very floral and grassy. A touch of citrus and a touch of chocolate. A bit of caramel and a lingering of pine.

A good mouthfeel. Creamy on the palate. Bubbly on the swallow which seem to wash the flavor away quickly. Some dryness.

Taste is hoppy, of course. Grassy. Pine. A tad harsh, but overall very good.

Fugazme, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of Dukeofearl
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle purchased at LaBodega in Riverside CA, Feb 2006, for $3.49. However, I also had a chance to try a small sample on tap at Hollingshead a week or so prior to this tasting. This review includes some of both, but focuses on the bottle.

Pours a medium orange-amber, slightly hazy, with a decent off-white head that quickly drops to a thin, but solid cover over the beer (Abbey Ales Imperial Pint Glass).

Aroma is flowers and bright semi-sweet citrus (tangerines).

Flavor is definite hops, grassy/weedy and slightly oily. Not nearly as strong hop profile as many US IPAs. This fits at the higher end of the hop spectrum for English IPAs. Citrus is there too, but more like limes or grapefruit than sweet citrus. Malts are roasty and slighty smoky. End is where the hops sharpness is most prominent.

Nice creamy mouthfeel- just the kind I like in a beer. Overall, a nice IPA on a Saturday afternoon.

Dukeofearl, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer poured into the glass hazy golden amber with a very low off-white head which lasted to barely lace the glass.

The aroma was malty with a lighty floral and fruity character. There was a bit of hop presence but it was low, slightly resinous and grassy. As the beer warmed a bit of smoky character emerged.

The flavor was dry from the get go with a mineral flavor profile and light/very low citrus and grassy flavors. Their was a caramel malt presence, but it was more akin to a Bitter than to an ESB level or an IPA. The flavor also contained a low level of smoke, perhaps a yeast contribution.

The finish was dry with a lasting grassy bittering into the aftertaste, but not a bright bittering and hop flavor, more of a muted presence. The body was medium. The smoke was a bit out of character for any IPA and the beer just didn't work out for me. Not bad, but nothing to seek out IMO.

16.9 ounce bottle.

GCBrewingCo, Feb 13, 2006
Photo of kelticblood
3.6/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a clumpy white thick head. Alot of thick lacing surrounds the glass. A clear dark orange in color. A very strong finish. Has a creamy texture and is not watery. Has a very bitter taste but doesnt finish that bitter. Leaves a clean dry aftertaste. A medium bodied IPA that has a much different taste than the classic IPA. It's mouthfeel is much stronger than the actual 6.1 ABV. Its drinkable, but I couldnt see Myself drinking more than two. Hints of lemon and citrus are noted. A sweet malt and nicely carbonated.

kelticblood, Feb 12, 2006
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.13/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 500ml [16.9 fl.oz] sturdy brown glass bottle that has raised quadra-placed embossed lettering on the bottles shoulder “Belhaven Est. 1719”. Neck label is colored dark purple with a thin gold lined border, as indeed is the main label which proudly states that the beer is Imported from Scotland. Labeled as Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA. Reverse label has this listed at 6.1%.

Appearance: Humungous head, cream colored with beige tints. Rocky outcrops once the cap starts to fade and settle down. Lots of lacing and a lovely thick textured surface that is uneven. A gentle swirl reveals a fine carbonation. The soft orange copper body is slightly hazed and looks great underneath the light tanned head. Solid presentation!

Nose: Fresh pine oils leap out of the glass. Floral tones sit tightly amidst soft caramel malts and a fruit salad feel with some black pepper spices.

Taste: The oily hops are thick in the beginning with a toffee malt middle. The finish has a lovely peaty feel to it. Soft fruity flashes come and go including apricots and baked apples. Dry bitterness with some pine too. Wow, this is a real surprise, I expected less but I am impressed by the way the peaty malts blend with the American hops.

Mouthfeel: Talcum powder soft conditioning does no wrong. Medium feel but with a larger profile than its shadow casts. The piney hops no doubt assist the bold feel.

Drinkability: One of those brews that disappears in a few large mouthfuls and is followed by an unconvincing rattle and perplexing repeated pouring of the empty bottle over the nearly empty glass. Did it really go down that quickly!?! Guess so.

Overall: The Cascades and Challengers add a very definitive US feel to this IPA, yet the peaty malts are definitely Scottish, the blend of ingredients from either side of the Atlantic is very clever an make this an intriguing combination, but for me it works extremely well. This is a fine US-Scottish IPA. Quietly impressive!

TheLongBeachBum, Jan 31, 2006
Photo of cheers2beers
3.63/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Has the average appearance of an IPA,other than the noticed suspended yeast particles floating with my tall weizen glass.Color was deep topaz to light amber with two finger head that maintained a quarter inch head that stayed the remainder of the session.Minimal laceing.Minimal beading.

Smell: Hops definitely there but not too expressive as would of liked,oranges and piney notes,slight smoked malts can be detected.

Taste: Hops again still remain in the taste as expected,little pines in the flavor.Nothing like an American IPA but in a good way I enjoyed its offerings.Like the nose ever so slight smokiness and orange peel bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, light to medium consistancy.Carbination is medium at best,very pleasant.

Drinkability: Not bad for my first English IPA.Not a favorite of mine from Belhaven but I could drink this easily non the less.The subdued bitterness is interesting, give me another please!

Note: This review may be pending my next experience with an English IPA to compare.


cheers2beers, Jan 15, 2006
Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
83 out of 100 based on 663 ratings.