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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 cbl2
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$3.99 16.9 oz. 6.10% No best by date.


Pours a clear light brown tinged with some orange adorned by a huge 2 inch tight tan head that settles slowly.


Sweet, with something resembling Snapple Peach Iced Tea in aroma, though the peaches are muted somewhat.


Smooth, somewhat oily mouthfeel with light carbonation. So unlike American IPA's, this tastes like Snapple Tea, just as it smells like Snapple Tea! No detectable hops at all. Malts aren't easy to discern either. This really does taste like tea, and not a beer at all.

Photo of HoustonTX
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Twisted Thistle IPA

A - Light brown, red and orange hues are there as well. Frothy white head and ample amounts of lacing.

S - Buttered malts, earthy, and grassy notes.

T - Taste has a nice malty upfront backbone, waves of fresh cascade and challenger hops. They really don’t come out strong initially, or much at all. Bitterness is mid to mild and comes halfway through, fading to the end. The beer ends up balanced well, and shows strong qualitys of the style. Lingering light bitter aftertaste, with a semi-dry finish.

A decent example of what English IPA's should be all about.

Photo of Cresant
2.92/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this undated 16.9 oz into an IPA glass. Three fat fingers of khaki colored head. Leather brown body with yeast floaties swirling around.

Aroma was of sweet malts. Earthy. Hoppy.

Taste was smoky malts, mildly bitter (Cascade from the Pacific NW and Challenger hops from UK). This is an amalgamation of styles in my opinion. A cross of Euro + American IPAs with the use of a smoky malt. Interesting, unique if nothing else.

Body was smooth and mild/moderately carbonated.

Pretty easy to drink, but not one I will seek out.

Photo of Reidrover
4.13/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Coppery/dark orange beer topped with a gorgeous frothy off white head. Unusually for a British IPA I can actually smell the aroma especially of the cascade hops, spicy and light grapefruit..some good malty aromas too. Great fruity hoppiness, tingly on the tongue then smooths out for a creamy malty finish, yet the excellent hop bitterness persists down the throat and in the after taste for quite a while. Very livelly taste..a "zing" and a great boost to the drinkability. I liked this a lot..a great American style IPA with a delectable British feeling..well done Belhaven.

Photo of TheLiterati
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a nice amber color. Head was substantial, creamy. Nothing super distinctive about the nose – a little of a disappointment for an IPA, as I missed the heavier floral notes, undertones and the signature IPA "bite," but I’ve found that to be the case with brewers of this style from Scotland or England.

There was a hint of hoppiness but disappointingly, not much to speak of. While it had more complexity than, say, a typical American lager, compared to other brews of this style, it was just so-so. The mouthfeel was on the bubbly side and was quite pleasing to my palate on this exceedingly hot So Cal day.

Still, it wasn’t completely unpleasant. Not my first choice for this style, but drinkable and refreshing enough.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16.9 oz. bottle

Pours a hazy orange amber with a bunch of floaties in the liquid. Has a thick, creamy head that thins. Thick lacing on the glass.

Aroma includes some caramel malts and a rather citrusy mix of hops that includes some floral tones as well. A slight booziness is present.

Some maltiness upfront when a nice bitter bite grabs hold. Some nice citrusy and floral hops, a nice combination - but not a hop monster by any means. Finshes rather dry with a lingering hop taste.

Medium body, creamy texture.

This is a nice English IPA, and seems like they are leaning in the direction of an American IPA with the hop bitterness and flavor. I could drink a few of these.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.37/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 16.9oz bottle into a pint glass. Beer is orange yellow with a small head with decent lacing.

The nose is greeted by hops and biscuity malts. The hops smell a bit citrusy for English, but I love that fruity citrusness. The biscuity malts are mixed with toasty malts and caramel aromas as well.

Hops greet the tastebuds at first glance. But there is a terrific balance between the malts and the hops. Caramel, earthy hops, a nice tartness, and overall a very pleasing taste. I normally go for American IPA but this may be my favorite EIPA.

Mouthfeel is nice and creamy and medium bodied. I really enjoyed this beer. A very very pleasant surprise and at only $2.29 at Peabody's, an absolute steal!

Photo of LvilleIPA
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Very thick, fluffy head. Smells really nice (pine cones and other smells of a traditional american IPA).

Relatively dry in taste, with some hints and pops of fruit. As you swallow, you can feel it dry the mouth out. Very easy to drink though.

The label lets me know that I'm definitely correct when thinking that the beer has a surprisingly US IPA taste to it. In a way, I'm slightly disappointed. I was expecting to drink something new, as in I've never had a Scottish IPA. Still, this is a fine tasting IPA no matter the origin.

VERY easy to drink. Not overly hoppy. I'd suggest this to someone who may be new to the IPAs, or to anyone who enjoys IPA. I'll definitely be drinking this one again.

Photo of HochFliegen
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a nice copper colored with a think white head atop.
Smell was hops dominant, floral and citrus like, that blended nice with the sweet smelling sometimes dough like malt scents.
The taste was very smooth I was amazed right away how good it was. The taste was biscuit like and sweet along with the citrus and spice flavors along with some earthy and grass like bitterness(Challenger hops) in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is what got me at first it is extremely smooth and easy to enjoy. Its medium bodied and full of taste a new favorite IPA.

Photo of Erdinger2003
2.74/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

The head is soapy white and lacing sticks slightly and head stays when swirled. The color is copper brown and clear.

Smell is hoppy almost chloring like with some strong malt smell. The smell also has plum and raisan dark fruit in it.

The taste is dark fruity and very malty, leaves a dank hoppiness in the nose with a slight dark roastedness.

Mouthfeel is nice and creamy smooth.

I would like a newer bottle of this Scottish Import before giving it a bad name.

Photo of BDTyre
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally a British brewed IPA that doesn't disappoint!

Nice light copper-amber colour with a thick white head. The scent is hops and malt, and they don't compete...they blend nicely. Citrus, floral hints.

Hop bite, but malt sweetness on the tongue. Very floral taste. The malts don't overpower the hops like many British IPAs, yet this is not nearly as hoppy as an American IPA. Well balanced. Sweet tart hints on the tongue.

Good carbonation, maybe a little on the light side. I only wish I had bought more.

Photo of rtratzlaff
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1" white head above a light copper body

S: slight hops and light citrus smell

T: The hops are match the smell although, unlike the IPA's I'm used to the hops do not overpower the malt at all. I believe that's what an english IPA is, so it's right on.

M: medium thickness for an IPA

D: Pretty good drinkability. The malt sweetness may wear on me a bit though

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Paired with some Piper's Pub...Shepard's Pie...appears a clear copper light off white head leaves fine even lace with thick bands of evenly coated lace. Aroma contains mild funky character with a UK tone doughy malts and an air of piney and floral hop aromatics with a must filled earthy dankness...I likes. Flavor biscuit and toasted crackers mild ripened fruit note hops scream English to me but there's also a layer of citrus in there who knows? Anyway the UK IPA brings a funky tart bitterness full of more piney, earthy, and floral hops onto the ol palate. Mouthfeel has a smooth carbonation easy going light - medium bodied IPA. Drinkability...well, what's not to lake when downing this beauty with some of the best Shepard's Pie on the map flows easily down the gullet you may just have two pints of this one.

Photo of Torch
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Nice orange 1 finger head. Good lacing all the way down.

S - Citrusy goodness.

T - Very malty initially for this style, but not unpleasently so. Maltiness is quickly replaced with a nice balance hoppy bitterness. Very nice taste.

M - Average

D - Good, due to the balance. It's a somewhat big beer.

Photo of Realale
4.39/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy full gold, that clears a bit as the pint warms. Fine white head is not much more than a wisp of foam, but my local fills their pints very close to the brim.

Nose is an incredibly complex hopfest. Funky earthy English hops play a leading role, but there's a serious kick of citrus and some spice that lead me to believe this is an international combination of some sort. There's a great raw hop bite that I find really irresistable. The malt is there too, with a combo of water cracker and rich breadiness that's very appealing as well.

Really lovely in the mouth - with excellent balance between the immense hoppiness and the waves of malt. The malt is more complex on the palate than in the nose, and the hops simply run riot. While the hop profile is totally different, the masterful interplay between hops and malt reminds me of Dreadnaught. The hop bitterness kicks in mid-palate and rides the very long finish, becoming quite drying.

Mouthfeel is fine as the local keeps the gas turned down quite low. Excellent drinkability, and a great beer with food.

Photo of DogFood11
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip it formed a easily managed 2 finger head that leaves lots of sticky lacing all the way down. Light brown body is well carbonated and sediment rolls around it.

definately a buttered biscuit type of aroma and lemon is in the backdrop, along the ride of a smoked presence. It speeds up in the taste. Hops are really beautifully placed. Fairly drying. Against the doughy malts it works things out fine. Peppered at times, especially in the aftertaste.

Notes: The best English IPA I've been lucky enough to consume. Maybe because its more aggressive than most from this style and more tuned into my American Hoppy taste buds? Yeah maybe....A completely differnt type of "Hoppy", you can forget about citrusy, bitter hops, this is a dry saaz type effect. it is a welcomed addition to my stable.

Photo of Zorro
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a chill hazed orange colored beer with an off white to near tan colored head that hangs around for a while.

Smell is malty and slightly smoky with something of an oxidized hop aroma. Smells like hops with a faint cardboard aroma that was probably present in the historical IPAs.

Taste is slightly sweet and quite smoky like a Scottish ale and Belhaven makes some of the best that actually get to the USA.

Level of Hop bitterness is greater than I would have expected from the scent and the first taste. An interesting combination of Scottish Ale and IPA that is rather pleasant. This is exactly what a "Smoked IPA" would taste like and it is rather nice.

Mouthfeel is good and full probably more than would be desired in hot India.

Super drinkable unconventional IPA from Scotland. To unique a beer to not try.

Photo of NEhophead
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
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
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
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 +9%
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 +13.9%
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 +8.4%
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
3.46/5  rDev -5.7%
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 +25.3%
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
3.69/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

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