Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPABelhaven Twisted Thistle IPA

Brewed by:
Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.10%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ADR on 09-24-2005

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Reviews: 426 | Ratings: 821
Photo of Buck89
3.77/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a tap into a pint glass. A clear amber-orange color with a frothy off-white head. Typical citrus IPA aromas, but paired with fruity estery notes and also a nutty-sweet malt presence. The taste was similar with orange, bitter grapefruit, floral notes, lemons, and a slightly sweet malt presence. An interesting English IPA, but a bit too malty for my taste.

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Photo of Czequershuus
3.95/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This beer pours pale amber with an average head. The aroma features caramel malts, pine, and lemon peel. The flavor starts with mild pine, then lemon and orange peel, caramel and toffee malts - overall drier than I expected. The mouthfeel is semi-light, and nicely fizzy. Overall this is a very pleasant and drinkable beer with a piney-lemony heart.

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Photo of Gardendk
3.24/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A: Clear amber. White medium head

S: Malty with hints of fruit

T: On the bitter side. More fruity than the smell. Well balanced

M: Great mouthfeel. Smoth with some sirupy stickiness

O: Fruity IPA with a twist. It works, but nothing I would look for

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the bigger bottle in a snifter. This nice IPA pours a nice lightly
chill hazed orange tinged amber with a light head of white foam that settles to
a thick ring, thin pool, and light lacing. Nose of floral elements akin to flowers
with touches of light pine and herbal hops touched by honey sweet malts. Flavors
hit the right notes for the style with honey and light breaded malts touched by
subtle citrus and a touch of light ginger laced caramel. Nice mouth feel well within
the English mold; smooth, medium low carbonation, and a sweet lightly herbal hop finish.
Overall a classic from a solid brewery.


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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Clear dark gold color with dense activity. Slightly creamy and bubbly beige 2 finger head, lasting around 5 minutes, with moderate lacing. Flavors of soft pine, mint, sweet grains, cherries, caramel, lemon, vegetables, flowery spices. Bread and cereal feel with thick sugars, slightly bitter from floral hops. Creamy full body with light prickly carbonation. Medium strength finish, soft leafy spices and citrus, with a thick burnt sugary malty candy like feel. Heavy in the mouth thus lacking some sharpness and zest, a little dull and weird. The flavors are pretty good, but it's too sugary in the bad candy/medicine kinda way. More of an English style IPA than American, with ester fruits and not tropical. Overall decent quality craft.

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Photo of thehyperduck
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330 mL bottle from the LCBO, included in their "Merry Craftmas" sampler pack and listed at 5.6%. Best before Sept 2017 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a clear, medium gold colour with a twinge of amber; one finger of soapy white froth floats upon the surface initially, but largely dissipates within the span of a minute or two. A generous collar of foam survives afterwards, alongside a patchy cap and a modest swath of lace. Looks like a pale ale is supposed to, I guess. Doughy pale malt sweetness on the nose, accompanied by a decent-sized dose of floral, leafy hops, with a few suggestions of lemon, golden pear and caramelized sugars. Smells more like an English IPA than an American.

So, given how closely the senses of smell and taste are related, it shouldn't be a surprise that I think it kind of tastes that way, too. Clean flavours of bready, doughy pale malts and light caramel sweetness are just detectable behind the curtain, allowing the trio of Challenger, Hersbrucker and (especially) Cascade hops to dominate the stage. Very floral, with hints of citrusy orange and lemon zest mixed in with fruity notes of pear and apple. Resiny pine and more floral bitterness are what characterise the tail end of the sip, though they quickly fade upon reaching the aftertaste, which I'd call off-dry. Not quite light-bodied, but sort of leaning to that side; the bubbles are fiercely persistent in their capacity for agitation, which gives this IPA a crisp, lively mouthfeel that is much lighter and more refreshing than most others.

Final Grade: 3.74, a B grade. Belhaven's Twisted Thistle IPA outperformed my expectations, but not by all that much. Truthfully, if you are looking for an American-style IPA, I don't think this is a beer that I'd recommend, though it's not exactly a bad interpretation of the style. Sort of in that grey area between the English and American (sub)-styles, though the resiny, citrusy impact of the Cascade hops does sort of nudge it toward the latter - but not enough to allow it to compete with the heavyweights. As a simple, hop-forward pale ale it's actually pretty well-constructed - I'd drink this again if it happened to be there, but I wouldn't seek it out again intentionally.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle served cold into a chalice. Bottle #4 of #6 of the Merry Craftmas holiday pack. Advertised as 5.6% ABV.

Appearance - A bright, pale golden color with not a lot of bubbles but a fine half finger of short lasting head. Curtains of lace around the edges of the glass.

Smell - Pine is the dominant factor here with some lemon citrus adding to the concoction. A certain earthly characteristic about the aroma too.

Taste - Plenty bitter but lots of malt too. Well balanced. The pine and earthiness come together with some lemon and some tangerine to make a nice sipping experience.

Mouthfeel - Body is light and on the thin side, carbonation is on the low end of moderate, Easy to drink.

Overall - A decent IPA, but lacking intensity especially compared with American IPA's. Worth a try, but don't expect to be blown away.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.31/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I'm a fan of the appearance, his those orange color notes that is often indicative of a solid ipa. 1/4" white head. Aroma hit those usual English ipa where are the hops notes?

Taste is lightly hopped, almost lager yeast feel to it. Light bodied, not as much caramel malt heft as the appearance indicated. Its decent and easy to drink. Traditional I guess, absent the toffee being lacking (thankfully?). Bitterness is there.

Its pretty close to traditional, I don't like the format though, you pay a price per oz luxury tax on these compared to ipas that come in 12oz bottles/6 pack format.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle at restaurant in Portsmouth UK. Looks like the bottle and recipe were recently updated. Would classify it as an English IPA, and reviewed it as such.

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Photo of Roguer
3.64/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Minor head; transparent golden ale.

A touch soapy on the aroma.

Very bitter and grainy. Very much an old school IPA: green, piney, and aggressively bitter. Plenty of barley presence. A refreshing change of pace.

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Photo of kitschiguy
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle given to me by a supplier into 350ml beer glass.

Nice light brown but not much head.

Nose is nive maltiness and some tropical fruit coming through. Nice .

Palate is good with lots of malt flavour and a little fruit. I expected more bitterness but I was pleasantly surprised by the good balance.

Mouth is really good.

Overall - very good. Well balanced lots of flavour. Great example of the style.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
3/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Amber color, clear. White head.
Aroma: fruity malt with red and dark fruit, citrus in the background.
Taste: decent, fruit, caramel malt, which gets a little bland.
Gentian dry stone, it is impressively high, but quite long. Saturation medium can be.

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Photo of Marraybay
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Nice gold-copper color with an attractive +1 fingers of white foam on top.

Smell: Malty-fruit sweetness along with some hoppy pine-citrus.

Taste: Nice sweet malt-fruit backbone that intersects with some citrus.

Feel: Smooth.

Overall: I don't think I've had a Belhaven beer yet that I haven't liked
and this one is no exception. The flavor leans more toward a lighter
DIPA, but without the booze. Would definitely drink this when I
wanted those flavors but not the ABV.

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Photo of josanguapo
3.2/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From Carrefour Huelva. In Teku glass. Playing Millenium 2. Better than expected from a supermarket IPA. Not the citric fresh version I prefer. Fruity and duller but still good

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Photo of cfalls
3.59/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

L - copper, no haze, off-white head fades to a thin layer

S - malt, floral honey, anticipation of bitterness without much citrus/tropical/pine

T - strong English malt, some sweetness, clover, not very bitter, not much citrus/tropical/pine, hint of new-car-smell

F - nice feel with medium-high carbonation, even if a little thin

O - This is not an IPA. It tastes just like typical London pub ales, which isn't necessarily bad, but do not grab this if you're an American looking for what you think of as an IPA.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Next on the chopping block is this brew from East Lothian, Scotland (hey I’ve been there!) this possibly-aptly-named-but-I-wont-know-until-I’ve-tried-it Twisted Thistle IPA. True story: You can brew a beer with thistles. Sadly this isn’t a thistle brewed beer, but there you go - we both learnt something today, thanks Wikipedia! Less-than-true story: I invented a waffle-iron with a built in alarm clock so that you can have fresh cooked waffles in the morning when you wake up... actually that sounds pretty cool, PATENT PENDING!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Clear golden amber body with a massive 1 inch bone coloured head that soon drops back to a more drinkable 1 cm, mixing my metric and imperial measurements again - suck it US readers! Err, anyway, looks OK, nothing to write home about - just an average, non-bottle conditioned Ale right here. 6/10.

S: Sort of floral and herbal on the nose, not getting any of the grapefruit the bottle purports, hints within of a caramel and toffee malt base. Not bad Belhaven, haven’t had a decent floral beer in a while [*ahem* Brakspear Oxford Gold, 5 reviews ago]. So far it’s more an APA than an IPA but we’ll see when we taste... or taste when we taste even. 7/10.

T: Hmmm, indeed, still more APA, but yes it does strike you when the flavour hits with a sugary caramel snap then whips across to a herbal/floral bitter note in the finish. The flavour is remarkably polar opposites meet - actually they don’t even meet - they more give each other a cold hard stare from across a large auditorium like the US and Russian diplomats at the UN General Assembly. Honey makes an appearance as well - tipping it’s hat to the drinker. One gets a sense of a Scottish take on an APA here. Finish is slightly bitter and manageable. 8/10.

M: Almost medium, tinge of syrupiness with a light UK pub carbonation. 8/10.

D: This was a pleasant surprise, like that time I found a crisp $50 note lying on top of refuse in a trash can, not that I’m saying I was expecting this beer to be garbage but I wasn’t realistically expecting greatness either - but there you go, I could have another couple of these - they fit a flavour niche in my fridge door with that weird floral/herbal/honey you don’t find often in beers. This turned out more like some Scottish liqueur than a beer and I like that about it. 7/10.

Food match: Something sheep related, mutton stew, with a side of mash, some mint jelly as well... now we’re on to something...

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Photo of superspak
3.9/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 9/10/2014. Pours crystal clear golden orange color with a 2 finger fairly dense and fluffy off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of lemon zest, orange peel, pear, apple, pepper, pine, honey, light caramel, toasted bread, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of citrus/earthy hops, moderate bready malt, and restrained fruity yeast notes; with good strength. Taste of lemon zest, orange peel, pear, apple, pepper, pine, honey, light caramel, toasted bread, herbal, and floral/grassy earthiness. Moderate amount of herbal/piney/spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon/orange peel, pear, apple, pepper, pine, honey, toasted bread, and herbal/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/earthy hops, moderate bready malt, and restrained fruity yeast flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from bitterness after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately sticky, and lightly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice English IPA style. All around good complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/earthy hops, moderate bready malt, and restrained fruity yeast flavors; and very smooth and easy to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,659 characters

Photo of L0ne
3.54/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From backlog. 12oz bottle, January 2015.

Pours yellow/amber with an unremarkable white head. Light hoppiness, mostly herbal and maybe some citrus. Very smooth and easy to drink, just not a lot there.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.04/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours a golden body with good thick foamy white head that stays
Floral nose some heather and a whiff of lavender
Heather honey is what I get with the flavour & not much bitterness
feels thin
not great when a 5.6% 'IPA' is more like a shandy

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Photo of funkydrumma
3.87/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Very interesting twist with this one. The peat adds a faint smokiness on top of a touch of hopiness for some zing in what is otherwise a very thin feeling, clean beer.

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Photo of endovelico
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smooth, full bodied with unusually subdued bitterness where it concerns IPAs. There's a nice caramel, mango and minty balance on the nose and mouth but not many other redeeming factors.

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Photo of BoljaBoy52
2.59/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It's just not good. Not sure why it's rated so high. It's skunky, light tainted due to a clear bottle, old tasting, off balance and tastes like a steel reserve

 159 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.69/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Small head which leaves a couples of streaks for lace. Golden amber color. Clear.

Clean, well-balanced British styled IPA smell. Some light toast, biscuit and floral hop nose.

The flavor extenuates caramel malt base. There's a touch medicinal band-aide which distracts from the overall taste. The bitterness isn't very strong in the swallow. The aftertaste leans bitter but has some caramel sneak in. Full bodied.

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Photo of laticiasbear
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Great looking beer, smells nice but tastes a bit too sweet and slightly syrupy. Very easy to drink as far as IPAs go, but it's lacking that hoppy taste that I want in an IPA.

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Photo of Forsman
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Hoppy smell out of the bottle. Pours clear golden and with quite little foam. Taste fresh but the hopflavours are surprisingly absent. Reasonable bitterness in the aftertaste. Decent enough but certainly not my favourite IPA.

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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.72 out of 5 based on 821 ratings.
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