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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPABelhaven Twisted Thistle IPA
858 Ratings
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:
None provided.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 858 |  Reviews: 438
Reviews by beerdrifter:
Photo of beerdrifter
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at the biggest beer store in the UK, Beers of Europe Ltd. Clear orange-yellow pour with nice two finger head with good retention and lacing. A little skunkiness in the nose when I opened it, but it quickly faded and gave way to biscuity, sweet malt with some mild floral notes and hints of apricot and perfume. The taste is dominated by the sweet caramel malts with the apricots from the nose really coming through as well. Bitter hops and a hint of pine balance it out nicely. I'm also getting a touch of buttered squash in the finish. Nice chewy, tangy, bitter mouthfeel that's slightly sticky and very drinkable. The initial skunkiness had me worried, but it really turned out to be a quite enjoyable beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Brutaltruth
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
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 thehyperduck
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
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 djura
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Found it here in Serbia, bottle 0,33 l

A - Pale to red color, thin white foam, medium carbonation.
S - Beautiful aroma. Elderflower all over.
T/M - Drinkable, highly, nit so bitter, some sweetness. Some herbal notes.

O - Almost perfect.

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Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
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 Czequershuus
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
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 Buck89
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
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 TheBierdimpfe
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
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 oberon
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

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Photo of RoyalT
4/5  rDev +9%
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?

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Photo of cam477
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Photo of BryanFlaherty
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of TCHopCraver
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my folks for this birthday present. The a.b.v. listed on the bottle is 6.1%, not 5.3%.

Twisted Thistle pour a rather dark coppery orange hue with a load of sediment suspended throuhout the body. A small off-white head disappears swiftly. Vigorous carbonation shoots up through the glass and peaks at the top of the beer; it is a tumultuous looking beverage. Not much lace is left - just little dots and clumps.

The smell is a mix of buttery malt scents and a minty, light citrus hop profile. There is also a slight caramel influence which is offset by a bit of a leafy and grassy hop smell. When swirled the leafy, citrusy hops overbalance the malt nicely.

The taste has a fine balance between buttery and caramel malt flavors and a leafy, mintry, citrus-y (mainly lime) hop bite. The two components take turns stating their cases on my palate, with the hops eventually winning out in the end and leaving a bit of an earthy, minty, grassy flavor.

Twisted Thistle has a pretty medium-bodied mouthfeel, with a creamy malt middle sandwiched between nippy citrus and leafy hops on the tip of the tongue and earthy, grassy hops drying out the sides of the palate. The carbonation is fairly high and complements the flavors nicely.

This is a nicely drinkable English IPA which would be quite sessionable. I like how the malt sweetness mingles with the hop bitterness, with the hops winning the friendly competiton between the two just at the very end. I would buy this again if I wanted a fairly mellow IPA with just enough of a hop bite.

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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.

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Photo of -DF-
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

0,33 bottle (export only)
Alc. 5,6% vol.

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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.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.92/5  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.

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Photo of Satyr179
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%

Photo of R_Kole
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
2.4/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Very little hop aroma. Fairly flat with minimal bitterness.

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Photo of iemailjack
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Photo of merlin48
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy amber body with a lavishly creamy vanilla head that retains quite well. Attractive spiderweb lacing.

Aroma features sweetish toffee malt that is quickly eclipsed by a grapefruit and spicy hops profile that is Challenger and Cascades according to the label. A note of floral hops is also picked up.

Lovely mouthfeel is creamy and well carbonated on a solid medium body.

Taste is a well integrated combo of biscuity English malts and American hoppiness of citrusrind and pinecone. The zesty carbonation enlivens the flavors nicely. Spicy hop notes and a fleeting hint of pears add a nice complexity as it warms. Finishes with a light hop bitterness.

A fine session ale. Very well put together. Surprising Scottish take on an IPA.

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

16.9 ounce bottle, w/o any freshness/bottling information to be found. Pours clear typical amber, light tan head, some retention and then some nice fine lace left on the glass. In the sniff phase, I'm getting some fairly strong notes of malt and whiskey/grain/woody peat. This is an enjoyable fairly assertively hopped (for a Brit. offering) IPA. Nice balance between the malts and Hops. Plenty of dark wheat, malty notes and the hops are softly grainy. Long finish with more whiskey/Scotch undertones. Nice stuff, nothing amazing but certainty a worthy session candidate

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Photo of badbeer
2.31/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Amber color with a white head leaving good lacing, some yeast chunks floating. Floral, little caramel background, medicinal. Cardboard and caramel with a weird hop twang and a sour aftertaste. Average carbonation and light bodied. I would probably try this again because I think I got a bad bottle, but this one was not very good.

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Photo of olradetbalder
3/5  rDev -18.3%

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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 858 ratings