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: 425 | Ratings: 817
Photo of jmbranum
4.83/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

bought at a liquor store in suburban St. Paul, MN

Beautiful amber brew with giant, very fluffy, very substantial creamy head.

Great smell that pulls you in. The taste is great. I don't know if I would call it an IPA (at least by American standards) but it is a very well-balanced Pale Ale. Great malty flavor that reminds me faintly of the taste of a copper penny. Quite dry and just absolutely perfect. Very smooth mouthfeel.

Extremely drinkable. I wish I bought more than one bottle. This is the best beer I've had in some time.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.8/5  rDev +29%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tasted on-tap 01/10/07 at St. Andrews pub in Times Square in NY, NY.

Nice golden/copper color with a decent oof-white head. Very nice floral/herb/grassy (heather-like?) hop aroma and flavor. Seems perfectly balanced without being sweet or bitter in any way. Medium bodied and creamy smooth with a nice balanced finish.

One of the best English IPA's that I've ever had... refreshing more so probably because I had it right after the Belhaven Wee Heavy. What a contrast - 2 great but very different beers.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.62/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark copperish color, fairly standard, nice fluffy white head, a little visible carbonation.

Smell: Nice floral/citrus hop aroma, sweet carmel and biscuit malt.

Taste. Tart and bitter, bready malts, fruity, and creamy. Definitely one of the higher powered and interesting british IPAs I have had. The higher levels of hops and the citrus flavor really set it apart.

Mouthfeel: Can't complain, carbonated well for the style.

Drinkability: Probably my favorite british IPA to date (besides the 1800 that was brewed in Minneapolis). Very good, try it, you american hophead.

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Photo of Globetrotter
4.6/5  rDev +23.7%
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!

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Photo of woodychandler
4.58/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This arrived with a finger of thick, bone-white head that slowly reduced to wisps. Color was a beautiful deep-amber with NE-plus quality clarity. BUPGOO! Nose had a pronounced citrus hoppiness - an American-style IPA from the SCOTS?!? Zounds! Mouthfeel was soft, like they had gotten really, really good water for use in its production. There was a flowery, mildly citric hop flavor on the tongue. This represented (for me) a welcome bridge between too-mild English IPAs and over-the-top-hoppy American IPAs. Hello, Goldilocks! Finish was a nice mix of hops and malt, very pleasant. It kind of put me in mind of DFH 60" or hop tea, neither bad things of which to be reminded.

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Photo of pkalix
4.55/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured from a clear bottle(?) and smells skunky. pours a super light amber, nice color, minimal head but consistent lacing.
smells is skunky from afar and does not smell like the typical IPA. in fact, i think there MUST be some confusion. my bottle looks NOTHING like the bottle up top, nor is it THAT dark. it's not dark at all. and the label states abv is 6.1% has no one else caught these dissimilarities?
taste starts caramel-y and malty and sweet but finishes with the hop bitter and dry. "a bitter dry taste explosion", says the bottle. and it delivers. i like these Belhaven brews. the Wee Heavy is one of my all time favorites.
this isnt the typical IPA, but it is good. not that i like the IPA style. as i drink more i am more aware of the bitterness and it is more prevalent in my mind and mouth than the sweet maltiness i tasted on my first sip. while not my favorite style, i fully respect what they have done with this. 'mouthfeel' wasnt special for me, it seemed kind of 'regular' but the color is beautiful, smell was provocative and different than i was expecting and so was the taste. for me, my ratings are accurate of how i feel about this one....

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Photo of ABOWMan
4.53/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice pour at "The Pub" in Columbus, Oh provided me with 1/2 finger of fine white head in a Belhaven official pint glass. Straw/amber colored brew with very hazy appearance looks extremely tasty and complex.

The aroma is of mild hops, clover, lavender, heather and apple. Extremely complex and unique.

The flavor is a wonderful combination of hoppy bitterness, and sweetness with notes of honey, orange, and necterine. It could be said that this beer is nicely floral and very drinkable. I loved it and wich I could get this beer on tap locally.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.5/5  rDev +21%
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.

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Photo of mikeborglum
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this brew from a pint+ bottle, had a caramel aroma with hints of biscuit, poured golden clear color with a minimal head, tasted a medium bitterness, lightly sour and a dry bitter finish; definetly a smooth beer that I could drink all night long; I had this one while enjoying some pasta with shrimp and parmesan and was excellent complement to the meal

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle with batch label printed on the base of the neck. it is "L8 235 A", and i had to ask belhaven themselves what it meant: the only things pertinent to the consumer is the "8" (year 2008) and the "235", being the 235th day of the year.

clear, medium amber with copper tones. fluffy off-white head fades slowly to a wispy layer. lovely webby lacing.

aroma has moderately citrusy hops and mildly piney too, even while pouring. biscuity malt with hint of caramel. fruity apple notes, then a faint metallic whiff in the end.

a blast of american hops on the palate, with a biscuity malt foundation. moment of tartness with crisp carbonation and moderate bitterness in the middle. more apple hints, then a moment of diacetyl, then more resins and mildly citrusy hop for a crisp, semi-dry finish.

smooth medium body with faint resins in the finish, and nice crisp carbonation that isn't overdone and complements the flavors.

nice to see the scots using american (chinook) hops. this is really more of a hybrid american/english IPA, but great all the same.

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.5/5  rDev +21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear copper-gold with a stiff and copious head.

S - Big floral and fruity aromas and a slight cheesiness. Notes of roasted grain as well, but the fruit and flowers carry the day. Spicy.

T - First impression is big hops. Grassy and slightly tart-citrus/lemonyness. Indeed like a pale ale, but bigger. Bitter for sure, but the hoppiness tends more towards the aroma than flat-out bitterness.

M - Surprisingly light bodied - the hops help to lighten the maltiness, and not overly carbonated. Refreshing while being flavourful.

D - I'm enjoying the fresh hoppiness of this one. Sometimes IPAs (esp. English style) seem to come off as bitter without a aromatic hop presence, but not this one.

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Photo of flintm
4.48/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

**This is my first review, forgive any errors**

I had this on tap at The Pub (a small, regional chain), at the Greene in Beavercreek, Ohio.

I felt I should write this review because a lot of the reviews in the "D" category wrote about things I didn't experience with my beer. Twisted Thistle came recommended to me by the bartender (or "barkeep") there, and I found it to be delicious.

Appearance: Amber. The head I got, unlike some reviews, was a very creamy, offwhite color that stayed nearly the entire time I drank it. Also, I didn't see any evidence of these supposed "floaties." The barkeep gave an extra rinse to each glass before pouring, so those "floaties" could very well have been in an unclean glass.

Smell: A clean smell that really got my mouth watering. The smell is reminiscent of the taste, and will not let you down.

Taste: I had a Dogfish Head 60 min. IPA earlier in the night, and the barkeep suggested Twisted Thistle because he thought it had a "cleaner finish." He was right, the finish was very clean and didn't leave any impure or off-putting tastes in my mouth, promising me a great next sip. The flavor was much maltier than other IPAs I've tired, but it was a welcomed taste that differentiates it.

Mouthfeel: None too heavy. A little thin considering the full taste you get, but this feel just leads to a higher ranking for the...

Drinkability: I could have drank this all night. I've found a new go-to beer that won't let me down when I don't feel like trying something new.

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Photo of HardTarget
4.48/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle Inspection: Uniquely shaped thin necked brown 1 pt 9 fl oz bottle, mentions Cascade and Challenger hops (mmm...) 6.1% abv., imported by Belukus marketing in Bryan, Tx.

Aroma: Pine needle perfume backed by a gentle sugary malt base. Pine? I thought the “C” hops were citric! Interesting. There is almost a spice note; I can’t catch what it is (the wife calls ‘Apple butter’), and hints of alcohol.

Appearance: Pours a clear perfect amber glass with a solid finger of frothy multi-sized bubbled head that looks like it might outlive me. It stubbornly holds long into the beer leaving 3 dimensional tide marks.

Flavor: Smoke?! Definitely a peat smoke flavor going on. The malt is full and rich, actually hiding most of the hop flavors. Guess that puts this into the English IPA slot. The smoke is the first taste, it flashes to slightly sweet malt, the fades out balanced with a gentle smoke whisper. Little to no hops in the profile. Wow, twisted.

Mouthfeel: Spot on medium body, lively but firm carbonation, lingering finish with a touch of oil, but not much.

Overall Impression: Wow, this one is different. Not “over the top -look at me-look at me-” different, just a lot of subtle notes that weren’t expected. They all fit together very nicely and have me thinking about trying to brew a Smoked IPA. Have to give this one a strong recommendation, good taste, different direction. Bravo!

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Photo of Dentist666
4.47/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours orange, slightly turbid beer with close decent golden head.
Smell - citruses & resiny hops, quite good & crisp.
Taste - well-balanced, malty body, accomplished by mighty hop accord, lingering for a long time, low carbonation, highly recommended specimen of the Scottish Brewing!

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Photo of Vancer
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at the new beer Mecca of the Midwest, iTAP. Fresh and tasty this first night of their opening.

Just a great IPA, English style - a superb orange pour in the pint shaker glass with an ivory head that produces nice lacing.

Sweet bubble gum malt in the aroma, but the quaff is where this bad boy takes over. Just an absolutely delicious blend of smooth malt with the tangy hops, hints of orange and citrus really balance it out.

The easy drinking of this beer is scary, at 6% you need to sip, but the taste draws you in like a moth to a flame.

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Photo of cafemondegar
4.45/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer at the Don Hall's restaurante on Coventry Lane in Fort Wayne, IN. An avid IPA enthusiast, I immediately settled for the Twisted Thistle after giving the beer menu a once over- a decision I can honestly say i rejoiced.
It is a fantastic beer. It was an IPA all right, but it had that distinctive Scottish quality wherein the hoppiness is subtle but at the same time, pervasive. I am already looking forward to my next bottle.

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Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.43/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My 2nd Belhaven and i expect another good one

A- Nice 2-finger head that leaves good glittery lacing.

S- Smell is sweet fruity malt with a pinch of stingy floral hops

T- Good balance of sweet and bitter components that leave a unique flavor in the mouth that reminds me of cranberry bread.

M- Mouthfeel is is beyond good. Foamy carbonation and a medium body create a creamy feeling in the mouth

D- Drinks great like a pale ale should

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Photo of WonderfulSam
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Mostly clear, light orage color with one finger of bubbly white head that hangs around a while. Smell is REALLY nice. Clean, crisp, slightly bitter, with a grape finish! Taste is nicely bitter, VERY well balanced with a mild honey malt backbone and flavors that match the aromas very well. Mouthfeel is somewhat light, definitely crisp, pleasant. So clean and balanced, I could drink this all day. A very interesting beer without being over the top or "extreme."

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Photo of allengarvin
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draught a few weeks ago, but it wasn't added yet as a beer here and I didn't want to bother to add it, and I've lost my notes since then. But now it's in bottle in Texas.

Pours out a mostly clear walnut amber color topped with a moderate cake of foam. Aroma is excellent: full of grassy, citrus hops with a lightly toasted underlying malt note. Hops come in early in the taste, with a full bitterness and a lot of cascade-like citrus flavor. After a moment, though, that lightly smokey malt flavor that so characterizes Belhaven Scottish Ale becomes apparent. I've never been quite sure if it's actual smoke or just the way they toast the grain, but it's unique to Belhaven. Finishes malty, but dry. Moderately full-bodied with a crisp, woody texture.

On draught, I recall this being rather ordinary, more bitter but tasting more like an ordinary American IPA. In bottle, it's definitely a Belhaven beer, with similar yeast and malt character, except with more hops. Top notch beer!

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Photo of Matteox3
4.42/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this beer at Trooper Thorn's in Reading, PA. Was carried there on trial, but now is a regular beer there based on customer reviews. This is the only place I have seen this beer in my area.

This IPA is the one beer in the United States that can most match the feel of the beers I tasted in scotland.

As an IPA goes, it has hoppy character, but is more subtle that typical American Style IPA's. This beer also has lower carbonation than most beers which lends itself to high drinkability over a night session.

One of my favorites.

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Perfect gold with a slight orange hint. Suitable head that laces the glass for the remainder of your drink. Smell is only slightly hoppy, dry with citrus and honey dominating the aroma. Taste is refreshing, citrusy, but smooth. A very drinkable beer that belies its 6.1 abv. rating. A very good beer.

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Photo of Realale
4.39/5  rDev +18%
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.

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Photo of ludachris
4.37/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

After finding out NSLC had this in stock I was very anxious to pick one up, and I'm glad I got my hands on it.

Pours a slightly hazy golden orange with a one finger off white head that leaves some nice sticky patchy lacing.

Smell of a stereotypical EIPA; herbal hops, citrus, a touch of pine and some subdued biscuity malt.

Everything fell perfectly into place; light biscuity malt, followed by a nice kick of citrus and herbal hops but nothing that makes the mouth pucker.

Mouthfeel is clean, crisp and a little bit on the creamy side for an EIPA but nothing compared to an AIPA. I rarely rate drinkability 5, but I don't know how this one could become anymore quaffable. Transition from malt to hops is perfect and nothing is too pronounced.

Overall; the best EIPA I've had to date. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the style.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.37/5  rDev +17.5%
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!

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Photo of JamesS
4.36/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice light amber with a great head and good lacing. Not quite as dark as most other IPAs, but still nice. A great scent! A great hoppy IPA with a wonderful addition of a floral scent. Tastes great, a nice hoppy IPA without overdoing it, although almost no thistle taste. Goes down great, the smoothest IPA I've had in a while.

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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.72 out of 5 based on 817 ratings.
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