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: 820
Photo of Sammy
2.73/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Picked up this pint in New Jersey. Pours a big creamy head on yellow. Lace in glass. Aroma is metallic, as if it was poured from a can. Taste is thin, creaminess and burnt. There is a moderate bitterness and a ignificant maltness overtaken by the burntness. This was not finishable.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy honey orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, slight citrus, and some earthy and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a slightly smoky flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours out as a dark orange color, The head was a little soapy looking and left a little lacing at first. The smell had some earthy hop aromas in it with a decent malt character as well. The taste was malty upfront and had a nice hop bite on the aftertaste. The mouthfeel was smooth, almost a little flat. Overall it's not my favorite IPA out there but its worthy looking into.

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Photo of metter98
3.8/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear golden yellow in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high white head that quickly died down and left lacing on the surface along with a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of floral and pine resin hops in the nose along with some notes of caramel malts.
T: The initial taste is quite malty and has some notes of sweetness and flavors of caramel; the hops contribute earthy flavors and a slight amount of bitterness towards the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied and slightly crisp on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and is quite sessionable. I would have no problem drinking several of these in succession.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a slightly hazy medium golden orange hue, with two fingers of foamy, soapy white head, which leaves a solid wall of lace as it quickly dissipates. It smells of spicy toffee and noble hops. The taste is caramel and toffee, with some citrus, floral, and spicy hop notes. The carbonation is soft, the body medium weight and silky smooth, and it finishes fairly sweet, the caramel offset by the increasingly bitter hop essence.

A very good E(sorry about that, lads) IPA, and ramped up, in a seemingly measured UK manner.

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Photo of brentk56
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear light amber color with a sturdy head that laces very nicely

Smell: It has got that brewery aroma, for sure, with plenty of malted barley aromatics; smells more Scottish than hoppy, for sure

Taste: Opens with a toffee base that is joined by some buttery elements by mid-palate, along with some earthy hops; after the swallow, the hop flavors become a bit herbal and I am just not enjoying the Challenger/Cascade combination very much

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Sometimes a hybrid works, sometimes it doesn't; an interesting stab at a Scottish take on an IPA but it didn't float my boat

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.74/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear amber color ale with a bug white foamy head with great retention. Aroma of dry and bitter hops is dominant and enjoyable. Taste is dominated by the dry and bitter hops with some caramel malt backing. Body is about average and carbonation is quite lively. This is like a hops induced bitter and overall quite enjoyable.

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Photo of zeff80
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pint, .9Fl oz bottle. No date.

A - Poured out an orange cloudy color with a tan, foamy, three-finger head. It left great trails of lace.

S - It smelled of pine needles and grasses. Also, a good toasty malt aroma. There was a citrusy aroma from the Cascade hops.

T - It tasted of spicy hops. Some good bitterness. The malt had a good burnt toast flavor. Also, a slight citrus kick from the Cascade hops.

M - It was crisp and sharp on the tongue. A medium-bodied beer.

D - I really enjoyed this IPA. I've greatly enjoyed every beer that I've had from Belhaven, though, so it was no surprise. Good malt character and hop balance.

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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.

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Photo of oberon
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
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 jlindros
4.01/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A creamy almost 2 finger head rises up and slowly fades leaving notches on the sides of the glass as it does. It's a crystal clear golden nectar orange color.

N: A definite English IPA. Some UK hops, with a little dark earthy and slight musty like chewy hop aroma, that can only be described as UK hops. A little malty sweetness in the background gives it some balance, with a little caramel and chewy malts.

T: Starts with a chewy malt backbone, some caramel, sweet malts, slight molasses, but lighter malts overall. With that is a slight grassy mild spicy and earthy hop flavor. Some bitterness, and very pub like flavor. A very UK style IPA by far. I cracked it at cellar temp so it would have the right temp to drink this at. A slight creamy malt taste too, and the mild grassy hops add a nice taste with some bitterness. A very slight fruit flavor in the background as well.

M: Medium body with decent carbonation.

F: Finishes somewhat bitter as the hops catch up and build to the finish. THe spicy quality seems to come out more on the finish, with a little earthy, chewy, and grassy hop components as well. It has more lingering malty flavors, a little sweet malty taste lingers, but it's not sweet, its mostly dry. Some creamy malts also there, but not very much.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Belhaven's Twisted Thistle pours a clear amber body with glowing golden highlights beneath a massive head of rocky white foam. The head retention is excellent, and it leaves beautiful rings of lace that are reminiscent of ripples in the sand on a pristine beach.Citrusy (orange, mild grapefruit) and gently pine-like and spicy hops greet you in the nose. It's medium-light in body, and smooth with a restrained carbonation. Bready and lightly caramelish malt acts as the base of the flavor, but it's quite fruity above that with both yeast character and hops kicking in notes of apple, orange, apricot, and both dark and light raisins. It finishes malty sweet but drying, with a dollop of lingering honey and some mild piney and spicy hop character. A beautiful, interesting and unique beer! Clean, fresh, hoppy, malty, perfectly balanced, and easy to drink!

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

On-tap 12/8/10 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains caramelized malts, floral hops and some citrus.

T: The taste starts with a decent burst of hops bitterness that is quickly followed by mildly sweet flavors of caramel and citrus. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, mild kick, good representation of style, this is a nice solid beer worth drinking for a long time.

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

First had: on tap at Piper's Pub, Pittsburgh, PA

I'd actually never seen this one on tap, and it caught my eye at the bar, so I figured I'd indulge. Clear, light golden-amber pour, with a small frothy white head. Nose was crisp and flowery, sweet with honey and citrus zest. Pleasant taste, wildflower honey, lavender, orange was sweet but light enough to not be sickening or syrupy. Fresh, low carbonation, light-medium body, easily drinkable. Didn't really come off as an IPA, and was pretty low-key even for an EIPA, but it was still a good beer. I'd probably get it again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours out a deep golden-hued body with great clarity and topped with a frothy, white head. Some bits of lace on the descent.

Smell: Moderately malty, sweet-scented nose that yields touches of honey and golden caramel with notes of bread, orange blossoms, and spicy herbs.

Taste: Gives a sweetish taste of crisp caramel-coated grains (also some honey), a bit of breadiness. A few faint drops of apricot juice precede the hops delivering tastes of spiced bittersweet oranges, florals, and a slight grassiness. Bittersweet, orangey, sudsy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium-low, subdued carbonation.

Overall: A pleasant, well-balanced ale to drink while tentatively shopping for sofas online (and giving the cat the "don't you dare ruin this one" speech -- I'm fairly certain it went IN one cat ear and OUT the other).

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.18/5  rDev +12.4%
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.

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Photo of russpowell
3.68/5  rDev -1.1%
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

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So what do we have here, and English IPA, well you don’t say. Me being a huge fan of the hops, and all things IPA. It was only natural to see what the original IPA would taste like compare to the hop bombs I have come to love. I was a little apprehensive to be honest when first trying this as I did not think it would the kinda thing I was used to, and this would later be confirmed. But to think that the style originated over there, and we brought it here and have done wonderous things, almosts makes me think the US IPA should be in its own unique style as they are just soo deifferent, but more on that later, for now onto my thoughts….

A – Poured into a clear glass 24oz mug, it was a nice hazy bright amber, lots and lots of carbonation coming up from the bottom of the glass throughout the entire session. Heavy haze almost obscured it, but it could definitely still be seen streaming its way up towards the top. A big two inch plus head of pillow like sticky lace formed on top of the glass almost immediately. Ya know now that I think about it, it had to be bigger then that. This thing poured a monster. The retention was great, really never dipping below an inch until the last few swallows. Great concentric rings of side glass lace too. Really thick on the sides of the glass and it really did not want to fade. It was funny, because the lace was soo thick that it was almost looking like the glass was full of foam by the time you were done with it. Really impressive look on this one, had a really full and robust appearance. Very impressed going into it already.

S – Now it starts to drop off a bit unfortunately. The smell was just way too light. I could hardly detect or pick up much of anything here. Once it settled for a while it started to come though somewhat, I am just used to the big time citrus hop xplosion of a smell and this is not designed to be there in this case. There was a nice grassy I guess would be the best way to describe it kinda of hop smell to it. Fresh most definatly, just not very sharp or terribly bitter. A very nice malted, grainy like back was very present and actually caught my attention more as it was quite well rounded and full of earthy tones with a notable sugary lingering effect to it. The aroma overall was kinda weak, but what was there came through rather nicely.
T – Well see here is where it got strange for me once again. It was not the hoppy IPA I was used to, no this was a sort of hybrid version for me. It was like a great English ale that was flavored with just the right amount of bitterness. Great taste actually. The first thing that really hit me was a nice grainey sort of earthy type grass taste. This was nice, it had a little bit of a bite to it as well. As that washed away it was replaced by a nice cereal and malt back. Good bready tones and a nice amount of sweetness. The finish was good and dry, but not with the usually punch. Just a dry kinda ale type finish. This is what an English IPA should be I suppose. A traditional English ale, packed with enough hops to make it have a little punch and stand up to time a little better, if this is the case, definatly succeeded here.

M – Extremely smooth, and I mean extremely. There was a copious amount of carbonation that really helped set everything in motion. A good clean, crisp feel was what I was used to, but this was much more mellow and smooth, and very rich in texture. You could really feel what was going in. Very nice and a welcome little treat. I was starting to warm up to this one actually.

D –Superb. I could have had another and another again. It was just light and flavorful, but not nearly anything that would have held you back from it at all. I just was sitting there and all of a sudden realized it was gone. I had no idea that it was going to be going away that quickly. Really a great little ale.

Overall I was impressed. I am still a fan of the US version much more, just because I really dig the huge IBU bitterness and that citrus hop punch. But this let me really see how the style originated and how far it has really been pushed. It was extremely drinkable and superbly smooth. To say that this one was good would be about right. I still think there should be different categories for this as opposed to our big hops, but irt can hold its own as a session ale anyday. Very nicely done and something I will be sure to try again.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.36/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 16.9 oz brown bottle. I chose the Dogfish head shaped pint glass.
A - A deep golden amber with an off white finely beaded head that left signifigant lace around the glass..

S - Grassy and light herbal hop aromas

M - Light, not exactly watery agressively carbonated. Thirst quenching with minimal bitter feel.

T - A medicinal quality with spice/pepper flavors at the entry point and light herbal notes and a slightly sweet/dry finish.

D - An alright ale, but not a great English Ipa. It has subtle hops and agressive carbonation - a kind of palate cleanser, if you will. Not too strong at 6.1 abv but suitable for style. Not extremely inviting, a shade on the bland side. I might not seek it out, even though it is as good as some bitters I have tasted, decent.

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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 TMoney2591
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%

Served from the tap in a shaker pint glass at Duke of Perth.

Bachelor Party-Palooza 2014 (Part 1) believes that when in a Scottish-style pub, do as the Scots do and drink up some Belhaven, namely the Twisted Thistle IPA. This stuff pours a clear brass-amber topped by a finger of dirty white foam. The nose comprises pine sap, grass, light flowers, caramel, toasted toffee, and mild biscuit. The taste brings in more of the same, the pine leaning toward a resinous needle character. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, a pretty nice IPA, though the resin is a touch much. Still, the rich malt backbone helps to balance this out a bit. This did work nicely with my chicken club, though...

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is a hazy copper with a high level of carbonation. The off-white head is large and thick. The retention and lacings are excellent. The aroma has a perfumey, lightly citric hop smell with an underlying sweetness. Enjoyably subtle. A sip starts with a the perfumey/citrus hops. The flavor is somewhat milder than expected. Towards the middle of a sip the flavor is lacking, then a strong bitterness takes over. A dry hop flavor comes in at the finish. I'm wondering if I got a bad bottle or something, the rest of Twisted Thistle's reviews are glowing, but I found it bland and lacking malt balance. Plus the hop flavors didn't wow me either. This is definently something I'll try again down the road just to see if I was missing something great.

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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 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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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.72 out of 5 based on 820 ratings.
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