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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.
United Kingdom (Scotland)

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: 419 | Ratings: 803
Photo of steveh
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

In honor of reading the new Ian Rankin, John Rebus book I thought I'd pick up a Scottish take on IPA: Rebus' preferred when not supping a malt.

The bottle pictured in the BA profile is a bit dated, Belhaven is using clear glass for this label now. There's a small instruction to "keep the bottle out of direct sunlight" on the label, but what stocker is actually reading that?

A -- Clear, deep gold with a creamy head that settles slow, leaving a film-like wake of lace.

S -- Sweet biscuit malts and a light smokiness in a very mellow overall aroma.

T -- The biscuit malt hits the palate first, followed by spicy-bitter hops with a touch of citrus, ending with a definite smokiness that's mellow and not harsh or astringent. Sweet malts linger in the finish with spicy bitterness in the aftertaste.

M -- Mouthfeel is soft and smooth with a medium to near-robust body.

O -- This is a very nice change-of-pace from the hop-bomb IPAs and the somewhat staid English IPAs. Making its own statement with its local take on a style.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Clear amber pour with just a hint of red and a thick head with an excellent lasting lacing. Nice nose of light pine hops, mostly spruce but also a floral note, over a slightly sweet malt background. The body is on the high end of medium with just the right level of carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and just shy of slick. The flavor profile is quite nice and complex. It begins with caramel sweetness over a light spruce hop flavor, effervesces into a light bitterness with floral notes and finishes a bit tart. The finish itself is a blend of caramel sweetness and hop earthiness that lingers against a light bitterness over a background tartness. An outstanding "twist" on an IPA.

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Photo of biegaman
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Imagine the idyllic country pub: a slow fire simmers over a couple of big logs; high stools on tartan carpeting pull up to a long wooden bar above which glassware hangs like icicles. This is the ambiance in which Twisted Thistle belongs. Its golden-copper shimmer and sticky, glue-like foam give it the look of a classic, consummate English pint.

Belhaven makes prototypical English ales, and while this recipe uses a hop variety (Cascade) most associated with American brewers, the bouquet is nowhere aggressive enough to be mistaken for a New World IPA; it is perfumed with soft citrus notes, chamomile, and flower petals. It might lull you to sleep or unclog your sinuses, but not knock you on your ass.

The flavour has an unmistakable likeness to steamed collard greens - it is distinctly leafy, vegetal, and earthy - but never turns bitter in thanks to a sweet maltiness that leaves an aftertaste of toffee and honeycomb biscuits. The palate is also steeped in soothing rose-like florals.

Notes of grass clippings and chamomile tea notwithstanding, this IPA actually has the creaminess of a stout (none of the roast obviously). The contents of this bottle drinks as though they were poured from draught (a nitro-tap maybe even). The mouthfeel is full enough to be almost buttery but still highlights sweet, candied citrus notes.

If you ask me, Twisted Thistle may be one of the most underrated IPAs out there (and this coming from someone who has a thing for cutting up diluted English exports). It may not have gum-branding acidity or palate-encrusting resins, but its soft florals and leafy green qualities are every bit as impressionable (and arguably a lot more agreeable too). Recommended.

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Photo of Jetulio
4.04/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

355 ml bottle poured into a Pint glass
Appearance... yellow/honey colour beer with head white of 1,5 fingers not lasting too much
Aroma... grass, pale malt, hops and a touch of esters. Hops predominance in a flavored beer
Taste... malty at the start, then bitterness appears soon lasting all the time, dry fnish
Mouthfeel... medium body and medium/soft carbonation
Overall... a very nice ale, bitterness is present in balance with malty notes. Good and long aftertaste that makes a very pleasant ale

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Photo of sommersb
3.97/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 09-18-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 500ml clear bottle, pry cap
Glassware: Thistle glass
Purchased: Single from Pour Vous, Hendersonville, TN

A: Clear and honey-colored beer, it has a big cream-colored head with excellent lace and very good retention.

S: Aromas are pleasing, of pale malts, grassy hops and a light fruit/vegetable note.

T: Features a moderate amount of bitterness, tame by American IPA standards but fitting for a British variety. The hops have a woody taste, which combine with the malt backbone for a wonderfully balanced brew.

M: Full bodied, with a medium level of carbing, the finish is clean and moderately bitter.

O: I didn't know what to expect from a Scottish IPA but really enjoyed this sample and would seek it out again.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.61/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep good with dense micro bubbles formed on top. Nice was retention and lots of lacing. Nose is non descript with mild notes of bready grain, light earthy hops, some caramel. Taste is smooth and light in the flavor department. Light hop bitterness paired with mild caramel. Mouthfeel is the only place this beer excels, very smooth and somewhat creamy. Overall, an easy drinker for sure but relatively absent of flavor for an IPA.

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Photo of Beerstorian
2.62/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.25

Came from a clear bottle. Smelled skunky, tasted bad. I'd usually review a beer more thoroughly, but there's not really much else to say here. The clear bottle lets in light, and even the fluorescents in the market kill the beer.

It poured well, and looked fine--no problems there. And I fell bad for dunning the brewery, but if they're going to package in clear glass, they have to be prepared for what that does to their product. I'd try it on cask at some point to see the difference, but the bottled version ought to be avoided.

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Photo of hoppytaps
2.15/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

LOOK - gold colored beer, sparkling, clean-filtered

SMELL - malty toasted with some fruit

TASTE - wet cardboardy possible oxidation?, not as much hop flavor as I was suspecting and bitterness.

FEEL - smooth and a bit foamy, light-medium bodied

OVERVIEW - I didn't care for it. It was just okay. Also in a clear bottle? I found it boring. I was expecting something more exciting!! like Lakefront IPA or Singlecut IPA

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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 BedetheVenerable
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 16.9oz clear (UGH!) pop top with cool label and nice info about the beer. No best by date, though there's a sort of date code. Apparently, this beer has a life-span of 18 months, however, and the date MIGHT be January 2012, so this would be ok. Poured into my Black SHeep half-pint chalice in small pours. At least I saw this one come out of the box and onto the shelf today, so it hasn't been sitting in the light long! 6.1% abv.

Appearance: Dark golden brew, with lots of tiny sediment in suspension. A nice creamy ivory cap with nice stick and some lace. Lasting tiny carbonation. Attractive looking beer!

Smell: Toasty and earthy pale and caramel malts, with lightly fruity hops (Challenger and Cascade blend really well, actually). I'd like a bit more in terms of hops in the aroma department, but as this probably isn't super fresh and it's an English-style IPA, it's sufficient.

Taste: Dry toasty malt, fruity alcohol, fruity and lightly earthy hops (fairly light in intensity) and a nice firm, clean bitterness on the finish. This ends dry, with an ever-so-slightly (tea-like) astringency. Very English, and pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than 6%...this feels fairly well-attenuated. Goes nicely with the rest of the beer.

Overall: For $3.99 a pint, this is a tasty English-style IPA that I would probably purchase a bit more often if it wasn't in clear-glass bottles. Nice, fruity, malty, subtly-hoppy, and bitter. Would really like to try it fresh as well! For the price (and before it gets old, light-struck, and with TONS of chunky floaty sediment) this is definitely a 'pick it up now and again' brew for when you're in the mood for an English IPA.

B 85-86

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

LOOK - very compact, creamy white head, decent retention, some lace - gold colored beer, sparkling, clean-filtered

SMELL - extremely(?) mellow aromas of a fruit-topped pancake, bit of soft hops (EKG?), typical British pale ale aroma (toasted malt, fruity esters)

TASTE - pale-ale / estery base beer - mild and unmistakably FLORAL HOP flavor, faint residual, lingering hop flavor and bitterness - quite mellow, vaguely spicy, a little dry - nice overall balance

FEEL - smooth and a bit foamy, light-medium bodied (any fullness by way of carbonation?), spicy-bitter zip in the finish (tongue feels a bit tingly)...but still easy drinking

OVERVIEW - pretty decent, interesting IPA - and it IS an IPA...

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

Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA has a thin-to-medium, off-white head and a mostly clear, bubbly, orange appearance, with lots of light gray sediment floating about. Some splotchy lacing is left on the glass. There was an initial skunk smell upon pouring the beer, but this almost immediately dissipated. The aroma is of mild fruitiness, malt, and just the slightest hop sting. Taste is of strongly-roasted malt, with even some charcoal, sweet, brown bread, fruitiness, pine resin, and back-end hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and soft, and Belhaven Twisted Thistle finishes dry, refreshing, and easily drinkable. Overall, this is a very good and interesting beer.


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Photo of cfalovo97
4.17/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another one of my favorites (which sucks since it is hard to find in my area)

Well balanced and tasty. Very herbal and a little sour with a gentle finish
thick creamy mouthfeel with a smooth finish. tasty twist on the style. I was not expecting to like this beer when i first looked at the bottle, and was very surprised. Always keeping my eye out in the off chance i have the ability to try it again

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure when it changed but my bottle says it's not 6.1% ABV.

A - Well it's easy to spot that it's a clear amber brown since it's in a clear bottle now. Head is minimal with only a finger that reduces to a thick lace ring.

S - Smell is mild but it does have the sweet english malt thing going on. Not very bitter at all maybe some citrus hops?

T - Timid but balanced the hops do provide some bittering in the finish. English malts to balance with some cracker like sweetness. Not bad.

M - Light to medium, easy to drink.

Overall I don't think I will seek it out again. Seems to take like most IPA's that are around 1 or 2 bucks a bottle (yet this one was 4 bucks) Still worth a try since it was on my tick list. Heck even shipped from Scotland it had less sediment than most American offerings (fresher bottle)...

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.73/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the glass into a snifter, the beer was almost mauve in color. Incidently, I bet there are not many reviews with the color description of "mauve" on BA. There was a high level of sediment in the bottom of the glass. The thistle, which my assumption of the contents of the sediment, looked like yardwaste. Despite these oddities, the beer gets better. A heavy floral aroma leaps from the glass. The thistle is apparent. The initial taste is malty and mildly hops. The hops do not overwhelm, making this seem as though it is not a real IPA. The floral effects from the thistle stand out, giving the beer a tea-like quality. A note of lemon reinforces the tea hints, giving the impression of Lipton Tea with lemon. The flowery citrus hints continue in the aftertaste with the tartness of tea lingering. I am not sure I would need to drink this again, but it is a unique experience.

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Photo of tdm168
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - transparent, light goledn copper wiht a huge, dense, foamy, off white head that has great retention

S - musty, caramel, faint earthy hop aromas

T - caramel, faint bread, piney, bitter, a bit, earthy

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

The bitterness overpowers the malt character her. The malt comes across as one-dimensional: it's sweet caramel. the hops are bitter, piney, and even a bit resinous. Some balance I think would helo here. Nonetheless, it's drinkable, and smooth. It's a classic so it's worth a try.

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Photo of nrbw23
2.01/5  rDev -46%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A- Pours a darker golden amber with the slightest bit of haze to it. A fairly small biege head and no lacing left behind.

S- A huge amount of herbal hops to it that dominanted the entire brew. An almost marijauna smell to it. I could pick up nothing else.

T- A very strong aspirin taste. Very herbal and grassy. Nothing else came through on this one.

M- Medium in body and carbonation.

O- Dominanted by the herbs. A struggle to drink.

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Photo of alysmith4
2.58/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Had this beer on-tap at a new British restaurant in DC. It wasn't all that good, but it was on happy-hour special so I ended up having two. It was a tad sweet for my taste, and had some kind of sour-y/sweet sugar thing that I couldn't quite put my finger on. It was like "prickly" or something. I suppose it's name is fitting!

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Photo of Cavanaghty
1.81/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured from bottle into a standard beer glass.

Appearance: Clear amber in color. About four fingers of white head with heavy lacing on the glass. I was not impressed by the selections of this particular beer at the store, I got the only bottle that was "fresh" and did not have anything floating in it.

Smell: Alcohol and strong bitter hops that burned my nose when I smelled.

Mouthfeel/Taste: Medium bodied, it had a strong bitter taste throughout the beer, rather unpleasant actually. Strong alcohol taste as well.

Overall: I am a huge fan of pale ales, this one, unfortunatly, did nothing but disappoint me. The other beers in the same batch, that were dated the same, in the case at the store had what looked like orange peels floating in them. This beers was the cleanest looking of them all that day, and I wanted to try an new IPA. The bottle cap was secure like it should have been and was not a twist off. So I'm not sure if this was a bad batch or what. I also noticed that the picture displayed here shows a brown bottle, the one I had was clear. Perhaps I will revisit this brew in the future.

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Photo of TownDunkel
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Twisted Thisle, just had to try it because of the name! Also another perk is that it is unfiltered

Appearance - A golden yellow to almost and amber in the sun. A real radiant color with bits of unfiltered goodness

Smell - A very alcholic and dry scent. It goes through the nose almost all the way to the throat. It almost reminds me of a weak whiskey. Good scent if you like it like that

Taste - I really dont dig most IPA but this one is an exception. It is crisp, clear, and refreshing. It has hints of fresh thrush and maybe berries.

Mouthfeel - not a lot of carbonation that sticks around... wish for some more to perk it up

Overall - this made me think more highly of IPA's for now. I might give them another shot

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Photo of tronester
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #500 for me!

Pours a slightly hazy golden orange with a creamy off white head. The bottle is clear, so worries of skunkiness are present. Luckily my worries were unfounded, as the beer possesses a wonderfull tropical fruit aroma. Taste begins with passion fruit and mango, followed by a rich caramel, bready middle, and a nice bitter grapefruit finish. The signature Belhaven yeast flavor is here and works out wonderfully in my opinion. Rich mouthfeel. Overall a wonderfull IPA. I really lucked out and must have gotten a fresh bottle, as the hop favors and aromas are better than most domestic IPA's that I have had. Highly reccomended.

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Photo of djmitche
2.2/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

I have had this beer on tap at Duke of Perth in Chicago many times, and loved it -- it's a great mild IPA with a nice floral aroma.

Out of the bottle? This was massively disappointing. It was ridiculously sweet, smelling of some sort of scent extract and leaving that sticky sugary feeling you get from artificially sweetened juices.

My bottle was had in the US, and was clear glass, claiming to have been brewed in Dunbar.

I'm heading to Scotland in a few weeks, and i will make a point of looking this beer up to see whether it's been Duke of Perth or the bottle deceiving me as to this beer's true nature. I hope Duke of Perth had it right!

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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 blossom...it 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 cyclonece09
3.85/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Beer pours a nice amberish straw color with a small white head, but has a little bit of lacing. Smells of very earthy hops and very slight malt, not terribly strong, but still pleasant. Tastes of great earthy notes and slight floral note, but very pleasant. Carbonation is great and this light bodied beer goes down really smooth, with a slight aftertaste, but not unpleasant. Overall, a very good beer.

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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.72 out of 5 based on 803 ratings.
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