Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

425 Reviews
no score
Send samples
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 425 | Ratings: 817
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.

 1,110 characters

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

 723 characters

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.

 646 characters

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!

 646 characters

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.

 590 characters

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.

 457 characters

Photo of obywan59
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear golden ale with a 3 finger off white head and plenty of lacing.

Dissipating sknunk with the smell of ripening citrus and toasted malt. Very floral as it warms. This would have gotten a higher mark without the initial skunkiness.

Taste of light honey and floral hops in
the front of the mouth, then a spiciness showing up in the back with a rising bitterness that lasts for the duration.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with light carbonation. A stickiness, like that of honey, coats the mouth, especially as the beer warms, becoming creamy.

Aroma, taste, and mouthfeel all improve as the beer warms. I would have given it higher marks if I had let it warm for 15 minutes before sampling.

 694 characters

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).

 837 characters

Photo of stevoj
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

I like the British IPAs, for me they are hopped just enough. This has just the right amount of bitterness to be enjoyable. Nice amber color with a skin of a head, peaty, malty aroma and flavor of caramel. Nice.

 210 characters

Photo of BellsFan
2.51/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a clear bottle and it shows. It's a bit skunkey in aroma and in taste. The taste is also astringent with band-aids. So it does not fair too well in my book. Head was nonexistent. I won't buy it again however I'm glad I tried it; I'm always looking to try something new.

 281 characters

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

500ml bottle into Red Oak becker

Pours a crystal clear amber with plenty of active carbonation. white fluffy head, very good head retention. Smell is floral and very grassy, pretty close to a pils really (First smell made me think something was off or it had gone bad). Starts off malty, English malt, in the taste with some light floral hops and finishes with a bit of astringency. Very light body (thin?), med carb.

Not a bad beer, more of an English Pale Ale in my opinion. Lightweight grassy and floral. I'm not a huge fan of the grass tones, astringency, and thin body but none of these are bad by any means. Good English I/PA substitute for hot weather.

 661 characters

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

16.9 oz clear bottle with no freshness date poured into a Guinness imperial pint glass.

Orange-y amber with some slight haze. Epic sea-foam head that almost solidified before slowly receding. Spare lacing as the beer drinks down. I think if I would have drank while the head was high and still dense, the lacing would have been better. Looks near perfect. Almost a 5.0.

Great Euro-hop stank. Earthy/floral hops with some slight suggestion of orange citrus. A decently hefty malt bill smells crackery and semi-dry. Lots of grassiness from those Challenger hops. Pretty good stuff here, aromatically.

More floral hops that follow the nose with a direct hit of spice bite in the finish. The malts are a little sweeter in the taste with a wet grains profile. Wonderfully balanced. I detect some earthy pine in there, but this is a floral IPA, through and through.

Incredible mouthfeel. Insanely creamy and with some suds! An IPA that drinks best at cask temperature. This feels better and better the more it warms up. Exactly how an IPA should drink.

I loves me some Belhaven Twisted Thistle. They used to have this as a standard on nitro at the Sharp Edge Creekhouse back in the day and boy, do I miss that! Still pick up a bottle here and there, sit back, and enjoy. An excellent afternoon slugger.

 1,302 characters

Photo of DavidST
3.76/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a pint glass, new at the local store, but not sure how fresh, don't like the clear bottle. This pours light golden color with a off white head. The smell from a distance is already a tad skunky, other smells light hops and caramel and biscuit malts. The feel is medium. The taste is better than expected, higher hops than most British ipa, caramel and biscuit malts, not skunky as expected.

 423 characters

Photo of CowsCanBark
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into Samuel Adams pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice clear copper with an eggshell two-finger head. There is a good amount of lacing.

Smell: Due to the clear bottle, the smell is a bit skunky. However, in the backbone I can smell floral hops and some light malts.

Taste: Despite the smell, the taste is freaking great. The forefront is a generous amount of biscuity malts, with the middle being a fairly strong floral hop taste. There is a general bitterness throughout, it's definitely noticeable but not overbearing. The only downside is that at the end I can slightly taste that skunkiness.

Mouthfeel: Light body and moderate carbonation, smooth and easy to go down.

Overall: An excellent English IPA, more malty than hoppy, delicious nonetheless.

 787 characters

Photo of TrevorWGrover
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is not a bad beer. I saw it in the store and decided to give it a shot because I am a big fan of hoppy IPAs. The appearance was beautiful and clear. The smell was very floral which, for me was a little turn off but there was some hops coming through. The taste was good but a lot of the hoppy characteristics seamed unable to shine through and balance the sweetness. So, like i said; a little sweet for my pallet and I was expecting a little more hops from an IPA. Overall, not bad, just not what I was expecting or really in the mood for at the time.

 556 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beers pours out to a golden yellow color and thin white head.

Earthy hop aroma with light, biscuit-like malt scent.

Taste is an interesting mixture of sweet malts, slight citrus and fruit with a subtle bitterness. I also taste a slight bubblegum-like aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium body with noticeable carbonation softening things.

A decent beer for an English IPA. My personal prejudice is for more hopped American versions, but this one is worth trying if you're looking for a more traditional old-world styled IPA.

 527 characters

Photo of dansmcd
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Moon and Sixpence in Perth.

A - Slightly cloudy shade of apricot amber under a small white creamy head that quickly fades to a film with a ring and sloppy lacing.

S - Served a bit too cold so not much at first, but as it warms the caramel, toffee and bread characters come out. Sweet malt dominant. Very English.

T - Follows the nose with sweet caramel, honey and toffee accompanied by some dry hop flavour and late mild bitterness.

M - Smooth and easy drinking medium body, low carbonation.

O - A nice example of the English style IPA. Very sessionable with a full and tasty yet not overly complex flavour.

 626 characters

Photo of chilly460
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy copper color with a 1/4 inch of white head that recedes qiuckly. Lacing coats the glass to the bottom.

S: Nose is dominated by sweet caramel malts with some toffee and a bit of breadiness. Floral hop character finishes it off, subtle.

T: Taste starts with caramel then moves to a bread and yeastiness. Finishes with a strong floral hop note, minor citrus twinge in there too.

M: Medium to light body with medium to high carbonation.

O: Nice drinkable IPA, embodies the "english" style for sure. Solid brew.

 530 characters

Photo of matt20102
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed in goblet from bottle at refrigerator temperature. From the appearance, one might suspect a heavily-malted British style. The aroma is very subtle and typical- herbal, hoppy. Could benefit from a bigger aroma.

The malt flavor is heavy but not overly or cloyingly sweet and is well-balanced by the hop flavor. The flavor is initially of malt followed closely by bitter hops and then a residual resiny hop flavor. The sensation which remains is the hoppy resin. There is also the possibility of there being thistle in the beer but I can't immediately confirm or deny this. Were I to be told that there is, I'd certainly believe it.

There is a a lot of yeast here; make sure that the bottle is well-settled.

For the style, this is pretty much exactly on the mark. It is nothing out of the ordinary but doesn't need to be for a straightforward, successful brew.

 869 characters

Photo of StJamesGate
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours burnished gold - no crystal malt at all - with a dense white head that fades to film with decent sheets. Nose is skunk (with the clear glass, can you be surprised?) sour grain and a metallic tang - more like a lager than an IPA of any sort.
Cream cracker malts and maybe faint pear with slight citrus and wood.
Mineral ending and saltwater taffy linger. Thin, salty, limp.

I've had lagers with more hop character and body, never mind a pale ale of any variety. Challenger and Cascade weren't even in the building, never mind the brew kettle. Belhaven do a decent stout, so I don't understand how this misses so badly, unless it's just a session ale with an IPA tag (e.g. Greene King IPA) but given the strength, I doubt that.

Poor effort, keep away.

Note: Other reviews are so different, I wonder if they're drinking the 6.1% export version I've heard about...

 869 characters

Photo of Raven3464
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a golden/copper color with lots of carbonation. The retention is decent.

Smell: Grains and hops dominate early. If you're really trying it's possible to note a flowery aroma as well. The smell is not as "hoppy" as many IPAs.

Taste: Sweet malts dominate early. Then the hops kick in with a dry, slightly bitter aftertaste. There are no fruits or "flowery" hints apparent. The beer reminds me more of an English Pale Ale than an IPA. There is nothing offense about the taste but it's not as complex as the smell.

Mouth feel: Medium bodied but the carbonation is refreshing.

Overall: This is well balanced beer but not as "hoppy" or complex as many IPAs. I would have it again but it really should not be labeled an IPA.

 741 characters

Photo of Noxious26
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500ml clear bottle with pry-off cap poured in a pint glass. Bottle says best before Jun 12

Hazy, apricot in colour. Off-white head is 1/4 inch on the pour but quickly recedes to a thin ring around the edge. Little lines of lace here and there.

Citrus hops and noble hops. A little skunky, I hope this isn't off. Light caramel and malt sweetness.

Interesting combination of noble hops with citrus hops. Nicely balanced off the start and smoothly transitions into a hoppy bitter finish.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. A little oily from the hops.

A really intriguing brew. The blend of hops, with the inclusion of noble hops, is something I haven't had before which makes this strangely inviting. It's not bang on style but I really rather enjoyed this. Definitely worth a try.

 790 characters

Photo of evlu1441
4.07/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a hazy copper/apricot colour with a nice foamy head. There is a decent amount of carbonation. Looks like a nice English ale.

The aroma is distinctly hoppy. There are some nice citrus notes with kind of herbal quality. There is a nice caramel backbone too.

The hops are very strong in the taste. Slightly tart, and very aromatic, it develops a bit of toffee character in the background. This, however, takes a back seat to the hops.

Overall, this is a nice and unusually hoppy English IPA. I'd get it again if I felt in the mood.

 547 characters

Photo of SFC21
4.01/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16.9oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass

A - Pours a very cloudy, dark straw color with some sediment floating about. Looks very enticing.

S - Sweet, malty nose with strong notes of molasses. Only detecting the faintest hint of hops. Smelling this blind I would not have guessed IPA.

T - Malt forward with a subtle dry hops finish. The first part of the taste reminds me of the maltiness I would get on a DIPA that would be followed up by a bitter hop wallop, only the bitter hop wallop never comes here, which is fine by me. However, a little more hops bitterness to balance off the malts would be welcomed.

M - Full bodied and creamy.

O - Not exactly what I was expecting for a beer labeled an IPA but it was very tasty. It could use a little more hops balance but overall I did enjoy it and could have several of these in one sitting.

 850 characters

Photo of srandycarter
3.78/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear orange apricot, small near white head, creamy. Slow to leave. Lots of lace.

S - Grain, sweet malt and a hint of hop.

T - Nice light sweet core with a thin hop blanket.

M - Very nicely balanced.

D - Easy going, tasty beer. A good session!

 251 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.