Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPABelhaven Twisted Thistle IPA
847 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by ADR on 09-24-2005

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 847 |  Reviews: 435
Photo of jjboesen
4.06/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Being a long time fan of Belhaven beer, I eagerly awaited the opporunity to try this one. It pours out a massive lathery head that hovers atop a body of amber. Lacing exists in the form of heavy clots slathering along the glass side. (I've included "lather" and "slather" and am happy in this regard.) The nose, while somewhat average, is subtle in that there is some notes of pear. One would expect thistles, at least. In any case, it was not overwhelming. The palate detects some lemon hint backed by a pliant hoppiness that makes for a smooth body. Add to this some minor maltiness and one has a decent mouthfeel. A nice balance.

This is not the greatest IPA out there, but it is Belhaven, a brewery that has always gotten my respect. This said, I would still drink it and am now eagerly anticipating it on tap.

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Photo of bum732
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a burnt orange, nice creamy head leaving great lacing. Smells of floral hops, some grapefruit, tad of smoke maybe. Tastes of mild fruity sweetness followed by a bisquity bready malt backbone. Not much bitterness, some grapefruit near the end. Finishes very dry. Very creamy mouthfeel, different from most "cascade" IPAs. Carbonation is fairly low.

An ok beer, i would love to try this fresh. A very moderate IPA, English i suppose is the excuse, was very surprised to see cascade hops in this. The only interesting thing was how smooth this beer was, interesting texture for an IPA. Other than that, very average.

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Photo of stockingcpl
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: This selection pours as a hazy honey color. Head is moderately thin but with good sustain. Nothing special here.

Smell: Aroma is very malty for an IPA. The interesting thing is an apricot presence. Kind of neat. This is definitely NOT an American version of an IPA. This brew apparently uses traditional British supplies for manufacture.

Taste: Wow...hops were missing in the aroma, but they are present during flavor onset. The flavor curve is conservative in both strength and duration. There is a creamy presence during onset. This tapers into a malt flavor but then flips into a hop bitterness for the sustain. This interesting brew almost has an inverted flavor profile. Very very interesting.

Mouthfeel: The creamy onset dominates this brew. This is a "different" experience for American drinkers. Hop presence is subdued to the palate does not feel too crowded. The overall character of this brew is striking. The experienced drinker will appreciate how this selection differs from most beers. I rate this high.

Drinkability: This IPA is subdues by American standards, and this leads to a rather "light" (for IPA standards) feel. This is an interesting brew that I recomment to other drinkers if nothing else than to experience the inverted flavor curve.


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Photo of ZorPrime
3.61/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought this one at SAQ and my tasting note say I first tasted this in october 2008.

Appearance is so nice, Red-Amber color, this is very good beer color. The smell is hops but very light and the same can be said about the taste. I had no head everytime I tried this one. Next, I'll pour aggressively so I get one!

Everytime I drink this one, I search the hops. There is some, but it is so light. I guess I'm more used to American IPA which have more hops.

Overall, not a bad beer but for those who like very hoppy beer, this one is not for you.

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Photo of philipquarles
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear gold with a billowing off white head that hold together nicely. Smells strongly of herbal/floral hops (cannabis), tropical fruit, and sweet malt. Tastes strongly hoppy without being terribly bitter; lots of nice earthy herbal notes that go well with the bready malt and an interesting smokiness. Light-medium bodied--this is really the weakest point. Really flavorful, pleasant, and easy to drink.

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Photo of froghop
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a cloudy amber-orange with a small off-white head, and okay lacing.

smell is of slight grapefruit, some caramel, and a touch floral.

taste is creamy, citrus, some caramel, few malts, some wood, and hops in the back, ends bitter and a little dry.

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Photo of bloberglawp
3.82/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Solid cooper pale ale with a short live head and a lively carbonation, no lacing. Aroma of dryhops hops with a hint of cat pee and oxidation. Flavor of bread crubs, caramel malt and a firm dry-hop bitterness and floral flavor note.

Quite a easy to drink beer. Worth a try!

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Photo of Pauly2X
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Bright amber, one and a half finger head.

S- Sweet malt aroma intermixes with citrusy and piney hop scents.

T- Bountiful crisp and caramelly malt greets you right away. This gets quickly balanced out by a pronounced yet mellow hop bitterness with a fresh herbal/citrus flavor. The malt surfaces slightly towards the end before the semi dry lightly hopped finish. Some light buttery notes become more evident as the beer warms.

M- Nice low carbonation smooth medium body.

D- A nice balanced IPA can really hit the spot.

Too bad there aren't more English IPA's out there as the market is flooded with the American Hop Bombs. Worth seeking out, quite enjoyable.

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Photo of jpalarchio
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very clear golden-amber color with minimal head. Smells very pine-like. Can't exactly nail down the taste. It's good, somewhat unique and difficult to describe.

Alcohol is completely hidden, I was surprised to see it was over 5%.

Not a bad beer, I could see drinking a few of these on a summer day if it came in 12oz bottles and was priced a little better. At $4.99 for a 500ml, there are better IPAs that I would enjoy.

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Photo of Spidey13
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Twisted Thistle pours a crystal clear golden color with a white head. There are some nice hop notes on the nose, with some citrus, lemon, and grass along with some caramel from the malt.

The flavor has some caramel notes which quickly move to spicy and grassy hop flavors. These are followed by a mild bitterness with bread and graham cracker notes on the finish. The mouthfeel is medium with medium carbonation.

Overall, a very drinkable English-style IPA. Very smooth.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this on-tap at the Hibernian in Cary, NC.

A - Cloudy orange with a small 1/4 inch head. Retention is moderate with minimal lacing.

S - Pale malt aroma with touches of butter. Hops contribute a very earthy and slightly floral smell.

T - Mild butteriness with mild sweetness kicks things off before falling into the hop flavors. A very unfamiliar hop profile, very earthy peppered with floral elements. Bitterness is moderate and noticable.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Lowered carbonation might tone down some of the strangeness of the hops.

D - Decent stuff with an interesting flavor profile, though just "off" enough for me to be satisfied after just one. The earthy hop profile keeps things interesting but is just a bit too strong for me.

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Photo of MiScusi
2.49/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Ye Old Ship in Fullerton.
Dark orange in color, served in a nonic pint glass. The hoppiness was just weird. It was a floral malty scent I've gotten out of IPA's sometimes that just isn't appetizing. Even if I weren't judging it against the much better West Coast American-style IPA's, it'd still be a poor beer in my opinion with weird flavors.

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Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Cloudy tarnished gold in the glass with minimal head, could be a little chill haze if that's possible in a commercial brew.

The smell is faint but I get a barnyard hay and hop leaves. A little apple skins and caramel/butterscotch. Not at all unpleasant.

The taste is light and mostly in line with the smells. The body is light to medium and the hops vs malt curves are perfectly out of phase. The hay and citric acidity of the hops begins to fade as the sweet malted body rises and back and forth as both quickly decay in a clean finish.

Mouthfeel - Thistle is appropriate for the prickly sensation that is never really quashed by the thin body.

Drinkability is very high for this one given it's viscosity and clean finish. This would be a really nice party beer for a change of pace to the hop lover and totally accessible to any beer drinker.

I would not refuse one of these if offered but I don't really foresee an occasion where I would buy one of these again given the current state of craft beers.

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Photo of armock
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a light copper color with a white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Lots of hops for an English IPA citrus scents on top of some malt

T - Very well balanced between the malt and hops they don't try to over power each other

M - This beer has a very smooth body with light carbonation to it

D - This is a very good beer thats easy to drink with a very good taste even though its an English IPA it will still keep hop heads happy worth trying sometime

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Photo of chinabeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
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 TubaManJack
3.49/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Woo Hoo... Review # 20

A- Orange Hued Body, there is a fair amount of carbonation. Wispy white light head that makes a pleasing hissing noise as it bubbles well after the pour. Nice lacing around the glass as the beer was enjoyed.

S- Light hops

T- Rounded hops taste, that lingers and fads without leaving an aftertaste. There wasn't a pronounced bitterness like with US IPAs. It seems more like English bitters with a more rounded hops taste w/o a malt back bone.

D- Good a nice change up.

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Photo of joshuadlight
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cricket's in Lubbock.
Cloudy, cloudy. More than I expected for the style. This is one of the strangest IPA's I've ever had but I loved it. Cloudy and orange, great balance between citrus and carmel in the nose. Sweet upfront and bitter in the back for the taste. A very nice bitterness, by the way. Good mouthfeel, a great bar beer. Very drinkable. Delicious stuff. Grab one.

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Photo of Spikester
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The appearance could be good or bad depending on how much you like cloudy beer. This one is very cloudy. Pours pale amber with a modest half inch of cream color head. The head fades rather quickly and leaves a good amount of lacings. The aroma is mostly malts, some yeast, and floral hops. Taste is sweet maltiness with a firm earthy but balanced bitterness. The richness of the malts is way more than typical American IPA's. I suspect this beer may be a bit old and as there is no obvious date I wish I could try it from a keg sometime. Carbonation was typical of British Ales(subdued). An interesting brew and I enjoyed drinking it all.

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Photo of RunDWP
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm used to the hop bomb IPA's out here on the West Coast, so thought I should check out an IPA from the other side of the pond, Belhaven Twisted Thistle.

It pours a dark orange, with a stubbornly persistant chunky, foamy tan head. It's rather malty, with some caramel and toffee notes and well balanced with the hops, which has a light orange peel, slight pine and resin character. Nice mellow character that doesn't hit you over the head with any particular flavor. A nice IPA, and I'd drink it again.

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Photo of dakid618
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light golden color with a half finger of head that leaves tons of retention on the sides of the glass. Smell is not super strong but sweet. Taste is smooth and sweet. Hard to explain as I haven't had a euro ipa in so long. Medium-bodied mouthfeel with a clean light finish. Very drinkable. I wouldn't turn one down.

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Photo of mcsquint
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Imperial pint poured into dimpled mug.
A - Golden in color. A bit cloudy. 2 finger white head that diminishes rather quickly; leaving nice lacing on glass.
S - Predominantly grassy with some floral and citrus notes.
T - Maltier up front than the aroma would indicate. This is followed by subtle floral, citrus, and grassy hops bite.
M - Light to medium mouthfeel. Not as carbonated as I expected from the style. However, my only exposure to IPA's has been American versions.
D - This tastes good but I probably wouldn't buy it again. Nothing wrong with it, just not to my general taste.

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Photo of mwa423
2.59/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Poured with two fingers of head that died down to a small lacing that stuck throughout the glass

S - Strange slightly yeasty and skunky smell. Very little hops to speak of.

T - Very little hoppy bitterness, but lots of yeast, malt and floral flavors. Tastes more like an English pub ale then an IPA

M - A bit of a bite, goes down relatively smooth

D - The pub ale flavor would get overwhelming, not overly impressed.

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Photo of ABOWMan
4.53/5  rDev +23.4%
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 ncstateplaya
3.39/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer was recommended by the distributor to my gf as a very good representation of an English IPA.

It poured a hazy amber, orangish almost, and produced an extremely fluffy and sudsy looking head. The head was very substantial and left loads of lacing in the glass. Very good looking beer...

Upon first smell, it seemed to be pretty hoppy, but there was also a musty and dusty smell that I felt eventually began to dominate the nose. The smell was very flowery...wildflowers. I could pick up on the yeastiness of this beer as well.

I thought this beer tasted extremely yeasty for an "IPA". There was a hoppy bitterness that mellows out very quickly. There were notes very similar to a honey like sweetness and touches of pine on the finish.

The mouthfeel was very smooth and creamy. The beer was medium bodied and had fine (tiny bubbles) carbonation. It felt buttery in my mouth and finished with a hoppy bitterness.

This ale was extremely smooth and pretty enjoyable. And it may be a nice representation of an English IPA, but definitely not what I was looking for. There are so many more IPAs out there that I would prefer to drink.

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Photo of Vancer
4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
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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Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 847 ratings