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Belhaven Scottish Ale - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Belhaven Scottish AleBelhaven Scottish Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,656 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,656
Reviews: 814
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 35
Gots: 114 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  5.20% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mitchster on 08-07-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,656 | Reviews: 814 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Travcofarms
1/5  rDev -73.8%

Travcofarms, Jan 12, 2013
Photo of MattNelson
1/5  rDev -73.8%

MattNelson, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of JLapadura
1/5  rDev -73.8%

JLapadura, Mar 30, 2012
Photo of Annette_Esperanza
1/5  rDev -73.8%

Annette_Esperanza, Nov 10, 2012
Photo of BeerManDan
1.45/5  rDev -61.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bought a six pack and after popping the cap on the first bottle, I poured the rest down the drain!

Poured a nice dark golden brown with very little foam. But, then after that, it was all downhill. The smell was a sort of sour aroma with a hint of malt.

The taste was awlful. The first and second sips had the flavor of this beer being brewed in a vat full of vinyl or a vinyl vat. I swear that this beer had a sour vinyl flavor. What a waste of beer and my money for a below, sub-standard beer.

BeerManDan, Jan 11, 2003
Photo of ironwill54
1.75/5  rDev -54.1%

ironwill54, Jan 03, 2013
Photo of MadeInOregon
1.78/5  rDev -53.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

If this is one of the best examples of a Scottish ale, then I definitely do not dig this style. After trying Belhaven's Scottish Ale I'm also thinking that the beers I've had which I thought were "Scottish ales" were probably wee heavys since they tasted nothing like this...but, hey, this is how ya learn.

The Belhaven Scottish Ale that I had came in their very nice 500ml bottle. Clear glass, nice clean label--really classy stuff. Poured out, it is a clear, brownish bronze color with a nice 1.5" sea foamy head. It looks nice and crisp. So far so good.

THE SMELL, however, instantly ruined this one for me. As others have mentioned, this beer has a VERY strong vinegar aroma to it. I suppose this is a result of this style's brewing process, but, man, this is a bit overpowering. I hadn't even had a sip yet and was still about 2 feet away from the opened bottle and cup and all I could smell was a rather awful odor of leak, pickles, sauerkraut, etc., filling my kitchen. In other words: semi-rotten vegetables. Holding the cup up to my nose, the smell was still vinegary but also that of a cheap, adjunct lager. Interesting, but unpleasant.

THE TASTE, to me, was basically of a bad brown ale. That vinegary smell was the first taste to hit me, then transitioning to a light smoky chocolate malt quality, and finishing with an admittedly nice hoppy bite. Unfortunately the mixture of all these very different flavors resulted in an overall flavor of vinegar + ashtrays. This is truly an acquired taste!

THE FEEL is just OK. It's probably the highlight of the actual drinking experience. I don't really have much else to say about that.

CONCLUSION: I was expecting something rich and sweet so I was quite disappointed with this one. I'm not sure if this is how a "Scottish ale" should taste so I can't rate it too low, but I can say that I really didn't like this. After the initial disappointment I tried to take it for what it is, but just couldn't get into it. This one was a waste of $3.79. Bleh.

MadeInOregon, Apr 16, 2011
Photo of Sammy
1.98/5  rDev -48%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Not much taste, didn't like it, couldn't finish it. Rich scotch colour. Tried to warm it up to room temperature, but didn't help. No aroma. Mettalic and other off-tastes, and aggressive carbonation. Taste could have faded with age, though we don't think so. Thanks Radek, originally from OKbeer.

Sammy, Jan 09, 2005
Photo of TheMrFarnham
2/5  rDev -47.5%

TheMrFarnham, Jul 08, 2013
Photo of mralbertson
2/5  rDev -47.5%

mralbertson, May 14, 2013
Photo of klmcmachen
2/5  rDev -47.5%

klmcmachen, Mar 27, 2013
Photo of emmasdad
2.1/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Tried some of this one last night at Fresh Craft, and was thoroughly unimpressed. Poured a clear copper color, with a decent white head on top. Aromas of toffee, nuts and sweet malt. On the palate, this one was thin and watery, and really lacking in any distinctive flavor. The ABV listed on the menu was 3.9%, so I am left wondering if the draft version is watered down for the Guinness crowd. Not good.

emmasdad, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of JDV
2.1/5  rDev -44.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Reddy brown pour with offwhite head that hung around for a bit. Not a fan of the smell of this at all, and was different from any other "bitter" style beer. Wasn't bitter at all, but smelled and tasted kind of sour and sweetish at the same time. Almost a sour and sweet chocolate-ish flavor but not in the way a stout is chocolately. All in all this was slightly drinkable but I wouldn't do it again on purpose.

JDV, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of TheAlamoWrocker
2.23/5  rDev -41.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed December 15, 2011. Poured a nitro-can into a Pint glass.

A: I have no clue on where to say this head actually was, it did an amazing receding type move filling up the entire glass and them coming to. Where it actually stopped at was an a nice creamy thick white one fingered head . This carries an extremely clear amber appearance.

S: Those malts are pretty nice here. It also had a nice toffee aroma as well.

T: Toasty Malts are easily what come up first with some back of caramel.

M: The lasting head gives it an extremely creamy taste, but I know it's not true it's just that nitro-can's head. The thinness of the body is atrocious though.

O: I have no clue why this is rated so hghly when I've had Oktoberfest that have the same taste to it. The thinness is the true killer here because it feels like water and with it's taste this just isn't appealing.

TheAlamoWrocker, Dec 16, 2011
Photo of Noelito76
2.25/5  rDev -40.9%

Noelito76, Nov 19, 2013
Photo of ygtbsm94
2.25/5  rDev -40.9%

ygtbsm94, Sep 04, 2013
Photo of msturek
2.25/5  rDev -40.9%

msturek, Apr 19, 2013
Photo of MichaelBigbone
2.3/5  rDev -39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

color: light orangish brown, very clear
head: whitish/light brown, decent lacing
smell: skunky, malty
taste: surprising after that skunky smell (which may be due to the clear bottle), after a second sip or three the malt really is distinct. the mouthfeel is a little watery and you can almost taste the alcohol eventhough it's not a super strong beer.

Overall: average, I like my ales a bit heavier

MichaelBigbone, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of Weizenmensch
2.33/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

Within date, not my favourite style but I tried it because it's cheap. I almost never like Scotch ales but I thought I'd give it a go... more or less against my better judgement.

A: Not bad, very thin head, lots of circle-lacing - not a proper spread but fairly good for the style. Colour is dark amber-nutbrown. Carbonation low.

S: Probably fairly average for the style. I hate this style so I haven't drunk any in a few years, but this is OK - not particularly offensive because I'm being friendly to a style I'm not so fond of. Fond is a Scottish word so fuck it, it's getting a 3.0.

T: Mostly tastes like bad water. There's hops, some kind of fucked-up malt they don't use in civilised countries that makes it taste beer-flavoured, but otherwise it's pretty miserable, like your average Scot. Perhaps it tastes like a really hoppy, sour shortbread. What do you think?

M: Mouthfeel is just like pure water. Even my girlfriend who doesn't know better, agrees.

D: Well, it's cheap, I'm a tightarse so whatever, it gets a three.

Overall: This reminded me to avoid anything Scottish, apart from Macallan, Highland Park and Aberlour.

Weizenmensch, Apr 22, 2007
Photo of Thorpe429
2.33/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at Pizza Paradiso - Georgetown.

Pours a moderately light toffee color with an off white head. Tiny bits of lacing. Nose brings forward toffee and caramel with a bit of butterscotch. Taste is overwhelmed by butterscotch and toffee without any particular amount of sweetness. I am not actually sure whether this was any amount of diacetyl, as it was not off putting in that particular manner and did not have the off buttered popcorn-type flavor. It might just be that this particular version of the style really does not suit me. Feel is light with fairly low carbonation. I just couldn't get past the taste on this.

Thorpe429, Oct 13, 2010
Photo of derryd
2.35/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Got this in a 22 bottle from the local liquor store. Clear bottle sitting on a shelf. Upon opening smell has skunky right away, this beer had gone bad from sitting too long and being exposed to too much light. The taste was no better than an average pilsner or lager. Reminded me of the skunky Hienken I use to drink thinking it was good beer. Live and learn.

derryd, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of artdob
2.35/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Decent head with some staying power. Copper with mild carbonation visible.

S: Malty. Yeasty bread. Caught a bit of an distracting odor in the mix.

T: Really caught something not quite right - almost a sourness that emerges too quickly after an initial sweet sensation. Really distracting. Maybe the clear bottle didn't help the shelf-life for this beer?

M: Fizzy carbonation - light mouthfeel.

O: Not enthused with this one. Would be interested in another sample - maybe the can version.

artdob, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of kojevergas
2.38/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear glass (for feck's sake!) bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. I really enjoyed this beer from the tap and can, so I'm excited to finally officially review it.

First off, as a general note the clear glass bottle is inexcusable. If there were a presentation category, I'd take huge points off here. No self-respecting brewer would allow this sort of irresponsible bottling. Leave this nonsense to Corona.

A: Pours a three finger head of decent cream, good thickness, and okay retention. I'm deeply disappointed that this doesn't live up to my memory of the creamy head of the canned version; perhaps it was a nitro can? Either way, I'm disappointed. The colour is an auburn/dark copper. I'm excited to try it.

Sm: The aroma is quite strong. Toasted malt and nutty hops are all I detect, however.

T: A toasted malt body with stale horribly handled cream and some strangely handled nutty hops. What a damned disappointment. Badly balanced and built. The stale cream needs to go. Why not nitro-bottle this shite, guys? Come on, now.

Mf: It's smooth, wet, stale, and creamy (but only properly creamy right on the finish). Not too thick. It doesn't complement the flavours of the body.

Dr: I'll have to review this from the can, because I remember being dazzled by the head. This was a huge disappointment. It's drinkable, but I'd never buy it again - at least not the bottled form.

kojevergas, Nov 23, 2011
Photo of Albertv05
2.38/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a nice dark copper color with maybe a few hints of reddish-orange. Nice head that remained with some lacing. The smell is minimal; smelled faintly of malts with no hops.

The first sip gave way to some sweet malts as I was expecting but then was followed up immediatly after by an overwhelming flavor of peatiness/earthiness/smokiness/and burnt flavors. These flavors would have been okay in the background but they are on the foreground so much so I was having a difficult time drinking it. It makes me wonder if I got a bad bottle. As the beer warmed up a bit, the flavors blended together a bit and it was easier to drink. Still, too much of those flavors I described.

Overall, I'd try this again and give it another shot but I really was not impressed.

Albertv05, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of shippos
2.4/5  rDev -37%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

poured with the typical dense nitro head and a clear brillant amber color. has a faint peated malt almost sour or acidic. aromas are very faint, either from bieng exceptionally balanced or just old. light body with an average mouthfeel. the sour/acidic character makes it's was through to the taste and is discouraging. you can drink the stuff but it tastes like it's a bad batch or just old, even though the can had a freshness date on of 2005. probably won't get it again, good thing it was free.

shippos, Dec 09, 2004
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Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
86 out of 100 based on 1,656 ratings.