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Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

very good
872 Reviews
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Belhaven Scottish AleBelhaven Scottish Ale

Brewed by:
Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
United Kingdom (Scotland) | website

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our signature Scottish Ale is the beer we've brewed the longest and is our best-selling bottle world-wide. We brew it from 100% Scottish Optic and Crystal barley malts for a nutty, biscuit character, balanced with a subtle spiciness from Challenger and Goldings hops for an all-around satisfying beer.

George Howell - Master Brewer, Belhaven

Added by Mitchster on 08-07-2001

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Reviews: 872 | Ratings: 1,975
Photo of RobbieAshmore
4.21/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

A – Deep amber to copper and very high clarity. Slight head.

S – Homemade biscuits, with some caramel.. Low hop aroma, earthy.

T – Malty-grainy-sweet, rich light caramel and a touch of toffee. Hops are low.

M – Full-bodied, with little impression of dryness. Not overly sweet, and almost no bitterness.

O – Very easy to drink, definitely a good example of the style. Malty-sweet, a well-made beer. I really like this beer.

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Photo of rjplumer
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nutty caramel aroma. Crisp clear brown body with a mild head to start but fades fairly quick. Caramel and nut noticeable in flavor too. Mild bitterness. Has a smooth texture and has a fairly clean finish.

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Photo of Rachael_K_Monday
4.09/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Good smooth taste, I was a little let down on feel, but due to where I got it from. If you like Yuengling with a Scottish ale twist, I definitely recommend.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.64/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 01/29/15 notes. Picked up a 6er of this in Florida for ~$10. 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a deep reddish brown color with moderate carbonation evident and one inch of off white head. Nuts, caramel malts, roasted malts, bready malts, lightly sour in taste to me for some reason. Medium body and low to moderate carbonation.

Overall i thought this was ok, though there was something about the taste that seemed a little different/off. Not bad/infected, just a bit weird. Probably wouldn't buy it again.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper with a rather short, off -white head of foam.
Aroma-Faint toasted malt
Taste-Biscuit, toasted malt, spicy herbal hop note. This brew kind of grew on me with each sip. A nice session beer.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from undated bottle into pilsner glass. Beautiful, crystal clear reddish honey color. Light tan head dissipates rapidly leaving thin lacing.

The initial impression is maltiness, followed by warm bread and peanuts, fading to a slight hops bite. Carbonation is moderate. You can tell this is a European beer. There's nothing that stands out - it's not overly sweet, not very hoppy, not overwhelmingly malty. It's just a well-balanced, easy to drink ale with enough character to make it interesting. At 5.2% ABV, it's a very sessionable brew.

My first Scottish Ale, so I have no basis for comparison with other beers of this style.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

January 24, 2015

500 ml bottle, English dimpled pint

A – Deep amber to copper and very high clarity. Less than an inch of soft white foam, moderate-low retention. A bit of lace remains.

S – Well-baked bread crust, with some caramel, and a touch of peat. Low hop aroma, earthy.

T – Malty-grainy-sweet, rich light caramel and a touch of toffee, with bread crust. Peat is present, low, and lingers throughout. Hops are low, a bit of floral and herbal.

M – Full-bodied, very malty, very juicy, with little impression of dryness. Not overly sweet, and almost no bitterness in the mix.

O – Very easy to drink, definitely a good example of the style. Malty-sweet with almost no hop character. Not my favorite, but a well-made beer.

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Photo of smokinyodas
4.32/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the bottle: there is sweet smell of malty goodness with a hint of citrusy hops. Out pours a caramel-copper colored beer with a white creamy head. There is lots of carbonation with a sticky lace that doesn’t fade. Rich toasted-smoky malts blend with a hint of nuttiness that gives way to the finishing bitterness of quality hops. This is a respectable beer that I can’t wait to try the nitro version.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

That chewy maltiness slight sweetness balanced well against a slightly bitter finish,
also good mouthfeel and carbonation level
actually quite good just let down by a bit of a funky aroma

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Photo of illpass78
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden-amber with a one-finger cream head. Pretty good carbonation and some lacing.

Aroma: Smells of caramel, malt, toast, yeast and some grass.

Taste: Taste follows the nose, along with some nuts and slight sweetness to the malt.

Mouthfeel: Pretty sturdy body. Standard for the style, for which this beer sets the standard, of course.

Overall: Pretty decent, "standard"-ish ale. Seems kind of like the Bass of Scotland.

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Photo of xxxcjbcxxx
1.75/5  rDev -53.8%

(Canned; Draught)

Tastes awful; like a less salty, more sweet, watered down Guinness, with a strong flavor of smoked tobacco/cigarettes.

It pours dark brown, with a nominal foamy head, and smells "good." Unfortunately none of that goodness translates into taste.

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Photo of bebbcorp
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

Was at Phil's Liqour and the owner suggested this beer after I told him what I was looking for in a beer this warm Sunday afternoon. The guy never steered me wrong before, so this is what I got. It was a copper colored ale in a stout looking clear bottle. Poured into a Sierra Nevada hop tulip it poured with a very creamy looking 1'' head which steadily receded to about a quarter inch. Smells for the glass are nuts, bread dough and a smell I cannot identify. First impressions on taste are exactly as it smells. Pleasant, pleasing, and leaving a very slight sourness that lingers on the palate, with just a touch of bitterness balancing it out. Halfway down the beer I come to a conclusion. This beer is lower in alcohol, not a ton of flavors, and nothing fancy about it, but in a good way. Like an old tree that has taken ages to attain a good form, it reflects simplistic beauty. These beers subtly lull you into spending an afternoon drinking and enjoying good beers without getting hammered. A beer that could appeal to even those who are not beer enthusiasts as well. A solid B+ to the folks who made this beer. If it wasn't 12 a six pack, I would put it into the regular rotation, but this will be a once in a while relaxing Sunday beer from now on.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%

So, I stumbled upon this very tall 16.9 oz bottle for around four dollars. FOUR DOLLARS. Chump change for some of you blokes, but that's the most I've ever spent on a single beer that wasn't on tap. So this better be good.

Appearance (4.25) : Haha, it's like the incredible spiderman in the bottle. There's large bubbles like spider web in the bottle after I poured it. The glass, oh...right. A nice fluffy three fingered head that recedes in a couple of minutes' time to about 1 finger. The webbing it leaves behind on the glass is marvelous. The body is fiery orange honey colored and is dense and about 70% opaque. Some sediment can be seen floating around, excellent. Off to a great start.

Aroma (4) : A bit like your run-of-the-mill amber beer. It has some sourdough qualities, what smells like honey-cured turkey, mustard seed, wheat, and a yeasty breadiness. If I try hard and use my imagination, it's honestly like a really good turkey sandwich with pickle. Awkward. But hey, it smells great, so...

Bouquet is about medium volume.

Taste (4) : Robust and malty at the front, and quickly turns hoppy and yeasty. Some caramel, nut, and more yeast. It's creamy, delicious, and slightly woody. Some faint char also joins the mix, key word being faint, but it's there on the finish. Ends slightly antiseptic but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel (3.75) : Very creamy, melts in your mouth. Slightly carbonated to give it a pop. Medium bodied and ends semi-dry with a woody, smoky, slightly antiseptic finish.

Overall (4.08) : By far the best Scottish Ale I've had yet. I've tried Odell's 90 Shilling, and one other that I didn't care much for. Ultimately before I decided to write Scottish Ales off I figured I'd try a genuine forerunner. I am not sorry I did. Problem is, how am I gonna finish this pint? Oh, bother.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%

Aroma: malt, toffee, no hops. Medium sweetness form malt. Low kettle carmelization, slight earthy aroma.
Appearance: Deep amber, brilliant, off-white to light tan head, good lacing, fine carbonation.
Flavor. Biscuit, toffee malt, finishes dry, malt driven. The hops are here but not dominant, light fruit, faint hint of sour, dry grainy finish. Slight diacetyl. Mouthfeel: medium body, slightly creamy, slight astringency, fine medium low carbonation.
Overall: clean malt, dry finish, starts sweet, finishes dry. Smooth

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

I picked up a bottle of Belhaven Brewery's Belhaven Scottish Ale last week for $4.69 at The Lager Mill. Since I like the stout from this brewery I thought I would give their Scottish Ale a try, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a 500ml clear bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks ok,it's got a vintage look to it and I don't think it's too eye catching. It poured a nice amber/mohogany color that too on more of amber/red color when held to the light with two fingers worth of really light tan head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end left some patchy lacing behind. This was a good looking beer, I really liked the color.

S- The aroma starts off with a high amount of medium sweetness with the malts being the first to show up and they impart a sweet malt, caramel and bready aromas with just a slight smokey aspect to it. Up next comes some fruity yeast which impart a apple and pear like aroma and it followed by a little bit of earthy hops that show up at the end along with just a slight skunky aroma. This beer had a nice aroma that's pretty much what I would expect from the style.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness with the malts still being the first to show up and they impart the same aspects that they did in the aroma with the caramel seeming to stick out the most this time and it still has a light smokey aspect to it. Up next comes the fruity yeast which seems to be just a little lighter than it was in the aroma and there's also just a slight skunky flavor. On the finish there's not bitterness with a little more sweetness taking it place with just a slight earthy hops flavors and there's some smokey and caramel malt like flavors in the aftertaste. This was a pretty nice tasting beer, but I could go without the light skunky flavor.

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Photo of Scrapss
4/5  rDev +5.5%

A: Poured from the fizzy insert can into the nonic pint. Deep golden golden color with a fantastic tightly nitro style head.

S: Gentle. Nutty undertones, really subtle hops. This is the anti-bomb of beer. There's nuance.

T: Some tea-like hop notes on the initial quaff. Gentle mild malts doing a good job of staying balanced. Hops are mild as expected. This brew stays the course with floral and herbal notes with mild astringency.

M: slightly dry, a hair of chalkiness on finish but always smooth and velvety due to nitro-tight carbonation. Sweetness is there, but hides, presents, hides, repeat. Very nice finish.

O: infinitely drinkable at this smoothness and ABV. Very nice brew.

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Photo of tillmac62
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%

Widget can. Pours a clear amber with a heavy dark ruby cast. After the initial gas rush, the head is normal. Lacing and retention are above normal. Light nose of caramel. No effervescence on the finish. Light medium body, yet slick. Laid back balanced flavor profile. It begins with a light caramel sweetness that flows into a mild bitterness with a touch of smoke. As it warms, dark fruit notes are there, but subtle. Smooth finish with a touch of hop flavor. A mineral like taste lingers. A solid offering, but not in the class of Founder's Dirty Bastard.

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Photo of KellyBelukusBeers
5/5  rDev +31.9%

Dark Copper Color with substantial head due to nitro cone. Drier, malty, biscuity, subtle smokiness and light nutty flavor. Slight bite with creamy finish.

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Photo of ENogueira
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

12 oz bottle. Poured in a glass. Medium head, dissipates in a minute or two. Dark amber color. Smell of light flowers or herbs. Malty taste with trace of toasted nuts. Leaves an earthy oak aftertaste.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Served from 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 Scottish Ale. This stuff pours a clear brass topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises sweet biscuit, light powdered sugar, mild grass, light flowers, toasted caramel, and hard water. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a tiny twinge of vague fruit, this time more powerful than in the Lager, but still barely there. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a fluid feel. Overall, a nice malty British ale, one that went pretty well with the chips.

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Photo of wetshoes
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just had this in a nitro can for the first time. It is remarkable, if you're a fan of Scottish ales. (Some of us just don't like hops much.) I like it much better than the bottled version. Reminds me of the rich, creamy Belhavens Best, which is on tap at most Scottish pubs, but doesn't seem to be exported.

Wish it were a little lower alcohol, so you could drink more of it without getting too buzzed.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.52/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the LCBO for just over $2.00 for a 500ml can. Served at 6deg C in a draught glass

A- Opened with a mighty pow! Super head and cascade. Good Golden color

S- Pretty good malt that is for sure!!!

T- WOW that malt is back!

M- Creamy good. Not that great but good

O- Very good. Will try on tap if I find it

Food Pairing

This nice little beer went well with.... Fish and Chips


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Photo of seedyone
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

11/28/12 On tap. Nitro this time. Really smooth. Considering the low ABV, this was a very satisfying drink. My only problem is that I didn't get a "stunning ruby color in the glass". It was barely beyond blonde, but color isn't flavor, so...

June 2013 - On tap. Smart balance resulting in a very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of derryd
2.38/5  rDev -37.2%
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.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 6/27/2013. Pours slightly cloudy reddish copper color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, bread, pear, apple, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with balanced bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop notes; with decent strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, light nuttiness, light roast, herbal, grass, light pear/apple, and yeast earthiness. Slight earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, light roast, light nuttiness, light pear/apple, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast fruitiness; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Scottish ale. Good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast fruitiness; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
85 out of 100 based on 872 ratings.