Belhaven Scottish Ale - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Belhaven Scottish AleBelhaven Scottish Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

841 Reviews

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Reviews: 841
Hads: 1,819
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 8.44%
Wants: 53
Gots: 211 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: Mitchster on 08-07-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 841 | Hads: 1,819
Photo of scottbrew4u
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very clear deep amber color with a moderate creamy white head that settles to a layer of bubbles. Great lacing on the glass as you drink.
S: Bready, nutty, some toffee and other roasted barley sweetness. Light fruit esters as well.
T: Fresh brown bread, toffee, caramel, light esters of cherry like flavor, mild hop bitterness to keep the sweetness from totally running away. Mild earthy hop flavor as well. The finish is on the dry side and sweet.
M: Medium body with tiny crisp carbonation and a dry finish. No warming from alcohol.
O: Very clean and fresh tasting with some slight estery flavors and low on the smoky flavors with this Scottish Ale. Well done and easy to drink! I would get this again. (707 characters)

Photo of barczar
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Ceramic mug, can't see. Ivory head persists. Throughout.

Toffee, butterscotch, peat, caramel, and nutty, toasted malt are accented by floral hops and grain. Smoky, peaty malt is the star.

Flavor reveals more smoky, peaty dominance at the base, becoming floral, and finishing bitter and dry. There's substantial toasted, nutty malt presence.

Body is fairly light, considering the malt dominant and complexity. Smooth, with carbonation a touch low, and slight harshness at the finish.

Good toasted malt backbone, excellent specialty characters of smoke. The nuttiness matches the slight sweetness well, and the finish is dry enough to be refreshing, albeit a touch too bitter for my liking. (692 characters)

Photo of Dsimenson
3.69/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a pint pilsner. A bubbly 3/4" head quickly reduces to very nice lacing. The color is a brilliant crystal clear orange-red. I'm having a hard time describing the aroma, but it is mild, and malty. The flavor is malt, nutty, and a bit of hops at the finish. Mouthfeel is tingly with carbonation, and a little creamy, but not much. Overall this is a style I'm not familiar with, but it is at least a very good ale. (436 characters)

Photo of fourstringer
3.59/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a pint can with a widget into a Sam Smith pint glass. Moderate hand. No identifiable date.

A: Copper colored body with good clarity. 2 fingers of creamy, off-white head with impressive retention. Moderate to heavy lacing.

S: Light overall. Suspect the dense, nitro-fueled head is blocking some of the aroma. Traces of malt and faint nuttiness. Honey. Diacetyl. Some soapy, musty off-scents.

T: Sweet, nutty malt with a slow, gradual transition to an almost desiccating English-hop bitterness. Finish is quite dry and mineral. No alcohol. Toast notes with some lingering tang. Some light peat, earth.

M: Thick and rich head yields a nice opening. Body is a bit underwhelming with low carbonation and a light feel.

O: Smooth, dry and nicely hopped. Relatively subdued malt, which I found surprising. Good brew that looks great in the glass, but IMO lacks standout qualities.

Cheers! (903 characters)

Photo of cyclonece09
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a 14 oz "pint" glass. Pours red amber with a small white head. Smells of dark malt very inviting. Tastes of roasted malt with slight caramel, not overly sweet but still quite tasty. Beer is carbonated a tad heavily but light bodied very drinkable. Overall a very good beer. (305 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.72/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Belhaven Scottish Ale is a clear, burnt caramel popcorn colour. Its head looks like a floating bloc of white-painted concrete; it has a stoic stillness, the seemingly immovable and imperishable impressions of a large rock and a lacing so ornate it rivals that of an ancient Corinthian pillar.

The aroma dresses a rather conventional, plain maltiness with dainty hints of spring flowers, orchard fruit esters and low levels of buttery diacetyl. They're too delicate to be either readily or greatly appreciated but these subtle garnishes set this ale apart from British bitters or pale ales.

Another faint but distinguishing characteristic is the beer's peaty notes. While it's easy to miss, especially without its usual accompaniment of campfire smoke, that distinctly earthy, 'sea brine and iodine' flavour is present, as is that other representative Scottish flavour: heather.

The soft heather and lavender-like hints of spring flowers are a compliment to the beer's surprisingly soft water profile, white peach-like esters and the restrained sweetness of grains that have been lightly caramelized in the brew kettle (as opposed to on the malting floor). The result is a normal strength beer that drinks like one half its actual size.

Belhaven Scottish Ale is a very plain but pleasant ale that I imagine would be a dream on cask. It is a lavender- and peat-accented, definitively Scottish ale that is very understated, but enjoyable. It is exactly the kind of offering (from one of the breweries) that first turned me off of commercial beer and onto better quality, more engaging craft offerings. (1,603 characters)

Photo of jibbyvonjibb
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Amber color. Clear. 4.5
S: Honey. Baked apples. Caramel. Surprisingly fruity. 4
T: Strong butterscotch. Honey. A bit of acidity. Reminiscent of apple juice. Clean finish. No bitterness. 4
M: Low carb. Medium body. 4
O: Complex mix of fruity and caramel flavors. Drnk this one pretty warm (maybe 55F). 4 (305 characters)

Photo of vette2006c5r
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Scottish ale pours a clear brown color with a big lacing head. There is a rotten and earthy aroma. The taste is earthy, with a good full malty based, lots of mellow peaty flavors. Good mellow flavors, everything blends well. Overall a very well built and complete beer. (269 characters)

Photo of scottford
4.29/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Found this before I flew out of London. If I could have this over in Germany, it'd be a staple in my fridge.

A) nut brown, clear with an off white head about 1-1.5 fingers thick
S) I smell wood and bread. Good stuff!
T) chocolate hints right at the beginning, followed up by a nice smooth bready/malty taste at the end.
M) velvety, similar to melted ice cream.
O) great beer! A must try (389 characters)

Photo of Radome
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served from a 12 oz. bottle into a goblet.

A - Dark amber with lots of red. Crystal clear. Head is off-white and very fluffy and deep. It is made of tiny bubbles and fades to a solid but thin layer with great lacing.

S - Great clean malt aroma. It smells sweet and brown-sugary, with some plum and raising. Some gentle earthy hops add depth, but it is not very complex.

T - Nutty, bready, graham cracker malt; very clean. Some brown sugar, raisins and plums again. There are enough hops taste and bitterness to keep it from being cloying. The hops are earthy and slightly floral, obviously British. A hint of butterscotch that blends well and also the tiniest bit of smoke. Slightly sweet finish with a hint of alcohol.

M - Medium body. Creamy sensation despite very low carbonation. Low bitterness.

O - An excellent example of the style. Clean, malty and well-made. (872 characters)

Photo of belhaven11
4.36/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Belhaven is hard to beat on tap, if drinking from the bottle I have found it is best poured into a frosty pint glass. I'm sure the draught can is fantastic but I haven't been able to find it on the shelf yet. The best Scottish Ale I have tried so far. (251 characters)

Photo of mjurney
4.19/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep amber color, clear. Lots of carbonation rising up. Frothy, eggshell color head.

Malty, bready, toffee, butterscotch.

Very rich, bready, toasted malts, toffee, butterscotch. Hop bitterness is mild-medium, herbal-spicy. Finish is bitter, semi-crisp. Body is medium, creamy, smooth, a little dryness, nice carbonation.

An outstanding beer. (379 characters)

Photo of ScottJ
3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Disappointed after drinking Belgian trappiste ales! This does not compare. Had it on tap and it seemed to taste a lot better. Was expecting better quality what a let down. I was expecting better beer after I had it on tap a few years ago. It was not bad but could be better. (274 characters)

Photo of BethanyB
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: An airy off-white head that settles into a small fluff of a cloud is typical for the style. But what isn't is the medium gold color (light for an SA), as well as the slight haziness.

Smell: Round maltiness with touches of smoke, citrus fruit, and grassy hops. Expected more caramel. Did get some diacetyl, which is fine in this case, and actually brings some balance to the harsher scents.

Taste: Moderate hop bitterness dominates, being accentuated by uncharacteristically high carbonation. A nice roasted nuttiness adds complexity. Malt is clean, and the bitterness, while not particularly harsh, lingers into the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with surprisingly high carbonation

Overall Impression: A fine beer, although it seems to diverge from the Scottish Ale style. Seems to be more of a Northern English Brown to me, but a good one at that! Would have liked to have tasted more evidence of kettle caramelization, and less hop bitterness so that some of the other flavors could come out a bit more. (1,030 characters)

Photo of artoolemomo
3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Like most beers in draught cans, this is a gusher with a nice pale beige rush that ends with about about two fingers' worth of head. Lots of retention from the creamy off white head which has hints of beige. The body is a dark amber with some brown which glows a medium amber with glints of orange when held up to the light. Lacing is left behind in sheets. The body is a little muddy.

Nose- The main component of the nose are sweet, roasted malts which have sour and sweet (almost) vinous notes. These notes suggest burnt bread or burnt toast. Some fruity esters which seem to replace the initial roasted notes. The was a rush of a nitro/burnt toast aroma when I first popped open the can.

Taste- Wow, the vinous notes of the nose really come out. Some of the sour of the nose comes out as well but the dominant aspects of this beer are fruity esters (white to almost red grape) and caramel. Brown sugar and some molasses. Roasted notes on the finish that seem a little burnt. Slight nuttiness but the vinous aspects are hard to escape and really diminish my ability to appreciate this beer. Some citrus notes appear. I don't get any of the floral or herbal hop notes that the style description suggests.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, smooth, medium bodied but wine-like as well. Faint carbonation. This is my favorite part of this beer. Second favorite part: its appearance.

Drinkability- If you ignore the taste, this is a very easy drinking beer. But it low alcohol content and lackluster flavor profile makes this beer's 5 dollar price too high. Will not buy again.

Overall- Not a bad beer but not a particularly good one either. Some of its aspects are off the charts- appearance and mouthfeel- while the others are pretty average. (1,748 characters)

Photo of TheSixthRing
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a clear golden color with ruby highlights and with a 2 finger off-white head. Good retention, resulting in a firm layer of microbubbles across the top. Spotty lacing with good stick.

Smell - Aroma hits on buttery toffee, bits of caramel and very mild coffee notes.

Taste - Follows the nose. Buttery toffee is the most noticeable flavor, along with light notes of caramel and butterscotch, then a mild coffee flavor hits near the finish. Not much in the way of hops, but what's there does provide a touch of bitterness to keep this beer from being too malt-driven. Slightly acidic and sour in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with lively carbonation. Near creamy in the mouth, with a crisp, semi-dry finish.

Overall - I really enjoyed this beer. While it's certainly malt forward, I found great balance in the flavor and mouthfeel. Wasn't too aggressive, hitting in all the right spots. Will I buy this beer again? Hell yes. (956 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I really like the coloring of the ale as it holds so many different hues. Brown in low light to cherry reddish in higher light it is highly carbonated with a bubbly head. No lacing was left after the head retreated quickly.

Caramel malted with a tinge of hop bitterness the aroma is pleasant but not overly pronounced. Some nuttiness but the malt is dominate.

The scent and taste fall rightly aligned as caramel malt leads the way. Some of a Nut Brown Ale like quality comes out in a nutty, malty yet dry taste. A touch of graininess ends with chocolate malts.

I like a good Scottish Ale and this is in line with the model for the style. (640 characters)

Photo of HomrQT
5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The beer of my house is now under the Belhaven flag. I'm a big fan of this beer and couldn't speak more highly of it. It's a sweet, smooth ale that doesn't get disgusting as you drink more of it. I would recommend this beer to anyone. It's quality through and through! (268 characters)

Photo of Beric
3.46/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving: Clear bottle poured into footed pilsner glass
Served: 6 June 2013

Appearance: Deep caramel, copper color with hints of red-gold thrown in for good measure. Nice two finger head that slowly collapses into just a ring of small, cream colored froth around the edges. Nice streams of bubbles coming from the bottom of the glass. Minimal lacing.

Smell: Immediately after opening the bottle, you could smell the skunkiness (clear bottle). Thankfully this dissipated quickly, to reveal a smell that was malty with just the faintest hint of hops.

Taste: Tastes decent- very malty. It has a lighter malty taste than say, a Doppelbock, but the overall malt profile, in my opinion, is similar between the two styles. Not the biggest fan of Doppelbock, but this less intense caramelized malt taste is much better. Just the faintest hop presence, as obviously this is not a hoppy style by nature.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat watery, but the carbonation makes it nice and refreshing. Small bubbles lead to a good medium overall carbonation.

Overall: Overall a good beer. I like malty beers, but more roasted malts (i.e. in porters, stouts) than this kind of stuff. The very skunky smell originally present leads to the biggest downgrade in rating. Probably much better from a can. (1,272 characters)

Photo of Hoptometrist
2.81/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Served on nitro-tap into a nonic glass

A- Poured a dark sem-hazy brownish amber color with some visible carbonation, solid frothy off-white lace that stuck around forever and left some chunky dense lace

S- Light aroma, medicinal notes, mineral water, some fruity esters, but not much

T- Dominant flavors of cream, fruity british yeast esters, cardboard, and mineral water. Not flavorful and the flavor that was there was not that interesting.

M- Quite creamy and smooth up front, soft carbonation, finished quite watery though

O- A pretty bland beer in my opinion. Really didn't taste like other Scottish Ales I have had, although this is the first one I have had from Scotland. I thought this beer was pretty underwhelming and reminded me of less-flavorful versions of some British bitters and ESBs that I have had. (821 characters)

Photo of Thaddeus
3.09/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Clear amber ale with a small off-white head. Beer is light and thin in body with a short finish.

Aroma & Taste: Not an overpowering nose, some malty and roasted nut notes. Has a slight chocolate taste to it. Overall this beer is similar in taste and style to a Guinness. (283 characters)

Photo of Steamer
3.39/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: caramel color with half inch cream colored head; the froth looks almost like cream floating on the top.
Smell: not much aroma, light malt
Taste: pecans, malt forward but the hops comes through also; very smooth.
Mouthfeel: light texture and easy going down. low carbonation.
Overall; Good but on the milder and less complex side of the style, (354 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

perhaps my favorite beer in the nitro can. this one pours the sexiest of dark copper tones, with a glorious nitro tap looking milky white froth head with damn fine retention. yummy! the nose is dry malt in the middle of the spectrum and some very simple and to the point ale yeast. some mineral aromatics too, very organic nature to this. the flavor is also decidedly malt forward, and while the finish is a tad on the bitter side, its not from hops as far as I can tell, but rather the combination of well toasted cereal grains and the nitro can, which always bitters a beer up a little on my palate, maybe just me... mouthfeel of course makes this one, with a milkshake style foaminess to it and a delicate character despite being extremely full bodied and quite rich actually. maybe three cans is the right amount of this, as any more might get filling and any less seems to not quite get to the heart of my thirst. perfectly suited to the nitro can, this is one of my favorite regular imports.

edit: far worse actually from the nitro tap than from the can, bumping down overall score a peg for that, its metallic and thin and stale tasting. i much prefer the can. (1,168 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 oz can poured into a nonic pint glass. I had to salvage this one after it fell and sprung a leak - we'll see how it's held up...

A: Pours a orange copper color with moderate clarity. The head is a one finger heavy cream shade. In true nitro-can fashion, it retains beautifully with a wondrous texture.

S: Not as muted as I come to expect from the serving style. There are lots of dark fruits, some lighter fruits, chocolate, caramel, cream, and even a touch of hops.

T: The flavor profile introduces both a smoky and even a leathery dimension to things. The mustiness works pretty well with its fruity, caramel-laden flavor profile. A hint of leafy, herbal hops really finish things well. Surprisingly, it even has a bit of depth to it.

M: A bit on the watery side, as expected. Despite that, there's a good mixture of creaminess and crisp, palate-clearing dryness. The lack of carbonation fits the mouthfeel qualities well.

O: This would make a good everyday drinker. It's definitely the most interesting nitro-can beer I've ever had before. (1,050 characters)

Photo of TheBrewWhisperer
4.07/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearence: poors a golden flow of copper goodness with a nice 1 inch white head.

Smell: smells of dried coffee beans, with sweet malt toffee, little bit of hop and a predominant skunk (which all beer lovers should enjoy)

Taste: A soft caramel flavor with coffee like malt flavor from the front end of your mouth down to the taste of a plum and other dark fruits.

Mouth feel: a soft fast gulp finish, a good beer for those who like to sip and drink at the same time, i could call this one of the most sessioned beers of the season, this is what i call a Grade B+ ale, for those who want to get into Scottish ales i have no problem recommending this to my friends and beer buddies anytime. (691 characters)

Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
85 out of 100 based on 841 ratings.