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Belhaven Best - Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Not Rated.
Belhaven BestBelhaven Best

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
76
okay

140 Ratings
THE BROS
63
poor

(view ratings)
Ratings: 140
Reviews: 73
rAvg: 3.28
pDev: 17.68%
Wants: 1
Gots: 12 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Bitter |  3.90% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JISurfer on 05-03-2003

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (27) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 140 | Reviews: 73
Reviews by biegaman:
Photo of biegaman
3.14/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Sure, widgets make for an impressive pour - the first few times you see it. Unless you have the mental capacities of a child the 'oscillating sandstorm' visual quickly becomes tired and gimmicky. It's ironic too that a device meant to impart a distinguishing feature actually makes for identical looking beers; the artificially-induced foam is always the same. This amber ale looks as though it were made from a mold.

Belhaven Best also smells pretty much like every other widget beer I've had: wet cardboard drenched in corn syrup. Well, maybe "drenched" is a strong word, but this bouquet has a sweetness that I'd be surprised wasn't high-fructose fueled (think of cheap, mass-produced caramel, like the stale little squares wrapped in clear plastic).

The flavour does a better job of passing for an all-malt offering (though the impressions of stale, inferior quality grain and industrial sweetener return in the aftertaste). As is typical of British ales, there are subtle hints of dried fruit esters and chalky water minerals, both of which I suspect would be more pronounced were it not for that suffocating blob of floating nitrogen.

You might not guess it from this sample, but Belhaven makes a few beers so well-brewed and distinct that they're hailed by beer judges and journalists alike as the best examples of their respective styles (see: Belhaven Wee Heavy, Scottish Ale, St. Andrews Ale). Pick up any textbook on beer or brewing, flip to the section on British ales and you're sure to see Belhaven listed...

This offering, however, is a lesson in how to make bad beer - its maltiness is frail, the yeast muted, the hops non-existent; despite its agreeable strength (4.8%) only those with simple, undiscerning palates would contemplate ordering a second round. (Frankly, I don't even care to finish my first.) Putting cardboard through the blender would be just as stimulating to the senses.

Belhaven Best is undoubtedly Belhaven's worst. What can I say? I guess you gotta make money somehow and, for reasons that I'll never understand, the majority of beer drinkers prefer something insipid, predictable, and undistinguished. I can't blame the marketing department for being unable to pass-up the "The Cream of Scottish Beer" tagline but I certainly don't have to support it. Nevermind a repeat purchase - this is a beer I wish I never bought in the first place.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Dmann
2.24/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Great looking, shitty tasting. The beer had so much potential and then it just failed to impress. It started out nice with a beautiful nitro pour with a densly packed white head and a nice clear carmel color. The smell was not good at all with a prevailing sourness that turned me off from the get go. The taste was not one that I would care to experience again with its overly woody/raw hamburger meat aftertaste. Not recommended at all.

Photo of newk340
3.33/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap following a round of golf in St. Andrews.

A: pours a dark amber with a decent head that leaves behind loads of lacing.

S: sweet malts and wheats are about the only discernable aromas that can be found.

T: rather bland, easy to overlook the malts and wheats that are evident.

MF/D: easily drinkable as a session beer as there is not much flavor. almost flat, but very light would be the obvious conclusion.

Photo of Jason
2.69/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is one nitro can I am not totaly fond of, way too sweet with a steely caramel aroma and flavour. The nitro seems way over forced and the flavours too processed. Hops are faded and produce just enough bitterness, the malt is odd tasting and the finish is sticky sweet.

This one is just not for me ...

Photo of Billolick
3.08/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

You know a beer is gonna be rated poorly when its best feature is its head and carbonation. The widget does an amazing job here, if you like LONG lasting creamy super fine bubble head and amazing creamy lacing. Otherwise this was a stinker, minimal flavor, no hops, metalic tastes etc etc. Back to the drawing board for this one.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.26/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nitro-can from the LCBO. Poured into a Kilkenny nonic.

A tempest of light-amber foam courtesy of the nitro-widget eventually settles into a clear, bright amber brew, with a thick creamy head that, like all other nitros, remains steady for the entire pintsworth.

Nose is pretty faint - malty, a bit of hops, caramel, and that unmistakeable "nitro" metallic odor.

Smooth brew, fairly tasty, with a touch of grain and smoke to distinguish it from other BPAs I've encountered along these lines. A bit of fruit, caramel, slightly bitter finish.

Thin and watery, yet creamy. I'm not a fan of the nitro-can system, as I feel the brews tend to feel flat and watery, so its hard for me to be objective. I'll say this: it goes down very smoothly.

If canned pub ale's what your after, I wouldn't put this at the top of my list, but nor would it be near the bottom. It tastes fine, inoffensive, and the low ABV is a plus if sessioning's the thing. It's cheap in Ontario so I might get it again.

Photo of biboergosum
3.43/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

440ml Draught Flow can, 3.5% ABV.

This beer pours a clear medium copper hue, with a top-heavy rising bubble menagerie, and two fingers of creamy, milky, eggshell-white head, which leaves a Swiss cheese sheen of painted lace around the glass as it very slowly sinks away. It smells of sweet, mildly toasted cereal grain, with a tinge of earthy honey. The taste is soft bready malt, a bit of caramel, and a light, late-rising earthy, leafy hoppiness. The carbonation, as expected, is quite, quite low, the body medium weight, smooth, and oh so creamy. It finishes still fairly sweet, the cereal malt not getting any guff from any latent bitterness.

A lovely beer, in the tactile sense, this goes down so smoothly, the nitro puck really doing its thing. However, for a bitter, there just isn't enough, well, bitterness - and that's not doing its thing. As enjoyable as this seems to be, and even with the senses-preserving ABV, this fundamental lack would prove tiring, and somewhat cloying, whilst considering a night's iterative rounds.

Photo of Sammy
2.49/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at new West 50 Pourhouse. Some dots lacing. Light colour. Off-malt taste of ginger ale. Some harsh astringent bitterness,malt and graininess.I don't expect much from the brewery, but this just arrived and its undrinkable.
Upgraded rating based on 1.5 years later on tap at Abbot On the Hill, but still poor.

Photo of knodeljr
4.94/5  rDev +50.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

For the four-plus years we lived in Scotland, Belhaven Best was the beer on which I always fell back. It was so creamy and smooth -- with taste -- that I esteemed it the "Best." I also like really hearty beers, of which Belhaven Best is not; but for everyday drinking -- especially with meals -- I loved Belhaven Best. It's like the Irish Guinness when poured in a glass. Lots of gas that needs to settle out. What's left is a great, smooth, TASTY beer!

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another sad example of how not to package a great beer. The usual presentation for the nitro: pop the tab, dump into the glass. After the bubbles do their trick, an amber color beverage appears. First sip, watered down. I hate writing this review because you sense this is a great beer that has been destroyed by the "widget". A little hops, but I could not get by the watered down taste. Even my wife commented, "this would be a good beer after mowing the lawn." Tragedy.

Photo of edchicma
3.63/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I knew this was a low abv, so my review reflects that. Typical nice nitro head and decent caramel color. Smell was lightly malty with a bit of a smoky quality. Taste was smoky in a nice mild way...a definite session brew, Mouthfeel, as expected was light but pleasing enough. Extremely easy to drink...kind of like a light beer, but with a lot more flavor. Good for what it is, a low abv session beer.

Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
3.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at a walk in beer store location.

A Thick creamy off white head with the usual cascading effect of a nitro can shoots through the clear amber body leaving caul fat like lace.

Smells of roast malt and light caramel balance a light hoppy aroma and a hint of sulphur. Some nitro smells prevalent.

Light malty notes are the main flavours here with some backing roasted flavour. A strange sensation of sour cream and a slight nuttiness present themselves submissively. Hopping can be detected int he latter half of the sip, light but adding some balance.
The body overall is watery though mouth coating with medium low carbonation. This provides a smooth refreshing quality.

Not a bad beer it would be good with standard pub fare.

Photo of evlu1441
3.68/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm excited about this beer, if only because it will be my first nitro-can review. I haven't had a nitro-can in years.

I'm quite impressed! The nitro-can have a nice cascade of fine carbonation as expected, though not as interesting as a Guinness. The beer is a darkish copper colour and completely clear. There is a nice centimeter head that is extremely creamy. This looks like a draught beer!

The aroma is very faint, but it is almost entirely malt... And a very sweet roasty malt at that. There are some hints of honey and maybe even vanilla in there.

The flavour is not what I was expecting! It has an incredibly smooth mouthfeel, probably due to the low carbonation. The flavour is kind of subdues by this, and also by the low alcohol content, but it is a pretty decent beer! The malt flavour dominate the pallate. It is slightly sweet, but never too much. There is also some light hop flavour towards the end.

The drinkability of this beer is very high. I could totally sit in a pub and down several pints of this. I might even buy this again if I was in the mood for a light beer with some flavour.

Photo of scottoale
3.58/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I popped the top on the 440 ml. can (un-aware it was nitro charged) and was pleasently suprised by the typical atomic upwelling of nitrogen bubbles, pushing from the depths, forming a lushiously thick, frothy off-white head. The ale is a darkish copper, with some good sized chunks of sediment, floating around in it.

Smells of toasty, nutty malt, lightly sweet and kind of earthy rich. The flavor is grainy malt, again with a faintly sweet, roasted nuttyness, then swings smooth and balanced with a nice hop finish.

Smooth and creamy in the mouth, good body and superb nitro-carbonation, make this tasty brew a pleasure to enjoy. I was very suprised by this one, had never heard of nor tried it before. I recommend it and will drink it again in the future. Cheers!

Photo of IronDjinn
2.36/5  rDev -28%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

From a 440 ml blue can, abv. listed at 3.5%. Pours out a slightly hazed rustic copper hue, with a tall tight creamy off-white head that retains.

Sweet bready malt and honey on the nose, light leafy, grassy hops. Some dry grain in the background.

Flavour starts out sweet, almost cloyingly so, akin to a honey cake, while mild spicy, herbal hops finish things out on the back end. Seems watered down and thin in general.

Mouthfeel is light and thin, somewhat creamy texture from the nitro can, low carbonation.

Doesn't make that great of an impression, I would imagine this is the type of light mediocre domestic fare that folks in the U.K. chug down without thinking twice about. Glad I managed to just pick up a single of this stuff.

Photo of StevieW
3.65/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A staple on my recent Scotland trip. It has a black or brown plastic bubble tap sign. The extra cold version of the same beer has a blue bubble tap sign. Medium copper color, Orange looking at times, rust or brown at times depending on the light. Bubbly thin tan head. Toasted smells seem to dominate. Taste was smooth and sufficiently bitter, nice hop presence. Always a somewhat metallic taste to finish. Hard water ? Not sure, but it happened more than once. Nice nitro creaminess to it, but it seemed to get a little watery at times. Overall an easy to find, pleasing experience.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.71/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprised to see this in a bar down at Bewdley while on a pub crawl. Took a half pinr purely to review:

Good amber body with a large, deep white head.

The aromas given off were few, the beer being dispensed so cold, when it warmed some dark, malty fruity smells appeared.

The taste was also on the malty side, pleasant without setting the world alight.

I little on the fizzy side, like most keg bitters, but I still enjoyed this: the only non-cask ale I had during the crawl.

Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber colored ale with a thick off white head. The action of the bubbles from the nitro can is always fun to watch.

Smell is sweet and VERY malty with a sweet fruitiness.

Taste is fairly malty with a bit of smokiness to the flavor. Mildly fruity with a nice bitter snap in the aftertaste. Pleasant and mild but not very complex.

Mouthfeel is average once you get past the thick head.

An easy drinking beer and non-offending to the taste buds, but it is just a nice mild beer that isn't particularly outstanding.

Photo of spinrsx
3.61/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

440ml Can

Appearance – Clear amber/copper colour with an above average size frothy off-white/beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation visible and there is an amazing amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 10 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, caramel, pears, tea

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation and and it feels very creamy on the tongue. I can taste malts, caramel, and quite a bit of a roasted nut flavour. There is also some notes of tea and a bit of a pear juice sweetness. It finishes with a malty roasted slightly sweet aftertaste.

Overall – This is a very drinkable beer that has just enough flavour to keep it interesting and sessionable. The appearance is fantastic in the glass and it was priced fairly reasonably. I'd buy it again.

Photo of ludachris
3.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazed golden honey hue with one and a half fingers of creamy, frothy egg white head that refuses to go away, leaving thick patches of lace down the glass.

For the style, the nose is well rounded and decently pronounced with toffee, wheat, bready malts, and honey all thrown into the mix. It leaves a bit to be desired but is inviting none the less.

The taste is more subdued than the nose would lead you to believe. All of the flavours that reveal themselves in the nose are still there but are taken away from by the slippery, water-like mouthfeel.

This one goes down very easy, but it seems like the smoothness and quaffability of the beer took precedence over the actual flavour of it. Maybe that's why it became "Scotland's number one pub ale"?

Overall, I'd say this beer, like nearly all beers, has its time and its place. It's a good interpretation of the style and I think it's been amped up a bit since it was first put into this system, jumping a percent higher in ABV. Pints of this can easily be crushed, but on most days I still prefer a full flavoured, savoury beer over a quaffer frothing froth quaffer like this.

Photo of BigBry
3.38/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap with dinner on our vacation to Glasgow.
Dark amber color with a decent sized head, good retention that leaves behind a ton of lacing.
Smell of sweet malts, maybe some wheat beer aromas, no real discernable hops. Taste is thin with no one flavor jumping out. I don't want to say bland, just not alot going on. Average taste and flavor, thin body and mouthfeel. A drinkable sessional because it won't overpower your taste buds, or fill you up. Not sure about it being 'the best'.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.35/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

440 mL can from the LCBO, listed at 4.8%; best before July 2012. This is a new one for me - I haven't had a nitro ale in a while, probably because I'm usually not all that impressed with them. But I'll try anything once.

Pours an attractive amber-honey colour, cloudy at first, but translucent once the layers have separated out. On the surface sits one finger of smooth, creamy head that sticks around for quite a while. The aroma is sweet with lots of biscuity malts; toffee, honey and (most particularly) butterscotch are rather prominent. Fairly enticing, and definitely more robust than a lot of the nitro ales I've had.

Fairly enjoyable taste, but no real complexity about it. Biscuity malts and toasted bread provide some backbone, with sweet toffee and butterscotch dominating the profile. Rather buttery, with light hints of orchard fruit with only some slight, tea-like dryness late in the sip. The aftertaste is sweet and malty. Silky smooth mouthfeel like most nitro cans, due to the very mild carbonation. Light-bodied and kind of watery, but drinkable as all hell.

I found this highly enjoyable for a nitro can. Obviously the mouthfeel of these nitro brews is an acquired preference - one I have certainly never claimed to possess - but from an objective standpoint, this is a serviceable brew that I don't have a lot of complaints about. That being said - it's not one of the better bitters I've had in recent memory. The balance is rather poor, and there isn't a lot of bitterness, although it does finish cleanly.

Final Grade: 3.35, an acceptable B minus grade. Good stuff, and as a bonus for any frugal UK ale fans, it's quite cheap in these parts as well. Hopefully the LCBO keeps bringing in Belhaven's Best, because it's easily the best nitro beer I've picked up from there in years. Simple, yet solid. Worth a try, but not something to move mountains in search of.

Photo of Reidrover
3.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap in a pub somewhers in Ketih, Scotland. This is on nitro..i think. After the cascadeing effect has finished. Its a nice enough looking pint brown with hints of garnet. Lovelly tan creamy head . Not much aroma to this.But it doesnt stink. Nice actually, caramel/toffeeish hints in the flavours. Malts are slightly roasty. Nice on the palate, very smooth. Overall drinkable yet uninspiring. This seems to be taking over in my old neck of the woods ( NE Scotland).

Photo of crazyc1
3.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

I was introduced to this very mellow beer at a relatively young age and unlike most beers which i used to drink back then, i have not been put off it.

It is a fairly weak beer but i enjoy how it doesn't leave you bloated due to it not being particularly fizzy. It leaves a sweet taste in your mouth making you lust for more, so is easily drinkable.

It is pretty popular here in Scotland, although south of the border i am not too sure, but i find it unlikely to be so widespread.

Photo of kmo1030
3.76/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

really nice looking beer, with a thick super creamy head that lasts to the bottom of the glass, with lacing all the way down. mild nutty slightly smokey smell. nice and mild malts nuttyness with a liottle bit of that smoke in there, real mild hops that aren't very distinctive, but present. mouthfeel is the very thinner side of medium, but well suited i think. the drinkability here is very high, it looks great has a good taste, and is low on the alcohol, i feel like i could put 6 of these away and not even notice. i would like to see a little more power behing the taste though.

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Belhaven Best from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
76 out of 100 based on 140 ratings.