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Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

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very good
880 Reviews
Belhaven Scottish AleBelhaven Scottish Ale

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

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: 880 | Ratings: 2,009
Photo of WalterFeegis
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Our beer sommelier at the local package store off I-40 Exit 101 in Arkansas recommended this after I asked for a good dark alternative to the usual's. He was absolutely right in putting me on this. This is my favorite. Great flavor from this medium colored ale.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light brown in color, some darker red to the edges of the beer. The aroma is rather mute.

Taste reveals a hint of smoke, peat, earth. Very smooth, light bodied. Low carbonation. I guess the smoke and peat distinguish this from a regular brown ale.

I'm sure this is someone's jam, but it really just isn't something that kicks down a lot of flavor country. And that's all good I guess, but I dunno, biscuits and nuts, and all that jazz. . . if you're a malt or toffee head I guess.

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Photo of FBarber
3.94/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby colored brown. Clear and crisp to the eye. Not much of a head outside of some momentary foam.

Smell is very malty with some toffee notes. Nutty aromas are noted with a light earthy hop aroma on the back end.

Flavor is quite nice with some toffee and nutty malts up front. Nice and bready. Gives way to a balanced yet noticeable earthy hop backbone. Hints of vanilla and oak are noted with some rustic bread flavors on the finish. Very mellow aftertaste lingers on the palette with hints of bready toffee malts.

Feel is light and crisp yet its very smooth. Incredibly drinkable with medium carbonation.

Overall a really nice Scotch ale. This is an outstanding example of the style and a rock solid beer.

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Photo of lwcreasy
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Deep copper with an off-white, coarse head (about a half an inch.) I'm drinking this from a bottle, no-nitro.

Various strong malt aromas greet the nose- caramel, shortbread, angel-food spongecake. Background smells of nut and cola, with a hint of smokiness.

The taste is again malt-forward and slightly nutty. Toffee, lady fingers, and shortbread are predominant, with also a soupçon of breadcrumbs and a sweet and sticky soda, Dr. Pepper comes to mind. Very, very, very low bitterness. Barely noticeable.

Medium, but feels kinda thick due to the lack of substantial carbonation. Residually sweet and slightly slick on the tongue.

A good and malty, sweet ale.

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Photo of edward_boumil
3.81/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L: Copper colored with red tinge. Nice offwhite head
S: Toffee, caramel, toasted sweet bread, nutty
T: Repeat of the nose, with a touch of hop bitterness on the finish. Toasty and malty with a molasses like sweetness.
F: Light, refreshing, a little body to it but goes back pretty easy with a lot of flavor.
O: Great beer, something that has a beautiful malt flavor for those looking to take a break from hop bombs for a bit. Nothing is bold and assertive, everything is very well balanced.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear copper-ish amber in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation and faint reddish brown highlights. The beer has a finger tall thick creamy light beige head (after the initial nitro cascade settles) which slowly reduces to large patch of thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Slightly heavier than moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of caramel malts and slightly nutty malts with a light amount of earthy hop aromas.

T: Upfront there is a moderate flavor of caramel + slightly toasted malts with a light amount of caramel sweetness. That is followed by a light flavor of nutty malts and a light flavor of earthy malts which impart a light amount of bitterness which fades away pretty quickly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

O: Easy to drink, enjoyable, and sessionable with well hidden alcohol. Nitro can makes this one even smoother and creamier. Definitely one to enjoy.

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Photo of 60sFolks
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of 14.9 oz can. Brown, but not dark in color. Looks inviting.
Nice 1/2 inch, rich, white head. Surprisingly not much to smell (and I do not have cold). The head is creamy to my lips and pallet. Taste of cream even past the head. The feel is heavy, but goes down easy. With Led Zeppelin crying "Help I'm A Rock" I am enjoying this very drinkable ale.

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Photo of Flounder57
4.02/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

14.9 oz can was poured into a notice glass.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a puffy layer. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank. It is a copper amber color with great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Caramel, toasted, biscuity, nutty, and bready malts with some herbal notes in the rear.

Taste: The flavor on the palate is on part with the aroma. Some chewy notes in there too.

Mouthfeel: Super smooth, light bodied, medium carbonation, and a little chewy.

Overall: I've had this several times before. Surprised that I never reviewed it. Done with that and looking forward to the next can.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Medium amber color with off-white head. Aroma is really malt forward with nice caramel and dark sugar. Taste follows malt forward, definitely on the sweet side with a dark sugar note but also slightly hoppy and bitter on the finish, just to balance everything out. Body is quite light with the right amount of carbonation. Overall it's an easy drinking, malt forward beer.

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

Canned with the nitrogen widget. Looks great with a thick white head. Not much to smell, I can't detect anything. Taste is a bit light for a scotch ale and the feel is thin for a nitro widget. Overall it's very drinkable but not spectacular.

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Photo of jmv0009
4.71/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

L- dark brown with very thin head that lingers.
S- delicious cherries and raisins and dates.
T- a nice roasty, smokey flavor mixes with the cherry and raisin flavors. Chocolaty and nutty too. A little bit of a strange bitter aftertaste that doesn't blend all that well with the malty flavor but it is a slight and fading taste.
F- medium to full bodied, feels stronger than 5.2% too.
O- Delicious beer one of my new favorites. Love good drinkable malty beer. Hail Scotland!

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Photo of erk0607
3.92/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Cherry brown with abundant white lacing and swriling head remnants
Smell: Strange. Malt, caramel, grain, bread, sugar
Taste: Very malty, strong, nuts, some smokineiess. Alcohol is only 5.2% but I get some of that too.
Feel: On the heavy side. This impressed me for the lightness and clarity of the beer. Thick and frothy on the tongue.
Overall: Interesting beer. Would I get again... probably not unless someone asked what an example of a real Scottish ale was like. Then I'd have no problem.

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Photo of JustLikeMyDad
3.51/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Recommended by a friend who said this was inspiration for an ale in his novel.

Poured into a beer mug, felt it appropriate for an ale.
Pours a small foam head which dissipates as quickly as it comes, but lingers on the edges.

Looks dark, depending on the light, like coffee, or caramel, or root beer.

Smells of roasted (barley) malts.

Tastes strong in the roasted malts, reminds me of something made for the fall months.
Has a bitterish aftertaste which isn't strong or last very long. Almost a perfect balance for the bitter.

Drinks smooth, but not creamy.

Overall, I think it's quite delicious and a well crafted brew. My first "Scottish Ale" and a recommendation that I can agree with.

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Photo of Beers-es
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle, pours a dark brown-amber. Smells mostly like sweet malt. Taste is heavy on malt, barely any hops. Not overly sweet in spite of the malt emphasis. It's a well-made beer, but not a huge fan of the style.

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Photo of drmeto
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

-pours a clear deep copper-brown with a big,frothy,offwhite head
-medium to high carbonation visible
-biscuity,spicy,grassy,fruitcake,slight caramel,slight toffee,nutty
-medium carbonation
-light body
An uncomplicated,highly drinkable Ale with enough flavour

 312 characters

Photo of Dave1999
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a light brown/amber colour with a thick white head.

The smell is toffee, roasted malts.

The taste is caramel, toffee, nuts.

This was a pub widget can, the body almost nitro like with low carbonation.

Overall an excellent beer.

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

Poured at 48°F from a 11.2oz bottle into a Thistle. Consumed on 01Mar16.
LOOK: Copper in color with a slight cloudiness. There is a moderate amount of small rising bubbles. Lacing is very thick and subtle in quantity
SMELL: Mild aromas of sweetened black tea and tree nuts are backed by subtle toffee and earthy and floral hop aromas. Hints of smoked goodness can also be smelt.
TASTE: Strong tree but flavors first strike the palate and are immediately followed by strong flavors of toffee. Mild floral hop, spicy hop (didn't smell those), and subtle earthy hop flavors next make their debut into the palate. Finally, mild sweetened black tea flavors and hints of smoked goodness enter as all previous flavors maintain.
FEEL: Somehwere between medium-bodied and full-bodied. Subtly carbonated. Goes down smooth and somewhat creamy. Finishes with a strong, and somewhat unpleasant, dryness.

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Photo of HerbGuy42
5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the benchmark by which I judge all other beers in the same category, and one of the best examples of a balanced beer I have ever come across.

The clarity of this beer is excellent, its light caramel-brown appearance attractive. Pours a worthy head with decent staying power.

Malty, slightly biscuity & caramel notes greet the nose and, after a bold hop blast of flavor to the tongue, one is reintroduced to the same malt, biscuit, & caramel notes on the palate. Maybe even the slightest hints of toastiness. Nice, smooth mouthfeel. Such perfect balance. So drinkable.

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Photo of ctylinebeer
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 oz. widget can poured into a nonic glass. Picked up in a bottle shop. Quite the opening sound if you ask me.

L - Medium dark brown color with a clear hue. Thick creamy, durable foam head. Nice lacing on the glass. Cascade not too vigorous in the glass. Poured very nicely.

S - Smells like Scotland. Toasted caramel malts, maple syrup, sweet tree sap. Nonic hinders the aroma.

T - Caramelized malts, almost similar to Marzens. Hints of chocolate also. Really smooth and dark, exceptional. No aggressive aftertaste, nice chocolate-caramel finish. Other notes: oatmeal, toasted wheat bread, hazelnut, coffee Nutella......yes, Nutella

F - No carbonation at all. Really smooth and velvety texture. Light-medium heavy body, almost stout-like. Clean and smooth, not so much as crisp. Wow.

O - To anyone else, this is a flat beer. I have had carbonated Scotch ales before but nitro is way to go. Really smooth and dark, really excellent beer. I'd to compare it to a combination between a porter and a marzen. Awesome beer.

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Photo of troyvar
4.41/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a 16oz SA glass at about 45 degrees F. Very clear, dark orange/copper with a cream color head. Surprised that it comes in at 5.2% ABV but certainly not disappointed. Oddly, I see no tiny carbonation bubbles, the head didn't last very long but lacing on the glass stays the course. Rich, malty taste and the mouthfeel is very smooth, smells earthy. Definitely happy with this one, was a pick six member and will be on my short list of Scotch Ales.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Happy New Beer! Now that we’ve got that out of the way our first review of the new year is this fine Scottish Ale from Belhaven, a brewer from East Lothian that I became well acquainted with while living in Edinburgh (Lothian being the region Edinburgh is located in and Belhaven being a brewer that you can find on most taps in the city). Scottish Ales are renowned for their full malt profile, and I love a good malty ale, so hopefully old pros like Belhaven have nailed the style, as I’m certain they have, air do shlàinte!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Classic Scottish Ale clear caramel body which could almost be mistaken for a whiskey except for: bubbles and a thin off-white lace blanket on top. Pretty spot-on to the style. More head would be nice [wouldn’t it just?] but otherwise this is a fine looking brew. 8/10.

S: Nutty malts up front and smeared all over my snout like a beery peanut butter. Following this are caramel/toffee notes, a hint of fresh baked bread, and hops? A touch of earthiness in there must be hop related because there is naught much else. So a big malt driven ale as warranted given the style, nice! 8/10.

T: Sweet, creamy and nutty. In that order. The balance is skewed invariably towards sweet with almost overbearing caramel/toffee notes - however that is the Scottish Ale way - you will either love it or hate it [I luv it]. 8/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a light UK pub carbonation... this beer would be awesome on nitro tap (or even in nitro can). 7/10.

D: This is a total trip down beer memory lane going back to 2001 Edinburgh, the Fringe festival, the many ales consumed whilst The Proclaimers blared out over the tavern PA, Flower of Scotland sung out by proud pub patrons - what a time and place to be alive - this beer nails it (probably because it was one of the brews I drank over there). Nostalgia out of the way - if you’re looking for a classic representation of the Scottish Ale style, which is a sweet malty ale with near non-existent hops, then this should be at or near the top of your list. O Fhlùir na h-Alba, cuin a chì sinn an seòrsa laoich! 8/10.

Food match: This brew would go great with a cheese platter or hearty Cullen skink followed by a roast beef or lamb dish.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From notes 3 years old: Pours a semi-clear, orange brown with a huge light tan head leaving a nice coating of lace. Aroma is creamy toffee, malty, butter, nuts, slight hop notes. Taste is caramel/toffee, butter, some chocolate, roasted nuts & dark fruit with hoppy undertones & slight bitterness. The nitro can draught is more flavorful than the bottle.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
2.6/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color: dark amber, clear. Foam color somewhere between ecru and orange.
Aroma: caramel, sweet and bland.
Taste: caramel, toffee, and again bland.
Gentian: delicate. Saturation: average plus.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This was poured into an English pub styled glass.
The appearance was a hazy burnt dark orange to ruddy brown color with a thick creamy foamy head that sat atop of the beer for a good minute and a half. Lingering sticky lace eventually slides down into the beer.
The smell started off with earthy sweet caramel and toffee malts. Light raisins and bread bounce together underneath my nose.
The taste copied the smell nicely. Light peat, smoke and toast come in for the balance. Lingers in the aftertaste and slides into the finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium in body with a sly sessionably malty sweet stickiness, not cloying but nice.
Overall, to me, I say this was a wonderful interpretation of a Scottish ale, true to style and good to me. Definitely would have with some fish n'chips.

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Photo of MrIncognito
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahagony body with a tan head. Muted aromas of sweet bready malt and raisins.

Taste is sweet and malty with a light hop bitterness. Slight raisin flavor

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Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,009 ratings.
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