Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

very good
892 Reviews
Belhaven Scottish AleBelhaven Scottish Ale

Brewed by:
Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

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: 892 | Ratings: 2,036
Photo of GrumpyGas
4.58/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle pours a dark amber color and floats a cream colored 1/4 in head that quickly dissipates to a slight cap. Minimal lacing behind.
Aroma is toffee, caramel, sweet malt and the flavor matches. The nutty toffee flavor and the perfectly creamy mouthfeel are well matched. Biscuit malt with vanilla, oak, and barely a whiff of alcohol.
Feel leans light, low carbonation, and a wet, but not oily finish.
Overall this is a solid, well-brewed Scottish Ale.

 461 characters

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

Poured into pint out of nitro can. This is an exceptionally balanced British pale ale/bitter with the more unusual nut brown character, which is slight compared to American nut browns. If comparing to bold flavors of American micros, this beer may seem strange. For the British and overall European ideal of balance, this is a great beer.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
4.83/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

With an amber color, it has flavors of syrupy toffee and biscuit and slight dried fruits. The mouthfeel and aftertaste is refreshingly light, with a finish that nicely smoky. This is probably due to the refreshing water used to brew the beer. This beer is similar to the Alley Cat from Lost Coast Brewing Company in the US, but balanced without so much hops.

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Photo of hman43
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: It pours amber and has excellent clarity. It has a creamy off white head.

Smell: It has a malty sweet aroma highlighted by the caramel and bread, There are also low aromas of butterscotch and pear.

Taste: It has dominate flavors of caramel and bread. There are background light notes of butterscotch, pear, and hints of herbal. The balance is towards the malts.

Feel: It has a moderate body with a creamy feel to the overall presentation, moderate-low bitterness, and moderate-low carbonation.

Overall, this is a malt balance ale. It features the caramel and bread with other flavors and aromas in the background.

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Photo of CC93
4.76/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received it from draft, also drunk it from a bottle. When bottled: poured into a 20oz stein glass. Will have to review via memory, so not everything will be there.

Bottled: A golden brown colour with a nice, 2 inch foamy head.
Draft: Similar, if not a little dark.

Smell: Malty; very common with Scottish ales and teas.

Taste: Malty flavour. Unable to remember much else. From the bottle, it has a bit of spice into it, and is accentuated from the carbonation. Bottled is strongly similar to Newcastle Brown Ale.

Feel: Draft: Very smooth, very delicate. The foamy head accentuates the smooth feeling.

Overall: One of the most sippable ales I have had in my life. Getting it from draft is much, MUCH better than the bottled, but its bottled kind is good, but the bottled kind is easily comparable to Newcastle Brown Ale.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Clear copper color with tons of glass clinging activity. Slightly creamy beige 2 finger head, lasting around 5-10 minutes, with faint legs. Flavors of walnuts, caramel, coffee, nutmeg, dark roasted grains like barley, raspberries, honey, herbal spices. Sugary bread feel with low sharpness, but spicy flowery hops. Slick oily medium body with soft crispy carbonation. Light to medium strength finish, lingering toffee feel with burnt malts and residual leafy hops. Quite tasty and pleasant. Good freshness and well balanced. Would be better with a smoother heavier body. Accessible while fully flavored. Overall high quality craft.

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Photo of tlema1
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: bright Amber, with a thick billowing, lacing tan head
S: light caramel, not much on the nose
T: biscuit, caramel, a touch of earthy hops
F: very creamy, light body
O: poured from a widget can

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

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; the last of six included in their "Merry Craftmas" sampler pack. Best before Sept 2017 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a deep, clear amber-bronze colour, producing nearly an inch of soapy, off white-tinged head that melts away over the next couple of minutes. A thin, bubbly cap coats the surface afterwards, ringed by a creamy collar of foam. The aroma has a floral, leafy bent to it courtesy of the hop bill, with underlying sweet hints of toffee, toasted nuts and grainy bread. Very subdued on the nose, with a low-key bouquet that opens up only slightly as it warms (and reminds me more of a bitter than a Scottish ale, to boot).

Not bad - a pretty well-crafted British-style brew, but not much an attention grabber. The malts get more of a chance to show what they're made of here - biscuity and bready, with tempered toffee and butterscotch sweetness that blends nicely with hints of tree nuts and plummy/dark fruit preserve. Things get a bit more earthy and herbal on the back end, though the biscuity malts remain present into the aftertaste, which ends somewhat abruptly. Light-ish in body, with moderate carbonation levels that might be a little too assertive for this style - it feels prickly and crisp, but I prefer a smoother, mellower texture with my Scottish ales. Still, this one grew on me a little as I made my way through the glass - perhaps I just served it too cold?

Final Grade: 3.57, a B grade. Belhaven's flagship Scottish Ale is an acceptable British-style brew that probably won't turn too many heads. I'm a little shocked at how highly this one has been rated in the past - maybe this bottle is getting old (doubtful, given the BB date), or maybe it's just the herd effect? Or maybe the recipe has changed over the years? Who knows? Certainly not me. As it stands, this is a passable beer that I would drink and (probably) purchase again in the future, but nothing about it is really impressing me, so I can't give it anything more than a passable grade.

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Photo of SaltofOH
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nitro can dated 6035 (February 4, 2016). Nonic pint.

A: pours a clear, dark Amber with 3 fingers off white frothy head cascading and eventually settling into 1/4 inch white froth that lasts forever. No visible carb. Excellent lacing.

S: a little butterscotch, but not much else. Maybe a little sour/smoky tang at the end.

T: arrives as a dark toasted bread, with hints of butterscotch and some woodsy, earthy hops across the middle and perhaps a hint of smoke right before it transitions to a clean, slightly tart, and very astringent ending.

M: heavier end of light bodied, very well attenuated and astringent.

O: this seems lighter than the last time I had it, but it is quite enjoyable, and very "authentic" on nitro. Quotes because I've never been to Scotland, but this is how I imagine beer would taste there. This is really good beer for food. I can see this going with thanksgiving dinner. I might buy it again, might even buy the carbonated to compare, but I would take an American brown ale over this five times out of seven. It is to style, for sure, just an odd style - malty, slightly sweet, astringent, attenuated, low carbonation.

 1,149 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.17/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

330 ml bottle served cold into a chalice. Purchased as part of the Merry Craftmas holiday pack,

Appearance - dark amber or honey brown in color. Small amount of foamy head that doesn't last long and leaves some wisps of foam in the glass. Good clarity.

Smell - not much of anything on the nose. Some faint graininess and caramel or butterscotch sweetness but the nose is really non-existent. Some sourness on the nose initially too.

Taste - not a lot here either, but some subtle bitterness initially with some toffee and butterscotch following up the initial impression.

Mouthfeel - smooth, lightly carbonated and a sweet syrupy body although less so than you would think with the relatively thin flavor too.

Overall - not a bad beer, but given the high expectations from reviews this didn't quite live up to expectations. Still not a bad beer but I preferred the oatmeal stout and the Speyside blonde.

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Photo of seansean95
4.64/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: pretty amber hues with a single finger head that remains the entire time.

Smell: fruity, biscuity malts with a hint of spice.

Taste: almost identical to smell.

Feel: smooth gentle carbonation.

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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.

 264 characters

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.

 490 characters

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 soup├žon 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 ordybill
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass at the World of Beer in Columbus, SC. The appearance is a a clear, light-brown color with a medium sized white head. The aroma is full of malt and alcohol. The taste is mostly toasted malt with a small amount of hops. A good 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.

 677 characters

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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Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,036 ratings.
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