Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

BA SCORE
85
very good
2,084 Ratings
Belhaven Scottish AleBelhaven Scottish Ale
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
2,084
Reviews:
905
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
13.46%
 
 
Wants:
80
Gots:
356
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 2,084 |  Reviews: 905
Photo of Travcofarms
1/5  rDev -73.6%

Photo of MattNelson
1/5  rDev -73.6%

Photo of JLapadura
1/5  rDev -73.6%

Photo of Annette_Esperanza
1/5  rDev -73.6%

Photo of BeerManDan
1.54/5  rDev -59.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bought a six pack and after popping the cap on the first bottle, I poured the rest down the drain!

Poured a nice dark golden brown with very little foam. But, then after that, it was all downhill. The smell was a sort of sour aroma with a hint of malt.

The taste was awlful. The first and second sips had the flavor of this beer being brewed in a vat full of vinyl or a vinyl vat. I swear that this beer had a sour vinyl flavor. What a waste of beer and my money for a below, sub-standard beer.

 501 characters

Photo of ironwill54
1.75/5  rDev -53.8%

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.

 264 characters

Photo of MadeInOregon
1.8/5  rDev -52.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

If this is one of the best examples of a Scottish ale, then I definitely do not dig this style. After trying Belhaven's Scottish Ale I'm also thinking that the beers I've had which I thought were "Scottish ales" were probably wee heavys since they tasted nothing like this...but, hey, this is how ya learn.

The Belhaven Scottish Ale that I had came in their very nice 500ml bottle. Clear glass, nice clean label--really classy stuff. Poured out, it is a clear, brownish bronze color with a nice 1.5" sea foamy head. It looks nice and crisp. So far so good.

THE SMELL, however, instantly ruined this one for me. As others have mentioned, this beer has a VERY strong vinegar aroma to it. I suppose this is a result of this style's brewing process, but, man, this is a bit overpowering. I hadn't even had a sip yet and was still about 2 feet away from the opened bottle and cup and all I could smell was a rather awful odor of leak, pickles, sauerkraut, etc., filling my kitchen. In other words: semi-rotten vegetables. Holding the cup up to my nose, the smell was still vinegary but also that of a cheap, adjunct lager. Interesting, but unpleasant.

THE TASTE, to me, was basically of a bad brown ale. That vinegary smell was the first taste to hit me, then transitioning to a light smoky chocolate malt quality, and finishing with an admittedly nice hoppy bite. Unfortunately the mixture of all these very different flavors resulted in an overall flavor of vinegar + ashtrays. This is truly an acquired taste!

THE FEEL is just OK. It's probably the highlight of the actual drinking experience. I don't really have much else to say about that.

CONCLUSION: I was expecting something rich and sweet so I was quite disappointed with this one. I'm not sure if this is how a "Scottish ale" should taste so I can't rate it too low, but I can say that I really didn't like this. After the initial disappointment I tried to take it for what it is, but just couldn't get into it. This one was a waste of $3.79. Bleh.

 2,009 characters

Photo of TheMrFarnham
2/5  rDev -47.2%

Photo of mralbertson
2/5  rDev -47.2%

Photo of klmcmachen
2/5  rDev -47.2%

Photo of MattFox
2/5  rDev -47.2%

Photo of Sammy
2.06/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Not much taste, didn't like it, couldn't finish it. Rich scotch colour. Tried to warm it up to room temperature, but didn't help. No aroma. Mettalic and other off-tastes, and aggressive carbonation. Taste could have faded with age, though we don't think so. Thanks Radek, originally from OKbeer.

 295 characters

Photo of josanguapo
2.08/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.75

From Carrefour Huelva. In Teku glass. Playing Millenium 2. Smells like a cheap industrial. Tastes a bit sour, like if contamined.

129 characters

Photo of emmasdad
2.13/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Tried some of this one last night at Fresh Craft, and was thoroughly unimpressed. Poured a clear copper color, with a decent white head on top. Aromas of toffee, nuts and sweet malt. On the palate, this one was thin and watery, and really lacking in any distinctive flavor. The ABV listed on the menu was 3.9%, so I am left wondering if the draft version is watered down for the Guinness crowd. Not good.

 404 characters

Photo of JDV
2.13/5  rDev -43.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Reddy brown pour with offwhite head that hung around for a bit. Not a fan of the smell of this at all, and was different from any other "bitter" style beer. Wasn't bitter at all, but smelled and tasted kind of sour and sweetish at the same time. Almost a sour and sweet chocolate-ish flavor but not in the way a stout is chocolately. All in all this was slightly drinkable but I wouldn't do it again on purpose.

 411 characters

Photo of Noelito76
2.25/5  rDev -40.6%

Photo of ygtbsm94
2.25/5  rDev -40.6%

Photo of msturek
2.25/5  rDev -40.6%

Photo of MichaelBigbone
2.25/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

color: light orangish brown, very clear
head: whitish/light brown, decent lacing
smell: skunky, malty
taste: surprising after that skunky smell (which may be due to the clear bottle), after a second sip or three the malt really is distinct. the mouthfeel is a little watery and you can almost taste the alcohol eventhough it's not a super strong beer.

Overall: average, I like my ales a bit heavier

 400 characters

Photo of TheAlamoWrocker
2.26/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed December 15, 2011. Poured a nitro-can into a Pint glass.

A: I have no clue on where to say this head actually was, it did an amazing receding type move filling up the entire glass and them coming to. Where it actually stopped at was an a nice creamy thick white one fingered head . This carries an extremely clear amber appearance.

S: Those malts are pretty nice here. It also had a nice toffee aroma as well.

T: Toasty Malts are easily what come up first with some back of caramel.

M: The lasting head gives it an extremely creamy taste, but I know it's not true it's just that nitro-can's head. The thinness of the body is atrocious though.

O: I have no clue why this is rated so hghly when I've had Oktoberfest that have the same taste to it. The thinness is the true killer here because it feels like water and with it's taste this just isn't appealing.

 876 characters

Photo of Faisal
2.27/5  rDev -40.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Photo of Weizenmensch
2.37/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 3

Within date, not my favourite style but I tried it because it's cheap. I almost never like Scotch ales but I thought I'd give it a go... more or less against my better judgement.

A: Not bad, very thin head, lots of circle-lacing - not a proper spread but fairly good for the style. Colour is dark amber-nutbrown. Carbonation low.

S: Probably fairly average for the style. I hate this style so I haven't drunk any in a few years, but this is OK - not particularly offensive because I'm being friendly to a style I'm not so fond of. Fond is a Scottish word so fuck it, it's getting a 3.0.

T: Mostly tastes like bad water. There's hops, some kind of fucked-up malt they don't use in civilised countries that makes it taste beer-flavoured, but otherwise it's pretty miserable, like your average Scot. Perhaps it tastes like a really hoppy, sour shortbread. What do you think?

M: Mouthfeel is just like pure water. Even my girlfriend who doesn't know better, agrees.

D: Well, it's cheap, I'm a tightarse so whatever, it gets a three.

Overall: This reminded me to avoid anything Scottish, apart from Macallan, Highland Park and Aberlour.

 1,149 characters

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.

 359 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
2.38/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at Pizza Paradiso - Georgetown.

Pours a moderately light toffee color with an off white head. Tiny bits of lacing. Nose brings forward toffee and caramel with a bit of butterscotch. Taste is overwhelmed by butterscotch and toffee without any particular amount of sweetness. I am not actually sure whether this was any amount of diacetyl, as it was not off putting in that particular manner and did not have the off buttered popcorn-type flavor. It might just be that this particular version of the style really does not suit me. Feel is light with fairly low carbonation. I just couldn't get past the taste on this.

 623 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,084 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Learn More