Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

very good
901 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: 901 | Ratings: 2,060
Photo of Premo88
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 1 | overall: 3.75

16 oz. nitro can poured into tall mug

L: classic nitro look, the murky tan/brown beer mixing around until it becomes a thick, creamy beige head of foam on top of a crystal clear amber beer ... might be a bit of debris in beer, but it's still very clear; no stick or lace off head

S: buttery peach kolache, donuts ... amazing malt bomb

T: peach, bread malt, pinch of earthy something to balance ... no peat but the earthy flavor has a dirt-hop bite to it

F: nitro flat ... creamy and ale slick and flat, not overly heavy

O: tasty beer and this nitro version compares well to all of the other nitro beers I've tried; I know we're all supposed to be amazed by the attempt at mimicking a cask ale, but without carbonation, my American palate struggles to get it ... the look, aroma and flavor are great, but flat is flat, and I'm still a ways away from appreciating that aspect of the beer; I'd drink a carbonated version of this beer like water

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

Had on tap at an airport pub. Incredible cascade in a Belhaven pint glass that eventually settled into a nice body and head. A little lighter and thinner than what I'm used to in the genre, but I could readily admit that this is the real shiznit.

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Photo of jrsqc7
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Beautiful nitro cascading and decent head after it all settles down. Decent lacing and a pretty clear ruddy amber.

Flavor begins with modest bready malts which transition to fruity which become more overripe as the brew warms. Nitro is nitro smooth.

Good but not great by any means.

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

I purchased this one yesterday in a supermarket around here. Poured the 33cl bottle into a Pelforth tulip. Pours a 2inches head fading quickly. Smell and taste very good. 3.60€ for a sixer is rather cheap and well worth it

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Photo of mmmbeer89
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

If it had a richer flavor I would've ranked it a little higher, It does have a good flavor but it's also a little watery so that takes away from the flavor. Still a really good beer though.

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Photo of KLHBB
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not as much flavor as I had expected or hoped for. Kind of thin and watery. Maybe I have a rogue bottle, I'll try again. Jewel tone brown, smells of toast, taste is fine---just no oomph.

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Photo of Jacobob10
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

14.9 oz can.

Pours deep amber in color with a cascading effect - thanks to the nitro can - that eventually gives way to a brilliantly clean body. Small, creamy off-white head that shows great retention throughout the duration of the beer. Sparse lacing on the glass.

Toasted malt aroma that is somewhat mild and subdued. Caramel, toffee, and cocoa round things out. No sign of hops to speak of. The flavor packs a ton of rich malt flavor and is heavier than the aroma would suggest. It's bready and toasty with the slightest hint of fruit, possibly from the hops, but the focus is completely on the malt.

Medium bodied, it feels a little thin for the amount of malt flavor it has to support. Finishes a little dry with almost zero carbonation and a creamy texture.

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Photo of Lembeh
4.37/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of nitro can to a celebration of fine bubbles that form a thick creamy head. Smells like bready malts, baguette, cereal grains. The taste is rich malts, some tea like qualities, corn flakes, bittering hops in the end. Mouthfeel is luxurious thanks to the nitro. Very enjoyable, could drink a few of these at a bar.

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Photo of Xanax37
2.68/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My brothers, I'm not going to give you a bull-shite review. This beer is (barely) drinkable, but you better have a damn sweet tooth. It taste so damn sweet it's nauseating to me. I keep trying to like this beer, but if I've a choice...something else gets my dime. I think these gents giving it a high rating also give peters...aka dicks...aka a penis...a high rating.

Fair notice...Guinness Stout and Sam Adams Double-Bock are my baseline standards to judge other beers.

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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.

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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.

 831 characters

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.

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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.

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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 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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Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,060 ratings.
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