Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
85
very good
887 Reviews
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
Reviews:
887
Ratings:
2,023
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
20.32%
 
 
Wants:
76
Gots:
324
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 887 | Ratings: 2,023
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.

 632 characters

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

 196 characters

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.

 2,016 characters

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.

 908 characters

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.

 201 characters

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.

 723 characters

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.

 666 characters

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.

 278 characters

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.

 493 characters

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.

 1,038 characters

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.

 367 characters

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.

 372 characters

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.

 241 characters

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!

 475 characters

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.

 503 characters

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.

 695 characters

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.

 216 characters

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

L:
-pours a clear deep copper-brown with a big,frothy,offwhite head
-medium to high carbonation visible
S:
-biscuity,spicy,grassy,fruitcake,slight caramel,slight toffee,nutty
T:
-caramel,toffee,chocolate,spicy,grassy
F:
-medium carbonation
-light body
O:
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.

 236 characters

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.

 893 characters

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.

 583 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 2,023 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe