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 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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear copper with a foamy tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, nuts, and a slight caramel aroma. Taste is much the same with a nice malt flavor that lingers on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

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

perhaps my favorite beer in the nitro can. this one pours the sexiest of dark copper tones, with a glorious nitro tap looking milky white froth head with damn fine retention. yummy! the nose is dry malt in the middle of the spectrum and some very simple and to the point ale yeast. some mineral aromatics too, very organic nature to this. the flavor is also decidedly malt forward, and while the finish is a tad on the bitter side, its not from hops as far as I can tell, but rather the combination of well toasted cereal grains and the nitro can, which always bitters a beer up a little on my palate, maybe just me... mouthfeel of course makes this one, with a milkshake style foaminess to it and a delicate character despite being extremely full bodied and quite rich actually. maybe three cans is the right amount of this, as any more might get filling and any less seems to not quite get to the heart of my thirst. perfectly suited to the nitro can, this is one of my favorite regular imports.

edit: far worse actually from the nitro tap than from the can, bumping down overall score a peg for that, its metallic and thin and stale tasting. i much prefer the can.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.56/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out as a golden color with really nice nitro charged head on it. The lacing is quite good on this beer. The smell is a bit mild, smells fresh and kind of creamy there are some grains on the nose that are pleasant. The taste is light but had a pretty good malt base with a pretty good bitter finish. The mouthfeel was creamy and light. Definitely a nice brew to try.

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Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: It poured clear amber in color with a thick, creamy white head. A moderate level of carbonation is visible; the head retention is very good.
S: The smell isn't very pronounced but has aromas of caramel malts and earthy hops.
T: There's a rich flavor of malts in the taste along with some hints of nutty and smoky flavors.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate.
D: This beer is easy to drink and quite sessionable.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.49/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very cloudy mahogany light brown color, huge head to it with tons of lacing. Mouthfeel is pretty good, body a bit on the thin side, but wicked smooth. A nice malty taste here with a bit of the smokiness/nuttiness to it typical of the style. While not as over the top as Old Chub (which is an amazing beer), this seems like the baseline of Scottish ales. Won't blow you away with flavor but its beautiful in the glass and incredibly smooth.. glad I got to try it.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A standard and a favorite. Clear ruby in color, pours a thick creamy head that lasted til the last sip (expected for the nitro tap) Mild aromas of caramel, toffee, barley with a tad bit of hop detection and subtle sourness. Tastes wonderful of toffee, caramel, maple syrup, and perhapse vanilla. Moderate roundness in the mouth and rapidly tapers toward the finish. Becomes a bit watery, but fine for style. Finishes clean and disipates expenintually to a mildly bitter dryness. Very easily drinkable.

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Photo of brentk56
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with beige highlights; a bounteous head that leaves plenty of foamy lacing behind

Smell: Caramel malt and earthy peat aromas

Taste: Starts out with an earthy, peaty flavor that builds in butterscotch and smokiness; primarily malty as you would expect, but there is defintely some balance to this brew; a little acrid on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, a touch slick with good carbonation

Drinkability: A decent enough brew for a malty change

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Photo of largadeer
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - A dark, clear amber. Typical ultra-rich nitro head with really sticky lace.

Smell - Caramel and butterscotch, floral hops.

Taste & mouthfeel - Sweet and caramelly with a buttery quality; a bit mineral as well. Mild hop bitterness in the finish. Very slick mouthfeel. Medium-bodied with fairly still carbonation. The creamy head adds a bit of richness to the body.

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Photo of emerge077
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Eggshell foam, nice webby lacing, with a burnt copper body. A good 1-2 fingers of foam from the 1st pour.

Aroma is earthy and peaty, with a clear display of nutty malt, also walnuts.

Caramel, dark malts, vaguely earthy. Dry earthy hops in the finish (Fuggles?) very understated with a dry nutty finish. Malty feel, medium-bodied with good carbonation. Lighter in body actually, and not really cloying. Could easily have 1-2 at a time, it's more flavorful at cellar temperature.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.42/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Clear glass (for feck's sake!) bottle with standard pressure cap served into a generic hefeweissbier glass in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. I really enjoyed this beer from the tap and can, so I'm excited to finally officially review it.

First off, as a general note the clear glass bottle is inexcusable. If there were a presentation category, I'd take huge points off here. No self-respecting brewer would allow this sort of irresponsible bottling. Leave this nonsense to Corona.

A: Pours a three finger head of decent cream, good thickness, and okay retention. I'm deeply disappointed that this doesn't live up to my memory of the creamy head of the canned version; perhaps it was a nitro can? Either way, I'm disappointed. The colour is an auburn/dark copper. I'm excited to try it.

Sm: The aroma is quite strong. Toasted malt and nutty hops are all I detect, however.

T: A toasted malt body with stale horribly handled cream and some strangely handled nutty hops. What a damned disappointment. Badly balanced and built. The stale cream needs to go. Why not nitro-bottle this shite, guys? Come on, now.

Mf: It's smooth, wet, stale, and creamy (but only properly creamy right on the finish). Not too thick. It doesn't complement the flavours of the body.

Dr: I'll have to review this from the can, because I remember being dazzled by the head. This was a huge disappointment. It's drinkable, but I'd never buy it again - at least not the bottled form.

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Photo of zeff80
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a cloudy orange color with a creamy, off-white one-finger head never really disappeared.

S - It smelled of corriander, malt and a grassy/hoppy quality.

T - It tasted of yeast and a subtle maltiness. Slight bitter aftertaste.

M - It is very soft and very creamy, like a good cocoa. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - A very nice beer. An excellent representation of the style. Nothing amazing in terms of flavors but a good taste that goes down easy.

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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.

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Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 6/27/2013. Pours slightly cloudy reddish copper color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with some moderate streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, toast, bread, pear, apple, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with balanced bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop notes; with decent strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown bread, light nuttiness, light roast, herbal, grass, light pear/apple, and yeast earthiness. Slight earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, light roast, light nuttiness, light pear/apple, herbal, grass, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness and balance of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast fruitiness; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Scottish ale. Good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, earthy hops, and light-moderate yeast fruitiness; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Two fingers of off white head with decent retention and good lace. Clear, copper-amber body.

S - Moderate malty aroma with some caramel aroma. Slight roast note, no hops.

T - Malty with a good bit of caramel and some roasty/ smoky notes. Light hop flavor and slight diactyl.

M - Medium body with moderately high carbonation and a dry, chalky finish.

D - Very drinkable. Lots of dark malt. Not overly complex, but a great example of the style.

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Photo of oberon
3.86/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have had this many times from the bottle and for the first time had on a nitro tap at the Lucky Dog a local establishment.Great pour (wich I expected)very creamy with a light bronze color,aroma light a little fruity and metallic.Nice mellow taste fruity and even a little smokey?Some metallic notes in there,seemed almost marshmellow-like,had three before I knew it.I really like it out of a nitro tap,hell my wife even had three.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.42/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper/amber in color with a rich, creamy head that holds fairly well. The aroma is not real assertive, but gives a first note of light hop, followed by lightly toasted - almost 'wort-like' - malt. The body is on the light side, and combined with a gentle carbonation, gives a lightly creamy mouthfeel. The flavor offers a nice balance with malt preceeding hops and a very slight butterscotch note. Clean, fresh, medium-long dry aftertaste. An excellent session beer with some complexity and a high level of drinkability.

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Photo of chinchill
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

440 ml can poured into a 20 oz mug.

A - Pours a very dark amber with an amazing dense off-white head. This head is very thick, durable and creamy; a dip made in the head by a friend who tasted it with her fork remained for many minutes and many sips! If there was lots of carbonation it was not visible.

S - The aroma is distinct, and most evident during tasting due to the thick covering. The nose is sweet and floral, but features malt and suggests baked bread. There's a hint of spicy citrus.

T - Also distinct and interesting. It seems to consist of several malts of varying roasts. Starting a bit sweet it turns mildly bitter and slightly sour and earthy in the lasting finish. The aftertaste is quite pleasant and rather nutty, but features the malts.

M - Medium-light body; nitro-enhanced creamy and smooth, yet low carbonation.

O - this malty scottish ale is easy to recommend. Much better than the more popular and available nitro-can from Boddingtons. Allowed to warm a bit before serving but still improved with further warming.

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

On nitro-tap 8/28/07 at British Beer Company in Walpole, MA, served in an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a medium dense off-white head that fades very slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of vanilla, caramelized malt, some spice and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is very malty and creamy, with flavors of vanilla, spices and a smoky touch. The hops presence is mild. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Very smooth with a little crispness, medium body, light carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, nice beer to wind down with after a good meal, an ideal dessert beer for sure.

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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 ChainGangGuy
2.98/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a brownish-amber body with an off-white head that is thin and short-lived.

Smell: Flimsy, weak aroma of watered down caramel and, to my surprise, green apples.

Taste: Light, biscuity malt flavor along with some vague wooden notes and hints of sour green apples. Some faint hops spring up late into the already short finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body with a carbonated mouthfeel that reminds me of a soda.

Drinkability: Disappointing and fairly unremarkable.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lucent reddish bronze capped by an ecru head that is impressively creamy and will, no doubt, persist for as long as there's beer in the glass; as is usually the case with a nitro pour. A short collar of lace can be seen with pseudopods extending farther up the glass. The nose is interesting and consists of orchard fruit and somewhat spicy English hops. It's difficult to appreciate nuances through the dense cap of foam.

The flavor profile contains lightly sweet toasted malt and spicy fruity hops. In other words, the aroma in liquid form. It's also tea-like, as are many English ales in my experience. Further mouthfuls reveal a pecan nuttiness and hint of smoky peat. The body is light without being thin and is nitro creamery .

Belhaven Scottish Ale is a straightforward (in a good way), balanced, drinkable, enjoyable version of the style. I've never had it in any other form, but I have to say that it's one of the best nitro can British ales that I've run across.

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Photo of russpowell
4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours caramel to brown with a nice 3" offwhite head. Head retention & lacing very good

Smell: Malty sweetness and some peaty smokiness

Taste: Malt sweetness mingles with smokiness. Dry ever so slightly smokey/sweet finish

MF: Great balance with a smooth, slight syruppy feel, very good Carbonation levels

Extremely drinkable, this is a well put together beer that makes me want to try the nitro version soon. Highly reccomended, simple but tasty

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this one on tap at the Fox and the Hound in Mason,OH this past week. Poured into a tall 20oz Pint glass.

A - Poured a very dark amber with a nicy cloudy consistency that you could definitly tell this one was going to be a pretty full one. A large three inch high head of foamy off white lace crowned the top and offered great retention hanging on for what seemed like forever before finally slipping down and resting into a one finger high layer of foam across the top that hung on for the entire rest of the session. Very nice side glass presentation that also hung on for the rest of the session and obscuring most of the contents towards the end. If there was lots of carbonation it was not visible.

S - The aroma was full of malty goodness. Lots of thick bready and earthy like smells coming off of this one giving it a very full overall profile for sure. There was some hints of sweetness that rippled through it as well, but this was predominantly a malty scottish ale. Lots of earthy breads in the finish as well.

T - The flavor was very full, much more so then I thought it would be to be honest. The first thing to hit me was a full on sweet malty assualt that was just rich and full flavored. A nice touch of nuttiness was mixed in as well as a touch of caramel that really lightened up, or well tried to as this was a nice dark beer. There were some light hints of grassy like flavors towards the finish that really dried it out and let the flavors hang around for a good long time.

M - Very rich creamy and smooth, there was no mistaking this one was a full bodied scottish ale. What suprised me to be honest was the utter lack of carbonation though. There was just none. When you sipped there was a full creamy head, however as you brought it down it was just flat. Very odd sensation and reminscent of like a guiness or dry stout like feel. Not terrible, but not the best either, maybe just not my cup of tea.

D - Not bad here at all. This went down very well and the flavor profile was very nice and strong with low alcohol and a rich filling conisitency. Very nice compliment with dinner and I could have put down another one after this was done.

Overall not bad. It was a very solid offering from Belhaven and really was a fine drink to throw done with dinner. Not sure how it is in can or bottle, but on tap very fresh and very indicative of the style. A quality ale for sure and something I would recommend.

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Photo of smcolw
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful head--thick and tight-bubbled, gorgeous sticky lace. Dark, dark amber in color. Clear when placed in front of light.

Dark malts dominate the aroma--slight cream, carmelized brown sugar, although it is not sweet. The taste has a slight "band-aid" flavor suggesting that this can may have been exposed to chlorophenol. Thin in body, the dark malts seemed watered down. Hop is present, providing balance, but little complexity. The aftertaste is largely chocolate malt. Tastes good, less filling.

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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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