Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

very good
2,103 Ratings
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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Ratings: 2,103 |  Reviews: 912
Photo of alleykatking
3.32/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a amberish coppery color. One finger beige head shows poor retention. Some light spotty lacing with gentle streaks here and there on the glass.

S- First off there is a light metallic undertone throughout the nose. Tons of toffee and caramel like malts in the front of the aroma. Some grainy like presence in the middle of the aroma that tends to have more of a metallic tone to it. Light grassy/earthy hops in the ending kind of balanced out the sweet malts in the front.

T- A nice roasted malt in the front of the beer give way to a quick carmelized malt base that is the base body for the rest of the beer. A light nutty like flavor toward the middle of the beer with a light metallic hint to it brings forth a interesting flavor to the beer. The ending was a little blend of carmelized malts, metallic overtones, and a nice earthy hop hint. The alcohol in this comes out in a light hint toward the end. The metallic flavor really masks a lot of the beer at times.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was good for the style. Carmelized malts, and light nutty flavors left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly alcohol, metal, and carmelized malts. Flavors were balanced quite well for the style. Metallic off flavors ran amuck at times which diminished the mouthfeel half a mark. Medium alcohol drying on the palate.

D- This beer was interesting. ABV was low enough to drink but...the metallic off flavors really limited the beer overall. I would like to try this one again with maybe a fresh bottle. Oh well...

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes at Old Chicago (2001): Clear, copper colour with a quickly diminishing beige frothy head. Sweet toast-malty aroma with butter, caramel and lemon-fruity hops. Sweet-bitter flavour, light bodied, slightly fizzy mouthfeel. Initially toasty malty with notes of butterscotch; moderately dry and fruity finish with a pleasant and quite rounded bitterness.

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Photo of cyrock1
4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber with a creamy one inch head.

Smell: Light caramel with mild roast.

Taste: Semi-sweet toffee hints on a lightly roasted background.

Mouthfeel: Creamy giving way to mild carbonation, very light hop profile.

Drinkability: Reminds me of cream soda, so yes i would like another.

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Photo of Kbogac
3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a can into a mug. Nitro is great. Wonderful creamy head. Not much smell. Kind of citrusy. Nice malty taste. Medium mouthfeel with light carbonation. Light hoppy finish. Very nice heavy. I love the nitro. Very easy to drink. Definatley a good session beer.

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

Clear copper colour with a small off-white head. Poor head retention.

Sweet, toffee aroma with a nice nuttiness.

Silky, smooth malt with mild minerality and a nutty character. Some smoke is in the background.

Medium body with moderately-low carbonation. Good.

A nice, easy to drink malty ale with nice yeast character.

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

Appearance -- Pours a gentle amber hue with rose and gold highlights. Dense cap of creamy beige head crowns it. For a nitro-can, it's slightly better than average.

Smell -- Plenty of toffee sweetness, husky grain, and grassy hops; malty for certain, but balanced.There is a tinge of metallic can aroma that is unmistakably from UK 'pub ale' cans.

Taste -- Lots of roasted, well-caramelized malts, gentle nuttiness, biscuity grain. Earthy and grassy hops balance the malt sweetness and lend a quasi-menthol flavor to the finish.

Mouthfeel -- Smooth, full-bodied, nitro'd out. I will say, this is probably the best nitro-can treatment I've had to date.

Drinkability -- Overall, pretty good. Well-balanced and quite drinkable. I wouldn't go far to say that it is near the pinnacle of its style, but if you're in the mood for a nitro-can - y'know, for kicks - there are few, if any, better options than this.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

My girlfriend and I had Scottish night featuring turnips, haggis and Belhaven. Almost as good as Norway night featuring braggot, lamb and viking helmets.

Cascading nitro head eventually settles into a creamy white pool. Pillowy layer of retention leaves foamy painting down my glass. Nitro cans are like cheating in the appearance department.

Nutty and caramel combines for a sweet pecan pie like aroma. Mild spice. Taste is similarly nutty and caramel apple cider. Mouthfeel is nitro creamy.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 08/05/2010:

12 oz bottle at 42 degrees into a pint glass.

A: It pours an over-steeped tea red with some fizzy foam around the edges that doesn't even stay there.

S: All malts: caramel and wet bread mostly. Ho hum.

T: Caramel, wet bread, and metallic malts with some skunkiness.

M: It has a medium-light body with some creaminess and a slightly sour aftertaste.

D: This is incredibly boring. At least it beats BMC.

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Photo of Hellabeerguzzler
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite regulars. Drinkability is very, very high. First time I had one of these, a friend gave me one... just one. It was gone is 30 seconds and I wanted another. I've since had this on tap and in bottles but the cans are still my fallback which is reviewed here.

A - deep reddish amber w/ thick creamy head that lingers longer than the beer does - so keep your glass for the next one.
S - Pretty average. Nothing spectacular here. Smells malty with hint of caramel.
T - Tastes like it smells - Malty with hints of caramel, bread.
M - Good. A little sticky maybe but nothing bad.
D - Superb. Goes down really easy. Maybe TOO easy. You'll want seconds.

Nothing comes on strong in this beer except the drinkability - it's sweet, tasty, smooth, and lightly creamy. It's very easy to have 3 or 4 of these down before you realize it. Although a bit pricey, I'll keep drinking this one as long as there is some in the freezer case.

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Photo of jsprain1
4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Slightly hazy reddish orange with a milky head. good retention, slight lacing.
S- Malty. It's more earth aroma than the oft-cited smoke.
T- Same as aroma. There is a slight bit of floral and tea like flavor in there. Straight forward, but tasty.
M- Creamy and smooth. Very little carbonation, but I actually appreciated this.
D- Lighter than their Wee Heavy, but an easy drinking beer. Simple and enjoyable.

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Photo of tlong421
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Belhaven produces a great Scottish Ale, period. I have tried this beer on tap probably 6-8 months ago, remembered loving it, so naturally I wanted to try it in a bottle too. It's not quite as good as on tap, but it's still pretty fantastic.

A: a nice amber color

S: definitely not as strong as I thought it would be; maybe a little caramel smell to it, but couldn't quite make it out.

T: very smooth malty flavor

M: again, smooth, very easy on the palate, very easy going down

D: Amazing. Very smooth,e asy beer to drink. I would gladly choose this at any bar or pick it up in any store.

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

A Scottish staple at all bars this beer is really nothing special. It is in he same field as McEwans, Tennants, Carlsberg and the like. Some people rave about it, and while the mouthfeel of this beer is akin to sex, the taste is nothing special and the overall experience is generally lacking.

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Photo of soju6
3.85/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark copper color with a decent head that fades to lasting lacing.

S: Aroma is quite mild with mostly a malt aroma with some caramel and a hint of sweetness mixed in.

T: Has a nice malty flavor, with a trace of hops and sweetness mixed in. Finish is very clean.

F: Medium body, with a velvety smooth and creamy texture. Very well balanced.

D: Excellent drinker. Definitely would like to have this on tap to experience the real character of this beer.

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Photo of nickadams2
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A_Pours a dark amber color with a thick creamy off white head. Lacing smothers the glass. As with most nitros this looks amazing.

S_Smell is of light toasted grain,sweet malt.

T_Taste is very malt forward. Toasted grain,very bready, smooth malt,caramel and a nutty finish. Nice full flavor.

M_Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a rather light body. Feels like a thick beer but goes down very easy.

D_Super easy drinking delicious Scottish ale.

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Photo of Phelps
3.35/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed during a tasting of Scottish ales, this one was poured from the bottle into a tasting glass.

Shines deep, tawny copper, mostly clear and topped with a half inch head of very light khaki. The foam becomes a broad-bubbled ring, leaving not much lace.

From the smell, I posit that this may be a bit oxidized. Butter, walnut, lightly toasted bread, saltine crackers and apricot. Rather sweet.

In the falvor: apricot mixed with honey, apples, walnut and raisins. It's almost mead-like, though with
nuttiness, caramel, and a light toasted character. Sweet throughout, but a crisp, drying finish.

Moderate tickly carb amidst a smooth body just a bit under medium in fullness. Fizzles up slightly as it moves about. Nice clean finish.

This was a favorite among several people at the tasting, likely due to the crisp flavors and clean finish that added to its drinkability. A very approachable Scottish Ale.

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Photo of Brenden
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the first craft beers I enjoyed on my own after breaking in with some other gateway stuff. I'll really just be adding to my early review with the obvious differences from the nitro can.

look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4

This beer possesses great clarity, brown with a deep red hue. The head is just under one finger high but thick and rich enough to sustain itself and leave some pretty nice lacing behind.
There are some really bread-like malts in the nose, almost "doughy," with a peat-like note as well. There's a nice balance from a soft but sturdy earthy hops presence.
The taste is strongly malty, with smoky, earthy and woody tones and hints of caramel balanced nicely by an herbal, earthy hops flavor. This isn't a huge kick-in-the-face brew, but I really like that it doesn't need to be huge to be flavorful. I also like wee heavy styled scotch ales, but I like that I can turn to something softer, and this is a great one.
The nitro really pulls through in the mouthfeel. This brew is medium-bodied with an extremely creamy smooth flow to it. This is about as smooth as it gets.
Given a low ABV, smoothness, and ease with which it goes down, this is as drinkable as it gets.

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Photo of Sudsy89
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle, chilled.

Pours a reddish-brown color, has a high level of carbonation, nice foamy head that leaves lots of lacing on the glass. Looks similar in appearance to an Irish red ale. Aroma I smelled was malty, perhaps biscuit-like. Nice medium-bodied mouthfeel that is a bit creamy, but not very thick either. Malty, sweet taste with a slight hop bitterness, I didn't notice the "smokiness" other reviews have mentioned.

Highly drinkable; I'd like to try this beer on nitro-tap, which would probably be better than the bottled version. This is one of the better import ales I've had, it's worth a try.

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Photo of MuddyMcGinny
4.55/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sixer o' bottles on Snowy Football Sunday w/ easy pour into English nonic pint.

BIG fan o' this brew. Earthy, amber brown with a light, fluffy finger and a half froth. Malt, light toffee at first sip and then some vanilla in the middle. Roasted barley with a very faint hint of hops, smooth like silk going down the hatch.

Very crisp, clean all around. Perfect blend o' malts, some spice and grains. One of my all-time favorites it makes the year round rotation. Always sure to have a few on hand.

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Photo of NODAK
3.48/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma, while somewhat faint, is of some earthy notes and a pretty distinct nuttiness.

Pours an amber color with a pretty tight but small head. Not surprising from the nitro-can.

Carbonation is extremely low, to almost flat. Perhaps low even by nitro standards. Flavor in general isn't very strong. What is present on the taste is maltiness and a good bit of nuttiness that I would say is the biggest taste here. It's also a bit tangy on the finish during the swallow. Really not much, if any, hop presence to report. Pretty clean. Mouthfeel is somewhat thin.

Very drinkable, if not that exciting beer. I'd have liked the flavors to come out more, as it seems thin to me. What's there, however, is pretty tasty.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.03/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can poured into a snifter

Appearance - reddish/copper color with huge, foamy tan head that lingers

smell - this is kind of faint, but what I am picking up is caramel, molasses

taste - flavors are a bit muted, but picking up a little bit of caramel, molasses, cherry

mouthfeel - watery and thin compared to other entrants of this style that I've sampled, creamy and smooth, well carbonated.

drinkability - this is a decent beverage, but considering the price ($9.99/4pk) I might be hesitant to drink this again in favor of more appealing choices in this style

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.88/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - nice 1 inch head, brownish deep orange hue.

S - toffee, nutty, sweet smoke, hint of malt.

T - nice roasted ale, smooth similar to Irish Dry Stout.

M - medium body, little too much carbonation, could be a little smoother, but still a decent beer.

D - This is fine scottish ale primer and reminds me of some of the English ales that you find in a beer store with a good selection. This is solid session beer.


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Photo of tchenery
3.93/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice amber color with rich creamy off-white head from the widget can.

Smells very buscuity with toasted malts and slightly sweet. I'm picking up a heavy raisin flavor as well.

Full malt flavor. Nothing but roasted flavors with a sweet finish. It tastes exactly as it smells.

Very smooth mouthfeel obviously from the nitrogen.

Completely drinkable.

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Photo of drizzam
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear dark brown in color, with ruby highlights when held up to a bright light. Nice one finger foamy off-white head with good head retention. A decent veil of lacing was left down the inside of the glass.

S - Sweet Caramel malt comes through in the aroma, not a real aromatic brew though.

T & M - I'm certainly glad the taste outperforms the nose. Sweet lightly toasted malt, some caramel notes, and it finishes with a bit of spicy hop bitterness. Medium bodied and somewhat creamy. Finishes nicely, a bit of malt and hop at the end.

D - Not a terrible brew, tasty but not something that will slap you across your face and get your attention. I would drink it again but won't go out of my way to buy it.

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Photo of withliterature
4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer and am only now getting around to reviewing it.

Pours a thick, deep brown with a reddish tint and very high carbonation that cascades in the glass, presumably due to the can's widget; the head rises out of the can as soon as you crack it. A thick creamy beige head that barely reduces as you drink. Milky and delicious and gives you a moustache.

The flavour is fairly mild: a little bitter but with warm buttery hints and the almost milkshake consistency of a thick stout. Not overpowering but also not bland. I've had it with food and it works. Definitely bready and dense.

The mouthfeel is probably my favorite thing about Belhaven Scottish. I know I'm overusing "thick" here, but it's a thick beer and it coats your tongue in a good way.

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this guy into a pint glass. The body is a transparent mahogany brown with a finger of thick snow cap white head that doesn't reduce at all. Looks real sharp if I may say so. Slightly sour in the nose with rum and butterscotch aroma. The blend kind of reminds me of cough syrup, but the really sweet kind you give to kids. Cherries and bready malts round out the aroma. The taste is overall pretty bland. Similar to the aroma but pretty toned down. Rum soaked cherries and bready malts take the stage on the pallet. Not bad, but I wish it was a bit more. The mouthfeel is what you would expect from a nitro can. Creamy, low carbonation and kind of light bodied. Solid brew here, I'd be interested to try it from another serving type.

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Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,103 ratings.
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