Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

BA SCORE
85
very good
2,102 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:
2,102
Reviews:
912
Avg:
3.79
pDev:
13.46%
 
 
Wants:
80
Gots:
361
For Trade:
0
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,102 |  Reviews: 912
Photo of samie85
3.58/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is reviewed from notes; originally reviewed 4/24.

A-Pours a clear amber with a tan head. Leaves some lacing.

S-Smells peaty and scotch-like with a gentle earthiness to it.

T-Mainly that peaty, scoth-like character with some mild caramel and earthy hop notes.

M-Very smooth and on the thicker side of medium bodied but ample carbonation keeps this one from feeling too heavy.

D-This is one of those styles that always seems to underwhelm a bit, but I ultimately enjoy them. This is very similar to the other scottish ales I've had in terms of taste and mouthfeel and probably the model on which others are built.

 621 characters

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

The Belhaven Brewery is Scotland's oldest surviving independent brewery, dating back to 1719. Belhaven Scottish Ale is a fully rounded ale, a complex mix of malt and hop producting Belhaven's easily recognised malted and nutty flavour. The Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd., Dunbar, Scotland.
You don't stick around making beer for close to 300 years unless you're doing something right. So I have high hopes for this beer.
The tasting notes: Pours a hazy amber brown, there are visual yeasty floaties rising and falling, there is decent carbonation but not much of a head which recedes to leave some lacing behind. The nose is a malty/nutty aroma. Flavor/mouth nutty, very creamy, it starts out sour upfront, then is turns smooth and about two seconds later the bitterness hits you. This beer is sessionable with an ABV of 5.2%. It's a good beer and i want another to bad i only bought one when i was mixing ang matching a six pack.

 929 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.93/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Light brown color, a little bit of ruby in the light. Not a big fan of the metallic aroma.

Kind of a weak profile for the style. Minimal smoke or thickness. No alcohol feel to it, which is a plus I guess. Its really, uh, boring? I wouldn't call it sessionable, because it just doesn't resonate with me, the malt, hopping, just don't feel up to par. And expensive to boot? Pass.

 379 characters

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

A- Clear amber/red with a perfectly white head that leaves lots of lacing and sticks around for a while

S- Caramel malts are dominant. Some floral hops are also there.

T- Big on caramel and biscuit. Hops are only strong enough to balance this beer perfectly.

D- Super drinkable. This beer is a true classic.

 310 characters

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.

 434 characters

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

Poured into a pint glass it forms a 1 inch head that produces moderate lacing. The appearance is amber and clear. The aroma is of toasted malt and a bit of spicy hops. The taste is dry and malty, slightly bitter. The feel is medium bodied with a clean finish.

This is a delicious and refreshing ale.

 300 characters

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

pours golden amber almost like an IPA. very transparent, sizeable off white head.

smells of toffee, herbal hops, hints of vanilla, and maybe some toasted malt to top it all off.

penetrating through the creamy head, i get a bright nuttiness that gives way to a scotch whisky like sweetness. not too complex and apparent alcohol.

feels like an ordinary ale, nothing too special really.

I could definitely drink this, but i don't think it's anything special by any means, really ordinary. though it might be pretty good for scotland.

 535 characters

Photo of tjsdomer2
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Copper with an amber tint. It's a cloudy beer as well. Tons and tons of foam and lacing, making this beer very attractive!

Smell: I expected to find this beer malty, and it is as such with a caramel maltiness. However, I did not expect the hops, which I found as well. Sweet hops pervades throughout this beer. It's a very very good smell that doesn't need much else.

Taste/Mouthfeel: I like the taste. It's bitter, but sweet. Definitely caramel and hops, something I hadn't been used to. Farily complex, since it warms nicely and almost becomes a bit fruity, but only faintly. As for how this feels...holy cow! Amazing amazing creaminess make this as smooth as a baby's bottom! I hate to be cliché but I found this extraordinarily smooth! One of the best!

Drinkability: Another good pub brew!

Overall: The initial appearance raises expectations, as does the feel. Ultimately, this beer does not live up to those expectations, preventing a high A grade.

 970 characters

Photo of WestValleyIPA
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Zatec fluted glass. A massive nitro-induced 5 fingers of head. Smells of oak, sweet malt, and typical nitro can. Lightly sweet malt, typical of a Scottish Ale. Very very smooth. Prefer the bottle to the can, but quite good. Goes down like butta. Very flat on the mouthfeel.

 288 characters

Photo of BreworFerment
3.36/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Olde Ship.

A- reddish brown, off white head. Nice lacing but the head didn't stick around

Ar- Not much here. A little malty sweetness. Mostly just beer

T- Not as much smoky peat as I like. Nice sweetness on the back end with a little bitterness. Good silky mouthfeel from the lack of a lot of carbonation

Overall- Decent satisfying beer although not one of my favorite Scotch ales

 399 characters

Photo of nick76
3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance is hazy amber with a medium head. The aroma is malty with caramel, toffee, and a strange earthiness. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is average for the style. Overall this is a pretty good beer but not something great or remarkable.

 256 characters

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

had on draught at flying saucer and it came out a dark, rusty red with a nice 2-finger thick mocha head. great lacing down the pint glass

sweet, toasted malts on the nose. there was also a pretty strong metallic smell that was a little off-putting

tastes like it smells... sweet malts with an earthy note, perhaps peaty. there is a dessert like butterscotch flavor in there that I enjoyed

medium body that was velvety on the tongue

good beer. really enjoyed it. sweet and thick Scottish Ale that had a good flavor considering the lower abv

 543 characters

Photo of augustgarage
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap at John O'Groats in Encino. Served in a large glass stein.

Arrives with a fawn-colored cascading effect and two fingers of solid wheat foam which laces very well; perpetual retention. The body is a light brown suffused with a copper glow when held up to the light.

Light toasty malt, coffee/cream, biscuits, and a hint of caramel in the nose.

Faintly carmelized malt, a whisper of boggy peat, a bit of wheat, and a slight bitterness in the finish. Very mild flavor profile over all. No diacetyl.

Dense, creamy, and smooth nitro body...works quite well with this beer.

A little too bland to desire another pint, but this one went down easily.

 662 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.91/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on draft at McGrath's in Harrisburg.

A-cascading white head that is thick and creamy. Nitro pours are so awesome looking, the beer is dark golden orange and perfectly clear.

S-the nose is light with toasted malts and hints of roasted grains. Underlying caramel malt starts a transition to a hop presence in the back with floral and citric hops adding a good balance

T-the taste brings a nice lightly toasted bready malt up front. hints of sweet caramel lie in the middle. hops take over in the back. orange peel and floral hops with just a touch of bitterness.

M-extremely smooth and creamy. the carbonation is high giving a crisp finish. the body is medium and wet throughout slightly coating the mouth.

D-this is some easy drinking and offers up a great balance with a solid hop profile. the nitro really gives it a great feel on the palate and this is so enjoyable.

 877 characters

Photo of bump8628
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12ozer poured into a pint.

Clear amber with a better-than-anticipated bone-colored head that leaves sheets of lace.

Definitely malt-centric with notes of caramel, toffee, and an earthy nuttiness all balanced about evenly. Hops only offer a little bitterness, while yeast remains neutral leaving behind a hint of sweetness.

A nicely done Scottish Ale. It's one of the only examples available to me on a regular basis, but it's not one I go to very often at the price ($2.35 for a single 12oz bottle).

 502 characters

Photo of nickd717
4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

440ml nitro-can from Whole Foods Los Altos.

Pours a slightly hazy chestnut brown color with a large, creamy off-white head with surging foam rising from the bottom of it. I'm a sucker for the nitro appearance.

Aroma is great, nutty and malty, fairly sweet with caramel.

Flavor is very good, awesome considering this falls into the stigmatized "macro" category. Roasted chestnuts, cashews, and hazelnuts, caramel malt, toffee, and green apple.

Smooth and creamy from the nitro with medium-light body.

Extremely drinkable - I downed the whole can's worth in about 10 minutes without even thinking about it. This is really great, definitely one I'll revisit. An ideal session beer, in any sense of the term.

 709 characters

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

After pouring, it had a nice wheat colored head, thick, foamy and stuck around til the end. The color was a dark amber with mahogany highlights. Smell was mostly wheat with hints of hops, barley and a flowery note. The taste was bitter hops with barley and wheat overtones and subtle hints of citris and nuts. Mouthfeel - medium-bodied. Drinkability - has a good balance of flavor with a more bitter overtone. Not bad.

 418 characters

Photo of baos
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Can into bicentennial Mason jar.

A: Nice translucent amber with big three finger tan head full of laciness. With the nitro widgit lace is perfect.

S: Nice rich maltiness with a bit of of spice hops in the middle of a Carmelle goodness.

T: Even grainy and woody malts. Notes of caramel sweetness.

M: Nice smooth and even light-medium body.

D: A-one laddy, Drink away boys! Drink Away!

 389 characters

Photo of allforbetterbeer
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass, no freshness date to be found anywhere on the bottle.

A: Light amber/orange under a full finger of nearly white head that retains beautifully and laces like a champ.

S: An array of malts greets the nose, none be to rich, to thin, or to sweet. Very nice.

T: Nice composition of malts and grains make up the body of the flavor, with a little wood, the slightest tinge of vinegar and a little hop to balance. This is a very malty beer that isn't overly sweet and maintains pleasing complexity.

M&D: Very drinkable (as the style mandates) with a soft and pleasing mouthfeel. All this is right as it should be.

Overall: A great Scottish ale, and my favorite of the few examples I have tried.

 717 characters

Photo of cdizinno
2.74/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Caramel-amber beer with an off-white head. Moderate lacing.

S: Slightly sweet, malty scent with a hint of sour fruits.

T&M: Toasted, malty flavor. Slightly sweet, medium bodied ale.

It's average. Not a favorite of mine. I do recall that it is slightly better on tap.

 273 characters

Photo of cnally
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big can. Can't wait.

The appearance with these cans is always awesome. A cascading cream-tan color cascades into a thick white head. Groggy hazy brown color in the body.

A little sour, but the malt comes through in the aroma.

Flavor is a superbly sweet caramel malt, but with a kick of almond.

The mouthfeel is creamy and thick, but somehow underwhelming

The drink is a guzzler waiting to happen

 400 characters

Photo of brewerburgundy
3.8/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle to a small twist top jar. Shared with my dad. No freshness or bottling date.

Caramel honey colored beer with a graceful custard colored froth.

Honey, caramelized sugar, and a deep nutty and almost vinous note are elements I smell. There is a little steely smell like that of beers with Belgian candi sugar in them. I'll admit I can't distinguish any hop presence.

Thin caramel, honey, rich sweet biscuit, diacetyl, and raisin.

The mouthfeel is as consistent as is possible between nitro and the bottle. It has a nice heft on the palate with smooth carbonation.

I appreciate this more subtly flavored Scotch Ale and would be content drinking it throughout an evening. Consider it as an alternative to hoppier pale ales for a round.

 752 characters

Photo of BeerGodz
4.23/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Dark brown, uber-dense head due to the nitrogen, and the awesome lacing we've come to expect from nitro-beers

Smell: Sweet caramel malt

Taste: Up Front: Mild bitterness
Finish: Sweet malt

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low carbonation and silky smooth - ahhh!!!

Drinkability: A great session beer that is super easy to drink

Overall Impression: Scottish ale is quite possibly the best style for most Newbeez, due to the lack of hop flavor that they typically confuse with bitterness. Add to that the rich malty flavor and the creaminess that nitro-cans offer, and this is a slam-dunk winner!!!

 597 characters

Photo of JMC_TM
3.79/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this double poured from a nitro tap at the Flying Saucer in Charlotte, NC

This authentic Scottish Ale from Belhaven pours a nice deep copper color with a thin creamy and off-white head. The nose gives off a slightly sweet malty, bready and nutty aroma. As you sip it the nitrogen pour makes it feel nice and creamy on the palate with a medium body. The aroma follows through pretty well on the palate, but doesn't quite blow you away with it's toasty malt, slight breadiness, and a roasted, nutty and smokey flavors with hints of caramel. A smooth creamy malt finish, and a nice sessionable 3.9 % abv.

 606 characters

Photo of shutupdoodah
4.5/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Deep copper color, a bit cloudy. A 1-2 finger off white head that lasts until the end. Very fine bubbles on the bottom of the glass, but that's about it.

S - Some nuttiness, malt, and a bit of caramel.

T - Like the smelly, nutty with malt, with a caramel finish that lasts quite a while on the tongue. Mild flavors, but everything is complimentary.

M - Creamy as could be. Medium body. Smooth. With the nitro-can, the bubbles are very fine.

D - This beer is delicious. Since the beer finishes so smoothly, I could definitely session with this.

 551 characters

Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,102 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.
  • Our Events

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

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