Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

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Belhaven Scottish AleBelhaven Scottish Ale
Very Good
2,160 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: 2,160 |  Reviews: 926
Photo of 86MonteSS
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

If ever there was a beer with a "charred" flavor to it, this is it. Like a can of coffee thrown in the fire, Belhaven is very robust. It was much lighter-colored than I had anticipated, but the taste is characteristic of a much darker beer. A very proud head atop a beautiful amber body sets it a world above its Irish counterparts.

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Photo of Darkale
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small, cream-colored, short-lived head. True copper color, and very clear. Light nut and hops aroma. Mouthfeel is very thin and clean, with a slightly sour and bitter aftertaste. Flavor is an interesting mix of nuts, coffee, hops -- and even a bit of chocolate, or so it seemed to me.

A brisk beer, which makes it refreshing. Better than average.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is a reddish copper, somewhat light and clear, nice fluffy off-white head about two fingers high and wonderful lacing and staying power. Smell is faintly roasted malt and earthy somewhat musky, wet dirt or wet soil sense. Taste is a bit smokey sweet malt with burnt or heavily roasted malt and deep caramel flavors that are not overpowering. Its very gentle and moderate in the bitterness and sweetness that follows through to a slight drying finish. Feel is a touch silky smooth and sweet with a light-medium body thats pretty darn easy to drink.

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Photo of Loki
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I have only found any of the belhaven line in nitro cans. The nitro of course give this scottish ale a great head when poored correctly. The head lasted almost the entire glass whether it was the first which was consumed quickly or the last which sat a little more as the evening wound down. The color is a rich copper with a white to off-white head. The aroma was a sweet malt with mild peat undertones. I also picked up a hint of caramel. The taste is nutty with faint smokey tones and again hints of caramel. The mouth feel is very creamy and smooth with a slighty dry finish. Very clean after taste. I drink this regularly, buy it by the case, and always have some either in the fridge or in the pantry.

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Photo of dmarch
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this in a bottle, but I'm curious to try it in the nitro can. It's very light in body for a scottish ale and only 3.9% by volume. This makes it easily drinkable. Sweet malt and some peat in the aroma and taste. Not exactly what I look for in a Scottish Ale, but I'll call it what it is, a great session beer.

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Photo of Scooter77
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It poured a dark copper color topped off with a thick off-white head, which faded away quickly leaving a thin lace splattered on the glass. The aroma is mildly sweet and malty with nutty undertones. There is a full bite of hops upon the initial taste balanced with a fair amount of malt. A bit of nuttiness was also detected. The finish was very dry, with a moderately bitter aftertaste. This was a fairly light-bodied and easy to drink beer. This is the first Scottish ale that I’ve tried and I’ll have to say that it was an enjoyable one.

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Photo of aaronh
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A light copper colored brew with amber highlights topped by dense, creamy tan head. The aroma was a peaty, sweet malt aroma. The taste had a very enticing smoky peat component atop a solid malt background. I think there might have been a bit of hops, but I'm not sure. There was just a tinge of bitterness on the finish. The full mouthfeel contributed to the good drinkability. A nice, solid brew.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.02/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a really great looking dark honey amber with a nice fluffy off-white head that lasted for the whole glass and laced in a stellar fashion. The nose to me was of whiskey. I had this brew with a strong spicey dish and this beer was too light for it. It has a wonderfully creamy and smooth mouthfeel that tended to soothe the spice edge of my meal, but the taste was just not in sync with the look of this beer. The start seemd creamy sweet, but finished a bit cloying. I finally decided that the taste that I was getting was of a sour malt, which is consistent with the whiskey smell I sensed.

This beer is beautifully bottled and labeled. I just wish it tasted as good as it looked.

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Photo of fattyre
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear golden/red color with a creamy white head. The mouthfeel is rather silky because of the nitrogen and is better in a bottle. The smell is somewhat smoky and peaty. The taste is round maltiness with smoky peat flavors. A fairly tasty scottish ale that is much better in the bottle.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I’ve tried this one in the nitro can and wasn’t overly impressed, so I figured I would give the bottle version a whirl. It poured copper in color with a orange hue. It formed a thick head with a good amount of lacing. The aroma was faint smoky, nutty, almost bread-like. The flavor has the same characteristics as the aroma; it was bready, nutty and faintly smoky. This is a very smooth, light-bodied beer; lighter than I expected. It is definitely an easy drinking brew.

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Photo of taez555
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured the beer into a 16oz pint glass. Like all nitro can beers, it gave the classic casscading effect that eventually would settle into a clear body and creamy head. This examble was a nice light brown/amber with classic white cappucino-esque head.
The nose was nice and subtle, with scents of earth, wood, malt and a very very subtle peat smokey aroma.
Tasting this beer was deffinatly an experience. At first the beer almost appeared to have no taste. The classic watery, foam, lack of carbonation hit that most guinness drinkers are very familiar with. This beer though had a very nice follow through which brought on a really nice malty roasted flavor with lots of great peat malt. Then it was followed by a perfectly balanced bitterness. Then just died down in a very mellow ending.

What really is most amazing about this beer is how subtle and yet complex this beer is. Like listening to an amazing record album or CD, but at a very very low volume. If you're not paying close attention you'll miss it. Which is really a great commentary also on the differences between the in your face styles of the US or Belgium vs the very subtle beers of England, Scotland and Ireland.

I really enjoyed this beer and would deffinatly pick this over most of the nitro beers out there. As for the scotch ale style, again I really like the subtleness. American scotch ales, if you find them, are very in your face smoke and malt. This is a nice reserved examble of a great beer.

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Photo of shirfan
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours crystal clear and copper-orange, with a sudsy soft tan head that retreats to a fair layer of lace.

Smell is soft, peaty, with just a hint of chocolate, mild hops, and smoke.

Tastes like it was designed for session drinking. Starts just a little sharp, moves to mild-mannered malt, with a peat/smoke flavor and a soft, earthy feel. Finishes a little toasty, with an understated hops bitterness. Goes a tad sour in the aftertaste, a little diacetyl?

Not watery in the least for such a small ABV, this would be right at home in a pub with good friends. Doesn't really strike me as a food-pairing beer, more of something to enjoy over the course of an evening.

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Photo of Jason
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On nitro at many establishments around Boston.

The same rich and creamy head you would expect from anything on nitro, bright brassy colour shines in the light. Sweetish malty aroma with a faintness of hop.

There is that creamy nitro body again, thicker than it actually is. Malty sweet with a light metallic caramel malt note, some hop bitterness to balance and a cleaner finish than I expected.

This is one nitro-tap that I opt for over Guinness if they don’t have Murphy’s. I gladly quaffed many pints of this Monday, March 17th 2003.

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Photo of Jarod
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured into the glass an amber orange/brown color that was crystal clear so that the carbonation was fully visible. The head was cream colored, fairly thick visibly, decent staying power but left no lace. The aromas that came from the glass were of apple pie dough, apple wood, floral hops, slight malt, yeast and nutmeg. The tastes were of semi-sweet malt, floral hops, wood, roasted malt and nuts, bread, and some fruit and spices. It left a dry hop taste on my tongue as I swallowed. And seemed very thirst quenching as well. All flavors seemed to blend very well with nothing overpowering the other. Good example of the style. I rather enjoyed it.

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Photo of FINA
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice amber to light brown color with a tight head. Malt dominates the flavor, with little or no hop flavor to speak of. A slight malt sweetness is left in the mouth. Overall the flavors are quite mild though and this brew is very drinkable. I could throw these down all night.

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Photo of WanderingFool
3.91/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like most pub draught cans this beer pours foamy then quickly settles down to a smooth thick white head. The beer is a clear dark amber color with deep orange highlights. A sweet malty caramel aroma with a hint of nuts hovers over the beer. Caramel malts dominate the taste, however nuts and a smokey flavor are also present. There's a mild bitterness in the end and a nutty flavor is left behind after each sip.

This is a very drinkable, smooth tasting beer.

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Photo of nomad
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Color is a mahogany with a ruddy burnt-oragish tone. Has an active carbonation with little bubbles constantly streaming up the middle while large bubbles slowly and less regularly float up - kinda fun to watch. A creamy head swiftly gave way to a thin head for the session with weak and thin lace.

Has a nice dark roasted nutty nose that opens to hints of more spices and a pinch of a wine scent that is almost plum-y. Solid caramel malt flavor with light sugar that appears on your front tongue; farther back it tastes like roasted cashew (i.e. buttery yet roasted nut flavor). Some delayed sugar on the back tongue and tastebuds, and some bitterness in the forward roof of the mouth that seems as much smell as taste based. A little hoppy in the nose during swallow, as a very slight velvety coat is left on the tongue almost like a soda. After a couple of these the nutty and light yeasty bitterness settles well and a slight wine tone permeates.

A nice balance of initial nut to middle sugars to bitter end. Easy to drink and seems best served slightly chilled. I love having this one around because it is a gentle ale that balances malt, hops, scent, and mouthfeel without being boring nor too aggressive. Its a slightly sweetened and moderately bittered ale.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Belhaven poured a scothish, amber color with a tiny white head that stayed the entire way down the glass. The smell was very complex with hints of deep raisons and a very distinct floral flavor. Very intriguing. The smell, however, was deceiving because the taste was somewhat less intricate. It had a very nice, mellow, toasted malt flavor with notes of berry fruit. Up front there were also wheaty flavors, but there was a bit of a coppery/metallic flavor as well. The consistency was good with a deep rich mouthfeel that rolled off the back of the tongue. Overall a good beer without much pretention.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amberish brown in color with an off white head.
Somewhat faint malty, nutty aroma.

Rich caramel malt flavor with a slight butterscotch note. Prominent nutty flavor. Slight roasted, smoky flavor especially at the end to finish. Well balanced. Finishes well.

Good, creamy mouthfeel. Medium body.
Good drinkability.
Overall, a very good Scottish ale.

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Photo of StevieW
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle. Shiny reddish brown color. Call it Burgundy. Impressive fluffy off-white head. Smell was toasted malt, rich earthy and inviting. Slightest hint of smoked wood. Taste was a nice follow up to the rich smell. Hints of toasted carmel malt, deep earthy flavors, and just a whisper of a hot scotch presence. Toasted, and woodsmoke flavors barely linger. Medium bodied, nice taste all the way to the bottom. I always passed this one over, thinking it was mass produced and watered down. I was very wrong. I really enjoyed this one, and could see it paired with lots of hearty meals. I'll reach for this one again.

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Photo of Bunnyhop
3.54/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A clear, golden-red Scottish Ale with a creamy, white head. The smell is smokey and malty. The taste is malty, nutty and roasted. In my mouth the body is silky but a bit on the thin side. Overall I found this Scottish Ale to have a decent flavor and smell, but it was a bit watery with a slight nitrous flavor (I'm guessing from the widget in the can).

(source: Habersham Discount Beverage; Savannah, GA)

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Photo of Mitchster
3.39/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Ah..what a gorgeous brew this is. Crystal clear amber brew forms a luxurious white pancake of a head of dense microscopic bubbles. Aroma is suprisingly restrained...I was expecting lots of malt...there is faint caramel, but also the unique smell of freshly mown hay. I'm so used to smelling this in lighter brews, so this is pleasantly suprising. Mouthfeel is silken. Hrmmm, this is really neat what they have going on here. My sister lives in Ireland and when she comes home, she brings peet with her. Now I know what it tastes like. This beer has the strongest peet taste I've experienced. It's not just smoky peet, but green peet! It's like someone threw some manure in my brew! (Although it hurts the drinkability). The beer starts with a silken mouthfeel, immediately fades into the manure/green peet combo, then into a subtle malt sweetness, and then ends in a very wet, subtle grain and limewater finish with just the slighest inkling of bittering hops. Very low alcohol and great mouthfeel makes it easy to drink if you can get past the poop taste. This is a unique brew, especially if you like the taste of wet goats and other musty barnyard animals:)

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Photo of Mark
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a beautiful clear deep copper. A thick tight beige head settled into a nice thin layer of foam that lasted all the way down. Lacing was great. Aroma was a bit sweet and a tad grassy? Deep malty, smokey and slighty sweet taste was a winner. Nice creamy thick mouthfeel. Very drinkable. A solid choice on a winters night with a meat and potatoes meal.

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Photo of kelticblood
3.19/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Belhaven's Scottish Ale poured a dark amber or cherry red.The carbonation was decent with a good head and high amounts of lace.A good crisp mouthfeel but lacked in taste.Hints of hops and raisins with a medium body and slight malt thickness.The ABV is only 3.9%?Wine coolers have more than that I think.Prunes,raisins,nuts,and caramel are noted on the finish.An alright brew..I wouldnt buy it again.

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Photo of BeerManDan
1.54/5  rDev -59.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Bought a six pack and after popping the cap on the first bottle, I poured the rest down the drain!

Poured a nice dark golden brown with very little foam. But, then after that, it was all downhill. The smell was a sort of sour aroma with a hint of malt.

The taste was awlful. The first and second sips had the flavor of this beer being brewed in a vat full of vinyl or a vinyl vat. I swear that this beer had a sour vinyl flavor. What a waste of beer and my money for a below, sub-standard beer.

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Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 2,160 ratings