Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

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Belhaven Scottish AleBelhaven Scottish Ale
Very Good
2,179 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: 2,179 |  Reviews: 932
Photo of granger10
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a very interesting one. I got it and did not read how strong it's abv was. When I began drinking this I thought that this couldn't be a scotch ale. To me scotch ales have always been strong tasting with a considerable bite. This didn't have it. But what it did have was a balanced tasting beer that I could drink all night if I wanted to. Definitely noticed roasty wood flavor along with a good mix of sweet malts and bitter hops. Slight grainy flavor combined with other flavors make for a nice finish. Good beer but too expensive to session.

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Photo of PZuke
3.81/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So in my endeavors to broaden my beer tastes I decided to pick up a four pack of Belhaven. That and the fact that I have never had a beer in the nitro can before. So I popped the nitro can and like the gun shot at the start of the race the nitro took effect and produced a nice head in the can. I poured this tan to even light brown brew into my glass. It had a small white head that was pretty thick. The smell was sweet and malty but it was kind of hard to pick them up. The taste was at first puzzling. It was not really what I expected it was very mellow and not in your face. It took me a couple sips to see the true character of this beer. The sweetness and slight Smokey flavor are noticeable on further inspection. This beer is very drinkable and is not a bad choice.

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Photo of bditty187
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light brown with reddish influences, small off-white head that is slightly underdeveloped, quick to fade, spotty/unorganized lace. Pleasant malty nose… simple and inviting, the potency is mild. Very agreeable palate, malty, nutty with just enough hops in the background, a suggestion of bitterness and an odd touch of burnt flavor (wood?). I find the complexities of the palate to be damn tasty. I also love the fact the abv is under four; this would make a great session brew. Slick mouthfeel, low carbonation… a firm, medium bodied beer… easy to drink. Very nice, try one.

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Photo of DarrellK
3.89/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've tried Belvaven in bottles, draft and nitrocans and it is good beer in any form. I really like the medium color and clarity of the pour and the head is quite fine, especially in the nitrocan. I give it good marks on mouthfeel and finish but the nitrocan is a bit thin in body, where as the draft and bottle are similar in being a medium bodied brew. Scottish Ales are a favorite style of mine and this is a good representation, if perhaps, brewed to sophisticated and polished compared to a McEwens.

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Photo of mzwolinski
4.01/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Amber in color with a thick, off white head that leaves a nice lace down the glass. Aroma is lovely, sweet, slightly toasty malt with just a hint of apple. This toastiness really comes through in the flavor, with a big malt start followed, again, by a note of citric green apple. A slight nuttiness (hazelnut?) comes through as the beer warms, and yields to a nicely hopped finish. Well-deserving of its reputation.

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Photo of Fabric8r
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that turned a friend of mine away from the death-grip of Bud Light. He just loved this beer which initially scared him with the dark brown, slightly copper color, thick creamy had and bubble action of Guinness. Then he bucked up and tasted it. The smile and raised eyebrows on his face is a memorable sight. He just loved it. Drank it quite fast actually and wanted another. Not too bitter, not too dark tasting, just enough ale flavor to win him over. I like it a lot too, and ask for it in finer beer establishments, but sadly have only found it in the eastern US, so far. Thanks Balhaven!

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Photo of Kongquistador
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served from an "import bomber" (16.9 oz bottle). Nice look to it as it poured with a decent whitish head. The head persisted for quite awhile, and the resulting lace followed me down to the end of the drink, including the inevitable refill, due to the odd size of the bottle. The beer itself was an attractive medium reddish-brown. Smell wasn't much to get excited about, with definite sweet malty notes, and also some caramel, as befits this Scottish ale. Underneath there is a faint hint of hops, but really not much going on.

Overall, my feeling on this taste was that it was nice, but a little muted. The main malts seem to be caramel, with some roasted action faintly present. Certainly it was sweet and malty, but the flavors didn't endur, and the nild hops in the finish doesn't stick around long enough to entice you to pursue more at the bar. I enjoy the flavor overall, and it is certainly mild enough not to chase you away, but it is hard to find much to comment on. Better than average, but nothing to jump around about.

On the plus side, this beer is extremely drinkable, as it has a nice, but not aggresive flavor, and it is low alcohol enough to make it a good one for the long haul. The mouthfeel is very smooth, and presents no obstacle to drinking, except the (unfound) suspicion that some water has been added to the mix to make you buy another pint. Were I to run into this in a bar while looking for a night of drinking, this could cause some damage in the long haul, in spite of its low alcohol. But not worth really pursuing in the store.

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Photo of far333
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Copper colored with an off-white small-bubbled head that flattens out right away. Fine lacing clings to the glass. Aroma is of sweet malt and light brown sugar. Flavor is light, sweet malt, with bits of candy and syrup. Mouthfeel is smooth, but carbonation is on the low side. Clean aftertaste, with the tiniest bit of hop tingle, and a bit of a smokey aftertaste.

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Photo of TheDM
3.56/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This brew poured a medium head of creamy light brown bubbles and a transparent dark amber colored body. It has a mild malt hop aroma and an initially fizzy flavor that finishes with noted of spice and roasted caramel. This is a very drinkable and nice brew.

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Photo of barleypop
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Ale started with the nice nitro cascading action. Once settled it had a nice thick head on it. The body is a beautiful mahogany color.

The ale hits your tongue with a malty,roated, sweet flavour. Not overly sweet mind you. It hits the back of your throat with a smooth un-hoppy finish. Delicious!

If you are looking for strong flavour in an easy drinking ale. This one's for you.

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Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.06/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice rocky light tan head which dissipated quickly. Light brown color is very clear. Aroma is a bit sweet with maltiness and a light floral hint of noble hops. Flavor is very clean and malty with a nice nuttiness. The carbonation allows the hops to finish a bit stronger than the aroma lets on. For my first actual Scottish Ale this is nice but i thought it would be maltier with less sweetness.

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Photo of beergeek279
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 12 oz. bottle. The appearance was a darker amber, with good head retention. The smell was fairly malty............almost like a single malt scotch. There was little taste in the mouth, but there was a definite malty aftertaste to it. The mouthfeel was slightly heavy with carbonation. Drinkability-wise, it was certainly one that I would have another of.

This was the first imported Scottish Ale that I've had, and although it was a bit mild, I was surprised to see just how low the ABV was. Still, a decent ale, and if I was trying to session, one I'd give another try to in the future.

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Photo of beerguy101
2.88/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium brown color, medium head. A medium bodied ale. Malty, somewhat nutty taste. There is a smoky undertone. Good hop/malt balance. Mouthfeel is a little thin, slight off taste (undefined). Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of hotstuff
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Scottish Ale poured a medium tan long-lasting creamy head. The lacing with this brew was sparse on the sides of my glass. It had a nutty aroma to it in my opinion and an amber body hue. The taste was smooth, but there was some bittereness noticed.

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Photo of budgood1
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a nice and slow gentle pour produces a quite dark and amberish coloured brew with the usual huge and creamy nitro-incuced head. looks damn pleasing in my favorite beer glass. it throws off quite an aroma...roasted nuts and and fresh toasted malts come to mind. a light roasted malt taste follows...backed up with some balancing hops. a very different light sour finish. a pretty smooth mouthfeel lets it roll right down my throat. not a bad nitro, actually quite pleasing. light and refreshing.

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Photo of WesWes
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I rather enjoyed tasting this beer. It poured a pretty copper color with a low white head. It's aroma is very seductive; a caramel/malty scent that makes you want to throw it down the hatch quickly, but savor it along the way. I did find however that the taste is quite plain. There is a watery feeling about it. The malt aroma that was so prominant, was not so prominant in the taste. It drank very smooth. The body is very lite. The abv. I was discouraged to find out is less than 4. Am I drinking lite beer or what? Oh well, like I said it was a very drinkable and enjoyable beer. A Scottish Ale from the heart of Scotland.

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Photo of dwarbi
3.44/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fine, creamy head. The beer is a rich amber color. Not much to the aroma, good or bad. Some hints of vanilla. Tastes clean, creamy, and light. Again, nothing spectacular. Feels very good in the mouth. "Soft" is probably the best word. This makes it pretty drinkable, too.

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Photo of scottum
3.44/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a red amber with a big offwhite head. Nowhere near as good bottled as it is on the nitro. Still quite smooth and easy to drink. Nice mildly smokey malts. A nice beer to drink outside under the sun. Goes down so easy. I won't buy this again in bottled form. Perhaps nitrocans if I can find them.

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Photo of jreitman
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in color with a white head that disappeared quickly. Sweet, grainy smell was quite nice. Biscuity, grain flavors were most prevalent with a nice caramelly sweetness. Towards the back of the mouth there was a detectable, but small, smoky flavor. Dry, low bitterness and light-medium bodied.

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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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Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 2,179 ratings