Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

very good
891 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: 891 | Ratings: 2,032
Photo of drmeto
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

-pours a clear deep copper-brown with a big,frothy,offwhite head
-medium to high carbonation visible
-biscuity,spicy,grassy,fruitcake,slight caramel,slight toffee,nutty
-medium carbonation
-light body
An uncomplicated,highly drinkable Ale with enough flavour

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Photo of Dave1999
4.2/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a light brown/amber colour with a thick white head.

The smell is toffee, roasted malts.

The taste is caramel, toffee, nuts.

This was a pub widget can, the body almost nitro like with low carbonation.

Overall an excellent beer.

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Photo of Myotus
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured at 48°F from a 11.2oz bottle into a Thistle. Consumed on 01Mar16.
LOOK: Copper in color with a slight cloudiness. There is a moderate amount of small rising bubbles. Lacing is very thick and subtle in quantity
SMELL: Mild aromas of sweetened black tea and tree nuts are backed by subtle toffee and earthy and floral hop aromas. Hints of smoked goodness can also be smelt.
TASTE: Strong tree but flavors first strike the palate and are immediately followed by strong flavors of toffee. Mild floral hop, spicy hop (didn't smell those), and subtle earthy hop flavors next make their debut into the palate. Finally, mild sweetened black tea flavors and hints of smoked goodness enter as all previous flavors maintain.
FEEL: Somehwere between medium-bodied and full-bodied. Subtly carbonated. Goes down smooth and somewhat creamy. Finishes with a strong, and somewhat unpleasant, dryness.

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Photo of HerbGuy42
5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the benchmark by which I judge all other beers in the same category, and one of the best examples of a balanced beer I have ever come across.

The clarity of this beer is excellent, its light caramel-brown appearance attractive. Pours a worthy head with decent staying power.

Malty, slightly biscuity & caramel notes greet the nose and, after a bold hop blast of flavor to the tongue, one is reintroduced to the same malt, biscuit, & caramel notes on the palate. Maybe even the slightest hints of toastiness. Nice, smooth mouthfeel. Such perfect balance. So drinkable.

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Photo of ctylinebeer
3.84/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

16 oz. widget can poured into a nonic glass. Picked up in a bottle shop. Quite the opening sound if you ask me.

L - Medium dark brown color with a clear hue. Thick creamy, durable foam head. Nice lacing on the glass. Cascade not too vigorous in the glass. Poured very nicely.

S - Smells like Scotland. Toasted caramel malts, maple syrup, sweet tree sap. Nonic hinders the aroma.

T - Caramelized malts, almost similar to Marzens. Hints of chocolate also. Really smooth and dark, exceptional. No aggressive aftertaste, nice chocolate-caramel finish. Other notes: oatmeal, toasted wheat bread, hazelnut, coffee Nutella......yes, Nutella

F - No carbonation at all. Really smooth and velvety texture. Light-medium heavy body, almost stout-like. Clean and smooth, not so much as crisp. Wow.

O - To anyone else, this is a flat beer. I have had carbonated Scotch ales before but nitro is way to go. Really smooth and dark, really excellent beer. I'd to compare it to a combination between a porter and a marzen. Awesome beer.

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Photo of troyvar
4.41/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a 16oz SA glass at about 45 degrees F. Very clear, dark orange/copper with a cream color head. Surprised that it comes in at 5.2% ABV but certainly not disappointed. Oddly, I see no tiny carbonation bubbles, the head didn't last very long but lacing on the glass stays the course. Rich, malty taste and the mouthfeel is very smooth, smells earthy. Definitely happy with this one, was a pick six member and will be on my short list of Scotch Ales.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Happy New Beer! Now that we’ve got that out of the way our first review of the new year is this fine Scottish Ale from Belhaven, a brewer from East Lothian that I became well acquainted with while living in Edinburgh (Lothian being the region Edinburgh is located in and Belhaven being a brewer that you can find on most taps in the city). Scottish Ales are renowned for their full malt profile, and I love a good malty ale, so hopefully old pros like Belhaven have nailed the style, as I’m certain they have, air do shlàinte!

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Classic Scottish Ale clear caramel body which could almost be mistaken for a whiskey except for: bubbles and a thin off-white lace blanket on top. Pretty spot-on to the style. More head would be nice [wouldn’t it just?] but otherwise this is a fine looking brew. 8/10.

S: Nutty malts up front and smeared all over my snout like a beery peanut butter. Following this are caramel/toffee notes, a hint of fresh baked bread, and hops? A touch of earthiness in there must be hop related because there is naught much else. So a big malt driven ale as warranted given the style, nice! 8/10.

T: Sweet, creamy and nutty. In that order. The balance is skewed invariably towards sweet with almost overbearing caramel/toffee notes - however that is the Scottish Ale way - you will either love it or hate it [I luv it]. 8/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a light UK pub carbonation... this beer would be awesome on nitro tap (or even in nitro can). 7/10.

D: This is a total trip down beer memory lane going back to 2001 Edinburgh, the Fringe festival, the many ales consumed whilst The Proclaimers blared out over the tavern PA, Flower of Scotland sung out by proud pub patrons - what a time and place to be alive - this beer nails it (probably because it was one of the brews I drank over there). Nostalgia out of the way - if you’re looking for a classic representation of the Scottish Ale style, which is a sweet malty ale with near non-existent hops, then this should be at or near the top of your list. O Fhlùir na h-Alba, cuin a chì sinn an seòrsa laoich! 8/10.

Food match: This brew would go great with a cheese platter or hearty Cullen skink followed by a roast beef or lamb dish.

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From notes 3 years old: Pours a semi-clear, orange brown with a huge light tan head leaving a nice coating of lace. Aroma is creamy toffee, malty, butter, nuts, slight hop notes. Taste is caramel/toffee, butter, some chocolate, roasted nuts & dark fruit with hoppy undertones & slight bitterness. The nitro can draught is more flavorful than the bottle.

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Photo of PlutonowyManiek
2.6/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color: dark amber, clear. Foam color somewhere between ecru and orange.
Aroma: caramel, sweet and bland.
Taste: caramel, toffee, and again bland.
Gentian: delicate. Saturation: average plus.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This was poured into an English pub styled glass.
The appearance was a hazy burnt dark orange to ruddy brown color with a thick creamy foamy head that sat atop of the beer for a good minute and a half. Lingering sticky lace eventually slides down into the beer.
The smell started off with earthy sweet caramel and toffee malts. Light raisins and bread bounce together underneath my nose.
The taste copied the smell nicely. Light peat, smoke and toast come in for the balance. Lingers in the aftertaste and slides into the finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium in body with a sly sessionably malty sweet stickiness, not cloying but nice.
Overall, to me, I say this was a wonderful interpretation of a Scottish ale, true to style and good to me. Definitely would have with some fish n'chips.

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Photo of MrIncognito
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Deep mahagony body with a tan head. Muted aromas of sweet bready malt and raisins.

Taste is sweet and malty with a light hop bitterness. Slight raisin flavor

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Photo of Goulart
3.67/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Stein at a cool temp. Typical Nitro head; well-formed, substantial, appealing but kind of artificial--a lot like fake tits. Color of medium caramel, nitro head lingers longer than most and traces the glass nicely; visually appealing in the glass. Aromas of sweet malt and barley, simple, not complex. Medium body of creamy malt with some stick on the finish. Not bad but not overly impressive on initial tasting. The story changes when used as a compliment to a single malt though. Poured a neat Balvenie 12-year old and found that this is a superb beer to compliment a good bourbon barrel aged scotch. Not surprising considering its sweet, malty and bready construct.

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Photo of heygeebee
3.34/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Dark ruby/copper, short lived head.
Molasses on nose.
Taste sweet, but dry at end. Molasses, caramels.
Quite well carbonated - not sure if too much.
Solid effort

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Photo of muffiewolf
5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rich, nutty & smooth just like the label says. I bought this while searching for some stouts. This was a stunning surprise. I bought a six pack of bottles. I'm going to try the cans next.

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Photo of T100Mark
3.78/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A 11.2 ounce Euro bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Appearance - A nice copper color. Amazing clarity. Big, dense, white, foamy head. Minimal lacing.

Smell - Sweet nose.

Taste - Mild malt/carmel flavor. Sweet. A touch nutty (just like the label says). The hops are there (but only just).

Mouth - Smooth.

Overall - A nice, mild, amber ale. My only knock on this ale is that it has an ever-so-slight metallically taste. A nice beer all the same.

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Photo of JetFeather22
5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

There are two differant versions of this beer, One is a normal carbonated version that comes only in bottles, And a Nitro version that comes only in cans.. There both 5 star beers but i feel like there should be separate ratings for both, some people are reviewing the nitro version and some the carbonated.. Personal i like the Nitro caned version more, Both very sweet caramel malt forward..

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Photo of mrcharlie
3.9/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

My favorite thing about this one is the appearance, just beautiful. Very drinkable and I can see this one working it's way into my fridge regularly. Great balance overall, nothing really overpowering anything else.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: crystal clear; amber colored; 1 finger off white head that receded quickly to a thin collar; no lacing;

S: a touch of smoke; earthy; a little malt sweetness;

T: malt sweetness for a moment, then smoky and pumpernickel bread; moderate bitterness on the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate to high carbonation; dry finish;

O: really enjoyed this;

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Red-brown in color with great clarity. Off-white head settles into a thin crown after a time. Thin and wispy lacing.

S: Caramel and molasses, nutty, hard caramel candy. Light whiffs of stewed plums. Some grassy/earthy hop character.

T: Brown molasses and caramel, nutty, cocoa powder. Some candied sweetness. Stewed plums. Earthy and grassy hops pull up middle to end and play a balancing role. Toasty grainy and molasses finish.

M: Medium-thick body. Ultra creamy and smooth. Gently tingling carbonation.

O: One of the prototypical Scottish ales in my mind. Malt forward, sweet, decadent and smooth body, and easily drinkable. The nitro version is quite good too.

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Photo of Dualscar
4.49/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had from their nitro can. Has a beautiful cascade and rich creamy look and feel about it. Lovely colour especially in a nicely chilled glass. Creamy, a good feel of malt and sweetness all about it and a faint taste of caramel to the body. Really would suggest having it with the widget as without it seems to lose a lot of the great body and mouthfeel. Overall super drinkable, easy to down a few without realizing where they went.

Pair it with some Corn beef and cabbage for a great treat!

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I will admit that this particular bottle that I'm having seems a bit skunky. I can't find any sort of date on it, but it reeks. Fortunately, it's mostly just affecting the aroma, as the flavor seems pretty normal. It has a nice nutiness, and a little bit of malt. It's pretty decent, but not great. I'm most definitely willing to give it another shot some time later, though, as I'm sure it's better than this under more better situations.

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Photo of Wobbly
4.15/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Excellent Scottish ale, and a real delight on tap in a real pub. I had it often in Britain but rarely see it on tap in the States. Not quite as special out of the can but still very tasty.

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Photo of sjccmd
4.63/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich nutty aroma. Burnt sugar, Slightly steely mineral character. Toast, biscuits, a tad bit of cinnamon. Slightest hint of raisiny dark fruits, giving the impression of oatmeal raisin cookies. No real hop aroma.

Pours beautiful dark copper amber. Medium sized off white/tan head that recedes quickly but leaves a solid ring around the glass. Not much head retention.

Big rich flavor without being heavy on the palate. Dark caramel, toffee, rich pumpernickel bread. Some dark fruits, somewhat pruney. Big mineral character, steely and earthy. Complex and full flavor.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. A bit high carbonation for the style. Nice lingering mineral character.

Very rich and pleasant. Lots of flavor without being heavy.

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Photo of Act25
3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bargain at my beer bodega at 38 + 2nd Av on way to ferry. $2.5 for pint. best deal!

A: Pours a very murky brown w amber highlights, super muddy, with an abundant foamy head w great retention all the way down as a stout should, but no Guiness. Good lacing.

S: Lovely nose. The best part. The malts are first with an earthy aroma. Hay, peat, charcoal, toasted bread crust in a Scottish candy shop.

T: Very malty with with nice balance of sweet and bitter, then the flavors offer an earthy, smoky flavor.

F: I experienced this as light (as stouts are) and not thick. Prefer more density. The finish offers just the right amount of bitter linger.

D: Complex flavors match the smokey peat of other 'Scottish Ales'. An earthy flavor and texture that certainly makes authentically Scotland. Good; recommended, best buy!

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Photo of DrMullet
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber. The smell is toasted malt and slightly sweet.
This scottish ale is well balanced blend of malt, nut, earthy sweetness .
It is a very good example of the style.

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Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,032 ratings.
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