Belhaven Scottish Ale | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

very good
2,078 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,078 |  Reviews: 904
Photo of rfgetz
3.65/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of hman43
4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: It pours amber and has excellent clarity. It has a creamy off white head.

Smell: It has a malty sweet aroma highlighted by the caramel and bread, There are also low aromas of butterscotch and pear.

Taste: It has dominate flavors of caramel and bread. There are background light notes of butterscotch, pear, and hints of herbal. The balance is towards the malts.

Feel: It has a moderate body with a creamy feel to the overall presentation, moderate-low bitterness, and moderate-low carbonation.

Overall, this is a malt balance ale. It features the caramel and bread with other flavors and aromas in the background.

 627 characters

Photo of CC93
4.76/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Received it from draft, also drunk it from a bottle. When bottled: poured into a 20oz stein glass. Will have to review via memory, so not everything will be there.

Bottled: A golden brown colour with a nice, 2 inch foamy head.
Draft: Similar, if not a little dark.

Smell: Malty; very common with Scottish ales and teas.

Taste: Malty flavour. Unable to remember much else. From the bottle, it has a bit of spice into it, and is accentuated from the carbonation. Bottled is strongly similar to Newcastle Brown Ale.

Feel: Draft: Very smooth, very delicate. The foamy head accentuates the smooth feeling.

Overall: One of the most sippable ales I have had in my life. Getting it from draft is much, MUCH better than the bottled, but its bottled kind is good, but the bottled kind is easily comparable to Newcastle Brown Ale.

 831 characters

Photo of GentleKnight1
4.06/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of khargro2
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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

Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Clear copper color with tons of glass clinging activity. Slightly creamy beige 2 finger head, lasting around 5-10 minutes, with faint legs. Flavors of walnuts, caramel, coffee, nutmeg, dark roasted grains like barley, raspberries, honey, herbal spices. Sugary bread feel with low sharpness, but spicy flowery hops. Slick oily medium body with soft crispy carbonation. Light to medium strength finish, lingering toffee feel with burnt malts and residual leafy hops. Quite tasty and pleasant. Good freshness and well balanced. Would be better with a smoother heavier body. Accessible while fully flavored. Overall high quality craft.

 632 characters

Photo of toscanoigor
3.73/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ewelvaert
4.83/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of frasergrove
3.87/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tlema1
3.71/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: bright Amber, with a thick billowing, lacing tan head
S: light caramel, not much on the nose
T: biscuit, caramel, a touch of earthy hops
F: very creamy, light body
O: poured from a widget can

 196 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
3.57/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

330 mL bottle from the LCBO; the last of six included in their "Merry Craftmas" sampler pack. Best before Sept 2017 and served slightly chilled.

Pours a deep, clear amber-bronze colour, producing nearly an inch of soapy, off white-tinged head that melts away over the next couple of minutes. A thin, bubbly cap coats the surface afterwards, ringed by a creamy collar of foam. The aroma has a floral, leafy bent to it courtesy of the hop bill, with underlying sweet hints of toffee, toasted nuts and grainy bread. Very subdued on the nose, with a low-key bouquet that opens up only slightly as it warms (and reminds me more of a bitter than a Scottish ale, to boot).

Not bad - a pretty well-crafted British-style brew, but not much an attention grabber. The malts get more of a chance to show what they're made of here - biscuity and bready, with tempered toffee and butterscotch sweetness that blends nicely with hints of tree nuts and plummy/dark fruit preserve. Things get a bit more earthy and herbal on the back end, though the biscuity malts remain present into the aftertaste, which ends somewhat abruptly. Light-ish in body, with moderate carbonation levels that might be a little too assertive for this style - it feels prickly and crisp, but I prefer a smoother, mellower texture with my Scottish ales. Still, this one grew on me a little as I made my way through the glass - perhaps I just served it too cold?

Final Grade: 3.57, a B grade. Belhaven's flagship Scottish Ale is an acceptable British-style brew that probably won't turn too many heads. I'm a little shocked at how highly this one has been rated in the past - maybe this bottle is getting old (doubtful, given the BB date), or maybe it's just the herd effect? Or maybe the recipe has changed over the years? Who knows? Certainly not me. As it stands, this is a passable beer that I would drink and (probably) purchase again in the future, but nothing about it is really impressing me, so I can't give it anything more than a passable grade.

 2,016 characters

Photo of SaltofOH
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Nitro can dated 6035 (February 4, 2016). Nonic pint.

A: pours a clear, dark Amber with 3 fingers off white frothy head cascading and eventually settling into 1/4 inch white froth that lasts forever. No visible carb. Excellent lacing.

S: a little butterscotch, but not much else. Maybe a little sour/smoky tang at the end.

T: arrives as a dark toasted bread, with hints of butterscotch and some woodsy, earthy hops across the middle and perhaps a hint of smoke right before it transitions to a clean, slightly tart, and very astringent ending.

M: heavier end of light bodied, very well attenuated and astringent.

O: this seems lighter than the last time I had it, but it is quite enjoyable, and very "authentic" on nitro. Quotes because I've never been to Scotland, but this is how I imagine beer would taste there. This is really good beer for food. I can see this going with thanksgiving dinner. I might buy it again, might even buy the carbonated to compare, but I would take an American brown ale over this five times out of seven. It is to style, for sure, just an odd style - malty, slightly sweet, astringent, attenuated, low carbonation.

 1,149 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.17/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

330 ml bottle served cold into a chalice. Purchased as part of the Merry Craftmas holiday pack,

Appearance - dark amber or honey brown in color. Small amount of foamy head that doesn't last long and leaves some wisps of foam in the glass. Good clarity.

Smell - not much of anything on the nose. Some faint graininess and caramel or butterscotch sweetness but the nose is really non-existent. Some sourness on the nose initially too.

Taste - not a lot here either, but some subtle bitterness initially with some toffee and butterscotch following up the initial impression.

Mouthfeel - smooth, lightly carbonated and a sweet syrupy body although less so than you would think with the relatively thin flavor too.

Overall - not a bad beer, but given the high expectations from reviews this didn't quite live up to expectations. Still not a bad beer but I preferred the oatmeal stout and the Speyside blonde.

 908 characters

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

Photo of Tigerbrau
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of Booner818
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of seansean95
4.64/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Look: pretty amber hues with a single finger head that remains the entire time.

Smell: fruity, biscuity malts with a hint of spice.

Taste: almost identical to smell.

Feel: smooth gentle carbonation.

 201 characters

Photo of Pro_Magnon
3.62/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of McClinton
3.97/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Our beer sommelier at the local package store off I-40 Exit 101 in Arkansas recommended this after I asked for a good dark alternative to the usual's. He was absolutely right in putting me on this. This is my favorite. Great flavor from this medium colored ale.

 264 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light brown in color, some darker red to the edges of the beer. The aroma is rather mute.

Taste reveals a hint of smoke, peat, earth. Very smooth, light bodied. Low carbonation. I guess the smoke and peat distinguish this from a regular brown ale.

I'm sure this is someone's jam, but it really just isn't something that kicks down a lot of flavor country. And that's all good I guess, but I dunno, biscuits and nuts, and all that jazz. . . if you're a malt or toffee head I guess.

 490 characters

Photo of Bcronin
3.99/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of oline73
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Belhaven Scottish Ale from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.79 out of 5 based on 2,078 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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