Belhaven Best | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

74 Reviews
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Belhaven BestBelhaven Best

Brewed by:
Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 3.90%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by JISurfer on 05-03-2003

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Reviews: 74 | Ratings: 158
Photo of Zimbo
1.73/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Had this again the other night just to finally seal my impressions. Emm...
Doesn't look horrendous but that uniform foamy head was a sign of things to come. Almost devoid of odour this tasted slightly tinny at best. Body was fat and bloated letting very little resembling flavour escape. Like an over inflated tire about to burst to be honest. Considering the brewing legacy here this is not a beer which inhances Belhaven's reputation.

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Photo of Douggie53
1.82/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Completely tasteless. Whether this has anything to do with the abv or not, I've yet to determine. A pity, as the Belhaven St Andrews is much more flavoursome at just over 4%...... not dissimilar to Marstons Pedigree in its taste. It quenches the thirst, but water's cheaper and has just about as much flavour!

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Photo of necoadam
2.02/5  rDev -38%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

This isn't Belhaven's Best. Down right terrible. Perhaps it was a very old 4 pack of nitro's, but this was unbearable. Poured out a an amber/brownish color with a huge head from the nitro can. The head never really did setlle down. Smell consisted of malts, caramel, and toasted aromas. It was on the sweet side mostly. Taste was almost the same. Very sweet and some metallic notes could be detected as well. Just very unpleasent and avoid this brew at all costs.

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Photo of WMBierguy
2.03/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The "best" thing about this beer is its nitro-can. It gives the beer an amazing head, and is a cool looking shade of blue. Everything else about it is disappointing. THe most disappointing thing: It only contains 3.9% alcohol! That's incredible! I didn't notice that until I already had poured it, and when I tasted it I couldn't deny the beer's weakness. After the creamy head was a wierd yellow beer that had almost no taste. It didn't taste bad, and it didn't taste good. It simply had no flavor. Not surprising when you consider that it is weaker than Mic Ultra, the tapwater beer. I wouldn't buy it again. If you get a chance to try it for free, do so, just so you can tell everyone about the weakest beer ever.

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Photo of salvo
2.2/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Sweet. Out of the can pours orange into a plastic cup with little head. The smell is metallic tang and stale leaves, like dry leaves in fall. No head.

The taste backs up the smell: sweet. Malty sweet, little alcohol. Insipid: I'm happy English has that word because it fits. Amazing that this ... liquid comes from the same folks who brew Belhaven IPA. Order something else: life's too short for this.

Luckily the company was good on the train from Aberdeen to Inverness.

Tasting notes October 2009

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Photo of Dmann
2.24/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Great looking, shitty tasting. The beer had so much potential and then it just failed to impress. It started out nice with a beautiful nitro pour with a densly packed white head and a nice clear carmel color. The smell was not good at all with a prevailing sourness that turned me off from the get go. The taste was not one that I would care to experience again with its overly woody/raw hamburger meat aftertaste. Not recommended at all.

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Photo of IronDjinn
2.36/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

From a 440 ml blue can, abv. listed at 3.5%. Pours out a slightly hazed rustic copper hue, with a tall tight creamy off-white head that retains.

Sweet bready malt and honey on the nose, light leafy, grassy hops. Some dry grain in the background.

Flavour starts out sweet, almost cloyingly so, akin to a honey cake, while mild spicy, herbal hops finish things out on the back end. Seems watered down and thin in general.

Mouthfeel is light and thin, somewhat creamy texture from the nitro can, low carbonation.

Doesn't make that great of an impression, I would imagine this is the type of light mediocre domestic fare that folks in the U.K. chug down without thinking twice about. Glad I managed to just pick up a single of this stuff.

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Photo of Sammy
2.49/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at new West 50 Pourhouse. Some dots lacing. Light colour. Off-malt taste of ginger ale. Some harsh astringent bitterness,malt and graininess.I don't expect much from the brewery, but this just arrived and its undrinkable.
Upgraded rating based on 1.5 years later on tap at Abbot On the Hill, but still poor.

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Photo of AgentMunky
2.56/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 440mL nitro-can into a Blackthorn pint glass. Best before 11 November (hopefully 2011). 3.5%.

A: The can exploded (mostly into the glass) with creamy head and produced the beautiful downward drifting bubbles that makes nitro-things look so interesting. Two fingers of tight, creamy head. The beer is burnished copper and quite clear. No visible bubbles once the head settled. Some lacing.

S: Rather nice-smelling for a canned beer (prejudice, I know -- I've had some bad experiences). A nice bitter scent, which is only partially attributable to hops. What smells like roasted, or at least toasty, malts.

T: Thin and almost tasteless except for a vague sour maltiness. The creamy head is odd-tasting, but mostly neutral. It reminds me vaguely of weak, transparent Guinness, but I suppose that's the nitro. Aftertaste is thin and unpleasant. Not impressed.

M: A thick creamy head on top of a watery excuse for a beer. Ugh.

O: I liked this one a lot better on cask. Starting out less than terrible, but as the head got consumed, quality plummeted. Not bad enough to pour out, but I won't be having any more Belhaven from a can. Stuff like this is why people think they don't like beer. Needless to say, not recommended.

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Photo of slitherySOB
2.59/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I was a bit surprised with the nitro can. I'm used to nitro widgets only being in Guinness. Anyways, this bitter pours out an amber colour with a thick, white, creamy head. It goes downhill from there. The smell has some light butterscotch, grassy hops, tea like aroma, honey, and an odd smell that I can't quite described. Something kind of, gassy. Tastes sweet with toffee and malts, with a hint of brown sugar. Some grassy and citrus hops cleans the palate afterwards. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Overall, a rather disappointing English style bitter.

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Photo of pootz
2.68/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Tap handle said "Belhaven Best..dunno what the confusion is with this beer’s name or even why it’s worth fussing over.

All shine no substance here.

Nice big creamy cap ( nitro generated) sits atop a orange-gold ale...great lace on the glass.( nice color and presentation but this was all flash)

Light aromas of caramel, light floral and some sweetness.

Quick bite of malt up front, light smokiness, some pine-like hopping then....nothing!....from that point forward I thought the liquid in my mouth had turned to water...weak liquid tasteless finish and after the swallow a light bittering after taste.

Weak watery body on this one ruined what could have been a decent session bitter...just too weak for me....2 or 3 of this diluted concoction and you feel water-logged.

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Photo of Jason
2.69/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This is one nitro can I am not totaly fond of, way too sweet with a steely caramel aroma and flavour. The nitro seems way over forced and the flavours too processed. Hops are faded and produce just enough bitterness, the malt is odd tasting and the finish is sticky sweet.

This one is just not for me ...

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Photo of kmacphail
2.77/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This appears to be the main beer on offer in the majority of bars accross Scotland, sadly.

The pint pours very well a lovely bronze colour with a very thick perfectly formed creamy head. However this looks fake straight away, it looks manufactured and that is why I did not give it top marks.

The nose is virtually non-existant, it is not horrible, I just couldn't smell anything.

The taste of malts and caramel dominate the taste. Not bad, but it lacks any real character and the tastes that exist are quite bland. The mouthfeel however is good, nice and thick with a clean aftertaste. Very, very smooth in the mouth, but again this feels manufactured, not natural.

I would drink this if there was nothing else on offer, but it is no better than any other manufactured beer out there, especially with the number in Scotland. If you are desperate for manufactured beer then McEwans Export or Tennents Special are both, in my opinion, better alternatives. This lacks any real taste, not sure where Best came from, they should be sued for misleading information.

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Photo of rowew
2.91/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 14.9 oz can with a widget. No freshness info, but it does tout the "Draughtflow system". I assume this is just the widget.

Appearance: As with most nitro beers, great head with nice retention. Leaves a nice lacing. The best part of any nitro beer is watching it settle in the glass. Clear, slight reddish color with a slight effervesence.

Smell: Aroma is malty and slightly sweet.

Taste: Dominated by the nitro - very creamy mouthfeel, but not a whole lot of taste to back it up. Mainly malt, with a very sweet flavor. Something tastes off - it may be the metallic taste, but I'm not sure if that is it.

Overall impression: Not bad .. interesting to try something different, but I won't be seeking these out again.

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Photo of peensteen
2.91/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pale amber orange colour, nearly 2 fingers of dense white head, some lace left behind. Smell is biscuity malt and caramel, graham crackers, faint traces of honey and at points some floral notes. Taste is pretty biscuity and malty, oddly metallic, light fruity and floral points in aftertaste, light underlying bitterness throughout. Mouthfeel is light and fairly watery though the medium body makes this fairly creamy on the tongue, minimal carbonation. This was juts OK, nothing overly interesting and if that metallic taste wasn't there that would help its case quite a bit.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another sad example of how not to package a great beer. The usual presentation for the nitro: pop the tab, dump into the glass. After the bubbles do their trick, an amber color beverage appears. First sip, watered down. I hate writing this review because you sense this is a great beer that has been destroyed by the "widget". A little hops, but I could not get by the watered down taste. Even my wife commented, "this would be a good beer after mowing the lawn." Tragedy.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.01/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reddish amber with a creamy white head that stays for about five minutes before being reduced to a thickish lacing.

Smell wasn't the strongest really. It has some caramel, very light summer fruits that could have been stronger and some malts too.

Could have been a lot stronger. It also has some caramel & malts with the background summer fruits but none of these dominate & a watery taste is apparent when drank.

Light to medium bodied with low carbonation & a very smooth texture that goes down easy due to the watery taste probably.

Average really & not at all what I was expecting; it was nice for a change from the pale lagers that where the only other beers on offer in the pub but not a beer I’d be inclined to get all that often.

1001 Beers Blog:

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Photo of BeerLover99
3.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: dark yellow, pale brown. head disappears within a minute of pouring. a few webs of lacing.

S: mild sweet notes with hint of earthiness, but you really need to sniff a lot to enjoy this one.

T: grain with hint of hops on the finish, might be a little stale, had slightly odd aftertaste.

M: watery, light/medium body, little much carbonation for a bitter.

D: Easy to down a few of these over a meal and not bat an eye, too weak for my taste. There are other better bitters, move along.

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Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
3.06/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at a walk in beer store location.

A Thick creamy off white head with the usual cascading effect of a nitro can shoots through the clear amber body leaving caul fat like lace.

Smells of roast malt and light caramel balance a light hoppy aroma and a hint of sulphur. Some nitro smells prevalent.

Light malty notes are the main flavours here with some backing roasted flavour. A strange sensation of sour cream and a slight nuttiness present themselves submissively. Hopping can be detected int he latter half of the sip, light but adding some balance.
The body overall is watery though mouth coating with medium low carbonation. This provides a smooth refreshing quality.

Not a bad beer it would be good with standard pub fare.

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Photo of Billolick
3.08/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

You know a beer is gonna be rated poorly when its best feature is its head and carbonation. The widget does an amazing job here, if you like LONG lasting creamy super fine bubble head and amazing creamy lacing. Otherwise this was a stinker, minimal flavor, no hops, metalic tastes etc etc. Back to the drawing board for this one.

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Photo of jmdrpi
3.09/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pint from nitro can, poured into a glass. amber in color, thick head from the nitro pour. mild, bland flavors. easy drinking but not much flavor. Wouldn't recommend.

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Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I like the way beer cans with widgets pour. Lots of nice head & bubbles "cascading up". Nice dark honey-brown colour.

Didn't smell like much.

Taste was OK. Nothing too exceptional or noteworthy. A little caramel / toffee... maybe, I guess.

As much as I like the cans with nitro / widgets, I don't like how they feel. They feel very flat in the mouth. Creamy and pretty smooth, yes, but flat. I miss my fizz.

Overall, still a drinkable beer.

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Photo of Kartoffeln
3.11/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a somewhat dark russet-y copper with some visible carbonation that's strangely static (i.e. just clinging to the glass - I don't think one bubble has moved for minutes now) and a typical nitro-can head: a dense, modestly-sized layer of creamy beige foam with retention for days.

S: Toffee and biscuit malts with a sweet yet raw grain aroma. Hints of honey and grassy hops round out the rather weak nose.

T: Sweet caramel malts and a pleasant note of grain towards the finish, along with faint floral hops and a very vague hint of roastiness.

M: Despite the creamy texture, it's made watery by the thin body and lack of carbonation - combine that with the fairly clean finish and you've got an extremely drinkable ale, just not for entirely good reasons.

D: To be blunt, the beauty of a nitro-can can't make up for the blandness. If you need something light-flavoured and easy-as-water to drink, it's a fine choice, but otherwise not really worthwhile and not much of a bitter at all.

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Photo of kwjd
3.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I had this on tap (assuming it was nitro) at Twisted Kilt in Toronto. Pours a copper orange colour with a finger or 2 of creamy white head. Head doesn't dissipate at all, with some lacing all the way down the glass. Smells very mild, some floral hops and biscuit malt. Flavour is just mild bitterness, a bit of sweetness. Creamy mouthfeel, I'm pretty sure this is on nitro. An ok beer, nothing too great though.

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Photo of biegaman
3.14/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Sure, widgets make for an impressive pour - the first few times you see it. Unless you have the mental capacities of a child the 'oscillating sandstorm' visual quickly becomes tired and gimmicky. It's ironic too that a device meant to impart a distinguishing feature actually makes for identical looking beers; the artificially-induced foam is always the same. This amber ale looks as though it were made from a mold.

Belhaven Best also smells pretty much like every other widget beer I've had: wet cardboard drenched in corn syrup. Well, maybe "drenched" is a strong word, but this bouquet has a sweetness that I'd be surprised wasn't high-fructose fueled (think of cheap, mass-produced caramel, like the stale little squares wrapped in clear plastic).

The flavour does a better job of passing for an all-malt offering (though the impressions of stale, inferior quality grain and industrial sweetener return in the aftertaste). As is typical of British ales, there are subtle hints of dried fruit esters and chalky water minerals, both of which I suspect would be more pronounced were it not for that suffocating blob of floating nitrogen.

You might not guess it from this sample, but Belhaven makes a few beers so well-brewed and distinct that they're hailed by beer judges and journalists alike as the best examples of their respective styles (see: Belhaven Wee Heavy, Scottish Ale, St. Andrews Ale). Pick up any textbook on beer or brewing, flip to the section on British ales and you're sure to see Belhaven listed...

This offering, however, is a lesson in how to make bad beer - its maltiness is frail, the yeast muted, the hops non-existent; despite its agreeable strength (4.8%) only those with simple, undiscerning palates would contemplate ordering a second round. (Frankly, I don't even care to finish my first.) Putting cardboard through the blender would be just as stimulating to the senses.

Belhaven Best is undoubtedly Belhaven's worst. What can I say? I guess you gotta make money somehow and, for reasons that I'll never understand, the majority of beer drinkers prefer something insipid, predictable, and undistinguished. I can't blame the marketing department for being unable to pass-up the "The Cream of Scottish Beer" tagline but I certainly don't have to support it. Nevermind a repeat purchase - this is a beer I wish I never bought in the first place.

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Belhaven Best from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.26 out of 5 based on 158 ratings.
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