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Belhaven Best | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

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BA SCORE
76
okay
74 Reviews
THE BROS
63
poor
Read the review
Belhaven BestBelhaven Best
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
74
Ratings:
157
Avg:
3.26
pDev:
26.07%
 
 
Wants:
2
Gots:
15
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 74 | Ratings: 157
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.

 314 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out has a nice looking deep copper color. The head was creamy looking and white. The smell of the beer is malty and has some nice sweet grainy aromas coming off of it. The taste of the beer has a subtle sweetness upfront that fades into a dry bitterness in the end. The mouthfeel is light but remains creamy. Overall I enjoyed the beer, I like most of what I've had from Belhaven thus far. Not a bad brew to try.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

440ml 'Draught Flow' can, 3.5% ABV - more traditional British Isles pub ale for we new world acolytes (or perhaps apostates).

This beer pours a clear, medium bronzed amber hue, with a top-heavy, rising bubbly menagerie, which eventually renders two fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and wispy eggshell white head, and a Swiss cheese sheen of painted lace around the glass as it very slowly sinks away.

It smells of sweet, mildly toasted cereal grain, cheap honeyed crackers, Corn Pops, and very faint earthy, leafy, and weedy hops.. The taste is softly bready caramel malt, otherworldly corn syrup, wan pome and stone fruit esters, and a light, egregiously late-rising (been there!) earthy and leafy noble hoppiness.

The carbonation, as expected, is quite, quite low-key in its frothy astringencies, the body a solid medium weight, smooth, and oh so very creamy. It finishes still fairly sweet, the generally cereal-heavy malt not taking any guff from any sort of latent and/or lingering bitterness.

A lovely beer, in the tactile sense, as this goes down so smoothly, the nitro puck really showing its stuff. However, for a bitter, there just isn't enough, well, bitterness - and that's not even close to keeping up with the old-country Jones, as it were. As enjoyable as this seems to be, including the senses-preserving ABV, the fundamental shortcomings would prove tiring, and somewhat cloying, whilst considering a night's coming rounds.

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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 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 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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Photo of Zorro
3.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber colored ale with a thick off white head. The action of the bubbles from the nitro can is always fun to watch.

Smell is sweet and VERY malty with a sweet fruitiness.

Taste is fairly malty with a bit of smokiness to the flavor. Mildly fruity with a nice bitter snap in the aftertaste. Pleasant and mild but not very complex.

Mouthfeel is average once you get past the thick head.

An easy drinking beer and non-offending to the taste buds, but it is just a nice mild beer that isn't particularly outstanding.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.71/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Surprised to see this in a bar down at Bewdley while on a pub crawl. Took a half pinr purely to review:

Good amber body with a large, deep white head.

The aromas given off were few, the beer being dispensed so cold, when it warmed some dark, malty fruity smells appeared.

The taste was also on the malty side, pleasant without setting the world alight.

I little on the fizzy side, like most keg bitters, but I still enjoyed this: the only non-cask ale I had during the crawl.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.61/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

440ml Can

Appearance – Clear amber/copper colour with an above average size frothy off-white/beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation visible and there is an amazing amount of lacing. The head lasted for around 10 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, hops, caramel, pears, tea

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a below average amount of carbonation and and it feels very creamy on the tongue. I can taste malts, caramel, and quite a bit of a roasted nut flavour. There is also some notes of tea and a bit of a pear juice sweetness. It finishes with a malty roasted slightly sweet aftertaste.

Overall – This is a very drinkable beer that has just enough flavour to keep it interesting and sessionable. The appearance is fantastic in the glass and it was priced fairly reasonably. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of DrJay
3.73/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this one at the Castle on King in Kitchener, ON. The pint was a clear amber colour with a dense, cream coloured head from the nitro tap. Head retention was great and it left lacing down the entire glass. Aromas were very mild, with some fruity esters, subdued hops, and a bit of caramel malt. Same in the flavour department, with malt and hops lingering for a short time in the finish. Low carbonation with a light body and great balance. A great session beer.

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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 champ103
3.26/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear orange/copper color. A two finger white head forms with good retention and lace. All nitro look good to me.
S: Sweet malt, grain, and a light lingering bitterness. Not much is here.
T: Sweet caramel malt, toasted grain with light hops.
M/D: A light body that is thin and watery. Not hard to drink at all. Something to session if nothing else is around.

This is not a bad bitter. Just a bit boring. The nitro does not help in that regard. I would like to try this on cask, but as is you can do a lot worse.

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Photo of Suds
3.28/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another “perfect” nitrogen-corrupted head on this beer. Somehow the texture of nitro beers really detracts from the brews other characteristics. Below the head is a tawny colored liquid. Aroma of caramel malt…intensely so. I really liked caramelized sweetness of the smell…underpinnings of fruitiness and maybe a tad diacetyl, but pleasingly so (I think that the nitro-texture gets in the way when looking for the slickness). Mild hopiness, moderate to high-sweetness. The hops don’t do a good job balancing the sweetness, and by the end of the brew, it becomes a little cloying. Worth a try…maybe even two or more, but not worth going out of your way to find.

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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 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 Reidrover
3.28/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Tap in a pub somewhers in Ketih, Scotland. This is on nitro..i think. After the cascadeing effect has finished. Its a nice enough looking pint brown with hints of garnet. Lovelly tan creamy head . Not much aroma to this.But it doesnt stink. Nice actually, caramel/toffeeish hints in the flavours. Malts are slightly roasty. Nice on the palate, very smooth. Overall drinkable yet uninspiring. This seems to be taking over in my old neck of the woods ( NE Scotland).

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Photo of canucklehead
3.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At only about $2 a tall can this is a decent bitter with the creamy mouthfeel of a nitro can. The beer is certainly not too complex but I enjoyed the toffee notes and the smooth finish. As Fall approaches this is the kind of easy drinking beer that replaces the wheat and light lagers from the summer. I prefer the Courage Directors Ale in cans for the same price but I will buy some more of this brew.

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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 GCBrewingCo
3.76/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured bubbly and creamy due to the nitro widget. Once the cascade of bubbles stopped the beer was clear golden light amber with a just barely off white head that was creamy and coated the glass.

The aroma was malty with a caramel impression.

The flavor was malty with caramel and toffee. The beer had just enough bitterness to keep the caramel and toffee in check.

The finish was just dry with a little bitterness starting to show up long into the aftertaste. The body was light and the creamy head made it seem even lighter. You could drink a ton of this.

A pleasing beer, nothing to write home about, but tasty without having a huge body or alcohol content.

14.9 ounce nitro can (oddly enough it made no mention of the widget on the can) - $1.60 a can at Asheville Wine Market.

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Photo of BigBry
3.38/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap with dinner on our vacation to Glasgow.
Dark amber color with a decent sized head, good retention that leaves behind a ton of lacing.
Smell of sweet malts, maybe some wheat beer aromas, no real discernable hops. Taste is thin with no one flavor jumping out. I don't want to say bland, just not alot going on. Average taste and flavor, thin body and mouthfeel. A drinkable sessional because it won't overpower your taste buds, or fill you up. Not sure about it being 'the best'.

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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 thehyperduck
3.35/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

440 mL can from the LCBO, listed at 4.8%; best before July 2012. This is a new one for me - I haven't had a nitro ale in a while, probably because I'm usually not all that impressed with them. But I'll try anything once.

Pours an attractive amber-honey colour, cloudy at first, but translucent once the layers have separated out. On the surface sits one finger of smooth, creamy head that sticks around for quite a while. The aroma is sweet with lots of biscuity malts; toffee, honey and (most particularly) butterscotch are rather prominent. Fairly enticing, and definitely more robust than a lot of the nitro ales I've had.

Fairly enjoyable taste, but no real complexity about it. Biscuity malts and toasted bread provide some backbone, with sweet toffee and butterscotch dominating the profile. Rather buttery, with light hints of orchard fruit with only some slight, tea-like dryness late in the sip. The aftertaste is sweet and malty. Silky smooth mouthfeel like most nitro cans, due to the very mild carbonation. Light-bodied and kind of watery, but drinkable as all hell.

I found this highly enjoyable for a nitro can. Obviously the mouthfeel of these nitro brews is an acquired preference - one I have certainly never claimed to possess - but from an objective standpoint, this is a serviceable brew that I don't have a lot of complaints about. That being said - it's not one of the better bitters I've had in recent memory. The balance is rather poor, and there isn't a lot of bitterness, although it does finish cleanly.

Final Grade: 3.35, an acceptable B minus grade. Good stuff, and as a bonus for any frugal UK ale fans, it's quite cheap in these parts as well. Hopefully the LCBO keeps bringing in Belhaven's Best, because it's easily the best nitro beer I've picked up from there in years. Simple, yet solid. Worth a try, but not something to move mountains in search of.

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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:
http://abarwithnoname.wordpress.com

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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 Dentist666
3.46/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

ABV 3.5 nitro-can

Excellent honey in color, but with thin off-white head, lingering for a long time. Sweet bready malts in aroma. Smooth caramel, almost neutral, slight hop ensues. Dry and strict in character ale, I would spend my money on something else, more spectacular.

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Belhaven Best from Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.
3.26 out of 5 based on 157 ratings.
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