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Belhaven Best | Belhaven Brewery Company Ltd.

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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: 157
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 JamesS
4.23/5  rDev +29.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice mid copper with awesome head and lacing. Nice scent with good malts and a nice light earthy bitterness. Good flavor with good malt backing, a slight toffeeness underneath, and good earthy hop aftertaste. Extremely smooth, almost cask like! Good stuff.

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Photo of crazyc1
3.8/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

I was introduced to this very mellow beer at a relatively young age and unlike most beers which i used to drink back then, i have not been put off it.

It is a fairly weak beer but i enjoy how it doesn't leave you bloated due to it not being particularly fizzy. It leaves a sweet taste in your mouth making you lust for more, so is easily drinkable.

It is pretty popular here in Scotland, although south of the border i am not too sure, but i find it unlikely to be so widespread.

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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 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 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 RickB
4.01/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This Scottish ale was poured from a nitro can, and the appearance was darker than a Boddington but a tad lighter than a Kilkenny. Taste was a mild bitter, not at all displeasing. Mouthfeel was very creamy as are most nitros. I only had one, but this could easily be a session beer.

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

Pours a slightly hazed golden honey hue with one and a half fingers of creamy, frothy egg white head that refuses to go away, leaving thick patches of lace down the glass.

For the style, the nose is well rounded and decently pronounced with toffee, wheat, bready malts, and honey all thrown into the mix. It leaves a bit to be desired but is inviting none the less.

The taste is more subdued than the nose would lead you to believe. All of the flavours that reveal themselves in the nose are still there but are taken away from by the slippery, water-like mouthfeel.

This one goes down very easy, but it seems like the smoothness and quaffability of the beer took precedence over the actual flavour of it. Maybe that's why it became "Scotland's number one pub ale"?

Overall, I'd say this beer, like nearly all beers, has its time and its place. It's a good interpretation of the style and I think it's been amped up a bit since it was first put into this system, jumping a percent higher in ABV. Pints of this can easily be crushed, but on most days I still prefer a full flavoured, savoury beer over a quaffer frothing froth quaffer like this.

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Photo of newk340
3.33/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed on tap following a round of golf in St. Andrews.

A: pours a dark amber with a decent head that leaves behind loads of lacing.

S: sweet malts and wheats are about the only discernable aromas that can be found.

T: rather bland, easy to overlook the malts and wheats that are evident.

MF/D: easily drinkable as a session beer as there is not much flavor. almost flat, but very light would be the obvious conclusion.

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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 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 wetshoes
4.12/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is widely available in Scotland, and it's a great pint to enjoy. Pours a nice dark color in the glass with a thin white foam on top. Easy to drink a lot of.

Suits my taste for a low-hopped ale, though I actually prefer Belhavens Scottish Ale, but it's not so easy to get in pubs. Not nearly so attractive in cans, even with the little nitro bomb inside.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
3.25/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy copper with plenty of creamy white head. Eventually clears up to a darker copper, with a finger of solid white head. Tons of lacing left on the glass.

You can smell the diacytl.

Creamy, smooth with some light butterscotch flavor. Maybe a bit of bread and honey. Fairly straightforward. The creamy taste lasts in your mouth for a while.

Fairly average bitter. Very easy to drink.

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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 benclimbs
3.16/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Definitely the best of the on-tap cheap bitters I've had - kicks the crap out of john smiths or worthingtons.

Look is great, thick 1 finger head with almost laughable lacing - the entire glass is coated.

Smell is all nutty caramel malts, not too intense, but it's a best bitter after all - no men's room smell like john smiths has.

Taste is flat but nice some great lightly sweet caramel notes at the start, and a hint of dry hops at the end followed by just a slight essence of spice.

Drinkability is good, mouthfeel is a bit too light.

Totally drinkable, decent brew for the style (is on-tap bitter even a style???) anyway, does the trick on a nice Glaswegian Sunday afternoon for 4.99 with a Sunday roast!

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Photo of Polidmar
4.01/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

One of the best beers i've tasted from Scotland. Brownish in colour with dominant burnt/caramel notes [both on the nose and taste] probably due to the pasteurisation regime in goes through. Very drinkable especially in the wet/cold scottish atmosphere.

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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 crwills
3.53/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at one of the little B&B/Inns right across the street from the entrance to Rosslyn Chapel in Roslin, Scotland.

Poured a standard clear, golden ale colour with a decent fluffy white head. Aroma was difficult to discern in the pub, but some mild grassy hops and a bit of unbaked bread yeast in there. Flavour is very mild with some tangy hops to spice it up a bit, but nothing too exciting. Good, smooth mouthfeel and very little carbonation and aftertaste make this a highly drinkable, if dull, session beer.

Seemed almost ubiquitous in pubs in that part of Scotland.

Note: I actually can't remember whether this was keg or cask, so I'm guessing keg.

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Photo of BretSikkink
3.53/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unfortunately, consumed out of the can. Fortunately, provided for free by The Glen golf course in North Berwick, Scotland. The box by the ninth tee said "Free beer. Take one." I had one for me, and one for my underage cousin!

I'm repeating my appearance score for the Best from my draught and cask reviews. The aroma, while muted by the can, still showed caramel maltiness with the creamy head.

Flavors are creamy and smooth, the body is perhaps a touch thin but out of the can remains delightfully creamy. Dark fruits, ripe but not overly, come in and out of the flavor; otherwise a tasty mild bitter.

It's definitely a mass market brew, but tastes good enough to do in a pinch. My marks might be adjusted downward to account for the fact that it was 1. on the golf course, and 2. free. Very nice!

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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 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 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 seanyfo
3.16/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at local,

A - Golden copper, with a full thick 1 inch creamy head.

S - To be honest i could not find much other than a faint malty sweetness

T - Creamy, faint sweet maltiness, touch of toffee, smooth finish

M - Very creamy and smooth, no real lingering aftertaste

D - Drinkable for the style. Although i cant find anything make me feel this ale is moreish. Would not go out of my way to get a glass of this again.

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