Day #93 – Belhaven Scottish Ale

April 4, 2011

This week I have several new styles planned for this blog, beginning with today.

Belhaven Scottish Ale


Belhaven is a true Scottish brewery as it is located in Scotland. They distribute several beers to the United States and their Scottish Ale is one of them. However, even though it is called Scottish Ale, it is not classified as a scottish ale. A Scottish Ale is usually more heavy in peated malts and mossy/earthy flavors which this beer is lacking.

It is therefore classified as a Bitter, which is SUPER popular in the UK. The English consider this to be their session beer. They drink bitters like Americans knock back Bud Lights. Bitters can be sweet and malty and sometimes have a gentle kiss of hops.  Also a Scottish Ale usually has at least 5% in alcohol content, while this beer has only 3.9%.   Remember I mentioned that Bitters are sessionable?  A 3.9% beer is certainly that.  More evidence for it being a true Bitter.  Although….after Andrew’s comment below I’m starting to waiver on whether or not it actually is a bitter.

This beer pours a very clear copper orange to amber color with a foamy white head. The head forms with some agitation and lingers.

The aroma, I am sad to say, is a bit skunked. I can’t say I’m surprised as they used a clear bottle for this beer which offers absolutely no protection from sunlight. I don’t remember this beer being in a clear bottle when I first tried it years ago. Sad choice Belhaven because it absolutely is affecting the quality and longevity of this beer. Once I get past the skunk smell, I can detect some sharp malts and bitter grains.


The flavor is sweet honey with toasted malts and bread. Lots of biscuity malts and sweet grains. There is a sharp sweet flavor that lasts through the drink. No skunk can be tasted though, so that’s good! It finishes slightly bitter and lasting sweet. Get rid of that ridiculous clear bottle and you’ve got a good beer.




  1. By ratebeer it is not categorized as a scottish ale, but BJCP lists it as a classic example of a Scottish 80/- : http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style09.php#1c

    • So why do you think ratebeer classifies it as a bitter?

      • Because it is a beer made in Scotland and hence has Scottish admins. The british/scottish don’t recognize “scottish ales”. The top raters from Scotland only have 1 or 2 scottish ale ticks…Do an advanced search of “Scottish Ales” from Scotland and see how many results you get on Ratebeer 😉

      • Alright well we’ll leave some ambiguity to this one then. 🙂

  2. “A Scottish Ale is usually more heavy in peated malts”….eh what…no they arent…i cant think of any scottish ales that use peated malts except experimental one offs….are you confusing beer with whisky?!

    • Yeah, not sure what I was going for with that comment. I may have been confused with Scotch Ales, which is a far cry from authentic Scottish Ales. Thanks for the correction.

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