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Beer #82 – March 26, 2010: Belhaven Scottish Ale

March 31, 2010

Beer: Belhaven Scottish Ale

Brewery: Belhaven Brewery Company, Dunbar, East Lothian, Scotland

Style: Scottish Ale

Serving Type: 15.4 oz can

Price: $2.99 / can

Availability: Year-round

Glassware: Glass Mug

Strength: 5.2% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: Smooth, flavorful, relatively sweet and very drinkable ale.   Warm and welcoming.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Caramel hue with a creamy, cream-colored head.

Aroma: Grainy, like homemade bread, with a slight sweet caramel aroma.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy thanks to the widget in the draught can (provides nitrogen bubbles, just like a Guinness tap)

Taste: This beer starts with a sweet and chewy caramel flavor, as some buttery notes come forward on the palate.  A slight peat-like, lightly smoked, Scotch whiskey taste comes through in the middle, ending with a slightly bitter, herbal finish.  Strange to say since I’ve never been, but it tastes to me exactly like what I imagine an ale in Scotland would taste like.

Pairing: The caramel flavors pair very nicely with the crispy skin of dark-meat roast chicken.  With some mashed potatoes and white asparagus on the side, you’ve got quite a tasty meal.

Trivia: To this day, Scottish Ales are defined by “Shillings”.  The shilling number referred to the cost in shillings of a hogshead (54 gallons) of beer back in the 18th century.  60 Shilling ale is also known as “Light” (though much unlike so-called “Lite” beer in the US) and is relatively low in alcohol (about 3.5% ABV).  70 Shilling is also known as “Heavy” weighing in at a still very sessionable 4% ABV.  80 Shilling or “Export” (which classifies this particular beer) is anywhere from 4% to 5.5% ABV.  And a 90 Schilling or “Wee Heavy” is over 6% ABV.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 1, 2010 11:32 am

    I’ve read a few of your posts man, sounds like a great year. I have a few Belhavens in my cellar that I haven’t tried yet, and your review makes me look forward all the more. I just started a beer blog of my own. Keep it up.

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