Beer of The Week: Belhaven Scottish Stout

Posted on August 16th, 2011

About this beer: Scotland’s Belhaven brewery is known for a.) being around almost literally forever. and b.) for making simply stunning beers that exemplify Scottish brewing. Their beers are usually nothing short of stunning, I have yet to have a bad beer on draft. I decided to see if their beers bottled would be as fine an example of good beers. I was far from right. I chose the Scottish stout, which when on draft ranks in my top ten of beers, it’s chocolaty,sweet and creamy. It has one of the most amazing mouth-feels ever. In the bottle? not so much.

In A nutshell: Seek this beer out on draft. Avoid the bottled version at all costs.

Review:When I picked up the bottle I was excited, it was jet black. In my mind the brewery went past brown bottles and made a black one! how cool is that? Only once I left the store did I realize that the beer was in fact in a clear bottle, something that would have had a great effect on my purchase.(Clear bottles let more light through than brown bottles and tend to skunk beers quicker.)  When I cracked it I had hoped that the beer would have survived the trip across the sea and was still drinkable. It passed the test but barely. The pour was perfect, a great creamy head and jet black color. The aroma was off though, there was just a hint of that sweet malty smell that the draft version had and was left with a borderline skunked smell. (I have yet to be able to put the smell of skunked beer into words, easiest way…go buy a Heineken and smell it once cracked.)  This effected everything in the beer; the taste had overtones of a beer going bad. I could still get the chocolate taste as well as the malt backing but ti jsut wasn’t strong enough. The beer’s body was incredibly thin and unsatisfying.

Rating: 2 out of 5

(Photo by K. Graham)