Black Scottish Stout , Belhaven
Added: Monday, July 2nd 2012
Belhaven Black Scottish Stout (4.2%)
Belhaven in Dunbar is believed to be Scotland’s oldest operating brewery. It dates from 1719 and is on the site of an abbey where monks brewed centuries earlier. The old stone buildings once included a maltings and could be mistaken for a whisky distillery.
After many changes of ownership over the years, Belhaven is now part of the Greene King group and its influence is starting to spread south. It would be good to have access to its 80 Shilling, one of the finest interpretations of the style.
It has broken new ground with this stout, which is available in three forms: bottle, cask and keg. Brewed with Scottish malts, including roasted varieties, and pure Scottish water, the bottled version throws a big fluffy head of barley-white foam on top of a black body – the cappuccino of the beer world. The description is apposite as the first aroma on the nose is that of rich coffee, followed by a creamy maltiness that is strongly reminiscent of that ancient confectionery, milk drops. Peppery and woody hops make an appearance with some smoky notes from the dark malts.
Coffee also dominates the palate with hints of dry chocolate along with creamy malt, smoky, roasted grain and burnt fruit. The finish is dry and roasty, with strong notes of liquorice, bitter coffee, chocolate, burnt fruit and spicy hops. It’s finally dry.
Draught versions are available in selected Belhaven and Greene King pubs. £1.90 bottle in Tesco. The cask version will be available at the Great British Beer Festival.