1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Dark Island - Orkney Brewery

Dark IslandDark Island

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

330 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 330
Reviews: 229
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.84%


Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  4.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 04-02-2002)
View: Beers (10) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Island Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 330 | Reviews: 229 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Godfather50
Godfather50

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3.05/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Maybe I wasn't in the mood for this dark ale, stout.
There was nothing offensive about it, but nothing hoppy or wholesome or distinctive.it reminded me of a kit homebrewed stout I brewed a couple of years ago. I was very pleased with it, but then, It cost me 30p a bottle and was out of a tin.

I think I'm not a dark ale fan, that's the problem.

Serving type: on-tap

04-13-2014 20:17:22 | More by Godfather50
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 6/6/2011. Pours lightly cloudy nearly opaque dark brown color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, toffee, molasses, toast, raisin, plum, pear, apple, dark bread, light roast, herbal, light pepper, light leather, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark malt and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of chocolate, cocoa, dark bread, toast, molasses, raisin, plum, pear, light roast, herbal, light pepper, light leather, and toast/yeast earthiness. No bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, dark bread, toast, molasses, raisin, plum, pear, light roast, herbal, and toast/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance, robustness, and complexity of dark/roasted malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a fairly creamy, smooth, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 4.6%. Overall this is a damn nice Scottish ale! All around good balance, robustness, and complexity of dark/roasted malt and fruity yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 00:11:09 | More by superspak
Photo of ryan1788a5
ryan1788a5

Massachusetts

4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: A shade below the point at which brown changes to black. Creamy tan head retains well and leaves broken patches of wispy lacing behind. Retention is great.

S: Dark molasses, dark chocolate sauce, chocolate covered raisins and berries. Traces of soot and roast. Nutty undertones. Hints of crust and a little bit of earthy yeast.

T: Roasted coffee beans and coffee beans dipped in chocolate. Waves of molasses and chewy dark caramel. Red berries with chocolate. Nutty. Hints of soot and roasted barley. Cocoa nib sort of chocolatey taste. Oily hop spice toward the finish. Hint of fruity tartness in the background. Chocolatey flavors and hop spice on the finish.

M: Medium-thick body. Silky smooth from start to finish. Moderate prickling carbonation.

O: A full-flavored pint that delivers great complexity and delightfully smooth drinkability. This is just an awesome beer all around. I'm sold on Orkney. These guys can brew some excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 19:18:20 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of CookstLiquor
CookstLiquor

British Columbia (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle. Pours a red-tinted raisin brown colour. Nose offers notes of sweet, dark dried fruit. Taste is remarkably dry, yet quite flavourful with strong porter-like notes of smoke, chocolate and black coffee. Crisp and easy drinking, yet quite complex and flavourful.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2014 23:25:41 | More by CookstLiquor
Photo of LampertLand
LampertLand

British Columbia (Canada)

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orkney Brewing 'Dark Island' Scotch Ale @ 4.6% , served from a 500 ml bottle purchased for $8

A-pour is a dark cola brown from the bottle to near black in the glass with some ruby red peeking thru a small tan head leaving a spotty lace along the pint

S-dark ripe fruit , bitter bakers chocolate

T-smooth with a coffee & hop bitterness on the swallow

MF-ok carbonation , medium body

Ov-ok beer , good scotch ale

prost LampertLand

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 20:36:19 | More by LampertLand
Photo of FLima
FLima

Brazil

4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep black color with a one finger off-white head with low to medium retention and leaving some laces.
Nice original malty aroma with lots of dark chocolate and clear fig and cherry notes.
Flavor of coffee, piney and earthy hops, roasted malt, plums, figs, leather and cocoa. A hint of peat, almonds and vanilla. Dry with a medium bitterness aftertaste.
Light body with good carbonation.
A very drinkable Scottish Ale. I was expecting a heavier body, but once it starts to warm up it reveals more and more amazing fruity flavors.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2013 02:16:18 | More by FLima
Photo of thierrynantes
thierrynantes

France

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (50 cl.) purchased from Le Comptoir Irlandais, and tasted in 2013.

Appearance : dark red color, with tan foamy head.
Smell : dark fruit & malty aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : roasted and smoked malts flavors,
Drinkability : a good beer in the Style Scottish Ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2013 15:42:40 | More by thierrynantes
Photo of shand
shand

Florida

4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Island pours out a lighter black and offers sweet, slightly roasted malts, coffee, and fruit on the nose. The nose is really exceptional. The taste is very good, with fruits and semi-sweet chocolate up front, and smoke lingering on the backend along with some leafy hops and highly roasted coffee. Very well composed, and delicious. The mouthfeel is light and creamy, and the drinkability is great. Overall, Dark Island is an excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2013 01:27:03 | More by shand
Photo of BeerRefugee
BeerRefugee

Oklahoma

3.68/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very dark brown with a creamy tan had with good retention and lacing. Moderate aroma of coffee, toast and toffee. Flavor is similar with hints of coffee, bitter chocolate, raisins and toffee/brown sugar sweetness. Mouthfeel is a little thin and finish is slightly astringent. Would this beer to be a little more full-bodied, but the flavor is very good.

Serving type: bottle

04-30-2013 20:54:17 | More by BeerRefugee
Photo of bmwats
bmwats

Louisiana

3.66/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a footed tulip.

A: Medium-dark brown. Pours a slight brown white head, which quickly liberates itself from reality leaving only a faint ring. No real lacing.

S: Pungent malty tone with some black cherry, tea leaf, and.... cinnamon rolls?

T: Very light malt character, slightly kriekened, with a little musty peat.

M: Sticky and a little shallow.

D: Goes down easy.

Atmosphere is good. Decent hue, but a very slight head and no lacing. Nose is a great malty, sweet cherry and fresh pastry combination. Flabby and a little shallow slightly sweetened malty tone, balanced with a bit of pungent peat. Overall, this is a pretty good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2013 03:34:15 | More by bmwats
Photo of Bouleboubier
Bouleboubier

Pennsylvania

3.76/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

(poured into a fat tulip - this bottle seems to me to have been at least 6 months old, if not more, and possibly handled poorly sometime in its history...normally, this beer is pretty good - was a bit off here...)

A: really dark on the pour - appears to be a dark, ruby-brown...nice 1" head on pour that poofed out quickly, leaving barely a slimy collar

S: like an old Eastern European Baltic-style porter...really predominantly fruity, bright and berry-like, matched against a background of light-roasted coffee and a dab of cocoa....i'm wondering if they use a lot of finishing hops or ferment at a higher temperature than normal...perhaps a little oxidized...some mild fig, mint, and cordial/medicinal notes....seems weaker than it should be

T: lightly leathery, mildly soured coffee...just as fruity as it smells - sour cherry?...light cocoa and bittersweet in the aftertaste....bold composition of flavors, yet mellow in their dynamics (if that makes sense)....once again, Baltic porter-like

F: light-ish, clean, but curiously hearty....some silky or slickness as it comes along

O: I've had a better bottle than this, and on cask, it's quite nice-r

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2013 03:35:17 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of StJamesGate
StJamesGate

New York

4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruby black with puffy beige head that keeps a film.
Oily coffee, Christmas pudding, and chargrilled steak on the nose.
Strong coffee and dark cherries, dried apple, raisin skins and fig relish, a roasty hit, and some bark and earth hops. Some sour malts, a bit of treacle, and hints of woody vanilla, too.
Prune finish and lingering stone fruit tartness.
Medium thinking about full, oily, good bit of chew, cleansing fizz.

More darkness than the usual Scottish ale but more fruit than a porter. Enough carbonation to never cloy and a very reasonable strength. I'd prefer more hops, but not really what this is about.

Couldn't ask for more in February.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 22:44:33 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of bluejacket74
bluejacket74

Ohio

3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with a half inch tan head that stayed around for a while. There's a decent amount of lacing. The brew smells like caramel malt, toffee, dark fruit, roasted malt and a bit of leather and chocolate. It tastes like peat, roasted malt, dark fruit, minerals/salt, chocolate and some coffee. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. I liked this brew, and at $4.99 a bottle I'd buy this one again in the future.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2013 01:38:44 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of mdagnew
mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle bought from The Vineyard, Belfast...

Poured a deep amber colour. Slightly off white head poured fairly loose and frothy then faded quickly to patchy covering with thick edging. No real carbonation... wispy lacing...

Aroma - Quite a lot of toasted bready malts, dried dark fruits (raisins, prunes, also some apples), some light peat / tobacco notes, toasted nuts, leathery traces, sweet muscavado sugar notes, grassy hints...

Taste - A bit of a let down after the decent aroma... watered down lightly toasted malts, dark fruits (raisins, apples, figs), fruit / malt loaf notes, metallic traces, some saltiness, light smoke...

M&D - Quite sharp and dry... light bodied... Fairly drinkable and sessionable...

Overall - A decent enough Scottish ale... worth a try...

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 13:56:57 | More by mdagnew
Photo of Dave1999
Dave1999

North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a small tan coloured head.

The smell is quite subdued, there's some dark malts.

The taste is dark malts,toffee, caramel with a bit of a bitter finish. It hints at being great tasting but is too subtle.

The mouth feel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation.

Overall a fairly simple but tasty beer. Too subtle in both the nose and taste but decent none the less. Being from Scotland I know our beer is pretty different to American made "Scotch" ales.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2012 02:24:08 | More by Dave1999
Photo of mick303
mick303

Ontario (Canada)

4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a really solid head of toffee tan head, good retention and this leaves excellent lacing and film. Colour is a very dark brown, near black.

Smell is chocolaty dark roasty malts. Some floral esters. Surprisingly light. Low bitterness, fresh fruity maltiness.

Taste has a big full dark malty body, dry chocolate (hot cocoa mix). Cooked apple, bready malt, really rich, a bit of residual sweetness but hops counter this. Finish is dry, slightly roasty, bitterness comes through. Its really tasty and satisfying, really interesting balance of flavours.

Mouthfeel is moderate, low carbonation, but really smooth and rich. Delicious and really sessionable.

A pretty solid go-to dark ale. This is really nice and a tasty ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2012 09:27:16 | More by mick303
Photo of BigBry
BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the pints that we enjoyed at our new-found favorite pub - The Bon Accord.
A very, dark beer (very Guinness-like) with deep ruby high lights when held to the light. Tight, long lasting, off white head. Thick lace coats the glass, almost an inch of foam lesft at the bottom of the glass.
Smells of bitter chocolate, dried fruits like figs or dates. Roasted malt with some hints of coffee.
All of the same flavors as the aromas: chocolate, coffee and roast malt. Fruity sweetness like plum or prune. Just the right amount of hoppy bitterness at the end. Thick and creamy body, silky smooth mouthfeel.
This was a great beer, one of the high lights.

Serving type: cask

09-22-2012 03:20:39 | More by BigBry
Photo of pkalix
pkalix

California

4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

completely dark, little head. first time trying this one. got some bitterness, something i'd expect with a higher alcohol content.
a tad oily, more bitter than i'd expect, but has a good taste. for the taste, i was hoping for a higher alcohol content but i suppose it will be a good finisher for the evening.
wanna be guinness?

2nd review.... still dark....
dark fruit aromas, tastes (figs?). settling on the fact that lighter abv has a more genuine flavor- less to contend with when you include a higher abv. it is why i appreciate a truly great taste from the higher abv brews. i mean a slurpee can taste great, but whe you add the vodka to it it diminishes the taste, right? we ARE drinking it for (partially) the alcohol and the craft involved to produce an alcoholic beverage, right? so, the lower abv'd brews naturally have the advantage in taste. this one has a great taste, and a more flavorful malt variety, which is great, but i hesitate when i compare it to higher abv brews. regardless, it still is a great tasting brew. i suppose i feel the need to say this as i have seen many reviews knock the fact that it has an 'alcohol' flavor to it, when that 'flavor' can, actually, be difficult to appreciate. i want to bump up my review numbers as i feel i may have been influenced by others' opinions.... i have always liked this beer....

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2012 03:01:10 | More by pkalix
Photo of DirtyD
DirtyD


4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Orkney did a great job overall on his beer. It poured very dark and had a nice tan head. The smell was of molasses, dried fruit and rich malts. Taste was to style with more malt flavor showing through than hop bitterness, but for me was more of a sweet fruit than dark malt. The mouthfeel was light to medium and finished very smooth.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2012 01:14:52 | More by DirtyD
Photo of DaveBlack
DaveBlack

Virginia

4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: Almost totally black beer, some slight reddish tints at the edges. the head is about 1 finger and tan with moderate retention and some fine lacing.

S: Roasted malts bring a lot of caramel, chocolate notes with an underlying coffee. There is also a prevalent sweetness that reminds me of blackberries. Great smelling brew.

T: Surprisingly light tasting, not nearly as heavy as the nose and look would lead one to believe. The taste of the coffee and chocolate are there, slight smoky vanilla taste as well. The berry is still there as well.

M: Surprisingly moderate body and carbonation. I actually find it a little too watery, I wish it was creamier and stickier to back up the flavor.

O: Great flavor, lots of complexity. My only complaint with this beer is that I find it too light to back up the flavor. Worth a try to be sure.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2012 19:01:51 | More by DaveBlack
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into tulip 23/6/12

A dark brown with deep cola edges, two fingers of mocha foam retains very well leaving lots of spider web lacing, looks great

S milk chocolate, dark toffee, molasses, dried fruit and its a little nutty, smells pretty good but not overly strong

T just a little cold coffee I didn't smell, the flavors come out quite a bit stronger then the nose, a little rum raisin as it warms, tastes great

M silky at first and carbonation leaves it feeling creamy, not that heavy considering the color but the bubbles give it some body, slightly sticky on the lips

O pretty solid stuff in my glass tonight, great flavors in a beer I could session, this ones a winner

I could drink a few of these without getting board, went down quickly and I thought it tasted great, what more can you ask for?

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2012 05:47:05 | More by wordemupg
Photo of GONZALOYANNA
GONZALOYANNA

Spain

3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle. Snifter glass. Notes dated on agt´11. Deep mahogany color crowned by off-white froth showing pretty well retention. Some spots. Yeast, sweet toasted & caramel malt, toffee aromas. Flavors of chocolate, ripe dark berries & hints of toffee. Sweet bitter palate. Medium body, moderate carbonation. Slightly watery in the middle.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2012 22:44:57 | More by GONZALOYANNA
Photo of johnnnniee
johnnnniee

New Hampshire

3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a solid dark brown with the faintest of ruby highlights when held to light. Huge frothy tan head slowly subsides and leaves lots of stickies on the glass on the way down. The aroma is a bit vinous with hints of dark dried fruits. Bits of caramel and chocolate almond with dried cherries and raisins abound. The flavor is as vinous as the aroma suggested. Lots of dark and slightly tart fruit with a hint of butterscotch and light chocolate. Medium body with a moderate level of carbonation and a sweet creamy bubbly mouthfeel. Lots of body and flavor for such a brew with 4.6 abv. I like this.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2012 23:36:43 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of CwrwAmByth
CwrwAmByth

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown/black colour with an awesome creamy looking off white head.

Smells faintly of dark malts.

Tastes nicely of roasted notes of malt, dark balanced well with light and the hops lingering at the end to create something perfectly balanced. Has a great feel to it that makes it so easy to drink, the alcohol is hidden well.

Overall a pretty remarkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2012 22:44:36 | More by CwrwAmByth
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Quoyloo? Did Herman Melville come through there at one time?

This beer pours a clear, very dark reddish-brown colour, with two fingers of puffy, rocky beige head, which leaves a high-flying array of honeycomb lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away. Sexytime!

It smells of dark roasted malt, some oily nuttiness, soft caramel and bitter chocolate notes, and a subtle drying, indistinct hoppiness. The taste is mildly chocolatey, grainy malt, understated, sulky, persistent nutty tones, some weak, but pesky caramel, and soft, unassuming drying noble hops.

The bubbles are average, and middling, but not at all obtrusive, the body a soothing medium-light in weight, and no-questions-asked smooth. It finishes off-dry, the burbling nutty, caramel, Euro-chocolate sweetness nowhere near overpowering, but still ceding little to the steadfast, if still quite anonymous drying hops.

A lovely Scottish ale, balanced in all respects, except maybe for (from a New World view) the ABV - ah, hell, even I shouldn't complain - any session ale should be lucky to have such complexity and ardor.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2012 23:01:47 | More by biboergosum
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Dark Island from Orkney Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 330 ratings.