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Dark Island - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark IslandDark Island

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

360 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 360
Reviews: 235
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 12.06%
Wants: 57
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 360 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by mercyfulfate:
Photo of mercyfulfate
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

mercyfulfate, Jan 07, 2012
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with some ruby highlights thru out with more head than expected,aroma was suprisingly light a little brown sugar and touch of smokiness.Taste of dark fruit and mildly sweet with a touch of peat in the finish that lingers.A solid ale pretty easy to drink.

oberon, Jul 11, 2004
Photo of cam477
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

cam477, Sep 27, 2014
Photo of Zakk
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Zakk, Aug 14, 2012
Photo of brownbeer
3.9/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Really a nice looking Scottish Ale. Pours deep mahogany with a creamy tan head.

Distinctly non-American nose with English-like maltiness and a hint of ashy smoke, toffee, and sweet chocolate.

The soft carbonation jumps out right away, with, again, subtle smoke making an appearance. The taste is a little bland overall, until it warms, when vanilla and sweet chocolate come out, blending with the smoke very nicely. Acquires a certain vinous quality as it hits about room temp. Very sessionable, with a silky medium body. I could drink a lot of this.

brownbeer, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of JasonA
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rootbeer chocolate, single finger head with ample lacing. Very surprised at the opaqueness of the brew. Loving the look.

Smells malty, sweet, maybe some rum raisin. Little bitter hops, nothing aromatic. There is something else in there I cant place, reminds me of a wee heavy sourness. Carmelization present and heavy.

Bitter, little malty with the herbal flavor. There is some smoke taste in there. Not burnt, smoke.

Not quite full bodied, but I find this a lot with Scottish Ale's, its prolly more to the style than my pallete.

Not quite a winter warmer, not a spring summer brew. Very enjoyable around a fire, but the ABV for the amount I can drink isnt favorable.

JasonA, Dec 27, 2009
Photo of Jason
4.28/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 11.2 oz brown bottle with a gold foiled top, no freshness date.

Appearance: Shaded dark ruby in colour with big light tan head that dissipates into a lace but still retains well.

Smell: Slight fruit, hints of flavoured creamed coffee and soft peat aroma.

Taste: Fruity and mild yet noticeable peatish smoke up front, some crisp carbonation ... then goes a little smooth with a light hop bitterness. A touch of chocolate, some hop flavour and more faint peat smoke flavour inside. In the end is a bit of nut and residual dextrin.

Notes: Tiny complexities make this a very interesting ale, definitely give this one a try.

Jason, Apr 19, 2002
Photo of merlin48
3.43/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, deep chestnut brown with a luscious three finger beige head that quickly falls into patchy sheets of lace that cling to the glass. Aroma is subdued and has some toffee and peaty smokiness. Mouthfeel has medium carbonation, is rich and slightly creamy, and has a mild hops sting. Sweet toffee and caramel lead the malt dominance. There is a smoky peat taste that echoes the nose, and a hops balance that wavers between fruity and floral. Finish is somewhat bitter, and this ale is well balanced, overall. Distinctively Scottish, and nicely drinkable, but not the best offering from Orkney.

merlin48, Mar 01, 2004
Photo of Marius
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Marius, Jul 03, 2014
Photo of DirtyD
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

DirtyD, Aug 25, 2012
Photo of jed123
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

jed123, Oct 13, 2012
Photo of Dizzy
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark with red highlights. Excellent head retention.
The dominate flavor I notice is smokey flavor quite strong, I'm assuming from peat smoked malt? A strong roasted flavor also evident. Hops don't seem to stand out, I feel like this is a well balanced beer. I wish this were available in Texas.

Dizzy, Jul 22, 2006
Photo of williamjbauer
4/5  rDev +0.5%

williamjbauer, Jan 26, 2014
Photo of ivanwatling
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Thick, dark brown/black. Decent head for a bottled beer, but as always will still disappear after a short time.

Smell: Wonderful strong aroma typical of a dark ale

Taste: Sweet with a hint of bitterness. Predominately a malty taste, rich and satisfying

Mouthfeel: Thick, substantial leaving a warm mouthfeel

Drinkability: Surprisingly low alcohol content for such a bold tasting beer (4.6), meaning a bottle will not but you flat on your back. Hence can be savoured at any time of the day and will always be rewarding.

ivanwatling, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of ADR
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with some light transmission at the bottom of the glass. Pale and nice creamy head. Aroma is mostly of black strap molasses. Lighter-bodied than I expected, malt is weighted toward a gingerbread sense with a little impression of coffee. Then, the flavor thins a lot and gets more candy-like and stifling. Interesting, but a weak closer in the flavor department, to me.

ADR, Oct 19, 2002
Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A nice with a light brown head and some nice lacing.

Smell: Some nice chocolate roasted malts, some butter, toffee, and mild hops.

Taste: Nice nuts and chocolates with coffee. Very light fruity hop bitterness on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy that still manages to be light on the tongue.

Drinkability: This is sessionable at about 5%.

stereosforgeeks, Mar 23, 2007
Photo of ByTor2112
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark shade of root beer brown. Thin beige colored head. Maintains a nice film across the top.
Aroma- A deep inhale gets some sweet malt aromas-caramel is in there. The dark malt is not roasty toasty, just rich.
Smooth flavor with a medium pronounced hop bitterness that has a slight edge over the malty flavors. For a dark ale I hate to say this is almost balanced. Sweetish malt flavors with an earthy hop bitterness. A good froth on the palate and it maintians it taste and flavor profiles. The hops come back in at the finish as well. Not bold but a good full-bodied ale.

ByTor2112, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of rastaman
2.85/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Fairly pleasant. Sweetish malts at the start (chocolate+ a t touch of sugar and also some toffee). nice roasty, peaty finish, thin-ish body with some sourness, musty, sulfuric, and maybe a bit unexciting, but fairly easy to drink. Cask at Chelmsford Beer fest 03'.

rastaman, Sep 10, 2003
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.43/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer pours a jet black body with an oatmeal colored thick head that sticks to the glass with each sip. A few random bubbles pop through the murky liquid to glide up the glass to the head.

S- The smell of musty raw peat moss turns to a pencil graphite aroma as the beer warms but still stays pretty soft. The smooth black roasted malt has a Kona coffee quality to it with a fruity note of plums to finish.

T- The flavor of mellow black malt has a dark smooth toffee flavor with some caramel qualities with a mellow bitterness to dark roasted malt finish. The finish has a soft red wine vinegar hint that increases a bit as the beer warms, and it lingers just a moment after the finish.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a tight little fizz note at the finish.

D- This beer is mellow but rich in flavor with a nice bit of earthiness and I would love to try this on cask. I think there are some great flavors hidden in there. The tartness was also a nice compliment to the malts.

rhoadsrage, Jul 24, 2009
Photo of Schlafly33
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Schlafly33, Jun 11, 2013
Photo of JMS1512
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

JMS1512, Sep 18, 2014
Photo of SetarconeX
4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Having sample's Orkney's Dragonhead stout not too long ago, and being suitably impressed by it, I decided to give one of their other beers a whirl. Dark Island, I must admit, isn't half bad. Pours a nice dark red color, with a lovely brown head. I know I can't take it into account with my rating, but Orkney has the absolute coolest looking labels ever. Nice black standing stones on this one.

The taste is at heart a fairly standard flavor, with subtle little hints of something more complicated underneath. Lightly malty. Perhaps lightly toffee flavored. Ever so slightly toasted, but still much lighter than a Porter or Stout. Exactly the sort of beer I'd want in massive quantities to go with a nice hearty meaty dinner. Alas, it doesn't seem to get sold in the quantities I'd like. Better out there? Sure. But this one's still plenty fun.

SetarconeX, Oct 23, 2003
Photo of mrbigpappa
5/5  rDev +25.6%

mrbigpappa, Jul 09, 2013
Photo of GRE680
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

GRE680, Jul 21, 2012
Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

biboergosum, May 02, 2012
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Dark Island from Orkney Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 360 ratings.