Dark Island - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark IslandDark Island

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BA SCORE
89
very good

370 Ratings
THE BROS
95
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 370
Reviews: 238
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 12.06%
Wants: 58
Gots: 13 | 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
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Ratings: 370 | Reviews: 238 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by teromous:
Photo of teromous
4.13/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A: It's a dark brown color with a light tan head about a thumbs width. The head on this beer is very full and creamy. There's great lacing in the glass.

S: It has a strong, rich scent, containing notes of coffee and molasses. There's a plum-like scent.

T: The taste centers more around the fruit plum-like character and finishes with a chocolate flavor and light hints of coffee.

M: Mouthfeel is surprisingly light. It feels like it should be medium just by the bold color and flavor, but it is honestly very light.

O: Overall I liked this beer. I would drink it again because it's very pleasant, but it just doesn't have that punch it needs to stand out. It's nearly there, right on the cusp of being a great beer. The mouthfeel is probably the biggest drawback to the beer, as it stands out of place. Overall I rated it good though, because it definitely is not average.

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.

Photo of cam477
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

Photo of Zakk
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

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.

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.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%

Rich deep molasses on a bed of well-toasted, slightly roasted malts fill the nose. Cocoa nibs and powder in the background. Hints of coffee break through. Letting it open, there's also dark caramels and a touch of toffee in the glass, too. Let it really open, and the roast releases a touch of smoke.

Good, rather crisp carbonation with a firm but somewhat thin body. Roasted malts alternate between somewhat bitter chocolate and morning blend coffee, but don't really merge into one. Dark caramel mixes with bitters on the back end. As the finish fades, traces of dark red fruit emerge, such as dried cherries, but it's dry enough to give it a woody, smoked feel.

An interesting take on a stout that includes nuances typical of a Scotch ale, but darker.

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.

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.

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%

Photo of Marius
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

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.

Photo of jed123
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

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.

Photo of williamjbauer
4/5  rDev +0.5%

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.

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.

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%.

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.

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'.

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.

Photo of Schlafly33
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of JMS1512
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%

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.

Photo of mrbigpappa
5/5  rDev +25.6%

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Dark Island from Orkney Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.