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 mrasskicktastic
mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

1.63/5  rDev -58.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

A - Very dark brown to auburn, almost black. A half finger tan head dissipates quickly leaving no lacing behind.

S - A smoky bourbon character over a slight sweet fruity (dates and elderberries) odor. The aroma is pleasant.

T - Smoke! This tastes like cigarettes. Ick! It is seemingly composed of entirely charred malt, they probably cooked the barley until it was just idle carbon. It is pretty damn offensive. The aftertaste is of . . . smoke! I CAN choke it down, but it really sucks. I got a brief taste of dark berries for an instant, but I might have just been imagining things (or hallucinating from toxic shock).

M - Viscous, a bit harsh and drying. Not good.

D - If you pour liquid smoke in your cereal or save your cigarette ash for seasoning, then this is the beer for you. Otherwise it should stay on the shelves. Naturally, it is too gross to session. It might go with a cigarette, but I don't smoke. Normally I am avidly against drain pours, but I don't classify this as beer - it's cigarette juice. I hope the drain finds you more pleasant then I do!

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2006 00:11:10 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of Zephenbrewid
Zephenbrewid

Pennsylvania

2.65/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type: 500 ML bottle poured into 16 oz tumbler

A: Lives up to its Dark moniker, this is probably one of the darker scottish/scotch ales I have seen to date, being pretty opaque with a moderately lingering medium tan head.

S: Mmm there's that malt. I pick up on some grape scents in there with a little chocolate pulling through as well

T: Too much roasted flavor here, I can also taste some smokiness. Really though, If i didn't know better I'd call this a porter

M: Med-Full bodied and suddy, feels like there could be some roasted barley here

Notes: bought this on a whim and it isn't for me, there are better scottish ales

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 00:58:10 | More by Zephenbrewid
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

2.73/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle picked up in Winston-Salem the night before Sexual Chocolate 2011. Served in a Bruery tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with almost no head. Appears to be quite a bit too dark for the style. Lacing is non-existent. The nose brings forward some toffee as well as a mild amount of diacetyl. The taste is lightly-toasted with some roasted malt and a bit of sweetness. Underneath there is toffee and butter. Body is light with low carbonation. Not worthy of its position as the #1 Scottish Ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2011 20:44:34 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of kwalters
kwalters

Michigan

2.8/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark Island comes in a uniquely shaped bottle with an intriguing label. It was hard to pass up, sitting there all alone on the shelf.

It poured a dark ruby color with almost no head. What little head there was disappeared almost immediately. The smell was of malt and light smoke. The taste was on the malty side (as a Scotch ale generally is) but was too dominated by the burnt-wood/smokey flavor to be truly enjoyable. I can see where one might think of chocolate flavors when sipping this brew, but I couldn't get past the smokiness.

Scotch ales are typically among my favorite brews, but this one seemed a bit off. It's worth a try just because of its unique flavors, but it's not something I'd come back for. The 4.6%abv makes it highly drinkable if you like the flavors.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2004 15:04:54 | More by kwalters
Photo of Dogbrick
Dogbrick

Ohio

2.83/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Courtesy of Hollingshead Deli in Orange, CA. I didn't really enjoy this one very much. Pours a dark ruby color with a thin beige head and thin lacing. Aroma is faintly sweet malt and toffee. Very fruity flavor without the maltiness I have come to associate with the better Scottish Ales. Finish had some hops but was too sour. A little disappointing but I have had worse.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2003 05:41:10 | More by Dogbrick
Photo of rastaman
rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

2.85/5  rDev -28.2%
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'.

Serving type: cask

09-10-2003 01:28:44 | More by rastaman
Photo of livingregret
livingregret

Washington

2.85/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Serving type was a 1pt .9fl oz bottle. Fairly nice looking bottle and label

Pours a dark dark brown, almost black, w/ little to no head but plenty of lacing w/ nice retention. Not to shabby so far

Smell is a very soft toffee mixed w/ a earthy oat smell. Very pleasing smell that invites you in to sample it

Taste is a touch disappointing to be honest. A light earthy taste(almost semi-sweet) which is not in any way bad but than you get a Dried Chocolate taste that ends w/ almost a prune like ending. I was hoping for more of the toffee to come out but no such luck. Smooth taste..that ends w/ chalk

Mouthfeel is very smooth at the beginning but ends w/ a slight chalky taste. Once again...I was really hoping for the smoothness to follow all throughout the taste but it does not

Drinkability is averageish. It's not terrible and I would enjoy one again...but would I keep a few extra on hand?...honestly I would not. The odd pick up from my local store sure but nothing to go out of my way to keep in stock

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2008 03:19:31 | More by livingregret
Photo of CplHunter
CplHunter

Illinois

2.88/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Deep brown with a red hint. Off white head quickly dissipates to a "dusting". Decent lacing.

S: Burnt. Plums. Estery. Burnt esters...? Cidery. Smoky.

T: Grapes. Plums. Hints of cider and smoke. Sea salt. Ocean. Hop bitters linger. Something off that I can't put a finger on. Whatever that "something" is, it's inhibiting my enjoyment of this beer.

M: Some champagne-like carb hits the tongue. Thick. Rich. Coating.

D: <5% ABV makes it a candidate for a session beer. Just not my session.
BIA: No. This one just doesn't do it for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2007 01:02:14 | More by CplHunter
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

2.95/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a three-fingered very light, brown head that fades slowly and leaves good lace. A nice deep, ruby color. Nose has just a hint of roasted coffee. Starts hoppy/malty and finishes with a hint of malt/hops and just a hint of bitterness. Very good carbonation. $3.99 for 500ml.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2003 00:26:44 | More by jdhilt
Photo of clvand0
clvand0

Kentucky

2.95/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This one pours a brown color with a small head that dies off quickly and leaves very little lacing on the glass. The aroma is really weak - nothing much here. Maybe a little malts. The flavor has asmokiness to it and a slight malt character. It finishes smooth and bitter. This is an interestingly good taste, but it's hard to describe. I'm not sure that I enjoyed this brew much.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2004 13:29:22 | More by clvand0
Photo of CampusCrew
CampusCrew

Florida

2.95/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony. low head retention

smell: lots of smoke flavor, and I actually think I can detect peat, not that I ever smelled that before. But definitly has that earthy aroma that may be generated from that.

taste: subtle taste compared to the aroma. I have a feeling this may be aged very well and possibly even oxidizes but Im not sure. heavy roasted malts like a scotch ale should be. detecting some smoke as well. But it had a dry tar like taste and left a weird feeling in my mouth. Dry... cough cough

mouthfeel: worst part about the beer was the mought feel. medium to full bodied

drinkability: interesting and I would love to try again fresh. It's so dry it drying my mouth out though. weird. It did not drink well with me. maybe it had light damage. it sat in the store for awhile Im sure.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2010 23:13:13 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of veech
veech

Tennessee

2.98/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I was surprised that I didn't like this beer more, but the overdone smokiness just really compounded with each sip until I just didn't enjoy it any longer. I typically like the style and the presentation, nose and mouthfeel were all fine. The smokiness just really dominated with each successive sip. I have noted the high marks from most other reviewers, but I just really had a hard time finishing my particular bottle. The other Orkney beers I've tried I have really enjoyed, but unfortunately I cannot count Dark Island among them. I guess it's just not my bag.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2007 16:16:36 | More by veech
Photo of PorterLambic
PorterLambic

Florida

3/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Mahogany brown, dark tan head with good retention.
Smell is rich with malt but sadly not much else. After serious nasal straining I did find a very faint hint of coffee.
Taste is much better, malty, dark fruit (mostly cherry), oak, sour.
Body is thin, watery, with light, no very light, effervescence. I'm wondering if maybe I got a bad bottle here?
I would give this another shot but if the 2nd is the same then...
Overall, this was just a so-so brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2007 13:49:34 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of biglite351
biglite351

Pennsylvania

3.05/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - considerable maroon red around edges of glass. Tight creamy white head.

S - figs, fruit, malt and a mild chocolate. Overall not bad, but far to light.

T - dark fruits, something like alcohol, mild coffee grind. A bit bitter in the after taste.

M - thin coating, decent tingles on sides of tongue.

D - no reason not to, but no reason to grab it either.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2011 01:35:01 | More by biglite351
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 gbontrag
gbontrag

Colorado

3.13/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks like raisin water; water that's had raisins soaking in it for a few hours. (I do this for breads.)

Not much of a nose to it. Dark toast... a little tobaccy. Maybe this is an old bottle. There's not a lot of sniffy power.

Tastes like burnt toast with butter. Old socks--? I don't much care for this. It's not very interesting. Maybe I'm looking at something that's lost a step due to age. There's a little charred wood, a bit of dark malt sweetness like just a hint of prune. A hop kiss along the sides of my palate. That funky shoe yeast keeps popping up. Negligible carbonation.

Disappointing.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2004 07:26:24 | More by gbontrag
Photo of JoEBoBpr
JoEBoBpr

Missouri

3.18/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into the Sam Adams pint glass.

A - Pours a dark brown with some nice ruby hues. There is a very thin and small light tan head that recedes quickly to a ring around the glass. There is very active carbonation.

S - Rich buttery bread notes are immediately present with some yeast notes as well. Nice malty sweetness rounds out that grainy aroma. The nose hints at a very rich and robust malty beer.

T & M - Robust and rich malt character with some roasted malt flavor as well. Very roasted actually. Coffee and some caramel are present on the tongue. This is a very clean and crisp feeling beer. The roasted malt lingers on the tongue for a while. There is little to no hop flavor except for some bitter and dry finish at the end. This is not my favorite style of brew but it is a well crafted beer IMO.

D - Low ABV and good flavors make this a good choice if you are into rich roasted malty beers.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2010 03:38:59 | More by JoEBoBpr
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 scruffwhor
scruffwhor

Illinois

3.23/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a small had with alright retention throughout most of the beer. Colro is a Guiness like brown/black.

Smell- Lots o roasted, toasted, and hints of smokey malts (as expected) with little or no aromas of hops.

Taste- Pretty malty in a mostly English way, but with some expected Scottish improvisations. Hints of White Hens coffee and black licorice with hints of Earth.

Mouthfeel- A little dry, but easily outweighted by the overall malty flavors of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2006 04:33:57 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of mterrence5
mterrence5

Massachusetts

3.38/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color with avg head. Smells a little like wine but more of like citrus fruit and coffee. Light in the mouth with semi sweet acidic taste and a deep deep coffee grinds / dark chocoalte finish. Very smooth drinking. Good beer but wouldnt drink frequently. Maybe with desert (yeah I said it) cause of its coffee flavor.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2008 15:00:57 | More by mterrence5
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

3.4/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours almost black in color with a finger of off-white head.

S: A touch of roasted malt followed by a rather large dose of dark fruits. There are plenty of plums and prunes with just a little bit of toffee and dark chocolate.

T: The flavor is sort of light and watery. There is just a mild roasted malt flavor and a touch of chocolate. It's got a touch of red wine to it in addition to the dark fruit flavors.

M: The body is somewhat light with low to medium carbonation.

O: The nose was pretty nice, but the flavor was far too thin and watery.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2011 06:15:34 | More by womencantsail
Photo of merlin48
merlin48

Kentucky

3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2004 11:53:56 | More by merlin48
Photo of deejaydan
deejaydan

Michigan

3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown and ruby highlights, good sticky lacing. Not a ton in aroma on this beer. Taste is predominatly malty. I expect some level of smoke flavor in a scottish ale, but I did not pick any up in this one. Kind of blah. A bit overcarbonated as well. Not a horrible beer, but there are better representations of the style out there.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2005 04:30:15 | More by deejaydan
Photo of CrazyDavros
CrazyDavros

Australia

3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a large, fading head.
Nose shows roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, port and figs. Big choc/coffee liqueur notes.
Flavours are also quite roasty, but nowhere near as expressive. Weak plain coffee mixed with faint fig, red wine notes, and a roasty finish that includes an acidic bite.
Body feels quite watery.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2011 02:14:35 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of aracauna
aracauna

Georgia

3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The body is nicely dark. The head is sluggish and short-lived. There's a nice dark maltiness in both the aroma and flavor, but the flavor suffers from being a bit thin. Nice chocolate and charcoal in the flavor, a little cookie. A bit sweet but not cloying.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2003 22:37:46 | More by aracauna
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Dark Island from Orkney Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 330 ratings.