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Dark Island - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark IslandDark Island

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

347 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 347
Reviews: 233
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 12.09%
Wants: 56
Gots: 9 | 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: 347 | Reviews: 233 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kallessin


4.05/5  rDev +2%

Pours very dark brown with ruby highlights throughout. Fairly moderate head that dissipated to thin coating.

It has a very mild malty aroma with a little chocolate. The aroma improved as it warmed up.

Very malty taste. Some roasted chocolate and a little coffee. Some dark fruity flavors mixed in that make it taste like it has more alcohol than it does. Some woody flavors likes in been in a cask.

Fairly smooth and creamy, but thin. Slight warming sensation. It makes the tongue tingle a little bit - might be the carbonation.

Very drinkable. I could easily drink a number of these. Overall a great beer.

08-30-2008 23:15:17 | More by Kallessin
Photo of thekevlarkid


4/5  rDev +0.8%

Poured out of the 500ml bottle a deep, dark brown like root beer with a two finger tan head. Dissipated after about two minutes to a skim of medium sized bubbles. Intermittent lacing. Big nose of roasted malts and chocolate malts. The flavors were quite enjoyable, roasted malt again up front followed by peat smoke and then a long, distinct milk chocolate finish that coats the tongue. Medium to full bodied and medium carbonation. Though technically a Scottish Ale it drinks more like a Porter and as such is not varietally correct but all the more enjoyable for those like myself who prefer darker brews. Either way this is a very good beer and worth picking up.

08-28-2008 19:00:49 | More by thekevlarkid
Photo of Greggy


4.5/5  rDev +13.4%

A- Pours a very dark ruby color that is just barely see through when held to the light. as the brew recedes, it leaves some nice lacing.

S- A little tight in the nose, but it's driven mainly by dark malts and a nice roasty quality with a hint of cherries.

T- Starts out silky smooth and then moves towards a very smooth dark chocolate with a bit of sweetness. I don't think there's lactose in this beer, but it is very reminiscent of a milk stout. Not terribly complex, but is very delicous.

M- Silky smooth from start to finish. Well done.

D- 4.6% for this gem makes it VERY sessionable. I could easily drink this all day long.

08-20-2008 02:56:58 | More by Greggy
Photo of JMBSH


4.08/5  rDev +2.8%

Pours a ruby like color with a tan-like head. The head shrinks to a nice layer on top. I can see some carbonation but not mush (it is that dark). Not much for lace on the sides of the glass.
Sure has that scotish scent of toffee.
Taste is very good. Roasted malt is rich. The aftertaste is like figs and dates.
I got this off the internet but now I would spend time hitting up local stores to see who can get it. Like it a lot.

08-18-2008 21:21:09 | More by JMBSH
Photo of Haybeerman


3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

A: Dark. clear caramel brown. Pours with a one inch light brown head that dissipates to a skim of coarse bubbles. Some lacing.

S: Rich chocolate roasted malts, toffee. Mild, slightly bitter hops.

T: Chocolates with coffee and some nuts underneath. Very light hop bitterness. Very well-balances and certainly not overpowering in any aspect/

M: Smooth and buttery, yet light on the tongue.

D: Very drinkable at 5% ABV. Nice balance make it easy.

08-17-2008 22:39:12 | More by Haybeerman
Photo of froghop


4/5  rDev +0.8%

purchased at the puget sound wine cellar in port orchard, washington.

pours opaque with a ruby tint, small khaki head, good lacing.

smell of malt, touch of citrus, cocoa, roastiness.

taste is tart, dark chocolate, sour malt, some licorice, some vanilla, touch of woodiness.

07-29-2008 02:38:35 | More by froghop
Photo of BeerSox


4/5  rDev +0.8%

500ml bottle into nonic.

Deep mahogany color, almost black and opaque, with some ruby highlights at the bottom. A one finger light tan head slowly settles to a bubbly rim. Solid patches of lacing along the glass.

Very mild roasy grain with some caramel on top.

The flavor again has some roasty flavors, like a mild porter, or roasty brown ale. Very light chocolate flavors in there. Full bodied with good carbonation.

This beer, as a Scottish Ale, is actually darker than their "MacGregor" Scotch Ale. If this makes sense, that one was toasty, this one is roasty. Generally I expect a little more flavor from this style, but I can really respect the subtlety of this one. Perfect for relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. Recommended.

07-13-2008 17:11:07 | More by BeerSox
Photo of shadow1961


3.93/5  rDev -1%

Orkney Brewery Dark Island Scotch Ale pours a finger of tan foam
over an opaque black brew. The nose is smoke- the flavor is mellow
toasty malts, peat smoke, and just a touch of herbal hops. Mouthfeel
is crisp yet full, and dry. It's a very earthy, flavorful, and authentic Scotch
Ale. Tasty.

06-09-2008 07:30:47 | More by shadow1961
Photo of swizzlenuts


3.68/5  rDev -7.3%

A:Dark Dark beer, almost black. It has a perfect one finger head that stays around for a bit.

S: You can taste the roasted malts and the almost syrupy malt flavours which remind me of toffee.

T: The beer has hints of toffee, dark fruits, chocolate/coffee, and a bit of hops at the end to make the bitterness. The flavour in this beer is quite strong, in a good way. There is also a slight smoked taste to the beer.

M: Creamy and slightly carbonated.

D: Not that drinkable because the flavour isn't beautiful

This is a well crafted beer, but I'm just not a fan of the flavour.

04-13-2008 00:04:41 | More by swizzlenuts
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -0.5%

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a deep, dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was a big inch of head and lacing throughout.

The smell was rich with malt, coffee and sweets. Nicely balanced.

The taste had elements of peat, malt, coffee and a little dark chocolate. Fairly complex in this category.

There was an OK amount of carbonation and a crisp finish for a good mouthfeel.

This is a solidly drinkable beer. It reminds me of a stout in some ways, particularly the heaviness. Nonetheless, a well done beer.

03-30-2008 00:44:16 | More by avalon07
Photo of Pencible


3.98/5  rDev +0.3%

This poured a very dark brown with light tan head. It smelled like roasted malt and whole grain wheat. It tasted somewhere between a porter and a red ale, with a dominant malt flavors, although there was also noticeable hops and even garlic. It was watery with a little carbonation and a slightly bitter aftertaste. Overall this was pretty good, and an interesting Scottish style ale.

03-29-2008 20:50:53 | More by Pencible
Photo of brendan13


4.33/5  rDev +9.1%

A - Poured into a pint glass a very dark red, verging on brown. Couple of centimetres of off white head that slowly falls away.
S - Over ripe dark fruits, some smokiness, a bit of chocolate. Some earthy and floral notes also present.
T - Also dark fruit in the taste, the chocolate is very bitter to taste, the smoke comes through as well but a bit more subtle and mixed with the other flavours.
M - Medium bodied, low carbonation.
D - Probably the most complex beer I've had that has such a low ABV%. Highly reccomended.

03-20-2008 13:20:37 | More by brendan13
Photo of barleywinefiend


4.38/5  rDev +10.3%

Poured a nice deep brown, like burnt motor oil. Had some good carbonation on the pour and finished with a small tan head that stuck around even as I drank. The nose was roasted malts, chocolate, figs or raisins and some toffee. The taste was oh so smooth. Chocolate, coffee, figs and roasted goodnes...mouthfeel was excpetional, it libgered around for a good 10 seconds on the finish! Exceptional beer!!!

03-14-2008 21:52:05 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of thryn


4.33/5  rDev +9.1%

Had this Sunday night at the Cock-n-Bull. Poured into a pint glass. It is very dark brown, but not opaque, with a small tan head that vanishes to a lace ringing the inside of the glass.

The smell is stunning. If I could bottle this and wear it, I would. It's a strong, roasty malt, with caramel to it. The roast smell is intense and enticing. Just incredible.

The taste is great, but does not live up tot he smell. It has an almost burnt roastiness to it, which is delicious, but it's not as robust as I expected from the nose, though it does improve as it warms, with the caramel notes becoming more prominent.

The mouthfeel is thin, to me. I expected a lot more body. The carbonation is moderate.

It's very drinkable. I would give it a 4.5 on drinkability if it had a little more body.

02-19-2008 18:08:42 | More by thryn
Photo of ojclark


3.95/5  rDev -0.5%

Malty, smoky, meaty aroma, very much like a German Rauchbier. Very dark brown with a thick, rocky, mostly lasting tan head. Very malty flavor with slightly smoky flavor and slight sourness and bitterness. Medium-light carbonation and medium bodied with a fairly long, mellow finish. Aftertaste similar to aroma: malty, smoky and meaty. Nice beer. Not what I expected but a pleasant surprise.

02-17-2008 03:31:34 | More by ojclark
Photo of Vvall


4.75/5  rDev +19.6%

I went in my favorite store looking to get some Dragonhead Stout,and lo and behold they were out,so seeing this and noticing that it was from the same brewery,I thought what the Hell,I'll give it a try.I'm glad I did...this one IMHO is incredible.It had everything I look for in a beer,and I cannot not wait to get some more.

01-29-2008 05:53:13 | More by Vvall
Photo of Zephenbrewid


2.65/5  rDev -33.2%

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

01-23-2008 00:58:10 | More by Zephenbrewid
Photo of jwc215


3.73/5  rDev -6%

500 ml bottle:

Pours nearly pitch black with thick tan head that descends to a thin cover. Some trailing lacing sticks.

The smell is of dark chocolate, dark fruits and some earthy notes

The taste is of chocolate with a touch of roasted smokiness. Quite acidic. Some earthiness balances it out in the sweetish finish.

Medium-bodied. Easy to drink.

01-20-2008 16:19:31 | More by jwc215
Photo of Wasatch


3.63/5  rDev -8.6%

Poured into a SA glass a dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, some nice sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, chocolate, toffee, caramel, and some smokyness. The taste is malty, smoky, chocolate/toffee/caramel. The finish is dry and slight bitter. Medium body. Drinkable, I really do not care for the smokyness, ever so slight.

01-18-2008 02:30:41 | More by Wasatch
Photo of Traquairlover


4.22/5  rDev +6.3%

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Dark but clear mahogany reddish brown, frothy tan head of about two fingers. Leaves light lacing.

S = This smell is awesome, I do not have anything I can even think to compare it with. It got fruits like figs, plums, chocolate, roasted grain, sweet toffee. Very complex and very balanced, literally makes my mouth water smelling it.

T = The tastes one would expect from the smell are here in the taste. On the front of the tongue you get fruity flavors (not necessarily sweet, but fruity), as the liquid hits mid-palate, the roasted malt and other grain characteristics come through with flavors of chocolate and fresh baked pumpernickel, at the back of the tongue and lasting well in a long finish is a good amount of bitterness with a strong coffee flavor. As with the smell, quite complex. It only real failing is that I wish it were a little stronger and rounder.

M = Medium bodied, good mouth coating, carbonation foams when swished in the mouth creating a nice soft feel.

D = Highly drinkable. Wasn't sure what to expect from this as the bottle proclaims it to be a Dark Ale, whatever that means. I am very happy I picked this up. Will definitely drink again. Could session with this beer, too.

01-06-2008 20:10:44 | More by Traquairlover
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.9/5  rDev -1.8%

Pours a very dark brown that shows some dark ruby tints when held to light. Minimal tan-nish head falls fairly quickly. Nose is that woody syrupy sweet thickness. Pretty traditional stuff. Seems like there are some coffee grind tones on the end too. Flavor tastes like bitter old coffee at first but calms down to only a fairly bitter tone. As it warms it becomes more pleasant and some firm peat tones really start to appear. Leaves a smoked, peaty like aftertaste in the mouth. Feel has a thick liquid body and a good level of carbonation. Overall a decent brew. If you drink it too soon without letting it warm up, don't expect as much as you should be getting.

01-01-2008 01:39:10 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of beerking1


3.83/5  rDev -3.5%

Dark amber-brown with a big, dense tan head. Malty aroma with hints of smoke. Tasty malty roast aroma with a very subtle hop background. Body is just right for style. This is very good version of the "Scottish," not "Scotch" ale style.

12-06-2007 03:07:14 | More by beerking1
Photo of slyke


4.43/5  rDev +11.6%

I first had Orkney Dark Island in a pub in Edinburgh along with my first meal of haggis. When I found it recently at local beer store, I was thrilled.

A: An almost black dark red with a finger of tan head.

S: Dark fruit, roastiness, maybe a hint of chocolate, a little sweetness.

T: The dark fruit is there, the roastiness, maybe a touch of smokiness, and a sweet-malt backbone holding it all together. The taste becomes more complex as the beer warms.

M: Slightly coating with a lingering finish.

D: This is an excellent beer. If you come across it, do yourself a favor and try it.

12-01-2007 19:08:04 | More by slyke
Photo of PhageLab


4.22/5  rDev +6.3%

Served in a standard pint glass at the Bier Garden. I didn't get a chance to check out the bottle very long, and am now surprised to see that this is a Scottish ale. I had it pinned for a schwarzbier. Oh well, here goes...

A - Pitch black brew with a small fingertip's worth of head that dissipated rather quickly. Blotchy lacing here and there. Looks like a schwarzbier to me.

S - Not a whole lot going on here, but there are definitely berry notes, possibly multiple kinds at that.

T - Blackberry hits me immediately, and it's much sweeter than I had anticipated. Very sharp and crisp. Much lighter than it's appearance may lead one to believe. Very mellow bitterness rounds it off, bringing a nice balance to the fruit flavors.

M - Crisp light bodied beer with a medium level of carbonation. Really clean finish, no residue or aftertaste.

D - Very high, the low abv and light profile coupled together make this one an excellent session brew. If I could find it closer to where I live, I would make this a staple in my collection. Recommended.

11-10-2007 15:19:34 | More by PhageLab
Photo of CplHunter


2.88/5  rDev -27.5%

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.

11-06-2007 01:02:14 | More by CplHunter
Dark Island from Orkney Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 347 ratings.