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Dark Island Reserve - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Dark Island ReserveDark Island Reserve

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

104 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 104
Reviews: 64
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 48
Gots: 23 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: John_M on 01-15-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 104 | Reviews: 64 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of proctah
4/5  rDev -2.7%

proctah, Jun 03, 2013
Photo of paulys55
4/5  rDev -2.7%

paulys55, May 31, 2013
Photo of Kmat10
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Kmat10, May 27, 2013
Photo of harrymel
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

harrymel, May 10, 2013
Photo of shagens
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%

shagens, May 01, 2013
Photo of Oboogie
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Oboogie, Mar 24, 2013
Photo of deg
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%

I poured the beer into a glass chalice. It was dark. Some light got through, and the color was dark brown. The head was coffee with cream color. I could smell some fruit. The taste started out heavy on fruit and vanilla and oak. I couldn't taste much peat or other flavors I associate with whisky initially. As I worked through the bottle, more roasty and peaty flavors came out. The beer was easy on my mouth, thick and rich. I noticed a warmth from the alcohol instead of a burn.

deg, Mar 22, 2013
Photo of Muhly
4.49/5  rDev +9.2%

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Bottled in April 2012 according to the label.

A-dark brown/opaque. Dark tan/brown head pours two fingers with a vigorous pour. Low retention with a wisp of foam remaining after the head drops.

S-dark malts with hints of smoke and charred barrel. Smells a little boozy.

T-a big wallop of roasted dark malts with hints of smoke and oak. Burnt toffee and licorice linger a bit on the tongue.

M-seems pretty round and full. Coats the tongue and finishes with some warm alcohol.

O-an intesely dark ale that slaps you across the face with its boldness. Could have perhaps benefited from another 6 months in the bottle.

Muhly, Mar 20, 2013
Photo of madnismo
4.75/5  rDev +15.6%

madnismo, Mar 05, 2013
Photo of nickfl
4.11/5  rDev 0%

Orkney dark island reserve

A - Pours with one finger of light tan foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles at a moderate pace and leaves light foam.

S - Chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, and lots of smooth whiskey and smoke,.

T - Dark caramel and toffee up front with a touch of molasses. Some vanilla and chocolate with nutmeg in the middle. Finishes with more dark sugar, spice and whiskey as well as vanilla and cinnamon.

M - Medium-thick body, moderately low carbonation, and a balanced finish.

D - nicely done, the aroma is much better than the flavor, but everything works well in the end.

nickfl, Feb 23, 2013
Photo of kylehay2004
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%

Two finger head that dissipates rapidly on a jet black body. Aroma is stronglyof whiskey and scotch, mint, molasses, cinnamon. Flavors are very dull, with the whiskey understated in sharpness but still providing flavor. Supporting notes include dark chocolate, citrus, earthy hops, rye breads and licorice. The aroma is great, the flavor is a little mild but still keeps the whiskey flavor while staying very drinkable. Very nice whiskey aged brew

kylehay2004, Feb 22, 2013
Photo of drummermattie02
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

drummermattie02, Feb 17, 2013
Photo of dvmin98
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

dvmin98, Feb 15, 2013
Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -27%

ejimhof, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of beerdrifter
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%

Beautiful dark brown pour with a one finger beige head with minimal retention and crazy lacing. The nose is earthy with rich dark caramel malts dominating along with hints of mocha. As it warms, a strong vinous character emerges along with evidence of the barrel aging and hints of whiskey. The taste follows suit, dominated initially by loads of roasty cocoa, espresso, and dark chocolate. As with the nose, the taste really opens up as it warms. Unlike some big barrel aged beers, it's not in your face. The woody vinous notes are subtle but so delicious. Hints of oak, vanilla, whiskey, and dark fruit round it out nicely. The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a subtle sweet and dry finish. Overall, this is my definition of a comfort beer. Big, but not too big, rich and bold, but not in your face. A world class beer!

beerdrifter, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of mitlinks
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

mitlinks, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of BMMillsy
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%

Bottled April 3, 2012, poured Feb 1, 2013z Pours dark brown almost black. Big very light brown head. Very pretty. Aroma is sherry, peat whiskey, hints of chocolate, raisins, anise, licorice, and a bit of roasted grain and smoke. A lot going on here. Flavor of a nice scotch, took my breath away on the first sip. Really not expecting that. Not boozy but lots of peat and whiskey here with a warm finish. Only medium thickness on the palate. Lasting explosion of chocolate that leaves a bit of sweetness on the palate. Smokey oak with a red wine (merlot) quality about it. Very intense sipper, but surprisingly drinkable as the alcohol is not strong (though the scotch flavor certainly is). Something everyone should seek out. Awesome bottle and labeling, too. And I can recork this for later, which is nice.

BMMillsy, Feb 02, 2013
Photo of biboergosum
4.01/5  rDev -2.4%

750ml, very attractive bottle and label. I've been sitting on this one for over a year, as it's from the Nov 2011 hand bottling, which apparently numbered at 2933. Seems to me the fitting start to a Robert Burns' night, especially one that falls on a Friday. To quote the man himself: 'Critics! Those cut-throat bandits in the paths of fame'. I'll keep that in mind here, dear auld Rabbie.

This beer pours a solid, unrelenting black, with nothing in the way of even the slightest highlight, and two fingers of bubbly, fairly creamy brown mocha head, which settles away at a lazy, but steady pace, leaving some broad swaths of limestone formation lace around the glass.

It smells of musty black fruit - duly soused by strong dark red wine - mildly roasted bready caramel malt, thin vanilla, some dampened woody astringency, watery orange juice, and a further spiced rum/whisky alcohol tint. Yup, this one's gonna be a boozer. The taste is bittersweet chocolate-dipped cherries, injected with a shot of brandy for good measure and grandmas everywhere, more softly acrid, pulpy orange, a middling caramel/toffee malt backbone, edgy oak barrel wood tannins, diluted vanilla, and a musty, earthy wet leafy dryness, where the wetness is alcohol, albeit on its best behavior.

The carbonation is pretty sedate, but does well enough to offer support to the whole deal, the body a sturdy, stout (more on that later) medium-full weight, and smooth at most measurable junctures, the flat woodiness a sometime offender. It finishes on the sweet side, with the caramel malt finally coming around, the dark vinous fruit holding fast, and the warm vanilla oakiness completing the lulling circle.

It is a bit strange that I get more wine barrel than whisky cask in terms of woody adjuncts, given the proclaimed Orkney-local production methods. Oh well, esters are a funny thing, they can act as the chimera, rendering things in a slightly different manner from what they truly are. Anyhow, this is a splendid Scottish ale, with strong dry stout predilections, well integrated barrel notes, and a much more subtle alcohol profile than I was led to believe up until quite recently. Worth the wait, indeed, and I feel that I have not let today's celebratory poet down, at least not yet.

biboergosum, Jan 26, 2013
Photo of drewone
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

drewone, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%

Bottle pour for New Brew Thursday's 3rd Anniversary event held at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

Thanks to Wowcoolman for sharing this one.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, dark fruits, port, whisky, and wood. Taste is much the same with a slightly sour fruity flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer that is tasty and rich.

UCLABrewN84, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%

750 mL bottle poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter. April 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Deep brown. Completely opaque. Small khaki head. Big bubbles as it settles. Very leggy upon swirling.

Smell - Buckets of butterscotch, whoah. Peaty whiskey permeates behind it, but butterscotch all over. Deep caramel malts, verging on chocolate malts.

Taste - Much more whiskey presence here, but still a ton of butterscotch. The whiskey is smokey and peaty and, in the aftertaste, almost salty. The finish is a little bitter, perhaps exacerbated by the briny flavor.

Mouthfeel - Not terribly heavy, but also no alcohol. I'm looking for a bit more chewiness to it for all the barrel it has. The finish is whiskey dominant.

Overall - Obviously a far cry from Dark Island, but that isn't a bad thing. Hell of an expensive bottle, but that doesn't surprise me so much these days. Good beer and very different from normal stuff I drink.

Alieniloquium, Dec 21, 2012
Photo of Liquoric3
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Liquoric3, Dec 09, 2012
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

t0rin0, Dec 05, 2012
Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%

Poured from 750ml swing top bottle into Globe glass.

A. 1 finger of dark tan head. Color is all black. Pretty thick lacing. Really good retention. Pours out looking like a stout.

S. Hot damn. Sucker smells boozey. Has a defiantly whiskey smell to it. Get past that and there is quite a bit of malt aroma or roasted malt, and caramel. Has a bit of a spicey background that is somewhat hard to pin down.

T. The aroma had me feeling like I would be sipping a whiskey bomb. The flavor is quite refined and quite good. This definitely borders the line between Scottish Ale and Stout. Really nice flavors of both styles. Roasted malt, caramel, some oakiness on the finish. All while being pretty damn smooth. Some pretty sweet vanilla notes come out more as it warms.

M. Medium/full bodied. Medium carbonation.

O. Aroma had me a little concerned. Taste didnt dissapoint. I was pretty impressed with this beer. Has really good qualities of a Scottish ale and Imperial Stout. Good beer. Lots of flavor and smooth to drink.

siradmiralnelson, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of Florya
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Florya, Oct 26, 2012
Dark Island Reserve from Orkney Brewery
91 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.