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Dragonhead Stout - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Dragonhead StoutDragonhead Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

181 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 181
Hads: 285
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 14.84%
Wants: 23
Gots: 14 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Stout |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 09-01-2002

Dragonhead is a legendary stout: dark, intense and fully-flavoured it is our tribute to the Vikings and their cultural legacy in Orkney. On the nose, this black stout has a smooth roasted malt aroma giving bitter chocolate, dark roasted coffee and smoky notes balanced by hints of spicy Goldings Hops. On the palate, the dark roasted malts combine to give a rich, rounded palate of chocolate, toast and nut, with a satisfying spicy hop finish.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 181 | Hads: 285
Photo of drmeto
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

-pours the darkest of brown with no light coming through and a big,frothy,khaki head
-grainy,milk chocolate,coffee,mocha,smoke,molasses,nutty
-coffee,grainy,smoky,bitter chocolate,slightly toasty
-medium carbonation (overcarbonated)
-light to medium body
A little alcohol sweetness wouldve really helped here.
Solid overall.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep black color with a very thin off-white head that keeps a nice lacing for a long time. Aroma is roasted malts, notes of coffee, dark fruits and slightly chocolate. Flavor is like aroma with a little bit more hoppy notes. Low carbonation and medium body with roasted malt finish.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a two fingers of chocolate-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that almost completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with lots of bready, toast malt, imparting aromas of freshly toasted dark bread, coffee and creamer, some dark chocolate, caramel and brown sugar, and a touch of vanilla. Inviting and delicious!

Taste: Nice flavors that match the inviting aromas. Lots of roasted malt up front, imparting notes of dark chocolate, hits of vanilla, coffee, and licorice, followed by lots of brown sugar-like sweetness and some nicely balanced hoppy bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and pretty smooth as there is very little in the way of carbonation. With an ABV of 4.0%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a very nice stout. Lots of roasted malt, brown sugar-like sweetness and nicely balanced hops. While there are several more better stouts out there, I’d certainly drink this one again.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

5oo ml bottle, poured into glass

black in color, big tan head, clumps of lacing. nice roasty aroma, and slightly bitter taste, but very good flavor. thicker body.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - Extremely dark almost tar like in its blackness with a rocky latte foam head and zero evidence of carbon. Pretty much a great looking stout.

Smell - Heavy bitter coco and coffee aroma with whisky like alcohol tones in abundance.

Taste - Heavy bitter coco as in the nose plenty of burnt malt with a liberal amount of an almost whisky like flavour with evidence of peat water. Not much of the promised hop the label mentions or the spice but both are evident in small measure.

Mouthfeel - Slightly powdery even slightly gritty and very, very drying to an almost unpleasant degree. I say almost!!

Overll - this is a good stout with decent flavour and a great look and smell. Drink this beside a Guinness man and feel like a man next to the goon beside you. No offence intended to the Guinness boys but this one has real flavour. The MF lets it down slightly and the burnt nature of the malt profile overpowers some of the other flavours but having said that I do like it.

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Photo of WoodButcher
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured dark brown, almost black with a creamy, dark tan head that dissipated leaving heavy lacing.

Smell was chocolate malts, some caramel and a little earthiness.

Taste is similar to smell with chocolate malts, some nuttiness, a bit of burnt caramel. As it warmed some plum or fig flavor started to come out. It finishes with a nutty, smoky bitterness that is the most prominent element. Mouthfeel is a bit more carbonation than expected with a thinner body as well.

Overall this is good but not great. I'd drink it again, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, smoke, and cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with smoke, char, and bittersweet cocoa flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and smoke bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is quite smoke forward all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Caveworm
4.64/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dragonhead Stout - Orkney Brewery. Poured from the bottle into a a glass seidel , this brew's got a one finger thick brown head, lateral lacing, and a black body.

I smell banana esters along with the rich dark chocolate and dark coffee notes. All of these elements are richer in character, as one would expect with a stout of this historical depth and magnitude.

Tastes like ,yes, banana esters with dark chocolate and dark roast black coffee. Nothing is offensive in this category. A very smooth sipper of a stout, indeed!

The mouthfeel I'm getting with this brew is slightly thicker, as expected with any stout. Nothing chewy or sticky, its got a very clean finish for having such profound characteristics. Wow!

Overall, I'll give Dragonhead Stout - Orkney Brewery a 4.75. I thought it would have a slight astringency due to the brewery's home nation take on most beers, but this was smooth the whole way through. As a huge fan of viking/folk metal, this certainly caught my eyes at the local bottle shop. I am quite impressed with this offering by Orkney Brewery and plan on purchasing and reviewing more of their products in the near future.

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Photo of charlatan
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From bottle with freshness date in 2015. Pours a very dark peaty colour, almost black, with a head so offwhite I might call it beige. The nose is not much to write home about, a little chalky with a hint of white wine and some roasted malt notes, maybe even a hint of smoky bacon crisp flavouring. This has more bite than most English stouts, tasting quite acidic to start, turning slightly plummy with a pleasant smoky, woody and slightly spicy aftertaste. The more I drink the spicier and more tobacco infused it seems. It isn't bland which seems to be the pitfall of many lower abv stouts. It is on the somewhat carbonated rather than silky smooth side. Overall, this is good stuff which is just as well because I have a few more bottles of it.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Unmarked bottle at 50 degrees into goblet
Aroma of chocolate, malt, and maybe slight smokiness
Head average (3.5 cm), light brown, creamy with rocks, slowly diminishing to ring with 2 mm lip, lower in center
Lacing – virtually none
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor begins with heavy bitter chocolate flavor with (again) slight smokiness; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl. Ends lightly sweet.
Palate medium to full, watery, soft carbonation.

This would be an easy drinking stout at 4% if the bitter chocolate taste were less prominent and the price point lower ($5.99/500 mL). However, this meets the criteria for a stout well and must be judged accordingly.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.89/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A:Pitch black in appearance with a creamy tan head. Retention is superb, lacing is light and spotty.

S: Lots of bittersweet dark chocolate, vanilla bean, blackstrap molasses, toast, and roasted coffee beans. Distinct raisin. Chewing tobacco. Grassy and herbal hops.

T: Molasses. Very sooty and smokey up front. Burnt malts add a drying balance. Bakers chocolate is the dominant taste. Some salty minerality. Light acidity, burnt coffee. Perhaps a hint of peat? Hops taste dry, earthy, and grassy with an herbal tobacco edge. Raisin. Salty and acrid finish.

M: Medium-thick body. Full, round, and creamy. Ample prickling carbonation. Smooth and nice. Very slight roast astringency.

O: A briny mineral tastes starts to creep up as you drink through the pint, but it plays well off of the acrid malt flavors. A solid pint from beginning to end.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hand-pulled halfpint in 'Chequers' Oxford on 23rd Nov 13 during a mega pub crawl.

Black body with a good deeply tanned foaming head.

The aroma was all malt, chocolate, coffee and peat bog notes.

Taste wise it followed the smells: this is a rich, smooth Stout with a fair amount of sweetness running through it. The dry finish compliments the nutty hints within the coffee and chocolate flavours to give you a reminder that the brewer hasn't forgotten to add some hops into his kettle.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

From the 500 ml. bottle. Sampled on

The pour is black as night with some vague ruby hues on the very edges and a modest beige head that slowly dissolves.

The aroma has this sort of burnt coffee grinds, burnt caramel, burnt dark malts ester. "Burnt" is the key word as opposed to smoky. Although some might think of this as smoky. Where's the bonfire?

Thin to medium body.

The taste has a good "hang around the bonfire" burnt malt flavor going on with light bitterness coming up on the backside. Quite easy to drink and a very nice beer that I would have again.

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Photo of pkalix
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

a 4% stout. I had to try this....
poured a dark topping which dissipated rapidly. typical dark; cant see through it.
smells very sweet.
tastes very light. kind of tastes a bit like a band aid. ever sucked on a band aid?
not overly thrilled with the experience although i'm happy to see something different. taste is very light, a tiny bit bitter, but the lingering band aid flavor is sticking... it's not great although I can see where the brewery thought it was doing good.
overall . . . . I rate anything that gets me buzzed and doesn't taste like NIGHTTRAIN over a 4. I like beer. most beer. this is beer. but it's on the low end of beer. I appreciate the effort, but it doesn't suit me much. i'll still drink it... I liked the other one, the dark island, much more....

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Photo of mick303
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle with freshness date. Poured a thick black colour, strong brown sugar head, creamy with good retention and really nice rich lacing, fades out though. 3.75

S – roasty chocolate malt, rich dark cocoa, dry and rich, vanilla and coffee freshness, rich malts, cherry, earthy spices, fairly typical but more toward the hops than the roasty malt, with citrus and earthy bitterness coming through. 4

T – a roasty, malty start, then some dry fruity caramel cake. Some nice crisp hops, earthy and a dry finish with some roast nuttiness. Dry cocoa, cherry, grapefruit, brown sugar sweetness, flavourful, but generally mild profile, rounded and smooth, flavours are really balanced excellently but don’t really jump out. 3.75

M – moderate body, malty and mildly chocolatey, a bit creamy though not too much for the style, a nice bit of dry hoppy bite, which makes it a bit more refreshing. Drinks really nicely. 4.25

A very nice mild stout, has a bit of nice hops which works well as the balance is very solid. Drinks very nicely actually. Would recommend this as a flavorful session stout, good brew. 4

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Photo of GJ40
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 500ml bottle. A deep, dark beer with a small beige head. Nice malty aromas with a flavor that follows. Malts dominate the experience with a rich flavor up front and a dry finish. The flavor is big and rewarding despite the 4% alcohol. Creamy, satisfying and refreshing.

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Photo of soju6
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown color with a good tan head that fades to bits of lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, hint of chocolate and herbs.

T: Taste of roasted malt and some chocolate. Mild bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Fairly medium body, smooth with a nice rich feel.

O: Enjoyable stout. worth checking out

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Photo of Kinsman
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Fills the glass with a nice dark black stout body and a creamy tan head. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, and a bit of fruit fill the nose. A hint of tobacco in there as well.

Sweet and roasty on the palate with a nice chocolatey flavor. Some yeasty qualities as well with hints of fruit and a bit of a mineral character, possibly from the brewing water. Either way, it's a pleasant array of flavors.

Velvety smooth and creamy on the mouth with a light feel to it. Overall, a pleasant change of pace from the norm of bigger and bolder American stouts. Packs quite a bit of flavor in a small 4% abv package.

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Photo of KellBell
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer was so pleasurable on the nose, I wish it came in a scented candle. It's reminiscent of sweet pipe tobacco and soft leather, maybe a hint of chocolate.
It poured (from 0.5L bottle) an oily black with at least an inch of caramel head, which quickly thinned away.
On the palate, this beer is fairly smooth with nice carbonation; not too thick
The taste seems lacking in sweetness, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but other stouts I've tried seem more well-rounded. There is a very interesting rich roasted maltiness and just enough hoppy sharpness to make this stout a plus on my list, in spite of the dry finish.

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Photo of SpruceMoose
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Being an accustomed stout fan, I revelled in the opportunity to try Orkney Brewery's addition to the scene. Although it sports an ABV of only 4% (remarkably low for a stout of its taste and calibre), Dragonhead promises a warm treat on a winter's night with its bold taste and enticing appearance.

Appearance: A mildly aggressive pour leaves a beige-brown head that retains its size for a few minutes. The body is completely black and characteristically opaque, informing the drinker that it is a full-bodied stout.

Smell: Hints of coffee, chocolate, toast and other bitter aromas are instantly noticeable upon the first whiff. The beer's odour is as deep and bold as its taste, not dissimilar to Samuel Smiths stouts.

Taste: A strong and cohesive combination of bitter and smoky flavours is instantly pleasing. An aftertaste of coffee and chocolate flavours remains on the senses long after this beer.

Mouthfeel: Thick and bold yet not overly carbonated. Classic stout mouthfeel, heavier than Guinness yet smoother than other English stouts.

Overall: A brilliant stout that is to be tried by anybody even vaguely interested in darker beer. However, the intensity of its flavours means that such people should perhaps warm themselves up with contemporary stouts such as Guinness or Murphy's before abandoning the sweetness and nitro-carbonation for the rich smokiness and experience of Dragonhead. Another fine brew by the lads at Orkney!

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Photo of heygeebee
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From 1st choice

Pours a black body tan head. Two finger coarse head a sheets of lace

Aromas are toasty and roasty, choc dominates

Taste is amazingly full on for a such a low ABV beer and really hits the stout mark. Not too sweet nor dry. Lots of roast malts, lots of chocolate a hint of coffee and hint of cream.

Mouthfeel well carbonated.

Overall I would have scored much lower but really this is AMA amazing beer for 4 percent.

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Photo of bucho
4.44/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very, very nice nose - definitely pour this one into a snifter. Low alcohol and sits kind of heavy, but is nice for those afternoons up north at the cabin when you're just kicking back and relaxing. Kind of has a smoky taste to it - very unique. A bit on the expensive side.

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Photo of CookstLiquor
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle. Pours a typically black colour with a healthy brown/beige head. The nose is very Scottish and suggests the sea/ocean and smoke. On the palate it is notably dry with smokey/earthy/dirt notes. Definitely a unique dry stout in many regards. It has many characteristics of much bigger (imperial) stouts, but is very modest alcohol-wise.

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Photo of neophilus
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown pour into blackness, medium tan head.

Mildly roasty malt up front with hints of buttery sweetness and some tones of chocolate.

Flavor has some hint of peat and more buttery sweetness, very reminiscent of a good scotch. This is the closest thing to a scotch I've ever tasted in a beer. Obligatory roasty body, more tones of chocolate and coffee from the roasted malts but all wrapped up in this delicious peaty sweet finish.

Good body, smooth aftertaste. Great flavors that are different from most American stouts I have tried. This one definitely bears its Scottish label of origin proudly.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.56/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. What is it about the Orkney islands that is so appealing to me, at least on an intoxicating beverage level?

This beer pours a deep abyss of blackness, until upon further inspection an ethereal reddish cola highlight presents itself to break up the overall bleak monotony, with two fingers of rocky, tightly foamy beige head, which leaves broad, brash swaths of storm center-worthy lace around the glass as it gently ebbs away.

It smells chiefly of dry chocolate malt, mild day-old coffee, some soft just-expired milkiness, and musty, leafy hops. The taste is somewhat tart dark fruit, middling baker's chocolate, some soft pale graininess, a weird lactic sourness, stale coffee, and earthy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is present, and gently simmers as things progress, the body on the lee side of medium weight, and generally smooth, but with a growing clammy character. It finishes off-dry, the bittersweet chocolate rather tempered by that edgy dark fruit sourness, some lingering milkiness, and over-matched leafy hoppiness.

This looks quite good at first glance, but the eventual strange fruitiness, in all its underwhelming sideshowiness, kind of mars an otherwise decent stout, what with its inherent chocolate tendencies. Oh well - I guess that this is just one of those 'easier to drink than analyze' offerings. Hey, it happens.

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Dragonhead Stout from Orkney Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 181 ratings.