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Dragonhead Stout - Orkney Brewery

Dragonhead StoutDragonhead Stout

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

242 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 242
Reviews: 172
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.46%

Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Stout |  4.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: xlperro on 09-01-2002)
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Ratings: 242 | Reviews: 172 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Ozzylizard


3.88/5  rDev +1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 11:55:44 | More by Ozzylizard
Photo of ryan1788a5


3.88/5  rDev +1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 17:51:53 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

Serving type: cask

12-05-2013 09:10:51 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2013 19:38:36 | More by puboflyons
Photo of pkalix


3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
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....

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2013 00:59:06 | More by pkalix
Photo of mick303

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
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

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2013 21:22:25 | More by mick303
Photo of GJ40

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2013 03:52:02 | More by GJ40
Photo of soju6


3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
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

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2013 00:56:42 | More by soju6
Photo of Kinsman


4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2013 21:29:12 | More by Kinsman
Photo of KellBell


3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 00:27:04 | More by KellBell
Photo of SpruceMoose


4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
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!

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2013 05:52:36 | More by SpruceMoose
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 11:10:34 | More by heygeebee
Photo of bucho


4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 21:36:58 | More by bucho
Photo of CookstLiquor

British Columbia (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2012 20:23:02 | More by CookstLiquor
Photo of neophilus


3.88/5  rDev +1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2012 20:07:00 | More by neophilus
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 01:52:13 | More by biboergosum
Photo of deg

New Hampshire

4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I poured the beer from a bottle into a glass. The beer was dark, almost black. The head had a tan color. I couldn't smell anything. My sense of smell is weak (hence the average rating). I could taste roasted malt and coffee. The beer felt light in my mouth and went down easy. I note the alcohol level was low. I didn't pick up any alcohol warmth which I would expect for that level of alcohol. An easy drinking, good tasting stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2012 22:16:12 | More by deg


3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle. Enjoyed on agt´11. Pure black into a Pint glass. Dark beige , small bubbled, foam creates a dense, creamy & thick layer crown. Lasting head & spotty lacing. Toasted malts sweept up by winds of coffee to the nose, subtle fruity aroma too. Dry bitter coffee at first sip, slightly sweet flavor in the middle is increased by chocolate hues. Medium body & low carbonation. Sweet finish then coffee returns, Nice drinkability, unfortunately this pretty gentle stout results quite cloying finally.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2012 08:58:19 | More by GONZALOYANNA
Photo of Pencible


3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured an opaque black cherry with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like sweet molasses and earthy dark chocolate, with some roasted coffee and cream.
T: It tasted like bitter black coffee and dark chocolate, with a little molasses and copper hops. It had a bitter and mostly clean aftertaste.
M: It was somewhat thick and oily with moderate carbonation. Decent body.
D: This was a good traditional English stout. The scent and taste and body were all pretty simple, but nice. The finish was fairly smooth, so it was easy to drink. Not an impressive beer, but nothing wrong with it either.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2012 19:32:25 | More by Pencible
Photo of ShogoKawada

Rhode Island

3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the roommate for the free beer. Enjoyed with some Cahill's porter cheese, a stunning pairing.

Beer pours with a pretty big dark head, brown/gray and sticky. two significant lace rings. Second pour leaves a ton more frosting-like lacing.

Aroma is of fresh coffee and chocolate, fairly light but pleasing still.

This one is pretty light all around, in flavor and body. At 4%, it's to be expected. It has a nice smooth malt profile and a bit of a grassy hop finish. A bit bitter too. Really pretty simple but it works. A little bit of dark fruit and maybe some anise as well.

Easy going down. Very enjoyable with the porter cheese. Lots of flavor and a nice easy-drinking ABV. No idea what the bottle cost but if it's reasonable I'd buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 22:36:46 | More by ShogoKawada
Photo of auro0006


3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The dark, brown-black color supports a light, but creamy, tan head.

Aromas of dark chocolate, caramel and roasted malts fill the air.

The palate is medium-full with plenty of rich malt flavors.

Filling the palate are rich malt flavors; dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts and a hint of peat.

There is the smallest detection of bitterness in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2012 00:17:31 | More by auro0006
Photo of HopZen


3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep espresso with lighter brown edges. 2 fingers of thick, tan head; dissipates to a nice, oily film. Good lacing.
S: Roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate with hints of spicy/piney hops.
T: Similar to nose, nice balance of malt and British hop bitter; tasty nut finish. There is an odd metallic flavor that creeps up the back of my palate in the beginning, but thankfully it mellows out quickly in the session.
M: Oddly thin for such a bold flavored stout; I would love a meatier body to chew on. Carbonation is appropriately low. Finish is semi-dry.
O: A good, roasted stout. Could use a richer body, but nicely sessionable given the low ABV.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2012 19:16:40 | More by HopZen
Photo of Jimmys


4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500mL into tulip.

A: super black opaque body. very dark head. multi hued. dark brown, light brown, brown brown. really cool to look at. very frothy and the lacing shows as well.

S: a very faint smokiness reminds me of a little bit of a campfire, but really in the faintest sense. some espresso. a little bit of earthy hop aroma. spicy even.

T: the body is very rich for how airy it is. tobacco is at the forefront. roasted grain. not quite burnt. maybe a little towards the finish. a little bit of coffee in an otherwise super dry finish.

M: a fizzy carbonation on a light body.

D: i do enjoy light-bodied dark beers. rather counter-intuitive to most. nice having a stout that it is so easy drinking.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 01:27:25 | More by Jimmys
Photo of ezperkins2


3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dragonhead – Orkney Brewery
English Stout
500ml bottle with no date poured into a tulip on 1/9/12

A. Looks like a great stout. Dark body with foamy light brown head that fades to a ring within a couple of minutes.

S. Roasted malts dominate the nose with hints of dark chocolate and a touch of coffee. There is also a nice bit of peaty smoke as well.

T. Like the nose there is a hint of smoke and chocolate but the main player is roasted malt. After a second or so the peaty smokiness shows up and lingers for a while. What else would you expect with a brewery from the Orkney isles? The long finish is a bit dry and very smoky.

M.. The mouthfeel is my main complaint with this brew. Very thin and very watery up front. The finish dries a bit but overall the watery thin body of this beer was a bit of a turn off.

O. Overall this was an enjoyable beer and I was glad I had a chance to drink a style I don’t get often. The biggest thing I will take from this is the great peat smoke finish that reminds me of a nice glass of laphroaig.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 05:30:31 | More by ezperkins2
Photo of leokbelo


4.43/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich, dense, blackest of all blackness into a Pint Glass. Creamy mocha head fades into a coffee like lacing.
Rich roasted malts on the nose, chocolate and coffee.
Bitter chocolate with more coffee on the tongue, roasted nuts and very mild hops.
Extremely drinkable, with the low ABV (4%).
An excellent English (Scottish) Stout, though I was hoping for a bigger punch on the hops.
Highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2011 00:27:11 | More by leokbelo
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Dragonhead Stout from Orkney Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 242 ratings.