1. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Dragonhead Stout - Orkney Brewery

Dragonhead StoutDragonhead Stout

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

241 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 241
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)
View: Beers (9) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 241 | Reviews: 172 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of gfreed


4.85/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Perhaps it's coincidental that the two best UK breweries in my opinion are in Scotland: Harviestoun and Orkney. And with the truly exceptional Dragonhead stout, Orkney may have pulled ever so slightly ahead of Harviestoun. If it weren't so expensive here in the USA I'd drink this with every meal-- well, that's a bit of hyperbole, but you get the point. From the opaque, clarinet-black color to the aromas of coffee, chocolate, rope (?) and lemons; from the roasty front end to the citrus tail end, this is a UK stout without peer. I'm now on a quest to drink the entire Orkney line.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2010 17:44:26 | More by gfreed
Photo of BobbyBeerman


4.83/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep dark brown/black - no light penetrates it. Dark beige head that faded quickly leaving not much lacing.

S: Robust nose: chocolate and coffee notes.

T: Well balanced yet powerfully flavored shout in a 4.0% ABV. Chocolate/coffee flavor have a nice malt start with smoky finish.

M: Medium body with a smooth mouth feel and balanced carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. I would drink another but limit it to one per session.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 23:06:42 | More by BobbyBeerman
Photo of claytri


4.75/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer poured a rich black with 2 fingers of light brown head that slowly receeded leaving a good lace on the glass. The aroma was of good dark malt and just a bit smokey. The taste is simply a wonderful smokieness. This isn't the harsh overpowering smoke you get with some beers, just a good pleasant taste like you'd have with good BBQ. Underlying it is a nice bit of maltiness, no real sign of any hops, but they're not needed here. The feel is excellent for a Stout. I usually find Stouts a little watery, but his is just smooth with a nice dry finish that leaves a very pleasant smokey aftertaste. Almost like a good bowl of pipe tobaco, which would probably go well with this beer as well. I would have to say this is best Stout I have ever had. This will be a beer I will look for and want to keep on hand alongside the Schneiders and the Old Nick

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2006 03:39:05 | More by claytri
Photo of JamesS


4.72/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a wonderful stout, one of the best I've ever had.

It came to the table with a wonderfully opaque, black look with a tan head (bubbly) and had great lacing. It had an outstanding burnt grain scent, very deep and strong, a great aromatic sensation. There was an excellent burnt grain flavor with great coffee overtones and even an excellent bitterness for a stout. One of the smoothest stouts I've had as well. Outstanding!

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2008 20:52:47 | More by JamesS
Photo of therica


4.65/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

AMAZING stuff. Throw out your Guinness Stout's!

I saw some complaints about high-price per bottle for this, but keep in mind-- it's a HALF-LITER bottle, ie 16.9 ounces, ie "a Pint," unlike the standard 12-ounce beer.

A= like pouring melted licorice-- even the dark-brown foamy head. Gorgeously different.

S= potently exciting. Up-front liquor-odor but not nostril-burning. Chocolate, coffee, licorice, anise/hyssop, very strong scent but inviting rather than offensive.

T= Dark roasted malts, licorice, anise/hyssop, light sweet-water aftertaste (rather than bitterness). All sorts of other intriguing subtilities, including strong black-coffee. Some hoppy bitterness when first poured, which gradually seems to dissipate after setting for not too long, into a nice blend. When it's first poured and there's a slight foam on the head, a few quick sips will taste like a good oldfashioned early/mid 20th-Century Chocolate Phosphate Soda.

M= like I just ate some nutty licorice coffee snacks or something?

D= very drinkable bottle, maybe a few, would love to see how many I could take, on-tap.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2007 01:00:30 | More by therica
Photo of Brad007


4.53/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch-black color with a thick brown head. Looks about right.

Aroma is rich and creamy with roasted coffee and chocolate notes in the nose.

Taste is full of roasted coffee, creaminess and chocolate. Seems smooth and drinkable.

Mouthfeel is creaminess followed by roasted coffee. Feels just a wee bit thin at the back of the throat but otherwise, a very nice example.

At 4%, this is a highly drinkable English Stout. It has all the classic hallmarks of the style. I wonder if it would taste even better on tap or even from a draught-style can? If you love stouts, this is a good choice.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2008 21:19:05 | More by Brad007
Photo of lackenhauser


4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Jet black with a pale, coffee colored head. Nice, low roasted aroma. Somewhat burnt and resiny. Good dose of roasted malt flavor without being harsh. Toasted malt and oats. Just a hint of bitterness with a mild lingering sweetness. Great body-not too thin and leaves a slick finish on the tongue. Hard to believe the low abv. A great all around beer. I love a dark beer with this much flavor and a low abv. I could do this all night. Really exceptional. Might replace Dark Island as my favorite Orkney brew.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2008 22:32:35 | More by lackenhauser
Photo of mcsquint


4.5/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle purchased at Gomer's in Lee's Summit into a large dimpled mug.
A - Opaque black in color with creamy, dark tan head. Head dissipates a bit quickly leaving nice lacing.
S - Rich chocolate malt aroma with dark roasted coffee notes.
T - Tastes of rich chocolate malt with notes of coffee on the finish.
M - Full mouthfeel. Perfectly carbonated.
D - This is an excellent version of a dry stout produced by a small brewery. While the cost, $5.00ottle, might limit drinking several, it's certainly worth saving up for!

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2008 23:24:59 | More by mcsquint
Photo of SetarconeX


4.47/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a nice little brew. Surprisingly dark. In fact, it's probably the darkest beer I've seen in recent memory. A real black hole of a stout. Lovely brown lacing around the top that hangs around for a good amount of time.

Tastes just the way a stout should, and then just a little bit. Weighty and quite toasty, with a good clean finish. Perhaps nothing too unusual, but certainly a fine example of this beer's style.

Oh, and despite not being allowed in as a scoring factor, the bottle is one of the coolest looking I've ever seen. Drink this one if you can find it.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2003 03:40:24 | More by SetarconeX
Photo of stcules


4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Chocolate, burnt coffee, nuts and dry fruits. Full and round body. iIf you consider the low alcoholic level (4 ABV), this beer has a perfect body, a complet mouthfeel with a freshing flavour. Herbal notes. If you drink one of this beer, you are tempted to drink another one (and you'll do it, if you just have it...), and you'll be an happy man!. Very satisfating.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2002 12:32:40 | More by stcules
Photo of Vvall


4.45/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I loved this !! But alas,at 5 bucks a bottle it is too expensive to drink on a regular basis.It poured black as coal,with not much head or carbonation and smelled divine.The taste was exceptional,and went down nicely.I will treat myself to this again...soon.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2007 18:45:19 | More by Vvall
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
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 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 joecast


4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

gotta love that bottle. cool label plus heaps of info on the beer on the back.

seriously dark with a thick dark tan head. the head settles but continues to leave good lacing down the sides of the glass.

aroma is full of coffee (beans) and chocolate. lightly sweet malts. great stout smells all around.

smooth. more coffee and roast malt. some astringency from the roast maybe? this is quite light at only 4% and the color so dark that maybe the roast flavor comes across a bit heavier. anyway, thats a minor complaint. this is still quite a nice beer and incredibly full flavored. not bitter (from hops anyway) but still not too sweet.

great mouthfeel. just the right amount of body to make it a light abv sipper. maybe drops the drinkability a bit, but certainly something i would not mind drinking again.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2009 09:30:37 | More by joecast
Photo of JISurfer

South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

All 4's for me. This is another great brew from Orkney. I would rate this one up with, maybe even slightly better than, D. Carnegie's Stout. It's appearance was really nice too. It was thick black with a frothy, pillowy head that lasted a little while. The smell was like a typical stout, deep, rich, roasted, and chocolatey. The big thing that seperated it from most stouts was the super chocolatey smell and taste. The taste was similar to the smell, but on a grander scale. It was very warming to drink and left me quenching for more. As far as drinkability, I could drink this great stuff all day at work and night at home. Then again, that could be a bad thing!

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2003 17:59:38 | More by JISurfer
Photo of hefevice


4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black as night, copious tan head, good lacing.
S - Wow - dark malt in the form of chocolate to me, seasoned with a sweet malty background. Had trouble getting my nose out of it.
T - Plenty of it. A Journey - roasted malt, a light smokiness, burnt toast, finishing with a light tang. Pleasant lingering dark malt bitterness. Wonderful!
M - Smooth, light, with low carbonation. Almost perfect.
D - Massive flavour for only 4% ABV. Could quite easily drink this all night. What an excellent stout!

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2008 10:03:37 | More by hefevice
Photo of ReadyFireAim


4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It always gives me a giddy feeling when I see the creamy, chocolate-hued heads form on my stouts. This one had a great toffee-colored topper that faded into a smooth-looking halo throughout the entire drink. On the nose it's pretty bitter/astringent (and I kinda pick up hints of molasses and a *slight* vinegar tinge), a bit nutty, with a decent amount of spice. Taste is definitely chocolate - and bitter, too. There are some closing notes of fruit, and it's just a bit sticky on the finish. There's a little spice from the Goldings on there, but it's not overly bitter for its style.

I could definitely see myself making this a session beer, especially since it's only about 4% ABV. I'd love to try this barrel-aged, man.

I love the artwork on their bottle for this brew. Vikings rule(d).

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2008 16:34:55 | More by ReadyFireAim
Photo of Guinness4me


4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orkney has NOT let me down. I used to think Skullsplitter was my favorite Orkney brew, but this one makes my choice even harder.

Perfectly poured by my amazing husband, the appearance was a gorgeous, deep, rich coffee brown with a tan head and lace that clung to the end.

The smell was rich, like an almost-burnt toasted marshmallow, drenched in molasses. It was smokier than I expected but the sweet, malty goodness balanced the overall smell perfectly. Wow.

The taste was mild but intense. Rich, black coffee sweetened with brown sugar and unsweetened chocolate. The nearly-burnt flavor was perfected!

This beer is a good thing, but almost too much for my senses to handle, but, I'll drink as many as the hubby will bring me.

Serving type: bottle

10-19-2004 04:08:55 | More by Guinness4me
Photo of lacqueredmouse


4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark deep black-brown, with a very nice head of ochre-brown bubbles, which have a two-tone effect going on. Lauren thinks it looks pretty. Very dense, browning at the edges. Some very good lacing indeed. Lets no light through. Very nice indeed.

Lots of grains and oats on the nose - massive cereal characters, and a very slight underlying chocolate sweetness. Very rich and exciting.

Taste is absolutely lovely, a very and full smoky escapade, mingling coffee grounds, grain, grapeskin, and a finish of smooth rich mustiness. Mouthfeel is light but silky, delicately caressing, and accentuating the rich notes on the palate.

A really excellent and very enjoyable little brew. Smooth, deep and delectable, with plenty of character. To boot, it's very drinkable, and goes down incredibly smoothly. Very, very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2009 23:12:24 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of lou50rp


4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark almost black in color. Head was brown and lasted for awhile.
Smell was dark chocolate/dark roast coffee smell. godd medium smell, not overpowering.
Taste was what smell promised. Good dark chocolate, dark roast coffee.
Mouth was coated a bit, a good feel.
Definitely drinkable.Very good stout taste. A nice treat on a cool summers eve.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2010 17:23:21 | More by lou50rp
Photo of Traquairlover


4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a tulip pint glass.

A = Rich, dark mahogany with a light tan very firm foamy head, leaves medium lacing.

S = Strong roasty scents, cocoa powder, mouthwatering.

T = Great balance of bitter coffee, lightly burnt toast with sweet cocoa and light traces of cream.

M = Medium body, good mouthcoating, feels like a much bigger beer than it actually is.

D = Very drinkable for as strong tasting as it is.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2010 18:07:54 | More by Traquairlover
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 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 Dizzy


4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black with garnet highlights and a creamy light tan head. Smell is coffee, chocolate and lots of sweetness. Taste is dominated by roasted malts. Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. This is a great one, wish it was more widely availabe as this would make a great session beer with plenty of flavor, body and a low alcohol content.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2006 01:49:09 | More by Dizzy
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Dragonhead Stout from Orkney Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 241 ratings.