1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Dragonhead Stout - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Dragonhead StoutDragonhead Stout

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

253 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 253
Reviews: 173
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 11.43%
Wants: 21
Gots: 7 | 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:
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 253 | Reviews: 173 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brent


2.2/5  rDev -42.9%

I was very let down by this beer. Poured a beautiful rich black with a delayed mocha head. Aroma was smokey malt, and the smokeyness followed in the flavor as a monotone smoked malt. Not dry enough to be enjoyed as a dry Irish, and not rich enough for an English stout - simply lackluster and boring. I tried to find a freshness date to give this the benefit of the doubt, but found none. Orkney continues to underwhelm me, notwithstanding some nice looking bottles.

07-23-2004 21:27:12 | More by Brent
Photo of EagleTalon


2.4/5  rDev -37.7%

Pours to dark tan head with lacing and deep brown-black color. Aroma is a pleasant scent of roasted barley and malt. Flavor is not so much roasty as burnt and dry. Thin, no other flavors stand out. Reminds me of a burnt breakfast (toast and bacon) or burnt chicken--disappointing. Mouthfeel is thin, rough and chalky. Not a pleasant stout except for the look and smell.

Judging from other reviews, I either have a bad bottle or it caught me on a bad day for tasting stouts.

08-09-2008 21:54:05 | More by EagleTalon
Photo of topgun1911


2.5/5  rDev -35.1%

01-22-2012 03:11:43 | More by topgun1911
Photo of ralree


2.68/5  rDev -30.4%

A: Deep black with a tan head. Head is small and dissipates quick, but laces decently.

S: Very sweet and malty, dark fruit, yeast, roasted and toasty.

T: Roasted malt isn't as sweet as I thought it might be. Seems pretty watery to me - all the flavors seem weaker than they should be. Coffee is in the background in addition to the flavors in the smell. Sadly, this is pretty undrinkable.

M: Non-astringent, watery, carbonation is lower than it should be.

D: Smelled and looked good, but it's completely undrinkable. It's undercarbonated and tastes bad.

01-02-2009 03:08:08 | More by ralree
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

2.7/5  rDev -29.9%

A - Black brew with a little less than one finger of creamy brown head that lingers for about two minutes. Thick lacing left behind. I wish it had more head and it last a bit longer.

S - Toffee and coffee! What a pair! A bit of chocolatey notes and a slight underneath. I have never smelled a beer with this strong of a toffee presence. Some would say at this point, "Zounds! This smells like candy! I hate candy!" I find this smell inviting however. The toffee dissappears for the most part when it warms a little bit. What remains is a burnt coffee odor.

T - Not as sweet as the odor suggests. It has a strong coffee with a bit of burnt malt presence with and a faint burnt coffee bitter aftertaste. The taste is extremely one dimensional too.

M - Thin, frothy, refreshing at first, but the mouthfeel starts to become a little gummy.

D - A decent effort here. I could have ths again, but although unless I get it on tap, I doubt I will. It would be a chore to session with the mouthfeel. The flavor is poor, it is a little burnt and not pleasant. It really does nothing for me.

02-01-2006 03:45:55 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of Graebner


2.83/5  rDev -26.5%

This beer pours a rich, dark brown (as a stout ought), with a couple of fingers of light brown head that disapated within a couple of minutes, all of which looked very tasty and inviting. It also smelled very nice, very strong coffee smell along with some caramel and a little soy sauce. Unfortunately, the positives end there.
This beer tastes nothing like a stout. Or rather, it tastes like a stout that someone has mixed 75/25 with water. The mouthfeel is the same; it feels even thinner in your mouth than the coffee it tastes like. Pretty lame.
The drinkability is a conundrum. If you're the kind of guy that can't drink a real stout, but wants to impress the ladies by downing some dark beer claiming to be a stout, this one's for you. Anyone with any kind of beer drinking experience should be able to toss these back all night long. In that sense it's quite drinkable. On the other hand, if you're a real man who wants a real stout, you should hastily find something else. This stuff just doesn't cut the mustard.

In defense of the Orkney Brewery, their other beers that I've had (Red MacGregor and Dark Island) both acquitted themselves very well.

01-15-2006 22:03:52 | More by Graebner
Photo of coasterfreak75

North Carolina

2.95/5  rDev -23.4%

The pour was exceptional. Pitch black with a three finger choppy beige head that slowly dissapated to a thin beige top and lace that held on throughout the drink.

The smell was very hard to pick up on even after warming. Very malty and nutty with a slight coffee undernose.

The drink started out watery with a coffee middle and a watery finish.

To me this was a very thin stout, had it had more body and backbone I would have found it more appealing. Still it was quite drinkable and I would have one again.

07-27-2005 03:16:19 | More by coasterfreak75
Photo of FreshmanPour77


3/5  rDev -22.1%

09-12-2012 17:35:00 | More by FreshmanPour77
Photo of Tumble


3/5  rDev -22.1%

07-04-2012 20:07:12 | More by Tumble
Photo of joepais


3/5  rDev -22.1%

Bottle poured jet black and the head quickly subsides to a thin lace .Aromas of milk choclate, rosted malts and some coffee. It was creamy but the body was not as full as I like for a stout .My tastebuds picked up on the chocolate malts ,some what of a burned after taste there is also a lite hoppyness to it as well . I give the bottle high marks for the art work tho definatly one for the colection

10-13-2007 21:47:31 | More by joepais
Photo of elgiacomo


3/5  rDev -22.1%

Appearance: Very dark brown with a small very fizzy light brown head that quickly disappears.

Smell: Very roasted malts, some chocolate and coffee.

Taste: More of the same in the flavor. Somewhat bitter and a tad sour.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin for a stout, thicker than Guinness however. Lively mouthfeel...would prefer a bit less carbonation. Smooth and creamy is more my style from a stout.

Drinkability is quite good. The low ABV helps in this regard, easy drinking stout right here. Can be refreshing on a hot summer day.

Overall a slightly above average stout. There are better options out there, however and I doubt I will seek this out again.

08-22-2007 00:59:20 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of PorterLambic


3.08/5  rDev -20%

This is the third brew I've tried from Orkney and I'm not sure what to expect. Skullsplitter was great, red MacGregor not. This one was mor like the latter sadly.
Pours black. Pitch black with a nice tan head that drops slowly and evenly to a thick film but leaves no lace.
Smell is nearly non-existent, just malt.
Taste is coffee,toffee, roasted, almost burnt, malt, light hops and a hint of vanilla as it warms.
Mouthfeel is smooth-ish with a light effervescence and medium body.
Drinkability is just MOR (middle of the road). Decent complexity and balance but nothing for the nose. Aftertaste is light especially for the style.

06-10-2005 02:59:27 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of CrazyDavros


3.1/5  rDev -19.5%

Pours pitch black with a dark brown quickly fading head.
Nose shows lots of coffee, a bit of liquorice and craploads of roasted malt. Too much coffee character!
Flavours include plenty of roasted malt, lots of ground coffee, in fact pretty much nothing else is noticeable, just a hint of faint sweet malt. Ends abruptly.
Body is very watery.

02-06-2011 07:19:36 | More by CrazyDavros
Photo of Suds


3.1/5  rDev -19.5%

This brew pours a dark, intensely black color and has a respectable, rocky tan head. Smells of roast barley and burnt malt. It has a dark-roast coffee aroma and barely detectable hop aroma. The taste is dry and bitter, with a pronounced deeply roasted chocolate and coffee flavor. More coffee than chocolate. Its body is very light, at times almost watery. A bit more heft (and not a lot) would have given this beer a more character. The finish is bitter and somewhat lingering. This brew suffers from a lack of intensity and a thin body. There’s nothing particularly ‘off’ about it, it’s just a too polite (yawn).

05-16-2006 00:59:57 | More by Suds
Photo of sulldaddy


3.15/5  rDev -18.2%

I am sampling at room temp in an english pint glass. The beer pours a rich dark color and allows no light to pass through.
A large creamy tan head foams up 3 cm easily and recedes slowly leaving large craters on the surface.
Aroma is mostly roasted malt with some lite espresso bean notes mixing in. Not very robust on the nose, but not unappealing either.
First sip reveals a thin watery body with mild carbonation.
Flavor is all malt with some short appearance of a sweet malty flavor that is quickly overtaken by roasted malt and finishes dry and coffee-esque. Not a very lingering flavor on the finish.
The beer is lite and very drinkable. At 4.0% abv it would be an incredible session beer I think.

06-05-2005 03:13:21 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of mapofthedead

United Kingdom (England)

3.2/5  rDev -16.9%

A: Poured a nice deep black with a small off-white head which disappeared very quickly.

S: I got chocolate and coffee from this, nothing too overstated but there.

T: A nice rich chocolate note with some coffee.

M: Watery with a little fizz.

D: Alright, nothing special.

Notes: 500 ml bottle poured into an Imperial Pint Glass. BBE JUN 09.

02-19-2009 22:41:30 | More by mapofthedead
Photo of thekanna


3.2/5  rDev -16.9%

From notes taken at the Brickskeller in Washington, D.C.

A: Pitch black with a thin, coffee colored head.

S: Strong smokiness, like being bathed in a cigar room or a smokehouse, with some slight lingering malty sweetness.

T: Extremely smoky and dark. A bit one-dimensional otherwise.

M: Too think with not enough thickness or kick to underscore the flavor.

D: A decent session brew, but not much else. Make mine stronger, please.

03-19-2009 05:31:59 | More by thekanna
Photo of grynder33


3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Poured black as night, with a lovely one inch chocolate soda head, interesting initial nose, sort of mochaish, the first taste however followed up on none of that. thre was a lingering roasted taste that lingered till the end, but all in all it could be classified a light stout.

08-21-2003 12:19:16 | More by grynder33
Photo of theopholis


3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

Apperance = Rich, dark mahogany with a tan head. Head is quite firm foamy, has good retention and leaves a decent lacing.

Smell = Strong roasty scents with hints of chocolate. A strong, malty backbone permeates.

Taste = Decent balance of coffee, lightly burnt toast with chocolate.

Mouthfeel = Medium body, decent carbonation. Has a nice stickiness to it.
Drinkability- About what you would expect from an English stout.

12-30-2010 23:06:15 | More by theopholis
Photo of Bix

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

01-10-2013 16:05:33 | More by Bix
Photo of Mendicant


3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

08-12-2013 23:28:29 | More by Mendicant
Photo of ggourde


3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

04-25-2012 01:47:04 | More by ggourde
Photo of CwrwAmByth

United Kingdom (Wales)

3.25/5  rDev -15.6%

12-02-2011 14:03:29 | More by CwrwAmByth
Photo of DragYourBone


3.28/5  rDev -14.8%

I have to temper my review with the fact that this was my last draught after a Brasserie Des Rocs Triple Gran Cru and an Impériale. I will reconsider my ratings on a fresh pallate at a later time.

True to style; dark, opaque and still. Chocolate, chickory flavor and scent. Slickery wet with not much fullness to it. A bit too much of a dry afterbite for me this night. Smacking my tongue to the roof of my mouth, I contemplated whether this was unexpectantly more dry relatative to the juice I drank before or if it was just this draught's personality. I'm giving the benefit of doubt and attributing it to the former.

I'll have to give this one another chance on a stout night.

09-05-2006 01:54:36 | More by DragYourBone
Photo of pkalix


3.28/5  rDev -14.8%

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....

07-13-2013 00:59:06 | More by pkalix
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Dragonhead Stout from Orkney Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 253 ratings.