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Dragonhead Stout - Orkney Brewery

Not Rated.
Dragonhead StoutDragonhead Stout

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

263 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 263
Reviews: 173
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 20
Gots: 9 | 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
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Ratings: 263 | Reviews: 173 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Buildscharacter
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Opened a bottle of this beer, gave a quick hello to the dragon on the front and poured it into a glass.

This beer has quite the head and it takes a bit for it to dissapate. Mocha colored head that dissapates unevenly. When you drink the beer it coats the side of the glass with foamy residue. A thin layer of foam stays on the top.

There are tones of coffee, chocolate, fruity esters, and an underlying sweetness...perhaps caramel? Not really sure. Coffee aftertaste is there, not as much as some other stouts. The carbonation in this bottle wasn't too pleasing and I didn't feel that it actually brought out any additional flavors, so I took it down a few notches on the mouthfeel. It's also a little watery.

This is a tasty beer, but there are many other's that I would place before it. The flavor is nice, but nothing too special. Worth a try.

Buildscharacter, Jun 16, 2005
Photo of PorterLambic
3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

PorterLambic, Jun 10, 2005
Photo of sulldaddy
3.15/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

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.

sulldaddy, Jun 05, 2005
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and creamy malt scent that boasts of crystal, chocolate, and roasted malts. It is quite sweet and chocolatey. The taste is good. It has an intensley rich black malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes earthy and dry. It is full of malt complexity. It starts sweet and chocoalety, but finishes dry and rich in patent flavor. There are also some hops in the aftertaste as well. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a good drinking English stout. It is low in alcohol, but high in flavor.

WesWes, Mar 30, 2005
Photo of cokes
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A faux-blackness built from the shadows of burnt orange, topped with a fat, frothy, lumpy, beige cream.
Scented of chocolate, ground coffee, cherries, plums, and mineral whispers.
An ashen roastedness begins things. All grill residue: charcoal and beef burnt black. Eyes of bitter chocolate, plums, and dark breads peep from sheltered corners, but cannot approach to sweeten anything. Dry this will stay. A slap of mineral and wood preceeds a dusty, dried herb hop closure.
On the waifish side through the mouth, with a mild but perky carbonation. Fattened a tad, this might congeal into something truly special. Even as is, this is drinkable in nothing less than gulps, and represents the Dry Stout style very well.

cokes, Mar 28, 2005
Photo of ADR
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Opaque brown, little light comes through, mousse-like dark tan head of good retention. Laces in thick smears. Aroma is sweet, light caramel with just a hint of a sparse roast. Mouthfeel is lightish, more carbonation than some. Starts slowly and agreeable, chocolatey with some oily bitterness, then the profile thins pretty dramatically, leaving a slightly unsatisfying impression. Finishes with the coffee and carbonation intact but without a lot of meat left to the mouthfeel or malt impact. Fairly drinkable, light in alcohol, too thin for my expectations.

ADR, Mar 28, 2005
Photo of horndecker
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It's a deep deep red tinged black, with a foamy, reddish head with fine carbonation.
The nose is roasted malt and chocolates, cocoa and raspberries with a slight pleasant whiff of soy.
The taste is dry and dusty, cocoa, bitterness and the roasty toasty malt center. A medium to light body with a hoppy finish.
This one's a keeper. Best for when you want something drier and dustier than stouts like Sam Smith but still with a cocoa kick.

horndecker, Mar 04, 2005
Photo of brentk56
3.38/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a nice black opaque body with a tan head and some lacing; certainly presentable

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, and a bit of dried dark fruit that adds a vinous character; also, some smokey tones overall
Taste: Has a bit of a smoky character, but otherwise rather dull for a stout; has a bit of a cardboard taste that's just not right

Mouthfeel: Way too thin; the carbonation is about right

Drinkability: Nothing to get too excited about but also not something that is objectionable, either

brentk56, Feb 24, 2005
Photo of shapudding
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

No dating. Deep and dark, almost black.... can only see a twinge of ruby if you hold it to the light. Nice amount of head settled down to a thin khaki layer of creaminess that you can catch glimpes of dark through. Dark roasted malt scents, chocolate and sasafrass.... tobacco as it warms. I was surprised with the bitey carbination, but it still feels pretty good, just a bit shocking. Medium bodies. Nice roasty flavors with chocolate and coffee blended in. Goes down very smooth and easy, nicely drinkable.

shapudding, Feb 06, 2005
Photo of bark
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour is pitch-dark; the medium compact, two-finger high foam is brown with some beige spots.

The smell is full of burned dry malts and some coffee with a hint of butter/cream.

The carbonation is rather strong (stronger than I expected for a stout) with small bubbles.

The taste is burned with dry notes of coffee, dark bread, soil, toffee cookies and a touch of salt. The body is rather weak with a medium-strong bitterness. The aftertaste is also burned with a creamy feel and a slowly growing sweetness. It is not particularly long lasting, but well balanced.

I found this being a rather mild stout, making it easy to drink.

bark, Jan 26, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Melted chocolate brown with abundant ruby highlights. I can see the merest hint of light on the opposite side of the glass only because of the strong (for January) sunlight coming through my window. Without that, it's opaque black. The pale toffee cap isn't all that large, but it is tacky and leaves a great deal of lace.

Dragonhead has a very nice stout nose that contains most all of the essential style characteristics. Generously roasted malt makes up the lion's share of the aroma, with chocolate, hops and coffee--in diminishing order--playing supporting roles.

It's still pretty good beer on the palate, although cracks are beginning to show. Flavor and mouthfeel are tightly linked for me when it comes to beer and this stout is a perfect example of how a less than stellar body can impact negatively on flavor. All of the components of the nose are still present, but there's very little power behind them and very little depth, thanks to the too thin body.

To state the obvious, this stout is undermalted. In addition, it's at least as sour as it is malty sweet. The flavor profile consists of diluted chocolate and weak hops. Coffee has taken a powder. The thin, bordering on watery, mouthfeel lays bare what would otherwise be an appropriate level of carbonation and causes it to be too noticeable.

The fix is obvious. More malt would do wonders for Dragonhead Stout and would most likely elevate it to the ranks of the very good. As is, it's drinkable, but I can't stop myself from thinking 'what if... ' every time I upend the glass.

BuckeyeNation, Jan 15, 2005
Photo of meathookjones
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This came in a 500ml bottle. Pours out a pitch-black body with a tall tan head. As it was consumed the head stuck around and left decent lacing. Aroma is of light chocolate with slight roasted malt undertones. Flavor is similar with a chocolate maltiness being dominate with notes of roasted malt and a bitter earthiness in the back. Mouthfeel is light for a stout but otherwise smooth. Good drinkability here, with the low ABV and its smoothness going down. Solid beer but nothing I would get excepting about.

meathookjones, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of niknar
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a deep, dark, completely opaque black color with a small almond colored head that quickly disappeared. Leaves a little lacing on the glass, but not much. The aroma has strong coffee notes as well as some expressions of chocolate and caramel. Overall a very pleasant smell. Taste is also strongly suggestive of coffee and sweet, dark malts. Slightly over carbonated and thusly a little thin for a stout. Mouthfeel suffers slightly, but not enough to make this one a loser. Overall, a very tasty brew that brings a slightly different interpretation of the stout style. Not the best on the shelf, but definitely worth a try.

niknar, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of Kookiekwan
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer pours black with a one finger tan head, it has little retention but some decent lacing. The aroma was of coffee grounds and sweet malt. The flavor is smoked malt with hints of coffee and it has a coffee-like bitterness. Its medium bodied and easy to drink.

Reflection:This was a pretty good stout, the smoky flavor was a nice change and I will be buying this one again.

Kookiekwan, Nov 30, 2004
Photo of SeanChouffe
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A deep black color with visible carbonation during the pour. The head is a light brown and rocky. Lacing is good ‘n sticky. Aroma is like a chocolate mousse; chocolaty, and lightly alcoholic with some roasted notes. Flavor is surprisingly bitter in the middle (the start is quite undetectable) and lacking in a sweetening balance. Palate is light bodied and watery with a lingering bite. The flavor seems to improve over time, although it is still quite one-dimensional.

SeanChouffe, Nov 29, 2004
Photo of jdhilt
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a five-finger plus (pour very slowly) light brown head that is thick and frothy leaving a ton of lace. Totally black color. Light carbonation and light-medium bodied. Nose is roasted coffee. Starts with a strong roasted coffee flavor and finishes slightly bitter. $3.49 for a 500ml bottle, Liquor Barn Lexington, KY.

jdhilt, Oct 24, 2004
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.

Guinness4me, Oct 19, 2004
Photo of homersimpson
3.53/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep reddish brown with a tan head.
The nose is all malt, sweet, and simple.
Medium, somewhat watery body.
Very light up front and really malty. Thinner than expected. The payoff comes in the end. The finish is an interesting amalgamation of peat and a bit of coffee that hangs around for a while.

homersimpson, Oct 09, 2004
Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep amber with a slightly off white creamy head that leaves a good amount of lace,aroma is light for a stout but appetizing I pick up some roasted malt and a touch of nuttiness.taste as well is on the mellow side but is very appetizing some unsweetened chocolate and roasted malt with alingering earthy finish.A big time quaffing stout mellow and easy to drink with some flavor,a tad thin but well done from Orkney.

oberon, Aug 31, 2004
Photo of edchicma
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A decent stout. Poured almost balck with a nice craemy head. Smeel was predominantly malt and sweet....nothing special. Taste was lightly malty with a light bitter finish. Very smooth in the drinkability category....light feel. Mouthfeel is light with the malt presence introducing itself nicely. Not bad for such a low abv.

edchicma, Aug 25, 2004
Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

deep. dark color, with crimson highlights, beneath a creamy cocoa-tan head.
Aroma is gentle, yet still roasty, emitting warm notes of chocolate and coffee, rich, bittersweet, with espresso tinges, and fairly uplifting, I like it!
Warm, rich, smooth satisfying mouthfeel. Just drips over the palate, lolls around the tongue, very silky smooth.
Not as thick or full as some stouts, but that's okay, sometimes. Thoroughly pleasing, with an additional toffeeish sweetness, that really brings a smile.
I can't help but like this beer, and I'd advise you to try it, at least. Doesn't rock any worlds, but damned if it doesn't taste good, and that's all I'm caring about right about now.

feloniousmonk, Aug 18, 2004
Photo of Brent
2.2/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

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.

Brent, Jul 23, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 500ml, half litre, 1 pint 0.9 fl oz. wide bodied brown glass bottle with a thin neck, as depicted in the BA Database picture. Main obverse, reverse and small neck label. Lots of black and gold form the background to the Viking Longboat picture that punctures the front label. Listed at 4.0% ABV, but I couldn’t find a freshness date as hard as I looked.

Appearance: Extremely dark with a large Cocoa brown head that laces extremely well, lots of beer welts down the Glass as you take down gulps of this quaffable Scottish Stout. Reasonable carbonation but it lacks a little life at times.

Nose: Lots of roasted malts, coffee and a whiff of warm roasted chestnuts.

Taste: Dominated mainly by a silky smooth roasted malt start, dark chocolate, thick liquorice toffee and burnt percolated coffee with some dark fruits. Has a bitter chocolate finish that lingers for quite some time after the swallow.

Mouthfeel: Rather average overall. At first you could be forgiven for thinking that this is rather thin, yet concentrate and stick with it and you will come to realize that this is rather a deceptive Stout with a funny delicate chewy aspect.

Drinkability: Brewed for the ‘Gallon-a-Night’ man, this is no Jessie’s Stout when it comes to knocking down the Imperial Pints. I found this to be a highly enjoyable and quaffable Stout – I paired the last half of this bottle with some aged Dubliner Cheddar, they accompanied each other rather well, it must have been the common Celtic blood.

Overall: Bottled British beers remind me of the fancy meals you get in Business Class on most Airlines, they have all the ingredients of greatness – yet somehow they always fail to deliver and just never feel right. It is easy to knock this offering, and I would be the first to admit that this is most certainly not the best beer to come from the Orkney Brewery. But when you remember that it is only a 4.0% ABV Stout brewed for imbibing, when put into that context, this is far from a disappointing brew. I have had the fortune to drink this rare Scottish Stout on Cask several times in the UK, yet from the bottle, it feels a little dumbed down I have to say, and as such, sadly it is not allowed to reveal all of its real “Session” strengths that it exhibits on Cask.

Incredibly sexy when pulled through the Beer Engine, but a rather above average feel from the bottle. Not bad value for $3 in California though, for this is still an expensive beer in the UK, when you can find it that is.

TheLongBeachBum, Jun 06, 2004
Photo of Reidrover
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

OK I just love the Orkney Breweries pint bottles..great shape and classy label.With Viking longship prow.
This is a beautiful beer to behold very solid black..with a great coffee and creme coloured head..very attractive.
Smell also is good..very strong hints of chocolate , roasted malts..fresh despite it being all the way here in Oregon.

The taste is rather weird though,,but in a good way..very woody, salty..on top of dark chocolate I wonder if they used the same process for growing the barley Heather Brews used for "Kelpie"?
MOuthfeel while comfortable..ios too thin for a great stout.
Overall a good drinkable stout..nice for the low alcohol.

Reidrover, Mar 06, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured black with ruby highlights near the bottom of the glass when held to light. The brown head was large upon pouing and fell back quickly. Aroma is smoky roasted, coffee, and chocolate with a caramel/toffee undertone. Flavor is bone dry and has coffee and chocolate with a dry finish of coffee. The beer has a bit of diacetyl. The body is med-light and the drinkability is good.

Beer came in a 16.9 ounce bottle.

GCBrewingCo, Dec 13, 2003
Dragonhead Stout from Orkney Brewery
86 out of 100 based on 263 ratings.