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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

468 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 468
Reviews: 266
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%
Wants: 26
Gots: 60 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Bitterbill on 02-15-2008)
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Ratings: 468 | Reviews: 266 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by stevenseg:
Photo of stevenseg
stevenseg

Michigan

3.6/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I was recently contacted by a friend of mine who lives in Scotland to ask if I would like to put in an order for his annual shipment of Highland Park products. This year he's shipping Ola Dubh (Black Oil), a Harviestoun dark ale aged in Highland Park Scotch whisky barrels...$56 for two bottles of 16. I seriously tried to justify it, but decided to wait on it, and I'm glad I did as Raymond, my local beer store hookup, decided to stock a few bottles. So at $10 a bottle, I picked up just one 16 and chilled for a few days before cracking it open. Now, my expectations are high as I spent an appreciable amount of time convincing myself Ola Dubh 16 is going to be the best beer in the world.

I am a Bourbon beer fan...NOT a Bourbon fan, but throw a nice stout such as Goose Island's Night Stalker in a Bourbon barrel, pull out some Bourbon County, and you have one of the richest delights to a dark beer lover. I'm not sure how the Scotch is going to compare, but I am optimistic. The richness and body will be the determining factors for me. Here we go :)

Deep, dark appearance. There are few beers that beg me to partake like those with a black hue and a creamy dark tan head. A moderate pour left a nice 1 1/2 finger head that is still there...5 minutes after pouring.

A very whisky nose, Ola Dubh 16 has a very sweet chocolate note with hints of vanilla, and pretty much no hop character, as is expected. It's like dropping a bomb of Scotch into a glass of Hershey's chocolate syrup.

Ola Dubh 16 is smokier than I had anticipated. A very sweet malt was anticipated, but I got a dose of roast instead. Heavy coffe and smoke notes, but this is a Scotch ale no matter how you spin it. You have to expect a peaty, earthy note. Very little hint of Scotch on the palate. I can taste the tinniness of oak barrels...a character I would attribute to new fermenters or cask conditioning ala the new Heinneken/New Castle setup if I didn't know any better. Either way, Ola Dubh was different than what I expected, but I can see what the creators were trying to accomplish.

The beer is also a bit crispier than I expected. The smooth, creamy head suggested a low carbonation level, but the bobbles turned out to be large and plentiful. A little heavier body would be nice, put Ola Dubh has moreof a porter feel to it. After all, it is a dark ale, not an imperial stout.

Overall, I am glad I paid $10 for a bottle rather than $56 for two, so considering the alternative, I think it was a great investment. Plus, the experience will be chronicled here. I love whisky stouts, and the faint note experienced in the 2011 Harviestoun 16 is enough to confirm my taste isn't limited to Bourbon. If you're looking for a solid import with great character and price is no objective, lay down a few dollars for one.

On a side note...I really don't thing the difference between ale aged in the 10 and 40 year barrels really make that much of a difference. Stick to what is cheapest...the novelty is for Scotch lovers, not beer lovers.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 01:22:01 | More by stevenseg
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11.2oz bottle that was bottled in July, 2009, according to the label, and aged in oak barrels that previously contained Highland Park scotch for 16 years. I bought this at Enoteca in Post Falls, Idaho, several years ago.

Poured into an Iron Goat sinfter, this was an impenetrable dark color, with about a finger’s worth of mocha-colored, bubbly foam that subsided somewhat quickly, though it left a foam ring that hung around for a while. It looked quite a bit better than I expected when I popped the cap and was greeted with the most anemic “phht” I’ve heard from a beer for a long time.

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A smooth booze-beer flavor to this. I was afraid that this would be all boozy heat, but I’m happy to report that it’s better balanced than that. The boozy, oaky flavor is what hits first, but it’s restrained enough to blend with figgy and brown sugary notes. There’s also some tobacco-like flavors in the background, leading me to wonder if this might stand up well to a good stogie (for me, cigar smoking is definitely a spring and summer sport, and after about a six month layoff, I’m feelin’ the need to get me a quality smoke)

Thick, velvety mouthfeel. A little low on carbonation, as I expected when I opened it and heard… well, almost nothing, but it actually works well here.

I didn’t know what to expect from this, and my heart sank with the thought of an expensive drainpour when I popped it’s top, but I’m rather pleased with this. My only wish is that I had saved it to be a dessert following a rich meal

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A- Finger and a half of dark khaki-colored head, frothy and thick. Persists very well and leaves abundant lace. Body is pitch black and opaque.

S- Oak, some smoke, deep roasted dark malts, peat, dark chocolate and creamy vanilla. I get a smoky barrel smell most prominently.

T- Call me crazy but I'm getting some saltwater and ocean flavors here. Peat, smoke and some oaken flavors too. My brain keeps telling me I'm getting a salted caramel flavor and I have to agree with my brain there. As the beer warms, I get more chocolate, chocolate and scotch actually.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 468 ratings.