Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 475 | Reviews: 266 | Display Reviews Only:
4.97/5 rDev +20.6%
Pours a great pitch black in color with a great tan (if bit small) head, and just a little bit of lacing. It has a wonderful scent, part coffee, part whiskey, part malt, part hop, a near perfectly balanced scent that ends with a sweet note, slighty more to the cocoa and bourbon side. Wonderful taste, the whiskey flavor is there, but not overly dominant like so many other such beers; it has a great slight coffee start with a wonderful dark, malty, old ale flavor, a nice sweet finish with a bit of hoppiness to tone it down. It goes down wonderfully smooth for such a bold beer, just a hair more bourbon in the finish that the 12. Absolutely freaking fantastic.
11-21-2008 00:18:28 | More by JamesS
4.93/5 rDev +19.7%
Ola Dubh 16 lets the imbiber know from the first whiff that something extraordinary is about to happen. There are, of course, several beers that boast having been aged in used whiskey/wine/scotch/rum/etc. casks, but few of those beers smell so intensely of the cask's former contents. Old Dubh's nose is a mixture of near-black ale, with dark caramel sugars, chocolate malt, peat, coffee, and tobacco aromas, mixed with the scent of aged whiskey and charcoal.
On the tongue, the ale is so immediately dark and foreboding that it's hard to imagine this was made out of grains, and not crafted directly from ash. Huge tobacco and coffee flavors dominate the taste, as well as peat and black malt, and a continuation of the whiskey charcoal from the nose. A good sampling of heavy sugars, port wine, and dark fruit esters (banana, fig, raisin) complement the bitter malts, barely balancing the brew. The aftertaste is a joy of tobacco and coffee, and lingers much like good whiskey. Mouthfeel is medium to medium-heavy, and carbonation is light.
Overall, while I can't say this beer is going to appeal to everyone--in fact, I doubt few will be able to enjoy its extraordinarily intense flavors--it is an amazing accomplishment. I doubt it's possible to cram more flavor into a bottle.
08-06-2011 18:28:44 | More by jondeelee
4.88/5 rDev +18.4%
Poured a clear dark brown color from an 11.2 oz bottle (Aug 2010, bottle # 9989). Once in the glass it was absolutely pitch black with no light penetrating whatsoever. Lives up to the name 'ola dubh'.
One finger mocha colored head that dissipated very slowly.
Aroma is just fantastic. There is so much going on in the nose, upfront you get the scotch notes. Lots of peat, smoke, char with vanilla (and some wood phenolic components) and hints of alcohol sweetness, caramel malt notes intertwined with dark fruit, some chocolate and licorice notes. The aroma is strong, complex and at the same time it isn't overwhelming.
Taste compliments the aroma almost to a tee. The peat and smoky character is evident up front. Wowzers !!!
Coats the palate completely; rich and silky mouthfeel. This is just fantastic on the palate. The balance is almost close to perfection. The Old Engine Oil by itself is a fantastic beer, aging it in barrels used to age Highland Park scotch for 16 years just elevates it to a completely different level.
There was almost no alcohol burn considering there were hints of it in the nose; the alcohol is very well masked.
I don't think there are enough words to describe how good this beer is, suffice to say that I will not be forgetting this beer for a long, long time. Definitely worth a try, and is highly recommended. Slightly expensive, but it is worth every penny.
It's a complete package; attractive packaging that holds a stellar product.
12-17-2011 04:55:34 | More by CaptDavyJones
4.88/5 rDev +18.4%
Bottle # 04466- Bottled in September 2007.
Damn, this pours out like an Imperial Stout! This is jet black with no head at all... Its just thick and black...
Lots of different aromas present in this brew... Chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, vanilla, sweet roasted malts... Its all there...man, I'm excited about this...
This is just f*#king ridiculous... Chocolatey and rich, loaded with sweet roasted dark malts and coffee, and just at the end the scotch peeks out beautifully... I'm in awe..
Seriously, this is one of the most delicious brews I've ever had. Its perfect in almost every way.. Easily the best Old Ale I've ever had... Easily...
06-21-2008 02:07:55 | More by Tilley4
4.85/5 rDev +17.7%
Bottle #07670 from 2007, I'll be serving this beer at cellar temperature in a Chimay chalice with crackers and havarti cheese. Much like a fine piece of heirloom furniture, the bottle is signed off on by the head brewer and master of wood. Impressive start.
Appearance- Much darker than I expected, this chocolately brown ale glugs out of the bottle and supports a brown, creamy finger-thick head that reduces slowly to a thin coating. Dots of lacing sporadically adorn the inside of the glass.
Smell- Almost a blend between a rich, decadent Imperial stout and a superbly aged whiskey... the nose is of chocolate, peat, dark fruit, and malt. Just sitting here with my nose immersed in this beer is a joy.
Taste- Immensely huge and complex, the barrel aging infuses a glorious Highland Park whiskey middle and finish that complements all of the flavors here... initially bitter chocolate, and then a more complex fruitiness. I am loving the peaty wood character that envelops the overall delivery... and the fabulous hop bitterness just seals it. What a great beer.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability- A prickly beginning quickly eases and becomes more frothy. It never inhibits or overshadows the masterful array of flavors, rather it fades into the shadows. This is so rich, so deep with complexity that I would love to have more of these on hand for a random nightcap. The havarti cheese pairing proved to be absolutely perfect... one of the best beers in recent memory.
06-06-2009 03:04:45 | More by yelterdow
4.83/5 rDev +17.2%
Finally, the proper use of scoth in beer. This interpretation is neither like sucking on a tree nor sipping a glass of single malt. The scoth wonderfully compliments the dark ale. The pour is a nice deep black with moderate single fingered white head. The body is smooth and in fine balance with a wonderful nose and lack of pungent aftertaste so typical of scotch barrel aged brews i have had in the past. Koudos to Harviestoun for doing this right, I only wish that I cold afford to drink more of these.
10-20-2009 01:59:56 | More by ArrogantDeadGuy
4.83/5 rDev +17.2%
Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine style glass. Label says bottle date July 2011.
A- Pours a deep opaque black color with a 1/4 inch tan head that retains slightly before fading to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and minimal surface foam. Crisply textured lacing that slides slowly down the glass.
S- Roasty nose with heavy dark chocolate and a hint of oak. Slight whiff of alcohol and a tad sweet.
T- Flavor starts out roasty but makes an abrupt turn to a bold but smooth oak taste and finishes smokey. The old lady refers to it as a burnt flavor, but it's so much more complex than that. Notes of chocolate, peat, and faint whiskey. Alcohol? Barely noticeable. Not as sweet as in the aroma. Lingering smoke in the aftertaste.
M- Creamy and lush with an amount of prickliness from the smoked malt. Medium carbonation and a full body.
O- So complex and enjoyable. Easy to drink with a delightful melding of dark beer and scotch flavors. Even better than the 12 year which was considerably less smokey. I don't enjoy overly smokey beers but this one has a striking balance. Damn near perfect.
07-02-2012 20:55:25 | More by Immortale25
4.83/5 rDev +17.2%
Poured from 330 ml bottle. Poured a jet black color with tan head with great lacing. Smell is incredible mixture of peat, chocolate, dark fruit, and oak. Taste is incredible also with more chocolate, coffee, tobacco, vanilla oak, and just an amazing scotch like iodine aftertaste. Mouthfeel is full body with a creamy carbonation level, my only criticism is that I would liked a thicker stickey mouthfeel. The drinkability is a perfect sipper with the alcohol well refined. If you love single malts scotch and beer than this beer is for you with a great influence of imperial porter mixed with the smokey peaty single malt overtones departed by the time in the scotch barrels.
02-15-2008 07:17:47 | More by sfoley333
4.8/5 rDev +16.5%
Bottle No. 05732 - Sept 2007
Color is almost completely black, with just a bit of brown at the top when held to the light. No head or lacing at all.
Dark malt aroma with a healthy dose of Scotch and wood. Hints of dark chocolate truffles and smokey peat. Rich, full, and inviting.
Flavor is similar to the aroma, but with less of the Scotch coming through. Dark roast malt with chocolate and coffee. Hints of smooth Scotch, smoke, and dark fruit. Has a nice balancing hop flavor and bitterness that doesn't get in the way, but keeps things in check. Finishes with toffee, cocoa powder, and a touch of char. Incredibly balanced and a amazing melding of the flavors.
Medium bodied, smooth and rich with very little carbonation. Alcohol is barely noticeable which is surprising for a barrel aged beer. Impossibly smooth tasting - this is one easy drinking beer that is a struggle to sip and savor.
I love the Scotch character. Not overwhelming like some barrel-aged beers can be. More memorable for me than the 12-Year, and now I can't wait to pop open the 30-yr. Excellent.
12-21-2008 21:07:50 | More by Lupe
4.8/5 rDev +16.5%
A: snifter. pours a dark rich brown, practically black. a light tan head on top and a low retention rate. light lacing.
S: coconut, cherries, vanilla and roasted malts, chocolate and caramel. light coffee hints. huge peaty whiskey aromas.
T: tastes like heaven. outstanding old ale, best yet IMO. coconut, vanilla, cherries, bourbon/scotch flavors. some light chocolate and toffee. hints of coffee.
M: medium body, low carbonation. huge roasted and barrel aged palate. so intense.
D: i could literally drink maybe 3 of these, but a dozen is my goal....absolutely delicious. worth getting...you better believe it!
11-10-2008 08:19:58 | More by paulthebeerguru
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 475 ratings.