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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.

486 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 486
Reviews: 269
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.41%
Wants: 28
Gots: 65 | FT: 3
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 486 | Reviews: 269 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of whartontallboy
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%

whartontallboy, Feb 12, 2012
Photo of NightINgale
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle... 2010 release

A - Dark brown body, with a rich mocha head, reminiscent of an Imperial Stout or a Baltic Porter.

S - Malty, smokey, with a good chocolate and/or coffee backbone, some caramel and a bit of dark fruits.

T - Woody, smoky flavours dominate the palate. Lots of sweet chocolate, toffee and a certain peatiness. The taste becomes more and more complex as the beer warms up. Smoky, roasty malt notes, with hints of dark and milk chocolate, prunes, dates, oaky vanilla, even tobacco. Balanced sweetness. Big flavours all in all!

M - Medium body, although the intensity of flavours make the beer seem thicker than it actually is. Quite creamy, smooth. At first there is no hint of alcohol; with time, it becomes a little more pronounced and goes hand in hand with a warming sensation.

O - Wow, this is an excellent sipper beer. Rich, complex, satisfying and quite a bit whisky-like. Perfect for whisky lovers who want to find something similar in the world of craft beer. Much better than the Old Engine oil!

NightINgale, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of dprophet
5/5  rDev +21.1%

dprophet, Jan 22, 2012
Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color and poured with a quarter-finger high tan head that quickly died down leaving a thin film of bubbles covering the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Eventually the film of bubbles faded into wispy lacing covering the surface.
S: The smell has aromas of oak, roasted malts and smoke along with hints of chocolate, becoming stronger as the beer warms up.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of peat and smoke; these particularly linger through the finish and aftertaste. There are also notes of oak and hints of whiskey.
M: It feels on the low end of medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation and a very dry finish.
O: If you can handle all of the smoky flavors, this beer goes down quite easily because the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

metter98, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of JGuill
5/5  rDev +21.1%

JGuill, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -3.1%

KAF, Jan 17, 2012
Photo of ant880
4.5/5  rDev +9%

ant880, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Argonaut Liquors in Denver, CO for around $12 if I remember correctly. Into an old school NB Globe.

A: Pours a deep brown, almost black with almost no head, just a few tan bubbles around the edge of glass. A few red highlights when held to the light. Nice looking beer.

S: Really interesting aroma of sweet chocolate, whiskey, vanilla, and oak. Smells really malty. Notes of toffee and raisins mix nicely with the vanilla and whiskey notes in here. Smells tasty.

T: A lot like it smells, really malty with some notes of scotch, vanilla, oak, and chocolate. Lots of interesting malty flavors across the board, everything from toffee and caramel to a touch of roast. A slight amount of bitterness on the finish, with a bit of an earthy hop character. Nice lingering oak flavor in the finish.

M: Medium body, would've liked a little more body, with nice carbonation. Finish is surprisingly dry, not incredibly dry, but definitely drier than I had expected.

O: A really flavorful barrel aged beer. I don't know if old ale is really the right style, but I really enjoyed it. I will definitely have to get some of the other versions.

pokesbeerdude, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of ohtheguilt
4/5  rDev -3.1%

ohtheguilt, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of seedsofchaos
3.03/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On a recent trip to our local bottle shop, a buddy and I thought we should get a few "special brews" for a NYE toast at midnight. Among three bottles, we were recommended Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16. At $17 a bottle we figured that an Old Ale aged in 16 year scotch barrels would be pretty phenomenal. At $17 a bottle, we expected much more.

Pours much darker than an Old Ale. Think more Imperial Stout. Black with little carbonation. With this type of color I really expected more viscosity. Relatively thin in body...

Not much of a bouquet to speak of... There's a little oak, some bourbon and roasted malt. Not much else. The aroma is dominated by more of a fresh (green) wood smell if you can even use the word "dominated" with such a weak smelling beer.

Ola Dubh under-impresses on the tongue as well. Thin. Fresh oak. Alcohol is hidden fairly well but there is a hint. A bit of smoke and a bit of salt.

Eventually, I'm glad we had some BCBS for a midnight toasting as well because Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 was more of a ticker beer than a memorable toast to a new year.

seedsofchaos, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of wineman77
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Affligem goblet.

Deep brown/black with a coffee w/ cream colored head about a cm high. Dissipates fairly quickly. A bit of lacing.

Nose of roasted coffee, mocha, notes of sweet red berries. As it opened up, caramel

Flavors of bitter chocolate and smoke. Hint of vanilla. Got more of the scotch character on the palate than the nose. Get a nice bit of peat in the mid palate. Medium to full body.

wineman77, Dec 28, 2011
Photo of Spadoof
4.68/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Name: Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16
Brewery: Harviestoun
Bottled on: July, 2009
Purchasing Date: July 2011
Purchased From: Williams IGA (Vienna, Ohio) [$8.49 per bottle]

Origin: 12 oz bottle
Serving Glass: 22oz sniffter
Serving Temp: 60F

*Tasted before the Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40.

Appearance: Pours a viscous, jet-black body with a 1/4" mocha cap. Completely opaque, except around the very edges where wisps of dark brown can be seen amoungst the black abyss.

Smell: A beautiful scotch whiskey scent permeates out of the snifter as soon a pour. Upon further examination, a robust mixture of vanilla, oak, lush milk chocolate, roasted malt and slightly fruity alcohol esters meld together in one incredible nose. Wonderful!

Taste: Deep smoke, mellow and smooth scotch whisky, vanilla and oak. Finishes with an awesome whiskey/alcohol flavor that scrubs the residual malt notes of the palate leaving a pleasantly smoky finish.

Mouthfeel: Spot on! Low carbonation, allowing the lush and viscous body to shine. Thick and delicious.

Overall: Well done! I could drink this all day, everyday! Well crafted would be an understatement. Would be great as an after dinner, nightcap or cigar beer. Glad I came across this one!

Spadoof, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of FeliciousDoyle
4/5  rDev -3.1%

FeliciousDoyle, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of jophish17
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%

jophish17, Dec 23, 2011
Photo of JRod1969
4.5/5  rDev +9%

JRod1969, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of Converge
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into a 16pz tulip. Bottle number 17733, bottled on August 2010.

A - Small dark mocha head, about one finger. The head quickly settles to a thin film atop a black-as-night beer below. Spots of lacing come and go throughout the drink.

S - Not getting nearly the peaty/smokey character experienced with the Reserve 12 or Reserve 30. To me, this smells more like a dubbel than anything. A lot of dark fruit presence, figs, plums, and a bit of roasted malt and charred oak.

T - There's the smoke! The first sip yields a generous helping of smokey peat presence. A peculiar skunkiness seems to permeate the flavor profile however. Bits of dark chocolate here and there, coffee beans, burnt malt, and a dash of hop bite in the finish. The alcohol content is disguised beautifully under the thick and roasty flavors here. A bit of licorice and dark fruit sweetness, but a not a whole lot. This one, like the others, is dominated by the delicious peat character brought on from the Highland Park casks.

M - Very low carbonation allows the viscous body of this ale to go to work. Unbelievably smooth, with a thick, full-feeling body.

D - Better than the Reserve 12, but not quite as good as the Reserve 30. I can't get enough of the big, earthy flavors these Ola Dubh ales have to offer; well worth the premium price. Now all I need to do is get my hands on a Reserve 40...

Converge, Dec 20, 2011
Photo of CaptDavyJones
4.88/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

CaptDavyJones, Dec 17, 2011
Photo of tbeq00
5/5  rDev +21.1%

tbeq00, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of sugit
4/5  rDev -3.1%

sugit, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.1%

djrn2, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of Mar02x
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

We blind tasted this beer in the Mug ( a pub in Middelburg, The Netherlands).

A - A deep red beer with almost no head, only a thin beige foam.

S - A good oak smell mixed with chocolate, vanilla, caramel, malts, a little coffee and some raisins.

T - A nice mixture of toffee & caramel with some oak & malts.

M - A light bitterness in the end when it goes down with a moderate carbonation.

O - Would buy it again if there is nothing else, LOL! A good beer, a slightly thicker body would have helped though.

Mar02x, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of benbou17
4.5/5  rDev +9%

benbou17, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle #19800. Date of Aug 2010. Best before Aug 2013. Poured in to CBS Snifter.

Have previously tried the 12, 18 and 30. Looking forward to this one.

A - Poured dark brown and settled black with half a finger of bubbly espresso coloured head that quickly receded to a few bubbles around the edges of the glass.

S - Whisky, oak, smoke and a touch of vanilla are the dominant aromas. Some sweet molasses is evident as well but the barrle aging qualities definitely dominate the nose.

T - A big smoky flavour up front with some peat flavours coming through. Oak, whisky and burnt malts round out the palate. There is a fairly big overall sweetness from the malt bill and a mild bitterness and slightly noticeable ABV that somewhat cut through the sweetness.

M -Medium body with moderate carbonation.

O - My least favourite of the 4 I have tried. Seemed to lack some complexity and a touch too sweet.

TheSevenDuffs, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of tbizzle0
4/5  rDev -3.1%

tbizzle0, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 01, 2011
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 486 ratings.