1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

502 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 502
Reviews: 271
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.41%
Wants: 29
Gots: 68 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 502 | Reviews: 271 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Dan25D
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Dan25D, Mar 29, 2012
Photo of gleemonger
5/5  rDev +21.1%

gleemonger, Mar 29, 2012
Photo of ludachris
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a deep cola brown but by the time it fills the glass, it turns jet black and emits almost no light through. A quickly dissipating whispy light tan head forms after a quick pour. Legs of lace drape the sides of the glass.

Oh wow, this smells like a treat. A rounded and delicate salty meatiness is the rich center which notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, warm raisins and mulled figs bounce off of. This is very well rounded. The marriage of the saliva-inducing salty and meaty peat from the Highland Park casks and the sticky richness coming from the Old Engine Oil is seemingly perfect.

Just as soft and well rounded in the taste. Dark chocolate, almost cake-like, with a pleasant bitterness and raisins stripped of their stickiness come in quick waves before bowing down to the pleasant meaty peatiness with salted edges that makes this so enjoyable. A dark, and again well rounded, roastiness peaks through near the finish and compliments its peaty core.

The first sip was like silk and unfortunately that feeling fades as the palate becomes accustomed to it. What it doesn't lose is its creaminess, its smoothness, and its ability to be so well rounded.

I've recently developed a liking to Scotch whisky, both single malts and blended, and because of that, I appreciated this that much more. This is by far one of the most well rounded beers I've had in a long time. The peatiness is present but far from over-powering or off-putting. It serves to compliment the chocolatey, rich, roastiness of the beer placed in the casks, and that it does so very well. I can't wait to try the 18, 30, and 40 sitting in my cellar.

ludachris, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of Snowrs
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Snowrs, Mar 20, 2012
Photo of dbrauneis
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 06196 from July 2011

A: Pours opaque extremely dark brown to black in color with slight brown highlights in the light and with a half finger tall tan head. The head reduces to a thin layer covering the entire surface of the beer with thicker patches and ring at the edges of the glass. There is some light visible carbonation visible at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: There are aromas of some sweetness - caramel, molasses, and dark fruits - along with the very obvious presence of the whiskey (from the barrels). There is some light smokiness from the whiskey presence but it does not dominate.

T: The flavor follows the smell, it starts with the sweetness - caramel, molasses, and dark fruit (more raisins and plum). That is followed by some hints of chocolate and the whiskey barrel flavors including the oak and some light smokiness. Finally there is a very light lingering bitterness.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with light amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer is definitely a sipper but one that I could enjoy sipping on all day long. There is a nice complexity and balance to both the taste and the smell. I definitely want to try this one again along with it's sibling versions that are aged in different barrels. Very enjoyable and very smooth.

dbrauneis, Mar 18, 2012
Photo of DavoleBomb
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Bottle #11,126 from Sept. 2007. $8.50 for the bottle.

3.5 A: Dark brown, almost black color. Just half a finger of creamy light brown head. Retention isn't too great and no lacing left. I'll cut it some slack though for being well aged.

4.5 S: Massive nose on this. Whiskey is still quite potent. Smoke and roastiness compete for center stage, but ultimately the smoke wins out and adds a pleasant porcine component. Caramel, molasses, and notes of chocolate and toffee. Plum, raisin, and red apple fruitiness. Light peat.

4.0 T: Taste is like the nose. Big bacon smokiness. Roastiness to follow. Light peat. Caramel, molasses, and stronger-than-in-the-nose chocolate. Less whiskey than I was expecting, but still enough to complement. Plum and raisin fruitiness. The only thing I'm not a fan of is the lack of sweetness. This has a lighter body and not a lot of malt to back up the other good flavors.

2.5 M: Between a light and medium body. Carbonation is low, but it's fine for how old the bottle is. Not a lot of creaminess, which is mainly due to the light body. Give me some more body and this turns into a hell of a beer.

3.5 D: Very tasty with only the body causing complaints.

DavoleBomb, Mar 13, 2012
Photo of OldTime
4.75/5  rDev +15%

OldTime, Mar 11, 2012
Photo of OSUBeerStudent
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date July 2011, into a snifter.

A - pretty similar to the 12 year old version. Opaque brown/black with a nice ring of mocha head that sticks around.

S - molasses/dark fruit. The whisky is definitely present, although the smoke is lower in the mix than the 12. More dark fruit than molasses for sure. Whisky smells a little more integrated than the 12.

T - low molasses mixed with dark fruit/currants and some caramel, a little chocolate. Whisky is definitely pulled off better here than the 12 - it blends the beer together more without as much overt peat. Compared to the 12 this is more subtle in flavors, especially the whisky barrel. Very tasty as well - I'd give this a 4.75 on taste, but not a 5.

M - again very good. Carbonated fine but on the thin and drinkable side, without any syrupy feel at all. Still a sipper but.

Quality beer overall. Glad I tried this pretty shortly after the 12 year version. The beers are definitely very similar. The biggest differences are that the whisky is a little more subtle in flavor on this one and there is definitely less peat sticking out. There is definitely some noticeable scotch flavor here without any booziness, and the fairly thin mouth makes it easier to drink. Still pretty expensive (about $9 here for an 11.2 oz bottle) but a good occasional sipping old ale. Another good beer in this line - will review the 40 year version at some point before too long to see how it compares.

OSUBeerStudent, Mar 09, 2012
Photo of MIP229
4.5/5  rDev +9%

MIP229, Mar 05, 2012
Photo of Yabev15
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Yabev15, Mar 01, 2012
Photo of scubahood
4/5  rDev -3.1%

scubahood, Feb 28, 2012
Photo of YalovaIA
4/5  rDev -3.1%

YalovaIA, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of Acuity
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Acuity, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of Neffbeer
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Neffbeer, Feb 18, 2012
Photo of jamisonspitzer
4.5/5  rDev +9%

jamisonspitzer, Feb 16, 2012
Photo of dgilks
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black colour with a smooth, creamy tan head. Poor head retention.

Sweet malt with plenty of caramel. Some earthy, sharp roast. Nice toffee and lightly ashy whisky. Light oak. Coconut and fruit. Nicely balanced.

Silky sweet malts with an earthy black malt character. Nice fruit and coconut and caramel oak. Some light ashiness.

Medium body with moderately-low carbonation. Good.

A very nice beer with plenty of balance and lots of flavour. Really well crafted.

dgilks, Feb 14, 2012
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
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 502 ratings.