Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

557 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 557
Reviews: 277
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 32
Gots: 88 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bitterbill on 02-15-2008

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 557 | Reviews: 277
Photo of peabody
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one really looks good. Lots of brown suds atop a very dark black brew. Lacing is more of an alcohol drechend thing. You can see the alcohol as a clear liquid when you swirll the glass.
Smell is not as strong as the 12. Still you have a malty chocolate/coffee thing going on and you have less of the phenols and this is supposedly the same ABV as the 12.
Taste is almost the same as the 12 but there is a hoppiness to this one or mabey it's the oak that taste different. Also there is a more pronounced scotch aftertaste here. You can really taste it in the 16.
Mouthfeel is a little warm but the oilyness is great and the hoppiness of this one washes away the phenols and makes you want another drink.
So this one has a slightly higher drinkability.

Photo of merlin48
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle, #04722, bottled Sept 2007. Pours into a snifter deep dark brown and viscous. Small khaki head leaves some nice sheets of lace.

Complex aroma has charred oak wood, vanilla, dark chocolate, some almond nuttiness, and prominent notes of Scotch whisky. Nice!

Mouthfeel is thick and full bodied. Some whisky essence with the low carbonation.

Taste opens with dark roasty chocolate maltiness, quickly joined by the nuttiness from the aroma. Vanilla, charcoal, and oak tones add depth. The Scotch whisky character is prominent.

Really well done. A wonderful sipper. I'm going to get a few of these to put away for some aging.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.07/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

for $10 this bitch better be good!

Pours a thick black with some ruby highlights and a nice thick brown head. Nose is mostly whisky and malt slap. Taste follow with thick thick malty flavor and intense scotch whisky flavor. A nice peat-like flavor and some subtle smoke. A little bit of pruney fruit flavor just through the middle. The scotch provides a slight funk through the middle that I am not a gigantic fan of. Mouthfeel is very good, nice and viscous without making you chew on it. Drinkability is ok, but as low an abv, it could go down a bit smoother, although, it is after all a whisky cask brew! Overall this is a very interesting brew. Outside of beer, I prefer scotch to bourbon, but for barrel aging, I am gonna have to say that bourbon is king, at least in my opinion. A great and unique beer from harviestoun, just wish it was a little bit cheaper. Interested to see how this guy cellars, along with the 30 yr. good brew, but defenitely a sipper!

Photo of mikesgroove
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I have to admit I was really not blown away by the reserve 12, and it really made me hesitant to try this one, but I had it so I wanted to give it a fair chance. I grabbed this one out of the fridge and poured it very hard into an over sized wine glass and let it warm up a bit before consuming.

Appearance - I was very surprised by the pour on this one. After the debacle that was the lifeless pour on the 12, this was quite refreshing. Still inky black and dark, but with a decidedly more life to it. A nice one-inch high head of chocolate tan lace formed on the top and took what seemed like forever to go down. It never fully did fade and even after thirty minutes had passed, a thin chocolate line was still clearly visible. Very nice side glass lace as well with a good retention level. I was very impressed with the look of this one.

Smell - The aroma was very rich as well, with lots of hints of oak. Nice chocolate contribution and a good hint of vanilla were all readily apparent. I was very impressed with the depth here. I really did not pick up any fruit or other light tones, this was dark, smoky, with a lot of earthy tones.

Taste - The flavor was spectacular here and was really worth the price of the bottle alone. The flavor was really full and so complex, I really did not think I had enough to fully interpret it. In a word smoky. Huge flavors of peat and smoke, but done in a really nice way. Lots of oakey wood flavor as well, but hidden underneath the smoke. A good touch of vanilla is present here too. As it warmed it got a little sweeter, maybe something caramel like, or honey, do not know, but the smoky complexity was still apparent. Very dry finish with the flavor lasting for a good long while.

Mouthfeel - This was much better carbonated then I thought it was going to be. Nice smooth feel and it was definitely a medium-bodied ale, but nowhere near as filling as I thought it would be.

Drinkability - Outstanding sipper here. The alcohol is all but absent from it and the rich complexity of the taste made it something that I really could have kept going on with all night long. It was just that good.

Overall, I have to say this was excellent. I was losing interest after the 12, but this has brought it all right back. I was shocked by how good this was, and I am honestly glad I have a few more. I would drink this all the time if I could. Really a quality sipper and an excellent beer all around.

Photo of RidiculedDisplay
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Opaque black with very subtle light-apparent brown. Lacing is very fine, spray-like stuff that lasts an impressively long time. Head is a milky half-finger slightly off-white foam. Quite a good looking beer, really.

Smell: Soy sauce, alcohol, whiskey oak, oak, bittersweet cocoa powder, light coffee beans, leather. A complex aroma.

Taste: Smoke, smoke, smoke. Some soy sauce, oak, whiskey, malts. A bit of a let-down from the nose.

Mouthfeel: Undercarbonated.

Drinkability: A sipper, definitely, but an interesting beer.

Photo of YonderWanderer
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Ola Dubh 16 pours a jet black with a thin layer of tan foam on top. Smell is of whiskey and coffee primarily, with hints of chocolate behind it. Flavor follows suit. This is an incredibly balanced brew however. Whiskey is dominant, but not overpowering. Chocolate, coffee, and hints of vanilla and oak all settle in nicely behind it. Alcohol is incredibly well hidden by the flavor of this brew. It's rich and thick, but it goes down smoothly. This is a brew that could be easy to drink, but it's better enjoyed as a sipper. I think I prefer this to the Ola Dubh 12. It's just so balanced and well-crafted.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours inky black with a great initial head that fades to a thin ring but leaves some very nice lacing. The smell of this one is a good bit more intense than that of the 12. More pronounced single malt aromas and more vanilla from the oak, but probably less caramel and honey aromas from the malt and oak. Very nice level of peatiness- a step up from the 12, but still very nicely integrated with the malt and oak. There is a touch of vinous aroma as well- perhaps the barrels were sherry barrels before they held the whisky? Bigger flavors in the taste as well, but oh so smooth and silky. Extremely well integrated flavors with a very nice tang of peat as well as some subtle oak and the vanilla flavors that can be attributed to it as well as some sweet malt, and a hint of dark fruit and pear and a very dry finish. Silky mouthfeel with some very refined tannins on the finish. Delicious. No hotness at all, I could drink this all day.

Photo of Flyer
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Intriguing. Pours a dense black with minimal head (never an issue for me). An intense aroma of chocolate and whiskey. The flavor is smokey (but maybe more of an ashen smokey, in fact like a high end Scotch) and slightly boozy. It's not as complex as I anticipated, but this is one of the few beers I've had recently that made me think I need to try 2 or 3 more before I can really appreciate it. There's a pleasantly bitter (but not really hoppy aftertaste). The key question: is it worth the $9 I paid for an 11.2-ounce bottle. I think, after I've had a couple more, I'll say "yes." Then comes the next question: am I intrigued enough to try the 30 for $19 a bottle? Not sure yet. Stay tuned.

Photo of GbVDave
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a St. Feuillian chalice.

Bottle No. & Date: 02543/Sept 2007

A: Pours a dark, oily black with faint hints of ruby-brown at the edges. Tiny, quickly evaporating head leaves a skim and thick and bubbly brown ring. Generous amount of small lace spots left behind in the glass.

S: Dark roasted malt, whisky, and charred wood are the big players here. Also noticed were peat, and dark chocolate with a pinch of espresso.

T: Char and roasted malt dominate the taste. Along for the ride are whisky, dark roasted chocolate, dark roast coffee, black pepper, hops, and peat.

M: Oily and creamy at the onset, with a finish that turns out spicy, peppery, and bitter at the finish. Quite sticky.

D: I found this to be harsher, rawer, and not quite as complex as the 12. This version picks up a lot more smoky, roasted, and just plain burnt flavors and aromas and leaves behind the sweet dark fruit and vanilla complexities of the 12. Still excellent, though.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought this from South Bay D&L. Thanks Joey!

I really liked the SR 12 so here goes:

With a very vigorous pour at close to room temp, there's a 1 finger of tan foam with some nice lacing. It's close to pitch black but I see some redish highlights at the bottom of my glass. Hehe...looks like some good head retention.

The smell has notes of caramel, dark fruit, some smoke(more than in the 12), and just a touch of whisky.

The taste is pretty smokey on first sip with some notes of caramel, a pretty big coffee flavour, some hot cocoa bitterness, and just a touch of the whiskey. Nice. It has a full silky mouthfeel at first but that fades to more of a medium mouthfeel mid palate with very light carbonation, and the alcohol is well hidden.

This one's a pretty smooth sipper despite the larger smoke profile but it, imho, isn't as complex as the 12 and I'm definitely leaning towards the 12 when it comes to how much it satisfies my palate. Still good stuff and I'm glad I got to try it. Appearance wise, this definitely was more appealing.

Photo of illidurit
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #6901 poured into a snifter. Completely black with no highlights. Head is about a finger high and leaves a maze of thin lacing.

Smoky and sweet aroma. Notes of peat and bourbon which weren't present in the 12.

Flavor is quite smoky and peaty too. The bourbon is stronger here than in the 12 but it still doesn't overpower anything. Nice oak influence complements the roastiness well.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side just like the 12. Carbonation is also a little higher. Finish isn't very clean, as smoke and peat are more prominent than roasted grain.

Photo of Beerbuddha
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a dark motor oil color with very little tan head. Had descent lacing present. The aroma was of smoke and chocolate. The taste was a nice smokiness almost a BBQ type smoke to it. Had a nice hint of hops as well. The body was a bit lighter than expected with almost no carbonation. Once again a great beer for a nice cold night. I couldn't detect much difference between the 30 year and the 16 year. I didn't do a side by side.

Photo of rajendra82
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark black body and a foamy head formed after a cascade of bubbles made for a very Porter like appearance. A shade more brown than the 30 year cask version. The smell was mild at first but started to grow on me with the mix of roasted grains, black coffee, and tobacco. The taste was little more roasty and tannin laced than the older casked beer, and there wasn't as much of a vanilla bean character. Alcohol was warming and and soothing. Mouthfeel was quite astringent. Very well crafter beer, but the special 30 is better.

Photo of Traquairlover
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2-oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A = Very dark brown, with a small light brown to medium brown head that dissipates rather quickly leaving medium lacing on the surface.

S = Creamy, chocolate malted shake sells with light oak and hints of the Scotch from the barrel, a very sweet smell, when swirled I get some esters from the yeast and some more peaty smells.

T = Tastes like a coffee drink, with a shot of Scotch, cream and dark chocolate powder, there is also a good bitterness to balance the sweetness of the malt. This is a well balanced beer without a lot of different flavors to blend. I think it might age well, but it is remarkably well integrated now.

M = Medium-heavy bodied, great mouthcoating, frothy carbonation level when swished. Just slightly more light bodied than I would have liked for the tastes, the only reason it did not get a perfect score for mouthfeel.

D = This is a very drinkable beer. I would recommend it for dessert or for any occasion when a whisky would be appropriate.

Photo of jwc215
3.59/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Like the 12 Reserve, it pours black with no head - just a few bubbles.

The smell is sweeter than in the 12 (which I preferred), with whisky notes and maltiness coming through much more.

The taste, like the nose suggested, is quite sweet. Less woodiness, with more maltiness. It does have a bit longer finish than the 12.

The body, as in the 12, is a quite understated. Something thinnish about it compared to what it could be, but decent enough.

A slow sipper. Sweeter than the 12, with less oaky character.

Photo of tpd975
4.42/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: This one is has a beautiful label and foil top looks nice. It pours with an average one finger head that dies almost immediately. The beer is coal black and what remains of the head is a khaki color. Amazing amounts of lace is left considering the head has faded long ago.

S: Nice smokey aroma with hints of peat, vanilla, and oh so fine whiskey.

T: Much better than I had expected. They whiskey notes are wonderful in this beer. The barrel ageing has done wonders for this brew. Tons of nice smokey whiskey flavors with hints of peat. Bitter chocolate and espresso come forward in a nice subtle way. Dark fruits can also be tasted along with bits of tangy vanilla bean.

M: Nice medium body, but low on the carbonation. It does cling a bit to the mouth and throat adding to the enjoyment.

D: Very good, I could drink this one by the bomber, though that would come at a steep price.

Overall: When my beer guy got this one in I was not expecting much. I have had Old Engine and it was just so so in my opinion. Well they hit a home run with this one. Tons of flavor with an inviting aroma. I really like the whiskey flavor without the burn. A very enjoyable brew to say the least.

I can't wait to try the 30 I bought and will return to pick up the 12 so I can enjoy the entire trilogy.

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Sept 2007 Bottle Number 02671

Poured dark brown approaching black, virtually no head. Super light lacing. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, and toffee.

On first taste, a pleasant complexity gives way to the whiskey overtones. A dry but crisp bitterness follows. Like it's little brother OD12, OD16 is well under carbonated.

As the OD16 warms the complexity strengthens and other flavors begin to make their way to the front of the class. Maturing in those 16 year old whisky casks, OD16 does not hide its ABV very well. Just the opposite, this beer tastes like a 10 to 12+%'er. It is only 8%

I would love to see this one at a higher ABV and with a bunch more carbonation. Still Quite Tasty and Yummy!

Photo of dsa7783
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slender, slim, black, 11.2 oz bottle with a foil top copped from Gary's in Madison for $7.99...
Pours a jet-black, engine-oil, ebony appearance with a modest frothy, reddish, and tan head that left a copious amount of lacing...
Sweet, chocolate, cocoa powder flavor, very strong, rich, thick, and noticeable...
Taste and aroma were equally alike, with strong, viscous chocolate, roasted malts, dark latte, and rich espresso flavors and smells...
Equally thick, rich mouthfeel, very hefty and oily, bursting with flavor and character...
Very similar to the original Engine Oil, with a noticeable whiskey-vanilla-bourbon taste added into the mix..
Mouthfeel and drinkabilty were likewise good, with rich chocolate and espresso nuances...
Good stuff...
Recommended...

Photo of cbl2
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

3/8/2008 $7.95 11.2 oz 8.00% Bottle #07667, bottled September 2007.

Appearance:

Pours a thick dark blakc with a quarter inch of dark brown head that quickly settles to just a rim of brown that laces the edges of the glass.

Aroma:

Rich dark chocolate with a hint of wood smoke, mushrooms and a touch of bourbon.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Sublime flavor explosion in the mouth! Thick sweetly textured on the tongue with nuances of chocolate, coffee, smoke, loads of vanilla, and just a hint of bourbon to finish things off. Very well balanced, and thoroughly enjoyable.

These guys only seem to know how to do one thing: throw some old ale (which to me is more of a stout) into some bourbon barrels, and wait, but they do it exceedingly well. Expensive at nearly $8/bottle, but worth it just once.

Photo of mcallister
3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nearly black but closer too a deep mahagony. A small tan head appears and disapears just a quickly.

Lots of peat and smokey character. Hints of meat, roasted chocolate, unmalted barley woodsy notes with a scotch blow off. Not overly complex in the nose as anticipated but not lacking either. Some dark fruit as well.

Roasty and a bit rustic on the palate. Some alcohol shows through. Again nice layered smoke with some peaty malts and hints of coffee. Mouthfeel is thin at the beginning and early middle yet does become creamy upon the finish. Some dark fruits and only hints of wood with some alcoholy renderings.

So far I prefer the 12, 30 to come.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ok this is almost totally different than the #12.

Colors are the same....deep mahogany with a tan head of a 1/2 inch that melts quickly to some really sticky lace and a ring.

Aromas are very subdued dark malts, brown sugar, and a touch of bourbon.

Flavor is an incredibly blended mix of smokey oak, soft, mellow whiskey (I'm surprised...I can actually taste the additional years of aging in the form of mellowness coming across in the beer).

This one is all about smoke, oak, and mellow aged whiskey.
Beer?
Naw...I could almost have this one on the rocks, but I think I'll take it neat.

Photo of hoppymeal
4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with just a faint covering of dark tan head that quickly fades. Aroma is roasty and bourbony, there is also a salty rubbery aroma with a little chocolate, fairly unique. Hints of green apples as well. Taste shows a bit of the rubber flavor up front, a little apple that is not quite but almost tart, then a nice smoky woody flavor blends in and lasts into the finish. Mouthfeel is medium in body, a bit of tingle on the tongue, an alcohol warmth without a bite and a dry smokey finish. Very good beer, unlike anything I've had to date, some definitely unique aroma and flavors with a wonderful woodiness and pleasing smokiness as well. Whiskey flavors are not overpowering but blend nicely.

Photo of blakesell
4.48/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Part of a vertical tasting with all 3 of the barrel aged beers. All were poured into tasting glasses, compared and contrasted, and all were at 64 degrees in the glass.

Appearance- Big fluffy bubbles which was different than the 12 year version. Tan and lighter in view when held to the light. Odd. Head dissipates slower than the 12 year as well.

Smell- Oak is more prevalent, this is the same beer but different. Darker malts, no hop, some smoke, plum and more fig goodness. Some nutty traces and less alcoholic phenols.

Taste- Lighter upfront, but heavier on the swallow. Rich darkness with more of that black cherry. Little to no hop, creamy brown sugar sweetness. Still balanced and finishes smooth and hot. Burnt and smoky.

Mouthfeel- Light yet full bodied. Medium carbonated and more warming than the 12 year bottle. Creamy and still thick. Thin and thick? How is this possible? Some oxidation but it benefits the beer with the sherry nuttiness.

Drinkability- This is slightly more drinkable than the 12 year, I prefer it more due to the smoke and the oak. If they continue to get better on the year of the barrel, then the 30 year should be well worth it.

Photo of kirok1999
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Better be good for what I paid for this one. 16 Special Reserve.
Pours a very dark brown or almost black with just a hint of a light brown head. Seems a little thin as there's no legs in the snifter.
Smell is really nice, sweet, earthy, slight caramel. Maybe some chocolate and earthy peat.
Taste is much like the smell. Sweet vanilla up front, nice biting dark peat in the finish. There really isn't a lot of Scotch in the taste, the alcohol is very mild. It seems to get sweeter as it warms. Very smooth and creamy with very little carbonation.
A nice slow sipper.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with a decent tan head that falls very quickly. Nose has quite a bit of peat going on here. I am getting much more here than the 12. Flavor is along the same lines. More peat. Definitely drawing thicker character off the barrels. Nice thick malty and peaty presence. Feel is nice. This is good. Definite differences between the 12 and 16 here. I am getting really curious about the 30 now.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 557 ratings.