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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.

468 Ratings
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:
Photo of tbizzle0


4/5  rDev -2.9%

12-03-2011 04:18:39 | More by tbizzle0
Photo of Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +21.4%

12-01-2011 00:52:34 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of JAXSON


3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a bottle, pours black with a pretty large cappuccino head. Nose is a soft montage of smoke, tobacco, peat, leather, whiskey,dark fruits. Soft and gentle. Flavors are dark fruits and leather up front, light and non-assertive, and really focus on that tobacco leaf through the finish. Leafy, dry, lightly bitter, earthy. Feel is surprisingly light. One of the more tobacco-heavy old ales / stouts I've had. Decent.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2011 23:44:55 | More by JAXSON
Photo of mdillon86


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

11-26-2011 14:11:32 | More by mdillon86
Photo of Rempo


4/5  rDev -2.9%

11-20-2011 17:25:26 | More by Rempo
Photo of JAHMUR


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

11-20-2011 04:58:34 | More by JAHMUR
Photo of goalie33

New York

4/5  rDev -2.9%

11-17-2011 21:02:25 | More by goalie33
Photo of coreyfmcdonald


3.1/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a goblet. I'm not entirely sure how to judge this beer since it is classified as an old ale but I believe the base beer is an English Porter. July 2009 bottling

A: Pours very dark brown with just a hint of light going through the edges of the beer. About a half a finger of very large bubble light brown foam appears above the beer. It recedes rather quickly. Looks nice.

S: Licorice, milk chocolate, and peaty scotch.

T: Fortunately, the scotch and milk chocolate take over (I don't like licorice). It's almost like I poured a shot of scotch in a glass of chocolate milk. I get some oxidation flavors, which fortunately mix fairly well with the milk chocolate I taste.

M: This is quite thin to a point of being distracting. I think a thicker body would complement the flavors much more.

O: If this was a bit thicker I think it would be much more enjoyable. It could also use more depth, especially as an old ale.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2011 01:34:57 | More by coreyfmcdonald
Photo of bpfrush


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

11-16-2011 02:38:47 | More by bpfrush
Photo of KaiserTrey


4/5  rDev -2.9%

11-15-2011 21:12:14 | More by KaiserTrey
Photo of sbricker


4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

11-14-2011 19:10:01 | More by sbricker
Photo of eric5bellies


4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - Pours dead Black colour with a tanned two fingered head that diminishes quite quickly to a thin film.

S - A little smoke and sweetness

T - Up front some nice malt flavours. The Vanilla in this is very impressive.The finish is very creamy and smooth. I love this beer.

M - Full body and creamy feel, low carbonation.

O - I really like this brew the vanilla flavours are fantastic. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2011 15:57:20 | More by eric5bellies
Photo of Thehuntmaster

South Africa

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle 8,0% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in a tulip wine glass.
Bottle date: Sept 2009
Bottle Number: 04461

Appearance: Ola Dubh (Black oil) lives up to its name - the beer looks pitch black in the glass, a strong backlight reveals the faintest hint of red on the edges. A rough pour yields a good sized creamy, tan coloured head that fades slowly and leaves a thin cap that lasts the whole way down.

Smell: Stunning nose - perfect combination of porter and smokey whiskey barrel. Dark chocolate, roasted malt, tons of earthy peat, campfire smoke, vanilla, burned raisins, licorice, oak and a touch of sea spray are all noted.

Taste: As with the nose, absolutely stunning. Initially sweet chocolate followed by earthy peat, oak, smoke and sea spray. The flavour is rounded out by a lovely bitter roasted finish. So complex and yet balanced and pretty easy drinking.

Mouthfeel: Just fuller than a medium body with a perfect level of ultra smooth carbonation. What a pleasure this beer was to drink!

Overall: Stunning beer! I will most certainly be having this one again.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2011 12:56:54 | More by Thehuntmaster
Photo of yemenmocha


3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

There actually is a resemblance of Highland Park in here, and I was very skeptical. I get it on the nose, along with some roasty notes & cocoa. Appearance was lacking, with virtually no head at all. On the palate a smooth beer comes across nicely with flavors of roasted malts, peat smoke, and some boozy qualities resembling the aforementioned whisky. Finishes roasty and hot. A slow sipper.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2011 02:40:18 | More by yemenmocha
Photo of rapidsequence


4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle. $9.99 from Beer Run. Bottled July 2009.

Appearance: Pretty much black. Some light brown head with short lived retention. Just a few spots of lacing in the snifter.

Smell: Bittersweet chocolate and roast. Smoky, peaty. Lots of scotch with phenol-like characteristics.

Taste: Big time scotch flavor. Very smoky and peaty, but not hot with alcohol taste. Some chocolate and roasted malt in the middle, and more roast and bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth with a slight stickiness. Carbonation is just right. Roast, alcohol, and oak tannins on the finish make it slightly dry.

Overall: This is a really tasty beer, but the scotch overtakes the beer a little too much. I do like the scotch flavor a lot, but it outcompetes the underlying beer, which is a shame.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 00:37:55 | More by rapidsequence
Photo of danieelol


3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Duvel tulip/Victory glass. Pour is black with good head/lacing.

Initially there is little sign of the barrel in the nose. It's the Belgian malt of Old Engine Oil. Then it comes in waves. Apple, pear. Then banana. Lots of banana. Tiny bit of alcohol. Some caramel.

Taste is slightly sweeter than Old Engine Oil. Definitely get the banana roast and caramel. Taste is nice. Roasty and bitter.

Mouthfeel is a little thin and alcoholic with low carbonation.

Overall this beer has a nice balance of flavours but I feel the barrel presence is a little bit too subtle and the mouthfeel a bit too thin to prevent a higher score. Nice nose though, works well.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 13:17:36 | More by danieelol
Photo of MrKennedy


4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle purchased from Slowbeer and poured into a Murrays tulip style glass.

Jet black appearance, with a tan head of foam that started at two fingers and reduced to just above film. Nice streaky lacing all round the glass. Thicker pour than i recall from the Ola Dubh 30.

Smell is predominantly the whisky barrel, get a bit of wood, but mostly the whisky itself. Get some roasted malt as well.

With the taste there is more balance between the base beer and the whisky ageing. Some nice roasted malt flavour, working in well with the whisky and some chocolate late.

Mouthfeel is very creamy, big body, befitting the style and what was attempted here. Nice and full, decent balance on the finish between fullness and a bit of whisky bite. Can't think of a way that they could improve this aspect.

Overall, shame there wasn't more on the nose of this. It is otherwise a very nice whisky aged beer using one of my favourite readily available single malts.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2011 08:00:15 | More by MrKennedy
Photo of wnh


4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottled Sept 2007, consumed Sept 2010.
Bottle #11485.

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark, opaque mahogany topped by a think and fizzy fleeting dark tan head. Subdued hiss upon popping the cap; this has definitely lost some carbonation with age.

Nose is very similar to the 12 year, but a bit brighter and fruitier, and richer on the whole. Aromas of milk-chocolate-covered cherries, tobacco, dried leaves, peat, a touch of buttery caramel, alcohol, perhaps a hint of vanilla from the oak.

On the palate, again this is very similar to the 12 year, but with subtle but clear differences. Lightly roasted, almost just heavily toasted. Pear-like fruitiness, bittersweet chocolate, oaky caramel, boozy vanilla, faintly earthy and perhaps mossy. Finishes dry, a bit tannic perhaps.

Smooth, but far from viscous. Medium bodied, between soft and firm. Lightly mouthcoating.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2011 23:48:48 | More by wnh
Photo of joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - mostly pitch black, decent thumb of mocha head had respectable retention with thick consistent lacing
S - fruity notes of raisins and blackberries, strong roasty and licorice odours, mild chocolate
T - black currant juice, chalky bakers chocolate, heavy burnt roastiness, finishing with mild smokiness and alcohol heat
M - not quick chewy but decently heavy, alcohol heat gives way to full malty mouth coating with some chaulkiness
O - a big flavourful brew, the whiskey cask aging is mostly overwhelmed but that doesn't matter as there is enough flavour levels as is, looking forward to trying the other vintages

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2011 02:31:43 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of Knapp85


3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer much like it's partners in crime pour out nice and black. Thin looking brown head in this beer. The smell of the beer gives off plenty of smokey whiskey/scotch aromas. The taste of the beer gives off a mouthful of scotch like flavors with some smokey and burnt malts. The mouthfeel is smooth with a low carbonation, kind of on the oily side. Overall it's a pretty enjoyable brew, I find the older barrels to be far better but this was a good starting point for me.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2011 22:40:38 | More by Knapp85
Photo of andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours puitch black with a thin layer of mocha head with litte retention or lacing.

S - Chocolate notes dominate with a touch of peat alongside some espresso.

T - Milk chocolate off the top with a touch of scotch that lingers. Cocoa malts are surprisingly present with some ABV heat detectable, but the smokey peat notes are a little subdued.

M - Medium bodied, though could use a bit more carbonation lift, goes down smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - Overall, full flavoured ale that is worth a try. That being said, I much preferred the 30 year offering. This one lacked the scotch notes that I was hoping for.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2011 15:46:48 | More by andrenaline
Photo of ADZA


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle number 12623 and it pours a dark as night black hue with average carbonation that leaves behind a fast vanishing one finger head and some clingy lacing,the smell is blackberries,blueberries,barley and oak i like this smell,the mouthfeel is medium bodied and super slick with tastes of caramel,toffee,blackberries,dark bitter coffee and finished with a bittersweet hit of dark chocolate and overall its very interesting how this brew is so different to the 12yr and yes i would buy again so suited for tonights cold.

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 05:33:23 | More by ADZA
Photo of erosier


4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours a deep black color with a medium to tall sized thick tan colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of peat, oak, scotch, sweet roasted malts, hints of caramel, toffee, and chocolate.
T: Tastes of a very nice scotch mixed with a really good beer. Oak, peat, and scotch flavors dominate only slightly over a sweet roasted malt base, caramel malts, toffee, chocolate, and a bit of smoke followed by the scotch flavors at the end.
M: Rich, smooth, warming, perfect amount of carbonation, kind of heavy, but really nice.
D: Overall not a very drinkable beer, but it was a damn good sipping one. Excellent flavors mixed very well made it worth every penny.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2011 10:42:25 | More by erosier
Photo of AaronHomoya


4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Near black color with mild carbonation and a tan head that fades to nearly nothing. Aroma of dark fruit, plums, boozy raisins and chocolate. Scotch comes though much more in the flavor. Meaty, chocolate flavors and a peaty finish. A fairly light body, relatively speaking, actually. Dry finish in the mouth. This is a very nice beer. Just saw that there is a 40-yr version that would be awesome to try too.

Serving type: bottle

08-10-2011 00:41:40 | More by AaronHomoya
Photo of jondeelee


4.93/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2011 18:28:44 | More by jondeelee
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 468 ratings.