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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

529 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 529
Reviews: 272
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.17%
Wants: 29
Gots: 78 | 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:
Beer added by: Bitterbill on 02-15-2008

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 529 | Reviews: 272 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of patm1986
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of LampertLand
4.51/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ola Dubh's Special Reserve#16 @ 8.0% served cold from a 330 ml bottle
A-pours a dark brown almost black with a small fine tan head that quickly dissapates leaving some spotty lacing along the pint glass
S-some smokyness , sweet chocolate malts , roasted coffee , brown sugar , hint of cherries and a lot of whiskey from the barrel aging
T-some smokyness , booze is strong yet a creamy brown sugar/vanilla sweetness in the finish , a lot fruiter than SR#12 , bit complex all the flavors going on here , wow
MF-low carbonation , thick and a bit syrupy , roasted bittersweet after taste
Ov-a sipping beer for sure , bit pricey , a yes for sure , if you can get the other Special Reserve give them a side by side taste test

Notes from tasting of SR#12 , SR#16 , SR#18 & revisited since the .25 increments

Cheers LampertLand

Photo of flagmantho
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 330mL bottle into a pint glass. Bottled July 2011. I just had the Special Reserve 12, so this will be a good back-to-back comparison.

Appearance: just like the 12, this beer is extremely dark brown with just brown highlights around the edges. Head is a thin layer of frothy tan foam. Good looking, just like its sister.

Smell: rich, roasty, chocolatey aroma, but the 16 has hints of vanilla that I didn't get in the 12. Different, but equally good.

Taste: roasty and chocolatey flavor; there seems to be a little bit more fruitiness in the 16 than the 12. Similar alcohol bite and astringency appear toward the end. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: silky creaminess brought on by a good body and good level of carbonation. Really quite excellent, again like the 12.

Overall: I like these beers equally well; they are very similar, but there are subtle differences. The 16 is a bit fruitier and has more vanilla than the 12; I really want to try the other 3 Ola Dubh varieties now.

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of ajs4bd
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of retreminy
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of BeerHunter76
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of Immortale25
4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

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.

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

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

Poured from a 330ml bottle. The colour on this is a gorgeous deep brown-black that has red tints when held up to the light. Looks pretty black in the glass with a very thin brownish head. On the nose there were heaps of caramel, molasses and spice. You don't get cheated flavour-wise either when it comes to the Highland Park whiskey notes. They are all over this intense, barrel-aged brew. It actually made me want to chase each sip with a wee sip of whiskey.

Photo of RandyKemka
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of Goobastic
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%

Photo of evilkalla
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into an ale glass.

A: Pours clear, very dark brown, almost black. No head to speak of. A few hints of carbonation but mostly flat otherwise.

S: Smells of coffee and wood. Some hints of dark and sweet malt. A little earthy too. Very subtle.

T: Almost has porter-like taste up front, followed by the somewhat sweeter malts I would expect in an old ale. It has just the slightest hint of whiskey and wood. Fairly smooth. Not bad at all.

M: Feels perfect.

O: This is a good beer, definitely for sipping. However I don't know if the price justifies trying it more than once.

Photo of beerhunter13
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of DarthGuitarHero
4.75/5  rDev +15%

Photo of TimH
3/5  rDev -27.4%

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of AgentMunky
2.95/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Glencairn whisky glass. Bottle number 08590. Bottled(?) September 2007.

A: Dark, opaque, and brooding, with little to no head. Good lacing.

S: Blackberries, blueberries, loads of fruit. Cobbler. This reminds of 1999 JW Lee's Harvest Ale. Deliciously sweet.

T/M: Mehh. Stale, flat, but full of boozy fruit. I don't get much whisky, certainly no Highland Park. As it warms, the quality lessens. I suppose the end taste has a touch of molasses and merest whiff of smoke. Disappointing.

O: Not a very good beer. Certainly not worth the money. I might drink it again, but I would certainly never seek it out or recommend it.

Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 10,708 from September 2007. In a snifter.

A: Black as night; thick as oil. Another Ola Dubh variant that is devoid of head, although this one can't even muster a band of head. It sits like a black licquer.

S: The richness of the old ale really stands out, chocolate and burnt malts with a graham undertone. The whisky is more of an accompaniment and not the primetime player, adding sea salt and a bit of smoke.

T: More sweetness, the chocolate malts in the old ale driving a significant portion of the flavor. The barrels add wooden firmness, a lick of whisky sweetness but not much in the way of peat. A distinct creaminess pops up midsip, diversionary. Light sea salt and a bit more smoke come through as the ale warms, an interesting counterpoint to the dark body. The finish brings the whisky out - a mild introduction to Scotch.

M: The best mouthfeel of the three, well-balanced with a winning peated salt finish. The bold malts pair nicely with chocolatey richness.

Photo of Vandelayindustri
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of casualcolors
4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An interesting contrast to the typical sweet, sticky, booziness of common barrel aged beers. This one, albeit black as night, sits pretty easy on the palate, and isn't particularly cloying at all. This is definitely not a beer for the faint hearted, as it drinks more like a big ol smokey scotch than your typical barrel aged fare. That in mind, it certainly drinks well, and demands that you respect it and sip slowly. Great smoky flavor offset by a faint backbone of dark roastiness.

Photo of Dan25D
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of gleemonger
5/5  rDev +21.1%

Photo of ludachris
4.14/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 529 ratings.