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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.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

520 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 520
Reviews: 271
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.17%
Wants: 29
Gots: 75 | 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: 520 | Reviews: 271 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

Photo of CookstLiquor
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
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
4/5  rDev -3.1%
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
2.9/5  rDev -29.8%
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
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
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
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
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
4.13/5  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.

Photo of Snowrs
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%

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.

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.

Photo of OldTime
4.75/5  rDev +15%

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.

Photo of MIP229
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Yabev15
4.5/5  rDev +9%

Photo of scubahood
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of YalovaIA
4/5  rDev -3.1%

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 520 ratings.