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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.

538 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 538
Reviews: 273
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.17%
Wants: 30
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 538 | Reviews: 273 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of aaronh
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 06072 - Sept 2007

Pitch black with actually a pretty decent cappuccino colored head that fades to a ring of foam within 60 seconds. Aroma of tobacco, oak, molasses, smoke and vanilla. Flavor more aggressive and smokier than the Special 12 I had earlier this evening. Alcohol is pretty hot whereas it was almost undetectable in the 12. Much more smoke in the flavor as well - more like burnt marshmallows. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the alcohol. Drinkability is good as well - I loved the 12 year - this is not quite a nice.

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

Poured from a cool cellar temperature into a tulip glass. September 2007 batch.

A-Inky stout appearance with a creamy tan head.

S-Smoky sweet cocoa, scotch, wood. A bit funky as well. Not quite sure what to expect here.

T-Bittersweet chocolate battles with the charred scotch character and gives way to a pervasive and earthy vanilla undertone followed by a mild alcohol buzz on the tongue. Has much of the character of a RIS, as well as an old ale. A hell of an unusual brew unlike anything I have tried lately, but I like it.

M-Well balanced medium mouthfeel, slighly oily with low carbonation, but probably perfect for this.

D-This is a pretty intense singular beer. One and done for the night, but definately would try again, and looking forward to trying the others in the series.

Photo of drtth
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lighly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. Bottled in September of 2007.

Appearance: The beer pours out a deep dark almost black color to match the name "Old Engine Oil." The 1/8" tan head soon recedes to a ring of foam with a patch of foam in the middle and covering about ¾ of the surface. Sipping leaves a line of foam that clings to the glass over some speckled and leggy lacing that just sits there waiting for the next sip. While the ring persists for quite a while, later sipping leaves minimal lacing.

Smell: The aroma spreads into the room and can be detected from more than a foot away. At first there are traces of the scotch (Highland Park 16) and then some dark chocolate emerges to join the show and brings along with it a friend, some molasses. There's also some sweet toffee character to the aroma. There may be a faint hint of peat here but the whisky aroma generally remains in the background.

Taste: The flavor on this beer is complex. The dark chocolate has a companion in the coffee-like bitterness of roasted malt. The whisky and its sweetness show themselves here, and there is definitely some vanilla, some oakiness and an underlying peat and/or earthy hop character to the flavor.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and silky smooth. The carbonation is very light and barely noticeable. The finish is long and starts in the sweetness of the malt and whisky. There is then some bitterness from the roasted malt that fades to leave behind some long lasting dry astringency that has an earthy character.

Drinkability: This is a one a night beer, but I'd be happy to have it again. It is well balanced and there is a nice smooth whisky character to it as well. As with the 12, if you like malt whisky this is definitely a beer to try. Although I'd have to taste them side-by-side to be sure, my current impression is that I'll return to the 12 rather than this one. There is not enough difference or improvement to justify the extra cost of this over the 12.

Photo of Patrick999
3.69/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have been loving the Ola Dubhs. September 2007, bottle # 13980. Poured the bottle of 16 into a DFH snifter. Requisite ultra-dark body, a little more foam than I noted with the 30.

Aromatics don't seem to be as impressive as either the 12 or the 30, in my opinion. I can really just pick out maple syrup, molasses and some wood.

Taste-wise, this is quite different from either the 12 or 30. Plenty of wood and peat, but I find more of a smoky component as well. Not as many notes of chocolate and raisin, more whiskey, wood, and char. Lots and lots of wood on the back end. Not quite as smooth as the other Ola Dubhs in that the whiskey flavor seems slightly too harsh. Also seems a little hotter alcohol-wise. Not that I'm slamming it - it's still a tasty beverage.

It does have a fairly thick, robust feel, it's not as thin as I would have expected.

Drinkability is not bad, even though it's not as easy-drinking as the 12. Out of the 12, 30, and 16, I think I prefer them in that order. I had the 40 without rating it...I still think the 12 is my favorite, oddly enough!

Photo of alcstradamus
2.27/5  rDev -45%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 1.5

Reviewed from notes

Pours black with a small head that disappears rather quickly. Smell is straight up armpit funkiness and chocolate. Not appealing.

The taste is more of the same. Only the armpit is now charred. Wow, this is just a mess. Great mouthfeel so the overall score will be higher than it should be. I haven't really cared for any of the 3 Ola Dubh beers I've tried, so I won't bother seeking out the 40 year.

EDIT: After posting my review I read another person's who claimed they tasted "sausage"...that flavor was definitely present but I didn't identify it on my own. Perhaps I should have paired this with a cheese platter and some Ritz crackers?

Photo of lackenhauser
3.94/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost black in color-some deep mahogany highlights around the edges. Aroma is somewhat wine like with a nice level of scotch whiskey notes. Not overly done. Rich and malty roasted flavors. Enough whiskey character to make it noticeable and blend together. Faint alcohol flavor from the whiskey notes. Good body-maybe a touch thin for my liking. Overall quite drinkable. I was afraid it would really be scotch like. Decent effort.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Just had a Rauchbier... I wanted to pick something out of the cellar that was along the same lines and stumbled upon this lonely bottle.. sure... why not? Poured into m Delirium goblet.

Short lasting lite tan head.. descent lacing.. okay cap.. the brew is clear... but blacker than any schwarzbier.

Nose has a bunch of stuff going on that I am not going to be able to describe well.. smokey whiskey with dark fruits.. but the smoke is verging on jerky territory.. lite cocoa is there, but is bombed out of the neighborhood... with warmth, it makes me think of smoke stuck in my jacket after hanging around a bonfire.

Flavor has RIS and English Old ale characteristics that seem to battle with each other, but both lose when compared to the overwhelming scotch overtones. Roasty and chocolate with a good amount of dark fruit and yeasty esters ... some dark cherry and black plum... dark malt char and then comes the smoke.. with the scotch comes some oak that isn't really tannic, but still is pretty heavy.. sorta salty.

As it warms, a meaty component really shows.. it's tough to describe.. reminds me of the sweet char on lightly spiced tri-tip... smoke and molasses..

Very interesting brew... I am "appreciating" this more than the last couple of times I've had it and the Ola Dubh brothers....

I need to never drink this by myself again.. I am sure I appreciate the bottle, but, I would for now on want to make sure that I share it with a good friend or better beer buddy.... I am enjoying, but only marginally.


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

Bottle #03079/Sept 2007

Poured into a Abbaye du Val-Dieu glass

A - black, no light coming in at all, negligible head, dark cream/light tan colored, light lacing

S - roasted chocolate malt with a light mocha backing, definitely like somewhat opened an old bottle of scotch and set it next to the you as you drink

T - the slightest chocolate taste, then write to the alcohol of the whisky casks, then settles back into the malt, taste of the oak casks takes over and lingers, balancing with a dry taste

M - very light carbonation at the beginning, somewhat thin like a boring stout, smooth at least; certainly not "oil" like, however the body does seem to allow more flavors to pop

D - hm...one is good for me, have tried the 30 which i enjoyed more, need to get the 12 and maybe do a tasting with some other people, hopefully i can nail down bottles that have about the same date...overall I enjoyable on a cold winter night

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

I split this with a buddy (a Scotch lover) and had this shortly after Ola Dubh 12. This was a Sept. 2007 bottle, just slightly chilled.

A: Pours a nearly pitch black with ruby edges in the glass. The head is smaller than the 12, with a light tan foam cap that retains poorly and retreats into a thin halo on the brew.

S: Roasted malt, chocolate, whiskey, tannins, soy sauce, molasses, sea salt, smoke.

T: Way more integrated than the 12. The difference was remarkable. Starts off similarly, with molasses and a slight dark fruit nature. Progresses into roasted malt and chocolate, with a strong whiskey presence that blends well with sherry notes. Soy sauce comes in too, but again, it's well blended and somehow enhances the flavor. Salty and tannic in the finish, with smoke in the aftertaste. An undercurrent of earth throughout. Very complex. Outstanding, really.

M: Thin-bodied, but the flavor is delivered so well that I have a hard time dinging points here. It's very tasty.

D: Out of the 3 Harviestoun beers we tried that night, this is the only one we'd buy again. We're hoping the 30 and 40 are even better.

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

Bottle dated September 2007. Split with Swimsum. Sampled shortly after tasting Ola Dubh 12.

Poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Very similar to the Ola Dubh 12 in opacity but not as much head on this one. Looks black and oily. The head that is there is hair-thin and off-white. As with the 12, spotty lacing.

Smell: Not as much whiskey in this one (compared with the 12), which is really surprising. Sweet barbecue flavors and smoke are very prevalent. Flowery hops also present. Complex and enjoyable.

Taste: Big whiskey, but once it's very smooth. Dark chocolate, smoke and barbecue sauce (it is kinda salty) add to the flavor profile. Very comparable to the Ola Dubh 12. See my review here: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/323/41037/?ba=ThreeWiseMen

Mouthfeel: Very lightly carbonated and very oily. Pretty slick. Pretty heavy, but not thick. I dig.

Drinkability: Really good, but I actually liked the Ola Dubh 12 better. I got more complexity in the 12 than this one, though the 16 was quite complex on its own. Totally worth the purchase still.

Photo of corby112
4.67/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black and completely opaque with a thin .5 finger brown head that quickly fades into a lasting ring. Not much in the way of lacing, just some sporadic small spots.

Strong roasted malt aroma with a decent amount of malt whiskey that doesn't overtake the other aromas. Dark chocolate, roasted coffee bean and roasted nut notes. Again, the aroma is dominated by a deep roasted maltiness but there is a good bit of oak and whiskey to balance things out.

Again the flavor is dominated by a deep roasted maltiness with lots of complexity and bitter dark chocolate flavor. However, they whiskey presence is much more prominent in the flavor than in the aroma. Lots of hot whiskey alcohol warmth but fortunately the other flavors still shine through. Not one-dimensional at all. Plenty of roasted coffee bean, burnt toast, hazelnut and dark chocolate notes. Sligthtly sweet because of the strong alcohol, whiskey and chocolate malt components but is overall nicely balanced with even some subtle hops, resulting in a big beer that is quite drinkable. Recommended.

Photo of zoso493
4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 330 ml bottle into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep black with a tiny head that's nothing but bubbles. What little head there is doesn't stuck around long.

Smell: As you'd expect, smells a strong bit like single malt. Great scent of whiskey, vanilla, oak and some chocolate.

Taste: This is very good. Tastes of roasted malts, dark chocolate, with tinges of oak and vanilla. Doesn't retain as much of the whiskey character present in the nose, but this sure is tasty. I'd like to get my hands on the 18 or the 30 to see how much more prevalent the single malt is in the taste, because, as well crafted as this is, it's a little bit too subdued I think.

Mouthfeel: It's a little thinner than desirable with practically no carbonation, but still doesn't feel bad.

Drinkability: Even at 8% ABV, this is still pretty drinkable. I could definitely have a couple of these in a night, if my wallet obliged.

Overall, this is one of the tastier brews I've had here in Scotland to date. I think this beer would be outstanding if all the flavors were a bit more pronounced (as I think can be said about most Scottish ales). I'm looking forward to trying some other variations of Ola Dubh.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
4.82/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally, the proper use of scoth in beer. This interpretation is neither like sucking on a tree nor sipping a glass of single malt. The scoth wonderfully compliments the dark ale. The pour is a nice deep black with moderate single fingered white head. The body is smooth and in fine balance with a wonderful nose and lack of pungent aftertaste so typical of scotch barrel aged brews i have had in the past. Koudos to Harviestoun for doing this right, I only wish that I cold afford to drink more of these.

Photo of Risser09
4.49/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a snifter - fridge - bottle #17306 - bottled in Sept. 2007

Appearance: Pours a pitch black, black hole of a beer with a 1/2" head that is light brown in color. The frothy head dies quickly and leaves no lace on the glass.

Smell: Dynamite. Chocolate and espresso, leather, wood and not much sugar. Heavy whisky aromas of the sharp cedary and tobacco laden wood. Dynamic and complex.

Taste: More great flavors. Intense whisky notes of tobacco, wood and alcohol. The wood is so pronounced that this actually tastes like a single malt. The underlying flavors are actually espresso and dark chocolate. Excellent.

Mouthfeel: Despite the label's mention, this beer was on the thin side, probably because of the barrel aging. Woody, spicy, boozy with a long, drawn out finish.

Drinkability: I could drink a lot of these, despite the intensity of the beer. Always a sucker for single malts, this one is a sure winner for me. It actually needs some more viscousity to make it a perfect beer. Perfeectly attenuated.

Photo of vrazionale
3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a wide-mouthed snifter. Bottle No. and Date: 03193/Sept 2007.

A - Pours a deep, dark, brooding brown, with red tinges on the edges. There is almost no head formation, with the only sign of carbonation being a thin ring of bubbles along the edge of the brew.

S - Coffee beans, cacao nibs, peat, raisins, darky spicy rum, and medjool dates. Nice blending of roasty, spicy, and sweet flavors.

T - Big, round burst of juicy raisin, fruity coffee, and a slight grassy, peaty twang. The finish is long, sweet, and savory - it reminds me of the lingering taste after a few sips of a well-made espresso.

M - Surprisingly light-bodied, given the dark color, nose, and flavor profile. It doesn't weigh down the palate at all. That being said, the carbonation could use a kick up a notch or two. It feels a little sticky to me.

D - This brew was a great one to help develop my beer-tasting palate. Lots of weird, unique flavors here. I'd pair this brew with a big hunk of Stilton or an earthy, woodsy bar of chocolate. I'm really glad I finally tried this brew, but I wouldn't call it a "great" brew.

Photo of hike20
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle dated Sept 2007. Black pour with a creamy milk chocolate brown head. Whiskey dominates the aroma, but there are also notes of vanilla and faint chocolate. Whiskey flavor is not as overwhelming as I expected. I also taste oak, with a bit of vanilla, chocolate, malt, smoke, and a slightly bitter finish. Overall nicely balanced. Mouth feel is medium with a slightly oily edge. Not bad overall, but I like the GI BCS a bit more though.

Photo of rye726
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark oily color with a nice tan head. Nose has smoked malts, scotch, wood, dark fruits and molasses. Taste has a nice smokey whiskey presence along with oak, chocolate, coffee, figs and ripe plums. Creamy body is well carbonated. Perhaps a notch above the 12.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
BOTTLE No. & DATE: 15637/Sept 2007

Pours up a super dark brown color, almost black. About a 1/4 inch of loose, brown, foam comes up and then recedes to a small cluster in the center of the surface and a nice ring around the edge. Lacing is impressive in quantity, if not size, and is quite sticky.

A nice, big, presence of butterey vanilla notes. Black cherry preserves and oak. Huge maltiness. Hints of peat smokiness. Caramel notes and a surprising presence of yeastiness.
This one smells much more inviting and smooth than the 12 did, and that one smelled quite nice.

Big roasted malt notes. Strong hint of oak and a small hint of peat. Light hints of burnt caramels. Notes of very dark chocolates, almost bitter, but not quite.

Sure it's full-bodied, but it's more oily than thick. Light carbonation level probably helps this. Very smooth, but seriously lacking any creaminess.

It's completely drinkable, as long as you like scotch, anyway. Sadly, I think that I prefer the 12, tastewise, though.

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

What's not to like about a beer matured in the barrels of my favourite Scotch?

Pours a viscous and sticky red-black, with a nice filmy head of white-brown bubbles, pock-marked with bigger bubbles. Lacing is decent, but mostly it sits silently in the bottom of the glass, looking dormant and dangerous.

Very robust and intense nose, redolent with dark spirits, smoke, oak and condensed yeast extract. Lightly salty even, the compressed darkness is that intense. Certainly some boozy, heavy notes from the Scotch barrels. Lovely, so rich unique and intense.

Very slick, smooth and peat-smoky on the palate. Rich boozy notes, forr of character and extremely interesting. There's a piquant salt character on the palate too, which, with the darkness, add a raw an unique character. Has a very profound depth to it. Mouthfeel is smooth.

Very sippable and extremely refined. This is a beer for taking in slowly. It has some deep characters I've not seen before - I'm sure from the whiskey barrels - and I respect it for that. Very, very complex and enjoyable. I'm a big fan.

Photo of erz316
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

brown 12ox, bottled in september 2007, poured into old spec. pint glass

A - a hearty pour (i poured about 75% of it straight down the center) gives an interestin two layered head: the top is big bubbles that pop and fade down, the second layer is composed of these minuscule (almost nitro style guinness like) bubbles that have yet to fade down. colour is black as night, no light getting through anywhere. the head is a medium brown colour. if i didnt have to force the pour then this may have been a perfect score. this stuff is so thick that the nucleation point at the bottom is completely idle: no bubbles whatsoever.

S - mostly malts except for a slight whiskey presence in the back, which contributes a slightly spicy alcohol aroma.

T - this is some thick stuff. black oil indeed! the taste is wonderful, and has many excellent characteristics. the initial taste is choco malts, some of the warm whiskey aspect as well. the choco is not overwhelming, it blends very well into the accompanying whiskey spice. the finish has a great roasty malt flavour, and the chocolate moves into bittersweet dark territory. the 16 isnt as complex or interesting as the 12, but the whiskey aspect is much improved and more tasty. the aftertaste is some dark choco bitters, and a light touch of sweet malt. this is by no means a mediocre beer, but I wanted more complexity out of this than the 12, which is where it fails. there is beauty in the simplicity and complete steadfastness of the brew.

MF&D - gloopy. that is pretty perfect for describing this. the feel is real thick, just the way I like it. the carbonation is ample for the style. I love old ale and I love Harviestoun especially for this type of brew, I could easily keep drinking this, but the high alcohol is the only detriment to such a delicious beer! it is the beer that keeps me from drinking the beer!

Photo of triptens
4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

07 Vintage
Tasted in order:
Ola Dubh

Appearance: Looks like a deep, dark, wooden brown coming from the bottle and turns to a dark black in the glass. Milk chocolate 1/2 head which fades quickly and bubbles favor to one side of the glass.

Smell: Roasted malts and chocolate are in the forefront. Vanilla comes through from the oak, scotch really isn't that prevalent, just get a touch of smokiness.

Taste: Very smoky and roasty. A touch of bittersweet chocolate and vanilla. The scotch comes through in the palate with just a subtle hint of peat.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, silky. Everything you could ask for.

Drinkability: Amazing complex beer, like the rest of them. Each year has a different component to them, it's fun to see what the age on the scotch does to these beers. Screw having a dram of scotch, just drink these beers!

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

2007 vintage. This looked the same as the 12 year Ola Dubh - nearly opaque dark mahogany with a bit of tan head. It smelled almost identical (chocolate and caramel and honey wheat and roasted coffee, with a bit of alcohol) with an added bit of tart apple and prune. It tasted similar also, (roasted barley and burnt coffee and molasses, with a strong oak and peat finish), very dark and roasty with even more peat and burnt coffee flavors. It had a bit more carbonation, and a stronger peat and oak aftertaste with a bit of alcohol warming. Overall this was bolder and had more scotch character than the 12 year. It began to enter the realm of only being enjoyable for those who like scotch. (Luckily, that includes me!) It had great depth and richness, but it wasn't quite as sweet as I wished. Despite already being 2 years old, even more age could probably improve this further.

Photo of laituegonflable
4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, with a very slight brown tinge at the very edge. Doesn't seem to be much of a bead, while head is thin with visible bubbles forming an ochre crown atop this dark matter. Leaves some decent, but slippery, lacing. Looks alright.

Nose is very sour and burnt, smoked meaty characters with a strong pork aroma, hints of oak and baked pear as well, maybe some cumquat characters. Very smokey and insanely dry and desolate, but fantastically powerful. Roasty and burning me up like unrequited love.

Taste is similarly dark, with very strong sour flavours; strong wood smoke, BBQed pork, underripe grape characters, hints of some bitter chocolate and fig, makes my tongue recoil at first, then come crawling back for more because it's intrigued by the mystique and wants to explore it more deeply.

Very interesting palate, slightly gritty and with a definitely pleasant over-roasted character complemented well by some nice sour, woody, organic characters. Doesn't overdo either, just hits you with the power. That's the power of love.

Mouthfeel is velvety and slick, if not smooth. It feels slightly watery but goes down well and sits nicely for a while. Not my #1 choice for drinking, but it's a great beer. Just makes me feel slightly uneasy.

Photo of berkey
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 fl oz bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip.

Pours coal black. Smallish loose bubbly brown head with mediocre retention. Not much in the way of lacing.

Aromas are earthy, smokey, and woody with some spice, faint chocolate and yeast.

First impression of the flavor is that it's much milder than expected. Very small amounts of fruit and alcohol to start out. The bulk of the flavor is in the aftertaste where the earthy smoke character on the nose is much more recognizable as peat. There's also something here that keeps me thinking of sea salt. The 8% ABV is a little low for the style though and I think I'm missing it.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for my expectations of the style but the low ABV keeps it more drinkable than most.

Overall the most remarkable thing about this one is how much of the flavor of the spirit orignally in the barrel they managed to carry over to the ale. The brew itself, however doesn't have much to it in my opinion, especially for an Old Ale. Maybe that's actually why the Scotch flavors come through so well. Interesting but won't purchase again. I can get better for the price.

Photo of Aenema
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Pours jet black with a soapy two finger tan head. Splotchy lacing.
Smell - Smoke, bacon, slight peat/whiskey notes.
Taste - Similar to the smell, lots of smoke, some bacon and chocolate on the end. Nice whiskey notes throughout.
Mouthfeel - Moderate body/carbonation. Not as thick as one would expect for a beer this flavorful. Creamy, smooth with a clean finish for such a rich beer.
Drinkability - Very smooth and easy to drink.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 538 ratings.