Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
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Ratings: 621 | Reviews: 337 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by drperm:
4.9/5 rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
My election night special! This was a grand brew for a grand occasion.
330 mL bottle, #10372, bottled September '07. Poured into a Caracole globe.
Appearance: Black is the color of my true love's....beer. Very thin tan head around the edge of the glass.
Aroma: Tar, tobacco, peat, smoke, hops, strong malt, and molasses.
Taste: Malt, peaty smoke, mild hops, dark chocolate, treacle (but not TOO sweet). The taste truly does flow seamlessly from the nose to the tongue. Liqueur-like, with wonderful classy-smooth whisky notes throughout.
Palate: Mellow, smooth, a slight alcohol tinge, thick and viscous to be sure.
Overall: Fantastic! This is a great Old Ale -- a terrific sipping beer, absolutely wonderful with a Cigar (Carolina Cigar Company Red Reserve Churchill). A bit steep at $8.50 for 330 mL, but it IS a 1-time batch with each bottle numbered, after all.
I got two bottles -- I plan to age the other one for a future Burns Night celebration.
25 January '10: Review of a 15-month-cellared bottle.
A: 5/5. Even thinner head than when it was fresher...but an Old Ale should properly be mild in the carbonation department. Still as dark (with a hint of motor-oil brown to disrupt the black) and viscous as I remember.
S: 5/5 Tons of sorghum up front. Smokiness/peat is also prevalent, whilst the hops and malt have mellowed. There's also a nice spice note that I don't recall from before: coriander, chicory, maybe even mild clove or nutmeg.
T: 5/5 Sublime. It has only gotten smoother and more complex. The liqueur quality is there in terms of depth, but there is absolutely NO alcohol burn whatsoever: it could be 6% ABV just as easily as 8. There is a huge dark chocolate-roasted oat presence that I find highly enjoyable. Again, the hops have faded but what is left is anything but 1-dimensional malt.
M: 5/5 Like butter, with a smart snap (a 'Scots Snap'?) to remind me that it's not actually butter.
D: 5/5 After cellaring for 15 months, I have *zero* regret for spending $8.50 on this treasure. It is a Perfect Old Ale. My only regret is not having any more of the 12 on hand to cellar for longer. It bears a 30-month sojourn, methinks.
Serving type: bottle
01-26-2010 04:16:52 | More by drperm
More User Reviews:
4.1/5 rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
330 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, chocolate, toast, brown sugar, roast, raisin, fig, brown bread, molasses, vanilla, oak, tobacco, leather, peat smoke, and roast/oak earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and whisky cask notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, toast, raisin, fig, dark bread, molasses, vanilla, oak, peat smoke, tobacco, leather, and roast/oak earthiness. Slight roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, chocolate, roast, toast, dark bread, raisin, fig, tobacco, leather, vanilla, oak, peat smoke, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a white. Very nice complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and whisky cask flavors; with a nice balance of the oak character with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth, moderately slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent old ale. All around great complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and whisky cask flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.
Serving type: bottle
06-02-2014 00:56:55 | More by superspak
4.33/5 rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
330mL bottle into snifter
a: pitch black with half a finger of light tan head
s: whisky, vanilla, and smoke are pretty dominant in the nose here, but there are also notes of wood, chocolate, hints of coffee, and maybe even some syrupy sweetness. very nice
t: follows the aroma. up front is the whisky, smoke, vanilla, and wood. after that comes roasted/burnt malts, hints of toffee sweetness, and shy dark chocolate and coffee notes. the sweetness hangs around for quite a bit towards the end, but this beer does finish dry, leaving your mouth with a coffee-like bitterness and lingering smoky whisky flavours. zero alcohol presence. whisky, dark fruits (raisins, cherries), and the chocolate flavours dominate as the beer warms. zero alcohol presence. complex, delicate, and delicious
m: silky smooth medium body, nearly non-existent carbonation
o: fantastic beer. comes with a rather high price-per-volume but don't hesitate to pick this one up, especially if you dig barrel-aged beers
Serving type: bottle
05-14-2014 23:06:21 | More by kevinlater
4.4/5 rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75
330 mL bottle from the LCBO; packaged in Feb. 2012 and best before Oct. 2015. Served at cellar temperature.
Pours an opaque blackish-brown hue, with an aggressive pour generating about one finger of dense, creamy, beige-coloured head. It recedes over the next few minutes, leaving behind a loose, sea-foamy cap and collar; not much lacing. The aroma is quite sweet and enticing, with hints of molasses, oak and vanilla, as well as some figgy dark fruit notes. Slightly smoky/peaty, with a whiff of alcohol.
This is almost sinfully tasty. Molasses and toffee sweetness start us off, leading into some dark chocolate and vanilla. Light fig and raisin notes then blend alongside an oaky, peaty flavour. Smoky finish, with a touch of whisky followed by some lingering wood smoke astringency. This brew has a nice warming quality - actually a little more than I'd expect for an 8% brew, but everything comes together nicely. On the heftier side of medium-bodied, with rather weak carbonation that produces a smooth, slick coating on the palate. Great stuff.
Final Grade: 4.4, an impressive A. My only regret concerning Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 is that I neglected to pick up a second bottle of the stuff. This is a delicious ale that I would recommend highly to all BAs looking for a proper oak aged beer, and may also have some appeal to Scotch whisky fans as well. It's not cheap, but I don't mind paying for quality - and with that in mind, I'll have to keep an eye out for the other beers in the Ola Dubh series.
Serving type: bottle
04-10-2014 17:58:34 | More by thehyperduck
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 621 ratings.