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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

621 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 621
Reviews: 337
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 11.92%
Wants: 27
Gots: 77 | 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 02-17-2008)
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Ratings: 621 | Reviews: 337 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by erz316:
Photo of erz316


4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

bottle #03556 from sept 2007 poured into my old speckled hen pint glass.

A - wow. looks like some kind of less viscous tar. there is some reminiscence of a head, but not in reality. though the bubbles on the top are retaining very very well, I still hesitate to call it a 'head'. it is more like 'bubble from me pouring from so high up, because I saw how damn thick it was'. any ways thats enough for the appearance.

S - there is a scent of grand roasted malts, and the nose is warmed by whiskey scents; along with some of the spice that the whiskey brings in, there is a tad of raw alcohol. the base notes of the scent are of some fruits, dark ones like fig and raisin; the scent of the alcohol is blended in at this level as well.

T - tastes musty and woody at first, not that i have every taken a big bite out of a piece of oak. raisin alcohol hits the palate next quite strongly; but as I hold it in my mouth the alcohol subsides and a sweeter fruitiness comes out. moments after the swallow the alcohol makes an attempt to burn like a cask strength whiskey but loose the battle to a light chocolate coffee taste, whose departure is as capricious as its arrival. the aftertaste is like that of a good whiskey, lingering spice and alcohol mixed with some of the malty sweetness ad a bit of bitter coffee/chocolate (?). I have truly tasted no old ale like this. the only reason it does not get a 5 is because I have not had the 16 and 30 years yet, and do not know if they mad it better.

MF&D - i can find no problems whatsoever with either of these categories. it is just the right amount of thickness for the presence of alcohol in the beer, and the lack of carbonation complements this very well.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2009 18:57:23 | More by erz316
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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.

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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

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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
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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 621 ratings.