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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.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

641 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 641
Reviews: 339
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 11.92%
Wants: 31
Gots: 81 | 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 02-17-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 641 | Reviews: 339 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by erz316:
Photo of erz316
erz316

Indiana

4.53/5  rDev +10.2%

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.

01-23-2009 18:57:23 | More by erz316
More User Reviews:
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beerhunter13

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

01-14-2012 14:52:07 | More by beerhunter13
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DanGeo

Michigan

3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

08-07-2013 03:24:32 | More by DanGeo
Photo of Rijtjeshuis
Rijtjeshuis

Ontario (Canada)

4.53/5  rDev +10.2%

Served in a snifter.

LOOK: (5.0 / 5) Pours a very, very deep mahogany brown. Because of the dark color and its opaquity, it looks jet-black unless held to the light on a shallow angle. A dark-tan, rocky head rises to about about two or three fingers; it falls slowly, leaving great lacing and eventually reduces to whisps of foam. The head is extra-impressive given the higher alcohol content and the aging.

SMELL: (5.0 / 5) A rich and complex malt character dominates. Among the many specific notes present, among the most dominant are: caramel, black-strap molasses, coffee, chocolate melanoidins, some roasted barley, smoke/oak, and very light vanilla. The nose is reminiscent Baltic Porter, but much gentler and better blended. Yeast and hops are not on the scene.

FLAVOUR: (4.5 / 5) the flavor is much more dominated by the dark malts (coffee, chocolate, roasted barley, etc) and the smoke/oak, though the other notes are still there as well but fall more into the background. This dominance makes the flavor a little less complex than the nose. Smoother, rounder, and much more complex than your average Baltic Porter or Imperial Stout.

FEEL: (4.5/5) For a beer with such a bold and smooth flavor, the body is a little lighter than I would have expected. That being said, it was still medium-full on body. Some alcoholic warmth, but it was not particularly hot. Lighter carbonation gives a somethat velvety feel very much like a cask ale - this all acts to very nicely work with the smooth and rich flavor.

DRINK: (4.0 / 5) Obviously - being a beer with a rich and strong flavour and a full body - drinkability is low in terms of sessioning. However, it was a great sipping beer. Something to really enjoy slowly.

I'd probably pair this with some super dark-chocolate desserts. Maybe some dark chocolate with ancho chilli or other spices would be good... but to be honest, it really deserves to be enjoyed on its own.

07-15-2011 15:31:25 | More by Rijtjeshuis
Photo of StoutHearted
StoutHearted

Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev +11.9%

Incredible flavor! I was a little disappointed in a lackluster aroma, but wow - the taste pops. Smoky chocolate dominates, with a hint of spiciness, like a pepper. Full mouthfeel with a silkiness that eases down the throat. I imagine this going dynamite with a plate of ribs.

Other stats: Color, an inky black; Aroma, meh - as I earlier said. Nothing jumped out. How does this brew hide its flavor?

01-14-2009 00:48:03 | More by StoutHearted
Photo of Tiernan
Tiernan

Texas

5/5  rDev +21.7%

07-24-2013 03:25:49 | More by Tiernan
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dolivaw

Texas

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

11-03-2013 04:15:23 | More by dolivaw
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tbryan5

Louisiana

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

04-06-2013 13:11:24 | More by tbryan5
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SanFranJake

California

4/5  rDev -2.7%

05-08-2013 13:03:37 | More by SanFranJake
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ajkiser12

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

01-18-2013 18:15:33 | More by ajkiser12
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +4.1%

Bottle 07805. Pours into my glass a dark black hue with some brown edges and a half inch of tan head that falls to bubbles atop the brew. Aromas start out with roasted, slightly burnt dark malts and a nice sturdy chocolate aroma. Interwoven there are wood, smoke, peat and whiskey notes that flow in and out. A very unique and enjoyable aroma.

First sip brings a roasted, smokey dark malt upfront that leads way to chocolate and coffee accents. A salty twang moves in as wood and earthy peat intermingle across the palate. The smokey single malt hits fairly strong on the finish along with a sort of oily mouthfeel. Nice bitterness and a touch of vinous fruit in the aftertaste. Complex, tasty brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a subtle creaminess and mellow carbonation. I thought this would be heavier, but I am happily surprised as the body makes it more drinkable. Overall, this is the first of the three I have tried, still having to sample the 16 and 30, however so far I am glad I purchased this one. The single malt really adds a new element to this enjoyable, sipping brew. Worth seeking out in my opinion.

09-26-2008 01:22:26 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

In a pint glass this beer was jet black in color with virtually no head. A smoky, roasted malt aroma, with whiskey, and a faint sweet aroma. Complex taste. Dark fruit, coffee, whiskey, and a little bit of hops late. Vary tasty. This was a smooth, balanced beer, which I will have again.

03-03-2010 15:33:55 | More by lordofthewiens
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DWolf

Pennsylvania

2.75/5  rDev -33.1%

10-20-2013 18:30:12 | More by DWolf
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1Adam12

Indiana

2.23/5  rDev -45.7%

Pours a blackish brown. No head, no lacing. Smells of malt, soysauce, whiskey, and thats about it. Taste really is not that great. Soy sauce, whiskey, none of the old ale flavors that I'm used to. Mouthfeel is very thin. Overall, man, this was a major let down. I had high expectations for this, and now I wish I could get my money back. Very underwhelming, and just not very good flavors. Too much soy sauce, and little of anything else good. Once was one to many.

09-01-2012 17:49:20 | More by 1Adam12
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magictrokini

California

4.33/5  rDev +5.4%

Bottle from the Pizza Port Bottle Shop. Pours black with a ring of tan bubbles. Peaty, roasty aroma with oak, chocolate, and smoke. Exceptionally smooth taste. Nice roasted malt and baker's chocolate flavors. The peat and smoke compliment the beer nicely without overrunning the taste. Hints of oak, vanilla, and caramel come out as it warms. Worth every penny.

12-09-2008 22:24:44 | More by magictrokini
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ImFlyerThanYou

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

04-07-2014 01:59:24 | More by ImFlyerThanYou
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kingcrowing

Vermont

3.83/5  rDev -6.8%

11.2oz bottle poured into a weiß glass. Bottled in 2007.

Pours oily black with a very small dark brown head. Nose is whisky and booze it's rich and sweet and malty.

taste is really sweet, smokey and very rich. It's got a lot of whisky flavor to it which is nice. It's really creamy and drinkable.

10-09-2010 00:51:36 | More by kingcrowing
Photo of xdefeatsy
xdefeatsy

Ohio

4/5  rDev -2.7%

06-01-2012 01:44:19 | More by xdefeatsy
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fionn13

Ireland

4.75/5  rDev +15.6%

06-04-2012 13:54:37 | More by fionn13
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bpfrush

Wisconsin

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

11-16-2011 02:38:19 | More by bpfrush
Photo of jazzyjeff13
jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

3.98/5  rDev -3.2%

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Feb 2014. Bottled in Feb 2010; bottle no. 00494. Picked up ages ago from Booths and stashed away in my garage to mature. Ale aged in casks that previously contained Highland Park 12-year old whisky, resulting in Harviestoun's famous 'Black Oil'.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. A very dark reddish-brown hue that appears black as tar in the glass. Yields a decent head of creamy light-brown foam that lasts for a few minutes before reducing to a patchy surface layer. Aroma of rich, fruity malt with notes of roasted grain, prunes, dried fruit, molasses/caramel, brown sugar, a hint of whisky, mild vanilla and faint smokiness. Nicely balanced, with a touch of warming booze in the background.

Tastes of dark, fruity malt with a sweet character and a lingering finish. Notes of roasted grain, dried fruit, molasses, caramel, faint chocolate, brown sugar, mild smoke, subtle whisky, a twinge of vanilla and a hint of wood. A whisper of alcohol in the background but well hidden. Somewhat sweet, with a restrained, malty bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, with very light carbonation and good body. A shade more effervescence wouldn't hurt. Mildly astringent, followed by an aftertaste of roasted malt, fruitiness and a hint of whisky.

Top-notch. As barrel-aged stouts go this is quite subtle, but the character is wonderfully integrated. Looks the part, with an aroma and flavour of rich roasted malt, dried fruit and subtle whisky highlights. The body is satisfyingly unctuous, though a little more carbonation would be nice. Delicious - a touchstone in UK barrel-aged brews. This should go on your must-try list.

02-03-2014 01:49:06 | More by jazzyjeff13
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chickenm

British Columbia (Canada)

4.75/5  rDev +15.6%

03-10-2012 23:44:57 | More by chickenm
Photo of BGDrock
BGDrock

Ontario (Canada)

4.2/5  rDev +2.2%

Cellared about 1 1/2 yrs

Appearance: very dark brown, almost pitch; nice mocha head dies to a film disappointingly fast

Aroma: medicinal peat, roasted malt, caramel, anise, raisin, dates; lot;s of rich fruit sweetness with a hint of acid bitterness

Taste & Mouthfeel: texture of hot chocolate - thick and creamy with a bit of chalkiness - and some of the flavour of it too, but add some anise and espresso; these flavours combine with sweet toffee at the start, but then turn to a pronounced bitterness that is not only due to the roasted malt, but also grassy hops; some of the peat character is also sneaking around towards the end, rising in the back of the throat; a port comes to mind - rich dark fruitiness, cherries

Overall: some really great character to this beer, definitely at least partially imparted by the scotch barrels; always like a brew that takes you on a ride of experiences from first sniff to finish, and this is one of them

12-07-2012 02:52:12 | More by BGDrock
Photo of beerexplorer1973
beerexplorer1973

Wisconsin

3/5  rDev -27%

03-28-2012 16:05:10 | More by beerexplorer1973
Photo of dwren89
dwren89

Virginia

4.51/5  rDev +9.7%

Appearance: Pitch black, tan head, but disintegrated quickly from the high ABV

Aroma: definite strong alcoholic aroma, slight burn in the nostril, very roasty, slightly smoky, slight peaty scotch, a lot of residual sweetness coming through the nose

Taste: Very roasty but not like a stout-roastiness. Has balanced peat and smoke flavors, slight fruitiness on the finish likely from the scotch. Fruitiness is dark fruits and a very small hint of banana. There are dark chocolate flavors as well as a significant amounto of sweetness from residual sugars. Balanced finish however between roasty and sweet. Hops not detectable

Mouthfeel: silky and thick, very little carbonation, smooth on the swallow with a long, long finish.

Overall Impression: I was very impressed by this ale. It obviously takes in a fair amount of scotch character from the barrel to balance roasted malts with peaty/smoky flavor. Dark Chocolate and sugar sweetness are prevalent in the middle of the drink, but subside slightly as the roastiness comes back in the finish. I think this is a stellar ale, with the only draw back being the slightly too alcoholic nose. I am attributing this nose to the fact that the ale was aged in 12-year whiskey barrels rather than older whiskey, so the alcoholic notes in the barrel will be less mellowed and more pervasive, thus more pervasive in the ale. Fantastic beer overall though.

07-04-2013 18:39:44 | More by dwren89
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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 641 ratings.