Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

388 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 388
Reviews: 225
rAvg: 4.26
pDev: 10.56%
Wants: 81
Gots: 90 | FT: 9
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Every bottle of this extremely limited Ola Dubh 30th Anniversary Ale has been individually numbered. Our ale has been aged for up to six months in first fill sherry butts, formerly used to mature Highland Park's award-winning 30 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky. These hand selected butts add subtle whisky notes to what is already a complex ale with its chocolatey mouthfeel and distinctive bittersweet finish. The high ABV has been deliberately created to stand up to, and blend with, the intensity of flavor created by the infused wood.

(Beer added by: rallison on 02-23-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 388 | Reviews: 225 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mrn1ceguy
4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jaxbrew
4.93/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This stuff is phenomenal! Loads of toasty malts, burnt chocolate, coffee, and bourbon. One of the best Old Ales I've had!

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of ChrisCage
4.73/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Definitely a "Black Oil" so to speak! As black as midnight sans moon, this doesn't let any light through, and certainly does have a caramel colored head that is creamy, but not very thick.....just stagnating to a layer over the liquid. Lacing is impressive as well....a sheet of densely packed bubbles hang on to my glass!

S- A medley of aromas are happening, with dark/burnt toasty malts upfront. I also detect very dark chocolates, slight booziness, coffee, sweet dark rum, woodsy smells, and Maderia like raisins/prune. Very heavy smelling overall, as it should be!

T- This one hits your palate with a wallop! At first taste, there is an alcoholic punch, but this goes away after knowing what to expect. Everything is very rich and dark.....definite whisky and wood overtones from start to finish, and these are balanced out rather well with dark chocolate, burnt toffee, dried grains, black licorice (as a previous reviewer suggested), dark dried fruits and charred coffee beans....perhaps a leathery note as well. Flavor notes that aren't prominent, but make themselves known at some point during the taste are vanilla, fruitcake, Earth/root astringency and an herbal leafy bitterness on the finish.

M/O- This is probably the fullest bodied a beer I've had to date and very possibly will remain in that position for a long time. The carbonation is smooth and velvety, allowing the flavors to eloquently flow around the palate. Surprisingly, this isn't cloying at all and the dryness leaves me craving the next sip....I'm very impressed by this characteristic! Overall this is a stunning brew that is on another level than most others....I very highly recommend this! It is complex, very easy drinking, and becomes a shame when its done. I will seek this out again and feel it is worth the price of admission!

Photo of kojevergas
3.29/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

"Harviestoun 30th Anniversary Ola Dubh." Limited Edition Special Reserve.

11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle with black foil-ed over branded silver pry-off pressure cap and an accompanying pendant came packaged inside a cardboard box, in a manner akin to good whiskeys. This elaborate presentation helps evoke a classy Scotch-like beer. Let's hope the beer lives up to the packaging...

Bottle No & Date: 07233. June 13.

Served cold into a snifter and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: None. Just a weak floater ring about the edges of the top of the body which recedes within 10 seconds. No lacing.

BODY: Weak dark black. Not an opaque ink or jet black; I can see the logo of my snifter through the top of the beer; this has shocking transparency for its darkness. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Overall, it's a generally appealing whisky barrel aged ale, but it's far from unique or special. We've all seen far better. Average at best.

AROMA: Sherry wine, wine-soaked dampened wood, marshmallow, cranberry, pomegranate, raisin, chocolate, chocolate malts, and of course intricate whiskey with a bit of warm welcoming booze and slight almost gingery spice. Brandy soaked fruit, milk chocolate, a kiss of citrus, and a hint of peat.

The barrel notes melt seamlessly into the base beer, and the sherry is a real stand-out, as is the marshmallow and pomegranate. The barrel character is striking, and far more intricate than what I usually come across.

As it warms, some dark grape emerges, along with impressions of fig and plum. It grows more leathery, and I find hints of dark bread and robust dark malt.

This is an intricate rich aroma suggestive of a delightfully complex and subtly executed ale. I'm deeply interested in trying it. Aromatic intensity is moderate.

No hops, yeast, or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: Hm. The taste is substantially less intricate and subtle than the aroma, to its detriment and my disappointment. The barrel character is a bit mundane; it's not spicy enough to evoke whiskey, not wine or grape-evocative enough to suggest sherry, and not vanilla-laden enough to satisfy bourbon cravings. Dampened wood dominates, with the faint beginnings of wet cardboard that suggest this beer will be terrible as oxidation grows - and may even be over-aged already. The base beer is uninteresting; I get some sticky thick sugars, marshmallow, chocolate malts, and dark malts - but little else. Light burnt characteristics add more bitterness to an ale which already has severe sweetness/bitterness balance issues.

It's nowhere near as enjoyable as I hoped it'd be, and really disappoints in terms of complexity and subtlety. The pomegranate fruit is a highlight, but even that is relatively weak. It's actually a somewhat shallow depth of flavour. The flavour intensity and duration are both average, if not below average.

I do like it for what it is. But it drinks boozier than 8%, and doesn't bring the whiskey barrel as much as it should.

TEXTURE: Weak, thin, sticky, unrefreshing, smooth, wet, and undercarbonated. Not the creamy silky soft mouthfeel I hoped for. Execution is subpar.It should be chewier.

OVERALL: The taste fails to fulfill the promises of the aroma, and the result is a real letdown of a beer. I hoped for so much more, especially at this price point. I'd caution friends from pulling the trigger on this and frankly I prefer Harviestoun's less expensive offerings. This won't age well and I wouldn't want a second bottle. I'll finish this, of course, but it's not the decadent exquisite brew I thought it might be.

I don't smoke, but I imagine this beer would pair well with a fine cigar, an old armchair, and a good book.

Low B-

Photo of a77cj7
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of mattmarka1
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of seangibbs60
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of GeorgiaBeerGuy
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of R_Kole
5/5  rDev +17.4%

Photo of Morey
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of mtomlins
3.33/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Number and Date: 21830 in September 2007.
Poured: September 2014 (7 years old)
Thanks to tbadiuk for the bottle!!

Photo of markgugs
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Hellpop65
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of liamt07
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of brywhite
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of Chefmemo72
4.8/5  rDev +12.7%

Photo of dcmchew
4.6/5  rDev +8%

Pitch black, no head whatsoever, but very sticky as you tilt and move it around, really looks like "black oil".
Smell isn't too strong from afar, but it's really nice as you stick your nose in there. Roasted salted toffee, dark roasted malts, nice coffee notes, nice whisky with a mild peaty note, lots of woodiness, faint dark grape and dark chocolate.
Whisky up front from the first sip, with a clearer peat note. There's a small alcoholic pinch, but not boozy. Dark fruity zing also helps balancing things in the start, with nice plum, dark grape, juicy fig. Some caramel, toffee, licorice and vanilla right before the malts peak, with a bit of chocolate, but mostly roast and some nice mild coffee. Finishes with a deeper roast (not huge), some wood (a bit smoked), faint cigar and a surprising herbal hoppy bitterness that manages to bring just a bit more.
Almost flat, but not that thick and sticky. Oily, coating all the palate, but really really easy to drink, and this time it's not a problem, considering the low abv (when confronting other whisky barreled beers, that is). Aftertaste retains some whiskey, some coffee bean, faint peat and a bit of plum.
Really great, a nice complex tasting experience that ends too soon. Expected it to be a bit stronger in aroma and flavor, especially after trying the Old Engine Oils, but what it lacks in strength compensates in complexity.

Photo of ChrisinRI
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of WTKeene
4.27/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of DeanMoriarty
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of GeorgeCarroll
4/5  rDev -6.1%

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
95 out of 100 based on 388 ratings.