Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
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Ratings: 164 | Reviews: 110 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by kkipple:
4.68/5 rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
**from extensive notes**
On draft, out of a cask! at the world-class Brick Store Pub's 14th Anniversary party, where the hits just kept on coming. I should note that this was the second-best beer of the day for me, and we were there for over 10 hours. Allagash Little Big Beer being the winner.
A. Served in the Ola Dubh goblet, which itself is a thing of beauty. Olda Dubh 40 is a gorgeous ying / yang of inky darkness and dense, dark tan foam that provides zero lace, yet never falters over the age this took to drink. The ale is still, there are no bubbles to be seen. Imposing, for sure.
S. Magnificent. One could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, this really didn't start to get interesting till it was nearly room temperature. Once it is, the nose can stand against nearly any other barrel aged beer in existence. The aroma is heavy, sweet, complex and smoky, extremely dense and complementary. Smoked pork and a fascinating, 'sea breeze' mellow Scotch are all here, sweet and alluring, blended and lush. There is zero sharpness here, just soft layers of heavy black delight. No improvement possible.
T. The flavor on display is only slightly less impressive. To put it bluntly, this is really for people who appreciate whiskey, and Scotch in particular. It's a mature, comprehensive, contemplative beer, and one that demands attention and slow savoring. Sweet, first, and heavy; everything here is roasted. A hint of barrel-sour falls into an earthy, salty, oily well. Again, nothing here is sharp or even bold.
M / O. Earthy and damp, the finish is wonderfully long and meandering. Lower carbonation (cask, remember) emphasizes just how dense and hearty this beer is. Simply delightful, but I feel like you have to have facial hair to fully appreciate this.
Bottom line: This is the most mellow and challenging of the Ola Dubh lineup, and in my opinion the best. I'm sure the cask presentation adds to the allure. Now with two weeks left in the year, this remains as one of the very best beers I've had in 2011. I do hope to have it again, but I'm willing to wait as the beer did for me.
A quick word on price: yes, this can be silly expensive in the bottle, you may end up paying over $20 for it. Is it that much better than the 12 year (which I rated a 4.4)? For some of you, it will be. If you have a whiskey-tooth and give this one the time and attention it deserves, it's worth the cash.
Serving type: cask
12-21-2011 02:41:43 | More by kkipple
More User Reviews:
4.51/5 rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5
Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a snifter. This was bottled in January 2009, so has nearly 5 years of age since bottling. Bottle #51952.
Appearance: Pours black and leaves about a half finger of tan head which fades away relatively quickly to a rim around the glass.
Smell: Roasted malts, peat, big fudge, coffee, whiskey, oak, lots of dark fruits: plums, raisins, figs. Well balanced aroma with a lot of good flavors.
Taste: The taste is a bit milder than the aroma. Light fudge, roasted malts, mild whiskey, plums, figs, finishes with oak. Really mellow flavor - I bet the time in the bottle did this. Mild, tasty, smooth.
Mouth-feel: Really low carbonation, but some. Actually a surprisingly light to medium body (for the style, this is surprising). Finishes super smooth.
Overall: Very mellow old ale with really well balanced, pleasant flavors. The ABV is all but hidden. Everything in here is wonderful, and it is a real easy drinker. Definitely recommended if you can find it.
Serving type: bottle
11-26-2013 23:25:39 | More by Resuin
4.26/5 rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
Jan 2009 bottling, coming up on 5 years old.
A: Pitch black pour with a small, dense medium brown head. Head fades slowly with great retention. Zero lacing.
S: Big peat and caramel notes. Hints of smoke when swirled, very mild though. Nice sweet chocolate backing everything up.
T: Peaty with lots of caramel up front. Vanilla too. Lightest hint of smoke mixing with lots of chocolate in the middle and finish. Spicy on the back end with more hints of peat and oaky vanilla. Kind of a chewy caramel lingering between sips.
M: Medium-heavy with a nice viscous, syrupy mouthfeel.
O: Hmph. I've had all of the Ola Dubh brews and I found them all to be surprisingly different. I didn't like the 30 very much but I liked the 18. The 12 was a little too mild on the barrel aging. This one is pretty damn close to "just right" along with the 18. This one is more complex though. Nice balance of flavors too. Really nice.
Serving type: bottle
09-11-2013 01:55:43 | More by Dope
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
95 out of 100 based on 164 ratings.