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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

163 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 163
Reviews: 110
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.05%


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: Nickls on 01-29-2009)
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Ratings: 163 | Reviews: 110 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Cavery
Cavery

California

2.73/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle shared with Klym, poured into Stone Nonic.

A: Consistent darkness in the glass with some sticky medium-small bubble head (with a violent pour) at about 1 finger. Sticky cobweb lacing that really has a grasp on the side of the glass; quite solid for a barrel aged offering. Everlasting rings of off white bubbles remain consistent with all other olah dubh offerings. A woody brown film remains for days atop the black body.

S: Sweet notes of dried indian corn really wear heavy on the front of the nose. Whiskey dominates with a surprising lacking of alcohol (just like dubh 30). A really forward theme of sweetness welcomes sugary barbecue marinades and dry rubs. A liquid concoction of smokey assortments lay mysteriously in the background. I can't pick out any specifics, there really is just a theme of sweet, dried, and slow roast. I almost want to say pork-belly like in character; minus the typical boldness associated with it.

T: I can't quite describe the flavor, but my impulse is to say barrel-aged grease. A really dry woody animal fat aspect to this beer that really just falls short. Instead of being buttery and delicious, it's really just like the runoff grease of a great piece of meat. There's characters of whiskey kissed woods and well-cooked meats; but the actual quality of the tastes is lost in angelshare. I really can't pick out flavors, and there really isn't much complexity beyond the animal fat sensation. As the beer warmed I definitely started to note an almost fishy oilness to the beer. Dark berries lose their luster in an overly subdued barrel.

M: A light and refined mouth that is a disappointing tease to the overall lack of flavor. It's like getting a fancy silver platter without any food on it. It is just a bit of a detail that adds to the taste-depression this beer has put me in. The angels took all their goodies away. The lighter body really makes me think something has gone fishy in this barrel-aged offering; really quite a shame.

O: Between this and my review of OD 30, I think this bottle may in fact be compromised. The flavors are so lackluster that I can't help but feel I am not having the same bottle as a great deal of reviewers on this site. That said, The flavor characters remain in tact, but they are just so mellow and two-tone. Yes there is sweetness, and yes there is the barrel wood; but dare I ask, where is the flavor? Fruits make appearances like apparitions in a long since abandoned home, and I would like nothing more than than to revitalize their home. Phantom flavors don't belong in barrels, which makes me believe the bottle may be compromised to the point that I question even doing this review. However, considering the fact that I have reviewed the prior beers in a horizontal, I feel obligated to put it here. Please let me know I am wrong in saying this beer is bringing open handed-slaps to a boxing match. Hit me with flavor, don't leave me wanting.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2011 00:33:27 | More by Cavery
Photo of Klym
Klym

California

2.8/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a stone nonic. Shared with Cavery.

A: Much like 30, pours a darkest of dates with a deep black and translucent brown edges. A small town head with maybe a little better lacing than some of the others in the special reserve series.

S: Hickory jumps out of this one with a woody backing and some small caramel/vanilla/toffee notes. Whiskey is less apparent in this than it was in 30 or I remember it in the others I've tried from the series but we'll see what the taste says about that.

T: Hmm, not really what I was expecting. Some hickory hit in the beginning with caramel/toffee/vanilla, but as I drink it down I get a very fresh woody taste that is actually kind of repulsive on the back of my tongue and it lingers on the top of my mouth and down my throat. Flavors seem really tame, even empty, in this and I don't get any of the barrel aging unless it's that wood.

M: Carbonation is well-lasting in this but this one comes off as watery for me. I was hoping for something creamier by the nose but it is what it is.

O: This one actually has me kind of shocked. I'm not sure if it's something wrong with this particular bottle but this was not really an enjoyable drink. After having had 12, 16, 30 and 40, I would say (surprising to me and it seems contrary to most reviewers) 12 and 16 were the best with 12 really standing out to me. 12 was something in the realm of exceptional, worth seeking out, 16 I don't remember as well but I remember thinking it was in the ball park of 12, 30 was kind of a disappointment but had its good points, and this 40 was just pretty bad. Again, not sure what to say, maybe something is up with my bottle but I wouldn't drink this again-- not even sure if I want to finish my glass.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2011 00:23:26 | More by Klym
Photo of TheKingsOfHop
TheKingsOfHop

Massachusetts

3.23/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2oz bottle #56295 poured into tulip shaped glasses:

A: A murky black body with a chocolate milk shake looking head. This bubbly foam leaves a spotted lacing on the sides of the glass, while leaving no head retention.

S: Filled with dark fruits like raisins, figs, dates, and unripened plums. There is a strong whiskey aroma with a nice maple wood finish.

T: When the ale first hits your tongue there's not much going on until it reaches about three quarters of the way down the palate. At this point there's a smokey burnt toast, tobacco flavor that is followed by whiskey, and disappointment. Not as many complexities as we expected from an ale aged in forty year old Highland Whiskey barrels.

M: Watery up front, medium body on the back. Zero carbonation.

D: For such a high price item we are glad we decided to split this 11.2oz bottle. Probably won't be purchasing this again.

Cheers,
The Kings Of Hops

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2009 04:17:31 | More by TheKingsOfHop
Photo of BARFLYB
BARFLYB

Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz expensive ass bottle into a snifter with oglmcdgl, bottle number 56028.

A- Ola Dubh 40 is black, it's not jet black, but it's pretty dark. Just a small whispy small tannish cap on top with some very light lacing. The liquid does not look as thick as other versions.

S- Whiskey, and alot of it. All I can smell is the Kentucky elixer for a while before some warming brings out some smoke/peat with minimal chocolate. A good amount of roasted malt. A whiskey bomb in it's own right.

T- Yep, pretty much a whiskey bomb. It takes up about 80% of the taste while the remaining 20% is made up of all the other smells that I mentioned above. Tastes like it smells.

M- The 40 year old version seems to have a thinner body than other versions, or maybe it's just the 40 year whiskey barrel that just comes out with vigor. Either way this feels a few steps above medium bodied with a light and almost non existant carbonation. It's a bit hot on the mouth and not all to coating.

D- Im glad I split this bottle because I did not dig the huge whiskey tastes. No way I could enjoy a whole bottle of this to the head. I really enjoyed the lighter versions of this (12, 16) but this is a bit too much for me. Perhaps a few years of aging will tone down the whisk, but that's what this beer is all about, so I'll just pass this one on the shelves forever now, no need for a redo.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2010 18:04:01 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of coldmeat23
coldmeat23

Oklahoma

3.3/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
BOTTLE NUMBER & DATE: 50825 / JAN2009

This is a deep, dark, chocolate brown color with some ruby highlighting. The head resembles the color of a mochaccino. It forms to almost a finger thick, then recedes to a surface covering film. It provides some nice, though spotty, lacing.

Tons of oak are the first thing that I get. There is a light touch of dirt/dust scent. Good dose of peat. Roasted chocolate maltiness. Light traces of dark fruit sweetness. Mild hint of vanilla.

This follows the nose quite well. It's surprising to me, because I expected more of a peat presence in this one. It's totally dominated by the oak though. So much so that it's hard to find anything else, other than an occasional hint.
Kind of disappointing. Perhaps it's just past it's peak.

It's full-bodied and has a mild level of carbonation. Smooth and almost silky. No creaminess at all.

This is my least liked of the series, yet. I'd be willing to try this again, but will not actively seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 23:10:32 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of DavoleBomb
DavoleBomb

Ohio

3.38/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. Bottle #55737, bottled January 2009. I looked up how much the 30 year whiskey costs and the cheapest was just north of $300. The 40 year is just a fraction more at over $1,200 per bottle. And to think I thought this bottle of beer was expensive at $16.99.

3.0 A: Black color. Just about a finger of frothy light brown head. Retention is subpar and one lone, patch of lacing is left.

4.0 S: The 30 year Ola Dubh I had recently was from 07. I'm glad this one is from 09. The whiskey is more powerful. The base beer itself offers little aside from a roastiness and a bit of chocolate. The whiskey is where it's at. The 40 year is decidedly more earthy and "wild" than the 30 year. Mountain stream, ash, peat, mineral. There's also light amounts of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and oak. Really well integrated, but I think I liked the nose on the 30 a bit better. Still, this Highland Park stuff seems legit.

3.5 T: The base is again MIA save for some roastiness. The whiskey tastes like it smells, but could use a bit of power. Fresh running forest stream, ash, peat, mineral again. Coffee and chocolate gain some strength while the vanilla and oak stay in the shadows. Easily the most earthy whiskey I've experienced (most of which have been through beer). While this is tasty, both the base beer and the whiskey need some more strength for this to break past a 3.5.

2.5 M: Light to lighter medium body. Carbonation is a touch lower than what I'd like. Missing all creaminess for the most part.

3.0 D: Normally I'd give this a 3.5 out of general good will, but I can't since this is so goddamn expensive. It's not a bad beer, but it has plenty of flaws and the mouthfeel sucks.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2012 22:24:37 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of ADZA
ADZA

Australia

3.5/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle number 05777 and pours a thick black used engine oil hue which leaves a half finger head that quickly recedes and leaves little sporadic lacing,the smell is strong peated malts,smokey whiskey and a touch of oak,the mouthfeel feels more like a whiskey than a beer to me and is medium bodied and the taste is quite the same with hints of smokey whiskey,peated malts,oak,dark berries,a touch dark coffee and finished with twist of black cherries and dark bittersweet chocolate and overall out of all the versions i have had of this drop in different aged whiskey casks this is by far my least favourite as i think the whiskey really does overtake the nice characteristics that this brew does posess and its a little one sided for me cheers.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2011 09:59:30 | More by ADZA
Photo of paxkey
paxkey

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

unusual metal trinket hangs from neck of bottle tied on by a string. the beer comes packaged in a brown box and when i first picked it up at the store i thought the bottle was broken inside from the clinking noise of the metal against glass.

looks like coca cola in the glass. no head.

smells nice. raisin and dark fruit. very complex nose. sweet smells compete with alcohol and wood grain. also getting some vanilla aroma.

sharp carbonation with lots of alcohol taste but a very nice finish. leaves a great flavor in the mouth that makes you want to savour until the next taste.

a little too much alcohol taste. the finish makes up for this as you forget the alcohol taste and are left with only sweet remnants of the sip.

a fine aged sipping beer, the alcohol taste and the high price tag makes me question whether i would seek this out again.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2010 23:02:38 | More by paxkey
Photo of MeisterBurger
MeisterBurger

Ontario (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle #01166. Reviewed about an hour after having an Ola Dubh 12.

Pours as black as coal with a thin cap that dies down to a collar. Slight lacing.

Smells like raisins/black fruits, chocolate, and alcohol with light notes of oak and vanilla.

Tastes a lot more like whiskey than the Ola Dubh 12 and it kind of takes a few sips for the flavor to get going. Notes of charred wood and syrupy dark fruit...and...

I don't know.

The barrel conditioning on this one has much more of an effect on the base beer and gives it a lot more oak and whiskey character than the 12 and seems to remove a lot of the depth, fruitiness and complexity and replace them with whiskey and booze. I probably like the 12 better for that reason.

Not a ton of carbonation.

Drinkability...well...no. Not for $18.40. I could get three Ola Dubh 12s for less than that and I'd enjoy them just a little bit more. Really, I understand and appreciate why this costs as much as it does. I just don't think there's enough of a payoff in the flavor to warrant spending that much.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2009 01:48:08 | More by MeisterBurger
Photo of TheBeerologist
TheBeerologist

Rhode Island

3.63/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Tasting notes from 8/10/12

Shared a 11.2 oz bottle with a friend - poured into a Jackie O's munich glass

Pours a dark brown with a thin beige head

Smells of oak, vanilla and a bit of smokiness

This tasted of oak and smokey peat with a bit of vanilla. Beyond the Scotch there was very little here, not much from the base beer at all

Light mouthfeel with moderate carbonation - much thinner than expected though

Overall I was hapy to give this a try but would be hard pressed to spend $20 on an 11.2oz bottle again - I will be trying at least the 18 and 30 in due time though

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2012 01:06:13 | More by TheBeerologist
Photo of AgentMunky
AgentMunky

California

3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 33cL bottle into an Ommegang glass. From notes. Reviewed 9 July 2011.

A: No head. Very dark. Opaque with mid-dark edges clinging to the side of the glass.

S: Bourbony -- vanilla and wood-aged oaky excellence. It doesn't get much better than this in the nose. Sherry casked scotch? Tobacco (or something else)? So damn good.

T: Huh. Not that great. The endtaste is quite sweet, with a winey-round maintaste. Leathery? There is a huge amount of flavour in the taste, but it's not always very directed.

M: Really smooth, sweet, and nice.

O: Goodish, but not worth the price jump. Would I recommend it? No. Would I drink it again if offered? Hell yes.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 07:18:49 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

3.73/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Grabbed a bottle of this at the Pizza Port bottle shop in Carlsbad last Sunday, split later that day with HopHead84 while trying to pacify his maniacal dog.

Pours a dark chestnut brown, black and opaque in the snifter, with a dark brown head that quickly settles to a disc. Aromas of baking chocolate, smoke and peat are most prominent. There's a hint of heat from the Scotch barrel. The taste closely resembles the aroma, with baking chocolate and smoke up front, followed by subtle peat. The beer is medium-bodied and dry. The barrel character is well-integrated but quite dominant; a bolder base beer may have been better suited for Scotch barrels. Good stuff all the same.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2009 17:57:14 | More by largadeer
Photo of charlzm
charlzm

California

3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Consumed 07/13/09. Served at 54 degrees F in a Triple Petrus snifter. Bottle 56443, bottled in January, 2009.

Beer pours a clear, very deep caramel brown. Almost opaque, until held to light. A one-finger head forms then disappears completely. Some active carbonation from nucleation point in bottom of glass.

Aroma is, at first, all peaty scotch. After some warming and time, sweet notes emerge.

Flavor is marked by a salty peat character and a hint of sourness. Some sweet malts fleetingly emerge before scotch flavor asserts itself. Some smokiness on finish. Slightly dry.

At an ABV of "only" 8%, this is still a sipper. Thought the bottle has only 11.2 ounces, it feels about right for a solo drinker; this brew seems heavier than it ought to.

Not my favorite of the Ola Dubh series.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2009 03:39:27 | More by charlzm
Photo of bamadog
bamadog

Kentucky

3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to my buddy Ross for sharing this at a recent dinner and tasting. Pour is from the bottle to a pint glass and the review is from notes taken on 3/1/2010.

Appearance: Pour is pitch black and completely opaque; no head to speak of, but there is a solid tan ring and a faint skim on the surface; body is pretty thick; no lacing to speak of.

Smell: Chewy caramel malts with hints of chocolate and toffee; smokey peat and woodiness that is well-blended in the nose; faint whiff of alcohol is present but not especially potent.

Taste: There's a lot going on here -- first and foremost is the smokey peat and woodiness; there is a bit of a salty/meaty aspect to it as well (is the infamous umami I've read so much about?); underneath is the caramel and toffee/chocolate flavors but they're buried in there; definite presence of whiskey at the end that becomes much more prominent as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Viscous, but not "thick" like some other old ales (Old Stock and Adam come to mind); leaves a thin coating over the roof of the mouth; carbonation is light and minimal, yet present and the body is still pretty smooth going down.

Drinkability: Moderate at best -- the extreme smokey and "meatiness" really isn't my thing (not that I don't mind smoke as an aspect to a beer, but I feel it's a bit overdone here); I did enjoy this beer, but at $18 a bottle and at 8%, drinking too much would certainly be out of the question for me.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2010 00:30:07 | More by bamadog
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for sharing this, Chris. Consumed on the night of 11/08/2009 and poured into a snifter. The beer is black when held to the light. The head is dark brown and an inch high.

The nose is mellow, but excellent. Chocolate is present with a moderate roast. Notes of peat and smoke are at a moderate level. Alcohol heat is noticeable, but it is inoffensive and blends nicely with the peaty scotch notes. Nice and mellow nose. Peat blends nicely with the smoke and the mild stout.

The flavor is similar to the nose but mellower. It's light roast with some wood notes, moderate peat, and smoke. Chocolate is present and the beer is slightly bitter. I'm surprised to find the alcohol well hidden in the flavor, after its potency in the nose. All around a dry and very mellow stout with prominent single malt characteristics.

Low carbonation and a slightly thin mouthfeel. Damn drinkable beer. After a weekend of IPAs this is refreshing on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2009 08:21:17 | More by HopHead84
Photo of tbeckett
tbeckett

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared with my Girlfriend during an Ola Dubh tasting. From ntoes.

A - Black pour with a 3 finger mocha head that seems quite creamy. Mild visible carbonation, nice lacing and great retention.

S - Mild aroma, alcohol, vanilla, and roasted malt.

T - Oakiest of the series it seems. Tobacco, ash, sweet notes in the form of vanilla bean I think.

M - Medium carbonation, full body, dry finish.

O/D - Not bad. A little too oaky for me but it was still a good beer. One of the best of the series of course but the price tag is rough on the wallet. Worth a shot though, you won't be disapointed.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2011 14:10:07 | More by tbeckett
Photo of bobhits
bobhits

Kentucky

3.83/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark yet weak body. Relatively flat with mild carbonation.

Caramel, oak, slight smoke and a hint of peat.

Caramel, smoke, peat, with a floral hop finish. A bit of chocolate and molasses as well. A very light and understated beer, doesn't have the power one expects from a beer that costs this much, but at the same time inviting and lingering.

A bit of a bit from alcohol or something. Very very light carbonation and low body.

I can't recall the other versions of this well so I can't comment on how this varies. A mild body and unique mix of caramel and scotch notes makes this very exciting.

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2013 04:41:04 | More by bobhits
Photo of mikeyv35
mikeyv35

New York

3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2009 Vintage
11.2oz. Bottle #48733 into Gulden Draak Tulip

This brew pours black as night (looked more stout than old ale) w/ a thin tan head. Beautiful lacing that continued to hang on the glass throughout the sampling. The nose on this one was of strong chocolate and roasted espresso beans up front w/ oak, light scotch, and vanilla pipe tobacco in the background. Taste was pretty much on point w/ the nose, with the addition of burnt toffee, woodiness, and a slight alcohol warmth on the finish. Medium bodied - kinda slick on the tongue, and leaves dry and clean. This was an enjoyable offering, but this is more scotch than beer in my opinion, which takes away from it's drinkability. Definate sipper. Not that it matters to the review, but this one is extremely pricey @ $19.99/11.2oz. bottle. Overall, not amazing, but nice and would sample again anytime.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2009 01:46:59 | More by mikeyv35
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with no head. Like a cask in a bottle, but there is some carbonation. A sipper, with whiskey, dark fruit even imperial stout characteristics with a tad of roast and chocolate. Richness in taste, above average mouthfeel. Some sweetness helped. Have with a full meal.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2009 23:40:35 | More by Sammy
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jwc215

Wisconsin

3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle no. 48684 - Bottled in January 2009 -

Pours very dark brown to black with a fading light brown head that becomes a thick ring.

The smell is of vanilla/oak with chocolate, some smoke and a hint of anise.

The taste of whisky blends with chocolate - less woody and more whiskyish than I remember the others being (esp. the 18, which I had shortly before this one). Sweet with some woody and peat smoke dryness in the finish.

Hits full-body with light-to-medium carbonation.

Potent - whisky sharpness shows on this one. It has a dark malty, lightly smoked character along with the wood/whisky barrel character. Very nice, though not worth the $20 an 11.2 oz. bottle for this one, IMO.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2009 02:15:14 | More by jwc215
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

-Ale matured in 40 yr. Old Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whiskey casks.

A: Rich nestle chocolate on the pour is opaque in the glass with a bubbly 1 finger nutmeg colored head that is quick to dissipate. Standard issue representation.

S: Heavy on the scotch, perhaps a bit to much so, hides most of the rich dark roasted nature. With so much scotch hard to pick up on anything else.

T: The flavor continues the trend of the heavy hand of scotch presence. Really boozy upfront but the dark roasted nature is more evident here, very smooth in character and flavor after you get the initial scotch shock. Bitter bakers chocolate, fresh roast coffee line up for the finish.

M: The mouthful was very silky, incredibly fluid and viscose, with no sense of carbonation.

D: Very smooth flavor wise, nice sense of dark roasted malt but the scotch soaked cask notes were a bit much. I like some cask presence but the scotch notes were to a point where it overtook the general character of the beer which I could of achieved by grabbing some cheap scotch and watered it down. A slow moderate sipper at room temp, the lesser 16 came off much better and would recommend that instead.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2010 00:01:40 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of cratez
cratez

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle from the LCBO. Pours pitch black with a thin cap of tan head and dots of lacing on the snifter. Aroma is oak barrel, whisky, almonds, sweet dark fruit, and herbal English hops. A bit creamy. Taste is chocolate and roasted malts, woody and bitter, some liquor, raisins, a little hop spice, and a toasted, flaked oat finish, very dry and chalky. As the beer warms it becomes more vinous and fruity, but its not as bold, flavourful, or complex as I expected. I let it sit for 45 minutes before drinking, so the temperature can't be a problem. Mouthfeel is velvety, slick, oily, parched and oaky aftertaste, a tad boozy. Overall, this is a damn fine ale, with most of the technical elements that define the style, yet the taste underwhelms, and I don't love it like I thought I would.

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2010 05:15:26 | More by cratez
Photo of oglmcdgl
oglmcdgl

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle # 56028 split with onix1agr on the late and poured into snifters.

A- a small cap of mocha colored head from a stiff pour that settles quickly to a few gossamer wisps and a faint ring. Black in color with a mahogany glow at the edges.

S- whiskey out front with espresso and cocoa powder. Smoke and chared wood. A hint of tobacco.

T- whiskey and smokey wood with dark roasted almost burnt coffee. Dark chocolate and molasses. Earth and peat.

M- somewhere between medium and full bodied with a light carb. Dry tannic finish.

D- this is a whiskey bomb but if you like deep complex whiskey flavor this is a brew for you. I find its depth a bit of a handful and I love my spirits.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2010 03:20:46 | More by oglmcdgl
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tmoneyba

Ohio

4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured black color with a minimal brown creamy head that mostly diminished with good lacing. Heavy aroma of caramel, woody and toasted malt. Medium to full body with smooth texture and flat carbonation . Same as the other two, medium to heavy dark woody bourbon flavor with a medium to heavy smoked sweet whiskey finish of moderate duration. My expectations were met with a complex smooth brew.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2011 01:06:03 | More by tmoneyba
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ola Dubh 40 emerges from the practically ancient barrel black as night with no room for highlights what so ever. As for carbonation, that train obviously left the station long ago. The liquid is flat and no amount of swirling can bring back what extended barrel aging and nearly three years in the bottle undid. So what, it still looks great.

The beer itself may only be 8% but it's absorbed enough alcohol to make one dizzy. The other side of that, of course, is that the depth in the aroma seems to be endless. It's not so great as to be inappreciable by human noses, mind you, but it packs plenty of black licorice, smooth spice, smoke, and macerated coffee beans.

The brewery figured I'd have until April of 2012 to enjoy this beer at peak performance, but I've got to believe that it's best days are already behind it. A lot of its roasty, stout-like flavours are diminished and the whiskey notes aren't as prevalent as they are in the other offerings. Unlike HP 40, this one won't hold up indefinitely.

There are common threads that run through every beer in this series. All share, to one degree or another, the taste of scorched earth and peat, oceanside brine, heather and earthy honey, but Ola Dubh 40 has much more smoky wood character. It brings the barrel right into your living room, but tempers it into a silken texture.

After trying every other offering in the series, I wasn't convinced that the more expensive bottles were more complex beers. Ola Dubh 40 was the first $20 beer that I wondered, not if I would be worthy of it, but whether it would be worthy of me. Turns out, I prefer the 16, 18, and 30. If I buy another Ola Dubh, it won't be this one.

Serving type: bottle

10-07-2011 02:59:54 | More by biegaman
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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
95 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.