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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.

163 Ratings
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 Beejay


4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 51442 Dated: Jan 2009

A: Dark black in the glass. An aggressive pour gives it an almost tapioca tan head. Lots of fish eyes, that gently pop into a thick foam.

S: Molasses and roasted notes come out right away. This smells syrupy with notes of vanilla, and oak. There is a touch of chocolate in there, like a rich creamy cocoa. There is a nice atmospheric smell, and well as a touch of short bread.

T: The first thing I got was a touch of peat. The peat is followed by oak, vanilla, and whisky. The finish is smooth with notes of chocolate, licorice, and peat smoke.

M: Thinner that you would expect, the carbonation is just about right. While the body is thin, it definitely coats your mouth with an almost oily texture. I think this gives it a bit more of a substantial feel to it.

O: Overall this is one damn tasty brew. A lovely balance of beer and wood, with just a touch of peat in it. Delightful.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2011 00:24:19 | More by Beejay
Photo of champ103


4.78/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A huge thanks to Gram for bringing this to a tasting. My all time favorite series.

A: Pour a nearly dark black with some light ruby highlights around the edges. A small bubbly tan head forms on first pour, but recedes to nothing in a second. Not much lace is left behind.
S: Just an awesome aroma of peat, smoke, wood, chocolate, and light coffee. A toffee and vanilla sweetness intermingles with the wood/barrel aromas. Excellent.
T: Again, excellent. Everything is in impeccable balance. Smoke, peat, wood with chocolate, toffee, and vanilla. I can not get enough of this.
M/D: A full body that is low on the carbonation. Though not under carbonated at all. Velvety smooth and just decadent. So enjoyable and easy to drink. I wish the bottle would never end.

There should be no surprise that this is just a world class beer. The barrel aging, texture, and flavors are all perfectly balanced. Which makes for an incredibly enjoyable drink. I don't know if I like this or the 30 better. Both amazing and highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2011 03:04:36 | More by champ103
Photo of JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased in December of 2010 and cellared until August. The 30 came out a bit hot so I gave this one a few months. Handsome bottle with a Harviestoun mouse coin hanging from the nec.

Poured into a goblet, shared with my wife. Nice near black colour, initially looks quite over-carbonated but this doesn't last. A thin tan head, recedes into a fine ring.

Nose is lovely malt with a touch of Orkney scotch. Mild iodine, with nice notes of chocolate, oak and leather. Holds its own well even after about a half hour out of the bottle.

Even more robust than the nose hinted at, Ola Dubh 40 truly is at the top of its class. Rich malt flavor and with a fantastic woodsyness. Peaty, a bit of leather. Finishes with nice bitterness and a touch of chocolate and pepper.

Smooth-bodied, silky and with mild spritzy carbonation. The cellaring did this brew well, a few months in the dark evened things out nicely.

A pleasure to sip, this was a fun brew, especially for a whisky drinker such as myself. Unfortunately, the price tag is pretty steep - buy one, hold on to it, enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 04:19:29 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of ADZA


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 rvdoorn


4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: The beer pours a beautiful dark color, with a fantastic brown head.

Smell: Strong peat, whiskey, coffee, dark fruits (raisin) sweet caramel and roasted malts.

Taste: Very rich, more than the others. Taste a very peaty (smoky), roasted malts, dark roasted coffee, dark fruits and hints of red fruits. Aftertaste is smoked and slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Low-carbonation, medium-body, but very easy to drink

Overall: Fantastic

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2011 20:24:47 | More by rvdoorn
Photo of tmoneyba


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 zaphodchak


4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 52030

Thin tannish head, dark garnet body. Some lacing, but nice surface memory.

Nose is deep, vanilla, rich and oaky. Scotchy, but with an added depth from being beer. Leathery, in the best of ways.

Taste matches the nose-- a malt beverage that tastes like beer which is also Scotch. Oaky, rich-- more vanilla and roasty malt. The taste of luxury.

Nice and smooth, not syrupy at all. Enough body to confirm it is beer.

Quite nice. Frankly the closest to Highland Park 40 that I am likely to get.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2011 01:26:30 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of Cavery


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


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 billzav


5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yet another outstanding offering from the brewery’s Special Reserve series. Jet black in color, 40 has big Scotch whiskey notes in the nose and initial taste, complimented by hints of dark chocolate and sweet malt with a vanilla oakiness at the finish. An extremely well balanced beer, 40 is as rich and smooth as it is complex, and I believe that it’s the best offering in the series.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2011 12:32:32 | More by billzav
Photo of WeedKing4

Ontario (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a white creamy head. Tastes roasty with some whiskey notes coming through the finish. Can definately pick up the whiskey notes more in the 40 year, compared to the 12 and 16. Insanely drinkable. I'd have no problem drinking a lot more of these if it wasn't for the price tag. Delicious beer though.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2011 00:24:35 | More by WeedKing4
Photo of Knapp85


4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I fell in love with this beer the first time I had it a few years ago now I've had the chance of having it again and it still kicks ass. The pour is a great black color with a tan head that leaves a nice ring around the top of the glass. The smell is so awesome, it's got a magical sweet smell. The whiskey wooden smell adds to it. It's hard to really explain but it's great. The beer tastes sweet and with a whiskey back bone. There is some vanilla in there not much chocolate but a little bit and a good amount of smokiness there too. The flavors are strong and very pleasing. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth with some light carbonation. The overall take on this brew is just really good in my opinion. I could drink a lot of this but it's very pricey.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2011 04:51:49 | More by Knapp85
Photo of Patrick999


4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Looks nice and dark in the snifter. Some foam but nothing major.

Lots of whiskey and chocolate in the aroma, more whiskey than chocolate. And not just any whiskey, good whiskey, nice hints of smoky peat.

That's tasty. Not as thick as I seem to remember this the first time I had it....minor weakness. Feels like a lightish Bock on the palate rather than a big whiskey barrel aged beer. You really taste the whiskey, along with some coffee and chocolate.

For what it is, extremely drinkable, but you'd better like Scotch. If not this could be tough sledding.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2011 00:47:28 | More by Patrick999
Photo of 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 mmercede


4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

350ml bottle shared with a friend. Aged about 2 years in the bottle.

A: Pours an opaque black color with amber tones near the edges. Develops a small caramel colored head with some minimal lacing.

S: Smells of typical scotch aromas: honey, peat, oak, leather, and cigar smoke. There is also some mild aromas from the malt. Some dark chocolate and toasted malt.

T: Tastes like some sort of amazing scotch cocktail. Strong honey and smoke notes. A mild hotness with a strong oaky finish. Earthy tones throughout. A nice dark chocolate finish with very little sweetness.

M: Full bodied but not overly thick. Not quite as oily as I expected. The carbonation lasted well and is a perfect amount. Perfect.

O: One of the best barrel aged beers created with one of the best scotch barrels there are. I would definitly be interested to compare the other Ola Dubh Releases. Not a cheap bottle of beer though.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2011 16:31:40 | More by mmercede
Photo of VoiceOfTheSoul


4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

#51155 bottled January '09, drank April '11

A Pitch black oil. Thick as it runs down the glass. It's entirely opaque save the edges when the glass is tilted which lets through dark brown light. There's not very much head, as you might expect from something so thick. When the head formed it was a dark, mocha color, and it was thick. After it dissipates, a lighter ring floats around the edge with some dark, swirling fog on the top.

S It smells like the essence dark beers. It's just full of roasted malts with dark chocolate. It has some smooth nuttiness to it, too. There's definitely some evident whisky leanings, almost brandy with how vinous it smells at times. There's something in there, almost a meat smell, that I can't quite figure out.

T Up front it's sweet and roasted. As it crawls down the palate, it gets more nutty. The whisky comes through strongly in the middle, where it spreads around like wild fire and stays through after the finish. In the finish, it's sweet, vinous and chocolatey. It has such a full flavor and each component gains dominance over the others with every turn.

M It's quite thick. It crawls through the mouth and swirls around like an turbulent ocean of oil. There's a very pleasant whisky burn that hits in a single spot and immediately covers the rest of the mouth. It stays along after the finish to leave a nice tingling for a minute.

O I really enjoyed this. It's a great, thick beer to enjoy slowly with a friend. It's wonderfully complex and full flavored without being overbearing.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2011 19:13:22 | More by VoiceOfTheSoul
Photo of Glory

Quebec (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Also bought at the LCBO in Ottawa a little before Christmas. Its pretty expensive : 25 dollars for the 330 ml... I still bought 2. When it comes to beer I dont really care.
Bottled in August 2010 so one year older than my special reserve 18. I see it makes a big difference.
Poured in my Riedel magnum wine glass next to the 18.
First of all the color of the 40 is more black than brown and I have alot more foam. you can tell there's alot more carbonation in this one, more head, more lacing. Its still pretty opaque though. Proud looking stout !

Smells alot more like roasted barley and chocolate but you get to make the Whiskey connections very easily when you get hints of smoke, vanilla and oak. Notes of fruits as well, ripped grapes and cherries. A sweeter smell than the 18.

At first its a rush of carbonation in your mouth and then flavors of Roasted barley and toffe kicks in. You also taste Vanilla and chocolate. And its a long lasting taste that sticks to the palate.
There is a nice balance between the bitterness and the sweetness which makes this beer very nice and ''easy'' I could drink another one or two.

I noticed that the one year difference between the bottling of my 18 and 40 makes it all worth waiting.
The 40 in this review is a very nice stout once drunk young but aging it a bit give out much more complexe whiskey flavors and a beer of this kind diserves to be appreciated at its best.
Happy I got another waiting in the cellar.

Cheers Lads


Serving type: bottle

03-23-2011 15:36:26 | More by Glory
Photo of Arenbeer


4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle that comes in a small tightly sealed box with info on it. The bottle it self has a nice black foil on it with a small metal Harviestoun Brewery medallion around the neck.

Poured into a Tulip Glass

Bottled January 2009/ Drank January 2011

Bottle #5991

A- Pours a solid jet black with only a small light brown ring around that glass. Like pouring flat coke. Great alcohol feet on the side of the glass when you swirl it, as well as some fine tightly spaced bubbles. Not much carbonation at all.

S- Really strong oak and wood up front with a nice musty note to it that is definitely from the age of the wood. Slight sweet notes in there for sure like vanilla, dark fruits, tobacco, and of course the whiskey. Also a decent old smoke smell to it rather than roasted.

T- Super creamy roasted malts up front that give off a nice strong musty oak and vanilla flavor. Behind that as it starts to go down the beer comes out a bit more with dark fruits, tobacco and some bitter dark chocolate but finish's strong with the whiskey. And surprisingly even as it warms the alcohol and/or heat is non existent. Which is kind of a bummer for me because i feel that would tie it all together and give it a real kick but hey 40 years. I'm sure it's mellowed right out hah.

M- Thick and full bodied with very little carbonation and a nice more wet finish than bitter.

Overall this beer is definitely impressive and well worth the $20.00 I payed for it. But that musty oak flavor has pretty much taken over. Being 2 years old now i think this beer is definitely at it's peak. Not to much whiskey or peat in this one and the complexity is kind of lost compared to what seems that it was fresh.


Serving type: bottle

01-15-2011 04:14:55 | More by Arenbeer
Photo of coldmeat23


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

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees

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 dauss


4.58/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Comes in a box, much like a single malt would be packaged. 12oz. bottle with a black foil top over a Harviestoun Brewery imprinted metal disc hanging by a string. I haven't seen this beer before at a liquor store I frequent. Bottled No. & Date: 50409 JAN2009

Appearance: A tan head struggles to form even with a hard pour. This beer is black, jet black. Even when held up to the light, it is difficult to gauge a color for this beer. Definitely very brown, with a touch of ruby.

Aroma: Upfront hints of oak, caramel, toasted malt, then opens up with a nice alcohol warmth of chocolate, a touch of cardboard and light malt sweetness.

Taste: Upfront malt sweetness. Any sort of hops that might have been in this beer are long gone. Extremely smooth chocolate toffee body with a touch of figs, honey, and peat. Finishes with a oak wood note and hints of whisky.

Mouthfeel: Medium full body with a sweet residual mouthfeel that lingers of more chocolate and peat.

Notes: Carbonation is a little low, I would have liked a touch more effervescence. A sweet desert like beer that would be great as a digestif. No hop characters are left and the beer is full of whisky notes. It was difficult to spend the price they were asking for. This is probably the most expensive bottle of beer(in terms of $/oz.) that I bought at retail, but it is worth trying. It's not as amazing as I thought it would be, but still a very solid beer that I will remember for a long time. Now that the bottle is empty, there is no sediment, indicating that this beer was filtered. I doubt that this beer would improve any more with age.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2010 00:32:51 | More by dauss
Photo of 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 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 DoubleSimcoe

New York

4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Harviestoun Ola Dubh 40 on cask and into a big goblet at Max's Taphouse in Baltimore, Maryland.

Appearance: A tanned brownish head, quite fluffy and carbonated, lingers. No lacing or carbonation, though. Beautiful jet-black pour, good consistency. Thinner than the draft version of at least one other Harviestoun beer I've had (18 year) but better and more enjoyable overall.

Smell: Sweet malts, creamy dark chocolate. Crystallized sugars. Like a liquid dessert. Bourbon barrel and some alcohol.

Taste: Smoke upfront. Then bourbon (whiskey, I guess, but I have never had a "real" British/Scottish/Irish whiskey). Oak and some distant vanilla from faraway lands. I ought to rate this as exceptional. There is almost nothing like it.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium body, full flavor. No carbonation, more like a bourbon, but fine (not like some old ales that are flat and just plain odd). Beautiful overall, smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: Good for an 8% beer with lots of whiskey and cask aromas. It hits after a while, but it drinks really good. Well balanced.

I will seek this again, despite the $8-$9 tag.


Serving type: cask

11-16-2010 04:54:37 | More by DoubleSimcoe
Photo of Thorpe429


4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours black with no head or lacing. Nice pitch black color. The nose is really complex and intriguing with whiskey, oak, light vanilla, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and a bit of alcohol. The taste is a bit overly boozy but still quite nice with a lot of whisky and chocolate. The booze fits well in the feel as it's interspersed throughout and finishes nicely. Drinks well; nice sipper.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2010 00:28:49 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of ratedz


4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a deep black into a Boulevard chalice. A very thin head faded quickly and left behind very little lacing.

A quick sniff reveals the scotch whisky, oak, vanilla, and maybe a little chocolate. I was expecting the whisky smell to be really strong on this one, but it seems to be blended very well.

Initial tastes are a little smokiness and some bitter chocolates. As you swallow, the warmth of the whisky starts to take over. As with the smell, the taste isn't nearly as strong on the whisky as I was expecting.

Very smooth mouth feel. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated and the whisky flavor takes over as you let it sit in your mouth.

Since the alcohol wasn't as overpowering as it is in some other barrel aged beers, I thought this was fairly drinkable. It is slightly hot and therefore a sipping beer...I enjoyed the bottle over about a 45 minute time frame. The price obviously limits this from being a beer you'd want to consume multiple bottles of in one sitting, but it is a fantastic beer to sit down with on a cool fall evening!

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2010 01:07:55 | More by ratedz
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95 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.