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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40

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

172 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 172
Reviews: 111
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.05%
Wants: 73
Gots: 29 | FT: 2
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 172 | Reviews: 111 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheBeerologist
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

Photo of JBarx
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of tclapper
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of kayrex
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of Mag00n
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of DavoleBomb
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.

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

A - Jet black and viscous, pour creates a tan bubbly head which drops to a thin creamy skin and then nothing (within about 30 seconds). A few strands of lacing.

S - Roasted malt, oak, smoke, chocolate, prune and scotch. Reasonably boozy aroma for the abv.

T - Sweet, smoky and roasted. Slightly woody with the dark fruits and chocolate flavours. Scotch is prominent.

M - Full syrupy, gloopy body with moderate carbonation. Superb to roll around on the tongue.

O - Really enjoyed this. For $20 a bottle it would want to be a standout, but I wasn't let down.

Photo of AgentMunky
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.

Photo of eawolff99
3.25/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of joshodonn
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of OSUBeerStudent
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

August 2010 bottle date into a snifter. Glad to get this one - still need a couple to try the complete collection, but I'll gladly skip the 18/30 for this.

A - Opaque, creamy brown/black. Fairly dense mocha head on pouring that sticks around a good bit. This gets the extra score over the others because it's persistent.

S - A very clean, woody, dark fruit and malt. The peat is definitely in the background here, letting the malt and wood itself take over. This is more on the roasty side than sweet for sure - the whisky is very much on the back, binding it all together.

T - molasses and dark fruit lead off with a bit of the wood from the barrel. The fruit feeds directly into the wood and whisky, which has a delightful but fairly subtle peat flavor. The finish is surprisingly dry and woody given the rest of it. Just excellent flavor here. I feel like this version shows off the base beer more than the others I've had, which is a definite positive in my mind. Really delicious beer.

M - Here's the real problem with this one. The carbonation is very (too) high. It's fizzy. The feel on the others was great, but this one is not. Very sad - makes it a bit harder to drink it, while the other components make it really good.

Overall this one was great. Not good, but great. The taste was fantastic, smell was great, appearance was fantastic, but the mouthfeel was a noticeable flaw. Besides that, though, this was definitely a beer to seek out. Even with the very high price (think I paid around $18 for an 11.2oz) I would definitely buy this beer again. Yet more incentive to finish the available ones.

Photo of Snowrs
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Photo of YalovaIA
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Hard2Guard908
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of Tyrawlings
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Pencible
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Photo of jbonapar
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased in Halfiax NS, Canada.

Never knew this existed!

Poured a BLACK creamy thickness with a Thick coal colored head. Wow.

SMell is Oak. Whiskey. Vanilla. Slightly smokey and peaty.

Taste is dam fine. An oaky-sweetness hits the palate but quickly the sweetness fades and a strong spiciness takes over. The oak stays but then the bitterness comes in and is strong at the end...As the bitterness fades, the oak comes back.

What a fantastic beer. Complex, different and unique.

Worth trying for sure if you can find it.

Photo of JGuill
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -6.5%

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

11.2oz bottle, served in a small tulip

A - pours with a short lived finger of creamy yet loose, light khaki foam which settles to a thin film, leaving some lacing behind. the beer is mostly black, letting in a faint amount of light around the edges.

S - whiskey on the forefront, yet doesnt overpower scents of sweet caramel, raisin, vanilla, and faint minerals. warming opens up hints of oak, earthy smoke.

T - semi-sweet off the bat: caramel, light milk chocolate, and vanilla. turns to some faint earthy hops, slightly oxidized with bits of dark fruit and sherry. whiskey is present but dances in the background, finishing with a flash of alcohol and oak. smoke develops nicely as it warms to room temperature.

M - medium body alongside some moderate carbonation. after settling for a few minutes, body becomes a little richer with a syrup like quality that lingers after the swallow. alcohol burn is at a minimum, this one finishes fairly clean with some lingering vanilla sweetness.

O - yummy old ale here, whiskey aging (narrowly) adds another dimension. falls a bit short of being elite due to a somewhat lacking mouthfeel, and slightly oxidized taste. wondering if this one isnt best really fresh. would try again.

Photo of ohtheguilt
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of imbuckeye
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

single finger head with some scattered lacing on a jet black body without any light passing through. smokey and confectioners chocolate sweetness to the aroma. Incredibably smooth chocolate, toffee and vanilla flavor. Nicely complex with each flavor standing out. moderate carbonation and full bodied. Overall a very smooth and drinkable beer for its genre. Complex and memorable. An excellent beer though not very much like olde ales I have tried.

Photo of nickfl
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - pours with one finger of medium brown foam on an opaque, black body. The head settles quickly and leaves light lace.

S - chocolate, oak, and dark caramel with a background note of vanilla.

T - bittersweet chocolate and caramel with a transition to toffee and a hint of raisin in the middle. Finishes with smoke, raisins, chocolate, and toffee as well as a lingering vanilla note.

M - medium body, moderately low carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - lots of influence from the barrel, but the caramel and chocolate shine through. There is a but more sweetness than necessary but it is still a very nice beer.

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

Name: Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
Brewery: Harviestoun
Bottled on: January 2009
Purchasing Date: 12/22/11
Purchased From: Vintage Estate (Boardman, Ohio) [$20 a bottle]

Origin: 12 oz bottle
Serving Glass: 22oz Snifter
Serving Temp: 60F

*Tasted this one a while after the Special Reserve 16. Enough time to cleanse my palate.

Appearance: Pitch black body with a resilient mocha, caramel cap. Completely opaque. Wonderful!

Smell: As soon as my nose gets close to my glass, my mouth waters...Incredible. Its so balanced (even more so than the SR16). Deep, melted dark chocolate. Mature Scotch Whiskey. Vanilla. Oak. Slight Saltyness (Ocean mist)? Again, just incredible!

Taste: Complex, not complicated. Everything melds together beautifully. Deep, rich smokiness. The flavor from the scotch is great. Mature and full flavor. Solid malt, vanilla and chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Again Spot on. Low carbonation and viscous.

Overall: While I'm sure others won't agree, I'm giving this a perfect 5/5. This was amazing. While I have not had this brew fresh, three years of aging has done something incredible to this beer. Outstanding, one of my all time favorites, my highest recommendation. Expensive though....

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
95 out of 100 based on 172 ratings.