1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

280 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 280
Reviews: 112
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 24
Gots: 69 | FT: 3
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 280 | Reviews: 112 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Danny1217


4.25/5  rDev +1%

08-25-2014 00:03:04 | More by Danny1217
Photo of Corson

Alberta (Canada)

4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

08-24-2014 21:34:00 | More by Corson
Photo of bobv


4.25/5  rDev +1%

08-20-2014 02:16:29 | More by bobv
Photo of MasterSki

Ontario (Canada)

3.94/5  rDev -6.4%

Bottle from West Lakeview Liquors. Bottle #9500, dated January 2009.

A - A hard pour yields a late-rising crust of dark tan foam and a lighter collar, with perhaps a few lingering wisps on top. Sludgy dark brown body.

S - Big dark fruit and molasses aroma, baker's chocolate, and a touch of vanilla, with light notes of peated whisky. Whatever oxidation has occurred is in line with the original flavor profile of the beer. Quite good.

T - Taste has significantly more char, oak, and peat. Chocolate takes on a darker tinge to it, and there's a malted milk ball and vanilla note in the finish. I wish the Scotch was dialed back about 10%, as the bitter char and peat distracts rather than invigorates. Sweetness comes out a bit as the beer warms up, to its benefit. Lingering notes of soy and whisky in the aftertaste.

M - Low carbonation; cask-like, medium-full body, with a bit of tannin to it. Lingering stickiness on the lips. No appreciable alcohol.

D - Enjoyable, but not terribly different than other beers from this series. I enjoyed the 33cl bottle, but probably wouldn't buy it again at this price point. Still, a good example of successfully integrating Scotch and beer.

08-14-2014 18:30:05 | More by MasterSki
Photo of Robyn

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

08-10-2014 02:12:50 | More by Robyn
Photo of bcm75


4/5  rDev -5%

08-07-2014 23:10:23 | More by bcm75
Photo of Bouleboubier


4.24/5  rDev +0.7%

(purchased at Binny's on Marcey - bottle 03994, date April 2013 - poured into a balloon)

A: finger-width of chocolate milk colored messy suds, drops and breaks apart within a couple minutes... the liquid is pretty damn black, brown edge... messy collar maintains throughout, tiny specks of lace

S: explosive smell!... dark chocolate milk, lightly caramelized wood... nary a hint of alcohol

T: whiskey cask notes jump out up front - a touch of peat smoke, bit of cereal grain, a flash of semi-spicy, dried grassy/floral-ity in the middle... finishes with a flare of whiskey flavor, mild wood tannins, and a micro flash of the alcohol... the core flavor is that of very dark, mildly-bitter chocolate with delicate espresso highlights... sort of black coffee with a sugar realm of moderate sweetness

M: as smooth and a slick as a beer can get for one that doesn't quite feel full-bodied... a flat (as opposed to round) viscosity... very low gas on the outer edges of the tongue... thin film of sugar residue... only a pilot light of afterglow... not quite as lip-smacky, rib-sticky as I hoped

O: I don't know... all of these Ola Dubh's are similar... in memory, this one has the most intense smell of the ones I've had - that translated to the first few sips being superb, but it didn't quite open up and develop like I'd hoped... still, a fantastic dark brew!

08-07-2014 05:16:02 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of eric5bellies


4.25/5  rDev +1%

08-07-2014 04:23:50 | More by eric5bellies
Photo of Woo-Woo-Dogs


5/5  rDev +18.8%

08-06-2014 23:09:21 | More by Woo-Woo-Dogs
Photo of EmperorBevis

United Kingdom (England)

4.25/5  rDev +1%

07-31-2014 23:29:44 | More by EmperorBevis
Photo of MikeKSmith

United Kingdom (England)

4.25/5  rDev +1%

07-31-2014 20:42:15 | More by MikeKSmith
Photo of pjkelley82

New York

4.7/5  rDev +11.6%

Seen it on the shelf alongside the 12, 16, and 30th Aniv. and knew it was something fancy and probably some coin. Looked it up to see what it was, an old ale... well, I happen to love old ales and it got pretty decent ratings. So I bring it up to the counter expecting to put it back because it would be to much money and the guy says it's $10.99.... Ahhh, not too bad I'll take it. Shared this beer with my father-in-laws buddy who is a BMC drinker but loves Ale's and I share with often. What a lucky bastard...

Poured from bottle into mini snifters

A- Dark Black, hint of brown. Small light brown head, left a nice ring that stayed throughout consumption. Thick and light in the glass with a heft amount of legs and a little bit of lacing.

S- Man oh man. Subdued but so rich, Chocolate, wood, figs, plums, bread, whiskey.

T- Wow, it just gets better and better. Even as it warmed and picked up more nuances. Started off with Chocolate and sweet whiskey, led into some tabacco, plums and figs, dark fruit, slight coffee, rich roast and bread. The warmer it got the more the dark fruit came alive while more cchocolate and roast while it was slightly cooler. I can't begin to tell you how easy drinking this was and the flavors were almost hidden, daring you to seek them out. Not in a bad way, but in a whole cow this beer is the truth kind of way.

M- Simply butter. Smooth and silky, Velvety, light and full, semi sticky, enough carbonationto meet your needs. Sublime.

O- The whole time I was saying my weak(as in fairly young and still learning) pallette would appreciate this beer more in 5 years when I can "really" enjoy this. That's how good this beer was. Even for me I found it simply masterfull. Everything balanced and nothing harsh. Great barrel blend, excellent base and smoother than a baby's bottom. We'll worth the price tag and my father-in-laws friend felt the same way. Seek this out. Simply world class with almost everything else looking up at it.

07-28-2014 05:17:00 | More by pjkelley82
Photo of WillCarrera


4.25/5  rDev +1%

07-28-2014 03:54:26 | More by WillCarrera
Photo of Danilo_SP

4.25/5  rDev +1%

07-27-2014 19:11:00 | More by Danilo_SP
Photo of xhuang61

United Kingdom (England)

4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

07-25-2014 22:36:29 | More by xhuang61
Photo of Dentist666

Russian Federation

4.74/5  rDev +12.6%

0,33l bottle. Bottle 08955 from 09/2012
Pours pitch black beer with smooth tan 2-finger head having good retention. Smell of coffee, roasted malts, dark chocolate, wood, slightly whisky.
Viscous, oily and warming beer. Taste of coffee. Complex aftertaste - tobacco, whisky, wet wood. Carbonation is low. Mind-blowing old ale.

07-21-2014 09:57:46 | More by Dentist666
Photo of mille_K

Czech Republic

4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

07-09-2014 20:47:28 | More by mille_K
Photo of humpty1602


4/5  rDev -5%

07-01-2014 10:50:42 | More by humpty1602
Photo of LambicPentameter


4.34/5  rDev +3.1%

Reviewing from notes after drinking on 4/11/14. Enjoyed out of a 330 mL bottle with a black foil sleeve around the neck and cap. The label reads that it was bottled in February of 201?--unfortunately, the final digit has been obfuscated by the label being slightly ripped. That said, based on where I bought this bottle, I'm going to take a wild guess that this is a 2013 bottle, rather than a 2014 bottling. But really, who knows? Poured into a large snifter style glass.

Appearance - Definitely imparts the appearance of the base beer's name--engine oil--but the kind that you remove from your engine, rather than put in. Dark brown that looks black in the glass. I only know it's brown based on the coffee coloring that I can see in the stream of liquid as I pour it into the glass. An aggressive pour yields just a bit of head--a half finger at best of mocha colored suds that dissipate to a ringlet around the edge of the glass and a swirly film across the top. Lacing is nonexistent.

Smell - Wonderful blend of aromas, with notes of dried dark fruits like dates and figs combining with sweeter elements of salted caramel and molasses. There is also a fair amount of subtle bitterness that takes the form of baker's chocolate and roasted malts. Behind the sweet and bitter components, there is a more peaty characteristic, with some leather and light smoke--but nothing even close to approaching what you'd expect from a smoked beer. Just some wisps of char and spice.

Taste - Continuing where the aroma left off, the taste brings in notes of dark caramel, bittersweet chocolate, more dark fruits, and smoke. The molasses and toffee are still there, and I'm a little surprised at just how sweet it is, though I suppose I shouldn't be, based on the aroma and flavor profiles that are working together here. Some strong impressions of port wine come through on the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-to-full bodied, with low carbonation and a viscous feel on the tongue. Lingering sweetness is the predominant aftertaste.

Overall, just a fantastic beer, especially for those who like scotch and sweeter beer offerings that lean towards the port wine side of things. That said, it's classification as an Old Ale is curious to me, especially since the base beer is a porter. Perhaps it's simply one of those beers that truly defies classification. Either way, it's delicious.

06-25-2014 17:00:22 | More by LambicPentameter
Photo of beernads


3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

06-21-2014 00:42:29 | More by beernads
Photo of ONovoMexicano

New Mexico

4.25/5  rDev +1%

06-20-2014 14:24:56 | More by ONovoMexicano
Photo of corysmith01

New York

4.25/5  rDev +1%

06-17-2014 04:06:59 | More by corysmith01
Photo of heygeebee


3.9/5  rDev -7.4%

From Leura. BB Feb 2014.... Yep outta date.

A - pitch black, oily, head fades quick to leave a ring film and spotty lace. Not so good.

S - tons of vanilla, hint smoke, spirit.

T - all malts, roast, smooth, vanilla, choc notes. Somewhat dry in finish.

M - smooth, little alcohol,

O - Harviestoun doing what they do best, well made traditional BA dark ales. Would love to do a 12/16/18 comparison. I really do not know how tho stands up in that regard, tho certainly not way above.

06-13-2014 12:30:00 | More by heygeebee
Photo of ArsMoriendiOU818

New York

4/5  rDev -5%

06-09-2014 00:11:37 | More by ArsMoriendiOU818
Photo of CwrwAmByth

United Kingdom (Wales)

4.25/5  rDev +1%

06-05-2014 17:33:32 | More by CwrwAmByth
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 280 ratings.