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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

137 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 137
Hads: 390
Avg: 4.2
pDev: 16.19%
Wants: 31
Gots: 98 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Nickls on 01-29-2009

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 137 | Hads: 390
Reviews by ChrisCage:
Photo of ChrisCage
4.64/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up on a weekend trip in Calgary and was told that this just became available in Alberta!

A- Pours a very dark brown...not quite a black like a porter but the hues remind me of potting soil colors, very dark and rich. The head is very dense, about one finger thick and is a deeper than normal tan color...it takes it's time retreating into a thin layer over the brew. Moderate lacing clings to the side of my glass.

S- Primary initial aroma of smoky wood and peaty malts. The sweetness breaks down further into dark chocolate, and dried fruits, like raisins and plum...perhaps a slight tinge of dried figs. There is some nuttiness blended in as well.... roasted almonds come to mind. There is some hop bitterness on the finish, but it isn't super dominant.

T- Like the aroma, there is a solid mixture of things going on here. There is some initial malt sweetness that hits the palate first, then the toasty charred wood makes itself known. The finish becomes bitter, but on a couple of different levels. There is rich cocoa bitterness, with hints of vanilla toffee to enhance this. There is some coffee notes to throw a slight earthy bitterness, and finally there is the hop bitterness right at the end to give it a lingering flavor after the swallow.

M- It is a rich, full bodied brew that reminds me of chewing on a piece of unsweetened chocolate. It also reminds me of slightly burnt toast as well as sipping on a islay whisky. The fine carbonation, albeit more than I expected, provides a creamy texture that glides around on the palate with ease.

D- For such a rich and tasty beer, the drinkability is high. I disagree with the brewery and think this is excellent on it's own, however, I'd love to try this with strong cheese or a rich beef or lamb stew. This is a true beer lovers' beer and I think that this is the cream of the crop when it comes to a whisky aged beer!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of MadScientist
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Very black showing a hint of deep garnet on the edges. The head is very thin but is long lasting and made of a fine medium brown bubbles.

S: Moderate whiskey and malt aromas that well balanced, the smoky and peaty scotch notes blend well with the beer although the light roast and bit of chocolate notes are more stout-like than old ale. There isn't much in the way of hops. There is a light note of stone fruit in there as well. Alcohol is evident and soft.

T: A smooth and palate coating beer with a moderate whisky flavor and a light malt sweetness. The malt has a slight raisin character along with bringing a touch of cocoa and little roast.There is a moderately-light hops bitterness. Some moderately-light oak character comes through as well. The balance is slightly bitter. The finish is medium and the aftertaste is a long lingering whisky flavor blended with a moderate alcohol.

M: Full bodied and slightly slick with moderately-light carbonation.

O: A heavy, sipping beer with layers of flavor and a great balanced whisky character.

BottleNo. 72188
& Date: July 2011

 1,086 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of ricksrealm
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of -DF-
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of FadetoBock
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Working my way up the ladder.
Bottle #05835
Bottled Feb 2009
Black color, tiny tan head.
Aroma of raisin bread and whiskey.
The whiskey aroma was more peaty in the taste. Still the raisin bread was there.
Pretty smooth and mellow.
Nice beer. Will drink more of these.

 267 characters

Photo of R_Kole
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of bellce0
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of JakerLou
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Marius
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pitch black pour with a very nice head and visible carbonation. Heavy smell of peat, with some cocoa and dark chocolate. Peat and smoke in the taste, on top of a very sweet malty backbone - too sweet for my taste. Not much complexion aside from that. Drinkable beer, but the taste is a let down, but I have never liked peated beers too much.

 341 characters

Photo of ImFlyerThanYou
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of xdefeatsy
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of pat61
4.66/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours nearly black with a quickly receding thin tan foam cap.
S: Rich malt and moderate scotch aromas, some fruit.
T: The Highland Park Scotch shows up stronger on the palate than on the nose supported by complex malt flavors, a light sweetness, hints of fruit and rich vanilla flavors.
F: Chewy with medium low carbonation, very smooth.
O: A wonderful old ale provides a rich base for fine whiskey flavors.

 414 characters

Photo of fionn13
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of PSU_Mike
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of valkyre65
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of glid02
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours completely black with a two-finger brown large-bubbled head that recedes quickly into a thin ring around the glass.

Smells of whiskey with hints of smoked/roasted malts. As it warms hints of chocolate come out.

Tastes similar to how it smells, although chocolate flavors have more of a presence. Whiskey flavors kick things off, and just before they seem overpowering give way to roasted malts and dark chocolate. There's a mildly bitter ending, then the whiskey flavors linger for a bit.

Mouthfeel is good. This was the second day the cask was tapped so there was almost no carbonation, but what little there was served its purpose.

Drinkability is good. I feel like I could drink a lot of these in a cigar-smoked filled room with my own in my hand, but in normal conditions one is enough.

Overall I thought there was a bit more whiskey influence on the 18 year than in the 12 year, but other than that they seemed very similar.

 981 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a teku)
bottle 07696
Date Feb 2009

A- The jet black body supports a fizzy light tan head that is creamy until it fades to a thin ring. This beer is a bit to dense to see any carbonation except for the random bubble that pops at the surface.

S- The blend of smoke and barrel oak lets a few notes of toffee and caramel bled through before the smooth black roasted malt finishes the nose.

T- The smoky taste if full with a mescal quality and some slight saltiness to it. Then a thin black malt roasted flavor peaks through before the smoky oak flavor finishes with a slight bacon quality.

M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel and a bright little fizz with just a touch of alcohol that only comes through when warmed a bit.

O- The nice rich smoky flavor has no band-aid or off qualities at all and is supported by a smooth stout with some flavors developing a bit as it warms. Very nice sipper.

 914 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of biboergosum
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml black foil-capped bottle. Now I'm into Ola Dubh territory where I've at least had the chance to try the eponymous whiskey malt - here's to ye, Scotland's famous son.

This beer pours a mahogany-tinted black oil colour, with very slight reddish edges, and one skinny finger of thinly creamy and bubbly tan head, which dissipates rather quickly, essentially leaving a few specks of paramecia lace around the glass.

Wafting from the glass is a lovely Highland Park malt aroma analogue - caramel and vanilla cream malt, soft smoked peat, and an agreeably mild ocean air's bounty of salt spray and iodine. The taste kicks off with a solid bittersweet chocolate tinged caramel malt, a hint of dilute treacle, ashen peat, real vanilla, supermarket honey, a drug-store medicinal acridity, herbal tea leaves, and a soft musty, weedy hoppiness.

As the weak head seems to have given up the remainder of the bubbles, the carbonation is quite innocuous at best, leading to a very smooth, and somewhat creamy medium-full weight body. It finishes with a big barrel sweetness flourish - caramel, vanilla, and oaken woodiness, only slightly offset by the underlying alcohol and musty seaside edge.

Having previously enjoyed the 18 year old Highland Park whisky, I'm delighted to find the same beauty in this spin-off project from its countrymen - all the weight of a well-made, generous malt, blended into a world-class cocoa-heavy porter, and still full of an island character delivered with the deftest of touches. Sublime, aye, this is.

 1,532 characters

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 137 ratings.