Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
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Ratings: 278 | Reviews: 112 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by 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
More User Reviews:
4.3/5 rDev +2.1%
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.
& Date: July 2011
02-02-2013 23:07:57 | More by MadScientist
4.22/5 rDev +0.2%
Working my way up the ladder.
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.
08-12-2010 00:24:51 | More by lordofthewiens
4.22/5 rDev +0.2%
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.
02-07-2009 17:56:59 | More by glid02
4.1/5 rDev -2.6%
(Served in a teku)
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.
09-14-2011 22:00:38 | More by rhoadsrage
4.38/5 rDev +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.
01-26-2011 02:32:38 | More by biboergosum
4/5 rDev -5%
Middle of the pack enjoyment of the series. Must do a vertical one night. Pours black, wiskey smoke aromas. Milk chocolate taste, a little more bitter at the end of the bottle. Bit more than medium mouthfeel. Whiskey is right there.Good drinkability.
12-24-2010 03:58:36 | More by Sammy
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.