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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.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

298 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 298
Reviews: 116
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 25
Gots: 74 | FT: 5
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: 298 | Reviews: 116 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Sammy, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

t0rin0, Oct 14, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -5%

djrn2, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +1%

zestar, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -5%

acurtis, Dec 01, 2012
Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

nmann08, Nov 18, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.28/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a quarter-finger high tan head that quickly died down yet consistently left a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: The smell has relatively light yet complex aromas of dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee beans and toffee in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has some notes of smoke towards the finish and hints of almonds as well as whiskey from the barrel aging.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a low amount of carbonation. There are some hints of alcohol warming in the finish.
O: This beer is a lot more drinkable compared to other beers in the style, especially considering its smoothness. No traces of alcohol are present in the taste.

metter98, Jan 21, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Texasfan549, Jul 18, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
4.48/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Incredible complexity, masculinity and refinement oozes from the bottle of this regal elixir. Its backbone of Scottish Ale is expounded upon by 18-year scotch barrel aging and the quite calm of patient aging.

The dark ale pours dark tawny brown with mahogany low lights that provide a ribbon of dull light to pierce through its dark clarity. A creamy off-white shallow head slowly builds on top of the beer giving it a characteristically cask ale appearance. Light on retention, but the head regenerates after a gentle swirl of the snifter. Light on lace, sparse islands of foam cling to the sides but its pattern is quite random- preferring a more brandy-like type of legging.

Strong aromas start with black-strap molasses and layers of burnt toffee, caramel and malty sweetnesses. These weave into the alcohol notes to provide savory port, sherry, fresh-hung tobacco, vanilla, cured leather, chocolate and booze-soaked aged oak. Dark pitted fruits of plumb, dates, figs and raisin continue to build upon the unmistakable notes of peated earth and strong campfire.

Not as powerful as you'd think, its taste is rich with malty sweetness and barrel flavor but not as intimidating as these succulent aromas would suggest. As the molasses and other malt sweetness wraps around the tongue, the bulk of heavy sweetness seemingly floats effortlessly above the tongue, allowing the dark fruit and aged wine character to slip in between. Its finish of smoky chocolate, prune, and tobacco offers a type of complexity that port and sherry can only hope for.

Deliciously decadent, the ale surprisingly lifts from the palate shortly after the initial sip. Its wood aged powdery texture keeps the ale lightened somewhat and keeps its drinkability high. Wood spices offer a slight bite rather than relying on hop dryness for a semi-arid finish of scotch and umami.

The ale really hits home with the signature flavors that the Wee-ish of Heavies exude. Its a tremendous beer with impeccable balance and an arsenal of complexity that changes dramatically as the palate acclimates to its power and as the ale releases secret after secret as it warms.

BEERchitect, Aug 13, 2013
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +1%

kjkinsey, Jul 18, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was very nice, with a thick, viscous look to it and a really dark menacing presence. There was a thin brown head, maybe one inch in height that came over the top and settled down gracefully into a nice crown of tan that stayed with it throughout the rest of the session. Very nice side glass lace was also apparent throughout the entire time.

The aroma was loaded with peat. This was not nearly as smoky as the 16 was and to be honest had a good deal more sweetness to it which was a bit surprising. The scotch and oak aromas were there, but light as this was coming in a little bit under what I had though, but was nonetheless very good. Still extremely rich and complex, I decided to go in and take a taste. Very smooth and creamy, with the body of it coming off very well indeed. It was a full bodied ale for sure, with the carbonation coming in a little bit above some of the others, offering it that nice silky feel at times. The rich flavor of peat was really coming across well. The light flavor of molasses and wood now coming to the front, with a touch of dark chocolate in there as well. Some nice dark fruity notes lingering way in the back, remnants of the barrel for sure

mikesgroove, May 02, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%

ygtbsm94, Jan 19, 2014
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +1%

jaydoc, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
3.3/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

When I saw that they had this on cask at the old Tap & Table I was really impressed. I ordered one right away because I had enjoyed trying so many of the others. This is the first and only one that I haven't had from a bottle so far. The beer poured out jet black in color, no surprise there. The smell of the beer wasrich with smokey and roasted aromas as well as scotch as well. The taste of the beer was about the same as the 12 to me. The mouthfeel was a little too light I think, The cask aging didn't benefit this beer in my opinion at all. Overall it was worth trying but I would only ever buy the 30 and 40 year ones again.

Knapp85, Jan 01, 2012
Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

JAHMUR, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of TMoney2591
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at ChurchKey.

One of the bigger surprises on tap at the CK recently. Now I don't have to shell out for the bottle. It pours a dead black topped by the slightest bit o' bubbles that could be construed as a head. The nose comprises oak, whiskey, vanilla, figs, chocolate, and roasted malts. The taste is very similar, only there's somehow more smoky whiskey and oak notes crammed in there. Damn, son. The body is a light heavy, with a carbonation that is barely able to express itself (it pains me to see it like this) and a rather thick and chewy feel. This is a fine brew, indeed...now I've gotta find a way to sample the other vintages.

TMoney2591, Jul 30, 2010
Photo of biboergosum
4.38/5  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.

biboergosum, Jan 26, 2011
Photo of StonedTrippin
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at the bull and bush cherry creek. listed at 11% abv, not 8%, it pours flat black into a 10oz. chalice with several inches of chalky off white head. the nose is really interesting, deep dark chocolate notes, really scotchy from the barrel, whiskey heavy for sure, with charcoal and peat, as well as vanilla all bombarding the nose. alcohol is well hidden, I cant pick it up too much even when this gets warm. nice woody flavor complimented by dark roasted barley and char from the barrel. tastes more like a spirit than a beer, especially in the finish. very complex, almost no sweetness, very well done brew. the carbonation is slight but its ample, and the body is a full as they come. bitter finish is interesting here, sort of contradicts the whiskey flavors, but its something new. overall a real fancy beer that I was happy to pay 9 bucks for twice. a treat to get stuff like this on tap in the usa.

StonedTrippin, Jan 30, 2013
Photo of RblWthACoz
4.25/5  rDev +1%

RblWthACoz, Oct 21, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
3.94/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 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.

MasterSki, Aug 14, 2014
Photo of drabmuh
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have had the privileged to have both the 18 and the 40 year on cask recently, and I am here to tell you that they are completely different beers and I have no idea why the 18 is rated higher than the 40, it should not be.

Served on cask at Churchkey in D.C. Beer poured into a snifter. Black, dark black, no head or carbonation, not to be expected for this kind of beer in a cask.

Smell is a little off putting. It is complex, sweet malt, alcohol, chocolate / cocoa, some roast / wood on the end of the nose. The smell prepares you for a warm, musty beer.

Wood definitely present in the flavor. Sweetness and alcohol. Some back of the mouth roast leads to an unfortunate albeit slight aftertaste.

If you get an opportunity to try these beers they are worth it, the 40 is the best though.

drabmuh, Nov 03, 2009
Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

mendvicdog, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of beernads
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%

beernads, Jun 21, 2014
Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev +1%

MarkyMOD, Nov 16, 2013
Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle no. 10032 - bottled in January, 2009:

Pours very dark brown to black with a thin light brown head that becomes a thick ring.

The smell is of chocolate - some lightly roasted coffee - anisette, and whisky.

The taste is very sweet - whisky and vanilla coat the chocolate - with a subtle hint of peat smoke - slight anisette - some woody dryness comes through in an otherwise sweet finish.

Hits full-bodied with medium carbonation.

Whisky/oak prominent, here. A bit too sweet - could use more smoke or dryness, but it does have a nice whisky and malt character. Still, a bit pricey for what it is, IMO.

jwc215, Dec 09, 2009
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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 298 ratings.