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.

322 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 322
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 4.21
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 26
Gots: 83 | 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: 322 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rutager
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not sure why, but I'm always suspicious about the product when I see such fancy packaging...

Appearance. Pours a dark brown, almost black with a very thin tan head.

Smell. Old peaty whiskey, sweet milk chocolate, molasses and roasty dark malts.

Taste. Smokey old wood and whiskey (not in a hot way), lightly sweet chocolate, some sour old coffee, roasty grains and molasses.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium carbonation.

Overall. Smells nice. Big smokey roasty flavours, but not especially enjoyable flavours in the base beer to compliment.

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

Poured from 330mL bottle into a pint glass. Bottled February 2012.

Appearance: completely black with just a little brown around the edges when held up to the light. Head poured a finger of creamy tan foam which subsided somewhat quickly. Quite good.

Smell: dank dark malt aroma with a smoky woodiness right up front but with some wonderful depth. Beautiful, intense, profound. Love it.

Taste: rich chocolatey flavor with a nice, slightly burnt, slightly bitter edge. Smooth and tasty.

Mouthfeel: two words: Sha. Zam. This is the creamiest, silkiest, smoothest beer it has ever been my pleasure to quaff. It is truly hard to imagine anything better than this.

Overall: just a wonderful beer. The flavor is good if, honestly, unremarkable, but the aroma and that *outstanding* mouthfeel mean I have to grade this one outstandingly high.

Photo of tclapper
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of LampertLand
4.68/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Ola Dubh's Special Reserve#18 @ 8.0% served cold from a 330 ml bottle
A-pours a dark brown almost black with a small fine tan head that dissapates leaving some spotty lacing along the pint glass
S-some smokyness more than SR#12 and SR#16 , sweet chocolate malts , roasted coffee , brown sugar , hint of cherries and a lot of whiskey from the barrel aging
T-some smokyness , booze is strong yet a creamy brown sugar/vanilla sweetness in the finish , a lot smoother than SR#12 and SR#16 , bit complex all the flavors going on here , wow
MF-low carbonation , thick and a bit syrupy , roasted bittersweet after taste
Ov-a sipping beer for sure , bit pricey , a yes for sure , if you can get the other Special Reserve give them a side by side taste test

Notes from tasting of SR#12 , SR#16 , SR#18 , & revisited since the .25 incriments

Brost LampertLand

Photo of ComradeCanadia
4.45/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Snapped this up on a whim as I haven't tried this style.


Pours black as night with a teensy head that never quite goes away. This beer is ominous.


Not much nose I'm afraid. I get a little bit of malt and smoke, but not enough scent for much else.


WOW I like this. Big peaty smoke over very bitter hops with a subtle, but luxurious sweetness underneath it all. Cocoa finish. I love this stuff.


Thick and lovely with lively carbonation. Very easy to quaff.


Despite the low rating on smell I want to buy this again and show it off to my friends and then store a few bottles to try a few years from now. Fantastic find.

Photo of BeerHunter76
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of vandemonian
3.6/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I had Ola Dubh 18 on tap at ChurchKey in DC. 4 oz pour in a 9 oz snifter. Ola Dubh 18 is all malt, wood and bitterness. No subtlety. I didn't particularly like it.

A: Black with big 15 mm head. Great looking beer! 4.5

S: Smells like smoke and whiskey. 4

T: Malty with bitterness and woodiness. Malt. Bitter. Wood. Not much else. I don't particularly like it. 3.5

M: A llittle flat. 3

O: 3.5

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: 1/8" tan head that dissipated quickly over black liquid.

S: Toffee, vanilla, scotch, oak, toasted malt and yeast.

T: Oak, scotch, earth, toasted malt, and a bitter hop presence.

M: Medium to thick viscosity and a low level of fine carbonation. Slight drying from the alcohol, but barely noticeable.

O: Very drinkable and tasty, the Scotch compliments the beer so well it is really a remarkable treat. The relatively high level of hops in this series is reminiscent of American stouts like Great Divide Yeti Imperial Stout.

Photo of retreminy
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of trevorpost
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Bottle numbered and dated with a signature of the head brewer and cask master. Comes with a tag that explains some of the beer. The beer it's self looks very nice when poured into a snifter. The very dark red brown really shows through.

S: Sweet oak roasty,. Sourness of the alcohol cuts through a little.

T: Sweet, oaky, roasty, as the smell. The alchohol comes through a little in the end but it blends with the other flavors making it a nice accent. One of the most controlled aged beers I've had in some time if ever.

M: Mouthfeel is very nice although I dare say a little light.

Overall just a wonderful beer. Much better than their reserve and adds something more to the non aged version. At $11 a bottle it's still worth checking out. A world class beer.

Goes great with steak! :)

Photo of LimaThomas
1/5  rDev -76.2%

Photo of eriktoyra
4.03/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle bought in 2009. Aged for 3.5 years.

A: Pours a dark Coca-Cola colored liquid into the glass. Slight tones of red. No head whatsoever. No sign of carbonation.

S: Smells sweet liquorice, seaweed, some oak casks and burnt peat. Smoked charcuteries comes through nicely at the end.

T: Tastes dried fruits, raisins and a lot of alcohol. It has a lot less oak barrel than the Special Reserve 12 but it is definitely there.

M: The alcohol is very present in the mouth. Almost no carbonation. I'm finding that this is a beer that takes its time to go down.

O: I tried this one in pair with a Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 which had been aged for the same length of time. I must say that the 12 year version is far better than this one after aging. This one is still a very nice beer. But maybe it doesn't win on aging?

Photo of TimH
3/5  rDev -28.7%

Photo of danieelol
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with good head and lacing.

Smell is ash, seaweed, some fruitiness from the base beer; also maltiness and marshmallows. Carob and chocolate.

Taste has a fairly big dose of seaweed up front with a very subtle chocolate syrup. No alcohol here, well balanced.

I cannot complain about the mouthfeel- dry with lots of smoky and fruity flavours coming through.

No complaints here, does exactly what it says on the label. A lot of whisky character in this with none of the alcohol burn; melded with a fruity base beer.

One thing I gotta comment on is the Belgian marshmallows and apple from Old Engine Oil still coming through a bit in the nose.

Good beer, but made me crave an RIS proper.

Photo of DersOne
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A-Dark black, thick, half finger of nice-looking caramel colored head, some lacing on the side of the glass.

S-Smoky whiskey, hints of chocolate and coffee aromas. Very pleasant.

T-Whiskey notes throughout, slightly boozy finish with a hint of peaty smoke. A fair bit of sugar at first, mild bitter coffee flavors in the middle, with a touch of vanilla. It's like drinking a mild glass of quality whiskey with a sidecar of stout, which is just wonderful in my book.

M-A bit light and smooth, some effervescence, slightly dry at the end.

O-Spectacular for whiskey fans, but easy enough to drink by someone who may not have a whiskey palette.

Photo of Zachtheporter
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.

A- Pours an incredibly deep dark brown that is almost black. The khaki color head dissipates immediately after pouring. Even a few bubbles can be seen around the side of the glass for a few seconds afterwords. Very thick and full looking, when swirled around it clings to the side of the glass before resuming it's former shape. The gloss like lacing on the top of the beer makes it appear very much like a glass of oil.

S- The smell has a very deep maltiness to it. Smell's somewhat like leather and wood mixed with chocolate.

T- Taste's heavily of burnt malt with a bit of nuttyness as well as a smokey flavor to it. Has a slightly watery and flavorless finish. Very reminiscent of cold coffee.

M- Thick and slightly sludgy for a beer with little carbonation.

O- This is a very good beer, especially at the start of each taste. However I really don't feel like this was worth it to be completely honest. While it definitely is amazing I would like to know how similar vintages compared with this. A truly special beer and definitely the oldest I have ever tried.

Photo of Archemedies
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Holland
4.25/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Dan25D
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%

Photo of LADoll
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%

Photo of Arcane
4/5  rDev -5%

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 322 ratings.