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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21 - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21

Educational use only; do not reuse.

81 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 81
Reviews: 13
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 9.33%
Wants: 9
Gots: 24 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WillCarrera on 05-03-2013

Aged in casks that previously held 21 year old Highland Park Whiskey; wooden sweet flavour with bitter chocolate, smoked peat moss and a touch of vanilla.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 81 | Reviews: 13
Reviews by eric5bellies:
More User Reviews:
Photo of bluejacket74
4.49/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle, bottle #02468, April 2014. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like peaty smoke, dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and some vanilla. I think the taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but there's also a bit of iodine and dark bread noticeable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and coating with moderate carbonation. It's very smooth and easy to drink. If you like Scotch Whisky (and especially peaty ones), then you'll probably like this a lot, too. Truthfully, all of the Ola Dubh series brews I've had have been good, too bad this isn't made in bombers! Definitely worth trying.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a medium size light brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing notes. Aroma of light scotch notes with some toffee and light brown sugar notes is quite enticing. Taste is also dominated by toffee notes with some residual candi sugar balanced against some great scotch notes. Body is maybe thinner than I would have expected with some good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not as complex as I was expecting but still very enjoyable.

Photo of smakawhat
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a snifter glass at Churchkey.

Faint tan head presented, manages a small soapy collar with a filmy top. Body is classic dark walnut black.

Lots of thick vanilla bean on the nose, faint hints of dark berry fruit, soft caramel and spices. Slightly dry but quite creamy also with a hint of wetness.

Palate hits with a good balance of roast and toffee. Creamy sense is lost with a nice whiskey angle and sharpness dominating. Controlled. A goodgood classic grassy peaty finish mixing with a hop faint bitterness. Nice character and oak roundness with a mellow scotch finish and a little lingering black licorice.

Not a big scotch fan, but this is done nicely. Quite good actually.

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

An incredible beer from a style I'd not previously appreciated that much. While I love Scotch Ales, Old Ales have tended to be too dry or funky tasting for me. This beer is much more like an imperial stout. It looks like it, feels like it, and tastes like it. Extremely balanced and smooth tasting going down. I could easily put this in my Top 10 or Top 15 must-have list. As satisfying at first taste as the last. Doesn't need to warm up. doesn't need to grow on you. This is superb and unfortunately won't be easy to find. Gotta drink more while I can.

Photo of maxwelldeux
4.63/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Draught in a flight. Then another pint. Pours an extremely black color with almost no head on it. Nose has some definite roasting in there, with that sour/bitterness that comes off from the scotch and a bit of a coffee smell. Taste is slightly smokey with a fair amount of the scotch coming through and SUPER smooth. Damn. This beer will put hair on your chest.

Photo of damndirtyape
4.28/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle poured into a Gordon's Highland Scotch Ale thistle glass. bottle #05685, bottled April 2014.

Appearance: Black with a dark mahogany brown at the edges where the light peaks in. Very thin tan ring at the edge with an occasional persistent fine strand of lacing noted.

Smell: Fine smoky/peaty scotch - very mellow - with hints of chocolate.

Taste: Incredibly smooth and well blended flavor. Toffee, chocolate, high end scotch all well mixed together. The finish is a little bit smoky with some char and tobacco notes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, slick, and approaching creamy. Light carbonation. A tiny bite of alcohol/whiskey as it goes down.

Overall / Drinkability: A slow sipper and I wish I had another bottle, but as expensive as these bottles are, this is probably one of those once in a lifetime treats. Overall, a special treat of a beer especially if you like scotch and beer, but I think the flavors of the Ola Dubh 18 are more intense and more enjoyable.

Photo of WillCarrera
4.11/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Pizzeria Paradiso. Served in a snifter.

A- Pours pitch black and oily looking, with a thin chocolate colored head that recedes to a collar.

S- An appealing blend of whiskey, earthy peat, vanilla and raisins.

T- Malt character here is huge, lots of chocolate, roasted grain, lots of peaty whiskey flavors. Towards the finish there are some sweet molasses/fruit and maybe light anise flavors.

M- Full-bodied, low carbonation with a sticky feel, nice boozy warmth on the end.

O- A tasty beer with some great barrel flavors, my first experience with the Ola Dubh series, I'll have to check out more of these.

Photo of John_M
4.46/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Churchkey the other day.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with pretty good head retention and light lacing. The nose is about what you'd expect in an Ola Dubh beer, as I pick up considerable peat, dark chocolate, vanilla and coffee. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, with the peat/smoke flavor helping to tame the moderate sweetness in this beer. The mouthfeel is great as well... it's full, soft and almost creamy. Alcohol is well integrated into the flavor profile, and while delicious, I can't really see drinking a whole lot of this (just got a 4 ounce pour at CK). Nevertheless, this is another fine effort from Hariestoun, espeically for those who love the aroma and flavor of single malt scoth in their stout and/or old aged ale. (which I confess I do)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into snifter; bottle # 05043, bottled in 4/2014. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, toast, dark bread, leather, tobacco, peat smoke, oak, light dark fruit, and roast/smokey earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roast/bready malt and scotch barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big chocolate, cocoa, toast, dark bread, leather, tobacco, peat smoke, oak, light dark fruit, light vanilla, and roast/smokey earthiness. Light roast/oaky bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, toast, dark bread, leather, tobacco, peat smoke, oak, light dark fruit/vanilla, and roast/smokey earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice balance, complexity, and robustness of roast/bready malt and scotch barrel flavors; with a nice roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium bodied; with a very smooth, fairly creamy, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent old ale style. All around great complexity and balance of roast/bready malt and scotch barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on. An interesting note about this vintage is it is much bolder on peat smoke and earthy leather/tobacco notes than the younger scotch vintages. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On draft at Churchkey in D.C. Served alongside the Ola Dubh 12, also on draft.

The beer is black with a small tan head. The aroma offers roast, chocolate, alcohol, oak, smoke, scotch. Very nice. A bit more of the scotch character comes through in the aroma here.Lovely flavor following the scent. Easy to sip and savor. Medium bodied. Vanilla, chocolate, light booze. The 12 year was a bit smoother than the 21 year, though the barrel character was less pronounced in the younger version. Overall, a delicious beer.

Photo of danieelol
2.54/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Thin in body, barrel is so "subtle" as to be almost imperceptible. Just an extremely tame beer which is not expected given the ABV, price tag or barrel aging. Fades away into nothingness. Have had two bottles of this quite a time apart and had similar experiences with both.

Photo of SavvyStudent
4.75/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: pours deep dark brown with little lacing.
S: oak and strong whiskey at the front. Some dark chocolate and caramel at the end. Really focused alcohol smell.
T: vanilla, alcohol burn, dark chocolate and continues burn at the end.
M: medium mouthfeel which is lighter than anticipated by the style.
O: amazingly bold Oaked whiskey flavor that I love. A completely random buy but now one of my top Barrell aged beers now

Photo of MLaVioletteJr
2.71/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2

I was expecting an Old Ale. Thin and black, like a single stout. Not even close to big enough to go into a barrel in my opinion. Watery black whisky. And it cost me $18 for a single, majorly overpriced and a serious disappointment.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.