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O'Hara's Irish Stout - Carlow Brewing Company

Not Rated.
O'Hara's Irish StoutO'Hara's Irish Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

466 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 466
Hads: 858
Avg: 3.88
pDev: 16.24%
Wants: 61
Gots: 70 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company visit their website

Style | ABV
Irish Dry Stout |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-27-2001

The flagship of the O’Hara’s brand, this uniquely Irish stout brings one back to how Irish stouts used to taste. First brewed in 1999, it has since been awarded prestigious honours for its quality and authenticity.

O’Hara’s Irish Stout has a robust roast flavour complemented by a full-bodied and smooth mouth feel. The generous addition of Fuggle hops lends a tart bitterness to the dry espresso-like finish. This sessionable stout beer is filled with rich complex coffee aroma mingled with light liquorice notes. The combination of traditional stout hops with an extra pinch of roast barley allows us to stay true to Irish tradition, recreating a taste so often yearned for by stout drinkers.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 466 | Hads: 858
Photo of KYGunner
3.14/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured a deep black hue with creamy tan head that had a nice retention.

The aroma was a weak chocolate malt with some watery roast characteristics.

The flavor was a weak chocolate malt with a dry roast coffee but it's washed away with a literally water like twaste and texture.

The feel is way too light for a stout but does have a dryness. The finish is like plain tap water.

This was no difference in this and Guinness's nitro can in flavor and feel.

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Photo of wedge
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very dark brown with some chestnut highlights at the bottom of the glass. A massive, thick, pillowy tan head rests on top and leaves big splotches of lacing on the glass. Typical mild dry stout aromas of cocoa, coffee bean, cream, molasses, and a tart twang to finish it off. Smooth roasted malt flavor quickly turns to a fair amount of black barley sharpness. Smoke, espresso, and bittersweet chocolate. Medium-light bodied, bitter, and dry in the finish. Pretty much spot-on for the style. A super-drinkable, dark, malty beverage that is a great showcase for roasted barley.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.22/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

11.2 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color. It isn't perfectly opaque, either. The head is a foamy three finger khaki shade. It doesn't have the soft and creamy look I like, but it's fairly long lasting and leaves a ton of lacing on the side of the glass. One can't really fault the fact that it doesn't have the nitro-can hobnobbery of Guinness - after all, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a far better offering.

S: A goodly amount of roast exists on the nose, taking on characteristics of chocolate, coffee, and even some citrusy hops. The hops definitely catch me off guard here. It certainly smells like it will be dry, no questioning that.

T: This is ridiculously roasted and dry. Some citrus hops start it off surprisingly, before transitioning into an espresso-like finish. Sweetness is nonexistent, and that's good.

M: I'd wager this is probably among the driest stouts I've ever had. Any residual flavors (save a touch of roast) is scraped off the tongue quickly. It takes the dry theme a bit too strongly, though, as it's devoid of creaminess before the finishing bite. Regardless, it goes down easily even with its mild carbonation.

O: Not fantastic, just better than Guinness. This is a good candidate for sessioning - it certainly beats trying to write a review on this, because frankly, there isn't a whole lot to talk about here.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and decent lacing

S-dark roasted malt, coffee, hint of molasses

T-coffee, dark roasted malt, light char and hints of molasses, mild bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-my benchmark for Irish stout thus far, great flavor and balance in this low ABV beer

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Photo of Bucciamarcia
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer is pitch black with hardly any dark red reflex in the glass, thich dark resistent foam. Strong smell of toasted malts and cocoa. The taste is surprisingly strong, mainly of cocoa while alcohol is not very present. It's a light, well balanced stout. It feels dense, I believe due to wheat. Low carbonation and easy to drink, an interesting variation to good old Guinness.

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Photo of khmel
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

.33 L bottle poured into a mug.

A: Dark black not quite opaque. Ruby colored translucence around edges. Pours a thick, creamy tan head at 3 fingers with some great retention

S: Mild aroma of burnt malt, licorice.

T: Some hop bitterness up front, smokey, burnt malt, ashy, slightly hoppy aftertaste.

M: Light to moderate body, fairly creamy, not overly carbonated.

O: A decent stout. Still more interesting than Guiness. I'd say the flavor is slightly less complex and more a straightforward dry stout than another dry stout offered by this brewery (Leann Follain), which has more depth to it and I have to say is a little better. But this is enjoyable.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
2.78/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Man, today has been a long day. Actually, I have had a REALLY long week. Anyway, since Sheryl started her new job we haven't reviewed a beer. Hopefully we can review two tonight. I suggested we do an "off the wall" review where we review a beer that isn't on the list, but gets equal attention for the blog. I hope to do more of those, as I have started posting more content about the other beers I am drinking on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Anyway, we decided to review a beer that I had already prepared. I am not typically a dan of Irish stouts, but I am excited to try this one. It's been a while since we reviewed a beer, so regardless what it tastes like, it should be fun!

Oh, and I am not 100% positive, but I feel like the bottle changed. This bottle is only 11.2 ounces, and for some reason I thought they were bigger a few months ago. Can anyone shed some light on that for us?

In the Glass: This is pitch black in the glass with a nice two finger tan head. The lace is also nice, which isn't typical for this style. When I think of Irish stouts, beers like Guinness, Murphy's, and George Killian's come to mind. I tend to only drink this style around St. Patrick's day. The lace is drawing the glass to my nose. Let's see what she smells like.

Nose: The aroma is pretty boring. It takes a deep whiff to get some nice subtle dark burnt chocolate aromas. I want to say there are some subtle coffee notes peaking through there, too. I bet a beer like this infused with coffee would be amazing. Yeah, not impressed with the nose. I hope this bottle delivers on the flavor.

Flavor: I will say this is much better than Guinness. I mean, another level better. However, I don't like Guinness. Not saying I hate this beer, but it's just my "thing". The flavor does change as it slides across your palate. I am getting, at first, some nice burnt chocolate flavors, then I am hit with a metallic flavor as I swallow. I dislike my beers tasting like I just licked a coin. The finish is quick, leaving nothing really to desire. It's too cold, but I am not sure this will be much better unless it is in a warm glass AT room temperature.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice. It has a nice fluffy experience going on. On my third drink, I did swish it around in my mouth a little. It didn't really do much for the flavor, but did open the beer up a little. If I was in a bar in Ireland, I might order an Irish stout. Just because I was there. But I wouldn't order two.

Aftertaste: It starts with those same metallic notes that I was getting, but quickly fades away leaving me bored. I HAVE to take another drink just to get some more flavor in my mouth. The finish is drying, which I like. But not drying enough to require another drink.

There are a few more of these on the list… but I doubt I like any/many of them. Oh well, maybe the next beer will leave me sockless. Get it?

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Photo of shand
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

O'Hara's Irish Stout has a honestly amazing pour. It pours black, which is plenty impressive for a 4.5% brew, but the mocha head is huge and retains for an eternity. One of the best looking pours I've seen in a long time. The aroma is a roast and caramel thing, with just a touch of leafy hops. The taste offers a nice roast flavor, with some hints of chocolate, caramel, and the leafy hops from the nose. A pretty decent tasting dry stout. The mouthfeel is on the light side and well carbonated, and the drinkability is good. Overall, O'Hara's is a good Irish Dry Stout that I'd take over Guinness any day.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque black in color with some dark amber highlights and a light amount of gentle visible carbonation. The beer has a three finger tall dense foamy dark tan head that slowly reduces to thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of roasted malts with some light hints of peat and coffee.

T: Moderate flavors of roasted malts with some lighter notes of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. There is a light to moderate amount of bitterness but it does not linger for long.

M: Light to medium bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly on the thin side with some light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Between the lighter mouthfeel, low ABV, and good flavors this beer is quite easy to drink and very sessionable. I would have no problem knocking back a handful of these in an afternoon/evening.

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Photo of BWED
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottled poured into tumbler

A- Black with a dark amber/burgundy highlight. Thick, foamy tan head that retains rather well. Small amount of lacing.

S- Dark coffee, dry roastiness, with a slight woody/campfire hint.

T- Roasted coffee mainly, nothing sticks out as magnificent, but a good solid dry stout.

M- full-bodied and smooth. Light carb and low ABV make it sessionable.

O- This is a good Irish dry stout. If it were more available, I'd take it over Guinness for taste.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.51/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On nitro tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt and cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with a slight coffee flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but the nitro presentation isn't doing much to help it.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on nitro-tap and served in a mug, the beer is a brown to black coloring, opaque, with a creamy, foamy, dense, off-white head that clings to everything. The nose is roasted coffee and bitter, blended well, with some chocolate highlights. Flavors of mild cream, roasted coffee, and a dash of cocoa. Smooth, creamy, and light bodied. Mocha aftertaste, with a smooth, slightly roasted lingering finish. Tasty, easy drinking dry stout.

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Photo of TWorley
4.41/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Have had this wonderful brew in Bottles in California AND on draft in Dublin and other towns in Ireland.
Rich but not thick with a medium brown head and soft coffee and earth notes. As much as I have enjoyed the best known Irish stout all of my young life, it is easy to see why O'Hara's is quickly becoming an award winning beer.


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Photo of acelin
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from the bottle.

Small tan head with minimal lacing. Pours a thick, dark brown. Almost mollasses black.

Smells of roasted barley, coffee, caramel, fuggle hops.

Taste follows the nose. Nothing amazing, would be better on nitro tap.

Mouthfeel is meh. Irish stouts need to be on nitro.

Overall though, far better than guinness when not on nitro.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle served in a pint.

A: Pours a deep brown almost black color forming a big thin beige head. Very good retention and many lacings left

S: Very grainy. Roasted malts mainly, with notes of coffee and dark chocolate. A bit lactic

T: Follows the nose, roasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate. Upfront is slightly sweet and the end is made of a nice soft roasted bitterness. Great balanced

M: Medium but very smooth body. Medium to low carbonation. Roasted malts and mild bitter aftertaste

O: Excellent drinkability. An authentic Irish Stout. Perfect session Ale

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Photo of MsNitch
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: cold coffee with a thick tan head filled with large bubbles. A chestnut and soot swirl when held to the light

S: coffee, toasted malts

T: All coffee and straight malt. A bitter sweet chocolate taste, like baking chocolate and a a great spiced/earthy hop kick when finishing

M: very dry

O: Not very creamy, but not needed as the soft head cushions the sipping. At 4.5% there is no stopping the classic representation of an Irish Stout with a dryness and a smooth drinkability intended to keep you up all night singing.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.48/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap with a perfect pour. Solid tan finger of head with a black body.
Smell of toasted and roasted malt. Amazing.
Taste of dry burnt malt with mild bitterness. Great balance.
Soft and crisp texture. Low carbonation.
On-tap can't go wrong with this one.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Best by Mar 31, 2013.

A black pour with a 2 finger head of foam, it leaves nice lacing behind.

Big roasty notes in the smell with some sweet notes and a light bitterness.

Lovely roasted malt in the taste with a light milk chocolate like sweetness and a light bit of bitterness that's just perfect for an Irish Dry. And such an easy drinker, the 4.3%abv helps, but I think it's more because of the creamy texture or at the very least, a combination of both.

This is a very impressive brew to my palate and I'm happy I finally got the chance to try it. I had its big brother, Celebration, a while back and that also ruled my taste buds. Drink up!

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Photo of DavidST
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a pint glass, there's a date of April 11 on it, but the rest is rubbed out. This pours a pitch black color with a decent head which has good retention. The smells are of roasted malts, a little light. The feel is medium to a little light. The taste is good enough, better than the burnt Guinness taste, you get some mild roasted malts, not bad.

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Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Obsidian black,, impenetrable to light, with a small tan head, which soon collapses, ultra-fine beaded lace, a slight dusting of foam.

Aroma: Dark fruit, coffee, cocoa, and a little burnt barley.

Taste: Opens with coffee, and roasted barley, the latter dominates the taste throughout, a bit of sourness later in the taste. There is a lingering, very mild bitterness at the close.

Mouth feel: Smooth and soft, pleasant, with a dry finish.

Drinkability/notes: A very pleasant, drinkable example.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass Euro-style longneck bottle with a pry-off brown, served in a Chimay chalice.

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Photo of damndirtyape
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Libby porter glass. Best before 25.01.13.

Appearance: Black on the table with a 1/4" dense tan head upon pouring. After a few minutes this dies back to a persistent 1/16" tan head across the top with some nice strands of lacing noted. When held up to the light some cola brown color comes through at the edges.

Smell: Burnt sugar, coffee, a bit of sweetness on the swirl with a tiny bit of chocolate coming out.

Taste: Roasted malts up front, a bit of sweetness in the middle with chocolate notes, and the finish is black coffee, more roasted malt and bittering hops. There are some occasional char and tobacco notes in here as well at the end as a bit of an aftertaste. Let this one warm up a bit to let all the flavors come out.

Mouthfeel: Spicy carbonation on the tongue, almost approaching fizzy. Thicker than water under the carbonation, but not highly so.

Overall / Drinkability: I remember the first time I had this many years ago and I was amazed at how much more flavor there was in it compared to Guinness. Now having it again many years later I'm still impressed but I think I've gotten spoiled by those nitro-taps. That being said, I think this beer is a bit over-carbonated. A little less carbonation and it would have worked better. Still, a very good stout and very drinkable. I had it by itself but I think I would be very interested in having it again with a meal.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Garnet-tinged chocolate black with pitted leather brown head that lasts and rims. Dark nose of treacle, prune and tar, more like an RIS, with flint and ash underneath.
Raisin and espresso bean with roasty bite and earthy and tea leaf hops to end. Milk chocolate notes as it warms.
Tea brack and hard caramel finish and bitter woody linger with some chalk. Medium leaning towards light, fizzy, some cling, dry.

With all the heavy notes, it's the body that keeps this on style. This is a couple of months past it's expiry, but I don't think it could have deepened this much - it's almost like a PH Wrassler Jr. It could stand to be lighter, even with the roast lifting everything, but still a solid drinker.

A retro interpretation of a dry Irish.

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Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black with a ruby hue on the edge, finger of head with solid retention and sporadic lacing.

S - Roasted coffee and cocoa, hints of burnt wood and peat.

T - Nice cocoa flavor with the espresso coming through alongside a touch of wooden oak. The finish leaves dark cocoa on the palette.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and a touch of dry.

O - A tasty stout that delivers some solid flavors, is easily drinkable and certainly worth a try. Glad had the opportunity to take this for a spin.

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Photo of horshack7
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark as dark could be with a light beige head two fingers in height.

Aroma: Espresso, dark chocolate with some semi sweet mixed in. Dark roasted coffee, bits of burnt hop a little bit mossy with a touch of oak.

Taste: Quite the crisp mouthfeel to start. Lots of espresso and dark roasted coffee. Chocolate malts and very dark roasted hops show themselves front and center. Slight bit of oak in the tail end with a subtle dry finish.

Notes: Dam tasty beer all the way through a good one to pick up. Cheers.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.66/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: single finger thick head with excellent retention on a near jet black dark brown body.

S: light on the nose with some roasted malts, a touch of vanilla and chocolate.

T: semisweet chocolate, some earthy hops on a nice mildly bitter roasted malt backbone.

M: very smooth, semi thick body and nice degree of carbonation.

Overall: full flavored Irish stout. Has the body an mouthfeel you expect. Very drinkable.

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O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 466 ratings.