O'Hara's Irish Stout | Carlow Brewing Company

very good
474 Reviews
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O'Hara's Irish StoutO'Hara's Irish Stout

Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company
Ireland | website

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-27-2001

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Reviews: 474 | Ratings: 890
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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Photo of Pencible
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: This poured a nearly opaque black cherry with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like dry roasted coffee and dark chocolate powder, with some cream and brown sugar.
T: It tasted like light roasted coffee and some dry dark chocolate, with a bit of cream. It had a clean but faint bittersweet aftertaste.
M: It was watery with moderate carbonation. Fairly thin body.
D: This had a nice scent, ok taste, and weak body. It was easy to drink, but not anything special (aside from being Irish on St Patrick's Day).

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Photo of duracell
4.23/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500mL bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours a pitch black color with a light brown, creamy head which leaves a nice lacing on the glass.

S - Aroma is a nice blend of roasted malt (mostly caramel) and some herbal hop.

T/M - Roasted malt dominates. I pick out chocolate, coffee, a hint of caramel. Bitterness is spot on, featuring nice resiny and herbal notes going with typical dry finish. Carbonation is excellent.

O - An excellent exemple of Irish Dry Stout, quite complex, well balanced and with a good drinkability.

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Photo of Jadjunk
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Summit's Snellville. Reviewed from Notes.

(Appearance) Very dark brown almost black appearance. Light smooth tan ring and surface cover. No head but a solid unbroken surface cover makes for a Solid appearance. 4

(Smell) Dry roasted Irish malt, bitter chocolate and earthy hop tones. A tad bit sweeter and fuller than the aromas of Guinness. The aroma is well balanced with lots of flavor. Potency is a medium. It's good. 4.5

(Taste) A dry creamy beginning complete with bitter hops and black malt with a roasted bitter chocolate finish. Overall the flavor is mild save for the bitter aspects that hit full-on. Overall much more flavorful than the comparing irish stouts and more enjoyable as thus. 4

(Mouthfeel) Smooth and thick texture. Carbonation Is mild. Body is a medium and alcohol is well concealed. Good pairing. 4

(Overall) One of the better Irish Stouts that I have had. If its available, I'd choose it over Guinness or Murphy's any day. Worth a drink especially with some good St. Patrick's food! 4

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

Found at My Place in Newtown, CT this stout shows a pretty much opaque black color with a crew cut firm tan head full of soap suds sized bubbles and healthy, caked on lacing. The aroma offers classic charcoal malt, rlatively mild and unspectacular. The flavor comes on with smooth charcoal and mild vanilla malt with a touch of tropical fruit. Very nice and such an unusually creamy feel in a medium-plus bodied brew. There is a mild milk chocolate idea here, highly drinkable stuff. The most notable aspect is the slightly aqueous, creamy texture but plenty tasty as Irish stouts go. An easy choice though nothing too out of the ballpark.

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

Tried this beer on-tap at the Publick House in Brookline MA.

Appearance: tan head with decent retention and lacing. It has a very dark, brown body but you can still see through it a little. Semi-opaque

Smell: Definite coffee and toasty smell to it.

Taste: I sensed a lot of roasted malts. It finishes a little sweet, but the hops kick in towards the end and this beer has a bit of a bitter finish. There are a lot of burnt flavors throughout.

Mouthfeel: This beer was quite frothy and creamy. It wasn't too heavy, probably on the lighter side of heavy body. The carbonation was very light.

Drinkability: I feel like this beer is extremely drinkable. I prefer this stout over some of the others that I usually find on-tap (namely Guinness). Probably wouldn't be too good in a can though...

Serving type: nitro-tap

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

12 oz Bottle into my Central Mass Striders pint glass
A - dark black, creamy brown heady, lots of foam, persists
S -"stouty" sweet malt fragrance, hints of coffee, chocolate
T - nice, malty sweetness, but not overpowering, hop bitterness at the end. Well balanced. Little bit of a burnt malt flavor.
M - thin, not sticky. Definitely can sense the low alcohol content.
O - good stout. A nice change of pace from Guinness. I like the Guinness Export better.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.88/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a rich espresso black with a hue of brown, if any through the light. A thick, soapy dark cream colored head sits on top that slowly dissipates to a film. Loads of sticky lacing. The beer smells dry and sweet somewhat, but mostly of bitter chocolate and roasted malts. The taste is exceptional: roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and a faint milky sweetness in there. The mouthfeel is dry.

Overall, this is an exceptional stout, and it's about as close to perfect as can be for an Irish Dry Stout. Also, the low ABV is a delight. I could drink this for hours.

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Photo of welldigger888
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an opaque black with some garnet hues around the edges. Dense tan cream colored head that leaves ample lacing down glass.

Roasty malty goodness on the nose.

Roasted grain coffee and caramel that has a touch of that old sour magic to it.

Creamy and smooth as butter, velvety soft and highly drinkable.

Oh my I may have found an everyday drinker, well played by my local bottle shop. The St Pattys Day special of $4 per growler fill.Awesome brew.

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

Poured into a pint glass. Pours black with a two finger length tan head. The aroma is of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee. The flavor is of dark roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee. It tastes exactly as it smells. The hops aren't veyr prominent and the taste lingers in the back of the mouth. There's a pleasant interplay of sweet and bitter in the taste and this stout definitely opens up as it warms. The finish is dry and the mouthfeel is on the lower end of medium and it's crisp. This drinks fairly easily and I could see myself sessioning this beer. It's very good.

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Photo of intensify
3.26/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

poured a motor oil looking type body with a huge head. Head stuck around for a nice while and left tons of lacing while doing so. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, banana and vanilla beans. Taste is on-que with the smell except the banana and other fruits really tend to stick out. Vanilla was a huge hit on this stout and I say this because the sweet aftertaste couldn't have came from anything else. However, it might just be the specific 6 pack I came across but there is something funky about the finish of this beer. Would i buy again? Naa. Would i refuse if it were available for free? Naa.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a mug.

A - Pours a not-quite-totally-black with a two finger tan head that lingered decently. Good amount of patchy lacing.

S - Roasted grains predominant. A hint of chocolate and dark fruit. Aroma is strong.

T - A nice grainy toasted flavor. Slight bit of dark fruit sweetness in the finish, but overall kind of a one-note wonder. None of the chocolate that was present in the nose. Hops barely detectable. Lacking a little complexity.

M - Thin almost to the point of being watery. Lively carbonation. Finishes dry alright...bone dry. Easy drinking.

O - A solid dry stout, with an almost unparalleled drinkability. I had to fight to keep from downing the entire glass long enough to write the review. Overall just a little too thin bodied and a little too simple for my taste. Could see knocking back a six pack of these though.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

O’hara’s Irish Stout has a medium, creamy, beige head and a very dark brown or black appearance with ruby shining through in the light. A good amount of lacing is left in the glass. Aroma is a mix of dark-roasted barley malt, dark coffee, and dark baker’s chocolate. Taste is dry, powdery, chocolaty, coffee-like, a little sweet and a little bitter. Mouthfeel is medium, and O’hara’s Irish Stout finishes mild, bitter, and pleasant. Overall, this is a very nice beer, and I highly recommend it.


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Photo of rjplumer
3.92/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a tan two finger head. Roasted malt notes. Dry chocolate flavor with a hint of sourness in the middle. Very carbonated for the style. Smooth yet does have a mild roast bite. Also a faint hint of some sweet hops. Respectable and I would have again no problem.

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Photo of Everydayoff
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into a mug by freshness date.

Jet black in color with thick foamy tan head with good retention, it recedes into frothy tan film covering the surface along with plenty of lacing tan rings and several clingy patches.

The smell is black coffee with roasted/caramelized malt and some smokiness as well as some creamy note.

Backbone is bitterness from roasted malt with some black coffee-like flavor, bread crust, slight creamy. Dainty bitterness is all round also lingers as an aftertaste.

Mouth feel is firm, rather smooth with good crisp of carbonation, dry finish.

I could drink this all day long due to its high drinkability. O’Hara’s Stout has flagged itself in one of the top Irish Stout list in my mind.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice dark brown almost ruby red dark brown color.
Small head but plenty of lacing.

Small nose- Hints of roasted malt. But not much else.

Flavor is a dry bitter flavor, hints of roasted barley.
Nice long finish.

I like this beer because of it's lower ABV-- I can keep enjoying this beer-- twelve ounces don't weld me to my seat. This is a beer I can enjoy several pints of and not regret it the next morning.

The flavor is well balanced-- not particularly robust-- but that maybe be the profile of an Irish Stout-- but it's such that the flavor and consequential mouthfeel is not tiring.

Overall this is an enjoyable beer if you're planning to quaff a few pints-- sitting down for the beer of the day I prefer one with a more muscular stance that slows my guzzling down a bit-- even with a pint the glass' bottom comes up all too quickly.

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Photo of BierStein711
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz Bottle poured into mug

Best before February of 2012

Three and a half inch soda colored head, black with some red

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt

Taste: Roasted malt, coffee

Mouthfeel: not as smooth as other stouts.

This is a good, solid beer. However, I'll have it again on tap, and not from the bottle. This is worth a try.

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

A: Pitch black beer, with a finger's width of light tan foam that sticks around a good long while and leaves some nice rings of lacing on the edge of the glass.

S: Chocolate malts, nice roasted aroma and coffee.

T: Bitter roasted malts are certainly the primary flavor in the brew. Some notes of chocolate and caramel through the middle and finish with the taste of strong black coffee.

M: Medium-heavy body, not as heavy as the color would have you believe. The carbonation is moderate, and the feeling is rather creamy.

O: Not the best stout that I've ever had, but far from the worst. The flavor is balanced, nice and bitter without overwhelming. The 4.3% alcohol and relatively light mouthfeel make this, if not sessionable, then at least easy and quick to drink.

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O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 474 ratings.