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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

807 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 807
Reviews: 461
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 56
Gots: 41 | 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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Ratings: 807 | Reviews: 461 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of selecter70
4.85/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This has been referred to as the "Guinness-Killer" recently, & I could'nt agree more! This simply is my favorite stout out there (thank you Publick House!) & I can imagine Diageo plotting to curb it's distribution in order to prevent it from harming their mega-sales. It seems that you used to be able to get a Beamish or Murphy's more regularly around town, and I loved that...especially when you had the choice (after all, place serve several brands of IPAs &c...why not stouts?). Nevertheless, this stout came with a beautiful, rich black-brown body & dense, firm tan head of 1& 1/2 fingers. Nice lace held throughout and retained the flavor & body well. The aroma is spot-on stout, all roasted malts & bready-nut goodness. Hints of coffee & chocolate round out the flavor with good roasted grain & malt with full bitter mixed with creamy sweet & a rich, dry finish. Full but wholly drinkable...must get more....& so should you

Photo of leif86
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black body (as one would expect) with some dark brown glow around the fringes of my Duvel. The head is light tan in color and just over a finger's width but leaves good lacing.

S: Burnt grain with an aroma of alcohol that is warming but not overwhelming.

T: A definite fruity sweetness that I wasn't expecting but quite enjoy coupled with subtle coffee and chocolate notes. Finishes a bit dry and little earthy.

M: Maybe a tad on the thin side but overall it's right on.

D: Quite lovely! If you let it warm it's vastly more drinkable, I get a metallic taste with this beer too cold of a temperature - this becomes sweet instead when it warms up.

Photo of tjkurz
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at Stone Bank Inn on tap served in imperial pint glass. Black with thick and creamy tan head - this head held peaks if you whisked it with a utensil - I gotta say that I have never really seen - you could eat this beer with a spoon. After that the smell and taste are good for this style roasty but mild - dry finish - not very carbed, easy drinking lower alcohol at 4.3.

Photo of jkendrick
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown with amber light showing through on the edges. The off-white to brown head is not too thick and recedes quickly leaving lots of lacing.

S: Lots of roasted malt though the aroma is mild overall. There is some coffee that smells sort of like burnt Starbucks (is that redundant?).

MF: It's medium-bodied at best despite the label's claims of "full bodied." Speaking of which, it has a soda watery type carbonation, not at all the "luxuriously smooth" of the label.

T: There is some bitterness but the roasted malt keep it in check. There is definitely some coffee going on and, as the aroma suggests, it is slightly burnt tasting perhaps accounting for the bitterness.

Overall: My first O'Hara's having grown up on Guinness, Beamish and Murphy's. I have to say that they could get the mouthfeel under control (I'd imagine this is less of an issue on tap), it would be hands-down my favorite Irish Stout.

Photo of schellsbeer
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A Huge thanks to KeefD for throwing a bottle my way. Thanks again Keith.

A - Very Black. Light...what light. No light comes through this stout. Excellent. Nice 1" tan head that doesn't want to leave.

S - Roasted Malts. Dark bitter burnt chocolate. Fresh smelling. This stuff seems to have just been made. Very nice. Quality ingredients went into making this.

T - First mouthful is crutial. Here goes... Coats the mouth with thickness. Burnt Malts. Excellent. Bitter. Wonderful. One of the best dry Irish Stouts I have had the priviledge to have. Reminds me of that "other" irish extra stout but seems to be a little more something there. I love Murphy's and I really like O'Hara's but taste very different. More flavor that Murphy's but not as creamy. Overall, very good stout.

M - Creamy but not as much as Murphy's Irish Stout. Coats the mouth with bitter flavor. Excellent.

D - Very high. Low ABV which I love. I could drink many of these without thinking much about it. Nice....very nice.

Photo of number1bum
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark brown color that's pretty much opaque with a creamy two plus fingers of tan head. Retention is quite good, with a solid lace and some stick here and there on the sides.

Smells of roasted malt with a bit of coffee, and also some nice chocolaty sweetness. There is some grain in the nose, as well, and it's not super-robust, but it is nice.

Taste has a good amount of roasted malt in it with just a bit of burnt grain and coffee flavor, as well. There is some cocoa powder flavor, as well; the nose seemed more chocolaty, but this is dry cocoa instead. There's just a bit too much of a husky, griany bite to this, but still it's quite flavorful. It's smooth with a pretty nice creaminess to it, with a light-medium body. It's dry in the finish with a bit of roasted malt and grain left on the palate.

This is just a solid brew, very easy drinking and tasty. I certainly would not turn one down.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Excellent low alcohol, traditional Irish Stout. Hallelujah! An alternative to Guiness that actually tastes of something real. Pours very dark brown, almost black. Smells roasty and creamy and a bit grainy. Not too heavy, but substantially heavier aroma than Guiness and a lot roastier. Tastes quite balanced between the roasty elements and the creaminess. There is also a light ashiness throughout that I find to be pleasant. Very dry and creamy, a bit of lingering bitterness make this quite satisfying. Very nice, and glad to get this in Black Booty.

Photo of Boehemyth
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer has probably the wierdest hear I've ever seen. The bubbles are huge. It looks like the head that a root-beer float would have. It dissipates unevenly, globbing to the wall of the glass, and, in general, seems unappetizing. Nevertheless, this is a decent Irish Dry Stout. It's got a nice burnt aroma that is also present in the taste. I don't much care for the finish, but I also don't mind it too much. I can't really put my finger on what it tastes like, but it's not too bad. I think it may be some type of hops, but I can't be sure. It's really thin for a stout, making this a very drinkable beer. It doesn't have nitrogen in it, which is typical of beers of this style. That's fine though, because I've never really cared for the nitrogen. I mean, sure it looks cool, but it just tastes awful. If you don't like Guinness Draught, I'd try this or Guinness Extra Stout before you completely discount the style.

Photo of sliverX
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

poored a light swallowing black, held to the light small ruby, brown notes around the edges, big bubbly mocha head that faded down to a film around the edges
smell is big dark roasted malts, some small coffee notes
taste big bitter roasted malt taste, a bit more intense than the "big 3" they're a 5 this is like a 7 not that this is any better tasting just more intensity
mouthfeel is medium to thin much carbonation bitterness dries the mouth
drinkability - I'd much rather have a Beamish or Guinness

Photo of Jablonski
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

A: It pours pitch black with a small head; even when held to light, this beer is still opaque.

S: The smell is a bit on the weak side, but I can pick up a coffee base with a hint of chocolate. There is also an oxidized smell to this beer.

T: It tastes very nice. A largely dark chocolate/coffee base has a slight bitterness throughout most of the taste. In the aftertaste all that remains is the dark chocolate.

M: The mouthfeel is a bit thin, but this may be the only negative in this beer.

D: I could easily have several of these beers in a sitting. The aftertaste is good, and it goes down easy.

Photo of Itoclown
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from Ladd's in Muskegon. Drank from a pint glass. Wow... Did this one fall through the cracks or what? I think this is better than Guinness. One of the better stouts I've ever had.

Look: Black with a little head.
Smell: Quite delicious. Roasted malts. Caramel, coffee. Smells much like an Irish red blended with a stout.
Taste/mouthfeel: Smooth and gives a good fizz on the tongue. Slight burnt taste. Bit of a coffee taste. Leaves a delicious after taste.

Overall/notes: Wow! Wasn't sure about this one. Smells and tastes a lot like Guinness but better. I'd love to try this one on tap or from a nitro can. A/A-

Photo of nickynick
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

O'hara's Irish Stout poured a very dark brown with good size tan head. The smell was loaded with many different smells. Bittersweet malt, some hops, and hints of brown sugar. The taste of bittersweet chocolate and hints of roasted coffee. Mouthfeel was right on for a stout. Drinkability was nice, easy drinker. Overall I enjoyed this stout a great deal. Awesome beer, one of my favorite styles done very nicely.

Photo of brandoneast
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark but not opaque black with tan head of decent retention. Aromas are surprising of the style with upfront roasted coffee and dark fruits -plums noted with whiffs of dark chocolate powder. The paralleled aroma like flavors fly a bit under the radar, expected of the style - nice hops noticed in the back. O'hara's is easily drinkable with an open carbonation of pronounced body that thankfully does finish thin and watery.

Photo of atis
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with tan/brown head that dissipates after some time, almost no lacing. Aroma is sweetish grainy roasted malt, caramel. Taste is sourish roasted malty, with dry, bittery coffee like finish and long lasting bittery aftertaste. Mouthfeel is quite good, but it felt slightly too thin, maybe too much carbonated.

Overall, it is not bad, but slightly too intense and too roasted for my taste.

Photo of philipquarles
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours nearly black with a two-finger dark beige head. The foam subsides to leave nice sheets of lacing and a thin cap. Smells strongly of dark roasted malt with some slight creamy cocoa notes. The roastiness carries on to the taste, giving it a dry, slightly toffee-like character. Somewhat bitter in the same sense that dark chocolate is, though not overpoweringly so as in some beers of this style. Slightly thin feel. Overall, a pretty solid example.

Photo of sentomaster
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Its a typical dry stout. Dark, murky.

S- Very nice nose smell, much much more going on than a Guiness. The dark roasted malt is very evident and gives off a nice warm burnt aroma. There's just the slightest bit of dark fruit sweetness.

T- Very well balanced. Its has a very strong but pleasant roasted taste; bitter but not burnt. A hint of dark coffee beans. The malt also imparts a nice syrupy sweet flavor. Very faint dark fruit flavors and a faint hint of chocolate.

M- Pretty thick and heavy with a small but decent amount of carbonation- more than expected. Coats your mouth nicely and lingers.

D- This is a very good beer, but due to the thickness and strong roasted flavors, I'd have to say its a little less drinkable. I'd move on to something else after one or two of these as the roasty flavors may become cloying.

Photo of droomyster
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Let me admit from the start that I've been looking searching for this beer and looking forward to trying it for many months.

Pours a nearly black body with fine-bubbled medium size head. Smell is unusual in that it is devoid of the dark chocolately element that I would expect, and instead smells of burnt driftwood, new tires, a fresh leather. Absolutely intriguing. Tastes has this bizarre charcoal briquette thing going on that makes me do a double take; tastes like a burned down walnut tree. Has an almost sour finish that is also very interesting. Definitely not a session beer; this is one to have every once in a while so that you can gaze in wonder at its uniqueness.

Photo of akokandy
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into a dimpled stein. Black with a 2-finger tan head. Leaves a lot of lacing down the glass.

S- Somewhat lackluster scent. Kind of like hay. Some malt detectable.

T- Great taste. Roast barley and coffee are present, along with a creamy flavor and lingering, delicious finish. Much more taste than Guinness or Murphy's.

M- Pretty thin and not very carbonated. Good for an Irish Dry Stout.

D- Pretty thin, good taste, and low ABV make this a great session beer. Very drinkable.

Photo of eweneek83
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Its a typical cream stout, the body is murky black, almost opaque. The head is thick and creamy, like the heavy cream on a mug of Irish coffee. Its very typical of a stout, but there's not a lot to see, as its very dark and murky. Carbonation is light.

Smell: Fantastic nose, so much better than Guinness. The dark roasted malt is very evident, almost no hops. Behind the warm burnt smell, theres some sweetness as well coming from dark fruit. I think there some tar too, like a freshly laid asphalt road.

Taste: The bitterness is born almost wholly by the dark malt. Its skillfully roasted, bitter but not burnt (it smells burnt -nicely- but the taste is more dark coffee bitter). There's a syrupy sweetness under the bitter malt, molasses I think, with some dark cherry and raisins. Its not a "cloying" sweetness, its well balanced, keeping the formidable bitterness in check.

Mouth Feel: This is very thick! You almost eat it as much as drink it. It coats the mouth and ads its flavor to anything you eat.

Drinkability: I love this beer, but due to the thickness and strong flavor, I'll have to say its less drinkable than some others. Usually I'll go on to something else after one or two of these.

Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours super dark with a thick creamy off white head that sticks around forever and leaves a ton of lace on the glass on the way down.

Aroma: I get a creamy dry roasty aroma with noticeable coffee notes and chocolate. The aroma is really complex with a nice medley of toastiness and roast malts. There is no alcohol noticeable and the acidity is coming out in the nose as it warms.

Taste: The flavor is clean and very well balanced for the style. There is a lot of toasty malts and some caramel that you notice in the beginning even before the roast. About the middle of the sip, you can start to notice the roast and some bitterness setting in on the back of the throat. It is interesting how reserved the hopping is on this one. I can definitely pick up some grassy hops in the flavor, but they are only mildly in the finish. Though the beer is pretty dry and well attenuated, the finish somehow leans toward dark caramel.

Opinion: Well, I am sure that you can tell from my comments that I really enjoyed this beer. Stouts are not my favorite style, so this one may be out if you put it side-by-side with Guinness. It doesn't have the sour component, or any lingering acidity like most dry stouts. This beer has a pretty complex grain bill, and the flavors all compliment. It isn't the most bold tasting beer, but it is definitely well crafted and I look forward to having another one...especially on tap.

Photo of aeminter
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black with some faint amber hues when held to the light. Nice thick tan/light brown head. Excellent lacing.

Smells of chocolate and coffee

Taste is roasty and a little bitter, but in that good stout way.

Mouthfeel is a little watery and carbonated.

Photo of BedetheVenerable
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 20oz Imperial Pint Glass

Appearance: Ultra-dark brown, almost black, with a nice thick mocha head from the nitro...great retention.

Smell: Mild, but nice. There's a nice mild roasted presence, along with slight caramel hints as well.

Taste: Mild coffee and roasty sweet grains with a touch of chocolate. This one ends slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Light-medium bodied, as it should be.

Drinkability: Definitely quaffable.

Conclusion: This is a nice, simple, quaffable Irish Dry Stout, one that, IMO, gives the "new" Guinness more than a run for its money. Great session stout!

Photo of scoates
2.23/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Split a bottle of this with a good friend on NYE 2008.

I'm a fan of fuller bodied stouts, but a nice Dry Irish is fine once in a while.

Poured into our glasses, it was nice and clear (ruby highlights when held directly up to a light), and the head retention was what I'd expect.

The smell of this beer is excellent. Nice rich coffee and dark chocolate notes that seriously raised my expectations for the taste of my half-glass.

But, I was let down. Tasting the beer, I was immediately smacked with acrid, burnt roasted barley and not much else. This brew smells much better than it tastes. I tried to like it because it smells so great, but I ended up dumping out my portion and moving on to the next bottle.

It was extremely over-carbonated, almost to the point that the watery body (which is ok in a Dry Irish) made me wonder if this bottle had been infected.

I have a second bottle of this, but I'll be in no rush to consume it... I'd only buy it again if I found it on tap, on nitro (which I think could possibly save this beer), and even then... not sure.

Smell it if you get a chance, but make someone else drink it.

Photo of WJVII
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass this brew has a wonderful dark chocolate color with an off white head that leaves sticky lacing on the glass. Not a speck of light comes through when held to a light. The smell is of thick malt, some slight burnt caramel, and mild chocolate notes. The taste is a nice bold malt flavor, not much for sweetness, but hints of roasting and some mild balance of bitterness in the finish. The feel is relatively thick and had a nice finish in the mouth with just slight carbonation. Nice brew, worth a try!

Photo of BierFan
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a Samuel Smith pint glass.

Appearance: Tan 2 inch head sitting on top of a black body. Left nice tiered lacing down the side of the glass. Good head retention.

Smell: Big aroma of roasty malts.

Taste: Really smooth and drinkable dry stout. Roasted malts with a little hops.

O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 807 ratings.