1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

O'Hara's Irish Stout - Carlow Brewing Company

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

742 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 742
Reviews: 452
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 51
Gots: 24 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company visit their website

Style | ABV
Irish Dry Stout |  4.30% ABV

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.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-27-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of O'Hara's Irish Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 742 | Reviews: 452 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kendo

New York

4.03/5  rDev +4.1%

Got it on tap at StoutNYC.

A: Poured black with a creamy, big, 2-finger whitish head after doing the whole nitro-tap cascading thing. Left rings and rings of lacing as I drank my way down the glass.

S: Not much going on in the nose department -- a slight scent of bitter coffee, but "faint" is the optimum description.

T: Not particularly strong in the flavor department either, but it's consistent with the style. Roasted coffee beans predominate with a hint of unsweetened baking chocolate. A dry, bittersweet, earthy aftertaste lingers for awhile -- not in a bad way at all.

M: Smooth and creamy and relatively light.

D: Highly drinkable. Low in alcohol, creamy mouthfeel and a nice viewing experience make this an easily quaffable, easily enjoyed beer. I think I downed my imperial pint in just a few minutes.

Notes: If you like Guinness, you should like O'Hara's Celtic Stout. It's not going to challenge your tastebuds like some bigger stouts, but it fits the style and is not at all objectionable. Recommended.

12-14-2006 19:29:16 | More by Kendo
Photo of claytri


4.35/5  rDev +12.4%

The beer poured a dark brown with a tan head. The aroma was of strong malt with a hint of coffee. The taste was of sweet malt with a nice bitter finish. The feel was heavy and dry. This was a nice stout. The sweet malt was balanced nicely by the dry bitter finish. A very strong aroma was a real bonus.

12-12-2006 04:38:53 | More by claytri
Photo of Shovelbum


3.63/5  rDev -6.2%

Pours a two finger mocha head over a black body with just a faint trace of red aroud the edges. The head has decent staying power and leaves bits of lace. Aromas of roasted barley and coffee. A fairly robust roasted flavor mixes with a pronounced mineral character. Although, the mineral diminishes as it warms, becoming a bit softer around the edges with the roasted character taking over. Moderate hop bitterness. Full body. Smooth. The roasted flavor lingers long after the finish.

A nice Irish stout. The emphasis is definitely on the roasted side here with little else adding to complexity apart from some minor chocolate notes—but that’s all right since there’s plenty chew on as it is.

12-12-2006 02:08:14 | More by Shovelbum
Photo of DrJay


3.73/5  rDev -3.6%

Nearly black with mahogany highlights topped by a thick tan head off a vigourous pour. Streaky lacing and quite good head retention. There's a lactose, caramel sweetness to the aroma with very mild roast and chocolate. Just a kiss of herbal hops too. Mild bitterness balanced by a lactose sweetness. A bit acidic, nearly tart finish. Dry cocoa middle with faint hops. Decent texture, fine carbonation. Quite enjoyable. I'd definitely have this again, especially if I find it on tap.

12-10-2006 01:36:31 | More by DrJay
Photo of shamus

Ontario (Canada)

4.45/5  rDev +15%

A damned good beer. One of the better stouts I've had in a while. Perhaps even better than St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout. This has an amazing smell or roasted smokey grains. It's smooth and smoky to the taste almost like bacon!?
I'd really have to try this next to St Ambroise Oatmeal Stout to compare but right now this is all I need. A very nice beer on a cold Ottawa winter's eve.

12-08-2006 01:52:36 | More by shamus
Photo of Jettanbass9


5/5  rDev +29.2%

If only this was on tap and as available as Guiness....

Poured into a stout style glass... pours like an ordinary stout. And then you take the first taste.... Velvety smooth with robust coffee and chocolate malt flavors cutting through the texture. If i could compare it to anything it would be close to a Murphy's Irish Stout with more roasted malts and barley. Truely a great beer. Drinkability... all night long baby ;) three cheers for O'hara's Irish Stout!

12-07-2006 17:59:05 | More by Jettanbass9
Photo of pootz

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -3.6%


Poured a deep, light-defying black into the glass with a mocha colored 3 finger whipped cream cap that lasted and laces...all this without nitorgen!!

Aroma: Dark roasty grains prevail, some nutty tones and light wet hay smells.

Thick real malt spine, chewy buttery mouth feel and a roasty-crisp deportment.

Up front you chew into black astringent malts...this goes to a butter-nutty decernament as it steeps on the tongue then the hops over take it and sent the drink into a sharp, dry finish.

I don’t like dry Irish stouts but this one is about as good as they get...more to the original character of this ale before it was abominated by Guinness and nitrogen.

11-07-2006 15:19:26 | More by pootz
Photo of jongillin


4.3/5  rDev +11.1%

I must say I'm excited to have purchased this beer. It is more what a dry stout should be.

Pours a deep black with copper tones and a nice dark tan head.
The aroma is very full of coffee and dark toasted malt.
The taste and the mouthfeel is what I would get excited about. The grains come through and so does a vague dark chocolate taste. Rich coffee and carmel malt. It finishes dry and with a slight hint of bittering hops and leaves a coffee after taste.

Overall I feel this is better and more bitter than Guinness. Drinkable and still some what of a sessions beer. However, the import price tag kind of detracts from having more than 2 of these.
Recomend as a stepping stone to more stouts and porters.

10-29-2006 05:43:21 | More by jongillin
Photo of plaid75

New York

4.38/5  rDev +13.2%

Poured a dense black hue with a two finger creamy bone white head. There was excellent retention and lacing. Nice cascading as well.

The smell feaured an excellent toasted grain aroma with hints of cofee.

The taste consisted of an excellent burnt grain bill with strong coffee, not bitter however, flavors. Very smooth.

The mouthfeel was full and clean. Finished dry.

Overall a superior dry stout. Extremely drinkable.

10-16-2006 16:02:57 | More by plaid75
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%

A very dense black body, topped with a mocha colour head (which faded when I took my eyes off it) An excellent looking pint though. A shade or two darker than Guinness for those who require reference! An otherwise pleasant aroma that's slightly off put by a coarse, minerally water. The same strain that you find present in a lot red ales, disrupts aroma but compliments the mouthfeel. Adds a chalky, sandy finish. Body is well pronounced with a great deal of roastness. Thick but well manageable. Flavour profile is simple, dominated by a dark malt. Very, very small touch of bitterness. Actually, on second thought, there isn't nearly enough depth to the mouthfeel - nothing that sticks to the tongue. Although, as a dry stout, I wouldn't expect to much of that and won't hold it against the beer. That said, it would make this a little nicer. But all in all, this beer is pretty nice as is.

10-09-2006 21:22:41 | More by biegaman
Photo of grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +5.9%

pours a nearly opaque dark brown colour with an inch of thick tan head. after a few minutes the head drops to about a quarter inch and leaves tons of lace behind.

aroma is great. rich and roasty, with just a hint of sourness. bready malt.

taste is great. roasty. nice level of bitterness. bready. bittersweet chocolate. hint of espresso. just a little sourness.

mouthfeel is good. a little fuller body than i expected. moderate carbonation seems just about right.

drinkability is great. tasty, and at 4.3%abv it's not going to kick your ass. very nice. have to pick up a few more while this one is still available locally.

10-03-2006 00:05:49 | More by grub
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -0.5%

A: Black with a light tan head, some retention, good lace.

S: Very roasty (with a charred BBQ-like aroma), somewhat coffee like, with a little biscuit & nut.

T: Fairly roasty; moderately dry; Flavours of molases, coffee, dark bread, nut and burnt caramel; slight roasted astringency, acidic, with a hint of tartness. Certainly more flavourful, but not as sour as a Guiness draft.

M: Moderate body is slightly acidic, dry & chalky. Moderate carbonation. Fairly chewy for its weight.

D: Not my favourite style, but this one's alright.

10-02-2006 23:46:59 | More by Derek
Photo of allergictomacros

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +3.4%

A - Pitch black, with a solid, dense head.

S - Extreme roastiness mixed with fruitiness. Sharp notes of coffee and dark fruit. Slight mustiness here as well.

T - Coffee/espresso flavour and bitterness is immediate. Some tartness from the roasted grain as well. Not a lot of complexity.

M - Light bodied and dry.

D - Not bad at all. A little too much in-your-face coffee flavour for my taste, but easy drinking none-the-less.

09-30-2006 21:15:51 | More by allergictomacros
Photo of funkengruven

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +4.7%

This poured from the bottle a nice dark black with a slightly tan head on top, quite nice. Smell too is nice, roasted malt with something I can't quite identify, somewhat resembles pine or cedar, This is also reflected somewhat in the taste, but with more. Nice roasted malt/Coffee flavor with a slightly piney aroma. Considering it's style it's rather smooth and easy to drink considering the bold aromas and flavors in this.

Overall quite a nice stout. Definitely worth a try.

09-22-2006 01:18:03 | More by funkengruven
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +15.5%

This is my first Irish craft brew. Im very impressed!

Pours out of the dark clad bottle pure black with just a few hints of ruby around the edges. The rocky tan head lasts forever and leaves a lot of lace patches behind. The aroma is full of chocolate, caramel and bitter coffee. Theres a distinct grainyness and even some leather as well. The taste is balanced and hits all the dry stout bases. A good dose of roasty bitterness mixes with lots of dark chocolate and espresso. Some sticky hop bitterness is evident. The finish is roasty and slightly sour (in a good way). The mouthfeel is medium with a very smooth carbonation.

This beer is what I imagine Guinness tasted like several decades ago. Its much richer with bolder coffee and chocolate flavors and a thicker body.

09-17-2006 08:22:47 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.8/5  rDev -1.8%

Opaque dark chocolate with golden trim and a large crown of malted milk ball colored foam. I'm a little surprised (and pleased) to see how dark Celtic Stout is. Maybe that means that it'll be more flavorful and more rich than most beer of this style. Lots of sticky, bubbly lace finds its way to the glass, putting the capper on one of the best Irish dry stouts looks in recent memory.

The nose is a good one and is characterized by aromas of roasted barley, coffee with cream and (much less so) sour dark fruit. There's even a pleasant dark butterscotchiness that appears as the beer warms. I was originally caught between scores due to a lack of power, but have no trouble granting the higher score now.

Not as impressive on the palate. I'm trying to recalibrate my expectations since beer of this style has very little in common with the American stouts that I love. Even so, it falls a bit short. I'd like to see a bit more malt to keep things comfortably above porter territory. Still moderately roasted, still bitter coffee grounds-like (sans cream), cocoa powdery and even more sour fruity.

It's amazing to me how Irish dry stouts can sometimes be more dry and more bitter than IPAs. This is a case in point. Although I rarely drink water alongside my beer, I'm tempted to do so while drinking this one. There's very little underlying sweetness and the finish is almost brutally flinty, biting and parching.

I have a hard time orienting my mouth to light-bodied stouts, but keeping style in mind, O'hara's Celtic hits pretty close to the ol' bull's-eye. It is, however, nowhere close to 'full bodied and luxuriously smooth' as the brewery would have us believe. Doesn't matter, it works well.

I've had enough Irish dry stouts to know that this one wouldn't blow me away. Having said that, it could easily be one of the best with a little more boldness on the flavor front. More malt would seem to be the obvious solution as long as it didn't eliminate the vast majority of the dry, chocolate wafer crispness that is the hallmark of the style. Worth a purchase.

09-12-2006 14:02:18 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of Rudgers73

New York

4.28/5  rDev +10.6%

the label reads "a full bodied and luxuriously smooth stout with a discernible roast bite"

That really sums it up. I enjoyed this stout a lot. It is a dark burnt brown and has a tan head. The initial taste is coffee and the end is the kicker. I liked this stout the most because there was not even a hint of chocolate or toffee--just straight-up roasted flavor.

A tad on the expensive side, but this award winner impressed my taste buds.

09-02-2006 19:22:34 | More by Rudgers73
Photo of BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Nice black-ruby with a thin, dense tan head. Deep roasted malt and coffee smell. The taste is dry, roasted malt. Hints of coffee and not much else. This would go very well with chocolate or coffee. A bit on the bitter side, more so than Guinness.

The roasted malt lends a nice rough edge to the mouthfeel, making this not too smooth. A great dessert beer, almost a replacement for espresso.

06-10-2006 03:09:48 | More by BDTyre
Photo of scooter231

New York

4.03/5  rDev +4.1%

This was pretty delicious. Poured a dark, black color, completely opaque, with a lovely barely tan head and lacing. Smell was so-so, taste was far richer- roasted, bitter coffee collowed by a dollop of chocolate, without being overly sweet. Very well-balanced. Mouthfeel was chewy and thick, bubbly enough. Overall, delicious.

05-18-2006 08:16:52 | More by scooter231
Photo of BadBadger

New York

3.85/5  rDev -0.5%

O'hara's Stout is rather pleasant, relative to the other mass marketed Irish dry stouts on the market (e.g., Guinness and Murphy's). This beer pours a brown, nearing dark, color. It has a nice sized head, which goes away a bit to quickly (some swirling brings it back easy enough). The smell is malty, with hints of roasted malt. The taste is on the bitter end of the spectrum, with strong burnt flavoring from the roasting coming through. The moutfeel is smooth. I would certainly rather see these on tap than Guinness.

05-09-2006 23:50:02 | More by BadBadger
Photo of bkett01


4/5  rDev +3.4%

Pitch black stout with a full coffee colored frothy head. Smells of roasted malts with strong coffee notes breaking through. The thick head has begun to go down leaving mountains of froth which also lace the walls of the pint glass.

Tastes strongly of coffee (and some light chocolate notes) with a mildly bitter and well balanced finish. Hops can be detected here, but malt clearly dominates the balance. I'm reviewing this from the bottle, but first had it on tap locally. While this is good, O'hara's on tap really blew me away. If you get a chance, check this one out instead of guinness on tap.

04-03-2006 02:42:22 | More by bkett01
Photo of nlmartin


3.7/5  rDev -4.4%

This beer was poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: This beer is very dark with ruby opaqueness to light. The head is a towering two inches thick creamed coffee coloration. There is thick lacing remaining on the glass.

Smell: Dark roasted coffee with a bit of burnt grain character. Smells slightly smokey with a peat type of smell.

Taste: This is a very good tasting stout. There is the requisite dark roasted coffee coupled with a smokey slightly burnt flavor. There is a bit of chocolatey goodness floating in the taste.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: This beer has a medium body. There is a very pleasing creamy mouthfeel to the beer. This is a very sessionable and enjoyable beer.

03-30-2006 11:09:14 | More by nlmartin
Photo of nortmand


4.1/5  rDev +5.9%

Red hued black pour with a frothy white head and incredible lacing.

Chocolate caramel smell for sure.Rich coffee notes as well.

Sweet caramel up front bitter coffee by the back of the tongue. The only unpleasant part is a harsh astringency at the back of the tongue.

Huge body for a dry Irish stout. A bit overcarbonated, but very nice. Fairly drinkable, not like drinking Guinness brand air, you actually want to keep coming back to this one.

03-24-2006 00:34:01 | More by nortmand
Photo of Bigjay1584

New York

3.1/5  rDev -19.9%

I had the urge to try this after I tried some other tasty non-Guinness pints on St Pattys Day. 12 oz bottle into a pint glass (+ opened another to filler up) drank plenty of time before "best before" date.

Looks exactly like an Irish stout should: beautiful. After a brisk pour, had a nice inch of brown foam. Plently of lacing.

Smell is pretty simple: roasty (appropriate for the style I guess).. not bad

Taste is ok. I still prefer Guinness stout. It is waaaay too dry for my taste. Sort of overdominated by sourness. Seems to be missing something but It is quite smooth and satisfying nonetheless.

Mouthfeel: not too impressed here.. has quite a tenacious bite (leggo my tongue!)

Drinkability: suprisingly good for a stout. I actually did drink 2 of these in a row (in order to fill up the pint glass.. otherwise it just wouldnt be right). Had no trouble having another. I'd say its worth a try.

Slante' !!

03-23-2006 02:59:58 | More by Bigjay1584
Photo of sopor


3.88/5  rDev +0.3%

Dark colas brown beer is black in the glass with an inch of tan head slowly dissipating with lots of dimples. Smells of slightly bitter roast malt, <irish accent>exactly what you should be smellin'</irish accent> Flavor is all about the smokey roast malt. Touces of bitter coffee. Not complex, but tasty, and right to style. Body is full enough to be very satisfying without being too thick and heavy. Tasty and drinkable Irish Dry Stout, perfect for my St Patty's Day celebration.

03-21-2006 14:10:00 | More by sopor
O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 742 ratings.