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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

732 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 732
Reviews: 450
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 48
Gots: 21 | 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)
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Ratings: 732 | Reviews: 450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NeroFiddled


3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

O'hara's Stout on tap delivers the typical nitro-pour appearance; and beyond that it's a typical dry Irish stout, cleanly done, with just a mild touch of dark malt acidity, an appropriate amount of roastiness, a sprinkling of brown sugar, and a touch of bittersweet chocolate. It finishes dry with a touch of residual malt, a dull bitterness; and some soft roastiness. Quite enjoyable!

Serving type: nitro-tap

05-22-2005 21:47:11 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of Brent


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

Poured the expected black. Powerful aroma of roasted malt - notes of maple syrup, bordering on soy-sauce intensity. Flavor was dominated by a caramel/espresso roastedness with a slightly acidic character. Missing were any peat smoke notes I usually associate with the style, but this was not a problem. Hopping was enought to balance, but the beer is obviously all about the malt. Called to mind a bit bigger version of Guinness Foreign Export. Surprised at what this beer could do and yet be relatively low in alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2005 14:38:48 | More by Brent
Photo of horndecker

New Jersey

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

The bottle and label have a nice look to them. Inviting.

It pours inky black with a rough capuccino head, fluffy and long lasting. So far so good.
The nose has at first a vegetal thing, quickly overwhelmed by sharp espresso and cocoa powder aromas.
The taste is dark and flinty. Burnt flavors, dark roasted coffee beans, hints of cocoa and damp earth. Sustained on a decent medium to full body, all the flavors work well together, it's very smooth, and finishes long and bitter.
Really nice.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2005 15:24:50 | More by horndecker
Photo of merlin48


3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle served at cellar temperature into a dimpled pint glass.

Appearance: Dark brown, but clear, on the pour. Appears opaque in the glass, but is ruby mahogany when held to light. Creamy, beige head is two fingers tall. Good retention, with attractive patches of lace sheeting the glass.

Aroma: Very subtle bouquet for a stout, with mild roasty notes of carob and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Light medium body, slightly creamy, with medium carbonation.

Taste: Smooth and creamy, with tingly carbonation. Mild carob notes with softly bitter, roasted dark malts. A reserved hops presence adds a nice floral/herbal taste. Finish and aftertaste have a mild coffee bitterness.

Drinkability: Very good drinkability for any style of stout. Modest alcohol content and relatively light body will allow you to enjoy more than a couple of these at a sitting, if you choose.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2005 00:22:11 | More by merlin48
Photo of Sayson

North Carolina

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

Beer poured nicely. Color was opaque with some garnet hues showing through. Long-lasting head with pleasant amount of lace as I drank. Nice roasty aroma. Moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is medium with a good amount of roastiness and a pleasantly bitter, dry aftertaste. No hop aroma or flavor detectable. This is a very drinkable stout.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2005 03:04:17 | More by Sayson
Photo of BeerFink


4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown, with red at the sides and bottom of the glass. About a finger of very light brown head croppped up, but died back down. Big roasted aroma, also coffee, and a bit of chocolate. Taste is very long on the roasted flavor. Some coffee and a little nuttiness are also present. Some black malt is in there as well. Roasted bitterness is a good way to sum of the flavor. Finishes crisp and dry. The CO2 carbonation gives this more bite than a nitro stout, and I like it. Creamy and highly quaffable, a good example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2005 04:58:55 | More by BeerFink
Photo of StevenZubler


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

“A full bodied and luxuriously smooth stout with a discernable roast bite.”

Thee one I bought had a different label. Drink it colder than recommended. Looks good, color is black with a little brown and a good head, decent smell. It tastes good like roasted malt, a slightly complex flavor. Good smooth body. Definitely drinkable, but a little bit of after taste. I did not like their Irish Red, but I recommend this Stout brew.

Serving type: bottle

04-03-2005 03:22:53 | More by StevenZubler
Photo of Hibernator


3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recently picked up a single of the O'hara's irish stout. This beer comes in an 11.2 oz brown bottle. I have noticed this beer popping up more and more on the beer market recently.

I had served this in an imperial pint glass. It pours a ruby color with a reddish brown highlights towards the bottom of the glass. Spotted lacings on the side of the glass with a tannish colored head on top.

Aroma of roasted malts and burnt toast.

Light coffee flavors match with a roasted and smokey backdrop. I thought the body was a little thin for what I am looking for in this style of stout. It's drinkable, but average in the big scope of options.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2005 01:20:45 | More by Hibernator
Photo of edchicma


3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost black with a creamy, pillowy head. Strong roasted malt smell, but with some odd background notes. Taste is smoky, bready, with some nice bitter roasted malt notes. Mouthfeel is light, but chewy...very dry on the finish. Low abv...nice dry finish...simply easy on the drinkability scale.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2005 23:58:38 | More by edchicma
Photo of dauss


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

Appearance: Pours a clear but very dark amber color, almost black, almost. A large light tan head with excellent retention and lacing forms.

Smell: Lots of roasted malts. Very grainy with a touch of coffee.

Taste: Very smooth and light on the carbonation. Lots of roasty malts, coffee, and chocolate. Has a very mild bitterness at the back of the tongue in the finish. Long roasty aftertaste with a very slight astringency.

Notes: Way better than guinness. I could enjoy drinking these all day. I wonder what this tastes like on nitro.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2005 03:01:03 | More by dauss
Photo of karst


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

Best by Dec '05 from a March trip to Corral Liquors in Granite City, Il. Black with ruby glints from dirrect sun on this perfect Spring day. Kaki head leaving sticky lace. Light aroma improving with warmth emitting roasted coffe beans and bitter burnt malt. Like this Irish Stout around 50°F / 10° C or slightly warmer. Velvet smooth (tingle of C02) while having a almost thin mouthfeel - this seems contradictory until you drink this chared wood/steak, nutty, and stronly roasted barley tasting beauty. Lingering aftertastes of burnt charcoal and grain while not especially complex provide an amazingly flavorful taste as hops and overroasted flavors play on the tongue and palate. Finishes dry.

note: I think I detect sodium bicarbonate like taste when I hold this beer in my mouth and let it efferesce and sit. This may be how such a thin body still feels good and doesn't go watery.

This stout is begging to be paired with an open face steak sandwitch with a side of veggies and mashed potatos and a nice dollop of butter. Like the one at Gordos in Rolla, Mo.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2005 00:31:54 | More by karst
Photo of mschofield


4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours an inky black with ruby highlights, topped with a two finger dark khaki head, leaves thick sticky webs of lacing.
Thick, roasty malt aroma, charred wood or steak, strong roasted barley presence.
Roasted malt, charred bread, clay and earthy notes.
Medium bodied, off the charts taste for a 4.3% ABV beer. Great drinkability with that taste and low ABV.
My mother actually found an article on this one in the newspaper and pointed it out to me - thanks Mom!

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2005 01:19:36 | More by mschofield
Photo of UncleJimbo


3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz, brown, longneck bottle, capped.

This stout poured a clear, very dark mahogany color with light brown foam that settled to a film, but which coated the glass. The smell was malty with dark, roasted malt the dominant aroma. The taste was malty: black malt with a touch of coffee. There was a slightly tangy, mildly hoppy finish. The mouthfeel was very dry with medium body and modest carbonation. The tangy, malty flavors lingered in the aftertaste. This was a pretty good dry, Irish stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2005 00:24:22 | More by UncleJimbo
Photo of bewareOFpenguin


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

I wanted a real Irish beer, so when I saw this, I knew I had the real McCoy. It poured the usual black, but the taste was quite a throwback to something I hadn't had in a while. At first I'm thinking, "watered down?" But actually it was just an Irish Stout as it should taste, not an Imperial Stout. This was a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2005 15:20:35 | More by bewareOFpenguin
Photo of babydoc


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

My St. Patrick's Day beer. 330ml bottle labeld best before DEC 05. Pours deep, dark, translucent brown with ruby overtones. Generous three-finger stiff foamy head lasts and lasts, leaving generous lace. The head diminishes but never disappears. Nose is sweet malt, nuts, and fresh ground coffee. This is a sweet stout, with roasted malt mixed with bittersweet chocolate and subtle coffee flavors. The sweetness overpowers any coffee or chocolate, but is balanced by slightly astringent hops. Moderate mouthfeel, finishes dry. Very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2005 03:54:49 | More by babydoc
Photo of shertzogovina

New York

4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 330 ml long neck bottle of a new irish import to the USA.
Best before date on the back label (December 2005).
Nice looking black label seems promissing. (how many new dry irish stouts from Ireland does one get to taste?).
Pours dark-ruby with a good biege head and lacing.
Smell of burnt coffee and roasted malt.
Excellent coffee/espresso-like flavours nicely balanced with the hops.
Dry all the way. Medium body.
Very highly drinkale. Perfecty matched my chocolate cake.
A great welcome to the US market and very reasonably priced ($2).

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2005 23:49:49 | More by shertzogovina
Photo of BeerResearcher


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

11.2oz dark brown bottle. Poured into an (free) O'Hara's pint glass. Freshness date stamped on back label (Dec. 05)
It pours a ruby-hued black walnut color. On top, sits a foamy and bubbly beige/tan head. Some trailing and patches of sticky lace are noticed.
It has an initial grainy smell, and then slowly reveals notes of roasted malt and a wee bit of dry hay.
The roasted malt has an almost burnt taste (reminiscent of over- brewed coffee), but it is not an entirely bad thing. It's a bit on the thin side and has a slightly harsh taste around the edges.
The hops have a sharp edged, astringent bitterness to them.
It finishes dry, dry, dry.
This brew goes really well with good aged cheddar and rye crackers.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2005 23:12:29 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of Jason


4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz brown bottle with a best before date on the back label.

Appearance: Dense bubbly tan lace, great retention. The color is a shade away from pitch black.

Smell: Aromatic roasted smell of coffee and burnt grain.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Velvety smooth with an amazing viscous carbonation with in a moderate body. Creamy malt with mild roasted notes that turn into a dusty charcoal flavor. Clean palate with a light hop bitterness, finish very dry with a lingering charcoal note.

Drinkability & Notes: Highly quaffable, this one gives Guinness Draft a run for its money IMO.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2005 21:27:53 | More by Jason
Photo of deejaydan


3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours exceptionally dark, witha tan frothy head. Head compacts down quickly but stays around. Very nice lacing is left on the glass. Aroma is all roasty malts. Taste is just odd. Taste is sharp bitterness from the roasted malts, a slight hint of metallic flavor, and that's it. Not enough sweet malt for me. Mouthfeel is okay, but overcarbonated for the style. Not bad, but not great.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2005 18:42:34 | More by deejaydan
Photo of malty


3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served from an 11.2 oz. longneck : best before 12/05.

I've read a couple reviews of this beer, and some remarks about the color were: 'impervious to light' and 'almost black'. I have to tell you, the dark ruby hues are very apparent through the center of my 9 oz. tasting glass whereas I can see right through it. The light beige head was chunky and fluffy that clung to the inside of the glass beautifully.

Scent is nice, good creamed coffee notes - but that's about it.

The flavor seemed well balanced with roasted malts and a good dryness - but seemed to fall short of the bottle's claim: 'discernible roast bite'. I did enjoy the overall dryness both in flavor and mouthfeel.

The body was medium at best, and again a nice dry finish.

The drinkability was the best feature being it has great potential of being a good session beer, that is if you enjoy a less-filling stout.

Overall I found this to be a lackluster stout, and definitely not worth the $11/6 pk. price tag. Disapointing the bottle claims it's 'full bodied'. I'm glad I'm only out $1.89 being that my retail beer friend singled one out for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2005 20:30:12 | More by malty
Photo of bewley


3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bit of a story about this one. My wife and I were in Ireland two years ago and I had read that this stout had won all of these awards, was a fine example of its style, etc, so I had to make Carlow one of our stops on the way to Dublin from Cork. We arrived too late for the brewery tour, but we hit a few of the pubs in Carlow to see if we could find some O'Hara's, but it couldn't be found. Apparently, Guinness has a major hold on pubs surrounding Dublin. They (Guinness) put the kids through school, buy the pubkeepers cars, replace the lines free of charge, put the mum in the retirement home, BUT--God forbid, you sell a competitor's brew and yer cut off, get yer daughter outta Trinity an we'll be by to pick up the Fiat in the mornin . . .

So, to make a long story longer, we didn't get to try this stout in Carlow, or even Ireland for that matter, but in CT where a friend runs a wine shop. Now (a year later) they sell it in MA.

12 oz bottle: Label states: "best before December 05"

It's now called "Irish" stout wereas before it was called "Celtic" stout

Pours dark brown/black with a two finger tan head.

Nose is roasted malt, barley and black tea.

Creamy mouthfeel. This is very dry with good carbonation, but weak in taste overall. When I tried this over a year ago I remember it tasting much better. I think they must have changed the recipe. No wonder they don't drink this in Carlow. I'm not impressed.

Blah, I'll use it to make a lamb stew!

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2005 21:53:39 | More by bewley
Photo of JISurfer

South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is easily the brewery's best offering. Ofcourse, I would expect an Irish Brewery to do well with the Irish Stout. It had a beautifully made dark color with a big nice head too it. The head was pretty stout, so it lasted a very long time. The taste and smell were similar, but the taste had more in the area of bitter sweet chocolates. Also had a little bit of a hop to it, but nothing to really get in the malt's way. All in all a good beer to enjoy on warm night. Quite resfreshing as well.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2004 05:35:59 | More by JISurfer
Photo of tjd25


3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Thick and foamy head, with a long retention. Big bubbles, a bit like whipped milk. The body is intensely black. Very pleasing smell: red/black fruits, blackberries, a deep wooden character with chocolate notes. The taste reminds me strongly of dark chocolate, with a round cocoa character and a harsh bitterness that ends with notes of wood and hints of straw. Roasted and almost burnt malts abound. The mouthfeel is a bit milky, but this aspect is a kind of overwhelmed by the deep and lasting chocolate bitterness that circles the mouth. I felt like this beer was a bit too intense. I started eating some chocolate cookies, and the beer gets more drinkable now. Still, I'm a little disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2004 22:15:57 | More by tjd25
Photo of Sigmund


4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(500 ml bottle, bought in Denmark). Colour is black (= very dark brown), very good and creamy tan head, leaves a nice lacing. Lovely roasted coffee-like aroma with notes of unrefined cane sugar. Flavour is all roast barley with coffee notes, not particularly complex but still very good. Dry aftertaste. An excellent alternative to GBM (Guinness/Beamish/Murphy’s).

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2004 11:58:22 | More by Sigmund
Photo of cbl2

New York

3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Dark dark brown almost black with extremely thick tan head.


Can't smell anything. Even after warming, and halfway through the beer it's as if no odors are emerging.


Smooth, slightly bitter with hints of chocolate. Good, not great, and not really worth a second look.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2004 15:58:50 | More by cbl2
O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 732 ratings.