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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

760 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 760
Reviews: 453
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 53
Gots: 25 | 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
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Ratings: 760 | Reviews: 453 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of skizziks
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a nonic. Pour leavesa 1" dark tan head, somewhat coarse that quickly recedes to 1/4". The foam leaves moderate lacing in thin strips. The beer itself is a beautiful opaque deep mahogony.

Aroma is of roast malt, coffee and chocolate. Very stouty, very nice, just what it should be though a little faint. Flavor follows aroma perfectly- roast malt, coffee and chocolate, perfectly blended and balanced. Finish is dry with some lingering roast.

Medium body and carbonation. Carbonation adds some bite that keeps the whole thing light on the palate and refreshing. This makes for great drinkability in such a full-flavored stout. It is what a dry stout should be. What I'll be drinking from now on.

skizziks, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of bossmanjg
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

God I love the Irish beers. Must be the Murphy in me, too be sure.

Appearance: Dark to black in color, the head was good for most of the session. Although, the head was just clinging to the sides by the end, the lacing was excellent.

Smell: Strong coffee aroma accompanied by chocolate, and even some cherry hints poking through.

Taste: For most of the beer, it was a great flavor, but it did have a very dry ending with a bit of a bite.

Mouth feel: Smooth, not watery at all.

Drinkability: I would consider this a session beer. And luckily for me, a local pub carries it in the bottle, so I’ll be enjoying it more often. I’m trying to talk the owner into going draft if possible; I’d love to see this nitro.

And as always remember the immortal words:

“Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy.”

~Benjamin Franklin

bossmanjg, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of Mitchster
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, paid $2.20 @ Jack's. 4.3% ABV.

Pours out to a clear very dark mahogany, forming a tall rocky head with a creamy bottom, dark khaki in color with excellent retention and lacing. Best by date on the bottle marked Apr.30, 2006. Carbonation is mild to moderate. The aroma has a touch of butterscotch balanced by roasted barley and brown sugar. Hops are faint. Mouthfeel is smooth with a hoppy piquant brightness and a distant sweetness that some other dry Irish Stouts lack. Medium bodied. The taste is very pleasant and very drinkable with a nice bite of roasted malts and mild herbaceous hops. Aftertaste of roasted barley, charcoal, and black patent with a smidge of chalk. The finish is dry.

Very nice Dry Irish Stout. I would certainly drink this again. I bet it's awesome on nitro-tap. Somewhere in the middle between Guiness Export Stout and traditional Guiness on tap. Recommended!

Mitchster, Feb 20, 2006
Photo of BitteBier
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear black color with ruby highlights. Despite an aggressive pour, the bubbly, off-white head was minimal with little retention. I suspect this bottle was past its prime. The nose was rather muted with a pilsenery grain quality complemented by light roastiness. The taste was a little more interesting, those malts complemented by satisfying hops. This one is most interesting in the finish with a lingering dryness and some residue of roasted grains. Pleasantly light and quite drinkable, next time I'll make sure to seek out a fresher bottle.

BitteBier, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of Jredner
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is fairly roasty with mild chocolate notes and weak coffee. Flat black in color with a mocha hued head that diminishes to thumb thickness. Fore is again fairly heavy with roasted malt flavors. Hints of coffee and burnt barley with mild chocolate and berry notes and a hint of nuttiness in the finish. The palate is thin as American dry stouts goe, but for an irish brew it’s pretty to style...compared to say Murphy’s or Guinness Draught without a widget. It has a lot more flavor than either of those beers...by far. I’d drink this on a regular basis if it were availible to me.

Jredner, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of ChuckD
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler from Shoreline - poured into a chalice. Thick, tawny lacing with staying power. The body is as it should be - dark, almost black.

The nose is all roasted grains and espresso. Not as full and rich as I'd like it - but OK.

In the mouth, the taste is wonderful. Layers and layers of smooth and creamy malts. The roasted grains you smell are verified and come thru perfectly.

The body is lighter that I expect. It doesn't seem to match the flavors and appearance well. It should be a little richer - but ends up being too thin. The finish is clean, and crisp - very drinkable.

Musings: This is a highly drinkable stout that is very nice on tap. The bottles I've had are not as good however. I'd definitely rather drink this on tap than Guinness.

ChuckD, Feb 14, 2006
Photo of daliandragon
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was seriously psyched for a micro tour of Ireland when my girlfriend and I vacationed there last month. I had all my breweries scoped out, with addresses, hours of operation, etc. Then everything went awry. We got lost on the way to Biddy Early in Co. Clare, although eventually arrived for one excellent brew; time constraints forced us to miss Carlow, although we saw signs as we passed through the town, and the Dublin Brewery was closed down, I believe permanantly. Then, hung over on the last morning at the airport I got a lifeline when I found this at the duty free shop at the airport. Awesome, hope its worth the wait.
I was jazzed when I saw the thick dark head and equally down when it pulled a Houdini and disappeared without a trace. Color is black with tiny ruby tinge. Nose is sweet with malt and coffee and improves as it warms.
Bursting with sour malt flavor that almost reminds me more of an oatmeal stout than an Irish dry. Mouthfeel is unremarkable although heavy on the tongue like a traditional stout.
Yeah, I'm a little disappointed. This is a good stout, just not maybe worth all the effort and hype. Still, if you like stout, you'll probably like this.

daliandragon, Feb 08, 2006
Photo of plaztikjezuz
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a jet black with a tan head.
the aroma is mysterious has a unexpected hint of black licorice, roasty.
the flavor is roasty, spicy, licrorice, molasses, hint of hopsack.
beer is very good not what i expected. goes pretty good with water cracker, salamami, and munster cheese.

plaztikjezuz, Feb 04, 2006
Photo of jdhilt
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a three-finger light tan head that fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Deep mahogany color. Light carbonation and light-medium bodied. Nose is roasted coffee. Starts with a roasted coffee flavor and finishes dry with some hops in the background. Reasonable dry stout. $2.25 for 330ml bottle; found at Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

jdhilt, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a sweet chocolate and crystal malt scent along with a roasted feel. The taste is good also. It has a dry and earthy black malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes with a slight chocolate aftertaste. It has a roasted malt element along with some residual sweetness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine Irish stout. It has great aroma and taste; a fine sessions brew.

WesWes, Jan 13, 2006
Photo of granger10
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am comparing this to the Guinness we get here and it really is blowing it away. Huge roasted barley flavor along with some nicely acidic coffee tones. Really smooth in body. A bit of nutty flavors deep in there. Chocolate is a bit weak and the sweetness really never comes through. Finish is dry and quick making this an easy quaffer. I could drink many of these with no trouble.

granger10, Jan 07, 2006
Photo of andjusticeforale
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got a bottle of this for a gift on Christmas; poured nice black from the bottle into the imperial pint glass; firm 1-2cm tan head with some residuals floating around; definitely surface tension which said this has character and is not a creamy weak mess... This beer also has such a terrific smell to it; one whiff and you are transported to a drunken barstool in Dublin, laughing , dancing and you can almost hear the tin whistle in the background.

The initial taste is all coffee, like a doppelbock, a big fat cup latte- huge, chewy and then, the carbonation settles, the next taste is the roasted/hop bite that provides a good deal of biterness; or "dryness" if you prefer, given the style. But then there is a crispness at the end which stops the whole thing dead in its tracks. A phenomenally dry, hit of wheat or grain in the finish, begging for your thirst to be quenched again with another belt. The short finish is probably attributable to the 4.3% alcohol, and the "roasted bite" advertised on the label.

All in all, a fantastic pub/Irish dry stout, can't see there being much better than this for the genre.

andjusticeforale, Jan 05, 2006
Photo of ChiSox05
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black with edges showing reds and violet 1/2 inch head fades fast, nothing eye-catching

Smells burnt, on the smoked side, reminded me of a mild black cigar

Mellow and burnt, again reminds of a mild cigar, faint cocoa at the end, just the right bitterness. If the carbonation were toned down (or nitro as a substitute) it would go from good to great. For now, carbonation is a small distraction noticeable through the light body.

I thought this was a stout on the mild side that was smooth, burnt, bitter and very easy to drink. Would go great with a cigar.

ChiSox05, Dec 17, 2005
Photo of scruffwhor
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Two finger head that left quickly but maintained a foamy film throughout the beer. Head had a nice creamy brown hue. Beer was dark brown almost black.

Smell- Started with creamy, roasted malts and ended with some bitter hops to help balance the aroma.

Taste- Milky cream taste to start with roasted and smokey malts to follow till the end. A hint of hops jumps in at the beginning of the taste.

Mouthfeel- Not very heavy for a stou, although this is my first Irsih stou, so I don't know what to expect. Definetly dominates the palate for awhile after finishing the beer. But not overwhelming.

Drinkability- Being a big stout fan, I can drink plenty of these babies, plus the 4.3% abv doesn't knock you out to fast.

scruffwhor, Dec 11, 2005
Photo of evanackerman
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

pours a dark ruby, not opaque black, color with a decent head, the retention was not great, left much lacing.

aroma was typical stout aroma, not my favorite, average.

taste was all about roasted barley, mellow hops.

mouthfeel was kind of thin but typical of the style.

drinkability is very high due to smoothness and low alcohol content.

overall, a very enjoyable beer, i was expecting it to be much better than guinness, murphey's, beamish, but it really wasn't - it was pretty much the same only more expensive, the only difference was a more pronounced hop presence in the finish. it was good but at Michigan prices i won't be buying again.

evanackerman, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of mmmbeer
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle, best before 4/30/06. Pours black with mahogany tinges and a 1 finger tan head that leaves decent lacing. The main aromas are dark fruits, roasted malts, caramel, and sweetness. Lots of roasted and burnt malts on the palate with coffee, some chocolate, green hops, and hints of wet paper. It is pretty bitter - almost too much so - both from the hops and the burnt malts, and the medium body lingers and lingers as a result. The bitterness is a bit unbalanced and raw, something I noticed in their red ale as well. However, they're not bad by any means and I'd recommend trying them if you see them as a change of pace.

mmmbeer, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of trevorwideman
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a 500ml bottle, lots of accolades on the label.... I'm in a stout mood this evening.

Big, fat frothy brown head. The head sticks around and stays big for a good long while. Thick, syrupy, and black as night. A nice looking stout. Smell is malty-sweet, light coffee notes. Taste is very bitter, madly dark roasted malts, and a touch of sweetness on the way down. Feels quite rich and hearty. Very dry, sticks to the throat a lot, slides down fairly well though. This is a good stout, not the best, but good.

trevorwideman, Nov 23, 2005
Photo of wl0307
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BBE: APR 06.
A: in a jug it pours a very deep dark brownish hue, with a mahogany hint against light; effervescent but fluffy tan head dissipates at a slow pace, leaving uneven but noticeable lace.
S: roasted barley dominates the nose, without surprise--baced by a rich whole-meal breadiness, mild note of coffee beans, and laced with a tinge of ripe, sweet black plum fruitiness and a refreshing hoppy note, going deep and buttressing the rich roasted aroma upfront. Very pleasant and quite refreshing overall~~
T&D: a dryish flow of barley and roastiness prevails from the first second onwards... the dryish texture provides a light mouthfeel for the rich roasted, bitter flavour, making it very soul-lifting and easy-to-drink. Not much complexity at the tail of the flavour apart from a mildly coffeeish aftertaste, though the roasted bitterness sustains quite well underneath the tongue, and resulting in a lingering dryness arousing more and more thirst. Pretty smooth and light on the mouthfeel backed by healthy amount of fizz, this is a light-medium bodied stout with moderate but balanced flavour.
D: not as colourful as I'd expect from the aroma; a quality brew in itself, a pint of it would be quite enough for me as it could get a bit boring with the modest flavour and slightly thin body.

wl0307, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of tgbljb
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a very deep brown, almost black color with bountious tan chunky head that was extremely long lasting. Smell is a great mixture of coffee, chocolate, and roasted grains. Taste is roasty, malty, coffee, chocolate, all rolled into one great creamy drink. A moderate bitterness is also present. Finish is incredibly creamy with more roasted notes and a pleasnt dry bitterness. Very drinkabel beer. I truly enjoyed it.

tgbljb, Sep 27, 2005
Photo of jarmby1711
3.25/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is the darkest black stout I have seen It is almost shiny black.
The lace hugs the glass
The smell is unusual There is not much of it but it has a vague billy goat smell ".
Plenty of roasted cereal in the taste which is dry as all get out and quite bitter.
It is smooth and oily but dry in the mouth.
An interesting drop but too dry and bitter for a lot of drinking

jarmby1711, Sep 16, 2005
Photo of waughbrew
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the freshness date! I would not have bought this had I not seen that.

A pretty pint indeed, this near-opaque black beer with a creamy medium-sized beige top. Glorious aroma of silky dark chocolate and dark-roast coffee beans. Slightly burnt dark caramel is the flavor, but with very little accompanying sweetness. Medium-thin and a good dose of carbonation comes off pretty well. Not ultra-smooth, but not harsh at all either. Very pleasant. The dry, slightly acidic roasty finish leads well into another sip. I am very happy with this beer.

waughbrew, Sep 04, 2005
Photo of joecast
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

good looking 355ml bottle. very dark and mysterious. no date on label or bottle.

pours black with ruby edges around the base of the glass. forms a 2cm tan head that settles to about half that. leaves some lacing.

strong dark malt aroma. roast and burnt with hints of sweetness. very appetising.

another beer where the aroma is a good predictor of the flavor. in this case, its a good thing. more roast/burnt malts to be found on the tongue. not so strong as to be offensive, and balanced by a light but detectable hop bitterness. probably not as dry as it could be, but its fine by me.

that lesser degree of dryness leaves a smoother mouthfeel. a nice, easy drinking stout. and to think i avoided this for a long while thinking it was a bit "gimmicky". hah, what do i know.

joecast, Aug 31, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – This beer is almost black in color with a nice, lightly-tanned white head.

Smell – The roasty malts and dark coffee are subdued but prominent in the bouquet. I didn’t find a lot of sweetness here, which is good.

Taste – The flavor is really bold. It is truly a dry stout. The malts are roasted and bitter and the coffee is thick like a Turkish or Lebanese blend. There is some light chocolate here but mostly this is a dry, roasty flavor.

Mouthfeel – This beer is very light though a tad bigger than light-bodied. It is bitter but not brutally so. The carbonation is light out of the bottle. It is velvety smooth and definitely has strong sessiony characteristics.

Drinkability – I can just imagine this on-tap at a pub in Ireland. It is light enough to session yet fun enough to keep you ordering more.

RoyalT, Aug 27, 2005
Photo of Naes
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This one is jet black with an enormous off white / light tan head. This head is quite frothy and laces incredibly.

Aroma is of roasted malt.

The flavor starts out a bit watery then moves into its roastiness and finishes with a mild blending of hops. It’s just a little bitter in the end which is ok by me.

Mouth feel is medium bodied as a whole, but as stated above, it is a bit watery in the beginning.

This is an easy drinking stout, but I don’t think it is anything special. I will not be going out of my way to get another but I did enjoy this brew.

Naes, Jul 28, 2005
Photo of Imbiber
4.45/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a bottle that originated at Key Food, Brooklyn.

Very dark ruby with a decent enough head. Mild malty aroma, enticing. Flavour is dry, pleasant roast and slight burnt notes becoming more prominent; the finish is a crescendo of 'stouty' roast malt on the tongue which makes this beer a most pleasant imbibing choice. A high quality Irish beer, one of the few.

Imbiber, Jul 15, 2005
O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 760 ratings.