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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

750 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 750
Reviews: 453
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 52
Gots: 23 | 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: 750 | Reviews: 453 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Hibernator, Apr 01, 2005
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.

edchicma, Mar 31, 2005
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.

dauss, Mar 30, 2005
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.

karst, Mar 29, 2005
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!

mschofield, Mar 23, 2005
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.

UncleJimbo, Mar 21, 2005
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.

bewareOFpenguin, Mar 18, 2005
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.

babydoc, Mar 18, 2005
Photo of shertzogovina
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).

shertzogovina, Mar 17, 2005
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.

BeerResearcher, Mar 11, 2005
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.

Jason, Feb 27, 2005
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.

deejaydan, Feb 20, 2005
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.

malty, Feb 19, 2005
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!

bewley, Feb 17, 2005
Photo of JISurfer
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.

JISurfer, Dec 27, 2004
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.

tjd25, Dec 04, 2004
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).

Sigmund, Aug 24, 2004
Photo of cbl2
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.

cbl2, Jun 30, 2004
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark black colored beer with an average bubbly head with standard retention. Aroma is really great with a nice mix between roastiness and coffee. Taste is OK with some nice touch of roasted malts and coffee. The aftertaste is dry without too much of the watery feeling you get with Guinness. Overall, a good stout but nothing too much out of the ordinary.

Phyl21ca, Apr 23, 2004
Photo of cypressbob
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle

Pours with a dirty cream head, whispy and thinish, much less than any widget enhanced cannned, bottled or draught stout

Smell, dark roasted malt, little hop flavour, dry and a coffee bitterness

Taste is dry and bitter, full of dark chocolate and cocoa, dry coffee, smooth bitterness

All in all, a really good stout, the best by far from carlow and probably the only beer from them that i'd buy again

cypressbob, Apr 14, 2004
Photo of necoadam
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a very, very dark brown color. Oh ok, it poured out a black color. Nice dose of roasted aromas here. Roasted malts and coffee come to mind. Very nice. Same goes with the taste. Nice roasted flavors in this stout. It's not sweet one bit either. It's almost like bitter cocoa. Aftertaste was mostly roasted flavors combined with some smokiness towards the very end. Very nicely done.

necoadam, Apr 04, 2004
Photo of CBFanWish
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown in colour with a thick frothy tan head. Chocolate aroma. Roasted Barley. The taste was of roasted barlley leaving a nice sweet chocolate taste.

I liked this beer. It didn't wow me like many stouts do, but it had a nice comfortalbe feel to it. I would drink it again, but I would have to be sure they're out of the better stouts. Better than Guinness, I'll tell you what.

CBFanWish, Apr 02, 2004
Photo of Southernbrew
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, some crimson, small head. Strong roasted smell, pretty nice. Also strong coffee with slight sweetness. Moderate mouthfeel with strong roasted coffee taste. Nice hops balance, just crisp enough. Very smooth aftertaste. Definitely a stout worth trying but not the best ever.

Southernbrew, Feb 28, 2004
Photo of Shiloh
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I find this Irish stout very thin.
On arrival the colour was almost coal black with a nice tan crown of about 1 finger. There is a little glass cling over time with a full island lace.
The aroma is a little disturbing in a worty like fashion.
Taste starts to a light coffee sensation accompanied by mild nuttiness as well, then progresses to a dark chocolate to end.
The body at best is a medium/light and the carbonation is average.
I expected more...

Shiloh, Feb 16, 2004
Photo of Sammy
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beatiful dark brown pour. Easy light drink, bit much on water, particularly with lower alcohol. A bit of bite -molasses and hoppy. Liked: Only mildly roasty, only bit of the coffee, and hint of chocolates and nutty. Clear freshness dating. Very good stout.

Sammy, Feb 08, 2004
O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 750 ratings.