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

800 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 800
Reviews: 460
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 55
Gots: 34 | 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)
View: Beers (17) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of O'Hara's Irish Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 800 | Reviews: 460 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BDTyre
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of scooter231
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of BadBadger
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of bkett01
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of nlmartin
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

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

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.

Photo of Bigjay1584
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

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' !!

Photo of sopor
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of JohnfromDublin
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

O'Hara's Celtic stout 500ml bottle BBE DEC 06, tasted on 19.03.06 costing €2.95 in Molloy's (on special offer in Dunnes Stores supermarkets for €2.39!).

I grew up right beside this brewery in Carlow, Ireland. Of course, it wasn't a brewery way back then; it was a goods store for the railway station. So, I really wanted to like this stout.

This is a solid brew but I think that they must have had certain other well-known Irish dry stouts in mind when they came up with the brew. I might have preferred it if they threw caution to the wind, but the climate here in Ireland does not encourage craft breweries to be adventurous.
Decent appearence with good head retention (frothy). Subdued roast malt flavour, nothing extra coming through as it warms.

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

A - Black. Finger thick brown head.

S - Burnt. Roasted barley comes right through.

T - Warm, roasty and very dry. Slight fruitiness comes through on the finish.

M - Right up there. Not too carbonated, but very thick. Not Guinness thick (due to CO2), but if I wanted a Guinness I'd drink a Guinness.

D - If it wasn't $11/6 pack with limited availability, I'd drink these all the time.

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

This is a very nice classic Irish dry stout. I am a fan of this style of beer. Guinness Extra Stout is my regular beer when out in a restaurant.
It is Saint Paddy's Day today and I had to have an Irish Stout so it was the perfect day to try it and I was so looking forward to it I was afraid I would be let down. I was not disappointed. It is classic to the style so there are few bells and whistles, meaning it is nothing super special but it is very good and it hit exactly the spot I was hoping it would! Here's the break down:

Appearance: Pours black with a thick tan head and minimal lacing.

Smell: Sweet dark roasted malts and a hint of molasses and coffee.

Taste: Dark malts and dark fruits. Mild flavor, very gentle. It has a bit of unsweetened chocolate and a bit of burnt coffee in the flavor. A bit of a hops dryness especially in the finish. The aftertaste is very nicely dark and sweet. There is nothing extreme it is simply easy and approachable.

Mouthfeel: Medium -full mouthfeel, creamy and nice and dry.

Drinkability: VERY sessionable! This is a fantasitc Saint Paddy's Day or everyday beer. If it wasn't twice the price of Guiniess (here anyway) I would replace my regular in the fridge. As it is it is not quite worth the price difference to make it a regular of mine. I do reccomend trying it though if you like the style.

Hope this is helpful.

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

Poured a bottle into a pint glass.

A hard pour gave me an inch thick, creamy head that lasted for a short while and left nice lacing as I drank this brew. Very dark color. Very little light came through.

Mild fruity aroma. Not really strong.

Good taste. Dry, bitter, rich and malty.

Thick mouthfeel, as a stout should be, and left a clean finish.

Very nice beer. Certainly gives Guiness a run for it's money. Would drink it again.

Photo of bearrunner44
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Total blackness with a craggy, dark brown head. A great-looking stout.

Smell- Roasted coffee and burnt bitterness form the backbone; slightly acidic, blink-and-you'll-miss-it hop scent.

Taste- Dark and dry, quite bitter and burnt. A nice, ashy bite. Hop acids add to the sharp bitterness, but the hops don't intrude on the roasted flavor of the beer.

Mouthfeel- Medium-bodied and sharply carbonated; it slides around the mouth smoothly, and the carbonation keeps things interesting.

Verdict- A rough-yet-smooth Irish stout, with no nitro widget foolishness to take the edge off the burnt flavor. Tasty and very drinkable.

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

Got Saint Patty's Day comming up, ...so, what the heck. As far as the look, aroma, taste, texture, and impression goes, see Guinness. Very close to Guinnie, I may detect a bolder chocolate flavor and, perhapse a touch more malt (caramel) sweetness at the cost of dryness and chalkiness. Still very drinkable and enjoyable.

Photo of TheBungyo
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Absolutely jet black with a big head. It looks very appetizing. The smell initially is very weak, I can kind of pick out a little coffee but just barely. No matter how much I try and rouse some aroma by swirling in the glass I get zip for my effort. Eventually the smell comes through, with hints of chocolate, coffee and vanilla. The taste is exactly the same, but all the flavors are muted. Mouthfeel is average, nothing to write home about. I could drink more, but why bother when there are so many stouts out there that are more rewarding?

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 800 ratings.