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O'Hara's Irish Stout - Carlow Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

811 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 811
Reviews: 462
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 56
Gots: 48 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company visit their website

Style | ABV
Irish Dry Stout |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-27-2001

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.
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Ratings: 811 | Reviews: 462 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Jettanbass9
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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!

Photo of pootz
3.76/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


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.

Photo of jongillin
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of plaid75
4.36/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.46/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Rudgers73
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of BDTyre
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
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
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
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
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
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
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
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
4.11/5  rDev +6.2%
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
3.11/5  rDev -19.6%
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
3.86/5  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
3.23/5  rDev -16.5%
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
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
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
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
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
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 811 ratings.