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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

723 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 723
Reviews: 447
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 48
Gots: 20 | 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: 723 | Reviews: 447 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donkeyrunner


3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'm formulating a recipe for my own Irish stout. I'm not just drinking beer, I'm doing research.

Opaque dark brown/black. Large, cascading, cocoa colored head so thick you can dip you finger in and give yourself a foam mustache...if that's your thing. Lacey megalopolis built by glass bottom retention.

Smells like low fat vanilla ice cream and char. Little bit of smoked almond in there too.

Typical thick but airy Irish dry mouthfeel. Nutty front leads into a smooth roasted finish with details of burnt brownie.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2010 03:38:00 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of JustinJTisdale

New York

2.73/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this because it was a 2 dollar special for the day at a local bar.

The pour made me excited as it resembled a dark thick stout with a very light colored thick head that stuck around for days leaving some of the thickest lacing ive ever seen on a beer.

The taste was bland. Basically guiness with the slightest bit of hops at the end.

Given the price I would probably have it again as Id see it pairing well with certain foods but it wont be the top of my list.

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2010 06:02:06 | More by JustinJTisdale
Photo of Natural510


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

11.2oz bottle. Date of May 09 listed; not sure if a best-by or bottled-on date...either way taking a bit of a risk.

Excellent pour; pitch-black midnight with a hefty, creamy head which leaves a nice top layer throughout.
Roasted malt nose, lightly sweet with hints of cocoa.
Malt upfront, medium-roasted, with hints of cola and cocoa. Mildly sweet, with hops making their presence known toward the end.
Not as full as others of the style, but no weak sauce either. Easily drinkable and an excellent session beer which works well with heavier meals. Hope to try the red ale soon...

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2010 13:02:41 | More by Natural510
Photo of pinotboy007


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

A - Opaque with a rich, bubbly, khkai-colred head that took its sweet time to settle, leaving some nice bubbled lace. Very nice looking stout.

S - Roasted coffee beans, some dark chocolote malt.

T - A lot like it smells, of course! Add some leather and maybe even a bit of earthy sourness on the finish.

M - Creamy, but not as heavy as I thought it might be.

D - Probably ideal for stews and other autumn/winter meals.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2009 22:31:17 | More by pinotboy007
Photo of tone77


3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 11.2 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a small head. Smell is of malts with some notes of chocolate and coffee. Taste is of roasted malts with some notes of chocolate, finishing bitter. Feels light and bitter in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a decent beer but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 00:56:42 | More by tone77
Photo of Monsteruss


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

This had a nice dark wheat colored foam that was bubbly, lacey and smooth. The color was opaque/brown with red highlights in the light. The smell was crisp, yet potent with a roasted barley and wheat aroma. Taste was potent and smooth, a beauquet of many complex tastes with a flowery undertone. Mouthfeel - full-bodied, bitter and crisp. Drinkability - not too bad, has a crisp, bitter deepness - good session.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2009 22:19:24 | More by Monsteruss
Photo of TommyW


3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Black body with a big, tan head.

S- Burnt and toasted malts.

T- The burnt and toasted malts pretty much dominate here; leaving a lingering burnt flavor with a slight bitterness mixed in.

M- Pretty thin body with a smoothing carbonation.

D- An average Irish dry; would be a nice session beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2009 18:46:01 | More by TommyW
Photo of robertjbell

Alberta (Canada)

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

A: Pours a deep black, much darker than most Irish Dry Stouts I have had in my time. Small tan head leaves spotches of creamy lacing all around the glass. Certainly raises my expectations for what is to come

N: Tons of roasted grains, barley in particular aggressively standing out. Nice hints of mellow coffee, balanced by an underlying sweetness remeniscent of butterscotch and cream.

T: Right away there is a marked roast quality, both from the barley and the coffee notes that punctuate throughout. This is followed up vague indistinguishable dark fruits, with a touch of sourness to them. The finish lives up to its name of dry with remarkable efficiency, it is a pleasant surprise to get a similar bitter quality that a good dark IPA might provide.

M: Although the style is low in ABV, the feel of this beer, while being far from lucious and creamy, still holds its own with a light, airier complexions dominating

D: The drying effect of this beer certainly packs a wallop, yet the low ABV means with some water one could easily knock back a few like one would pints of Guinness

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2009 23:39:42 | More by robertjbell
Photo of t3hcho53non3


4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark dark black color with a two finger brown head that halfway dissipated but left behind a good lacing

S: Dark roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, coffee, licorice

T: Roasty flavor dominated by chocolate and coffee undertones with a backend of caramel

M: Creamy ale with a soft carbonation; very dry

D: Very drinkable and very complex. Definitely must have a second to evaluate the evolution.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2009 02:38:47 | More by t3hcho53non3
Photo of EgadBananas


3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Jet black. Theres a little bit of red in the right light, very faint though. Nice creamy tan head, half a finger on a good solid pour. Fair retention.

I'm rating the smell higher than maybe I would. But going into tasting this beer, it being an Irish Dry Stout, I envisioned more of a Guinness type smell. Elements are there, but theres rich stout smell that escapes through, and it's very good. A very mild burnt smell, with semisweet chocolate hints. Very appealing.

The taste didn't live up entirely to the smell, though good nonetheless. The bitterness is a bit more pronounced in the taste. It's a tad smoky as well.

It doesn't coat the palet too well, and i would like a bit more substance to the feel. Average feel for the genre I'd say.

Fairly high on the drinkability factor. It's pleasant in sips and gulps and a few of em would be just as enjoyable as one.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2009 02:06:37 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of bfields4


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

Very deep black body with a crimson hue. Tight but frothy head has a nice light mocha shade. Gives a nice lace to the glass.

Roasted malt and coffee gives way to a deep earthy hop quality.

Dry roasted malt with a nice burnt quality. Very earthy again. Light coffee flavors. Finishes with a nice charcoal twang.

Incredibly smooth body. Very drinkable with a great taste profile to boot. Wish the more popular Irish dry stouts could learn by example.

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2009 02:50:26 | More by bfields4
Photo of bbarrows


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

Clear, deep brown ruby color.

One inch light brown fluffy head. Dissipated quickly for the most part, with some lacing.

Lovely scent of dark chocolate and roasted malt.

Taste is far more complex than any typical Irish stout (Guinness, Beamish, Murphy's); first it is smoky, followed by a touch of semi-sweet chocolate, then becoming increasingly spicy and finishing with a crisp hop bitterness and a lingering smokiness.

Mouthfeel is light, making it very easy drinking.

Considering it's low alcohol content, perhaps the most excellent stout I've ever had. Drink it at about 50deg F.

Serving type: bottle

09-03-2009 01:21:03 | More by bbarrows
Photo of trentley87


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

Pours a deep black, deep amber when held up to the light. One finger of head recedes quickly but does leave some lacing. Aroma is characteristic of the genre, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and caramel. Very light. Taste is everything an irish dry stout should be. Mouthfeel is creamy without feeling overly thick, carbonation right on. An excellent stout but not a marked improvement over Guinness Extra Stout, Murphy's or Beamish.

In this beer's defense I may have poured it a little too cold.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2009 00:06:14 | More by trentley87
Photo of zeff80


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

A - Poured out a clear, black color with hints of ruby. It had a two-finger, light brown, pillowy head that left behind sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of chocolate, caramel, molasses and licorice.

T - It tasted of great roasty flavors. Great chocolate and caramel flavors. There was a slight bitter hop kick.

M - This is a soft and creamy ale with a dry finish. A light to medium boded brew.

D - This is a great Irish Dry Stout. One of the best that I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2009 00:13:28 | More by zeff80
Photo of sevopie


4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with lighter hints on the edge. Medium tan head that dissipates quickly with very little lacing.

Some bitter chocolate, some grain, and some coffee.

Starts out with some rather zesty chocolate and coffee flavors, and a bit of smokiness. The chocolate gradually comes forward, and the smoke also becomes more prominent.

A lot lighter on the tongue than I was expecting, but not too unpleasant. Lively carbonation.

Fairly easy to drink, nothing wowed me though. The taste complexity was a bonus though.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2009 10:06:14 | More by sevopie
Photo of hustlesworth


4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- black with highlights of mahogany at the bottom. sticky lace leaving creamy tan pock marked foam looks just beautiful. huge craters and pockets open up as it slowly settles down and a mosaic of lace bubbles crust onto the glass.

S- roasted and tart, almost in a grilled pineapple sort of way, creamy and caramel and milk chocolate. wet tree bark, cappuccino, and deeply toasted grains. like a pumped up guinness. very simple but just what the doctor ordered.

T- mineral water, coffee, dark chocolate, cigar, and bark. the sweetness and creaminess of the aroma are totally contrasted here by this dry flavor and roasted bitterness. still with some acidity in the background. plenty hoppy as well, with flavors that invoke memories of good english ale. roasted and hop bitterness kinda dance back n forth as they're balanced by a nutty and burnt sugar sweetness. finishes of coffee and roast, hops and smoke.

MF- the smell and especially the mouthfeel improve tremendously as this lad warms up. when cold it feels prickly and crisp and much lighter than it really is, but after while it turns into a robust dark potion, however it may be a bit over carbonated.

D- thanks to my beer distributor for another great sample. this one has great everything and the abv of a light beer. so that means if i had a case i could drink 15% more before i put on the pogues or dropkick murphys and start yelling at people. slainte!

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2009 01:42:02 | More by hustlesworth
Photo of BeerSox


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

330ml bottle into nonic.

Deep black with some ruby highlights that come through when the glass is held up to the light. An impressively dense two finger head slowly settles to a thick pillowy cap, leaving behind a webby wall of lacing.

Some roasty malts with a creamy presence. A little bit of cocoa is in the background.

Light and very delicate roasted malts. More of the creaminess. And the cocoa turns into more of a sweet chocolate. Full bodied and very smooth.

A very good Irish Dry Stout. I would love to try this on cask. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2009 02:22:26 | More by BeerSox
Photo of Contagion


3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It is black, like a dark coffee. Light barely passes through the beer, and when it does there is a crimson tint to it. A thick tan head forms when the beer is poured. It fades slowly to a film on the top of the beer. There is some lacing on the side of the glass.

The smell is a rich blend of a dark roasted coffee with cream. There is a touch of a chocolate undertone to it. The scent reminded me of a Starbuck's Frapuccino. The scent was so inviting I could hardly wait to taste it. When I took my first sip, I was kind of disappointed. It didn't live up to the smell. The taste was a dry mixture of roasted coffee and chocolate malts. There is a mild bitterness to the finish. As the beer warms closer to room temperature the flavors open up even more.

In contrast to what the label claims, this is a medium bodied beer. There is barely any creaminess to it that is normally associated with stouts.

When I took my first smell of this beer, I was greeted with such a phenomenal scent that I was sure this was going to be one of the best stouts I've had in a long, long time. However, the taste did not match the scent and I was disappointed. There is a good taste to it, but it just didn't live up to the smell. With a 4.3% ABV, I could see sitting with friends and drinking this in an evening at the pub.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2009 03:05:48 | More by Contagion
Photo of nem2006


4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on draft at Maggie Miley's in Normal, IL. If you are ever in the area, check it out. A great Irish pub.

Dark color, almost black, creamy head that holds very well and leaves nice lacing on the glass.

The nose is roasted. Nothing that really distinguishes itself.

The taste really is the thing that gets me. Even though it is hailed as a Dry stout I found it very creamy, almost milky and somewhat sweet. There are hints of coffee and a little caramel in there. The finish is smooth for this medium to full-bodied beer. Very tasty and I prefer this over Guinness. If I see this on tap anywhere, I will be sure to snag a pint.

Serving type: on-tap

05-08-2009 15:13:26 | More by nem2006
Photo of jujubeast6000


3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 4/19/09 (Bottle):

Pours a very dark colored body, nearly pitch black. Big creamy head, very lasting. Aroma of sweet malty notes. English smelling. Chocolate taste, smoky almost ashy taste. Some bitterness, lots of malt. Creamy body. Damn tasty! A little bitter as it warms up.

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 01:01:22 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of albern


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

This is a very tasty stout but it is not quite as dry as say a Guinness or a Beamish, in fact there are some sweet malty notes to be found in the stout. The beer pours a deep dark mahogany color almost impenetrable to light. The head is very thick, tan, creamy, very inviting. The beer laces well and has good head retention. The nose on the beer is better as it settles. A first, I was getting a rather pungent earthy and musty whiff, but this segued nicely into just a roasted, coffee, butterscotch aroma with maybe a touch of molasses.

The taste is surprisingly complex, and it gets more so as it settles in. For starters there is definitely your typical roasted dark malts, some charcoal like ashiness present, but there is a nice underlying hop bitterness, and some toffee-ish malts that make this a fine complementary type of melange. The beer is creamy, and medium bodied, and not at all watery. This is a bit more beefed up than say a Guinness and it has more burnt and roasted notes present. There is a touch of chalky floral to the beer, that isn't detracting from the experience mind you. The aftertaste is a bit lingering, especially for a low 4.3 ABV beer. The mouthfeel is a bit oily, a bit bittering and mouth puckering, especially for a stout. This is an interesting stout, worth seeking out, for nothing less than its complexity. This is a real change up from a Guinness, and not entirely an in the box Irish Dry Stout style of beer. L'chaim.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2009 23:23:12 | More by albern
Photo of TheycallmeTim

New York

4.72/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap (may have been nitro, not sure) at Franklin Park in Brooklyn. Poured into American shaker pint.

A--Nice slow waterfall of sedimentary rising as the head forms and the pint settles--deep coffee colored foam turns hot chocolate and finally creme colored at the top, as it mellows to about a finger of dense, dense cream. Body is nearly pitch black except for the bottom, which is ruby.

S--Roasted and toffee notes, with some smoke and charcoal back there. Smells rich, with a faint coffee bitterness bubbling into the nose, too.

T--Holy cow--pitch perfect for the style. Complex but still in the vein of a straightforward session stout. Smoky again, with definite dark roasted coffee flavors in there. Almost a liquid smoke molasses thing going on, which just sort of nips in at the middle, followed by a charcoal nudge and a final pronounced bitter finish. You taste this one after you're done tasting it, for sure--my mouth was happily puckered with the roastiness and, I think, actual hops (some UK or Irish variety? can't tell but the taste is definitely in the finish, in the form of more bitter and a lovely wet earthiness, which is outta sight for an IDS).

M--Super creamy and rich without being milky or full. Furthest thing from watery draft stout (ahem, cough, Guiness, cough cough) you can get.

D--Really a winner--this beer seems almost made for happy hour, although a night at the pub with some fine music and food would be twice as nice. Kicks the arse off other stouts from the Emerald Isle, Seems fresh despite the plane ride. Dunno what the bottle tastes like, but if you're feeling like a stout when you're out and this is on tap, give it a whirl. At 4.3 you could actually take a few rides without head injury or blood.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2009 03:03:58 | More by TheycallmeTim
Photo of tronester


4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an almost pitch black with a medium tan head. Smell is of coffee, oak, and some ripe fruit. Taste is quite dry, coffee and chocolate up front, a hint of malt in the middle, and a nice earthy bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel a tiny bit watery, and high carbonation, but nothing too bad. Super drinkable beer, with its full flavor yet low alcohol you could drink these all night. Probably the best Dry Stout I have had, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 00:36:53 | More by tronester
Photo of MillRat


4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Actually two reviews here, see below for bottled beer comments.

Served in an O'Hara's pint glass at the Bull & Castle, Dublin. Black brew with glints of ruby if you hold it to the light. Cocoa-brown head that persists. Aromas of sweet malt and chocolate and roasted grain dominate. A creamy but not sweet body with roasted flavors ranging from dark caramel to chocolate to coffee to charcoal, all quite well balanced with a bit of hop bitterness making a cameo appearance in the aftertaste. After a pint of this you wonder why you thought Guinness draught was in any way special. This should be in the BJCP list as the exemplar of Irish stout. I should get my pint refilled, too. Outside of the Imperial range, this is the most complex and flavorful stout I've had, and unlike the Impys, this does not weary the taste buds or overtax the liver. This is worthy of a quest.

Bottled notes: Poured from a 50 cl bottle that rode back from Ireland in checked baggage on Aer Lingus. Appearance is a constant, but the full range of roasted flavors is less apparent, focusing more on a dark-roast coffee note. For that I'd drop the taste and drinkability ratings by a point each.

Serving type: on-tap

04-12-2009 15:53:31 | More by MillRat
Photo of jasonjlewis


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

Appearance: Pours a nice 1 1/2 finger head with great lacing and a nice dark brown color.

Smell is of burnt malts and coffee with some fruity undertones such as plum.

T+M: Super creamy mouthfeel. Nice diacetly buterscotch notes go well with this beer. Taste of burnt malts with a nice thick malt back bone.

This is a great Irish Stout. This should be the example of the style and not Guinness.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2009 00:24:11 | More by jasonjlewis
O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 723 ratings.