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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

732 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 732
Reviews: 450
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 12.14%
Wants: 48
Gots: 21 | 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: 732 | Reviews: 450 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jokelahoma


4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker at Old Chicago in Olathe, KS.

Pours a nice, nearly opaque black, with only slight traces of ruby hues around the edges. Large rocky heads lasts a long time.

As one would want in an Irish stout, the nose is full of roasted barley. There's a sniff of sweetness here too, almost caramel. Whether from malts or brewing process, the aroma compliments the more acrid roasted grain smells, creating a complexity usually absent when smelling a dry Irish stout.

First thing one notices when taking a sip is the brewer isn't shy about roasted barley usage. This is definitely a good thing. When combined with the carbonation, it gives the beer a pronounced bite that is missing in many examples of the style. After that initial kick, the drink settles into a sweet finish that disappears quickly, leaving only the lingering roasted, burnt flavor. A very good start, and an equally good finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit of a letdown. It's noticeably thinner than many stouts. That may very well be due to one being used to stouts being delivered on nitro while this is CO2 only. Whatever the cause, it really doesn't harm the beer. It is noticeable, however.

Overall, this is an impressive example of the style. Roasty without going overboard, well balanced, and unmistakably a stout. Recommended if you can find it.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2010 19:36:30 | More by jokelahoma
Photo of Halcyondays


4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle, finally this shows up in the Southland, I've been dying to try it,

A: Pours black with a creamy off-white/tan head. Great head retention and some nice lace. Looks better than a lot of nitro stouts.

S: Roasted malt and dark chocolate shavings.

T: Great dark malt flavour with a hint of iron without going to burnt or charcoal flavours which I liked. Nice finish with milk chocolate, a hint of sugar, and a bit of leather.

M: Crisp biting carbonation, but finishes very soft and true, easy.

D: While not as gulpable as the nitro stouts, this is a great session ale and something I'd like to revisit on St. Patrick's Day.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2010 23:46:24 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of EPseja

New Jersey

4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from a 12oz bottle in an O'Hara's pint glass at between fridge and cellar temperature.

A - Dark mahogany in the pour, and almost opaque in the glass. A beautifully pillowy tan head pushes up a full inch and a half even with a fairly tame pour. As the head slowly subsides, it clings quite stickily to the glass, refusing to give up any real estate. Lacing continues to be ringy and conspicuous. Head retention is excellent, completely keeping the surface of the beer hidden.

S - Heavily roasted malts and wet coffee grounds. Simple, but on par for the style.

T - Big, roasted toasted and almost burnt malts. Powdery sweetness like shaved super dark chocolate. Rounds out towards the end with a delicious hop dryness that provides some balancing bittering without putting the squeeze on the bitter taste buds. Full of flavor, but only moderate in the body, which is a key factor in a good session stout.

M - Quick and watery coming in with only a touch of slickness. Carbonation is spot-on -- light and playful, providing a gentle swell in the body, and making the swallow robust and satisfying.

D - This beer packs a world of flavor that's missing from many offerings in this style. It's tasty, easy to drink, and low ABV to boot, making it a fantastic choice for sessioning. Another world-class offering from Carlow Brewing.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2010 01:38:41 | More by EPseja
Photo of ReFill31

Quebec (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle served into a Pint glass.

A : Nice black color with little head. Unfortunately, it does not stays on very long

S : Really inviting. We can smell chocolate. The aroma is kinda sweet.

T : The taste is also sweet, with chocolate notes.

M : Medium bodied, low carbonation

D : Really easy to drink, and with the low ABV, it would be really easy to open another one right away.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2010 19:10:01 | More by ReFill31
Photo of stakem


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

Pours a dark brown color with more than 2 fingers of slightly tanned head. Thick head receeds slowly leaving quite a bit of lace on the glassware. Sweet aroma of malt but also has the burnt grain touch as well. Little bit of hop presence in the background of the nose. Taste is roasted grains, chocolate and little bit of citrus hops. Light feel and moderate to low amount of carb. Quite drinkable.

Enjoying this dry irish treat along with some stout infused imported and aged cheese. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2010 02:14:38 | More by stakem
Photo of Mora2000


3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to swalden28 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours dark brown to black with a khaki head. The aroma is a sweet, slightly roastey malt. The flavor is more of the same with some earthy hops in there as well. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. Decent, but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2010 19:51:36 | More by Mora2000
Photo of sunrisesolara


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

.5L emptied into a pint glass.

A: Poured jet black with just a hint of copper as the light diffused through it. Tan 2-finger head which settles to a trace ring with puffy islands drifting throughout. Generous lacing.

S: The smell is rich, with roasted barley immediately apparent, with a faint vanilla sweetness layered finally with hints of dark chocolate at the end. The longer I smell this beer, the sweeter it gets.

M: The mouthfeel is creamy, perhaps a bit more watery than I supposed it would be. There is a nice carbonation here.

T: The taste follows closely on the heels of the promising scents, with the roasted barley malts providing a nice textured body and a spicy bite of hops just at the end. The middle is reminicent of dark bread which has been in the oven for slightly too long.

D: This is the perfect beer for a relaxing evening. I could only put back a few of these before the rich flavors overwhelmed me, but definitely worth the price.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2010 18:41:36 | More by sunrisesolara
Photo of ujsplace


3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pub glass...

Head is thick and puffed with nice chunky islands and nice lacing. Nearly black in color with the faintest amber hue at the very bottom edge of the glass.

Smells of burnt caramel malts, and faint coffee.

Roasted caramel-like malts and coffee like hop bitters.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and on the lighter side.

This is a very drinkable Irish stout and pretty much what you could expect for the style.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 22:07:08 | More by ujsplace
Photo of joshstevens87


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

A-pours jet black with a nice inch or so tan head
S-burnt/roasted malt with hints of coffee and choclate
T-toasted malt with hints of coffee and chocolate good taste but lacks the character and creaminess of it's cousins
M-thinner body with a solid carbonation this beer is a very crisp dry stout
D-very drinkable its light body and low abv makes this beer extremly drinkable and is perfectly suited for a session beer

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2010 04:14:07 | More by joshstevens87
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
O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 732 ratings.