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O.V.L. Stout - Russian River Brewing Company

O.V.L. Stout
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243 Ratings
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 243
Reviews: 62
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 14.4%

Brewed by:
Russian River Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Dry Stout |  4.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mark on 05-09-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 243 | Reviews: 62 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of BMMillsy


3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Tried as part of a sampler at the brewery. This was a black pour with super creamy light brown khaki head. Chocolate and espresso on the aroma, plenty of roast to go along. Surprised at the big aroma for such a light stout. Big chocolate and roasted coffee flavor, finishes with lingering charred roast. This has more flavor than I have had in any dry stout. Nicely done. Very thin mouthfeel that goes down very easy with velvety carb. Not bad at all, and I would have this again despite this being one of my least favorite styles.

Serving type: on-tap

03-05-2014 05:18:07 | More by BMMillsy
Photo of inlimbo77


3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

6oz half pint pour
Enjoyed at Santa Rosa, CA brew pub on 9/5/12

A: This pours out darker than the porter for sure. It's a fairly dark brown almost black color. I see some reddish hues at bottom of the glass. There is a light tan head. It's very frothy.

S: On the nose, I get light roast coffee. Some chocolate. Nothing too crazy aggressive.

T: As for the taste, much like the nose it's a very mild stout. I get some of that light roast coffee bitterness on the tip of the tongue. That meshes in nicely with the chocolate flavors. It's rarer thin, like others have mentioned Guiness like. Didn't see ABV, but has to be lower side.

M: It's medium body

Serving type: on-tap

09-13-2012 19:49:02 | More by inlimbo77
Photo of elNopalero


4.18/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours a dark coffee color with cocoa-colored foam. There’s a delicious roasty aroma that’s followed by a sweet roast on the palate, with hints of French roast coffee and dark chocolate notes. Finishes sweet. I like to call it dessert in a glass. Perfect capstone to a day of IPAS and Belgian sours.

Serving type: nitro-tap

08-12-2012 18:02:39 | More by elNopalero
Photo of AgentMunky


3.08/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served in a sampling glass at the brewery.

A: Opaque, some creamy head (nitro) atop a lining ruby beer.

S: Roasted chocolate malt and not much else.

T/M: Thin-bodied -- like Guinness -- with an equally thin taste. Distant, roasted malt. Slightly sour finish. Unimpressive, but then again, I'm unimpressed by Guinness.

O: Not impressed. Would not have again or recommend to anyone other than people who like Guinness.

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2012 03:13:15 | More by AgentMunky
Photo of lacqueredmouse


3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Russian River in Santa Rosa, CA.

Pours a bronzey, brown-black colour, with relatively little haze—indeed, light permeates it even despite its colour. Head is a milky mocha-brown colour, with a gorgeous silky consistency from the nitro-pour. It also leaves amazing lacing. Really, it's a great looking beer.

Aroma contains everything you'd expect: mild roasted notes, a touch of coffee, a slight sweetness which gives a hint of unfermented wort, crushed, brittle chocolate and a milkiness throughout. It's very pleasant, if in some senses just ticking the boxes.

Taste is unexpectedly different, however. There's almost nothing on the front, leaving everything to roar up on the finish, with clingy, watery coffee filling out to a roasted astringency on the back, leaving dollops of husky bitterness and roasted tobacco. Everything forms on the back, and it feels a little undeveloped as a whole. Feel is good, but less exciting than it should be.

Drinkable enough at the start, but with the build up of ashiness on the back harms it. I'm surprised to say I didn't find this as good as I'd hoped. But then, maybe I just have unreasonable expectations.

Serving type: nitro-tap

07-04-2012 22:32:50 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of whitefire


3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the brewery in between PtY pourings.

Pours a classical stout, beautiful dark color and a classic head above an obsidian dark brew.

S: Nothing special

Mouth feel: Rich, little carbonation.

Overall: A nice stout, rich, good flavor but nothing overly special, still, i will not turn this one down!!

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2012 05:23:03 | More by whitefire
Photo of williamjbauer

West Virginia

4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap served in a 4 oz sampler

A - Dark brown with one finger tan head with moderate lacing and good head retention.

S - Earthy, chocolate, roasted barley.

T - Follow smell, pretty sour and a little bitter as well, I was pleasantly surprised. Notes of tobacco, coffee, dark chocolate. Weak start but a nice complex dry finish.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O - Pretty good stout, really liked the earthy flavor

Serving type: nitro-tap

02-03-2012 21:03:01 | More by williamjbauer
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A stout that is lighter in appearance than many, this takes on more brown than black in its appearance, nice soft head on it, less than 1".
Aroma was like many aspects of this beer, smooth. Roasting notes are very delicate, not huge, not bitter.

Again, taste, smooth, chocolate malt, very sessionable, mild undertaking here. Light mouthfeel, wouldn't say there is any dominant aspect of this beer, other than its easy to please attitude. Its a nice change of pace when you're at the brewery because most of their selections are either heavy on belgian yeast, sour, or very hoppy.

A mild, smooth light cocao experience.

Serving type: nitro-tap

01-30-2012 16:11:24 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of nataku00


2.13/5  rDev -41%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Reviewed from notes.

Nitro poured into a pint glass. Pitch black color with that nice cascading head appearance of a nitro beer up to a half a finger of creamy dark brown head.

Not much of an aroma, maybe some overly roasted and astringent burnt malt aroma. Touch of coffee.

Taste is just burnt malt, very dark espresso. Lingering roasted bitterness and astringency.

Medium body and creamy from the nitro. A forgettable beer from RR.

Serving type: nitro-tap

01-15-2012 22:31:09 | More by nataku00
Photo of beerwolf77


3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Russian River.

Dark black with a solid finger of tan head. Mild bitter coffee and roast malt. Flavor is mostly bitter malt and black coffee. Thin with mild carbonation. Nothing really stands out. just another Irish stout. Then again. I didn't come here for a stout.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2011 06:24:29 | More by beerwolf77
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at the brewpub.

Pours a rich dark chocolate with a dense, creamy off white head. Long lasting retention and thick sheets of lacing. Weak aroma of mild roast malt and coffee with light hops in the finish. Dry, creamy body with roast malt and mild coffee. Not bad, but a little boring and one dimensional.

Serving type: nitro-tap

12-20-2011 19:43:47 | More by yourefragile
Photo of kojevergas


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

Served on nitro-draught into a half-pint glass. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high: it's my favourite style and from my favourite stateside brewery.

A: Pours a one finger head of wonderful tan colour, great thickness, and excellent retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Cream, coffee, light chocolate, toffee, and perchance a bit of caramel. A moderate strength aroma.

T: Cream, coffee, light roasted barley, and light chocolate. Fairly complex, and well balanced. Well built. Flavourful.

Mf: Creamy. A bit too smooth for a stout; more porter-esque. Also too wet. It's still good though, and aids the flavours in a general sense. Nitro was the right choice.

Dr: Very drinkable and affordable. I'd have it again. Strange for a stout. All things considered, it was a bit of a disappointment, however.

Serving type: nitro-tap

12-20-2011 03:39:37 | More by kojevergas
Photo of HuskyinPDX


3.1/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Russian River.

A - Served a very dark brown with a thin tan head. Strong retention and lots of lacing.

S - coffee mostly, some roasted malts.

T - Mostly the roasted malts come through here. Some coffee as well.

D - Way to thin here. Lower carbonation.

O - The flavors were ok, but he body was not up to RR standards.

Serving type: on-tap

12-10-2011 03:02:37 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of Hojaminbag


3.8/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is another note that has been hanging around for entirely too long without a review being written, and now is the time.

Russian River's OVL Stout has a dark, pitch-black body with a thick, solid brown head. Basically, the look you expect from most dark beers on a nitro pour.

The aroma is muted (my complaint about nitro), but there is definitely coffee and dark malts.

The flavors is straightforward, but pretty good. Coffee is the main flavor, followed roasted flavors, black malt and baker's chocolate. Probably a little bit of toffee also.

Thick, full, creamy, just like a nitro a beer should be.

This is one of the many beers that I wonder what it would taste like out of a normal CO2 tap. Or, even better, out of a cask. I'm just not the biggest fan of nitro setups. With that said, this is still a nice dry stout.

Serving type: nitro-tap

10-15-2011 13:09:12 | More by Hojaminbag
Photo of Chincino


4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this beer on-tap as part of a sampler at the Russian River Brewery.

The beer poured to be black in color. The aroma was of roasted malts with a hint of chocolate.

Dry, creamy, light, and easy to drink. As noted in some previous reviews, this beer reminded me of a traditional Irish Dry Stout and was very different from the other Russian Rivers beers I had had previously.

Good for the style, but certainly not my favorite of the many wonderful beers made by this brewery.


Serving type: on-tap

10-10-2011 23:48:45 | More by Chincino
Photo of Cmack15


4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: dark black as night

Aroma: dark roasted malts, touch of smokiness

Taste: roasted malts with a touch of smoke

Mouthfeel: light to medium body, dry creamy. I believe there beer is served on nitro so it was nice and creamy like a Guinness

Overall a well made dry Irish stout but I am not a huge fan of that style so I can not rate this beer very highly.

Serving type: on-tap

10-05-2011 22:17:04 | More by Cmack15
Photo of GJ40

North Carolina

4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You may think hops when you think Russian River but that's not the case here. This is a pretty traditional Irish stout led by roasted barley and malt subtleties. And it's really creamy with the nitro carbonation. This is a nice, smooth and drinkable beer.

Serving type: nitro-tap

09-12-2011 13:27:20 | More by GJ40
Photo of ngeunit1


4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Served a dark black color with a finger of creamy chocolate colored head. The head hangs around forever and leaves behind tons of lacing as it finally fades.

S - Aroma is a mix of burnt chocolate malts and earthy hops. There is also some smoke and some coffee mixed in as well.

T - Starts off withe a lots of burnt chocolate malt flavors with a bit of herbal hops. Through the middle, the herbal hops grow a bit alongside some lactose sweetness and some smoke. The finish is a mix of burnt dark chocolate and a bit of smoke and coffee that linger.

M - Medium bodied with mild carbonation. The beer felt extremely smooth with a nice dry mouthfeel from all the burnt flavors.

D - Very drinkable. The flavors had great depth and richness and the mouthfeel was excellent. The addition of the hop flavor really worked well here.

Serving type: nitro-tap

08-24-2011 04:51:58 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of scottfrie


3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nitro-tap at the brewery.

A: Served black in a nonic pint with a quarter inch of light brownish-tan nitro head that left great sheets and thick rings of nitro style lacing down the glass as I drank.
S: I get just a touch of grass mixed with stronger notes of roasted malts, dark chocolate and coffee ground.
T: Very roasted flavors with notes of rich coffee, roasted dry grains, chocolate and roasted malts, a bit of backing chocolate and a hint of grassy hops. The finish is full of chocolate and the aftertaste is roasted and lingers forever after the swallow. There is almost no bitterness to the brew, but it’s not very sweet either. No one thing really stands out.
M: Watery-ish mouth with a good bit of chew to it though. The nitro carbonation is soft but thin, and the body could be thicker. There isn’t much to this beer in the mouth but I guess it fits the style.
O: A great tasting and highly drinkable stout. The low alcohol makes this a very easy beer to drink again and again.

Serving type: nitro-tap

08-24-2011 04:02:26 | More by scottfrie
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

impenetrable black abyss was formed. Huge tan head, maybe three inches high capped the top of it and only gradually settled down, leaving behind a thin veil across the top and loads of sticky brown lace. Very day, essentially black with no light shining through at all.

The aroma was loaded with roasted malts, though not as heavy as one would expect given the big look of it. Light hope notes were also noticed in here, with a small plum or raisin like note, almost like some dark Belgian yeast was used. As it warmed some light cocoa started to show as well. The flavor was more of the same. Started out with a nice bit of roasted malts, which then careened off into a slightly hoppy finish. Lots of cocoa and light licorice hints swirling around in the background, giving it some nice depth. Very nice feel, rich, full bodied, with good carbonation that led to never a dull moment, and something that would be best categorized as not very dry at all.

Serving type: growler

08-24-2011 03:40:03 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of dgilks


3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown colour with a small, creamy tan head. Decent head retention. Great lacing.

Slightl;y smoky aroma and a touch roasty. Balanced herbal and sharp hop character. Good aroma on the whole.

Nice, crisp roasty flavour with mild chocolate and some coffee. There's a bit of herbal hop here as well. Balanced and quite decent.

Medium light body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A solid, if unexceptional, stout. There's good flavour here but there are certainly better beers on the menu.

Serving type: nitro-tap

08-19-2011 12:43:09 | More by dgilks
Photo of BeerLover99


3.7/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: deep brown/black body, tan/beige finger head, good lacing

S: roasted malt, nuts, dark chocolate

T: hint of chocolate, roasted malt, mild burnt coffee bitter finish

M: light/med body, smooth/slight chewy

O: Not a bad place to start for a newbie to stouts,
but I love them and this was a little disappointing.
I think it needed more body. Still nice, not great.


Serving type: on-tap

08-02-2011 20:14:23 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of AdamBear


3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

on tap at the brewery...

A-dark lacing with a nice smooth greyish tan head and good lacing

S-smells like burnt chocolate. extremely dark roasted

T-comes in with a real smooth, but almost watery taste of dark roasted mocha. there's a long lasting after-taste of dark coffee. pretty flavorful for the ABV.

M-very creamy, very light bodied. finish is fairly watery

O-very easy drinking. its definitely better than an average dry stout, but i think it lacks some serious or unique flavor. to me, this is good, but it has a long way to go before it makes a lasting impression like other craft dry stouts have done.

Serving type: nitro-tap

07-04-2011 18:30:28 | More by AdamBear
Photo of drabmuh


3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nitro pour of the OVL stout, half pint. Beer is black to brown and has a nice one finger contiguous head of microscopic nitrogen bubbles that leaves lacing on the glass. Aeration of the beer appears low.

Aroma is mildly hoppy and mildly roasty but overall weak.

Beer is super smooth and medium in body. There is a little sweetness up front and some midpalate hoppiness to it. That is followed up by some really nice bitterness from the roast with a moderately dry finish. This is a great beer to have a nitro. A cask version would also be quite good. So silky smooth. RR should triple the alcohol and stick this in a bourbon barrel for 6 months. Kidding. Its fine the way it is.

Serving type: nitro-tap

11-04-2010 18:53:25 | More by drabmuh
Photo of WestValleyIPA


4.28/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Had on nitro tap at Russian River brewing. Nice compact 2 fingers of head. Very black/dark brown. Reminiscent of what Guinness looks like on tap. Smells very toasty, chocolatey. Does not have that sour watery smell that you'd get out a Guinness. Very toasty, coffee and chocolatey, with a bit of bitterness on the finish. VERY light. Everything an Irish stout should be. F#$@in amazing. Goes down like an iced coffee. CAN IT PLEASE!

Serving type: nitro-tap

10-15-2010 03:02:40 | More by WestValleyIPA
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O.V.L. Stout from Russian River Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 243 ratings.