Dark Island
Orkney Brewery

Dark IslandDark Island
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Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom
Scottish Ale
Ranked #3
Ranked #13,112
3.96 | pDev: 11.36%
Yesterday at 08:33 PM
Apr 02, 2002
Very Good
Dark IslandDark Island
Notes: None
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4 by Stengelfoot from California on Yesterday at 08:33 PM
Photo of cebsch
4.42/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by cebsch from Michigan

A lovely dark beer, with roasted chocolate notes akin to a stout, but a lighter mouthfeel and a fair amount of caramel malt. I ordered it on more than one night during my stay in the Scottish highlands.

Jun 04, 2022
3.75 by TMoney2591 from Illinois on Mar 03, 2022
4.25 by paulish from New York on Oct 06, 2021
3.94 by msscott1973 from North Carolina on Apr 07, 2021
3.47 by Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois on Feb 13, 2021
4.12 by sorsh_a_ghlinne from Scotland on Jan 05, 2021
4 by avisong from Virginia on Nov 26, 2020
Photo of papposilenus
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
by papposilenus from New Hampshire

From a 500ml bottle, undated as best I can tell. Served in an honest-to-God thistle glass, and how often do I get a chance to drag that out?

Pours cola brown-to-black, maybe a caramel highlight, and a scant quarter-finger of bubbly beige head. Retention is fleeting, just a fizzy little cap, a creamy collar and some sparse slippery sheets of lacing.

Powerfully robust nose of molasses and barley straw with a faint metallic tang.

Taste departs from the nose only in having no sweetness in it. Earthy and intense with roasted chicory bitterness, overcooked caramel, prune, powdered unsweetened cocoa and wet straw.

Feel starts out with a kind of icky dilute malt syrupy quality but still manages to redeem itself and end dry before it’s all done. Otherwise, it’s medium bodied with ample, fine carbonation.

Overall, it’s all about the dry, roasted bitterness. Other than the colour and the relatively low abv, there’s nothing especially scotch ale-like about it? Not that I’m a stickler for style guidelines.

Nov 18, 2020
Photo of neenerzig
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by neenerzig from Ohio

Poured out of a 16.9 oz. glass into my tulip glass, this beer pours a dark brown color with jist a hint of deep amber highlights when held up to the light. Has a dark tan head that's about an inch thick when first poured. Head settles to a fairly thick ring surroundings the inside of the glass along with some spots of surface coating and some decent lacing on the inside of the glass. Aromas of some roasted malts along with some cocoa and coffee hints some dark fruit notes such as plum. A similar flavor profile, with roasted malts with a bit of caramel sweetness followed by cocoa and coffee notes and certainly plum and fig. Rounded out with a bit of an earthy hop bitterness. This beer has more bitterness than just about all other beers of this style that I have had do. The heavy roast on the malt along with the coffee flavor combined with the earthy hop notes give this beer a more bitter flavor profile than I've also ever found in this style of beer before. Has a fairly crisp, just slightly chewy and gritty, creamy and frothy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. The roasted bitter notes really linger inside my mouth and on my tongue long after each sip. Quite enjoyable.


Aug 17, 2020
Photo of trevormajor
4.4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by trevormajor from Ohio

500ML bottle poured into a pint glass. Dark and malty the only reason I can see for this to be a scottish ale is the location of the brewery. The beer has great flavor for a session.

Jul 23, 2020
3.92 by smi69 from New York on Jul 09, 2020
3.98 by beerrat from Virginia on Jun 27, 2020
Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.14/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75
by Lone_Freighter from Vermont

Bottle to English pint glass.
The appearance was a fairly thick dark brown close to black color in the glass and more of a dark ruddy brown color in the pour. Left a mild eggshell white film of a head, light spotty lace along the side of the glass.
The aroma had some dusty cocoa powder dryly plucking at some dark chocolate flakes, sweet ash/charred coffee edges, some dark fruits and some dark toast. Subtle whiff of clean alcohol notes even lighter underneath.
The flavor leaned towards the sweet side running through all of the prior mentioned aromas and adding a touch of toffee malts. Semi-sticky cocoa powder aftertaste.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied, perhaps closer to full with a very good sessionability about. Smoothness gravitates fully through over my tongue without any cloying effects but just a touch of stickiness. Finishes with clean cocoa powder sweetness, dark fruits and dark toast.
Overall, not sure how this is considered a Scottish ale, to me if this was labeled English porter on here, I'd rate this way higher. Still, I know this is one I would absolutely come back to.

Oct 26, 2019
3.81 by MattSn from Oregon on Jul 28, 2019
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
3.51/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
by JonnoWillsteed from England

L- Effectively black, thin off-white head fast clearing to a ring.
S- Roasty-toasty grains.
T- Follows the smell^, pungent and quite biscuity with it.
F- It's quite dry, yet quite pungent for the relatively low ABV% for this style. The brewery terms this a 'dark ale', to me it's more off into black-beer stour/porter etc territory.
O- It is very nice, nothing is out of place flavour-wise. It presents a big taste-profile on a relatively light 4.6% foundation. A session-beer with impact for black-beer enthusiasts?
500ml bottle BB: June 2020

May 05, 2019
3.96 by sisterofba from Maryland on Apr 24, 2019
4.12 by DarrellK from Florida on Apr 16, 2019
3.5 by trevorpost from Pennsylvania on Jan 13, 2019
3.99 by safphoto from Ohio on Jan 11, 2019
4 by HungarianCount from California on Nov 19, 2018
3.84 by nhdjinn from New Hampshire on Oct 21, 2018
4.25 by ajdemma from New York on Oct 18, 2018
4.25 by Zylod from West Virginia on Sep 09, 2018
Photo of swabby46
4.68/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by swabby46 from New Jersey

It doesn't hint of peat, it doesn't smell like rose petals, it's just damn good brew. When reviewers start rating beer like wine, ( In itself nonsense) they lose track of why most people drink beer. I drink beer because it has so much more flavor and value than grape juice.

Sep 06, 2018
Photo of hman43
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by hman43 from North Carolina

Look: It pours dark brown with a tan head with low head retention.

Smell: There are aromas of biscuits, carmel and a touch of butterscotch. There is a touch of earthy notes and a bit of musty notes.

Taste: It has flavors that are bready and a bit of caramel with light roast and a low smoke. There is also a low background not of earth.

Feel: It has a moderate body with a slight bit of creaminess to it.

Overall, it is a malt focused beer with a fairly good combination of malty elements.

Aug 25, 2018
4.12 by IckyT2012 from Florida on Jul 22, 2018
3.75 by LennyBound from Illinois on Jun 23, 2018
4.5 by Rymish from Colorado on Jun 20, 2018
3.95 by BlueSpader from Washington on May 23, 2018
4 by brutalist from Pennsylvania on May 23, 2018
Photo of deleted_user_971432
3.69/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by deleted_user_971432

Look was black like a stout, tan head with a lot of lacing on the glass, smell was roasty maltedness and like a Guinness Irish stout. Taste was very similar to a Guinness as well, but a bit more malty and a tad more sweet. I should have a Guinness with this side by side, but as I remember it they seem very similar. The feel is very light for a dark ale like this, but I think it was meant as an easy drinking session ale. It has this bitter sort of skunk on the end of it which is almost like a mass produced beer. Yah, for all of the different tastes that they use to describe it on the bottle it really falls short of all of them. It was really overpriced from the store that I got it from. I think it was upwards of seven dollars a bottle. I am not really impressed, but it is not horrible.

Apr 30, 2018
3.5 by mmilyko from Nevada on Mar 23, 2018
4.19 by TheCrowsEye from California on Dec 10, 2017
3.28 by InfernoBoss from California on Nov 08, 2017
4.09 by _nickg_ from New Jersey on Aug 09, 2017
Photo of Vader444
3.33/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
by Vader444 from Scotland

500ml Bottle poured in nonic pint glass.

Many years ago this was my everyday beer when the local pub had it on draft. Probably been a decade or more since I last tried it and was a little disappointed to be honest. Guess my tastes have changed but this was just so bland and uninteresting. Overcarbonation in bottle form didn't help. Slightly sulphurous and without the sweetness that I remember. A shame.

Jul 03, 2017
4 by ckollias from Maryland on Jun 10, 2017
Photo of mothmanscott
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by mothmanscott from Georgia

This bottle a gift from Outdoors7or24. Pours a brown black with a weak finger of tightly foamed, tan, shortlived head that leaves little lacing. Aroma is dark roasted malts, nuts, raisins, molasses notes & bitter chocolate. Taste is roasted malts, chocolate milk, toffee, dark fruits, thin coffee & a hint of smoke. Finishes fruity as described on the label. Aftertaste is fruity & roasted malt. Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy bodied which is strange for such a low ABV beer. Carbonation is low side of moderate. Texture is silky & just creamy enough to convince you that oats were use in the brew with a nice little prickle in the finish. The mouthfeel may be the highlight of this beer. A pleasant experience as I had a bottle of this several years ago that had obviously gone bad as it was more like a Flanders Brown/Ould Bruin than a Scottish Ale. Thanks R. J. for another go at this brew!

May 11, 2017
3.9 by thoglund from New York on May 04, 2017
Dark Island from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 465 ratings