Dark Island | Orkney Brewery

very good
429 Ratings
Dark IslandDark Island

Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 04-02-2002

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 429 |  Reviews: 256
Photo of livingregret
2.97/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Serving type was a 1pt .9fl oz bottle. Fairly nice looking bottle and label

Pours a dark dark brown, almost black, w/ little to no head but plenty of lacing w/ nice retention. Not to shabby so far

Smell is a very soft toffee mixed w/ a earthy oat smell. Very pleasing smell that invites you in to sample it

Taste is a touch disappointing to be honest. A light earthy taste(almost semi-sweet) which is not in any way bad but than you get a Dried Chocolate taste that ends w/ almost a prune like ending. I was hoping for more of the toffee to come out but no such luck. Smooth taste..that ends w/ chalk

Mouthfeel is very smooth at the beginning but ends w/ a slight chalky taste. Once again...I was really hoping for the smoothness to follow all throughout the taste but it does not

Drinkability is averageish. It's not terrible and I would enjoy one again...but would I keep a few extra on hand?...honestly I would not. The odd pick up from my local store sure but nothing to go out of my way to keep in stock

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Photo of LumpyGuitar
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had been wanting one of these forever, thankfully Beers of the World just started carrying this.

Poured a beautiful dark brown, almost looks like root beer. A light tan bubbly head with decent retention.

Smells like rich chocolate, oat, and dark roasted malts.

Taste is very smooth. Starts with a bit of sweet chocolate that leads to a sweet prune like middle, ending on a mildly bitter hop. Aftertaste ranges from overly sweet to a bit sour from the hop.

Mouthfeel is nice. smooth and crisp, very refreshing.

Drinkability is great. Very easy to drink, nice flavor, amazingly smooth.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.59/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very deep brown, nearly opaque - but not so much because it's viscous, rather just a very deep chestnut brown. Head is a little on the shorter side, about a finger high, forming quickly with a lot of fizz and becoming rather foamy.

S: Soft and subtle toffee scents along with a rather deep earthy aroma. Quite nice in this sense.

T: A modest flavour... soft peat, earthiness. A powdery chocolate comes out fairly late on the finish, to add a finishing touch. Rather pleasant, though perhaps a little bit muted all around.

M: The 'powdery taste' of the chocolate is somewhat perceived with a body that is somewhat suggestive of that. Moderate prickle of carbonation, though body is a little light... then finishes with a dry, powdery feel.

D: Easy enough to drink with that lower alcohol content, though it might not be so alluring as to tempt me into buying more of it. Nonetheless, a fairly decent brew that I was happy to try.

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Photo of mterrence5
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown color with avg head. Smells a little like wine but more of like citrus fruit and coffee. Light in the mouth with semi sweet acidic taste and a deep deep coffee grinds / dark chocoalte finish. Very smooth drinking. Good beer but wouldnt drink frequently. Maybe with desert (yeah I said it) cause of its coffee flavor.

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Photo of nickynick
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark Island poured a nice dark brown, with a nice tan head. Smell was very strong of super sweet malt. Taste had slight hints of chocolate, roasted malts, mild sweetness. Mouthfeel was good. Drinkability seemed ok, it was a bit filling. Overall I found this to be an interesting beer. Seemed very stout like to me. I was a good ale, but a little pricey. Something like 5.29 for a 500ml bottle. Not a bad beer, I would not turn one down. But this beer confused me. I do intent to try more Scottish Ales.

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Photo of Brad007
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darkish-red color with a one-finger head. As dark as a stout.

Aroma is both sweet and smoky upfront with a distinctive woodiness to it.

Taste is smoky upfront with a bit of sweetness from the malt. Chewy and goes down well. Somewhat thin in the middle though.

The smokiness of the malt lingers at the back of the throat and dominates the palate.

A very good example of the style. Drinkable and possibly more spot-on than American versions of this style.

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Photo of dnichols
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was served from a 500 ml. bottle into a short glass.

A: It poured a reddish Dr Pepper hued body with a frothy, sticky tan head. The head dissipated to a cover over the liquid and supported leggy lacing.

S: It was chalk full of fruity esters, roasted nuts, caramel and chocolate malts and hints of peat moss.

T: It is a pleasant ale with a smokey and nutty flavor that complements the sweet chocolate malts and earthy flavors.

M: It was a light to medium bodied brew with moderate carbonation and a smooth mouth feel with a lingering sweet aftertaste.

D: It is a smooth and easy brew to drink but it is a bit too sweet for a session beer. It makes for a nice after dinner treat.

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Photo of Kallessin
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours very dark brown with ruby highlights throughout. Fairly moderate head that dissipated to thin coating.

It has a very mild malty aroma with a little chocolate. The aroma improved as it warmed up.

Very malty taste. Some roasted chocolate and a little coffee. Some dark fruity flavors mixed in that make it taste like it has more alcohol than it does. Some woody flavors likes in been in a cask.

Fairly smooth and creamy, but thin. Slight warming sensation. It makes the tongue tingle a little bit - might be the carbonation.

Very drinkable. I could easily drink a number of these. Overall a great beer.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of the 500ml bottle a deep, dark brown like root beer with a two finger tan head. Dissipated after about two minutes to a skim of medium sized bubbles. Intermittent lacing. Big nose of roasted malts and chocolate malts. The flavors were quite enjoyable, roasted malt again up front followed by peat smoke and then a long, distinct milk chocolate finish that coats the tongue. Medium to full bodied and medium carbonation. Though technically a Scottish Ale it drinks more like a Porter and as such is not varietally correct but all the more enjoyable for those like myself who prefer darker brews. Either way this is a very good beer and worth picking up.

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Photo of Greggy
4.48/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a very dark ruby color that is just barely see through when held to the light. as the brew recedes, it leaves some nice lacing.

S- A little tight in the nose, but it's driven mainly by dark malts and a nice roasty quality with a hint of cherries.

T- Starts out silky smooth and then moves towards a very smooth dark chocolate with a bit of sweetness. I don't think there's lactose in this beer, but it is very reminiscent of a milk stout. Not terribly complex, but is very delicous.

M- Silky smooth from start to finish. Well done.

D- 4.6% for this gem makes it VERY sessionable. I could easily drink this all day long.

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Photo of JMBSH
4.01/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby like color with a tan-like head. The head shrinks to a nice layer on top. I can see some carbonation but not mush (it is that dark). Not much for lace on the sides of the glass.
Sure has that scotish scent of toffee.
Taste is very good. Roasted malt is rich. The aftertaste is like figs and dates.
I got this off the internet but now I would spend time hitting up local stores to see who can get it. Like it a lot.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark. clear caramel brown. Pours with a one inch light brown head that dissipates to a skim of coarse bubbles. Some lacing.

S: Rich chocolate roasted malts, toffee. Mild, slightly bitter hops.

T: Chocolates with coffee and some nuts underneath. Very light hop bitterness. Very well-balances and certainly not overpowering in any aspect/

M: Smooth and buttery, yet light on the tongue.

D: Very drinkable at 5% ABV. Nice balance make it easy.

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Photo of froghop
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

purchased at the puget sound wine cellar in port orchard, washington.

pours opaque with a ruby tint, small khaki head, good lacing.

smell of malt, touch of citrus, cocoa, roastiness.

taste is tart, dark chocolate, sour malt, some licorice, some vanilla, touch of woodiness.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.98/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle into nonic.

Deep mahogany color, almost black and opaque, with some ruby highlights at the bottom. A one finger light tan head slowly settles to a bubbly rim. Solid patches of lacing along the glass.

Very mild roasy grain with some caramel on top.

The flavor again has some roasty flavors, like a mild porter, or roasty brown ale. Very light chocolate flavors in there. Full bodied with good carbonation.

This beer, as a Scottish Ale, is actually darker than their "MacGregor" Scotch Ale. If this makes sense, that one was toasty, this one is roasty. Generally I expect a little more flavor from this style, but I can really respect the subtlety of this one. Perfect for relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. Recommended.

 733 characters

Photo of shadow1961
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orkney Brewery Dark Island Scotch Ale pours a finger of tan foam
over an opaque black brew. The nose is smoke- the flavor is mellow
toasty malts, peat smoke, and just a touch of herbal hops. Mouthfeel
is crisp yet full, and dry. It's a very earthy, flavorful, and authentic Scotch
Ale. Tasty.

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Photo of swizzlenuts
3.7/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A:Dark Dark beer, almost black. It has a perfect one finger head that stays around for a bit.

S: You can taste the roasted malts and the almost syrupy malt flavours which remind me of toffee.

T: The beer has hints of toffee, dark fruits, chocolate/coffee, and a bit of hops at the end to make the bitterness. The flavour in this beer is quite strong, in a good way. There is also a slight smoked taste to the beer.

M: Creamy and slightly carbonated.

D: Not that drinkable because the flavour isn't beautiful

This is a well crafted beer, but I'm just not a fan of the flavour.

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Photo of avalon07
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a deep, dark brown color and a thick consistency. There was a big inch of head and lacing throughout.

The smell was rich with malt, coffee and sweets. Nicely balanced.

The taste had elements of peat, malt, coffee and a little dark chocolate. Fairly complex in this category.

There was an OK amount of carbonation and a crisp finish for a good mouthfeel.

This is a solidly drinkable beer. It reminds me of a stout in some ways, particularly the heaviness. Nonetheless, a well done beer.

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Photo of Pencible
3.93/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This poured a very dark brown with light tan head. It smelled like roasted malt and whole grain wheat. It tasted somewhere between a porter and a red ale, with a dominant malt flavors, although there was also noticeable hops and even garlic. It was watery with a little carbonation and a slightly bitter aftertaste. Overall this was pretty good, and an interesting Scottish style ale.

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Photo of brendan13
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a pint glass a very dark red, verging on brown. Couple of centimetres of off white head that slowly falls away.
S - Over ripe dark fruits, some smokiness, a bit of chocolate. Some earthy and floral notes also present.
T - Also dark fruit in the taste, the chocolate is very bitter to taste, the smoke comes through as well but a bit more subtle and mixed with the other flavours.
M - Medium bodied, low carbonation.
D - Probably the most complex beer I've had that has such a low ABV%. Highly reccomended.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.33/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice deep brown, like burnt motor oil. Had some good carbonation on the pour and finished with a small tan head that stuck around even as I drank. The nose was roasted malts, chocolate, figs or raisins and some toffee. The taste was oh so smooth. Chocolate, coffee, figs and roasted goodnes...mouthfeel was excpetional, it libgered around for a good 10 seconds on the finish! Exceptional beer!!!

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Photo of thryn
4.34/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this Sunday night at the Cock-n-Bull. Poured into a pint glass. It is very dark brown, but not opaque, with a small tan head that vanishes to a lace ringing the inside of the glass.

The smell is stunning. If I could bottle this and wear it, I would. It's a strong, roasty malt, with caramel to it. The roast smell is intense and enticing. Just incredible.

The taste is great, but does not live up tot he smell. It has an almost burnt roastiness to it, which is delicious, but it's not as robust as I expected from the nose, though it does improve as it warms, with the caramel notes becoming more prominent.

The mouthfeel is thin, to me. I expected a lot more body. The carbonation is moderate.

It's very drinkable. I would give it a 4.5 on drinkability if it had a little more body.

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Photo of ojclark
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Malty, smoky, meaty aroma, very much like a German Rauchbier. Very dark brown with a thick, rocky, mostly lasting tan head. Very malty flavor with slightly smoky flavor and slight sourness and bitterness. Medium-light carbonation and medium bodied with a fairly long, mellow finish. Aftertaste similar to aroma: malty, smoky and meaty. Nice beer. Not what I expected but a pleasant surprise.

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Photo of Vvall
4.73/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I went in my favorite store looking to get some Dragonhead Stout,and lo and behold they were out,so seeing this and noticing that it was from the same brewery,I thought what the Hell,I'll give it a try.I'm glad I did...this one IMHO is incredible.It had everything I look for in a beer,and I cannot not wait to get some more.

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Photo of Zephenbrewid
2.71/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type: 500 ML bottle poured into 16 oz tumbler

A: Lives up to its Dark moniker, this is probably one of the darker scottish/scotch ales I have seen to date, being pretty opaque with a moderately lingering medium tan head.

S: Mmm there's that malt. I pick up on some grape scents in there with a little chocolate pulling through as well

T: Too much roasted flavor here, I can also taste some smokiness. Really though, If i didn't know better I'd call this a porter

M: Med-Full bodied and suddy, feels like there could be some roasted barley here

Notes: bought this on a whim and it isn't for me, there are better scottish ales

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Photo of jwc215
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle:

Pours nearly pitch black with thick tan head that descends to a thin cover. Some trailing lacing sticks.

The smell is of dark chocolate, dark fruits and some earthy notes

The taste is of chocolate with a touch of roasted smokiness. Quite acidic. Some earthiness balances it out in the sweetish finish.

Medium-bodied. Easy to drink.

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Dark Island from Orkney Brewery
3.94 out of 5 based on 429 ratings.
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