Dark Island Reserve
Orkney Brewery

Dark Island ReserveDark Island Reserve
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Scottish Ale
Ranked #1
Ranked #3,678
4.16 | pDev: 10.1%
Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom
Dark Island ReserveDark Island Reserve
Reviews: 70 | Ratings: 145 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by kylehay2004:
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kylehay2004 from Illinois

4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Two finger head that dissipates rapidly on a jet black body. Aroma is stronglyof whiskey and scotch, mint, molasses, cinnamon. Flavors are very dull, with the whiskey understated in sharpness but still providing flavor. Supporting notes include dark chocolate, citrus, earthy hops, rye breads and licorice. The aroma is great, the flavor is a little mild but still keeps the whiskey flavor while staying very drinkable. Very nice whiskey aged brew

Feb 22, 2013
More User Reviews:
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dcmchew from Romania

4.74/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottled on 15th November 2013.
Pours black with some dark brown hues, low beige head goes away fast and really sticks to the glass.
Smells awesome. Dark roasted malts with milky chocolate, huge caramel, low coffee, lots of vanilla and dark spices, mild dry dark fruit, not very big oaky barrel notes though.
Whiskey pops up in the taste more than in the smell. Roasted malts with coffee and dark chocolate, along with charcoal notes mix nicely with the strong caramel sweetness. Really balanced malt component. The dark fruit (figs, plums, dates) aren't alone, there are red grapes (bringing a mild mustiness), red berries and some faint sour cherries. Typical whiskey barrel aged vanilla spice, along with some mild cinnamon, cocoa powder and faint licorice. Earthy feel mostly, not as barelly as expected, with some oak chips, smoked wood and peat covered up by the roast. Whiskey is felt though, really clear and nice, providing a nice excuse for the warm booze. Hops aren't the star, so they're pretty low in the finish, still helping the roast bitterness a pinch.
Mouthfeel is creamy, buttery, hence a nice butterscotch feel to the whole brew. Finish is really dry and bitter from the charcoal. As it warms up, the sweet elements (the fruitiness, the caramel) start to cover up all the roughness. Aftertaste gets bittersweet, rather than ashy.
Great beer, a perfect "Orcadian Ale" enhanced by the whisky aging. The best from the brewery and personally it surpassed some russian imperials and scotch ales that i usually hold dear.

Dec 28, 2013
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thagr81us from South Carolina

3.01/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottled March 27, 2010. Served from swing-top bottle into a Stone nonic. Poured pitch black with a minimal light tan head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, alcohol, wood, and chocolate. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, alcohol, and slight mothballs (oxidation perhaps?). It had a medium feel on the palate with low carbonation. Overall I was not really a massive fan of this one. The slight mothball flavor coupled with the alcohol made this one tough to get through. The mothball flavor wasn't very strong at all as it was quite muted, but still present nonetheless. Upon opening this thing I was concerned I would take a sip and drain pour it, but I was actually able to finish the full bottle. Just took quite awhile...

Jan 03, 2011
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Howlader from Canada (AB)

4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Oct 22, 2015
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zaphodchak from Virginia

4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Some light lacing coffee opaque brown, some brown highlights.

Smell portends greatness. Faint booze, port, smokiness. Truly magnificent.

Taste does the nose justice. Port, a trace of soy sauce and leather, finishing on plum, black currant, and a trace of spice. This is amazing.

Oily, not too too thick, but pretty thick.

This is a great beer. The price point suggests it and the beer delivers. At the price, I probably wouldn't buy it, but if you have a chance to try it (or go in halvsies), I highly recommend it.

Jul 28, 2012
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danieelol from Australia

4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris @ Slowbeer

Bottled 27 March 2010. Consumed 16 June 2012.

Pours dark brown/black with small head but great lacing.

Smell was apparent when I first popped the cap. Lovely potent whisky/chocolate aromas. Behind that and the yummy booze there's a fairly strong apple juice note. Lots of caramel and oak. Pretty awesome nose really.

Taste is again lots of smoke. There's also quite a lot of somewhat sour apple juice. Seriously, it's almost exactly like apple juice. Balanced though, and really pretty drinkable for 10%. Booze comes through, but gets more balanced and malty as I get through the bottle.

Mouthfeel is medium and a little sweet, still manageable.

Overall a very enjoyable beer.

Jun 17, 2012
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paulys55 from Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -3.8%

May 31, 2013
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heygeebee from Australia

4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Apr 26, 2015
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DVMin98 from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Feb 15, 2013
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videofrog from Texas

4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Nov 10, 2013
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Dizzle32 from Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

May 06, 2012
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NilsFrisk from Norway

4.52/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

When you pour it into a glass, you can see the intense body of it, but it does not give much of a head.
Smells roasty, but with this kind of old unfamiliar smell, maybe a bit oaky.
The taste is powerful, a lot of sweet maltiness, quite a bit booze, some roasty bitterness and a full delicious body to wrap it all inn. Too bad it is a limited edition.

Nov 08, 2011
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harrymel from Washington

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

May 10, 2013
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Budinetz from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Bottled on November 12th, 2012. Poured from a flip top 75 cl bottle.

Pours a very dark black (50 SRM) with a tan colored head. Very little lacing present. Smells of roasted malt and a strong alcohol presence is detected with a bit of a raison note and slight vanilla. Tastes warming to the lips from the high abv with a sweet, smoky flavor up front and then finishes dry with a bit of astringency from the roasted malt. This is a beer you want to drink slowly and share with others. This is definitely a beer that would benefit from aging. Drink at 55-60 degrees.


Aug 16, 2014
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mattreitz49 from Florida

4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Mar 20, 2016
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madnismo from Florida

4.75/5  rDev +14.2%

Mar 05, 2013
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olradetbalder from Sweden

4.25/5  rDev +2.2%

Nov 24, 2014
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TheBeerAlmanac from Kentucky

4/5  rDev -3.8%

Jun 12, 2014
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closisinthehouse from Florida

4/5  rDev -3.8%

Nov 03, 2014
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MystikCelt from New York

4/5  rDev -3.8%

Jan 30, 2014
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mmitgang from Missouri

5/5  rDev +20.2%

Nov 22, 2011
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RedneckBeerz from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev -9.9%

Jul 28, 2013
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RyanGoodman from Bolivia

4/5  rDev -3.8%

May 21, 2012
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schopenhauerale from Arizona

4/5  rDev -3.8%

Aug 03, 2013
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Oboogie from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +8.2%

Mar 24, 2013
Dark Island Reserve from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 145 ratings