Dragonhead Stout
Orkney Brewery

Dragonhead StoutDragonhead Stout
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English Stout
Ranked #17
Ranked #18,794
3.86 | pDev: 11.66%
Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom
Very Good
Dragonhead StoutDragonhead Stout
Notes: Dragonhead is a legendary stout: dark, intense and fully-flavoured it is our tribute to the Vikings and their cultural legacy in Orkney. On the nose, this black stout has a smooth roasted malt aroma giving bitter chocolate, dark roasted coffee and smoky notes balanced by hints of spicy Goldings Hops. On the palate, the dark roasted malts combine to give a rich, rounded palate of chocolate, toast and nut, with a satisfying spicy hop finish.
Reviews: 193 | Ratings: 307 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of nick_perry
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Black color. Thin tan head. Aromas of cinnamon and vanilla. Smooth mouthfeel, but I wish it were a bit creamier. Very dry. Strong chocolate malt. Flavors come out as it warms up a bit. Alcohol-wise fairly light - 4.0% ABV. Not bad, but rather unremarkable.

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Photo of mntlover
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black tan head light lace. Nose is nice roasted malts good chocolate, nice smells sweet and smooth. Taste is not as smooth and sweet, roasted notes not as much chocolate more lighter roasted coffee. Lighter feel. Overall not a bad English stout.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to English pint glass.
The appearance was a beautiful black color in the glass and yielded more of dark brown color in the pour. Eggshell white to semi-tan colored finger's worth of head slid inward to leave a light foamy film of lace coating here and there.
The aroma had some dusty sweet milk chocolate flowing into some roasted coffee grounds, roasted grains and ash and a bit of dusty dark fruits. Light tickle of earthy hops underneath.
The flavor seemed to lead with a dry roasted nutty to coffee edge then some milk chocolate and dusty dark fruits. Dark toast with some baker's chocolate right before the aftertaste hits which seems very subtle and mainly with some dark fruits and dark toast.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied,perhaps closer to full bodied. A fine sessionability embraced some stickiness and dry feels, shy roasty grip. Good carbonation. Finish takes on the roastiness to meld with some dryness and sticky dark fruits.
Overall, I'd say pretty nice English stout where the ABV matches style goals. Nice one to have this time of year.

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Photo of Hanglow
3.72/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

An accomplished Guinness killer from Orkney. Looks great in the glass, taste is long and relatively complex for standard 4% stout. Not one I personally would drink a lot of in one go, but that is personal taste

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Photo of NotAlcoholicJustAHobby
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L-The beer pours black and glossy. The head is a tan two fingers of thick foam that looks like the surface of your hot chocolate on a cold winter day. The head recedes to a thick film leaving light lacing behind.
S-The nose is dark chocolate with a bit of mustiness. Hints of light coffee and smokiness underly the chocolate.
T-Smokiness is more prevalent on the palate than in the nose. Dark chocolate and coffee blend together well. The smokiness outlasts these elements and linger on the tongue.
F- Mouthfeel overall is medium. Carbonation is restrained.
O- A decent low abv stout option. This will appeal more to those fans of smokier beers than it does myself. Worth a shot.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Deep dark rich burnt walnut dark brown to black body color. Touches of mahogany red, with an almost creamy nitrous head that's a good mocha brown, two fingers tall, with a shallow settling puck. Some lacing, touches of some light and clarity coming below the heads edge, but a real impressive nice looking stout.

Aroma is gold dust. Thick malted qualities, slightly fruity almost jammy ester, but a malt angle that pushes wood and teak like qualities to the hilt. Cedar and balsam like sweetness, with an incredible smokey quality of fireplace like embers. Giant smoked and burnt wood like quality, flirts with molasses just a touch but stays away from sweetness. Just wonderful.

Palate with the 4% abv displayed does give to notions unlike the nose and appearance suggest. A large and inviting aroma, is toned down by a much more session-able quality. Light bodied and thus more subdued flavors. Palate hits with ashen and smoke qualities, as to more hinting rich and meatier suggestions than the aroma suggests. Tannic but also some smokey berry ester quality just peaking out of this brew. Leaves a bit of cigarette like cheap ash feel though on the finish.

I realize this is lighter stout, but the aromas quality feels like it cheats me. I mean can we get this up to 5% even with more body? I could so rock this if it could.

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Photo of Radome
4.01/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ml bottle.

L - Extremely dark brown color that seems opaque in glass, but showed as clear with ruby highlights when being poured. Head is light brown, thick and creamy.

S - Strong, dark malt aromas of brown sugar, chocolate, espresso and light smoke. Bitter note in the finish that seems to be a mix of acrid smoke and earthy, woody hops.

T - Flavor start out as a conventional stout with strong coffee and chocolate-milk notes. These are followed by a strong, bitter shot of campfire smoke mixed with earthy hops.

F - Thinnish body. Low carbonation, as expected for style. No alcohol presence. Moderate bitterness may have contributors from more than hops, such as roasted barley or other grains.

O - An interesting stout with nice chocolate and coffee notes along with strong smoke and roasted barley.

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Photo of TonyLema1
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L; black in color, with a nice, lacing tan head
S: roasty malts, and that British smell
T: definitely coffee and roasted malts
F: a little more watery than I thought, slightly bitter finish
O: nothing special

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Photo of papposilenus
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

From the 500ml bottle. There's a code stamped on the neck but, if it signifies a bottling date, I am unable to decipher it. Served cool in a tulip.

Pours a fiercely carbonated caramely-black with no evident highlights and a small rocky head. Looks and acts pretty much like Coca Cola.

Faint smell of brown sugar and mocha java - admittedly, the drink is still cool; there may have been more nose had I had the patience to let it warm up a bit.

Semisweet tipping toward dry, brown sugar and raisins, mocha java, smoky malts, vegetal. Finishes with dusty cocoa, charred grain and a little saccharine tackiness.

Feel is light-bodied and slippery like talcum.

Overall, a lot of flavour for the relatively slight abv. I'm glad I had it but I don't know that I'd put it in the regular rotation. It would be a good beer if, I don't know, for some reason I had to drink a lot of stout and then operate heavy machinery?

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Photo of SmashPants
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: looks like a perfect Pommy stout - almost jet black with touches of amber around the edges. Frothing beige tan head pops on top and lasts the distance. Looks good.

Aroma: fairly strong on the nose for a mid-strength stout. Sweet toffee, plenty of roasted malts and a touch of something sweet-savoury that I can't put my finger on (update: thanks @metter98 - it's licorice!!)

Taste: I can't fault the flavour profile here, it's just a bit light for me - though I do like my beers strong in flavour. The roasted malts and toffees are evident, but the licorice unfortunately doesn't make an appearance.

Aftertaste: the malts back off, and the sweetness is a bit cloying. Still pleasant enough though, but I don't think I would call it a sessional.

Mouth feel: a bit on the light side for a stout. This one would be easy enough to throw down but for the sickly sweet on the finish.

Overall: yeah pretty decent for an English boutique - it's definitely one for every now and then. An equivalent case of 24 x 330mL would equate to AU$140, so it is in the upper end of pricing. Can blame the Aussie government's gouging for that though - I'll risk a bottle every now and then.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.94/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Dragonhead Stout from Orkney was very good.....a nice sessionable stout....a la Guinness. The beer poured an opaque black with no head and no lace. The scent had roast. The taste was mostly roast with hints of earth. The mouthfeel was lighter in body with good carbonation. Overall it is a perfect stout to go with pizza.

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Photo of headlessparrot
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very dark, almost black colour. Initial fluff of big cappuccino head shrinks to almost nothing very quickly, but does leave some lacing. Swirling it in the glass it looks--texturally speaking--rather thin. Such is the 4% ABV, I suppose.

Smells like a mix of liquid smoke, bacon fat, and milk chocolate. Slight milky creaminess. Lots of roasted malt, toasted malt and is that some crystal malt, too? Huge, huge hit of licorice.

Taste is licorice, an initial sweet hit, followed by a boat load of bitter roasted malt, coffee beans, and bitter chocolate. Slight green, vegetal hopping--herbal flavours here. As it warms, you get a bit more sweet chocolate notes, at least at the front of the taste. Definite fatty, smoky character. Makes me think of Highland Park whisky, actually. The body is rather thin, and the carbonation a bit aggressive.

All told, an interesting and respectable beer, but not one that's setting the world on fire. Too thin, and could use a bit more balance in the taste.

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Photo of drmeto
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

-pours the darkest of brown with no light coming through and a big,frothy,khaki head
-grainy,milk chocolate,coffee,mocha,smoke,molasses,nutty
-coffee,grainy,smoky,bitter chocolate,slightly toasty
-medium carbonation (overcarbonated)
-light to medium body
A little alcohol sweetness wouldve really helped here.
Solid overall.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep black color with a very thin off-white head that keeps a nice lacing for a long time. Aroma is roasted malts, notes of coffee, dark fruits and slightly chocolate. Flavor is like aroma with a little bit more hoppy notes. Low carbonation and medium body with roasted malt finish.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

500 ml bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, pitch-black color with a two fingers of chocolate-colored head that quickly dissolved away into a thin lacing of foam that almost completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic with lots of bready, toast malt, imparting aromas of freshly toasted dark bread, coffee and creamer, some dark chocolate, caramel and brown sugar, and a touch of vanilla. Inviting and delicious!

Taste: Nice flavors that match the inviting aromas. Lots of roasted malt up front, imparting notes of dark chocolate, hits of vanilla, coffee, and licorice, followed by lots of brown sugar-like sweetness and some nicely balanced hoppy bitterness at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy and pretty smooth as there is very little in the way of carbonation. With an ABV of 4.0%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a very nice stout. Lots of roasted malt, brown sugar-like sweetness and nicely balanced hops. While there are several more better stouts out there, I’d certainly drink this one again.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

5oo ml bottle, poured into glass

black in color, big tan head, clumps of lacing. nice roasty aroma, and slightly bitter taste, but very good flavor. thicker body.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance - Extremely dark almost tar like in its blackness with a rocky latte foam head and zero evidence of carbon. Pretty much a great looking stout.

Smell - Heavy bitter coco and coffee aroma with whisky like alcohol tones in abundance.

Taste - Heavy bitter coco as in the nose plenty of burnt malt with a liberal amount of an almost whisky like flavour with evidence of peat water. Not much of the promised hop the label mentions or the spice but both are evident in small measure.

Mouthfeel - Slightly powdery even slightly gritty and very, very drying to an almost unpleasant degree. I say almost!!

Overll - this is a good stout with decent flavour and a great look and smell. Drink this beside a Guinness man and feel like a man next to the goon beside you. No offence intended to the Guinness boys but this one has real flavour. The MF lets it down slightly and the burnt nature of the malt profile overpowers some of the other flavours but having said that I do like it.

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Photo of WoodButcher
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured dark brown, almost black with a creamy, dark tan head that dissipated leaving heavy lacing.

Smell was chocolate malts, some caramel and a little earthiness.

Taste is similar to smell with chocolate malts, some nuttiness, a bit of burnt caramel. As it warmed some plum or fig flavor started to come out. It finishes with a nutty, smoky bitterness that is the most prominent element. Mouthfeel is a bit more carbonation than expected with a thinner body as well.

Overall this is good but not great. I'd drink it again, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, smoke, and cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with smoke, char, and bittersweet cocoa flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast and smoke bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is quite smoke forward all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of Caveworm
4.64/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Dragonhead Stout - Orkney Brewery. Poured from the bottle into a a glass seidel , this brew's got a one finger thick brown head, lateral lacing, and a black body.

I smell banana esters along with the rich dark chocolate and dark coffee notes. All of these elements are richer in character, as one would expect with a stout of this historical depth and magnitude.

Tastes like ,yes, banana esters with dark chocolate and dark roast black coffee. Nothing is offensive in this category. A very smooth sipper of a stout, indeed!

The mouthfeel I'm getting with this brew is slightly thicker, as expected with any stout. Nothing chewy or sticky, its got a very clean finish for having such profound characteristics. Wow!

Overall, I'll give Dragonhead Stout - Orkney Brewery a 4.75. I thought it would have a slight astringency due to the brewery's home nation take on most beers, but this was smooth the whole way through. As a huge fan of viking/folk metal, this certainly caught my eyes at the local bottle shop. I am quite impressed with this offering by Orkney Brewery and plan on purchasing and reviewing more of their products in the near future.

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Photo of charlatan
3.55/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From bottle with freshness date in 2015. Pours a very dark peaty colour, almost black, with a head so offwhite I might call it beige. The nose is not much to write home about, a little chalky with a hint of white wine and some roasted malt notes, maybe even a hint of smoky bacon crisp flavouring. This has more bite than most English stouts, tasting quite acidic to start, turning slightly plummy with a pleasant smoky, woody and slightly spicy aftertaste. The more I drink the spicier and more tobacco infused it seems. It isn't bland which seems to be the pitfall of many lower abv stouts. It is on the somewhat carbonated rather than silky smooth side. Overall, this is good stuff which is just as well because I have a few more bottles of it.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.87/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Unmarked bottle at 50 degrees into goblet
Aroma of chocolate, malt, and maybe slight smokiness
Head average (3.5 cm), light brown, creamy with rocks, slowly diminishing to ring with 2 mm lip, lower in center
Lacing – virtually none
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor begins with heavy bitter chocolate flavor with (again) slight smokiness; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl. Ends lightly sweet.
Palate medium to full, watery, soft carbonation.

This would be an easy drinking stout at 4% if the bitter chocolate taste were less prominent and the price point lower ($5.99/500 mL). However, this meets the criteria for a stout well and must be judged accordingly.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass.

A:Pitch black in appearance with a creamy tan head. Retention is superb, lacing is light and spotty.

S: Lots of bittersweet dark chocolate, vanilla bean, blackstrap molasses, toast, and roasted coffee beans. Distinct raisin. Chewing tobacco. Grassy and herbal hops.

T: Molasses. Very sooty and smokey up front. Burnt malts add a drying balance. Bakers chocolate is the dominant taste. Some salty minerality. Light acidity, burnt coffee. Perhaps a hint of peat? Hops taste dry, earthy, and grassy with an herbal tobacco edge. Raisin. Salty and acrid finish.

M: Medium-thick body. Full, round, and creamy. Ample prickling carbonation. Smooth and nice. Very slight roast astringency.

O: A briny mineral tastes starts to creep up as you drink through the pint, but it plays well off of the acrid malt flavors. A solid pint from beginning to end.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Hand-pulled halfpint in 'Chequers' Oxford on 23rd Nov 13 during a mega pub crawl.

Black body with a good deeply tanned foaming head.

The aroma was all malt, chocolate, coffee and peat bog notes.

Taste wise it followed the smells: this is a rich, smooth Stout with a fair amount of sweetness running through it. The dry finish compliments the nutty hints within the coffee and chocolate flavours to give you a reminder that the brewer hasn't forgotten to add some hops into his kettle.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.27/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

From the 500 ml. bottle. Sampled on

The pour is black as night with some vague ruby hues on the very edges and a modest beige head that slowly dissolves.

The aroma has this sort of burnt coffee grinds, burnt caramel, burnt dark malts ester. "Burnt" is the key word as opposed to smoky. Although some might think of this as smoky. Where's the bonfire?

Thin to medium body.

The taste has a good "hang around the bonfire" burnt malt flavor going on with light bitterness coming up on the backside. Quite easy to drink and a very nice beer that I would have again.

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Dragonhead Stout from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 307 ratings