Dragonhead Stout | Orkney Brewery

very good
187 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Dragonhead StoutDragonhead Stout

Brewed by:
Orkney Brewery
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: English Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by xlperro on 09-01-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 187 | Ratings: 295
Photo of Brent
2.22/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was very let down by this beer. Poured a beautiful rich black with a delayed mocha head. Aroma was smokey malt, and the smokeyness followed in the flavor as a monotone smoked malt. Not dry enough to be enjoyed as a dry Irish, and not rich enough for an English stout - simply lackluster and boring. I tried to find a freshness date to give this the benefit of the doubt, but found none. Orkney continues to underwhelm me, notwithstanding some nice looking bottles.

 466 characters

Photo of BrewAskew
2.48/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours to dark tan head with lacing and deep brown-black color. Aroma is a pleasant scent of roasted barley and malt. Flavor is not so much roasty as burnt and dry. Thin, no other flavors stand out. Reminds me of a burnt breakfast (toast and bacon) or burnt chicken--disappointing. Mouthfeel is thin, rough and chalky. Not a pleasant stout except for the look and smell.

Judging from other reviews, I either have a bad bottle or it caught me on a bad day for tasting stouts.

 474 characters

Photo of ralree
2.8/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A: Deep black with a tan head. Head is small and dissipates quick, but laces decently.

S: Very sweet and malty, dark fruit, yeast, roasted and toasty.

T: Roasted malt isn't as sweet as I thought it might be. Seems pretty watery to me - all the flavors seem weaker than they should be. Coffee is in the background in addition to the flavors in the smell. Sadly, this is pretty undrinkable.

M: Non-astringent, watery, carbonation is lower than it should be.

D: Smelled and looked good, but it's completely undrinkable. It's undercarbonated and tastes bad.

 557 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.8/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - Black brew with a little less than one finger of creamy brown head that lingers for about two minutes. Thick lacing left behind. I wish it had more head and it last a bit longer.

S - Toffee and coffee! What a pair! A bit of chocolatey notes and a slight underneath. I have never smelled a beer with this strong of a toffee presence. Some would say at this point, "Zounds! This smells like candy! I hate candy!" I find this smell inviting however. The toffee dissappears for the most part when it warms a little bit. What remains is a burnt coffee odor.

T - Not as sweet as the odor suggests. It has a strong coffee with a bit of burnt malt presence with and a faint burnt coffee bitter aftertaste. The taste is extremely one dimensional too.

M - Thin, frothy, refreshing at first, but the mouthfeel starts to become a little gummy.

D - A decent effort here. I could have ths again, but although unless I get it on tap, I doubt I will. It would be a chore to session with the mouthfeel. The flavor is poor, it is a little burnt and not pleasant. It really does nothing for me.

 1,091 characters

Photo of Graebner
2.9/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a rich, dark brown (as a stout ought), with a couple of fingers of light brown head that disapated within a couple of minutes, all of which looked very tasty and inviting. It also smelled very nice, very strong coffee smell along with some caramel and a little soy sauce. Unfortunately, the positives end there.
This beer tastes nothing like a stout. Or rather, it tastes like a stout that someone has mixed 75/25 with water. The mouthfeel is the same; it feels even thinner in your mouth than the coffee it tastes like. Pretty lame.
The drinkability is a conundrum. If you're the kind of guy that can't drink a real stout, but wants to impress the ladies by downing some dark beer claiming to be a stout, this one's for you. Anyone with any kind of beer drinking experience should be able to toss these back all night long. In that sense it's quite drinkable. On the other hand, if you're a real man who wants a real stout, you should hastily find something else. This stuff just doesn't cut the mustard.

In defense of the Orkney Brewery, their other beers that I've had (Red MacGregor and Dark Island) both acquitted themselves very well.

 1,163 characters

Photo of elgiacomo
3/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Very dark brown with a small very fizzy light brown head that quickly disappears.

Smell: Very roasted malts, some chocolate and coffee.

Taste: More of the same in the flavor. Somewhat bitter and a tad sour.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin for a stout, thicker than Guinness however. Lively mouthfeel...would prefer a bit less carbonation. Smooth and creamy is more my style from a stout.

Drinkability is quite good. The low ABV helps in this regard, easy drinking stout right here. Can be refreshing on a hot summer day.

Overall a slightly above average stout. There are better options out there, however and I doubt I will seek this out again.

 653 characters

Photo of joepais
3.01/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle poured jet black and the head quickly subsides to a thin lace .Aromas of milk choclate, rosted malts and some coffee. It was creamy but the body was not as full as I like for a stout .My tastebuds picked up on the chocolate malts ,some what of a burned after taste there is also a lite hoppyness to it as well . I give the bottle high marks for the art work tho definatly one for the colection

 400 characters

Photo of coasterfreak75
3.02/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was exceptional. Pitch black with a three finger choppy beige head that slowly dissapated to a thin beige top and lace that held on throughout the drink.

The smell was very hard to pick up on even after warming. Very malty and nutty with a slight coffee undernose.

The drink started out watery with a coffee middle and a watery finish.

To me this was a very thin stout, had it had more body and backbone I would have found it more appealing. Still it was quite drinkable and I would have one again.

 516 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
3.02/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the third brew I've tried from Orkney and I'm not sure what to expect. Skullsplitter was great, red MacGregor not. This one was mor like the latter sadly.
Pours black. Pitch black with a nice tan head that drops slowly and evenly to a thick film but leaves no lace.
Smell is nearly non-existent, just malt.
Taste is coffee,toffee, roasted, almost burnt, malt, light hops and a hint of vanilla as it warms.
Mouthfeel is smooth-ish with a light effervescence and medium body.
Drinkability is just MOR (middle of the road). Decent complexity and balance but nothing for the nose. Aftertaste is light especially for the style.

 636 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.1/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black with a dark brown quickly fading head.
Nose shows lots of coffee, a bit of liquorice and craploads of roasted malt. Too much coffee character!
Flavours include plenty of roasted malt, lots of ground coffee, in fact pretty much nothing else is noticeable, just a hint of faint sweet malt. Ends abruptly.
Body is very watery.

 341 characters

Photo of Suds
3.13/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This brew pours a dark, intensely black color and has a respectable, rocky tan head. Smells of roast barley and burnt malt. It has a dark-roast coffee aroma and barely detectable hop aroma. The taste is dry and bitter, with a pronounced deeply roasted chocolate and coffee flavor. More coffee than chocolate. Its body is very light, at times almost watery. A bit more heft (and not a lot) would have given this beer a more character. The finish is bitter and somewhat lingering. This brew suffers from a lack of intensity and a thin body. There’s nothing particularly ‘off’ about it, it’s just a too polite (yawn).

 618 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

I am sampling at room temp in an english pint glass. The beer pours a rich dark color and allows no light to pass through.
A large creamy tan head foams up 3 cm easily and recedes slowly leaving large craters on the surface.
Aroma is mostly roasted malt with some lite espresso bean notes mixing in. Not very robust on the nose, but not unappealing either.
First sip reveals a thin watery body with mild carbonation.
Flavor is all malt with some short appearance of a sweet malty flavor that is quickly overtaken by roasted malt and finishes dry and coffee-esque. Not a very lingering flavor on the finish.
The beer is lite and very drinkable. At 4.0% abv it would be an incredible session beer I think.

 710 characters

Photo of mapofthedead
3.17/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a nice deep black with a small off-white head which disappeared very quickly.

S: I got chocolate and coffee from this, nothing too overstated but there.

T: A nice rich chocolate note with some coffee.

M: Watery with a little fizz.

D: Alright, nothing special.

Notes: 500 ml bottle poured into an Imperial Pint Glass. BBE JUN 09.

 343 characters

Photo of thekanna
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes taken at the Brickskeller in Washington, D.C.

A: Pitch black with a thin, coffee colored head.

S: Strong smokiness, like being bathed in a cigar room or a smokehouse, with some slight lingering malty sweetness.

T: Extremely smoky and dark. A bit one-dimensional otherwise.

M: Too think with not enough thickness or kick to underscore the flavor.

D: A decent session brew, but not much else. Make mine stronger, please.

 437 characters

Photo of theopholis
3.28/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Apperance = Rich, dark mahogany with a tan head. Head is quite firm foamy, has good retention and leaves a decent lacing.

Smell = Strong roasty scents with hints of chocolate. A strong, malty backbone permeates.

Taste = Decent balance of coffee, lightly burnt toast with chocolate.

Mouthfeel = Medium body, decent carbonation. Has a nice stickiness to it.
Drinkability- About what you would expect from an English stout.

 425 characters

Photo of grynder33
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured black as night, with a lovely one inch chocolate soda head, interesting initial nose, sort of mochaish, the first taste however followed up on none of that. thre was a lingering roasted taste that lingered till the end, but all in all it could be classified a light stout.

 279 characters

Photo of pkalix
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

a 4% stout. I had to try this....
poured a dark topping which dissipated rapidly. typical dark; cant see through it.
smells very sweet.
tastes very light. kind of tastes a bit like a band aid. ever sucked on a band aid?
not overly thrilled with the experience although i'm happy to see something different. taste is very light, a tiny bit bitter, but the lingering band aid flavor is sticking... it's not great although I can see where the brewery thought it was doing good.
overall . . . . I rate anything that gets me buzzed and doesn't taste like NIGHTTRAIN over a 4. I like beer. most beer. this is beer. but it's on the low end of beer. I appreciate the effort, but it doesn't suit me much. i'll still drink it... I liked the other one, the dark island, much more....

 772 characters

Photo of DragYourBone
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I have to temper my review with the fact that this was my last draught after a Brasserie Des Rocs Triple Gran Cru and an Impériale. I will reconsider my ratings on a fresh pallate at a later time.

True to style; dark, opaque and still. Chocolate, chickory flavor and scent. Slickery wet with not much fullness to it. A bit too much of a dry afterbite for me this night. Smacking my tongue to the roof of my mouth, I contemplated whether this was unexpectantly more dry relatative to the juice I drank before or if it was just this draught's personality. I'm giving the benefit of doubt and attributing it to the former.

I'll have to give this one another chance on a stout night.

 687 characters

Photo of Nesued
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown color, slight head formation but nothing that interferes with the presentation.

Smell: A medium plesent aroma that remains distinct at least a foot away.

Taste: Pleasing although moderate impact. I was expecting more of a pronounced Stout presence with such a dark coloring.

Mouthfeel: Suprisingly light feel with a noticeble presence of a carbination although not overpowering.

Drinkability: Easy to drink more than one, although I would be more impressed with a more pronounced presence. As previously mentioned, the low alcohol content (4%) is a bit curious.

Overall I'm a bid dissappointed with the "cost to taste" ratio of this brew and would have made it a "regular" in my stable if the presentation of "stout" were more towards my perception of what a stout should be.

 816 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a brown-black, capped with a persistent albeit small collar of mocha froth, not much lace to speak of.

S - There is a charred-roasty-sweet impression to the nose that is so familiar that it seems like the brew could've been aged in Johnnie Walker Scotch barrels. Burnt almond is an underlying suggestion, as is vanilla bean.

T - The flavor is heavily-laden with a peat-campfire smoky char, so greatly as to be inextricable from the other flavor elements. I'm thinking this is akin to a Scotch and (lots of) water, consumed next to a smoldering peat bog.

M - Pretty thin, and very lightly carbonated. I don't think it would work any other way.

D - I can't get past the Scotch comparison. If you enjoy the type of flavors in Scotch, you may dig this brew. If you think Scotch is nasty, you probably won't enjoy this.

 828 characters

Photo of HopZen
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep espresso with lighter brown edges. 2 fingers of thick, tan head; dissipates to a nice, oily film. Good lacing.
S: Roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate with hints of spicy/piney hops.
T: Similar to nose, nice balance of malt and British hop bitter; tasty nut finish. There is an odd metallic flavor that creeps up the back of my palate in the beginning, but thankfully it mellows out quickly in the session.
M: Oddly thin for such a bold flavored stout; I would love a meatier body to chew on. Carbonation is appropriately low. Finish is semi-dry.
O: A good, roasted stout. Could use a richer body, but nicely sessionable given the low ABV.

 646 characters

Photo of mickstepp
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Much lighter/thinner, less viscuous than I expected. A tiny bit of effervescence on the tongue.

Nice opague blackness in the glass. Thin head that quickly dissipates. Bitter chocolate/coffee aromas as expected.

Nothing that lingers. Not mouth coating or supple at all. Just not memorable. I'd just as soon drink a Guinness.

I would love to visit the Brewery, however. I could see myself slamming low alcohol Dragonhheads with Viking descendents in remote little corner of the world that Orkney must be and offering a more charitable review after the experience.

 564 characters

Photo of SilentSabre
3.35/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Quite average, overall. Poured a very dark brown, black in the middle, with brown highlights. Single finger head was reduced to a khaki coloured web scattered over the surface in a matter of seconds. This looked like a million other English Stouts. Nice, but quite average, really. Smell was muted coffee grounds, unsweetened bakers chocolate, and toasted malt. How many times have I used those words to describe a stout? Taste was a bit sweeter than I was expecting, which I liked, and the finish was pleasantly dry while at the same time flavourful, which I really enjoyed as well. Mouthfeel, however, was quite a bit thinner than I was anticipating. This, of course, I was displeased with. Certainly not a bad stout, just very "typical".

 740 characters

Photo of bark
3.36/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The colour is pitch-dark; the medium compact, two-finger high foam is brown with some beige spots.

The smell is full of burned dry malts and some coffee with a hint of butter/cream.

The carbonation is rather strong (stronger than I expected for a stout) with small bubbles.

The taste is burned with dry notes of coffee, dark bread, soil, toffee cookies and a touch of salt. The body is rather weak with a medium-strong bitterness. The aftertaste is also burned with a creamy feel and a slowly growing sweetness. It is not particularly long lasting, but well balanced.

I found this being a rather mild stout, making it easy to drink.

 646 characters

Photo of tlema1
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
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

 212 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Dragonhead Stout from Orkney Brewery
3.84 out of 5 based on 295 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.