Dragonhead Stout | Orkney Brewery

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Dragonhead StoutDragonhead Stout
Very Good
299 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 299 |  Reviews: 188
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
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 metter98
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color--only some traces of amber are visible near the edge of the glass when it is held up to the light. It poured with a finger high creamy tan head that gradually faded away and left lacy patterns of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are strong aromas of phenols and roasted malts in the nose along with some notes of licorice and smoke.
T: The taste has flavors of roasted malt, bitter coffee beans and licorice along with notes of smoke.
M: It feels a bit shy of medium-bodied, smooth and slightly dry on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is very flavorful considering its low alcohol; I could drink this all night long because it is very sessionable.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. What is it about the Orkney islands that is so appealing to me, at least on an intoxicating beverage level?

This beer pours a deep abyss of blackness, until upon further inspection an ethereal reddish cola highlight presents itself to break up the overall bleak monotony, with two fingers of rocky, tightly foamy beige head, which leaves broad, brash swaths of storm center-worthy lace around the glass as it gently ebbs away.

It smells chiefly of dry chocolate malt, mild day-old coffee, some soft just-expired milkiness, and musty, leafy hops. The taste is somewhat tart dark fruit, middling baker's chocolate, some soft pale graininess, a weird lactic sourness, stale coffee, and earthy, weedy hops.

The carbonation is present, and gently simmers as things progress, the body on the lee side of medium weight, and generally smooth, but with a growing clammy character. It finishes off-dry, the bittersweet chocolate rather tempered by that edgy dark fruit sourness, some lingering milkiness, and over-matched leafy hoppiness.

This looks quite good at first glance, but the eventual strange fruitiness, in all its underwhelming sideshowiness, kind of mars an otherwise decent stout, what with its inherent chocolate tendencies. Oh well - I guess that this is just one of those 'easier to drink than analyze' offerings. Hey, it happens.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Yep...that's a big beer. Hugely malty, sweet, and robust. Espresso-like in its roastiness and Oreo-like in its chocolatey, creamy flavor and texture. Full and rich from sip to finish. Almost too rich and sweet. Balanced only by the roasted grain bittering and a hardly-detectable hop character. Quite smooth and velvety on it's way down. Nearly sweet stout-ish. Could use a bit more balance, and alcoholic power. I'll have to chase this one with a glass of milk.

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Photo of brentk56
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a nice black color with a tan head that leaves some lacing; certainly presentable

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, and a bit of dried dark fruit; also, some smokey tones

Taste: Has a bit of a smoky character, with the chocolate and coffee tones underneath; quite earthy and smoky in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Nothing to get too excited about but also not something that is objectionable, either

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.71/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Although this is brewed by the wonderful, small Orkney brewery, it pales in comparison to their other brews... although that is partly due to the style itself. The body is typically opaque black, and it's topped by a full and frothy dark tan head that soon drops to a thin surface covering. It does, however, leave some nice lace throughout the glass. The nose expresses some dull fruitiness and minor roastiness which is nice, although there seems to be some minor acetone/solvent-like character as well. The body is typically light with a very nicely creamy mouthfeel from a very fine and moderate carbonation that's intended to replicate their cask-conditioned version. The flavor, again, expresses the typical characteristics of a dry Irish stout with a gently fruity (apple), lightly tangy (low pH) and smoothly roasty malt that's well backed by firm bitterness. It finishes quite dry with a light touch of tart fruitiness and a lingering roastiness. A very straight-forward rendition that's much better direct from the cask than in the bottle.

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Photo of oberon
3.96/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice deep amber with a slightly off white creamy head that leaves a good amount of lace,aroma is light for a stout but appetizing I pick up some roasted malt and a touch of nuttiness.taste as well is on the mellow side but is very appetizing some unsweetened chocolate and roasted malt with alingering earthy finish.A big time quaffing stout mellow and easy to drink with some flavor,a tad thin but well done from Orkney.

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Photo of nickfl
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of dcmchew
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of smithj4
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of smcolw
4.19/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice lace, thin head (beige). Very dark brown, not able to shine light through it.

Coffee, chocolate and caramel aromas predominate. Think mocha hot chocolate with warm caramel drizzled on top. Very inviting.

Much, much drier than I'd expect from the smell. Very similar to Guiness/Murphys except that this has a stronger black patent malt/coffee flavor to it. The aftertaste is largely burnt malt (also very dry). The only real distraction is how thin the beer is--surprisingly so. The carbonation is also quite high.

I find this to be a very interesting beer because the smell is so sweet and similar to bittersweet chocolate with caramel. The taste betrays this smell with such dryness and bitter black patent malt flavors. A wonderfully complex stout.

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Photo of russpowell
4.12/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours brown/mahogany with a 4 fingers plus tan sturdy head. Average Lacing and good head retention

Smell: Slight choclate notes & then burnt coffee

Taste: Coffee up front, followed by bitter grainyness& thena slight nutiness. finishes dry with more coffee

MF: Smooth & rich, good carbonation. Makes me think its stonger the 4.0 ABV

Drinks heavier than it is. With the the expresso notes, I think this would be an interesting desert beer. Sturdy bottle would be perfect for homebrewing or home defense!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Melted chocolate brown with abundant ruby highlights. I can see the merest hint of light on the opposite side of the glass only because of the strong (for January) sunlight coming through my window. Without that, it's opaque black. The pale toffee cap isn't all that large, but it is tacky and leaves a great deal of lace.

Dragonhead has a very nice stout nose that contains most all of the essential style characteristics. Generously roasted malt makes up the lion's share of the aroma, with chocolate, hops and coffee--in diminishing order--playing supporting roles.

It's still pretty good beer on the palate, although cracks are beginning to show. Flavor and mouthfeel are tightly linked for me when it comes to beer and this stout is a perfect example of how a less than stellar body can impact negatively on flavor. All of the components of the nose are still present, but there's very little power behind them and very little depth, thanks to the too thin body.

To state the obvious, this stout is undermalted. In addition, it's at least as sour as it is malty sweet. The flavor profile consists of diluted chocolate and weak hops. Coffee has taken a powder. The thin, bordering on watery, mouthfeel lays bare what would otherwise be an appropriate level of carbonation and causes it to be too noticeable.

The fix is obvious. More malt would do wonders for Dragonhead Stout and would most likely elevate it to the ranks of the very good. As is, it's drinkable, but I can't stop myself from thinking 'what if... ' every time I upend the glass.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.94/5  rDev +2.3%
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 imbibehour
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
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 JAHMUR
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black. Tan head. A big head at that. Nose is really nice chocolate tones. Smooth and consistent. Really good fragrance. Flavor is more bitter, but consistent. The chocolate may be on the nose, but it certainly isn't on the flavor profile. The bitter smoothes out over time. Feel is nice and thick on the liquid. Good carbonation too. Drinkable, yes. Well made, just doesn't have any crazy flavor characteristics, but who needs it.

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Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a creamy tan head that leaves some lacing.

The smell is of baker's chocolate, toffee, some smokey notes and an earthy, somewhat woosy, fruity spiciness.

The taste is of smoke, chocolate and coffee. There are toasty and nutty undertones. Maltiness balanced by roast and an earthy bitterness in the finish.

It has a smooth medium body.

Nicely balanced, an enjoyable, mild, easy drinking stout.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

deep. dark color, with crimson highlights, beneath a creamy cocoa-tan head.
Aroma is gentle, yet still roasty, emitting warm notes of chocolate and coffee, rich, bittersweet, with espresso tinges, and fairly uplifting, I like it!
Warm, rich, smooth satisfying mouthfeel. Just drips over the palate, lolls around the tongue, very silky smooth.
Not as thick or full as some stouts, but that's okay, sometimes. Thoroughly pleasing, with an additional toffeeish sweetness, that really brings a smile.
I can't help but like this beer, and I'd advise you to try it, at least. Doesn't rock any worlds, but damned if it doesn't taste good, and that's all I'm caring about right about now.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer weighs in at a monster 4% ABV. Its black / dark brown with a thin brown head of small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is kind of sweet, mild malty, mild roast.

Beer is medium to light in body. Its sweet an mildly bitter but its mostly roasty at the back. Its a little thin for my tastes, but overall its a repeatable, good session stout. I would drink it again.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orkney Orkney, the Skullsplitter I loved. Here's the stout.

Black and glassy. Nothing else. Chocolate milkshake looking head. I kept pouring the beer in the middle of the frothy goodness and the stream didn't even make a dent, total absorption. Even head at first, as it settle it looked like the surface of the moon (er, at least pictures of it).

Rich aroma of coffee, mocha-chino, caramel, and chocolate. Mouthwatering really. Faint overripe banana and some black plum.

Starts off the flavors with coffee, it seems thin. The prune turns to plum and a bit biting. the coffee is dry and the caramel aroma has nothing to offer in the taste. The flavors could use more muscle and thickness. Tastes similar to the Lion Stout from Sri Lanka.

Still a darn fine beer.

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Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of bigred89
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and creamy malt scent that boasts of crystal, chocolate, and roasted malts. It is quite sweet and chocolatey. The taste is good. It has an intensley rich black malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes earthy and dry. It is full of malt complexity. It starts sweet and chocoalety, but finishes dry and rich in patent flavor. There are also some hops in the aftertaste as well. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a good drinking English stout. It is low in alcohol, but high in flavor.

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Dragonhead Stout from Orkney Brewery
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 299 ratings
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