Dragonhead Stout | Orkney Brewery

very good
295 Ratings
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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

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Ratings: 295 |  Reviews: 187
Photo of jjboesen
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This comes from an island off the north coast of Scotland, but may not travel well. It begins with an impenetrable blackness beneath a thick beige foam, which sits a while before settling, leaving a heavy lace around the glass rim.

It looked tempting, and had a pleasing coffe aroma, but I found the taste underwhelming. This could have been due to poor storage on the part of the retail establishment from which it was purchased. Bad luck perhaps, but would still seek it out for another shot.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nice dark stout from the Highlands. Roasted malt smell, hints of coffee and bitter chocolate.

Decent roasted malt and bitter coffee. Slightly too bitter for me, but still a good malt character. Smoked background to it, sort of a pleasant peat/woodsmoke character.

Rich, smouth stout body...low ABV makes this a sipper. Tone down the sourness a bit and this would be a winner.

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Photo of jettjon
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 500 ml bottle into a pint glass. Very dark, virtually opaque brown color with an attractive chocolate-brown head. Moderate fade to a heavy cap and scattered lace. Strong toasted barley/chocolate nose. Flavor is a bit of a letdown for me; it’s not nearly as full as the nose lead me to believe. It’s like a kind of watered-down toasted barley. Mouth a bit thin and watery with very light background carbonation. Drinkability is good for a stout, though I’m not entirely sure that’s a complement. 4% ABV means you can sip this one all night long, but, call me a bloody Yank, I like a bit more oomph to my stouts.

Overall: Looks good, smells good, but too thin and without much flavor character. A kind of “lite stout.” Many better offerings out there; I’ll skip this one next time. I’ve enjoyed some of Orkney’s other beers; this is not one of my favorites.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.72/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled March 2007
Pours with a frothy, initially three-finger thick, light brown colored head that sits a top an almost black colored beer that has some brown in it. The aroma initially has notes of chocolate to it, both a chocolate liquor note as well as a dusty cocoa note. Quite malty as well with a touches of sweet burnt caramel, lots of toasted grain character. This has a touch of alcohol heat to it in the nose, or perhaps something similar to this as this beer is quite low in alcohol.

The beer is quite dry with an accompanying dusty chocolate note. The middle and finish actually have a note of burnt malt sweetness. This has quite a light body to it; it is very quaffable. The beer finishes with a hint of roast grain astringency, a touch of chalkiness, and a nicely lingering roast coffee character. This actually has a touch of roast derived acidity here, which adds a nice tart backdrop to the other flavors. This is an interesting beer, quite tasty and I like that it is so light. This is something that Guinness draught should aspire to be.

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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".

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Photo of Bouncingsoul1682
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle to pint glass...

Dark like a good stout should be...

Smell: Roasted malts...and another roasted note that I couldn't place

Taste: Roasted malts almost like peanuts along with coffee

Drinkability: Smooth and delicious, would definetly have it again distinct among so many stouts

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

Typical dark as crud colour, with tan creamy head.

Aroma is very mocha, with even blend of coffee and chocolate.

The taste is very smooth and coffee-like. Dark and roasted malts, with mild hop bitterness. Dry finish, with flavours lingering as you drink.

Fairly straightforward stout, but tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of barefootbrewer
3.74/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a black color with a thick tan head that was persistent. The smell was at first strong of alcohol and then faded to some fruity notes. There is also a hint of coffee odor. The taste has some bitter and a bit chocolaty. The mouthfeel is full but not as heavy as I would have thought from the sight. This is actually a very drinkable stout that goes down pretty smooth.

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Photo of Dizzy
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown/black with garnet highlights and a creamy light tan head. Smell is coffee, chocolate and lots of sweetness. Taste is dominated by roasted malts. Medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. This is a great one, wish it was more widely availabe as this would make a great session beer with plenty of flavor, body and a low alcohol content.

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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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
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 hunteraw
3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Split a 17 oz bottle of this with my girlfriend as the last beer of the night at Brewer's Art in Baltimore, the only non-Brewer's Art beer we had that evening.

Appearance: black as the night, completely opaque, very small head that rapidly disappeared, but some nice lacing as you drink.

Smell: Roasty. Chocolate note is reminiscent of very dark/bitter chocolate. Fairly gentle aroma, overall.

Straightforward stout tastes: big roast, coffee. Manages to avoid being over-burnt. Dark/bitter chocolate presence as well, that works well with the smoothness of the mouthfeel. Everything is there, but in a very mild way.

Mouthfeel is very smooth. Just want to roll it around the tongue. Drinkability is good, but I wish there was something a bit more distinctive about this one. It's a good representative of the style, but without anything outstanding. If it was kicked up to 6% ABV, maybe they'd have more to work with.

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Photo of ybnorml
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black as night beer. Has a bubbly brown head. The aroma is an inticeing one two punch of rich dark chocolate and espresso. There is a hint of chocolate sweetness on the start of the taste, but it is quickly dominated the espresso bean character. The mouthfeel throws off the satisfation of this beer. As in it felt much to light (read weak or watery) for the style and the combination of the other characteristics (Apperance, smell).

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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).

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Photo of jhu1995
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a rich, dark, chocolatey color with a medium-thin head which dissipated rather quickly. Good carbonation. Bitter aroma at the front, but some nice roasted chocolate notes, especially as the beer warms. Taste was very well balanced: bitterness, roasted and chocolate flavors all danced together very well. Some slight sweetness thrown into the mix. Medium-bodied and easy to drink. A well-rounded stout in my opinion.

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Photo of russpowell
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
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 Drew966
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark brown, almost black with a small tan head. It smells of malt, and the taste is definitely roasted malt, with chocolate and coffee notes, like a good stout should be. The mouthfeel was definitely a bit thin for this type of beer, but I found it to be a very drinkable stout. Definitely recommended.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle. Dragonhead stout pours out a not quite black color with a medium sized head. The aroma is chocolatey and roasty. The flavor is smooth and roasty. More roasty than your average stout, yet not overly bitter. A light hoppiness complements the malty flavor very well. The body is a tad thin, but this does not prevent the flavors from coming through. The low alcohol helps to make this a very drinkable beer. I'd love to try it on cask.

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Photo of Rumrunner
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Poured in to a pint glass.

This stout is a meal.

Dragonhead pours a thick brown with a wonderful deep beige head. There is plenty of lacing down the glass as this stout is consumed. The scents are full of nut, sugar and creamy sweet coffee. The scents conform for a very friendly olfacory experience.

The flavors blend together well. Heavy on the nuts. Some slight biscuit in the back ground. A very nice mild coffee flavor mixed with some vanilla. These flavors combine for a creamy sweet flavor with a slight coffee bean bite at the end. The flavors are mostly sweet but they have a bold attitude in the long run. A well thought out combination of flavors that reveal themselves at the proper time.

A heavy mouthfeel, and that is a good thing. This stout would not be what it is without the deep feel and slow drinkability that it posesses. A true sipper even with the low AVB. I recommend giving this stout a try.

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Photo of tastybeer
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thick black and red with a slight purple cream head that reforms a 1/4 inch each time you swirl. MIlkshake like head. Aroma is loaded with caramal toffee, roasted nuts and a robust dark fruit. Taste begins creamy and then fully roasted chewy dry bitterness. Interesting sequence of tastes for this stout. Medium, slightly thick body, relaxed carbonation. Kind of porter-like but still different. Not bad at all.

A different kind of stout, and definitely worth trying.

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

Black with ruby highlights and a short lasting tan head with loose lacing. A mighty roasted caramel coffee smell, very rich. Taste is weak compared to the aroma - roasted malts, some caramel. Its thin though, which detracts from the taste. Sliiiightly creamy with a dry finish.

More of a dry stout in the mouth. The taste needs to catch up with the aroma though.

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Photo of wl0307
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle at the Royal Miles Whiskies Shop, London branch. No until coming back home did I notice it's expired by one month already (BB DEC 05)... Never mind. served cool in a clear, 500ml jug.

A: pours a very dark brownish to ebony hue, but clarity is good; effervescent, rocky foamy head with very good retention; carbonation status unsure.
S: beautifully crafted roastiness and cold-coffeeish note, while a mildly sweet edge of chocolate malts, roasted nuts, a touch of sweet wood-chips, and aromatic dark fruits (like black plum cordial) sustain firmly in the background. Nicely tuned and settled aroma, and pleasantly malty!
T: the coffeeish edge of malted barley hits the palate upfront, bringing on board a bubbly-textured, mildly sour-bitter edge of roasted malts which spreads on the palate like a carpet of coarsely-ground, bitter coffee beans, yet accompanied by a reasonable amounts of dryness and sourness as the balancer. Lots of leather, roasted nuts, and charred-woody flavour in the lingering bitter finish... very satisfying...
M: lively, or a bit fizzy, throughout the drink, while the more stable flavour of bitterness at the back provides a soothing effect and makes the texture balanced and light.
D: for a 4.0%abv. stout, this beer is truly flavoursome... I can imagine how good it's gonna be if served on cask. Definitely a session/quaffable stout for me, in all seasons!

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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.

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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.

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Photo of claytri
4.71/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The beer poured a rich black with 2 fingers of light brown head that slowly receeded leaving a good lace on the glass. The aroma was of good dark malt and just a bit smokey. The taste is simply a wonderful smokieness. This isn't the harsh overpowering smoke you get with some beers, just a good pleasant taste like you'd have with good BBQ. Underlying it is a nice bit of maltiness, no real sign of any hops, but they're not needed here. The feel is excellent for a Stout. I usually find Stouts a little watery, but his is just smooth with a nice dry finish that leaves a very pleasant smokey aftertaste. Almost like a good bowl of pipe tobaco, which would probably go well with this beer as well. I would have to say this is best Stout I have ever had. This will be a beer I will look for and want to keep on hand alongside the Schneiders and the Old Nick

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Dragonhead Stout from Orkney Brewery
3.84 out of 5 based on 295 ratings.
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