Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16
650 Ratings
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Bitterbill on 02-15-2008

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 650 |  Reviews: 310
Photo of MO1978
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of steverx8
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of stortore
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled 5/2014, had 11/30/17.

Pours a dark brown that’s a dark amber on the edge, mostly opaque, with not much of a head and no real lacing. Aromas of malt, chocolate, cocoa, scotch, oak, caramel, some peat, light smoke. Really smells nice. The taste is malt, scotch, chocolate, caramel, oak, smoke, light molasses, a little vanilla. A touch watery. Smooth, a little thin feeling, under carbonated.

Maybe this didn’t age well. But, I also see people checking in older bottles than this one. So for me, this smells great, but a bit flat and watery otherwise. High price point, too, so I don’t recommend a purchase.

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Photo of zanec33
4.11/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Giggy
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice dark pour, minimal head. Aroma is very nice malty, dark fruit, with a hint of smoke. Taste is delicious, was expecting more body but is appropriate for ABV.
Bottle no. 04411. June 2014

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Photo of stevoj
4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle from Jeremy, 2007 batch. Oily black pour, wispy head. Smoky peaty aroma and taste. Slick and slippery. Nice slow sipper. 26 years in the making. Worth the wait.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled February 2012; drank 4/16/14 @ the Kid's.

Murky brown liquid; orange 'round the edges.

Minimal tan head; no lace.

Caramel, smoke & oak nose.

Thick, flat mouthfeel.

Oak, smoke & sweet caramel; assertive but quaffable.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - no head atop a very dark brown body. So dark I could not tell if it was clear or hazy.

Aroma - sweet molasses and honey, hoisin sauce, raisins and prunes, booziness fainter than the Special 12 Reserve.

Taste - woody, dark fruits, a bit more boozy as it warms. Better balanced than the 12.

Mouthfeel - very smooth, not at all harsh

Overall - good for an old ale, better than the 12.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of AleSan
4.36/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Slim and evanescent foam, nut color... heavy brown beer, almost pure black, opaque, some dark ruby reflection... aromas: whiskey, ash, prune, wood, coffee, toasted, light hints of alcohol; a bit intense e vary persisten. Well balanced with the taste... clean, soft, nice body, coffee and red fruits "light acid" in the final, persistent, warm.

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Photo of dave_ackbar
4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into a pint glass.
Color is jet black with a thin tan head that fades away quickly leaving a little bit of a lip throughout.
Smell is coffee and dark chocolate. Nary a hint of the scotch barrel.
Taste is terrific straight to the last sip. The hint of peat is always there, but never too much.
Feel is warm, I live in Hawaii so 65 F is cold for me, this kept me warm on a 64F night.
Overall, I need to find more of this and the 18.

 449 characters

Photo of 123321123321
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of seedyone
4.84/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From bottle at home. Dated June 2017. I'm looking at over 750 beers reviewed & this is, without a doubt a singular event.

I'm a big McCallan fan, but shy away from the Big Peat stuff that I thought might overshadow this brew.

The aroma was licorice, bittersweet chocolate & coffee with the distinct smokey peat I expected. Perfect body. Medium-heavy with an unctuousness that bordered on oily, but wasn't.

That said, the aftertaste was the biggest surprise. It brought back a very distinct memory of the first time I repaired a bicycle tire tube. To get the glue to adhere properly you had to use the rasp on the lid of the kit container to roughen up the area around the puncture. The memory of that precise moment was awakened when to Ola Dubh hit my tongue. It was most surprising that it was the taste that brought back the memory of the smell of the freshly bruised rubber, not the aroma.

Freak factor aside, I found this to be a near perfect example of the depth & breadth of what out there in the world of craft. This is an event drink that is sure to bring those that share closer to an understanding of their similarities & differences all in the same snifter, of course

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Photo of OzmanBey
5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a snifter to a nice black beer topped by a half finger of dnese tan head which fades quickly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of smoke and roasted malts with a little oak.
T: Taste is a little chocolate with some smoke. Hints of caramel and some slight oak. Slight campfire and light fruitiness as well. Swallow is more smoke, some charred wood, chocolate, slight coffee, oak, and a slight hint of sweetness
M: This beer is on the heavier side of medium in body with soft carbonation which is adequate for the style. This one has a slightly drying finish as well which is expected.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer. I think I like the 12 a little better but this one is still really nice. It has good complexity and flavors which makes it an interesting drink. Well worth a try.

 848 characters

Photo of VoxRationis
4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decanted from an 11.2 oz (330 ml) bottle into a conical pint glass; bottle no. 00733, date June 2014.
A: Pours a very dark brown, essentially black. A one quarter inch, khaki head that dissipates rapidly, leaving good quality lacing.
S: Dark malts, black coffee, cocoa, whiskey, peat smoke, and bacon aromas.
T: Dark malts, cocoa, peat smoke, coffee grounds, and ham and peas flavors. Bitterness strong and solid throughout.
M: Full bodied with low to medium persistence of effervescence.
O: Interesting. Very reminiscent of a rauchbier. Not for every day, but reasonable for special occasions.

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Photo of paulish
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of puck1225
4.19/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Black-brown color with a small brown head and good lacing. Interesting smell and taste. Smell of oats and smoke. Smooth and silky feel. The taste is hard to define but sophisticated: raisin, chocolate, oats, peat, earthy, a bit fruity. A very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of acurtis
3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Jhfinn
3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of maximum12
3.55/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to the best wife a guy could have for this Christmas present, the last of a four pack of random, pricey beers received last winter. 11.2 oz bottle #11521 with a label date of May 2014.

Nary a whisper breaks the anticipatory silence as the cap pops off, but there is minimal head with a hard pour. Black trench coat gives off a more stout than old ale attitude. Smells wicked. Malts soaked in leather & raisin treacle. No barrel.

Ola Dubh 16 is more continental than the Free City of Danzig. Smokey, burning peat whiskey is on top of this beer (why couldn’t I smell that?) & wound tightly into its DNA. The beer itself is a shadow of the wood & whiskey (what a great band name), with the aforementioned old leather, raisins, Shasta cola, finishing with a grain of roast. Thick & heavy for a sub-10% brew. This would pair well with a fire, warm night & topless…wife.

Interesting beer that leaves my bell only partially rung; glad I had it, but wouldn’t pay a premium for any others in the series. Good beer.

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I purchased the Ola Dubh special reserve 16 and 12 for – I have to admit I was intrigued by the description on the label.
The 16: pours a deep dull black with scant khaki head, mild effervescence with swirling and minimal lacing.
Smells of dark roast malts, earthy peat, some vanilla notes with just a hint of leather, wet burlap and smoke.
Tastes is surprisingly malty without being sweet, the peat and flat notes predominate, hints of coffee, caramel, vanilla, very mild whisky notes and some woody notes. Well balanced throughout – with a very clean finish. The textures is full bodied, somewhat viscous with just enough carbonation.

Overall, this was a pretty solid ale – captures the peat and whisky notes – quite a contrast to the sweet stouts aged in whisky barrels to which I’ve become accustomed – but overall, quite good. Balanced, mature – not as sweet as the aroma would suggest – a pretty solid ale.

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Photo of BamfBacon
4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I bought Ola Dubh 12, 16, and 18 at the store (a few of each). This is an Old Ale matured in 16 year old whiskey barrels, ABV 8.00%. I liked all of them especially this one.

Look: black with an almost non-existent mocca colored head.

Aroma: nice aroma of roasted malts and some whiskey

Taste: There's roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and a moderate whiskey flavor. I think it is outstanding.

Feel: full body like a stout, smooth

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 650 ratings