Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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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

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Ratings: 628 |  Reviews: 297
Photo of dbrauneis
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 06196 from July 2011

A: Pours opaque extremely dark brown to black in color with slight brown highlights in the light and with a half finger tall tan head. The head reduces to a thin layer covering the entire surface of the beer with thicker patches and ring at the edges of the glass. There is some light visible carbonation visible at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: There are aromas of some sweetness - caramel, molasses, and dark fruits - along with the very obvious presence of the whiskey (from the barrels). There is some light smokiness from the whiskey presence but it does not dominate.

T: The flavor follows the smell, it starts with the sweetness - caramel, molasses, and dark fruit (more raisins and plum). That is followed by some hints of chocolate and the whiskey barrel flavors including the oak and some light smokiness. Finally there is a very light lingering bitterness.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with light amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This beer is definitely a sipper but one that I could enjoy sipping on all day long. There is a nice complexity and balance to both the taste and the smell. I definitely want to try this one again along with it's sibling versions that are aged in different barrels. Very enjoyable and very smooth.

 1,313 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.84/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Bottle #11,126 from Sept. 2007. $8.50 for the bottle.

3.5 A: Dark brown, almost black color. Just half a finger of creamy light brown head. Retention isn't too great and no lacing left. I'll cut it some slack though for being well aged.

4.5 S: Massive nose on this. Whiskey is still quite potent. Smoke and roastiness compete for center stage, but ultimately the smoke wins out and adds a pleasant porcine component. Caramel, molasses, and notes of chocolate and toffee. Plum, raisin, and red apple fruitiness. Light peat.

4.0 T: Taste is like the nose. Big bacon smokiness. Roastiness to follow. Light peat. Caramel, molasses, and stronger-than-in-the-nose chocolate. Less whiskey than I was expecting, but still enough to complement. Plum and raisin fruitiness. The only thing I'm not a fan of is the lack of sweetness. This has a lighter body and not a lot of malt to back up the other good flavors.

2.5 M: Between a light and medium body. Carbonation is low, but it's fine for how old the bottle is. Not a lot of creaminess, which is mainly due to the light body. Give me some more body and this turns into a hell of a beer.

3.5 D: Very tasty with only the body causing complaints.

 1,213 characters

Photo of OldTime
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of OSUBeerStudent
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle date July 2011, into a snifter.

A - pretty similar to the 12 year old version. Opaque brown/black with a nice ring of mocha head that sticks around.

S - molasses/dark fruit. The whisky is definitely present, although the smoke is lower in the mix than the 12. More dark fruit than molasses for sure. Whisky smells a little more integrated than the 12.

T - low molasses mixed with dark fruit/currants and some caramel, a little chocolate. Whisky is definitely pulled off better here than the 12 - it blends the beer together more without as much overt peat. Compared to the 12 this is more subtle in flavors, especially the whisky barrel. Very tasty as well - I'd give this a 4.75 on taste, but not a 5.

M - again very good. Carbonated fine but on the thin and drinkable side, without any syrupy feel at all. Still a sipper but.

Quality beer overall. Glad I tried this pretty shortly after the 12 year version. The beers are definitely very similar. The biggest differences are that the whisky is a little more subtle in flavor on this one and there is definitely less peat sticking out. There is definitely some noticeable scotch flavor here without any booziness, and the fairly thin mouth makes it easier to drink. Still pretty expensive (about $9 here for an 11.2 oz bottle) but a good occasional sipping old ale. Another good beer in this line - will review the 40 year version at some point before too long to see how it compares.

 1,447 characters

Photo of MIP229
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of Yabev15
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of scubahood
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of YalovaIA
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Acuity
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Neffbeer
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of jamisonspitzer
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of dgilks
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pitch black colour with a smooth, creamy tan head. Poor head retention.

Sweet malt with plenty of caramel. Some earthy, sharp roast. Nice toffee and lightly ashy whisky. Light oak. Coconut and fruit. Nicely balanced.

Silky sweet malts with an earthy black malt character. Nice fruit and coconut and caramel oak. Some light ashiness.

Medium body with moderately-low carbonation. Good.

A very nice beer with plenty of balance and lots of flavour. Really well crafted.

 469 characters

Photo of whartontallboy
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of NightINgale
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle... 2010 release

A - Dark brown body, with a rich mocha head, reminiscent of an Imperial Stout or a Baltic Porter.

S - Malty, smokey, with a good chocolate and/or coffee backbone, some caramel and a bit of dark fruits.

T - Woody, smoky flavours dominate the palate. Lots of sweet chocolate, toffee and a certain peatiness. The taste becomes more and more complex as the beer warms up. Smoky, roasty malt notes, with hints of dark and milk chocolate, prunes, dates, oaky vanilla, even tobacco. Balanced sweetness. Big flavours all in all!

M - Medium body, although the intensity of flavours make the beer seem thicker than it actually is. Quite creamy, smooth. At first there is no hint of alcohol; with time, it becomes a little more pronounced and goes hand in hand with a warming sensation.

O - Wow, this is an excellent sipper beer. Rich, complex, satisfying and quite a bit whisky-like. Perfect for whisky lovers who want to find something similar in the world of craft beer. Much better than the Old Engine oil!

 1,033 characters

Photo of dprophet
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of metter98
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color and poured with a quarter-finger high tan head that quickly died down leaving a thin film of bubbles covering the surface and a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Eventually the film of bubbles faded into wispy lacing covering the surface.
S: The smell has aromas of oak, roasted malts and smoke along with hints of chocolate, becoming stronger as the beer warms up.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of peat and smoke; these particularly linger through the finish and aftertaste. There are also notes of oak and hints of whiskey.
M: It feels on the low end of medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation and a very dry finish.
O: If you can handle all of the smoky flavors, this beer goes down quite easily because the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

 856 characters

Photo of JGuill
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of ant880
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Argonaut Liquors in Denver, CO for around $12 if I remember correctly. Into an old school NB Globe.

A: Pours a deep brown, almost black with almost no head, just a few tan bubbles around the edge of glass. A few red highlights when held to the light. Nice looking beer.

S: Really interesting aroma of sweet chocolate, whiskey, vanilla, and oak. Smells really malty. Notes of toffee and raisins mix nicely with the vanilla and whiskey notes in here. Smells tasty.

T: A lot like it smells, really malty with some notes of scotch, vanilla, oak, and chocolate. Lots of interesting malty flavors across the board, everything from toffee and caramel to a touch of roast. A slight amount of bitterness on the finish, with a bit of an earthy hop character. Nice lingering oak flavor in the finish.

M: Medium body, would've liked a little more body, with nice carbonation. Finish is surprisingly dry, not incredibly dry, but definitely drier than I had expected.

O: A really flavorful barrel aged beer. I don't know if old ale is really the right style, but I really enjoyed it. I will definitely have to get some of the other versions.

 1,155 characters

Photo of ohtheguilt
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of seedsofchaos
3.03/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On a recent trip to our local bottle shop, a buddy and I thought we should get a few "special brews" for a NYE toast at midnight. Among three bottles, we were recommended Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16. At $17 a bottle we figured that an Old Ale aged in 16 year scotch barrels would be pretty phenomenal. At $17 a bottle, we expected much more.

Pours much darker than an Old Ale. Think more Imperial Stout. Black with little carbonation. With this type of color I really expected more viscosity. Relatively thin in body...

Not much of a bouquet to speak of... There's a little oak, some bourbon and roasted malt. Not much else. The aroma is dominated by more of a fresh (green) wood smell if you can even use the word "dominated" with such a weak smelling beer.

Ola Dubh under-impresses on the tongue as well. Thin. Fresh oak. Alcohol is hidden fairly well but there is a hint. A bit of smoke and a bit of salt.

Eventually, I'm glad we had some BCBS for a midnight toasting as well because Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 was more of a ticker beer than a memorable toast to a new year.

 1,083 characters

Photo of wineman77
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into Affligem goblet.

Deep brown/black with a coffee w/ cream colored head about a cm high. Dissipates fairly quickly. A bit of lacing.

Nose of roasted coffee, mocha, notes of sweet red berries. As it opened up, caramel

Flavors of bitter chocolate and smoke. Hint of vanilla. Got more of the scotch character on the palate than the nose. Get a nice bit of peat in the mid palate. Medium to full body.

 423 characters

Photo of Spadoof
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Name: Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16
Brewery: Harviestoun
Bottled on: July, 2009
Purchasing Date: July 2011
Purchased From: Williams IGA (Vienna, Ohio) [$8.49 per bottle]

Origin: 12 oz bottle
Serving Glass: 22oz sniffter
Serving Temp: 60F

*Tasted before the Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40.

Appearance: Pours a viscous, jet-black body with a 1/4" mocha cap. Completely opaque, except around the very edges where wisps of dark brown can be seen amoungst the black abyss.

Smell: A beautiful scotch whiskey scent permeates out of the snifter as soon a pour. Upon further examination, a robust mixture of vanilla, oak, lush milk chocolate, roasted malt and slightly fruity alcohol esters meld together in one incredible nose. Wonderful!

Taste: Deep smoke, mellow and smooth scotch whisky, vanilla and oak. Finishes with an awesome whiskey/alcohol flavor that scrubs the residual malt notes of the palate leaving a pleasantly smoky finish.

Mouthfeel: Spot on! Low carbonation, allowing the lush and viscous body to shine. Thick and delicious.

Overall: Well done! I could drink this all day, everyday! Well crafted would be an understatement. Would be great as an after dinner, nightcap or cigar beer. Glad I came across this one!

 1,224 characters

Photo of FeliciousDoyle
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.12 out of 5 based on 628 ratings.
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