Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16
649 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: 649 |  Reviews: 310
Photo of MichialTanner1
3.97/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of drahodo
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of g_rat
4.57/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look: jet black, opaque, thin brown head with moderate lacing

Smell: sweet malts, caramel, honey, vanilla, and oak. Possibly the best smell ever!

Taste: tastes like coffee with fresh milk creamer, notes of vanilla, almond, and hazelnut. Finishes with a charred oak and whiskey aftertaste with a slight burn that is not overpowering at all.

Feel: fairly thick and sticky, minimal carbonation.

Overall: Bottle No. 14936 Dated May 2014. Amazing beer! It's a great stout beer as a base with just the right amount of whiskey aftertaste an the right flavors to make an excellent balanced beer.

 592 characters

Photo of MatthewWalters
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Foley67
4.59/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

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

Photo of Jimmys
2.74/5  rDev -33.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

11.2 fl oz bottle. bottle no. 05410. Sept 2007.

A: pours still practically. opaque. dark brown, very dark brown.

S: a lot of autolysis in the aroma. really heavy on the soy sauce. trying to find more, but cannot get past this aspect.

T: flavors cover up the harsh aroma. some mild peat, mild char. very mellow but still very present. you can certainly tell this came from a scotch barrel. finish is bitter dark chocolate. I don't think there is a lot of fruit here, bitter dark malt/roast flavors preside.

M: very still, essentially flat. medium/full bodied. slick and thick all at the same time.

D: I stumbled upon this and a couple other Special Reserves all at once. purchased the 21 and this to do a side-by-side, got home and then realized one was 7 years older than the other, not to mention 9 years old from now. not that that is going to stop me from drinking this! unfortunately, past its prime with the high level of autolysis. however glad I am still getting some aspects of the delicious Highland Park barrel.

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Photo of Khouston
4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Beginner2
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ambruns1979
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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

Photo of Zythophile
3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottle Date: May 2014
Palate Contaminants: none

If it looks good, buy it. Unless you already have too much. (Note from later: I try to be optimistic.)

Appearance is very dark, and there's not much lacing in the glass, either.

Smell is pleasant for such a dark brew. If there's one thing that could roll it all up into one, I'd say semi-sweet, fresh rye bread.

I had high hopes with the smell, but the taste isn't nearly as nice. I'm under the impression that this is one that should age okay, so I can't just write it off; it's one for the record. It's palatable, but I won't be looking for more. Basically, start with your basic Guinness, make it a little thinner, add a little bitterness, and then a heaping dose of charred barrel. This might make a great marinade.

At least, this is my bottle. Your mileage may vary.

Feel is thin for a dark beer.

Here's hoping my bottle of 18 is better.

 897 characters

Photo of FLBeerGuy
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of neurobot01
4.34/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

May 2014 bottle into a Teku at cellar temp.

Look: dark brown, but light peeks through around the edges. Minimal light tan head.

Smell: smokey and sweet. Hint of alcohol heat.

Taste: smokey and sweet. Strikes me as richer and more complex than the 12-year I had a while back. Light-roasted coffee, strawberry, cream, vanilla, char, and kiwi/grass are all notes I get.

Feel: medium/thick, with low (but stylistically appropriate) carbonation. Leaves a strange sort of dryness.

Overall: I'd lowered my expectations for this based on the 12-year, which was fine but nothing special. However, I enjoyed this considerably more. Will contemplate picking up another bottle, even at the steep price.

 695 characters

Photo of Grackos
4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Brolo75
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours dark brown, almost black, with ruby red around the edges, no head retention, no lacing, low carbonation, looks pretty good.

A: Vanilla, toffee, picking up some dark fruits like raisins, no alcohol on the nose, not getting any of the barrel notes, reminds of a barley wine.

T: Sweet toffee, caramel, vanilla, oak and barrel come through in the aftertaste, lingering oak, wood notes, hints of raisins and figs, alcohol is well hidden. Picked up some dark red wine notes as the beer warmed.

M: Medium bodied beer with low carbonation.

O: This is really solid but I think it's overpriced at $12 for a single bottle, doesn't pop with as much flavor as I was hoping, pretty subtle flavors and aroma. It's very smooth, drinkable, and balanced.

 783 characters

Photo of Jason_cs
4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.58/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle number and date: 08676 / Sept 2007

Appearance - Pours black with a cluster of bubbles that find their way to the edge of the glass and slowly pop away.

Smell - Slightly sour notes, along with traces of charred oak, vanilla and chocolate.

Taste - Dull, distant flavors that follow the nose. Mostly old, earthy oak. A hint of smoke, vanilla and chocolate.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with almost zero carbonation. Slick, smooth texture with a slightly dry finish.

Overall - I got this for a Christmas present. I hadn't noticed the bottling date until now. Nearly 9 years old, yeesh! I'd say it passed the optimal age quite a few years ago. What's left is remnants of what I can only imagine was a pretty darn tasty treat during it's peak. This is one I'll have to keep an eye out for and review again.

 810 characters

Photo of Thankin_Hank
4.02/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of capnamerica
4.04/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of spacecake9
3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Was happy to find this on a local shelf.
A - Pours black with a small white-ish head.
S - The aroma is sweet and smoky.
T - The flavor is smoky, woody, perhaps some caramel.
M - Thick with little carbonation.
O - I allowed this to warm to room temperature before tasting. But I did not get the complex flavors I was hoping for. Not bad but does not justify the price.

 368 characters

Photo of damndirtyape
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle, served in a thistle glass. Bottling date of April 2013. Bottle number 07462.

Appearance: Very dark brown approaching black. Thin light tan ring of foam. An occasional strand of lacing that would very slowly slide back down the glass.

Smell: I had to let this warm all the way up to room temp to really bring out the aroma. Molasses, toasted malt, whiskey, charred oak.

Taste: Lots of flavors going on here. In no particular order: buttery toffee, caramelized malt, fine scotch whiskey, oak, and at the finish, a bit of smokiness blended with sweetness. The smoke gets more peaty and lingers a bit past the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Nice thickness, lightly carbonated. A bit sticky on the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: A fine sipping beer, and one that you need to let warm up all the way before drinking - it's much better warm. Not as smoky / peaty as I was expecting from the description, but good none the less. One is enough though at the price. Not amazing enough for me to get again but definitely worth having once.

 1,068 characters

Photo of DucksFan16
4.16/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #06475, dated June 2014. Consumed on 12/02/2015.

56 characters

Photo of YvesB
2.55/5  rDev -38.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of cp45
3.77/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.13 out of 5 with 649 ratings