Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
United Kingdom (Scotland)
harviestoun.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
289
Ratings:
604
Avg:
4.12
pDev:
14.56%
 
 
Wants:
41
Gots:
109
For Trade:
5
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Reviews: 289 | Ratings: 604
Photo of BMMillsy
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a bottle from Gainesville HOB. Pours porter or stout like, with no head whatsoever. Smell is faint, maybe a bit of scotch and a bit of dark fruit, a little bit of peat and motor oil. Flavor is chocolate, scotch, oak, smoke. More complex than I expected from the smell. Medium mouthfeel with nice carbonation. This was really nice and smoky/roasty.

 355 characters

Photo of wd40
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #44676
July 2009

Sampled 2012

Interesting English style old ale with a smoke and peat flavors lent from aging in Highland Park 16 year old single malt scotch whiskey casks. Has a rich aroma of raisins, chocolate, and a little bit of leather. The aroma is very nice. The taste started off a little smokey for me, but mellowed a little and became much more enjoyable. The smoke is pretty well blended, but if it were a little more in the background I think I would give taste a higher rating. As it is, it is a beer worth a try. The base old ale is very good and the addition of the whiskey casks adds a lot of richness to the beer. Looking forward to having this one again in a few years.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
2.84/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a snifter. Bottling date August 2010.

A Pours out black topped off with a mocha head.

S A very strong smokey peat with some faint chocolate. By far the best part of the beer.

T Some faint chocolate and a bit of roast are present however the strong peat character of the scotch dominates.

M A very thin watery mouthfeel.

Overall this is an ok beer that isn't worth the price. The base beer is completely dominated by the scotch barrel and it is incredibly thin almost like water. Overall this one is not worth trying at the price point its at.

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Photo of 51mmz0rz
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a generic tulip. Date is July 2011 num 05742.

A: Head is dense medium tan, very good retention. Body is black, even along the edges.

S: Metallic with hints of smoke and roast.

T: Much smokier than I anticipated. Really gets a nice sense of the barrel from the beer. Finishes with great stout flavor, while the char carries through the whole way. Nice and clean for 8%.

M: Dense, and not too sticky, works well for this style. Finish is actually very clean.

O: Could be more balanced in terms of barrel flavors, but nonetheless a treat to drink.

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Photo of cooler4life
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle #38619 Dated July 2009

A: Poured a midnight black color with little no head to speak of despite a rather aggressive pour. Delicate glass lacing is strung along the sides like icicle lights at Christmas time.

S: Starts with a sweet molasses and bourbon with essences of milk chocolate, sun burned hay and dates.

T: Standout. 3 years in the cellar has created a monster. Similar to the nose, but with a smoky, oaky flavors. The wood creates subtle hints of vanilla.

The ABV is nowhere to be found.

M: Delicate creaminess. For a 3 year old beer, the carbonation is slightly subdued, but that is to be expected. Has a fantastic warming sensation as it moves through the palate.

O: Fantastic beer, coupled with a cool evening and a fire pit, you have a match made in heaven.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330 mL bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter. Bottled August 2010.

Appearance - Pours a dark brown, nearly black. Brown in the pour, black in the glass. Nice khaki head and some even clings to the glass.

Smell - Roasted malt. Licorice. Definitely a touch smokey, but I don't know that I'd peg it as a Scotch aroma. Oaky.

Taste - Much more pronounced chocolate malt and a sustained hop presence. More smokey in the finish here. Bitter. Oaky finish.

Mouthfeel - Bitter and quite oaky, but it's a smooth beer without much booze. Every once in a while I get a hint of the alcohol.

Overall - Not the most interesting beer, but tasty. We'll see how different the other bottles are.

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Photo of korguy123
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled Aug 2010 enjoyed Aug 2012

Ola dubh 16

Inky oily black, two finger light tan head that is soapy and won't go away.

Dark bitter sweet chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla molasses, a slight peat and than mellow but very aromatic whiskey.

Whiskey up front, than bitter coffee and chocolate. Slight oxidation which I guess is my fault but still a great tasting beer.

Medium bodied, low carbonation. Sticky on the lips.

This one is better than the others if I remember correctly. I aged it too long in my opinion

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Photo of LampertLand
4.51/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ola Dubh's Special Reserve#16 @ 8.0% served cold from a 330 ml bottle
A-pours a dark brown almost black with a small fine tan head that quickly dissapates leaving some spotty lacing along the pint glass
S-some smokyness , sweet chocolate malts , roasted coffee , brown sugar , hint of cherries and a lot of whiskey from the barrel aging
T-some smokyness , booze is strong yet a creamy brown sugar/vanilla sweetness in the finish , a lot fruiter than SR#12 , bit complex all the flavors going on here , wow
MF-low carbonation , thick and a bit syrupy , roasted bittersweet after taste
Ov-a sipping beer for sure , bit pricey , a yes for sure , if you can get the other Special Reserve give them a side by side taste test

Notes from tasting of SR#12 , SR#16 , SR#18 & revisited since the .25 increments

Cheers LampertLand

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Photo of flagmantho
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 330mL bottle into a pint glass. Bottled July 2011. I just had the Special Reserve 12, so this will be a good back-to-back comparison.

Appearance: just like the 12, this beer is extremely dark brown with just brown highlights around the edges. Head is a thin layer of frothy tan foam. Good looking, just like its sister.

Smell: rich, roasty, chocolatey aroma, but the 16 has hints of vanilla that I didn't get in the 12. Different, but equally good.

Taste: roasty and chocolatey flavor; there seems to be a little bit more fruitiness in the 16 than the 12. Similar alcohol bite and astringency appear toward the end. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: silky creaminess brought on by a good body and good level of carbonation. Really quite excellent, again like the 12.

Overall: I like these beers equally well; they are very similar, but there are subtle differences. The 16 is a bit fruitier and has more vanilla than the 12; I really want to try the other 3 Ola Dubh varieties now.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Saint Somewhere wine style glass. Label says bottle date July 2011.

A- Pours a deep opaque black color with a 1/4 inch tan head that retains slightly before fading to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and minimal surface foam. Crisply textured lacing that slides slowly down the glass.

S- Roasty nose with heavy dark chocolate and a hint of oak. Slight whiff of alcohol and a tad sweet.

T- Flavor starts out roasty but makes an abrupt turn to a bold but smooth oak taste and finishes smokey. The old lady refers to it as a burnt flavor, but it's so much more complex than that. Notes of chocolate, peat, and faint whiskey. Alcohol? Barely noticeable. Not as sweet as in the aroma. Lingering smoke in the aftertaste.

M- Creamy and lush with an amount of prickliness from the smoked malt. Medium carbonation and a full body.

O- So complex and enjoyable. Easy to drink with a delightful melding of dark beer and scotch flavors. Even better than the 12 year which was considerably less smokey. I don't enjoy overly smokey beers but this one has a striking balance. Damn near perfect.

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

Poured from a 330ml bottle. The colour on this is a gorgeous deep brown-black that has red tints when held up to the light. Looks pretty black in the glass with a very thin brownish head. On the nose there were heaps of caramel, molasses and spice. You don't get cheated flavour-wise either when it comes to the Highland Park whiskey notes. They are all over this intense, barrel-aged brew. It actually made me want to chase each sip with a wee sip of whiskey.

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Photo of evilkalla
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving: Bottle into an ale glass.

A: Pours clear, very dark brown, almost black. No head to speak of. A few hints of carbonation but mostly flat otherwise.

S: Smells of coffee and wood. Some hints of dark and sweet malt. A little earthy too. Very subtle.

T: Almost has porter-like taste up front, followed by the somewhat sweeter malts I would expect in an old ale. It has just the slightest hint of whiskey and wood. Fairly smooth. Not bad at all.

M: Feels perfect.

O: This is a good beer, definitely for sipping. However I don't know if the price justifies trying it more than once.

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Photo of AgentMunky
2.95/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a Glencairn whisky glass. Bottle number 08590. Bottled(?) September 2007.

A: Dark, opaque, and brooding, with little to no head. Good lacing.

S: Blackberries, blueberries, loads of fruit. Cobbler. This reminds of 1999 JW Lee's Harvest Ale. Deliciously sweet.

T/M: Mehh. Stale, flat, but full of boozy fruit. I don't get much whisky, certainly no Highland Park. As it warms, the quality lessens. I suppose the end taste has a touch of molasses and merest whiff of smoke. Disappointing.

O: Not a very good beer. Certainly not worth the money. I might drink it again, but I would certainly never seek it out or recommend it.

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Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle 10,708 from September 2007. In a snifter.

A: Black as night; thick as oil. Another Ola Dubh variant that is devoid of head, although this one can't even muster a band of head. It sits like a black licquer.

S: The richness of the old ale really stands out, chocolate and burnt malts with a graham undertone. The whisky is more of an accompaniment and not the primetime player, adding sea salt and a bit of smoke.

T: More sweetness, the chocolate malts in the old ale driving a significant portion of the flavor. The barrels add wooden firmness, a lick of whisky sweetness but not much in the way of peat. A distinct creaminess pops up midsip, diversionary. Light sea salt and a bit more smoke come through as the ale warms, an interesting counterpoint to the dark body. The finish brings the whisky out - a mild introduction to Scotch.

M: The best mouthfeel of the three, well-balanced with a winning peated salt finish. The bold malts pair nicely with chocolatey richness.

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Photo of casualcolors
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An interesting contrast to the typical sweet, sticky, booziness of common barrel aged beers. This one, albeit black as night, sits pretty easy on the palate, and isn't particularly cloying at all. This is definitely not a beer for the faint hearted, as it drinks more like a big ol smokey scotch than your typical barrel aged fare. That in mind, it certainly drinks well, and demands that you respect it and sip slowly. Great smoky flavor offset by a faint backbone of dark roastiness.

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Photo of ludachris
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a deep cola brown but by the time it fills the glass, it turns jet black and emits almost no light through. A quickly dissipating whispy light tan head forms after a quick pour. Legs of lace drape the sides of the glass.

Oh wow, this smells like a treat. A rounded and delicate salty meatiness is the rich center which notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, warm raisins and mulled figs bounce off of. This is very well rounded. The marriage of the saliva-inducing salty and meaty peat from the Highland Park casks and the sticky richness coming from the Old Engine Oil is seemingly perfect.

Just as soft and well rounded in the taste. Dark chocolate, almost cake-like, with a pleasant bitterness and raisins stripped of their stickiness come in quick waves before bowing down to the pleasant meaty peatiness with salted edges that makes this so enjoyable. A dark, and again well rounded, roastiness peaks through near the finish and compliments its peaty core.

The first sip was like silk and unfortunately that feeling fades as the palate becomes accustomed to it. What it doesn't lose is its creaminess, its smoothness, and its ability to be so well rounded.

I've recently developed a liking to Scotch whisky, both single malts and blended, and because of that, I appreciated this that much more. This is by far one of the most well rounded beers I've had in a long time. The peatiness is present but far from over-powering or off-putting. It serves to compliment the chocolatey, rich, roastiness of the beer placed in the casks, and that it does so very well. I can't wait to try the 18, 30, and 40 sitting in my cellar.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 16 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.12 out of 5 based on 604 ratings.
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