Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12
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Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
English Stout
Ranked #10
Ranked #5,771
4.11 | pDev: 11.19%
Jul 03, 2023
Feb 17, 2008
Ola Dubh (or "Black Oil") is so named because it is gloopy and viscous. This limited release has been matured in casks from Orkney's award-winning Highland Park distillery to add complementary whisky notes to what is already an amazing brew. It is chocolatey with a roasty, bittersweet aftertaste.

Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky was awarded a Double Gold medal at San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2007; it lends balance, smoothness and subtle smoke.
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Photo of jkblr
Reviewed by jkblr from Indiana

4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
11.2oz bottle #03584 July 2020 (3 years old) purchased recently at room temp, but the oxygen absorbing cap looks to have done it's job. It's poured into a tulip glass at fridge temp and the label states 8% ABV. The beer pours dense very dark brown with light brown head. The head recedes to an uneven cap about a 1/16" average. The aroma is mild to moderate in strength and brings chocolate, leather, dark fruit and earthy notes. The taste is bittersweet roasted malt with with immediate and lingering peat. As you acclimate to the peat, dark fruit, cocoa, tobacco, seaweed, leather, and single malt barrel appear. Mild to moderate bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with just less that average carbonation and a mostly dry finish. Overall, complex and enjoyable with every taste a bit different. Excellent stout (if you enjoy peat).
Jul 03, 2023
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Reviewed by GreesyFizeek from New York

4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
This one pours a fairly dark black color, with a small head, and a little bit of lacing.

This smells like vanilla, light inky smoke, cookie dough, dark chocolate, and espresso.

For the negative parts of scotch barreling are the overwhelming peat and sort of funky earthiness – luckily, this really has very little of that, with just a hint of nice light smokiness, and lots of vanilla and chocolate. There’s definite cookie dough vibes, with coffee and some light fruitiness as well.

This is medium bodied, silky, not super thick but definitely not thin.

I really appreciate how well done this series tends to be.
Dec 20, 2022
Rated: 3.82 by jason_nwx from Oregon

Nov 03, 2022
Rated: 4.01 by hopley from Massachusetts

Oct 17, 2022
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Reviewed by Rug from Massachusetts

4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
Bottled July 2020

My first beer in the Ola Dubh series, and we’re starting pretty low on the totem pole or aging and ranking. Hopefully I can try the 40 one day, which is the highest rated English Stout, but for now I’ll have to enjoy this. Let’s get into it

Pours nearly pitch black with 2 fingers of tan head that fades to a thin cap and leaves minimal lacing

This one is unique in the nose, showing some characteristics similar to oxidation notes but done artfully. I’m picking up on aromas of fig, sticky toffee, brown bread, red berries, vanilla, earthy whiskey, sweet caramel, and a touch of dark chocolate

Unfortunately in taste it drops off a bit, feeling rather thin and boozy. On the front end of the sip I’m tasting earthy whiskey, sharp oak, sticky caramel, and red berries. The swallow brings notes of dark toast, earthy whiskey, sweet caramel, vanilla, fig, and light peat smoke

A medium full body pairs with gentle tingling carbonation, resulting in a thin and hot beer. Finishes neutral but tangy and boozy

This is a bit out there, and not really anything special, but I still enjoy it. Just a bit too thin in my opinion
May 29, 2022
Rated: 4.17 by jmbeerdude91 from Arizona

Apr 23, 2022
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Reviewed by BFCarr from New Jersey

3.79/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75
Pours like a porter, dark with a thick tan head. Aroma is whisky with some roasted notes. Taste has whisky upfront and roasted malts at the end. Feel is good smooth and rich. Overall it's decent but not anything special.
Apr 16, 2022
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Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
375ml can from Homebrewstuff. Black pour, fizzy head. Toasty, sweet, boozy aroma. Taste is sweet, bitter, anise, dry. How this can feel so boozy at 8% is a mystery. Earthy.
Mar 04, 2022
Rated: 4.01 by Ox8840bo from Illinois

Dec 29, 2021
Rated: 4.06 by shelby415 from Oregon

Nov 06, 2021
Rated: 3.89 by Silke_Neryn from Sweden

Oct 12, 2021
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Reviewed by JamFuel from Sweden

4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours jet black with a little hint of wispy head.

Smell is oaky and nutty with notes of coffee, peat, heather and tar pastilles.

Taste is nutty with a slight smokiness. Notes of of coffee, tar pastilles and peat. Soft bitterness, well hidden alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium, oily and well carbonated.

Overall, a very nice, interesting stout, lacking a little bit of body for me.
Sep 14, 2021
Rated: 3.77 by Cpmitchno1 from Virginia

Aug 29, 2021
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Reviewed by MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
12oz bottle into a goblet. 2014 vintage, 7 1/2 years old.

Looks pretty good in the glass. Jet black body with a decent enough tan head. This gradually shrinks to a ring, but leaves some lacing early on.

Aroma RIS-like, some dark fruit and a little alcohol.

On tasting, the first thing that hits you is how thin it is. There isn't much flavor early on, but as it warms, some dark berry fruit comes into play. No smoke, and the lightest of roast.

Mouth between medium and thin, finish very faintly roasty with some dark fruit.

Overall, a little disappointed with this one. Not a lot of flavor, and far thinner than expected.
Aug 22, 2021
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Reviewed by Bierman9 from New Hampshire

4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Quaffing from an 11.2oz bottle, out in The 'Zebo on Independence Day....

Pours dark as night, or like engine oil. Has a creamy, 1/4" beige head, which lasts decently, leaving OK lacing. Aroma is interesting.... has some chocolate and dark fruit, but also a bit of a smell like from a wild sour. Also has some smoky shtuff going on. Has light prickle, and a solid, medium body.

Taste also has dark choco, dates, black cherries, plus some orange peel. A touch of molasses and vanilla mix in, with some peaty whiskey in the earthy finish. Not bad, though a touch overpriced ($10.50) for the value. Cheers!

4.02/5 rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 04, 2021
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Reviewed by JacobusFavier23 from Texas

4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
L-Almost fully black beer with a lacy, yet rocky head. Moderate carbonation.
S-Straight up scotch with a malty sweet finish. That almost savory roasted peat aroma is very much there. Some notes of chocolate as well. Very nice!
T-It starts off very subtle with very mild chocolate notes, and is followed by a toasted malt flavor. As I dig I notice subtle, yet intricate scotch flavor. Roasted peat and savory bonfire like flavors come together in an extremely umami undertone that is very rewarding. As the beer warms, the flavor extends itself.
F-A surprisingly dry finish with a thicker medium bodied feel overall.
O-This is a beer I would like to share with others. There seems to be something new I pick up on with every sip. Incredibly enjoyable and very accessible. The scotch flavor really does make this beer. Sweet, savory, and an enjoyable drink throughout.
Apr 04, 2021
Rated: 4 by TylerJ from Iowa

Jan 27, 2021
Rated: 4.5 by wc94wc from California

Jan 14, 2021
Rated: 4.25 by irishkyle21 from Canada (ON)

Dec 13, 2020
Rated: 4.25 by shigg85 from Japan

Dec 11, 2020
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 908 ratings