Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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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Reviews: 396 | Ratings: 870
Photo of JamesS
4.97/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a great pitch black in color with a great tan (if bit small) head, and just a little bit of lacing. It has a wonderful scent, part coffee, part whiskey, part malt, part hop, a near perfectly balanced scent that ends with a sweet note. Wonderful taste, the whiskey flavor is there, but not overly dominant like so many other such beers; it has a great slight coffee start with a wonderful dark, malty, old ale flavor, a nice sweet finish with a bit of hoppiness to tone it down. It goes down wonderfully smooth for such a bold beer. Absolutely freaking fantastic.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.97/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a thick, dark black out of the bottle with only a little tan head.

S: Malty sweetness backed by Scotch smokiness. A hint of yeast almost seems to be present as well.

T: Immediate sweet and smokey flavors followed by a long, pleasant smokiness that lingers all the way in the back of your throat.

M: The mouthfeel is surprisingly light and thin for all the flavor packed into this beer. This definitely is a plus since it makes the beer much easier to drink, and enjoy.

O: This is an excellent, and complex ale. Its smokey character is reminiscent of a rauchbier, but this is balanced against the sweet maltiness characteristic of scotch ales.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.97/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle poured into a snifter at O'Brien's, San Diego.

An absolutely lovely beer that is (sadly) both pricey and hard-to-find! Pours an almost inky black color with minimal head and carbonation... just a handful of dark tan bubbles sitting at the edge of the glass. Lovely malt flavor with elements of dark wood, chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Taste is similar... quite complex and full of subtle surprises. The fermentation in whisky barrels really contributes something to the flavor and experience here that I haven't found in similarly brewed beers. Incredibly smooth. This is a beer to be enjoyed very slowly! A new beer amongst my favorites...

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Photo of drperm
4.9/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My election night special! This was a grand brew for a grand occasion.

330 mL bottle, #10372, bottled September '07. Poured into a Caracole globe.

Appearance: Black is the color of my true love's....beer. Very thin tan head around the edge of the glass.

Aroma: Tar, tobacco, peat, smoke, hops, strong malt, and molasses.

Taste: Malt, peaty smoke, mild hops, dark chocolate, treacle (but not TOO sweet). The taste truly does flow seamlessly from the nose to the tongue. Liqueur-like, with wonderful classy-smooth whisky notes throughout.

Palate: Mellow, smooth, a slight alcohol tinge, thick and viscous to be sure.

Overall: Fantastic! This is a great Old Ale -- a terrific sipping beer, absolutely wonderful with a Cigar (Carolina Cigar Company Red Reserve Churchill). A bit steep at $8.50 for 330 mL, but it IS a 1-time batch with each bottle numbered, after all.

I got two bottles -- I plan to age the other one for a future Burns Night celebration.

25 January '10: Review of a 15-month-cellared bottle.

A: 5/5. Even thinner head than when it was fresher...but an Old Ale should properly be mild in the carbonation department. Still as dark (with a hint of motor-oil brown to disrupt the black) and viscous as I remember.

S: 5/5 Tons of sorghum up front. Smokiness/peat is also prevalent, whilst the hops and malt have mellowed. There's also a nice spice note that I don't recall from before: coriander, chicory, maybe even mild clove or nutmeg.

T: 5/5 Sublime. It has only gotten smoother and more complex. The liqueur quality is there in terms of depth, but there is absolutely NO alcohol burn whatsoever: it could be 6% ABV just as easily as 8. There is a huge dark chocolate-roasted oat presence that I find highly enjoyable. Again, the hops have faded but what is left is anything but 1-dimensional malt.

M: 5/5 Like butter, with a smart snap (a 'Scots Snap'?) to remind me that it's not actually butter.

D: 5/5 After cellaring for 15 months, I have *zero* regret for spending $8.50 on this treasure. It is a Perfect Old Ale. My only regret is not having any more of the 12 on hand to cellar for longer. It bears a 30-month sojourn, methinks.


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Photo of PorterLambic
4.89/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours deep dark and evil looking. Big dark tan head that drops slowly to a film.
Smell is amazing. Malty, rich and full of dark fruits.
OMG this is good. Rich, malty, dark fruits, hints of wood.
Full-bodied, rich. Low effervescence and decadent. An absolutely wonderful brew. Can I have another please?

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Photo of drmeto
4.89/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black with brown tinges with a very tiny light brown head
-pours out very thick
Vanilla,Blueberries,sweet chocolate,figs,faint coffee and toffee notes
-follows the nose plus molasses and rum with a long-lingering coffee and toasty finish
-very low carbonation,alcohol very well hidden,medium mouthfeel
Incredible Beer.Tastewise probably the best ive had yet.

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Photo of erosier
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

L: Pours a thick deep black color with a short and thick tan colored head that laces the glass a tiny bit on the way down.
S: Smells of scotch, a fine scotch, dark roasty malts, hints of chocolate, caramel, peat, and some alcohol.
T: Tastes of scotch, roasty malts, some chocolate, caramel, but mainly oak, peat, and scotch.
M: Rich, Thick, Heavy feeling, perfect amount of carbonation, warming.
D: Overall it's a sipping beer and it is a damned good sipping beer, definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Dentist666
4.8/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours jet black beer with creamy tan one finger head. Absolutely outstanding smell - tender, milky, a bit peaty, coffee, chocolate. Flavour is viscous, peaty, whiskey, prunes, roasted malts, cofee, chocolate, all in excellent proportions, alcohol is well-hidden. Woody and mindblowing.

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Photo of mullenite
4.78/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #15639 from 09/07

Poured a viscous, oily black with absolutely no head. Completely opaque with very dark red tints when held up to the light. Very little lacing down the glass.

Smells of sweet fruits, whiskey, oak, and a slight vanilla.

Taste is mainly the same as the smell, a very slight whiskey taste and very woody. The sweet fruits hang around and balance the oakeyness. Little vanilla left in the taste but there is some there. A clean palette serves this beer best so you can really experience the complexity.

Mouthfeel is medium-heavy but not so much that its hard to drink or really filling. Medium to low carbonation possibly due to the slight aging that it has undertaken but that is not by any means a downside. This beer feels exceptional.

I put the drinkability high because it was extremely easy to drink and enjoy, I don't think anyone would be sitting and drinking six of these in a night and it definitely is not drinkable in that sense but to relax and enjoy one this beer goes down way too easy.

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Photo of RaphaelSC
4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a wonderful black liquid, very consistent, a thin cream head with low retention.

S: Its bouquet is a mix of coffee, toasted malts and whisky, very strong, but very pleasant bouquet.

T: Coffee, woody and a good bitter that makes a good and consistent flavour, some whisky in the end. Its alcohol is well hidden despite its whisky flavour.

M: a strong coffee bitterness and many whisky malts in the aftertaste, medium body. Every sip makes me want the next.

O: Ola Dubh 12 is a well made beer, consistent with equilibrium and good taste combination of flavours and smells. I think that every beer lover must try this beer!

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Photo of botham
4.74/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter. the anticipation for this one has been considerable. pours thick black without highlights and a half finger of rich brown head that remains for less than a minute. light lacings.

aroma is of intense malts, mainly chocolate and black, with an earthy base from the whiskey casks. light notes of coffee and roasted malt linger amongst the other aromas, along with distant dark fruit. very rich in the nose.

taste is very rich, with chocolate and black malts up front, and a roasted coffee character, along with distant whiskey. very smooth in profile from the aging. finishes on a lightly smoked note with residual caramel and roasted malt. very complex, yet difficult to descern individual flavors because of the smoothness.

mouthfeel is excellent. the texture is silky smooth, with a mellow and easy-going finish and a slick feel after the fact. world class.

drinkability is good. for 8% APV, one would never know it. this is a superbly smooth and mellow brew that could beat out most russian imperial stouts. masterfully crafted by the folks at Harviestoun. cheers!

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Photo of Mitchster
4.73/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$7.99 for a 11.2oz bottle. Bottle # 25610, Sept 2007. "Ale matured in Whisky Casks", formerly used to mature Highland Parks 12 year old single malt scotch. 8% ABV.

Pours out to a thick, black, oily brew, not forming a single bead of foam. No head, no retention, no carbonation at all. The aroma is of soy sauce, smoke, blackstrap molasses, vanilla, black licorice, and when swirled, prunes and raisins. Very nice nose. The mouthfeel is medium dense (not as dense at the looks would suggest), but it is certainly oily, rich and syrupy. I like it. The taste is really good, and recaps the aroma exactly as I would hope for. There is a wonderful balance between the sweet, salty, smoky, soy sauce, burnt marshmallow, licorice, molasses, and bitterness. Lightly astringent in the finish due to the charred malts. Mild degree of leafy hop sourness. I know my scotches well, and honestly, I can't tell you that this was aged in oak casks used for scotch, as there isn't any truly distinct scotch taste. A rich night-capper.

This is a lovely brew. Considering the cost, I'd probably grab a bottle of Sam Adams Triple Bock, which is a few bucks cheaper, when I'm in the mood for something like this. Still, it's definitely recommended if the price doesn't bother you.

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Photo of asabreed
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. My snifter has somehow disappeared, which doesn't make me happy.

Appearance: Opaque with a mocha colored head, though there's not as much lacing or head retention as I'd like. I imagine the tulip may not have been the best glass for this, but I'm now sure how that would've changed things otherwise.

Smell: A heady meld of bourbon, cream, chocolate, coffee, mild mocha, woodiness, mild dark berries, vanilla, and booze.

Taste: Beautiful blackened malt flavors come through in a way I'm not sure I've experienced before. There's a fine line here between a creaminess and a blackened flavor, letting the other flavors creep in gradually: mocha, mild coffee, honey, chocolate, welcomed coffee with a bit of sourness and acridness that I think oddly meld with some other flavors quite nicely, vanilla, woodiness, earthiness, and the finishing touch of a good whiskey, lingering amidst all the flavors on the tongue. Even in this not-even-a-year-old state, with it being bottled in September 2007, I wish I could try a sample in the years to come, as I imagine it can only get better. But yes, this is pretty amazing stuff. Nuanced, balanced, heady, and delicious, especially if you're a fan of whiskey. I'll be seeking out the 16 and 30 when I can.

Mouthfeel: Full, though it's a bit odd because the lack of carbonation actually makes the flavors come out a bit more I think. There's a burst near the end, but it's mild, and still, I think they meant it like this, to get the full sense of the whiskey rather than having it be bogged down with carbonation, and yet it still remains fairly smooth.

Drinkability: Highly highly drinkable, and if we're taking the high price tag away I give it a perfect rating. A 6-pack of this, however, would cost you... a lot. But it's quality stuff, as they say it is, and as it should be.

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Photo of cannabanaceae
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this bottle labeled sept. 07 11.2oz for $8.99. Poured thick black with a small brown dissipating head into a snifter. Smelled of wood , vanilla, candi sugar I picked up some smoky flavors that reminded me of a Islay scotch. The taste on this one was my favorite part With a smooth chocolaty burnt wood taste, kind of oily on the mouthful little carbonation head totally gone now. The finish was very smooth with a little hop bitterness detected and very little alcohol for this great 8% old ale. Even with the hefty price tag I would try to find this rare one again.

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Photo of jlaplume76
4.7/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Not gonna get to into this one, only thing you need to know is that this is one exceptional beverage, well worth the expense. Every facet of this ale is complex yet well designed and perfectly excecuted. A fine pour, to be shared with friends. Ola Dubh means Black Oil in Gaelic and this is definately black gold.

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Photo of SgtStout
4.69/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black, like tar. Really viscous with a finger and a half of mocha coloured head. The alcohol really stuck well to the glass, and left patchy lacing.

The smell is of really overripe bananas (like after they've gone black in the freezer for banana bread), vanilla, toffee, and some definite boozy notes.

The taste up front is vanilla, with some serious alcohol burn and prominent Whiskey heathery, smoky, roasty flavours. There's also some chocolate, maple, and faint hazelnut characters.

The mouthfeel is rich and full, almost sirupy, but in a good way.

Overall an exceptional beer. Very heavy, tasty, and complex. A great dessert or after dinner beer to savour by a fire from the comfort of an overstuffed leather wingback chair...Now that's living.

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Photo of vinicole
4.69/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Wow! My big love is for English IPA's and certainly not Stouts and Old Ales but this has taken my breath away. All the superlatives previously written I whole heartedly support. What has particularly hit me is the balance this brew seems to maintain from beginning to end. This was bought as a trial single bottle from S H Jones in Banbury, Oxfordshire for the princely sum of £2.99 because it was sent to them "by mistake" and they did not really know how to price it. I'm back for some more tomorrow.


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Photo of dqrull
4.67/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, with ruby tints at the edges, thick lasting brown head that leaves some creamy spotted lacing.

Smells heavily of wood, smoky whiskey, and lovely roasted malts, the vanilla is there as well as an almost creamy tone. A robust really dark ch ocolate along with a slight hint of coffee due to the roasted malts, almost a bit burnt.

Tastes much like the nose, but the vanilla is alot less noticeable, even though it's still present, the roaasted, almost burnt malt take point into a mist of slightly smoky whisky and creamy vanilla. The mist dissolves and reveals a great dark, bitter chocolate accompanied by some bitter darkly roasted coffee, with some light fruity notes, like those you can find in freshly grinded coffee beans. This almost taste like an imperial stout, but there is something really special that puts it apart from that style, although it's really hard to put a finger on what exactly it is. What really strikes me is that this beer has been aged in the exact right kind of whiskybarrel, and exactly for the right time, the oak and whiskynotes are extremely tastefully integrated into a probably already awesome beer. Probably the best barrel aging I've encountered.

A full bodied beer that is mid-viscous and has a very light carbonation that complements the rest of the brew very well.

Sidenote, the label lists a MASTER OF WOOD, how can this beer not be awesome?!

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Photo of geexploitation
4.64/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very thick and dark, a la its namesake, with extremely low carbonation and virtually no head. Wonderfully rich nose that combines dark English beer, wood, and some winey notes. There are some bitter chocolate malt aromas, a bit of tobacco, vanilla, a slight winey sour note, and more. I could keep going and going, the aroma is so complex -- as the beer warms, espresso and faint berry fruits come through. Still, everything stays rich, with the only balancing note being the lighter, acidic winey element.

On the palate, a bright, acidic, winey wood note comes through first, along with a bit of oxidation evidence. Smooth vanilla and wood tannins, then light hop acidity and a surprisingly sharp burst of carbonation. Then things turn quite sweet before a flash of fruitiness and then a long, long, sweet and chocolaty finish. Mouthfeel is very thick. Carbonation is mostly tame, but there are times when the carbonation and acidity come to the fore. Even the mouthfeel has complexity. Everything plays well together; there are no off notes here.

Overall, this is an incredible beer that represents the potential for barrel aging to add flavor, balance flavor, and still leave behind a multidimensional, complex and drinkable beverage. I really can't say enough about this beer. It's simply great stuff.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.62/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one quite a few years ago. I can’t remember who was responsible for getting this beer into my hands, but whoever it was, thanks very much for the brew!

From a 250ml bottle into a snifter
Bottled February 2010
Bottle 13,948
Best Before January 2013
Aged in oak casks that held Highland Park’s 12 yr. single malt scotch whisky
Name translates to Black Oil

APPEARANCE: This is indeed black oil. Pours out black and yields a two finger, medium looking, creamy, light tan head with great retention. Pitch black body with no visible carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a creamy cap and sticks to the sides of the glass. A splotchy wisp remains and leaves some decent lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Very nice. Roasted malts, chocolate, whisky, light oak and vanilla on the nose. Touches of dark fruits and notes of leather as well. Wonderfully layered. Lovely.

TASTE: Lovely again. Very flavorful with roasted malts, some sweet dark fruits, whisky and lightly peated smoky notes up front. More oak, lightly peated whisky and roasted flavors into the swallow, yielding a bold and lingering finish of more wood and peat, whisky, vanilla, some roasted coffee and bitter dark chocolate as well. Some sweet fruits show up again and add another layer of complexity. This is outstanding. Wonderfully flavorful and plenty complex.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth with a slightly sticky finish on the palate. A bit of heat lingers.

OVERALL: Excellent. This is a flavorful, well balanced and complex brew with just the right amount of peat as well. Though I’ve never had it fresh, I can imagine letting it sit until after the best by date did no bit of harm. Perhaps a touch more weight and a slightly darker colored head would make this the perfect scotch barreled stout. If you’re a monster peat fan, this won’t quite satisfy your craving. However, if you enjoy layered flavors and can appreciate balance and subtlety, this will be right up your alley. Loved this. Cheers to whoever helped out with this.

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Photo of StephenRich
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

"Ola Dubh" means "black oil", and is a fitting name for this beer. The Ola Dubh is a beer which I had been aware of for some time, however it had only first crossed my path at the end of the summer 2009. I had done some reading about this beer previously, as well I have had a few of Harviestoun's other creations. So knowing that this is a Harvieston Imperial Stout aged in 12 year old Highland Park Single Malt Whisky Barrels encouraged me to buy several bottles.

The Ola Dubh is a bit different than other cask conditioned beers aged in oak whisky barrels; its not aged in fresh oak barrels, but rather the barrels in which the Imperial Stout is aged are previously used 12 year old Highland Park Whisky Barrels. The Harviestoun Brewery and Highland Park Distillery have formed an alliance ensuring that this will be the only beer aged in Highland Park Barrels.

The 12 year is one of four expressions of the Ola Dubh. Harviestoun also ages their beer in 16 year, 30 year, and 40 year old Highland Park Barrels. These bottles do get pricey jumping to upwards of $20 for the 40 year old. But consider that the Highland Park Cask Strength 40 Year Old bottle is $800. It is a different beast, but that is the type of prestige that we are living in here. The 12 year comes in a 330ml, foil wrapped, individually numbered bottle at 8% abv. We are discussing bottle no. 45525, which was bottled in July 2009. The Ola Dubh poured smooth and oily with a powerful aroma roaring from the glass immediately. The beer seemed to fall heavily into the glass as if there was stronger gravity at the base of it compared to anywhere else. With a twirl you expose thick legs on the walls of the glass and only a film of tan head that caresses the glass gently. The beer is black, and scarily reminiscent of engine oil. Into the light it does glimmer with a tint of ruby, but beyond all other lights, it is black.

The nose is rich and aggressive brining smoke, roasted malt, sweet whisky, tart oak, anise, and muddled spices. Its a very creamy aroma; all of the flavors seem to meld together as one. It does have a light peat like smoke which rings around your nose the whole time suggesting its hibernation in Highland Park barrels.

After looking at this beer and smelling it I was sure, and also unsure of what to expect. I knew something of great strength and supreme smoothness would with no doubt be gracing my lips. But would it be balanced? Would the power of the whisky whose character has been embraced by the beer be to much too raw? Well, thankfully, is is balanced and the whisky is sublime!

I served it at cellar temperature around 12 degrees Celsius (45F). The beers melts over your palate in a slow and gentle wave of peaty smoke, oak, whisky, and roasted coffee. It has a light dark chocolate note floating in the background accompanied by some more Imperial Stout flavors like dried fruits, a touch of spice, molasses, and vanilla. There is very little if any carbonation on the palate, so the beer is not really all that live when you are enjoying it. It more or less gets in your mouth, then takes over and makes its presence known. Almost as if it knows that it doesn't need the carbonation to prove anything to you; its just going to lye there and do its thang!

And it does it well. I was supremely impressed with the distinct Highland Park Whisky character which the Ola Dubh retains, as well as how the beer carries its flavors. It has a lot of powerful flavors working here with some roast and hop bitterness, but no noticeable hop flavor. The dark malts are dominant without being controlling. Overall the beer was a pleasure to drink, and also an extremely unique representation of a wood aged imperial stout.

I do have three more bottles relaxing in my cellar, so look for a one year tasting in July 2010, I am already starting to get excited for that one!

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Photo of msmezher
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Massive props to the BAs who recommended this to me after asking for rec's on scotch barrel aged beers, I really enjoyed this one. Ola Dubh 12 poured a thick, muddled black, reddish brown around the edges and only a little lacing, no head. Smokey, peaty aromas, a hint of chocolate, dried fruit. The mouth feel was excellent, rolled over tongue to bring out more of the subtle flavors. Oak and cedar finish, roasted coffee and malts, sweet prunes in the taste. Pricey, but well finished and great for an occasion meriting a 9$ bottle. I look forward to trying other beers from Harviestoun's lineup.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sept. 2007 bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Oozes out of the bottle like sludge: super thick, oily, black, etc. A small brown head creeps up after a couple of seconds. Totally opaque. Head now appears as a tight, hair-thin halo. Spotty lacing. Looks thick as hell!

Smell: Whiskey accented by some sweet bbq-like aromas. Sweet, syrupy, peach-like aspects, roasted malt, and even pancakes appear more as it warms. Really fun to dig into!

Taste: The whiskey barrels' influence on this beer is perfect! The whiskey plays a big role in both the aroma and flavor without too much heat or harshness. Soooo smooth! A good amount of roasted malt, dark chocolate, bbq smoke, salt, and flowery hops accent the whiskey beautifully!

Mouthfeel: Oily with light carbonation. Not very warm at all! Refreshing in fact. Not too heavy or thick either. Well done, once again!

Drinkability: For an old ale, I can't imagine it getting any better. I left some head room in the previous categories just because I know I'll be trying the 16 and 30 shortly. This was fantastic! Incredibly smooth for an old ale.

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Photo of rvdoorn
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle directly from Scotland while visiting the cutest girl in Aberdeen :). Poured into a de Molen sniffer. The beer pours a beautiful dark color, with a fantastic brown head.

Smell: Lovely! Strong peaty, whiskey, coffee, dark fruits (raisin) sweet caramel and roasted malts.

Taste: Taste a very peaty (smoky), roasted malts, dark roasted coffee, dark fruits and hints of red fruits. Aftertaste is smoked and slightly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Low-carbonation, medium-body, but very easy to drink

Overall: Not as creamy as I hoped it would be, but man, what a nice beer. Would love to drink this one over and over again.

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Photo of Derek
4.59/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 50017, July 2009.

A: Bblack with a light tan head, thin ring of retention leaves a little leg.

S: Wonderfull wood, whisky and peat smoke. Roasted malt has a coffee-like aroma with rye bread, molasses and hints of licorice. That's what I call an old ale!

T: Coffee, whisky (with wood & peat smoke), molasses, pumpernickel rye bread, hint of licorice, balanced bitterness, the whisky is flavourful, but the alcohol is extremely well-hidden.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has a light roasted acidity, modest carbonation, dry finish.

D: I'm lovin' it.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 870 ratings