Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12
BA SCORE
87.9%
Liked This Beer
4.12 w/ 841 ratings
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12
BEER INFO

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

Style: 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.

Added by Bitterbill on 02-17-2008

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#1,887
Reviews:
386
Ratings:
841
Liked:
739
Avg:
4.12/5
pDev:
11.41%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
51
Gots:
165
Trade:
8
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Ratings: 841 |  Reviews: 386
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First of the series, retrieved at State Line Liquor, and most promising. Aroma is of an imperial stout with some whiskey. Black body. Creamy mouthfeel with whiskey,chocolate, ah a drinkable pleasure rather than bourbon. A bit woody. Most satisfying, and a bit malty sweet at the end.

 283 characters

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2/2012. Bottle No. 01510.

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Thin streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, caramel, toffee, chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, whisky, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, char, smoke, wood, and slight whisky flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with really nice barrel aged characteristics that have held up quite well at almost 3 years old now.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

in some ways I like 12 better than 16 or 18, the reason being, that it still tastes like beer. although some may say this is still more whiskey than beer, to me its the perfect balance. dark brown in color, rich for an old ale, same looks as the others with perhaps a little better head, but its been awhile and this one is on tap. the nose is great, woody and earthy and rich in malt profile, well roasted and toasted, not burnt but real dark. the whiskey isn't sharp, but mellow and clean, strong too, smells like more than 8% abv, that's for sure. the taste is great. tons of roast and body without any bitterness. the whiskey treatment is very effective, the beer has some charcoal to it, as well as vanilla and oak, but not in a sweet way, its more refined, more old school in some sense, more precise, more groovy, hard to describe. its all balanced up well, like the whiskey characteristics could be controlled independently of one another, you know, less vanilla here, more oak there, even though that's not possible, it seems that well dialed in. I prefer this to the 16 and 18 honestly, although I would still love to try the older ones, this is a genuinely great beer.

 1,179 characters

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Knapp85
3.42/5  rDev -17%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out much like the others in the series. The beer was very dark in color with a thin tan head that faded very quickly. The smell of the beer has a lot of whiskey/scotch aromas to it along with some other roasted chocolaty aromas. The taste of the beer was pretty strong to me, I found it to be more harsh than the others in the series. The mouthfeel was with out much carbonation at all, the feel was a little on the watery side. Overall I just wasn't digging this one too much.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of metter98
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin creamy tan head that took a very long time to fade away and left lacing down the edges of the glass.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with hints of whiskey from the barrel aging.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of dark roasted malts, which are a bit smoky. There are some hints of chocolate, sweetness and toffee.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and smooth on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of warming from the alcohol.
D: Despite its strength, this beer is very easy to drink.

 629 characters

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

A fantastic beer; bold, agressive, balanced, and showing no signs of letting up. The pour delivers a near-black appearance with complete opaqueness. An initial 1/2" head formation, reduced to a film, but held firm after that. Light on carbonation, it delivers a creamy tan foamstand. Aromas jump out with a roasted malt character, esters of plumb, grapes, and faint berries, and a hint of dirty, earthiness, and mild smoke. Firm alcohols are evident in the nose, but not obvious from Scotch barrel aging. Flavors of dry, roasted barley rests on a firm barley malt, sweet pillow. Decorated with peaty eartiness, walnuts, and dark fruits found in the nose-only muted. A complementary Scotch Whisky alcohol, oak, and smoke compounds the balace with complexity and variety. Light signs of oxidation (soy sauce) actually add to the complexity. The texture is rich, full, and viscous. The alcohols show signs of roughness that age will round out. Somewhat hot and numbing. Hop bitterness complements the roast barley and smoke nicely. Finishes malty rich and dry (coffee-like) with low sweetness. Very nice beer that will certainly improve with age. This beer begs to be paired with a robust cigar.

 1,192 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml black foil capped bottle. We bring the Bard of Ayrshire's birthday celebration to a close with the youngest 'old' ale, in terms of whisky cask finishing expression. Ach.

This beer pours a fairly solid black, with very slight basal cherry cola edges, and two fat fingers of foamy and creamy beige head, which renders a practically unblemished paint job of lace around the glass as it slowly fades away. Aye, but she's seeexxxxy!

It smells of strongly toasted caramel malt, mild smoked peat, molasses, sweet alcohol-soaked oak, muddled dark fleshy fruit, and subtle leafy, earthy hops. The taste is big caramel/toffee malt, musty black fruit, treacle, ethereal bittersweet chocolate, and a soft, agreeable case of island barrel-itis - iodine, brine, and seaweed, with a nicely even peaty smokiness.

The carbonation is quite tame, barely a flutter to be noticed, the body a sturdy medium-full weight, smooth and surprisingly clean. It finishes on a relatively strong drying note, equally musty, woody, hoppy and boozy.

A tasty, and balanced, Scotch barrel-influenced strong old Scottish ale (whew!). Malt, hops, wood, and alcohol, all in a symbiotic orgy of restrained fury, the kind that might engender a bursting forth of some sort. What am I talking about? I dunno, this is the fourth bottle of the evening of this stuff and its kin, so I'm done writin', and ready for something else, no offense, bard-dear.

 1,417 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.27/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bottle into pint glass in low altitude Galway, Ireland on February 24th, 2011.

A: Pours a four finger tan head of brilliant cream and thickness. I want this beer to have my babies.

Sm: Whiskey (shocker!), alcohol, maybe some roast. The alcohol/whiskey scent masks the underlying notes. Let's hope the taste unveils them.

T: Smooth open to whiskey and roasted barley build. Alcohol. Creamy finish. Caramel. A bit of coffee. Sort of a stout gone whiskey and wrong - but in a good way.

Mf: Quite smooth but adequately coarse.

Dr: I could drink another, but the ABV is poorly hidden. Not as complex as it could be, maybe even without the whiskey aging.

B-

***
04.17.15: I found it above average but underwhelming the second time around.

C+

 748 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle # 10480/Sept 2007

Appearance: Even darker than Old Engine Oil as there are no ruby highlights on this one; I was able to get a tan head to rise and pancake the liquid; modest amounts of lacing

Smell: The oaky aromatics interplay with the roasty chocolate elements; generous amount of peat and some dark fruit underneath

Taste: Oak, roast and peat are all prominent up front, with the whisky flavors developing by mid-palate; dark fruit and allspice add complexity; after the swallow, the licorice taste of OEO arrives, but this time it carries a pipe tobacco element with it, as well

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation; a hint of warmth from the alcohol

Drinkability: Harviestoun has taken OEO to another level with this beer; wonderful complexity

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Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of goryshkewych: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a medium foamy brown head with good retention retention. Aroma of chocolate with roasted malt is easily identifiable. The roasted malt with some medium notes of chocolate and coffee also dominates taste. Nice creamy body with some good carbonation and no alcohol was discernable. I can't say that I distinguished a lot of differences form the regular version and likely would stick to that one considering the difference in prices.

 500 characters

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, chocolate, toast, brown sugar, roast, raisin, fig, brown bread, molasses, vanilla, oak, tobacco, leather, peat smoke, and roast/oak earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and whisky cask notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, chocolate, roasted malt, toast, raisin, fig, dark bread, molasses, vanilla, oak, peat smoke, tobacco, leather, and roast/oak earthiness. Slight roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, chocolate, roast, toast, dark bread, raisin, fig, tobacco, leather, vanilla, oak, peat smoke, and roast/oak earthiness on the finish for a white. Very nice complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and whisky cask flavors; with a nice balance of the oak character with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a smooth, moderately slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent old ale. All around great complexity and balance of dark/roasted malt and whisky cask flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,407 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a bottle in Edinburgh.

Body is a bit too thin and I wish the flavor were closer to the aroma in terms of richness and strength. Other than these two mild complaints, this is a great beer. Prudent use of barrel aging adds some nice complexity, including hints of whisky (of course), wood and vanilla. Very smooth with the alcohol partly hidden (but high ABV is obvious).

 377 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of jlindros
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Thanks to Veggie for this one.

No real head, pitch black super thick.

Nose smoked smoldering log, green olive oil, super dark thick heavy charred choc malt and fluffy nougat, caramel, big whisky barrel fudgey char,

Taste thick heavy dark malts, char and roast, powdered barrel char dust, thick lush, lots of super dark choc and fudgey cocoa, fluffy nougat, caramel, chewy nougat, a little smoke.. Mild bitterness mostly from the roast. Faint booze. Sticky but semi dry finish, chewy nougat dark choc lingering.

Mouth super thick, lighter carb, booze hidden well.

 566 characters

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 87.9% out of 100 with 841 ratings
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