Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

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

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Ratings: 833 |  Reviews: 382
Photo of IceTrey9785
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally found this bottle at Total Wine & More in Bellevue, Washington. Decided to give it a try after some fish & chips. Poured the beer into a nice Spieglau Burgundy glass...

A: Dark brown, almost black -- thin off white lace on the top of the beer. Reminds me of thick espresso with the oils floating toward the top of the brew.

S: Bittersweet chocolate, hints of black fruit, roasted hazelnuts and coffee. Smells great, but very subtle. As the beer became warmer the aromas became more precise and defined.

T&M: Rich, thick and full bodied. Not quite as thick as motor oil, but the beer is definitely concentrated. Rich dark cocoa and espresso dominate the palate, with toasted nuts, toffee, and earth shining through on the mid-palate. The oak aging certainly leaves it mark with toasty vanilla extract near the finish. Being that they use Highland Park whisky casks for the beer, there is certainly a salty finish that lingers for a few minutes. Not quite as intense and peaty as the Scotch itself, but it definitely leaves it mark. Fantastic beer with strong flavors and amazing complexity.

Love this beer! So excited that I finally found it. I'm a huge whisky fan, so having the two combined is certainly a huge perk. I find this beer intense, but very inviting and welcoming. The alcohol level is appropriate and the concentration really propels this beer to the next level. Amazing!

 1,397 characters

Photo of acevenom
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated July 2011.

Poured into a goblet. Pours black with a thin, quickly dissipating tan head. There are some visible alcohol legs. I pick up the aroma of dark roasted barley malt, chocolate, oak, and that familiar whisky aroma. Those dark roasted malt notes hit up front and the whisky comes right through in the back. I also detect that oak and chocolate from the nose. The malt profile almost comes across as porter-like. Many of those flavors come through in the aftertaste. The body is full with low carbonation. The beer is smooth, but also sticky. It is easy to consume for an 8% beer. This is an excellent beer that I wouldn't mind having again.

 660 characters

Photo of Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of 1Adam12
2.25/5  rDev -45.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a blackish brown. No head, no lacing. Smells of malt, soysauce, whiskey, and thats about it. Taste really is not that great. Soy sauce, whiskey, none of the old ale flavors that I'm used to. Mouthfeel is very thin. Overall, man, this was a major let down. I had high expectations for this, and now I wish I could get my money back. Very underwhelming, and just not very good flavors. Too much soy sauce, and little of anything else good. Once was one to many.

 465 characters

Photo of jwat
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of JBarx
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of tclapper
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of JimmyW
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of Yabev15
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Photo of bashiba
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep dark brown with almost zero head. Just a dark tan soap ring.

The smell is very big with chocolate, smoke, oak, and maple.

The flavor is very big and malty. Big dark chocolate mixing with peat and barrel flavors. Has some definite Islay scotch notes with some iodine and light salty ocean coming through. Very malt centric but has a nice underlying medicinal bitterness poking through.

The mouth feel is thick and viscous also very oily.

Great beer for the scotch lover.

 488 characters

Photo of bcostner1
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of LampertLand
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Ola Dubh's Special Reserve#12 @ 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 more than SR#16 and SR#18 , booze is strong yet a creamy brown sugar sweetness in the finish , 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

 814 characters

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 in July 2011.

Appearance: extremely dark brown, allowing no light through the body except for some brown highlights around the edges. Head pours a thin finger of frothy tan foam. Quite good.

Smell: sweet malt with plenty of rich, roasty chocolate character. Rather like a very good porter; I like it.

Taste: flavor starts off with an astringent bite, which quickly mellows into chocolate with a hint of fruitiness. Alcohol warmth kicks in, and it finishes with a lightly woody, tannic character. Altogether a dynamic and satisfying flavor experience.

Mouthfeel: big body with a good carbonation and big creaminess. There is also a rich, silky smoothness here which combines with the creaminess for a very satisfying texture. I love it.

Overall: this is a very good and satisfying beer. It is well-crafted and I'd definitely have it again.

 895 characters

Photo of mmapes
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First question: "Ale matured in whisky casks" -- but what kind of ale? Was looking for a stout, but is this a brown? A "strong"? And why is the whisky more prominently featured than the ale. Can't wait to see. The bottle I got is vintage July 2009. Three years old. Casks are from Highland Park Distillery

Poured into a snifter. Some coarse head, but not much; dissipates quickly. Aroma of alcohol and whisky - chocolate and molasses. Pours black like a stout.

Taste is not as heavy, thick, or sweet as it smells. Doesn't seem 3 years old. Impression is more like a fresh thick porter. Smoky aftertaste.

Long warming finish even though ABV is only 8%.

 655 characters

Photo of Asgeirr
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

You had this beer. Write a review.

Photo of retreminy
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: 1/2" light brown creamy head that dissipated quickly over black-as-night liquid.

S: Caramel, coffee, chocolate, oak and a hint of Highland Park whiskey.

T: Roasted malt, toffee, coffee, chocolate with oak and some Highland Park whiskey in the finish. The roasted malt flavours are most predominant here, and almost take away from the whiskey.

M: Medium to thick viscosity with a medium to high level of carbonation.

O: I wish this tasted as it smells, because it has quite a burnt flavour profile. I was expecting something sweeter with more caramel and chocolate flavours. However, it is still enjoyable.

 612 characters

Photo of harrisjohnson
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of alwaysplayin
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of DruC4
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of TonyTalon
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of cowboy83
2.5/5  rDev -39.3%

Photo of fionn13
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.28/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a snifter. Bottle #25,160 from September 2007.

3.0 A: Black color. Maybe a quarter finger of frothy light brown head that quickly fell and left no lacing. I'll cut it some slack since it's so old.

5.0 S: This may be the strongest smelling and booziest of the series and also the best smelling. Tangy caramel, loads of chocolate, light coffee, vanilla combine to form a creme brulee type aroma. Molasses, a formitable earthiness, and peat and oak from the whiskey and barrel. Supple roast underneath. I wouldn't ask for a much better nose, but if I did, I'd ask for a little more sweetness.

3.0 T: The frailty of the base beer is quite apparent in the taste. Aside from roastiness and some chocolate, the taste is dominated by the whiskey instead of the whiskey playing complement to the base. Most of the flavors found in the nose are still there, but in vastly reduced amounts with chocolate, molasses, and caramel taking the biggest hits. Still a decent amount of vanilla and oak from the barrel and peat from the whiskey. Earthy mineral from the water.

2.0 M: Light to ligher medium body. Whatever the descriptors, it's too thin. A good bit undercarbonated, but not quite flat. Lacking creaminess.

2.5 D: These beers smell great, but then ultimately disappoint. The base for these is weak and the barrel overshadows it by far too much. Only the 18 year to go, then I'm done with this unsatisfying, overpriced series.

 1,438 characters

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.12 out of 5 based on 833 ratings.
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