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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12
848 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 848 |  Reviews: 388
Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -27%

Photo of sendbeer
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Plonk in Canberra.

Pours a deep, deep brown. Dark and ominous in the centre, with a solid deep toasted edge. Head is a reasonably frothy and solid crest of mocha bubbles. Not much lace, but there's solid residual liquid when swirled. Fine, delicate carbonation forms as the glass is tilted. Looks really good.

Nose is dark and toasty, with lashings of oak and dark smouldering whiskey. There's a slight peppery twang that comes up as it warms, or perhaps vaporises out of the heady alcohol. It's a dark, oaky, delicious beast.

Taste is also good, and aided by a lovely slick, almost oily smoothness. The toasty notes are still present, but the richness of the wood and whiskey is lost a little bit from the nose. Back feels certainly a little bit empty after the depth on the front, but accentuates the volatile booze character that seems to evaporate in your mouth along with the flavour.

Overall, this is a nice beer blended and executed very nicely. By coincidence, my scores for the Ola Dubh series rise as the age of the whiskey barrels do. I'd love to say that it was intentional.

 1,112 characters

Photo of Rollzroyce21
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of ltltony
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on cask in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a pitch black brew with no head.

Smell -Oaky and roasty aromas were the heaviest. Mixed with these were some good notes of whiskey, a lighter smoke and some chocolate.

Taste – The taste begins with flavors of roasted malt as well as some chocolate. Flavors of oak and a light whiskey flavor quickly come to the tongue. While the whiskey starts out lighter it grows stronger thought the taste. While the whiskey intensifies, some dark fruit flavors and a bitter herbal flavor come to the tongue. In the end with increases in both the whiskey and roasted flavors, a very satisfying dark boozy flavor is left to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer was on the creamier and smoother side with a very low level of carbonation due to the cask nature of the pour. Nice for the style, although I think I may have been one I would have enjoyed with a bit more carbonation (I should try and find a bottled version).

Overall – Quite tasty and well worth a try. It had a nice roasted and whiskey flavor with all the flavors melding well throughout the taste experience.

 1,149 characters

Photo of brez8791
3.25/5  rDev -20.9%

Photo of nicsman
2.25/5  rDev -45.3%

Photo of bluesplit63
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Supergenious
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of CoryR
3.5/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of Polasiuss
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Kremlock
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.15/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330 mL bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter. Bottled July 2009.

Appearance - Dark brown with not much of a head. A few islands of bubbles remain but that's it.

Smell - Oaky to a fault. Ashy oak with a peaty whiskey presence. Slightly vegetal aroma.

Taste - Chocolatey malt. Spicy. Smokey scotch flavors. What ruins it is the finish. It's very vegetal. Hoppy bitterness in the finish. Extremely oaky.

Mouthfeel - Bitter and rough from the green flavors. Medium carbonation and easy drinking aside from the overt flaws.

Overall - Decent. I'd not buy it again though. The 16 had a much improved barrel character.

 621 characters

Photo of SebD
4.19/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: It has a nice dark brown color to it. It has a thin tan head that dies down somewhat fast and leaves some lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of dark fruit, chocolate, roasted malts, caramel and some whiskey.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has a nice roasted malt character along with some chocolate, dark fruit, molasses, light caramel and a light hint of whiskey.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good flavors and aromas.

 562 characters

Photo of IceTrey9785
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
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 +10.7%
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 +3.4%

Photo of 1Adam12
2.25/5  rDev -45.3%
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 +9.5%

Photo of JBarx
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of tclapper
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of JimmyW
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Yabev15
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of bashiba
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
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

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 848 ratings
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