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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
846 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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 846 |  Reviews: 388
Photo of danec020
4.55/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Odysseyalien
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Ginger Man, Manhattan.

I've had virtually all of the Ola Dubh family in bottles over the years. This is my first having any of them on cask. Man, what an awesome surprise. Mouthfeel is creamy, surprising to me for "only" an 8 abv. Smell is dried fruit. But the taste...caramel, dried fruit...it really blew me away. Gosh, I want more of this on cask. Really an unexpected taste treat on cask. Bravo to the brewers. Bartender...

 444 characters

Photo of Fabiand
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Hohnbaum
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Dhyan
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of MrHolden
3.34/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3

Photo of BamfBacon
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Rilesmiles
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of 123321123321
4.68/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of jheezee
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of rderedin
2.85/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Photo of neurobot01
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle dated Sept. 2014 into a snifter at cellar temp.

Look: a surprisingly dark brown with just a smattering of light tan head.

Smell: coffee, barbecue/bacon, toffee, smoke. It took me a minute to place the bacon-y flavor, but once I figured it out, it's very distinguishable as such.

Taste: smoke, caramelized sugar, medium-roast coffee. Honestly, a letdown from the complexity evident in the nose.

Feel: medium, but comes across a bit thin and fizzy. Slightly dry.

Overall: this is a decent beer, but the highlight is the aroma, and on the whole it doesn't justify the hefty pricetag.

 599 characters

Photo of cryptichead
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Erockss
4.6/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

had it from a sherry cask at Novare Res Bier Cafe was marked 11%abv

67 characters

Photo of Jason_cs
4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of HattedClassic
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice chocolate brown head that dissipates quickly. The foam looks pretty nice and the texture is a little bit creamy. The beer itself is a nice and opaque black with a pretty smooth and slightly creamy texture. Overall, it has a very nice look after being aged for a while.

The smell has some strong sweet chocolate notes that are surrounded by wooden oak notes and a nice strong whiskey note. The whiskey note is a bit peaty but complements the beer rather well.

The taste is a bit different from the smell even though it has the same notes. The sweet chocolate note is still the main flavor present in the beer but there are hints of cocoa and a nice whiskey peatness that complements it as well.

The feel is pretty good. The beer is heavy bodied and goes done with a fairly slick feel to it. The carbonation is light and effervescent but doesn't detract from it in any way.

Overall, a fairly good beer even though it's been aged for several years. I'm sure the younger bottles are more fresh and have stronger notes than the whiskey. It's a pretty good ale for the price and worth the price. Go for it.

 1,126 characters

Photo of BdM
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DIM
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on cask at the Bulls Head in Lititz PA. According to Harvietoun's website, that means my glass 10.5% abv. The pump handle noted that this came from first fill sherry casks. I'm a bit confused about that.

This was a dark, chestnut brown and it came to me with a small, but long lasting and firm looking mocha colored cap. I smelled roasty cocoa and coffee, smokey peats, sharp, perfumed alcohol, and faint soy sauce. The aroma overall was subtle and nuanced with many layers.

This tasted every bit as good as it smells. There wasn't one element that dominated the flavor profile, but there was a good deal of subtle complexity at work here. I found stout like roastiness that tasted of bitter chocolate and coffee grounds. There was also a salty, smokey component that asserted itself mid-palate. Toward the end oaky leather and tobacco gave way to strong whiskey exhale.

This was full-bodied and oily with gentle carbonation. Maybe the best cask offering I've enjoyed to date.

 987 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.55/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my lovely wife for this, a birthday present a couple of weeks ago. 11.2 ounces bottle dated July 2011, poured into a Hunahpu’s glass, which may tear the space-time continuum.

The pour is dead black, with only the thinnest ring of of small bubbles along the edges of the glass. Stick your nose in & prepare for greatness: huge chocolate notes, strong scotch, & a mortar of an almost syrup-like sweetness holding it together. Lovely.

Ola Dubh 12 has that distinctive peat character that comes from old-country barrels. There’s a long wisp of smoking peat bog mixed in with the soft tones of U.K. whiskey. It’s more of an earthy, old oak (if that makes sense) kind of whiskey than the sharper, younger U.S. veins. Mid-palate brings much lighter chocolate than the nose, good fresh syrup, brown leather jacket, bit of roast & wood. The finish, though, is all about the peat. Very thick, & I find myself very sip-curious.

Good to the last drop. Not a lot of beer character, but the barrel is delicious. Good beer.

 1,029 characters

Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with very little head. Some woodiness in aroma but to be honest the barrels/whiskey component, teamed with the roasted malts in this beer, give beer a smoky aroma (not meaty). Sticky and full-bodied, this beer packs a punch with a strong roasted/toasted malts sensation that at times comes off as burnt or smoky. Caramel/toffee/chocolate sweetness gives beer a little bit of sugary sweetness while taking off some of the hardness of beer and beer passes easy thanks to barrels (minimal vanilla sweetness) and finishes with a slightly boozed up kick.

 572 characters

Photo of JTuomi
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of BeerForMuscle
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Feb 2014

A: poured into a snifter to a deep brown to black with a finger of dense tan head that fades to a collar around the edge of the glass leaving minimal lacing
S: Smells of dark fruits, caramel and toffee with a little whiskey influence
T: Taste is a little plum and raisin with some oak and slight smoke. Light caramel and toffee sweetness. Swallow is more oak and smoke with some lingering dark fruit flavors.
M: fairly full on the palate with soft carbonation that's perfect for the style.
O: This may be one of my best purchases made on a whim ever. The flavors and complexity are just fantastic and it drinks very well. Considering the price per bottle this is a great value and it doesn't have the hype of something like Bourbon County.

 772 characters

Photo of DucksFan16
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle #04452, dated Aug 2013. Consumed on 11/22/2015.

55 characters

Photo of xtonytx
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 12 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.11 out of 5 with 846 ratings
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