Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30
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Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
Stout - English
Ranked #2
Ranked #2,258
4.24 | pDev: 10.14%
Apr 11, 2022
Feb 23, 2008
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30
Notes: Every bottle of this extremely limited Ola Dubh 30th Anniversary Ale has been individually numbered. Our ale has been aged for up to six months in first fill sherry butts, formerly used to mature Highland Park's award-winning 30 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky. These hand selected butts add subtle whisky notes to what is already a complex ale with its chocolatey mouthfeel and distinctive bittersweet finish. The high ABV has been deliberately created to stand up to, and blend with, the intensity of flavor created by the infused wood.
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Photo of stevoj
3.7/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by stevoj from Idaho

330cl bottle from Boise Co-op. Dark brown pour, a few bubbles. Malty aroma, brown sugar, molasses, oak. Taste is cola, malty, light sweetness, faint whiskey notes, leather, dry. A bit underwhelming, but good

Apr 11, 2022
4.28 by GregSemenza from Connecticut on Dec 04, 2021
Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.02/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 4
by ThisWangsChung from Maryland

Bottled July 2020.

Pours a very dark brown color. What little head there is fades in no time flat. It looks fairly still in the glass, perhaps to be expected?

The aroma is unbelievably elegant and nuanced - those 30 year single malt scotch whisky barrels are really working their magic here. The oak here is very subtle, playing beautifully with the smoky peat, caramel, and chocolate notes. There's a distinct fruitiness here; maybe apple or peach? While it might lack some of that big boldness of a 15% barrel-aged monster, it's about a million times more deft in its execution.

I taste the scotch whisky from start to finish - again, elegant is the key word. It's expressive without being overpowering. Additional notes of caramel, toffee, and chocolate pop in the background. Every once in a while, peaty notes will jump in to say hello. I remember trying Ola Dubh 12, and from memory, this one seems more complex, more subtle, and more refined, while still resembling scotch whisky nicely (GOOD scotch whisky).

Somewhat flat and thin, to the point where I'd call it the Achilles heel. I wouldn't call it creamy, either; it almost feels like cola that's been sitting out for a couple hours. It slides unimpressively down the palate, and isn't well suited to the flavor profile. Despite the boozy prickle - and the unfortunate textural dink - it's still an easygoing sipper that isn't harsh in any manner.

This is really close to being one of my favorite barrel-aged brews, but the mouthfeel lets it down. And yet, I'd be foolish to dismiss this offering. The flavor profile and aromas are wonderfully refined and artful in a way far, far too many US barrel-aged beers aren't. Well worth anyone's time.

Sep 15, 2021
Photo of mothman
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by mothman from Minnesota

Bottled June 2013

Pours still. Dark brown black color.

Sherry, cocoa, chocolate, faint orange citrus, caramel, toffee, light whiskey, light smoke. Smooth and complex. Love the no/low carb. Has a cask feel to it. Great feel all around. Some vanilla sweetness and barrel in the finish. Such an easy drinker at 8%.

Aug 25, 2021
Photo of puboflyons
4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by puboflyons from New Hampshire

From a 330 ml. bottle. Sampled on July 25, 2021.

Handsome looking near jet black pour underneath a fading brown head.

Aromas of dark roasted malts, licorice, wood, barley malt, and earth. I get some booze but not a lot.

The mouthfeel is medium-full.

The taste is sweet at first and then the boozy licorice characters kick in. This would normally be a beer I'd drink that I might be celebrating something special but I didn't this time.

Jul 25, 2021
4.25 by archero from Texas on Jun 26, 2021
Photo of LiquidAmber
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by LiquidAmber from Washington

2020 vintage, poured into a Fremont small snifter. Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours pitch black, opaque in the glass with a quarter finger dark khaki head that dissipates to patches with light lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, molasses, cocoa, peaty smoke, almost identical to the 12 and 18 I've had before. Flavor follows, with dark toasted malt, molasses, dark chocolate, moderate Scotch whisky. Deeper malt flavors in this version than I remember, which is a pleasant difference. The Scotch is more noticeable in this version, but as before, not sure I can tell the difference in the versions; this is the oldest whiskey barrel treatment I think I've tried. This is great, classic brewery and another enjoyable aged old ale with good Scotch character.

Jun 11, 2021
4.14 by westcoastbeerlvr from California on May 24, 2021
Photo of Fordcoyote15
3.35/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1 | overall: 2
by Fordcoyote15 from Pennsylvania

Great malt flavor when i was able to get a whiff and tiny taste of it. Basically drinks like water and tasted like oxidized water. Waste of $15. Would have been a waste of $1 and literally would have drank a budweiser, or a white claw.

Mar 20, 2021
Photo of backblast
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by backblast from Alaska

Bottled 7-2020

Taste was rather light with what seemed like dark fruit (black cherry?) mixed with peach, an earthy char and a bit of ash, bit boozy and some chocolate. There is very little barrel and the finish and aftertaste don't linger. I was hoping for more from this one but it is just average.

Mar 14, 2021
4.45 by Electros from Canada (ON) on Mar 05, 2021
Photo of puck1225
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by puck1225 from Texas

This beer has a wonderful subtle flavor that is satisfying and not overwhelmingly boozy for a whiskey barrel aged ale. Licorice and dark berries smell and taste. Earthy and malty. All the flavors are subtle but well blended. I would definitely seek this out again. I always enjoy beers from this brewery!

Feb 15, 2021
4.5 by unclekeith from Alaska on Feb 03, 2021
Photo of damndirtyape
4.39/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by damndirtyape from Ohio

11.2oz bottle, served in a Gordon's Highland Scotch Ale thistle glass. Bottle number 05215, Bottled July 2020.

Appearance: Black and letting no light through. Thin tan head. Some small strands and islands of lacing that would either slowly dissipate or slide back down to the thin ring.

Smell: Nice and mellow scotch whiskey aroma, with bits of vanilla, dark fruits, and charred wood.

Taste: Really smooth. Roasted malt with chocolate notes complemented by a mellow scotch that has just a hint of peat smokiness to it, but really has more deep but again, mellowed out (no harsh bite) oak and whiskey notes at the middle and finish.

Mouthfeel: Good thickness, approaching creamy. Just right carbonation. A little sticky on the teeth and just a tiny tiny bit of alcohol warming at the finish.

Overall / Drinkability: A definite sipping and savoring beer, and I would not mind another, but at this price, this is a definite sometimes treat. The scotch whiskey is not as strong a flavor as I've tasted in the other versions of this beer, and while I've had Highland Park 12 and 16, I've never had the 30 and can only hope I get lucky enough to try it someday and see if that whiskey is as mellow as the accents it's bringing to this beer. Maybe mellow isn't the right word. Smooth, and refined in a subtle way might be a better description. Even though I'm struggling with words to describe this one, I'll just finish with saying it's a great beer, and a good sign of how a well made barrel aged beer should be: The beer complements the barrel aging and the barrel aging complements the beer - it shouldn't be all barrel flavor.

Jan 29, 2021
4.25 by paulish from New York on Jul 14, 2020
Photo of GuyFawkes
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by GuyFawkes from Illinois

Bottled June 2013; drank 4/16/14 @ the Kid's.

Murky brown liquid; purple 'round the edges.

Minimal tan head; no lace.

Banana & strawberry nose; hint of caramel & smoke.

Thick, flat mouthfeel.

Cherries, smoke, caramel & oak.

Bold & very delicious.

Jun 17, 2019
Photo of zonker17
3.79/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by zonker17 from Texas

June 2013 bottle 00754. This one got away, well past prime. No head, black, no lacing. Nose has scotch, little roasted malt. Taste is oxidized malt, some elements of barrel. Flat.

Mar 04, 2019
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by connecticutpoet from Connecticut

Appearance – zero head over a clear but nearly opaque dark brown body.

Aroma – strong sweet molasses and honey, raisins, woody, hints of whiskey and vanilla.

Taste – woody, light sweet molasses, almost a brown sugar flavor, light bitterness and a hint of roasted black coffee.

Mouthfeel – very smooth and easy drinking

Overall – very good, maybe not as good as the 21, maybe on a par with it

Jan 20, 2018
5 by OzmanBey from Massachusetts on Oct 23, 2017
4.25 by RMW66 from Australia on Jun 24, 2017
4.25 by bigred89 from Maryland on May 07, 2017
4.19 by Casey_L from Texas on May 03, 2017
4 by GRG1313 from California on Apr 05, 2017
3.83 by UCLABrewN84 from California on Apr 02, 2017
3.81 by Mantooth from North Carolina on Dec 28, 2016
4.38 by Fitze from South Carolina on Nov 22, 2016
4.08 by ikidunot from Canada (ON) on Aug 23, 2016
Photo of Beginner2
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Beginner2 from Illinois

Listed in the "1001", I have Had several vintages of Ola Dubh including this and believe that the 12 is the best value.

Aug 17, 2016
4.45 by Andy_Luft from England on May 24, 2016
4.25 by Fabiand from Texas on Apr 23, 2016
3.75 by Hohnbaum from Kansas on Apr 02, 2016
4.24 by majorlance from Illinois on Dec 27, 2015
4 by zenithberwyn from California on Nov 26, 2015
Photo of Dave1999
4.01/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by Dave1999 from North Carolina

Pours pitch black, no head at all.

The smell is malt and smoke.

The taste is sweet malt and smoke. The smoke is subtle but the malt is very sweet.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied.

Overall this is decent sweet beer, definitely a desert beer.

Nov 14, 2015
4 by BarrelAgedG from California on Nov 09, 2015
4.16 by JamFuel from Sweden on Sep 25, 2015
4.36 by Bung from Michigan on Sep 22, 2015
Photo of khmel
4.51/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by khmel from Ukraine

A: Mostly opaque, oil black. Slippery looking.

S: Oak, whiskey, slight roasted malted.

T: Whiskey, oak, roasted malt, light hops in the finish.

M: Slippery whiskey feel, smooth, medium body, hardly any carbonation, alcohol burn in finish.

A truly enjoyable whiskey flavor and nose!

Aug 27, 2015
Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by manfromanotherplace from New York

For 17 bucks a bottle i was expecting big things, especially as i was a fan of the other ola dubhs.i then did a full vertical and actually preferred the 21 by quite a distance.there wasnt much difference between this and the 18.bit of a letdown.

Aug 25, 2015
4.45 by Walbert_Neto from Brazil on Aug 10, 2015
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 30 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 445 ratings