Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
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Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
Stout - English
Ranked #1
Ranked #1,797
4.28 | pDev: 9.81%
Jan 02, 2021
Jan 29, 2009
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
Notes: None
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Photo of furiousss
4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by furiousss from Netherlands

Bottle, 330ml, 2020 release

Look: Pours black, looks a bit thin. Good layer of brown foam.

Smell: Chocolate, cacao, molasses and some vanilla maybe?

Taste: Cacao, vanilla, malty, oak and whiskey

Mouthfeel: A bit thin, but with this ABV nothing concerning

Overall: Great beer for this style. Nice barrel character.

Jan 02, 2021
Photo of connecticutpoet
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by connecticutpoet from Connecticut

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

Aroma – woody, sweet, molasses, brown sugar, whiskey more prominent than many others in the series.

Taste – woody, light molasses, not as sweet as other versions. Light whiskey in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel – smooth and slightly oily but in a good way.

Overall – a fitting end to the “year” series, outstanding beer.

Jan 20, 2018
5 by OzmanBey from Massachusetts on Oct 23, 2017
4.61 by StormAles from Canada (ON) on Jul 11, 2017
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.86/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75
by Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

Pours a very dark oily brown and nearly flat. Not too much sediment just dark cloudy brew. Aroma of scotch, oxidized malt, cocoa, smoke, vanilla and oak.

Taste is lightly peaty with other notes of cocoa, vanilla like oak, whiskey and dark soy. The influence of scotch barrel is still there but the beer is flat and a bit watery. The mouthfeel has lingering cocoa and oaky tannins but the lack of carbonation hurts it. A bit disappointing.

Dec 06, 2016
4.25 by Hohnbaum from Kansas on Apr 02, 2016
Photo of Johnct
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by Johnct from New York

Bought a bottle at Julian's in Providence RI. $30 for an 11.2oz bottle. Surprised to see '2009' on the bottle; 7-years old.

Opened it up, and what the fuck is that smell? It kinda did smell like "ola dubh" - black engine oil - at first. I guess the best way to describe the smell is if you took scottish whiskey and mixed it with water and dirt, then let it sit for 7 years. Not particularly pleasant at first, but extremely different and complex. It grew on me.

As for the look, you can assume. 99% flat, no carbonation. Pitch black. Ola dubh. That's about it.

The taste was just as weird as the smell. It didn't taste like whiskey with water, it tasted like...... whiskey flavored water? I don't know. It didn't taste like an old ale. It didn't taste like a barleywine. It didn't taste like a stout. One of the more different beers I've had. Personally, at first I didn't find it too pleasant. Once again, it grew on me. The ABV isn't all that high, so it wasn't as complex as I would like it. Still insanely different. Really hard to describe.

Overall, I don't know. I don't know what it is, what they were trying to do, what it's supposed to be, what to compare it to... I just don't know. I gave it it's rating based on how different and unique it is.

Mar 24, 2016
Photo of superspak
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by superspak from North Carolina

330 ml bottle into snifter; bottle #26077, bottled in 8/2010. Pours fairly pitch black color with a small dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, toffee, molasses, dark bread, vanilla, oak, raisin, plum, fig, peat smoke, leather, tobacco, and oak/peat earthiness. Incredible complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and whiskey cask notes; with good strength. Taste of big milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, toffee, dark bread, molasses, vanilla, oak, raisin, plum, fig, peat smoke, leather, tobacco, and roast/peat earthiness. Slight roast/oak bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of milk chocolate, cocoa, coffee, dark bread, vanilla, toffee, oak, dark fruit, peat smoke, leather, tobacco, and oak/peat earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and whiskey cask flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding old ale! All around awesome complexity and balance of dark/bready malts and whiskey cask flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Dec 06, 2014
4 by olradetbalder from Sweden on Dec 01, 2014
4.52 by enelson from Illinois on Nov 25, 2014
4.5 by spycow from Illinois on Nov 10, 2014
4.5 by GeorgiaBeerGuy from Georgia on Nov 06, 2014
4.75 by memphischas from Tennessee on Oct 05, 2014
3.5 by Hellpop65 from Kansas on Oct 04, 2014
4.41 by WTKeene from New Mexico on Sep 05, 2014
4.75 by davidwhatshisnam from New York on May 03, 2014
3.75 by heytomcat from Minnesota on Feb 08, 2014
3.75 by brother_kenneth from Virginia on Jan 19, 2014
3.75 by ygtbsm94 from Utah on Jan 19, 2014
4.25 by mcdonald422 from California on Jan 12, 2014
4.25 by JAHMUR from Connecticut on Dec 04, 2013
4.25 by jaydoc from Kansas on Nov 27, 2013
Photo of Resuin
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5
by Resuin from Massachusetts

Poured from an 11.2 ounce bottle into a snifter. This was bottled in January 2009, so has nearly 5 years of age since bottling. Bottle #51952.

Appearance: Pours black and leaves about a half finger of tan head which fades away relatively quickly to a rim around the glass.

Smell: Roasted malts, peat, big fudge, coffee, whiskey, oak, lots of dark fruits: plums, raisins, figs. Well balanced aroma with a lot of good flavors.

Taste: The taste is a bit milder than the aroma. Light fudge, roasted malts, mild whiskey, plums, figs, finishes with oak. Really mellow flavor - I bet the time in the bottle did this. Mild, tasty, smooth.

Mouth-feel: Really low carbonation, but some. Actually a surprisingly light to medium body (for the style, this is surprising). Finishes super smooth.

Overall: Very mellow old ale with really well balanced, pleasant flavors. The ABV is all but hidden. Everything in here is wonderful, and it is a real easy drinker. Definitely recommended if you can find it.

Nov 26, 2013
4.5 by francisweizen from Washington on Oct 01, 2013
Photo of Dope
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by Dope from Massachusetts

Jan 2009 bottling, coming up on 5 years old.

A: Pitch black pour with a small, dense medium brown head. Head fades slowly with great retention. Zero lacing.

S: Big peat and caramel notes. Hints of smoke when swirled, very mild though. Nice sweet chocolate backing everything up.

T: Peaty with lots of caramel up front. Vanilla too. Lightest hint of smoke mixing with lots of chocolate in the middle and finish. Spicy on the back end with more hints of peat and oaky vanilla. Kind of a chewy caramel lingering between sips.

M: Medium-heavy with a nice viscous, syrupy mouthfeel.

O: Hmph. I've had all of the Ola Dubh brews and I found them all to be surprisingly different. I didn't like the 30 very much but I liked the 18. The 12 was a little too mild on the barrel aging. This one is pretty damn close to "just right" along with the 18. This one is more complex though. Nice balance of flavors too. Really nice.

Sep 11, 2013
3.75 by harpus from Alabama on Sep 10, 2013
4.5 by DLucky from Florida on Sep 05, 2013
4.5 by Maillard from Ohio on Aug 25, 2013
4.25 by Hoptoudrop from Ohio on Aug 07, 2013
4.75 by DaPan from Canada (ON) on Aug 03, 2013
4.25 by Doppelbockulus from Florida on Jul 31, 2013
3.5 by ejimhof from Pennsylvania on Jul 24, 2013
4.25 by Brabander from Netherlands on Jul 22, 2013
4 by WOLFGANG from South Carolina on Jul 19, 2013
5 by Rognvaldr from Alabama on Jul 10, 2013
4.25 by ShanePB from Pennsylvania on Jun 30, 2013
5 by ronin926 from Illinois on Jun 20, 2013
4.5 by TheBeeraholic from Canada (ON) on Jun 16, 2013
4.75 by randylangford from Pennsylvania on Jun 12, 2013
3.75 by thaghost from Illinois on Jun 10, 2013
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 179 ratings