Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
English Stout
Ranked #1
Ranked #1,790
4.28 | pDev: 9.81%
Sep 06, 2022
Jan 29, 2009
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40
Notes: None
View: More Beers
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Rated: 4.31 by RMW66 from Australia

Sep 06, 2022
Photo of furiousss
Reviewed by furiousss from Netherlands

4.66/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
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
Reviewed by connecticutpoet from Connecticut

4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
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
Rated: 5 by OzmanBey from Massachusetts

Oct 23, 2017
Rated: 4.61 by StormAles from Canada (ON)

Jul 11, 2017
Photo of Stinkypuss
Reviewed by Stinkypuss from Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75
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
Rated: 4.25 by Hohnbaum from Kansas

Apr 02, 2016
Photo of Johnct
Reviewed by Johnct from New York

3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
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
Reviewed by superspak from North Carolina

4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
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
Rated: 4 by olradetbalder from Sweden

Dec 01, 2014
Rated: 4.52 by enelson from Illinois

Nov 25, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by spycow from Illinois

Nov 10, 2014
Rated: 4.5 by GeorgiaBeerGuy from Georgia

Nov 06, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by memphischas from Tennessee

Oct 05, 2014
Rated: 3.5 by Hellpop65 from Kansas

Oct 04, 2014
Rated: 4.41 by WTKeene from New Mexico

Sep 05, 2014
Rated: 4.75 by davidwhatshisnam from New York

May 03, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by heytomcat from Minnesota

Feb 08, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by brother_kenneth from Virginia

Jan 19, 2014
Rated: 3.75 by ygtbsm94 from Utah

Jan 19, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by mcdonald422 from California

Jan 12, 2014
Rated: 4.25 by JAHMUR from Connecticut

Dec 04, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by jaydoc from Kansas

Nov 27, 2013
Photo of Resuin
Reviewed by Resuin from Massachusetts

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5
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
Rated: 4.5 by francisweizen from Washington

Oct 01, 2013
Photo of Dope
Reviewed by Dope from Massachusetts

4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
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
Rated: 3.75 by harpus from Alabama

Sep 10, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by DLucky from Florida

Sep 05, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by Maillard from Ohio

Aug 25, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by Hoptoudrop from Ohio

Aug 07, 2013
Rated: 4.75 by DaPan from Canada (ON)

Aug 03, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by Doppelbockulus from Florida

Jul 31, 2013
Rated: 3.5 by ejimhof from Pennsylvania

Jul 24, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by Brabander from Netherlands

Jul 22, 2013
Rated: 4 by WOLFGANG from South Carolina

Jul 19, 2013
Rated: 5 by Rognvaldr from Alabama

Jul 10, 2013
Rated: 4.25 by ShanePB from Pennsylvania

Jun 30, 2013
Rated: 5 by ronin926 from Illinois

Jun 20, 2013
Rated: 4.5 by TheBeeraholic from Canada (ON)

Jun 16, 2013
Rated: 4.75 by randylangford from Pennsylvania

Jun 12, 2013
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 40 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 180 ratings