Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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93
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453 Ratings
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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
harviestoun.com

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Nickls on 01-29-2009

BEER STATS
Ratings:
453
Reviews:
164
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
9.76%
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
119
For Trade:
5
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 453 |  Reviews: 164
Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep black topped by a finger of dense light tan head that fades quickly to a collar around the edge of the glass
S: Smells of toffee, chocolate, dark fruits, and oak
T: Taste is dark fruits with a little smoke, some oak, chocolate and toffee. At times it has a flavor that reminds me of molasses. Swallow is more smoke and oak with some lingering dark fruits and roasted malts with some lingering dark chocolate.
M: The beer has a heft on the palate that is fairly full with low carbonation. The finish on the beer is fairly drying.
O: Overall this beer is delicious. It has some great flavors and complexity. It is also much different than the normal old ale. Definitely one to try but I think I like the 12 a bit better.

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Photo of VoxRationis
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle no. 24730, date Sept 2014.
A: Very dark brown, essentially black. Minimal khaki head that dissipates rapidly, some lacing.
S: Dark malts, caramel, peat smoke, and bacon.
T: Dark malts, peat smoke, coffee grounds, and ham.
M: Full bodied with low to medium persistence of effervescence.
O: Interesting. Very reminiscent of a rauchbier. Not for every day, but reasonable for special occasions.

 401 characters

Photo of Dankacheese
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of EMH73
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with a very, very thin tan head that dissipated quickly and left no lacing. Smells and tastes of whiskey, oak, smoke, chocolate and coffee. Additional flavors of raisins and figs. Almost no carbonation, creamy mouth feel, medium bodied.

 261 characters

Photo of BenBreeg
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of woodychandler
4.04/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I just keep unearthing gems (I hope!) as I continue to winnow through the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody. I am very excited to drink & review this one.

From the bottle: "Ale matured in Whisky Casks"; "Aged in selected oak casks, formerly used to mature Highland Park's smoky sweet, perfectly balanced 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky"; "[Undersigned:] Head Brewer: (JS Cail) Master of Wood: (George Ervine) Bottle No. & Date: 02200 March 2014".

I Pop!ped the cap, but it was with great trepidation that I began my gentle pour. I felt as though I were suddenly in the presence of royalty & I was unworthy. I performed an incredibly gentle pour & when I felt as though a sufficient amount had been decanted, I gave it a vigorous in-glass swirl to raise a brief finger of light-tan head that quickly reduced to wisps. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose smelled of leather; dried, dark fruits; smoke; sweet Lebanon bologna and a vague, general woodiness. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, but with very limited carbonation. It reminded me of J. W.Lees Harvest Ale in regard to its taste - very smoky, lightly sweet and kind of meaty, as long as that last is not off-putting. I mean it in a most complimentary way. I grew up eating sweet Lebanon bologna, both from S. Clyde Weaver, here in Lancaster County, PA as well as Seltzer's from Lebanon County & I still occasionally enjoy it. This beer was very evocative of that taste. Finish was semi-dry & quite smoky in a lingering way. I have to admit that I was not really prepared for that level of smokiness. I have no problem with it, but it was filling my sinus cavity in a way that might color other reviews today. Time for a break to refresh.

 1,737 characters

Photo of Zazzi82
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of pkalix
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Woody. chocolate-y. peat-y. smooth. very well balanced and super-easy to drink. this is a 2013 version and unfortunately i dont remember how it tasted three years ago, but this one sure is nice....

 197 characters

Photo of Bruno74200
4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's the first one from the series I taste but I think this beer it's quite unique. It's definitely a first for me on many points. In particular it's the first time I taste umami in a beer. It's incredible how this beer tickles all the part of your tong.
The smell is a lot on the fruitcake with boozy raisins and a bit of chocolate and caramel.
In the taste the peated whisky is much more presence with oak, tobacco, nuttiness and sweet raisins. Perfect balance.
The carbonation is fine but vivid and this beer has definitely a bite.
This is not an in-your-face but it's a very delicate and balanced one. I definitely want to try that highland park whiskey!

 660 characters

Photo of mjwellman
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330cc bottle dated April 2013 so it's almost 4 years old
L: Pours dark brown/almost black with no head
A: whiskey aroma with sweetness like figs.
T: nice whiskey oak flavor with a hint of sweetness like figs and caramel. Smooth and very nice drinking beer.
F: moderate carbonation with a hint of bitterness
O: Much better than the 21. Wonderful complex flavors with the strong whiskey flavor. Very nice.

 412 characters

Photo of qrazvan
4.16/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It comes in a nicely designed bottled, with an elegant label on and a cool mouse cap.
Dark red-brown colour, with little head and carbonation.
Smells like whiskey, sour cherries, coffee, caramel.
The taste is driven by the smoky aromas, like the prunes, then cherries, almonds. Sweet-sour feel, becoming salty towards the end. Smoked fish/meat aftertaste and in the end the old oak whiskey casks are making their aging influence felt.
A complex beer, not so easy to drink and understand.

 487 characters

Photo of Zythophile
3.78/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle Date: April 2013
Palate Contaminants: other beer

The look is very dark brown with minimal head. There's a slight amount of light around the edges.

The smell is rich olive oil. I'm having trouble getting anything else, but it is good for olive oil. After a few minutes I can pick out some rye bread, but it's rye bread soaked in olive oil. I just don't know that it's what I want in a brew.

Taste comes most of the way back to the beer realm. In addition to rye, there are charred figs and prunes. In the back end, the barrel makes an appearance, but fortunately it's relatively minor. Mexican-characteristic cocoa powder, too. It could be a bit more dynamic, but I'm not super disappointed, just a little let down. (And how long is this supposed to age? The label says it's been 45 months, and most of that time has not been in my fridge.)

The feel is a little thinner than I expected, and I would wish for a little more carbonation, but it's not far off being pretty good.

 984 characters

Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I bought a few Ola Dubh Special Reserve at Jester King, Brewery in Austin a few days ago. I thought it was a very good, complex, and stout-like Old Ale.

Look: very dark brown, almost black, with a thin mocca colored head.

Aroma: Sweet, chocolate and coffee, and the whiskey

Taste: There's caramel, chocolate, coffee, stout like flavors as well as some smoke and some whiskey, but there’s more whiskey in the aroma.
Feel: I would say medium body, it is smooth and rich, yet easy drinking.

 493 characters

Photo of Wisconsin_IPA_Lover
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of fosters9
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of StoneTSR
4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

APPEARANCE: The head has remarkable longevity, still hanging in there, with it’s tiny bubbles, about half way through the glass. At its peak, the head gets about a half inch of elevation. As it falls, the tiny bubbles provide a Nitro-like head, covering most of the back of the glass in an off-white/very light brown, which contrasts the black beer underneath beautifully.

SMELL: Smoky with a touch of peat. There are hints of some “stoutier” aromas, but the whiskey is coming through extremely strong on the nose.

TASTE: Whoa! There’s that stout underneath all this scotch! Deep, dark chocolate and roasty coffee flavors dance with a touch of toffee right up to the bitter (deliciously bitter) end of each sip. The tail end is rounded out with the same smoke and peat from the nose, and while bitter, it ends on a softer note. Wow.

MOUTHFEEL: Big and rich in body. A little sweet early on, but drying throughout the sip.

OVERALL: It took me far too long to get to this beer and I’m glad I finally did. It has two personalities, one as a big, bold stout, the other as a lovely, Highlands scotch. The contrast is wonderful and I’d recommend this beer to any lover of beer or fine spirits.

 1,222 characters

Photo of kwkdmk
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Radcpa
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice dark appearance. This is a sofisticated beer with a great taste without any hint of alcohol and very appealing aroma. Pours with a small head. Highly recommended.

 169 characters

Photo of krl2112
2.02/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Photo of stevoj
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Brewers Haven. Looking like, and smelling like, an imperial stout. Aroma is woody, boozy, earthy. Beautiful heady smells. Taste comes in mildly sweet, roasty, molasses, pit fruit, woody. Chewy mouth feel, warmth from the alcohol. An already great brew made better with the right choice of barrel aging.

 314 characters

Photo of RobinLee
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kylehay2004
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of JonCorbett
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Nice stout black, with slight orange touches of light at the edges. A quick to recede light tan head the ends up looking like Sherman Hemsley's pate (i.e. George Jefferson) - has a slight ring of foam residual, no lace, and a nearly clean crown.

Aromatics: Lots of dark fruit raisin, date, fig, and hits of toffee and coffee with a kiss or two of vanilla, scotch, and oak. Simple but complexly combined.

Taste: My first sip had was an nice smokey malted rye - diving headfirst into a smoother and creamier but bold coffee that has been strained through a small shred of undried tabacco leaf. My aftertaste had an almost molasses flavour linger, earthy and woody but nice.

Palate: Heavier side of medium that's for sure. And the carbonation has its show, but makes way for the creamy and smooth almost syrup like liquid. Has a juicy and maybe even a bit sticky like quality. And a great light whiskey warming, and maybe a bit of a cat tongue abrasion in the linger.

Overall: A really nice whiskey ale. Not sure what else to say other than I enjoyed it immensely. It has a lot of fantastic attributes, sure it could use a little extra pizazz here and there, but I still feel like Randolph and Mortimer Duke from Trading Places (w/ Akroyd and Murphy). All hoity toity with my fancy drink in hand discussing stock trades with potential clients at some swanky art gallery opening, that has an exhibit of some up-and-coming artist whose work is complete rubbish but the socialites and people with more money than brains have exalted into a shower of obscene stardom. That's how this ale makes me feel - and that is awesome (in a fictional world of course, because if it were in the real world I would be really ashamed of myself) BAHAHA.

Pairing: This is an interesting one because it already has a great husky and smokey voice - like Janis Joplin. Normally in a scotch/whiskey I'd go for "the uussjj" - things like cheese, smoked fish, or dark chocolate rich desserts. But here I think it really deserves some good hearty smoked beef ribs. The sauce needs to be kept to a minimum you really want the "smoked" element to be as high as possible. And add a side of chilled (and lightly dressed) coleslaw just to introduce some acidity.

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Photo of steverx8
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.2 out of 5 based on 453 ratings.
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