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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18
BA SCORE
4.19/5
Exceptional
466 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#1,414
Reviews:
167
Ratings:
466
pDev:
9.79%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
40
Gots:
122
Trade:
5
HISTOGRAM
 
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 466 |  Reviews: 167
Reviews by ChrisCage:
Photo of ChrisCage
4.64/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up on a weekend trip in Calgary and was told that this just became available in Alberta!

A- Pours a very dark brown...not quite a black like a porter but the hues remind me of potting soil colors, very dark and rich. The head is very dense, about one finger thick and is a deeper than normal tan color...it takes it's time retreating into a thin layer over the brew. Moderate lacing clings to the side of my glass.

S- Primary initial aroma of smoky wood and peaty malts. The sweetness breaks down further into dark chocolate, and dried fruits, like raisins and plum...perhaps a slight tinge of dried figs. There is some nuttiness blended in as well.... roasted almonds come to mind. There is some hop bitterness on the finish, but it isn't super dominant.

T- Like the aroma, there is a solid mixture of things going on here. There is some initial malt sweetness that hits the palate first, then the toasty charred wood makes itself known. The finish becomes bitter, but on a couple of different levels. There is rich cocoa bitterness, with hints of vanilla toffee to enhance this. There is some coffee notes to throw a slight earthy bitterness, and finally there is the hop bitterness right at the end to give it a lingering flavor after the swallow.

M- It is a rich, full bodied brew that reminds me of chewing on a piece of unsweetened chocolate. It also reminds me of slightly burnt toast as well as sipping on a islay whisky. The fine carbonation, albeit more than I expected, provides a creamy texture that glides around on the palate with ease.

D- For such a rich and tasty beer, the drinkability is high. I disagree with the brewery and think this is excellent on it's own, however, I'd love to try this with strong cheese or a rich beef or lamb stew. This is a true beer lovers' beer and I think that this is the cream of the crop when it comes to a whisky aged beer!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Incredible complexity, masculinity and refinement oozes from the bottle of this regal elixir. Its backbone of Scottish Ale is expounded upon by 18-year scotch barrel aging and the quite calm of patient aging.

The dark ale pours dark tawny brown with mahogany low lights that provide a ribbon of dull light to pierce through its dark clarity. A creamy off-white shallow head slowly builds on top of the beer giving it a characteristically cask ale appearance. Light on retention, but the head regenerates after a gentle swirl of the snifter. Light on lace, sparse islands of foam cling to the sides but its pattern is quite random- preferring a more brandy-like type of legging.

Strong aromas start with black-strap molasses and layers of burnt toffee, caramel and malty sweetnesses. These weave into the alcohol notes to provide savory port, sherry, fresh-hung tobacco, vanilla, cured leather, chocolate and booze-soaked aged oak. Dark pitted fruits of plumb, dates, figs and raisin continue to build upon the unmistakable notes of peated earth and strong campfire.

Not as powerful as you'd think, its taste is rich with malty sweetness and barrel flavor but not as intimidating as these succulent aromas would suggest. As the molasses and other malt sweetness wraps around the tongue, the bulk of heavy sweetness seemingly floats effortlessly above the tongue, allowing the dark fruit and aged wine character to slip in between. Its finish of smoky chocolate, prune, and tobacco offers a type of complexity that port and sherry can only hope for.

Deliciously decadent, the ale surprisingly lifts from the palate shortly after the initial sip. Its wood aged powdery texture keeps the ale lightened somewhat and keeps its drinkability high. Wood spices offer a slight bite rather than relying on hop dryness for a semi-arid finish of scotch and umami.

The ale really hits home with the signature flavors that the Wee-ish of Heavies exude. Its a tremendous beer with impeccable balance and an arsenal of complexity that changes dramatically as the palate acclimates to its power and as the ale releases secret after secret as it warms.

 2,139 characters

Photo of pkalix
4.43/5  rDev +5.7%
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 MadScientist
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A: Very black showing a hint of deep garnet on the edges. The head is very thin but is long lasting and made of a fine medium brown bubbles.

S: Moderate whiskey and malt aromas that well balanced, the smoky and peaty scotch notes blend well with the beer although the light roast and bit of chocolate notes are more stout-like than old ale. There isn't much in the way of hops. There is a light note of stone fruit in there as well. Alcohol is evident and soft.

T: A smooth and palate coating beer with a moderate whisky flavor and a light malt sweetness. The malt has a slight raisin character along with bringing a touch of cocoa and little roast.There is a moderately-light hops bitterness. Some moderately-light oak character comes through as well. The balance is slightly bitter. The finish is medium and the aftertaste is a long lingering whisky flavor blended with a moderate alcohol.

M: Full bodied and slightly slick with moderately-light carbonation.

O: A heavy, sipping beer with layers of flavor and a great balanced whisky character.

BottleNo. 72188
& Date: July 2011

 1,086 characters

Photo of tbryan5
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of ricksrealm
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of -DF-
4.36/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of FadetoBock
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Working my way up the ladder.
Bottle #05835
Bottled Feb 2009
Black color, tiny tan head.
Aroma of raisin bread and whiskey.
The whiskey aroma was more peaty in the taste. Still the raisin bread was there.
Pretty smooth and mellow.
Nice beer. Will drink more of these.

 267 characters

Photo of tvenne
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of R_Kole
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of bellce0
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of JakerLou
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -4.5%

Photo of Marius
3.93/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pitch black pour with a very nice head and visible carbonation. Heavy smell of peat, with some cocoa and dark chocolate. Peat and smoke in the taste, on top of a very sweet malty backbone - too sweet for my taste. Not much complexion aside from that. Drinkable beer, but the taste is a let down, but I have never liked peated beers too much.

 341 characters

Photo of ImFlyerThanYou
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of xdefeatsy
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of pat61
4.66/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours nearly black with a quickly receding thin tan foam cap.
S: Rich malt and moderate scotch aromas, some fruit.
T: The Highland Park Scotch shows up stronger on the palate than on the nose supported by complex malt flavors, a light sweetness, hints of fruit and rich vanilla flavors.
F: Chewy with medium low carbonation, very smooth.
O: A wonderful old ale provides a rich base for fine whiskey flavors.

 414 characters

Photo of fionn13
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of PSU_Mike
3.8/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of kwkdmk
4.18/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of valkyre65
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of glid02
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours completely black with a two-finger brown large-bubbled head that recedes quickly into a thin ring around the glass.

Smells of whiskey with hints of smoked/roasted malts. As it warms hints of chocolate come out.

Tastes similar to how it smells, although chocolate flavors have more of a presence. Whiskey flavors kick things off, and just before they seem overpowering give way to roasted malts and dark chocolate. There's a mildly bitter ending, then the whiskey flavors linger for a bit.

Mouthfeel is good. This was the second day the cask was tapped so there was almost no carbonation, but what little there was served its purpose.

Drinkability is good. I feel like I could drink a lot of these in a cigar-smoked filled room with my own in my hand, but in normal conditions one is enough.

Overall I thought there was a bit more whiskey influence on the 18 year than in the 12 year, but other than that they seemed very similar.

 981 characters

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.19 out of 5 with 466 ratings
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