Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
160 Reviews
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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
Reviews:
160
Ratings:
448
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
9.76%
 
 
Wants:
36
Gots:
120
For Trade:
5
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User Reviews
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Reviews: 160 | Ratings: 448
Reviews by bagpiper2005:
Photo of bagpiper2005
4.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Absolutely jet black. Thin ring of light brown head that settles into a little circle of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Leaves little streaks of lacing.

Aroma: Intense licorice aroma up front with a bit of a Scotch-like boozy quality. Some dark fruits in there, a little bit of caramel and chocolate malt underneath everything. Very appetizing.

Taste: Like Old Engine Oil turned up a bit. Caramel, chocolate, a bit of vanilla, and some ripe currants. A hint of peaty Scotch goodness with a slightly warm finish that also has a hint of coffee snuck in there. A bit alcoholic but it's not harsh and makes for an integral component in the flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium, creamy body. Low to medium carbonation and silky smooth on the palate. Just about spot-on.

Drinkability/overall: Smooth drinking and satisfying. Intense, complex, and a bit filling. Almost as good as it gets.

Final Notes: A good beer to warm up with as we move into the winter months, or for scotch lovers looking to get into beer. Imagine drinking this one after a hot bowl of soup in the dead of winter. Incredible beer. Expensive, but oh-so worth it.

 1,135 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
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 +5.5%
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 MadScientist
4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
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 +13.1%

Photo of ricksrealm
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of -DF-
4.36/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of FadetoBock
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev 0%
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 R_Kole
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of bellce0
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of JakerLou
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Marius
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
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 +1.2%

Photo of xdefeatsy
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of pat61
4.66/5  rDev +11%
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 +13.1%

Photo of bpfrush
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of PSU_Mike
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

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 valkyre65
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of glid02
4.2/5  rDev 0%
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

Photo of Beer21
4.18/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.2 out of 5 based on 448 ratings.
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