Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18
461 Ratings
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

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

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 461 |  Reviews: 166
Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of puck1225
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

An other beautiful beer from this brewery. Deep black-brown color, beige head and nice lacing. Smooth and silky feel. Strong dark chocolate smell, slightly smokey. Taste is a bit boozey and warming. Flavors are smokey, earthy, dark chocolate, toffee. Very good with roast beef!

 277 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 dynamite149
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
4.51/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one insanely tasty beer. It pours jet black with a tan head (more than I was expecting in size) but one that goes away pretty quickly. The nose is smoky and with hints of whiskey. The taste has a string bittersweet base, with notes of whiskey, dark chocolate, peat, and some smokiness. Much more drinkable than I was expecting for a beer of this strength and style. Viscous mouthfeel and with little carbonation. Really tasty stuff and a beer I'll be looking to buy more of.

 482 characters

Photo of BamfBacon
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of YvesB
3.59/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

 764 characters

Photo of VoxRationis
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Decanted from an 11.2 oz (330 ml) bottle into a conical pint glass; bottle no. 24730, date Sept 2014.
A: Pours very dark brown, essentially black. Minimal khaki head that dissipates rapidly, some lacing.
S: Dark malts, caramel, peat smoke, and bacon.
T: Dark malts, whiskey, 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.

 484 characters

Photo of Dankacheese
4.21/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of EMH73
4.1/5  rDev -2.1%
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 +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of woodychandler
4.04/5  rDev -3.6%
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 -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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 Bruno74200
4.49/5  rDev +7.2%
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 +2.4%
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 -0.7%
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 -9.8%
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 +0.2%
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 -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of fosters9
3.75/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of StoneTSR
4.48/5  rDev +6.9%
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

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.19 out of 5 with 461 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.