Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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93
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459 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:
459
Reviews:
165
Avg:
4.2
pDev:
9.76%
 
 
Wants:
41
Gots:
120
For Trade:
5
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 459 |  Reviews: 165
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Middle of the pack enjoyment of the series. Must do a vertical one night. Pours black, wiskey smoke aromas. Milk chocolate taste, a little more bitter at the end of the bottle. Bit more than medium mouthfeel. Whiskey is right there.Good drinkability.

 250 characters

Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

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

Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.97/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2/2012. Bottle No. 05567.

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy super dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of roasted malt, molasses, smoke, char, cocoa powder, whisky, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with char, cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, earth, smoke, wood, and whisky flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that has more earth and smoke characteristics than the 12 year aged version that I recently had.

Serving type: bottle.

 765 characters

Photo of spycow
4/5  rDev -4.8%

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

on tap at the bull and bush cherry creek. listed at 11% abv, not 8%, it pours flat black into a 10oz. chalice with several inches of chalky off white head. the nose is really interesting, deep dark chocolate notes, really scotchy from the barrel, whiskey heavy for sure, with charcoal and peat, as well as vanilla all bombarding the nose. alcohol is well hidden, I cant pick it up too much even when this gets warm. nice woody flavor complimented by dark roasted barley and char from the barrel. tastes more like a spirit than a beer, especially in the finish. very complex, almost no sweetness, very well done brew. the carbonation is slight but its ample, and the body is a full as they come. bitter finish is interesting here, sort of contradicts the whiskey flavors, but its something new. overall a real fancy beer that I was happy to pay 9 bucks for twice. a treat to get stuff like this on tap in the usa.

 912 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Knapp85
3.3/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

When I saw that they had this on cask at the old Tap & Table I was really impressed. I ordered one right away because I had enjoyed trying so many of the others. This is the first and only one that I haven't had from a bottle so far. The beer poured out jet black in color, no surprise there. The smell of the beer wasrich with smokey and roasted aromas as well as scotch as well. The taste of the beer was about the same as the 12 to me. The mouthfeel was a little too light I think, The cask aging didn't benefit this beer in my opinion at all. Overall it was worth trying but I would only ever buy the 30 and 40 year ones again.

 631 characters

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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

Photo of metter98
4.23/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a quarter-finger high tan head that quickly died down yet consistently left a thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: The smell has relatively light yet complex aromas of dark roasted malts, chocolate, coffee beans and toffee in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has some notes of smoke towards the finish and hints of almonds as well as whiskey from the barrel aging.
M: It feels medium-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a low amount of carbonation. There are some hints of alcohol warming in the finish.
O: This beer is a lot more drinkable compared to other beers in the style, especially considering its smoothness. No traces of alcohol are present in the taste.

 761 characters

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 biboergosum
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

330ml black foil-capped bottle. Now I'm into Ola Dubh territory where I've at least had the chance to try the eponymous whiskey malt - here's to ye, Scotland's famous son.

This beer pours a mahogany-tinted black oil colour, with very slight reddish edges, and one skinny finger of thinly creamy and bubbly tan head, which dissipates rather quickly, essentially leaving a few specks of paramecia lace around the glass.

Wafting from the glass is a lovely Highland Park malt aroma analogue - caramel and vanilla cream malt, soft smoked peat, and an agreeably mild ocean air's bounty of salt spray and iodine. The taste kicks off with a solid bittersweet chocolate tinged caramel malt, a hint of dilute treacle, ashen peat, real vanilla, supermarket honey, a drug-store medicinal acridity, herbal tea leaves, and a soft musty, weedy hoppiness.

As the weak head seems to have given up the remainder of the bubbles, the carbonation is quite innocuous at best, leading to a very smooth, and somewhat creamy medium-full weight body. It finishes with a big barrel sweetness flourish - caramel, vanilla, and oaken woodiness, only slightly offset by the underlying alcohol and musty seaside edge.

Having previously enjoyed the 18 year old Highland Park whisky, I'm delighted to find the same beauty in this spin-off project from its countrymen - all the weight of a well-made, generous malt, blended into a world-class cocoa-heavy porter, and still full of an island character delivered with the deftest of touches. Sublime, aye, this is.

 1,532 characters

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle into snifter, bottled in 10/2014. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big chocolate, cocoa, molasses, toffee, raisin, plum, fig, toasted dark bread, whiskey, oak, peat smoke, leather, tobacco, light nuttiness/char, light vanilla, and oak/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/roast/bready malt and scotch barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big chocolate, cocoa, molasses, toffee, raisin, plum, fig, toasted dark bread, whiskey, oak, peat smoke, leather, tobacco, light nuttiness/char, light vanilla, and oak/toasted earthiness. Light-medium roasted bitterness and whiskey/oak spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, molasses, toffee, raisin, plum, fig, toasted dark bread, whiskey, oak, peat smoke, leather, tobacco, light nuttiness/char, light vanilla, and oak/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and scotch barrel flavors with a great malt/bitter/oak spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness from roast bitterness and oak spiciness as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy/bready, and fairly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding old ale style. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roast/bready malt and soctch barrel flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

 1,809 characters

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

Had at Firkin Fest 2010

Pours no head. Color is very black, motor oil black.

Aroma: Huge whiskey/bourbon and oak flavors. Roasted malts and chocolate. Fairly rich.

Taste: Tons of whiskey and scotch flavors with some wood characteristics. Some roasted malts, but this thing doesn't taste a lot like beer.

Mouthfeel: Hot, dry, and smooth. Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Ends sweet, boozy, and slightly dry.

Overall, a fairly solid beer. Lots of alcohol characteristics. Very interesting. Fairly drinkable.

 521 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black color with brown head. Aroma has peated scotch and dried plums. Taste starts very balanced with peat, dark roasted malts, smoked ham, dried plums and figs. Not sweet but not too bitter either. Medium to full bodied with soft carbonation. Overall it's a really complex yet easy drinking ale.

 296 characters

Photo of dcmchew
4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, small tan head quick to a thin string.
Nice smokey peaty malts on the nose, roast and rich dark chocolate with a light Scotch dryness. Hints of vanilla, caramel, woody dark licorice and cinnamon, extra cocoa powder.
Scotch up front, kinda "zesty", not too strong, with light chocolate and burnt sugar trying to enhance it. Malts follow, just a bit toasted at first, developing into a nice roast, not too deep, but with a minimum of coffee powder notes showing up. Peat shows up, pretty subtle, with nice vanilla and a charred oak barrel note that's really rich, splashed just by a tiny bit of Scotch warmth.
Medium to light bodied, low carbonated, not entirely smooth, but kinda like slightly watered-down oil, so not too sticky either. Aftertaste has peated Scotch, rich oak barrel, bit of roast. No booze.
As is normal, i guess, somewhere between 16 and 30. Great Scotch barrel notes, as usual, nice rich dark ale underneath. These Ola Dubh's are well worth the expense.

 985 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.2 out of 5 based on 459 ratings.
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