Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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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

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Reviews: 159 | Ratings: 446
Photo of Docer
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Grabbed a 4 oz. pull of this at the Portland International Beer festival... wow...

- Great dark stout-like complexion with a mocha colored head.. dark raw brown n black..

- Woinderful chocolate malt notes, and vanilla from barrel.. oak and alcohol... sweet and crisp..

- Great sweet malts with a wonderful oak presence.. vanilla and smooth...

- Slightly chewy and dry but overall very mouth watering...

- Very easy and smooth to drink, just the right carbonation... cost me 6 tickets to get it... overall a super good dark old ale and being as old as it was... it certainly showed in the wonderful flavor and balance... a must have if you can!

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Photo of BeerSox
4.85/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle (red label) into 25oz snifter. #09867, bottled Jan '09. Poured straight down the middle.

Only a sliver of ruby and amber highlights show up at the bottom, occupying about the same space as a nickel. The rest is pitch black with no light getting through. A one finger and frothy tan head ends up as a film along the top of the beer, with a patch of large bubbles and an even dense rim along the glass.

Slightly papery and earthy aromas, along with a little bit of vanilla, both from the aging process. Deep roasted malts along with a little bit of peppery spice. Some molasses, brown sugar, a bit of dark fruit. There's a bit of chocolate if you look for it. The alcohol is a touch noticeable. The aroma absolutely explodes from this one.

A little bit of a smoked malt flavor which lasts from beginning to end. Some more vanilla makes its way in. The malts are both burnt and creamy at the same time. A little bit of sweetness is in there, in the form of dark chocolate. Raisin makes its way in there somehow, but only a little. The feel is very velvety, smooth, adding to the drinkability. There's very little bitterness in this one, mostly coming from the scorched malts.

This is a highly complex ale, and probably my favorite so far out of the Ola Dubh series (I've also had 12 and 30). Wonderfully smooth, and easy to drink. I wish I had a 750ml or 22oz bomber of this, rather than just 11.2 ounces. Certainly one to be savored. Highly recommended.

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Photo of John_M
4.14/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's the other day.

The beer pours a darkish black brown color with minimal head retention and lacing. On the nose there is chocolate, coffee, smoke and peat. On the palate, this beer is magnificently complex, with an incredible array of smoke, peat, and chocolate. Unlike the 12, 30 and 40, this beer finishes very dry, although it still has the trademark richness and smoothness all these beers show. As with all these beers, the alcohol is well disguised and drinkability is good.

Frankly, of the two, I preferred the 12, but this is still excellent stuff.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on cask at the Brick Store Pub, as a gravity pour. I'm a big fan of this series of beers and of the brewery in general, but this particular one didn't resonate with me quite as much as some of the others. In fact, I found it to be a little much. Still good, mind you, but a bit over the top and not quite as smooth as the older ones, and perhaps a bit hotter than even the 12. Regardless, absolutely wonderful to see this at the Brick Store and lovely to taste this. Pours black with no head, but a slight ring around the glass. The whisky is extremely prominent in the nose, with a lot of alcohol heat, peat, ash, dark malt, and chocolate notes. The taste also exhibits huge whisky flavor with lots of heat and peat, some berry flavors, and caramel. The mouthfeel is smooth but hot. A little much overall, perhaps the beer itself will mellow a bit with time if there is some of this put away at the brewery. I much prefer the 30 or 40, or really even the 16.

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Photo of Sigmund
4.66/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle, courtesy of Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. Bottle No. 12610. ABV is 8.0%. Pitch black colour, big tan head. The aroma of the 18 is less distinct than the 12 and 16, notes of sweet malts, almonds, brown sugar and oak, with a moderate roastiness, notes of chocolate and mild coffee. The flavour is excellent, distinct notes of whisky oak cask, peaty smoke, hints of tar, also roasted notes of coffee, liquorice and dark bitter chocolate. Well rounded, with just the right sweetness and a pleasant bitterness in the finish. Yummy!

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Photo of sprucetip
4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes. On cask at Rattle-n-Hum in NYC. They also had the 12, 30 and 40.... Black like motor oil, virtually no head, no lacing. SMELL is of molasses, alcoholic heat, wood, roasted grain, and some faint sweetness. Everything else is buried. Long legs. TASTE is very smooth, balanced and complex. Boozy, woody, molasses, some roastiness, and some malty sweetness. FEELS lightly carbonated, viscuous, oily, smooth, big warming at the end. DRINKS like the savoring sipper it is. A very smooth and tasty one, to be sure.

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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.

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Photo of edodio
4.64/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this a week ago, so you have to excuse some of the lack of detail.

I enjoyed this as part of a flight of four of the Ola Dubh brews: 12, 18, 30 and 40. They were all enjoyable and unique beers, unlike any I had before. Being a scotch fan I found them all very interesting, but the 18 stood out as the most scotch-like, and the one I liked the most.

I haven't previously been a fan of UK beer, finding them too flat and smooth for my palate. However, the Ola Dubhs were so flavorful that I had to overlook their lack of real carbonation. My brother and I tried all four of these side-by-side, in cask-age order, starting with the youngest. The smokiness and woodiness imparted by the scotch barrels seemed to increase from the 12 to the 18, but diminish in the 30 and 40. The 18 stood out as the most interesting to me because it acquired the most of the scotch characteristics and had the most pronounced flavor.

Served at almost room temperature, it had a just a hint of the lactic smoothness of guinness and had no discernable head. The color was almost black; "black oil" is a good name for them. The nose was one almost of a scotch, fainter, but without any of the alcohol. The mouthfeel was smooth, with just a hint of carbonation. The taste was smoky, woody and salty, yet somehow refreshing. The flavor lingered in the mouth for a long time.

This was certainly a very interesting and enjoyable beer and I only hope that the bar that stocks it doesn't run out before I have a chance to come back for more.

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Photo of Nickls
4.02/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(From notes)

A - Similar in appearance to the other vintages of Ola Dubh in that it is damn near black. But it does have the wonderful tinges of brown. Poured with a thinnish, darker tan head

S - As anticipated, the whiskey and malt aromas shine the most, but there are some earthy aromas as well and a bit of smoke

T - Like the smell, the whiskey grabs your attention first, but then gives way to smokey and salty flavors.

M - Fairly thin, and not nearly as oily as other Ola Dubh vintages that I've tried. Little to no bubbliness (cask), but very pleasant

D - Not as drinkable as either the 40yr or 30yr IMO. The 18yr just didn't carry the nuances and complexities as well as the other two and therefore each sip was not as interesting as the last.

Overall, even though I much prefer the other vintanges, this was still a stellar brew. Recommended for fans of Ola Dubh.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.2 out of 5 based on 446 ratings.
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