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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Ratings: 457 |  Reviews: 165
Photo of RobinLee
4.24/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

Photo of JonCorbett
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Nice stout black, with slight orange touches of light at the edges. A quick to recede light tan head the ends up looking like Sherman Hemsley's pate (i.e. George Jefferson) - has a slight ring of foam residual, no lace, and a nearly clean crown.

Aromatics: Lots of dark fruit raisin, date, fig, and hits of toffee and coffee with a kiss or two of vanilla, scotch, and oak. Simple but complexly combined.

Taste: My first sip had was an nice smokey malted rye - diving headfirst into a smoother and creamier but bold coffee that has been strained through a small shred of undried tabacco leaf. My aftertaste had an almost molasses flavour linger, earthy and woody but nice.

Palate: Heavier side of medium that's for sure. And the carbonation has its show, but makes way for the creamy and smooth almost syrup like liquid. Has a juicy and maybe even a bit sticky like quality. And a great light whiskey warming, and maybe a bit of a cat tongue abrasion in the linger.

Overall: A really nice whiskey ale. Not sure what else to say other than I enjoyed it immensely. It has a lot of fantastic attributes, sure it could use a little extra pizazz here and there, but I still feel like Randolph and Mortimer Duke from Trading Places (w/ Akroyd and Murphy). All hoity toity with my fancy drink in hand discussing stock trades with potential clients at some swanky art gallery opening, that has an exhibit of some up-and-coming artist whose work is complete rubbish but the socialites and people with more money than brains have exalted into a shower of obscene stardom. That's how this ale makes me feel - and that is awesome (in a fictional world of course, because if it were in the real world I would be really ashamed of myself) BAHAHA.

Pairing: This is an interesting one because it already has a great husky and smokey voice - like Janis Joplin. Normally in a scotch/whiskey I'd go for "the uussjj" - things like cheese, smoked fish, or dark chocolate rich desserts. But here I think it really deserves some good hearty smoked beef ribs. The sauce needs to be kept to a minimum you really want the "smoked" element to be as high as possible. And add a side of chilled (and lightly dressed) coleslaw just to introduce some acidity.

 2,247 characters

Photo of steverx8
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Lucnifter
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Bitterbill
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottled September 2014.

Great looking pitch black brew with an ample amount of tannish foam.

Big caramel malt smell bordering on notes of butterscotch. .in other words, oxidation. Some dark fruit.

Tastes of caramel and oxidation. Butterscotch is there and will probably grow as time goes by. Some dark fruit hints. Whiskey seems to be playing second fiddle. Some, most English Old Ales/Barleywines with a heaping helping of oxidation, I dig. In this one, not so much.

High end of medium bodied, low carbonation.

It is not as bad as I may have portrayed it in what I said above. I will say that I have no desire to drink it again. I appreciate the smaller bottle presentation.

 686 characters

Photo of scottsoileau
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ccg
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

It has about a finger of light tan head on top of its black oil body. Amazingly thick legs and sticky lacing. Head retention is excellent. The smell is dominated by those scotch whisky casks -- it's all smoky peat and oak. There's some subtle malt and hops underneath trying to get out, but the peat is stronger. That's not to say that it's a peat bomb. It's fairly smooth on the nose. Flavor is fairly similar. There's plenty of smoky peat on top of a solid base of that comes across much more like a stout than an old ale -- it tastes like roasted malt with some coffee notes. I could be wrong, but I feel like hops are mingling with the peat in a way that creates a mildly unpleasant metallic note, but overall it's still tasty and unique. The mouthfeel is the only real disappointment. It's not bad, especially considering that this is sold as an Old Ale, but that pitch black beer, its name (Black Oil) and knowing that it's aged in Highland Park casks all lead me to expect the dense chewiness of a barrel-aged stout. Maybe it's unfair to judge it based on a different style, but I think this beer is setting that expectation. Regardless, it's quite good, and the smokiness from the scotch sets it apart.

 1,210 characters

Photo of Phoodcritic
4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Rockjocknroll
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Vintage 2012. Oxidation on the nose..metallic... But tons of woody peat. Lacing on the beer stays forever. Malt has backed off a lot. More peat and chocolate roast flavor. A delicious and wonderful whiskey lovers beer.

 218 characters

Photo of calcnerd
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of IckyT2012
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Slatetank
4.34/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a fantastic dark strong ale from Scotland -enjoyed in a snifter chilled from the bottle
this particular bottle is the 2012 version.

The color is almost black with head that comes and goes leaving lace in spots. The smell is luxurious with cocoa, caramel and deep whisky spice-like aroma with a subtle dark fruit smell. The feel is very good with subtle sweetness moderate carbonation and mild alcohol influence on the palate with a dry finish.

The taste is great with so much malt and barrel complexity from the Scotch whisky with a nice earthy almost spiced brownie type taste with mild cocoa and a gentle yeast accent adding to the complexity with stone fruit in the back and drying whisky woodiness. This is a complex beer with great drinkability for an 8% abv scotch ale you get a smoothness that is not rivaled in other beers of this style.

 855 characters

Photo of Andy_Luft
3.69/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Khouston
4.79/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Hallu
4.3/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This one smells at first like a wee heavy scotch ale. That means caramel-like dessert (a flan or something) backed by dark fruits (raisin mostly). But there's some strong notes in there, that tobacco/leather smells from strong stouts that aren't on the sweet side. The taste is like a wee heavy scotch ale again, but with the malty backbone of the whisky cask. It's not too bitter, unlike some American stouts that can feel too strong. The smokiness at the end is very interesting, it really reminds you of the Highland Park whisky casks it's been aged in, it's not the same smokiness as the roasted malt flavor which is definitely there as well, but on the taste, not the finish. It's subtle though. Overall, it's very balanced, very british. I wished the smell were stronger, it tends to fade too quickly, especially since the foam disappears in seconds. Don't listen to people who keep talking about chocolate and coffee for this beer. This definitely is not the main aroma there. Think of an English porter mixed with a Scotch ale, with smoky whisky flavors. A long way from the classic chocolate/coffee stouts...

 1,119 characters

Photo of Hat_Fulla_Beer
4.27/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle poured into tulip. 2015 vintage.

Pours almost totally black with a thin cap of mocha head that leaves distant storm system lace as it recedes.

Smells of melted black chocolate, coffee, cigar box, new leather, burnt brown sugar, smoked caramel, scotch whiskey, dried dark fruit, boozy barrel wood and faint leafy hops.

Tastes of semi-sweet cocoa powder, roasted nuts, more fine scotch, vanilla pods, mild smoky char, cold coffee, oak barrel staves and more faint green hops.

Feels suprisingly light. Medium-full bodied with velvety carbonation. Finishes mildly dry.

Verdict: Vigorously recommended. Alcohol is sneaky on this one, so watch out.

 660 characters

Photo of Ac-dx
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of skaboom420
3.77/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Fabiand
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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

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

Photo of GregSemenza
4.61/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mikepcarney
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Stinger80OH
3.92/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ola Dubh Special Reserve 18 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.2 out of 5 based on 457 ratings.
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