Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21 | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21
142 Ratings
Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Aged in casks that previously held 21 year old Highland Park Whiskey; wooden sweet flavour with bitter chocolate, smoked peat moss and a touch of vanilla.

Added by WillCarrera on 05-03-2013

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 142 |  Reviews: 42
Reviews by eric5bellies:
Photo of eric5bellies
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

More User Reviews:
Photo of aquazr1
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black with very little head. This beer is extremely smooth with very nice whiskey notes throughout. What's makes it special is that the whiskey is not overpowering at all. Very well done.

 193 characters

Photo of Carlalwin
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of clevelandhops
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of azkkr
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of whatname
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of McMatt7
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Roguer
3.47/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Perfectly black brew, topped with a modest tan head with decent retention.

A faint touch of whiskey mingling with roasted malt. Slight touch of toffee. If anything, the whiskey is front and center, but the aroma is overall quite subdued.

Flavor carries a ton of complexity and a mixture of flavors: charred wooden ash, overripe dark fruit and red grapes, whiskey hints of vanilla and coconut, and a ton of woody oak. The whiskey's influence is unavoidable here, coming through with a touch of sweetness and a hefty heaping of earth tones.

Fizzy mouthfeel, but fairly easy drinking.

If you're a huge whiskey fan, this is probably an amazing beer. Taken as a whole, though, I find the malts underrepresented, and the whiskey overbearing.

 739 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Bugs318
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a pretty dark brown to black with a slight tan head that cups the glass and remains after the majority dissipates. Nose wafts some chocolate, mild peat, traces of mild smoke, some wood character. Taste is similar but also has some brown sugar or molasses sweetness up from, while the linger blends some licorice and chocolate with peaty smokiness. A bit light and watery, with moderately low carbonation. Good.

 420 characters

Photo of waddellc2
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of DaveBar
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at the LCBO for around the $9.00 or so for a 330ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass. Bottle number 08176 bottled in April 2014 so it's just over a year old.

A- Opens with a mighty pop and pours a skim head that is gone in seconds. Super dark brown almost black color.

S- Not a lot of Scotch but it is there. Malty notes with hints of chocolate.

T- Fine scotch notes present. Nice blend. Nothing outrageous nor overpowering. Just a good overall brew.

M- Dry and creamy good.

O- Nice blend. Bit expensive but worth one or two a year.

Food Pairing

This nice little brew went well with...... Spicy goat curry. This brew cut through the heat and curry very well.


 697 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4.49/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle, bottle #02468, April 2014. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is nice, the brew smells like peaty smoke, dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and some vanilla. I think the taste is pretty much just like the aroma, but there's also a bit of iodine and dark bread noticeable too. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's creamy and coating with moderate carbonation. It's very smooth and easy to drink. If you like Scotch Whisky (and especially peaty ones), then you'll probably like this a lot, too. Truthfully, all of the Ola Dubh series brews I've had have been good, too bad this isn't made in bombers! Definitely worth trying.

 746 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a dark brown color ale with a medium size light brown foamy head with good retention and some light lacing notes. Aroma of light scotch notes with some toffee and light brown sugar notes is quite enticing. Taste is also dominated by toffee notes with some residual candi sugar balanced against some great scotch notes. Body is maybe thinner than I would have expected with some good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not as complex as I was expecting but still very enjoyable.

 494 characters

4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Thanx4AllDaFish
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of jaydoc
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of imbibehour
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap into a snifter glass at Churchkey.

Faint tan head presented, manages a small soapy collar with a filmy top. Body is classic dark walnut black.

Lots of thick vanilla bean on the nose, faint hints of dark berry fruit, soft caramel and spices. Slightly dry but quite creamy also with a hint of wetness.

Palate hits with a good balance of roast and toffee. Creamy sense is lost with a nice whiskey angle and sharpness dominating. Controlled. A goodgood classic grassy peaty finish mixing with a hop faint bitterness. Nice character and oak roundness with a mellow scotch finish and a little lingering black licorice.

Not a big scotch fan, but this is done nicely. Quite good actually.

 698 characters

Photo of bitterandtwisted
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

An incredible beer from a style I'd not previously appreciated that much. While I love Scotch Ales, Old Ales have tended to be too dry or funky tasting for me. This beer is much more like an imperial stout. It looks like it, feels like it, and tastes like it. Extremely balanced and smooth tasting going down. I could easily put this in my Top 10 or Top 15 must-have list. As satisfying at first taste as the last. Doesn't need to warm up. doesn't need to grow on you. This is superb and unfortunately won't be easy to find. Gotta drink more while I can.

 554 characters

Photo of SD0430
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Chugs13
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of Beer-Ed
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Ola Dubh Special Reserve 21 from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 142 ratings