O'Hara's Irish Stout | Carlow Brewing Company

very good
482 Reviews
O'Hara's Irish StoutO'Hara's Irish Stout

Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
The flagship of the O’Hara’s brand, this uniquely Irish stout brings one back to how Irish stouts used to taste. First brewed in 1999, it has since been awarded prestigious honours for its quality and authenticity.

O’Hara’s Irish Stout has a robust roast flavour complemented by a full-bodied and smooth mouth feel. The generous addition of Fuggle hops lends a tart bitterness to the dry espresso-like finish. This sessionable stout beer is filled with rich complex coffee aroma mingled with light liquorice notes. The combination of traditional stout hops with an extra pinch of roast barley allows us to stay true to Irish tradition, recreating a taste so often yearned for by stout drinkers.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-27-2001

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Reviews: 482 | Ratings: 923
Photo of Jettanbass9
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If only this was on tap and as available as Guiness....

Poured into a stout style glass... pours like an ordinary stout. And then you take the first taste.... Velvety smooth with robust coffee and chocolate malt flavors cutting through the texture. If i could compare it to anything it would be close to a Murphy's Irish Stout with more roasted malts and barley. Truely a great beer. Drinkability... all night long baby ;) three cheers for O'hara's Irish Stout!

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Photo of Jayhawk
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 ounce bottle that comes as a four pack (and on sale at my local liquor store...score!). Served in a US pint glass.

A - Nearly black with a lovely tan head with great retention...it looks very nice.

S - The aroma is pleasant and there is no question this is a serious stout...roasted malt, coffee, bit of chocolate aroma.

T - Tastes just like it smells. Not sweet, hints of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt. Puts other more famous stouts to shame. This is what stout should taste like.

M - Incredibly smooth and creamy...yet without the use of nitro. Goes down easy, and at only 4.3% alcohol this is a very dangerously sessionable beer!

Wow...best stout I've had in years. Simply superb!

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Photo of BobbyBeerman
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Now this is my type of beer. Weighing in at 4.3% ABV, it's one of those that you can drink all night long and not get stupid. This was poured from the bottle to my tasting glass so I could put it through the paces.

A: Dark, tan-ish head that laces as it fades. Light cannot penetrate the darkness (this is a good thing in my book).

S: Rich aromas - roasty, chocolate, bread-like.

T: Just as rich as the smell. Not over whelming.

M: Good body, smooth and creamy, light carbonation.

D: This is beautiful. I was only able to find them in 4-packs and got one for a test. This will be a regular purchase!!

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Photo of Schoney62
4.92/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The color is a beautiful dark brown, almost black. It pours with a thick head that thins down to about 1/8" for the rest of the sitting. It smells of chocolate and coffee. The flavor is bold, not terribly hoppy, with hints of the coffee and chocolate. It feels smooth, and not nearly as overwhelmingly heavy as Guinness. This is the best stout I've ever had, more drinkable than most imperial stouts and smoother than most oatmeals that I've sampled. I understand that they are different breeds, with different characteristics, but ultimately for most beer drinkers I know, it's hard enough to get them to differentiate between a stout and a black lager, so explaining the difference between an Irish dry, imperial and oatmeal stout is far too much to expect. A perfect choice, in my mind, for St. Patrick's Day.

3/22 - I've had it again, this time warm. I like it even better now, and I can detect a burned flavor in there, though discerning it is difficult.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.88/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a rich espresso black with a hue of brown, if any through the light. A thick, soapy dark cream colored head sits on top that slowly dissipates to a film. Loads of sticky lacing. The beer smells dry and sweet somewhat, but mostly of bitter chocolate and roasted malts. The taste is exceptional: roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and a faint milky sweetness in there. The mouthfeel is dry.

Overall, this is an exceptional stout, and it's about as close to perfect as can be for an Irish Dry Stout. Also, the low ABV is a delight. I could drink this for hours.

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Photo of selecter70
4.83/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This has been referred to as the "Guinness-Killer" recently, & I could'nt agree more! This simply is my favorite stout out there (thank you Publick House!) & I can imagine Diageo plotting to curb it's distribution in order to prevent it from harming their mega-sales. It seems that you used to be able to get a Beamish or Murphy's more regularly around town, and I loved that...especially when you had the choice (after all, place serve several brands of IPAs &c...why not stouts?). Nevertheless, this stout came with a beautiful, rich black-brown body & dense, firm tan head of 1& 1/2 fingers. Nice lace held throughout and retained the flavor & body well. The aroma is spot-on stout, all roasted malts & bready-nut goodness. Hints of coffee & chocolate round out the flavor with good roasted grain & malt with full bitter mixed with creamy sweet & a rich, dry finish. Full but wholly drinkable...must get more....& so should you

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Photo of billybob
4.83/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours black with a large dark tan head that settles to a frothy half inch and holds very well and nice sticky lace. aromas of roasted malt and burnt coffee. smooth roasted malt turning to that bitter burnt coffee leaving a lingering burnt bitter after taste. light mouthfeel and carbonation. well balanced great tasting stout will buy again.

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Photo of NefariousR
4.77/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from an 11.2oz. glass bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours black with light ruby notes around the edges with a frothy light-tan.

S - Sweet maltiness, with a little bit of dark chocolate.

T - The taste follows through from the smell, with a strong malt sweetness. There's also a pleasant roasted bite with almost no bitterness.

M - Light-bodied, but not so much as Guinness or most other Irish stouts. Just a bit of carbonated tingle on the throat.

D - A fantastic Irish Dry Stout, my favorite of this particular style, in fact; Pick it up if you can.

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Photo of Bunnyhop
4.74/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A very dark red-black Stout; it is so dark light barely passes through it. It pours with a large, rocky, tan head. It has a sweet, roasted, and smokey smell. The smell is so fabulous I want to savor it for some time before drinking it. The taste begins very smokey, then malt, and mild chocolate, finishing with a very slight pepperiness. It is smooth and oily in my mouth. Overall, I have to say SMOKEY, an outstanding stout.

(source: Savannah, GA)

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Photo of TheycallmeTim
4.68/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On-tap (may have been nitro, not sure) at Franklin Park in Brooklyn. Poured into American shaker pint.

A--Nice slow waterfall of sedimentary rising as the head forms and the pint settles--deep coffee colored foam turns hot chocolate and finally creme colored at the top, as it mellows to about a finger of dense, dense cream. Body is nearly pitch black except for the bottom, which is ruby.

S--Roasted and toffee notes, with some smoke and charcoal back there. Smells rich, with a faint coffee bitterness bubbling into the nose, too.

T--Holy cow--pitch perfect for the style. Complex but still in the vein of a straightforward session stout. Smoky again, with definite dark roasted coffee flavors in there. Almost a liquid smoke molasses thing going on, which just sort of nips in at the middle, followed by a charcoal nudge and a final pronounced bitter finish. You taste this one after you're done tasting it, for sure--my mouth was happily puckered with the roastiness and, I think, actual hops (some UK or Irish variety? can't tell but the taste is definitely in the finish, in the form of more bitter and a lovely wet earthiness, which is outta sight for an IDS).

M--Super creamy and rich without being milky or full. Furthest thing from watery draft stout (ahem, cough, Guiness, cough cough) you can get.

D--Really a winner--this beer seems almost made for happy hour, although a night at the pub with some fine music and food would be twice as nice. Kicks the arse off other stouts from the Emerald Isle, Seems fresh despite the plane ride. Dunno what the bottle tastes like, but if you're feeling like a stout when you're out and this is on tap, give it a whirl. At 4.3 you could actually take a few rides without head injury or blood.

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Photo of ironarrow42
4.68/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep auburn-black with coppery-amber highlight. The pale beige head falls to a thin layer slowly, leaving some lace on the glass. Somewhat subtle aroma of dark malt with some roast and a fruity note.

Medium-light body with a smooth texture and very fine carbonation tingle. The flavours start out mildly with some dry, dark malt, a light fruity note, and a minerally edge, then a big roasty character explodes on the palate, evolving into bitter roast coffee. Some tangy notes play at the sides of the tongue into the finish, which lingers nicely.

Plenty of flavour in this one and it's also very drinkable, and at 4.3% ABV would make an excellent session beer. Leaves some lovey "Irish lace" on the glass, too! I think this would pair nicely with oysters and mussels, and also with fine chocolates.

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Photo of deg
4.66/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer looked black as pitch after I poured it. I'd like to know how the brewer gets stouts that dark, my homebrewed stouts never look that dark. I picked up a nice coffee aroma when I smelled it. However, the smell was a little weak. The beer tasted good with a good coffee/roasted taste to it. My only regret was I only bought one bottle instead of the whole six-pack.

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Photo of Porkchuck
4.65/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Really enjoyed this one!!!

Appearance - dark and lovely

Smell - roasted, well done

taste - smooth, smooth and light on the carbonation

Great one to drink as a meal replacement...for all the right reasons...wish it was a full 12oz. and not just 11.2oz...ahh heck I wish it was 40oz.

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Photo of lehows
4.63/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Bobbique in Patchogue. Poured a beautiful thick black color with a nice cascading head. Aromas of roasted barley. Taste is much bigger than expected with wonderful flavors of roasted barley, malt, with a slight smokiness. Super smooth mouthfeel. Wow...I could drink a ton of these. Just an all around amazing Irish stout. Two thumbs up.

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Photo of MillRat
4.63/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Actually two reviews here, see below for bottled beer comments.

Served in an O'Hara's pint glass at the Bull & Castle, Dublin. Black brew with glints of ruby if you hold it to the light. Cocoa-brown head that persists. Aromas of sweet malt and chocolate and roasted grain dominate. A creamy but not sweet body with roasted flavors ranging from dark caramel to chocolate to coffee to charcoal, all quite well balanced with a bit of hop bitterness making a cameo appearance in the aftertaste. After a pint of this you wonder why you thought Guinness draught was in any way special. This should be in the BJCP list as the exemplar of Irish stout. I should get my pint refilled, too. Outside of the Imperial range, this is the most complex and flavorful stout I've had, and unlike the Impys, this does not weary the taste buds or overtax the liver. This is worthy of a quest.

Bottled notes: Poured from a 50 cl bottle that rode back from Ireland in checked baggage on Aer Lingus. Appearance is a constant, but the full range of roasted flavors is less apparent, focusing more on a dark-roast coffee note. For that I'd drop the taste and drinkability ratings by a point each.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.58/5  rDev +18%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This brew pours an opaque black color. The head is a drak tan color. I have never seen a head even half this dark on an Irish Dry Stout. The aroma is of graham crackers, nuts, cream, milk chocolate, and has a hint of vanilla. The taste is of nuts, cream, dark chocolate, and has a smokiness that runs throughout everything. The mouthfeel is medium-light bodied with a nice velvety texture, and low carbonation. Overall, this is one of the best dry stouts I have had. I cannot see myself drinking another dry stout from Ireland, when this one is available.

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Photo of mrpivo
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I've been noticing this brewers products for some time now. I'm impressed by the simple elegance of their labels. At times less is more impressive. The label in no way reflected the wonderful beer inside the bottle.

The appearance was typical of other stouts. Extremely black with a rich tan colored dense head. Some of the head lingered through the entire glass, creating a delicate lace as it was drank.

The aroma and taste was that of roasted coffee and chocolate which I found very enjoyable. Not overly bitter. Quite tasty. The body was also typical of other bottled Irish stouts. I'd have to call it medium. Alcohol was normal (4.5%), allowing me to enjoy more than one. Carbonation was slightly higher than say Guinness, but not completely out of style. It actually added to the overall impression of the beer.

I would definitely recommend this stout. and I plan on purchasing more n the future.

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Photo of bbarrows
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Clear, deep brown ruby color.

One inch light brown fluffy head. Dissipated quickly for the most part, with some lacing.

Lovely scent of dark chocolate and roasted malt.

Taste is far more complex than any typical Irish stout (Guinness, Beamish, Murphy's); first it is smoky, followed by a touch of semi-sweet chocolate, then becoming increasingly spicy and finishing with a crisp hop bitterness and a lingering smokiness.

Mouthfeel is light, making it very easy drinking.

Considering it's low alcohol content, perhaps the most excellent stout I've ever had. Drink it at about 50deg F.

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Photo of mschofield
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours an inky black with ruby highlights, topped with a two finger dark khaki head, leaves thick sticky webs of lacing.
Thick, roasty malt aroma, charred wood or steak, strong roasted barley presence.
Roasted malt, charred bread, clay and earthy notes.
Medium bodied, off the charts taste for a 4.3% ABV beer. Great drinkability with that taste and low ABV.
My mother actually found an article on this one in the newspaper and pointed it out to me - thanks Mom!

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Photo of mualphapiper
4.54/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I'll have this on tap at my favorite Irish pub, the Fiddler's Hearth in South Bend, IN.

Appearance: Its a typical cream stout, the body is murky black, almost opaque. The head is thick and creamy, like the heavy cream on a mug of Irish coffee. Its very typical of a stout, but there's not a lot to see, as its very dark and murky. Carbonation is light.

Smell: Fantastic nose, so much better than Guinness. The dark roasted malt is very evident, almost no hops. Behind the warm burnt smell, theres some sweetness as well coming from dark fruit. I think there some tar too, like a freshly laid asphalt road.

Taste: The bitterness is born almost wholly by the dark malt. Its skillfully roasted, bitter but not burnt (it smells burnt -nicely- but the taste is more dark coffee bitter). There's a syrupy sweetness under the bitter malt, molasses I think, with some dark cherry and raisins. Its not a "cloying" sweetness, its well balanced, keeping the formidable bitterness in check.

Mouth Feel: This is very thick! You almost eat it as much as drink it. It coats the mouth and ads its flavor to anything you eat.

Drinkability: I love this beer, but due to the thickness and strong flavor, I'll have to say its less drinkable than some others. Usually I'll go on to something else after one or two of these.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.53/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a dark opaque sable with a very fine bubbled, velvety tan head. Smoky, malty aroma has hints of caramel and licorice. Rich, pleasing flavor is malty, nutty and smoky and contains hints of licorice and burnt caramel. Texture is velvety smooth and somewhat woody. Recommended to all stout fans.

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Photo of burnerfinger
4.52/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

poured from the 12 oz bottle into my new belgium goblet:

A super dark - like cola - absolutely opaque - even if held to a light.
thick, nearly chewy caramel style full finger of head that settles to a thin ring of surface foam with miminal lacing

S AHH sweetest nose I can ever recall from a brew. chocolate more than any thing else...this is going VERY well - now for the first taste:

T better than expected. SMOOTH with just a bit of a bitter bite - smooth is what I see most here.
just a bit of a carbonation burn on the back of the tongue

M a bit thick, in line with the silky smoothness

D VERY good to savor, not to be guzzled IMHO

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Photo of Schlitz74
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a fantastic Irish Stout, It smells good, Looks good and tastes great, it leaves nice lacing on the glass depending on which type of glass you use.

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Photo of americanaqualung
4.5/5  rDev +16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a deep black which seems to almost allow transulcence. The color is almost a very deep cola color that doesn't show much light passing through. The head is a creamy white tan which seems full and fluffy standing around half an inch above the beer.

S - Solid smell, not over powering but strong. Smells of sweet roasted malts. I get hints of coffee as well.

T - The taste is strong. The first taste is a combination of a dry, dark roast malt but with a sweetness to the malt. A little bit of flavor like a smokey coffee. Has a little smokey malt aftertaste For best taste, let the beer warm up a bit from the fridge temperature.

M - The mouth feel is smooth and the carbonation is a little heavier than one might expect, yet not in a bad way as it tingles the tounge rather than biting. It is definately a dry beer, but despite its dry-ness, it leaves the mouth feeling very satisfying. As a dark stout, it feels a little heavy in the mouth.

D - A very drinkable stout and possibly one of my favorites. This stout, while not the kind of beer that you can have a lot of at once due to its heaviness, is definately the kind that warms, delights, and satisfies.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.48/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap with a perfect pour. Solid tan finger of head with a black body.
Smell of toasted and roasted malt. Amazing.
Taste of dry burnt malt with mild bitterness. Great balance.
Soft and crisp texture. Low carbonation.
On-tap can't go wrong with this one.

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O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 923 ratings.
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