O'Hara's Irish Stout | Carlow Brewing Company

very good
485 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: 485 | Ratings: 935
Photo of scoates
2.36/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Split a bottle of this with a good friend on NYE 2008.

I'm a fan of fuller bodied stouts, but a nice Dry Irish is fine once in a while.

Poured into our glasses, it was nice and clear (ruby highlights when held directly up to a light), and the head retention was what I'd expect.

The smell of this beer is excellent. Nice rich coffee and dark chocolate notes that seriously raised my expectations for the taste of my half-glass.

But, I was let down. Tasting the beer, I was immediately smacked with acrid, burnt roasted barley and not much else. This brew smells much better than it tastes. I tried to like it because it smells so great, but I ended up dumping out my portion and moving on to the next bottle.

It was extremely over-carbonated, almost to the point that the watery body (which is ok in a Dry Irish) made me wonder if this bottle had been infected.

I have a second bottle of this, but I'll be in no rush to consume it... I'd only buy it again if I found it on tap, on nitro (which I think could possibly save this beer), and even then... not sure.

Smell it if you get a chance, but make someone else drink it.

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Photo of jsh420
2.44/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

pours dark brown almost black with a 1_ finger fizzy head that left spotted lacing

smells more like a pils - very little roast

taste is a little better but not by much - light roasted malts but i get more cereal grains and medicinal grassy hops

mouthfeel - way over carbonated gives it a very sharp bite that i do not want in a irish dry

drinkability is not good - the only good thing was this beer was sold in four packs

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Photo of kojevergas
2.45/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On nitro-tap into pint glass at the Bull & Castle, Dublin.

A: One finger tan head of lovely cream and notable retention. Black colour. Inferior to Guinness. Far inferior, mind ye.

Sm: Vanilla, caramel, coffee, and either toffee or chocolate. Strong and distinctive.

T: Cream doesn't come through until the end, a damned shame. Coffee steals (read: wrecks) the balance, damaging the complexity of the body. The open sucks outright; it's downright watery. The notes from the nose are subsumed by the climax.

Mf: Too smooth until the climax; too dry after. An unforgivable mistake for the style (my favourite style).

Dr: 4.40 quid is far too expensive for such a mediocre beer. This beer spits on my favourite style. All ye who claim this is better than Guinness are either playing the contrarian or too involved in promoting Irish craft beer over macros. Let me inform you: Guinness is not "the man", however much we may hate Diageo.

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Photo of numinorian
2.47/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

A Almost opaque in color, with a tan, fairly thick head, and sticky lace.

S This beer gives you charred grain smell with about nothing else

T Sweet cereal, with a somewhat dry roasted malt

MF is full thick and oily

Drinkability is harsh. Thick and hard with a charred dryness.

Overall this beer is fairly solid in the style but unimaginative. Getting through it was not as much as fun as I had hoped it would be.

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Photo of EStreet20
2.51/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

11.2 ounce bottle. Shaker pint glass.

A - Pours out a dark brown. About two full fingers of off white head thins in some spots but remains a rocky formation on top of the brew.

S - Smell is faint, roasted malts.

T - Taste is basically a little too subtle here. Really just a tiny bit of roastiness with a watery overall flavor.

M - Has a nice body, fairly full.

D - Basically the darkest glass of seltzer water I've ever had. The fact that this brew is practically devoid of flavor makes it tough to drink.

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Photo of LittleDon
2.59/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Surprisingly resilient head for a bottled stout. Creamy tan with plenty of lace. Coffee aroma is on the muted side. A bit of carbonation bite at first. Once it warms up, this improves. Alcohol and a bit of toasted malt flavor, but not that much. Medium body. Jan 11 use by date, so maybe it's a bit old.

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Photo of TerryW
2.62/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark walnut coloured beer with a great looking tan coloured head that stayed and stayed and stayed. Great lacing. A very handsome beer.

Lots of things happening in the nose of this beer. Roasted and wet (?) smoke smell. Must be some manner of roasted malt. I'm afraid I didn't find the smell entirely enjoyable. The smokiness or burnt smell is unusual and a bit off-putting somehow.

Coffee and roasted malt flavours, but really a bit thin and watery on the palate. Lingering dry bitterness. Hops become more distinct as the beer warms.

Looks great, but after that really didn't work for me.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.63/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - A creamy, thick three fingers of mocha colored head sits atop a nearly black brew with copious thick rings of lacing. The head vanished a bit quickly than perfection in my opinion, pretty close though.

S - Coffee with a touch of burnt malt and a molasses aroma. Fainter dark chocolate and hay. Pretty nice.

T - The first flavor in a waxy flavor. Actually tastes like lipstick. Yuck. Then there is a faint coffee and dry molasses flavor. The aftertaste, the best part (still not great) is a coffee bitterness with a touch of grassy hops.

M - Thin, a bit harsh from carbonation, moderately refershing.

D - Where did that flavor come from??? It came from left field to ruin what I thought was going to be a great beer. It is still light enough to session, but the lipstick flavor is so unpleasant. I will pass on this in the future. I tried desperately to think of some reason that the beer could possibly have that flavor from an external source, but I couldn't think of one. One course, I still can't think of any internal source for that flavor . . .

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Photo of beerguy101
2.67/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on 5/10/2010. This dry stout pours a deep black color from a 33cl bottle. Large sized tan foamy head with good retention and nice lacing. The aroma is roasty malt, some smoke and a touch of chocolate. A medium bodied dry stout. The malts are roasty and chocolate. The hops are earthy. Nice balance. Good carbonation. A touch fruity at the finish. Mouthfeel is full. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.

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Photo of maxpower
2.68/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Jet black in color, small creamy light tan head, aroma of dark roasted coffee and malts. Medium body, thin and watery mouthfeel. Cofffee and chocolate flavors, with a decent burnt bitterness in the finish, some what watery, not all that great, I don't want another one.

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Photo of JustinJTisdale
2.73/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this because it was a 2 dollar special for the day at a local bar.

The pour made me excited as it resembled a dark thick stout with a very light colored thick head that stuck around for days leaving some of the thickest lacing ive ever seen on a beer.

The taste was bland. Basically guiness with the slightest bit of hops at the end.

Given the price I would probably have it again as Id see it pairing well with certain foods but it wont be the top of my list.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
2.78/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Man, today has been a long day. Actually, I have had a REALLY long week. Anyway, since Sheryl started her new job we haven't reviewed a beer. Hopefully we can review two tonight. I suggested we do an "off the wall" review where we review a beer that isn't on the list, but gets equal attention for the blog. I hope to do more of those, as I have started posting more content about the other beers I am drinking on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Anyway, we decided to review a beer that I had already prepared. I am not typically a dan of Irish stouts, but I am excited to try this one. It's been a while since we reviewed a beer, so regardless what it tastes like, it should be fun!

Oh, and I am not 100% positive, but I feel like the bottle changed. This bottle is only 11.2 ounces, and for some reason I thought they were bigger a few months ago. Can anyone shed some light on that for us?

In the Glass: This is pitch black in the glass with a nice two finger tan head. The lace is also nice, which isn't typical for this style. When I think of Irish stouts, beers like Guinness, Murphy's, and George Killian's come to mind. I tend to only drink this style around St. Patrick's day. The lace is drawing the glass to my nose. Let's see what she smells like.

Nose: The aroma is pretty boring. It takes a deep whiff to get some nice subtle dark burnt chocolate aromas. I want to say there are some subtle coffee notes peaking through there, too. I bet a beer like this infused with coffee would be amazing. Yeah, not impressed with the nose. I hope this bottle delivers on the flavor.

Flavor: I will say this is much better than Guinness. I mean, another level better. However, I don't like Guinness. Not saying I hate this beer, but it's just my "thing". The flavor does change as it slides across your palate. I am getting, at first, some nice burnt chocolate flavors, then I am hit with a metallic flavor as I swallow. I dislike my beers tasting like I just licked a coin. The finish is quick, leaving nothing really to desire. It's too cold, but I am not sure this will be much better unless it is in a warm glass AT room temperature.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice. It has a nice fluffy experience going on. On my third drink, I did swish it around in my mouth a little. It didn't really do much for the flavor, but did open the beer up a little. If I was in a bar in Ireland, I might order an Irish stout. Just because I was there. But I wouldn't order two.

Aftertaste: It starts with those same metallic notes that I was getting, but quickly fades away leaving me bored. I HAVE to take another drink just to get some more flavor in my mouth. The finish is drying, which I like. But not drying enough to require another drink.

There are a few more of these on the list… but I doubt I like any/many of them. Oh well, maybe the next beer will leave me sockless. Get it?

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Photo of OtherShoe2
2.86/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Received a jet-black pint with a nice 1-finger creamy tan head. This was poured right.

Back to the Guinness copycat element, although this one might just have a bit more charred smoky character. Nothing sour here, but nothing exceptional. Barely a 3.0

Guinness rip-off with all of the bad elements gone. Flavors are cleaner, no sour aftertaste or boiled grain bullshit. BUT -- flavor is mild and muted. A safe beer. Light charred flavors, with some dry and lightly sweet hints, with some cream and maybe vanilla, finishing with cereal grain. It is what it is.

Lighter bodied, but not over-carbonated. They got this right.

Overall, it goes down ok, if you are willing to accept less. Not a great stout, but kinda passable. If you like Guinness, you'll like this. If you want more flavor and character, you'll be disappointed.

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Photo of biglite351
2.98/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - a lot of red light bleeding through the glass, not as dark as I would want from a stout. Darker tan head that leaves a ton of lacing.

S - there is q nice malty smell in there, but the majority of the scent is just "bar" smell. By that I mean a mix of beers without direction.

T - pleasant malts but quite mild. Nothing in the flavor is bad, it is simply very mild. Not bland but heading that direction.

M - thin with no tingles or feeling.

D - one could easily drink a lot of these, but it is too light to want to.

I would call this a stout lite.

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Photo of kevinlater
2.99/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle into nonic pint, poured on november 24, 2014. "BB 28 09 15".

a: a very dark, soy sauce-esque hue, with dark brown tinges at the edges. three fingers of quickly-fading light brown head

s: chocolate, roast, smoke, slight dark fruit, and an odd salty soy sauce note

t: getting that salty, earthy soy sauce here, but there are also notes of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and mild raisin. closes out with a nice coffee-infused smoky dryness

m: light but not watery. medium, somewhat prickly carbonation

o: the stout flavours are present and tasty, but are marred by the salty taste

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Photo of Naerhu
2.99/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ingredients: Hops, malt and starch. (why starch?)
Appearance: Small tan head resting on a jet black body.
Aroma: Smells lightly of roasted malt.
Taste: Exceedingly dry with a forward yet light hop bitterness, minimal dried fruit.
Drinkability: A decent beer but nothing I would get excited about, as a matter of fact I had difficultly describing it due to this beer's reserved manner.

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Photo of Guppy314
3.02/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

On Tap at the Bier Baron Tavern in Washington DC, pours opaque black with a khaki one-finger tan head. Aroma is of sweet malts. Taste is fully malt-forward with a smooth body. But flavors disappear quickly to give a watery finish.

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Photo of murphyl
3.03/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured dark brown, with a decent volume of khaki-colored head. No lace on the glass to speak of, though my bottle seemed a little on the flat side - the head lasted for all of fifteen seconds, and there were very few bubbles when I swirled the glass for smell (see below). Oddly, all the back labels on the bottles were on upside down. (Apparently this isn't the only problem with Carlow's bottling process.)

Lots of roasted aroma, but not much beyond that. The nose seemed rather one-dimensional - not even any alcohol smell to balance out the roasted malt. I felt like I'd stuck my nose in a roasting kiln.

Flavor? What flavor? Again with the roasted notes, and a touch of coffee. Mouthfeel was creamy at first, but this beer has no finish to speak of - once you got past the first two swallows, the beer seemed quite thin, and even the ubiquitous roasted flavor dissipated within ten seconds. The beer I sampled also had a noticeably metallic overtone - I don't know if this was due to the bottle or some other problem with the brewing.

Overall, a mediocre stout - given the choice between this and "that other Irish stout," I'd take the stuff from St. James' Gate.

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Photo of stevoj
3.04/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pint bottle courtesy of Bierkrug. Pours black, as a stout should. Aroma and taste is mildly bitter and some chocolate. Slightly above average stout, highly drinkable

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Photo of Mora2000
3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to swalden28 for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours dark brown to black with a khaki head. The aroma is a sweet, slightly roastey malt. The flavor is more of the same with some earthy hops in there as well. Medium mouthfeel and low carbonation. Decent, but nothing special.

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Photo of Shiloh
3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I find this Irish stout very thin.
On arrival the colour was almost coal black with a nice tan crown of about 1 finger. There is a little glass cling over time with a full island lace.
The aroma is a little disturbing in a worty like fashion.
Taste starts to a light coffee sensation accompanied by mild nuttiness as well, then progresses to a dark chocolate to end.
The body at best is a medium/light and the carbonation is average.
I expected more...

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Photo of jdhilt
3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a three-finger light tan head that fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Deep mahogany color. Light carbonation and light-medium bodied. Nose is roasted coffee. Starts with a roasted coffee flavor and finishes dry with some hops in the background. Reasonable dry stout. $2.25 for 330ml bottle; found at Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of cbl2
3.06/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Dark dark brown almost black with extremely thick tan head.


Can't smell anything. Even after warming, and halfway through the beer it's as if no odors are emerging.


Smooth, slightly bitter with hints of chocolate. Good, not great, and not really worth a second look.

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Photo of ProfessorHops
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

I always hate to disagree with any of the brothers. Jason is far more an expert on beer than I. But O'hara's Stout was a bit of a let down.

Been eyeballing this four pack for a week or two. Thought the packaging and title font was very handsome. Tonight I finally bought it.

Poured a little different than most of the stouts I've had of late. But I've been drinking a lot of my Beamish, Guinness, and Murphy's from nitro cans. It was very dark, with 1/8th inch browning on the sides of the stream. I could be mistaken but Guinness is darker. Head was standard stout style. Overall not a bad esthetic, but seamed a little different and disappointing in tradition.

Flavor was good by all means. Not repulsive in the slightest. But I found it a little weak and not robust enough.

Stout means strong. This beer wasn't a quencher by all means, but just not as bold as I prefer in a stout. Burnt wood and touched with almond.

Texture and mouth feel was more watery than chalky like most stouts...

With all this negative about the beer. I must say that this beer could do something very different.
On a hot summer day, swimming or picnicking. I don't like to drink stouts. Just doesn't go well with the heat. I have found myself missing the stout flavor while drinking in this kinda' climate. But the thickness and bold flavor of a stout is more of a poker beer. Leave the quenchers for the swimming.

So O'hara's brings resolve to this. I can see it being very easy to drink an O'hara's in the park or by the pool on a steaming hot day. Stouts are one of the most exciting and complex styles of beer. I was always hopeing to find one that mixed with the sun well. O'hara's is it.


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Photo of TheDM
3.08/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a medium head of fine creamy light brown bubbles that leaves a fair lacing and a dark opaque black brown body. It has a very mild malt aroma. Its flavor contains notes of coffee, mild chocolate and some roast. It has s lightly smooth start with a lingering mild bitter coffee aftertaste. A nice example of a stout without being overly impressive with the coffee flavors.

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O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 935 ratings.
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