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O'Hara's Irish Stout | Carlow Brewing Company

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very good
480 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: 480 | Ratings: 913
Photo of OompaMentor
4.47/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black in color with one finger head; little to no carbonation. Barley, roasted malts and hint if chocolate greet the nose. Medium body for a stout. Malts linger on the palate. A really nice beer!

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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 HorseheadsHopHead
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a cola brown, look almost pitch black in the glass, except for dark brown highlights at the bottom of the glass. Topped by a frothy brown head. Retention is low, but spotty lacing is left along the glass.

S: Roasted grains, mineral water, a bit of milk chocolate with dark roast coffee grounds. Some caramel, with a burnt barley overtone. Tinges of smoke as well.

T: Burnt bitterness up front. Black coffee and roasted barley with more smoke. Burnt toast. Faint caramel and milk chocolate sweetness in the middle, before going to a roasty coffee and bitter cocoa finish that lingers of ashy bitterness.

F: Very light, almost watery.

O: Just a very light stout, with no flavors that jump out at you, albeit the burnt flavor is a bit strong.

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Photo of JonCorbett
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Stout black, with umber hues at the peripheries of the glass. Towering rocky beige head of medium and large bubbles, that dissipates like an old lady in a walker - that is not overly slow, still has its legs, but it is gradual and with purpose. Leaves behind and latticework of lace and good surface presence.

Aromatics: sweet bitter chocolates and mild roasted and caramelized toffee malts, the richness is more akin to fine roasted coffee than to date or plum notes that usually present themselves in the foreground on traditional Irish stouts like this.

Taste: There is a wonderful thin cleanliness, where you can taste crystal clear water before the gentle flavours of mild roast coffee bitters and

Feel: Incredibly thin for a stout. It’s smooth but too thin to be considered creamy… I am inclined to say it is actually a light bodied, it has grease and elegance on the palate unlike any other stout I have had.

Overall: Almost makes you wonder if maybe stouts have opposing characteristics within their own domain that are both valid. Whether rich and creamy and full bodied or thin but complex and still full flavoured. Hmm… I think I’m still much more of a “medium-heavy bodied and smooth and creamy” type person… I’ll take a stout that reminds me of Queen Latifah or Aretha Franklin over a Grace Jones or Jada Smith any day.

Pairing : Because it doesn’t have its own really body - You have to go with something adipose in nature. It needs the fatty texture as much as it needs the weight. Beer battered fish and chips would be a good bet, but if you are a bit more concerned about your diet - try a fresh bean salad with some olives, onion, and at least 8 to 10 styles of bean tossed in a light vinagrette with plenty of sweet and savoury spices. Fresh shallots and basil would be nice additions.

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Photo of OldSwampy
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brown bottle poured into a nonic. Bottle stamp "E 28.FEB.2017"

Nice dark brown color, typical (correct) stout color, with an attractive light caramel head that has some stiffness to it, leaving lacing as I drank. Strongly bready nose, with some expected toasty and hoppy notes as well. Taste: a smooth entry, with the hops and alcohol expanding the flavor nicely after a bit. Malts are not overdone or too soft; hops are right for the style, never overbearing. Some complexities emerge when the drinking temperature is correct. Toasty and roasty in nice proportions. Solid smooth mouthfeel, clean finish. Great stout.

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Photo of Beginner2
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Listed in the "1001 Beers To Drink Before You Die," this one will have to wait for my review.
Reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 More Beers To Try Before You Die", a sequel to his CAMRA classic.

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Photo of alarmclock314
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle, best buy date of 2/28/17. Pours transparent dark amber/brown with a larger sized light khaki head; no widget/nitro. Smells of fresh roasted malt and some earthy hops. The taste follows exactly with roasted malt, earthy hops, and some coffee notes. Mild bitterness and dryness. Average body and above-average carbonation. Overall, it's a pretty simple Irish Dry Stout but has some underlying complexity in the taste.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Beer Summit sample pour. Nitro. Pours very nice and nitrogenated. Aroma is much fuller than a Guiness. Plentiful roastiness and some bittersweet chocolate. Same as the nose is the flavor. Roast and chocolate with a subtle fruitiness. Quite tasty. Creamy body.

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Photo of josanguapo
3.77/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From XXXII. In Teku glass. Watching True Detective 2x06. A roasty profile similar to that of a Guinness but much more pleasant, less agressive. Or maybe Im getting used, but I even enjoyed it

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Photo of bubseymour
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Grabbed a single 12oz for a St. Patrick's Day recipe my wife was making and she saved me 3-4oz so I could sample it since I never tried this before. Look in nice a dark with good lacing. Smell is sweet and roasty. Taste is bitter and roasty and a dry finish (hence the dry stout). Not very sweet or malty at all. Feel is quite watery.

Glad I didn't get the whole bottle to try as the 3oz was sufficient for me to get a feel for this one. Won't really bother to try again.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. Always nice to see another Irish stout, from well, you know, Ireland!

This beer pours a solid black, with prominent basal cola edges, and three fat fingers of puffy, loosely foamy, and fairly bubbly chocolate milk brown head, which leaves some splotchy and stringy webbed lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of bready and doughy caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa powder, medium roast coffee beans, a twinge of free-agent ashiness, slim milky notes, and soft earthy, leafy, and floral noble hop bitters. The taste is grainy and bready toasted caramel malt, dry chocolate wafers, stale cafe-au-lait, a suggestion of creamed honey, and more understated earthy, musty, and herbal old-school hoppiness.

The carbonation is quite laid-back in its genial and inoffensive frothiness, the body a decent middleweight for the style, and considerably smooth, with a wee creaminess arising as things warm up a tad. It finishes off-dry, but not by much, the initial caramel sweetness now almost totally consumed by the varied roasted characters.

Overall, a very pleasant and engaging dry stout, lots of big roasty-toasty essences inhabiting this one. Easy to drink, and the sort that makes you feel a bit full before your time - not a bad thing here, not a bad thing at all.

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Photo of Dentist666
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint.
Pours opaque black with 2-finger tan head, moderate retention.
Mild chocolate aroma, a bit more sour, than expected.
Taste - chocolate, roasted and dry.
Light body, medium carbonation.

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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 kylesobrien
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque, inky black. (Surprise, surprise.) No lacing on glass, very thin rim of compact bubbles around the perimeter of the nonic pint into which it was poured. Nice, soft aroma with chocolate and coffee notes. Not much in the way of hop or yeast character evident in the scent.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, unlike some other reviewers I would not say thin at all -- just not "chewy" in the way that an oatmeal stout might seem. Flavor is a delicate blend of more chocolate and coffee, a bit of roasted malt, finish is a really clean hoppy zing from the Fuggles. Dry, refreshing, not heavy at all.

Surprisingly drinkable, and tastes quite fresh out of the bottle. It's definitely growing on me; been looking for something more like the non-nitro Guinness 250th Anniversary, which I found superior to the stuff in the rocket cans. If you want an easygoing, tasty, session-friendly stout, you could do far, far worse than this one.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a nice and bubbly light brown head that dissipates quickly but still leaves a creamy layer on the surface. The beer itself is a nice dark brown color that very closely resembles black. The look is pretty nice and way better than Guinness. It actually looks like a beer that someone took the time to brew.

The beer smell is very good with a nice creamy note and a very present roasted malt note that has a coffee resemblance to it. The smell also has a nice bitter hop note that works very well with the malt note. However, the malt note is stronger and more upfront.

The taste is absolutely fantastic. Every note that is in the smell is present in the taste but stronger and the overall taste is something that you do not get from Guinness. You receive a nice strong and slightly sweet malt note. The malt note is a strongly roasted note that slightly resembles coffee. However, the malt note also gives a slight sweet and creamy note as well.

The feel is very good. Unlike a certain other Irish Stout, this is a nice creamy feel and pretty good given how heavy the body is. There's also a nice carbonation feel to it that gives it a bit more texture. A nice dry finish.

Overall, a very good Irish stout and a nice change of pace for what used to be dominated by a single brewery. Highly recommend.

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Photo of OrtheusMaximusRex
4.02/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I like this beer. Discovered while living in Boston. Very dry and I like it for that for sure. I rate this slightly higher than Guinness.
A = 4.25
S = 4
T = 4
M = 4. Vyer dry.
O = 4

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Photo of buschbeer
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

11.2 fl.oz bottle
Served in a nonic pint glass

It is pretty dark in color. I held it to the light and nothing came through. It was topped with three inches of mocha head the leaves nice lacing as it retreats.

When I first poured this beer I got some rich chocolate aromas. As I consume it I get more of a peaty smell. I like both of the smells.

The taste is definitely more focused on the peat. I get some chocolate in the finish.

Full mouthfeel

This is a flavorful remnant of my Saint Patrick's Day beers. This is a great alternative to Guinness. It appeases the senses more than Guinness.

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Photo of TheBierdimpfe
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque black color. Thick creamy and sparkly brown 2 finger head lasting around 6 minutes. Strong legs and no visible activity.

Aromas and flavors of nuts, toffee, cocoa and coffee with herbal spices. Strong earthy smell with a roasted bitter taste.

Creamy heavy body with prickly carbonation. Strong and long bitter finish ending with a thick smoky mouth coat and highly dry.

Overall : The craft and flavors are good but it's slightly slate missing some freshness. Too dry and bitter for my taste, preferring sweeter stouts.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.94/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO for around $3.00 for a 500ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a 1" brown head that is gone in a minute. Super dark brown color

S- Lots of malt here. Oceany scent. Not fishy but the scent of the ocean.

T- Hint of oyster. Chocolate/coco flavor. Light flavor which dragged the score down a touch

M- Dry but watery.

O- Pretty good beer. Nice experience but will not seek it out

Food Pairing

This pretty good beer went well with....... Roasted chicken


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Photo of tkelley
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a bottle and a half into a tall glass with a Celtic knot on it.

A - dark brown body with caramel highlights. Light tan head that reduced from an inch to a solid thin layer after a minute or two.

N - Smell is dark roasted malts and coffee, a hint of dar chocolate. Earthy hops very barely.

T - Coffee. Dark malty sweetness and roasted character, with again a light earthy hop finish.

M - nice a dry. Smooth. No nitro here but the carbonation level is fine.

O - excellent.a very nice,e choice for st Patrick's day. Happy to see more of these products on shelf and in bars around here lately.


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Photo of PorterPro125
3.36/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type: 500 mL Bottle

A- Deep Brown (almost black) colour topped with a beautiful tan 1 finger head that quickly dissipated to a thin skim. Fair amount of lacing

S- Roasty and smokey. Dark chocolate/espresso like aroma.

T- Lots of smokiness. Reminds of smoked gouda. I didn't really pick up anything else because the smokiness was quite overwhelming for me.

M- Low-Medium carbonation and a dry medium body

O- I'm not sure if I got a bad batch or what, but the smokiness on the taste was really overwhelming for me. It could be compared to the peaty smokiness of a Lagavulin Scotch. Not the creamy and subtle stout I was expecting. Besides the taste, everything else was A1. Definitely will try in the future to see if the extreme smoke flavours are a commonality.

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Photo of ssmack
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark dark brown with 1 inch head that quicky turned to a slick. Signs of carbonation bubbles at the surface. Good lacing and retention.

Roasty aroma. Roasted nuts and bitter chocolate. An element of creaminess comes in as it warms.

The taste follows from the aroma. Smooth and subtle .. not the big overwhelming stout taste. Mainly roasted nuts with an herby hop bitterness. Both the nuts and herbs continue through the aftertaste.

Medium feel which maybe be light for a stout. Definitely dry with a fizzly carbonation feel.

Very good. The hops are very well handled. The bitter and the burnt.

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Photo of brureview
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a dark opaque coffee brown color with a 1/2F head in an imperial pint glass.

The aroma is one of the best I have experienced in an Irish stout: roasted malt, with a touch of sweetness, a hint of candy.

The mouth feel is moderately carbonated.

Taste: pronounced roasted malt with a dry finish- the way an Irish stout should.

This is the first time I have tasted this beer. It's distinctive in the style. The body is full as is the aroma/taste. It's only 4.5%ABV, but quite substantial. It's a low ABV go-to beer.
I will buy more in the near future.

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Photo of barczar
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Roasty, chocolatey flavor, with a touch of char at the finish. There's a hint of diacetyl, but a solid beerbeer, overall. Notes of coffee surface late.

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Photo of biegaman
4.16/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

O'Hara's Irish Stout looks just as good - nay, better - than Guinness and has a head every bit as thick and spongy which it accomplishes without the use of any cheap gimmicks, thank you very much! In fact, the mocha brown tint is more becoming for such a dark, opaque beer anyhow (even if this one does allow a glimpse of colour along its edges).

The aroma's dry, lightly burnt, bittersweet persona is reminiscent of both coffee and cocoa beans, though there's no mistaking the scent of roasted barley for espresso or dark chocolate. While there are hints of rich, strong flavours, this doesn't register as an especially powerful beer - it's far too easy-going and approachable.

The taste tells a similar story; traces of chocolate and coffee are readily appreciated but won't fill you up. Just like you'd hope for an Irish stout, O'Hara's has the flavour profile of a beer twice as potent but drinks its true strength (4.3%). The very definition of 'mellow', this one is pleasantly smooth and soft, entirely free from harshness.

Part of its appeal are the soft, almost ethereal fruity undertones and the gentle wisp of smoke that concludes each sip. The beer's nuances can appropriately be likened to an artisan coffee or single origin chocolate; this is obviously made from top-notch ingredients and with expertise. This is a casual, social, sessionable, easy-quaffing beer... for those with high standards.

If O'Hara's were as ubiquitous as Guinness we'd all have a better quality of life. This stout leaves no room for want - it's as well-crafted a textbook example as they come. Any pub that regularly offered this would have my patronship and full-fledged allegiance - it's the kind of beer I could drink with unconditional regularity and sorrowfully wish I could. Send more!

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O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 913 ratings.
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