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 Sammy
3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beatiful dark brown pour. Easy light drink, bit much on water, particularly with lower alcohol. A bit of bite -molasses and hoppy. Liked: Only mildly roasty, only bit of the coffee, and hint of chocolates and nutty. Clear freshness dating. Very good stout.

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Photo of acurtis
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a four pack of O'Hara's Celtic Stout. This is a bottle conditioned irish stout. It pours a very dark, almost black color with nice aroma of coffee and chocolate. Taste is coffee with a bit of carmel and some roasted malt. Nice stout with smooth, almost thin mouthfeel. Drinkable but only an alternative, not a replacement to its big brother.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.66/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: single finger thick head with excellent retention on a near jet black dark brown body.

S: light on the nose with some roasted malts, a touch of vanilla and chocolate.

T: semisweet chocolate, some earthy hops on a nice mildly bitter roasted malt backbone.

M: very smooth, semi thick body and nice degree of carbonation.

Overall: full flavored Irish stout. Has the body an mouthfeel you expect. Very drinkable.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.51/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On nitro tap at Boneyard Bistro in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a thin cap on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt and cocoa aromas. Taste is much the same with a slight coffee flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is drinkable but the nitro presentation isn't doing much to help it.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Instead of getting a Guinness I wanted to try an O'Hara's. They look pretty much the same, both are black in color with a great looking creamy tan nirto chaged head. The smell is subtle, slightly roasted malts. The taste of the beer is toasty too. The mouthfeel is a bit thicker than a Guinness. Overall this beer a pretty good in my opinion. I enjoy having this has an alternative to Guinness when I'm out and I see it on tap.

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Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is essentially black in color (some amber shows through at the bottom of the glass when it is held up to the light). It poured with a thin tan head.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts and peat in the nose.
T: The overall taste is quite malty and has flavors of roasted malts along with notes of chocolate and coffee.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied, a bit thin and somewhat dry on the palate with a light to moderate amount of carbonation.
D: Drinking this beer is a breeze and it's very tasty so I would consider it to be quite sessionable.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got Saint Patty's Day comming up, ...so, what the heck. As far as the look, aroma, taste, texture, and impression goes, see Guinness. Very close to Guinnie, I may detect a bolder chocolate flavor and, perhapse a touch more malt (caramel) sweetness at the cost of dryness and chalkiness. Still very drinkable and enjoyable.

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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 brentk56
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an obsidian black with a scarce highlight of ruby here and there; luscious rocky head that retains beautifully and webs the wall of the pint glass

Smell: Roasty and charred aromas; almost smells like yesterday's fire with some underlying dark fruit

Taste: Opens with a combination of dark fruit, coffee and a hint of caramel with an increasingly bitter roasty edge by mid-palate; after the swallow, the char and coffee flavors blend together and mellow into the finish

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Despite the slightly thin mouthfeel (though to be expected with the low ABV), this stout delivers a lot in the flavor department

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.52/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark black colored beer with an average bubbly head with standard retention. Aroma is really great with a nice mix between roastiness and coffee. Taste is OK with some nice touch of roasted malts and coffee. The aftertaste is dry without too much of the watery feeling you get with Guinness. Overall, a good stout but nothing too much out of the ordinary.

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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 LXIXME
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 2 1/2 to 3 inches above the glass leaving a big light brown head floating over a clear dark brown to black colored stout. The head dissipates faster than the O'hara's Irish Red's did but this one left a big longer lasting lacing on the beer.

Light aroma consists of roasted almost burnt malts with light hints of roasted dark chocolate malts.

Taste is dark roasted malts, some dark chocolate, maybe a hint of roasted coffee or molasses lurking on the edges, a very enjoyable stout.

A dry lightly roasted malt aftertaste on this Irish Dry Stout. A pretty good beer, I wish I had picked up some ice cream, I enjoy stouts like this with a scoop of ice cream in, back in the day we called them Guinness Floats, if you haven't and you enjoy stouts/porters you should definitely try one.

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Photo of zeff80
4.3/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a clear, black color with hints of ruby. It had a two-finger, light brown, pillowy head that left behind sticky rings of lace.

S - It smelled of chocolate, caramel, molasses and licorice.

T - It tasted of great roasty flavors. Great chocolate and caramel flavors. There was a slight bitter hop kick.

M - This is a soft and creamy ale with a dry finish. A light to medium boded brew.

D - This is a great Irish Dry Stout. One of the best that I've ever had.

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Photo of oberon
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a jet black color with huge pillowey head took a while for it to come down.Smell was of bitter chocolate and pretty sweet.I thought the taste was real smokey and burnt and somewhat dry and oily.Like the firm body of this not thin and watery by any stretch.Good to find another fine example of a dry Irish stout.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into pint glass, best before 1/31/2015. Pours nearly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy khaki head with fantastic retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, toast, dark bread, light char, herbal, and roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roast/bready malt and moderate hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, roasted malt, light char, herbal, and roasted earthiness. Moderate amount of herbal/roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, roast, light char, herbal, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and robustness of roast/bready malt and moderate earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with fairly creamy, smooth, crisp, and lightly bready/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 4.3%. Overall this is an excellent dry stout. All around great balance, complexity, and robustness of roast/bready malt and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

O'hara's Stout on tap delivers the typical nitro-pour appearance; and beyond that it's a typical dry Irish stout, cleanly done, with just a mild touch of dark malt acidity, an appropriate amount of roastiness, a sprinkling of brown sugar, and a touch of bittersweet chocolate. It finishes dry with a touch of residual malt, a dull bitterness; and some soft roastiness. Quite enjoyable!

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an opaque black in color with some dark amber highlights and a light amount of gentle visible carbonation. The beer has a three finger tall dense foamy dark tan head that slowly reduces to thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light to moderate aromas of roasted malts with some light hints of peat and coffee.

T: Moderate flavors of roasted malts with some lighter notes of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. There is a light to moderate amount of bitterness but it does not linger for long.

M: Light to medium bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly on the thin side with some light amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: Between the lighter mouthfeel, low ABV, and good flavors this beer is quite easy to drink and very sessionable. I would have no problem knocking back a handful of these in an afternoon/evening.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque dark chocolate with golden trim and a large crown of malted milk ball colored foam. I'm a little surprised (and pleased) to see how dark Celtic Stout is. Maybe that means that it'll be more flavorful and more rich than most beer of this style. Lots of sticky, bubbly lace finds its way to the glass, putting the capper on one of the best Irish dry stouts looks in recent memory.

The nose is a good one and is characterized by aromas of roasted barley, coffee with cream and (much less so) sour dark fruit. There's even a pleasant dark butterscotchiness that appears as the beer warms. I was originally caught between scores due to a lack of power, but have no trouble granting the higher score now.

Not as impressive on the palate. I'm trying to recalibrate my expectations since beer of this style has very little in common with the American stouts that I love. Even so, it falls a bit short. I'd like to see a bit more malt to keep things comfortably above porter territory. Still moderately roasted, still bitter coffee grounds-like (sans cream), cocoa powdery and even more sour fruity.

It's amazing to me how Irish dry stouts can sometimes be more dry and more bitter than IPAs. This is a case in point. Although I rarely drink water alongside my beer, I'm tempted to do so while drinking this one. There's very little underlying sweetness and the finish is almost brutally flinty, biting and parching.

I have a hard time orienting my mouth to light-bodied stouts, but keeping style in mind, O'hara's Celtic hits pretty close to the ol' bull's-eye. It is, however, nowhere close to 'full bodied and luxuriously smooth' as the brewery would have us believe. Doesn't matter, it works well.

I've had enough Irish dry stouts to know that this one wouldn't blow me away. Having said that, it could easily be one of the best with a little more boldness on the flavor front. More malt would seem to be the obvious solution as long as it didn't eliminate the vast majority of the dry, chocolate wafer crispness that is the hallmark of the style. Worth a purchase.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.69/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in wheat glass extry cold from Brewhouse grille in Camp Hill, PA

A - Creamy milkshake thick tan head w/ opaque onyx body and deep brown highlights.

S - Mineral and sweet odors are noticed along with a faintly sour smell. A Floral yeasty aroma is present with pleasant esters.

T - Sweet malt and tinges of bitter and more mineral hints. Chocolate dryness and Irish ale yeast flavor with minimal saltiness in the finish.

M - Moderately carbonated, thick, chewy and slightly dry.

D - Substantial body and an easy drinking Stout recommended if Guiness or Murphy's are to your liking.

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Photo of smcolw
4.21/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Plenty of lace as the head subsides. More lace after each sip. Solid, long lasting beige head. The liquid is dark brown where only a minimal amount of light shines through.

The smell is mild. Cocoa and whole-grain bread are featured in the aroma. Light yeast to nose as well.

The balance of this stout is wonderful--there's nothing extreme about this stout. The flavor is dry, but the body is creamy. The black patent malt gives this stout a coffee flavor, yet the hop bitterness is not hidden. Excellent complexity. Blindfolded, I might guess that this is a Murphy's, my favorite of the Big Three.

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Photo of Jason
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11.2 oz brown bottle with a best before date on the back label.

Appearance: Dense bubbly tan lace, great retention. The color is a shade away from pitch black.

Smell: Aromatic roasted smell of coffee and burnt grain.

Taste & Mouth Feel: Velvety smooth with an amazing viscous carbonation with in a moderate body. Creamy malt with mild roasted notes that turn into a dusty charcoal flavor. Clean palate with a light hop bitterness, finish very dry with a lingering charcoal note.

Drinkability & Notes: Highly quaffable, this one gives Guinness Draft a run for its money IMO.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500 ML bottle into my Duvel tulip.

a - Pours a dark brown with 2 inches of tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of caramel and roasted malts, chocolate, and vanilla.

t - Tastes of chocolate, vanilla, and roasted malts. A bit bitter.

m - Medium body and high carbonation.

d - A decent stout. I enjoyed the vanilla which really came out in the smell. Would give another shot.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Oh no! The CANQuest (TM) seems to have momentarily derailed as I CANnot readily find anything new to review. Please stand by while techniCAN difficulties are worked out.

For the first time in three (?) tries, I have created a head that a) looks like something and b) is going to hang in despite the evening's humidity. I got two finger's worth of a thick, mocha-colored head that looked like the top of a root beer float. Nice. Color was a deep, dark, impenetrable brown. I could tell only at the edges of the beer, otherwise I would have said inky black. Nose was much sweeter than other beers of the style that I have reviewed today. Almost candy-like in terms of its sweetness. Warming, it had a light smokiness, but it still came off as sweet. Mouthfeel was full, almost creamy, with a pronounced smoky/charcoal bitterness accompanied by a caramel sweetness in the mouth. Very different from the rest of my day's stouts. Finish was dry, as advertised, with a sort of lingering tobacco taste. Not bad, but of the style, not the best, either.

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Photo of stakem
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with more than 2 fingers of slightly tanned head. Thick head receeds slowly leaving quite a bit of lace on the glassware. Sweet aroma of malt but also has the burnt grain touch as well. Little bit of hop presence in the background of the nose. Taste is roasted grains, chocolate and little bit of citrus hops. Light feel and moderate to low amount of carb. Quite drinkable.

Enjoying this dry irish treat along with some stout infused imported and aged cheese. Very nice.

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Photo of jwc215
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Best before 31.12.08:

Pours black with dark brown highlights along edges. A lasting tan head tops it off.

The smell is of charcoal roastiness and coffee grinds.

The taste is of roasted/smoky barley - roasted coffee grinds turns charcoalish. Dry, bitter, ashy finish.

Not "full-bodied and smooth" as indicated on the label, but has an adequate, appropriate fullness for the style. Roastiness gives the palate a bit of a kick.

Pour a pint (well - 11.2 oz., as that is the bottle size) and enjoy the roasty dryness that this one gives.

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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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