O'Hara's Irish Stout | Carlow Brewing Company

very good
950 Ratings
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 950 |  Reviews: 491
Photo of marty21
3.21/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours black with 2.5 fingers worth of tan creamy head. Settles to a nice cap and left a decent amount of lacing on the glass.

S: Lot's of burnt roasted malt. Not much else.

T: Smokey burnt malt taste. Not something I particularly enjoy.

M: Medium carbonation with a light to medium body.

O: The first time I had this I liked it a lot but this time the taste completely turned me off. I'm not sure what it was but I didn't enjoy it too much.

 452 characters

Photo of augustgarage
3.51/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Nitro-tap @ Blue Palms Brewhouse - keg is probably 12 days old now (this is a hold over from St. Patrick's Day I think), so freshness may be playing a role in my impressions - served in a nonic.

Lovely cascading coffee-ice-cream-colored foam, eventually builds/settles to a fat lasting finger of heavy cream. Dark brown, though rufous highlights reveal an unlikely clarity. Big layers of dense sticky lacing.

Faintly nutty aromatics, but otherwise very restrained, even as it warms.

Nutty, toasy, barley-laden palate entry. There is a tartness that fades away into the finish which has hints of caramel and diacetyl and is both bready and relatively dry.

Creamy, rich, and velvety mouthfeel - the nitro is working it's magic here.

Flavorful, yet flawed; it improves a bit when it warms, but while it's sessionable, I didn't really care for another pint.

 863 characters

Photo of Nerudamann
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look - jet black in color, with about an inch of dark tan-colored foam, with a bit of a purple-ish hue, that dissipates somewhat slowly.

Smell - strong and "stouty". I don't smell the roasted aroma, but maybe a bit of molasses, or maybe somewhat of a roasted malt.

Taste and Mouthfeel - indeed a bit of a "dry" character. The front of the tongue almost doesn't even seem to react at all. It's mostly felt on the top middle of the tongue and the back of the palate. Slight roasted qualities in the middle and finish. Aftertaste is mellow. Texture is fairly light, but well-balanced.

Overall - good brew, very drinkable, not too heavy. Somewhat complex, but not very. Good taste.

 721 characters

Photo of yesyouam
4.09/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

O'Hara's Irish Stout is an opaque black beer with a dense, light brown foam that has outstanding retention and lacing. It's slightly sweet with a little roast and cardboard flavor. It's pretty full bodied; smooth with a dry finish. It's lightly flavored and roasty; dry with a green bitterness at the finish. It has a bitter, roasted aftertaste. It's incredibly sessionable.

 374 characters

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured half the bottle in my corned beef. Drank this other half.

Pours a super dark black. Off white head. Good lacing.

Aroma is super roasty. Little bit of caramel.

Taste is super roasty and dry. Like guinness but with more roast. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel is not as smooth and silky like I like my Guinness and has alot more carb.

Overall a good Irish stout with more flavor than Guinness but lacks the mouthfeel Guinness benefits from with the nitro cans and bottles.

 475 characters

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.

 600 characters

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

Something in this beer did not convince me. I enjoyed it but I felt like it was a bit too dry (perhaps it has to do with the style). There is a coffee aroma to it, which I would describe as subtle for a stout.
Sweet and hoppy, I still like to keep a couple handy when I feel like having a simple stout.

 302 characters

Photo of ZenAgnostic
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Very fine creamy one-finger offwhite head that will never die and hangs onto the sides of the glass like it was painted there. Impervious black body with only a small glimmer of dark ruby red light making it through the deep blackness.

Smell - Like an espresso. Heck, it even looks like one. Slight sweetness like bitter chocolate and caramel. Faint hints of licorice.

Taste - Deep coffee taste with tobacco and fragrant roasted wood. Noticable alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Could have a bit more carbonation to balance out the bitterness and make it feel lighter in the mouth.

Drinkability - Especially for this style, has good drinkability. Like I said, could use a bit more carbonation though, so it's not getting a 4.5

 730 characters

Photo of ScorpyX
3.61/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Very Dark pour, rather bubbly. Less dense, finger width head which leaves a lot of lacing behind.

S: Chocolate and cherries in the smell.

T: Coffee coffee comes first with sweetness that follows. The Taste definitely has a roasted quality to it.

M: Surprisingly rather light in body, not expected for an Irish stout. On the lighter end of medium-bodied

D: Pretty good drinkability, but maybe a little too sweet. Good example of the style, though there are better out there.

 481 characters

Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.81/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

appearance; tan head with nice retention and lacing. Very dark brown body but still transparent.

smell; coffee roast and burnt toast. Mild sweetness mixed with resiny hops.

taste; roasted malts with all sorts of burnt flavors. Finishes a liitle sweet, before resiny hops take control and blast the palate with a dry and bitter finish, which lingers into the aftertaste, with some burnt flavors on the side.

mouthfeel; quite froathy and creamy. On the lighter side of heavy body, not so much chewy, as it is stick and slick in the finish. Overall, weak carbonation.

drinkability; an easy drink but the aftertaste is just a little unbalanced with the rest of the brew....somewhat distasteful but not awful.

 708 characters

Photo of titosupertramp
4.45/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at Fine Wines Off License in Limerick, IE.

A: About as dark as it gets for a light stout..not a lot of amber/ruby colored at the bottom of the glass. Finger of a half of tan, rocky head. Minimal lacing.

S: Chocolate, toffee, a little coffee...prune maybe? Has a dark fruit quality to it. Very nice.

T: Everything from the nose..get a little bit of a peaty flavor as well. The dark fruit that I'm getting is a nice surprise for an Irish stout. Nice balance with sweet and roasted flavors. Delicious.

M: Medium bodied, good carbonation, slightly dry finish.

D: Very high. I could see myself drinking a few of these over the coarse of an evening. As far as light stouts go, O'Hara's is as good as it gets. A pleasure to drink.

 738 characters

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.

 960 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Moderately light aroma of roasted malt and tobacco with faint notes of caramel and vanilla. Very dark color, thick, off-white head - looks really nice. Malt-forward flavour, light coffee together with earthy hops. Lightly minerally and metallic. The mouthfeel is light, unfortunately a bit watery on the palate. Mediocre, drinks pretty good.

 341 characters

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.

 559 characters

Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Straight pour into a Guinness imperial pint glass (which I am using because of the Irish theme). The color is black and almost opaque; just a tiny bit of light passed through when I held it to my lamp. Four fingers of thick, tan head (which I wanted) dissipated to leave a billowy lacing and trails along the glass. I really like the fact this Irish stout does not come with a widget.

Smell: Typical dry stout aroma, which is surprising since it does not have any kind of nitro boost. Major roasted characters of chocolate, coffee, and toffee provide a backbone that is sweetened by a lacto creaminess. Or maybe that is just the affect of the bottle conditioning. There are also aromas of dark fruit and hazelnut.

Taste: Very light mouthfeel, reminiscent of the Big Three, and minor carbonation. The taste almost mirrors the smell, but the flavors are much more subdued; it has that "stout light" feel. Roasted chocolate and coffee, cocoa, a little toffee, some dark fruit plum, and nutmeg. It has a nice hop bite to it, which is pleasantly surprising.

Drinkability: I think this is now my favorite Irish dry stout. It has a lot of bite and character. Very enjoyable.

 1,182 characters

Photo of riored4v
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 1/22/11

Poured in to a pint glass. Black body. 1.5 finger, dark tan head. Light lacing with a rocky head.

Smell was slightly creamy and chocolatey aroma. Good amount of toasted malt and coffee notes.

Taste had a light bitterness. Mild roast and coffee flavors. Slightly thin and dry... Guiness-like. Notes of chocolate.

Light body with medium carbonation. Dry finish.

Good drinkability. Mellow flavors and low abv.

 431 characters

Photo of AgentMunky
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a half-litre bottle into a pint glass.

A: Nice creamy head, but with less than average retention. Very dark with reddish edges; opaque. Great looking stout!

S: Dry hops dominate with sweet chocolate malt coming in second. Strong, alluring, wonderful. A sour cranberryish scent is a bit out of place.

T: The tartess carries over into a strange coppery bitterness that I don't like. However, it isn't obtrusive, and it fades from my attention fairly quickly. Otherwise, the taste is light, hopped, and nicely bitter. The aftertaste is clean but too brief.

M: A good admixture of creamy, dry, and carbonated. Very good.

D: Surprisingly good and very drinkable. If only the taste were a little better (less sour, more bitter) then O'Hara's would make my shortlist of stouts.

 787 characters

Photo of samie85
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a deep black color with a two finger light brown head.

S-Deep, dark fruit notes with a bit of roasted barley and some coffee notes.

T-Follows the nose with dark fruit notes with a little bit of roast and a dry finish.

M-Very lightly carbonated with a light to medium body and a smooth and drying feel.

D-Insanely drinkable and very different from other Irish Dry Stouts I've had; which is actually a good thing.

 423 characters

Photo of pioppo
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - An incredible dark brown with a quite fine and persistent dark beige foam.

S - A very good scent of barley coffee. Also smells of roasted, caramel and cocoa. In the final also liquorice, plum and herbaceous by hop.

T - A little of acidity and a good level of bitterness. There's also a sentor of burned root.

M - Very little body and alcohol for this dry beer with an aftertaste of bitter and roasted.

D - I don't like so much this style but it's a good stout even if perhaps a little flat..

 499 characters

Photo of tburus
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark caramel liquid with a one-finger, light tan head that dissolved quickly into a rim of lace and a small collection in the center. Not as cool looking as Guinness, but I'm not drinking a picture.

Smell: Obvious roasted smell with spicy/sour notes. Different and interesting for the style.

Taste: Tingle of carbonation on the front, followed by strong roasted taste and a bit of sweetness as it warms. Much more pronounced taste than Guinness. More flavor imparted from the roasting, less just plain bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Definitely picking up the roasted grain flavor. Almost burnt. It's meatier than most roasted malts; again, not bitter. It's nice.

Drinkability: Very nice beer. I had been wanting to find and try this for a while and I was not disappointed. Probably not a better Irish Dry Stout than Three Floyd's Black Sun, but with a 4-pack of it being cheaper than a bomber of FFF that has to be taken into consideration. Will definitely be looking into getting more of these as it's a great anytime beer with it's easy taste and low ABV.

 1,092 characters

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.

 303 characters

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

500mL bottle poured into pint glass

Pours a deep black with faint brown tones. A fairly thick head bubbles up and retains pretty well with tan color, leaving spotty lacing around the glass.

Toasted grain, breadiness, light hops, notes of chocolate and toffee in the nose.

Nice malt right up front with some lighter caramel and bitter chocolate. Bits of coffee and grain flutter through. Slight hop bitterness is apparent with some more breadiness. Finishes pretty crisp and dry, with a touch of lingering flavor.

Thinner body, slightly dry and chewy, decent carbonation. Drinks smooth and easy, overall a pretty nice Irish stout, and the lower ABV is a nice change of pace.

 680 characters

Photo of smbarz
3.87/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a very dark brown, almost black with dark brown/copper light peering through the sides of the glass. The off-white head is a thick and creamy crown that remains and leaves dense lacing down the glass.
The bouquet gives anise, very dark chocolate, roasted grain, and slight dark cherry aromas.
The flavor brings out more of the dark chocolate and light anise.
The mouthfeel is velvety and roles across the tongue with ease, finishing clean. The carbonation is low. This is a very easy drinking stout that would be great by a fire or with roasted duck or oysters.

 576 characters

Photo of anakar
3.16/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Disappointing. I've had Guinness and I've had Murphy's, and this one is supposed to outdo them both but it just won't. It's not as bitter as Murphy's, not as smooth as Guinness ans it's pretty weak. Looks - Good, but again, not quite as good as the (cheaper) competition.

 271 characters

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.36/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle poured into a Guinness imperial pint. 4.3% ABV, Neck date is smudged off.

A - Totally clear on the pour, this dark beer has amber highlights in the glass and is topped by a three-finger grey-ish tan head. Fantastic retention and thick, patchy lace is left over.

S - Roasted chocolate malts certainly do have a 'discernible bite', as the label describes, with a nice coffee aroma but even still a grainy smell comes through. Cocoa, toast, and hints of oak give it some depth. Slight tobacco on the finish.

T - Very dry roasted malt doesn't offer much beyond a chocolate and coffee flavored piece of dry toast. Somewhat grainy to the finish.

M - Smooth and soft medium body in this is very nice with a well-carbonated but non-intrusive finish. Drier than the desert with a mild acrid bitterness.

D - This is one roasted dry Irish stout. It's good but not the most drinkable. Enjoyable to say the least, it's a nice beer to have on hand during St. Patty's.

 973 characters

O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 950 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.