O'Hara's Irish Stout | Carlow Brewing Company

very good
943 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

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Ratings: 943 |  Reviews: 489
Photo of Josievan
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: O'Hara's Irish Stout pours a robust deep brown. The head is full and laces the glass nicely.

Smell: There's a hint of roastiness to the malt aroma.

Taste: O'Hara's has a big malt presence and is not overly bitter. I'm sure it's my imagination, but I swear that Irish dry stouts taste like potatoes, and this is no exception. Naturally then, this would pair great with a baked potato.

Mouthfeel: It's thinner than some stouts, but not so much as to be a detriment. Maybe not quite as dry as some of its peers, which is alright by me.

Drinkability: For the style, this is a pretty drinkable beer. I could see having a couple in one sitting.

Notes: Irish dry stouts are not one of my favorite styles. I think I'll always prefer the wetter, sweeter stouts. However, this is a fine example of what an Irish stout can be. If you're looking for a Guinness alternative, you can't go wrong with this.

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Photo of Cubsfan1087
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

O'Hara's pours like a traditional Irish stout, dark with thick head that coats the glass and lingers. Smells very rich. Tastes similar to other Irish stouts, but I also found it to be similar to a coffee stout. Maybe just a slight hint of coffee in the flavor. Drinkability is about average, the aftertaste is a little bitter. Overall, a very good beer.

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Photo of drtth
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a nonic pint glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As served, the beer is brown almost black with a ½" cap of lightly cream colored creamy foam that persists for quite a while, sipping leaves a coating of form and very little lacing showing. Eventually sipping leaves sheets of foam on the side with lots of scattered speckles of lacing in between. Even mid-way through the beer there is still a 1/8" cap of foam over the beer.

Smell: The aromas are faint, but soft and definite with some nice roasted malt and some dark chocolate character.

Taste: The flavors here include mild dark roasted, almost burnt, malt, some bittersweet chocolate and some dark coffee.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with a smooth rich creamy mouth feel from the persistent moderate carbonation. The medium lengthy finish is dry, with some bitter roasted malt present and no real obvious hop bitterness at all.

Drinkability: I found this one nicely drinkable and definitely would have another (in fact I almost did, but had a train to catch). I'll certainly not hesitate to drink another of these in the future. This was a good, well made example of the Irish dry stout.

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Photo of tpd975
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap St. Paddys Day.

A: Pours a nice shade of light black. Tall creamy off white head. Okay retention with some nice lace.

S: Aromas of roast malt and bakers chocolate.

T: Roasty for sure. Bitter bakers chocolate and mild coffee. A weird almost mineral type quality as well that I did not like.

M: Medium in body, pretty dry.

D: Not a favorite of mine even for the style.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black body with minimal tan head and lacing - thought there'd be more. Dry, bready/biscuity malt smell along with cocoa and coffee permeating in there as well. Dry, semi-smooth, roasted malt taste is prevelant along with hints of coffee and some chocolatey sweetness and finishes with a well-carb'd hop prickle. Light and balanced this is an enjoyable stout that's easy to drink.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It has arrived! An Irish stout I've been waiting to try for a very long time. 330 ml bottle consumed at a certain way, on to the beer:

It's black with a some hues of ruby red. The head formed on top is extremly thick, is tanned in color, and still holds on top until the last sip. Did I mention is shows some rings of lacing? A little coffee, husky malt and faint chocolate in the aroma. Also a light hop bite.

Light, but pleasant. Semi-sweet chocolate is present through. So is baker's chocolate. It's chocolate heaven! The aftertaste is on the dry side with a little roasted goodness. Light, but smooth in the mouth. Goes down really easy.

It may not come in one of those cool nitr-cans, but it's an Irish stout that can hold its own against the others. It worked well with the mac & cheese + andouille I made.

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

Dry roast aroma, pours with a short silky-smooth, creamy tan head. Dark ruby red-brown color with good clarity, although quite dense.

Well rounded flavor with solid roasted malts and just a bit of bitter on the back palate. Smooth carbonation in the mouth - all those tiny micro bubbles that created the head are creamy on the tongue as well. Would recommend this to anyone who enjoys stouts. As good or better than the last Guinness I had.

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Photo of DFHAle
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Now this beer has some serious head, foamy cloud like froth.

S - There is not much going on here with the smell, therefore, not much to describe.

T - Moderately carbonated with hints of coffee/expresso. A slight hoppy/dry finish.

M - Medium bodied and slightly creamy.

D - Could not drink this all night, maybe one or two.

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Photo of JunkYardJake
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Lancaster Dispensing Co. served in pint glass.
Appearance is very, well, stout-ish. Dark enough that in a dimly lit bar it's tough to pick out subtle details. Capped with a smallish creamy head that laced nicely. Not a whole lot going on with the nose. Some soft chocolate notes hidden under some burnt grains is about all I can pick up. Tastes sweet and malty with some small coffee flavors bleeding through. A little bit of hop bitterness on the backside that leaves a dry finish. Creamy yet viscous mouthfeel. A good stout that goes down smooth and quickly.

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Photo of VTaler
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this the morning i was leaving montreal and going back to the states.

**Served at room temperature**

A - Nice dark reddish color with a pretty small head for a stout
S - Coffee
T - Tasted like a morning coffee. Also a small sour taste with hints of dried fruit. I remember drinking a coffee earlier on and thinking how similar they both tasted.
M - Medium and very fizzy
D - This might have been because it was at room temperature and i was really hungover but it was not very drinkable

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Photo of montecristo2
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a nonic glass.

Served at 45 degrees.

Nice head, almost two fingers, thick bubbly head and good lacing on the glass.

Initial flavors-roasty, malty

Pours dark-held up to a light shows a dark chocolate color.

Tasty, drinkable and full of flavor. Should go perfect with my corned beef and cabbage dinner!

Will definitely buy this again.

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

Poured a nice rich dark brown with a mocha head of two fingers atop it which laced nicely. The aroma of the beer is great with notes of chocolate, molasses, malt and a touch of coffee behind it. The taste was much the same with the flavours being more muted, but the rich stout body coating your mouth and sticking there. Creamy in your mouth with low carbonation leaving the beer to linger and develop flavours. Thoroughly enjoyable.

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Photo of ProfessorHomer
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2

What a fantastic dry stout!

Must be a new label on mine, it is listed as an "irish stout" not "celtic stout".

A: pure black, a creamy, tiny-bubbled and populated long-lasted tan head head, reminiscent of the nitrogen-widget Guinness cans. Spidery lacing left behind on the glass for long after.

S: Clean, chocolate aroma, strong roasted barley nose.

T: of chocolate, caramel and dark-roast coffee. Great dry, roasted malt aftertaste. Nicely-tailored dry hop bitterness.

M: Creamy with a very smooth carbonation, tiny bubbles.

This is one fantastic, dry stout. Methinks sublime-even.

Nice body, fantastic taste for a 4.3% ABV beer. A dry stout session beer? Blows the doors off Guinness - O'Hara's is richer, creamier, and better-balanced with those chocolate coffee flavors and the nice, smooth, dry lingertaste. And what a beautiful body. Best stout I have had in years. Highly recommended!

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Photo of MP72
3.91/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- poured into an imperial nonic very dark with a nice thick white head//almost jet black.

S-roasted malts and coffee

T-coffee hops and a little bitter chocolate

M-velvety smooth low carbonation

D- Very good low ABV and decent flavor. Not to mention the health perks of a dark brew.

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown, near black color. Has a light tan chunky head, with nice lace. The head settles to a lace island, but has great lace as you drink.

This brew smells of light roasted malts and hops, chocolate sweetness.

This brew tastes smooth and light bodied as far as mouth feel goes. I was expecting a thicker mouthfeel. Brew has a roasted malt flavor; chocolate, coffee, a slight metallic taste. Brew is somewhat carbonated. The brew finishes slightly bitter.

This brew is a sessionable brew for sure. The light mouthfeel which was a bit unexpected makes it very drinkable. A better option then the Guinness Drought brew. Good brew.

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Photo of brewdoc75
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I used to love Guinness back in the day. Over the years, either my taste has evolved or Guinness has become to watered down, so I've lost my taste for it. Ever since then, I have been looking for a replacement.

A: Dark black with ruby hues. Strong, off-white, almost dirty looking head. Starts off at 2 inches and takes a long time to die down to a 1/2 inch lasting head. Moderate carbonation.

S: Roasty, slightly smoky, and a hint of metal. Faint sweetness and maybe some chocolate.

T: Lots of roastiness. It has several levels of roast. Some bitter, charcoal flavors at first. This is followed by some faint dark chocolate flavors. A touch of dark roast coffee as well. The rest is a slightly sweet malt profile followed by the hops. The hops are a bit soapy in the end, but otherwise ok.

M: Starts off silkly and smooth and ends very dry. Right on for the style. The bitterness from the roasted malts last a little longer than I'd like, but otherwise stellar.

D: A solid Dry Irish Stout. Not my favorite (so far that is Beamish), but pretty good. Quite drinkable at a nice 4.3%. A good replacement for that watered down Guinness. Looking forward to trying the Celebration Stout.

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Photo of ZorPrime
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer is dark black. The head is brown color and made up of big bubbles. A very creamy looks. The aroma is chocolaty with some vanilla notes. I get some honey too. The taste is more milk chocolate than anything else. A light bitterness in the after-taste. Dense and creamy, I like this one. Drinkability is high.

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Photo of jokelahoma
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker at Old Chicago in Olathe, KS.

Pours a nice, nearly opaque black, with only slight traces of ruby hues around the edges. Large rocky heads lasts a long time.

As one would want in an Irish stout, the nose is full of roasted barley. There's a sniff of sweetness here too, almost caramel. Whether from malts or brewing process, the aroma compliments the more acrid roasted grain smells, creating a complexity usually absent when smelling a dry Irish stout.

First thing one notices when taking a sip is the brewer isn't shy about roasted barley usage. This is definitely a good thing. When combined with the carbonation, it gives the beer a pronounced bite that is missing in many examples of the style. After that initial kick, the drink settles into a sweet finish that disappears quickly, leaving only the lingering roasted, burnt flavor. A very good start, and an equally good finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit of a letdown. It's noticeably thinner than many stouts. That may very well be due to one being used to stouts being delivered on nitro while this is CO2 only. Whatever the cause, it really doesn't harm the beer. It is noticeable, however.

Overall, this is an impressive example of the style. Roasty without going overboard, well balanced, and unmistakably a stout. Recommended if you can find it.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.06/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle, finally this shows up in the Southland, I've been dying to try it,

A: Pours black with a creamy off-white/tan head. Great head retention and some nice lace. Looks better than a lot of nitro stouts.

S: Roasted malt and dark chocolate shavings.

T: Great dark malt flavour with a hint of iron without going to burnt or charcoal flavours which I liked. Nice finish with milk chocolate, a hint of sugar, and a bit of leather.

M: Crisp biting carbonation, but finishes very soft and true, easy.

D: While not as gulpable as the nitro stouts, this is a great session ale and something I'd like to revisit on St. Patrick's Day.

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

Served from a 12oz bottle in an O'Hara's pint glass at between fridge and cellar temperature.

A - Dark mahogany in the pour, and almost opaque in the glass. A beautifully pillowy tan head pushes up a full inch and a half even with a fairly tame pour. As the head slowly subsides, it clings quite stickily to the glass, refusing to give up any real estate. Lacing continues to be ringy and conspicuous. Head retention is excellent, completely keeping the surface of the beer hidden.

S - Heavily roasted malts and wet coffee grounds. Simple, but on par for the style.

T - Big, roasted toasted and almost burnt malts. Powdery sweetness like shaved super dark chocolate. Rounds out towards the end with a delicious hop dryness that provides some balancing bittering without putting the squeeze on the bitter taste buds. Full of flavor, but only moderate in the body, which is a key factor in a good session stout.

M - Quick and watery coming in with only a touch of slickness. Carbonation is spot-on -- light and playful, providing a gentle swell in the body, and making the swallow robust and satisfying.

D - This beer packs a world of flavor that's missing from many offerings in this style. It's tasty, easy to drink, and low ABV to boot, making it a fantastic choice for sessioning. Another world-class offering from Carlow Brewing.

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Photo of ReFill31
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle served into a Pint glass.

A : Nice black color with little head. Unfortunately, it does not stays on very long

S : Really inviting. We can smell chocolate. The aroma is kinda sweet.

T : The taste is also sweet, with chocolate notes.

M : Medium bodied, low carbonation

D : Really easy to drink, and with the low ABV, it would be really easy to open another one right away.

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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 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 sunrisesolara
4.17/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

.5L emptied into a pint glass.

A: Poured jet black with just a hint of copper as the light diffused through it. Tan 2-finger head which settles to a trace ring with puffy islands drifting throughout. Generous lacing.

S: The smell is rich, with roasted barley immediately apparent, with a faint vanilla sweetness layered finally with hints of dark chocolate at the end. The longer I smell this beer, the sweeter it gets.

M: The mouthfeel is creamy, perhaps a bit more watery than I supposed it would be. There is a nice carbonation here.

T: The taste follows closely on the heels of the promising scents, with the roasted barley malts providing a nice textured body and a spicy bite of hops just at the end. The middle is reminicent of dark bread which has been in the oven for slightly too long.

D: This is the perfect beer for a relaxing evening. I could only put back a few of these before the rich flavors overwhelmed me, but definitely worth the price.

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Photo of ujsplace
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pub glass...

Head is thick and puffed with nice chunky islands and nice lacing. Nearly black in color with the faintest amber hue at the very bottom edge of the glass.

Smells of burnt caramel malts, and faint coffee.

Roasted caramel-like malts and coffee like hop bitters.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and on the lighter side.

This is a very drinkable Irish stout and pretty much what you could expect for the style.

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O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 943 ratings.
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