O'Hara's Irish Stout | Carlow Brewing Company

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
O'Hara's Irish StoutO'Hara's Irish Stout
Very Good
961 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

Bros Score:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 961 |  Reviews: 493
Photo of woodychandler
3.34/5  rDev -13.7%
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.

 1,045 characters

Photo of OtherShoe2
2.86/5  rDev -26.1%
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.

 830 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

 406 characters

Photo of hoplover82
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with notes of ruby when held to the light. The head stays very well and leaves pretty nice rocky lacing.

The aroma is haint of anything to say the least. All I smell is very faint chocolate and pale malts. Very unimpressive indeed.

The flavor is a little more interesting with bitter chocolate and pale malts and a long semmi sweet roasty caramel finish.

The mouthfeel is clean and a dry finish. Full carbonation which seems right for the style.

Very drinkable and sessionable indeed. A little more interesting and I'd be impressed with this beer.

 567 characters

Photo of LacquerHead
3.71/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this out of a pint glass.

A: Dark like a stout should be. When held up to the light there was very little translucence. Micro bubbles formed as I poured it and the result was a good foamy head that held on all the way to the end.

S: The aroma was not very strong.

T: My first impression was, coffee mixed with toffee. I thought it tasted kind of mild for a stout. As the beer neared the end of the glass the initial flavors seemed to meld into one another.

D: Good drinkability; compared to other heavier stouts I've tried, this beer seemed to go down fast.

Overall I would recommend this as a milder alternative to the more heavier stouts. To me it was not outstanding but it had a good drinkability. I would probably buy this again in a bottle or try it on tap as an alternative to Guinness

 806 characters

Photo of drabmuh
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer is black (Jan 2010) and forms a thin brown head of tiny bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Looks OK.

Kind of a coffee aroma to this beer. Level is appropriate, smells good.

Beer is thin and has some roast in the back. Minimal sweetness. The mouthfeel is OK to good. I'm giving this beer the benefit of the doubt due to the low alcohol content. I'm not sure I would get it again but its a pretty good beer overall.

 431 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a dimple mug) Best before date see bottle/cap?
A- This beer has a crystal clear but opaque black body with a lumpy oatmeal tan head and big bubbles stuck to the base of the glass.
S- The fruity blueberry quality to the roasted black malt has a slight musty/smoky hint in the finish. There is a peaberry coffee note in the finish.
T- The roasted chocolate malt has a slight smokey tart quality to it with a berry flavor that leans toward blueberry. The finish is pretty dry, with a very brief char hint lingering.
M- This beer has a light mouthfeel with a slight slippery texture, and no alcohol heat.
D- This beer has a nice start with some nice depth and is impressive for a 4.3%ABV. This is a very sessionable beer but the beery qualities grows a bit to much as it warms.

 790 characters

Photo of velkyal
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sight - Very dark, ivory head

Smell - roasted grains, touch of dark chocolate

Taste - light chocolate and coffee, not overly in your face

Sweet - 2/5
Bitter - 2/5

O'Hara's is a stout that I have enjoyed many times, both on draft and from the bottle, and it never fails to hit the mark. Going out on a limb, this is probably the best Irish stout from Ireland I have ever had.

 378 characters

Photo of MaxBrews
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very excited to try this stout, after much trouble finding it in Connecticut, I bought this bottle in New York City.

When poured this beer appears pitch black, however when holding it up to light it reveals purple hues. Generally I would describe this beer as black in the middle with deep red hues around the edges. With an average pour there's a two finger bone white head head, with a little vigor you could produce much more. The lacing is firm and remains a thick bone white head through out and clings to the glass in a sticky fashion. This beer would look epic with a nitro tap.

The smell is mainly of chocolate malt which gives all sorts of smells that resemble coffee, chocolate and chocolate malt balls.

O'hara's Irish Stout gives a pleasant roasted malt taste that resembles its smell. As simple as it is perfectly balanced, there are no off flavors.

For a smaller beer the body is bigger. The use of roasted malt gives a slightly dry sensation in the mouth, but not nearly as dry as other stouts. A mild pleasant bitterness finishes this.

This beer is everything I want in an Irish stout. Plenty of flavor, body and goes down easily. Don't let the alcohol content fool you, this is a full flavored beer. The low alcohol content means you can have a few and not loose your head. This is the defining session stout for me. I should of bought more (sigh)

 1,372 characters

Photo of biglite351
2.98/5  rDev -23%
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.

 555 characters

Photo of beveritt
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From notes:

Arrives in a shaker pint with 1/2 finger of light tan head. This sticks around for quite awhile. The beer itself is essentially black with hints of a ruddy brown around the edges.

Smell: Slightly tangy smell of nitrogen with hint of creaminess.

Taste: Slight sour tang upfront with a middle of creaminess and a mild roasted barley bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average to below average carbonation. Great body, as expected.

Drinkability: What can I say, they could have very well brought me a Guinness.

 526 characters

Photo of beerguy101
2.67/5  rDev -31%
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.

 431 characters

Photo of dbossman
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Nearly black with a redish tint when held up to light; tan frothy head with great retention; lacing is average

S: Roasted malts up front; also a wet grainy aroma; subtle chocolate but fairly muted aromas overall

T: Wonderful roasted malts up front; subtle hints of coffee, vanilla, and chocolate seem to hide beneath the malty backbone; flavors rest on the roof of the mouth and persist long after the beer has been there

F: Creamy, even mouth feel

D: A very drinkable and delicious stout; one of my favorites of the style and definitely one of my favorites from Ireland

 577 characters

Photo of Bung
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. Light black pour, a thin layer of white head. Actually sustains pretty well.

Roast malt, ashy, earthy aroma. Some light chocolate and cocoa.

Taste is matching, roast malt and some peat. Dark chocolate and some anise to give a dry bitterness. Has that typical metallic effect for an Irish stout. Finishes very clean, if a bit thin.

Nearly creamy, but maybe a tad watery. Obviously no abv presence whatsoever.

Kind of like a better version of Guiness. Solid, excellent session brew for those that prefer a dark brew. A good, readily available dry stout.

 562 characters

Photo of eat
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a syrupy black; no light gets through this one. My pint retained a blanket of mocha head with not much lacing.

Smells of chocolate malt, a decent amount of hops, molasses, caramel, toast, light minerals and coffee. Pretty nice.

Very smooth, light flavour. Lots of roasted malt (with almost the slightest touch of smoke), bits of dark chocolate and coffee, minerals and a little more hops than usual for the style. The earthy hops linger on the finish but don't create much drying. It's not complex but I'm sure it isn't intended to be. Maybe I would prefer a bit more malt, though it is pretty well-balanced.

For a beer of 4.3% ABV the body is huge, which is a good quality for a stout of any style. Although the body is big, it doesn't come off feeling heavy like Guinness does. I could drink a few of these. Very lightly carbonated, appropriately.

This is a really nice, solidly brewed stout I'd love to drink this again sometime. Probably one of the better beers under 5% ABV I've tried. Incredibly sessionable for a stout. Definitely superior to the "Guinness" you can get here in Canada.

 1,106 characters

Photo of NefariousR
4.77/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from an 11.2oz. glass bottle into a pint glass.

A - Pours black with light ruby notes around the edges with a frothy light-tan.

S - Sweet maltiness, with a little bit of dark chocolate.

T - The taste follows through from the smell, with a strong malt sweetness. There's also a pleasant roasted bite with almost no bitterness.

M - Light-bodied, but not so much as Guinness or most other Irish stouts. Just a bit of carbonated tingle on the throat.

D - A fantastic Irish Dry Stout, my favorite of this particular style, in fact; Pick it up if you can.

 561 characters

Photo of farrago
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big frothy head, close to filling half the glass if you're not careful, milkshake in look, has the dark brown as well as air-filled foam which creates a hilly landscape across the surface, the lacing shows stickiness and width. Fully opaque black liquid, you can stop typing at that. Nose has a curious sour, lactose edge to it, baking dough and cake mix, maybe barley, ground coffee, raw nuts, more roast than sweeter malts, more like a punch to your shoulder than a staccato burst of scents. Medium-bodied, dryness deadens the tongue sufficiently that you don't sense much movement or overall richness. Cocoa powder, blanched almonds, coffee, malt, all without noticeable sweetness. The carbonation just uneven enough to prevent a creamy, softer profile. Mineral water and vague herbaceousness draw you further away from any chocolate or vanilla flavors. Almost rugged, as if it's the beer correlate of a humble "country wine." Gives you some twist at the end.

 962 characters

Photo of diamondc
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before Jan '11 for less than $2.

A: Looks great in a Duvel tulip. More of a dark brown than black tint, with an insane head. Decent lacing all the way down to the last sip.

S: Lots of fruit on this one, overtaking the chocolate & coffee roastedness. Quite good and unexpected.

T: Espresso, char-burnt flavors, dark chocolate, a little bit of metal, with more dark fruits.

M/D: A surprising stout, not a big fan of the Irish Dry Stouts, but this one has full of flavor for a relatively low abv.

 504 characters

Photo of Josievan
3.83/5  rDev -1%
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.

 908 characters

Photo of Cubsfan1087
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 353 characters

Photo of drtth
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

 1,215 characters

Photo of tpd975
3.23/5  rDev -16.5%
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.

 378 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

 387 characters

Photo of DoubleJ
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

 816 characters

Photo of tubacharlie
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 441 characters

O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 961 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded 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.