O'Hara's Irish Stout | Carlow Brewing Company

very good
485 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: 485 | Ratings: 935
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 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.


 611 characters

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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Photo of kevinlater
2.99/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle into nonic pint, poured on november 24, 2014. "BB 28 09 15".

a: a very dark, soy sauce-esque hue, with dark brown tinges at the edges. three fingers of quickly-fading light brown head

s: chocolate, roast, smoke, slight dark fruit, and an odd salty soy sauce note

t: getting that salty, earthy soy sauce here, but there are also notes of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and mild raisin. closes out with a nice coffee-infused smoky dryness

m: light but not watery. medium, somewhat prickly carbonation

o: the stout flavours are present and tasty, but are marred by the salty taste

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Photo of FLima
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pitch black color with a thin caramel head with medium retention.
Bold roasted malty aroma with notes of coffee and mild licorice.
Likewise, intense roasted and even char notes with hints of coffee, earthy hops, some cocoa and tobacco. Quite dry aftertaste with a long lasting roasted and burnt notes.
Light to medium body with appropriate carbonation.
Original Irish Stout reference for the style, not sweet and very assertive on roasted flavors. This is how an Irish Stout should be. High drinkability and sure better than Guinness.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle served cool into a pint glass. Purchased for $3.75 CDN from LCBO.

Appearance - midnight black beer is poured, topped by a finger and a bit of tan foam with moderate retention.

Smell - tobacco, leather and peat.

Taste - just like the nose, tobacco leather and tons of peat, giving it a very earthy flavor that is also dry. Some coffee rounds things out on the finish.

Mouthfeel - smooth and full bided yet thin while in the mouth making this very drinkable. Carbonation is present but melds nicely with the silky feel.

Overall - a rich and roasty stout with more dank and earthy flavours than many in the style, however very enjoyable as so often this style goes the coffee route of things. A very good stout.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500 mL bottle from the LCBO; best before Sept 28 2015. I believe this may technically be the first actual authentic Irish beer I've ever had, because the Guinness products sold in this country are also brewed here, rather than in Ireland. Served slightly chilled.

Pours a very dark brown colour - easily mistaken for black - and topped at first with one finger of creamy, light beige-coloured froth. It wilts slowly over the next few minutes, with only a thin cap and collar surviving the ordeal. The aroma is enticing, consisting mostly of roasted barley, dark-roasted coffee, milk chocolate and some earthy, herbal undertones. Very nice so far.

Considering the low abv, this is a very full-flavoured, satisfying dry stout. Roasted malts dominate from start to finish, providing a mixture of milk chocolate, cocoa and espresso that is sure to delight dark ale fans. A slight hint of Medjool date sweetness comes through mid-sip, with the tail end of the profile becoming increasingly roasty. There is a hint of earthy bitterness, anise and dark chocolate toward the end, but these all fade rapidly, leaving nothing but dryness behind on the palate. Light-medium in body, with relatively low carbonation levels that provide a slightly prickly feel in the mouth, and a smooth mouthfeel overall.

Final Grade: 4.15, an A-. O'Hara's Irish Stout is a fantastic example of a quintessential Irish session stout, and one of the finest examples of this style that I have ever had the pleasure of trying. They did not skimp on the roasted malts, as this light stout provides far more roasty chocolate and espresso goodness than 'the leading Irish brand' could ever hope to muster. This is a skilfully-brewed beer, and a serious crowd-pleaser - you don't need to be a beer geek to appreciate this one. Session stout fans should consider O'Hara's a must-try.

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Photo of IchLiebeBier
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Appearance: dark chestnut body with big frothy tan head after aggressive pour.

Smell: dark malts and heavy roasted grains

Taste: roasted grains dominate from the start; sweet taste starts in the mid and lingers towards the finish; the bitter grains stick around and give a seemingly dry finish. I can't detect much else in the flavor due to the roasted grains.

Mouthfeel: fairly well carbonated and medium bodied

Remarks: pretty tasty overall

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O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 935 ratings.
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