O'Hara's Irish Stout | Carlow Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
87
very good
477 Reviews
O'Hara's Irish StoutO'Hara's Irish Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Carlow Brewing Company
Ireland | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
477
Ratings:
907
Avg:
3.88
pDev:
16.24%
 
 
Wants:
66
Gots:
92
For Trade:
0
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Reviews: 477 | Ratings: 907
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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Photo of seedyone
4/5  rDev +3.1%

03/15/12 On Tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Full bodied, low ABV but with flavor. No upfront espresso/coffee or chocolate just a creamy/buttery toasted malty flavor.

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Photo of DoktorEd
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Poured into a tulip glass, formed a thin head that dissipated rather quickly, decent amount of carbonation. Roasted malt is pretty strong with this one.

Had a somewhat thin consistency, definitely thinner than what I'd expect from a typical Irish stout. Very drinkable. The carbonation is actually rather pleasant. Not a whole lot of bitterness to it, just very warm hints of coffee and a very smooth maltiness. Definitely worth buying.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle purchased at AJ's Beer Warehouse in Henrietta, NY.

Pours an inky dark black, with a foamy one inch head, and ample lacing. Lots of visible carbonation.

Smells like roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate.

This is one of the better Irish stouts I've had. Fairly bitter roastiness, along with some espresso beans, and bitter cocoa powder. Slightly musty flavor. The malt flavor on this one is practically a burnt charcoal feel, but it's not overpowering.

This one has a fairly light body, and is slightly watery, but I expect that with these stouts. There is luckily a medium amount of carbonation- I was worried it would be too high after seeing the visible carbonation.

This kicks the crap out of most Irish dry stouts. It'll never be my favorite style, but I'd get this one again.

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Photo of flyingpig
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pint on-tap at The Ha'Penny Bridge Inn, Dublin (€6.00):
Dark & opaque, almost black with red tinges & topped with a creamy, beige, 2cm head with excellent retention and a layer of creamy lacing on the sides.

Medium roasted malts initially, some darker notes & hints of chocolate with some sweetness. I got the odd creamy, almost milk chocolate like smells & there was and earthy bitterness towards the end as well.

Light malts & roasted with earthy flavours & some coffee. I got some sweetness and chocolate with touches of bitterness & creamy flavours. It was lighter than expected but it went down well and was quite enjoyable.

Silky smooth, it went down incredibly easily. Medium body which was lighter than I would have expected and the carbonation levels were soft before a dry & light bitterness rounded things off.

A pretty good beer & definitely a nice alternative to Guinness. The beer was a little lighter than you might expect but it was full of flavours and very easy going down; definitely a beer worth getting your hands on.

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Photo of illpass78
4.38/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

11.2-ounce bottle poured into a stout glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark brown - just about black. Initially presents a big, foamy tan head that I wasn't expecting. Lacing is minimal. Carbonation isn't really visible because it's so dark.

Smell: This stout has a big, bold nose, full of black coffee and dark chocolate and espresso beans.

Taste: Mighty tasty stout, this. The black coffee and black chocolate are up front, with just a tiny hint of dark fruit (dates, maybe) in the background.

Mouthfeel: Velvet smooth. This beer is a pleasure to drink. I like the low alcohol, too. It doesn't have super heft to it, but it doesn't need it.

Overall: A terrific representation of a classic style. It's one of the better stouts I've had. The wine of the country!

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Photo of Jayhawk
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 ounce bottle that comes as a four pack (and on sale at my local liquor store...score!). Served in a US pint glass.

A - Nearly black with a lovely tan head with great retention...it looks very nice.

S - The aroma is pleasant and there is no question this is a serious stout...roasted malt, coffee, bit of chocolate aroma.

T - Tastes just like it smells. Not sweet, hints of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt. Puts other more famous stouts to shame. This is what stout should taste like.

M - Incredibly smooth and creamy...yet without the use of nitro. Goes down easy, and at only 4.3% alcohol this is a very dangerously sessionable beer!

Wow...best stout I've had in years. Simply superb!

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Photo of burnerfinger
4.52/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

poured from the 12 oz bottle into my new belgium goblet:

A super dark - like cola - absolutely opaque - even if held to a light.
thick, nearly chewy caramel style full finger of head that settles to a thin ring of surface foam with miminal lacing

S AHH sweetest nose I can ever recall from a brew. chocolate more than any thing else...this is going VERY well - now for the first taste:

T better than expected. SMOOTH with just a bit of a bitter bite - smooth is what I see most here.
just a bit of a carbonation burn on the back of the tongue

M a bit thick, in line with the silky smoothness

D VERY good to savor, not to be guzzled IMHO

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Photo of Acotzintli
4.44/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

My opinion:

smooth, creamy and excellent aftertaste beer that reminds me of melted chocolat because of it's thickness when you hold it in your mouth :) It's special aroma, color and smell are alluring you to try and drink it with every kind of meal and really you can do it without being dissapointed.

I recommend it allways

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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 KYGunner
3.14/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured a deep black hue with creamy tan head that had a nice retention.

The aroma was a weak chocolate malt with some watery roast characteristics.

The flavor was a weak chocolate malt with a dry roast coffee but it's washed away with a literally water like twaste and texture.

The feel is way too light for a stout but does have a dryness. The finish is like plain tap water.

This was no difference in this and Guinness's nitro can in flavor and feel.

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

Very dark brown with some chestnut highlights at the bottom of the glass. A massive, thick, pillowy tan head rests on top and leaves big splotches of lacing on the glass. Typical mild dry stout aromas of cocoa, coffee bean, cream, molasses, and a tart twang to finish it off. Smooth roasted malt flavor quickly turns to a fair amount of black barley sharpness. Smoke, espresso, and bittersweet chocolate. Medium-light bodied, bitter, and dry in the finish. Pretty much spot-on for the style. A super-drinkable, dark, malty beverage that is a great showcase for roasted barley.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.22/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

11.2 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a very dark brown color. It isn't perfectly opaque, either. The head is a foamy three finger khaki shade. It doesn't have the soft and creamy look I like, but it's fairly long lasting and leaves a ton of lacing on the side of the glass. One can't really fault the fact that it doesn't have the nitro-can hobnobbery of Guinness - after all, it's pretty much guaranteed to be a far better offering.

S: A goodly amount of roast exists on the nose, taking on characteristics of chocolate, coffee, and even some citrusy hops. The hops definitely catch me off guard here. It certainly smells like it will be dry, no questioning that.

T: This is ridiculously roasted and dry. Some citrus hops start it off surprisingly, before transitioning into an espresso-like finish. Sweetness is nonexistent, and that's good.

M: I'd wager this is probably among the driest stouts I've ever had. Any residual flavors (save a touch of roast) is scraped off the tongue quickly. It takes the dry theme a bit too strongly, though, as it's devoid of creaminess before the finishing bite. Regardless, it goes down easily even with its mild carbonation.

O: Not fantastic, just better than Guinness. This is a good candidate for sessioning - it certainly beats trying to write a review on this, because frankly, there isn't a whole lot to talk about here.

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Photo of MDDMD
4.04/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-dark brown black color with a nice tan head and decent lacing

S-dark roasted malt, coffee, hint of molasses

T-coffee, dark roasted malt, light char and hints of molasses, mild bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-my benchmark for Irish stout thus far, great flavor and balance in this low ABV beer

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Photo of Bucciamarcia
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer is pitch black with hardly any dark red reflex in the glass, thich dark resistent foam. Strong smell of toasted malts and cocoa. The taste is surprisingly strong, mainly of cocoa while alcohol is not very present. It's a light, well balanced stout. It feels dense, I believe due to wheat. Low carbonation and easy to drink, an interesting variation to good old Guinness.

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Photo of khmel
3.46/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

.33 L bottle poured into a mug.

A: Dark black not quite opaque. Ruby colored translucence around edges. Pours a thick, creamy tan head at 3 fingers with some great retention

S: Mild aroma of burnt malt, licorice.

T: Some hop bitterness up front, smokey, burnt malt, ashy, slightly hoppy aftertaste.

M: Light to moderate body, fairly creamy, not overly carbonated.

O: A decent stout. Still more interesting than Guiness. I'd say the flavor is slightly less complex and more a straightforward dry stout than another dry stout offered by this brewery (Leann Follain), which has more depth to it and I have to say is a little better. But this is enjoyable.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
2.78/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.5

Man, today has been a long day. Actually, I have had a REALLY long week. Anyway, since Sheryl started her new job we haven't reviewed a beer. Hopefully we can review two tonight. I suggested we do an "off the wall" review where we review a beer that isn't on the list, but gets equal attention for the blog. I hope to do more of those, as I have started posting more content about the other beers I am drinking on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Anyway, we decided to review a beer that I had already prepared. I am not typically a dan of Irish stouts, but I am excited to try this one. It's been a while since we reviewed a beer, so regardless what it tastes like, it should be fun!

Oh, and I am not 100% positive, but I feel like the bottle changed. This bottle is only 11.2 ounces, and for some reason I thought they were bigger a few months ago. Can anyone shed some light on that for us?

In the Glass: This is pitch black in the glass with a nice two finger tan head. The lace is also nice, which isn't typical for this style. When I think of Irish stouts, beers like Guinness, Murphy's, and George Killian's come to mind. I tend to only drink this style around St. Patrick's day. The lace is drawing the glass to my nose. Let's see what she smells like.

Nose: The aroma is pretty boring. It takes a deep whiff to get some nice subtle dark burnt chocolate aromas. I want to say there are some subtle coffee notes peaking through there, too. I bet a beer like this infused with coffee would be amazing. Yeah, not impressed with the nose. I hope this bottle delivers on the flavor.

Flavor: I will say this is much better than Guinness. I mean, another level better. However, I don't like Guinness. Not saying I hate this beer, but it's just my "thing". The flavor does change as it slides across your palate. I am getting, at first, some nice burnt chocolate flavors, then I am hit with a metallic flavor as I swallow. I dislike my beers tasting like I just licked a coin. The finish is quick, leaving nothing really to desire. It's too cold, but I am not sure this will be much better unless it is in a warm glass AT room temperature.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice. It has a nice fluffy experience going on. On my third drink, I did swish it around in my mouth a little. It didn't really do much for the flavor, but did open the beer up a little. If I was in a bar in Ireland, I might order an Irish stout. Just because I was there. But I wouldn't order two.

Aftertaste: It starts with those same metallic notes that I was getting, but quickly fades away leaving me bored. I HAVE to take another drink just to get some more flavor in my mouth. The finish is drying, which I like. But not drying enough to require another drink.

There are a few more of these on the list… but I doubt I like any/many of them. Oh well, maybe the next beer will leave me sockless. Get it?

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Photo of shand
3.84/5  rDev -1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

O'Hara's Irish Stout has a honestly amazing pour. It pours black, which is plenty impressive for a 4.5% brew, but the mocha head is huge and retains for an eternity. One of the best looking pours I've seen in a long time. The aroma is a roast and caramel thing, with just a touch of leafy hops. The taste offers a nice roast flavor, with some hints of chocolate, caramel, and the leafy hops from the nose. A pretty decent tasting dry stout. The mouthfeel is on the light side and well carbonated, and the drinkability is good. Overall, O'Hara's is a good Irish Dry Stout that I'd take over Guinness any day.

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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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O'Hara's Irish Stout from Carlow Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 907 ratings.
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