Brewed by Harviestoun
Style: Old Ale
Alva, Central, Scotland


on tap

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RATINGS: 796   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.85   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%
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Ola Dubh (or ‘Black Oil’) is a collaboration between Harviestoun Brewery and Highland Park, Distiller of the Year*. It is based on Harviestoun’s award-winning Old Engine Oil. With more than a stylistic nod to the classic Imperial Porters (and Stouts) of the nineteenth century, this deliciously rich, dark, 8% a.b.v. beer is the first ale to be aged in malt whisky casks from a named distillery and, with traceable casks and numbered bottles, the rest with genuine provenance. Ola Dubh will initially be available in three different expressions; the initial release will be of small batches aged in casks formerly used to mature Highland Park 12 Year Old, Highland Park 16 Year Old and Highland Park 30 Year Old. Further variants are planned for the future. Ola Dubh is, in the words of beer afficionado Owen D.L. Barstow: “The most interesting new British beer I have tried in years.”

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
BBB63 (6045) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - APR 21, 2008
Bottle # 11243 and served in my NB worthy glass (vertical of 12/18/30):

Nearly opaque with a fading but lasting head and minimal lace but some oily legs upon the glassware. The aroma has notes of charred wood and Black Patent malt, star anise, sun ripened prune, heavy liquid vanilla extract, massive alcohol vapours, and some lovely smoked peat bog.

The taste starts with a robust porter malt roundhouse followed by a right jab of twangy fruit finishing with a knockout uppercut of boozy scotch and wood flavors. What ever hop bitterness that may have been in the beer is long gone. Swallowed by a wonderful complex earthy and herbal character.

The mouth feel is sharp and oily with a noticeable warming about the chest. A beauty of a brew IMO, but I knew I should enjoy this since it is a combination of two of my favorite vises, Olde English Ales and Scotch Whisky!

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
BOLTZ7555 (2799) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - APR 20, 2008
Tried a sample thanks to Jonpol. Gracias!!! Unfortunately, the most redeeming quality of this one was the bottle. Mahogany pour with a swirl for a head. The aroma is sweet and woody. Definitely can taste the alcohol here, but better when warmed. Thin with obvious notes of scotch. Not a favorite.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
redlight (2316) - Orlando, Florida, USA - APR 19, 2008
Chocolate, coffee, and wood in the nose. Pours very dark brown with no head. Woody, chocolate and coffee, very smokey, with charcoal and slightly peaty. Its very smooth and better as it warms up.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
FlacoAlto (3800) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - APR 18, 2008
Bottle 04111, September 2007 Date; sampled April 2008
A vigorous pour produces a two-finger thick, frothy, fairly large bubbled, creamed cocoa-brown colored head. The beer is almost indistinguishable from black, but does show a touch of deep, dark, burnt-amber color if held up directly to the light. Wow, this smells like a rich, savory candy that is a mix of teriyaki, sesame, and concentrated toffee. Underneath this are substantial aromatic notes of prunes and dried figs that are joined by softer, but quite distinct notes of salty, smoky peat reek. Molasses aromatics play a huge role, just a confluence of the sweet, concentrated malt and the savor malt and peat character. This beer is dripping with umami aromatics; rich, savory, hearty & a concentrated, aged malt character that is just oozing drops of intense malt character.

Thick, but quite a bit lighter than might be suggested by the aroma; in fact it has a thinness that I was expecting before I cracked this beer and smelled the concentrate aroma. Flavors of lightly sweet, yet rich, molasses, Hoisin sauce, concentrated graham crackers, buttery toffee and burnt salt-water taffy; really this beer is not all that sweet, but just enough to keep the richness in check. The finish is dried out quite a bit by a lingering, slightly astringent, light bitter, burnt malt character that adds flavors of cold-pressed black coffee, . The whisky notes are fairly soft here, I think it is mostly a salty, smoky peat-derived character that shows up; it most definitely adds to the richness of this brew.

The flavor of this beer is quite a bit better and richer if you take a few minutes rest between sips, without doing this the beer somehow comes off as being a bit thin. The molasses like character of this brew is perhaps as big as I have ever tasted in a beer and this mixes quite well with a solid smokiness that is quite pleasing to my palate. An interesting beer; I definitely like the balance and character that the barrel aging has brought as it is not too overwhelming here.

Purchased: <a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace.asp? Liquors, Tucson AZ

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 20/20
GreatLibations (1854) - Last Supper, Arizona, USA - APR 17, 2008
Here we go folks. This one pour blackish with a modest spattered head that reduces slowly leaving behind textbook lacework. The aroma is delicious to say the least with an aroma I remember from childhood. It was a smoky marinade recipe for pork chops that my grandfather held close to his vest. It was an aroma that made my mouth water. Smoky Worcestershire, leather, iodine, grilled steak, and dough. Medium nectar and low carbonation with soft and creamy effers. Mildly sweet and smoky with a moderate roast. A defined and penetrating bittering component adds to this complex brew a worthy drinkability. Flavors of smoky sweet malts, roasted peat and coffee bean, leather, iodine, Worcestershire sauce, cocoa, aspirin. The finish is bittered well and a smoky lingering like a fire put out stains my palate. Overall: this is a rather exotic brew with defined barrel influence although mild. It’s refined rather than over the top and very delicious indeed.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
chronictonic (473) - Oreland, Pennsylvania, USA - APR 17, 2008
tried the 12,16 and 30 side by side (thanks Tim & Suzanne!)

Aroma is smoky and peat like, with some woodiness, char and malt sweetness. Flavor is very similar to a mildly smoked porter with a hint of whiskey. Not so much vanilla / oak whiskey like some other barrel fermented beers, this is more like real whiskey. Much better than most whiskey barrel beers imho. The whiskey notes in the 12 were more prevalent than in the 16 or 30.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 11/20
Palidor19 (2949) - Brandon, Florida, USA - APR 16, 2008
overall its a good beer, but their some serious flaws. first its too thin, and their seems to be too much wood flavor that has been absorb. otherwise its a very strong beer to enjoy.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 9/20
nick76 (4221) - Tampa, Florida, USA - APR 16, 2008
The aroma is very wooden and a little smoky with hints of malt and whiskey. The appearance almost black with virtually no head, just some bubbles. The flavor is like the aroma. The palate is thin. This is a disappointment.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
JPDIPSO (4956) - Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, USA - APR 15, 2008
Near black with a hint of brown on the edges. Smallish, thick head of small tan bubbles. Glass coating vail of lace. Dark roasted malts with a background of whisky oak, iodine and smokey peat. I’m struggling with the aroma, in that I am enjoying it more as a whisky scent than a brew scent. Dark chocolate flavors in the front with a touch of pale malt sweetness. A little light fruit and vanilla. Mild whisky, I’m reminded of a single malt that has has a bit too much water added to cut it. FInish has some more dark chocolate and and some roasted malt. Dry linger that makes me search for something more. A very nice brew, but not as complex and earthshaking as the price may indicate.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
ross (2088) - weddington, North Carolina, USA - APR 15, 2008
Bottle from Brandon. Thanks. I have seen this in the stores, but never bought any- now that I know it is aged in a Scotch barrel, I will probably seek out the rest. Very dark color, black almost, with a little bit of a tan head on it. Smell is smoky peat, fruity, chocolate, some alcohol, but mostly dominated by peat. Taste is smooth and very much like drinking a scotch. The Highland Park really shows in this beer, and since I drink nothing but scotch, it is a very good thing to see a beer aged in a Scotch cask. More brewers need to catch on and do this. I could only imagine how much better this would be if it was actually aged in a good Scotch cask. Very good stuff, a no brainer for me. Thanks Brandon.

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