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


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 697   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.86   EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%
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
Heathen (1500) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - SEP 17, 2008
THOUGHTS: Not too much different than the 12 Year Old. Hid the alcohol a little better and was more balanced. The coffee that was in the 12 is now chocolate and smoke is more tame. But there is still a little coffee. TECHNICAL: Bottle. Poured a dark brown that was black in the glass with very slight amber highlights and a small, sudsy, tan head that mostly diminished. The aroma was moderate toasted, chocolate and strong coffee malts; cola, salt, dark fruit, whiskey and light smoke. The initial flavor was lightly sweet; while the finish was moderately sweet and bitter with an average to long duration. There was smoke, caramel, a little dark fruit, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. The medium to full body was oily and slightly syrupy with soft carbonation and a moderate astringent, light alcoholic and slight smokey finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
MrChopin (3726) - Baltimore, Maryland, USA - SEP 17, 2008
UPDATED: OCT 16, 2008 Dark brown, oily, small dark tan head. Reminds of Goose Island BCS with a little larger head. Strong but classy nose of whisky, chocolate, and wood depths. Taste is delicious: chocolate, alcohol, malt, dry wood, and a nice smoky peat touch. Medium bodied, super rich, long in peat, and ultra smooth, this is one hell of a beer for whisky heads, stout heads, dessert-beer heads, fireside-winter-beer heads...

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Goldorak (438) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - SEP 13, 2008
Bottle 08083/Sept2007
Surprise! It’s dark, which I didn’t expect. It’s pretty much pitch black in fact.
Iodine was the first thing that came through in the nose, something I pick up when I’m sampling a dram of Scotch. Funny, from memory, Highland Park didn’t smell like that. Enjoyable smoky and vanilla effluves as well.
Salty and acidic, it tasted like Tamari sauce, with a side of ashes. Light body, you can tell that the barrel aging stripped the Beer of some of it’s ’soul’, something I find a bit deplorable. I enjoyed, but this seems to be a case of a Beer not exceeding the sum of it’s parts.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
IlanMan (1015) - Appleton, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 12, 2008
Bottle side by side with the 30: Pour was thick black with little head. Aroma was of strong whiskey and oak with a lot of sweet malt. Brew was extremely well blended with some chocolate characters along with the sweet malt, strong roasted character, and even stronger whiskey/scotch flavors. Damn fine brew. Just a hint better than the 12 on my scale.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
yespr (35937) - Copenhagen O, DENMARK - SEP 11, 2008
33 cL bottle. Pours dark brown to black with a diminished chocolate brown head. Smooth chocolate, a bit of vanilla and mild roasted malty aroma. Light chalky too. Smooth chocolate and downplayed roasted malt flavour, smoothend by vanilla wooden flavoures. Light acidic touch into a smooth chocolate finish. Very smooth.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
MiP (14473) - Sønderborg, DENMARK - SEP 10, 2008
Bottle. Mild caramelly aroma. Very dark brown colour. Good vanilla flavour, quite subtle compared to the 12 year old.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 18/20
BillWyce (844) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 6, 2008
Room temp. bottle (#13441, 9/07 bottling) pured into English pint. Pours oily black with a deep tan 3-finger head. Aroma of malt with a light smoky undertone. Slightly oily palate. Malyy flavor with a noticible smokiness and a not of chocolate. SLightly astringent on the tongue at first, but that goes away over time. Excellent.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Jayb0 (1097) - Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA - SEP 6, 2008
Starting with the solid old engine oil as a base the wood of the 16yo HP works very well, just adding complexity with smoke, vanilla and light heather. Different but no better than the 12.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
eaglefan538 (2947) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - SEP 5, 2008
Bottle from State Line. The pour was dark brown to black, thin off-colored head, that really didn’t lace much. The aroma was definite whiskey, peaty smoked notes, chocolate, some faint dark fruits. The flavor was cocoa, but only after firm whiskey notes, seemingly more prominent than the 12 version, the same holds for the peaty elements, very prominent, which I don’t remember from the 12. Mouthfeel was fairly moderate and drinkable, stopping short of sticky, just a bit too whiskey-ish. I actually like the 12 better, go figure.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
timsilvia32 (449) - from Michigan now in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - SEP 2, 2008
Black/brown pour with no head to speak of. Smells malty, charcoal, earthy, more alcohol than the 12. Tastes malty, little roast, maple, raisin some dark red fuits. Middle to finish is dominated by the oaky charcoal, which makes this version too smokey to me compared to the 12, which I liked better. Still not bad, but definetely not worth the price tag. After having the 12 I was worried about there being too much barrel prescence in the older ones and I feel I was correct. Other than to say you’ve tried it, save a few bucks and get the 12.

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