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overall
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98
style
Brewed by Harviestoun
Style: Old Ale
Alva, Central, Scotland

bottled
common

on tap
available

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 640   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.85   EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%
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COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.”


3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Walt (2449) - Austin, Texas, USA - MAY 15, 2008
Drank as a vertical of 12, 16, and 30: Pour is black with a tiny off white head...smell is roasty and sweet and not nearly as harsh as the 12...molasses and caramel and faintly smoky...somewhat medicinal though...taste is rich and smoky...lots of peat character and this one tastes much more of scotch than the 12...nothing really interesting or over the top about it though....

3.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
FlacoAlto (3800) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAY 14, 2008
Bottled September 2007; Sampled May 2008
A softly vigorous pour produces a two and a half finger thick, brown stained, tan colored head. The beer is quite black in color and is opaque even when held up directly to the light. The aroma is quite rich with concentrated notes of darkly caramelized malt, touches of teriyaki, iodine and a finish that smells of salt and light peat smoke. Hints of fruit aromatics provide notes of burnt prunes and light raisin. The smokiness really picks up after the first couple draughts of the aroma. Rich malt aromatics combine with the peat character to contribute aromas of salty toffee, savory umami malt, . This just has a hearty, quite satisfying aroma to it. In fact the aroma is just expressively intoxicating and almost exactly what I am looking for in a nightcap; rich, savory, complex and deeply satisfying.

Somehow this beer tastes quite a bit cooler than I was expecting; mainly I think it is not quite as rich as I was expecting, and a thinner beer always feels cooler than a thicker beer at the same temperature. The beer finishes with a deeply roasted, burnt espresso bitterness / astringency. The beer is fairly sweet and accentuates a burnt raisin fruitiness. This has a fairly light heft to it for a beer that smells this rich, though the viscosity is quite appropriate for a beer of this alcoholic strength. The beer finishes with a touch of burnt vegetal character; burnt broccoli and burnt cabbage flavors lightly intrude on the finish. As the beer warms up it picks up a bit more texture and richness in the flavor / mouthfeel, it still does not live up to the promise of the aroma though. The roast character plays a huge role towards the finish; burnt malt, sharp espresso notes, slight charcoal and the aforementioned burnt vegetal note.

The aroma of this beer kicks some serious ass; I could smell this forever and continuously find myself just enjoying the aroma between extended sips of this beer. The flavor, while it does not quite live up to the promise of the aroma, is still quite tasty in its own right, though it has some noticeable flaws. A tasty brew, that just might age quite nicely over the next couple years, despite no being bottle conditioned.

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

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
illinismitty (2270) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - MAY 14, 2008
Bottle from Frugal McDugal in Nashville, TN. Pours a deep dark brown with a milky brown head. Strong amounts of chocolate and dark roast in the nose. Full bodied, but with soft carbonation and smooth oily texture. This goes through a roller coaster of flavors, starting with chocolate and subtle scotch, then moving to sweet notes of vanilla. Mid palate brings on accents of smoke, peat, and ash. The dry and peppery finish has some warming alcohol followed by lingering notes of charred wood. Very complex and well brewed, but just way to may smoke going on here for me. I was hoping for more scotch, but got more of the barrel. Fans of smoked beers should dig this. This is definitely better as it gets closer to room temp

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
aracauna (3084) - Georgia, USA - MAY 11, 2008
IThis is a pretty well-done whisky-barrel-aged beer. The beer itself is fairly light in body (for its size) and lacking the aggressive flavor of it’s American counterparts, it could have easily been overwhelmed by the whisky. I’m surprised, but this beer (which I’m assuming is the same base recipe as the 12 year, but with this one the whisky note is more mellow. There’s still that little charred wood bit, but it’s balanced out more by the chocolate notes. this is the better of the two.

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Cornfield (5482) - Oak Forest, Illinois, USA - MAY 11, 2008
Bottle 02529, Sept. 2007 - Yep. "Gloopy and viscuous" it is, indeed. It pours a thick, dark brown body that for a few moments has a skinny little brown head. The aroma is a blending of whiskey, bittersweet chocolate, dark stone fruit, dates, and wood. Thick, creamy, and hot in the mouth. The flavor has the addition of peat smoke, hard nuts, and an earthy bitterness. The finish is hot, malty, bitter, and sticky. Very nice.

<font size=-4><a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace.asp? Beverage World, Elmhurst, IL<font size=-1>

4.4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Oakes (12551) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - MAY 9, 2008
Very dark brown and oily-looking. Gentle whiskeyish nose with lovely chocolate character. Big whiskey taste, some peat and iodine. Rich deep chocolate malts with accents of nuts, wood and alcohol. Sublime balance. Gorgeous stuff.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - MAY 7, 2008
Pours a thick looking, inky chocolate brown to virtually black color. A frothy, cream colored head settles to a thin film with a prominent, bubbly edge. Random patches and splatterings of lace mark the glass. The nose shows dark chocolate, caramel, sweet peaty smoke, dry whiskey, and some earthy hop character. At this point, I can’t believe how much better this smells than the 12 year. The first sip is nearly mind blowing, as the balance is damn near perfect, a stark contrast to the 12 year version, which was far more harsh. Sweet and bitter dark chocolates lay the base, while soft peat and smooth whiskey add perfectly subtle compliments. There’s a lactic creaminess that goes incredibly well with the dry smokiness. The body is medium-full and silky smooth, finishing slightly dry and chalky, with lingering peat on the tongue. This is a flat-out awesome brew. I can’t believe how much better this is than the 12. A chocolate and scotch lover’s dream.

3.8
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
bb (6858) - Alamo, California, USA - MAY 5, 2008
Bottle (number 08427). Black beer with ruby highlights. Slight brown head. Light peat, vanilla, oak, caramel aroma. Peat, caramel, light oak flavor. Medium body. Lingering peat, caramel, light roast, vanilla. Lighhter barrel components and more drinkable than the 12. Nice balance.

3.6
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Drake (8539) - Free Union, Virginia, USA - MAY 5, 2008
Bottle 09265, 9/07 from Wine Warehouse Charlottesville. Pours a very, very, very dark brown with a small head. Little lacing or head retention. Notesof wood, vanilla and tobacco in the aroma. Taste is very strong wood, tobacco and smoke with a tinge of coffee and chocolate. Nice and complex.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
RomanW70 (297) - Providence, Rhode Island, USA - MAY 4, 2008
Pours almost black with a medium tan head. Looks like an Imperial Stout. Aroma of molasses, toffee, and smoke. Taste is full of sweet malts, smoke, and wood with a clean whiskey finish. The finish has some bitterness as well. The whiskey is well integrated throughout. Very nice beer.


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