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


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 750   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.86/5   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 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
TheEpeeist (3709) - Media, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 20, 2008
11.2 oz bottle. Dark brown with a tan head. Nose is cocoa and dark chocolate; some wood with warming. Quite subtle. Creamy full body with a light sparkle. Taste is smooth grape and coffee with lingering oak, whiskey and vanilla. Flavors a bit dull but pretty good.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
PhillyBeer2112 (2758) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - JUL 17, 2008
I was expecting a bit more from this. Poured very dark, not quite opaque, with no head and light carbonation. Aroma was oaky, touched with roast, smoke and a little chocolate or blackstrap molasses. Not much actual whiskey to the nose or flavor, just oaky from the barrel, and maybe just a tinge of vanilla. Palate was semi-dry with a dry-roasted finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
dalekliz (911) - San Diego, California, USA - JUL 16, 2008
Bottle, thanks to WeeHeavySD for sharing. Pours a deep dark reddish-brown with a small tan head. Smoky malt aroma. The taste is sweet, smoky, and toasty, of malt, wood, smoke, and scotch. Lingering smoky scotch taste. Really tasty.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Indra (2711) - Suburbia, Kansas, USA - JUL 12, 2008
330ml bottle. Mildy sweet, fudgy chocolate aroma, very lightly smoky, earthy and peaty, with faint tobacco and raisin. Solid ebony color with a hint of brown showing around the edges, and a very fine, slight head. Flavor is predominantly roasty and sweet to start, dark chocolate character in abundance, turning lightly bitter and showing hints of old wood before finishing with lingering, darkly sugary, nutty tones of whisky and toffee. Mouthfeel is very gently acidic and smooth, lightly coating and ultimately drying, with a full, almost syrupy body. Some late warmth. Really rather subtle, particularly for it being a barrel-aged beer of its heft.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
WeeHeavySD (3380) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 11, 2008
12oz from the PP Bottle Shop. Shared wtih my gf cyn and dalekliz. Pours black with a 1 finger tan head. Nose is extremely rich and very malty. Taste is very aggressive, extremely bold and adds a big old kick. Nice beer, with a lot of oomph.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Sammy (11177) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 10, 2008
Second in the series. Pours dark with a bit of initial head. Compared to the 12 year: More rich whiskey aroma. More ageing. Less chocolate. More moutheel from what’s going on, but that’s astringency too. A bit of richness, but also more whiskey, more drying. May have liked the 12 better at the same abv.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
henrikb (1262) - Aarhus, DENMARK - JUL 8, 2008
Black body and a dark brown head; Good but the aroma could be bigger, all the right and very pleasant aromas but somehow the nose doesn’t know if if really wants to be a whiskey barrel aged beer or not; Super soft very pleasant body, maybe it is the fact that it is very pleasant that is wrong an old ale should not be very pleasant, it should be pleasant and very complex and hard to understand (imo of cause); Warm soft and aroma and texture in finish, again it is to simple good and not aggressive enough. A hard rating of a very good beer, Thanks.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
mgumby10 (1856) - Jupiter, Florida, USA - JUL 5, 2008
Pours pretty jet black, with a small, quickly dispersing, light brown head. The smell is rich with caramel cream, light peat, molasses, gingerbread, dark fruit, and mild chocolate. Really dug that nose. The flavor was a little heavier on the peat and smoke than the nose let on, although not too burning or up front. Left some nice heat in the finish however. The flavor was of burnt malts and dark fruit mixing with mild chocolate bitterness and woodsy oak. Well carbonated, more than I expected. The finish was a little fruity sweet, with the mild chocolate notes becoming apparent a bit. Very nice brew indeed.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
LooseCannon (938) - Norfolk, Virginia, USA - JUL 4, 2008
11.2oz bottle, Bottle No & date 03749/Sept 2007. Pours pitch black in color with thin brown head. Aroma sweet, dark chocolate and roasted malt. Taste chocolate, Scotch, coffee and bitter sweet with bitter and dry finish.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
MartinT (9369) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 3, 2008
My Bottom Line:
Sublime peat smoke rises from the dark chocolate, vanilla and licorice dessert bestowed upon the ecstatic tastebuds in this rich, complex and highly original Old Ale.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-A veil of foam lingers atop the pitch blackness.
-The salty component from the highly peated barrel alters the vanilla and chocolate aspect of the malt sweetness and takes it into sweet soy realms.
-The roastiness also takes the form of charred wood at times.
-There is barely any alcohol showing in this flavor profile.
-The smoky and roasty finish is bitter and enduring, but not too much as to bother the tastebuds.
-The body is corpulent and is easily perceptible due to the relaxed carbonation.

Bottled in September 2007.

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