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Harviestoun Ola Dubh (30 Year Old)

Formerly brewed at Harviestoun
Style: Old Ale
Alva, Central, Scotland


on tap

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RATINGS: 493   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.92   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 240   ABV: 8%
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NB if your bottle is marked 30th anniversary edition (bottled June 2013) Your rating should go here:

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 17/20
Shaney (2428) - Köln / Cologne, GERMANY - JAN 20, 2013
Fast schwarz, wenig Schaum. Holzige Noten im röstmalzigem Duft, auch leicht nach Heidekraut und Torffeuer. Halbtrockener Antrunk, erstaunlich leicht im Körper. Startet würzmalzig, wird dann schokoladiger, viele Kakaonoten, etwas Kaffee und wärmender Alkohol. Klingt zartbitter, röstig aus. Am besten mit einer Partagas oder Montecristo begleitet.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
Scopey (6833) - Croydon, Greater London, ENGLAND - JAN 2, 2013
Jan 2009 bottle at home (#34421). It pours near black with small light tan head. The nose is whisky, roasted malt, treacle, toffee, fudge, medicinal notes, chocolate covered marshmallow, Christmas pudding, nut, date and prune. The taste is roasted malt, treacle, whisky, fudge, oak, earth, salted caramel, nut, light bitterness, liquorice and warming alcohol with a bitter-sweet finish. Medium-full body, fine carbonation and sticky mouth-feel. Wow! The balance is spot-on. Great depth of flavour, yet ultra smooth and massively drinkable.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
FatPhil (9346) - Tallinn, ESTONIA - DEC 31, 2012
330ml bottle (Alko Arkadia, Helsinki) BB201201, drunk 201212
Pours seemingly black, though its actually a clear but very dark red, with a tight tan head that settles to a ring. Beautiful whisky vapours on the pour. On the glass that doesn’t fade, but is accompanied by a beautiful perfuminess which was extremely surprising. That, and come dark chocolatey roastiness, and just a touch of salty butter that sometimes accompanies whisky. Soft and smooth in the palate, with just a gentle carbonation to crispen it up and stop it from being sticky or heavy. Roast dominate in the taste, it’s dark Belgian chocolate, a little praline nuttiness. Whisky comes and goes in the retronasals, but never really impacts on the main taste. Not really saying 8% to me. There is a fullness, but the only heady vapours are more ephemeral than tangible or fungible. Finish takes the dark chocolate, and adds a lovely dry bitter bite that keeps the palate clean. No "i need a drink now" sugariness, for a start, unlike the last 8% beer I had. The BB date was irrelevant - this was great a year late. An absolutely lovely beer. Hard to fault in any way. Now I’ve done all 5, I think I’d like to do all 5 side by side so that I can get them ordered correctly. I’m not surprised this jumped in in 2nd place, it was gorgeous.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
boFNjackson (4133) - Portland, Oregon, USA - DEC 26, 2012
Bottle @ our annual Christmas night bottle share... Pours jet black with a thick, bubbly, light tan head. Similar nose to the 12 and 16 variants. Lots of peat and scotch like whisky initially on the palate. Warming alcohol with charred grains, dark fruits and malt sweetness. Probably the most intense of the three that I had. But right on with enjoyability.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Huhzubendah (2525) - Washington DC, USA - NOV 21, 2012
The beer appears an impenetrable brown shade, with a half inch of beige head that leaves a considerable amount of lacing on the tulip. The aroma offers whiskey, smoke, peat, campfire. It smells like a bonfire by the ocean at twilight. Oh my... The scotch character from the Highland Park barrels takes center stage. Wow. Peat and smoke. Ultra smooth and easy to drink. A sipper, though you could upend the snifter in one gluttonous impulse. Alcohol? Where? A non factor. Light to medium in body, with relatively low carbonation. My first experience with this series of beers, I will be conducting a vertical tasting of the Ola Dubh Highland Park series as soon as I can!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Brandman (2076) - Helsinki, FINLAND - NOV 21, 2012
Black body, light brown head. Aroma has chocolate, liqourice, medicinal hops and tobacco. Flavour is bit sweeter than aroma with lots of liqourice and tobacco. Nice and surprisingly not that thick at all.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
uncben87 (65) - Georgia, USA - OCT 31, 2012
Bottled March 2009. Pours a pitch black with almost no head. Aroma is of roasted coffee, some chocolate, and a hint of smoke. Taste is much of the same but I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t too heavy on the cloying sweetness of the malts. The subtle scotch undertone added by the aging is just right. The MF leaves a bit to be desired, a little on the thin side. Overall this was a pleasant surprise, especially since it was a gift.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
STL_Drew (153) - Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - SEP 1, 2012
Low head, off white, black, mostly diminishing,mild oak aroma with sweetness, sweet and mild chocolate flavor

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
TaktikMTL (5761) - Montréal, Quebec, CANADA - AUG 20, 2012
Bouteille de 330 ml achetée chez LCBO (Ottawa, ONT). Arôme: Odeur de tourbe fumée. Apparence: La couleur est brune. Présence d’un mince col mousseux et d’une fine dentelle sur le verre. Saveur: Goût de tourbe fumée avec une pointe de mélasse légèrement fruitée. Durée moyenne de l’arrière goût. Palette: Le corps est moyen avec une texture légèrement vineuse. Faible effervescence en bouche. Légère présence de boisé en arrière goût. (Rating #4290)

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 16/20
jonno (2322) - JAPAN - JUL 28, 2012
Prune,whiskey, raisin, spent grain. Thin body. Rich flavour though. Some whiskey, dark fruit, ground coffee after use. The lack of body really makes it difficult to fully appreciate what is other wise a top class sipping beer.

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