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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: 501   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 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
FatPhil (10665) - 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 (4189) - 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 (2944) - 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 (2354) - 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 (6401) - 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 (2345) - 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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Dogbrick (9346) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUL 22, 2012
Sample at the Pints For Pelotonia charity tasting on 07/21/12: Murky brown-black color with a medium khaki head that recedes slowly. Partial rings of lacing on the glass. Aroma of burnt malt, fruit and oak. Medium body with flavors of peaty malt, charcoal, fruit and wood. The finish is smoked malt and charred wood. A little too far on the campfire side for my tastes, but a decent beer nonetheless.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
GRM (3276) - Aylmer, Quebec, CANADA - JUN 27, 2012
Brown bottle, 330 ml, bottle 28363, bottled in Jan 2009, best before April 2013, purchased at the LCBO, savoured on June 27 2012; eye: black, opaque, tiny ring of beige head, no lacing; nose: molasses, roasted barley, anise, light alcohol, light candied fruits, slight whisky, slight woody, slight smoked salmon; mouth: molasses, roasted barley, anise, light alcohol, light candied fruits, finale in molasses with presence of anise, medium-full body, not much carbonation, mildly sweet, slightly bitter, a bit thin; overall: fine FRANÇAIS Bouteille brune, 330 ml, bouteille 28363, embouteillée en Jan 2009, meilleure avant avril 2013, achetée à la LCBO, savourée le 27 juin 2012; œil : noire, opaque, minuscule anneau de mousse beige, pas de dentelle; nez : mélasse, orge torréfiée, anis, léger alcool, léger fruits confits, très léger whisky, très léger boisé, très léger saumon fumé; bouche : mélasse, orge torréfiée, anis, léger alcool, léger fruits confits, finale en mélasse avec présence d’anis, corps moyen-corsé, peu carbonatée, moyennement sucrée, très légèrement amère, un peu mince; en résumé : bien

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