Brewed by Orkney (Sinclair Breweries)
Style: Old Ale
Stromness, Scotland


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 423   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.87/5   EST. CALORIES: 300   ABV: 10%
Bottled, Filtered, Special;
Dark Island Reserve is a strong and full Orcadian Ale - lagered for 3 month in old Dalmore whiskey oakbarrals. This slow proscess makes a classic - a fruity, spiced, oak roasted malt flavour.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Maverick34 (2876) - New York, USA - APR 19, 2009
2008 Bottled from Grog in Edinburgh, drank in 2009. Poured super dark with just a bit of head. Incredibly fruity, perhaps overpoweringly so. Also hints of vanilla. Some spice too. OK but a bit hard to take for the full 750 mls.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - APR 6, 2009
750ml from Chevy Chase Wine, D.C. Handsome bottle, and it better be at this price. Anyways, a dark and gloopy pour, like something unearthed from a long-buried cask. Thick, almost no carbonation. The nose is actually somewhat modest, with prunes and figs blending with malt, peat, molasses, and smoke, but all very faintly. Slight barrel notes in the flavor, with a pleasant whiskey character to the brew. Silky mouthfeel, and as the beer warms it suggests a rich, fruity old ale. Pretty good.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 8/20
Glouglouburp (6103) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - APR 5, 2009
In short: An extra-sweet, extra-roasted (read burnt) and extra-alcoholised Barley Wine. Annoyingly aggressive.
How: Bottle 750ml. Sent to me by MatSciGuy, thanks a lot Levi. Sherbrooke dinner-and-beer with Montreal crew.
The look: Very dark ruby topped by a beige ring of foam
In long: The keyword here is “burnt”. Burnt black cake, burnt brown sugar and burnt wood. Way too much residual sugar. Desperately needs hops to dry it out. Alcohol is way too apparent with no body texture to hide it. This is a sipper but the wrong type of sipper. Some respectable sippers are a nice slap in the face. This is Mike Tyson biting off your ear.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Kåstå (1273) - Mol, BELGIUM - MAR 27, 2009
A mixture of barley wine, Rodenbach and some stout thrown in. It turns out to be a very nice mix. A light cherry taste is always present.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - MAR 18, 2009
Bottle from MaltOMeal at the February Houston Tasting. Thanks, Bill! Pours a deep black with an aroma of cedary chocolate alcohol. Flavor is sour cherry cheap wine with a hint of raisin and plumb soaked in chocolate. Average mouthfeel. Different for sure.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
daknole (10801) - Scottsdale, Arizona, USA - MAR 16, 2009
Bottle from the Otown throwdown. thanks mcbackus! Mant is was one good beer. Super dark pour wtih a dark tan head. Aroma is fruity, molasses, whisky, oak, and prunes. Flavor is sweet and bitter with notes of whisky, honey, wood and vanilla. This is a winner!!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Zinister (1423) - Houston, Texas, USA - MAR 15, 2009
February Houston Tasting. Thanks to maltomeal for this beer. Pours very dark with a little thin mocha head. Nose of brett, sour funk...and a bit of an old ale aroma. Flavor is like a porter, with some sour cherries and chocolate. Rich and full bodied.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 15/20
mwelsh13 (499) - Maryland, USA - MAR 7, 2009
Bottle pours deep brown with a lighter head. Sweet malts in the nose with a bit of plum and molasses. Medium body for a barley wine with a lasting sweetness and pleasant bitterness at the end. Goes down way too easy. No alcohol burn for that ABV. No signs of whiskey or oak in the beer. Very nice beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
MartinT (8987) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAR 2, 2009
My Bottom Line:
This serious creature of a Barley Wine stuns the tastebuds with its oaken alcohol, fruity chocolate, vanilla-like sweet spiciness, and peaty earthiness for a classy but stern moment of sipping.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-A thin ring of foam decorates the reddish blackness.
-The alcohol is strong throughout, almost burning in the finish. This is obviously meant for slow sipping.
-The body is quite healthy and never falls into syrupy textures.
-The fruitiness is also redolent of black grapes and cherries.


   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ucusty (2691) - raleigh, North Carolina, USA - MAR 2, 2009
Thanks to Keith for sharing this! Black pour with very thin beige head. Vanilla, bourbon and roasty aroma. Dark fruit, peat, vanilla, and toffee.

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