Harviestoun Ola Dubh 12 Year Special Reserve

Harviestoun Ola Dubh 12 Year Special Reserve

Rated 3.938 by BeerPals

Brewed by Harviestoun Brewery

Dollar, Clackmannan, United Kingdom

Style:  Old Ale

8% Alcohol by Volume

This beer is available all year

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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.”

ID: 30489 Last updated 3 years ago Added to database 16 years ago

Key Stats









Overall Rank213
Overall Percentile99.6
Style Rank3 of 226
Style Percentile98.7
Lowest Score3.5
Highest Score4.8
Average Score4.046
Weighted Score3.938
Standard Deviation0.319

Rating Distribution

Beer vs Style

26 Member Reviews

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  • FISHINGFAST 685 reviews
    rated 3.7 5 years ago

    Aroma: 7 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 7 | Flavor: 7 | Overall: 7

    This was an OK here but not what I expected for $8.99 for 11.2 ounce bottle yes. That was Age for 12 years in whiskey Cass barrels. The taste was OK but nothing really heavily pronounced except for a slight sweetness and decent notes of whiskey. Was not sick at all and was expecting more because it was called black oil.

  • CYBERCAT 11711 reviews
    rated 4.1 9 years ago

    Aroma: 9 | Appearance: 7 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 8

    Pours a luscious opaque sable with a respectable pale tan head that leaves a little lacing. Strong aroma has an overtone of honey and hints of caramel, wood and malt. Flavor has caramel, malty and woody tones with nutty, woody and honey hints and a touch of yeast. Texture is thick and smooth and just a little tingly, but still pleasing and beer-like.

  • JNE5HUSG 1814 reviews
    rated 4.2 10 years ago

    Aroma: 9 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 9

    330 ml capped bottle, N° 18786 from 02/2012, bbf 02/2015. Poured in a typical Scottish Ale stemmed glass an almost black, with hints of burgundy, coloured Old Ale with half a finger tan foamy head that had a short retention and tons of micro bubbles. Soft carbonation. Poor lacing. The aroma is roasted malts, woods, oak with a soft whisky feeling, notes of smoke. The flavour is rich, roasted malts, caramel, dark chocolate, spicy, licorice, vanilla and a peppery touch, herbal notes, leather, peat and hints of smoke and ashes. The mouthfeel is fulled, thick and light bitter. The texture is oily. This full bodied Old Ale has a lingering malty and spicy finish. The announced whisky feeling is well present but never overwhelming. A very interesting, tasty and well balanced Old Ale from Scotland. I like it!

  • JERRYMORRISON 2130 reviews
    rated 4.1 10 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 9

    It pours out a deep brown, small head. The aroma is sweet, with the scotch jumping right out at me. Dark fruits and roasted malts are hanging out underneath. The taste is very nice, with the dark fruits and roasted malts of the old ale coming through first, but an excellent whisky taste coming through at the end, with a touch of peat and smoke. Very good. The mouthfeel has a nice amount of carbonation, and the drinkability is actually quite good. A great barrel-aged beer. Recommended for the scotch fan.

  • QATFISH 430 reviews
    rated 3.9 10 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 7 | Overall: 8

    I wasn't quite as thrilled with this as I had hoped. Nearly opaque black with a thin brown cap, it looked promising. Very rich aroma, some plum and bread, a hint of something like licorice. Very sweet at first, immediately followed by some mild smoke. Fruity and alcoholic. Incredibly smooth and silky feel, heavy, not sticky, teeny tiny bubbles.

  • GIVMEBEER 795 reviews
    rated 4.0 10 years ago

    Aroma: 7 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 8

    Very dark brown colour pour. Thin tan head did not hold up and left very little lacing. Smells like a distant campfire. Flavour of roasted malt, peat, chocolate, vanilla and scotch. Whiskey flavour seems to grow as it warms. Smooth creamy mouthfeel. Mmmm, beer and scotch, I’ve been doing that for years. Just not in the same glass.

  • CHOPZ 7115 reviews
    rated 4.0 12 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 7 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 8

    The less-expensive of the Ola Dubh series, found at the LCBO. Bottle No. 05433 and best before FEB 2014. Pours a black colour with some very light red highlights. Its head is beige, creamy, long-lasting and gives out great chunky lace. Wow... beautiful aromas loaded with stuff. Molasses that are softened by maple syrup, roasted malts and dark fruits all rounded-up by mild chocolate. Right before breathing though, much more was there: burnt wood, nuts and peat. Slightly oily mouthfeel that just sticks a bit. The taste is pretty decent, but lacks the character the nose has. Milder all-around with the dark fruits, chocolate, molasses, roasted malt and some earth in the finish. Seems like the smokiness disappears. Still, a great brew to enjoy slowly and great for cellaring. Pretty close score to their very expensive 40 year old version.

  • BLUESANDBARBQ 2568 reviews
    rated 4.4 12 years ago

    Aroma: 9 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 9

    From bottle (bottled in 2009), poured into snifters, @ Boyd's Jig & Reel Sottish and Irish Music Pub in the Old City, Knoxville, Sat.- 02-11-2012. Best beer of the night by far. We let this beer warm quite awhile for full effect. Jet black motor oil pour with a thin tan head which reduces to a constant cap, leaving heavy brown lacing throughout. Burnt molasses aroma, with roasted malts, a touch of smokiness, peat and whiskey, hint of dark chocolates, more molasses. The taste is spot on with the aroma - no hidden surprises - near-burnt molasses, dark toasted malts, bittersweet chocolates, peat-whiskey-smoke, deep and satisfying goodness. A real sipper for certain. This beer lasted us damn near an hour, split two ways, and was our next to last beer for the evening. Fit perfectly with our Jig & Reel Pub experience. My friend was in absolute awe of this beer. I pretty much was also. Now I want to visit their 16, 18, 30 and 40 Year Old Versions. Bravo - well crafted!

  • CYRENAICA 2408 reviews
    rated 4.4 12 years ago

    Aroma: 9 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 9

    330ml bottle
    8.0% ABV
    Bottle #: 05015
    Best Before: February 2014
    Milton LCBO Outlet #2 (Milton, Ontario, Canada)
    August 16, 2011
    The beer poured a very dark brown colour with a long lasting light brown head. The aroma was roasted malt, coffee, vanilla, and nuts. The mouthfeel was full bodied, and creamy. The flavour was roasted malt, smoked wood, and hints of coffee. The whisky appears in the finish. I actually enjoyed this one more than the 16 year and 18 year versions.

  • LENUSIK 2067 reviews
    rated 4.0 12 years ago

    Aroma: 8 | Appearance: 8 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 8

    I'm not sure what defines these as 'old' ales, they all seem pretty porterish/Scottish ale to me. They all poured black, lots of roasted malt and vanilla in the aroma. Flavour is well balanced. Nice and malty, and the whiskey is in the finish. I can find no discernable differences between the 12, 16, and 18 year versions

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