Harviestoun Ola Dubh 16 Year Special Reserve

Harviestoun Ola Dubh 16 Year Special Reserve

Rated 3.885 by BeerPals

Brewed by Harviestoun Brewery

Dollar, Clackmannan, United Kingdom

Style:  Old Ale

8% Alcohol by Volume

This beer is no longer brewed

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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: 30490 Last updated 3 years ago Added to database 16 years ago

Key Stats









Overall Rank309
Overall Percentile99.4
Style Rank5 of 226
Style Percentile97.8
Lowest Score3.2
Highest Score4.5
Average Score4.041
Weighted Score3.885
Standard Deviation0.361

Rating Distribution

Beer vs Style

17 Member Reviews

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  • VIPINVELP 2001 reviews
    rated 3.7 9 years ago

    Aroma: 6 | Appearance: 7 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 8 | Overall: 8

    Clear dark ruby, small light brown lacing foam ring. Light chocolate aroma, strong bitter coffee taste, chocolate tones. Lasting aftertaste. (Velp 201506)

  • JABAH 1780 reviews
    rated 4.4 10 years ago

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

    Top-notch brew here. Dark and semi-heavy like a stout, but not thick like an IPS. Scotch-whisky seems smoother and not as sweet as bourbon cask-aged beers. Some smokiness to it as well. I only got to split a bottle as a sample, but I can only imagine what this is like on tap at a pub in the UK!

  • JERRYMORRISON 2130 reviews
    rated 4.3 11 years ago

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

    It pours out a deep brown/ black body. The aroma is sweet, with the scotch showing up first and foremost, also, dark fruits, hints of vanilla and roasted malts. The taste is very nice, and rich with the dark fruits and roasted malts 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.

  • CYBERCAT 11711 reviews
    rated 4.5 11 years ago

    Aroma: 10 | Appearance: 9 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 9 | Overall: 9

    Rich, smoky aroma has a strong overtone of fine whisky and a hint of caramel. Pours a deep, warm sable with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head that leaves some good lacing. Smoky mocha flavor has a firm whisky note and hints of caramel and molasses. Firm-bodied texture has a good amount of tingle, and leaves a smoky, syrupy finish. Most worthy.

  • CHOPZ 7305 reviews
    rated 3.9 12 years ago

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

    Purchased a little while back at the LCBO, and just a buck more than their 12 year old reserve version. Bottle No. 22712 on July 2009 and best before: SEP 2012. Pours an almost-black colour with red highlights. The head is beige with a good retention and decent lacing. Nutty nose blending with dark fruits (plums, raisins), sweet malts, mild toffee and light coffee. Smooth taste of roasted malts with molasses, coffee, mild dark fruits and hints of smoke (burnt wood) in the finish. Overall, I think the 12 year old is a tad better than this one, except for the smokiness that it does not have (but is earthy instead).

  • STOUTLOVER72 2327 reviews
    rated 3.2 12 years ago

    Aroma: 6 | Appearance: 6 | Mouthfeel: 8 | Flavor: 6 | Overall: 6

    12oz bottle -

    I've always enjoyed my times with Engine Oil, and while I did enjoy this beer I thought it was lacking in a few things to give a better score. Aroma had some light acridness, wet dog, tobacco, wet dirt and very light whisky notes. Flavor was centered squarely on a worty, whiskyish flavor with notes of iodine, light boiled veggies, toffee and caramel also present. I did enjoy the fullness of the body of this beer, but it lacked any head formation and looked like a stout w/o carbonation. Coated my glass nicely.

  • LENUSIK 2067 reviews
    rated 4.0 13 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

  • CYRENAICA 2418 reviews
    rated 4.2 13 years ago

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

    330ml bottle
    8.0% ABV
    Best Before: August 2013
    Queen's Quay LCBO Outlet (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
    March 8, 2011
    This is Review #600. Yay me! The beer poured a solid black colour with a long lasting light brown head. The aroma was roasted malt, vanilla, and nuts. The mouthfeel was full bodied, and creamy. The flavour was roasted malt, smoke, and coffee. The whisky appears in the finish.

  • POOTZ 1565 reviews
    rated 3.9 13 years ago

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

    My fourth foray into the Ola Dubh reserve beers in a quest to tell them apart. 330cl bottle pours a deep dark light-defying black ale in the chalice. One finger tight frothy brown cap lasts well and laces. Aroma on this one is not so endowed with a peat smoke tone, it’s there but a musty oak dried prune tone sits above it. Ah yes, the peat tastes show up in the flavor, almost as pronounced as older oaked versions. A little lighter on the palate than older version but it has the same complexity with a slightly dryer hoppier finish. This is a good choice for those who can’t afford to put many of the more expensive OD reserves (30 or 40 yr) in the cellar. It has the complexity of the more expensive versions with the oaky- peaty-smoky flavors less pronounced but very detectable. A great oak-aged beer for the price.

  • SLOWRUNNER77 5682 reviews
    rated 4.1 14 years ago

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

    pours near black with a lighter brown thin head. inviting complex aroma of smokey peat, whiskey, malt, tar? the feel is quite nice, smooth and full bodied without being cloying or too thick. complex flavors as well - everything in the aroma, plus some chocolate and a hint of pepper. if you like scotch, this is a cool, unique brew. i hope to try the 12 and the 18 as well. at nearly a buck an ounce it's a little pricey, but unique enought to be worth it once or twice.

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