May 14, 2009

Ola Dubh.

A couple of weeks ago I walked into a local grocery store that I frequent for their beer selection. I hadnít been in there for a while and was surprised to see they revamped their entire beer section by almost doubling it. While perusing the greatly expanded selection I found a box sitting on a shelf that stood out, Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 30 reserve by the Harviestoun Brewery. Itís an ale matured in a whisky cask. In this case ďAged in selected oak casks, formerly used to mature Highland Parkís Rich and Complex 30 year old Single Malt Scotch WhiskyĒ Beer and single malt Scotch Whisky, yea I had to buy this one.

Ola Dubh 30.jpg

First it was in a black box, It states ďThis limited edition ale is brewed in very small batches. In keeping with the artisanal way we do things at Harviestoun, every bottle of Ola Dubh special reserve 30 is labeled by hand and individually numbered.Ē Pretty impressive huh? There is a lot of information on the box, so Iím only going to quote a little more from the side. ďOla Dubh (or ďBlack OilĒ is so named because it is gloopy and viscous. This ales is a result of a unique collaboration between Scotlandísí most innovative micro-brewery and the worldís most respected single malt.Ē All emphasis is theirs! The bottle is a dark brown 11.2 fl oz bottle the label is silk screened on in white and gold lettering. It is signed by the Head Brewer and Master of Wood. According to the label this is bottle 22691 and bottled in Sept 2007. There is a black foil seal over the bottle cap. Around the neck is a bronze medallion with the logo of Harviestoun on one side and the Highland Park label on the other.

The coloring is a dark black, like the Gaelic name given it; itís very much reminiscent of black oil. No light passes through, but there is a slight reddish color at the edges. This beer is darker than most that I have experienced. In fact Iím going to say this is the darkest beer that I can recall seeing. A thin tan head formed and slowly faded. It left a nice ring around the edge of the beer and the glass.

The smell was a heavenly mix of rich chocolate malts enhanced with the woody and smoky peat scent of a proper Scotch in the back ground. As it warms a mild caramel scent opens up and compliments the beer even more so. The flavor is much like the scent. A rich roasted chocolate malt flavor and smoky peat flavors mix to a delightful flavor that makes one want to go back for more. There is a gentle bitterness in the finishes that rounds of each sip. Caramel and coffee malts become more noticeable as the beer reaches room temperature. The 8% ABV isnít noticed in the flavor at all.

This is a smooth, full bodied beer. A touch of a viscousness that coats the tongue and mouth locking the flavor. It is definitely a sipping beer.

This has to be the most flavorful and enticing beer Iíve ever drank. The flavor combinations mixed with the perfect blend of smells really makes this beer something that I could find myself craving. However, at $14.99 a bottle, I think this would be a special occasion beer and definitely not one you buy in bulk for a party. If you can get your hands on a bottle of Ola Dubh, Iíd recommend giving it a try. Iím kind of sentimental over finishing the glass. I give it 9.5 out of 10. This is my new favorite beer!

Posted by Contagion in Alcohol at May 14, 2009 08:32 PM | TrackBack