Harviestoun Ola Dubh 16

  • ABV: 10.5% in cask or keg, 8% in the bottle
  • IBU: 40 

Harviestoun’s Ola Dubh (pronounced ‘ola-doo’ and Gaelic for ‘black oil’) series consists of its excellent Porter, Old Engine Oil, aged in Highland Park Single Malt Scotch barrels of varying ages. To make Ola Dubh 16, they take, “Old Engine Oil” (the base porter) (amped up to 10.5%) and age it for up to 6 months in casks that previously held Highland Park 16 Year Old single malt. The 12, 16, and 18 are the only ones listed on Harviestoun’s website, but beers aged in Highland Park’s 30 and 40 year old barrels also exist. While I’ve only tried the 16 thus far, I’d like to review the 12 and 18 in the near future.

Poured into a snifter, the beer is jet black with an off-white head. The head is not quite tan, but not far off. It diminishes quickly, leaving a thin layer of foam that leaves noticeable legs along the sides of the glass as you drink.

Chocolate, figs, and plums on the nose with some phenolic aroma. Scotch is apparent, peat, smoke, and iodine, but it lacks the vanilla character we’ve come to expect from bourbon barrel aged beer.

The body is somewhat thin, but is quite smooth with almost no carbonation. Peat, smoke and iodine overwhelm the thin body, leaving an odd combination that doesn’t exemplify scotch or Porter. It’s not a bad beer by any means, but I think a bigger beer may have worked better in the scotch casks. I could see a Russian Imperial Stout faring a bit better.

Bottoms up!


Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3 Pints out of 5!

If You Like This, Try: Harviestoun Old Engine Oil, Fuller’s London Porter, Harviestoun 12 or 18

Please check with your local Bottle King store for current inventory

Categories: Craft beer reviews, Porter, Stout, UncategorizedTags: , , , , ,

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