Harviestoun Ola Dubh

Tastings: December 20 & 21
Style: Old Ale

Harviestoun Ola Dubh (c)2012 popsonhops

This Scottish brewery produces a beer called “Old Engine Oil” and this series is a variation on the original. They’ve taken Old Engine Oil and aged it in a variety of Highland Park whiskey barrels. The whiskey is aged in barrels for 12, 16 and 18 years and then repurposed to age this dark ale. That’s a long time for the barrel to absorb the whiskey – so, I’d like to expect some real whiskey influence. In case you were wondering, the Gaelic moniker translates to oil (ola) and black or hidden (dubh).

First up is “12”. Again, aged in Highland Park 12-year whiskey barrels for an indeterminate length of time. From the label 8% ABV. This is bottle # 59,745 of an undisclosed lot. If this were the last bottle, that would mean more than 5,000 gallons were produced or at least 130 40-gallon whiskey barrels were used. It says bottled on July 2011, which is surprising as this was a new arrival at Wine & Beverage Depot. Not sure where its been for the last year and a half but the ABV tells me that I shouldn’t be alarmed. Aroma reminds me of fresh brewed coffee. It isn’t as thick and gloopy as they describe. First sip, is a wow. Heavy roasted flavor of mostly coffee mixed over an earthy mulch and thick smoke. I get a caramel and treacle sweetness as well. Mouthfeel is chewy and a nice stickiness does build. Whiskey influence is ever so slight – a wisp of vanilla and wood. Really complex – I’m enjoying this more than I thought I might. 91 points.

“12” has got me excited to give “16” a whirl. I wasn’t sure how different these two beers could possibly be – but there really is a difference. The roasted flavor is throttled back a bit and that probably reveals that sweetness that I’m getting up front. Not as leathery and chewy. Nice, but I’ll put this one a notch below the “12” at 90 points.

The “18” seems totally different. The roasted grain/coffee subsides a little further. In an instant, the taste is quite familiar to me. Reminds me of the canned malt syrup I used many years ago in many home brew recipes…aaah that sweet molasses of the malt. Still earthy and smokey. I might nudge this one ahead of the other two. Sophisticated and smooth. 92 points.

Share it!
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •