Beer Review : Ola Dubh 12

So, a beer review on a whisky blog? yes! Why not? I’ve seen some reviews on other whisky sites, and whisky and beer are close, right? This Beer however is even closer to whisky than most beers are. Why you ask? Well, it’s aged in casks which held Highland Park 12 whisky… How cool is that?

You all know that HP is one of my favourite distilleries, and the HP is a fine dram (well, not their best, but a good entry point into the world of HP). I’ve previously reviewed the HP 12, and now it’s time to review the beer it affected (taste wise,that is).

Ola Dubh (‘Black Oil’ in Gaelic, pronounced – ‘Ola D-oo’) is made by the Harviestoun brewery and is a dark and oily Porter, which is further aged in HP 12 casks for additional flavour. In addition to Ola Dubh 12, the brewery makes 16 and 30 year old versions (each matured in a Highland Park cask of the same age). I’ve heard about OD a long time ago, but only after a twitter friend who happens to live in Scotland was kind enough to send me a bottle, i could taste this liquid (as many other good beverages / spirits, OD is not imported to Israel).

Ok, so how does a beer ‘Aged’ in whisky casks feel like? Here are my notes, first beer notes in english, mind you!

Ola Dubh, 8% ABV,£3.95 (Buy here)


Colour: Opaque Black , Just like Black Motor oil, as the name suggests.

Nose: Dark chocolate, malty sweetness, toffee, wood, and hints of wood and whisky.

Body : Quite viscous, oily, with a very small head.

Palate: Very nice chocolaty bitterness, coffee, with malty sweetness in the middle of all that.

Finish: Dry, bitter , chocolate and espresso.

Bottom line:

This is a fine Beer, if you like Porters, this has a nice feel to it, and the whisky cask maturation adds more complexity to the nose and palate. Lovely stuff. I’d very much like to taste the older (and more expensive versions). Hopefully they will get imported to Israel along with the rest of the Harviestoun beers.


7 thoughts on “Beer Review : Ola Dubh 12

  1. Good to see a beer review here! Can’t say I have tried this one yet – it is rather pricey here: $14/bottle. Any other barrel aged beers you enjoy?

      1. More than I should. Barrel aging has been really popular here lately. Usually bourbon barrels. A different and interesting one is Hitachino that has a sake aged beer.

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