#StoutDay reviews Harviestoun Ola Dubh

I originally planned this blog post for Thursday night, but due to being ill decided to postpone it until this weekend. 
Scotland has had a dearth of breweries until recently and one of the new breed is the wonderful Harviestoun. I have not had a duff beer from them yet from the super session beer bitter and twisted to their cask conditioned lager Schiehallion, they tackle every style with aplomb. Whilst holidaying in Scotland last year I found a bottle of their porter old engine oil in the Scone (pronounced scoon) Palace gift shop. I'm a big fan of porter and it looked lonely on the shelf; so took it home and, of course, they aced that too. When I found out that they had aged the beer in a selection of Highland Park whisky barrels it was a no-brainer that I had to try them.

I picked up the bottles from Beer Ritz at various times over the last year, four in all and decided to try them all at the same time to see how the barrels affected the base beer. The whiskys of course taste different with age; so how would this impact on the beer?
 All 8% ABV the beers pour a similar dark brown-black with thin brown head. This is where the similarities end. The tasting notes for each are below:

Interesting aroma of pineapple, and Christmas cake...rasins, fruit cake and marzipan. Hint of smoke on the palate and a musty rusk dry chocolate finish. Gentle carbonation and an oily texture.
Red wine and coconut with treacle and black pepper flavours.Less noticeably alcoholic than the other expressions. Zingy carbonation.
Grassy, grainy rye nose with a hint of a maraschino cherry. Overwhelming whisky flavours and quite thin bodied.
Alcohol and nutmeg nose with plenty of booze and chocolate raisins in the taste. Gentle carbonation.

Its interesting to see such a wide palate of flavours across the four beers, though they all undoubtedly have spent time in whisky barrels with subtle vanilla and boozy whisky notes across all of them. The 12 y/o whisky is known for having peat smoke and that definitely ended up in the beer.  I certainly hope to get hold of a bottle of the 30 y/o too and I reckon I'd enjoy the whisky.
Another view of three of the Harviestoun beers can be watched below. Its the ineffable Zak Avery (The Beer Boy) of Beer Ritz.


  1. I had the 16 and 18 I believe. Great stuff indeed.

  2. I have the 40 sitting downstairs and have done for several months, it's something about the box and bottles, daft I know but I just keep putting it off…

  3. Same with me, but it was time to create some space! Next its the Gales Prize Old Ales I reckon

  4. Nice work Steve, you have succeeded where we have all failed...you #openedthem. I agree with Phil, the bottles seem so special and we choose to keep them warming the bench rather than our gullets :)
    I need to get hold of the 40 and then I might just do the same.

  5. the difficult one for me is going to be my fullers vintage ales!