Harviestoun Brewery Ola Dubh 16

July 18th, 2013 by in Other Beer Reviews


Gaelic for “Black Oil”, Ola Dubh 16 is from the Harviestoun Brewery in the Central Lowlands of Scotland. A small town called Alva in Clackmannanshire is home to Harvieston (about 40 miles northwest of Edinburgh); its founder, Ken Brooker, has been brewing since 1983. Ken sold the brewery in 2006 to Caledonian Breweries. Two short years later, however, Heineken bought Caledonian but did not want to keep Harvieston. It is currently independently owned by a group of former Caledonian shareholders.

IMG_9076Old Engine Oil was first brewed in 2000 and won the first ever Tesco Beer Challenge. A thick porter, Old Engine Oil is the basis for Ola Dubh. The Old Engine Oil is put into Highland Park Single Malt Scotch Whisky barrels and aged for up to six months. Three versions of Ola Dubh are regularly made and are named based on the whisky cask the ale is aged in. Ola Dubh 16 is aged in Highland Park 16 Year Old Scotch casks. There are also 12 and 18 year versions.

Scents of chocolate, caramel, smoky wood, and whisky fill the nose when poured into this tulip. The liquid is indeed pitch black and lets no light in. Roasted malt, dark chocolate, the smoky wood and the whisky all blend on the tongue. The taste is never overwhelming; it is lighter than expected, actually. Very smooth with little carbonation.

A note to Walt Disney World: this (or another Harviestoun beer) would be a great addition to the Scotland booth at the 2013 Epcot Food and Wine Festival! Bring this local brewery to the festival and you may have a hit on your hands. If you really want to outdo yourself, perhaps serve Highland Park Scotch alongside Ola Dubh!

Finally, here’s a new Wishes photo.


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