Today, I’d like to take a little detour from the established BarleyMania routine and present you with a beer review rather than a whisk(e)y post. However, I have not picked any ale for this endeavor, but one that fits the theme of this blog well. After all, the Ola Dubh 12 – Sherry Cask by Scottish craft brewers Harviestoun Brewery was not aged in regular beer barrels. Instead, the brewage slumbered in used whisky casks, which went a long way from the isle of Orkney to the small town of Alva (near Edinburgh). As the Scotch sophisticates among you will have noticed right away, the casks used to make this great beverage came from no less supplier than the legendary Highland Park distillery! Before they were refilled with beer by Harviestoun Brewery, they contained the sherry-laden Highland Park 12. While I must say that I am not experienced enough in craft beer tasting to pin down the whisky’s exact influence on the ale, I imagine both the subliminal fruitiness and the surprising smoothness of the Ola Dubh 12 – Sherry Cask to be caused (or at least fostered) by the whisky casks. Though the price per bottle is not cheap (I paid a hefty 9 Euro for 0.33 liters in a specialist shop in Germany), I still recommend this superb brew to whisky-lovin’ beer drinkers and beer-philic whisky fans alike. Having tremendously enjoyed this one, there is no doubt I will check out the Ola Dubh 16 and 18 in the future, too!
Eye: Black as night with foam the color of a moon-lit stone wall.
Nose: Strong and earthy, like cold coffee spilled on damp forest soil.
Palate: Dark chocolate and squashed brambles. There is also a light bitterness that rather peek-a-boos than stays until the wee hours.
Finish: Very smooth and surprisingly gentle for an 8 per-center. This ale certainly has a really nice and enjoyable character.
Type: Barrel-aged beer
Alc. volume: 8%
Bottle size: 0.33 litres
Price range: ~9.00 Euro
More info: http://www.harviestoun.com (Brewery) ; http://www.highlandpark.co.uk/ (Casks)