Ola Dubh 12 – Sherry Cask by Harviestoun Brewery (Review)

Ola Dubh 12 by Harviestoun Brewery (Barrel-aged Craft Beer Ale Whisky Sherry Cask Highland Park 12yo)

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!

by Tobi


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
Region: Scotland
Aged: NAS
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)

4 comments

  1. The 16 and 18 are very nice too. You can buy all 3 as a triple-pack but I’m not sure what’s available in Germany. I drank this beer on its own but I’m planning to order some more and do a beer+whisky pairing (sip of beer followed by a sip of Highland Park, or vice versa). You have to think they’d combine quite well, like an IPA beer and the Glendiffich IPA. That’s another combination on my wish list!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here in Hamburg, I only ever saw the Ola Dubh range in one specialist store. They were really expensive, ranging from 9 to 11 Euro per 0.33l bottle. Since I found the Ola Dubh 12 to be very excellent, I will still buy the other two one after another and enjoy ’em on special evenings. Pairing ’em together with the whiskies from which the borrowed the casks is indeed an exciting idea!

      Liked by 1 person

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