Ola Dubh is worthy of the finish of the Tour de France
Ola Dubh is worthy of the finish of the Tour de France

Harviestoun Ola Dubh Special 12 Reserve August 2013|Alva, Scotland
I look forward to July not because of the warm weather or hitting the pool or taking time off. I love July because of the Tour de France. For 21 days I watch parts of NBCSports coverage about 3 times a day. It makes me sad that the Tour ended today. Each year I sign up for NBC Sports’ Fantasy Challenge. You pick out a team of 15 riders and then each day select 9 riders to be starters. The others sit on the bench until you decide if they are better at climbing mountains or sprinting.
I actually had a pretty good team. I would have finished much better if some of my guys hadn’t been sitting on the bench when they actually scored points. My fantasy team ended at 225. That’s an improvement of about 3,000 places from previous years. I’m very proud that I actually hit 51st during the tour and stayed within the top 100 for about 4 days and under 300 for most of the tour.
Going to see the Tour is on my bucket list. I make the argument that professional cyclists are the greatest athletes in the world. Any big guy can get hit a football field for 10-13 weekends and beat the hell out of each other. Sure it’s a rough hour of play. You’re black and blue and sore. But imagine getting on a bike, riding for 130 miles or so each day for 21 days. Up mountains, crashing while riding at 30 mph, sprinting with all your heart and soul for over a kilometer for a stage win. Standing on the awards podium with statuesque women…. I digress.
OlaDubhBottle072714The Tour de France is the ultimate sporting event. So today I saved a special brew to review in honor of Vincenzo Nibali winning the Yellow Jersey. He was also on my team, as well as the Green Jersey winner Peter Sagan.
I picked up this brew at Gravity Growers on Fury’s Ferry. This is a great place. I also picked up a quart growler of an English Barley wine ale but at 12% I didn’t feel like drinking it by myself. I though this 11.2 oz beauty would be just fine.
They had several different Ola Dubhs, each being aged in older and older whisky casks. This one is the 12 year reserve. There was also a 16 and a 18. The label says: “Aged in selected oak casks, formerly used to mature Highland Park’s beautifully balanced 12 year old Single Malt Scotch.”
This is a very nice ale. It is as dark a brew I’ve ever had. Poured out almost blank. Thin brown head. Very creamy. Hint of bitterness on the finish which reminds me of some peaty single malt scotches. Some nice toasty flavors popping thru.
This brew isn’t overly carbonated like most American brews. As it warms up it smoothes out even more which is hard to believe. This was worthy of ending of the Tour de France.
Here’s what they say about the brew on their website: “Ola Dubh 12 pours black with a modest spattered head that reduces slowly, leaving behind textbook lacing. The aroma is delicious; smoky Worcestershire sauce, leather, iodine and grilled steak. Flavours of smoky-sweet malts, roasted peat, coffee beans and a well-bittered finish. Overall this is a rather exotic brew with a defined barrel influence. It’s refined rather than over the top and very delicious indeed..”
They described the smell and taste as: SMELL-Molasses, coffee, hint of vanilla. TASTE-Roasted, toasted caramel & a hint of whisky.
It comes in a 11.2 oz. bottle and has a 8% ABV. Each bottle comes with its own serial number and a bottling date. This one was bottled in August 2013. It has a signature of the Head Brewer and the “Master of Wood.” I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of such a title but since the whisky casks important to the flavor I guess you need one.
I don’t think I could afford to drink this on a regular basis at around $7 a bottle but I am interested in trying the 16 and 18 Reserve for a buck or 2 more. I do have a birthday coming up.
Brewery: Harviestoun Brewery


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