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Rich, delicious, quaffable black ales - this is Harviestoun Brewery's wheelhouse. Actually, all things craft is their wheelhouse, putting out everything from stouts and porters to golden and pale ales and even a low alcohol line. Winning awards is just what they do, and they've been doing it since 1983 when many of today's craft beer enthusiasts were wee twinkles in their parents' eyes.
But what makes the Ola Dubh (Gaelic for black oil) series particularly special is Harviestoun's collaboration with the award-winning Highland Park Distillery. This series of barrel-aged ales is the first to be brewed with provenance in mind - resting in malt whisky barrels from a named distillery with traceable casks and numbered bottles.
Harviestoun uses their classic Old Engine Oil as a base (and if you haven't tried that one, you absolutely should). From there, the malt whisky barrel aging imparts all those familiar oak, vanilla, and whisky notes we love about barrel-aged beers with a delicate touch of smoke - a small bit of magic from Highland Park's use of peat made primarily from native heather.
While we wish we could have gotten our hands on the entire line up (which also includes a 16yr, 30yr, and 40yr), we are still pretty stoked about getting the opportunity to taste and offer the Ola Dubh 12yr & 18yr. They are decadent, chocolatey, bittersweet, and nicely boozy at 8% ABV. If ever there was a beer tailor-made for nights around the bonfire, these are the ones!