8% alc./vol., 330 ml bottle
Harviestoun Brewery – http://www.harviestoun.com/
Hillfoots Village, Scotland
Harviestoun makes a dark ale called “Old Engine Oil” for its black colour. “Ola Dubh” means “black oil”, and the “12” on the bottle tells you that this blacker-than-night porter has been aged in a used cask that formerly held Highland Park 12 Year Old Whisky. As you can imagine, a brewing process that involves expensive parts and manual labour makes for an expensive beer. Is it worth it? Depends on how much more you’d enjoy something with a complexity to the flavour. Despite the look, it’s not a syrupy thick or overly sweet brew. I do get a bit of wood and smoke on the nose, same as you would for the whisky. Upon it’s arrival, the beer slaps you with a hop bitterness. Okay, I’ve swallowed that, and it left behind a sticky sweet dark malt flavour like you’d expect from a porter. Wait…now that flavour has given way to the smoke and peat of the whisky, a late arrival. Tick, tick, tick…the clock keeps going and I keep tasting this beer. This “sipping beer” has got enough flavours to justify the process and the price. Makes me think I need to get a smoking jacket and a butler.