Friday, March 13, 2009

O'Hara's Irish Celtic Stout (2009 original review)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (742) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 28, 2010
Stouts seem to be an acquired taste and I’ve never understood why. After all, they’re usually smooth, flavorful and light-bodied. Anyone who doubts that should give O’Hara’s Irish Stout a try, as it’s an authentic niche-style stout that would appeal to anyone.


This beer pours smoothly to a very dark ruby red color that appears opaque black at first glance. It forms a large layer of dark tan, foamy head which is very slow to dissipate and leaves plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma is very subtle with an overall malty nose – nothing intimidating but nothing underwhelming, either.


When it comes to stouts there tends to be two major styles: overtly flavorful (i.e. deeply-roasted; chocolate) or dry and bitter stouts with some subtler flavors. O’Hara’s Irish Stout fell somewhere in between as it had much more flavor than typical dry stouts but didn’t pack the punch of a high-end brew.

As the beer started I picked up on chocolate and coffee notes, but they actually took a backseat to the beer’s overall malty taste. The label describes it as having a “discernable roast bite.” While I wouldn’t go that far, I would say it is certainly roastier than your average dry stout. There is also a slight creaminess to the body, reminiscent of a milk stout.


The problem with creamy and/or dry stouts is that they’re so soft in their mouthfeel they don’t finish clean. O’Hara’s finishes much cleaner than most stouts of the type while still maintaining a gentle, comfortable mouthfeel.


We beer connoisseurs often find ourselves hearing of “thick” and “heavy” stouts but few of us have yet to see one for ourselves. People who perpetuate such rumors need to try O’Hara’s as it’s only 4.3% ABV, and combined with its thin consistency, is far from an intimidating beer.


Although I prefer a stout with a more deeply-roasted or richer taste, I definitely consider O’Hara’s Irish Stout a solid performer and would drink it again unquestioningly.

Grade: 7/10

NOTE: See my 2017 re-review to BJCP specs here: