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Dark Island by Orkney Brewery
Scottish Ale
4.60 % ABV

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Orkney Brewery
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Review by joe1510 on 12/10/09  
Score Appearance Smell Taste Mouthfeel Overall Impression Year
78 2 8 17 4 8 2009
500ml Bottle

This bottle came courtesy of Redwood21 in Secret Santa '08, thanks for the massive haul Godfather! Dark Island has one of those bodies that are so dark brown they border on black. Burnt caramel highlights the sides of the glass and shoot through the body when backlit. The head grew to a finger's height of creamy beige and fell rather quickly to a skim coat with a respectable collar. Thin drink lines get left behind after each drink and slowly fall back into the body.

The nose is full of the things I enjoy so much in Scottish ales. Deep caramel and toffee kick start the aroma with a tendril of smoke rising between the two. The smoke ends up producing a mild layer over the entire smell of this beer. There is a very faint, indistinguishable fruitiness in the background. The rich dark caramel is front and center in this brew and I really like how much it steps forward.

Toffee manages to stand up to the dark caramel maltiness on the tongue. The fruitiness is a little more noticeable with figs standing out mid palate. Something I didn't pick up in the nose that's here in the flavor is an underlying layer of powdery cocoa, very nicely done. The peaty smokiness is layered above the cocoa with only a mild saturation. In my limited experience this is one of the better, easily available Scottish ales out there.

The body is medium but manages to evolve nicely as it warms. I initially thought the body was a little thin but as this beer sits in my glass it hits its stride well. After some warming and breathing the body takes on an enjoyable silkiness.

I have no problem drinking a few of these in a sitting. There is a lot of flavor jammed into this low abv package. It's unusual to find a beer this low in alcohol that can be savored such as this one.

Like I noted earlier in my review, this is one of the better Scottish ales on the market. It's very enjoyable and very approachable, the peat hits just right. The few beers that I've had from Orkney have been very good. Thanks for the brew David; I'm a huge fan of the style!

Reviewed: 3/7/09

Served In: Pint Glass

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