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Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks) - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks)Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

200 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 200
Reviews: 182
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 16.02%
Wants: 8
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Porter |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: xlperro on 10-27-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 200 | Reviews: 182 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with a roasted barley and coffee nose. Exceptional smooth chocolate and porter stouty concoction that was great after a dairy meal, like a good coffee without the coffee. This is not a transition beer, it is for those who can appreciate this style. A non-Shelton Bros. import, and a hard one to find in the Northeast.

Sammy, Dec 10, 2007
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +3.4%

t0rin0, Nov 19, 2012
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +3.4%

zestar, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of BEERchitect
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the privilage of trying this beer after a recent BJCP class. And as expected, it differs quite a bit from the standard Old Engine Oil offering. The greatful aspect of the standard Old Ale is that it does balance well, is aged well, and has a well formulated recipe. Unlike many of its counterparts, it is low on fusals, does not conflict hop bitterness with malt sweetness, and avoids acidic fruit flavors and textures. All this goes out the window when they added this beer to the whisky casks. Although it adds complexity through the infused sweet / hot alchohols, picks up a bit of woody character, and brings some subtle caramel-vanilla notes; the beer becomes quite harsh, fusal, abrasive, acidic-cherry-like, and behaves 'young' again. I'll certainly not turn it down, but I don't appreciate the new cough-syrup flavors that are now demonstrated.

BEERchitect, Nov 01, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old Engine Oil looks like engine oil, but it doesn't especially look like old engine oil. Opaque mahogany with a great deal of red along the bottom edge of the glass. The head is smaller than most, but is nicely persistent, and is a dark gingery mocha in color. A wooly collar of lace is the extent of the glass coverage.

I love the nose. The aromas include unsweetened chocolate, blackstrap molasses, dates and glorious malt whisky. Six months 'in the cask' seems to have imparted plenty of single malt goodness. As a lover of both malt beverages, my nose approves. Please, please, please let the flavor follow suit.

It does. This is killer beer (if you like whisky). There's a mouth-filling amount of flavor to be had in this bottle; a double-fisted palate punch that isn't for the faint of taste bud. The first member of the flavor profile is bittersweet chocolate liquor. Second is dark, dried fruits such as raisins, dates and figs. Third is a molasses tang that mingles with a peaty sourness. Last, and certainly not least, is a smoky whisky character that makes me yearn for three fingers of Scotland's finest.

The amazing thing is that each of those assertive flavors plays nicely in the beer sandbox. Each dovetails imperceptably with the next, although they each maintain their individual identities. There are diminishing echoes of woody, whisky peatiness on the finish. At only 6% though, there's nothing resembling a whisky burn. The ABV makes this beautifully crafted beer drinkable in quantity.

The body is medium-full with an amount of carbonation that is slightly too high (for me) and a wonderful, semi-chewy slickness that makes the mouthfeel ultimately far above average. The flavor doesn't change much with warming, but it does seem to be increasingly fruity and increasingly hoppy near the bottom of the bottle.

Special Reserve indeed. This version of OEO has probably ruined me for the standard version. I have a soft spot and a love of beer aged in whisky casks/barrels as long as it's done right. And, believe me, this one is righter than right. I paid $3.59 for this single and would have picked up quite a few more if I had known what awaited my taste buds. Old Engine Oil Special Reserve is a smashingly good old ale that I recommend highly.

BuckeyeNation, Jun 17, 2005
Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, where to start this one. I was up in Bruisin Ales about a month ago with my brother in law, and all he had talked about was this beer that he had tried down in Orlando that was the thickest, blackest thing he had ever seen. He had never seen it since and had never even seen it on a shelf anywhere. Well lo and behold we look on the first shelf and there in lies about a half dozen of these. Needless to say he was immediatly sold on all things in the store! So I picked him up one and decided I should get one for myself while I was there, as I always have to do with something I have not tried before. So it has been sitting in the fridge since then and I need to clear out room this week for the party we are having this weekend, so I dug way back and pulled this one out...so onto the beer....

A - Well the name should really say it all as far as the appearence goes here. Thick and black as night, ths poured down in to the glass with really no splash at all, I actually thought I heard it make a chug noise coming out of the bottle. Nice about one inch high tan head graced the top until it let go just leaving about a quarter inch in its wake, Very thick lacing left down the side of the glass, I thought it was gonna stain the glass, it was seriously that damn dark. If there was alot of carbonation, I would not be able to tell, it was a force to be reckoned with it looked like at least.

S - Very strong aroma. Lots of caramel and chocoalte coming off of it. I also detected a faint whiff of licorice and some very very subtle coffee tones as well. The smell was very thick in the air and it really lingered too, it was not one of those beers that you just catch a parting shot of the aroma, this was all there. Slight alcohol odor as it warmed up as well..

T - Wow, this was a damn strong beer. I could taste the alcohol right away, not soo much harsh and hot and upfront, just there, letting you know what was going on. Lots of chocolate flavors here, which suprised me, I really did not thick it would be as strong of a factor as it ended up. Some roasted coffee on the back and a nice sweetness, caramel or candies sugar could be found if you really looked for it. Alcohol really mellowed out after a while and became pretty much a non factor after a few minutes.

M - Now this is intresting. It was very thick, but not in that creamy milkshake stout kinda way. It was thicj in that can of oil type of way. Not alot of carbonation here did not help out really. This was one of those you took small sips of and just savored. It was a tad bit slick, but just a little detrimental overall.

D - As an after dinner dessert beer, excellent drinkability, this is the one thats like a candies dessert after you eat. Really nice as you sip and enjoy, If you could chug this one down, power to you, I could not. I enjoyed this over the course of an hour or so.

Overall this really was pretty damn good. I am really not a fan of old ales to be general about it, but this was like no old ale I had ever had before. Its name pretty accuratly described the overall tone of this one. I would defiantly seek it out again and I am very glad that I got this and tried it. Very damn good brew. On a side, I did not detect any of the whiskey aged flavors, and thats why I never mentioned it. It never even occured to me that it was half way through. As a stand alone beer it was very very good.

mikesgroove, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a thinnish-looking black body with no real head worth mentioning.

Smell: Roasty aroma that's nicely malty, and has some fruit and bourbon, along with it's accompanying notes of wood and vanilla.

Taste: Plenty of roasted dark maltiness with lush notes of coffee and anise. Lightly chocolatey. Mild dried fruit undertone. Finishes sweet and warming with notes of whiskey and wood.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Very mild carbonation. Slightly warming.

Drinkability: Not bad at all. How about that Old Engine Oil, huh?

ChainGangGuy, Sep 13, 2007
Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

JAHMUR, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of emerge077
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Impenetrable and opaque blackened oil. Capped with a milk chocolate/cappucino dollop of foam, with small arcs of lace around the chalice. Sturdy and substantial in appearance.

Lots of chocolate, malted milk balls, and even a little vinous. This all sounds good, but there's an alcohol sharpness arching over it all that mutes these desired aromas.

It's velvety and feels more than 6%, but i'm thankful that it *is* only 6%. The sharpness from the Whisky isn't overpowering, but lends a distinctive element to the finish and aftertaste. Some berry an dry woodiness are in there, under the load of chocolate and long whisky finish. Nicely balanced and not a booze bomb. Very smooth and enjoyable to slowly sip a glass after dinner or by the fire...

emerge077, Dec 03, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance of the Special Reserve isn't that much different from the standard Old Engine Oil, but there is less head to it - and it's more big-bubbled as opposed to the creamy light-tan cap normally found. The lace about the glass is also a bit more restrained as well.

The aroma remains the same with notes of toffee, dark fruit, roasted malts and light candy as well as a distinct oaky woodiness and perhaps a touch of vanilla. Alcohol, but not particularily that of whiskey, is present as well.

It's much thinner in the mouthfeel than the standard Old Engine Oil, but that may be due to in part to its more limited carbonation.

The flavor is also not as sweet, and I wonder if it's undergone some minor additional fermentation, or more likely, the whiskey flavors that are present are somehow dampening its maltiness. The fruitiness is slightly elevated, and seems a bit wine-like. Toffee and a subtle brush of chocolate flavor comes through towards the finish; and it actually seems to sweeten a bit in the aftertaste as the whiskey fades. Subtle notes of smokiness and drying oak arise, and it finishes surprisingly clean and reminiscent of a single malt whiskey. Towards the end of the glass, the peatiness even starts to lay on the palate. It's nice, but at the same time it doesn't quite work with the dark-fruit flavors.

There are trade-offs to everything, and this is no exception. The aroma is beautiful, and has certainly been enhanced by its oak-aging; but the balance of flavors seems to be hindered. And as such, that also hurts its drinkability.

I hate to say it, but stick with the standard version... it's better.

NeroFiddled, Jan 17, 2005
Photo of RblWthACoz
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours an opaque black with a thick tan head. As I was pouring this, the word "gorgeous" hit my mind. Like the beer soul I possess deep down, the nose spoke out. Strong malty wood with thicker cocoa qualities and an overall roasted character. Flavor is rich with chocolate character and a strong malt flavor. So meaty and earthy I almost want to start chewing it as I drink it. Feel is great. Small level of bubble and a nice smooth and thick liquid feel.

I am shocked. Last night I tried the standard Old Engine Oil and had slightly higher expectations for this one. But geez. In no way did I expect to be hit with only my 2nd flat 5 rating as of yet. Unbelievable. Blows the hell out of the standard Old Engine Oil...and most other brews at that too.

RblWthACoz, Dec 30, 2007
Photo of russpowell
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8% abv offering pours mahogany with 2+ fingers of mocha colored head from an amber colored bottle. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Vanilla & oakyness & a hint of booze

T: Chocolate, oaky dryness & vanilla notes up front. A hint of booze, charred wood & licorice in the middle as this warms. Finishes dry, warming boozey, with a hint of figs, & whisky

MF: Medium bodied, oily & silky with low carbonation

Drinks pretty easy, an old ale that makes use of maximum flavor, where's the Christmas pudding??? I guess this could pass as bourbon stout with little trouble

russpowell, Oct 06, 2007
Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Binny's South Loop - think it's kind of old, as no other store has had it in stock for a while. Served in my Red Hook pint glass.

A - Pours with a finger of dark chocolate mocha foam that dissipates to a cap and leaves lots of patchy lacing. Black body that reveals a tiny bit of red-brown when held to the light.

S - Malt whiskey, peaty smokiness, wood, roasted chocolate malts, dark fruits (prune, raisin, figs), a touch of coconut and butterscotch. As it warms it gets earthier and peatier. Good stuff!

T - The taste loses a lot of the complexity - big tannic whiskey bite, smoke and peat, some baker's chocolate. It's actually quite smooth, I'm guessing from the age. The aftertaste is big whiskey and wood that gets pretty bitter after a while.

M - Higher carbonation than I like from this style, but still only moderate. Medium-thick body with lots of gritty tannins and some light alcohol heat in the finish.

D - This went down super-fast - the only knock is the intense whiskey finish which, while enjoyable, gets fatiguing. The ABV isn't particularly well-hidden - I was surprised by the 8% as it seems low.

Not quite as good as the Old Dubh series, but still pretty solid.

MasterSki, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark black color, dark as the naked November sky, with a thick, creamy toasted cocoa-tan head, that softly simmers down.
Aroma: sharp and whiskeyish at first, quite outstanding, thick and syrupy, dark and twisted, with hints of anise and spice, dark rum, and the darker, stickier fruits (rasins, dates, etc). I like it!
Taste: treacly sweet at first, thick and fruity, with very little hops involved, but solid, tremendous malt. Reminds me some of Samuel Adams Triple Bock. Halfway through, the taste is smoother, easier to take, yet still resounds with dark, whiskeyish sensations. The a potent bite at the end, a profoundly prunish character that clings to the tongue and plays awhile in the mouth. I, for one, liked it. Quite a unique little brew, a nice change-up for now and then.

feloniousmonk, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of Halcyondays
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle, tasted side by side with the original Old Engine Oil to taste the nuance and differences and also the similarities, listed at 8.0% alc/vol.

A: Pours a very dark brown/black, with a full tan head, with great lacing, good retention on the head as well.

S: As opposed to the original, the nose of this is mostly Scotch and peat, some woody and resiny characteristics as well.

T: The whisky barrel aging really makes the already tasty OEO even better. Mild dark chocolate starts off the flavour, but is kind of blown away by the delicious woody, peaty, raw whisky character, reminiscent in a way of Firestone 11. A nice espresso note ends the beer, fantastically full-flavoured and very tasty.

M: I think the extra alcohol adds some body that the original is lacking, very smooth and silky, though light enough to be easily drunk.

D: This beer is really good. Maybe I'm partial to whisky or whisky aged beers, but I really liked this stuff. Only seen it at Hollingshead's, got to pick up another bottle next time I'm in, much more of a bargain than Firestone 11.

Halcyondays, Jan 08, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

03/25/05- Purchased at Plumpjack Wines in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with no dates. Poured into my Stone IPA tulip.

Appearance- Very black pour which has traces of scarlet or burgandy intermersed between. Virtually no head at all. About a 1/8th inch rim appears after the pour is complete. Almost no lacing as well.

Smell- Holy Crap! Did I just order a whisky sour or something? First pop of the cap sends hard alcohol wafting towards your nose. It calms down only slightly after you pour it. Actually, when really concentrating on the smell it smells like a sherry or a melloso. I remember because my late grandfathers living room always used to smell like melloso, this was it. Other than that, some heavy malt in the mix.

Taste- Definite whiskey and oaky flavor to go along with deep and heavily burnt malt and some of the darkest chocolate you have ever tasted. There are some relatively bitter hops in this beer as well. The finish gives a nice prune or fig taste if you let it warm up a bit.

Mouthfeel- Very low carbonation and a nice mouth coating creamy feeling. Warms the tummy and gives a false heavy mouthfeel.

Drinkability- From first taste and especially smell I said to myself....6% my ass! But, after I finished I had no buzz whatsoever. This is a sipping beer though. Probably a good one to go with a dessert like Tiramisu or something with coffee in it. Strange and interesting brew worth seeking out.

GClarkage, Mar 26, 2005
Photo of corby112
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with very faint mahogany edges when held to a light source and a 1.5 finger foamy coffee-colored head that slowly fades into a lasting ring. Minimal lacing.

Aroma has a prominent whiskey presence but there is a somewhat nice balance of roasted coffee and chocolate maltiness. Slightly toasty with some toffee and hazelnut notes but again, mostly whiskey.

Whiskey dominates the flavor up front followed by some sweet roasted chocolate malt, toffee, coffee bean, some more oaky vanilla whiskey and a dry finish. The alcohol presence is very prominent, mostly from the whiskey but the heat is pretty well masked making it quite drinkable.

corby112, Nov 02, 2009
Photo of weeare138
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears an opaque, sludgy motor oil with a 2 finger, tan head that slowy fades into a chunky cap and mild collar. Scattered streaks of lacing are left all around the glass. Tiny streams of CO2 slowly rise to the top of the glass.
Smell is of toffee, cocoa, caramel, oaky vanilla, roasted grains, meaty, molasses, java, and notes of over-ripened fruit.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a dosing of caramel, and earthy hops.
Mouthfeel is roasty, smooth, medium-full bodied, with mild carbonation

weeare138, Nov 12, 2007
Photo of Georgiabeer
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a big dark tan head and some moderate lacing. The smell is of lots of swweet malt, a touch of soy, vanilla, and milk chocolate. Some cocoa powder at the end, and a hiny of scotch. Very malty and chocolately up front with a delicious long tang of malt whisky on the finish. Well integrated and very nice. A great after dinner sipper. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and absolutely delicious! Great drinkability for the abv. Bravo!

Georgiabeer, Sep 22, 2007
Photo of barleywinefiend
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this gem at Wine Expo in SM, CA.
Poured a very dark brownish with good carbonation. Nose is vanilla,cocoa, whiskey and some oakiness. Taste of coffee, oak, whisky, vanilla and cocoa. Strong alcohol burn hurts drinkability. Nice and smooth mouthfeel despite a thinner than anticipate body. Really good brew!

barleywinefiend, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of akorsak
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 330 mL bottle.

A: The old ale looks more like a stout, all dark and black like. It's head, a sharp contrast to the dark ale, is a latte color.

S: Nutty graham flavors, again with the stout, dominate the nose. The slightest hint of smoky peat hides behind the rich maltiness.

T: Strike three for the stout vs. old ale debate. The nutty malts, sweetened with graham, remind me of a solid Russian Imperial Stout. The cask aging has imparted a just a touch of smokiness, a peaty mildness that quickly blends in with chocolate malts. The chocolate is rich, a veritable Hershey's chocolate bar of sweetness. I'd love a little more in the way of whisky, but the chocolate malts work.

M: The rich chocolate, much more substantial than syrup, runs throughout the ale, a punch in the face. The dash of peat could be stronger but it might clash with the chocolate.

D: Three-fourths of the way through the ale, it hits hard. The chocolate lingers though, a pleasant reminder.

akorsak, May 29, 2010
Photo of DoubleJ
2.95/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2002 vintage, from a 33cl bottle purchased from the Wine Exchange, on to the beer:

Poured into an oversized wine glass, the beer is black with almost no carbonation (uhh ohh). The aroma is boozy and hints whisky, vanilla, and dark ripe fruits. Not bad. All right, continuing to the taste. Although the carbonation is nil, there's enough taste to hold my interest. The one advantage of the minmal carbonation here it allows certain flavors to dominate more. A hint of whisky and more dark ripe fruits in the taste, and quite smooth at that. Cocoa appears too. Still, I wish I had a little carbonation here.

The beer was a bit of a let down (was the bottle too old?), however it did compliment my Tipsy Fudge Cake (made with Jack Daniels Whiskey) nicely.

DoubleJ, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a nonic)

A- This beer has a dark black body with a cinnamon tan head that is mostly made up of big bubbles. There is no sign of carbonation or light in the body.

S- The smell of chocolate malt and roasted black malt has a nice sweetness to it. There are notes of graham cracker with some brown sugar hints. As the beer warms there is a caramel malt note that gets stronger.

T- The coffee roasted malt flavor is soon overpowered by chocolate malt and most of that flavor is milk chocolate. There is a sweet oaky tan that is strong but balanced with roasted malt and graham notes. The finish has the oak hanging on and a green bitterness.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a thick sticky quality that increases as the beer warms.

D- This beer is a big sweet malty beer with nice big but not overpowering oak flavors.

rhoadsrage, Jul 06, 2007
Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with only a trace of a head leaving hints of lace. Virtually no carbonation. Nose is a raisin/whiskey combination. Black color and heavy bodied. Starts smooth with alcohol overtones, finishes without a lingering aftertaste. Totally different from their standard Old Engine Oil. Pricey - $4.20 for a 330ml bottle, found at The Wine Society in Tyngsboro, MA.

jdhilt, Jan 04, 2004
Photo of Zorro
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Looks like an Imperial Russian Stout in the glass. Light proof black beer with a tall brown colored head.

The smell is sweet and boozy with a lot of chocolate and vanilla with a scotch whiskey edge to it. Smokiness is restrained but present and this one does NOT run you over with the whiskey truck.

The taste begins roasted malt and chocolate flavor with a solid bitterness. After the initial taste some of the more complex whiskey and malt flavors become apparent. Malt is upstaged by the roasted malt flavors here and it tastes like a whiskey barrel RIS to me. Chocolate, smoke, vanilla and coffee are the major flavors. Lesser players are pretty much not in here.

Talk about mouthfeel this is quite close to drinking pancake batter thick.

Quite a nice beer but this is really a RIS. Drink this when you want a RIS and you will love it.

Zorro, Mar 04, 2007
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Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks) from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
85 out of 100 based on 200 ratings.