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Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest AleOld Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

81 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 81
Hads: 275
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 7.49%
Wants: 38
Gots: 47 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Porter |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WVbeergeek on 01-04-2012

No notes at this time.
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Reviews: 81 | Hads: 275
Photo of JohnGalt1
3.4/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at Bier Thirty last week, I think I paid about $7ish. Poured into my slim tulip... short lasting dark brown head.. big bubble lacing is okay at best... the brew is pretty much black except for the most remote ruby highlights near the stem.

Nose shows a bit boozy light dark malt.. not nearly as "black" as I would expect..

Flavor is more dark.. but odd. Something that I associate with fermented out molasses.. background char that is sweetened a bit by dark raisin... some pronounced cocoa with warmth.. Palate dies off pretty quickly.

Body seems thinned out by EtOH.... carbonation is pretty solid but goes away quickly on my tongue..

Not sure that I would identify this as any type of "porter"... Strong ale, probably... or a damn boozy porter, I guess too.

3.5/3.5/3.5/3.5/3

Okay... glad I got a chance to try it, but I want Harvieston to bring back the Special Reserve... I would like to try that again. (931 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.63/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing simple label and branded silver/black pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local Texas bottle shop and served into an Avery stem-tulip in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery's reputation and the beer's current 93 rating. Reviewed as a porter since the label description claims this is simply "Old Engine Oil brewed up to 9% alc./vol" and Old Engine Oil's label identifies it as a porter. I guess there's an argument to be made that this is an imperial porter, but I wouldn't make it.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half-finger wide head of nice tan colour. Has decent creaminess and thickness. It's not the rich dark tan with a shiny complexion and an even consistency I've come to expect from the very best porters and stouts, but it's pretty appealing. Unfortunately, head retention is bad (even considering the high ABV) - only about 30 seconds. No real lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes, but there is a slick clear brandy-like coating that I've come to associate with the booziest of brews (Sam Adams Utopias comes to mind, for example).

Body colour is certainly a dark black, but I don't know that "blackest" is fair (insert racial jokes here). It's opaque, but it isn't a jet black in the way something like Alesmith's Speedway Stout is. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears a bit undercarbonated.

Overall, it's a good appearance for a porter and I'm looking forward to my first sip. Admittedly, it's not unique or special for a porter. Pretty standard fare in terms of style conventions.

Sm: Finally, a porter aroma with roasted barley! I was beginning to think breweries weren't doing that anymore. I love the roast and I'm praying it's there in the taste as well. Dark malts, cocoa (with a bit of bean-y earthiness), light cream, marshmallow, chocolate, and chocolate malts. It's a damn fine aroma for a porter, albeit not a horribly complex one.

The roast is absolutely a highlight and has me craving the first sip.

A mouthwatering aroma of average to above average strength.

No yeast character, hop profile, or alcohol is detectable - something of a feat at 9%.

T: Damnit. The roast is substantially less prominent in the taste than it was in the aroma; so much for my high hopes. I mean they did print "roasty" right on the label...

Aside from the disappointing lack of roasted barley presence, it's a nice flavour profile for a porter. Dark malts, chocolate malts, cocoa, chocolate (probably milk chocolate), malty sweetness, marshmallow, and a kiss of char/burnt character. I don't find any yeast character, hops, or alcohol - they all get subsumed by the apt maltiness.

It's relatively simple for a porter, but has a fair amount of complexity in general. (See beers like Ballast Point's Victory At Sea for an example of why this is "relatively" simple). And admittedly this is a pretty standard (dareisay basic) build for a porter. But in that sense it's kind of a classic build; this is very much an almost archetypical English porter, and for that I really like it. The simplicity wouldn't bother as much if I'd just been given the roast I was promised.

It's balanced, sure, but as abovementioned, it's fairly simple. Cohesive but not gestalt. I definitely like it, but I saw the potential for it to be great. I wish the taste would deliver on the aroma. Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour. Not particularly nuanced or intricate. Good amplitude.

Mf: Viscous? I guess; I mean it's thick, but I wouldn't call it syrupy. Heavy and full-bodied, with a powerful presence on the palate. It's got strength without being boozy or hot. Well-carbonated. Slightly creamy. Overall, the texture complements the taste well, but there's room for improvement.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, or harsh. Unrefreshing.

Dr: It's a good beer that could have been great. The absence of the promised roast in the flavour profile really disappointed me. I could absolutely drink my way through a few of these in a night, and it evokes a classic porter feel, but I can't shrug off the feeling of wasted potential. Unfortunately, the unreasonable price point means I won't be buying this again in spite of its obvious quality (I had to double-check the label because the unreasonable pricing had me convinced the Shelton Bastards were involved). Well worth trying once, and I'd love to see how it develops with age. Good work from Harviestoun.

Solid B (4,708 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.7/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2 oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown color. The head is slightly less than a finger high, and mocha in shade. While the texture is quite creamy, it doesn't retain very well. Only a tiny bit of lacing is left on the glass. (3.25)

Smell: Wow, big dark chocolate is coming through. There's an undercurrent of ashy roasted malts, tobacco, and peat as well. Combined with the roastiness, it almost seems like a good mocha. While there's no doubt this beers smells incredibly nice...I'm not sure it smells any bigger or better than the regular Old Engine Oil. (3.75)

Taste: Surprise, surprise, dark chocolate is the biggest flavor of this beer. Hops surge up on the aftertaste, creating a nice tobacco note. Between the beginning and end, sweet caramel and brown sugar seem to tie everything together. There's one thing missing in order for me to give it a 4: some more roast flavor. Subtle coffee flavors float around, I just wish they were beefed up a notch. Still a quality porter, though. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: While the feel is more slick and oily than viscous (appropriate for a porter, however), it certainly has a thick richness that gives it good decadence. Because it's decadent, it's not the most drinkable. But really, who cares? This is a nice one to savor. Carbonation remains gentle throughout. (3.5)

Overall: This is an excellent porter, much like its little brother. At first, I don't think there's enough to differentiate this from its little brother, until I focus on its bigness in comparison. It's pretty much a bigger, richer Old Engine Oil - and that's no bad thing. (3.75)

3.7/5: A rock-solid night capper loaded with chocolaty goodness (1,692 characters)

Photo of Dope
3.73/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A black pour with a big, dense chocolate brown head. Retention is excellent. Lacing is quite heavy as well.

S: Smoked meat and roasted malt up front. Touch of chocolate.

T: A ton of hickory smoke. Bitter coffee and roasted malt along with a touch of chocolate. Smoked meat pervades in the aftertaste.

M: Fairly thick mouthfeel. Somewhat creamy.

O: A pretty decent porter but way overpowered on the smoke. I much prefer the normal old engine oil. (452 characters)

Photo of nickfl
3.77/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of medium brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles quickly and leaves average lace on the glass.

S - Dark, sugary notes of molasses, licorice, and smoky caramel.

T - Smoky caramel and dark brown sugar up front. Some more intense dark sugar in the middle with notes of cola and licorice. Finishes with smoke, green hops, molasses, and lingering sweet caramel.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - The aroma is full of promising rich malt character and while those characteristics come across in the flavor profile they don't have the sort of complexity I might have expected. The sugary character is cloying in the end and while there is some hop character for balance it could use a little bit of roast to help push back against the sugar. (821 characters)

Photo of gillagorilla
3.87/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Heavy Seas tulip (post-MAGFest bottle)

A: Pitch black with a light mocha head and some lacing.
S: Sweet roasted malt that is definitely British in nature.
T: Nicely roasted with a medium sweetness to it. Some charcoal in there but not a real heavy roast.
M: Rough carbonation that dies down a bit, but that might be while it's cold.
O: Deliciously dark. One of the better porters I've had. (425 characters)

Photo of Jadjunk
3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at The Brick Store Pub 9/2/2012. Reviewed from notes.

(Appearance) deep brown body, big chocolate cream brown head with above average retention. 4

(Smell) Aromas of sour dark fruits, licorice, oak, and cocoa. Aroma is dry, mildly sweet and certainly complex. Overall pretty nice. 3.5

(Taste) Bready sourdough malt, sweet chocolate and lactose like that of a milk stout, followed through by a mildly smoky, black malt finish with a lasting licorice impression. Very complex although I found the finish more pleasant than the rest of the brew. 4

(Mouthfeel) Slick, mildly creamy, low carbonation, quite dry. Alcohol presence is medium, body is medium/heavy. Nice pairing, could be a bit thicker and creamier. 4

(Overall) Second time around, I found this a pretty good beer but not as unbelievably good as the first time around. While the flavors were all well developed, I feel a little more time to mellow out this brew would do it some good. 4

Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.'s
Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale
3.9/5.00 (1,046 characters)

Photo of ADZA
3.89/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark black hue with a one finger Khaki head and some nice sporadic clingy lacing,the smell is roasted nuts,fruity hops and a real ashiness to it aswell,the feel is full bodied with above moderate carbonation and has tastes of milky chocolate,dark peated ashy malts,fruity earthy hops and finished with a taste of bitter coffee and overall quite a nice blend of bitter and sweet and would drink again cheers. (415 characters)

Photo of heygeebee
3.91/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with little head but nice spotty lace.
Aromas muted, but taste kicks in with a major choc hit... All mellow roasts as well.
Seriously old school brewing. Nothing fancy just well made English porter with attitude.
May not appeal to the hipster market.
Whole is greater than sum of the parts. (308 characters)

Photo of CityBoy1986
3.91/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

They're not kidding about this being the "blackest;" there is only a slight lightening of colour near the edges. The nose consists of chocolate, with some roasty and smokey hints. Just a bit of booze.

When tasting, the smokiness definitely takes centre stage. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Overall, it's worth a try, at least. I won't be adding it to my regular line-up as I could see myself tiring of it after a couple. However, it's a very decent brew. (500 characters)

Photo of chinchill
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle.
Pours black with a small but semi-durable head.
Thick body with low carbonation.
Exceptional, rich dark roasted grain aroma.
Light hops and alcohol esters are more evident in the flavor. (204 characters)

Photo of StJamesGate
3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ruby black with a cappuccino head.
Fresh earth, carob, sweet tobacco, and brown sugar nose – sweet.
Char, treacle, black Twizzlers, then whiskey, wood, vanilla, and some coffee liqeuer.
Brownie end and roasty, dry linger.
Medium to light, a bit hot, slightly hot.

Doesn't really meld – wood is just laid on top of the base beer. Cuts too dry and loses the smoothness of OEE. (384 characters)

Photo of Bung
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. very dark brown/mohoghanny pour, just a ring and a few wisps light tan.

Aroma, heavy earthy chocolates. Lighter malt and anise.

Taste, Some earthy malt and dark chocolate. Mostly do instead by a heavy roast and anise however. Actually works pretty well, just more RIS, as others have pointed out.

Heavier than mid bodied, but enough carbonation. Just about creamy. Only a little warming. Good, definetely worth a try, though I prefer the regular as well. (466 characters)

Photo of shand
3.97/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a snifter.

It's black. I'm not sure if I'd say blackest, it's not a Zhukov or a Hunahpu, but I sure can't see through it. The aroma is roasted with a huge coffee component. The taste isn't nearly as roasty, with sweet caramel flavors dominating the flavor. Dark fruits struggle though a bit on the opening, with a bit of that roast hitting the tongue in the middle, but the sweetness really rides through, on the edge of cloying. It's really quite good though, I'm just thankful it isn't in a large-format bottle. The mouthfeel feels a little bit thin at first, but it does a nice coating and drying thing at the end. The drinkability is decent. Overall, it's a pretty good beer, but I don't really think it's better than the base Old Engine Oil. (780 characters)

Photo of teromous
3.99/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: It appears just as the beer is described on the label; old engine oil. It's black in color, with a decent tan foamy head. It sticks somewhat to the glass, but not a lot.

S: I get some roasted scents, but it is overwhelmingly boozy.

T: I'm happy to say that it doesn't taste like strong alcohol. The beer tastes somewhat like a bourbon, but without the huge alcohol flavor. There are burnt flavors, along with chocolate, and oak. It tastes very good.

M: The beer relies heavily on bitterness and an oak body. It's a stronger side of a medium body, and has excellent mouthfeel.

O: I would drink it again and I would recommend it. It's a fine porter with a lot of body and flavor. The only negative that I found with the beer, was the strong alcohol scent. It's odd that it was hidden in the flavor (in a good way). (819 characters)

Photo of soju6
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a black color with a thick head that fades slowly to nice lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt and chocolate, with some coffee and dark fruit to round it out. Very inviting rich aroma.

T: taste is similar to the aroma, with roasted malt and chocolate up front there is a bit of coffee and dark fruit to round it out with a mild bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Body is quite full, smooth and creamy. very well balanced. No hint of the 9% ABV.

O: Overall a very good beer that is not overpowering. Nice choice when you want something different. (551 characters)

Photo of avalon07
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Good lacing.

S: An interesting smell of coffee, chocolate, and a burnt quality as well.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, light hops, and the aforementioned burnt quality. A solid flavor, very subtle and underplayed, as a lot of British beers are.

M: An average amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: On the whole, an enjoyable, easy to drink brew. (545 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Puerto Rico Food & Liquors. Served in a taster pint glass.

A - A thin tan foam settles to a collar, wisps, and a few specks of lace. Dark brown and fairly opaque body.

S - Chocolate, smoke, fruity yeast, slightly vinous, with some mild floral hopping. Biscuit and butter toffee sweetness, with some raisin and other dark fruits. Smells like more of a cross between an English porter and an old ale. There's a bit of sherry-esque oxidation, although this is pretty new so perhaps it's deliberate?

T - The taste is smokey, with some meaty glazed ham flavors, as well as caramel, toffee, fruity yeast notes, buttermilk, chocolate, and a hint of tobacco leaf. Alcohol is very well-hidden.

M - A tad thin for a 9% beer, but there's no alcohol heat and it's quite easy to drink. Lightly grainy texture, medium body, with a fairly dry and crisp finish.

D - Solid stuff, particularly if you like fruity English ales. Might not have been worth the somewhat steep price tag ($7.99 for an 11.2oz bottle) bit it was easy to drink, with a rich and complex flavor profile. (1,075 characters)

Photo of popery
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with just a hint of dark coffee brown along the edges. Small tan head. The aroma is molasses, dark stone fruit, chocolate and roast. It's sort of a beery bittersweet chocolate flavor, sweet but with a good dose of dark malt backing it up. Mild herbaceous hops. The taste is luxurious dark malt. Sweet, rich chocolate leading into a gently bitter finish, roasty and hoppy. Thick, velvety feel. Fills the mouth. Relatively low carbonation. It's a very nice beer full of dark malt flavor. Good stuff. (509 characters)

Photo of Daniellobo
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

lNice imperial porter...

Presentation:33 cl brown capped bottle. Oval label with shiny copper frame, and the faded image of old cars among the borders. Front already starts to describe the brew, and the back notes expand the ingredients, and intent. Shows a faded code on the neck and 9% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Black pour with deep dark brown edges, rich creamy head, good retention, nice surface memory and lacing.

S - Nice roasted nose, very malty with chocolate and coffee notes leading to a fruity bitterness…

T - …which hold their own very well in the palate. Rich roasted notes, chocolate and coffee, and that bitter/sweet note is slightly punctuated by a touch of charred wood. Fruity, slightly sour dash in the horizon over a floral hoppy insinuation.

M - Medium/full body with medium carbonation, which punctuates nicely a very creamy and smooth ride.

O - Quite a nice rich porter.

Notes: Solid through and through, maybe nothing special but hits all the notes of the style with great dexterity. A tad too expensive with the import and all, but a nice brew. (1,093 characters)

Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hard to believe this is a porter not a stout. Pours black and thick with a head that is thick and creamy and brown.

S: Smells surprisingly sweet, oaky and very roasty.

T: Chocolate, oak, alcohol really comes through. I think the alcohol seems to overpower some of the other flavors here. Otherwise pretty solid.

M: Sits pretty good. Gets a little sour as the bubbles take affect. Heavy body. Some good lingering notes.

Overall a really good beer but I'm not sure it's as good as the unaged version. The alcohol seems a little unbalanced but it is still much better than the average brew. (596 characters)

Photo of WillCarrera
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle, no bottled-on date, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours black with an inch of creamy brown head, leaves some nice lacing.

S- Chocolate, dark fruit and a lot of smoky, roasted grain.

T- Lots of roast and some subtle hops with a center of chocolate, caramel, and some dark fruit. Has a dry, smoky finish.

M- Medium-bodied, smooth feel, dry finish.

O- A solid porter, very drinkable stuff and with some great flavors. (429 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.07/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle at 45 degrees into imperial pint glass
Faint toasted malt aroma
Head small (1.5 cm), light brown, frothy, rapidly diminishing to irregular ring with varying size bubbles
Lacing sketchy – few islands of small bubbles
Body dark brown, opaque
Flavor is light, roasted malt; no alcohol, no hops, no diacetyl; flavor ends with no bitterness, just slightly sweet.
Palate medium, creamy, soft carbonation

This is an excellent porter, creamy, sweet, lightly roasted. It is just a joy to drink – the only down side is the poor head and lacing which detract from the appearance. (588 characters)

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

ours jet black with a brown-ish head. In the aroma, a light roasted malt and sweet chocolate. In the taste, a quite rich chocolate taste, and a small alcohol in the end. Quite smooth and a medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a note of alcohol and chocolate in the aftertaste. Quite nice, with rich chocolate and note of alcohol, yet smooth and tasty. (354 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a small dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, molasses, dark bread, raisin, plum, light licorice, light smoke, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, molasses, dark bread, raisin, plum, light licorice, light smoke, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/spicy hop and roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, molasses, dark bread, raisin, plum, light licorice, light smoke, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice robustness, balance, and complexity of big dark/roasted malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an excellent English imperial porter style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of big dark/roasted malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering. (1,662 characters)

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Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
94 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.