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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

240 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 240
Reviews: 72
rAvg: 4.22
pDev: 9%
Wants: 36
Gots: 26 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: WVbeergeek on 01-04-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 240 | Reviews: 72 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, marshmallows, vanilla, cocoa powder, and milk chocolate. Taste is much the same with char-like and smoke flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a fantastic smell and some really nice flavors. Definitely a step above normal Old Engine Oil in my opinion.

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%

Photo of metter98
4.23/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that quickly died down, leaving a collar of large bubbles and some wispy lacing on the surface.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts and smoke in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark roasted malts and is accompanied by a very slight amount of bitterness and some hints of chocolate and smoked peat.
M: It feels medium-bodied and somewhat smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is incredibly drinkable—no traces of the alcohol whatsoever are present in the taste.

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of Knapp85
4.39/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured out as a deep black color with a nice off white head on top. The head retention and lacing were really nice on this beer. The smell is very malty with a healthy aroma of chocolate on the nose. The taste of the beer has a really nice big bold roasted flavors along with a sweet chocolate backbone in there too. The mouthfeel is slick and smooth with a light carbonation. Overall this beer is very good. I would drink it again for sure.

Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -11.1%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.5/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark as oil pitch black with a nice thicket of mocha tan head forms fine even lacing down the sides of my glass. This is basically an imperial version of their standard Old Engine Oil, I would call it just that an Imperial Porter. Aroma is creamy with dark chocolate, sweet underlying molasses, mild fruit complexity some hints of raisin. Herbal spicy hops are evident. Flavor is big with dark chocolate, roasted malt complexity, a hint of coffee. A touch of alcohol with dark ripened fruits blended in really a very smooth big dark beer can't tell that it would be 9% abv. Mouthfeel is medium bodied mellow carbonation this beer works well, I'm glad it wasn't aged in whiskey barrels I've had enough of their beers aged in whiskey. They need to send more of their standard and seasonal lineups stateside, seems like they know how to brew a really good beer. Overall my kind of big dark beer roasted malts big flavors with almost no harsh qualities, highly enjoyable definitely grab some. Only 4.99 a bottle really worth it for the abv and flavor quality.

Photo of nickfl
3.73/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of MasterSki
4/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.2/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of kojevergas
3.61/5  rDev -14.5%
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

Photo of dbrauneis
4.28/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque black in color with hints of dark brown when held up to the light and moderate amounts of carbonation near the surface of the beer. The beer has a half finger tall beige head that reduces to a very thin patch covering the majority of the surface of the beer, a small thick patch, and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts and burnt malts along with notes of chocolate, coffee, and caramel.

T: Similar to the smell, this beer has a strong body of dark roasted malts and burnt malts. There are notes of dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, licorice, and just a hint of caramel sweetness.

M: Just shy of full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Silky smooth.

O: For such a strong porter, the alcohol is surprisingly well hidden. I found this beer to be enjoyable but very much a sipping beer and not a session beer.

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

330 ml bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours dense pitch black color with a nice 1 finger dense tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, char, roasted malt, coffee, caramel, toffee, earth, and light herbal hops. Very nice aromas with good balance and strength. Taste of dark chocolate, coffee, char, roasted malt, toffee, molasses, earth, and herbal hops. Light spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, char, coffee, toffee, molasses, and herbal on the finish for a bit. Nice balance of flavors; with minimal cloying flavors. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a fairly creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Not as dense feeling as the original version though. Alcohol is well hidden with a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice imperial porter. Nice robust and balanced flavors; very smooth to sip on. The original version still tops this one, but I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.25/5  rDev +0.7%

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.45/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer pours a jet black body with a sticky tan head that fades to a film but sticks to the glass in sheets.

S- The mellow dark toffee aroma has some smooth black roasted malt smells in the finish. Even though the aroma is smooth, it is full.

T- The mellow roasted black malt has some toffee flavors and an inky note comes through as it opens. There is a papery oak flavor that supports the malt aswell. The hop bittern note in the slightly sweet finish leads to a hint of a slightly tart hop flavor. There is a smokey black malt flavor that lingers in the aftertaste.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and no alcohol heat really noticed.

O- This beer has a nice complex dark malt flavor that is also well blended and very drinkable. There is a bit more carbonation as the beer warms but it has some nice character.

Photo of jdhilt
4.19/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a two finger tan head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Light carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Mellow chocolate nose and flavor is malty chocolate. Finish is bitter chocolate. Higher ABV is hidden. $6.49 for a 330ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Marlboro, MA.

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -5.2%

Photo of John_M
4.3/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a wooden keg at TJ's 9th anniversary event.

The beer pours a darkish brown color with fairly good lacing and decent head retention. The nose is quite complex in this beer, as I pick up licorice, sherry, light coffee, vanilla and smoke. The flavor profile replicates the nose in this fairly sweet beer, and it seemed to be dominated by vanilla, licorice and smoke. The smoke flavor really adds an interesting note to this excellent beer, and as the beer warms, there's considerable dark chocolate as well. There's a hint of bitterness on the finish that helps to keep the sweetness in check, and I'm impressed by how drinkable this beer is (the beer is fairly sweet, but not overly so). Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but with a long, smooth, licorice and vanilla infused finish. Alcohohl is very well integrated into the flavor profile. This is a big beer, obviously, but I really don't get much sense of the 9% abv.

Just an altogether excellent beer, and an absolute treat to see out of a wooden cask. Very nice...

Photo of KAF
4/5  rDev -5.2%

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Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
94 out of 100 based on 240 ratings.