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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

88 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 88
Hads: 290
Avg: 4.25
pDev: 8.71%
Wants: 42
Gots: 57 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
United Kingdom (Scotland) | website

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.
View: Beers (30) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 88 | Hads: 290
Photo of slackattack
5/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours the color and viscosity of...you guessed it...old engine oil. Nice tan milk chocolatey looking head. Aroma is dominated by the smoky, toasty malt, and it smells damn delicious. Coffee, dark chocolate, and amazing are the major flavor notes, this thing is chewy like chocolate syrup. I don't want this bottle to end. I want to stop this review and enjoy it, soooo bye.

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Photo of utfiero
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color- black hole, no light escapes its grip. No head.

Aroma- burnt coffee with pear and Christmas cake (like rum coffee with fruitcake).

Taste- Wow! This is superb! Starts smooth as silk with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, pear brandy, finishing long and lingering with perfect hop dryness blended with roasty perfection.

Tasted in Scotch glass on 6/13/14. Also tasted it's little brother "Old Engine Oil," and this is truly a grown up, aperitif of the original.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.07/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of ADZA
3.89/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of spoony
4.44/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From a 330 ml bottle (code says 262/11) into a snifter.

A-A normal pour produces a finger of mocha-colored head that fades to cap after a minute. I get no lacing. The beer is ebony in color and still-looking. Pretty standard stuff.

S-The aroma is full of roast and chocolate flavors. There is a heavy dose of cream, as well. Another sniff reveals toffee and molasses. There is just a hint of char and bitterness. Alcohol is pretty well-hidden.

T-The taste is also a creamy mixture of milk and dark chocolate, molasses, caramel, and malted grains. There is a little bit of dark fruity sweetness from the alcohol and a touch of bitter smoke flavor.

M-The viscosity is quite high and the lazy carbonation does just enough to keep my palate interested. Really nice.

O-I really enjoy this beer. It is substantial in both taste and feel. The creamy flavors pair well with the thick mouthfeel, but there is just enough char and roasted flavors lurking underneath to keep this beer from feeling lopsided. A very solid effort with an outstanding mouthfeel.

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Photo of dgilks
4.46/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black. Engine oil isn't wrong. Small creamy tan head. Pretty good.

Intensely toasty and roasty. Nice nuttiness. Sweet. Good.

Sweet and toasty. Big bitterness too. Great rounded complex flavour. Mmmmm.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Sweet.

Great beer. The flavours just work and it sings. Big beer but subtle too.

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Photo of Sirwootalot
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

It's been a while since I've reviewed a new beer, but this one is amazing enough to compel me to.

Pours engine-oil-black (what were you expecting?) with a luscious, thick 1.5 inch malt head that fades after a few minutes. It yields absolutely nothing to the light, and truly is the "blackest ale" I have ever seen; maybe one of the blackest things ever. It's mesmerizing to look at, beautiful even.

The smell is rich but not cloying or intense - molasses, bitter cacao, and roasted nut dominate, with hints of french roast and cigar. The second this beer hit my tongue was a magic moment. It's dominated by rich roasted malt, with a strong wallop of not-too-sweet toffee and detectable british hop funk. The taste quickly fades to an almost herbal, vegetabley core (peat smoke perhaps?), and leaves a sticky, syrupy finish that refuses to go away even after several minutes. The high alcohol is nowhere to be found until you start to feel it, and it goes down dangerously smooth and easy for how potent it is.

Overall, I wish I had saved this for a slightly more special occasion or had a nice dinner to pair it with - as it is, I'm drinking it on my first night off in two straight weeks on a grumbling stomach. Maybe that's special enough - this is a new favorite, and one I'm sure to buy for special occasions in the future.

EDIT: PAIR THIS BEER WITH SHARP CHEDDAR. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST DO IT ALREADY. I could almost cry it's so delicious.

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Photo of dank203
4.58/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours thick dark black, not too much head. Aromas sweet coffee, chocolate, roasted barley, smoked meat. Flavors balanced with dark chocolate, creamy sweet malt and bitter coffee flavors. Feel and boldness of imperial stout with sweetness and drinkability of a porter

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Photo of DougT
4.36/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Guinness pint glass.

Absolutely black with a 2 finger dark, frothy tan head with light tan edges. Melts away into a full layer of foam with acceptable lacing.

Smells of chocolate, malt, and roasted grain.

Sweet up front, chocolate, a little coffee then bitter into the after taste. Some yeast and hops notes in the middle. Well balanced. Some alcohol burn, but only as the other flavors wash away. The taste of chocolate lingers throughout.

Full bodied, creamy, smooth, with enough effervescence to keep it interesting. Coats the mouth and tongue and engages the whole palate.

Very good beer. The flavors are quite tasty and the experience worth the price of admission.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.63/5  rDev -14.6%
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

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Photo of papat444
4.3/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle, no #freshbeer info.

Pitch black pour, dense brown foam that plunges and cascades into the rest of the body. Easily 4-5 fingers worth of head that really takes its time in receding. Sweet, rich milk chocolate in aroma, decadent with hints of darker chocolate. Flavor follows suit with a more semi-sweet chocolate presence accentuated. Like a dessert in a glass. The only qualm is the bitterness that kind of spoils the decadence of the chocolate profile. A small blip in an otherwise awesome brew.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.75/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Engineer’s Reserve has a very thick, dark beige head, with a soapy top, lots of lacing left behind, and an absolutely black appearance. The aroma is strong and pungent: rich, sweet, dark-roasted malt, black cherry, chocolate powder, burnt sugar, and even a slight vegetable smell. Taste is of all those with a hefty bitterness to compliment the sweetness. Mouthfeel is heavy and viscous, and Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Engineer’s Reserve finishes dry, rich, somewhat powdery, heavy, smooth, and delicious. Overall, this is a wonderful beer!

RJT

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Photo of jdhilt
4.18/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

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Photo of Cheshire_Crew_Al
4.33/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass

A: Black, brown head with nice lacing, head about 2-3 cm

S: Slightly burnt chocolate or slightly sweet dark chocolate

T: initial flavor sort of a vanilla, malt ball type flavor, as it settles in the mouth, that dark chocolate comes on and it finishes with some slight bitterness and the finish is a bit dry

M: creamy, thick

O: Excellent, a little drier than anticipated

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Photo of joeseppy
4.5/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black stallion pour with a grandiose tight mocha one inch head.

Rich black roast American coffee and Whoppers. Molasses, sweet cream and licorice noted as well.

Rich blend of hop fruity bitterness, malt and coffee. As it comes up in temperature, a more burnt quality stands out. Delicious cold or warmer.

Leaves my lips sticky with rich malt sweetness. A milky creaminess and yet so freakin clean. Leans toward more a stout thickness.

Overall a steady porter to lean on. My first impression was this is darn close to Ten-Fidy. Nothing over bearing and just a delight to spend time with. Truly decadent and worth every cent!

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Photo of mick303
4.39/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Vertical tasting, from notes.
A - much more creamy tan lacing than the original, excellent film and lacing, black body, looks amazing. 4.75
S - oily resin, warming, florals, honey, roasty malt, thick liquorice, dry herbal notes, wonderful. 4.5
T - more dry espresso, alcohol spice, some lemon, leather, very dry finish with some liquorice. 4.25
M - thick, creamy, very full, smooth mocha, very tasty and balanced. 4.25
O - a bit of the alcohol spiciness, good burnt toastiness character, some leafy spiciness, overall an excellent beer. 4.5

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.05/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.4/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Verk, very dark brown and opaque. A creamy dark brown head with good retention.

S: Moderately-strong chocolate and coffee aromas but a moderate dark dried fruit hit my nose before I even poured a glass. There is a soft alcohol sweetness and an inviting roasty/fermentation type of a smell that has me excited to try a sip. Some moderate dark roasted grain character as well.

T: A rich, dark malt flavors of chocolate, coffe with moderate sweetness balanced by some bitterness from the dark grains and a low hop bitterness. The balance somewhat sweet. There isn't much of the hops coming through but a low spiciness and fruitiness that is hard to distinguish what comes from the hops and what the grains and yeast bring. There is a low prune and raisin fruitiness. The is a light burnt character from the grains. The finish is medium and the aftertaste is of coffee and dark grains.

M: A creamy medium-full bodied beer with a medium level of carbonation.

O: A smooth beer with rich dark grain flavors of chocolate and coffee mixed with some dark fruit, a little spice and a burnt toffee character. A great after dinner beer that would pair well with a vanilla custard and fruit compote or any rich chocolate dessert.

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Photo of hosehead83
4.37/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a wine goblet.
Opaque black in color, with a moderate head of deep tan foam.
Aroma-Chocolate, whiff of alcohol
Taste-Dark roasted malt, chocolate, earthy hop notes, gently warming finish. Dark, rich and smooth. great character and flavor. A great match for a strong blue cheese. Excellent.

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Photo of pkalix
4.49/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

black, but brown. cant see through it at all.
smell is heavenly! roasty chocolate malts, cocoa, vanilla...
taste is very cocoa. very vanilla. very roasted malts.
i cant find this beer on the brewery's own site. i would love to see some more story on this. 9% abv and a great taste.

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Photo of mt24turner
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance- pitch black, dark as it gets.. about a half finger head that hangs around surprisingly long
smell- warm and inviting, chocolatey and sweet, with a deep roasted coffee underneath, hops are pretty substantial
taste- really full malt, lots of dark fruit and caramel sweetness, followed by a strong coffee/espresso flavor. perfectly balanced hop bitterness and piney earthynes to match the huge complex malt, no alcohol flavor just a nice warmth. leaves you wanting another drink
mouthfeel- really full mouthfeel light carbonation.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  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.

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Photo of bashiba
4.16/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a deep dark brown with dark mahogany highlights and a thin ring of dark tan head.

The smell is a mixture of light smoked peat, a bit of anise, and a touch of sweet alcohol.

The flavor is very black and bitter, a nice bit of sweetness starts to creep through after you get through the smoke and roasted barley flavors along with the moderate earthy hops. It seems to get a bit sweeter as you go with a touch of oatmeal and caramel malts coming out along with a Worcestershire fish oil type flavor as well that seems to give a very english like flavor, could be black treacle?

The mouthfeel is thick and oily, very heavy leaving a long lasting tongue coating.

Pretty nice big porter, has a great English quality to it along with a nice range of flavors.

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Photo of Knapp85
4.38/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.45/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

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Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
94 out of 100 based on 88 ratings.