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Old Engine Oil - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,348 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,348
Reviews: 731
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 106
Gots: 83 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Porter |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-10-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,348 | Reviews: 731 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Ralphus:
Photo of Ralphus

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev -3.9%

My bottle of Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil came with some high expectations. The fellow at the cash register had been talking it up since early fall when the first porters arrived. And when I finally got around to trying it I was expecting a little more of what I'd come to enjoy in other offerings..

It pours as dark as one is led to believe it might be but without the head and no lacing either. It didn't look that impressive so I gave it a smell.. there's some coffee, dark chocolate and even hints of red wine in there. But I wouldn't rank it as great.. maybe even not all that noteworthy. Certainly other beers of this style have performed similar feats.

In tasting we find some sweetness up front - but it's very short lived. Being quickly being dominated by the roasted barley and slightly acidic hops at the back end. There is balance but it's transitory in nature instead of a constant play between flavors.

Mouthfeel is smooth but a little on the watery side. It may have the look of old engine oil but surely it does not have the consistency. The one area I will give the beer credit towards though is that it ends better than it starts. Each passing mouthful is a little more enjoyable than the last and before you reach the end of your first glass, you'll already be thinking about your second.

02-12-2009 02:25:46 | More by Ralphus
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev -2.7%

I must say I had never heard of this until now,pours a deep brown with some nice ruby hues with a great creamy head that sticks very well.The aroma is a little caramelly and dry.A taste of unsweetened chocolate and some fruity notes with a slight dry finish.Very impressed with this beer.

07-15-2003 14:25:02 | More by oberon
Photo of RoyalT


4.18/5  rDev +1%

Appearance – Black as night in the body with a nice, full head that went down slowly and laced the glass.

Smell – This has a tight aroma. After it warms a bit, the burnt malt and toffee character come out nicely. Other faint smells include coffee, chocolate, and milk shake.

Taste – Definitely milk shake with a dash of coffee. This is well-blended and complete. The milky chocolate flavors mix with the coffee and a bit of candy, maybe Heath Bar meets Hershey, and a wonderful dark malt backbone. Everything is even-keeled though and very nice.

Mouthfeel – No carbonation and very creamy smooth. This is full-bodied but even. No sharp edges to this ale.

Drinkability – Wonderful to drink at any time and in any season.

10-20-2003 01:25:32 | More by RoyalT
Photo of cam477

Newfoundland (Canada)

4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

10-19-2013 00:38:49 | More by cam477
Photo of byaeger


4.38/5  rDev +5.8%

Found this at City Beer in S.F. and plunked down $5.69 for the 11.2 oz bottle. I had to know. What'd I have to know? How the base for Harviestoun's amazing Ola Dubh tasted (I've had the 12, 16, and 30, the last of which was on tap--possibly cask--at Blue Palms Brew House in LA) like. It tastes like awesomeness.

To quote Spinal Tap, "How much more black can you get? None. None more black."

Impenetrable by light, the old engine oil moniker is fitting, not merely boastful. Sometimes I like to go for liquid coal and this is the go-to beer for such occasions.

Syrupy, roasty, velvety, and to quote someone less famous (my friend Jeff from Montana), "richer than 3 feet up a bull's ass."

If no Ola Dubh is available, go for this, especially as a chaser for your top shelf single malt of choice.

09-30-2008 04:56:33 | More by byaeger
Photo of beerhunter13

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -3.4%

01-14-2012 14:50:52 | More by beerhunter13
Photo of DanGeo


3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

08-06-2013 02:33:45 | More by DanGeo
Photo of tectactoe


4/5  rDev -3.4%

06-01-2012 19:16:55 | More by tectactoe
Photo of ExtraStout


4.13/5  rDev -0.2%

Had this at BBC in Franklin, MA. It pours very dark, almost black. The head was creamy tan but small and dissipated rather quickly. There is some light lacing as well. Smell is of malt, chocolate, and maybe hops. The hops definitely come through on the taste, it's somewhat bitter with a hint of chocolate and malt. Smokey like a Porter usually is which is why I'm a Stout fan. The mouthfeel is pretty good but not the best. Drinkability: I'd take it if I had it, but I'm not sad that I don't. Definitely not bad, but at the same time it's nothing special.

04-14-2012 01:12:40 | More by ExtraStout
Photo of OhioBobcat


4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

09-26-2013 01:22:42 | More by OhioBobcat
Photo of Zakk


4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

06-09-2012 04:05:18 | More by Zakk
Photo of Tiernan


4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

07-11-2013 01:30:32 | More by Tiernan
Photo of hopsleeroy

North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev -7%

Thanks to Chemmie for this one!

A-Black body with very little white head, not as thick as the name suggests
S-Roasted grain, ale fruit flavors, earthier hop/yeast
T-Roasted Falvor with some bready malts, very mild hop nice bitter aftertaste, some sweetness would have helped.
M-A little bit thin on the body with decent carbonation
D-I could go for another

Interesting beer, but not what Iwould expect out of an Old Ale.

08-07-2008 20:10:04 | More by hopsleeroy
Photo of dolivaw


4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

11-03-2013 04:22:11 | More by dolivaw
Photo of tbryan5


4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

05-04-2014 03:11:39 | More by tbryan5
Photo of sgoodship


4.47/5  rDev +8%

This was my first sample of this style and a pretty darned good way to start. Not sure if all the Old Ale style is porter-like but this one certainly was for me. I shall explore further!

A: Black of course but there is a hint of a golden walnut brown at the edges when the head clears. Head is short lived but is coffee stained and leaves a slight lacing

S: I just couldn't wait for it to be poured (bad boy) and got a good whiff of blackberry from the bottle. When poured, it was the same but then I recognized the malt, chocolate and coffee. As the drink progressed, it definitely took on a more acidic fruit smell but wasn't too dominant.

T: Frickin' delicious. Fruity acidic start aided with some carbonation with a big dominant syrupy roasted malt middle. It ended with a bitter coffee, chocolate bitterness and the hops were there but oh so slightly. This is an artfully balanced brew for sure. A very fulfilling taste for me.

M: Lovely round creamy buttery smoothness. A wee bit of carbonation livened things up just a tad. The bold taste made me expect a thicker body but it was lighter than expected. Don't misunderstand me, the mouthfeel was not disappointing at all, just not what I expected.

D: I think I could drink quite a few of these. Very satisfying evening drink. It's not a session beer but it isn't intended to be. For me, it's a trip back in time. I am currently reading A History of Suds and Civilization from Mesopotamia to Microbreweries by Gregg Smith and I can just imagine being at an old Inn drinking one of these. Read the book - you'll get what I mean.

10-14-2008 02:44:51 | More by sgoodship
Photo of SkiBum22

New York

4/5  rDev -3.4%

03-05-2014 19:21:50 | More by SkiBum22
Photo of JacobMutberg


4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

10-09-2012 17:29:28 | More by JacobMutberg
Photo of tuckevalastin


4.2/5  rDev +1.4%

A: Pours thick and as dark as night with barely any tan head

S: smells of sweet chocolate and caramel as well as a roasty coffee like malt

T: The taste is very roasty and a bit bitter. Hints of chocolate and caramel are noticable but roasted coffee dominates.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with decent carbonation. Not the smoothest beer in the world but not much heat comes through either.

D: Above average drinkability for a dark beer

Overall, this is a good beer to drink once in a blue moon. Worth a try if you enjoy the style.

03-11-2010 23:39:05 | More by tuckevalastin
Photo of FadetoBock

Alberta (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

04-21-2014 02:03:05 | More by FadetoBock
Photo of lordofthewiens


4.43/5  rDev +7%

A great beer! It was an opaque black with a thick, sticky, coffee-colored head. Aroma was sweet, dark cherry, a little chocolate. Wonderful taste: dark roasted coffee, chocolate, tiny bit of yeast. A very smooth beer. Not too high in ABV, so easily one to have a few of. My wife, who usually prefers wheat beers, liked this a lot.

08-09-2006 22:43:14 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of csmartin6

New York

4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

07-28-2012 19:49:45 | More by csmartin6
Photo of warnerry


4.35/5  rDev +5.1%

No bottle date, but I've had this for probably 6 months.

A - Pours very deep brown/blacvk with just over two fingers of brown head. Head has great retention and leaves lots of lacing.

S - Milk chocolate, some bitter chocolate, lots of roasted malt. A bit of dark fruit.

T - Starts off with sweet coffee and fruit, with milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate coming midway. Finish is roasted malt, somewhat bitter, and a faint sweetness. Very nice.

M - There is a viscous aspect to the mouthfeel, but overall it is medium, and alternates between silky and roasted bitter dryness.

O - Very nice English porter. A bit pricy, but I would still pick this up occasionally.

03-10-2012 00:42:02 | More by warnerry
Photo of WuAnquo1


2/5  rDev -51.7%

01-11-2012 12:26:56 | More by WuAnquo1
Photo of sponberg

New York

4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

Nigh-on opaque (like, umm, old engine oil...) with a tan head that leaves lace down the glass as it goes.

Interesting aroma - toffeish, dark malty smells waft from the glass. The flavor starts out with a rounded sweet coffee-chocolate-toffee flavor, then from out of nowhere a strong apricot fruitiness comes into play mid-sip. Not a "sorta like an apricot a little bit" flavor - more like a "take a bite!" flavor that really compliments the rest of what's going on. This goes away almost as quickly as it came, leaving a finish of chocolate and coffee that becomes slightly moire bitter on its way down. Very complex, and very, very good.

Note: The second pint I had a month or two later did not exhibit the apricot flavor that was there the first time, but every other flavor note remained. Odd.

08-23-2002 07:40:38 | More by sponberg
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Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,348 ratings.