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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.

1,327 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,327
Reviews: 729
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 98
Gots: 75 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,327 | Reviews: 729 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mattipt

United Kingdom (England)

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, BBE 06/2012. Served at 5 degrees C from a conical 1/2 pint beer festival glass.

A - The colour is very reminiscent of well-known cola brands. Very dark with a ruby red hue. Pours into the glass with a few bubbles but, try as I might, I can't get a proper head on it.

S - The first impression is surprisingly a Guinness-like aroma; that then gives way to dark roasted malt that brings to mind Southern Italian dark-roasted, oily coffee beans. Nutty with a wonderful treacle sweetness. It takes me a long time to figure out the dominant taste though. I think through my Oriental spice cabinet until it hits me: sesame seed oil! That, and the traditional Finnish Easter dessert mämmi.

T - It takes a while for the taste to sink in. Treacly sweet and rich. Wholesome like freshly baked brown bread. Now I've figured it out, more sesame seed oil keeps coming through. Very smooth with minimal bitterness. All flavours blend together wonderfully.

M - Thick, oily, chewy and interesting, again the oily coffee beans come to mind. Coats the mouth wonderfully. Suitably flat without being too much so.

D - At 6%, it's very drinkable. Unlike many porters, it doesn't taste thin. Seems to withstand quite low temperatures. This feels like quite a demanding beer to drink though as it takes some analysis to get all the flavours out and in order. Alternatively, just sit down and enjoy the symphony. Fantastic stuff!

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2011 23:17:56 | More by mattipt
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black oil color with ruby highlights; a frothy head that retains well and leaves touches of lace

Smell: Very roasty, with hints of chocolate, prunes and whisky

Taste: A lot going on in the mouth here - starts out roasty, with smoke and dark chocolate flavors tangling with earthy hop bitterness; plenty of roast and smoke after the swallow but there is also licorice on the finish, which lasts for well over 10 seconds after the liquid has gone down the gullet.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Very different and a nice change of pace when you have time to sit and contemplate its flavors

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2004 21:44:39 | More by brentk56
Photo of meadhead


4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a scotch ale -stout -porter
bits of all the above
fig fruits and coffee
chocolate malts
in flood

hop bittering present
like label says

opaque oil appearance
smell of slight maple-ness

subtle complex
one could drive on all night
though has the rich flavor
which stops
from cheap trite

really a frist class world brew
after dinner desert seems
a good match for two

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2007 02:28:14 | More by meadhead
Photo of Lerxst


4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Kickbacks

A-Black with a foamy one finger head that has moderate retention, but leaves some nice looking lacing.

S-Roasted malt, dark fruit, a whiff of coffee and sweet caramel. Its pleasant but not very strong. I'd like for the nose to be more prominent.

T-Follows the nose with roasted malt, dark fruit, some coffee and caramel. The flavors really stand out, yet work well together. I'm really liking this.

M-On the heavier side of medium, but not quite full bodied. Slick and oily.

D-The pint went down in no time and I could easily have had many more. Very drinkable.

I really enjoyed this one. I'll have to go back and have another before the keg kicks.

Serving type: on-tap

05-02-2010 01:06:14 | More by Lerxst
Photo of Pauly2X


4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Extremely dark brown almost black one finger tan head faded quickly.

S- Sweet malty aroma with strong hints of plums.

T- Rich and decadent with none of the roasted bitterness associated with darker beers. The malts take center stage ofset only slighty by some hop flavor.

M- Smooth and rich.

D- I had this beer about 2 years ago and I finally found it again.

Annother great beer to give to those who are afraid of the dark. Truly a fantastic beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2008 00:55:32 | More by Pauly2X
Photo of CoolJosh


4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle to go at Zeno's after watching my football team reign victorious over Ohio State..

A - Whoaaaa!!!! I know that the name of this beer is Old Engine Oil, but man oh man is this dark. Completely opaque black, half finger dark brown in head that dissipates to a ring.

S - Really great scents of dark coffee roasts, caramel, and semi sweet choclates.

T - Again, very impressive. Really great and well balanced tastes of everything thats apparent in the smell. A little bit of sweetness but not overpowering. My buddy's girlfriend put it best, this tastes like a really good cup of coffee. Carbonated well which adds a tingly feeling in the mouthfeel. Some bitterness at the end.

All in all, an awesome ale. If you can get your hands on one of these I would advise putting any hesitation aside.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2008 05:00:32 | More by CoolJosh
Photo of NightINgale

Russian Federation

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown body, with loads of small bubbles and a thin brown-coloured head. I was using a tulip glass, for the lack of a snifter, so the head retention was nowhere near impressive.

S - A very robust coffee/chocolate roasted smell, with some herbal hoppiness and a hint of dark fruits. Very inviting so far.

T - Starts out with a powerful and complex roasted malt kick, bringing loads of coffee and dark chocolate notes, as well as some grape-like qualities. There is just enough sweetness; it's very balanced.The finish is one of a lingering bitter-sweetness and you can taste the alcohol a little more than one would expect from a 6% ale. It definitely opens up more as it warms up, making it very easy to savour and enjoy the complexity of the malts combined with the yeast strain.

M - Medium-to-full body to it. Not as viscous as I would have imagined, but still chewy enough. The mouthfeel is very pleasant, the carbonation is moderate.

D - Quite good, since it's not that strong (compared to imperial styles or barley wines, for example) though very full-bodied.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2009 23:24:12 | More by NightINgale
Photo of tko741

New Jersey

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appears a time-warping black, topped with a solid cream head that dissipates to a wispy cloud above the darkness below.

Smells of rich toffee, butterscotch, roasted malts and bittersweet chocolate. A damn fine nose.

Creamy dark chocolate, roasted toffee, and a smooth malt finish are what this awesome brew brings to your palate. Perhaps a lingering hop bite in the aftertaste, and a rich, velvety mouthfeel. Excellent.

I'd be willing to order this for more than one round but not more than a few at a time...I want this beer to be a treat.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2010 03:17:50 | More by tko741
Photo of cbw1978

Rhode Island

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark-brown to black, pretty opaque except on the pour. Pour down the middle of a pint glass led to a foamy tan head of just over 1/2 an inch, which dissipated after a few minutes. There was a decent amount of vertical lacing that remained throughout the tasting.

Smell - Malty with a little fruity sourness (apple?), then roasted coffee and chocolate.

Taste - A slight bitterness that wasn't overly hoppy; sweet roasty malt taste was more dominant.

Mouthfeel - Creamy with very subtle carbonation. Coats the top of the mouth and sits for a while after the swallow.

Drinkability - Smooth and pleasant; somewhere between a stout and an ale, worth pouring again, would be a beer to pair with a chocolate dessert.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 00:47:53 | More by cbw1978
Photo of jakester


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. No date on the label. I drank this in a goblet glass.

This beer does look like engine oil when you pour it. Almost opaque, with a hint of deep garnet with a touch of brown if you hold it up to a bright light. A 1/2 finger of tan foams forms on top, which quickly drops to islands and a ring. No lacing observed.

Aroma is strong chocolate, very fruity, like cherries or dates. Alcohol in there as well. Not much in the way of hop aroma.

Flavor is chocolate, but not too sweet. A definite hop bittering is present, making the flavor of this interestingly yummy. Very fruity. I do think I can pick up some grassy/herbal hops in there also. Aftertaste is pure dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is luxuriously smooth and creamy. Carbonation is soft. This beer just rolls around in your mouth. Great mouthfeel. Finish is incredibly creamy, like a chocolate milk shake.

I get the feeling this is what an old ale is supposed to be. I haven't had many. This beer is fantastic. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2005 17:30:14 | More by jakester
Photo of Fatehunter


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out of a bottle into a Delirium glass. Black as night. A solid inch of tan head. So beautiful.

S - Burnt malt, dark chocolate and a hint of smoke.

T - Bitter chocolate at first and a good hop bitterness at the end.

M - Medium going towards full body. Slightly creamy with light carbonation.

D - Excellent. A great porter. Nothing bad to say about it.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2010 00:38:30 | More by Fatehunter
Photo of spokeydonkey

New York

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was on draught at a local bar. I took it home in a bomber to drink while brewing an old ale. Poured it into an 8 oz snifter.

A - Deep mahogony, almost black in color. Very little light tan head.

S - Dark roast coffee, molasses notes in the smell. Little hop character.

T - Very dry tasting. There's a hint of sweetness at the front, but it's followed up by a nice smoky character from the malts and a lingering bitterness. There's a hint of hot alcohol with this one as well. Finishes extremely dry.

M - Medium body, but very smooth feeling. Perfect to keep it drinkable and clean.

D - Highly drinkable. Well balanced with a smooth mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2009 20:14:52 | More by spokeydonkey
Photo of Beelzebeer

Newfoundland (Canada)

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, served in tulip

A - Black with dense, slight foamy dark tan head

S - Roast, charred malt.

T - Roasted malt, charred, a little smoke, crystal malt, a little wood

M - Wonderful. Medium density, medium carbonation.

O - Great. Could barely be better.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2012 22:14:45 | More by Beelzebeer
Photo of StevieW


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A special selection on tap at Redbones BBQ. Deep dark brown or black color, depending on the light. Slight ruby hints along the edges. Creamy light brown head, laced down the glass. Smell was a serious combination of sweet roasted fruit, sublte chocolate and carmel malt, and toffee. Taste was truly unique, roasted plums, raisins, subtle chocolate, and coffee bitterness finish it up. Finish lingers, but how can it not, with everything going on. Thick, full feel,yet slippery, I could have only one of these at a time, especially with all the food they give you at Redbones. I thought it was a stout as I drank it, later learned it's an old ale. Very interesting, orginal, and memorable beer. Great name too.

Serving type: on-tap

09-08-2002 07:52:09 | More by StevieW
Photo of samie85


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Pours a dark brown/black with an almsot non-existent dark tan head.

S-Smells deliciously rich with dark fruits, cocoa powder, vanilla and some roast coffee notes.

T-Roasty malt and chocolate with some vanilla notes with a slightly bitter aftertaste. This a roast flavor I like, it's not in your face roasty but it's easily identifiable.

M-Thick and oily although the carbonation helps this from being too much in the mouthfeel.

D-This was decidedly more drinkable than I expected it to be. I could see myself having a couple of these on a cold winter night, which is unfortunately what we have in store for us tomorrow. Time for a beer run!

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2010 07:14:32 | More by samie85
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Firewaters in Atlantic City NJ. Nice black color with thick 2"+ tan head. Thick lacing developed during the drink. Aroma was full of malt and chocolate. The flavor was super as roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, prunes, and mild bitterness were well married. Alcohol was lightly noticeable, but this drink was like liquid candy.

Smooth and creamy start with a long chocolate finish. Carbonation levels seemd light but were right for this style. A very drinkable brew that leaves you wanting more after the glass is empty.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2004 00:15:22 | More by Gavage
Photo of Steamer


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - A very dark pour but not quite opaque. Dark reddish hues. A full, thick, and tannish head with plenty of cascading, tight bubbles.

S - Sweet malt with hints of smoke.

T - Bitter chocolate with a little plum. Some mild hoppy bitterness hits toward the end and hangs on.

M - Thick, creamy and smooth. Mild carbonation.

O - A great tasting and well balanced ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2013 02:21:31 | More by Steamer
Photo of danielofthedale


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Very dark dark in color. Frothy head, about one finger thick that dissipates quickly

S-The roasty barley is the first thing I noticed. Chocolate and coffee as well. A faint smokiness in there too.

T-Big roasty flavor followed by some chocolate and a little coffee. Hops in the background but the bitterness provides a nice counter to the rostyness.Some smoke flavor is noticeable too.

M-Smooth and creamy mouth feel. Mild carbonation that just dances on the tongue. Light to medium body

O-A very good porter. It really delivers on the roast flavor I want in a porter. Not quite as complex as American Porters but is everything you look for in a traditional example of a porter. I will definitely have this again.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2011 02:55:40 | More by danielofthedale
Photo of blackjack000


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nearly pitch black, with a bit of maroon gleaming through near the edges of glass when held up to the light. A frothy head of delicate bubbles, resembling the top of a root beer float.

Smell: Dark cocoa and some caramel, with a fleeting rum scent when first swished around.

Taste: Roasted coffee and bitter chocolate. The beer has a taste that quickly escapes after tasting, leaving just a dark chocolate feel on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly light feeling in the mouth for such a dark appearance. Very smooth.

Drinkability: Sits very lightly in the belly. Twelve ounces disappears too quickly. The beer offers a well-balanced flavor that leaves me wanting more.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2008 03:01:12 | More by blackjack000
Photo of giblet


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is a very good ale. i had it years ago but forgot what it was like. i get a kick out of the name. pours rich and smooth. good creamy head. rich roasted malts tingle the nostrils. nice rich malty flava. chewy. this beer is damn good. i could not rate it a 4.5 on drinkability cuz if i cant drink 16 - 24 oz of a beer in a sitting i cant rate it near perfection. other than that it is.

suckem up and movem out.


Serving type: bottle

05-04-2008 20:02:00 | More by giblet
Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with the slightest of brown highlights. A vigorous pour didn't produce too much of a head, but it is there.
Vanilla, banana, a bit of smoke and plum make up the start of the nose. There is a tiny bit of grain and dirt in the background.
The taste starts with dark fruits and earthy hops, a bit of buttered bread and banana, and a bit of smoke in the finish. There is a bit of a mineral and floral background as well. Goes down easy.
A little pricy for everyday drinking, but well worth the try. I got it because it is apparently the beer that becomes Ola Duba, which I grabbed for my cellar. Very nice brew, gave me hope for the future of my Ola Duba.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2011 03:33:50 | More by OBeerMeGreatOne
Photo of yuriruley


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - black, forgot to hold it up to the light, but I assume it stays black. With a decent darker colored head that went down pretty fast, but hung around.

Smell - Roasted malts and some coffee, wasn't picking up much else, but my head is a little stuffy today.

Taste - Coffee with a nice roasted flavor, reminds me of a porter or stout in a lot of ways. It was very well balanced.

Mouthfeel - excellent, not to heavy.

Drink - Easy drink, could drink several.

Good beer wasn't what I was expecting at all. Was only the second "old ale" I have had and it was nothing like the first I had. Reminded me of a really good stout. Would definitely buy again.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2009 00:54:24 | More by yuriruley
Photo of jbsteiny


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I saw this at Cherry Tree, and, reflecting on the whisky barrel-aged variety and how amazing it was, I figured I'd shell out $8 for a 12 oz. bottle (highway robbery, imo). The bartender didn't know what glass it went in and she gave me a Chimay -- I think it would go better in a standard wine glass to capture more aromas. It poured near black with no true head -- a few swirls of bubbles. Its smell was very pleasant but hard to describe. It had a very sweet grape characteristic, but also something creamy like butterscotch. I know grape butterscotch sounds disgusting, but it was pleasant.

This beer becomes exceptional once it crosses your lips. Very rich blend of flavors: starts with sweet cream, becomes cognac, and finishes with roasty chocolate malts. Yummo. Wonderful mouthfeel -- the minimal carbonation was fine considering the full body and the crisp finish. If I could find a place to pick up a case of this at a reasonable price, I'd be on it in a minute. Smooth and intensely flavorful. Harviestoun is a new reason to go to Scotland. Next: must hunt down the barrel-aged one again. I remember it having an amazing peat flavor that offset the sweetness.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2007 10:48:24 | More by jbsteiny
Photo of bagpiper2005


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: Jet black with three fingers of tan head that sticks around and laces nicely. Streaks of ruby red on the edges when held to the light.

Smell: Chocolate and roasted malt. A hint of vanilla in the background. Light hop astringency.

Taste: Creamy vanilla sweetness upon initial impact which then gives way into a rich chocolate taste with an underlying hint of caramel. This fades into a hint of coffee and then finishes up with a rather aggressive hop bite.

Mouthfeel: It lives up to its name here! Rather thick and creamy mouthfeel. Low carbonation. Very smooth.

Drinkability/Overall: Very smooth drinking, though not exactly a session beer. Good complexity and intensity in the flavor. I'm impressed.

Final Notes: This is a damn good beer. Big flavor and complex, deliciously sweet and savory. Excellent dessert beer or to finish the night out with. Highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

08-13-2011 04:15:54 | More by bagpiper2005
Photo of SuperSpy


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer appears to be jet black as it's poured into my pint glass, but once held to the light you can actually see a very dark ruby red. There is a wonderfully thick tan head leaving it's mark along the edges of the glass as it slowly dissipates. The aroma is quite complex and sweet. Plenty of roasted malt, sweet coffee, charcoal and a hint of citrus.

The beer is creamy smooth and the flavor is heavier on the roast than the aroma would suggest, but the sweet malt has by no means been knocked to the sideline. There is cocoa, unsweetened chocolate, roasted malt and sweet coffee. The middle and toward the end is where the hops really start to show up, with earthy and floral flavors that give the beer a slightly dry but very well balanced finish.

Very impressed with this beer and I will be picking up more at the first opportunity.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2011 01:54:36 | More by SuperSpy
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,327 ratings.