1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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)
View: Beers (35) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Engine Oil Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,327 | Reviews: 729 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FranklinDBier


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

Concur with bowersdm below. An excellent pour with great color, aroma, flavor and a nice roasted chocolate aftertaste. Although pricey at nearly $4 for a 16 oz. bottle, this Black Ale is tasty and enjoyable and it doesn't carry a heavy flavor like a stout.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 23:04:21 | More by FranklinDBier
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

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

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass pours a deep almost opaque black with a nice frothy light tan head that lasts as a thin layer and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice amount of smooth dark malts with slight baker's cocoa. The taste is loads of dark malts, cocoa, smooth coffee and slight molasses, very complex. This is a great English Porter, one I would certainly have again.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2010 21:09:30 | More by atsprings
Photo of BeerNemesis

New York

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

Old Engine Oil | 330 ml. | 6.0% ABV | 2010

Brewer: Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Style: English Porter
Glass: Brandy snifter

"It's an impenetrable slick of black but for a laserlike glint of ruby under light. One viscous sip after another introduces an enigmatic blend of flavors--charred malts and sticky toffee; bitter, slightly oily hops towards the finish; and minor hints of stale espresso and dark chocolate here and there. It's a silky smooth operator, and a gestalt of a brew, that won't easily give up its secrets."

Tar black with glassy shards of ruby red.

Wet coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts.

Char twists into toffee into espresso and dark chocolate into licorice and back again. Mild, but packed to the hilt with flavor all the way through the bittersweet aftertaste.

Incredibly smooth and viscous, like silk sliding over velvet. Unparalleled for its style.

The blend is king, and all flavors submit readily to the flawless medley.

Would I get it again?:
Oh yeah!

Bottled: it doesn't don't say
Served: 01.02.2011

Price = $3.99 at Whole Foods

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2011 20:11:50 | More by BeerNemesis
Photo of cswhitehorse


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

The Old Engine Oil poured what you would expect with the name. Dark, dense and a single finger foam head that look real comforting to rest my head against. Tight bubble lacing follows you as the glass empties.

The aroma is of chocolate and caramel. The taste is real smooth and velvety. There is a tad bit of bitterness that accompanies the second half down the throat. I found this to be one of the better old ale's I have consumed. You really get the caramel and toffee coming though most of the drink. This one is worth buying again, for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 23:20:54 | More by cswhitehorse
Photo of Daktyls


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

A: Pours pitch black in color with a half fingered, light, mocha head that fades to a fine lacing in the center of the brew and a ring around the outside of the glass.

S: Roasted malts followed by chocolate and some dark fruits. There is a little bit of coffee as well.

T: Mostly malty with hints of cocoa and chocolate. A smokey character is present along with some light vanilla notes.

M: A very creamy character that couples well with the flavors. Full bodied with a light amount of carbonation.

O: Overall very good, a great example of a porter.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 19:32:41 | More by Daktyls
Photo of SingleCell

Ontario (Canada)

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

Poured into a snifter at cellar temp. Best before marked on the bottle as FEB 2010.

A: Pours very dark, basically black with a slight red rusty tint. Tan 1/2 inch head is produced from an aggressive pour. However, as quick as the head shows up its gone leaving a light dusting of head.

S: Wow, I could smell this as soon as I popped the cap from a few feet away. Smells of milk chocolate, very dark fruits (plums), slightly burnt malt, almost like a Belgian yeast smell hiding behind everything. Also, some alcohol can be detected in the nose.

T: Burnt malt once again, alot more of the fruity estery flavours that can be somewhat detected in the smell, hint of bread like yeast. Finish of light coffee and strong dark fruits.

M: Very fine carbonation produces a medium bodied creamy almost velvet like mouthfeel. The bitter coffee finish also produces a somewhat dry mouthfeel.

D: A very mellow beer with an excellent mouthfeel. I think this is a very drinkable beer. At 6% ABV I probably won't session too many of these in one night but as with alot of old ales I find it is best to savour rather than quaff.

Overall a solid beer! With a name like old engine oil I was hoping for this to be a very thick viscous beer which it was not. However, I was still very satisfied and I would buy this beer again. Cheers everyone!

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2009 06:49:21 | More by SingleCell
Photo of enfield249


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

A - pours thick and dark. No light through this one, caramel colored head.

S - dark fruit, malt, slight roast.

T - lots of coffee, chocolate, slight black patent.

M - full to very full, astringent, not cloying however.

O - A very big porter. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2011 01:00:47 | More by enfield249
Photo of CHADMC3


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

· Appearance: Appropriately named, the oil has a dark tan head, which quickly subsides to only show its similarity to the grinch's heart.
· Aroma: Awesome, chocolate, hops, a little burnt and perhaps a bit milk like.
· Taste: Full of flavor, chocolaty hops again, and nicely roasted.
· Mouthfeel: Robust with a great hoppy finish. Definitely a crowd pleaser on a cold day.
· Drinkability: Near perfect old ale, I could sample one after another. Full of flavor yet easy to enjoy. You are urged to keep confirming how delicious it is.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2008 01:54:39 | More by CHADMC3
Photo of noladad


4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I had never heard of this beer, until I saw it at Stein's in New Orleans.

Very dark pour, almost black. Lives up to its name and visual comparison to motor oil.
Not much head at all on this one. Dark chocolate smell and taste, as well as roasted coffee. Very similar to a deep porter.

Mouth feel is a little thin when cold, but the taste is excellent. Feel improved as it warmed though it was difficult to let it sit! Bitterness not present until it warmed up. Very easy to drink. This would be good with a grilled steak or a dry rubbed pork loin. Would match well with something a little spicy.

Overall, a very good beer. Would love to have this one again!

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 00:48:40 | More by noladad
Photo of lordofthewiens


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Possibly one of the most distinctive beers I've ever had. The color is deep ruby, but not black (although it almost appears that way in the glass). It's topped by a short but creamy light tan head that displays good head retention and leaves some spotty lace. The aroma is intense; full of toffee, dark fruit, roasted malts and light candy. The dark caramel flavor doesn't quite follow suit, but offers a very creamy, round, and full mouthfeel - but not as big as might be indicated by the name! Hops are present and well integrated. A very drinkable beer, full of great character but not overwhelming; although I'm not sure I'd want to drink too many of these in a row!?! Definitely a Scottish-style ale, but also something else altogether. Wow!

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2002 07:15:50 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of sfprint


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Indeed, looks like old engine oil. I made a 1.5 finger head which is a kinda dark cream color, rootbeer float head. Barely any carbonation visible through the darkness.
S: Black coffee, with lots of roasted edge, but also cocoa powder like quik.
T: Mild aluminum (despite it coming from a bottle). It's pretty great. Like drinking black coffee, but not really bitter, not so sweet, with some chocolate elements. Pretty delicious.
M: Creamy, fluffy with very very mild carbonation. A unique feeling and very nice.
O: Very impressive. I don't really like porters but this is excellent.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2011 02:48:05 | More by sfprint
Photo of DougT


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated Nov. 2013, poured into a Sam Adams glass.

Dark brown to black with a 2 finger medium tan head with plenty of lacing. Head retains well and a full rather thick foam layer stays.

Chocolate, coffee, yeast, roast, and a little sweet malt. Smells delicious.

Bit of bitter bite up front, sweet in the middle, smooth in the finish. Coffee, chocolate, a little nutty, dark fruit. Nothing overpowers.

Medium to full body. Good fizz. Very smooth, well balanced and drinkable.

I find this to be a very enjoyable drink. The best parts of a robust stout mixed with a nice nut brown ale. interesting flavors in a very approachable beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 02:13:49 | More by DougT
Photo of Bung


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. Been a while since I've last had this, time to review one. Out of the bottle looks brown, but it is pretty much black in the glass. Thin layer of tan head, laces ok.

Malty, peaty aroma. Caramel, cocoa.

Taste, pleasant malty caramel. Molasses, peat, light plum. Finishes with some drying cocoa and coffee.

Mid bodied, coating, then gone with a nice dryness. No complaints here.

If this wasn't so damn expensive(3.50 for one 12oz), I'd drink this regularly.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2010 03:06:22 | More by Bung
Photo of danny013


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a .25" brown head that falls back into the beer to form a thin covering. Body is black with faint hints of mahongany coming through. Little to no lacing. Looks delicious!

Smell is of sweet malts, a nice bready yeast, some raisinish fruity hints, and smooth coffee/roasted grain.

Taste is delicious, almost magical. Nice malty base as the beer hits the palate that quickly turns into a light fruity flavor reminiscent of raisins/grapes. Beer rounds out with a big roasted grain/coffee flavor to even things up. Finish is dry, slightly astringent with some pleasant roasted grain and coffee flavors that linger on the tongue. Hops are in the background throughout and provide a nice earthy base, but the malt and roasted grain flavors are the forefront of this fine ale.

Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety. The excellent low carbonation lets this heavy-bodied ale roll over the tongue and stick to your mouth as you drink it. The name definitly describes this beer perfectly.

Drinkability is good. A delicious ale that provides a nice, thick body that is easy and indeed pleasurable to drink. I could definitly have a few and enjoy them.

Overall a rich, delicious ale that definitly leaves it's mark on your memory. Nice and complex, but still retains the ability to let you sit back and relax with a couple. A fine ale, and definitly something I will be buying more of.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2008 03:01:25 | More by danny013
Photo of byrd


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

True to its name sake, this beer pours almost a solid black. It’d definitely reminiscent of old engine oil that’s gone far, far too long between changes. When held up to the light, some garnet highlights could be seen. Very little tan head that becomes a small lace. Very malty aroma with caramel and chocolate malts sharing the stage. Very rich, creamy brew with lots of caramel and chocolate on the palette and slight roasted notes. Not much hops to speak of except at the finish were the hop bitterness comes through for a moment but give way again to the malt. Bit of a lingering roastiness and sweet malt. Mouthfeel is quite smooth, medium to full body with low carbonation. This is the first old ale that I’ve had. Had I not known it, I would have thought it to be a porter or stout. Either way, it’s a great brew that I found quite difficult to keep from drinking too quickly.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2003 14:03:17 | More by byrd
Photo of fropones


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured black, allowing no light to shine through. Thin mocha head appeared on top and dissapeared pretty quickly leaving only a couple bubbles on top. Smell is dark chocolate, unripe fruits, and burnt malt. Similar to a dry stout but more fruity. Burnt malt, chocolate, caramel, and toffee up front in the taste. Finishes with some dark fruits and and some hop bitterness. Complex. Actually leaves some sweet notes on the tongue afterwards, as opposed to the bitterness after stouts. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, low carbonation. Overall a delicious and quite drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2009 03:28:29 | More by fropones
Photo of Sigmund


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle, trade with maeib. Black colour, impenetrable for light. Moderate tan head. Looks like old engine oil, smells like old engine oil too - just add dark and roast malts, oak, leather, liquorice and dark bitter chocolate. Lovely roast malts flavour, oily texture. Elements of oak, dark bitter chocolate and substantial hops, maybe some dried fruits and English liquorice too. Great roasty bitter aftertaste with elements of peaty smoke. A great beer! Thanks, maeib!

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2005 17:41:52 | More by Sigmund
Photo of Buggies


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night. Nice brownish finger width head. Smells amazing. Roasted grains and chocolate. Slight fruitiness in the nose too.

Nice light mouth feel. Not filling. Nice roasty taste with the chocolate also. Nice fruity notes hiding in the background. Slight bitterness from roasted grains.

Overall, what a nice beer. I got a single of this at a Giant Eagle of all places. What a nice little find. I will try to see if I can get more of these.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2011 20:29:55 | More by Buggies
Photo of cambabeer


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Seriously, this beer doesn't disappoint. Color is a dark black until held to the light where the ruby comes out. Smell is rich and deep with chocolate and coffee hints and toasty. The taste follows the smell well, with the addition of some fruitiness and even a little citrusy. Malt bitterness is there, but not overpowering, nor is the sweetness. Creamy and smooth. This beer is great, worth buying and then buying again.

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2012 07:02:03 | More by cambabeer
Photo of superspak


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 ounce bottle into tulip, no bottle date. Pours pitch black color with a nice 2 finger dense tan head with fantastic retention that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Some nice soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, caramel, and light herbal hops. Nice and well balanced aromas. Taste of big dark and milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, caramel, toffee, dark fruit, and light herbal spiciness. Light coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, caramel, coffee, and herbal spiciness linger for a while. Great balance of flavors. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with an extremely excellent creamy, lush, and slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Very smooth to drink, but this was definitely designed to be a sipper despite the moderate ABV. Overall this is a fantastic porter. Great robust flavor and a lush mouthfeel make this extremely enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2012 04:29:26 | More by superspak
Photo of IronLover


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep black in color. Poured with a short beige foam that quickly reduced to a spotty cap that left random trails of sticky lacings on the glass. Mellow dark chocolate aromas hit first with earthy roasted malt beneath and hints of sweet dark fruit. Oily, thick feel with rich, tight carbonation. Sweet dark chocolate flavor up front with dark roasted malt in tow. Bitter hoppiness in the middle that ushers in charred malt, dark fruit and dark roasted coffee flavors to the end. Finishes semi-dry with lingering burnt malt and hop bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2012 20:30:54 | More by IronLover
Photo of raoulduke37


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The name really makes this one appetizing. Yet another great recommendation from Dave at Wade's Wines. Thanks Dave!

A - It really does look like old engine oil. Thick, black, dense, with a decent head, and not too much lacing around my mug.

S - Hmmm, raisins, molasses, smoky meat in the background. Really complex and hard to pinpoint but extremely appetizing.

T - This is my first taste of "old ale" and I really like it. It looks like a stout, but tastes somewhere between a dopplebock and a porter. Toasted almonds, baking chocolate bitterness, faint traces of honey and burnt coffee. Again, complex and exciting.

M - It throws you off because you are expecting syrup and much more density, but you get a nice little tingle of carbonation in there.

D - I would love to have this on tap somewhere around here. Fat chance.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2009 00:10:27 | More by raoulduke37
Photo of keithmurray

New York

4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark Dark Brown, nearly black color with fluffy tan head

Smell - Dark chocolate, roasted malts

taste - much of what the smell promised, semi sweet dark chocolate, roasted malt

mouthfeel - mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium bodied, light carbonation, slight bitterness upfront and in the finish, sweet, but not overwhelmingly so

overall - this is a really nice English porter, price will probably limit me to have this only on an occasional basis, but if you enjoy porters, try this.

Price Point - $4.59/single bottle

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2012 23:23:23 | More by keithmurray
Photo of JoEBoBpr


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip

A - Pours a dark brown almost black oily color with a nice 1.5 inch head that is nice and tan and dense. Delicious looking near perfect pour and look. The head is dense and creamy and frothy. Almost like a chocolate milk shake look to it. It recedes ever so slowly and leaves some great sticky lace.

S - Delicious burnt toffee and slight coffee aroma. Some mild chocolatey sweetness as well. Very nicely roasted malt and some slight vanilla spice wander around.

T & M - Wow. This beer is amazing. Sweet toffee and caramel malt flavors intermingle and are well balanced by that nice roasted character. A slight expresso hint mixed with some cocoa powder is definitely in there. It is very smooth and dare I say, oily. Great mouthfeel with great CO2 level that isn't too overpowering. The beer finishes with some nice dry and bitter hop character that is surprisingly grassy but does a good job balancing the malt.

D - Very high and delicious. Near perfect based on ABV and overall combination and execution of flavors.

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2010 04:07:11 | More by JoEBoBpr
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,327 ratings.