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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.

1,311 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,311
Reviews: 726
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.9%
Wants: 94
Gots: 73 | 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: 1,311 | Reviews: 726 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of bgildea


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

A: As advertised, it looks like oil. Little tannish head, that faded quickly, and left little lacing.

S: Very nice aroma. Nice sweet smell of chocolate comes across with a background of roasted malts.

T: Great taste! Matches the smell exactly. Chocolate comes across strong with a very nice lingering flavor of roasted malts with a slight amount of hops. Really enjoyed it.

M: Decent amount of chew to it. I would have liked a little more though. Still good.

D: Very drinkable. I'm glad I accidentally got two when I was out on a beer run.

Overall - Overall, I'm very impressed with the beer. The flavor was very balanced and delicious. Great amount of chocolate and malts. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

05-25-2010 01:54:30 | More by bgildea
Photo of AnPiobaire

New York

4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this porter to pour a deliciously dark brown to black with reddish hues. There was a very thin tan head.

The aroma was of rich roasted malts, dark fruits, coffee, as well as chocolate.

The taste was of roasted malty goodness that mellows into a nice bittersweet chocolate finish.

As for mouthfeel, this brew was not as creamy as it would lead you on to believe, but very smooth. The smoothness and mild cabonation makes this one easy porter to put away. Down the hatch that is.

Overall this is a delightful porter that makes me proud of my Scottish heritage.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2011 03:01:21 | More by AnPiobaire
Photo of BeerSox


4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into nonic.

Opaque brown hue with the exception of some ruby edges at the bottom of the glass. The head is tan and thin (typical for the style), and slowly settles to a bubbly rim. Spotty and stringy lacing.

Roasted malts toppped with some sweet chocolate and a little bit of raisin. The raisin is such a typical scent in this style, it's a good indicator. The overall smell is similar to a stout.

The flavor is very complex, ranging from the bitter malts as a base, along with some creamy chocolate and a very light hop bitterness. Some molasses is in there as well. Full bodied with a slightly high amount of carbonation, giving a bit of a fizz. The finish is the lingering bitter malts.

Three words on the label sum this one up pretty well: viscous, chocolatey, roasty. I can add: delicious, complex, recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2008 01:56:07 | More by BeerSox
Photo of isualum12


4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Black COAL...Dark as ever with a tan head on it. Looked great...
Smelled of malt and chocolate with some carmel.
Taste was smooth...No really smooth with lots of roasted chocolate taste. Almost smore like. I really enjoyed the taste. There is a bit of licorices to it.
mouthfeel- smooth calm with little activity in the mouth.

Over all this just went to my top 15 beers I would say. I am really impressed. I wouldn't drink several in a night but I would relax with one just about any night. This is a great beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2011 03:24:36 | More by isualum12
Photo of ZorPrime

Quebec (Canada)

4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bobsy for this bottle. Tasted on July 29, 2009.

This beer is dark black color and we can't see through. Very nice head slightly brown/beige. The aroma is roasted/toasted malts with a slight note of chocolate. The taste is more chocolate than the sent. Not too much bitter but some is present. The warmer the beer gets, more chocolate is present in the taste and aroma. This beer is full-bodied and creamy. So good. Drinkability is awesome. I could drink that all night.


Serving type: bottle

08-14-2009 15:59:51 | More by ZorPrime
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I see this as more of a strong ale & porter hybrid.

A: Black with a tan head, very little retention, slight lace.

S: Big malty aroma: chocolate, bread, molasses; a pleasant fruitiness from the British yeast.

T: Chocolaty & bready malt with a little molasses; great fruitiness; some roasted grain, good bitterness.

M: Moderate body is smooth & almost creamy.

D: Quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2008 23:25:17 | More by Derek
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A. Poured into a pint glass. Black as night and letting in no light. Dark khaki head with some lace.

S. Black toffee malt. Subtle vanilla notes.

T/M. Nice smoothness and creaminess on the palate. Oatmeal and chocolate play together with subtle complexities. A pronounced roasted character and bitter citric hop. Just a hint of alcohal on the roasted dry finish.

D. This is a very drinkable ale that would certainly be best on cask but is wonderful and available in bottled form.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2009 20:59:45 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of Strix


4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nearly opaque with orange edges, good head with lasting lacing.

Smells delicious, with roasted malts and chocolate

Tastes roasted and chocolaty. Then a refreshing sweetness, like dark fruit. A nice bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel smooth, and carbonation good.

Drinkability high on this - it went down before I knew it was gone.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2008 00:08:26 | More by Strix
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,311 ratings.