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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.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

1,371 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,371
Reviews: 731
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 104
Gots: 88 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Engine Oil Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,371 | Reviews: 731 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hoppy barley wine. Taste like a dry grainy lighter barley wine. Beautiful fruity aroma like fruity good wine. Some roasted malt and chocolate throughout. Dark colour and initial malty head. Not too sweet. Fruit on aftertaste. Smooth, would be fine with this all night.

Sammy, Mar 25, 2005
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -3.4%

t0rin0, Oct 14, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, vanilla, cocoa powder, and milk chocolate. Taste is much the same with a char-like flavor 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 good beer with a great smell but the flavor doesn't quite match up in my opinion.

UCLABrewN84, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.4%

djrn2, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of heyta. Served in a tulip.

Pours near black with a single-finger off-white head. Retention is okay, and there's a good amount of spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. The nose carries some light chocolate plus some roast. More of the roast than anything else. A bit of coffee as it warms. The flavor is roasted malt with a touch of coffee and some slight milk chocolate notes. Medium body with low carbonation. Fairly creamy and lends a toffee-like feel. Nothing crazy, but a pretty good brew.

Thorpe429, Jun 06, 2011
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -3.4%

zestar, Sep 09, 2014
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

acurtis, Oct 31, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is near black in color (when holding up the glass to the light only a slight trace of amber is visible near the bottom edge of the glass) and poured with a thin head that quickly dissipated into lacey patterns of bubbles on the surface.
S: There are faint aromas of dark roasted malts and burnt coffee beans in the nose.
T: The flavor is dominated by roasted and burnt malts with hints of chocolate and coffee.
M: The beer feels heavy-bodied on the palate and there is dryness in the finish. It doesn't feel as viscous as it is billed up to be.
D: Drinking this beer wasn't that difficult, it seemed to be something like a hybrid between a porter and a stout.

metter98, May 02, 2010
Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
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

brentk56, Aug 11, 2004
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Barely see-throughable dark walnut with dark crimson tendencies. Without blindingly bright sunlight behind the glass, the beer is essentially opaque. The sandstone colored crown is compact despite a sprited pour and displays multiple fragile bubbles on its rumpled upper surface. A short, jagged collar of lace looks good enough to keep me enthused about the appearance.

The nose is nicely chocolate malty with accessory aromas of dark caramel, dark fruit (dates primarily) and herbal hops. I miss the fantastic Scotch whisky notes of Old Engine Oil Special Reserve since they added an olfactory complexity that this beer lacks. It's still a good nose though.

My first thought was that I feel the same way about the flavor profile; that is, that the 'aged in whisky casks' version was clearly superior (I say 'was' because it's now retired). As I continue to sip though, I'm not so sure that this beer isn't equally as good, if less complex.

I'm reminded, in some respects, of an English porter. As in the nose, chocolate malt is the focal point. While it isn't nearly as malty or as full as the American version of the style, it's a humdinger of an English old ale. Sweet trumps sour trumps bitter, with each present in nearly perfect proportions. I doubt that there's a better poster child for sessionable old ales than Old Engine Oil.

The body/mouthfeel picks up a little viscosity with warming, but it doesn't quite reach the degree of fullness that I prefer. This would be a better beer, in my humble opinion, if the mouthfeel was closer to 10W-40 than 10W-30. A relative shortage of carbonation is just what the doctor ordered.

If it was still being brewed, I'd take Special Reserve over plain ol' Old Engine Oil every day and twice on Sunday. That doesn't mean, however, that this is anything less than a special ale that I'll buy in multiple bottle increments whenever I happen to run across it. OEO is the beer equivalent of comfort food and is giving me plenty of warm fuzzies as I pause over the final ounce. If that isn't a recommendation, then I don't know what is.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a medium foamy brown head with minimal retention. Aroma of chocolate with roasted malt is easily identifiable. The roasted malt with some medium notes of chocolate and coffee also dominates taste. Overall, this is a very enjoyable beer from a style that I’m having more and more of hard time to pin down.

Phyl21ca, Oct 31, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another very good English / Scottish Old Ale, though they all start to taste the same after a while. Typical in it's heaviness, thickness, boldness, and sweetness. Atypical in it's amber-ish color and candied sweetness. Aromas and flavors of plumbs, raisons, prunes, dates, and figs with a root beer character and texture. Other sorgum-like sweetness and bit-eyness. Heavy and moderately thick to the mouth. Finishes sweet, bold, and lightly clean.

BEERchitect, Feb 16, 2006
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Texasfan549, Nov 17, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

dark brown with a large creamy tan colored head on the top. Great retention let it hang around for what seemed like forever before finally being nestled down into just a thin layer across the top. The aroma was very full and sweet. Lots of chocolate roaming through it along with a touch of coffee and lots of sugar. A slight smoked presentation as well. The flavor was also very full for a porter. This almost had a stout like feel to it as it was very thick and full with a great robust profile. Lots of chocolate and coffee notes dominated it

mikesgroove, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

kjkinsey, Jul 18, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

GRG1313, Mar 06, 2014
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

spycow, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of jaydoc
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

jaydoc, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of Knapp85
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours out much thicker looking than most porters out there. Even looks thicker than some stouts. The color is black, with a fan colored head that doesn't stick around much. The smell is earthy and roasted. The taste is rich with heavy roasted malts. The mouthfeel is pretty thick and had a oily feel to it. Overall pretty good brew.

Knapp85, May 28, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

oberon, Jul 15, 2003
Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a willibecher at Firkin.

When you see a cask o' this at your local spot, you pounce, I figger. This stuff pours a deep black-brown topped by a finger of dusty khaki foam. The nose comprises coffee, dark chocolate, and darkly-roasted malts. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a Guinness-like (or acrid coffee-like) sourness swaying from the background to the fore, but never firmly taking hold. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a light carbonation (livelier than most casks lately) and a smooth, easy-going feel. Overall, a very nice English porter, something I could easily see being drained from its current prison and down into my gullet.

TMoney2591, Apr 04, 2013
Photo of zeff80
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaue, jet-black color with a small, tan, foamy head that left sticky rings of lace down the glass.

S - The first notes that hit you are roasted malt and coffee. Sweeter aromas appear later (toffee and dark chocolate).

T - The first sip surprised me with how hoppy it was. Nice bitter hop bite. The biscuity roasted malt flavor is a nice compliment to the floral hops.

M - It was very smooth and sharp. Easy drinking with an ABV of 6%. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is an interesting Old Ale. It's rather hoppy and reminds me of a good RIS.

zeff80, Jul 25, 2008
Photo of biboergosum
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle. The prototypical old-world example of the style, it would seem.

This beer pours black, black, and more black. Just some slight basal mahogany prism effects here, lads and lasses, with a single finger of foamy, bubbly, and somewhat creamy beige head, which leaves a bulky morass of variously webbed lace around the glass in its slow, meandering wake.

The aroma is dry, ashy chocolate malt, cold coffee grounds, a touch of black, fleshy fruit, and floral, earthy hops. The taste is chocolate malt up front, followed by a dry, bitter cocoa, late-morning coffee urn character, a latent lactic essence, and leafy, fairly edgy earthy hops.

The carbonation is averagely effervescent, the body on the upside of hefty, softly smooth, and just a bit tingly. It finishes kind of sweet, the obfuscating souring bitterness abating somewhat, letting loose more goodly chocolate maltiness.

A well-made old school porter, with lots and lots going on, but not too much of any one thing, thankfully. The expected sourness is well accompanied by lots of cocoa, malt, coffee, and fruit, all in appropriate proportions, which goes a long way in explaining the steady, common popularity of this offering.

biboergosum, Oct 09, 2010
Photo of JAHMUR
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

JAHMUR, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.43/5  rDev +7%
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!

NeroFiddled, Jul 28, 2002
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Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,371 ratings.