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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.

1,436 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,436
Reviews: 742
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 111
Gots: 101 | 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: 1,436 | Reviews: 742 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BlackBeerDown
5/5  rDev +20.8%

BlackBeerDown, Dec 11, 2012
Photo of MarcatGSB
5/5  rDev +20.8%

MarcatGSB, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of crosenkrantz
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

crosenkrantz, Oct 24, 2013
Photo of henryclay_
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

henryclay_, May 10, 2014
Photo of gonzo46and2
2.95/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark black with hardly any head. Appears to be thick, syrupy, viscous. Aroma is dark malts with an emphasis on chocolate. Bitter dark chocolate. Taste mostly reflects the aroma. Mouthfeel is slick and oily with soft carbonation. Not a bad beer but I wasn't that impressed.

gonzo46and2, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pouring this it looked thicker than other porters. The creamy brown head bubbled up quite well and bubbles down to a thin layer over the top of the beer. Otherwise the color is very dark brown almost black.
S: Hints of cream, smoke, chocolate, some subtle sweet notes as well. Very smooth smelling.
T: Again really great here. First creamy with a little sweetness, then some chocolate and roasty notes. Not overly bitter like other beers that claim to taste like chocolate. Here it seems a little more subtle combined with other malty flavors. Finishes smooth.
M: Sits perfect. Thick with the perfect carbonation. Bubbles are very pleasing in the mouth.

This is a great beer no doubt. With a good blend of complimenting flavors and a perfect mouthfeel it is perfectly drinkable. Creamy roasty it almost reminds me of a stout but not quite as heavy on the mouthfeel. A must try.

Jamesthebrit, May 21, 2012
Photo of OddNotion
4.97/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into my DFH Signature Glass.

Appearance: Pours a nice black color with only the slightest ruby notes around the very edges of the glass. A nice one finger creamy tan head that recedes to half a finger and sticks around.

Smell: WOW this beer smells amazing. Very complex. Dark fruits, roasty malts, slight hints of chocolate, but the dark fruits really dominate the nose. This beer stacks up with the best of them in terms of smell.

Taste: Beautiful is the best word to describe the taste of this beer. Very roasty without being smokey at all. Nice chocolatey finish. There is a decent bitterness but not the bite that is associated with it. The bitterness plays well with the roast and chocolate. The flavors all meld together and play off eachother to havea beer that changes through the different stages of the taste but all of the flavors just work.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick and creamy. Perfect for the style. Given the low abv it is thicker than expected, which I like. The carbonation is there but it is not aggressive, once again - perfect for the style.

Overall: Amazing beer. No frills added but it gets all of the flavors it possibly can out of the ingredients. 6% abv is (relatively) low which is nice in this culture of huge alcohol beers. I wish this was more accessible but I will certainly be picking more of this up! Every aspect of this beer works together in perfect harmony. I have not been this impressed with a porter in a while. My new favorite for the style. One of my favorite experiences is picking up a random (and unhyped) beer at the store on a whim and having it be this good!

OddNotion, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of Jordantb313
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Jordantb313, Apr 18, 2013
Photo of Franz4
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, label says "black ale" rather than "Porter" which was pictured.

A- Can't see anything through this dark blackness, head settles to a thin ring

S- roast and slightly smoked peat come through right away, nice combination.

T-Smoky with a touch of sweetness in the back, toffee-ish, very nice.

M- Lighter body than I expected given the color, makes the beer more drinkable

O- overall a very nice brew, I'd have this one again and I would especially be interested in trying some of the other versions.

Franz4, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of Zakk
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Zakk, Jun 09, 2012
Photo of archyquaffer
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

This beer is styled as a "Black Ale", which I see is listed separately but with only 7 reviews. Therefore, I'm not quite sure I'm reviewing this in the right place. But what gives with changing the style but not the name? Or, is "black ale" simply another descriptor for a porter?

Anyhow, a fairly aggressive pour produces a sticky, frothy, pale tan head of about an inch. The beer is a very dark brown.

I perceive a overbaked biscuity aroma with a hint of diacetyl. The roasted malts come through nicely in the flavor, and are accentuated by bark-like, nut, and burnt chickory flavors that suggest strong coffee, but without the astringent flavors of old, overcooked coffee. It's relatively light in body despite the name and drinks like a black lager more than anything.

A decent beer and apparently rare in my area, but hardly worth the $4.29 I paid for the 11.2 ounce bottle.

archyquaffer, Monday at 02:28 AM
Photo of Hultkrantz
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Hultkrantz, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of 1759Girl
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance> Like the name hints... black, thick. Too dark to see the liveliness. Thick, malt chocolate head dissipates slowly and leaves good lacing.

Smell> Dark chocolate, toasty notes

Taste> bitter start. HUGE dark chocolate taste and coffee finish, bitter-ing slightly. Complex and delicious.

Mouf> perfect. Slightly chewy and yes smooth.

Drinkability> would love this with oysters

1759Girl, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of EvilKeith
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a deep, dark, almost black with a slight reddish hue. Light is not capable of passing through this beer.Maybe it was my pour, but I got a minimal tan head.
It smells sweet, toasted and coffee is certainly there, too.
I gave it higher numbers than I normally would for the mouthfeel. It is a medium to medium heavy bodied brew. It has an almost wine-like feel in the mouth that I was really impressed with.
This is one I know I could drink a few of, but a bit heavy to be a session beer.

EvilKeith, Jan 19, 2006
Photo of AdmiralOzone
4/5  rDev -3.4%

AdmiralOzone, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of chilly460
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - As you'd imagine, pours a deep brown near black. Almost no head but some lacing.

S - Deeply roasted malt, some coffee

T - Starts out with smooth malts, but turns to a somewhat acidic or earthy bitter. Bitter aftertaste, as if overly roasted.

M - Not bad, not as thick as expected but a good level of carbonation.

D - Fair, the bitter aftertaste keeps it to 1-2beers before it would be a little overpowering.

chilly460, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of abuliarose
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, revealing black body with a decent-sized coffee-colored head. Smells alcoholic and fruity with undertones of aged dark malt.

Tastes nice and roasty with a lot of chocolate malt character but not any fruitiness like the smell gives off. Medium-bodied carbonation is not too sharp, but enough to accentuate the slight acidic mouthfeel. After all of it, the taste is quite bitter. The beer consistency is borderline heavy with a smooth, slightly drying finish. For sure this is something I would enjoy again.

I think this marks my first in the old ale category, but I am excited to go out for more. This one hits my mark.

abuliarose, Oct 13, 2009
Photo of tjthresh
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Engine Oil. What a great name. This beer pours with a dark brown with a frothy head. It that cappacino? There is lots of chocolates and caramels throughout. In the nose and flavor. Suprisingly, quite easy drinking. Nothing really bad to say about this. Good show.

tjthresh, Aug 26, 2005
Photo of gentlebubbles
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on tap at Redbone's

Damn! This looks like a nice stout! Deep black with light tan head and a teeny, teeny glint of ruby at the bottom. Leaves a thin flotsam down the sides of the glass.

Sweet, heavy malt aroma.

Taste: more malt, very dark with the burnt bite of black patent and a bit of bootblack oiliness.

Not nearly as heavy as the name led me to expect, just a nice, medium, slightly slick body.

It's good, but there are other stouts I'd rather have. This is an Old Ale? Sure tastes like your basic straightforward stout to me.

gentlebubbles, Apr 26, 2005
Photo of MadeInOregon
3.48/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

THE LOOK of Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil is very much appropriate given the label's description when it calls it a "black ale", however it is quite average in every other respect with nothing raising even an eyebrow. The body is solid black and is topped with a very thin, khaki head.

THE SMELL is of dried chocolate (i.e. cocoa powdery). It is quite sweet and rich smelling, but extremely average.

THE TASTE is mainly of sweet, but bittersweet, chocolate. There is a mild, medium hoppyness and dry, bitter finish. There is also some coffee in the flavor profile. This is a solid, accurate representation of a porter but there's certainly nothing impressive, intense or anything else going on.

THE FEEL is basically an American porter or maybe a medium-thin stout. The label sounds like this will be impressive or overly strong, thick, etc., but this is a quite tame and straightforward porter.

CONCLUSION: The label is smoke and mirrors; this is a tame, straightforward porter. Everything about this is entirely normal and civilized. Change the label and I'd give it higher ratings. It's a good drink, but why pay a premium for basic porter from Europe when you can support a local, craft brewery making the same thing? Lots to chose from domestically. Pass on this one.

MadeInOregon, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of tchenery
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is absolutely black. I held it up to a number of different light sources and got no change at all in color. Not surprising though with a name like that. It had a little bit of head at first which was a tan-brown color; it went away but has good lacing effect.

You can pick up hints of coffee, raisin, dark chocolate, and that smell that comes off hot cocoa. It's fairly subtle though, but right now the beer is pretty cold. I'm sure it will wake up in a few minutes.

My first taste is of bitter chocolate. The beer is not as thick as the color would have you think, but it is pretty slick. The chocolate flavor lingers the whole time, much like a Young's Double Chocolate. It has a drying finish with a bitter touch on the end that is pretty refreshing.

This is a big beer for only 6%. It's definitely a sipping beer and there's reason they only sell you one. I'm going to work on this one for a while.

tchenery, Oct 10, 2010
Photo of deejaydan
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours opaque and low carbonation, produces a minimal head, and low lacing. Aroma is slightly fruity, but also restrained. Taste is grainy, chocolately, smooth. Just a bit of hops in the finish. Nicely done, thick enough and interesting to keep my interest.

deejaydan, Jun 06, 2005
Photo of DoktorZee
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle at the Sugarbowl in Edmonton.

A - deep dark and black; little to no light travels through this one. Practically no head on this whatsoever.

S - huge notes of smoke and dark chocolate on the nose

T - huge roasty notes with a smoke backbone though not super concentrated. Slightly sweet it the middle with chocolate notes. Finish is primarily smoke and dark roasty malts and lingers nicely.

M - medium bodied with velvet carbonation; smooth

D - extremely drinkable; very approachable

This is a top class porter; dark and smoky and not overly concentrated.

DoktorZee, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of Kimbo1318
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Kimbo1318, Jul 03, 2013
Photo of JOaikido
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330 ml brown bottle.

A- Pitch black. Nice light mocha coloured head of small bubbles. Slight amber and red in the corners when held up to the light.

S- Touch of coffee. Burnt note. Slight alcohol and dried plum.

T- Nice smooth stout taste, but with a fairly sharp bitter aftertaste that lingers for quite a while. Some bitter chocolate and coffee notes. Tiny touch of burnt flavour.

MF- Nice and smooth. Full bdied but not to the point of "chewy" which is too bad.

D- Decent oatmeal stout (how I would class it based on flavour and oats in the ingredients), but not as complex and smooth as my beloved St-Ambroise.

JOaikido, Oct 17, 2009
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 1,436 ratings.