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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.

1,321 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,321
Reviews: 728
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 95
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: 1,321 | Reviews: 728 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BretSikkink


4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mahogany brown color with copper-orange highlights. Looks pretty black in the bar light. Head is large bubbles that quickly disappear, leaving an oily viscous liquid behind to look at.

The nose is pleasingly malty and dark, with a lot of sweet notes balanced by a sour, acidic one. Chocolate, toffee, caramel, figs and dates, a herbs leap out of the glass, but digging in reveals the oak barrel, whisky-booze, sour component.

Revolving around chocolate malt, this beer can bring it from a number of directions. You're looking at caramel malt smoothness from one side, bitter smoky and hoppy notes from the other side, with wild cards including the "old" ale sour characteristic, which lends a serious dose of authenticity to this brew.

Full and viscous; with this much malt, you can't help but be. Good viscosity and attenuation, as this is still pretty damn drinkable despite being somewhat thorny and quite different from what the American palate is used to.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 05:15:28 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of Voonder

Alberta (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with little tan head which dissapeared almost immediately. Smell - coffee mostly, some toffee, caramel and spices on the back. Taste - coffee again and malts create very nice taste, balanced and smooth. Very well brewed, not as big as RIS, but taste comes pretty close. Low ABV gives this brew very high drinkability. Very solid brew.
Thanks to northyorksammy for this!

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 05:24:58 | More by Voonder
Photo of rayjay


4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another secret santa beer from imstillthegman, and another beer that's been begging me to drink it!

Poured into an oversized DFH snifter. Deep black with just a bit of light coming through around the edges; i susppect one of my favorite malts, black patent. Foam is creamy white and quick to fade but tells of firmly carbonated beer.

Nose is sweet and roasty, with a dusty and chocolatey presence and just a touch of noble hops and even root beer.

Quite similar to a porter, but with more black malt bitterness. Also bears resemblence to a stout, but with a thinner mineral water mouthfeel and not as much roasted barley presence. Blackened coffee bean-like bitterness, most likely generous proportions of black patent and chocolate floor malt. Interesting that more black malt bitterness is there but not a big black malt presence. Traditional British yeast characteristics and gentle bottle conditioned carbonation almost suggesting cask ale. Finishes with a gentle British yeast sweetness that reveals a bit of 60L crystal malt. Mild hop bitterness and subtle aroma that's just a background compliment

Mouthfeel shows lots of chalky bicarbonate and mild carbonation. Marris Otter pale malt all the way. Malt body is just firm enough to be strong and not a bit too much.

Extremely drinkable. You almost take beers like this for granted, because their complexity is subtle yet quite deep; when you finally find it, but your glass is nearly empty since it's so easy to drink. Top notch beer in the British tradition. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 08:35:35 | More by rayjay
Photo of mdcrouser


3.38/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

They weren't lying when they named this one, as it is a deep asphalt black, with fine lacing around the top, leaving bubbles of carbonation behind, like little chips in a front bumper.

The carbonation though is very light on the tongue, shifting into a roasted nuttiness that seems to make laps on the tongue, leaving behind a bit of smokiness and some bitterness. Surprisingly, there isn't as much malty sweetness as you might assume with a beer this dark - while it's there at the very beginning of the drink, it quickly dims to completely fade away. Good and dark like I enjoy, but nothing overly execptional.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2008 03:45:28 | More by mdcrouser
Photo of kmacphail

United Kingdom (Scotland)

4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had heard a lot about this beer, so when I found it in an ASDA superstore I had no hesitation in purchasing it.

The beer poured a very dark brown with a dark cream coloured head, only a thin head but this did display lacing and retention.

The nose was roasted malts, dark chocolate, molasses. Very pleasant indeed. These carried through to the taste, with a slightly bitter and clean aftertatse to counter the initial sweet taste.

The beer was full bodied and very pleasant to drink. My only reservation about spending a night on these is at 6% this may be a bit on the strong side. Very highly recommended, the best dark Scottish beer I have ever tried.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2008 19:58:24 | More by kmacphail
Photo of Chinon01


3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Handsome black with a khaki colored head and splashy glass coating lacing.

Nose and Taste - Bitter chocolate, milk chocolate, and hazelnut in the finish. Deep roasted flavors and a touch of coffee.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability - Mouthfeel if fantastic, pleasantly round, full, thick and unctuous. Drinkability is above average.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2008 09:07:32 | More by Chinon01
Photo of LilBeerDoctor

New York

3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 8/25/08. Bottle. Pours black with a pretty light tan head that lasts. Aroma of alcohol, chocolate, sweet malt, caramel, molasses, and vanilla. Flavor of burnt caramel and sweet malt, some roasted malt and vanilla. Quite sweet, but with the nice roasted/burnt notes in the background. Smooth palate that gets a little heavy as you drink. A nice sipper.
8/4/8/3/15 (3.8/5)

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2008 19:29:15 | More by LilBeerDoctor
Photo of rabsten

West Virginia

4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with thick, finely bubbled brown head. Not much lacing and the head quickly goes away. No where near as "viscous" as the label would have you believe. Light toasted and caramel malt aroma with mild hop background and solid alcohol presence.

Nice, well roasted flavor with background sweetness. Well rounded mouthfeel, solid but not heavy. Quite drinkable.

Good, well rounded black ale. Not quite what I think of when I think stout or porter but pretty good. Worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2008 03:10:06 | More by rabsten
Photo of yesyouam

New York

4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

(This bottle had the black label, but didn't say anything about being whiskey-aged. I'll assume it was an older label)
Old Engine Oil is a rich auburn black with a small, dense, firm pink-brown head. The aroma is dry roasted and wooden. The palate is divine-- so smooth and thick! The flavor is of deep rich roast, lightly bittered and slightly chocolate. So damn good! I really have to drink more of this; I just don't run into it every day.
(rated Apr 17, 2007)

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2008 15:34:41 | More by yesyouam
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 rtepiak


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

nice and dark. i like the dark ones, near black brown. stout but thinner. quite a creamy head. latte in color. nose is a good malt and fruit. the taste is bitter to compare to a stout. i can't really figure to coin it as anything other than a stale bitter, tobacco like. soft chocolate. buttery. the gentle fruit works great with the bitter quality. a soft leather and chalk also. great stuff. i think it may become a winter regular at 3 bucks a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2008 14:55:46 | More by rtepiak
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a jet black color and a thick texture. There was half inch of foamy head and good lacing.

S: Had a chocolatey, coffee-like aroma, mixed with malt.

T: More like a porter than an old ale, but I'll take it. Tasted of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malt. Subtle and smooth.

M: Well-carbonated and with a dry finish. Full-bodied.

D: As I said, this beer isn't necessarily in keeping with an old ale, but it's still tasty and well made. Subtle, complex.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2008 14:04:35 | More by avalon07
Photo of magictrokini


4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black pour with a tan ring of bubbles. Roasted malt and nuts, bittersweet chocolate, prunes, and coffee. Not as viscous as advertised. Woody, burnt oats, malt, raisins, barley, weak coffee, and just a little bit of smoke. I expected a stout with the name and look, but got a very good old ale instead.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2008 22:23:06 | More by magictrokini
Photo of beveritt


4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Poured from an 11.2 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Label and cap are significantly different than the BA reference picture, but the ABV and description match. Described as viscous, chocolatey, and roasty. There is some information printed on the neck, but it is unreadable.

Appearance: The bottle opens with an appreciable hiss and the beer pours with 2 fingers of tan head. This compact, rather than settles, and forms a nice, marshmallowy cap, leaving behind thick, sticky lacing. The beer itself is opaque and black, with hints of reddish brown around the edges as you hold it up to the light. Absolutely no trace of sediment in the bottle.

Smell: The smell is intense, wafting up from the glass as I sit with my head 2 feet away. Notes of chocolate and lactose with a notable sourness. Roasted barley bitterness seems to push it more towards a stout than an old ale.

Taste: Roasted barley upfront, blended seamlessly with a creamy semi-sweet chocolate middle. Creaminess is forward enough that is tastes almost like a milk stout, but may also be the soured beers added back to old ales. Mild bitter chocolate in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is excellent, a nice rich and creamy mouth-filling beer.

Drinkability: A well blended and very flavorful ale. I have heard much about his one and was glad to finally taste it. While I would equate the flavor profile more with a stout than an old ale, this is which I will revisit.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2008 02:45:56 | More by beveritt
Photo of david131


3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Very very dark black with a massive creamy mocha head. This is a stunner. It most definitely does not look like an old ale though.

S- Roasty, with some chocolate and coffee in there. There is a bit of smoke aroma. Kind of sweet smelling too, with just a bit of that English-ness to it.

T- Sweet, roasty, smoky, earthy. Same as the aroma.

M- Pretty smooth with a nice carbonation bite.

D- Not an old ale in my book, but it is an enjoyable European beer. For the ABV, I was kind of surprised at home much of a sipper this was.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2008 03:25:58 | More by david131
Photo of repeal06


4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4


Poured blacker than black, with a small tan head that laced the glass nicely.

Smelled faintly of roasted coffee and chocolate, and malty goodness.

Tasted like it smelled. Well balanced, extremely smooth coffee and chocolate flavor. Just the right amount of bitterness.

Felt smooth and creamy in the mouth. I savored this beer.

Easily drinkable. I'm a fan of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2008 23:38:09 | More by repeal06
Photo of pittvkyle7


4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black black. Healthy brown head that fades to a ring and leaves lace.

S- Sweet caramel and roasted grain. A smokey woody aroma is present too with a hint of alcohol.

T- A huge malt bomb with a heavy roasted presence. The roasted is leaning towards burnt at times. Sweet grains push through the roast and give way to some hops for a slightly bitter hop finish. very earthy and amazing!

M- Chewy, full, plenty of carbonation to cut the thickness. Very smooth going down.

D- A very nice sipper for this cold night (even though I'm inside) but you get the idea.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2008 00:27:01 | More by pittvkyle7
Photo of clayrock81


4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A thinnish black body with a well-carbonated one-finger head that slowly died and left little lace patches. An extreme coffee malt smell along with maybe some roasted and toffee malts and hints of cocoa. While thick and full-bodied this beer is real smooth and creamy. The taste is a mixture of unsweet cocoa and roasted malts with a slick and semi-dry backbite. Mild dark fruit and hop presence in this beer, but the malts are predominant. This is a musthave for any beer drinker.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2008 17:34:18 | More by clayrock81
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 barleywinefiend


3.15/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured jet black, name says it all. Had a nice tan head on it with some good carbonation. Nose of chocolate, toffee and tastes the same and perhaps some black liqourice. I have better Old Ales. Looks better than it tastes but still an ok brew. I am used to my Old Ales being a little stronger I suppose.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2008 01:39:55 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of jpalarchio


3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On a bit of a chocolate beer kick this week...

Pours fairly dark with just a slight head. Taste is a is a bit of a dry, roasted flavor. Chocolate flavor is there but not over powering. Not so sure about the "viscous" statement on the label; seems a bit thin.

Very drinkable although the $2.99 for 11.2 oz seems a bit high for this one. Overall, not bad and would pickup a few more if I find it for a dollar less.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2008 03:25:23 | More by jpalarchio
Photo of bluemoonswoon


4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a dark and rich brownish black and topped with a creamy, mocha colored, one and a half inch head that bubbles down into a thin cap and leaves thin bits of lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Just an amazing aroma and at a lower ABV than most other old ales this is just huge. Big, sweet, chewy, dark, roasted maltiness,
dark, ripe, cured fruits, caramel, molasses

T/MF: Slight tobacco, chocolaty caramel sweetness mixed with a bit of lactose, woody, slightly smokey and peaty finish mixed with slight hints of roasted coffee beans. Medium bodied, quite chewy, a little lacking in the kind of carbonation I want to see from this beer, with just a bit more body this beer could be just about the best beer I have ever had. As it stands though it has to remain merely an outstanding beer, just short of perfection. Get a bit thicker, a bit more lively on the tongue and this beats just about every beer I've ever reviewed.

D: The complexity of this beer alone is enough to warrant a 5 but I just can't bring myself to do it, the mouthfeel needs to beer there more, its just not substantial enough for me. Other than that, anyone who has access to this beer and has never tried it should pick up a few bottles of this right now, it has tons to offer, go, go now, what are you waiting for.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2008 03:16:09 | More by bluemoonswoon
Photo of srandycarter


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Black. No head. Thin ring. Ultra thin sheet of lacing.

S - Cooked fruit, dark, prune-ish. Deep sweet malt mixed.

T - Nice thick even coating of roasted malt and cocoa, with something sweet mixed in.

M - Great coating, carb, good balance.

D - Nice offering. Like it.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2008 04:04:29 | More by srandycarter
Photo of ccrida


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

33 cl bottle (newest release, L8 186 B 10:11 stamped on bottle) poured into my Meantime snifter, Old Engine Oil is pitch black with a large tan head, tight with a few larger bubbles, pretty long lasting, leaving decent lace,

Smell is milk chocolate and lactose, a little pruney, very slight roast, not to exciting or even really my taste.

Taste is full and rich, robust for sure, heavily toasted grains, some cured fruits and chocolate, a touch nutty, with a nice, if subtle smokiness. Not sweet like the nose, more complex and very good. In spite of all the flavors, it's smooth and rounded, reminiscent of a well aged RIS, minus the patience and bruising ABV!

Mouthfeel is on the thicker side, creamy but with a dry finish. Super smooth actually, almost cask like.

Drinkability is pretty good, a very tasty, full flavored old ale that is clearly in porter and stout territory. Harviestoun basically could have called this any of the three, and with the smokiness, could have even gone with Wee Heavy. Regardless, it's a damn good dark ale (which is actually all the label claims, "Black Ale"). I like that it's so robust without being over the top ABV wise. Pretty nice price for this rarity to boot, $3.50.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2008 00:24:26 | More by ccrida
Photo of kbnooshay

New York

4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured an oily black color with a HUGE foamy and frothy mocha colored head. Looked like a Guinness pour at first with the gorogeous layers of bubbles sorting themselves out. The frothalicious head stuck around for quite awhile, very light and airey. Loads of lacing. The aroma is super malty with great hints of chocolate, roastiness and must. Awesome bitter chocolate, coffee and roasted grain flavor. Slightly fruity with a light hop bitterness. Not super heavy in feel but very very smooth and creamy to the tongue.

Serving type: bottle

10-15-2008 04:42:56 | More by kbnooshay
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,321 ratings.