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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.

1,452 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,452
Reviews: 745
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 112
Gots: 107 | 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: 1,452 | Reviews: 745 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rootbeerman
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into my allagash tulip

A: pours with the color of engine oil, with a finger thick brown to light brown head.
S: dark roasted malt and coffee with a light caramel hint. a slight floral hop.
T: reminds me more of a stout in flavor, coffee, dark malt.
M: because taste is so stout like mouthfeel being so light throws me off, and not as coating.
D: due to mouthfeel and great taste its a great drinker.

Photo of FreshHawk
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark engine oil black with some deep ruby hues on the edges. Average sized frothy, creamy, deep beige colored head with a bit below average retention and just a slight bit of lace left.

S - The initial whiff brings a lot of roasted coffee and dark chocolate along with some dark fruit (mostly date and prune like). Later smells bring out a touch of smokey whisky type aromas along with some molasses and a bit more fruitiness.

T - It starts out with a roasted grain type of taste along with a considerable amount of earthy hop and a touch of floral hop flavors. These provide a bitter bite, which, then starts to give way to the roasted coffee and dark chocolate and some roasted barley. On the finish some of that smokey and whisky taste comes out. The whisky taste is very subtle though. Also a bit of the dark fruit tastes linger on the finish.

M - Just short of full bodied with moderate carbonation. Pretty slick, smooth, and velvety.

D - Pretty drinkable beer that has a large array of flavors, but isn't overpowering. Provides some old ale, barleywine, and stout/porter flavors without being a mess. Smooth and easy to sip on, and with only a 6% ABV I could have another too.

Notes: Nice fairly complex beer. Has aspects of a number of different styles and has a bit more hop flavor than I was really expecting from an old ale that smells a lot like a porter/stout. It isn't my favorite beer to sip on, but it is definitely a nice one that offers a change of pace. I would definitely get this again, definitely worth a try.

Photo of Derranged
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this recently, but the bottle had a different label than what is shown on this site. This was poured from a 12 ounce bottle into what appeared to be a snifter just under 12 ounces.. Don't know what it's called.

Pours black with a tan head. Smells a bit like roasted chocolate. Tastes malty and bitter. Goes down easy, its smooth and not too carbonated.

Overall this is a good beer. Its a bit more bitter than I normally perfer, but I can drink this all night.

Photo of samie85
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A-Pours a dark brown/black with an almsot non-existent dark tan head.

S-Smells deliciously rich with dark fruits, cocoa powder, vanilla and some roast coffee notes.

T-Roasty malt and chocolate with some vanilla notes with a slightly bitter aftertaste. This a roast flavor I like, it's not in your face roasty but it's easily identifiable.

M-Thick and oily although the carbonation helps this from being too much in the mouthfeel.

D-This was decidedly more drinkable than I expected it to be. I could see myself having a couple of these on a cold winter night, which is unfortunately what we have in store for us tomorrow. Time for a beer run!

Photo of goldbot
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black with thin tan head that dissipates quickly leaving a little lacing on the glass.

Aromas of sweetish raisin, dark chocolate and bitter espresso, along with some molasses and caramel. Deep, bold coffee flavors with some chocolate. Lots of roasted malt leave a bitter aftertaste. Slight oxidation present towards the finish.

Slightly thin feel at first (not too much, just thinner than expected). However this builds to a substantial body with very thick, viscous mouthfeel.

Photo of tuckevalastin
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours thick and as dark as night with barely any tan head

S: smells of sweet chocolate and caramel as well as a roasty coffee like malt

T: The taste is very roasty and a bit bitter. Hints of chocolate and caramel are noticable but roasted coffee dominates.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with decent carbonation. Not the smoothest beer in the world but not much heat comes through either.

D: Above average drinkability for a dark beer

Overall, this is a good beer to drink once in a blue moon. Worth a try if you enjoy the style.

Photo of Xul
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a viscous, opaque black with a frothy, one-finger mocha colored head. Miniscule bubbles can be seen streaming upwards at the edge of the glass but beyond that, absolutely nothing is visible as this beer looks rather like its namesake.

S: A sweet melange of chocolate, butterscotch, toffee, vanilla, and roasted malts, backed by a light nutty characteristic. Hints of coffee intermingle with the roasted notes.

T: Nutty and roasty up front with the roastiness taking on a more bitter twist. Gives way to bittersweet chocolate in the middle, followed by toffee and vanilla on the backend. Residual taste is a blend of toffee and roasty bitterness.

M: Thinner and a bit more carbonated than the nose and flavors would indicate. Medium bodied, but would be quite a bit more enjoyable with just a touch more weight and smoothness behind it.

D: Goes down easy, it would be very easy - and enjoyable - to put down a few of these.

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

Photo of biggred1
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown and impossible to see through with a whipped up tan head that leaves plenty of fine lace behind on the glass. Dark chocolate malt, dark fruit and some roasty coffee are all present and accounted for in the nose. Rich and roasty flavors are well balanced with a heavy handed hop bittering that really balances the sweet malty flavors nicely. Really nice and complex flavors. Nice and medium full bodied with bright carbonation. A truly unique beer.

Photo of rfgetz
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, dark, shiny crude oil black at first look but with ruby highlights and lowlights. Minimal compact and creamy brown head with an agressive pour. Big, Bold, Intense roasted grain, sweet toffee, dark fruit, earthy and floral hops and molasses scents. Taste is slightly more subdued than scent, with a full roasted grain profile, without tasting burnt, backed by sweet nutty toffee, dark dried fruit, and a nice bitter earthy and floral hop presence. Medium bodied, smooth and faintly coating. Truly unique... name, appearance and smell make you think overpowering, but taste and bosy is nothing but pleasing and smooth.

Photo of tko741
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appears a time-warping black, topped with a solid cream head that dissipates to a wispy cloud above the darkness below.

Smells of rich toffee, butterscotch, roasted malts and bittersweet chocolate. A damn fine nose.

Creamy dark chocolate, roasted toffee, and a smooth malt finish are what this awesome brew brings to your palate. Perhaps a lingering hop bite in the aftertaste, and a rich, velvety mouthfeel. Excellent.

I'd be willing to order this for more than one round but not more than a few at a time...I want this beer to be a treat.

Photo of sprucetip
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Pretty much black with thick mocha head and good retention. Leaves thick lacing early, much of which eventually washes away.

Smells toasty and of roast barley, and faintly of coffee and chocolate. Malty sweetness is even fainter. Complex and nuanced.

More bitter than sweet but fairly balanced through most of the swallow, with bitterness increasing in the finish. Eventually some bitter chocolate comes into play, but it tastes mainly roasty and toasty like the nose.

Some tingling and burn from the carbonation and modest booze, respectively, with a medium/full body and moderately thick viscosity. Finishes dry and bitter.

This is a very good beer, and am glad to have finally gotten around to trying it. Not as rich, thick and overpowering as the big stouts so many of us are into, but it's not trying to be. There is alot going on for, especially for the size.

Photo of jera1350
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black color with a creamy tan head. Leaves a fair amount of lace on the glass.

Very chocolatey along with a hoppy and fruity scent.

Big toasty malt, lots of chocolate, mild coffee and cola.

Hmm, not viscous as the label states. It is bigger bodied and creamy smooth however.

Very drinkable. Old ale? I would call this more of a stout. Regardless, still a very nice ale that is worthy of a try.

Photo of BigBen61
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

What else needs to be said...look at the ratings. This is easily on of the finest beers I have ever had the privilege to experience. The aroma of cocoa, coffee, roasted malt and caramel sugar waft over the thick creamy head and the thick viscous black liquid that lies beneath. Even after sessioning a few other beers including one of the IPA beasts from Stone this beers flavors are so rich and so pronounced that there is no denying the amount of care and quality in this product. My friend simply put it this way after his first sip..."If I could die right now I would be a happy man!"

Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

When I saw this on the shelf, I gave it a try because it was available via the single bottle and the name gave me the impression that it would be like the stuff that comes out of my 13 year old car when it gets a lube job. While this was not certainly a bad beer, the title of it is a bit of a misnomer as this turned out categorically not to be a Stout nor was it as thick as that type of beer. Once I saw that it was an Old Ale, it made a lot more sense to me.

The pour, aside from being thin, was pretty much what I expected from this. A very dark brown, with some head, and just a little bit of lacing. The mouthfeel is just like the thickness of it, with the taste of peat, scotch, toffee, and bitter chocolate all competing to stand out. The nose is that of a roasted beer while the aftertaste is just a bit creamy and bitter. Nothing really stands out about this but it goes down relatively easy and for a dark beer, this is about as light-tasting as it gets.

At 6% ABV, this beer is not a session beer but just misses that by a notch. As others have alluded to, this seems like more of a Scotch Ale than anything else and is a good drink to have during these cold winter months. It doesn't have the bourbon-barrel aftertaste to it but nevertheless, it's a worth a shot once since this isn't a style that one comes across every day. In my opinion, this resembles "new engine oil" more than anything else...

Photo of elgiacomo
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 10, 2009

Bottle. A little let down by the name Old Engine Oil...maybe I'm spoiled by Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, but this is no used motor oil in comparison. Pours dark brown with a good-sized tan head that retains well down the glass. Good lacing.

Aroma is subdued, some roasted malts and a little hops.

Flavor is very roasted, coffee, some chocolate and smoke and bitter hops on the finish.

Medium carbonation. Mouthfeel is nice, a bit on the thin side with a dry finish.

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at 6 & Save in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a tulip glass, black with a thin white ring & just a slip of white dusting. Deep ruby highlights, very slim lacing.

Smell is definitely in Flanders territory: tart & fruity, like an Oud Bruin, sour fruit & peels (cherry, apple). Surprising.

Contrasting taste: mild malty caramel, roasty bitterness. Only a slight sourness, & a grassy hop presence. Again, surprising bitter for its color.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, a tad chewy. This one threw me for a loop with the smell & taste combo. Fortunately it was not overwhelming in any aspect, & I had a real good time alternating the smell & flavor -- smells like a Flemish Brown, tastes like a Schwarzbier. Very interesting indeed. Not sure it lives up the name: "Old Engine Oil" conjures a thick, viscous brew a la "Ten Fidy" or "Old Viscosity." Throw it on the misnomer pile with Chocolate Indulgence. Very enjoyable, moniker aside.

Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Allagash tall snifter. Pours very dark/black...not as thick as engine oil. Not much head to speak of...even with a straight hard pour torwards the end. A very, very small light brown head rises for a few seconds...but then dissapears quickly. Lacing is thin, but lasting.

Aroma is very strong. Resembles a stout. Lot's of chocolate/coffee. Toffee notes, rosted malts. A slight bitter backside.

Flavor at first is light and bland. Mild to higher carbonation. Beer is at fridge temp. I know this beer has more potential, so I'm going to let it warm up a bit and continue...

...(continuing)getting a lot more bittersweet chocolate now. Roasted maltiness, even a licorice. Not boozy at all. Has a great aftertaste that lingers in your mouth for a while. Mild complexity, nice and tasty!

Photo of Vengeance526
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black color with a small tan head that slowly fades away leaving minimal lacing.

Aroma of chocolate with roasted coffee.

Lots of malty flavors dominate the taste. Starts off with bitter chocolate followed by roasted coffee beans and lighter notes of caramel and licorice. A little bit of smoke can also be detected toward the end.

Light to medium body with light carbonation. Seems to be lacking somewhat in body. This was fairly enjoyable but a little light for the style and not one of my favorites overall. Good to try but I probably won't come back for more.

Photo of kegger22
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Black Ale is very dark brown, almost black color, with a moderate, tan head that dissipates to a self sustaining collar.

The aroma is roasted coffee.

The same roasted coffee shows up in the taste, along with chocolate, but you want to wait for the Oil to warm a little first.

The mouth feel is medium bodied and modestly carbonated.

Drinkability is pretty good because the 6.00 ABV and respectable flavor.

I was hoping to have my socks knocked off by Old Engine Oil, because I just bought a bottle of Ola Dubh 16. Old Oil wasn't bad, but I'm not sure I justified the purchase of what is basically an aged Old Oil for 9 bucks. Oh well.

Photo of Hawthorne
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Was fortunate enough to have this great beer on tap at the Lions Pride in Brunswick. The beer has a strong head off the tap with a good smoke and hints of chocolate on the nose. The taste has a nice smoke to it with a slight coffee quality. I thought the beer was beautiful!

Photo of Travlr
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black color like 10W30 with a small bubble tan head that settles quickly to leave good lacing.
S: Aroma of milk chocolate and alcohol, background of burnt espresso beans.
T: Flavor starts with milk chocolate and progresses to roast coffee with a sourness permeating through it.
M: Great body, as expected.
D: Overall a nice beer, more roasted and more chocolate than the style would suggest, closer to a stout than an old ale.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass. This one has been cellared for approximately two years, if my memory is correct.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark chocolate, bourbon, roasted malts and some alcohol despite the relatively low ABV.

T: The taste starts with strong flavors of dark & milk chocolate along with a touch of dark fruit and some creaminess to it. The malt character is as hearty as you would expect from any big stout. The hops presence is likewise very mild as it usually is in this type of beer. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, decent kick, good representation of style, most of the Old Ales that I've had have been more like barleywines, but this one is more stout-like, which I expected since the label reads "Viscous, Chocolaty, Roasty". Overall it was a very good beer and seemed to handle the age quite well.

Photo of morimech
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I could see the correlation with a Scotch Ale. It has a roasty, smokey, peaty, and slightly burnt flavor. Not quite old engine oil in color and viscousity unless it is somewhat fresh and hot engine oil. Very small head forms and quickly settles to a thin cap. Very little lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is likewise that of a Scotch Ale. Maybe it has something to do with the region it is brewed. Roasted malt is the dominant aroma along with some smokiness. Not overly complex in aroma or flavor. Medium body with nice carbonation makes it pleasant to drink. I was a bit let down by this beer. I was expecting something much more complex. Without the benefit of barrel aging, Harvieston's Old Ales lack the little extra something to take them to the next level.

Photo of rvdoorn
2.78/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle directly from Scotland. Poured into a the Molen sniffer. The beer pours a very dark black color with a short-lasting light brown head, leaving a messy lacing.

Smell: Dark chocolate, roasted malts, leather, coffee and some hints of red fruit.

Taste: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, liquorish and bitter coffee. Very short and bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation. Beer has even less body than a European lager.

Overall: Disappointing beer. Feels like drinking bitter water. What a shame. Highly overrated in my opinion.

Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 1,452 ratings.