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Old Engine Oil - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,501 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,501
Reviews: 755
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 120
Gots: 126 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-10-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (30) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,501 | Reviews: 755 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of andrenaline
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black with a ruby red tinge on the edges in the light, thin layer of mocha head with little retention and no real lacing.

S - Pleasantly sweet, with milk chocolate and some dark cocoa. Could be a little stronger on the nose, as the scent is slightly tame.

T - Dark cocoa dominates the palette and a bit of sweet cherry lingers on the tongue. Alcohol is a bit noticeable, but not a turnoff. Roasted malts come through nicely and the 'bittersweet' flavour which is advertised is definitely noticeable.

M - Mouthfeel is smooth and soft, with fine carbonation, and a perfect feel for a porter.

D - Overall a very tasty offering, and more than I was expecting. Could throw back a couple of these at a time, and the mouthfeel keeps you craving more. Flavours are discreet and pleasant, but not overpowering. Recommended to any porter fan.

Photo of beyah
4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black as midnight in the middle of nowhere on an overcast night, lightly carbonated, good lacing

Has a malt smell, with treacle?

Smooth, excellent mouth feel. Huge malt flavor, with very subtle bettering hops. There is flavor similar to a good porter.

This beer is unbelievably good, you can tell it has a Scottish heritage easy on the hops and big malt favor.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance -- Pours a dark brown, nearly black in the glass with zero highlights. A voluminous dark khaki head with the texture of a sea sponge.

Smell -- Chocolate syrup, french roast coffee, char malt. Pretty aromatic but lacking dimensions.

Taste -- Mirrors the nose overall, although more focus on bitter burnt malt. Coffee and burnt toast dominate with chocolate and earthy hop bitterness. Finish is burnt bread crust, Hershey's syrup, and herb bitters.

Mouthfeel -- Medium-full in body with mild carbonation. Velvety would be apt. Pretty satisfying. I can only imagine what it's like on cask.

Drinkability -- I probably won't be reaching for this one again. It's certainly an well-crafted beer, however there isn't enough depth of flavor and the burnt bitterness is piercing and leads to palette fatigue.

Photo of Andyc101
3.86/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black with caramel lining. 1/2 finger head then subsides to a thin bubble layer.

S - Light hints of chocolate and caramel.

T - Gives you that "booze sting" right upfront then takes it to the back of your tongue where it gives you a good level of bitterness. It is not as sweet as it smells.

M - Doesn't really coat my mouth. Not a watery taste but a watery feel if you get what I'm saying. Foams up A LOT if swished. Leaves a pleasant after taste.

D - Very enjoyable and not too heavy. I wouldn't drink this too often but when I do It will be a fun reunion.

Photo of milkbaby9
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle in Chimay chalice. Dark brown black color. Upon a vigorous pour produced 1 1/2 finger cafe au lait colored creamy head which quickly reduces to a thin layer of small bubbles. Nice patchy lacing evident as it's enjoyed.

Aroma of sweet dark chocolate, coffee bean, burnt toast, just a bit of a green hoppyness. Tastes of dark chocolate, sour tang of strong coffee, undercurrent of doughy bread -- under the roasted grainy flavors. Hint of piney or grassy hops in the finish along with roasted bitterness.

Low carbonation registers only quickly in a passing manner. Syrupy oily heavy mouthfeel with drying finishing bitterness combating the mouth coating viscousness. Finishes moderately long with three threads: lightly sweet bready maltyness, roasty bitterness, and a light almost spicy hoppy bitterness.

I didn't enjoy this quite so much the first time I drank it, but I appreciate it much more now; really enjoy the roastyness of it. Maybe it was drinking Ola Dubh (Old Engine Oil aged in scotch whisky casks) and feeling the things I enjoyed about that beer so much which increased my appreciation of Old Engine Oil.

Photo of Nature777
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is one of the greatest beers I have ever had!

A: Very dark black, visibly heavier than it tastes. Nice tan head with a little lacing. Beautiful brew.

S: Roasty, chocolately, coffee smells. Beautiful!

T: Superb flavor! Nice heavy chocolate and coffee flavors with beautiful hints of malt. This beer tastes so good that it could make a grown man cry!

M: Smooth. That's all I need to say.

D: Very drinkable. Very enjoyable.

This is a nearly perfect beer. I can't imagine anything being changed on this brew to make it better. This is in my top 10!

Photo of GilGarp
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz. bottle served cool into a tumbler.

Very dark brown on the pour but looks black in the glass. The viscosity of this oil isn't the thickest but then again, this is a 6% English porter, not a double stout. The head is about a 1/2 inch of creamy tan head. Slow to settle and leaves some lace behind. A nice looking porter.

The aroma is roasty and I can smell it from an arms length. A nice chocolate coffee smell that is very pleasant.

The flavor is immediately off-puting. It's strangely fruity, not enough roast, very light in flavor and body. The balance is there but the flavors don't seem quite right. Milk chocolate

Mouthfeel is too light and too thin but the carbonation is nice and low. Very smooth but it doesn't live up to the name.

Overall a disappointment.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

Photo of ne0m00re
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Black with some ruby hues, nice one-finger head died to a nice cream film.
S: Roasted malt, dry, subtle like Eddie Fitz, creamy oats, very stubtle fruit (bananas, blackberries, raspberries).
T: Toffee with a dry burnt characteristic, burnt hoppiness that is slightly green and resiny lingers; there is some vanilla and fruits.
M: Creamy and frothy, yet thin and dry.
D: Especially good.

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

On-tap at Prime 16 into its proper Old Engine Oil tulip. Cheers to proper glassware!

A: Black body with an inch of creamy light brown foam. Good retention and lacing. Great looking beer.

S: Simple, straightforward aroma of chocolate and caramel malts, as well as a hint of earthy hop bitterness. Solid.

T: Follows the nose quite closely. A reasonably roasted character helps keep the sweetness in check. Bitter finish from the roasted malt and the hops. Tasty, but not quite outstanding.

M: Very soft body, both in consistency and carbonation. Quite pleasant indeed (if not what I expect motor oil to feel like).

D: Great balance of sweetness and bitterness plus the delicate body make this easy to finish.

Notes: While I might take issue with the rather hyperbolic moniker on this brew, there's no disputing the fact that it's a darn tasty, well made beer. Say no more.


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

Deep dark brown, appears black in the glass, with a finger of frothy tan head that leaves a solid sheet of lacing and has some staying power.

Smells of bitter roasted malt that is a bit woody. A touch of sharp sourness.

Bitter chocolate, rich coffee, a touch of smoke, caramel and cola are all present to the tongue. Lingering bittersweet finish.

Medium bodied with lowish carbonation. Some astringency in the back half of the mouth.

This is all-around good, but nothing jumped out to me as great. I had higher hopes, as I'm a big fan of the style.

Photo of Mitchster
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$3.99 for a 11.2oz bottle. 6% ABV. Brewed with pale malt, roasted barley, and oats. Hopped with Galena, Worcester Fuggles, and Kent Goldings.

Pours out to a very deep black, forming a modest tan head with poor retention and sparse lacing. Carbonation is mild. The aroma is of prunes and raisins, licorice, black walnut, and toasted marshmallows. The mouthfeel is smooth with a medium dense body and a lightly astringent burnt finish. The taste is a recap of the aroma, redolent with dark fruits, a mild herbal bitterness, and notes of sawdust, chalk, and anise in the finish. No perceptable off-flavors or aromas, although the hops do add a peculiar green leafy sourness. Lightly smoky soy sauce in the aftertaste.

This is a nice stout, but tastes more like a Baltic porter, honestly. Too often when it comes to English style stouts, I find that the Fuggles and Goldings give them an oxidized, ruddy mouthfeel that I don't care for, but this seems to be nicely offset by the Galena. At $3.99 for the 12oz bottle, I'm not inclined to buy it again, as KZoo stout is cheaper, more readly available where I am at, and tastier, IMO.

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

Dark color, almost black, but when placed against the light, it shows a dark reddish tint. Its foam is slightly persistent in the glass. Aroma: Nice boquet of coffee, light touch of vanilla and roasted malt. Taste of coffee. Bitter and dry. Very drinkable and delicious! The label of this beer is different here in Brazil.

Photo of sk8man121
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Engine oil black (ha) with a thick, tan head on top of about a finger and a half. Completely opaque when held up to a light. Nice.

S: I smell roasted malts, dank earth, and even a bit of campfire. This is quite nice.

T: This is pretty nice. Not much cocoa up front (I expected more), but a nice malty backbone. More dirt, some minerals. Not bad.

M: Carbonation is perfect and runs through the entire beer nicely. A bit thin (would like to have seen more body), but comfortable nonetheless.

D: I'd say that this has good drinkability for two reasons.

1.) The alcohol is low enough to be able to drink at least a few of these.

2.) If you dig the flavor, that won't be a problem. Otherwise, you just plan won't want to.

Pretty good offering that I may give one more shot at some point, but certainly nothing that blew me away.

Photo of superdedooperboy
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2-ounce brown bottle poured into a New Belgium globe tulip.

Pours a nearly impenetrable black hue with a one-inch layer of light tan foam that fades away to a lingering bubbly cap that clings easily to the walls of the glass, leaving behind gorgeous well-formed rings of lace as it empties.

In the nose, a strong whiff of creamy dark chocolate is evident along with a little lightly toasted bread and sweet grain. Nothing terribly complex, though certainly enticing.

Medium-full body with a mild-to-moderate carbonation that seems to make the body feel lighter than it really is. Mildly sweet caramel notes open up, with dark burnt toast taking over almost immediately; roastiness overwhelms the middle and is accentuated by a decent bit of hop bitterness and a hint of acidity, with a little more malt sweetness peeking around the edges of the tongue. Finishes very dry and roasty-bitter, with a lingering roastiness that lasts quite some time.

A wonderfully pleasant and surprisingly drinkable ale. Not really befitting the name, this is much more enjoyable than a glass of similarly-looking dirty engine lube... or at least I would assume as much.

Photo of AdamGarcia
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

11.2oz bottle served in shaker pint.

A: Near black. Almost zero light permeates this one. Mocha brown head initially stands about 2.5 fingers tall and settles in at about half a finger. Sticky lace. Nice looking beer.

S: Deep roasted malts. Freshly ground coffee. Hint of vanilla.

T: Roasty, chocolatey flavors. Coffee and cream. Milk chocolate sweetness. Carob, maybe? Nutty and woody notes in the background. Finishes a little bittersweet.

M: Lucious mouthfeel. Very soft and smooth. Carbonation is unnoticeable in a very good way. Could be more viscous for my taste, but for the style it's spot on.

D: I could definitely tip several of these in a sitting. Keeps the palate interested, but is beautifully restrained.

Very well done. This will likely become a beer that I keep on hand with some regularity. Pick some of this up the next time you see it on the shelf, you won't be disappointed.

Photo of wordemupg
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle poured into tulip aug2 2010

A black like its namesake with a large 3 finger head that hangs around for quite some time slowly falling to a 1/4in film leaving plenty of lace, pretty sexy looking beer when all's said and done

S a little dark fruit some smoke, chocolate and a little coffee and molasses

T a little more smoke then I smell and just a tiny bit of booze but other then that it tastes as it smells but just a little stronger then the nose

M a little thin but enough carbonation to give it a creamy feel

D went down pretty quick and I will be drinking this again without doubt

for a first beer from a brewer I think I picked a good one, I can't wait to try some of the other brews by these guys that just got released here in Alberta

Photo of drtth
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As poured the appearance of the beer almost lives up to its name. The liquid is dark brown, almost black in color and once in the glass allows no light through it. The stream of liquid contains lighter and darker "threads" but even those that are transparent and clear are dark brown, just not as dark as the darkest. The ½" head is dense throughout with some lager bubbles on the top. The head recedes soon to leave an irregular ring and an irregular island of foam. Also there are patches and leggy trails of lace clinging to the sides of the glass. Sipping leaves widely scattered small patches of foam clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell: The aromas are those of dark roasted malt, dark chocolate and dark molasses, along with some dark fruit (plum or prune).

Taste: The flavor is rich, dark roasted and reasonably complex with a trace of sweetness, some almost burnt bitterness and races of dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium to full bodied and soft, with moderate but persistent carbonation. The finish is moderately long with early sweetness disappearing quickly to leave the dark roast, almost burnt bitterness and some earthy character from the hops.

Drinkability: While listed as a porter (it was once listed as an Old Ale) this is one of those beers that tests the myth that the difference between a porter and a stout lies in the dark roast malt. I've found with this beer that while it should be sipped slowly and savored, each sip also follows naturally from the first and I'm finishing this beer wanting more than there is. I'll certainly seek this beer out to have again in the future

Photo of darkmartin
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours completely opaque black, with a small, thick brown head. Thick lacing.
Smell: Strong evidence of coffee and toasted malts. Some fruity tones.
Taste: All coffee up front, with an interestingly fruity finish.
Mouthfeel: Thick, yet clean. Moderately carbonated.
Drinkability: The thick, robust flavor definitely makes it a beer to enjoy slowly. However, the complex taste is something that can definitely be enjoyed for a beer or three.

Photo of DionysusII
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black body, dark ruby red where very little light passes through on a few spots in the glass. Aggresive pour yields thin light brown head that fades quickly with little to no lacing.

S- Nice boquet, just as the label describes, roasted barley, semi-tart chocolate and hints of coffee.

T- Taste follows smell in this big brew, just as i expected. Delicious.

M- Medium heavy body, a little less than what I had hoped for, but great none the less.

D- Very drinkable given the lower ABV for how strong a flavor this delicious porter offers.

Photo of obywan59
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with a thin light brown head. Minimal lacing.

Lightly sweet dark chocolate in the nose.

More coffee than chocolate in the taste. Nicely sweet like a porter should be, but follwed by a bit of tartness.

Medium bodied. Not as thick as old engine oil. Light bitterness in the end. I get some alcohol burn in the throat.

No problems with this one. Full-flavored and ruch. Easy to drink.

This was the third in my series of British brews tonight, following Oxfordshire Triple B (England) and Williams Brothers Alba Scots Pine Ale (Scotland). Boy, did the Scots ever blow away the English tonight. I was a bit worried after drinking the fabulous Alba, but even though I bucked the trend, and rated the Harvietaun lower, it was a great beer to end the night with. Like an after-dinner coffee.

Photo of eat
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with a patchy cover of beige head. I thought it would look thicker given its name; I hate when I'm let down in the name of a beer. Why not name a beer something else if it's not going to live up to it? Some lacing present.

Molasses, smoke, roasted malt, dark chocolate, espresso, caramel and dark hops in the nose. Pretty nice.

Tastes of dusty cocoa, lots of dark hop bitterness, dark chocolate, light smoke. Surprising bitterness. I like it.

The feel could definitely be a little thicker. Not bad, but engine oil? Medium-thin body with light carbonation.

I like how this is definitely a porter in the classic sense. Very drinkable. I'd pick this up again for sure. Great example of the style, though I'm not sure what it has to do with engine oil.

Photo of Bravo4
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into an Imperial pint glass.

A- Extremely dark with a tan head that lingers around 1 finger.

S- Coffee with dark fruits and chocolate. Slightly heavy.

T- Deffinately dark chocolate with coffee and dark fruits.

M- Thick and rich mouthfeel that goes down smooth with little carbonation.

D- This is definately drinkable and would make a good session beer if you are into this style.

Photo of mdwalsh
3.23/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Just some very short notes on this one, sorry.

A: BIG cola like head on this, opaque black body, not much else worth describing though.

S: Sugar, cooked grain, brown sugar. No Alcohol.

T: Dry, roasted, no hops or alcohol. Sort of bland, I could see why they wanted to age this in barrels.

M: Dry and Light.

Photo of ritzkiss
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle split with eat - thanks Colin!

Pours a nice dark brown with a little light around the edges, two fingers of foam pop up and leave a big bubble collar and some light lacing.

This has to be considered a classic of the style. Coffee, bitter chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, charred wood, a bracing grassy bitterness that has a faint citrus note in there, nice toffee and brown sugar sweetness, slightly thin body but at 6% this is a supremely drinkable, loaded with flavor porter you would gladly session. Really very nice, this is what the style was meant to be.

Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,501 ratings.