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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.

1,397 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,397
Reviews: 734
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 109
Gots: 94 | 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: 1,397 | Reviews: 734 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of woemad
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

11.2oz bottle purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle for $3.49. The label is different from the one pictured, and does not feature a freshness date.

This poured a pitch-black color with a tight, tan head. The head dropped after a couple of minutes. Spotty lace.

The nose featured roasty malt and toffee scents, with a slight solvent-like smell way in the background.

This started out roasty and sweet, with a prune-like dark fruit flavor then kicking in. The finish is dry.

Medium bodied, with a dry, slightly chalky mouthfeel.

I had this after dinner, and while it was a decent post-meal beer, it didn’t exactly knock my socks off. I’m glad I tried it, but I won’t feel the need to go out of my way for it again. There are better beers for less money out there.

woemad, Oct 11, 2007
Photo of yemenmocha
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours near black, perhaps very very dark brown with brown head.

Nose has a clean, marshmallowy roastiness at first. Start to notice some baking chocolate too after a few whiffs.

On the palate is baker's chocolate, spirity/alcohol, and a smooth chocolate finish. The chocolate comes across in a dry way - not very sweet.

Finish is a little chalky and alcoholic.

yemenmocha, Oct 08, 2007
Photo of casadebia
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is very dark in color and holds a chocolate head for a good amount of time. The smell is of deep roasted coffee beans with hints of chocolate lacing and almost a metallic luster. The taste is rich with malt and sweetness at first and finishes with a crisp but subtle bite at the end. The mouthfeel is smooth and thick but a little carbonated. The drinkability is decent for this type of beer.

casadebia, Sep 30, 2007
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice glossy black, topped with a rather surprising head. Medium brown color filling up to about 1 1/2 fingers. Dissapated rather quickly but re-appeared after a quick swirl.
Aroma contained mostly coffee, anise and chocolate. A bit stringent. Stale prunes also present.
Tasting it at about 54 degrees; coffee is taken back a bit by some prune and date tastes. Chocolate appears towards the end. A bit sour. Nothing really stands out about this brew. A bit dry, adds to the bitterness making it slighlty tough to drink, but it does leave a nice taste.

Mebuzzard, Sep 05, 2007
Photo of rallison
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brownish black with a 1/2 finger tan head. Smells roasty with some molasses.

First sip sort of reminds me of a porter, with a nice bit of molasses and dark fruits. Maybe a touch of black licorice. Quite an interesting flavor profile.

Mouthfeel is pretty rich for 6%, but finishes pretty smooth and clean.

Drinkability is good.

Overall, recommended. An interesting old ale, and an altogether tasty beer. I'm not sure it's a personal favorite, but I must admit it is well done.

rallison, Aug 19, 2007
Photo of clickpush
3.43/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Coffee brown body topped by a small tan head that leaves just a smattering of lacing and almost no halo after its all too speedy descent. Only a bit of carbonation visible. Smell is watery but caramel and roast malt notes make it through. Taste is malt and roast, sour lactic, a bit of caramel and raisin, especially in the aftertaste. Thick and warming mouthfeel. Okay, nothing special.

clickpush, Aug 17, 2007
Photo of joe1510
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sam's Downers Grove

Old Engine Oil pours the deepest most dense red you could imagine sporting small but bright ruby highlights when held to the light. A 1+ finger beige head formed on the pour that fell to a half finger of creaminess rather quickly. Left drink lines from each sip. Good looking beer.

This beer has a nose full of powerful rich aromas. Malts that are roasted so deeply they actually make my eyes water. Strong notes of dark chocolate mesh very nicely with the roasted malts. There's even a drop or two of cream. Faint hop presence toward the backend. Very inviting.

This is one interesting brew. Starts off with a deeply roasted malt bitterness and it seems to me a mid palate hop bitterness. Bittersweet chocolate comes around toward the end along with a few drops of cream and mild nuttiness as it warms. The roasty bitterness shows up on the swallow, then quickly disappers to a creamy smothness, then the bitterness actually lingers around. Strange, but definately unique and enjoyable.

Great mouthfeel. Medium bodied with an absolutely velvety smooth mouthfeel. This beer just glides along your tongue.

The bold flavors hurt the long-run drinkability but this is an easy one to finish off the single bottle.

The bottle calls this "a delicious after dinner beer" and I couldn't agree more. A perfect beer to go with a nice cigar after an enjoyable meal. Unique and nothing like I expected. I will definately pick up again, even to share with company.

joe1510, Aug 03, 2007
Photo of barefootbrewer
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is black (as the name would imply) with a 1 finger rocky head. The aroma is strong of malt with some hints of spice. The taste is roasted, coffee, malty and bittersweet. The mouthfeel is full, but falls short of the chewy I was expecting from the name. I don’t think I’d put this in my car, but I would put it in me – and often!

barefootbrewer, Jun 14, 2007
Photo of EPICAC
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Spuyten Duyvil.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown/black with a thin, one-finger, beige head that fades to a ring leaving patchy lace.

Smell: Very strong malty aromas. Caramel, toffee, burnt sugar, dark fruit, with a roasty coffee aroma on swirling.

Taste: Sweet malts: dates and caramel. Lightly spicy with a light balancing coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied, low carbonation, thick, silky.

Drinkability: Smooth and balanced, strong flavors, but enjoyable.

EPICAC, Jun 06, 2007
Photo of afinepilsner
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz brown bottle

Old Engine Oil was opaque black in color with a little ruby when held to a light. The light tan head was medium in size with decent retention and left some lacing behind. The aroma was loaded with dark malts, coffee, chocolate, caramel, and a little fruit. The taste was about the same as the aroma with some sweetness upfront followed by a balancing bitterness and long, dry finish. It was full bodied with good carbonation. Drinkability was good. This was a very good beer that I will have to try again.

afinepilsner, Jun 04, 2007
Photo of ski271
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Zeno’s in State College.
A- Pitch black with a small, tan, foamy head
S- Toasty malts with a very slightly burnt scent. Chocolate, coffee and crusty bread.
T- Sweet malts dominate up front. More chocolate and coffee, a little more grainy, and some cherry in there. The finish is medium in duration with a lingering citrus rind bitterness.
M- Medium-full body, dry texture, low carbonation
D- Not a bad beer, pretty enjoyable remarkably easy-drinking for as big as it first starts out as. Worth a try.

ski271, May 28, 2007
Photo of acrawf6
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a pitch black with just a small bit of light coming off the side of the glass. Nice creamy dark tan head rises and drops to a thin layer on top.

Smell. Lots of hints of coffee and chocolate. Burnt malts dominate, but still seems to have a hop bitterness to it.

Taste. Burnt malts are lighter than i expected, but the hops seems to be more than i thought it would be. The flavor is also has a little black coffee to it. It seems to be potent with taste, yet still quite mild. Aftertaste has more coffee flavors and more of the roasted malts. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel. Body has a fullness to it, but is not creamy. I think it has a very nice balance. The carbonation is appropriate.

Overall. There isnt anything about this beer that i absolutely love, but i do not find anything wrong with it. If i wanted to be a real stickler, i'd say the mouthfeel wasnt full enough, but this isnt a stout. I think this is a very solid beer that though i like others more that have a lower score i gave, i find this is a very well crafted beer that deserves much credit.

acrawf6, May 16, 2007
Photo of jmalex
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this once on tap, and I'm not particularly familiar with old ales, so hopefully my comments are somewhat intelligent. I do know one thing, though. And that is that this beer is deep and BLACK. So if anything, I'm excited about that.

APPEARANCE: Yep, BLACK with BLACK highlights. Pours with barely a head which turns into a thin collar with a bubble or 2 on the surface.

SMELL: Very porter-like. Caramel sweetness is accompanied by a slight roastiness and diacetyl. It's also nutty, toasty, and pretty formative.

TASTE: Starts with flavors of burnt malt which develops into a smooth roastiness. Chocolate is also present. The finish is bitter with some citrusy hops barely showing themselves. Diacetyl is also very apparent in the finish.

MOUTHFEEL: Whoo boy. The name says it all. No other beer is like this. Huge body with a minimal carbonation makes this beer not so much syrupy, but more like chunky. Impressive and unique.

DRINKABILITY: As awesome as the mouth was, it may detract from drinkability somewhat. Still, it's a delicious beer and one I will be buying again.

My impression is that this beer is very porter-like which would probably explain why I enjoy this beer. Based on what I know of the style, it's very accurate and a fine specimen of a beer.

jmalex, May 11, 2007
Photo of westweasel
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle.

The appearance is a dark, hazy brown with a thin 1/8 in. beige head, and very coarse looking bubbles. This beer looks highly carbonated.

The aroma is dominated by molasses. I'm also detecting cherries and raisins.

The taste consists of mostly molasses and raisins along with some hop bitterness to balance it nicely.

The mouthfeel is medium. Based on the name, you would be expecting it to be very full.

The drinkability is excellent. Much better than you would think engine oil would taste. :^)

westweasel, May 09, 2007
Photo of RedHaze
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, nearly black, with faint hints of ruby peeking around the edges. The foam peaks at one finger then falls slowly to a thin soapy cap and ring. A nice webbing of lace is left behind after each sip.

Smell; mmmm..chocolate cake, with a little bit of alcohol mixed in. There's also hints of some dark fruits, as well as a little bit of a smoky quality.

Taste; lots of dark chocolate and caramel malts, with a bit of toasted flavor. Some dates and prunes add some nice dark fruity flavors, and that smokiness some through in the flavor. None of the flavors are really overly strong, as a matter of fact they're a touch on the mellow side, but the finish is nice and long and very smooth.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and a little on the creamy side, with a very smooth carbonation that only helps out in the drinkability department. I enjoyed this much more than I did the version aged in whiskey barrels.

RedHaze, May 03, 2007
Photo of Naerhu
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - microscopic tan head on a jet black body.
S - Nice deep oily espresso aroma
T - Very mellow, but long lasting flavor. Lots of espresso, dark chocolate. The little bitterness is excellently balanced with the restrained sweetness. Way complex. I am glad BA has recategorized this as a Porter and not an old ale.
M - Mild bitterness, a yeasty creamyness.
D - This is awesome. I can only fantasize about what this must be like on tap.

Naerhu, May 01, 2007
Photo of jsbrendle
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draft pour into a shaker glass. Very dark, nearly opaque. Light tan head. Smell & flavor are full of wonderful "london porter" or "sweet stout" type elements of toffee, dark fruit, and roasty/toasty malt flavors such as chocolate. Body is rich and smooth & pleasant. Quite easy to drink if you like sweeter/maltier dark ales.

jsbrendle, Apr 23, 2007
Photo of dstc
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, almost black, with a dark tan small head that leaves a nice thin lace behind. Coffee and roasted flavors in the nose, also a bit earthy. Tastes is again a bit of coffee and chocolate with a mild bitterness to it. Feels smooth and full in the mouth without too much carbonation. Overall a nice dark beer that I do believe I'll have again.

dstc, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of AlexJ
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown/black body with a very thin, dense head of khaki froth that lasts as a thin shroud, minimal lacing but thick legs.

Aroma is mild, creamy, and malty, with great dark, roasty notes with undertones of earthy, dried wood and bittersweet cocoa.

Flavor is even nicer, bittersweet dark malt roast with milk chocolate, weak coffee, moist dark bread, dried currants, and molasses. Porterish and tastey, highly drinkable.

Medium bodied and very creamy with fine, pinpoint carbonation and a smooth, buttery texture. Drinkability of a session beer.

AlexJ, Apr 10, 2007
Photo of jbsteiny
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I saw this at Cherry Tree, and, reflecting on the whisky barrel-aged variety and how amazing it was, I figured I'd shell out $8 for a 12 oz. bottle (highway robbery, imo). The bartender didn't know what glass it went in and she gave me a Chimay -- I think it would go better in a standard wine glass to capture more aromas. It poured near black with no true head -- a few swirls of bubbles. Its smell was very pleasant but hard to describe. It had a very sweet grape characteristic, but also something creamy like butterscotch. I know grape butterscotch sounds disgusting, but it was pleasant.

This beer becomes exceptional once it crosses your lips. Very rich blend of flavors: starts with sweet cream, becomes cognac, and finishes with roasty chocolate malts. Yummo. Wonderful mouthfeel -- the minimal carbonation was fine considering the full body and the crisp finish. If I could find a place to pick up a case of this at a reasonable price, I'd be on it in a minute. Smooth and intensely flavorful. Harviestoun is a new reason to go to Scotland. Next: must hunt down the barrel-aged one again. I remember it having an amazing peat flavor that offset the sweetness.

jbsteiny, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

old ale? I don't know but here we go. Pours nearly pitch black, small brown head accompanies it. Smells a bit sweet with some soapy essence? Tastes a lot better though, caramel, cocoa, malty goodness and a slight hint of dryness in the finish. Overall it's a really nice beer. To me though this is like a really nice porter rather than an old ale in the way of flavor and appearence, but what the hey, if the Scots want to call it an old ale, an old ale it'll be.

Manosbeeroffate, Mar 11, 2007
Photo of steinlifter
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured almost pitch black, good size tan foamy head that diminished to a tan creamy collar that held the sides of the glass all the way down.
Smell: was of toffee.
taste is exceptional, roasted coffee with chocolate notes, and just the right amount of hops.
mouthfeel was a bit chewy,but very carbonated and light.
drinkability is great with this one. A very good beer that I will have again!

steinlifter, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of CharlieMopps
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a good two and a half fingers of dense, tan head, with an impenetrably staining black body of beer. Old Engine Oil seems spot-on, and this hearty looking brew has a head that likes to stick around.

S: I'm guessing this smell is from the agining in Malt Whisky casks, but there's a slight bit of a dogfood vibe to this, as in, a bit meaty, but not exactly the real thing. Also, this blends in with a very burnt malt scent and coffee that could either taste amazingly great or incredibly horrid. The proof is in the engine oil...

T: A perplexing combination of flavors comes inside this bottle. It has all the characteristics of a big malty stout, but the scotch whisky side cuts through, making it actually quite smooth until the end, where a little bit of a liquor-like kick comes in. Also, a tad tasting of slick hops is there as well. A bit of a cocoa-like undertone with the grains from the malt and the aging converging somewhere in the middle.

M: With the smooth transition of flavors, from malt to whisky, comes a very creamy then subtle bite. Probably one of the few ways that a solid stout can have a kick to it without making the beer a hop-skewed mess or suffer from over-aging in the barrels. Still, there's a thickness that clings to the palate but is still quite enjoyable.

D: Somewhat leans toward an extreme, but if you were to be drink big malt brews all night, this one would kick you right back into the swing of things with its composition. The rarity of combining two malt beverages, beer and scotch, is what's charming about this beer. I see the appeal, and feel like this is a good one to break up any monotony with the malt-packed stouts.

CharlieMopps, Feb 26, 2007
Photo of Albertv05
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tried this on tap at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

Poured jet black with a minimal tan colored head. The head faded pretty quickly. The aroma was mildly sweet with roasted grains, chocolate, and a faint hint of fruitiness.

The taste was of roasted grains, more so than I expected but in a good way. There wasn't as much maltiness balance as I anticipated with the roasted grains and the body was a little thin. However, although I typically look for a very well balanced stout, this made it very easy to drink and more digestible. Kind of like a roastier, less creamy Guinness.

I would definitely get a pint again of this if I'm having a few that evening. Very drinkable!

Albertv05, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.08/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a: true to its name this looks like very old engine oil - jet black, very nice dark brown head that retains well; good lacing
s: definite hints of whiskey, coffee & chocolate as well
t: coffee flavor dominates, with minor contributions of anise, chocolate & whiskey; turns bitter at end
m: surprisingly medium body, slightly creamy, burns the nose at the end, decent carbonation
d: appearances were deceiving here - not nearly as heavy as i would've thought & didn't get much whiskey flavor. too bitter for me, can't say i'll be picking up another of these

belgbeerdrinker, Feb 15, 2007
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,397 ratings.