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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.

1,437 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,437
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: 1,437 | Reviews: 742 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerSox
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into nonic.

Opaque brown hue with the exception of some ruby edges at the bottom of the glass. The head is tan and thin (typical for the style), and slowly settles to a bubbly rim. Spotty and stringy lacing.

Roasted malts toppped with some sweet chocolate and a little bit of raisin. The raisin is such a typical scent in this style, it's a good indicator. The overall smell is similar to a stout.

The flavor is very complex, ranging from the bitter malts as a base, along with some creamy chocolate and a very light hop bitterness. Some molasses is in there as well. Full bodied with a slightly high amount of carbonation, giving a bit of a fizz. The finish is the lingering bitter malts.

Three words on the label sum this one up pretty well: viscous, chocolatey, roasty. I can add: delicious, complex, recommended.

BeerSox, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of Boppar
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Woodman's in Orono, ME. It even came in an official Old Engine Oil chalice.

A: Dark, dark brown bordering on black. Thin head with god lacing.

S: Smells like sweet malts and maybe blackberries.

T: Wow. That goes down nice and smooth. Rich malt flavor with hints of dark berries, with bittering hops becoming present late-palate with a slightly dry aftertaste.

M: Thick, heavy, and slick, although not as much as its namesake would imply. It does, however, work quite well for the style.

D: Off the proverbial hook. I could session these.

Boppar, Mar 10, 2008
Photo of Homerbag
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Jet black like the name implies, old dirty engine oil. Not much of a head to this.

Smell is a buffet of aromas almost battling for each other. Notes of chocloate, coffee, burnt malt, rye, and dark fruit all present. Tastes have the much the same quality as the aroma. Very malty with bittersweat chocolate, drak fruit, and rye punching through. I wouldn't call it a perfect balance, but there is balance between all that is going on. Feel is where this one is a monster. Beers don't usually sink in like this one and coat the palate. It would have to to be avle to get everything that is in here.

A good beer for malt lovers. I could only imagine this being better on tap and a little fresher.

Homerbag, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of shamus
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is an aptly named beer, since it really does look like old engine oil as it pours out thick and viscous into the glass. Not much of a head, but what little there is leaves a bit of lace down the sides. The smell is exceptional--malty and chocolately without being syrupy--and the taste is even better. Strongly chocolate with definite malt character, but the right amount of bitterness to keep it from being cloying or sweet. This is a very drinkable beer, especially on a cold snowy day. It's rich and delicious and I will be headed back to the LCBO to stock up before they run out.

shamus, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of udubdawg
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz bottle

Very dark amber pour turns out nearly black in the glass - didn't look all that viscous or black but I'm not seeing a lot of light make it through. Light tan airy head fades and leaves intricate lacing over much of the glass.

Nose is pleasant, far from light, but not overwhelming me. Chocolate, toffee, light coffee, and more fruitiness than I expected, especially the light tart citrusy note and pleasant sweet/tart of cherry.

Very tasty, just short of 4.5. Drinkability is excellent, flavors full and reminiscent of bigger, higher ABV brews, so the 6% is appreciated. I'd have another of these for sure. Body is creamy, carbonation soft...it just needs a bit more heft to make it as viscous as it claims. Briefly sweet, before coffee roastiness takes over, sweet chocolate and fruit mingling with balancing floral bitterness in the finish.

udubdawg, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of Murchmac
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had higher hopes for this beer, like I had the high hopes for the alien vs predator movie. As it turns out, both were a let down.

This beer pours a dark black/brown color with little head and some lacing around the glass.

I can get no smells out of this beer, not sure why. Smells like a macro.

Tastes are roasted chocolate, cocoa, other flavors, but all you need to know is its a warm sweetness that lasts.

Good beer, get it.

Murchmac, Mar 08, 2008
Photo of dsa7783
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Single, 11.2 oz bottle copped for $3.99 from Total Wine and More in Union...
"Viscous, Chocolatey, Roasty" on the front, white logo sticker...
Heard a lot of good things about this particular beer, so I was eager to give this one a shot...
Pours a jet-black, and as the name suggests, an engine-oil hue, dark as night, with a modest-sized frothy tan and slightly reddish head which left a substantial amount of lacing...
Chocolate, roasted malt aroma bursting with cocoa powder...
Very thick, rich, and creamy taste loaded with sweet chocolate, vanilla, butter cream, butterscotch, dark espresso, and rich latte...
Excellent all-around taste, this one really lived up to its hype, and could easily be construed as a rich porter or a flavorful stout with such a strong suggestion of chocolate flavors...
Top-of-the-line ultra-rich and super-thick creamy mouthfeel...
Easy level of drinkability despite the hefty and thick flavors and aroma...
Excellent stuff...
Definitely recommended...

dsa7783, Mar 07, 2008
Photo of allergictomacros
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours clear, but extremely dark brown with a good solid head. Takes a while to settle, laces well and long lasting.

S - Rich, dark fruits, cocoa, candy and molasses. Somewhat metallic.

T/M - Quite dry, with lots of fruit and coffee. Slight tart edge and a moderately bitter finish. Impression of apples and pears as well. Body is quite light.

D - Very drinkable. Overall, kind of light. I was expecting something thicker and heavier.

allergictomacros, Mar 05, 2008
Photo of Antilochus
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at a Kingston, Ontario LCBO. 330mL, 6.00%. Best before April 2009. The packaging says the mash includes oats and wheat. I'm pumped. Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Slight bubbly tan head crowns a magnificently opaque ruby-black body.

Aromas: decent grassy hop bouquet on pour. Dark chocolate, licorice, fresh espresso, molasses, toasted malt, bread, like.. candy - burnt sugar, some bitter oatiness too. Subtle dark fruit influence. Lots of malty sweetness in the background. Damn, this is nice. Chocolate malt takes front stage.

Medium-heavy velvety mouthfeel, nice oat bitterness on the palate, I can already taste the dark chocolate. Some nice accent candied sweetness too, coupled with toastedness. Totally balanced. Surprisingly bittersweet finish - chocolate isn't the first thing that comes to mind - licorice candy? Chocolate is very there though. A little acidic. Nice and warming too with 6.00% abv. Medium length finish.

Try it to believe it.

Antilochus, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of irishkyle21
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Has a deep brownish almost black color to it. Thick light brown head, not the best retention or lacing but thats ok with me cause this beer kicks ass! in every other department.

I have a hard time believing I am actually able to pick out all of these different aromas from one single beverage. Smells of dark fruits (licorice like), roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, rye bread, earth and molasses! Still boggles my mind. I can hardly bring the glass away from my big Irish nose.

After a couple of minutes its finally on to the taste. Lots of malty chocolate goodness, hop bitterness, dark fruits and earth. Very smooth and creamy. I can only hope we get this more often.

irishkyle21, Mar 02, 2008
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A thick black liquid with amber glints on the edges of the glass. A dense frothy cappucino colored head emits thick lace patches. The aroma is redolent with dark berries, cocoa, maple syrup and curacao orange. Theres a lot going on. The first sip reveals a blast of the aforementioned malt flavors with dark roast coffee beens and caramel soaked rum cake mixing with a lemony, earthy hop profile. The mouthfeel is as thick as you would expect, oily and impressive. The finish is sweet and malty but never cloying. Hop bitterness is low.

This is a fantastic malt bomb of a beer. Very complex, yet nuanced and easy to drink. Another winner from this brewery.

CAMRAhardliner, Feb 25, 2008
Photo of GbVDave
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a North Coast "Brother Thelonious" goblet at Map Room 2/23/08. Thanks to Heatherann for the assist!

A: I watched as it slip slided into the glass with the color and consistency of, well, its' namesake. Decorating this was a dark khaki-colored head that left tons of clumpy lace in its wake.

S: Incredible aromas of roasted malt, caramel, molassas, dark fruit, toffee, toasted bread crust, and some smoke as well.

T: See above with a touch of cherry, roasted nuts, coffee, dark chocolate, and subtle hints of milk chocolate. The balance between the roasty, smokey, and sweet flavors is incredible.

M: Very smooth with a peppery hoppiness in the long lasting finish.

D: Very, very good. Is this sessionable? Hell yeah it is!

GbVDave, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of IntriqKen
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally I get to try the weakest, mildest, simpliest member of the old oil family and it only takes a sip to let this one come to it's own and take it's place as the breadwinner in this family of great stock ales.

Pours as it's namesake...black and deep...topped with a tan head that is more substantial than in any of the others. Melts to a tan ring...not much lacing.

Aromas are woody, sweet roasted malts, dark bittersweet chocolate and some dark fruits such as raisins, plums, and/or prunes.

Taste is distinctively Harviestoun ...nice roasted malt flavors rounded with dark candied fruits and dark bittersweet chocolate...all well blended together and nicely drying at the end.

Mouthfeel is weak only when comparing it to it's stronger cousins. Standalone and it is substantial and comfortable for it's style.

Aftertaste is slightly sweet english hops but drying and clean.

IntriqKen, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of CortexBomb
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Hand Pull at Ashley's.

Pour is deep, coppery brown with a modest white head on it. Extremely heavy lacing which coats a significant amount of the glass as it's consumed. The nose is fairly light, malts and chocolate, the vaguest hint of caramel.

The flavour is a nice blend of sweetly malted smoothness, heavy on the caramel with a bit of a peat edge, not strong, just an edge. Hints of chocolate. Nice depth.

The mouth on it is good although not remarkable, some coasting...it wasn't bad, but I would like a beer named Oil to coat better. The drinkability is good: for the style this is very low ABV, and the flavour is still enjoyable. The price is also decent, a definite rebuy.

The bottom line: Old Engine Oil is a tasty example of an Old Ale, and having it on the hand pull, and hence, also warmer from the start, undoubtedly enhanced my opinion of it. The beer is very low ABV for its style, but that just makes it more appropriate for drinking outside of the home.

CortexBomb, Feb 22, 2008
Photo of Viggo
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque dark brown, some red in the edges, super thick two finger tan head forms, refuses to leave, forms a very solid layer, nice lacing, looks great. Smell is sweet and malty, chocolate roast, bread, toffee, molasses and charred wood, some dark fruits, bit of raisin, enjoyable. Taste is nice, sweet malts, toffee, chocolate, like roast, bready, fruity, almost sherry in the finish, very smooth and a nice roast/graininess that underneath that holds it together. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, definition of smooth. Great low ABV beer, could drink these all night.

Viggo, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of CanuckRover
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near-black, still black when I hold it up to the light, but maybe some dark ruby around the edges, a blackhole of a beer. Beautiful, think, creamy looking head, looks like cappucino froth or flavoured coffee.

Mmmm, I might make this into a cologne. Chocolate is front and centre, lovely semi-sweet chocolate, absolutely fabulous. Doesn't hold back the fruity, in this case vinous, british malt though.

Not at all what I was expecting. Looking at it and reading the label, I was thinking this would be akin to a stout. No sir. Sure there is some roastiness and the stout associated flavours, but this is a different animal. Chocolate aroma doesn't disapoint, lovely sweetness combines with a vanilla pipe-tobacco character. Malt comes in the backdoor and leaves a vinous character on the tongue. Trace English hops leave a (very) subtle bitterness, very nice and appropriate.

This is one creamy beer. Smooth. Perfect carbonation (or lack thereof). Not much more to say.

I will immediately go pick up an armful of this stuff. Absolutely fantastic.

CanuckRover, Feb 15, 2008
Photo of bobsy
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours black with a mocha head that dissipates to leave a few wispy remnants on the surface. The aroma is very fruity, slightly bitter and dark. The flavour leads with a hit of fruit, before melting into caramel, dark chocolate and a slight coffee bitterness. The mix going on in this beer reminded me a little of Anchor Porter. The palate wasn't as I expected - the image of engine oil suggested a very thick, almost syrupy, liquid. Instead the body was medium-light, but with a creamy undertone that suits the beer well. Carbonation was practically non-existent, which I think is a good decision based on the flavours going on here. The lighter body and low carbonation made this a very easy drinker, and the glass was empty all too soon. I could easily have had another.

bobsy, Feb 14, 2008
Photo of albern
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer came as a bit of a pleasant surprise. It pours a very dark, thick black with some dark head that dissipates pretty quickly. The smell is roasted sweet malts, some hop character, perhaps a bit of coffee, and plum or other heavy fruit. The beer is surprisingly thin and very drinkable. The taste is bready, roasted malts, chocolate, cocoa, some hoppy bite in the finish, but overall very smooth. There are some fruit flavors discernible, there is also a bit of butterscotch in the body as well. The mouthfeel is a bit creamy and buttery leaving a coating of oil on the tongue. The beer is barely carbonated, and goes down very well. There is a bit of hopped up aftertaste, but overall it's quite mild. This beer is well worth seeking out. L'Chaim.

albern, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of tastybeer
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The color reflects the name as far as I know, except for maybe the ruby highlights that occasionally appear in the light. Certainly more appetizing with a nice head and deep aroma. Smell goes with the taste real well, except maybe at the end of the flavor the dry fruit is more clearly apparent. There's a thick layer of dark chocolate under caramel covered biscuits topped with an array of fruit. Some combination of tangy cranberries, cherries, and green or mackintosh apples. The lightly medium body is nice becuase this makes for more of a 'drinking' beer. So occasionally that's what you feel like. Otherwise the flavor makes me want the body to be thicker. Not to mention 'old engine oil' brings ultra thick sludge to mind. A more 'death/black metal' type body would fit great. One the other hand, this as is has very easy drinkablility.

I'd certainly have another.

tastybeer, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of Biscuit033
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown/black with a creamy light tan head with great lacing

S: Caramel and earthy, metallic english hops.

T: Caramel, Chocolate. a bit of coffee, slight bitterness, earth, a bit of dark fruit, and some pine.

M: Light to medium body, smooth and creamy that finished dry.

D: Great drinker. A bit high in the ABV for a seesion but a beer that I would have a couple of in a sitting.

Biscuit033, Feb 09, 2008
Photo of CHADMC3
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

· Appearance: Appropriately named, the oil has a dark tan head, which quickly subsides to only show its similarity to the grinch's heart.
· Aroma: Awesome, chocolate, hops, a little burnt and perhaps a bit milk like.
· Taste: Full of flavor, chocolaty hops again, and nicely roasted.
· Mouthfeel: Robust with a great hoppy finish. Definitely a crowd pleaser on a cold day.
· Drinkability: Near perfect old ale, I could sample one after another. Full of flavor yet easy to enjoy. You are urged to keep confirming how delicious it is.

CHADMC3, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On nitro at Nicholson's.
Pours a very dark brown with a nice quarter inch of head. Smell is malty and some cocoa. Taste is where a good amount of coffee shows up. There is a nice balance of coffee and chocolate. This is a easy drinker and goes down very easily. Well done.

FtownThrowDown, Feb 08, 2008
Photo of LittleCreature
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - 4.0
Poured a finger and a half of creamy, bubbly tan coloured head over a body that can only be called black and is not penetrated by direct light.

Smell - 4.5
A very rich and tasty aroma with smells of dark chocolate, cocoa and roasted malt.

Taste - 4.0
So smooth and drinkable for a strong, dark beer. Starts moderately sweet with flavours of roasted malt and dark chocolate, finishes quite bitter and slightly burnt in flavour. Tasty.

Mouthfeel - 4.5
There is a persistent, light, fine carbonation that pairs well with the thick, heavy weight in the mouth. Syruppy.

Drinkability - 4.5
I'd sooner drink a 4-pack of these than Guinness any day, and I would love to have had a second right now.

Quite similar to Colonial Porter, perhaps not quite as delicious but still an excellent beer. I will definitely be getting this again, as it is a very smooth, tasty, drinkable dark beer for Scotland to be proud of.

LittleCreature, Jan 23, 2008
Photo of dnichols
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Reese5150 for sharing this brew with me. I poured a 12 ounce capped bottle into a tulip.

A: It poured a thick nearly black body with a half finger tan head. The head recedded to a light cover over the liquid that lingered and produced a ring aroudn the collar that supported a thin leggy curtain.

S: It had a major roasted sweet malt profile with dark fruits and lightly floral hops.

T: It presented a sweet malty and dark fruit (bing cherries and ripe black plums). It had a sweet and creamy malt front with a fruity back.

M: It was creamy and full bodied with a well hidden alcohol and clean dry aftertaste.

D: Very smooth and rich with a decent ABV and nice finish. This is a very plesant and joyfilled old ale. I will seek this one out to include in my stash.

dnichols, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of goochpunch
3.2/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a very dark ruby (nearly black) with a frothy tanned head that leaves very intricate lacing on the glass. Nose is fruity with anise and strains of roasted malts in the background. Flavor is terribly sweet with some heavy handed licorice flavor going on. Molasses, dried fruit, and chocolate are found in the underlying flavors. Roasted malts round out the finish. Finishes sweet. Mouthfeel is relaxed in carbonation, sticky in the body, and a little slick. This is OK drinkability-wise, but there is too much licorice. I think I like the whisky barrel-aged version a lot better.

goochpunch, Jan 12, 2008
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
93 out of 100 based on 1,437 ratings.