Old Engine Oil - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

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1,457 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,457
Reviews: 746
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 112
Gots: 110 | 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: 1,457 | Reviews: 746 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nickfl
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Medium sized, dark tan head, good retention. The body is black, with some minor amber highlights.

S - Spicy, with chocolate malt, toffee, and caramel. Kind of porter-like.

T - Lots of roast barley and coffee, with a bit of chocolate. Slightly sour bitterness and a roasty finish with some alcoholic warmth.

M - Low carbonation, with an oily, slightly thick body. Slightly astringent.

D - Dark and mildly malty with a very strong roast character. Kind of reminiscent of a dry stout.

Photo of smcolw
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Impressive four-finger head that settles nicely leaving a substantial amount of lace. Very dark brown where no light will shine through.

Chocolate milk aroma. Some coffee and toffee, but it is more creamy than sweet. Dry cocoa also. In a word, complex.

The complexity continues: it starts off very much like a dry stout with some rough coffee-ish flavors and a background of chocolate. Actually, the body is very thin when compared to my expectations. Strong hop in the swallow, remaining through the aftertaste along with the burnt black patent malt flavors.

I think this must be something special: the complexity of flavors and smells alone would garner this a very high rating in my review, but the flavors are mysterious and create the desire to keep on contemplating the contents.

Photo of Nipitato
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased a bottle at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Black. Opaque. The beer has legs. No head. Sticky lacing develops as beer is quaffed.

S: A wonderful aroma. Vinous with a sweet cake and toffee malt aroma. Some espresso coffee notes - kind of tiramisu like. Some cherry and vanilla notes as well. Overall these aromas complement each other very well.

T: Dark chocolate malt flavor with coffee notes as well. Sweet toffee flavors. Definite bittering character that balances well with sweet malt. Bitterness comes up at the back end. Some nice dark fruit character (fresh cherries) adds additional complexity and balance.

MF: Smooth and velvety. Medium body. Very dry.

D, notes: Though the balance s clearly sweet the bitterness provides by the hops really makes this a unique and tasty beer with solid drinkability.

Photo of champ103
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Black as night with a two finger beige head. Light lace is left behind. Looks like I am staring into the abyss.
S: Smoky malt with chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit notes.
T: Dark fruits and lots of malt again. As the taste lingers chocolate and toffee come through and take over my palate. Roasted coffee as well. Complex and wonderful. There are many layers going on here.
M/D: Creamy, rich and decadent. Soft and velvety on the tongue and a good coat of the mouth. So smooth and easy to drink. This is gone in no time. I wish the bottle would never end.

This is a treat, and a great beer. Highly recommended.

Photo of giblet
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

this is a very good ale. i had it years ago but forgot what it was like. i get a kick out of the name. pours rich and smooth. good creamy head. rich roasted malts tingle the nostrils. nice rich malty flava. chewy. this beer is damn good. i could not rate it a 4.5 on drinkability cuz if i cant drink 16 - 24 oz of a beer in a sitting i cant rate it near perfection. other than that it is.

suckem up and movem out.


Photo of Jwale73
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in my DFH snifter. Poured an opaque dark brown with some deep red-brown highlights around the edges. Quarter-inch off-white head dissipated within seconds, leaving an oily skim with copious ringlets clustered around the perimeter of the bowl. Only lacing present was the ring visible below the line of the brew after each sip. Scents of cocoa and dark fruit, but very subdued. Taste similar to nose with a malty backbone. Mouthfeel was somewhat watery. A little carbonation present, but not much. Not surprising considering the lack of a head. Went down easy, and flavors were fairly well-blended and complementary, but not what I would consider a go to brew.

Photo of Strix
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nearly opaque with orange edges, good head with lasting lacing.

Smells delicious, with roasted malts and chocolate

Tastes roasted and chocolaty. Then a refreshing sweetness, like dark fruit. A nice bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel smooth, and carbonation good.

Drinkability high on this - it went down before I knew it was gone.

Photo of botham
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. pours black with garnet highlights and three fingers of coffee colored head. moderate lacings.

aroma is roasted, with notes of chocolate, toffee, and coffee, with distant notes of caramel and a nutty character. very rich in the nose.

taste is quite roasted, with strong ntoes of coffee and chocolate, and a minor note of caramel. a base of dark fruit makes this one a great brew. finishes on a roasted note with a nutty character. very well proportioned.

mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a smooth and rich texture, and a smooth finish. excellent on the palate, with a supurb finish.

drinkability is great. this is a rich brew with great flavors and solid profile, that does not carry a high alcoholic tag. smooth and mellow, with great complexity. excellent. cheers!

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

Pours a jet black with a medium sized flufffy white head that takes some time to settle and laces the glass nicely all the way down. It has an aroma of deep roasted malted barley, some chocolate, caramel, and a hint of hops at the end of the nose. The taste was really good with a deep roasted malt base with some chocolate, coffee, and caramel flavors mixed in as well. The aftertaste is really clean, just a nice chocolatey flavor left. The mouthfeel is creamy, velvety, and warming - very nice. The drinkability is good, especially since it doesn't have a very high alcohol content. It is a very interesting beer for an old ale and I really enjoyed it and it is most definately worth a try.

Photo of timbro81
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a charcoal black color with a nice 1/4 inch tan head. Dark roasted malts of chocolate, coffee and a wee bit of burnt flavors. Big and silky but not as viscous as I was hoping for. Slight bitterness on the tongue. Burned chocolate malts with some coffee notes. Light aftertaste. Would've liked to have seen a more layered taste profile. Don't get me wrong its still an excellent beer.

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

12oz brown bottle from The Lighthouse in Manchester. Pours an opaque black body with a thin film of tan head. Smells roasty and malty. Tastes very roasty with nutty and earthy hops toward the finish. Full rich mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Fairly drinkable, though definitely more of a sipper, which is to be expected for the style. A tasty solid ale.

Photo of TerryW
2.93/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I don't understand where this brew is scoring some of its high marks. The two bottles I worked my way through were unremarkable and frankly offered up a somewhat odd taste.

Subtle aroma, some dark fruit, some chocolate, but not as interesting as some other porters I've had. Unusual sour taste and mouthfeel.


Photo of JohnGalt1
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz picked up today from the Coop for $3.25.. poured into my new Sam Adams glass.

2 finger lite brown head (changes color to lite tan as I move through the glass) .. brew polished walnut with deeeep ruby highlites.

Aroma is a chocolate maltiness with a little dried dark fruit essence and a dry coffee finish.

Flavor at first makes me think of an older English porter.. definite roasted grains and hints of ruby port. Very smooth and I can see how this could age nicely even without the high octane of some other Old Ales.

Still strikes me as a porter.. oh well... the obvious dark aromas and flavors may distract from the "old ale" characteristics that I could easily be missing.

I am happy to see this again in Boise.. now I want to drink the Whisky Barrel Old Engine Oil I have in the basement side by side with this one. I remember the reserve having a bunch of whisky notes.. but I could see how they can add a bunch of complexity to an already great beer.

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

This beer poured black with little carbonation. It had a caramel colored head that sat nicely for a while but then shrank considerably.

It smelled like caramel malts and chocolate.

This beer tasted like semisweet chocolate. It had a nice bitterness that wasn't from hops, but more like something from exceptionally dark chocolate. It also had some nice caramel flavor.

This beer had a nice body. It was pretty thick, but nothing chewy.

This beer was preeminently drinkable. I had to slow my drinking down because I could have polished this off way too quickly.

The bottle caps are also nice with the cartoon mouse. The bottle I had was different from the one pictured. I appreciated that the bottle says, "Viscous, Chocolaty, Roasty."

Very Nice.

Photo of blackjack000
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nearly pitch black, with a bit of maroon gleaming through near the edges of glass when held up to the light. A frothy head of delicate bubbles, resembling the top of a root beer float.

Smell: Dark cocoa and some caramel, with a fleeting rum scent when first swished around.

Taste: Roasted coffee and bitter chocolate. The beer has a taste that quickly escapes after tasting, leaving just a dark chocolate feel on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Incredibly light feeling in the mouth for such a dark appearance. Very smooth.

Drinkability: Sits very lightly in the belly. Twelve ounces disappears too quickly. The beer offers a well-balanced flavor that leaves me wanting more.

Photo of gfreed
4.83/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of the most wonderful beers I've had. Pours nice and black into the glass, and has a delightful roasty-toasty aroma that lasts a long time. Tastes just a bit bitter with a roastiness that goes down very easy. You'll find plenty of tobacco notes as well. The adjectives on the label summarize this beer quite accurately.

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

A: Black and thick with a bit of carbonation

S: Roasted malts and that's about it.

T: Thick nice malty flavour with some roasted taste to it. Not what I'd expect from an old ale but quite tasty. No hops really, but it has a slight chocolate taste to it.

M: Creamy with quite a bit of carbonation

D: Sort of, but I don't know how many I'd have.

Photo of Pauly2X
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Extremely dark brown almost black one finger tan head faded quickly.

S- Sweet malty aroma with strong hints of plums.

T- Rich and decadent with none of the roasted bitterness associated with darker beers. The malts take center stage ofset only slighty by some hop flavor.

M- Smooth and rich.

D- I had this beer about 2 years ago and I finally found it again.

Annother great beer to give to those who are afraid of the dark. Truly a fantastic beer.

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

Poured into a tulip glass. Extremely dark brown, with red hues and a finger of tan head. Some spiderweb lacing adorns the glass.

Aroma is sweet and fruity, with some chocolate and cherry.

Taste is mainly chocolaty, with some caramel too. There's some cherry sweetness and hop bitterness as well. Nice balance and interesting flavors.

Very smooth mouthfeel but carbonation is a bit low. Really silky and tasty, very good beer.

Photo of osi
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured black with a reddish brown tint. Absolutely no head at all. Like "old engine oil" =]. Milky lacing stayed on the opposite of the glass where I was drinking.

S - Coffee, dark malts and hops blended extremely well. Plums and bitterness fall into the very end of it.

T - Hops, followed by hints of dark malts and chocolate that linger on the tongue. Kind of metallic tasting as well.

M - Very flat but at the same time has slight carbonation, weird. Has a medium to thick body.

D - I could have a couple of these. All of the elements in this beer are great and are really balanced. Definitely give this a shot if you have a chance. Probably amazing on tap.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,457 ratings.