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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.

1,325 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,325
Reviews: 729
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 98
Gots: 75 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,325 | Reviews: 729 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rhoadsrage


4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in an American pint glass)

A-This beer pours a deep opaque black with a hint of brown around the edges. The head is a thin creamy oatmeal color with a hint of pink.

S- The aroma of sweet dark malts with notes of yellow apples start the smell. There are some soft light molasses notes followed by toffee and a nice alcohol note to finish in an almost sherry like note.

T- This beer has some smooth chocolate malt notes that have a bit of a creamy note to them. There are flavors of brown malt and a slight nugget flavor that is a bit off. There is a slight roasted bitterness and alcohol heat at the finish with a note of raisins.

M- This beer had a medium mouthfeel with some chewiness in the texture. No real alcohol heat hangs on after the sip.

D- This is a nice slightly sweet dark ale but it doesn't have the big flavors or alcohol I would expect from an old ale, although 6-9% is the typical ABV. I could drink this beer on a summer day just as easily as by a warm fire in the cold of winter.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2006 04:30:49 | More by rhoadsrage
Photo of geexploitation


4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Engine Oil pours flat and almost black, with some lightening around the edges. The head quickly disappears and you are left with a very still beer. The nose is mostly coffee and toffee, with some dark fruit lingering in the background. The taste is incredibly rich and creamy -- the creamy sweetness reminded me of an egg creme at first -- with a bit of malt bitterness for balance. No hops to speak of. Mouthfeel is very still and creamy -- silky, really. Easy to drink... I imagine this would be great on cask. My first thought about this beer was that it would be an excellent accompaniment to a chocolate dessert. It might even work with something creamy, although that would cut the creaminess of the brew a bit, and without much carbonation I'm not sure if that would be a good thing. Anyway, something to try.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2006 04:19:19 | More by geexploitation
Photo of TheEclecticGent


3.75/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Ale pours a deep oily black that has highlights of purple when held to the light. Little lace is present and the head is absent except for a few clingy bubbles at the edge of the pint glass. The smell is clingy, malty, and grainy and becomes even more noticeable as it warms. The mouthfeel is medium to heavy and flat but slick feeling. This beer even though heavy has a great balance of malts with just enough hops to keep it flavorful. I really enjoyed this one. I will have to have another again.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2006 03:38:20 | More by TheEclecticGent
Photo of Dithyramb


4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass tonight at Max's. They had it listed as a "Scottish brown." Looked just like a fine stout, coming out deep jet black color, dark tan head with okay retention and pretty lacing.

Very light malt and alcohol aroma. Caramel, dark malts, smooth creamy and sweet. Enjoyable brew. The mouthfeel was slightly oily on the tongue, leaving a sweet, but not cloying feeling. Not what I'd expect from an old ale. 6% was very drinkable and worth several.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2006 02:44:45 | More by Dithyramb
Photo of EvilKeith


4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a deep, dark, almost black with a slight reddish hue. Light is not capable of passing through this beer.Maybe it was my pour, but I got a minimal tan head.
It smells sweet, toasted and coffee is certainly there, too.
I gave it higher numbers than I normally would for the mouthfeel. It is a medium to medium heavy bodied brew. It has an almost wine-like feel in the mouth that I was really impressed with.
This is one I know I could drink a few of, but a bit heavy to be a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2006 00:48:22 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of riversider76

New York

3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost black. Long lasting tan head. Nice lace. Smell was on the light side, but was of malts and roasted coffee. Mouthfeel was not too light,not too thick. Taste was smooth and refreshing. malty, somewhat sweet start with a nice bite at the finish. Really good stuff!

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2006 01:12:10 | More by riversider76
Photo of Kwak

New Jersey

3.35/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It poured thick with the look of sludge at first with its head almost gone in a second.
after my first sip it had appeared almost light with a strong after taste
at the top almost a tint of red along the edge to break up the almost pure black body
Strong malt and bitter with a dark roast feel to it.
Very tasty butt maybe just one!!

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2006 20:10:42 | More by Kwak
Photo of DrJay


4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nearly opaque mahogany colour with a thin, light brown head. Fine lacing covered the glass. Rich caramel and toffee aroma with raisin, figs and faint floral hops. Very malty with moderately high bitterness to bring things into balance. There's also a faint chocolate character that adds some complexity to the dried fruit (raisins, figs) flavour. Bitterness and caramel linger in the finish. Medium to full bodied with fine carbonation and an off-dry texture. A good old ale with plenty of malt character balanced by a surprising bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2005 20:32:26 | More by DrJay
Photo of fisherman34

Manitoba (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown in colour with medium carbonation. Porter-like aromas of dark baking chocolate and a touch of coffee. There is a very mild fruity flavor in this beer, like red grapes or cassis, that mixes well with the chocolate and coffee elements. Somewhat watery, but still very good. Reminds me a bit of a lighter bodied St. Ambroise Oatmeal stout. This one is more like a porter than the other Old Ales that I've sampled.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2005 17:15:43 | More by fisherman34
Photo of Matthew


3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Delaney's. Dark Black with a big tan frothy head that sinks to a thin covering over the beer.
Big roasted malt aroma and a big scents of alcohol in the nose.
This is a pretty big tasting beer. I found that this tastes like theres more this than 6%abv. This beer has a sweetness to its roasted malt flavor, almost like sweetened coffee.
This has a silky but hearty mouthfeel.
In spite of how big I found this beer to taste i think its a pretty drinkable beer. I most certainly order it again.

Serving type: on-tap

12-12-2005 07:45:04 | More by Matthew
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle. Old Engine Oil pours out a not quite black color with a reddish tint. The head is small and fades quickly. The aroma is roasted coffee, molasses, and licorice. Flavor is rich and roasty, a little buttery, and sweet with caramel flavor. Some sweet cherry fruitiness. The finish is bitter, and it makes you forget how sweet this beer is. Medium mouthfeel. Not exactly motor oil, but tasty nonetheless. Very smooth and easy to drink. This is not what I think of as an Old Ale, but whatever it is I love it.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2005 00:19:16 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of BuckSpin


3.68/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had to pick this one up. Got a bottle of the aged Reserve as well, so it makes sense to see what the original is like. Odd pour...its slate/gray brackish out of the bottle, thick yet epervescent with bubbles, a deep, ruddy, blood ruby hue...nice. 1/4" head of mized aggitated tan foam faded rather quickly, some lacing. Nose is nice, rich, some alcohol, roots, old spiciness, some smoky & burnt traces.

Its creamy, thicker than it pours. Nice coffee tones, slight sharpness,wip of light sweetness, slight hops & bitter on the pallete. Rich on the the swallow, its chewy, mild bitters, slight aftertwang, soft glow on the mouth that echoes. This is nice.

I like old ales, and would enjoy this one again. Glad I picked it up...look forward to the aged Reserve!

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2005 01:40:58 | More by BuckSpin
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a medium foamy brown head with minimal retention. Aroma of chocolate with roasted malt is easily identifiable. The roasted malt with some medium notes of chocolate and coffee also dominates taste. Overall, this is a very enjoyable beer from a style that I’m having more and more of hard time to pin down.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2005 16:38:07 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BitteBier


3.95/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

That this beer is aptly named is evidenced in the pour--dark as old engine oil with a reddish-amber tinge to it. Head is thin but nonetheless laces a bit. Smell is pleasant and surprisingly strong even when pretty well chilled. Nose has a smooth chocolate-toffee base and a hint of fruit that most closely invokes cherry. Question: Will it taste as smooth as it smells? Answer: Thankfully, yes. Sweet (though not cloyingly so) and smooth up front with some roasty bitterness quickly asserting itself and lingering nicely. The relative shortcoming is the mouthfeel, which seems watery when compared to the smell and taste.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2005 02:04:05 | More by BitteBier
Photo of Sigmund


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle, trade with maeib. Black colour, impenetrable for light. Moderate tan head. Looks like old engine oil, smells like old engine oil too - just add dark and roast malts, oak, leather, liquorice and dark bitter chocolate. Lovely roast malts flavour, oily texture. Elements of oak, dark bitter chocolate and substantial hops, maybe some dried fruits and English liquorice too. Great roasty bitter aftertaste with elements of peaty smoke. A great beer! Thanks, maeib!

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2005 17:41:52 | More by Sigmund
Photo of Frozensoul327


4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is really good stuff. Poured out to a pitch black color with low carbonation and a thin layer of foam. Some notes of lacing in the glass. Aromas of smoke, chocolate, coffee, caramel and earth blend well. Taste was very complex and inviting; flavors of coffee, roasted malts, nuts, grain and caramel whirl about in a sea of beer bliss. Some sweetness toward the finish. Aftertaste was slightly bitter and creamy. Mouthfeel was thick and heavy, like old heavy brewed coffee that was cold. Nice. This brews solid level of drinkability will bring me back in no time. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2005 22:35:46 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of Naes

New York

3.48/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is black in color with a good tan head, though lacing is minimal.
The aroma is malty and a bit bready.
Flavor is rather sweet at first, but is balanced out by roasted malt and a faint hop presence.
Mouth feel is medium bodied and a bit syrupy.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2005 01:04:20 | More by Naes
Photo of BrewMaster


3.23/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours with very little head over the dark brownish red liquid. What little head does show does not last long or leave much lacing. Pretty average looking beer.

Smell: Light roasted aroma with a touch of caramel and fruits. Not much volume to the smell.

Taste: Moderately interesting coffee toast to it with some toffee and faint floral hop flavor. No bitterness to speak of with mostly a sweet malty base flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: There's not much to say about this beer. It's average and even boring for the style. Perhaps it took a hit on the journey across the ocean. I don't know. But I won't be having another one of these. It lacks any sort of complexity or depth.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2005 14:57:08 | More by BrewMaster
Photo of tjthresh


3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Engine Oil. What a great name. This beer pours with a dark brown with a frothy head. It that cappacino? There is lots of chocolates and caramels throughout. In the nose and flavor. Suprisingly, quite easy drinking. Nothing really bad to say about this. Good show.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2005 12:57:31 | More by tjthresh
Photo of WesWes

New York

4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich black malt scent that is dominated with chocolate aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth and rich, chocolate flavor that goes down easy and finishes creamy with an earthy feel. The mouthfeel is awesome. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking old ale. It has excellent flavor and aroma; a fine sessions ale.

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2005 01:38:54 | More by WesWes
Photo of jakester


4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. No date on the label. I drank this in a goblet glass.

This beer does look like engine oil when you pour it. Almost opaque, with a hint of deep garnet with a touch of brown if you hold it up to a bright light. A 1/2 finger of tan foams forms on top, which quickly drops to islands and a ring. No lacing observed.

Aroma is strong chocolate, very fruity, like cherries or dates. Alcohol in there as well. Not much in the way of hop aroma.

Flavor is chocolate, but not too sweet. A definite hop bittering is present, making the flavor of this interestingly yummy. Very fruity. I do think I can pick up some grassy/herbal hops in there also. Aftertaste is pure dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is luxuriously smooth and creamy. Carbonation is soft. This beer just rolls around in your mouth. Great mouthfeel. Finish is incredibly creamy, like a chocolate milk shake.

I get the feeling this is what an old ale is supposed to be. I haven't had many. This beer is fantastic. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2005 17:30:14 | More by jakester
Photo of mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml Bottle bought from the Vineyard , Belfast..

Extremely black/dark purple body - only a little light passes through when held up to the light... Pours quite thick - head is an off white/yellow colour which lasts throughout…

Aroma of chocolate, roasted bitter malt and some raisin…

Quite dry bitter flavour – can taste strong coffee and chocolate…Quite a thick syrupy mouthfeel...

An excellent brew - quite similar taste to Rogue Imperial Stout, though not as thick and heavy. Highly recommended....

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2005 08:43:47 | More by mdagnew
Photo of edmundfitzoil


4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown bottle with gold foil on the top.
The beer poured a nearly pitch black and the far edges allowed enough light to look mahogany. The head started as a finger of cream colored foam that dissipated leaving a foam ring around the glass as I drank it.It left a little lacing. The aroma is complex to say the least. Chocalate, toffee, a sweetness that I just place, and a remarkable aroma that faintly reminds me of soy sauce of all things. I don't know if I can do it justice. The beer tastes just as complex: smokey coffee flavor, chocalate that ends in a subtle bitterness that finishes beer perfectly. The mouthfeel is a very well balanced full body.
This beer is darn good. A great after dinner snack or a nicht cap (the way I'm enjoying it). Nothing to complain about, and I even like the name. I just wish it were available more often here.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2005 03:07:03 | More by edmundfitzoil
Photo of Buildscharacter


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pouring out exactly as the name sounds, I knew this beer was going to be a winner. It's super thick and smells of burning wood, oak, maple, and roasted vanilla.

The taste is of scotch, burned...well charred wood and just overall a strong malty character. This is a supurb beer that I enjoyed quite a bit. I don't think that I could drink all that many of them, but it's quite good. I took off for appearance because it didn't hold it's head for anything.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2005 01:00:39 | More by Buildscharacter
Photo of foamer


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

Pours a pitch black (a little like motor oil) with a nice thick, frothy, creamy light tan-coloured head (not at all like motor oil). Leaves some nice bubbles and lacing down the glass. Aroma of unsweetened chocolate and caramel. Flavours of chocolate, caramel with some coffee hints and finishing off with a nice subdued roasted malt bitterness with some faint hops creeping through. Exceedingly pleasant indeed. Tastier than actual engine oil I should think. Quite smooth and silky mouthfeel for a bottled ale with just the absolute minimum of carbonation. This is a nice and drinkable old ale from the good people at Harviestoun. All their regular brews are solid beers and this is no exception. The only downside is it's awfully hard to find in Glasgow (until Sainsbury's brought it in for a festival) and impossible to find in Ontario. If you do see it, buy it. You will not be disappointed.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2005 21:42:40 | More by foamer
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,325 ratings.