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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.

1,327 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,327
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: 1,327 | Reviews: 729 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of connecticutpoet


4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a dark brown, clear bre with a very low head. About what I would expect from an old ale.

Dark malt, with a little roasted character, and dark chocolate. Basically, it reminded me of a "light stout".

Taste was of light roasted malt and dark chocolate, with a hint of hop bitterness. Again, more like a porter or a stout than an old ale. But still quite good.

Mouthfeel was good, creamy, smooth, and a little chewy. Very good.

A highly drinkable beer. HOWEVER... to really put it in context, and for another level of taste experience, you have to also have tried the special reserve aged in whisky barrels.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2005 00:14:26 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of PatYoda


4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky brown with a tiny bit of foam. Appearance gets a kicked a notch up though for long lasting head and nice lacing. Smell jumped out at me immediately after pouring. Strong roasted malt notes dominate with some dark fruit in the background. On first taste, the roastiness reigns supreme and the fruit is there backing it up. Caramel tastes as well. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth with just the right amount of carbonation to keep things moving. Lots of bitter dark chocolate on the aftertaste, and the hop bitterness is actually pretty strong. This is my first Scottish Old Ale and it's exceptional! Drinkability is outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2005 23:05:06 | More by PatYoda
Photo of deejaydan


4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours opaque and low carbonation, produces a minimal head, and low lacing. Aroma is slightly fruity, but also restrained. Taste is grainy, chocolately, smooth. Just a bit of hops in the finish. Nicely done, thick enough and interesting to keep my interest.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2005 00:11:53 | More by deejaydan
Photo of GreenWBush


4.63/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An Old Ale? Hmm...I could've sworn that this was just an old-fashioned porter or stout...irregardless of that, this was a *tasty* beer and one that was severely gulpable on cask.

This came off of the hand-pull rather unimpressive; rather flat and somewhat opaque mahogany. The smell was equally modest and pedestrian...slightly peaty with a nice roasted character, but nothing to throw me into beer-desire-sweats.

But the taste - the taste. Almost uncapturable in words (as the best tend to be) just slightly smoky, sweet, peaty, and altogether painfully drinkable. Even at ~$5 a pint, I couldn't get enough of this. The mouthfeel was deliciously slick and almost refreshing for a darkish beer.

Like Stonecrusher says, some are thrown off by the name of this baby...but the taste is world-class and amazing, even bottled. On cask, an absolutely delighting killer of a brew.

Still available in Muncie, IN, at the Heorot for at least another week on cask...get there if you're nearby.

Serving type: cask

06-05-2005 23:50:14 | More by GreenWBush
Photo of GreenCard


3.6/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Best before Sept. '06...

Appearance: deep dark brown/black, opaque, thinnish layer of tan foam that flattens quickly to a thin cap, lace

Aroma: malt, prunes, roast, acetone, soy sauce, newspaper, dark cocoa powder, rotten apples (faintly)

Flavor: faintly sweet for a second, then a long bout of roasty bitterness and coffee notes, slight tartness, burnt chocolate, resiny hops, burnt toast, smoke, finishes ultra-dry with a lingering hops and burnt grain bitterness

Mouthfeel: full body, gentle carbonation, soft and silky texture

Other comments: Reminded me of an "Adambier" at first (like Hair of the Dog - Adam that hasn't gone sour). It's like a concentrated dry stout. I gave it a 2.5 for drinkability because it is so rich and bitter that I could definitely only have one of them in a sitting. Might be interesting to age a few of them.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2005 19:01:46 | More by GreenCard
Photo of kingjames1

South Carolina

4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle, black and viscous - though not quite as thick as oil!

Not really a head, just a nice tan lace on the edges of the glass.

The smell is very nice, though a little weak (compared to a quality stout). Roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of chocolate -- and some fruitiness?

Taste is more of the same - more intense, and that's good. One reviewer thought it was a bit cloying, but I thought the balance of was quite good: sweet, roasted maltiness, a bit of hops bitterness, and an ever so slight edge of alcohol.

This is lighter than a typical stout (I know, I know, its an old ale), carbonation is perfect, in my opinion for this brew. Very smooth and very drinkable, especially for such a complex (if relatively subtle) ale. This would be dangerous if it weren't for the price!

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2005 01:29:27 | More by kingjames1
Photo of ypsifly


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

Poured from an undated 12oz into a pint glass.

Black like an imperial stout. Not much of a head that falls into a thin island of foam surrounded by a thin ring.

Smells of roasted malts with dark chocolate. Slight dryness. Smells like a stout but rather mild overall.

Rich and robust in flavor with lots of roasted malts, a slight sweetness that has notes of chocolate, and a nice hop background that lingers in the finish.

Smooth mouthfeel that makes for a very drinkable brew.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2005 05:17:55 | More by ypsifly
Photo of dansteino


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

Appearance: Dark reddish brown. Some lacing.

Smell: Wow! Caramel, chocolate, and coffee with a touch of ripe fruit.

Taste: Rich. Very sweet with a slightly bitter finish. Caramel.
Brown sugar. Chocolate Milk. Roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel. Pleasant but a little cloying.

Drinkability: One or two tops, but that is it.

Overall, a very thought provoking and enjoyable beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2005 05:06:05 | More by dansteino
Photo of gentlebubbles


3.5/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on tap at Redbone's

Damn! This looks like a nice stout! Deep black with light tan head and a teeny, teeny glint of ruby at the bottom. Leaves a thin flotsam down the sides of the glass.

Sweet, heavy malt aroma.

Taste: more malt, very dark with the burnt bite of black patent and a bit of bootblack oiliness.

Not nearly as heavy as the name led me to expect, just a nice, medium, slightly slick body.

It's good, but there are other stouts I'd rather have. This is an Old Ale? Sure tastes like your basic straightforward stout to me.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2005 14:42:40 | More by gentlebubbles
Photo of Gagnonsux


4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is pitch black with a creamy tan head. Not much retention except for bubbles around the insides of my pint glass. The aroma is chocolaty with a touch of roasted smell. The taste is insanely rich. Sweet chocolate flavor is inhanced by light roasted taste, peat flavor, and just a little herbal hop. Old Engine Oil has a great depth of complexity and is incredably smooth. Only 6% ABV makes this even easier to drink. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2005 01:01:31 | More by Gagnonsux
Photo of horndecker

New Jersey

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

Wonderful imagery conjured by the name and presentation.

It's the color of cherry cola, or perhaps walnut stain, with a short but fine tan head which leaves some little islands of foam and clumps of lace. Pour very carefully or you'll find heeps of sediment and wee yeasties filling your mouth.

The aromas are of espresso, cocoa, taffy and syrup, a little wildflower honey, and soy (in a nice way). Later a hint of banana.

The first sip brings a slightly bitter mineral wash followed by large roasted malt and fruit - figs maybe. A beautiful balance of flavors and aromas.

It has a medium smooth body with fine carbonation filling the mouth. A really nice old ale, with mucho emphasis on the malt and yeast.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2005 18:46:47 | More by horndecker
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hoppy barley wine. Taste like a dry grainy lighter barley wine. Beautiful fruity aroma like fruity good wine. Some roasted malt and chocolate throughout. Dark colour and initial malty head. Not too sweet. Fruit on aftertaste. Smooth, would be fine with this all night.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2005 03:15:56 | More by Sammy
Photo of cypressbob

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

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

330ml bottle served in a Cantillon snifter

Pours with a dark brown body, with burgandy hints. Half inch dark tan head, thick viscous syrupy body

Smell, strong hints of roasted malt, thick english bittering hops, lasting warming caramel and alcohol on the finish. Syrupy estery alcohol on the nose

Taste, bittering hops, thick syrupy malt, some sweetness, almost stout like roasted malt. Thick rich biscuity body, lingering sweet chocolate malt

A fantastic beer, full of flavour, something to savour

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2005 15:36:50 | More by cypressbob
Photo of maybrick


4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What a great beer. I had it from the bottle poured into a 12 ounce mug. This is a black hole. I held it up to the window (it was 1:30 and sunny) and barely any light shown through. Black in color just like used motor oil. There was a very nice head but very little mose as the temperature was around 38. I let it rest for about ten minutes and wow, what a nose now - malty, sweet, but not any hop that I could detect.

My first taste brought a huge smile to my face. Very smooth, interesting balance between malt and hop. Tates included, sweetened coffe, caramel, plums.

Good finisher too. No alcohol burn, just a nice warming. I couldn't drink this one after another as it is kinda of heavy. But, I can see having 3 or 4 per session.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2005 13:35:12 | More by maybrick
Photo of yoko


3.53/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Right there on the bottle I'm led to expect wonderful things from this brew, "Superb, rich, full bodied beer derived from a traditional Celtic recipe. Wickedly smooth chocolate dominate...nicely balanced by the bitterness of hops."

A muddled opaque coffee/brown with ruby highlights fills the chalice. No head is produced, the surface is 2/3's with medium bubbles. A subdued nose is with coffee, roasted malts - chocolate, and a soft hop. Carbonation is light and in good balance. The body is full, smooth, slightly sweet but then the hops circle up and remains the expanding predominate taste. I'd like it to go away so I drink again almost anxious to finish.

Old Engine Oild was worth the try but at 4.95 a bottle I will not be trying this again until I hear of a good future vintage.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2005 22:52:40 | More by yoko
Photo of bigbubba


3.4/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is pretty dark, but not real dark or oily as the name might suggest. It had very little head, very little smell, and not much flavor. The mouthfeel is weak and watery. I have a feeling they were trying to make a porter and fell way short. Maybe I'm not familiar enough with the Old Ale style, but this just isn't that good. At $2.49 a bottle and a name like engine oil I was expecting a lot more.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2005 21:43:15 | More by bigbubba
Photo of bultrey

New York

3.2/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Eh, I don't know. OK beer, I guess. I had this on draft at the Blind Tiger, and I'm reviewing from notes taken over a month ago, and here they are, word for word:

"Weird flavor, like fermented beans. After I said that aloud, Schoolteacher told me that it was brewed with beans. I don't know if I believe him, but I trust my palate."

I wouldn't seek it out again, but it's got a cool name.

Serving type: on-tap

01-04-2005 21:08:17 | More by bultrey
Photo of allengarvin


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

12-oz bottle, drunk over the holidays. Notes taken at the time give the review.

Appearance: Black, ruby-tinted along the edges, with tan head that quickly fades into a small slick across the surface.

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee-like smell.

Flavor: Sweet cocoa malt, and milky expresso flavor in the middle. Sweetness fades at the end, giving a clean, short finish.

Body: Low carbonation, with a slick, oily mouthfeel.

This seems more like a strong stout than an Old Ale to me. As such, it's quite a good example.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2005 05:05:40 | More by allengarvin
Photo of shippos

New York

3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

poured from a growler filled at fingerlakes beverage center.
good fluffy rocky tan mocha colored head with a dark brown clear color. yeasty bready aroma, very balanced and smooth aroma. caramelized sugary taste with a bready malty chocolatly bit too it. seems a bit weaker than I remeber, not sure if it handles better in the bottle or the if the keg was here too long. still I didn't have a problem knocking off a growler by myself for new years.

Serving type: on-tap

01-03-2005 15:45:50 | More by shippos
Photo of jdaelhousen


2.88/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Being a big fan of dark porters, I had high expectations for this beer that were unfortunately not met.

Everything up to the point of tasting the beer was a great experience. The pour was smooth, about 1/4" of head, and the smell of the brew was fantastic. It smelled very strong, with a chocolately aroma.

The taste of the beer however was just ok. It didn't blow me away. The worst part of it was in fact its aftertaste. Once I was half way through, I was actually glad that I only had 1/2 bottle left as the aftertaste left a mildly stale taste in my mouth. Overall, Engine Oil wasn't terrible, but if I was going to spend 4 bucks for a bottled porter brew, I would look elsewhere.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2004 01:33:48 | More by jdaelhousen
Photo of ghurux86


3.38/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours very dark, almost black. the head was creamy tan but small and dissipated rather quickly. there is some light lacing as well. smell is of malt, chocolate, and maybe hops. the hops definitely come through on the taste, it's somewhat bitter with a hint of chocolate and malt. the mouthfeel is pretty good but not the best. drinkability: i'd take it if i had it, but i'm not sad that i don't. definitely not bad, but at the same time it's nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2004 08:54:55 | More by ghurux86
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

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

Had on tap at Firewaters in Atlantic City NJ. Nice black color with thick 2"+ tan head. Thick lacing developed during the drink. Aroma was full of malt and chocolate. The flavor was super as roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, prunes, and mild bitterness were well married. Alcohol was lightly noticeable, but this drink was like liquid candy.

Smooth and creamy start with a long chocolate finish. Carbonation levels seemd light but were right for this style. A very drinkable brew that leaves you wanting more after the glass is empty.

Serving type: on-tap

12-11-2004 00:15:22 | More by Gavage
Photo of watermelonman


4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This arrived looking very dark with ruby tones and almost no head. There's a tiny bit of lace being left behind.

The smell is fairly subdued but nice, having tones of chocolate on top of dark malts. The taste is great, consisting mostly of roasted malts. The finish is what really stands out, with subdued hops barely present in a great flavor that lasts after swallowing.

This one went down like candy.

Serving type: cask

12-05-2004 23:22:56 | More by watermelonman
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,327 ratings.