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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.

1,371 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,371
Reviews: 731
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 105
Gots: 88 | 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: 1,371 | Reviews: 731 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cjgator3
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an almost black color with slight dark ruby hues around the edges of the glass that produces a minimal tan colored head. The aroma is sweet and roasty with notes of dark malts and coffee. Mouthfeel is a bit too light for my preferenses. The taste is very smooth and well balanced. Overall a very nice brew that is plenty interesting and flavorful.

cjgator3, Jun 11, 2006
Photo of Higravity
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I loved the Whiskey Barrel aged bottle I traded for, but this was nice too. A nice English Old ale that isn't that old but I could really see this progessing well with some oxidation adding flavors to an already flavor packed beer. I think I picked up a little maple syrup for a minute. I will have to get some to lay down for a few and see where they go. Nice stuff try a bottle, but not too cold.

Higravity, Jun 09, 2006
Photo of KarlHungus
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours an opaque black color that is not quite as engine oil like as its name would indicate, but is appealing nonetheless. The head is large, tan, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is more like a stout than an old ale as it is listed here on BA. Chocolate, cream, toffee, with a bit of hops in the background. The taste, however, is definitely more like an old ale than a stout. Chocolate, toffee and cream all remain present, but a nice bitterness cuts through them with ease. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with nice smoothness and carbonation. Overall, this is a nice old ale that I will revisit someday. It isn't as strong as others I have had, nor is it as unbalanced as most American interpretations of the style. It is certainly enjoyable though.

KarlHungus, May 22, 2006
Photo of bort11
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as a single bottle at Bubbles on N Oak in Gladstone, MO. 11.2 oz bottle poured into an Imperial Pint glass. Dark mahogany brown/black. No light can come through. Bits of sediment suspend up against the glass. It doesn't swirl around, it's motionless like fruit in a Jell-O mold. Not a very big head, about a finger width. Very tight and sticky, the color of dark chocolate milk. Receeds to a thin lace. Smell is potent. I can smell the chocolate malt from about an arms length. There is also dried fruit notes. Taste is very complex. Chocolate, espresso, and earthy floral notes. Finishes pretty clean, very little aftertaste. Engine Oil is a good description of the mouthfeel. Very full bodied, creamy and smooth. Almost no carbonation. Good drinkability, though I wouldn't want to do more than one or two at a time.

bort11, May 19, 2006
Photo of brushpig
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled a bottle at the Irish Bisto in Chicago in a Old Engine Oil glass.
As the beer was poured into my glass I immediately nocticed the lack of a head, dark brown liquid that bubbled heavyly from the bottom of the glass.
The smell was pleasurable, but very subtile with roasted malt and carmel. The odor of some kind of fruit hidden in the back.
One could taste the coffee, malt right away. It was well balenced and smooth, with a roasted coco flavor finish.
Very complex ale, that I found delicious.

brushpig, May 18, 2006
Photo of jettjon
3.4/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Highs: Appearance
Lows: None

Into the pilsner pitch brown, nearly opaque. Not quite the color I was expecting after having tried Rogue’s literally black XS Imperial Stout. Head is a half-finger’s worth of brown-tan dense capping that fades away at a moderate pace leaving plenty of lacing but only a rim of foam. Nose is rather vague, hinting at malt and sorghum. Taste bitter-sweet, again not what I was expecting, though typical of the Old Ale classification BA lists. There’s molasses and malt and a light alcohol presence. Not bad but not great either. Mouth is semi-creamy, just this side of watery, not thick or heavy. Finishes on a semi-bitter note. Drinkability is OK; it’s a pretty smooth brew but overall unremarkable.

Overall: Not a bad brew; I guess I was thrown off by the packaging and price and expected a premium stout. I need to retry this later as the proper Old Ale that it is. Worth a try.

jettjon, May 16, 2006
Photo of crwills
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my Taps Brewery pint glass. Pours absolutely jet black, looks very thick, a small head that fades fast with some decent lacing.

Very strong aroma that hits you as soon as you pour. Cocoa and strong espresso, caramel, bread, and some mild hoppiness that makes it nice and bitter smelling.

Taste is bitter chocolate and sour cherries or blackberries. Hops provide a bit of kick, and a sour aftertaste.

Only disappointment was the for something called "engine oil," the mouthfeel was a little thin and watery. Still smooth and coating (oily?), but not quite as molasses-like as I expected.

crwills, May 04, 2006
Photo of daliandragon
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was happy to find this one at Thrifty on Court Street in Brooklyn after hunting for it for a few weeks. I remember a Scottish ex-roommate of mine heralding this beer, of course he referred to it as "Arvistoon Ule".
Almost stout like in appearance, with a thick, black body with slivers of light around the borders and almost no head. Nose is thick coffee and chocolate malt, as mentioned on the label. I'm curious as to what keeps this from being a stout although I haven't yet tasted it.
Mouthfeel is a little thin for a stout but is uncommonly smooth and round throughout. Taste is malty and overloaded with coffee flavors that transform into a pleasant toasty aftertaste. Complex and delicious, I could drink these all night, apart from the abv of course.

daliandragon, Apr 30, 2006
Photo of czechsaaz
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Aroma is heavy on the fruity fermentation. Lots of plum and cherry like smells. Just a little bit of chocolate aroma.

Dark dark brown. Almost no head but large rising carbonation bubbles. A little too large, kind of like a coke.

More fruity in the flavor than the aroma. Just a ton of estery and cherry-like fruit flavors. Some vinuous character too. On the sweet side but not cloying. Hop bitterness is very low and hop flavor is non-existant.

It seems a bit thin in the mouth. With this much flavor, i'd expect more body. Carbonation level is very low.

Not a bad beer but I think it could be much more. More carbonation would make it seem more lively. More body would fill it out some.

czechsaaz, Apr 26, 2006
Photo of GClarkage
3.43/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

04/21/06- Purchased at Corti Bros. in Sacramento, CA.

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle. No freshness info found. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Dark blackend pour. Started out a bit lighter with cherry highlights, but turned out pretty dark. Large 2 inch head almost overflowing out of my glass. Very nice lacing throughout.

Smell- Nice scent of dark fruit, coffee (mocha) and a bit of dark chocolate. Old Ale?

Taste- When it first hits your tongue you think it's going to be on the sweet side, but after it hits your full pallete, it turns out only to have a very slight sweetness. Some roasted malt with a larger than imagined bitter hop finish. Very dry. No my idea of an Old Ale. Maybe and Irish Dry or something.

Mouthfeel- Drying feeling. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability- The taste wasn't bad at all. Just knocked it down because I thought it really wasn't to style. Overall fairly tasty, but not as an Old Ale.

GClarkage, Apr 22, 2006
Photo of bark
3.48/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at the Helsinki Beer Festival 2006 at the “Beer Festival Real Ale” stand. My glass was one of the last ones from the almost empty cask.

The liquid is clear; the colour is very dark brown-red, almost black. There is a very small beige head, almost a ring. Some lacing occurs.

The smell is fragile with some notes of aroma hops, slightly roasted malt and a fruity flavour.

The taste was surprisingly mild and neutral. I noticed some aroma hops (east goldings?), tar and roasted malt. The fine bitter notes fades rather quickly. The dry aftertaste got balanced bitter notes.

The carbonation is hardly noticeable (maybe because of the almost empty cask); maybe there were some small bubbles somewhere.

I had expected more of a porter than a mild concerning the colour. I have heard a lot of good things of this beer. Surely it was good, but then…

bark, Apr 14, 2006
Photo of jwc215
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a glass made just for this beer that was given to me complimentary in the beer store. When I poured it my first reaction was - This is aptly named! It is black with a thin head that lingers as a lace. The smell is of coffee with hints of a chocolate-like aroma. It is on the thick side, but not as much as it would have seem to have been by its name and appearance. Overall it was delicious enough to have if offered or easily attained, but not exceptional enough to go out of the way for. It's also on the pricey side.

jwc215, Apr 11, 2006
Photo of Shovelbum
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger tan head over a black body. Decent head retention with meager lace. Light aromas of earthy hops, rich malt and a light smokiness. Rich malt in the flavor as well. Mildly sweet caramel, light chocolate, and vinous flavors over a background of earthy and mildly spicy hop bitterness. Detectable mineral character Medium bodied with low carbonation. Smooth in the mouth with a slightly crisp and dry finish.

A fairly mild mannered old ale despite its appearance and moniker. Style aside this a tasty with admirable malt depth at least partially balanced by the hops that also exhibit some respectable complexity. A low-octane malty Scottish take on the style... and damne good one at that.

Shovelbum, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of Crosling
3.33/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Opaque brownish-black color, with a small, filmy light tan colored head. Rich malt and yeast aroma, producing gummy currant and raisins, light milk chocolate and salt. Chocolate silk caresses in a gentle way, with smoky soy sauce, toffee and a light hop bitterness on the finish. Very light, watery texture.

Crosling, Apr 01, 2006
Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great name for a beer. Pours a virtually opaque deep, dark brown with a tan head from a brown bottle. Some vinous or fruity notes in aroma along with roasted malt and even some alcohol in the end. Definitely can taste some roasted malt, and is a bit estery in the middle. Not bad, worth a try.

Drew966, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of francisweizen
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark pepsi brown with a small off-white/tan head of foam that dies quickly. Aromas of dark malts some chocolate, coffee, and a bit of the ole' roastiness. Hops are almost nonexistant. The taste is tight and roasty, very well balanced, with no boozy edge. A bit one dimensional and simplistic, but nice for what it is, I still prefer the reserve, but what are you gonna do? Mouthfeel is decent, but not as thick as you would expect given this beers chosen title. Drinkability remains nice as well...A good one.

francisweizen, Mar 16, 2006
Photo of Enola
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured with a small head. The color is very dark. Just a hint of light comes through. The smell is of roasted grains and a subdued sweetness. The taste is roasty up front and the finishes with a sharp off key flavor. The mouthfeel is also down a bit due to this lingering funk. The drinkability is fair. I could drink this again but it I don't it will be fine too. This beer has properties of an Dry Stout and Oatmeal Stout rolled together. Old Ale? More like a stout to me.

Enola, Mar 15, 2006
Photo of sinistrsam
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a unique beer, grabbed at the Federal in Durham. Bragged as one of their newly acquired brews, I was anxious to try it. It poured a very dark brown/black with a small tan head and good lacing. Aromas of sweet malts, coffee, chocolate. Taste was much of the same, rather bitter but smooth. Also a very creamy and satisfying mouthfeel. Overall a nice sipping brew.

sinistrsam, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of Zorro
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black colored beer that can't pass light with almost no head at all.

Smell is good scotch plain and simple. Scotch with raisins, figs, and coffee. Lesser aromas of tobacco leaf, leather, chocolate covered cherries. Quite the odoriferous ale.

Taste is sweet and smoky. There is something salty and sour to this that is a lot like some isley scotches. Not truly malty but you can taste it.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Well I can't really say anything is bad about this beer but I don't really like it. An OK beer on all technical levels but it just doesn't come together for me.

Zorro, Feb 21, 2006
Photo of wl0307
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at the London branch of the Royal Mile Whiskies Shop. BB Apr. 07, served cool in a broad-rimmed goblet.

A: very deep dark brown colour with ruby hints against light; the creamy and restrained tan head settles pretty in two minutes to just a layer of sparse, rimmed froth. Very low carbonation as far as I can see through.
S: lightly roasted maltiness along with a rich and syrupy flow of dark chocolates (70% bitterness), mixed with a little amount of crushed dark fruits, aromatic red grapes, and a little hint of bittersweet herbs. Giving it a swirl, and the aroma stays more or less the same--a sign of very deep and settled aroma in this black nectar?
T: rich and slightly oily dark maltiness slowly creeps down the palate... the chocolatey element is not so pronounced here as on the nose, and the initial soothing maltiness gradually gives way to a complex herbal+fruity palate: rich-textured and oily plum-syrup, grapey+woody sour tinge, dried dates' sweet edges, and a residual herbal touch of mixture of treacle + licorice + star-anise + phenol(?), leaving a super-rounded and mildly dark-chocolate malty overtone in the finish, with but a touch of bitterness. Not very long aftertaste, though.
M&D: having tried some old ales, I think this one shows the most soothing and rounded texture by far, and the warming alc. seems to simply evaporate from the nectar?!... it's full-bodied yet ever so soothing, even, as its name suggest, a bit oily-lubricating in a sense. The mellow palate compensates for the lack of more robust and complex flavour upfront, but perhaps the beer, as it is, is at its most enjoyable as a good digestive. Very solid old ale to sip slowly~~

wl0307, Feb 18, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another very good English / Scottish Old Ale, though they all start to taste the same after a while. Typical in it's heaviness, thickness, boldness, and sweetness. Atypical in it's amber-ish color and candied sweetness. Aromas and flavors of plumbs, raisons, prunes, dates, and figs with a root beer character and texture. Other sorgum-like sweetness and bit-eyness. Heavy and moderately thick to the mouth. Finishes sweet, bold, and lightly clean.

BEERchitect, Feb 16, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.1/5  rDev -1%
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.

rhoadsrage, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of geexploitation
4.1/5  rDev -1%
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.

geexploitation, Feb 10, 2006
Photo of TheEclecticGent
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

TheEclecticGent, Feb 03, 2006
Photo of Dithyramb
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
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.

Dithyramb, Jan 20, 2006
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,371 ratings.