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Old Engine Oil - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,513 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,513
Reviews: 755
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.39%
Wants: 122
Gots: 132 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd. visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Porter |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-10-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,513 | Reviews: 755
Photo of ATPete
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle

Old Engine Oil pours a very DEEP brown color, one shade from black, some small slivers of reddish brown highlights. It sports a thick 2 finger mocha brown head with some sticking and very good head retention. Big nose of roasted malts, chocolate and toasted peanuts, black coffee notes and a slight metallic funk. While tasting, chocolate walks up and pummels your tongue, with its sweet semi-coating body, lots of good bright carbonation, a slightly warming and drying alcohol finish along with a gentle hop twang. Im trying to relate it to a definitive style i am familiar with, it strikes me as a cross between a dunkel lager/stout/porter hybrid, very unique and very tasty. Its got a light/medium body that gets a bit sticky at times but not offensive. Great beer from a great brewery.

Photo of Bierguy5
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle, 6% ABV. Pours pitch black, no highlights at all. Mocha head trickles down to a thin collar rather quickly.

Milk chocolate to start in the aroma. A dose of vinous notes, dark fruit, and maybe a hint of vanilla. Seems like a lot of chocolate covered fruit. Very nice and complex.

Flavor is very much in tune with the aroma. Chocolate and vinous flavors. A little bit of sweetness at the end. Certainly malt driven.

Seems a bit thin, lower carbonation. Lots of flavor. Probably the most complex 6% beer I can think of. Very nice.

Photo of PatrickJR
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into oversized snifter.

A - Dark, opaque black with a nice 1-2 finger brown head. Decent retention with some moderate lacing. Best looking old ale I've seen.

S - Roasted malt character, with a little sourness thrown in as well. Smoke and alcohol notes ride over subtle dark fruits and burnt sugar.

T - Mild roasty flavors, akin to caramelized sugar. Sweetness and mild sourness kicks in like overripe berries. Finish has a burnt quality, along with some wood and smoke. Slight oxidation is noticable throughout.

M - Thick, and almost creamy, but a moderate level of carbonation for the style keeps things lively.

D - A little strong with the burnt and bitter flavors for my tastes, but still a very tasty and smooth beverage.

Photo of russpowell
3.81/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours fairly black with 2 fingers of tan head. Super sticky lacing & above average head retention

S: Cocoa, iron, oaky notes

T: Cocoa, leafy hops, chalky dryness & a touch of dark fruit up front. Roasty malt, a touch of coffee, Finishes dry, roasty & with a touch of plum

MF: Medium bodied with low but noticeable carbonation

Drinks a bit slow, due to the dryness. I do see this more as a stout, but most Brits would likely say this this is too strong for starters. Not a bad night cap, but prefer the reserve aked in whisky casks

Photo of gonzo46and2
2.97/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark black with hardly any head. Appears to be thick, syrupy, viscous. Aroma is dark malts with an emphasis on chocolate. Bitter dark chocolate. Taste mostly reflects the aroma. Mouthfeel is slick and oily with soft carbonation. Not a bad beer but I wasn't that impressed.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not much in the way of head, but awesome in color chestnutty brown highlights amidts an engine oil black to very dark brown. The aroma has a strong vine and roasted malt and coffee note. The taste starts wih some cheap coffee and hints of coca beans, very dry. These darker flavors mix with the viney nature ofthis beer in a very interesting melange. Although the av%is only 6%, this is a sipping beer. Not sessionable at all in my opinion. Pretty tart, but complexly malty.

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

Poured a bottle in a pint glass at The Farmhouse.

Pitch black - yes, like oil - with a short, tan head. The hints at the mix of dry cocoa and sweet-tasting esters to the come. On my palate, I immediately taste the roasted malts, which come off like high-end dark chocolate. That's soon met with dark fruits, like raisins, blackberries, and plums, along with creamy British yeast character.

What can I say. It's rich with both chocolate and fruit flavors while being well-balanced and drinkable. This is a delicious beer, a must-try.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - black liquid with a small beige head that faded fast.

S - roasty, black licorice.

T - sweet roasted flavor with a black licorice bitterness towards the finish.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

D - enjoyable brew.

Photo of lpayette
3.57/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is an interesting one for sure. I thought this was a stout of sorts, but BA designates this as an old ale, which upon taste makes a lot of sense. A black old ale... different

Pours near black with hints of brown. Very little carbonation struggles to produce any head which means lacing is out of the question. I smell a bit of funk and vinegar in the smell and I'm fairly confident that the integrity of this brew has not been compromised. It's got a tiny tart bite at the finish (think cherries). It seems this is just a biproduct of what I can only assume is a unique strain of yeast or combination of yeasts. Not really sure if it's for me, but it is definitely interesting. Roasty and chocolatey, though perhaps not as thick and viscous as you'd expect from the name. Seems that black patent was used in abundance if I had to guess. The moouthfeel is actually quite light for the style and very slick. Quite a bit more drinkable than I expected due to the low alcohol.

Overall fairly complex and it tends to grow on you a bit as it warms. Still, I'm not crazy about this one, but I can see how so many are.

Photo of GoodKnight1220
3.87/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a glass.

This is a very dark brown brew.

Smelled sweet like cocoa and a deep fruity (maybe cherry) scent.

Taste is very complex and changes during each moutfull, hard to describe, a lot like the smell.

The prior review describes the feel as velvety and that is right on the money.

Would drink again.

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

from bottle into pint glass. no fresh by date

Deep deep brown with bouts of amber red. light tan head. went away after a minute but leaves nice ring.

smells of sweet fruit chocolate. nice and velvety.

Taste nice and balanced. unsweetened chocolate coffee. mixed with floral fruity earthyness. really a non-overwhelming best of everything. impressed

smooth velvet mouth feel. no old engine oil stickyness here.

I'll have another.

Photo of EagleTalon
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a thin, dirty tan head and deep ruby black color. Aroma is chocolate, creamy malts, vanilla extract and sweet alcohol. Flavor is a perfect blend of Malt sweetness, caramel and vanilla and chocolate malts. Good thick mouthfeel. Very easy to drink for a dark ale--no tongue fatigue from lingering roast or hop bitterness. This is a very well made old ale that really drinks like a good cream stout.

Photo of hopsleeroy
3.89/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chemmie for this one!

A-Black body with very little white head, not as thick as the name suggests
S-Roasted grain, ale fruit flavors, earthier hop/yeast
T-Roasted Falvor with some bready malts, very mild hop nice bitter aftertaste, some sweetness would have helped.
M-A little bit thin on the body with decent carbonation
D-I could go for another

Interesting beer, but not what Iwould expect out of an Old Ale.

Photo of danny013
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a .25" brown head that falls back into the beer to form a thin covering. Body is black with faint hints of mahongany coming through. Little to no lacing. Looks delicious!

Smell is of sweet malts, a nice bready yeast, some raisinish fruity hints, and smooth coffee/roasted grain.

Taste is delicious, almost magical. Nice malty base as the beer hits the palate that quickly turns into a light fruity flavor reminiscent of raisins/grapes. Beer rounds out with a big roasted grain/coffee flavor to even things up. Finish is dry, slightly astringent with some pleasant roasted grain and coffee flavors that linger on the tongue. Hops are in the background throughout and provide a nice earthy base, but the malt and roasted grain flavors are the forefront of this fine ale.

Mouthfeel is smooth and velvety. The excellent low carbonation lets this heavy-bodied ale roll over the tongue and stick to your mouth as you drink it. The name definitly describes this beer perfectly.

Drinkability is good. A delicious ale that provides a nice, thick body that is easy and indeed pleasurable to drink. I could definitly have a few and enjoy them.

Overall a rich, delicious ale that definitly leaves it's mark on your memory. Nice and complex, but still retains the ability to let you sit back and relax with a couple. A fine ale, and definitly something I will be buying more of.

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle served in a snifter. Poured a deep brown/black with a finger of tan fine bubbled head. Not much in the aroma department, some chocolate and a little fruit. Roasted barley and some malty sweetness. Body was a little thin for a beer that calls itself engine oil. There are some hops in there, but most of the bitterness comes from roasted malt. Nice long finish.

Photo of zeff80
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an opaue, jet-black color with a small, tan, foamy head that left sticky rings of lace down the glass.

S - The first notes that hit you are roasted malt and coffee. Sweeter aromas appear later (toffee and dark chocolate).

T - The first sip surprised me with how hoppy it was. Nice bitter hop bite. The biscuity roasted malt flavor is a nice compliment to the floral hops.

M - It was very smooth and sharp. Easy drinking with an ABV of 6%. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is an interesting Old Ale. It's rather hoppy and reminds me of a good RIS.

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle with batch numbering of "L8 74A 15:18"

poured into shaped pint glass.

stout and porter-like appearance. opaque brown-black w red tint under the light. lots of tan head that stays around. some thin rings of lace.

chocolatey, almost coffee-like aromas. roasted malts with stout-like acidic note, with grassy and earthy hop character. whiff of alcohol and dried fruit.

tastes almost like a non-nitro irish stout, but some sweeter alcohol and malt tones (both caramelized and charred). also some stout-like acidity. very mild bitterness, with a dry, not-quite-coffee finish.

definitely syrupy and almost viscous. moderate carbonation for more body.

Photo of blakesell
3.32/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the tap into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours black as the very oil it emulates with a creamy finger of off tan cola head. Carbonation dies to a peninsula of off-tan foam. Lacing sticks sporadicly.

Smell- Sweet and nutty, very plum and prune oriented. It does smell old, almost grandma's basement musty. Dark cherries also linger. The complexity of this beer is overwhelming, very red winy complete with an over the top alcohol esters on the scent. At 6% this doesn't seem possible.

Taste- Musty like a wet diaper, clove, spices very prevalent, but unrecognizable. Tastes more alcoholic than it actually is. Smoked malts almost as high as a rauchbier. Nearly unpleasant.

Mouthfeel- Creamy, smoky, weird, burning slightly, medium-low in carbonation. Full bodied overall. Astringent.

Drinkability- I recommend an aged bottle, or reserve version as opposed to the tap incarnation.

Photo of fitzy84
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The drink settled with a very, very dark black color and a quickly evaporated head. Aromas were strongly woody wrapping, in general, mocha ingredients. The taste was perfect: very woody, malty and roasty. Just perfect. The mouthfeel was near perfect with an excellence in being a smooth, creamy drink but with a crisp carbonation. Overall, utterly awesome.

Photo of Cs1987
3.62/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Black, 1 finger of beige head which reduced.

Smell - Strong and quite stout-like.

Taste - The high bitterness level seems quite odd paired with the mocha-like flavour.

Mouthfeel - Very, very smooth. It's hard to imagine anything being smoother than this beer.

Drinkability - Certainly not a session beer.

Overall - Quite unique, but I'd usually prefer a regular English Porter.

Photo of Boto
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle: This one pours an opaque, dark brown color. There was a small tan head on it that dropped off quickly. Very little lacing. Some chocolate, coffee and roastiness to the nose. The taste is good. It borders on a full body. Taste is of chocolate malt, some coffee, dark fruits. A hint of bitterness in the finish. Very Nice!

Photo of MMAJYK
3.91/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Black as night with a dark khaki head. Lacing is thick and not ever going to leave the sides of the glass until it is rinsed. Very nice!

S- Roasted malts, cream and vanilla. Toasty and buttery aromas light up the nose too.

T- Burnt and toasted malts. The bittering hop is present presenting a nice break from a super malt bomb. It finishes kind of dry.

M- Medium body and light carbonation.

D- Very drinkable for a thick, malty beer. I really loved the finish; it makes you want to keep sipping!

Photo of beerthulhu
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a thick, viscous opaque mahogany red with a thin, tightly packed tan head with reddish hues. The lacing was spotchy and broken.

S: fruity with dark fruit, roasted malt and bitter chocolate with some dried molasses.

T: a nice roasted malting with a light charred woodiness. Dark fruit (raisins, plums), dark chocolate bitterness and light burnt malt. A touch of coffee roast and a dry bitterness rounds things out. A hearty, robust dark nature beer full of flavor and body.

M: creamy and full, viscous in nature leaving a dark roasted coating behind.

D: A great hearty drinking beer and must try.

Photo of Lexluthor33
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours engine oil black and has a nice foamy one inch head that settles to a sticky lace.The aroma is chocolate,vanilla and malts with Alcohol hints.
The taste is roasted malts,chocolate and vanilla sweet with a touch of hops.
The feel was silky,smooth and had a sightly bitter finish that I felt had good balance with the sweetness. Moderate carbonation and one could sure have at least two of these.

Notes: I know this is Old Ale,but reminds me a lot of when I have
a Brooklyn Chocolate Stout. What I really mean is that I wish that stout had the same balance. I suppose the chocolate flavor has something to do with it. The ABV was good on the "Old Engine" and I enjoyed it very much.

Photo of Kegatron
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a snifter.

Pours black (with a garnet tinge around the bottom) and a half finger of light cocoa colored tan head. Retention is good with some foam around the edges and thin wisps across the center that leave thick swathes of lace down the sides of the glass. The aroma smells like dessert, with notes of cocoa powder, roasted malts, chocolate sweetness, toffee, vanilla, coffee, and dark fruits. There's a good bit in there but none of it really seems to absolutley jump out.

The taste is simliar, with chocolate and vanilla sweetness mixed with zippy coffee notes, cherry tartness, and some underlying roasted nuttiness. The mouthfeel is medium to full with a very nice smooth and velvety feel that seems to just slide down the palette.

This was very interesting with a ton of different appealing flavors coming out. Unfortunately, they all seemed to crowd each other a bit, which I think kept things from really jumping out. Still, this would be a very good post dinner drink, especially paired up with something sweet.

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Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,513 ratings.