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Old Engine Oil - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,480 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,480
Reviews: 751
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 116
Gots: 119 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-10-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,480 | Reviews: 751 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of allergictomacros
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours clear, but extremely dark brown with a good solid head. Takes a while to settle, laces well and long lasting.

S - Rich, dark fruits, cocoa, candy and molasses. Somewhat metallic.

T/M - Quite dry, with lots of fruit and coffee. Slight tart edge and a moderately bitter finish. Impression of apples and pears as well. Body is quite light.

D - Very drinkable. Overall, kind of light. I was expecting something thicker and heavier.

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

Purchased at a Kingston, Ontario LCBO. 330mL, 6.00%. Best before April 2009. The packaging says the mash includes oats and wheat. I'm pumped. Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Slight bubbly tan head crowns a magnificently opaque ruby-black body.

Aromas: decent grassy hop bouquet on pour. Dark chocolate, licorice, fresh espresso, molasses, toasted malt, bread, like.. candy - burnt sugar, some bitter oatiness too. Subtle dark fruit influence. Lots of malty sweetness in the background. Damn, this is nice. Chocolate malt takes front stage.

Medium-heavy velvety mouthfeel, nice oat bitterness on the palate, I can already taste the dark chocolate. Some nice accent candied sweetness too, coupled with toastedness. Totally balanced. Surprisingly bittersweet finish - chocolate isn't the first thing that comes to mind - licorice candy? Chocolate is very there though. A little acidic. Nice and warming too with 6.00% abv. Medium length finish.

Try it to believe it.

Photo of irishkyle21
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Has a deep brownish almost black color to it. Thick light brown head, not the best retention or lacing but thats ok with me cause this beer kicks ass! in every other department.

I have a hard time believing I am actually able to pick out all of these different aromas from one single beverage. Smells of dark fruits (licorice like), roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, rye bread, earth and molasses! Still boggles my mind. I can hardly bring the glass away from my big Irish nose.

After a couple of minutes its finally on to the taste. Lots of malty chocolate goodness, hop bitterness, dark fruits and earth. Very smooth and creamy. I can only hope we get this more often.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A thick black liquid with amber glints on the edges of the glass. A dense frothy cappucino colored head emits thick lace patches. The aroma is redolent with dark berries, cocoa, maple syrup and curacao orange. Theres a lot going on. The first sip reveals a blast of the aforementioned malt flavors with dark roast coffee beens and caramel soaked rum cake mixing with a lemony, earthy hop profile. The mouthfeel is as thick as you would expect, oily and impressive. The finish is sweet and malty but never cloying. Hop bitterness is low.

This is a fantastic malt bomb of a beer. Very complex, yet nuanced and easy to drink. Another winner from this brewery.

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

Served in a North Coast "Brother Thelonious" goblet at Map Room 2/23/08. Thanks to Heatherann for the assist!

A: I watched as it slip slided into the glass with the color and consistency of, well, its' namesake. Decorating this was a dark khaki-colored head that left tons of clumpy lace in its wake.

S: Incredible aromas of roasted malt, caramel, molassas, dark fruit, toffee, toasted bread crust, and some smoke as well.

T: See above with a touch of cherry, roasted nuts, coffee, dark chocolate, and subtle hints of milk chocolate. The balance between the roasty, smokey, and sweet flavors is incredible.

M: Very smooth with a peppery hoppiness in the long lasting finish.

D: Very, very good. Is this sessionable? Hell yeah it is!

Photo of IntriqKen
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally I get to try the weakest, mildest, simpliest member of the old oil family and it only takes a sip to let this one come to it's own and take it's place as the breadwinner in this family of great stock ales.

Pours as it's namesake...black and deep...topped with a tan head that is more substantial than in any of the others. Melts to a tan ring...not much lacing.

Aromas are woody, sweet roasted malts, dark bittersweet chocolate and some dark fruits such as raisins, plums, and/or prunes.

Taste is distinctively Harviestoun ...nice roasted malt flavors rounded with dark candied fruits and dark bittersweet chocolate...all well blended together and nicely drying at the end.

Mouthfeel is weak only when comparing it to it's stronger cousins. Standalone and it is substantial and comfortable for it's style.

Aftertaste is slightly sweet english hops but drying and clean.

Photo of CortexBomb
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On Hand Pull at Ashley's.

Pour is deep, coppery brown with a modest white head on it. Extremely heavy lacing which coats a significant amount of the glass as it's consumed. The nose is fairly light, malts and chocolate, the vaguest hint of caramel.

The flavour is a nice blend of sweetly malted smoothness, heavy on the caramel with a bit of a peat edge, not strong, just an edge. Hints of chocolate. Nice depth.

The mouth on it is good although not remarkable, some coasting...it wasn't bad, but I would like a beer named Oil to coat better. The drinkability is good: for the style this is very low ABV, and the flavour is still enjoyable. The price is also decent, a definite rebuy.

The bottom line: Old Engine Oil is a tasty example of an Old Ale, and having it on the hand pull, and hence, also warmer from the start, undoubtedly enhanced my opinion of it. The beer is very low ABV for its style, but that just makes it more appropriate for drinking outside of the home.

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

Pours an opaque dark brown, some red in the edges, super thick two finger tan head forms, refuses to leave, forms a very solid layer, nice lacing, looks great. Smell is sweet and malty, chocolate roast, bread, toffee, molasses and charred wood, some dark fruits, bit of raisin, enjoyable. Taste is nice, sweet malts, toffee, chocolate, like roast, bready, fruity, almost sherry in the finish, very smooth and a nice roast/graininess that underneath that holds it together. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, definition of smooth. Great low ABV beer, could drink these all night.

Photo of CanuckRover
4.65/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near-black, still black when I hold it up to the light, but maybe some dark ruby around the edges, a blackhole of a beer. Beautiful, think, creamy looking head, looks like cappucino froth or flavoured coffee.

Mmmm, I might make this into a cologne. Chocolate is front and centre, lovely semi-sweet chocolate, absolutely fabulous. Doesn't hold back the fruity, in this case vinous, british malt though.

Not at all what I was expecting. Looking at it and reading the label, I was thinking this would be akin to a stout. No sir. Sure there is some roastiness and the stout associated flavours, but this is a different animal. Chocolate aroma doesn't disapoint, lovely sweetness combines with a vanilla pipe-tobacco character. Malt comes in the backdoor and leaves a vinous character on the tongue. Trace English hops leave a (very) subtle bitterness, very nice and appropriate.

This is one creamy beer. Smooth. Perfect carbonation (or lack thereof). Not much more to say.

I will immediately go pick up an armful of this stuff. Absolutely fantastic.

Photo of bobsy
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours black with a mocha head that dissipates to leave a few wispy remnants on the surface. The aroma is very fruity, slightly bitter and dark. The flavour leads with a hit of fruit, before melting into caramel, dark chocolate and a slight coffee bitterness. The mix going on in this beer reminded me a little of Anchor Porter. The palate wasn't as I expected - the image of engine oil suggested a very thick, almost syrupy, liquid. Instead the body was medium-light, but with a creamy undertone that suits the beer well. Carbonation was practically non-existent, which I think is a good decision based on the flavours going on here. The lighter body and low carbonation made this a very easy drinker, and the glass was empty all too soon. I could easily have had another.

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

This beer came as a bit of a pleasant surprise. It pours a very dark, thick black with some dark head that dissipates pretty quickly. The smell is roasted sweet malts, some hop character, perhaps a bit of coffee, and plum or other heavy fruit. The beer is surprisingly thin and very drinkable. The taste is bready, roasted malts, chocolate, cocoa, some hoppy bite in the finish, but overall very smooth. There are some fruit flavors discernible, there is also a bit of butterscotch in the body as well. The mouthfeel is a bit creamy and buttery leaving a coating of oil on the tongue. The beer is barely carbonated, and goes down very well. There is a bit of hopped up aftertaste, but overall it's quite mild. This beer is well worth seeking out. L'Chaim.

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

The color reflects the name as far as I know, except for maybe the ruby highlights that occasionally appear in the light. Certainly more appetizing with a nice head and deep aroma. Smell goes with the taste real well, except maybe at the end of the flavor the dry fruit is more clearly apparent. There's a thick layer of dark chocolate under caramel covered biscuits topped with an array of fruit. Some combination of tangy cranberries, cherries, and green or mackintosh apples. The lightly medium body is nice becuase this makes for more of a 'drinking' beer. So occasionally that's what you feel like. Otherwise the flavor makes me want the body to be thicker. Not to mention 'old engine oil' brings ultra thick sludge to mind. A more 'death/black metal' type body would fit great. One the other hand, this as is has very easy drinkablility.

I'd certainly have another.

Photo of Biscuit033
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown/black with a creamy light tan head with great lacing

S: Caramel and earthy, metallic english hops.

T: Caramel, Chocolate. a bit of coffee, slight bitterness, earth, a bit of dark fruit, and some pine.

M: Light to medium body, smooth and creamy that finished dry.

D: Great drinker. A bit high in the ABV for a seesion but a beer that I would have a couple of in a sitting.

Photo of CHADMC3
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

· Appearance: Appropriately named, the oil has a dark tan head, which quickly subsides to only show its similarity to the grinch's heart.
· Aroma: Awesome, chocolate, hops, a little burnt and perhaps a bit milk like.
· Taste: Full of flavor, chocolaty hops again, and nicely roasted.
· Mouthfeel: Robust with a great hoppy finish. Definitely a crowd pleaser on a cold day.
· Drinkability: Near perfect old ale, I could sample one after another. Full of flavor yet easy to enjoy. You are urged to keep confirming how delicious it is.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On nitro at Nicholson's.
Pours a very dark brown with a nice quarter inch of head. Smell is malty and some cocoa. Taste is where a good amount of coffee shows up. There is a nice balance of coffee and chocolate. This is a easy drinker and goes down very easily. Well done.

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

Appearance - 4.0
Poured a finger and a half of creamy, bubbly tan coloured head over a body that can only be called black and is not penetrated by direct light.

Smell - 4.5
A very rich and tasty aroma with smells of dark chocolate, cocoa and roasted malt.

Taste - 4.0
So smooth and drinkable for a strong, dark beer. Starts moderately sweet with flavours of roasted malt and dark chocolate, finishes quite bitter and slightly burnt in flavour. Tasty.

Mouthfeel - 4.5
There is a persistent, light, fine carbonation that pairs well with the thick, heavy weight in the mouth. Syruppy.

Drinkability - 4.5
I'd sooner drink a 4-pack of these than Guinness any day, and I would love to have had a second right now.

Quite similar to Colonial Porter, perhaps not quite as delicious but still an excellent beer. I will definitely be getting this again, as it is a very smooth, tasty, drinkable dark beer for Scotland to be proud of.

Photo of dnichols
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Reese5150 for sharing this brew with me. I poured a 12 ounce capped bottle into a tulip.

A: It poured a thick nearly black body with a half finger tan head. The head recedded to a light cover over the liquid that lingered and produced a ring aroudn the collar that supported a thin leggy curtain.

S: It had a major roasted sweet malt profile with dark fruits and lightly floral hops.

T: It presented a sweet malty and dark fruit (bing cherries and ripe black plums). It had a sweet and creamy malt front with a fruity back.

M: It was creamy and full bodied with a well hidden alcohol and clean dry aftertaste.

D: Very smooth and rich with a decent ABV and nice finish. This is a very plesant and joyfilled old ale. I will seek this one out to include in my stash.

Photo of goochpunch
3.2/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a very dark ruby (nearly black) with a frothy tanned head that leaves very intricate lacing on the glass. Nose is fruity with anise and strains of roasted malts in the background. Flavor is terribly sweet with some heavy handed licorice flavor going on. Molasses, dried fruit, and chocolate are found in the underlying flavors. Roasted malts round out the finish. Finishes sweet. Mouthfeel is relaxed in carbonation, sticky in the body, and a little slick. This is OK drinkability-wise, but there is too much licorice. I think I like the whisky barrel-aged version a lot better.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a reddish black, with a small tan head, but a nice rim and lacing.

S: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, with some smoke and a bit of an acidic twinge.

T: Sneakily robust milk chocolate is the main flavour, with some earthy English hops and a bit of peat smoke flavour at the end, quite tasty.

M: A little too much on the light side for an old ale, but smooth and creamy.

D: This is a nice beer from Scotland, a tasty little number that I'm sure I'll buy again, can't wait to taste the aged version, aged in whisky casks.

Photo of Traquairlover
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11.2-oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Pours almost black, with about one finger light tan head made up of medium bubbles that quickly dissipated leaving fair lacing.

S = Bitter dark chocolate, slightly burnt malt, slight flowery hops scents.

T = Chocolate, coffee, sweet malt, bitterness of hops hits at the back of the tongue and in a long drawn out finish.

M = Thick bodied, good carbonation, excellent mouth coating.

D = A very drinkable beer in all respects. Excellent after dinner drink.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an almost opaque black with no head. Nose is like old tar from a tree. Just very earthy and resin like. Raisins. Slight touch of dried out wood that still holds a fragrance. Flavor is smooth. Definite raisins there. Nice aged woody flavor. Thick with character. Feel is good. Slight bubble, but an otherwise thicker texture over the tongue. Very drinkable. More of a sipper, but a nice aged old ale.

Photo of Erdinger2003
2.75/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bought at Cyclone Liquors.

2002 Vintage

Pours a nice little brown head and has a black color that you cannot see through. Head falls and leaves a almost no lacing behind. Smell is chocolatey great with some wonderful whiskey notes with some oaky smells. Taste is sour. Very sour, something is definetly wrong. Sour with some small flavors of roasted malts, but the dominant flavor is sour. There is some alcohol burn in the chest which is confusing for me considering it's a 6% beer. Mouthfeel is pretty smooth, but acidic with bite. Overall, I wouldn't have another one immediatly, but would give another chance. Actually I can't finish the bottle I have.

Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a Sam Adams BL glass, the beer pours pitch black with a half inch tan head. Head retention and lacing is OK. Aroma is nice, it smells like roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and a bit of dark fruit. Taste is similar to the aroma, however there's also some molasses and caramel along with a lingering bittersweet aftertaste. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's slick and smooth. Drinkability is good, it's easy to drink. With just a 6% ABV wouldn't be too hard to drink more than one. Overall I think this is a good beer, not a bad choice at all. I'll definitely buy this again.

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

a scotch ale -stout -porter
bits of all the above
fig fruits and coffee
chocolate malts
in flood

hop bittering present
like label says

opaque oil appearance
smell of slight maple-ness

subtle complex
one could drive on all night
though has the rich flavor
which stops
from cheap trite

really a frist class world brew
after dinner desert seems
a good match for two

Photo of andrewm190
3.33/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The beer is as dark as the name suggests. Smells of malts and some grape. It pours black. Thick head, good retention. Overwhelming roasted malts--not much of the chocolate taste that the bottle suggested. Mostly roasted malts and strong sens of alcohol. Not well balanced. My type of beer, but doesn't compete with the best in its class. Still it is unusual and bold. I give it points for that so, worth a try if you like the style of dark beers generally.

Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,480 ratings.