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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.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

1,397 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,397
Reviews: 734
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 109
Gots: 94 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Engine Oil Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,397 | Reviews: 734 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GreenWBush
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

GreenWBush, Jun 06, 2005
Photo of GreenCard
3.6/5  rDev -13%
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.

GreenCard, May 13, 2005
Photo of kingjames1
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
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!

kingjames1, May 04, 2005
Photo of ypsifly
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

ypsifly, May 03, 2005
Photo of dansteino
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

dansteino, Apr 29, 2005
Photo of gentlebubbles
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%
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.

gentlebubbles, Apr 26, 2005
Photo of Gagnonsux
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Gagnonsux, Apr 23, 2005
Photo of horndecker
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

horndecker, Apr 17, 2005
Photo of Sammy
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Sammy, Mar 25, 2005
Photo of cypressbob
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
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

cypressbob, Mar 18, 2005
Photo of maybrick
4.18/5  rDev +1%
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.

maybrick, Mar 14, 2005
Photo of yoko
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
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.

yoko, Mar 06, 2005
Photo of bigbubba
3.4/5  rDev -17.9%
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.

bigbubba, Feb 05, 2005
Photo of bultrey
3.2/5  rDev -22.7%
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.

bultrey, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of allengarvin
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

allengarvin, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of shippos
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

shippos, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of jdaelhousen
2.88/5  rDev -30.4%
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.

jdaelhousen, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of ghurux86
3.38/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

ghurux86, Dec 12, 2004
Photo of Gavage
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
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.

Gavage, Dec 11, 2004
Photo of watermelonman
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

watermelonman, Dec 05, 2004
Photo of walleye
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured true to its name with deep ruby around the edges, with a small light brown head thast didn’t last long. aromasweet dark chocolate, toffee, caramel, roasted malts, oatmeal, and a nice sweetness. flavor was a little disappointed I was hoping that the aroma would carry over into the flavor all flavors were weak, chalky some bitterness

walleye, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of ybnorml
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark brown almost black beer with a small but very nice creamy beige head the doesn't evaporate right away. The aroma is a strong roasted malt aroma that I swear has an engine oil characteristic to it. Ther flavor is a robust roasted malt with marvelous highlights of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Very enjoyable to sit and savor.

ybnorml, Oct 25, 2004
Photo of Rastacouere
3.6/5  rDev -13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, brown. Tan 2cm head recedes to a lasting cover. Rich malty aroma with interesting notes of tar, licorice, vegetal oil, chocolate and tobacco. It indeed has quite a distinctive cigar suggestion in the petiness. Earthy licorice, soy sauce. Pretty good if those are your kind of flavors. Very dry from the beginning until the end too. Light tartness doesn’t disturb too much. Medium body, low carbonation. More smoke or meatiness and this was a killer. The name is actually a nice fit.

Rastacouere, Oct 12, 2004
Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black oil color with ruby highlights; a frothy head that retains well and leaves touches of lace

Smell: Very roasty, with hints of chocolate, prunes and whisky

Taste: A lot going on in the mouth here - starts out roasty, with smoke and dark chocolate flavors tangling with earthy hop bitterness; plenty of roast and smoke after the swallow but there is also licorice on the finish, which lasts for well over 10 seconds after the liquid has gone down the gullet.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Very different and a nice change of pace when you have time to sit and contemplate its flavors

brentk56, Aug 11, 2004
Photo of lackenhauser
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep black in color-nice slight tan head that lingers down the glass.Subtle aroma of malt.Slight chocolate smell.Roasted flavor dominates.Hints of licorice.Very subtle sourness in the backround.Full bodied mouthfeel.A very drinkable beer-comes off more as a stout then old ale to me.Very enjoyable none the less.

lackenhauser, Jul 05, 2004
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,397 ratings.