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

1,457 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,457
Reviews: 746
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 112
Gots: 110 | 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:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Engine Oil Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,457 | Reviews: 746 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dherling
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big bubbly off white hea sits on a sludge like near black beer. The nose gives off some strong espresso, along with malt, and a nice chocolate roundness. The palate delivers a chocolate like bitterness, a little leather, burning wood. It has a decent moutfeel and a finish that lingers. A pretty straightforward beer, not terrible complex.

Photo of guinnessfan
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 11.2 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours very dark with a reddish tint, almost opaque. Tan 3 finger head dissapates to about 1 finger with good lacing.

S: Roasted malt and powerful chocolate aroma, with a hint of berry?

T: Smooth creamy chocolate malt, not as powerful as the smell

M: Not as thick as expected, but that's okay. Somewhat creamy.

D: Due to the thinness, I could drink a couple of these in 1 sitting, almost sessionable.

Overall, a good beer with an unusual name that is slightly misleading.

Photo of BlackJeremiah
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into an English pint glass.

A: Dark as its namesake, a very dark brown when held up to light--hints of dark ruby sparkling in the pitch. Less viscous than actual oil, but close. Cream-colored head starts at a full, fluffy, 1", reduces with significant lacing. Looks delicious.

S: Coffee, baker's chocolate, currant/black elderberry, and mouthwateringly roasted malt. Really excited to try this, my first Old Ale.

T: The dark berries start off, followed by the dark toast/roasted malt, blended with coffee and baker's chocolate. Every scent is represented in the taste--what you smell is what you get. Very straightforward, well-balanced, and well-executed.

M: Not nearly as thick as the name suggests, this one is (as I've said for other thick-but-not-too-thick-beers) present, but not quite chewy or mealy. Really nice, really apropos to the flavor mix and what I've understood the style to be like.

D: This is really, really excellent. In terms of dark beers with similar flavors, it's outstripped by Victory's Storm King and Stone's RIS, but that is heady competition with which to brook comparison. I will gladly seek out other Old Ales, but I'm willing to bet this benchmark will be hard to beat.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
3.85/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Yet another black brew. This one has a transmission depth of only a few millimeters. It is really rich dark brown. It has a thick latte colored head. a decent ring of lacing remains on the glass.

S - Just smelling this is making my mouth water. Rich elderberries and high cacao dark chocolates aroma with some dates and currants underneath.

T - The taste is mostly of coffee but there are some hints of burnt malt, chocolate and blackberries. Good, but the flavor isn't very powerful and there is no real aftertaste, except maybe a latent bitterness that doesn't add any depth to the beer.

M - Thinner than I ever would have expected, slick and pretty refreshing.

D - Good. It looks almost as good as Guinness does (face it, Guinness is pretty despite its other flaws), smells incredible and tastes great. This beer is an easy one to drink. Seems strong than 6% though. Maybe I just haven't eaten enough tonight.

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

I have yet to find a charred Old Ale I don't like. I am either a big fan of the style or very lucky with these beers. This is no exception. mmm.

Appearance: Pours almost motor oil black with suggestion of deep ruby hues in the color.

Smell: Roasty roasty roasty malty, chocolate, caramel, coffee and hints of fruits fill the nasal cavity.

Taste: The malty backbone is so smooth and creamy it effortlessly delivers a rush of burnt chocolate molasses, caramel, figs, cherry and coffee wrapped up in a dryish boozy body that really catches you by surprise.

Mouthfeel: Roasty dry but very very rich and smooth!

Drinkability: Load me up!!! I have a new regular! I have been a regular stout drinker for years but these Old Ales and this one has really surprised me.

Hope this is helpful.
Cheers!

Photo of ByTor2112
3.45/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thick light brown head with fluffy bubbles. this settled down to about a one-finger head and left some nice spotty lacing.
Aroma was sweet coffee with a roasted/burnt smell. First taste on the palate is a quick sweetness with the alcohol faintly detected, then it gives way to a nice bitterness and then gets complex to the finish with flavors of chocolate, espresso and some tannins. A good froth heightens all the flavors mentioned. I have been aging this since March. I got my single at Gomer's in KC for about $1.99 I believe. Sweet enough to be quaffable with enough bitterness to be sipped as an after-dinner brew. Cheers!

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A great beer! It was an opaque black with a thick, sticky, coffee-colored head. Aroma was sweet, dark cherry, a little chocolate. Wonderful taste: dark roasted coffee, chocolate, tiny bit of yeast. A very smooth beer. Not too high in ABV, so easily one to have a few of. My wife, who usually prefers wheat beers, liked this a lot.

Photo of mjc410
4.97/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a La Moneuse tulip.

In trying to elicit a nice head from this ponderous ale, I pour directly down the center. My reward is a large bubbled, somewhat dark tan, one finger layer, which seems to hold its own at half its original size for quite a while. True to its name, I can't locate a speck of light seeping through this monster. Should I expect bits of crankshaft? This appears quite like a very big RIS. Thick tan suds ooze down the glass, as if over-encumbered. And yet, they still manage to leave some nice lacing. Odor is intense: dark cherries, molasses, caramel, espresso, chocolate. A wonder! Taste is of rich toffee, creamed coffee, sugar, and roast bitterness. There's also a slight acidity that goes with a lot of old ales. Alcohol seems to be present in its warming, spicy capacity. This is odd at only six percent, but very welcome. Low carbonation and a huge body, without doubt, lead to liquid luxury. This is a new favorite, and the alcohol content could easily allow a few in a sitting.

Photo of dgallina
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml brown bottle, no freshness dating.

Pours almost black with mahogany edges; very little head and slight lace despite a hard pour. Smells of alcoholic vanilla, oak, toasted chocolate malts, powdered cocoa. Flavor is not quite up to the aroma. Very sweet and rounded all the way through. Caramel and coffee malts predominate, with lots of powdered cocoa and burnt bread in the finish. Medium-light mouth feel, with good creaminess and gentle carbonation.

Photo of kkipple
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Saw this looking lonesome on the shelf at Brawley's, so I picked it up.

Fills my glass dark brown with a quickly reducing head, mild lacing. Aptly named, it really does look like engine oil. Cool.

You can really smell a strong malt profile in this one, very roasty and coffeeish.

Taste is thick and rich, bittersweet, hoppy, and heavy on the coffee flavor. Slightly metallic on the end, but coats your tongue and makes your mouth water. Earthy. Nice hop addition that sneaks into the taste behind all the malt.

Mouthfeel isn’t syrupy, but thick and full. Roasty flavor everywhere. Mildly warming.

I’m not sure why Old Engine Oil is classified as an old ale and not a porter, but it’s tasty nevertheless. Nothing special in my book, but quite drinkable.

Photo of BDTyre
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aptly named, as this looks like motor oil. I rate this high because I really like it, but I'd but tempted to class this as a dark mild.

Nice dark brown appearance. Thick, with a tight, dense tan head. Looks like old oil.

Dry malt smell with chocolatey hints. Mocha, bittersweet chocolate. No hops detectable. It lacks the vinous, grape and sour fruit hints I tend to find in old ales.

Taste, in my opinion, is a little to sweet for an old ale. Definite chocolate notes, verging on dark chocolate, tempered somewhat by a very faint hop presence. Sour notes that are generally associated with old ales are barely there.

Good mouthfeel, nice body on the tongue, Easy to drink despite its richness. Lovely after dinner drink.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…

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.

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.

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.

Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,457 ratings.