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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

1,374 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,374
Reviews: 731
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 105
Gots: 89 | 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: 1,374 | Reviews: 731 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A jet-black brew that forms a sizeable and lasting head, Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil is a pleasant find ? but not something that I look to consume regularly. The sour hop aroma mingles with some chocolate notes. The flavors are more complex, but not exactly balanced between hop bitterness, burnt malt flavors, with little chocolate or other malt sweetness. As an Old Ale, this well bodied beer tastes a bit like a porter.

AllThingsNinja, May 10, 2004
Photo of packetknife
4.53/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blacker than black, thick dark tan head that stuck. Heavy chocolate, malts, coffee, and almonds on the nose. I can't possibly give this beer proper credit, I loved it in the bottle long ago, I like it even better now that I've found it locally on tap. The near perfect consistency/density feels great, meal-ish. The tastes are all moderate to strong, doesn't leave a dull moment on the tongue. Moving from sweet maltiness and baker's chocolate to a very very slight tart sensation on the finish.

packetknife, May 02, 2004
Photo of TinusTime
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a near opaque brown with a pillowy dark tan head. Smells are off chocolate, prunes, brandy and raisin candy. Taste is a bit sweeter than the smell.. Chocolate covered raisins dipped in scotch. A bit of milk anise sweetness thrown in the maltyness. A good overall stout.. Very easy to drink.. Drinkability is a bit lower due to the bit of sweetness and such. Definatily a one off beer. Not to say I would not get another because i would, but i would only want one in an evening.

TinusTime, Apr 12, 2004
Photo of Biffster
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer is opaque brown with mahogany highlights and a persistent coarse tan head that lingers on the glass.

The aroma starts with a big toffee, malt and chocolate presence. It is backed by dark fruit (raisin and plum) and some diacetyl. Faint cherry and cinnamon hints linger.

The taste is less sweet than one would imagine from the aroma. The first impressions are of some malt and diacetyl. The impression of caramel comes through but is quickly dried toward the back of the mouth by the fairly intense coffee like roastiness. It finishes malty with a lingering espresso like bitterness.

The mouthfeel has a medium/full body, low carbonation, no astringency, and is quite creamy.

Overall this is a pleasant and complex beer that I would enjoy with chocolate or alone after dinner.

Biffster, Apr 11, 2004
Photo of Southernbrew
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost completely black, small tan head that lasts a long time.

Aroma full of sweetness, dark fruits, alcohol and some roasted coffee.

Medium body but very creamy. Bitter sweetness up front mixes with fruit flavors. Caramel flavors come through as well. Roasted coffee shows up in the finish. Sweetness the whole way through.

One of the best old ales I've had, if you can get it, try it.

Southernbrew, Apr 06, 2004
Photo of merlin48
4.68/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle pours an opaque, deep brown into a glass. I've seen other ales that look more like motor oil on the pour, but this this one has a fine, tan head that lasts forever, and leaves sheets of lacing down the glass. Aroma is a wonderful blend of campfire smoke, molasses, figs, chocolate, coriander, and some dark fruits. Quite impressive on the nose! Mouthfeel is rich and creamy. This is a full bodied Scottish ale, with a taste that resembles the nose, but is even more complex. Raisins, burnt coffee, and leather emerge in the taste and it all comes together nicely with some bittering hops. A hint of licorice is also noted. This is, certainly, the best Scottish old ale that I've been blessed to sample. Very highly recommended!

merlin48, Feb 14, 2004
Photo of sulldaddy
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I pour a sample into my snifter. The brew pours rich dark brown and I see no light escaping this glass. A tan creamy head foams up easily to about 1 inch and fades slowly to a thin surface layer that remains throughout my tasting.
The aroma is rich and malty, some fruit plums and pears, also heavy chocolate and maybe molasses.
The first sip reveals, a creamy thick body and average carbonation. Flavor starts with a fairly sweet twang and succumbs to chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Finish is long lasting and leaves a silky feel on my teeth, almost like hot chocolate. This is a very tasty brew that improves as it warms, I should have just had this at room temp.

sulldaddy, Feb 11, 2004
Photo of rajendra82
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer had the loveliest head on any that I have poured so far. It was brown, thick, and lively with bubbles ranging from very minute to absolutely gigantic. The head was also very chewy with a taste reminiscent of bitter dark chocolate. The body was dense, mahogany brown with red highlights when held up against the light. The aroma was a mix of coffee, chocolate, wood smoke and resin. It was so good; I just smelled it for a while. The taste was wonderfully complex yet fully blended. I could detect raisin skins, licorice, butterscotch, and of course mocha. Velvetty smooth and rich, and oily (as expected) in mouthfeel. A very satisfying and fulfilling beer that is highly recommended.

rajendra82, Jan 24, 2004
Photo of Suds
3.43/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What a dark, nearly completely black beer. It’s appearance is spectacular….thick liquid with a long-lasting, magnificent, brownish-tan head. It’s really something. The aroma is a pleasant mix of roasted grains and malts. There’s a lot of complexity in the aroma….many hard to place smells….leather, over-ripe fruit, alcohols, multifaceted malts, etc. It’s certainly interesting. The taste has a distinct and distracting acidic astringency. At times it seems to border on sour…it’s like lactic acid with the power of a food ingredient citric acid. Not sure if it's a flaw, age, or intentional. Regardless, it's distracting, although not unpleasant. The front is certainly sweet and there’s malt and hops there, but I have a hard time fighting the acid twang. Hops and syrupy malt mix in the finish…which is fairly sweet. Fun, different, and challenging. I’d be up for another of these.

Suds, Jan 17, 2004
Photo of necoadam
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Quite an interesting beer. Appereance is well..almost like oil. Well not quite. It's more black with some hints of light brown. Almost looks like a stout or porter. Perfect amount of carbanation. Smell consists of sweet coffee with a little wood/smoky smell even. Taste is outstanding. A nice full body, creamy that mixes with a little bitterness. Perfect combo. molasses? Wow really nice. I could drink this all day. Got a bottle for $2.35. Can't go wrong, good beer for a good price. I would recommend this beer.

necoadam, Jan 11, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer poured black with ruby highlights when held to light. The head is tan and huge, no, really, it is HUGE. The head takes a long time to fall and then laces the glass.

The aroma is chocolate, roasted, and slight alcohol.

The flavor is chocolate with good bitterness. Also present in the flavor is coffee. There is a sweetness in the flavor, but it quickly fades and is well balanced by a decent bittering.

The finish goes dry coffee bitterness and lasts into the aftertaste. The body is medium full to full and the beer is just on the edge of being viscous. There is an alcohol warming from the beer.

11.2 ounce bottle.

GCBrewingCo, Jan 11, 2004
Photo of lou91
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured dark brown with a nice creamy light head. First taste is great with a beautiful balance of malt, coffee and chocolate flavors in a creamy rich body. Easily drinkable like an excellent porter with lingering flavors that make you want more and more. A bit pricey at $4.50- got it at the corti bros. Market in Sacramento.

lou91, Jan 10, 2004
Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first of the beers that I had at a recent get together at the Stuffed Sandwich with fellow BA Davo’s and DavidBanner. I was the first to arrive and had yet to try this beer from the Bottle. So I snagged a whole 330ml bottle to myself.

Presentation: Certainly has a very attractive appearance, rather classic Scottish look, the roundel reminded me of some Caledonian bottled beers. Crown capped with a listed Strength of 6.0% ABV.

Appearance: Poured with a glooping viscous thickness that was worthy of its name. This is what oil looks like after 100,000 miles. Very dark brown with some rubidicious tones. A very smooth light brown head formed and stayed throughout. Looked good.

Nose: Big ass malts which are very smooth and extremely well balanced with the hops and a creamy milk-coffee feel. Some dark fruits, hints of those really dark red skinned bitter cherries that I rarely see these days.

Taste: Just as good as the nose, this is such a smooth beer, velvety flat with no spikes whatsoever. Sweet start, malts balanced with the hops, dark fruits in the back end. Lingering smoothness on the tongue. All the tastes transition effortlessly. Easy drinking.

Mouthfeel: Feels bigger than a 6% ABV beer, rich and smooth creamy feel.

Drinkability: I was driving and knew that Davo would be another 20 or 30 minutes before he turned up as I was drinking this. I tried extremely hard to make this last, but I have to say that it was incredibly difficult to put this one down. Smooth, flavorful and damn tasty.

Overall: Harviestoun are one of my favorite Scottish Brewers, they make some excellent Cask-Conditioned beers, but I rarely see, let alone try, their bottled offerings. It’s my mission to get some more of this, and the Whisky Barrel aged version if possible.

TheLongBeachBum, Dec 21, 2003
Photo of TAMU99
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The label says "unusual name...unusual beer"
Well, ok, the name, but the beer is pretty standard. Good, but nothing really foreign.

Nice deep mohagany color with about a 1inch lasting foam. Good lace down the glass, but nothing too sticky

The scent gets you right away. As soon as I began pouring, the aromas of chocolate and toffee waft toward you. There's also a malt hint in there too.

Taste - strong malt, chocolate and barley flavors. A hefty hops profile balance these well.

Mouthfeel - verry smooth, fairly robust lingering aftertaste

Drinkability - billed as an after dinner beer - I'd leave it there, one, maybe two. The combined boldenss of both the hops and the malts almost make it just too overwhelming. It's still a well-crafted beer, but I would choose something like Sam Smith's stout instead.

TAMU99, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of tavernjef
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark fudge brown color with deep ruby highlights and slivers of light brown at the bottom, very thin tan head that fades to a thin ring the whole glass through, lace in spots and globby strings. Aroma is sweetly roasty and deep with some light chocolate, molasses, and coffee mixing in; a nice soft nose. Taste is quite roasty with an old coffee-like flavor, some semi sweetness with a light bittering tang that holds for a good time and into the finish. The roastyness is nice but mostly mild and subdued in its presence. Good clean mouthfeel thats close to medium body and lightly creamy nearer the finish with a short lived little chocolatey tang and roasted dryness lingering in the finish, a nice touch. A fairly nice brew, I can see have'n alot of these, a good session brew for sure.

tavernjef, Dec 05, 2003
Photo of Kongquistador
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a a dark brown, mostly opaque, and with a nice dark tan head on a vigorous pour. Very small bubbles in the head, which dissapates quickly down to a fine lace. Leaves almost no remainder down the outside. The smell is mostly chocolate and coffee at first wiff. And second and third, but it finally softens a bit to reveal a bit of malty fruit, mostly raisin. The chocolate and coffee remain for the duration of the drink, just muted.

The first sip of this was divine refreshment after two months of overly sweet ale and questionable lagers in the pub in Scotland. The fun is with the malts, no denying it, and the prevalence of coffee and chocolate flavor make me think that this might easily be classified as a stout. The bottle advertises a hoppy balance, but I haven't noticed too much of a happy character. A slight bitterness prevails toward the end of the swallow, but it barely enough to cover the malts. Roasting is very noticeable. The malts, however, are not overly sweet, and are delightfully varied, like a rich chocolate. As the beer warms, the bitterness is enhanced, suggesting this one might be best consumed quickly once out of the cooler.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin, but it avoids being watery. It doesn't quite coat the mouth like a stout might, but it sure isn't lager. Highly, dangerously, drinkable. The ABV at 6% is big but not huge, enough to feel. Generally, this is a delightful change from my recent fare of McEwans' and Caledonian's finest. Certainly worth grabbing if you see one, if nothing else than for an opaque Scottish ale. Brilliant.

Kongquistador, Dec 03, 2003
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: solid black, insidiously opaque, with a thick and creamy cocoa-colored, so frothy it resembles a chocolate spong cake.
Aroma: sweet, but roasty, with flavors of molasses, brown sugar, and espresso, slightly twisted, definitely dark.
Taste: bitter hops tango with sweet malt in such a fashion that you get a little almost treacly sweetness, step 2, bitter tang, step 3, mild and mellow, repeat, cha, cha, cha. Possesses a far lighter mouthfeel than I'd expected, though still full in body, with dark, rich, and continually tasty flavor. Doesn't hang too heavily on the palate, making for higher drinkability and greater sophistication. This is listed as a Stong/Old Ale, but it contains a mere 6% ABV, and feels a bit stoutish at times. No matter what it's called, a fine ale all around, though, I wonder if it is based on an old Celtic recipe, as the label states, what did they call it before Henry Ford came along?

feloniousmonk, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of PatandDavid
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this serveral times, also the cask. This was the regular version, on tap at Redbones. Pours dark as night, looks like engine oil in the glass. I find the aroma to have roasted and fruity notes. The taste was slightly sweet, with a bit of a tart finish. Would have more of these, but that abv is a bit of a warning. I think I like the cask version better, this one is not as smooth. Still pretty darn good though. I will always order one of these if I see it on. pat

PatandDavid, Nov 08, 2003
Photo of nomad
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black, this beer had a tan head of perfectly smooth foam that was creamy in appearance and made of infinitesimally small bubbles. Showed a thin but wide lacing, and not much stain.

Smelled of toffee, very dark and barely sweet malt, abundant smokiness, and some black cherry scents with warming. Tasted of black malts and roasted barley, lending some nice roasty bitterness. Had small bits of resiny green bitter hops, and at times floral hop notes. Moved on to nutty tones, small toffee notes, and an almost convergence of flavors to foram an earthy licorice taste.

A smooth flavor profile despite its fairly rugged stylings, it had a smooth mouthfeel with a tiny bit of texture. Fits the character of the beer well, which I would call a tougher brother of Old Peculier.

nomad, Nov 05, 2003
Photo of tar
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I found this beer to improve greatly as it was allowed to warm up a bit. Pours a nice thick looking opaque black (much as the name suggests that it should), with a thin light brown head. Strong aroma of coffee and chocolate, with some unpleasant astringent acidity as well. Initially finished with an unpleasant bitterness--although this was smoothed out greatly as the beer was allowed to warm, and the chocolate and plum flavors were allowed to come out. Not a bad beer, but not anything special and probably not a beer I'll look for in the future.

tar, Oct 27, 2003
Photo of Loki
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sampled from a 330 mL bottle.

Well I don't think they could have found a better name for this unique brew.

The session starts with a pour of this thick, viscous black/brown liquid flows, almost reluctantly out of the bottle. The pour creates a small biege, creamed coffee color head, that quickly fades to a wispy thin, but ever present covering. Each swirl or tilt of the glass leaves thin lines and spots of lacing all around. When held up to the light, the outer layer of the beer assumes a dark mahogany color. While the center simply devours the light, like a black hole. The only real fault I found in apperance was the small, quick fading head.

The aroma takes a complete departure from anything related to engine oil, but not oils completely. Strong aromas of chocolate, roasted malt, and coffee pour forth. With a not so subtle backdrop of smoke and grease, not automotive grease, but cooking grease. Like the scent of fresh cooked bacon, the real stuff, not that turkey bacon that I'm stuck with because it's "good for you." If there are any hop scents my olfactory scences were over powered by the chocolate and the smoke.

The tastes and the body give more support for the name. Chocolate, bitterness, smoke, roasted malt, and grease all dominate for an almost stout like flavor profile with a very full body and a viscous coating of the tongue and mouth with its thick, rich body. Simply wonderful.

While this old engine oil would reek havoc on your car's engine it would certainly help lube up yours and keep it running smoothly for the next 15 minutes or .01 miles when you reach your recommended level for your next "oil change!"

Loki, Oct 25, 2003
Photo of DagFishHead
4.72/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black as the night. Name is very appropriate... looks like it coulda come right out of a crankcase. Brief, thin, tan head that never quite completely disappears. Minimal lace.

Smell: Very complex.... chocolate, malt, hops, coffee, earthy, smokey... could sniff this all day trying to id all of the different components.

Taste: The carbonation jumps out from it's black lair and carries with it coffee, chocolate, and a subtle hint of lactose-like sweetness and acidity. Aftertaste is dry and hoppy. Flavors and aroma shift in prominence as it warms... Complex flavors yet simply delicious.

Mouthfeel: Porter/light stout-like... ABV almost undetectable. Perfectly carbonated.

Drinkability: This beer is delicious, I'll be returning to this one often and trying to better describe how good it really is....

DagFishHead, Oct 20, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Black as night in the body with a nice, full head that went down slowly and laced the glass.

Smell – This has a tight aroma. After it warms a bit, the burnt malt and toffee character come out nicely. Other faint smells include coffee, chocolate, and milk shake.

Taste – Definitely milk shake with a dash of coffee. This is well-blended and complete. The milky chocolate flavors mix with the coffee and a bit of candy, maybe Heath Bar meets Hershey, and a wonderful dark malt backbone. Everything is even-keeled though and very nice.

Mouthfeel – No carbonation and very creamy smooth. This is full-bodied but even. No sharp edges to this ale.

Drinkability – Wonderful to drink at any time and in any season.

RoyalT, Oct 20, 2003
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,374 ratings.