1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Old Engine Oil - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,512 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,512
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.
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 1,512 | Reviews: 755
Photo of ski271
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Zeno’s in State College.
A- Pitch black with a small, tan, foamy head
S- Toasty malts with a very slightly burnt scent. Chocolate, coffee and crusty bread.
T- Sweet malts dominate up front. More chocolate and coffee, a little more grainy, and some cherry in there. The finish is medium in duration with a lingering citrus rind bitterness.
M- Medium-full body, dry texture, low carbonation
D- Not a bad beer, pretty enjoyable remarkably easy-drinking for as big as it first starts out as. Worth a try.

Photo of acrawf6
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a pitch black with just a small bit of light coming off the side of the glass. Nice creamy dark tan head rises and drops to a thin layer on top.

Smell. Lots of hints of coffee and chocolate. Burnt malts dominate, but still seems to have a hop bitterness to it.

Taste. Burnt malts are lighter than i expected, but the hops seems to be more than i thought it would be. The flavor is also has a little black coffee to it. It seems to be potent with taste, yet still quite mild. Aftertaste has more coffee flavors and more of the roasted malts. Quite nice.

Mouthfeel. Body has a fullness to it, but is not creamy. I think it has a very nice balance. The carbonation is appropriate.

Overall. There isnt anything about this beer that i absolutely love, but i do not find anything wrong with it. If i wanted to be a real stickler, i'd say the mouthfeel wasnt full enough, but this isnt a stout. I think this is a very solid beer that though i like others more that have a lower score i gave, i find this is a very well crafted beer that deserves much credit.

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

I've had this once on tap, and I'm not particularly familiar with old ales, so hopefully my comments are somewhat intelligent. I do know one thing, though. And that is that this beer is deep and BLACK. So if anything, I'm excited about that.

APPEARANCE: Yep, BLACK with BLACK highlights. Pours with barely a head which turns into a thin collar with a bubble or 2 on the surface.

SMELL: Very porter-like. Caramel sweetness is accompanied by a slight roastiness and diacetyl. It's also nutty, toasty, and pretty formative.

TASTE: Starts with flavors of burnt malt which develops into a smooth roastiness. Chocolate is also present. The finish is bitter with some citrusy hops barely showing themselves. Diacetyl is also very apparent in the finish.

MOUTHFEEL: Whoo boy. The name says it all. No other beer is like this. Huge body with a minimal carbonation makes this beer not so much syrupy, but more like chunky. Impressive and unique.

DRINKABILITY: As awesome as the mouth was, it may detract from drinkability somewhat. Still, it's a delicious beer and one I will be buying again.

My impression is that this beer is very porter-like which would probably explain why I enjoy this beer. Based on what I know of the style, it's very accurate and a fine specimen of a beer.

Photo of westweasel
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle.

The appearance is a dark, hazy brown with a thin 1/8 in. beige head, and very coarse looking bubbles. This beer looks highly carbonated.

The aroma is dominated by molasses. I'm also detecting cherries and raisins.

The taste consists of mostly molasses and raisins along with some hop bitterness to balance it nicely.

The mouthfeel is medium. Based on the name, you would be expecting it to be very full.

The drinkability is excellent. Much better than you would think engine oil would taste. :^)

Photo of RedHaze
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, nearly black, with faint hints of ruby peeking around the edges. The foam peaks at one finger then falls slowly to a thin soapy cap and ring. A nice webbing of lace is left behind after each sip.

Smell; mmmm..chocolate cake, with a little bit of alcohol mixed in. There's also hints of some dark fruits, as well as a little bit of a smoky quality.

Taste; lots of dark chocolate and caramel malts, with a bit of toasted flavor. Some dates and prunes add some nice dark fruity flavors, and that smokiness some through in the flavor. None of the flavors are really overly strong, as a matter of fact they're a touch on the mellow side, but the finish is nice and long and very smooth.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and a little on the creamy side, with a very smooth carbonation that only helps out in the drinkability department. I enjoyed this much more than I did the version aged in whiskey barrels.

Photo of Naerhu
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - microscopic tan head on a jet black body.
S - Nice deep oily espresso aroma
T - Very mellow, but long lasting flavor. Lots of espresso, dark chocolate. The little bitterness is excellently balanced with the restrained sweetness. Way complex. I am glad BA has recategorized this as a Porter and not an old ale.
M - Mild bitterness, a yeasty creamyness.
D - This is awesome. I can only fantasize about what this must be like on tap.

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

Draft pour into a shaker glass. Very dark, nearly opaque. Light tan head. Smell & flavor are full of wonderful "london porter" or "sweet stout" type elements of toffee, dark fruit, and roasty/toasty malt flavors such as chocolate. Body is rich and smooth & pleasant. Quite easy to drink if you like sweeter/maltier dark ales.

Photo of dstc
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours very dark, almost black, with a dark tan small head that leaves a nice thin lace behind. Coffee and roasted flavors in the nose, also a bit earthy. Tastes is again a bit of coffee and chocolate with a mild bitterness to it. Feels smooth and full in the mouth without too much carbonation. Overall a nice dark beer that I do believe I'll have again.

Photo of AlexJ
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Very dark brown/black body with a very thin, dense head of khaki froth that lasts as a thin shroud, minimal lacing but thick legs.

Aroma is mild, creamy, and malty, with great dark, roasty notes with undertones of earthy, dried wood and bittersweet cocoa.

Flavor is even nicer, bittersweet dark malt roast with milk chocolate, weak coffee, moist dark bread, dried currants, and molasses. Porterish and tastey, highly drinkable.

Medium bodied and very creamy with fine, pinpoint carbonation and a smooth, buttery texture. Drinkability of a session beer.

Photo of jbsteiny
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I saw this at Cherry Tree, and, reflecting on the whisky barrel-aged variety and how amazing it was, I figured I'd shell out $8 for a 12 oz. bottle (highway robbery, imo). The bartender didn't know what glass it went in and she gave me a Chimay -- I think it would go better in a standard wine glass to capture more aromas. It poured near black with no true head -- a few swirls of bubbles. Its smell was very pleasant but hard to describe. It had a very sweet grape characteristic, but also something creamy like butterscotch. I know grape butterscotch sounds disgusting, but it was pleasant.

This beer becomes exceptional once it crosses your lips. Very rich blend of flavors: starts with sweet cream, becomes cognac, and finishes with roasty chocolate malts. Yummo. Wonderful mouthfeel -- the minimal carbonation was fine considering the full body and the crisp finish. If I could find a place to pick up a case of this at a reasonable price, I'd be on it in a minute. Smooth and intensely flavorful. Harviestoun is a new reason to go to Scotland. Next: must hunt down the barrel-aged one again. I remember it having an amazing peat flavor that offset the sweetness.

Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

old ale? I don't know but here we go. Pours nearly pitch black, small brown head accompanies it. Smells a bit sweet with some soapy essence? Tastes a lot better though, caramel, cocoa, malty goodness and a slight hint of dryness in the finish. Overall it's a really nice beer. To me though this is like a really nice porter rather than an old ale in the way of flavor and appearence, but what the hey, if the Scots want to call it an old ale, an old ale it'll be.

Photo of steinlifter
4.56/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured almost pitch black, good size tan foamy head that diminished to a tan creamy collar that held the sides of the glass all the way down.
Smell: was of toffee.
taste is exceptional, roasted coffee with chocolate notes, and just the right amount of hops.
mouthfeel was a bit chewy,but very carbonated and light.
drinkability is great with this one. A very good beer that I will have again!

Photo of CharlieMopps
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a good two and a half fingers of dense, tan head, with an impenetrably staining black body of beer. Old Engine Oil seems spot-on, and this hearty looking brew has a head that likes to stick around.

S: I'm guessing this smell is from the agining in Malt Whisky casks, but there's a slight bit of a dogfood vibe to this, as in, a bit meaty, but not exactly the real thing. Also, this blends in with a very burnt malt scent and coffee that could either taste amazingly great or incredibly horrid. The proof is in the engine oil...

T: A perplexing combination of flavors comes inside this bottle. It has all the characteristics of a big malty stout, but the scotch whisky side cuts through, making it actually quite smooth until the end, where a little bit of a liquor-like kick comes in. Also, a tad tasting of slick hops is there as well. A bit of a cocoa-like undertone with the grains from the malt and the aging converging somewhere in the middle.

M: With the smooth transition of flavors, from malt to whisky, comes a very creamy then subtle bite. Probably one of the few ways that a solid stout can have a kick to it without making the beer a hop-skewed mess or suffer from over-aging in the barrels. Still, there's a thickness that clings to the palate but is still quite enjoyable.

D: Somewhat leans toward an extreme, but if you were to be drink big malt brews all night, this one would kick you right back into the swing of things with its composition. The rarity of combining two malt beverages, beer and scotch, is what's charming about this beer. I see the appeal, and feel like this is a good one to break up any monotony with the malt-packed stouts.

Photo of Albertv05
3.63/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I tried this on tap at The Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

Poured jet black with a minimal tan colored head. The head faded pretty quickly. The aroma was mildly sweet with roasted grains, chocolate, and a faint hint of fruitiness.

The taste was of roasted grains, more so than I expected but in a good way. There wasn't as much maltiness balance as I anticipated with the roasted grains and the body was a little thin. However, although I typically look for a very well balanced stout, this made it very easy to drink and more digestible. Kind of like a roastier, less creamy Guinness.

I would definitely get a pint again of this if I'm having a few that evening. Very drinkable!

Photo of belgbeerdrinker
3.08/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

a: true to its name this looks like very old engine oil - jet black, very nice dark brown head that retains well; good lacing
s: definite hints of whiskey, coffee & chocolate as well
t: coffee flavor dominates, with minor contributions of anise, chocolate & whiskey; turns bitter at end
m: surprisingly medium body, slightly creamy, burns the nose at the end, decent carbonation
d: appearances were deceiving here - not nearly as heavy as i would've thought & didn't get much whiskey flavor. too bitter for me, can't say i'll be picking up another of these

Photo of beeroclock
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very dark color, not quite as dark as the engine oil reference in the name, but damn close. Light brown head but very small, laced nicely on the glass. Smelled of oats and coffee. Tasted just like the smell with a creamy stout flavor and held through the aftertaste very nicely. The aftertaste is by far the best part of this beer, I enjoyed the aftertaste. Holds on to your tongue. I will drink it again, but it's not an everyday beer.

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

Poured from a bottle to pint glass. The liquid is dark brown, not quite like used Engine Oil but Engine Oil covers it ok. Whats in a name any how. The Head is big off white and leaves lots of sudsy lace.

The smell is nice, quite inviting as it sit just below my nose. Just a lot of strong smelling Carmely toasted maltz.

The taste is good. Very malty and rich. I was not expecting it to grow on me so fast.

The mouthfeel in good. nice close to full body, good carbonation.

The drinkability is also good. I could down this a lot faster then I had planned for sure. Prosit MK

Photo of DogFood11
3.36/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured the 11.2oz brown bottle into a stemmed pils glass. It forms a meaty brown head that has good retention. Dark brown to black body.

This is a smooth brew. The mouthfeel is velvety and creamy, similar to a good milk stout. I'm not sure I've started to many reviews with the mouthfeel but this is memorable on the palate. Unfortunately the beer is just OK other than that. Milk chocolatey malts. I always wondered if I would ever taste tobacco in a beer as I've seen in many reviews, well, this a first for me but old engine oil has a distinct tobacco leaf backend. Couple of dings would be the metallic twinge that creeps in towards the finish. I also found that the malts are rather weak in flavor or complexity.

Notes: Decent.

Photo of stephendr
3.95/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2002 vintage -11.2 oz. bottle - color of black , tan thin head - nose of prunes , leather , angave (tequila) , seaweed , rootbeer and malts – taste of portish , prunes , brown sugar , over ripe yellow apples and – body creamy slightly acidic and carbonated – aftertaste of apples and charred wood

Photo of okra
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Not sure what I expected here - thie was sold to me as 'almost a barleywine' by the barmaid. OK, so there was a good amount of aocohol, but.... I love the appearance, and it had a nice creamy head. Somewhat lacking in aroma though - I expected more, but then again, I'm not certain which style this beer would fall into. Quite drinkable, went down smooth, but I expected a tad more body. Oh, nad for the record $8.50 is an insane price for this in Massachusetts.

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

Drank on-tap at Delaney's Taproom and Restaurant, New Haven, CT

Poured a translucent black with hints of brown at the edges of the glass. The one-finger, mocha-colored, sea foam head left temporary ridges of lacing.

The smell was fragrant and sweet and contained a strong indication of powdered cocoa, along with freshly brewed coffee, alcohol soaked raisins and brown sugar.

The taste was rich and complex but seemed harsh and one-dimensional initially. Bitter, biting, roasted malts along with a subtle (yet noticeable) astringent alcohol flavor trumped everything in their way. After a few minutes however, the beer settled markedly. The malt profile remained similar, but the alcohol flavor subsided and notes of dark chocolate, espresso and a subtle fruitiness became apparent as well. There was a significant (and unexpected) hop bite that left the palate dry and wanting another sip. The aftertaste, which seemed to resonate forever, was comprised equally of bitter, roasted malts and chocolate.

Mouthfeel was thick, creamy and slick.

Drinkability was quite good. For such a heavy and densely flavored beer this went down rather easily.

Photo of numenor1
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours very black, and even with tremendous rousing produces little head. What there is, is khaki colored and actually laces very well. Nose is a bit reticent but shows deep toffee, chocolate, dark fruits and faint smoke. Starts with deep caramel and toffee on the palate then a bit of chocolate emerges amidst dark fruit esters. Ends on a sour twang with fruity chocolate fading into the finish. Traces of smoke and light bitterness make an appearance as well (though the smoke could just be the remnants of the single malt i had earlier :-/) Good complexity. Mouthfeel is medium but gives the impression of being fuller than it is due to very low carbonation, creating a very beautiful creamy texture. Quite drinkable but a touch more bittering would improve things imo. Wish it was cheaper.

Actually, with more than a bit of curiosity (and after having the scotch barrel version of this) i added a small dash of highland park 12 yo to the last 1/3 of this beer with pretty amazing results...the smoke aspect is no longer quasi-imagined

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

Deep ruby almost black body topped with a brown creamy head with a few small bubbles around the edges. Decent retention and lace.
Subdued and mild slightly pepper-buttery scent.
Taste is similar to the smell with an added slightly citric twist. Well balanced aftertaste that fades almost to nothing but lasts long at that level.
Full, creamy and buttery mouthfeel.
Great session beer.
Overall a mild mannered and pleasant brew. Soft, smooth and interesting.


Photo of haz77
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours pitch black, with an inch of bubbly head. This slowly drops to a creamy, firm layer and leaves behind some nice lacing.

S - Could smell it before going anywhere near the glass, although strangely it's not quite as potent as expected when going in for a smell. Coffee, chocolate, wood, anise, vanilla.

T - Coffee upfront, before the chocolate takes over and floats forwards and backwards all the way to the finish. Anise flavours come through in the middle and the vanilla appears towards the end. Fairly dry finish, with chocolate and burnt flavours lingering in the aftertaste.

M - Unbelievably smooth, with a syrupy texture and medium-full body. Carbonation is light, and feels just right.

D - Quite drinkable. There was nothing I particularly disliked about the beer, but I was under whelmed by the smell and taste.

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

Pours what looks like old engine oil:) An off white head is slightly small and leaves no lace however does have good retention.

Caramel, and toffeed malt aromas, dark fruits, and even a slight hint of bourbon.

Very balanced and complex flavors. Dominated by caramel malt & dark fruits. Black currant, black cherry, fig, and some black licorice. Hints of coffee and some fudge flavors as well.

Creamy thick mouthfeel. Tasty!!!

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,512 ratings.