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Old Engine Oil - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Educational use only; do not reuse.

764 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 764
Hads: 1,593
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.12%
Wants: 137
Gots: 161 | FT: 2
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 (30) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Engine Oil Alström Bros
Reviews: 764 | Hads: 1,593
Photo of Suds
3.48/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

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Photo of necoadam
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of lou91
4.18/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

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Photo of TAMU99
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of Kongquistador
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev 0%
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?

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
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

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Photo of nomad
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of tar
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

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Photo of Loki
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
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!"

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Photo of DagFishHead
4.71/5  rDev +14.9%
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....

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Photo of RoyalT
4.18/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena, CA. Old Engine Oil has a near-black color with ruby edging, a thick, creamy tan head and left splotchy lace.
Smell was a blend of dark chocolate, some coffee, light fruitiness, and a touch of herbal hops.
The taste was bittersweet overall, with some roasted malt, baker's chocolate and coffee flavors dominating. There was an undefinably sweet taste I couldn't place. It was of dark fruit, maybe black currant. Had a modestly bitter finish to balance things out.
Feel was lighter than expected, creamy and lightly carbonated.
I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable beer. Quite easy to drink. Don't let the name fool you.

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Photo of ADR
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown with some ruby highlights. Medium tan head, 1/2 an inch of stiff foam. Widely spaced fat laces. Chocolate covered carmamel aromas. Thick and deep malt impression comes on immediately, densely chocolate and viscous in mouthfeel. Smooth, with lots of aftertaste, hop bittering is just adequate, not much but a balancing act. A little too sweet and unidimensional in quality, but a good beer to have when you want a diverse arsenal at your disposal.

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Photo of Brent
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

With a name like this, one would almost expect the beer to pour with a "glug, glug, glug" factor. To the contrary, the body of this beer seemed a bit thin and oily for the flavor profile. Chocolate malt predominated, with nicely roasted flavors that were not overdone. The beer describes itself as being a good dessert beer, but I did not think it was sweet enough or had enough body to carry out that mission. Nice, but overall did not have the "umph" it seemed to need.

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Photo of jcalabre
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearnce: This engine oil pours dark brown with a foamy brown head and reddish bricking.
Aroma: This puppy has some maltiness in the nose.
Flavor: It's a bit malty with some alcohol bite, but not too much. THis is extremely drinkable. I can imagine sitting back and having a few of these

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Photo of marburg
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty aptly named, appearance-wise. Deep, reddish brown. Dark. Very thin head becomes a long-lasting film. Strangely bittersweet to the nose -- chocolate and herbal hops. Kind of a bittersweet coccoa to it. Uniquely put together flavor profile as well. Coffee-ish -- almost stout like -- with fruits, oak, and hops. Fairly potent, bitter finish. Clean. Very drinkable and very intersting -- always a good combo.

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Photo of rastaman
3.48/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Charcoaly brown in colour, looks really nice. Pretty nice stuff tastewise. Soft medium bodied, light carbonation. Flavours of chocolate caramel, with some late salt, peat and citric hops. Bitter-ish finish, and relatively dry. Nice soft texture. Ever so slightly roasted finish.

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Photo of byrd
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

True to its name sake, this beer pours almost a solid black. It’d definitely reminiscent of old engine oil that’s gone far, far too long between changes. When held up to the light, some garnet highlights could be seen. Very little tan head that becomes a small lace. Very malty aroma with caramel and chocolate malts sharing the stage. Very rich, creamy brew with lots of caramel and chocolate on the palette and slight roasted notes. Not much hops to speak of except at the finish were the hop bitterness comes through for a moment but give way again to the malt. Bit of a lingering roastiness and sweet malt. Mouthfeel is quite smooth, medium to full body with low carbonation. This is the first old ale that I’ve had. Had I not known it, I would have thought it to be a porter or stout. Either way, it’s a great brew that I found quite difficult to keep from drinking too quickly.

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Photo of smitty1080
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a creamy head. It appears a dark red when held up to the light. I can definitely smell a bit of chocolate. The chocolate continues in the taste with the accompaniment of hops. With the light carbonation it finishes with a bit of fruit and slight slight burnt taste.

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Photo of UnionMade
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The ale is dark umber brown, with very little head. Almost looks like cola. Some lacework, forming patchy little globs on the glass.
Aroma is very subdued, light english hops and a slight roasty aroma. Light esteriness, with an herbal hoppiness flitting lightly through the malt.
Flavor is initially thin, then explodes with flavor at the back of the tongue. Bitterness from both roasted malts and prodigious hopping. Sweet in a strange dark chocolate kind of way. Mild plum and pear flavors, with a touch of fig. Very low carbonation, with a smooth, rich mouthfeel.
Hot stuff. Very similar to Old Peculier.

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Photo of SilentSabre
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now this is indeed a marvelous brew. Pours about as dark as Coca-Cola with about a centimetre thick head. Laces the glass quite nicely and has a wonderful smell.(If you enjoy stouts and darks and such.) The taste is wonderful! A robust maltiness with an almost chocolate finish. I personally love this in a brew. The mouth feel is quite unique in that it almost feels like there is more carbonation present than there actually is. It almost "stings" one's mouth similarly to soda. If strong darks are your preference, the drinkability of this one is most definately 4.0. I will most certainly be purchasing this one again.

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Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
91 out of 100 based on 764 ratings.