1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,379 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,379
Reviews: 733
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Engine Oil Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,379 | Reviews: 733 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bravo4
4.35/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into an Imperial pint glass.

A- Extremely dark with a tan head that lingers around 1 finger.

S- Coffee with dark fruits and chocolate. Slightly heavy.

T- Deffinately dark chocolate with coffee and dark fruits.

M- Thick and rich mouthfeel that goes down smooth with little carbonation.

D- This is definately drinkable and would make a good session beer if you are into this style.

Bravo4, Jul 19, 2010
Photo of mdwalsh
3.2/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Just some very short notes on this one, sorry.

A: BIG cola like head on this, opaque black body, not much else worth describing though.

S: Sugar, cooked grain, brown sugar. No Alcohol.

T: Dry, roasted, no hops or alcohol. Sort of bland, I could see why they wanted to age this in barrels.

M: Dry and Light.

mdwalsh, Jul 16, 2010
Photo of ritzkiss
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle split with eat - thanks Colin!

Pours a nice dark brown with a little light around the edges, two fingers of foam pop up and leave a big bubble collar and some light lacing.

This has to be considered a classic of the style. Coffee, bitter chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, charred wood, a bracing grassy bitterness that has a faint citrus note in there, nice toffee and brown sugar sweetness, slightly thin body but at 6% this is a supremely drinkable, loaded with flavor porter you would gladly session. Really very nice, this is what the style was meant to be.

ritzkiss, Jul 14, 2010
Photo of mulder1010
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ML bottle poured into a 425 ML glass

A-- Poured a reddish black and settled black with red tints at the head of the beer. Short lived dark brown head that became light brown head. Some head retention and no visible carbonation. Small bit of lacing with the beer.

S-- Roasted malts, coffee molasses, and have a bit of cured meat smell to this.

T-- Coffee, molasses, sweet milk, a lot of roasted malts to this.

M-- All over the board in a good way. Tar like but has enough sweet qualities to get by. Started getting a bit of milk chocolate in the mouth to go along with the others. Thick and rich but not overly heavy.

D-- Excellent porter. Well hidden ABV, complex and has a lot going on with it. Also quite drinkable and can have 2-3 and not get tired of it.

mulder1010, Jul 08, 2010
Photo of KTCamm
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from thw 12 oz slim into a pint glass.

Pours dark black with flecks of brown covered by a brown foam.

Roasted coffee/chocolate smell with underlying sweetness. Subdued roasted bitterness wrapped with malt. Quite flavorful, in an almost understated way. Almost tasting a bourbon/whiskey sensation that I know not to be there - but could easily see how this is barrel aged in other varieties.

Slight creamy mouthfeel. Very drinkable. Excellent,

KTCamm, Jul 02, 2010
Photo of Parrotbeak
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A few shades short of black, with almost no light passing through. Very thin, off-white head that fades quickly, leaving a few patches. Not much lacing.
Smell is dark, roasted malts, with notes of dark chocolate and cocoa, as well as caramel and fainr toffee. Some faint espresso notes as well.
Taste is bitter, roasted malts, with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and light caramel. Bitter and malty on the finish.
Mouthfeel is smooth, yet crisp and fairly dry on the finish. Medium body.
Drinkability is good. Tastes more like a porter than an old ale to me. Pretty good beer overall.

Parrotbeak, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of dqrull
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black liquid, that for some reason seems a bit brownish to me, although it lets through no light what so ever, not even at the edges, hmm. A creamy tan head, of moderate size lasts quite a wihile, leaving spotted creamy lacing.

Smells is that of hot chocolate with cream! A really full and intense nose with some bitter dark chocolate behind the creamy hot chocolate, a light brush of mixed fruits from the hops, a very, very small hint of roasted malts as well.

Taste is slightly dissapointing after the great nose... Starts off with chocolate and a light hint of lightly roasted coffee, then transforms into a mix of raw vegetables... like carrot juice without the taste of carrots... if that makes any sense. Continuing from mid palate, there is a hint of sweet fruits after the vegetables step back, with a little honey to them as well as a very faint floral perfume-thing. Finishes with bitter coffee... no huge aftertaste, but that is expected with this moderate ABV I guess.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for me, and the carbonation feels a little bit underwhelming, but it's still good, with small, quite sharp bubbles.

dqrull, Jun 14, 2010
Photo of mithrascruor
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a solid black color with nice creamy darker tan head. Very good retention and lacing. More head than I would expect, after the Ola Dubhs I've had.

Smell: Warm and slightly sweet aroma of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and a bit of creamed coffee.

Taste: The flavor is almost entirely that of roasted malts. The taste is fairly dense, and it takes on a burned/bitter quality towards the finish. It is best to wait a bit between sips, as more delicate aspects of the flavor come out in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy mouthfeel, with a light but constant carbonation. Medium-bodied; a bit lighter than I expected.

Drinkability: Taste may be a bit too much for some people, but I find it quite drinkable and the ABV is pretty low.

An enjoyable old ale, and probably a good introduction to this style (both in flavor and price). I personally prefer their Ola Dubh which have a lot more going on with various subtle things in the flavor.

mithrascruor, Jun 13, 2010
Photo of RuudJH
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To compare some dark beers, I bought this, 'Old Ale' Porter from Scotland.

Very dark brown, good head, very nice lacing.
Aroma of dark malts, a bit of coffee and chocolate, also dark caramel and vanilla.

Taste is bitter from roasted malts. There's almost an ash taste to it too. Bitter aftertaste as well.

Mouthfeel is medium: it's not lingering too long. Alcohol is well masked.

Compared to other porters I've had ( I say porter, because it's stated like this on the bottle), This Old Engine Ale' is modest.
More creamy milky chocolate notes would make it more to my liking.
Good nevertheless.

RuudJH, Jun 05, 2010
Photo of Bouleboubier
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Not many brews I've had like this.

Served in a pint glass. Have had it in a chalice at the same joint as well.

Poured without much of a head, not that it's a big deal with an old ale. A thin film of sud lingered for a bit and no sight of lacing. Dark viscous black - iodine or vanilla extract in appearance and consistency.

The nose off this is roasty, bitter, and vinous (not necessarily in order of potency) - but hardly off-putting.

I'm almost at a loss describing its flavor. I can try and sum it up with by noting that it tastes like a mix between port wine and an Irish dry stout. I don't know how they achieve the balance in those flavors, but it's wonderful.

The mouthfeel is very much like an Imperial stout and Concord grape juice, without the grape part. Viscous, but not thick. Astringent, but not altogether dry.

I love this beer, most especially on draft. Great by itself or with fruity, chocolaty, or rich (in general) desserts.

Bouleboubier, May 29, 2010
Photo of thjoth
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into a pilsner glass.

A: Black as pitch with a dark tan (I'm calling it a khaki color) head that lingers around a finger in width. Darker than Guinness. No real bubbling or carbonation was apparent.

S: Slightly burnt coffee with a sweet note of...I'm not sure, perhaps a sort of chocolaty/dark-fruity note.

T: Bitter chocolate with burnt coffee again. Finish is slightly bitter, about the middle of the road by beer standards, and sticks around for quite a while in the back of your throat. I was still tasting this one occasionally about 45 minutes later, but I'm not sure if that has more to do with the slight bitterness or with the sheer viscosity of the liquid.

M: Almost syrupy it's so thick. No carbonation to lighten it at all that I noticed. This is actually how I like them though; they can't get it thick enough to stand a spoon up in, but by God they're trying, and I applaud the effort.

D: I could definitely drink a couple of these. Overall quite enjoyable. For sure I'd like to review this one again down the road after my senses develop a bit better and see if I can pick anything else out.

thjoth, May 28, 2010
Photo of aepb1
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Black with a creamy tan head

S- Chocolate and coffee, malts. Rich smell!

T- Strong chocolate fore with the roasted malts finishing and a bit of hoppiness at the finish as well

M- Decent though not as thick as the appearance and smell would lead you to believe but being labeled a black ale, it makes sense

D- Great beer and very easy to drink!

aepb1, May 27, 2010
Photo of bgildea
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: As advertised, it looks like oil. Little tannish head, that faded quickly, and left little lacing.

S: Very nice aroma. Nice sweet smell of chocolate comes across with a background of roasted malts.

T: Great taste! Matches the smell exactly. Chocolate comes across strong with a very nice lingering flavor of roasted malts with a slight amount of hops. Really enjoyed it.

M: Decent amount of chew to it. I would have liked a little more though. Still good.

D: Very drinkable. I'm glad I accidentally got two when I was out on a beer run.

Overall - Overall, I'm very impressed with the beer. The flavor was very balanced and delicious. Great amount of chocolate and malts. Well done.

bgildea, May 25, 2010
Photo of rarbring
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very dark, almost black, beer, a small brownish head, little lacing some curtains.

Dark caramel malt nuances, coffee and chocolate beans, burnt bread and some saltiness.

The taste is upfront sweet, burnt sugar, a bit smoky, coffee beans and bunt porridge.

Little carbonation, thick and oily with a dry finish.

Very sweet to me, with some ripe cheese and ginger bread perhaps?

rarbring, May 22, 2010
Photo of projectflam86
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep dark brown almost black color with a thick creme colored head that leaves some nice lace.

S- Lots of roast and malt aromas initially with a bit of smoke.

T- Rich and roasted with a lingering burnt aftertaste. Some better sweet chocolate and toasted grains come through as well.

M- Medium bodied with low carbonation. Overall a smooth creamy feel.

D- I would have guessed this to be more of an english stout than an old ale but either way its quite tasty.

projectflam86, May 22, 2010
Photo of crossovert
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11.2 oz bottle.

It pours thinner than motor oil (cmon guys). It is a nice rich black with brown on the edges of the pint. The head is huge and cocoa tan and creamy and delicious looking. It takes forever to recede leaving some nice lacing.

It smells very grainy, like a freshly brewed beer. It has some nice chocolate scents along with some sugary caramel and bread. There is a hint of smoky peat and coffee as well.

The flavor is decent, very Irish stout-liken at first, but infinitely better. It has a sort of spiciness to it along with some toffee, chocolate pudding, and coffee. Gradually it gets smoother and fruitier and is pleasant.

Its a decent beer. Nice one.

crossovert, May 20, 2010
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of several nice birthday beer gifts from my wife this year, picked it out with help from John at Granite Liquors in Weymouth, thanks to both! Poured it into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. Comes out as close to black as possible, but it's dark brown. When held up to the light and pouring it you can see some deep mahogany colors right around the edges. It has an off white colored head, it doesn't take too long for it to go away and provides a little bit of glass retention. All in all a pretty good looking beer, I wouldn't say it looks like old engine oil in my opinion, but I guess that's a good thing. Smell is very good it has a lot going on. Has some dark fruit/fig characteristics, almost more like a dark fruity liquor though. It has some chocolate aromas to compliment the well roasted malts. This has a bready smell to it which I'm generally not a huge fan of but its quite pleasant in this mixture of aromas. Not a very hoppy beer, but not exactly a hop-head brew. The taste is equally excellent, chocolate roasted malts are the dominant flavor. It still has fruitiness to it, not as dominant as the smell, but still good. The dark fruit liquor taste actually takes a slight backseat to some hops hear, but only slightly, they are both in the vehicle if you know what I mean. Well balanced flavor overall, very tasty, if my jeep's old engine oil tasted anything like this, I'd be drinking it! The mouthfeel is very good, not as thick as I expected it to be based on the name. It's by no means light bodied, it's still a full bodied beer. It's somewhat smooth, close to creamy and incredibly drinkable. This beer could be drank on any occasion whatsoever. It's full enough for the lovers of dark beer and smooth and drinkable enough for the those who like the lighter ones. I think this would be an excellent gateway beer for those who are trying to get into darker beers, a truly great beer.

AndyAvalanche, May 17, 2010
Photo of damndirtyape
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Single bottle (no date I could interpret, but I think I see a 2009 on here) poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Completely black (even when held up to the light). 1/2" Tan head upon pouring dies down to some foam at the edges and thin skin across the top. Islands of lacing here and there. If you look really closely at the edges of liquid towards the end of the glass you can get dark cola brown as the color of the beer.

Smell: Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts dominate here but I think I can detect some very faint floral notes at the end. The smells become less dominant as the beer warms up, but still quite nice.

Taste: Bittersweet chocolate up front, roasted malt in the middle, and then a good bitter finish. Nicely balanced and lingering bitter finish is quite good - like that of a good dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick - very little carbonation on the tongue but that's not a bad thing here. Just a bit creamy.

Drinkability: Good by itself or with a meal, but it's so intense in it's bittersweet flavor that I think I could only have one an evening or I'd burn out my tastebuds.

damndirtyape, May 15, 2010
Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On cask a Max's today.

The beer pours a fairly dark brown color wiht good head retentin and lacing. The nose is very smokey and peaty, with some noticeable brown sugar and light chocolate. Flavors replicate the nose, and the beer is soft, creamy and long on the palate. While a bit thin, and with very low carbonation, mouthfeel is otherwise medium bodied with a plush mouthfeel. Drinkabilty is good, with the alcohol almost completely unnoticeable.

A nice solid beer, but not one that was really any better on cask then it was on gas (IMHO). Still a nice beer....

John_M, May 02, 2010
Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is near black in color (when holding up the glass to the light only a slight trace of amber is visible near the bottom edge of the glass) and poured with a thin head that quickly dissipated into lacey patterns of bubbles on the surface.
S: There are faint aromas of dark roasted malts and burnt coffee beans in the nose.
T: The flavor is dominated by roasted and burnt malts with hints of chocolate and coffee.
M: The beer feels heavy-bodied on the palate and there is dryness in the finish. It doesn't feel as viscous as it is billed up to be.
D: Drinking this beer wasn't that difficult, it seemed to be something like a hybrid between a porter and a stout.

metter98, May 02, 2010
Photo of Lerxst
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at Kickbacks

A-Black with a foamy one finger head that has moderate retention, but leaves some nice looking lacing.

S-Roasted malt, dark fruit, a whiff of coffee and sweet caramel. Its pleasant but not very strong. I'd like for the nose to be more prominent.

T-Follows the nose with roasted malt, dark fruit, some coffee and caramel. The flavors really stand out, yet work well together. I'm really liking this.

M-On the heavier side of medium, but not quite full bodied. Slick and oily.

D-The pint went down in no time and I could easily have had many more. Very drinkable.

I really enjoyed this one. I'll have to go back and have another before the keg kicks.

Lerxst, May 02, 2010
Photo of Kendo
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from the mini-growler into a Piraat tulip-type snifter. Body is brown on the pour, but appears black in the glass. One-finger tan head settles on top. Some splotchy lace.

S: Big on roasted barley malt, some roasted coffee beans as well. Also a touch of chocolate.

T: Roasted barley again, and plenty of coffee. Finishes with a dry, palate-cleansing bitterness - think pine, maybe. Lingering taste of roasted barley.

M: Thinner than expected, call it medium in heft. Plenty of carbonation.

D: Very good.

Kendo, May 01, 2010
Photo of Lazerlobe
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an amazingly drinkable stout-black ale. I wasn't that dazzled by the smell, a sort of sweet milk with some roast. But this dark brew has a LOT of chocolate and roast coffee in it. I will definitely seek out a couple more of these. Good job Scotland!

Lazerlobe, Apr 29, 2010
Photo of juju7
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before date Sept 09. Yep, more than six months later this bad boy holds up pretty well. Black as....engine oil? Lovely nose of complex malts, roastiness, touch of coffee and some liqorice-its lost nothing. A rich viscous mouthfeel that finishes long and memorably. Top shelf black ale that proves it has life well beyond it's BBD.

juju7, Apr 24, 2010
Photo of brewerburgundy
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, goblet, no freshness dating. Thank you for the trade farrago.

This is nearly as dark as Ten Fidy. I think the dark malt infused body shows highlights while the aforementioned Imperial Stout does not, and if it does they are miniscule. A frothy head of nearly half an inch did form in a brown lighter than expected but has now receded to large bubbles ringing and floating.

When one hears the name Old Engine Oil, the expected experience is one of darkness, pungency, and, as the label says, viscousity. In a word, dominance. As advertised the nose is chocolatey and roasty. Bready brownies, coffee grounds, bakers chocolate, English hops, and the suggestion of dark fruit.

The roast is most prominent in the mouth. The chocolate is bitter and fades to black so to speak, to be replaced by hop bitterness in the finish. The roasted malt crescendos to acrid for a slightly sour addition to that finish.

For the 6% abv this does seem to have a solid body. The very soft carbonation surely aids this perception, but I couldn't help thinking it just doesn't live up to the evocative name.

I'll jump on board the 'this really makes me think of a stout and it should be' band wagon. I'm sure they call it an Old Ale partially because it wouldn't be considered as special if it was 'just another stout', which it isn't. I consumed this faster than is normal for me.

brewerburgundy, Apr 23, 2010
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,379 ratings.