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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.

1,369 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,369
Reviews: 731
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 10.63%
Wants: 104
Gots: 87 | 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: 1,369 | Reviews: 731 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of biggred1
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

Dark brown and impossible to see through with a whipped up tan head that leaves plenty of fine lace behind on the glass. Dark chocolate malt, dark fruit and some roasty coffee are all present and accounted for in the nose. Rich and roasty flavors are well balanced with a heavy handed hop bittering that really balances the sweet malty flavors nicely. Really nice and complex flavors. Nice and medium full bodied with bright carbonation. A truly unique beer.

biggred1, Mar 04, 2010
Photo of rfgetz
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%

Deep, dark, shiny crude oil black at first look but with ruby highlights and lowlights. Minimal compact and creamy brown head with an agressive pour. Big, Bold, Intense roasted grain, sweet toffee, dark fruit, earthy and floral hops and molasses scents. Taste is slightly more subdued than scent, with a full roasted grain profile, without tasting burnt, backed by sweet nutty toffee, dark dried fruit, and a nice bitter earthy and floral hop presence. Medium bodied, smooth and faintly coating. Truly unique... name, appearance and smell make you think overpowering, but taste and bosy is nothing but pleasing and smooth.

rfgetz, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of tko741
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%

Appears a time-warping black, topped with a solid cream head that dissipates to a wispy cloud above the darkness below.

Smells of rich toffee, butterscotch, roasted malts and bittersweet chocolate. A damn fine nose.

Creamy dark chocolate, roasted toffee, and a smooth malt finish are what this awesome brew brings to your palate. Perhaps a lingering hop bite in the aftertaste, and a rich, velvety mouthfeel. Excellent.

I'd be willing to order this for more than one round but not more than a few at a time...I want this beer to be a treat.

tko741, Feb 17, 2010
Photo of sprucetip
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%

From notes. Pretty much black with thick mocha head and good retention. Leaves thick lacing early, much of which eventually washes away.

Smells toasty and of roast barley, and faintly of coffee and chocolate. Malty sweetness is even fainter. Complex and nuanced.

More bitter than sweet but fairly balanced through most of the swallow, with bitterness increasing in the finish. Eventually some bitter chocolate comes into play, but it tastes mainly roasty and toasty like the nose.

Some tingling and burn from the carbonation and modest booze, respectively, with a medium/full body and moderately thick viscosity. Finishes dry and bitter.

This is a very good beer, and am glad to have finally gotten around to trying it. Not as rich, thick and overpowering as the big stouts so many of us are into, but it's not trying to be. There is alot going on for, especially for the size.

sprucetip, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of jera1350
4.1/5  rDev -1%

Black color with a creamy tan head. Leaves a fair amount of lace on the glass.

Very chocolatey along with a hoppy and fruity scent.

Big toasty malt, lots of chocolate, mild coffee and cola.

Hmm, not viscous as the label states. It is bigger bodied and creamy smooth however.

Very drinkable. Old ale? I would call this more of a stout. Regardless, still a very nice ale that is worthy of a try.

jera1350, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of BigBen61
4.8/5  rDev +15.9%

What else needs to be said...look at the ratings. This is easily on of the finest beers I have ever had the privilege to experience. The aroma of cocoa, coffee, roasted malt and caramel sugar waft over the thick creamy head and the thick viscous black liquid that lies beneath. Even after sessioning a few other beers including one of the IPA beasts from Stone this beers flavors are so rich and so pronounced that there is no denying the amount of care and quality in this product. My friend simply put it this way after his first sip..."If I could die right now I would be a happy man!"

BigBen61, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.85/5  rDev -7%

When I saw this on the shelf, I gave it a try because it was available via the single bottle and the name gave me the impression that it would be like the stuff that comes out of my 13 year old car when it gets a lube job. While this was not certainly a bad beer, the title of it is a bit of a misnomer as this turned out categorically not to be a Stout nor was it as thick as that type of beer. Once I saw that it was an Old Ale, it made a lot more sense to me.

The pour, aside from being thin, was pretty much what I expected from this. A very dark brown, with some head, and just a little bit of lacing. The mouthfeel is just like the thickness of it, with the taste of peat, scotch, toffee, and bitter chocolate all competing to stand out. The nose is that of a roasted beer while the aftertaste is just a bit creamy and bitter. Nothing really stands out about this but it goes down relatively easy and for a dark beer, this is about as light-tasting as it gets.

At 6% ABV, this beer is not a session beer but just misses that by a notch. As others have alluded to, this seems like more of a Scotch Ale than anything else and is a good drink to have during these cold winter months. It doesn't have the bourbon-barrel aftertaste to it but nevertheless, it's a worth a shot once since this isn't a style that one comes across every day. In my opinion, this resembles "new engine oil" more than anything else...

JerzDevl2000, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of elgiacomo
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%

Jul 10, 2009

Bottle. A little let down by the name Old Engine Oil...maybe I'm spoiled by Oskar Blues Ten Fidy, but this is no used motor oil in comparison. Pours dark brown with a good-sized tan head that retains well down the glass. Good lacing.

Aroma is subdued, some roasted malts and a little hops.

Flavor is very roasted, coffee, some chocolate and smoke and bitter hops on the finish.

Medium carbonation. Mouthfeel is nice, a bit on the thin side with a dry finish.

elgiacomo, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of OneDropSoup
4.1/5  rDev -1%

On tap at 6 & Save in New Kensington, PA.

Poured into a tulip glass, black with a thin white ring & just a slip of white dusting. Deep ruby highlights, very slim lacing.

Smell is definitely in Flanders territory: tart & fruity, like an Oud Bruin, sour fruit & peels (cherry, apple). Surprising.

Contrasting taste: mild malty caramel, roasty bitterness. Only a slight sourness, & a grassy hop presence. Again, surprising bitter for its color.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, a tad chewy. This one threw me for a loop with the smell & taste combo. Fortunately it was not overwhelming in any aspect, & I had a real good time alternating the smell & flavor -- smells like a Flemish Brown, tastes like a Schwarzbier. Very interesting indeed. Not sure it lives up the name: "Old Engine Oil" conjures a thick, viscous brew a la "Ten Fidy" or "Old Viscosity." Throw it on the misnomer pile with Chocolate Indulgence. Very enjoyable, moniker aside.

OneDropSoup, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my Allagash tall snifter. Pours very dark/black...not as thick as engine oil. Not much head to speak of...even with a straight hard pour torwards the end. A very, very small light brown head rises for a few seconds...but then dissapears quickly. Lacing is thin, but lasting.

Aroma is very strong. Resembles a stout. Lot's of chocolate/coffee. Toffee notes, rosted malts. A slight bitter backside.

Flavor at first is light and bland. Mild to higher carbonation. Beer is at fridge temp. I know this beer has more potential, so I'm going to let it warm up a bit and continue...

...(continuing)getting a lot more bittersweet chocolate now. Roasted maltiness, even a licorice. Not boozy at all. Has a great aftertaste that lingers in your mouth for a while. Mild complexity, nice and tasty!

ShadesOfGray, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of Vengeance526
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%

Pours a dark black color with a small tan head that slowly fades away leaving minimal lacing.

Aroma of chocolate with roasted coffee.

Lots of malty flavors dominate the taste. Starts off with bitter chocolate followed by roasted coffee beans and lighter notes of caramel and licorice. A little bit of smoke can also be detected toward the end.

Light to medium body with light carbonation. Seems to be lacking somewhat in body. This was fairly enjoyable but a little light for the style and not one of my favorites overall. Good to try but I probably won't come back for more.

Vengeance526, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of kegger22
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%

Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Black Ale is very dark brown, almost black color, with a moderate, tan head that dissipates to a self sustaining collar.

The aroma is roasted coffee.

The same roasted coffee shows up in the taste, along with chocolate, but you want to wait for the Oil to warm a little first.

The mouth feel is medium bodied and modestly carbonated.

Drinkability is pretty good because the 6.00 ABV and respectable flavor.

I was hoping to have my socks knocked off by Old Engine Oil, because I just bought a bottle of Ola Dubh 16. Old Oil wasn't bad, but I'm not sure I justified the purchase of what is basically an aged Old Oil for 9 bucks. Oh well.

kegger22, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of Hawthorne
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%

Was fortunate enough to have this great beer on tap at the Lions Pride in Brunswick. The beer has a strong head off the tap with a good smoke and hints of chocolate on the nose. The taste has a nice smoke to it with a slight coffee quality. I thought the beer was beautiful!

Hawthorne, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of Travlr
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%

A: Black color like 10W30 with a small bubble tan head that settles quickly to leave good lacing.
S: Aroma of milk chocolate and alcohol, background of burnt espresso beans.
T: Flavor starts with milk chocolate and progresses to roast coffee with a sourness permeating through it.
M: Great body, as expected.
D: Overall a nice beer, more roasted and more chocolate than the style would suggest, closer to a stout than an old ale.

Travlr, Dec 16, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass. This one has been cellared for approximately two years, if my memory is correct.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of dark chocolate, bourbon, roasted malts and some alcohol despite the relatively low ABV.

T: The taste starts with strong flavors of dark & milk chocolate along with a touch of dark fruit and some creaminess to it. The malt character is as hearty as you would expect from any big stout. The hops presence is likewise very mild as it usually is in this type of beer. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, decent kick, good representation of style, most of the Old Ales that I've had have been more like barleywines, but this one is more stout-like, which I expected since the label reads "Viscous, Chocolaty, Roasty". Overall it was a very good beer and seemed to handle the age quite well.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of morimech
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%

I could see the correlation with a Scotch Ale. It has a roasty, smokey, peaty, and slightly burnt flavor. Not quite old engine oil in color and viscousity unless it is somewhat fresh and hot engine oil. Very small head forms and quickly settles to a thin cap. Very little lacing is left on the glass. The aroma is likewise that of a Scotch Ale. Maybe it has something to do with the region it is brewed. Roasted malt is the dominant aroma along with some smokiness. Not overly complex in aroma or flavor. Medium body with nice carbonation makes it pleasant to drink. I was a bit let down by this beer. I was expecting something much more complex. Without the benefit of barrel aging, Harvieston's Old Ales lack the little extra something to take them to the next level.

morimech, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of rvdoorn
2.78/5  rDev -32.9%

Bottle directly from Scotland. Poured into a the Molen sniffer. The beer pours a very dark black color with a short-lasting light brown head, leaving a messy lacing.

Smell: Dark chocolate, roasted malts, leather, coffee and some hints of red fruit.

Taste: Roasted malts, dark chocolate, liquorish and bitter coffee. Very short and bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation. Beer has even less body than a European lager.

Overall: Disappointing beer. Feels like drinking bitter water. What a shame. Highly overrated in my opinion.

rvdoorn, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of beerwolf77
3.85/5  rDev -7%

First off, great name for a beer. The old car on the bottle just brings it home.

Poured into my pint glass the beer is black as night with no other colors to be seen. Even when holding up to direct light. The beige head is thick and full. It reaches at least an inch and a half before settling to leave a moderate amount of lace.

The aroma is dark an mysterious like the apperance. Roast malt, coffee, light chocolate, dark fruit and a hint of smoke.

The flavor is very smokie. Bitter black coffee with a hint of chocolate. Some dark fruit but mostly just smoked malt.

The body is a little thin and life less for my taste. Not a whole lot of carbonation.

Overall a decent beer. A little too smoked and bitter but worthy of drinking for sure.

beerwolf77, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of CaptFrothy
2.73/5  rDev -34.1%

Was purchasing Harviestoun's twisted and bitter and the clerk talked me into this. Looks good, black and lacey. Smells interesting, dark and mysterious. Taste is heavy on the smoke, really dominates and pushes everything else aside. Too much black patent malt for my t-buds, doubtfull I'll indulge again, tho it's impressive they've packed this much flavor into a 6% tipple, it's all smokestack.

CaptFrothy, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of merryjoulton
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Served very cold with a dark black appearance and hardly even a hint of a head, but some spatterings of deep tan film were apparent. Smell was a little roasty, a little sweet, a little smoky, not much of anything in particular. Taste was about the same. Mouthfeel was very light and watery, not impressed with it. Drinkability was fine.

merryjoulton, Dec 04, 2009
Photo of yuriruley
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%

Appearance - black, forgot to hold it up to the light, but I assume it stays black. With a decent darker colored head that went down pretty fast, but hung around.

Smell - Roasted malts and some coffee, wasn't picking up much else, but my head is a little stuffy today.

Taste - Coffee with a nice roasted flavor, reminds me of a porter or stout in a lot of ways. It was very well balanced.

Mouthfeel - excellent, not to heavy.

Drink - Easy drink, could drink several.

Good beer wasn't what I was expecting at all. Was only the second "old ale" I have had and it was nothing like the first I had. Reminded me of a really good stout. Would definitely buy again.

yuriruley, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of Tim2000
4.88/5  rDev +17.9%

330 mL brown bottle.

Dark brown, almost black brew with a thin collar of white foam.

Smoky, charred aroma with some burnt sugar.

Molasses and burnt toast with hints of dark chocolate. Hops pick up towards the end and linger with bitter charcoal notes. Silky mouthfeel with low carbonation.

Well balanced beer that manages to get tons of flavour from the roasted malts without any unpleasant acidity or astringency. One of the best stouts that I've tried.

Tim2000, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of Lldeegan
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Pours a beautiful inky black brew, impenetrable to light with a one finger mocha color head with a mix of both large and fine bubbles. There is minimal head retention, that gives way to an even blanket of fine lace. This Old Ale style gives off a nice roasty chocolate smell, with some caramel sweet malt and alcohol. The taste is pretty unassuming, almost subtle. First up, roasted malt flavors, and some dark chocolate. Dark fruit is released on the palate as the beer warms up. Some plum, vinous qualities and raisin give way to a bittersweet finish. This beer has a surprisingly lighter body than I expected from the look of the beer. It had that deep thick black appearance that an Imperial Stout has, but this beer was relatively light and creamy, with minimal stick on the palate, and only some heat in the finished, which perhaps has mellowed with age. This beer was a very nice drink, it has that thick beauty to it, without the heavy follow through on the palate. I would describe it to someone as a more roasty, robustly dark chocolate Guinness; which is never a bad thing!

Lldeegan, Nov 11, 2009
Photo of Arbitrator
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Chilled bottle into a glass. Split with a friend.

A: Pours a light brown-black that reveals itself to be clear and ruby-tinted under a bright light. The head is beige-colored, with moderate retention and some spots of lacing.

S: Roasted malt, chocolate, coffee. Hints of plum. My friend remarked that it reminded him of Guinness, and I can see that. It has a very good porter aroma. None of the earth / tobacco / leather I'd love from a really complex old ale.

T: Again, porter-like flavors in roasted malt, chocolate, coffee. Tinted with plums throughout, but nothing that manifests itself as a huge flavor. Mostly on the sweeter side, with a decent burst of flavor. Pretty tasty for something that's so low in ABV.

M: Medium-bodied. Goes down quite nicely. I wish it were a bit thicker (with lower carbonation), but it's hardly bad right now.

D: I don't know if this is the base beer for the Ola Dubh series, but on its own it's a pretty tasty beer that seems well-suited to the whiskey casks they foist upon it. My buddy seemed to be less impressed than I was, but as a drinkable porter deal, this certainly satisfies. Not exactly outstanding in the old ale category though.

Arbitrator, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of eljefe21
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

A: Thick, dark brown, almost black brew. Single-finger light brown head rises from the top. Fine lacing clings to the sides of the glass.

S: Decent, but not spectacular burnt chocolate, coffee, malt smell. A deep inhale makes the mouth water.

T: Roasted malt taste with slight hints of chocolate. Flavor lingers nicely after the liquid leaves the mouth.

M: Thick and viscous. Tiny sharp carbonation bubbles add to the feel. Coats the tongue with flavor.

D: Warming, satisfying beer that's perfect for tonight's cool weather. Not a huge beer, but filling and warming enough. I wouldn't have too many in one sitting. Certainly not something I'd reach for on a hot day.

Served: in an imperial pint glass.

Review from notes taken on: 10/2/09.

eljefe21, Nov 06, 2009
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,369 ratings.