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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

1,321 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,321
Reviews: 728
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.65%
Wants: 96
Gots: 73 | 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)
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Ratings: 1,321 | Reviews: 728 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dukew456
dukew456

Oregon

4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz bottle into my Duvel Tulip.

Deep brown with a tan head that comes up nicely, then settles down to a thin layer. Looks good.

The smell on this is pretty great...almost riding the line between what I usually think of as an "old ale" and what I think of as a porter. Dark roasted malts, with an almost peaty bitter-earthy character and bitter chocolate.

The taste is incredibly malty up front, and rides that wave the whole way. The "roasty" (Harviestoun's word, not mine) quality on this is inherent and lends an earthy aspect to the taste, which complements the sweet malts well.

A great beer that I'm glad I picked up, and will again when the spirit moves me.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2009 03:16:12 | More by dukew456
Photo of Beejay
Beejay

Virginia

4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Looks like old engine oil.. nice creamy tan head.

S: sweet, malty.. slightly earthy.

T: Bitter chocolate, but in the dark chocolate kinda way.. Good. a little kick from the hops.. pretty good.

M:Not too creamy, not too oily.. very nice..

D: Deep dark and delicious.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2009 01:33:00 | More by Beejay
Photo of HeyItsChili
HeyItsChili

China

4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours black with dark brown highlights and a thin dark brown head that dissipates into a film.

S - Chocolate, vanilla, roasted malt.

T - Phenomenal. A lot of things going on here; toasty malt, coffee, big bittersweet, almost sour chocolate flavor.

M - Thick bodied, viscous, very low carbonation. Mouth coating.

Notes - Excellent, very complex aroma and flavor.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2009 21:22:22 | More by HeyItsChili
Photo of cbw1978
cbw1978

Rhode Island

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Dark-brown to black, pretty opaque except on the pour. Pour down the middle of a pint glass led to a foamy tan head of just over 1/2 an inch, which dissipated after a few minutes. There was a decent amount of vertical lacing that remained throughout the tasting.

Smell - Malty with a little fruity sourness (apple?), then roasted coffee and chocolate.

Taste - A slight bitterness that wasn't overly hoppy; sweet roasty malt taste was more dominant.

Mouthfeel - Creamy with very subtle carbonation. Coats the top of the mouth and sits for a while after the swallow.

Drinkability - Smooth and pleasant; somewhere between a stout and an ale, worth pouring again, would be a beer to pair with a chocolate dessert.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2009 00:47:53 | More by cbw1978
Photo of spointon
spointon

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this one from an 11.2oz skinny brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A= This ale poured a dark black-brown with ruby and cola colored hues around the edges. With an aggressive pour, the dark tan head rose 1.25" and took ten minutes or so to settle to a nice thin cap. Only a few spots and streaks of lace down my glass.

S= Aromas of burnt/roasty coffee, dark molasses-like sweetness, earthy hop bitterness deep down, and a pleasant dark cherry-alcohol note near the end.

T= Very complex mix of flavor here. A heady malt sweetness is soon followed by a rich combination of toffee, darkly roasted malts, chocolate and treacle. The combination give a perfect bitterness to counteract the sweeetness of the brew. Tea like, earthy hop character comes in halfway and leads to a dry and slight roast-bitter finish.

MF= Heavy body with a rich creamy mouthfeel and a nice carbonation pop.

D= Big beautiful flavors here that sort of defy categorization. It reminds me of an old ale and a stout blended. In any event it is incredibly enjoyable and highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2009 19:41:15 | More by spointon
Photo of demcorhip
demcorhip

Ontario (Canada)

3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty plain looking beer. An average pour gave a thin tan head that pulled a disappearing act. Since there is no collar i expect no lacings. It does look like old engine oil, almost black, and lets very little light through, even at the edges of the glass.

Smells a bit better than it looks. Milk chocolate, some hazelnut, a hint of booze, as well as a hint of darker fruits, raspberry, blackberry and plum. A touch of earthy leafiness is also present.

Hazelnut but mostly milk chocolate come through on the tasting. More bitter roasted flavours come through in the middle leading to the finish, like a dark roasted coffee that has oxidized due to sitting on the heat element. Finishes with a hint of earthy and decaying leafy hops.

A somewhat viscous medium bodied ale. Some residual sweetness and hints of toffee add richness and counterbalance the roasted malt. Very smooth, as advertised on the label, enhanced by the creamy mouthfeel and mild level of carbonation. Just a touch of hops.

Pretty drinkable stuff, the one thing that detracts is the more bitter roasted notes that muddle things up slightly. Certainly recommended for fans of dark, chocolaty brews. All in all this is an approachable, chocolaty brew that would serve well for those looking to get into the darker styles of beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 22:22:45 | More by demcorhip
Photo of KevinBrewer
KevinBrewer

California

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an almost opaque dark brown with a slight reddish tint in the light. Medium-sized tan head with plenty of lacing.

Smells of roasty malt, chocolate, and a hint of coffee. Also a light note of floral hop aroma.

Tastes of sweet roasty malt with bitter chocolate. There is a coffee undertone and a light taste of floral hops. Hop bitterness shows up in the middle, lingers through the end, and is perfectly balanced with the malt.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Doesn't really remind me of engine oil, which I think is a good thing. :)

Great drinkability, especially for a bigger beer such as this. Nice balance of flavors, not overly sweet, and not too bitter. I could easily drink six of these in a night.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2009 10:58:08 | More by KevinBrewer
Photo of Minkybut
Minkybut

Virginia

3.85/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this cool name for a beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was black as it should be. The head was a dark tan color. The lacing was decent. The smell of the beer was choclkotywith a bit of a burnt smell. The beer had a viscous mouthfeel, kinda chewy that I liked. I will buy again.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2009 23:29:22 | More by Minkybut
Photo of Ralphus
Ralphus

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle of Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil came with some high expectations. The fellow at the cash register had been talking it up since early fall when the first porters arrived. And when I finally got around to trying it I was expecting a little more of what I'd come to enjoy in other offerings..

It pours as dark as one is led to believe it might be but without the head and no lacing either. It didn't look that impressive so I gave it a smell.. there's some coffee, dark chocolate and even hints of red wine in there. But I wouldn't rank it as great.. maybe even not all that noteworthy. Certainly other beers of this style have performed similar feats.

In tasting we find some sweetness up front - but it's very short lived. Being quickly being dominated by the roasted barley and slightly acidic hops at the back end. There is balance but it's transitory in nature instead of a constant play between flavors.

Mouthfeel is smooth but a little on the watery side. It may have the look of old engine oil but surely it does not have the consistency. The one area I will give the beer credit towards though is that it ends better than it starts. Each passing mouthful is a little more enjoyable than the last and before you reach the end of your first glass, you'll already be thinking about your second.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2009 02:25:46 | More by Ralphus
Photo of FranklinDBier
FranklinDBier

Connecticut

4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Concur with bowersdm below. An excellent pour with great color, aroma, flavor and a nice roasted chocolate aftertaste. Although pricey at nearly $4 for a 16 oz. bottle, this Black Ale is tasty and enjoyable and it doesn't carry a heavy flavor like a stout.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 23:04:21 | More by FranklinDBier
Photo of DoctorDog
DoctorDog

Ohio

3.1/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 11.2 oz. bottle into a nonic.

A- Very deep brown/mahogany. Pours with 1/2 finger of brown head, which fades quickly, leaving thin, incomplete cap.

S- Vinous alcohol notes offset by some malty/fruity sweetness.

T- Roasty maltiness mixes with slight notes of dark fruit/plum and molasses, offset somewhat unfortunately by hints of wet cardboard that mar an otherwise interesting blend of flavors.

M- Moderate/low carbonation. Surprisingly thin/watery and quite drying. Strikingly lacking in the viscosity that I was expecting. Big disappointment in this department.

D- Not great. Didn't much want to savor this one, and it wasn't close to sessionable. One and done.

Future outlook: Pretty big disappointment. This brew is supposedly age-able, but perhaps my bottle's Old Engine Oil was just too damn old...I'll probably try this again, but only if I'm certain the bottle is fresh enough.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2009 03:57:13 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of bowersdm
bowersdm

Ohio

4.53/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle poured into a nonic.

A - a very black viscous liquid with no head. It seriously did look like used motor oil.

S - dark chocolate, roasted barley, coffee, tobacco, a hint of hops

T - same as the nose, only the tobacco flavor is more noticeable and the dark chocolate is more subdued.

M - very thick and viscous. low carbonation, but I think i prefer that for this style of beer

D - it's a good beer. I'd have another.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2009 06:30:28 | More by bowersdm
Photo of atis
atis

Finland

4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought it in Dublin.

Pours very dark brown with small tan head that immediately dissipates, some scarce patchy lacing. Aroma is quite complex, dominated by sweet malt, hints dark fruit. Taste is roasted coffee malty, some hops, caramel with dry finish and warming bittery aftertaste. Almost no alcohol in taste could be felt, maybe more towards the end when the beer warmed up. Mouthfeel is below medium, low carbonation.

Overall, this is my first Old Ale and I liked it. If I did not know what I was drinking, I would confuse it with strong Irish Stout. It was good.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2009 18:21:04 | More by atis
Photo of Patrick999
Patrick999

Florida

3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into my Ommegang chalice, this is indeed rather dark as the name would imply. Even held up to the light, I get little to no color. Thin head.

S - Good aroma of plum and chocolate, a little anise.

T - If I didn't know better, I'd mistake this for a good porter or stout. Roasted coffee and dark chocolate notes are there along with some piney, tobacco-like hop, and anise. Semi-sweet all the way through.

F - Has a viscous feel to me, and makes me thirsty.

D - Even at 6% ABV, this is rich enough as to make it a sipper. Would be a good pairing for a dessert or cigar if that is your inclination.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 03:04:10 | More by Patrick999
Photo of BarleyMine
BarleyMine

Oregon

4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one into a snifter and it offered a black brew with a nice, brown head with decent retention and rather quick lacing. Smells of roasted malts with earthy/musty qualities. Also has some woody, tobacco and cocoa notes. Medium body with prickly carbonation. Very enjoyable brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2009 03:21:25 | More by BarleyMine
Photo of Tone
Tone

Missouri

4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy, dark black color. One inch head of a tan color (one of the darkest color heads I've come across). Decent retention and good lacing. Smells strongly of alcohol and roasted malts. There's also might be a hint of hops in the aroma. So far as I can tell, it fits the style of an Old Ale. Smooth and thick mouth feel. There's an average carbonation level present along with a noticeable bitterness on the tongue. Tastes of roasted malts first off, then the alcohol is strong. The aftertaste is of a malt dryness that matures into a slight chocolaty flavor. There's a hop bitterness, but not strong hop flavor. Along with the malt there is a sweetness to the brew that counteracts the malt and hop bitterness. Overall, a rather enjoyable beer that's worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2009 22:15:18 | More by Tone
Photo of mjaskula
mjaskula

New York

3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Pours thick and black with a fluffy tan head. Smells of alcohol, malt and some fruit. Taste is thick complex malty with some chocolate and coffee flavors. Very smooth, much more drinkable than expected. Would drink again.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2009 02:11:35 | More by mjaskula
Photo of erz316
erz316

Indiana

4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

11.2 fl oz brown bottle poured into s. smith pint glass

A - pitch black as far as my eye can tell. there are some brown hues let in at the bottom of the glass but a very minimal amount. there is a nice bubbly light brown head. the lacing is ample and head retention is average.

S - sweet, not over bearing, but noticeably sweet. smells like a sweet iced coffee in some aspect or another, that is: if the sugar was actually smell-able. I also smell the malts which add, I might dare say, a caramel layer to the nose. quite nice, and near perfection

T - the taste is very smooth, and very well blended togather. there is a light coffee like bitterness. the roasty-ness of the malts is also exceptional in my opinion. there is a bit of bitterness from the hops on the far far back tongue, but the taste is not near as noticeable as that of coffee underneath the bitterness of the coffee, during the finish, a hint of chocolate comes out to play and makes a very brief appearance; this gives away to some sort of floral taste. the after taste is primarily that of a light bakers chocolate bitterness, with some harsher coffee pangs.

MF&D - the viscosity of the brew is perfect, not too watery, not too thick. the only thing that could have been a bit better would have been some more carbonation. that would have helped add a bit more body to the brew. but other than that I though it a marvelous beer and one to be a complete paradigm of the style.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2009 18:19:33 | More by erz316
Photo of Buebie
Buebie

Minnesota

3.25/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a snifter. No freshness date on the bottle.
Poured semi rigerously, forming less then a finger of tan bubbly head.
Leaving a nice assortment of bubbly retention. Thin spotty streaks of greasy lace.

Aroma is quite the malt bomb, with loads of chocolaty ceral grain aroma and a tobacco like cigarette aroma, like peat malty smokyness.
Some hay like dusty aroma also.

Mouthfeel is thin and crisp with an abundance of carbonation.
Taste on this is smokey with an almost overdone cereal grain flavor. Bitter baking chocolate, tobacco, and somthing woody.

This is ho-hum, nothing extravagant, but definatly ok for the style. This would be a terrific session beer, but I'm not sure how many more I'd want to drink with all that carbonation and oversmoked creal grain flavors.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2009 04:21:20 | More by Buebie
Photo of roadhouse
roadhouse

Florida

3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an 11.2 oz. bottle into a tulip pint glass.

Appears a very deep brown near black color with some reddish highlights. The head is about a half inch thick and light tan in color. It settles to a cap on top and leave some decent lacing.

Aroma is coming across somewhat muted to me but I can pick up some chocolate with a bit of a vinous quality, caramel malts, and a vague fruitiness.

Taste is initially kind of sweet but it is met with a nice fruitiness that engulfs the palate until it is joined by a bit of chocolaty flavor that is not quite roasty. Finish brings some hop flavor of the spicy variety as the fruity flavor gets better.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, certainly not as thick as the name might suggest. It's creamy

I guess I had higher expectations for something with a name like Old Engine Oil. It's a pretty good brew, but definitely not the best Old Ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2009 06:09:44 | More by roadhouse
Photo of farrago
farrago

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with virtually zero head, perfectly black color, way too opaque to gauge amount of bubbles in the liquid. Extremely malty nose bursting with roasted coffee and nuts scents, hardened caramel, Valrhona chocolate, maple syrup and a glimmer of fig fruit and buttered corn, close to full absence of hop scents. Curiously light-bodied, given the depth of the primary flavors, glides through the mouth. Loaded with coffee bean, mocha powder, hazelnut with even a slight tarry edge. Bitterness breaks through during the mid-palate, gains traction towards end and breathes life into the whole. The level of carbonation appears too high at first but you can get used to it. No citrus but the vague dried fruit nuance remains. Vibrancy of narrow range of flavors amplifies finish.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 22:52:52 | More by farrago
Photo of ecoastman
ecoastman

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinkability - I'd definitely have another but this is not my favorite style for a session beer.
A great drink none-the-less and I'll try again when in the mood for a dark one.

Appearance - deep dark red and looks black. You can't see through this opague liquid. Low carbonation provides a good head to start but quickly dissipates to just a thin lace on the surface of the beer. Looks like flat Coke but somehow darker...like oil...

Smell - malty molasses sweet, chocolate-nut, coffee. Lights notes like a port wine. Mild but quite good.

Taste - similar to what you smell. A mild initial flavour intensifies to a delicious coffee flavour with chocolate and raisen fruit notes. Mild bitter finish and a nice balance. The port-wine like taste is detected. The long lasting chocolate notes are the most outstanding feature of this beer.

Mouthfeel - surprisingly light, watery and smooth from the low carbonation. Feels good but it would be that much better if a little more creamy.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 02:36:54 | More by ecoastman
Photo of EatsTacos
EatsTacos

Yukon (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours completely black with a very small head that reduces to a ring around the glass. No lacing. The colour is like a cola.

Aroma is toasted brown bread with a lot of black licorice. Some good coffee smells too.

Taste is very well balanced, there is a lot of sweetness but it is held in check by a lingering hop bitterness. Similar to the smell, there is a lot of coffee and toast flavours. Some chocolate too.

Mouthfeel is great, thick and creamy as would be expected. A really thin and soft carbonation to make the body seem even fuller.

Good and very drinkable. The mouthfeel is kind of like an oatmeal stout, but the flavour leans more towards a classic english stout IMO.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2009 02:26:12 | More by EatsTacos
Photo of Stinkypuss
Stinkypuss

Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A. Poured into a pint glass. Black as night and letting in no light. Dark khaki head with some lace.

S. Black toffee malt. Subtle vanilla notes.

T/M. Nice smoothness and creaminess on the palate. Oatmeal and chocolate play together with subtle complexities. A pronounced roasted character and bitter citric hop. Just a hint of alcohal on the roasted dry finish.

D. This is a very drinkable ale that would certainly be best on cask but is wonderful and available in bottled form.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2009 20:59:45 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of rjimlad
rjimlad

Australia

4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a massive drink. Pours with a rich thick brown head. Colour is an opaque deep coca cola colour almost to black. Rich malt cocoa esters blasting off the head and all the way down to the last drop.
Flavour is all cocoa/coffee and roasty malts. Roast beef abounds. This is thick like engine oil and a gorgeous beer all round. Hoorah for my ol' mate Glenn for bring this around.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 08:12:08 | More by rjimlad
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,321 ratings.