1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Old Engine Oil - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,242 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1242
Reviews: 722
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.65%

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)
View: Beers (30) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 1,242 | Reviews: 722 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Dave1999

North Carolina

4.71/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours as the name suggest like engine oil.

The smell is roasted malts, coffee and chocolate. Spot on for a porter.

The taste is chocolate, dark malts and finishes a little bitter.

The mouthfeel is smooth with low carbonation.

This is my favourite non imperial stout/porter very flavorful.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2013 23:34:28 | More by Dave1999
Photo of BBQSteve


4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So this is my first review.

Poured into a tulip glass perfect porter head.

Sticky legs and smells great. Smells of coffee, caramel and chocolate. Mouthfeel is medium and taste continues long after sipping.

Overall a nice porter. Expensive for the 12oz bottle but no regrets.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2013 22:22:01 | More by BBQSteve
Photo of suspect

New York

4.54/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.

A: Thick, viscousy consistency. Black in color. Aggressive pour gives way to a 1.5 finger tan head that fades slightly.leaving a sticky trail down the sides of the glass.

S: Big huge aroma full of roasted chocolate malts, coffee and some molasses. Very full nose after taking a whiff of this one.

T: Perfect blend of cocoa, malts, coffee, hops. Very full flavor just like the nose.

M: Big bodied and the finish is just a touch sloppy. Not bad but certainly the lowlight of the beer.

O: A crazy delicious English Porter. Absolutely worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2013 01:26:14 | More by suspect
Photo of gcamparone

Rhode Island

3.76/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip. Purchased in Providence, RI

A- engine oil? Not quite. Very dark brown on the pour and A nearly black body with cherry highlights. I've seen darker though, that weren't named old engine oil. Little white head that leaves thin lacing.

S- yummy. Roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, dark fruits

T- I get very dry characteristics of a light porter - cocoa powder, charred malt , roasted coffee, slight dark fruits.

M - thickens as it warms but slightly thin

For a beer names "old engine oil" with a price of $25 per 6 pack,
I really expected a brew with the appearance and consistency of well, old engine oil. Instead I got a mediocre black ale. I can name 5 beers that are thicker, cheaper, and more robust. Good but there are better for cheaper.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2013 04:00:26 | More by gcamparone
Photo of Sark


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- thick pour ends with a two finger light cream colored head, color is as dark as the name

Smell- immediately hit by chocolate and coffee with caramel. The hops are almost non-existent

Taste- roasted as it smells, light toffee sweetness but undeniably bitter big chocolate finish

Mouthfeel- full bodied with a silky smooth mid-mouth and little toasted astringent after bite

Overall- save this for dessert, not the main course. It's filling and all worth it.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2013 02:40:13 | More by Sark
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, vanilla, cocoa powder, and milk chocolate. Taste is much the same with a char-like flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great smell but the flavor doesn't quite match up in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2013 09:21:39 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of SometimesIfart


3.3/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours pitch black with a massive mocha head. Left no lacing.

S - Lots of roasted malts and plum, along with alcohol.

T - Roasted malt and dates up front followed by a small amount of smoked cherry.

M - Medium bodied with heavy carbonation.

O - Overall, It wasn't bad. Definitely not a high class old ale though.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2013 21:30:41 | More by SometimesIfart
Photo of Steamer


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

A - A very dark pour but not quite opaque. Dark reddish hues. A full, thick, and tannish head with plenty of cascading, tight bubbles.

S - Sweet malt with hints of smoke.

T - Bitter chocolate with a little plum. Some mild hoppy bitterness hits toward the end and hangs on.

M - Thick, creamy and smooth. Mild carbonation.

O - A great tasting and well balanced ale.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2013 02:21:31 | More by Steamer
Photo of Amalak

New York

4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A. Blackish brown color. There's some light that comes through, but not much. Very little head with no real lacing.

S. Very strong mix of chocolate, malt and alcohol.

T/M. True to the scent, it hasa strong chocolate malt taste and a bit of a strong alcohol taste. A bit of a nutty hint underneath. It is smooth and full bodied.

O. Very refreshing. A bit of a cough syrup taste, but not in a bad way.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 23:56:37 | More by Amalak
Photo of noladad


4.41/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

I had never heard of this beer, until I saw it at Stein's in New Orleans.

Very dark pour, almost black. Lives up to its name and visual comparison to motor oil.
Not much head at all on this one. Dark chocolate smell and taste, as well as roasted coffee. Very similar to a deep porter.

Mouth feel is a little thin when cold, but the taste is excellent. Feel improved as it warmed though it was difficult to let it sit! Bitterness not present until it warmed up. Very easy to drink. This would be good with a grilled steak or a dry rubbed pork loin. Would match well with something a little spicy.

Overall, a very good beer. Would love to have this one again!

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 00:48:40 | More by noladad
Photo of Misajet90


4.61/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Was lucky enough to find this one on tap at Cape Fear Wine and Beer in Wilmington, NC. Can't say I'd ever heard of it before but after I had it I was hooked.

I didn't know until after I had it on tap but when I saw it for sale in a six pack it was 30 bucks, so if you see it on tap be sure to try it out.

Serving type: on-tap

01-15-2013 19:45:25 | More by Misajet90
Photo of themind

New Jersey

4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle as I love porters. Beer pours jet black ( like motor oil) with a small head. Beer has good aroma and good taste to match. I must say if you are a porter lover this is a beer you MUST try! in NJ this beer is easy to come by and I was surprised at how good it actually was. Again if you like porters and see this beer BUY IT!

Bottom Line: top notch porter!

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2013 05:20:54 | More by themind
Photo of Mojo


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

12 ounce bottle -> World Market tulip glass

This beer pours as black as the absence of light. There is a one finger medium brown head with only a small amount of retention and delicate spider-web like lacing left behind. The smell is powerful, mostly roasted malt and chocolate. The taste follows the nose. I get a big roasted maltiness upfront with some bitter nuttiness, followed by a mellow chocolate finish. Mouthfeel is thick and pleasant. Excellent offering.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2012 03:34:58 | More by Mojo
Photo of axeman9182

New Jersey

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

12 oz bottle, allowed to warm some before being poured into my Duvel tulip.

Old Engine Oil pours entirely black, with roughly a half finger of mocha foam crowning it. There's a little bit of head retention, but not much in the way of lacing. The nose is roasty, with the aroma definitely leaning more towards the coffee side of things. The flavor displays a malt character that heavily features roasted grains. It's still balanced towards coffee, but there is a little bit of dark chocolate present as well. A light bitterness transitions into a soft, earthy finish. The body has just a little bit of chewiness to it, and the carbonation is nice and muted. Old Engine Oil is a very solid lower ABV stout. It's straightforward and just very well executed.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2012 08:04:47 | More by axeman9182
Photo of StefanosG


3.65/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had the pleasure of sampling this fine brew last weekend. I was in the mood for a good porter and the pub I was at had it on tap. It was served to me in a brandy type glass. It poured black and had chocolate colored head. Upon tasting it the first thing I noticed was a rich coffee/chocolate flavor. Secondly I was hit with a slight taste of sparkling wine. It had the dry sweetness of it, but none of the fizziness typically associated with that sort of beverage. This may be unique to the draught version of this particular beer. It was described to have been fermented in used wine casks. All in all a very pleasurable beer to drink, and i would not hesitate to try again.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2012 01:48:07 | More by StefanosG
Photo of smakawhat


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

Poured from the bottle into a shaker pint.

A classic dark walnut brown body, hardly can see anything looking up to the head. Off the pour it goes a little weak, but manages a head of about two fingers, light tan and mocha colored. Slow puck settles and hangs around a good bit also.

Nose smells like light cocoa, and cream. A nice light toasty grain action with hints of silky character also.

Palate hits with a good density. Lots of roasting char, with a thick malt action. Lighter bodied out of the bottle, but also even a bit of hop. Good coating mouthfeel, with a nice lip smacking malt quality. Bit of a nice hop bitterness on the finish mixing with the char nicely.

Overall much like I remember it, but the flavors and feel are toned down a bit. Much better on tap, but you can't complain about this either way.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 20:23:50 | More by smakawhat
Photo of BeerKangaroo


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

Into my nonic:

A: "old engine oil" looking body (at least it lives up to its name), gentle foamy two finger tan/off-white head appears and settles into the top of the body leaving some small paper thin hills on top.

S: roasty and bold with nice chocolate and coffee notes.

T: same as previously mentioned smells adding a bit of a woodiness in it as well.

M: medium with nothing harsh on the tongue. I would say this is fairly drinkable, sweet aftertaste.

O: this is a pretty good beer for its style and one that I would come back to.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2012 18:33:15 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of beergoot


3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep, dark brown (almost black) body capped with a thick, rich tan head. Nice, light roasted nuts and soft chocolate smell; lightly charred grains. Medium body; smooth and rich on the tongue. Nice bitter chocolate flavor; lightly burnt toast; moderately heavy bitterness brings up the rear.

A pretty good dark beer. I don't know what you'd truly label it as as the brewer's web site has it as a 'dark ale', some bottles apparently as 'porter', and my bottle as a 'black ale'. Well, whatever, it is tasty, nicely balanced, rich and flavorful, and should be an enjoyable brew for any dark ale lover.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2012 21:10:13 | More by beergoot
Photo of Beelzebeer

Newfoundland (Canada)

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

330ml bottle, served in tulip

A - Black with dense, slight foamy dark tan head

S - Roast, charred malt.

T - Roasted malt, charred, a little smoke, crystal malt, a little wood

M - Wonderful. Medium density, medium carbonation.

O - Great. Could barely be better.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2012 22:14:45 | More by Beelzebeer
Photo of Beer-A-Lot


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint.

A - Pitch black, only a finger of head, not much lacing.

S - Nice roasty smell, fairly low alcohol smell.

T - Delicious. Flavors of coffee, hint of chocoloate, roasted nuts.

M - Not super rich or creamy, but extremely well balanced, fine aftertaste.

O - A really good example of this style. I could drink a bunch of these. It seems that these beers have different lables (black ale on mine), but tasty all the same. Very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2012 21:54:07 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

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

This is a repeat report that somehow has been removed? I hope more haven't disappeared.

Tall 330cl bottle, best before Jan 2013, poured into a Gordon’s thistle shaped glass in Oct 2011.

Looks wonderful, deep, dark, almost ebony in colour, one of the blackest porters I’ve come across. The rich, creamy, tan coloured head sat proudly on top. Mocha, dark chocolate and ground coffee esters sweep across the nose, no harshness or bitterness, this is one smooth brew. The taste follows the aromas, a slight hop bitterness infuses with the other flavours mentioned in the smell to give this beer a balanced and rich texture of an alcoholic creamy chocolate cake. One small bottle is enough though, too much weight in the body to have another. Just a little too rich for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2012 13:30:40 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of EPortJake

United Kingdom (England)

4.9/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - pours jet black with a thin cream coloured head
S - heavy aromas of bitter chocolate
T - starts with malt and chocolate with a heavily bittered coffee farewell
M - viscous and smooth
O - a very robust, warming and hearty porter come stout. Probably my favorite tipple from the many sampled around Scotland, it really is a treat best drank, imo, on cold winter evenings and christmas. Top notch.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2012 20:46:35 | More by EPortJake
Photo of paulytasker

New York

4.36/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz. bottle into pint glass.

A- Who turned out the lights? Dark as dark...nice! Full inch and a half of dense, rocky tan head. Not alot of light gonna penatrate this brew.

S- Some sweet fruitiness mixed in with a whole lot of coffee. Roasty grains and a smidge of dark chocolate as well. Damn this is a fine smelling brew.

T/M- So damn full, and so damn smooth. My pallate was attacked by a boat load of roasted goodness. The coffee tones are blended spot on with the fruitiness that i smelled, and balanced pretty well with a small amount of hops. Delicous. Smooth finish, good stuff.

O- One of the biggest, baddest porters i have had to date. Would absolutley love to get a crack at this on tap.


Serving type: bottle

10-08-2012 22:52:46 | More by paulytasker
Photo of DirtyBikeBrewing

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

Poured a dark coffee like color with a good amount of head that settle rather slowly.

A - This is a dark beer. Dark like night.

S - Smelled of roasty coffee and chocolate. With hints of molasses and vanilla.

T - Tasted just like it smelled. Really thick beer though. Almost a meal on its own.

M - Very full bodied super rich.

O - Great beer. Would totally drink it again. It's definitely the kind of beer that many porter drinkers have to try.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2012 17:03:16 | More by DirtyBikeBrewing
Photo of CFHMagnet


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

An aggressive pour unleashed 2 and 1/2 fingers of a nice mocha head consisting of tiny bubbles. This sat and slowly dissipated over a dark coffee colored body. Light lacing clings to the glass, but most of it rolls down back into the body.

The aroma immediately follows through on the dark roasted malts and chocolate that the label tells of. A little dark fruit and toffee are found as I dig a little deeper.

Toffee and sweet, dark roast malt introduce the flavor on this beer. This is followed up by medium roast coffee and dark chocolate, both of which hang on to the very end, with a bit of sweetness coming up to finish it off.

Mouthfeel is definitely a medium/full body feel. I was honestly expecting it to be thicker, but the fact that it isn't does not detract from it at all. If a porter can be refreshing, this is it. Perfect for a fall day, I will have to pick more up when the breeze gets a little nippier.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2012 21:54:47 | More by CFHMagnet
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 1,242 ratings.