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Old Engine Oil - Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Not Rated.
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Educational use only; do not reuse.

760 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 760
Hads: 1,581
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.12%
Wants: 133
Gots: 156 | 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 (31) | 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: 760 | Hads: 1,581
Photo of bigbubba
3.4/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is pretty dark, but not real dark or oily as the name might suggest. It had very little head, very little smell, and not much flavor. The mouthfeel is weak and watery. I have a feeling they were trying to make a porter and fell way short. Maybe I'm not familiar enough with the Old Ale style, but this just isn't that good. At $2.49 a bottle and a name like engine oil I was expecting a lot more.

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Photo of bultrey
3.23/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Eh, I don't know. OK beer, I guess. I had this on draft at the Blind Tiger, and I'm reviewing from notes taken over a month ago, and here they are, word for word:

"Weird flavor, like fermented beans. After I said that aloud, Schoolteacher told me that it was brewed with beans. I don't know if I believe him, but I trust my palate."

I wouldn't seek it out again, but it's got a cool name.

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Photo of allengarvin
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12-oz bottle, drunk over the holidays. Notes taken at the time give the review.

Appearance: Black, ruby-tinted along the edges, with tan head that quickly fades into a small slick across the surface.

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee-like smell.

Flavor: Sweet cocoa malt, and milky expresso flavor in the middle. Sweetness fades at the end, giving a clean, short finish.

Body: Low carbonation, with a slick, oily mouthfeel.

This seems more like a strong stout than an Old Ale to me. As such, it's quite a good example.

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Photo of shippos
3.89/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

poured from a growler filled at fingerlakes beverage center.
good fluffy rocky tan mocha colored head with a dark brown clear color. yeasty bready aroma, very balanced and smooth aroma. caramelized sugary taste with a bready malty chocolatly bit too it. seems a bit weaker than I remeber, not sure if it handles better in the bottle or the if the keg was here too long. still I didn't have a problem knocking off a growler by myself for new years.

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Photo of jdaelhousen
2.94/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Being a big fan of dark porters, I had high expectations for this beer that were unfortunately not met.

Everything up to the point of tasting the beer was a great experience. The pour was smooth, about 1/4" of head, and the smell of the brew was fantastic. It smelled very strong, with a chocolately aroma.

The taste of the beer however was just ok. It didn't blow me away. The worst part of it was in fact its aftertaste. Once I was half way through, I was actually glad that I only had 1/2 bottle left as the aftertaste left a mildly stale taste in my mouth. Overall, Engine Oil wasn't terrible, but if I was going to spend 4 bucks for a bottled porter brew, I would look elsewhere.

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Photo of ghurux86
3.37/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours very dark, almost black. the head was creamy tan but small and dissipated rather quickly. there is some light lacing as well. smell is of malt, chocolate, and maybe hops. the hops definitely come through on the taste, it's somewhat bitter with a hint of chocolate and malt. the mouthfeel is pretty good but not the best. drinkability: i'd take it if i had it, but i'm not sad that i don't. definitely not bad, but at the same time it's nothing special.

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Photo of Gavage
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Firewaters in Atlantic City NJ. Nice black color with thick 2"+ tan head. Thick lacing developed during the drink. Aroma was full of malt and chocolate. The flavor was super as roasted malt, chocolate, caramel, prunes, and mild bitterness were well married. Alcohol was lightly noticeable, but this drink was like liquid candy.

Smooth and creamy start with a long chocolate finish. Carbonation levels seemd light but were right for this style. A very drinkable brew that leaves you wanting more after the glass is empty.

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Photo of watermelonman
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This arrived looking very dark with ruby tones and almost no head. There's a tiny bit of lace being left behind.

The smell is fairly subdued but nice, having tones of chocolate on top of dark malts. The taste is great, consisting mostly of roasted malts. The finish is what really stands out, with subdued hops barely present in a great flavor that lasts after swallowing.

This one went down like candy.

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Photo of walleye
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured true to its name with deep ruby around the edges, with a small light brown head thast didn’t last long. aromasweet dark chocolate, toffee, caramel, roasted malts, oatmeal, and a nice sweetness. flavor was a little disappointed I was hoping that the aroma would carry over into the flavor all flavors were weak, chalky some bitterness

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Photo of ybnorml
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark brown almost black beer with a small but very nice creamy beige head the doesn't evaporate right away. The aroma is a strong roasted malt aroma that I swear has an engine oil characteristic to it. Ther flavor is a robust roasted malt with marvelous highlights of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Very enjoyable to sit and savor.

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Photo of Rastacouere
3.61/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark, brown. Tan 2cm head recedes to a lasting cover. Rich malty aroma with interesting notes of tar, licorice, vegetal oil, chocolate and tobacco. It indeed has quite a distinctive cigar suggestion in the petiness. Earthy licorice, soy sauce. Pretty good if those are your kind of flavors. Very dry from the beginning until the end too. Light tartness doesn’t disturb too much. Medium body, low carbonation. More smoke or meatiness and this was a killer. The name is actually a nice fit.

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Photo of brentk56
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black oil color with ruby highlights; a frothy head that retains well and leaves touches of lace

Smell: Very roasty, with hints of chocolate, prunes and whisky

Taste: A lot going on in the mouth here - starts out roasty, with smoke and dark chocolate flavors tangling with earthy hop bitterness; plenty of roast and smoke after the swallow but there is also licorice on the finish, which lasts for well over 10 seconds after the liquid has gone down the gullet.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Very different and a nice change of pace when you have time to sit and contemplate its flavors

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep black in color-nice slight tan head that lingers down the glass.Subtle aroma of malt.Slight chocolate smell.Roasted flavor dominates.Hints of licorice.Very subtle sourness in the backround.Full bodied mouthfeel.A very drinkable beer-comes off more as a stout then old ale to me.Very enjoyable none the less.

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Photo of AllThingsNinja
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A jet-black brew that forms a sizeable and lasting head, Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil is a pleasant find ? but not something that I look to consume regularly. The sour hop aroma mingles with some chocolate notes. The flavors are more complex, but not exactly balanced between hop bitterness, burnt malt flavors, with little chocolate or other malt sweetness. As an Old Ale, this well bodied beer tastes a bit like a porter.

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Photo of packetknife
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blacker than black, thick dark tan head that stuck. Heavy chocolate, malts, coffee, and almonds on the nose. I can't possibly give this beer proper credit, I loved it in the bottle long ago, I like it even better now that I've found it locally on tap. The near perfect consistency/density feels great, meal-ish. The tastes are all moderate to strong, doesn't leave a dull moment on the tongue. Moving from sweet maltiness and baker's chocolate to a very very slight tart sensation on the finish.

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Photo of TinusTime
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a near opaque brown with a pillowy dark tan head. Smells are off chocolate, prunes, brandy and raisin candy. Taste is a bit sweeter than the smell.. Chocolate covered raisins dipped in scotch. A bit of milk anise sweetness thrown in the maltyness. A good overall stout.. Very easy to drink.. Drinkability is a bit lower due to the bit of sweetness and such. Definatily a one off beer. Not to say I would not get another because i would, but i would only want one in an evening.

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

The beer is opaque brown with mahogany highlights and a persistent coarse tan head that lingers on the glass.

The aroma starts with a big toffee, malt and chocolate presence. It is backed by dark fruit (raisin and plum) and some diacetyl. Faint cherry and cinnamon hints linger.

The taste is less sweet than one would imagine from the aroma. The first impressions are of some malt and diacetyl. The impression of caramel comes through but is quickly dried toward the back of the mouth by the fairly intense coffee like roastiness. It finishes malty with a lingering espresso like bitterness.

The mouthfeel has a medium/full body, low carbonation, no astringency, and is quite creamy.

Overall this is a pleasant and complex beer that I would enjoy with chocolate or alone after dinner.

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

Pours almost completely black, small tan head that lasts a long time.

Aroma full of sweetness, dark fruits, alcohol and some roasted coffee.

Medium body but very creamy. Bitter sweetness up front mixes with fruit flavors. Caramel flavors come through as well. Roasted coffee shows up in the finish. Sweetness the whole way through.

One of the best old ales I've had, if you can get it, try it.

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Photo of merlin48
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle pours an opaque, deep brown into a glass. I've seen other ales that look more like motor oil on the pour, but this this one has a fine, tan head that lasts forever, and leaves sheets of lacing down the glass. Aroma is a wonderful blend of campfire smoke, molasses, figs, chocolate, coriander, and some dark fruits. Quite impressive on the nose! Mouthfeel is rich and creamy. This is a full bodied Scottish ale, with a taste that resembles the nose, but is even more complex. Raisins, burnt coffee, and leather emerge in the taste and it all comes together nicely with some bittering hops. A hint of licorice is also noted. This is, certainly, the best Scottish old ale that I've been blessed to sample. Very highly recommended!

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I pour a sample into my snifter. The brew pours rich dark brown and I see no light escaping this glass. A tan creamy head foams up easily to about 1 inch and fades slowly to a thin surface layer that remains throughout my tasting.
The aroma is rich and malty, some fruit plums and pears, also heavy chocolate and maybe molasses.
The first sip reveals, a creamy thick body and average carbonation. Flavor starts with a fairly sweet twang and succumbs to chocolate and roasted malt flavors. Finish is long lasting and leaves a silky feel on my teeth, almost like hot chocolate. This is a very tasty brew that improves as it warms, I should have just had this at room temp.

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Photo of rajendra82
4.49/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer had the loveliest head on any that I have poured so far. It was brown, thick, and lively with bubbles ranging from very minute to absolutely gigantic. The head was also very chewy with a taste reminiscent of bitter dark chocolate. The body was dense, mahogany brown with red highlights when held up against the light. The aroma was a mix of coffee, chocolate, wood smoke and resin. It was so good; I just smelled it for a while. The taste was wonderfully complex yet fully blended. I could detect raisin skins, licorice, butterscotch, and of course mocha. Velvetty smooth and rich, and oily (as expected) in mouthfeel. A very satisfying and fulfilling beer that is highly recommended.

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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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Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
91 out of 100 based on 760 ratings.