Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks) | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks)Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks)
Very Good
201 Ratings
Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks)Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks)

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 10-27-2003

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 201 |  Reviews: 182
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with a roasted barley and coffee nose. Exceptional smooth chocolate and porter stouty concoction that was great after a dairy meal, like a good coffee without the coffee. This is not a transition beer, it is for those who can appreciate this style. A non-Shelton Bros. import, and a hard one to find in the Northeast.

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Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of BEERchitect
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had the privilage of trying this beer after a recent BJCP class. And as expected, it differs quite a bit from the standard Old Engine Oil offering. The greatful aspect of the standard Old Ale is that it does balance well, is aged well, and has a well formulated recipe. Unlike many of its counterparts, it is low on fusals, does not conflict hop bitterness with malt sweetness, and avoids acidic fruit flavors and textures. All this goes out the window when they added this beer to the whisky casks. Although it adds complexity through the infused sweet / hot alchohols, picks up a bit of woody character, and brings some subtle caramel-vanilla notes; the beer becomes quite harsh, fusal, abrasive, acidic-cherry-like, and behaves 'young' again. I'll certainly not turn it down, but I don't appreciate the new cough-syrup flavors that are now demonstrated.

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Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Impenetrable and opaque blackened oil. Capped with a milk chocolate/cappucino dollop of foam, with small arcs of lace around the chalice. Sturdy and substantial in appearance.

Lots of chocolate, malted milk balls, and even a little vinous. This all sounds good, but there's an alcohol sharpness arching over it all that mutes these desired aromas.

It's velvety and feels more than 6%, but i'm thankful that it *is* only 6%. The sharpness from the Whisky isn't overpowering, but lends a distinctive element to the finish and aftertaste. Some berry an dry woodiness are in there, under the load of chocolate and long whisky finish. Nicely balanced and not a booze bomb. Very smooth and enjoyable to slowly sip a glass after dinner or by the fire...

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Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The appearance of the Special Reserve isn't that much different from the standard Old Engine Oil, but there is less head to it - and it's more big-bubbled as opposed to the creamy light-tan cap normally found. The lace about the glass is also a bit more restrained as well.

The aroma remains the same with notes of toffee, dark fruit, roasted malts and light candy as well as a distinct oaky woodiness and perhaps a touch of vanilla. Alcohol, but not particularily that of whiskey, is present as well.

It's much thinner in the mouthfeel than the standard Old Engine Oil, but that may be due to in part to its more limited carbonation.

The flavor is also not as sweet, and I wonder if it's undergone some minor additional fermentation, or more likely, the whiskey flavors that are present are somehow dampening its maltiness. The fruitiness is slightly elevated, and seems a bit wine-like. Toffee and a subtle brush of chocolate flavor comes through towards the finish; and it actually seems to sweeten a bit in the aftertaste as the whiskey fades. Subtle notes of smokiness and drying oak arise, and it finishes surprisingly clean and reminiscent of a single malt whiskey. Towards the end of the glass, the peatiness even starts to lay on the palate. It's nice, but at the same time it doesn't quite work with the dark-fruit flavors.

There are trade-offs to everything, and this is no exception. The aroma is beautiful, and has certainly been enhanced by its oak-aging; but the balance of flavors seems to be hindered. And as such, that also hurts its drinkability.

I hate to say it, but stick with the standard version... it's better.

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Photo of russpowell
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

8% abv offering pours mahogany with 2+ fingers of mocha colored head from an amber colored bottle. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Vanilla & oakyness & a hint of booze

T: Chocolate, oaky dryness & vanilla notes up front. A hint of booze, charred wood & licorice in the middle as this warms. Finishes dry, warming boozey, with a hint of figs, & whisky

MF: Medium bodied, oily & silky with low carbonation

Drinks pretty easy, an old ale that makes use of maximum flavor, where's the Christmas pudding??? I guess this could pass as bourbon stout with little trouble

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a thinnish-looking black body with no real head worth mentioning.

Smell: Roasty aroma that's nicely malty, and has some fruit and bourbon, along with it's accompanying notes of wood and vanilla.

Taste: Plenty of roasted dark maltiness with lush notes of coffee and anise. Lightly chocolatey. Mild dried fruit undertone. Finishes sweet and warming with notes of whiskey and wood.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Very mild carbonation. Slightly warming.

Drinkability: Not bad at all. How about that Old Engine Oil, huh?

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.42/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old Engine Oil looks like engine oil, but it doesn't especially look like old engine oil. Opaque mahogany with a great deal of red along the bottom edge of the glass. The head is smaller than most, but is nicely persistent, and is a dark gingery mocha in color. A wooly collar of lace is the extent of the glass coverage.

I love the nose. The aromas include unsweetened chocolate, blackstrap molasses, dates and glorious malt whisky. Six months 'in the cask' seems to have imparted plenty of single malt goodness. As a lover of both malt beverages, my nose approves. Please, please, please let the flavor follow suit.

It does. This is killer beer (if you like whisky). There's a mouth-filling amount of flavor to be had in this bottle; a double-fisted palate punch that isn't for the faint of taste bud. The first member of the flavor profile is bittersweet chocolate liquor. Second is dark, dried fruits such as raisins, dates and figs. Third is a molasses tang that mingles with a peaty sourness. Last, and certainly not least, is a smoky whisky character that makes me yearn for three fingers of Scotland's finest.

The amazing thing is that each of those assertive flavors plays nicely in the beer sandbox. Each dovetails imperceptably with the next, although they each maintain their individual identities. There are diminishing echoes of woody, whisky peatiness on the finish. At only 6% though, there's nothing resembling a whisky burn. The ABV makes this beautifully crafted beer drinkable in quantity.

The body is medium-full with an amount of carbonation that is slightly too high (for me) and a wonderful, semi-chewy slickness that makes the mouthfeel ultimately far above average. The flavor doesn't change much with warming, but it does seem to be increasingly fruity and increasingly hoppy near the bottom of the bottle.

Special Reserve indeed. This version of OEO has probably ruined me for the standard version. I have a soft spot and a love of beer aged in whisky casks/barrels as long as it's done right. And, believe me, this one is righter than right. I paid $3.59 for this single and would have picked up quite a few more if I had known what awaited my taste buds. Old Engine Oil Special Reserve is a smashingly good old ale that I recommend highly.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Well, where to start this one. I was up in Bruisin Ales about a month ago with my brother in law, and all he had talked about was this beer that he had tried down in Orlando that was the thickest, blackest thing he had ever seen. He had never seen it since and had never even seen it on a shelf anywhere. Well lo and behold we look on the first shelf and there in lies about a half dozen of these. Needless to say he was immediatly sold on all things in the store! So I picked him up one and decided I should get one for myself while I was there, as I always have to do with something I have not tried before. So it has been sitting in the fridge since then and I need to clear out room this week for the party we are having this weekend, so I dug way back and pulled this one out...so onto the beer....

A - Well the name should really say it all as far as the appearence goes here. Thick and black as night, ths poured down in to the glass with really no splash at all, I actually thought I heard it make a chug noise coming out of the bottle. Nice about one inch high tan head graced the top until it let go just leaving about a quarter inch in its wake, Very thick lacing left down the side of the glass, I thought it was gonna stain the glass, it was seriously that damn dark. If there was alot of carbonation, I would not be able to tell, it was a force to be reckoned with it looked like at least.

S - Very strong aroma. Lots of caramel and chocoalte coming off of it. I also detected a faint whiff of licorice and some very very subtle coffee tones as well. The smell was very thick in the air and it really lingered too, it was not one of those beers that you just catch a parting shot of the aroma, this was all there. Slight alcohol odor as it warmed up as well..

T - Wow, this was a damn strong beer. I could taste the alcohol right away, not soo much harsh and hot and upfront, just there, letting you know what was going on. Lots of chocolate flavors here, which suprised me, I really did not thick it would be as strong of a factor as it ended up. Some roasted coffee on the back and a nice sweetness, caramel or candies sugar could be found if you really looked for it. Alcohol really mellowed out after a while and became pretty much a non factor after a few minutes.

M - Now this is intresting. It was very thick, but not in that creamy milkshake stout kinda way. It was thicj in that can of oil type of way. Not alot of carbonation here did not help out really. This was one of those you took small sips of and just savored. It was a tad bit slick, but just a little detrimental overall.

D - As an after dinner dessert beer, excellent drinkability, this is the one thats like a candies dessert after you eat. Really nice as you sip and enjoy, If you could chug this one down, power to you, I could not. I enjoyed this over the course of an hour or so.

Overall this really was pretty damn good. I am really not a fan of old ales to be general about it, but this was like no old ale I had ever had before. Its name pretty accuratly described the overall tone of this one. I would defiantly seek it out again and I am very glad that I got this and tried it. Very damn good brew. On a side, I did not detect any of the whiskey aged flavors, and thats why I never mentioned it. It never even occured to me that it was half way through. As a stand alone beer it was very very good.

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Photo of rab53
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of RblWthACoz
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours an opaque black with a thick tan head. As I was pouring this, the word "gorgeous" hit my mind. Like the beer soul I possess deep down, the nose spoke out. Strong malty wood with thicker cocoa qualities and an overall roasted character. Flavor is rich with chocolate character and a strong malt flavor. So meaty and earthy I almost want to start chewing it as I drink it. Feel is great. Small level of bubble and a nice smooth and thick liquid feel.

I am shocked. Last night I tried the standard Old Engine Oil and had slightly higher expectations for this one. But geez. In no way did I expect to be hit with only my 2nd flat 5 rating as of yet. Unbelievable. Blows the hell out of the standard Old Engine Oil...and most other brews at that too.

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Photo of GClarkage
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

03/25/05- Purchased at Plumpjack Wines in San Francisco, CA

Presentation- 11.2oz bottle with no dates. Poured into my Stone IPA tulip.

Appearance- Very black pour which has traces of scarlet or burgandy intermersed between. Virtually no head at all. About a 1/8th inch rim appears after the pour is complete. Almost no lacing as well.

Smell- Holy Crap! Did I just order a whisky sour or something? First pop of the cap sends hard alcohol wafting towards your nose. It calms down only slightly after you pour it. Actually, when really concentrating on the smell it smells like a sherry or a melloso. I remember because my late grandfathers living room always used to smell like melloso, this was it. Other than that, some heavy malt in the mix.

Taste- Definite whiskey and oaky flavor to go along with deep and heavily burnt malt and some of the darkest chocolate you have ever tasted. There are some relatively bitter hops in this beer as well. The finish gives a nice prune or fig taste if you let it warm up a bit.

Mouthfeel- Very low carbonation and a nice mouth coating creamy feeling. Warms the tummy and gives a false heavy mouthfeel.

Drinkability- From first taste and especially smell I said to myself....6% my ass! But, after I finished I had no buzz whatsoever. This is a sipping beer though. Probably a good one to go with a dessert like Tiramisu or something with coffee in it. Strange and interesting brew worth seeking out.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark black color, dark as the naked November sky, with a thick, creamy toasted cocoa-tan head, that softly simmers down.
Aroma: sharp and whiskeyish at first, quite outstanding, thick and syrupy, dark and twisted, with hints of anise and spice, dark rum, and the darker, stickier fruits (rasins, dates, etc). I like it!
Taste: treacly sweet at first, thick and fruity, with very little hops involved, but solid, tremendous malt. Reminds me some of Samuel Adams Triple Bock. Halfway through, the taste is smoother, easier to take, yet still resounds with dark, whiskeyish sensations. The a potent bite at the end, a profoundly prunish character that clings to the tongue and plays awhile in the mouth. I, for one, liked it. Quite a unique little brew, a nice change-up for now and then.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at Binny's South Loop - think it's kind of old, as no other store has had it in stock for a while. Served in my Red Hook pint glass.

A - Pours with a finger of dark chocolate mocha foam that dissipates to a cap and leaves lots of patchy lacing. Black body that reveals a tiny bit of red-brown when held to the light.

S - Malt whiskey, peaty smokiness, wood, roasted chocolate malts, dark fruits (prune, raisin, figs), a touch of coconut and butterscotch. As it warms it gets earthier and peatier. Good stuff!

T - The taste loses a lot of the complexity - big tannic whiskey bite, smoke and peat, some baker's chocolate. It's actually quite smooth, I'm guessing from the age. The aftertaste is big whiskey and wood that gets pretty bitter after a while.

M - Higher carbonation than I like from this style, but still only moderate. Medium-thick body with lots of gritty tannins and some light alcohol heat in the finish.

D - This went down super-fast - the only knock is the intense whiskey finish which, while enjoyable, gets fatiguing. The ABV isn't particularly well-hidden - I was surprised by the 8% as it seems low.

Not quite as good as the Old Dubh series, but still pretty solid.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A black bodied beer with almost no head or lacing. Looks a bit too still. Aroma of chocolate, malt, and whisky-the peat really comes out in the nose. Complex flavor, definitely very much scotch forward, with a distinct peat whisky flavor on top of ample roastiness, bittersweet chocolate, a touch of tobacco and dark fruit. Dry and corky; somewhat vinous; particularly dry on the finish.

The body was disappointingly thin and undercarbonated, detracting from the overall experience. Still, an intricate, complex flavor made this an interesting and enjoyable beer nonetheless.

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Photo of Derek
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Black with a tan head, very little retention, some leg/lace.

S: Huge malty nose: chocolate, dark bread; sour cherry, molasses, wood, alcohol.

T: Plenty of chocolate, very woody, with flavours of molasses, licorice & spice. A hint of cardboard-like oxidation. A warm whiskey finish.

M: Full body is a little chalky, but still smooth.

D: It's a sipper.

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Photo of DoubleJ
2.97/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2002 vintage, from a 33cl bottle purchased from the Wine Exchange, on to the beer:

Poured into an oversized wine glass, the beer is black with almost no carbonation (uhh ohh). The aroma is boozy and hints whisky, vanilla, and dark ripe fruits. Not bad. All right, continuing to the taste. Although the carbonation is nil, there's enough taste to hold my interest. The one advantage of the minmal carbonation here it allows certain flavors to dominate more. A hint of whisky and more dark ripe fruits in the taste, and quite smooth at that. Cocoa appears too. Still, I wish I had a little carbonation here.

The beer was a bit of a let down (was the bottle too old?), however it did compliment my Tipsy Fudge Cake (made with Jack Daniels Whiskey) nicely.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.28/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a big dark tan head and some moderate lacing. The smell is of lots of swweet malt, a touch of soy, vanilla, and milk chocolate. Some cocoa powder at the end, and a hiny of scotch. Very malty and chocolately up front with a delicious long tang of malt whisky on the finish. Well integrated and very nice. A great after dinner sipper. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and absolutely delicious! Great drinkability for the abv. Bravo!

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Photo of John_M
4.44/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this beer with a friend the other night. We were trying it side by side with the 12 and 16 year old Ola Dubh. Much to my surprise, this beer more then held its own against those two beers.

The beer pours a dark hazy brown color with good head retention and lacing. While the beer looks good, the aroma was incredible. This beer has a huge nose of malt whiskey. It's sweet smelling, but has an incredible spicey scotch aroma. There is plenty of vanilla and butterscoth as well. The beer tastes nearly as good as it smells, though I'm not sure anything could taste that great. This beer is pretty smooth and initially comes across as fairly sweet. There are flavors of butterscotch, butter and honey, but then a nice hoppiness comes in at the end, which cuts the sweetness and gives the beer something of a dry finish. The beer is medium bodied and the abv. pretty well disguised.

This was a pretty impressive beer; much better then I was expecting, and really showing up its more expensive siblings.

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Photo of Zorro
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Looks like an Imperial Russian Stout in the glass. Light proof black beer with a tall brown colored head.

The smell is sweet and boozy with a lot of chocolate and vanilla with a scotch whiskey edge to it. Smokiness is restrained but present and this one does NOT run you over with the whiskey truck.

The taste begins roasted malt and chocolate flavor with a solid bitterness. After the initial taste some of the more complex whiskey and malt flavors become apparent. Malt is upstaged by the roasted malt flavors here and it tastes like a whiskey barrel RIS to me. Chocolate, smoke, vanilla and coffee are the major flavors. Lesser players are pretty much not in here.

Talk about mouthfeel this is quite close to drinking pancake batter thick.

Quite a nice beer but this is really a RIS. Drink this when you want a RIS and you will love it.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle.. It's been in the cellar for probably for a year now.. Poured into my Chimay goblet...

2 finger head... rocky foam.. big bubble cap.. brew is viscous black.

Nose is chocolate and scotch whiskey.. raisins and lite figs.. cocoa..

Big smokey whiskey in the front. like a porter with a dram of scotch.. dark malts with a bunch of yeasty fruitiness.... dried cherries with plum and prunes.. smokey EtOH.. chocolate with fruity malts.. very complex.. a little bit of soy sauce as it warms. Lighter than expected body.. but.. still very smooth.

interesting.. but. outta whack.. even with a year in the bottle... I like bourbon ... but scotch has never been my thing ... and this has massive scotch overtones especially as it hits room temperature


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Photo of Halcyondays
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11.2 oz. bottle, tasted side by side with the original Old Engine Oil to taste the nuance and differences and also the similarities, listed at 8.0% alc/vol.

A: Pours a very dark brown/black, with a full tan head, with great lacing, good retention on the head as well.

S: As opposed to the original, the nose of this is mostly Scotch and peat, some woody and resiny characteristics as well.

T: The whisky barrel aging really makes the already tasty OEO even better. Mild dark chocolate starts off the flavour, but is kind of blown away by the delicious woody, peaty, raw whisky character, reminiscent in a way of Firestone 11. A nice espresso note ends the beer, fantastically full-flavoured and very tasty.

M: I think the extra alcohol adds some body that the original is lacking, very smooth and silky, though light enough to be easily drunk.

D: This beer is really good. Maybe I'm partial to whisky or whisky aged beers, but I really liked this stuff. Only seen it at Hollingshead's, got to pick up another bottle next time I'm in, much more of a bargain than Firestone 11.

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Old Engine Oil Special Reserve (Aged In Malt Whiskey Casks) from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.87 out of 5 with 201 ratings
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