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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 ark57
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This opaque borwnish-black beer is a slow sipper. It has no head and little carbonation and the aroma is oaky and malty with some whiskey notes. It is not as full bodied as I would have expected but it packs a lot of taste in it. There is weet choclate and a slight tartness to it with lingering whiskey notes. There is little to no hop aroma or taste and the bitterness is just enough to keep the malt from getting out of control. It is mellow and well rounded.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very dark brownish red opaque syrupy body with almost no carbonation visible. Perfumy to medicinal smell with hints of vanilla. Taste of coffee, plum, dark cherries, dates, and oak. Strong alcohol burn hurts drinkability. Nice and smooth mouthfeel despite a thinner than anticipate body. Very lightly hopped with malt taking a starring role here. A bit one dimensional, but well worth the price.

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Photo of alexgash
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very, very dark, oily black with a very small, bubbly brown head. Smell: brandy, wine, oak chips, dark chocolate.
Taste: Smoky, sweetish peat malt. Almost has a saltiness to it as well. Turns to vinous, and finishes sugar-sticky and slightly bitter. Feels bigger than it is, and it reminded me of an light imperial stout in terms of complexity. me gusta.

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Photo of blgianbeer
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I had the opportunity to taste this reserve along side a draft "regular" Engine Oil this weekend.
The scotch cask aging definitely imparts oak, salt water and peaty flavors to the beer, the character of Scotland so to speak.
Overall, the aging process makes this well balanced beer a bit too sour and buttery for everyday consumption.
If you're a fan of the Oil, I recommend trying this one for a little taste bud shock.

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Photo of aracauna
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I remember being mildly impressed with the regular Old Engine Oil, but this doesn't really make it any better. Maybe it lacks the fundamental complexity to latch onto that the better whiskey cask-aged beers have, or maybe the aging was done differently here, but the whiskey cask flavor overwhelm the beer and don't quite meld. A very buttery aroma and sharp oak and whiskey flavor are dominant instead of adding layers of flavor to an already big beer. Mouthfeel is a bit oily.

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Photo of Jon
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Jet black with reddish tints at the edges. Settles to a thin tan head with respectable lacing ability.

Complex aroma features hints of caramel, charred oak, vanilla, dark fruit (raisin) esters, coffee, and whisky.

Profoundly flavorful, notes of chocolate, coffee, smoke, dark fruit, toasty oak and faint vanilla are quite evident. A lenghty, mildly acidic finish caps this one off. The whisky barrel flavors are well-integrated.

Smooth, creamy mouthfeel. Full-bodied and complex.

Though it possesses substantial body, its alcohol content is not through the roof, nor are the whisky and oak-aged elements over done. Vastly appealing, challenging, yet quite drinkable. As one who's becoming a bit jaded with the trend of barrel-aged beer (outside of the lambic and Flemish Red categories), this is even better than expected.

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Photo of 86MonteSS
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

To me it always seemed a little gimmicky for the label to tell the drinker what his beer was aged in. But in the case of Old Engine Oil Special Reserve, it seems very appropriate because you really can taste hints of malt whiskey. I'm not the kind of person who is told that a dish or beverage contains something and then lies to himself and others by saying, "oh yeah, I can taste the beer in this beer battered shrimp!" But the whiskey flavor in this beer makes the difference. It almost strikes the tongue as chocolate stout but by the time it's on its way down, you begin to realize that there really something special about this Scottish ale. It's different and I like it.

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Photo of GreenWBush
3.61/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one came to me. I was shopping around Kahn's Fine Wines in Indy when the "beerguy" came up with this beauty in his hand. He sounded excited about it, and said that he would only being selling a few of them. I snapped it up, but as I was being rung up I was threatened by defeat: "since this isn't in the register, i'm not going to be able to sell it to you!" I had to beg and plead until he would sell it to me, at a steep $4.99 for a 12 oz. single.

This beer pours out a thick "engine oil" black with ruby hints upon direct-light inspection. There are hints of classic stout profiles and barleywines on the nose, with an extra spiciness. As I get down through the beer, I keep falling back on faint raisin tones. More than anything, there was a permeating whisky smell all around the beer. This one leaves only a tiny lace.

There is a strange effervescence to this beer! It has a big alcohol profile for being only 6% ABV, but the sparkling-wine consistency makes it strangely drinkable. In the taste and aftertaste, i'm finding slightly malty tones blasted with whisky.

This one was not as good as I had hoped. It doesn't feel like a stout, but it is far from a barleywine, even though that is closer to what I felt like it should be. The whisky tones are just too pervasive. The aging just couldn't cut through the strange carbonation. The mouthfeel is pleasant, and this one is very drinkable. Just not worth the price of admission.

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Photo of sideshowrob
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer in a limited edition 11.2oz bottle. Very dark out of the bottle, little to no head. Great smell, lots of interesting notes - tart vanillia, liquor scents. Taste was bitter, with strong vanilla backing notes; sour liquor-like notes are prominent. Chocolate notes are secondary - definately for fans of sour, liquor-like beer-lovers. Oddly enough, the cask conditioning appears to have brought out lots of sour and bitter notes in this beer. The regular Engine Oil is sweeter and more drinkable, and certainly more representative of the Scotch Ale style.

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Photo of HappyHourHero
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The light cocoa colored head sits atop the opaque black beer. Bitter chocolate and a light smokiness in the aroma. The flavor is of a creamy stout with a bit of chocolate and burnt malt. A flavorful smooth beer that is suprisingle drinkable. A bit on the pricey side at $4.00 a bottle.

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Photo of byrd
3.62/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small tight dark tan head that recedes pretty quickly to a bubbly lace with a ring around the edge of the glass. Solid black in color. Rich aroma with lots of vinous (port) notes, very slight hint of chocolate, and maybe a hint of whiskey. Mouthfeel is light to medium with a light carbonation. The start is mildly sweet with a hint of currant. Bittersweet notes of dark chocolate pick up slightly, while vinous and whiskey notes are present towards the finish along with a good hop ending. Some roasted notes also become apparent in the end and the bittersweet chocolate flavor becomes noticeable once again. Good brew, but there’s something here that seems to be lacking. Can’t really put my finger on it. I think I prefer the standard Old Engine Oil better.

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

Poured dark and black but with a red tint when held to light. It had about a 1/4" of off white head, which settles fairly quickly to a ring around the edges and circles sitting atop the pitch black field.

Aroma is dark, roasted chocolate with some slightly smoky notes. I'll call it warmed tootsie rolls with smokiness dancing behind it.

Flavor is yummy sweet yet bitter dark chocolate with raisins and smoke. I really enjoyed the flavor of this one. I haven't had the standard OEO so I can't compare, but this is really tasty. the sweet, slightly sour finish was unexpected but very appropriate and was like the icing on the cake for me. This tasted almost like a Cream/Milk Stout aged in a smoky barrel.

Mouthfeel is full and slightly chewy.

Drinkability is hampered by the slight alcohol flavors that prevent huge gulps but no one wants to enjoy a beer that way anyhow.

I recommend, this is one tasty brew.

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Photo of WaltTrombone
3.29/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This poured as black as its namesake after 15,000 miles (don't ask how I know this...), with a tan head that disappeared fast. Aromas were whiskey, chocolate, raisin, prune. The first taste seemed kind of sour and lemony, but subsequent sips revealed chocolate, raisin, more lemon, alcohol, coffee, earthy compost.

Mouthfeel was thin, with small astringent carbonation. It finished like espresso with a twist of lemon peel. ABV seems stronger than 6%.

Not horrible, but the best thing about this beer is the aroma. I wish the rest of it lived up to the aroma.

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

Pours with only a trace of a head leaving hints of lace. Virtually no carbonation. Nose is a raisin/whiskey combination. Black color and heavy bodied. Starts smooth with alcohol overtones, finishes without a lingering aftertaste. Totally different from their standard Old Engine Oil. Pricey - $4.20 for a 330ml bottle, found at The Wine Society in Tyngsboro, MA.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

After having recently tried the “standard” Old Engine Oil whilst waiting for my fellow BA’s Davo and DavidBanner at the Stuffed Sandwich, I was interested to try the Special Reserve that I spied on the shelves at Hi-Times in Costa Mesa during my first trip there recently.

Presentation: 11.2 fluid ounce Bottle. Unlike the ‘standard’ OEO, the label for the Special Reserve has little color and is a mix of black, red, gold and white. Labeled as ‘Special Reserve’ the top of the label says ‘Aged in Malt Whisky Casks’. Crown capped with a listed Strength of 6.0% ABV.

Appearance: Poured with an even thicker viscous look than the OEO, which was thick as it was. A very dark brown with some rubidicious tones when the beer is swirled in the glass and light finally gets the chance to break through the oily fluid. Minimal carbonation struggles to form anything other than a brown halo head, a vigorous top-up created a thin brown head but that did not last long at all.

Nose: Deep whisky odors are strong and mix with dark chocolates and some vanilla hints.

Taste: Very thick start, any sweetness that was present soon rescinds against strong roasted malts that have a plum fruity feel. The finish dries with a Malt Whisky finish, which lingers. A complex twine of flavors lend a Whisky feel to this which makes it more of a sipper than the 'standard' OEO which is a quaffer.

Mouthfeel: Feels much bigger than its stated 6% ABV beer, the Whisky Cask aging adds a very strong alcoholic feel to the beer and removes much of the richness and smooth creamy feel that the standard OEO had.

Drinkability: The aging in Whisky Casks adds a strong alcoholic like heaviness to this beer, which in turn means that the Drinkability suffers significantly. A sipper.

Overall: I really enjoyed the ‘standard’ OEO, and the Special Reserve is a nice take on this. I am also a fan of Single Malt Whisky from Scotia, but whilst the aging in Whisky Casks adds an immense depth of complex flavors the drinkability suffers a little I feel. Well worth a try though, but I think I would much prefer the standard version if I had a choice in the future.

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Photo of shippos
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

fairly good tan dense head with a black color with some rich deep mahogany color at the bottom of the glass. has a very prominate wift of whiskey and wood with some vanilla coming through in the aroma. smoothly balanced with background flavors of chocolate, rich chewy malt and a warming whiskey character that makes the hops almost completly but still letting some peak through. definetly more mellow and matured than the original old engine oil, although this is interesting and good I'd still prefer the original.

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Photo of DagFishHead
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Damned-near black, dark ruby-brown pour. Huge, frothy chocolate-milkshake head with bountiful thick/creamy lace. Gorgeous.
Smell: Peat, toasty chocolate malt, espresso, licorace, molasses, dark ripe fruits... very complex. Reminiscent of an imperial stout. Definite alcohol whiff.
Taste & Mouthfeel: Rich, chewy sweet molasses malt start,
Subdued carbonation delivers a gentle tingle that mingles with the warm ABV glow. Sustained sweet plum, raisin, prune, date aftertaste.
Drinkability: Sustained sweetness and alcohol a bit big for more than one at a time... checked this review against my review of original OEO and am happy with the differences. Nice winter sipper.

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Photo of sulldaddy
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Very Dark pour almost black, no light is getting through this one!
Almost no head develops, very large loose bubbles foam up very briefly. Very strong bourbon aromas and some hint of alcohol aroma as well. A little spicy, maybe black licorice, or just a robust red wine. No hop presence whatsoever. Light carbonation, rich malty flavor some traces of woodiness or oak present. Also a burnt sugar flavor is prominent, which leads to a faint smokiness. The brew is heavy bodied with syrupy qualities. No hop presence in the flavor either. The finish is anything but clean with a thick residue in my mouth along my gums and a medicinal flavor like cough syrup. Not impressed.
Probably wont be getting this one again.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.32/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

11.2 fl oz. bottle served at cellar temp in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Inky black, just like the name would imply. Dark brown frothy head that recedes to a slight foam relatively quickly. Little bits of foam were left on my glass.

Smell: Woody, dark malt and fruit aromas. I caught some unpleasant soy sauce notes initially, but they quickly went away. The fruits are of the grape and plum variety, with some cherries thrown in for good measure. I was expecting more whiskey notes, and less wine.

Taste: Tart chocolate and fruit tastes. Raisins, prunes, grapes, apples, pears, and cherries well up and do their thang on your tongue. Reminiscent of a hearty red wine. Some tannic flavors on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly viscous, yet with a medium body. Mild tannic astringency.

Drinkability: Hrmmm.. I'm not so much into this one. I was expecting something a bit more heavy than what I got. I think a stout would've held up to the wood aging a bit more. One to try if you like tart beers or unique stories behind them.

Other: I was expecting more of a whiskey/scotch character to this than I what I got. It seemed more winelike than anything else. Where's the buttery and oakiness?

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Photo of ngandhi
2.89/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The original OEO is chocolate malt-laden decadence. The Special Reserve is pomp and circumstance. The brew is tainted, not infused, with off-flavors of whiskey that lend an odd green raisin, olive, and old sock nose.

There are some tart vinous qualities on the tongue muted by an overbearing cocoa sweetness. There's an element of pinot noir presented by light notes of (mostly dark) cherry, plum, and loud, loud prune that later comes to dominate the brew. More aggressive and this might be along the lines of a shiraz. But I do not mean to suggest that these flavors characterize the beer; they are secondary and even tertiary components. The longer OEO SR settles, the more the prunes dominate. If you think hard enough, you might get some dried dates as well. It isn't evocative and, after a while, it isn't even pleasant.

I've had scotch aged in sherry and port casks and the good ones always showed their experience (the wood) first, and then showed what they'd learned, how they'd come into their own. While some sour notes in OEO Special Reserve kind of make me think of whiskey, I hardly find it worth the effort. And if these prune notes come out of the aging, then they should have scratched the plans long ago.

The finish is a bit charred, chocolatey, and absolutely delicious when it garners up the strength to punch through the dark stone fruit. Unfortunately, this wholly unbalanced beer gives us no time to enjoy the good stuff.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of cokes
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Virtually black with just traces of purple where the light is allowed to penetrate. Small but enduring tan lacing.
Nose is full of chocolate, candied plums, brown sugar, and oak.
Begins sweet and stays that way. Much like the original, but different too. Molasses and plums are primary. Apricots are featured as well. So is brown sugar-coated tobacco and gooey green raisins. Some of that unmistakeable whisky tang too. Woodiness enters as this struggles to dry itself out. Herbal, tea-leaf hopping is dwarfed by the sweetness.
Lighter than medium body with stunted carbonation.
When the sweet tooth is nagging, I'll go for this again. And only then.
Unbalanced and unique and better than the standard edition.

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Photo of ADR
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown with red light transmission at the bottom. Flat creamy head of 1/4 inch, decent duration, and leaving spotty laces. Aroma is nice, rum-like molasses combines with a fleshy fruit sensation. Low carbonation and flattish mouthfeel, a little too sweet at first. Flavors are initially prune danish, raisin, with a lot of caramalized sugar going on. The finish is the most dissappointing, the body seems to evaporate and leaves nothing but an overly sweet fruit cake impression behind. If possible, this seems even sweeter than the original is, and that's one that pushes it to me.

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Photo of mschofield
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours fitting to the name, for all intents it is black and there is no head to speak of. The aroma leaps out at you, whisky soaked chocolate.
A whisky flavor underneath burnt raisins, a bit of chocolate liquer and licorice.
Flat in the mouth, and thinner than expected.
Not my cup of tea, but I could see people liking this one, it's worth a try.

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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 Bighuge
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is damn near black. Only a small bubbly brown head is formed on top. Intriguing. The smell is quite sweet and quite chocolatey. Black licorice, anise and molasses come to mind as well. Pretty nice aroma. Mouthfeel is pretty flat but not off putting. Body is medium full. It's a little syrupy. The taste is sweet and bitter. The sweet hits the tongue first. Syrupy malt presence. Candy. Raisins. Decent, but nothing spectacular. The bitter part is the aftertaste. Some burnt tones linger. Whisky alcohol tones are present, but not overbearing. Some definite chocolate tones. Pretty rich overall. All in all, a good try, but I've had many better "whiskey barrel" brews.

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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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