Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest AleOld Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale
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English Porter
Ranked #3
Ranked #1,510
4.24 | pDev: 8.73%
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest AleOld Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale
Notes: The intensely flavoured but incredibly smooth Engineer's Reserve is our fabulous Old Engine Oil brewed up to 9% alc./vol. Three hop varieties - grassy Fuggles, spicy East Kent Goldings and fruity Galena - are combined with roast barley providing a slightly burnt, toasted coffee character. Enjoy a bottle after dinner and take time to savour the earthy, hop fruity flavours of this spectacularly dark, rich beer.
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Reviews: 107 | Ratings: 347 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of darktronica
4.07/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On cask, this is a totally different animal. A delightful real ale, with thick waves of dark roasted grains fairly oozing from the smooth black liquid. Dry, lightly dark chocolate and with a touch of iodine more reminiscent of a Baltic.

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Photo of MonDak_Joe1953
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 11.2 oz bottle into glass. No bottling date information found.
Impervious to light, black colored body. Slight tan colored head disappears and leaves a few skiffs and a thin ring. Leaves a pattern of small, scattered spots of lacing.
Aroma of burnt, roasted malts, with a slight fried meat smell, and a whiff of fruity hops.
Taste is deep with dark roasted malts, with the edge of being burnt. The juicy hops rise above and sit there as the thick dark roasted malts provide the base. Slight after taste is a very pleasant combination of the juicy hops and the dark malts. There is a slight, extremely dark chocolate presence from the roasted malts.
Mouth feel is full and thick. Okay carbonation. Each sip provides a full mouth coating, that fades away into the after taste.
Wonderful sipper of the darkest ale. It is not too often that a beer blocks all light from passing through its body. Very tasty dark and roasted malts, with the addition of the hops. Quite a treat.

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Photo of damndirtyape
4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle, no date. Served in a Gordon's thistle glass.

Appearance: Pitch black letting no light through. Thin tan persistent head. Lots of fine strands and islands of lacing.

Smell: Lots of roasted malt, some chocolate, a bit of malt sweetness.

Taste: Rich roasted malt flavor accented with bittersweet chocolate, black coffee, and herbal/leafy bitter hops. The goldings and fuggles do show up as the beer warms toward the finish. There is a bit of malt sweetness for balance, but there is a lot of strong flavors tilting toward bitter.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and creamy, prickly carbonation that balances the rich beer. A bit sticky on the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: A nice beer to sip slowly and savor. They're not kidding on the label with the thickness and emphasis on roasted malts. A very nice treat of a beer.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.29/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a finger of caramel-colored foam with a solid black liquid underneath. Head lingers for a while. Aroma is roasty, toasty, biscuity, bready, earthy malts. Hints of caramel and molasses add a little sweetness, but overall, very malt driven. Flavor profile toasty, biscuity, bready, caramely, earthy malts with hints of caramel, molasses, and herbal, resiny hops. It's roasty with hints of chocolate and cocoa. Mouth feel is medium-thick, falling just shy of the 'thick' title. Texture is still, with a little velvety, graininess that comes on at the finish. Overall, dense and full, while still staying under 10% ABV (slightly smaller bottle than a US made bottle, 11.2oz vs. 12oz). Still worth a visit for those seeking something malty and chocolatey.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 11.2oz bottle.

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Photo of puck1225
4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a happy beer! Smooth and thick. Wonderful collection of comforting flavors: pumpernickel toast, chocolate, peat, licorice. Very dark brown color with nice beige head and lacing. A pleasant hint of booze. Very enjoyable!

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Photo of MNAle
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Aroma is quite roasty with chocolate, perhaps coffee, some alcohol. Color is black, opaque, with a 1/2 inch tan head that relatively quickly becomes a ring and very thin cap. Exceedingly thick and rich feel and taste. Texture is viscous, maybe SAE 40! Roasted grain, chocolate taste mirrors the aroma; initially sweet, but transitioning to a slightly bitter middle and finish. No alcohol taste or burn. The aftertaste is sweet chocolate balanced by a satisfying bitterness.

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Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours fudge brown with a spectacular bubble show that builds a frothy one finger tan head; spots a foam cling

Smell: Very roasty, with chocolate, molasses, licorice, smoked peat and tobacco tones

Taste: Roast, smoked peat and chocolate tones forward, with the molasses and licorice building; rather sweet, through the middle, but the finish has a harsh, tobacco leaf flavor

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Engineer's Reserve indeed; a little too sweet and a little too rough in the finish; I prefer the regular version better

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I think this was a strong but delicious porter.

Look: Jet black with two-inch mocca head.

Aroma: The aroma is roasted malts, chocolate, and a hint of coffee.

Taste:. The taste is roasted malts, milk chocolate, a hint of licorice, a hint of coffee. I did not taste much of the alcohol despite the 9.00%, but there were some, just the right amount.

Feel: It is rich, creamy, full bodied, and stronger than most porters but less hoppy than most stouts.

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Photo of VoxRationis
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Decanted into a shaker pint glass.
A: Mahogany to black with a limited tan head that dissipates quickly. No lacing
S: Dark malty sweetness with dark chocolate, molasses, anise, and pepper.
T: Dark malt, more milk chocolate than dark, smoked ham in balance with the bitterness of the hops.
M: Full bodied, nice effervescence.
O: A distinctly superior version of the porter style.

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Photo of Apioludd
4.94/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A bartender at my local pub gave me a bottle of this beer as a birthday gift. It was, indeed, the blackest beer I have ever experienced. I did not give the smell and adequate test, but I recall it's intensity. The taste was wildly dark and strong, reminiscent of a fine black rum with hints of licorice, strong sweet spices (nutmet, cinnamin and the like. The feel was heavy, like molasses, and it rolled across the tongue adding hints of dark bittersweet chocolate and strong coffee to the other flavors. Everything about it was excessive in the best sense of that word. Its intensity make it a beer I could not drink everyday, but one I would choose to have when I want to sit for awhile and savor a beer.

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Photo of mynie
4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fast, gluggy pour--very thick and very still. Very, very dark.

One of the most chocolatey malt aromas I've ever come across, and the barley is alcoholic in *just* the right way to evoke the smell of a very high-cocao dark chocolate. It smells, in short, like dark chocolate fudge and booze.

Doesn't taste nearly as complex as its smaller brother, but the straightforwardness works. Dark chocolate up front, with notes of cherries and char, getting sweeter and stoutier as it progresses, finishing on a pleasant twinge of alcohol. Unlike most large stouts, it's not very hoppy, and there is little by way of wine or fruit. Instead, the barley gets full stage, and it makes the most of it.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.62/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Dark nearly black out of the bottle, and slightly sludge like, but fills with actually a touch of clarity under the head, but a big dark walnut brown and solid body. Head is fleeting. A sticky two finger mocha, that slowly settles to a small crowned thin puck.

Aroma is quite impressive. Dark roasted malts, touches of berried like fruit esters. Sharp molasses with a real nice dryness hinting of almost burnt licorice (in a nice way), and thick sticky tobacco like notes. Drying and parched, warm and inviting, sticky like a swamp. Ready and excited to dive in.

A nearly perfect porter. Creamy and rich body filling the palate with wonderful array of flavors. First sip is silky rich notes of roast and berried fruit but turns darker almost raisin like with less sweetness. Then the licorice tones kick in. Smoke like, with dried tannic black licorice that just tastes like chewing tobacco on every sip. Excellent warmth and a large herbal to fruity hop oil sensation, with soft astringency on the aftertaste. Oily indeed everywhere, with slick and rich coating, but also just touching the palate like velvet. Slight phenols add some bitterness as well, just to keep things interesting.

A true classic brew, not perfect, but a total winner. I could curl up in front of the fire and drink this non stop until it burns out… or if I do… whichever comes first.

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Photo of Suds
4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thick, black, intense, and fulfilling. It is utterly black in color, with a wafer thin brown head. The smell is boozy, with a little dark fruit and dark malt. The taste is intense...bitter, warming, solid, and interesting. The ABV is notable throughout the taste, and the mouthfeel is more than full....it has an enveloping thickness. Nice.

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From bottle, pours a pitch black colour with a tan head that only comes out as a thin ring around the glass. Aroma chocolate, malts. Taste chocolate, cocoa, roasty, very sweet. No hint of the alcohol. Very tastey.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A near perfect porter. Had several times, but finally reviewed and bumped my rating up; mostly based on the seamlessness of how this ale has been synthesized and my inability to find a true weakness.
Black and oily in the glass, admired more like my dark roasted coffee in the morning than an ale.
Smell offers wonderfully blended malts; chocolate and caramel and core malts all play well on the nose.
Taste introduces some bitterness, but only a little (my bias).
Feel is total viscousness. Nailed.
I think I'll do this again sooner than later.

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Photo of Hallu
2.75/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Love the original version so I was expecting a lot in this. Unfortunately there's nothing of the coffee and roasted malts from the original... This is mean, boozy and tobacco-y... nothing else. Unpleasant bitterness, I obviously had the same batch as Jeffo : Best Before March 2017. This is a bad batch obviously, and you should avoid it. Nothing of the chocolate or coffee the others are mentioning.

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Photo of Bruno74200
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

L - really dark with a beige head

S - Mostly chocolate and roasted malts

T - Cocoa, malt, a bit of smoked malt, roundness and sharp bitterness

F - really smooth, great mouthfeel

O - A great porter, terribly drinkable for its high ABV!

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.34/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Wow, this is good. Dark black pour with nearly zero head. Smells of vanilla, cocoa, and lots of roast. Flavor has lots of sweet chocolate and smooth malt up front with a slight bitter from the ton of roast kicking in at the finish, and lingering a bit. Very smooth, very tasty

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Photo of GreatStoutman
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful black pour, tan head. Roasted malts, vanilla, dark chocolate nose with very similar flavor. I haven't tried the standard version so I can't compare, but this is a really nice beer and well worth the $5 for a 12oz bottle.

Medium to full body hangs out for a while but leaves no signs of the alcohol. Could easily drink this all night. Well done.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.68/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - pitch black beer with mocha head that sticks well, reappears with the slightest movement and leaves a nice lacing
S - chocolate malt, tobacco, caramel, toffee, smoke, very smooth smelling
T - smokey, tobacco, chocolate, burnt marshmallow, smooth coffee, caramel, vanilla, umami, also very smooth in the taste
M - heavy smooth mouthfeel, alc completely covered - disturbingly covered, aftertaste is chocolate, roasted malts
O - super smooth beer, Scotland has it down. Makes me wish I was in Scotland sipping on one of these beauties. You can tell it's big but it's so smooth.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.95/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got this one at De Bierkoning in A'dam. Happy to see this, as it's supposed to be the base for Ola Dubh.

From a bottle into a snifter
Best Before March 2017

APPEARANCE: A clear black pour yields a 1+ finger, medium looking, creamy tan head with great retention. Black body with lower levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a full cap and clings to the sides of the glass. A ring and splotchy wisp remain but leave no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted barley, dark fruit, dark chocolate and tobacco aromas. Bold.

TASTE: Lots of roasted barley up front with tobacco and caramel sweetness at the swallow. Very roasted finish with more roasted barley, bitter pure chocolate, tobacco, burnt malts and light dried fruits. Very roasted and burnt indeed, and lacks some of the sweet or hoppy balance that might be required here.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. A little prickly on the palate, goes down fine with no real scratch and finishes a bit sticky. No heat lingers.

OVERALL: This one was really, really roasted and burnt without anything to smoothen it out. Lots of tobacco as well. Found this rough around the edges and I had trouble finishing it, even though I'm generally a fan of the Ola Dubh series. Unfortunately this was a bit of a disappointment.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a goblet

A- pours a viscous deep brown with a one-finger foamy khaki colored head that reduces to a ring around the glass

S- smoky roasted malt gives aromas of peat, char, chocolate, coffee & earthy wood

T- sweet and robust with big notes of charred malt, bringing flavors of chocolate, coffee, herbal notes, and earthy wood. Hint of hop bitterness on the finish with a linger of dark chocolate

M- thick body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that finishes slightly chewy

O- robust and full flavored porter that hides the alcohol well, providing for a nice sipping beer

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Photo of Dragginballs76
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours jet black like engine oil, small tan head light lacing. Smell of hops chocolate slight vanilla also a light nutty note. Taste chocolate coffee slight bitterness from the hops, also a little smoky taste as well. A medium feel hop up front little chocolate taste on the back end very smooth. Over a great beer.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a stone glass.Smell is chocolate with slight coffee.Taste is about the same.Chocolate with a hint of bitterness.Overall this is a pretty good porter.Give it a try.

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Photo of Tone
4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, chocolate, alcohol, slight euro yeast, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of an English Porter. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, hint of chocolate, slight euro yeast, and a hint of hop. Overall, good appearance, great aroma, body, feel, and blend.

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Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 347 ratings