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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Stout - Sweet / Milk
Ranked #53
Ranked #1,591
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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Photo of vinicole
vinicole from England

4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Almost black. Tan head which dissipates to a thin effervescing layer. Wispy lacing.
Tingling aroma of molasses, prune juice and lightly charred brown bread.
The peaty flavour opens alongside heavily roasted malt, liquorice and hints of dark chocolate.
Silky smooth on the palate finishing with a medium bitter notes. Viscous.
Wonderful and no hint of the ABV.

Jun 21, 2020
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BKotch from Texas

4.23/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Amazingly, either a 2012 or a 2013, and here it is 2020. I can't believe it's held up so well, far better than either of its barrel-aged cousins, Ola Dubh 12 and 16 of the same vintage.

Apr 19, 2020
Photo of stevoj
stevoj from Idaho

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

Bottle from Boise Co-op. Pours out black with a nice brown head, fades to thin coating. Roasty, smoky aroma, woody notes. Taste brings some molasses notes, mild bitterness, ashy. Smooth as can be. Classic.

Jan 06, 2020
Photo of darktronica
darktronica from Indiana

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.

Mar 18, 2019
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

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.

Jan 27, 2019
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damndirtyape from Ohio

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.

Jan 12, 2019
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Harrison8 from Missouri

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.

Dec 06, 2018
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puck1225 from Texas

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!

Nov 28, 2018
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MNAle from Minnesota

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.

May 07, 2018
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brentk56 from North Carolina

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

Nov 18, 2017
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Thomas_Wikman from Texas

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.

Jul 15, 2017
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VoxRationis from New York

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.

May 10, 2017
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Apioludd from Oregon

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.

Apr 01, 2017
Photo of mynie
mynie from Maryland

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.

Mar 19, 2017
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Smakawhat from Maryland

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.

Aug 18, 2016
Photo of Suds
Suds from Missouri

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.

May 01, 2016
Photo of Andrewharemza
Andrewharemza from Australia

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.

Apr 30, 2016
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Beginner2 from Illinois

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.

Apr 28, 2016
Photo of Hallu
Hallu from France

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.

Apr 17, 2016
Photo of Bruno74200
Bruno74200 from France

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!

Feb 28, 2016
Photo of tekstr1der
tekstr1der from New Hampshire

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

Jan 27, 2016
Photo of GreatStoutman
GreatStoutman from Texas

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.

Jan 11, 2016
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HopHunter19 from Missouri

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.

Jan 01, 2016
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo from Netherlands

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.

Dec 30, 2015
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Treyliff from West Virginia

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

Dec 09, 2015
Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 352 ratings