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

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
323 Ratings
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Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest AleOld Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
harviestoun.com

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WVbeergeek on 01-04-2012

BEER STATS
Ratings:
323
Reviews:
97
Avg:
4.24
pDev:
8.73%
 
 
Wants:
48
Gots:
67
For Trade:
2
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 323 |  Reviews: 97
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, marshmallows, vanilla, cocoa powder, and milk chocolate. Taste is much the same with char-like and smoke flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a fantastic smell and some really nice flavors. Definitely a step above normal Old Engine Oil in my opinion.

 616 characters

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of Knapp85
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured out as a deep black color with a nice off white head on top. The head retention and lacing were really nice on this beer. The smell is very malty with a healthy aroma of chocolate on the nose. The taste of the beer has a really nice big bold roasted flavors along with a sweet chocolate backbone in there too. The mouthfeel is slick and smooth with a light carbonation. Overall this beer is very good. I would drink it again for sure.

 451 characters

Photo of metter98
4.18/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that quickly died down, leaving a collar of large bubbles and some wispy lacing on the surface.
S: There are light aromas of roasted malts and smoke in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of dark roasted malts and is accompanied by a very slight amount of bitterness and some hints of chocolate and smoked peat.
M: It feels medium-bodied and somewhat smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is incredibly drinkable—no traces of the alcohol whatsoever are present in the taste.

 609 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.63/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

11.2 fl oz brown glass bottle with appealing simple label and branded silver/black pry-off pressure cap acquired at a local Texas bottle shop and served into an Avery stem-tulip in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery's reputation and the beer's current 93 rating. Reviewed as a porter since the label description claims this is simply "Old Engine Oil brewed up to 9% alc./vol" and Old Engine Oil's label identifies it as a porter. I guess there's an argument to be made that this is an imperial porter, but I wouldn't make it.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half-finger wide head of nice tan colour. Has decent creaminess and thickness. It's not the rich dark tan with a shiny complexion and an even consistency I've come to expect from the very best porters and stouts, but it's pretty appealing. Unfortunately, head retention is bad (even considering the high ABV) - only about 30 seconds. No real lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes, but there is a slick clear brandy-like coating that I've come to associate with the booziest of brews (Sam Adams Utopias comes to mind, for example).

Body colour is certainly a dark black, but I don't know that "blackest" is fair (insert racial jokes here). It's opaque, but it isn't a jet black in the way something like Alesmith's Speedway Stout is. No floating yeast particles are visible. Appears a bit undercarbonated.

Overall, it's a good appearance for a porter and I'm looking forward to my first sip. Admittedly, it's not unique or special for a porter. Pretty standard fare in terms of style conventions.

Sm: Finally, a porter aroma with roasted barley! I was beginning to think breweries weren't doing that anymore. I love the roast and I'm praying it's there in the taste as well. Dark malts, cocoa (with a bit of bean-y earthiness), light cream, marshmallow, chocolate, and chocolate malts. It's a damn fine aroma for a porter, albeit not a horribly complex one.

The roast is absolutely a highlight and has me craving the first sip.

A mouthwatering aroma of average to above average strength.

No yeast character, hop profile, or alcohol is detectable - something of a feat at 9%.

T: Damnit. The roast is substantially less prominent in the taste than it was in the aroma; so much for my high hopes. I mean they did print "roasty" right on the label...

Aside from the disappointing lack of roasted barley presence, it's a nice flavour profile for a porter. Dark malts, chocolate malts, cocoa, chocolate (probably milk chocolate), malty sweetness, marshmallow, and a kiss of char/burnt character. I don't find any yeast character, hops, or alcohol - they all get subsumed by the apt maltiness.

It's relatively simple for a porter, but has a fair amount of complexity in general. (See beers like Ballast Point's Victory At Sea for an example of why this is "relatively" simple). And admittedly this is a pretty standard (dareisay basic) build for a porter. But in that sense it's kind of a classic build; this is very much an almost archetypical English porter, and for that I really like it. The simplicity wouldn't bother as much if I'd just been given the roast I was promised.

It's balanced, sure, but as abovementioned, it's fairly simple. Cohesive but not gestalt. I definitely like it, but I saw the potential for it to be great. I wish the taste would deliver on the aroma. Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour. Not particularly nuanced or intricate. Good amplitude.

Mf: Viscous? I guess; I mean it's thick, but I wouldn't call it syrupy. Heavy and full-bodied, with a powerful presence on the palate. It's got strength without being boozy or hot. Well-carbonated. Slightly creamy. Overall, the texture complements the taste well, but there's room for improvement.

Not oily, gushed, astringent, or harsh. Unrefreshing.

Dr: It's a good beer that could have been great. The absence of the promised roast in the flavour profile really disappointed me. I could absolutely drink my way through a few of these in a night, and it evokes a classic porter feel, but I can't shrug off the feeling of wasted potential. Unfortunately, the unreasonable price point means I won't be buying this again in spite of its obvious quality (I had to double-check the label because the unreasonable pricing had me convinced the Shelton Bastards were involved). Well worth trying once, and I'd love to see how it develops with age. Good work from Harviestoun.

Solid B

 4,708 characters

Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of zeff80
4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours pitch black color with a small dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, molasses, dark bread, raisin, plum, light licorice, light smoke, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, molasses, dark bread, raisin, plum, light licorice, light smoke, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of herbal/spicy hop and roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, molasses, dark bread, raisin, plum, light licorice, light smoke, herbal, grass, light pepper, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice robustness, balance, and complexity of big dark/roasted malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an excellent English imperial porter style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of big dark/roasted malt and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,662 characters

Photo of DrBier
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of nickfl
3.77/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with one finger of medium brown foam on top of an opaque, black body. The head settles quickly and leaves average lace on the glass.

S - Dark, sugary notes of molasses, licorice, and smoky caramel.

T - Smoky caramel and dark brown sugar up front. Some more intense dark sugar in the middle with notes of cola and licorice. Finishes with smoke, green hops, molasses, and lingering sweet caramel.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - The aroma is full of promising rich malt character and while those characteristics come across in the flavor profile they don't have the sort of complexity I might have expected. The sugary character is cloying in the end and while there is some hop character for balance it could use a little bit of roast to help push back against the sugar.

 821 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of chinchill
3.93/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

330 ml bottle.
Pours black with a small but semi-durable head.
Thick body with low carbonation.
Exceptional, rich dark roasted grain aroma.
Light hops and alcohol esters are more evident in the flavor.

 204 characters

Photo of dbrauneis
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque black in color with hints of dark brown when held up to the light and moderate amounts of carbonation near the surface of the beer. The beer has a half finger tall beige head that reduces to a very thin patch covering the majority of the surface of the beer, a small thick patch, and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts and burnt malts along with notes of chocolate, coffee, and caramel.

T: Similar to the smell, this beer has a strong body of dark roasted malts and burnt malts. There are notes of dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, licorice, and just a hint of caramel sweetness.

M: Just shy of full bodied with light to moderate amounts of carbonation. Silky smooth.

O: For such a strong porter, the alcohol is surprisingly well hidden. I found this beer to be enjoyable but very much a sipping beer and not a session beer.

 941 characters

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of dcmchew
4.6/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not the blackest pour, but almost there, one finger tan head, pretty quick to a sticky lace and a thin film.
Smell of salty roasted malts and extremely rich dark chocolate with a raisin here and there, sweet, creamy, lots of sweet spices (big vanilla, toffee, faint licorice), bit of pecan nuts, bit of coffee, bit of alcohol. This should be very very tasty.
Oh yea! Creamy chocolate up front, with cappuccino notes, nice toffee, cinnamon, brown sugar, cocoa powder, sweet oily nuts (Macadamia, Brazilian nuts), vanilla and a hint of coconut. Dark fruit undertone, with raisin, juicy plum and some fig. Sweetness dominates, but there's a strong robust dark maltiness, especially towards the end, with smokey burnt grains, bit of wood ash and charcoal. Finishes with a mix of lingering sweetness and roast, mild bitterness, rich aftertaste.
Smooth, but a bit light bodied, not very.. "nutritious". Alcohol nicely hidden.
This comes very close to the very top, would have been better if it kept the rich roastiness of the regular Old Engine Oil (actually, if the alcoholic sweetness didn't cover it up). Still, a huge English porter.

 1,131 characters

Photo of Ciocanelu
4.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of smithj4
4.25/5  rDev +0.2%

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.2/5  rDev -0.9%

Photo of ZEB89
4.69/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

Pours dark as oil pitch black with a nice thicket of mocha tan head forms fine even lacing down the sides of my glass. This is basically an imperial version of their standard Old Engine Oil, I would call it just that an Imperial Porter. Aroma is creamy with dark chocolate, sweet underlying molasses, mild fruit complexity some hints of raisin. Herbal spicy hops are evident. Flavor is big with dark chocolate, roasted malt complexity, a hint of coffee. A touch of alcohol with dark ripened fruits blended in really a very smooth big dark beer can't tell that it would be 9% abv. Mouthfeel is medium bodied mellow carbonation this beer works well, I'm glad it wasn't aged in whiskey barrels I've had enough of their beers aged in whiskey. They need to send more of their standard and seasonal lineups stateside, seems like they know how to brew a really good beer. Overall my kind of big dark beer roasted malts big flavors with almost no harsh qualities, highly enjoyable definitely grab some. Only 4.99 a bottle really worth it for the abv and flavor quality.

 1,061 characters

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Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.24 out of 5 based on 323 ratings.
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