Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
93 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest AleOld Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100  | next → last
Reviews: 93 | Ratings: 315
Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.58/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served off the hand pump @ Trapp Door in Emmaus, PA into a 10oz glass.

A- Pitch black (really is "Blackest") with a very creamy thin tan head. This beer is truly barely opaque.

S- Rich, dark chocolate, molasses and raisins. Alcohol is well hidden considering the 9%ABV.

T- Home run of a porter we have here. The sweetness and bitterness is played nice. Roasted cocoa and dark malt are exemplary.

M- Perfecto off the cask. This beer is meant for casks.

O- This beer is a very good example of a cask english porter. Very flavorful, robust, and truly a treat. FYI- $9 for a 10oz pour; $4.50 on T-Fr from 4pm-6pm during Happy Hour. Happy Hour @ Trapp Door is rocks.

 666 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.4/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at Bier Thirty last week, I think I paid about $7ish. Poured into my slim tulip... short lasting dark brown head.. big bubble lacing is okay at best... the brew is pretty much black except for the most remote ruby highlights near the stem.

Nose shows a bit boozy light dark malt.. not nearly as "black" as I would expect..

Flavor is more dark.. but odd. Something that I associate with fermented out molasses.. background char that is sweetened a bit by dark raisin... some pronounced cocoa with warmth.. Palate dies off pretty quickly.

Body seems thinned out by EtOH.... carbonation is pretty solid but goes away quickly on my tongue..

Not sure that I would identify this as any type of "porter"... Strong ale, probably... or a damn boozy porter, I guess too.


Okay... glad I got a chance to try it, but I want Harvieston to bring back the Special Reserve... I would like to try that again.

 931 characters

Photo of acevenom
5/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass. Pours black with a two-finger length dark tan head that dissipates slowly. There is excellent head retention. Some lacing is left behind on the glass as the head dissipates. There are aromas of dark roasted malts, coffee, bitter chocolate, and molasses. There are lots of big flavors in this beer. Sweet dark roasted malts, bitter chocolate, coffee, molasses, hops, and some dark fruits can be tasted in this beer. The alcohol is very well-hidden in this one. The flavors remind me so much of a good RIS, but I have to remember this is a porter. The body is medium and this is smooth and creamy. There is just enough carbonation to make this very drinkable. It goes down very easily. Despite the fact that this is such a big beer, it still feels like a porter. Overall, this is an excellent beer. I liked it better than the regular Old Engine Oil, which is also an excellent beer. This porter is big and bold, but doesn't forget it's a porter. This is a home run.

 989 characters

Photo of HamGlade10
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black, nice tan head that lingers. This is a very drinkable brew. Very smooth, silky, not overly thick. Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate flavors, slight bitterness that lingers. This is a brew meant for a cask. Overall, a great beer, not overpowering, alcohol is very well hidden.

 292 characters

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

Aroma has notes of chocolate, roast coffee and caramel. It pours a deep sable with a thick tan head. Scrumptious flavor has chocolate, quality coffee and malt notes plus hints of licorice and caramel. Lip smacking! Thick, smooth mouthfeel has a good amount of fizz and leaves a smoky, slightly sweet finish. You don’t have to be an engineer to appreciate this one.

 366 characters

Photo of thecheapies
4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased as part of a mixed six for $5.50.

Poured into my trusty Southampton pint glass.

Looked molasses brown from the bottleneck, looks black as night in the glass. Tight crema for head that's tan in color. Really wants to stick to the inner wall of the glass, but only does in little tangles. 4.0

Robust English porter aroma carries a rich and complex maltiness that is dark in roast and large in size. Hints of cocoa powder and dried fruits peek out at me through the nose. The ever slightest nuances of hops. Some ground coffee notes fill it out. 4.0

Fully roasted malts with a ton of grain, measuring out ample servings of peat, dark fruits, and bitter char. Coffee and chocolate flavors are darker still than in the aroma. More bitterness in the finish from an earthy English hop, but it's pretty subdued and blended with some mild sweetness from the grain bill. Detectable heat on the tail-end, as well, but balances out nicely. 4.5

Impressively smooth and velvety. Medium-full bodied with expressions of alcohol that, all in all, are decently masked. Carbonated to style and to my preference. In essence, dangerously drinkable. 4.5

I had the regular version of Old Engine Oil awhile back and really wanted to try this when I saw it hit shelves in my area. Only passed over it once before finally submitting to picking it up. Decent price. Better than decent beer. An English porter that I adore. 4.5

 1,422 characters

Photo of Daniellobo
4.03/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

lNice imperial porter...

Presentation:33 cl brown capped bottle. Oval label with shiny copper frame, and the faded image of old cars among the borders. Front already starts to describe the brew, and the back notes expand the ingredients, and intent. Shows a faded code on the neck and 9% Alc. by Vol. Served in a snifter.

A - Black pour with deep dark brown edges, rich creamy head, good retention, nice surface memory and lacing.

S - Nice roasted nose, very malty with chocolate and coffee notes leading to a fruity bitterness…

T - …which hold their own very well in the palate. Rich roasted notes, chocolate and coffee, and that bitter/sweet note is slightly punctuated by a touch of charred wood. Fruity, slightly sour dash in the horizon over a floral hoppy insinuation.

M - Medium/full body with medium carbonation, which punctuates nicely a very creamy and smooth ride.

O - Quite a nice rich porter.

Notes: Solid through and through, maybe nothing special but hits all the notes of the style with great dexterity. A tad too expensive with the import and all, but a nice brew.

 1,093 characters

Photo of CityBoy1986
3.91/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

They're not kidding about this being the "blackest;" there is only a slight lightening of colour near the edges. The nose consists of chocolate, with some roasty and smokey hints. Just a bit of booze.

When tasting, the smokiness definitely takes centre stage. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy.

Overall, it's worth a try, at least. I won't be adding it to my regular line-up as I could see myself tiring of it after a couple. However, it's a very decent brew.

 500 characters

Photo of champ103
4.38/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very glad to come across this. I am a huge fan of everything Old Engine Oil.

A: Pours an impenetrable, opaque black color. A two finger tan head rises with good retention and lace. Looks awesome.
S: Earthy and slightly slick hops up front. Quickly followed by milk chocolate, smoke, and roast.
T: Follows the nose. Light hops up front. Though a great balance of chocolate, roast, and peat/smoke. I love it.
M/D: A medium to full body. Moderate carbonation. So smooth and velvety. Like silk. Incredibly easy and enjoyable to drink.

After falling in love with everything that Harviestoun puts out, it is no surprise that I love this as well. Highly recommended.

 663 characters

Photo of Dope
3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: A black pour with a big, dense chocolate brown head. Retention is excellent. Lacing is quite heavy as well.

S: Smoked meat and roasted malt up front. Touch of chocolate.

T: A ton of hickory smoke. Bitter coffee and roasted malt along with a touch of chocolate. Smoked meat pervades in the aftertaste.

M: Fairly thick mouthfeel. Somewhat creamy.

O: A pretty decent porter but way overpowered on the smoke. I much prefer the normal old engine oil.

 452 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.42/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Guldan Draak flute. Pours a very dark red brown, appearing pitch black in the glass. Nice half finger fine light brown head slowly dissipates into a film and ring with little lacing. Pleasant aroma of roasted and dark malt, molasses with hints of chocolate and coffee. Taste is dominated by roasted malt with light dark fruit, coffee and chocolate. Finishes roasty with a moderate suggestion of smoked meat that similar to Rauchbiers, but with more of a burnt quality. Not very complex, but flavors are well integrated and very pleasant. Medium to heavy bodied with creaminess. Light on carbonation, but enough to contribute to a good mouth feel. Alcohol is well hidden. A very nice smokey porter that is a pleasure to drink and savor.

 749 characters

Photo of BeerNemesis
4.16/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Old Engine Oil (Engineer's Reserve) | 330 ml. | 9.0% ABV | 2011

Brewer: Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Style: English Porter
Glass: crystal mug

Black as, well, engine oil, with an enticing cocoa head.

Roasty and chocolatey

Deep roasted, almost burnt, malts hit you up front. A wave of warming alcohol soon follows. Grassy and spicy hops make an appearance towards the finish and into the aftertaste. The bottle says Harviestoun used Fuggles, Kent GOldings, and Galena.

Delightfully smooth, rich, and thick. Engine oil indeed!

This is an amped up version of Old Engine Oil--and i like it. The extra alcohol gives it a manic quality and a pure intensity. I still prefer the deep, mellow flavors of the original.

Would I get it again?:
Yeah, though Old Engine Oil is preferable.

Bottled: ?
Served: January 28, 2012

Price = $5.99 at Whole Foods NYC

 900 characters

Photo of shand
3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 11.2oz bottle into a snifter.

It's black. I'm not sure if I'd say blackest, it's not a Zhukov or a Hunahpu, but I sure can't see through it. The aroma is roasted with a huge coffee component. The taste isn't nearly as roasty, with sweet caramel flavors dominating the flavor. Dark fruits struggle though a bit on the opening, with a bit of that roast hitting the tongue in the middle, but the sweetness really rides through, on the edge of cloying. It's really quite good though, I'm just thankful it isn't in a large-format bottle. The mouthfeel feels a little bit thin at first, but it does a nice coating and drying thing at the end. The drinkability is decent. Overall, it's a pretty good beer, but I don't really think it's better than the base Old Engine Oil.

 780 characters

Photo of teromous
3.99/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: It appears just as the beer is described on the label; old engine oil. It's black in color, with a decent tan foamy head. It sticks somewhat to the glass, but not a lot.

S: I get some roasted scents, but it is overwhelmingly boozy.

T: I'm happy to say that it doesn't taste like strong alcohol. The beer tastes somewhat like a bourbon, but without the huge alcohol flavor. There are burnt flavors, along with chocolate, and oak. It tastes very good.

M: The beer relies heavily on bitterness and an oak body. It's a stronger side of a medium body, and has excellent mouthfeel.

O: I would drink it again and I would recommend it. It's a fine porter with a lot of body and flavor. The only negative that I found with the beer, was the strong alcohol scent. It's odd that it was hidden in the flavor (in a good way).

 819 characters

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 avalon07
4/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Good lacing.

S: An interesting smell of coffee, chocolate, and a burnt quality as well.

T: Tasted of roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, light hops, and the aforementioned burnt quality. A solid flavor, very subtle and underplayed, as a lot of British beers are.

M: An average amount of carbonation with a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

O: On the whole, an enjoyable, easy to drink brew.

 545 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention is decent, and there's a lot of lacing left behind on the glass. The brew smells like roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and some molasses. It tastes like roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and some burnt/charred malt. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and coating, and has a good amount of carbonation. I can't tell this is a 9% ABV beer at all, the alcohol is hidden very well. I think this is a good overall brew, I'd certainly buy this again in the future. Definitely worth trying!

 632 characters

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

firstprev| 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100  | next → last
Old Engine Oil Engineer's Reserve Blackest Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.24 out of 5 based on 315 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!