Old Engine Oil Black Ale
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Old Engine Oil Black AleOld Engine Oil Black Ale
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English Porter
Ranked #8
Ranked #2,377
4.15 | pDev: 10.12%
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
Old Engine Oil Black AleOld Engine Oil Black Ale
Notes: Legend has it that Old Engine Oil was dedicated to our Head Brewer’s love of classic cars. But it’s the thick, dark, chocolatey viscosity that reveals the real inspiration behind the name.
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Reviews: 844 | Ratings: 1,838 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of laketang
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick black murky tar pit soup.
Brown bubble head fades fast.

Street vender roasted chestnut nuttiness. Nice hoppy aromas, toasted bread.

Great roasted flavor, gritty taste with toast notes, chocolate, not too sweet, caramel.

Medium body with some carbonation and a reasonsble level of bitterness. Slme astringency.

I really enjoyed drinking this and i will be looking for this again!.

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Photo of ScaryEd
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz can into a tulip glass.

Pours a dark cola brown color with a huge creamy tan head. The head is decidedly persistent, leaving loads of sticky cobweb lacing as it ultimately settles into a thick blanket of foam.

The aroma brings notes of milk chocolate, caramel, roasted almonds, and grainy oats. There's also some subtle hints of molasses and dark fruits with the absolute foggiest idea of hops on the back end.

The flavor is exceptionally roasted, bringing notes of almonds, dark roast malts, coffee and a slight hint of char. There's a good amount of chocolate and caramel in the middle before a finish of dark fruits.

The feel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Very creamy and smooth with an exceptionally dry finish. Has a lingering bitterness that clings to the palate after each sip.

Overall, a great porter that is absolutely exploding with delicious, malty flavors. It's drinkable as hell yet never feels too light. A bit pricey, but definitely worth trying.

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Photo of Harrison8
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a finger of khaki head. Aroma is roasty, toasty, nutty, caramely and earthy malts with a light molasses and caramel sugary smoothness to it. Flavor profile is roasty, toasty, nutty, caramely and earthy malts with lightly spicy, earthy hops and caramel, molasses and brown sugar. It opens with a very light malty grainy bitterness to it, features a lightly sticky hoppy center and then a smooth, lightly-sweet finish. Mouth feel is medium in thickness with a very fine graininess that is nearly silt-like. Overall, smooth with a very light sweetness on the back for a delightful finish.

Served in a 15.5oz Speigalau tulip from a 11.2oz bottle.

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Photo of beersampler6
3.93/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice, flavorful, easy to drink dark porter from a brewery that’s new to me. Pours a nice oily black color that’s fairly opaque and has a little bit of nice light tan foaming head and minimal spotty lingering lacing. Smells of malt, roasted oats, little nuttiness, milk chocolate, and a touch of medium roast coffee. Taste follows the nose, and the flavors blended well together with just enough malt sweetness. Smooth, mild, very slightly creamy mouthfeel with decent carbonation. According to the other reviews here I should’ve let the beer sit for a while in the glass in order to warm up to room temperature. However I still found this offering very enjoyable.

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Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle - poured into a wine stem at room temperature.

Pours a dark, *old engine oil* color, and sits pitch black,in the glass. Two,fingers if light brown foamy head sit atop. The head looks like really weak chocolate milk that has been whipped in a blender. Some very pronouced lacing.

Nose: Deep, but softly roasted malted barley. Hints of milk chocolate, walnut, fig, raisin, plum, sherry oak, dried cherry, malted milk, almond, and a little bright spark. It's rich, malty, nutty, and figgy on the nose, but it's also soft, subtle, and gentle.

Palate: Roasted malted barley kicks it off with rich, roasty chocolate and malt notes. It's very much an English porter, and not the American variety. It's soft, kind, and gently roasted, with zero hop bitterness/spice, and no charry flavors. Those figgy dark fruits emerge, along with a round nuttiness. A slight dried orange peel note, and then the roasty flavors slightly increase, leaving a nice long, lingering finish of sweet roasted malt, and cocoa powder. It's slightly drier upfront, with a tame sweetness appearing towards the finish.

Mouthfeel/Body: This sits both light, anf chewy in the mouth. It isn't a heavy beet at all, but it also has some viscosity to it. Of course, you can onlt get so much out of 6% ABV, so I can't complain too much. This is as thick and chewy as a 6% ale is going to get. Fir it's lightness, it has an excellent body, and a nice, fine, gentle effervescence.

Overall: This is an outstanding porter. An English style porter, focusing more on richness, roundness, and sweet softness, opposes to big, aggressive, bold and bitter. I prefer the English variety, and this Scottish example sets the bar for a 6% ABV porter. A must try for any dark beer lover. Worth the price.

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Photo of teromous
3.64/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

There is a "43" stamped to the bottom of the can but I don't see a canned on or best before date listed.

Appearance: Black body with a large khaki head that is creamy textured and large. Good head retention and lacing. Looks better than your average English Porter.

Aroma: I get a bit roasted aroma and burnt leather scent. There is the accumulation of pine and burnt pine tar on the nose. It isn't a traditional English Porter aroma. I don't see anything on the can indicating this is an English Porter strictly, but the claim to "dark chocolate viscosity" seems correct. Although, this doesn't really seem to hit the mark. After a long time in the glass it starts to open up with a burnt caramel sweet smell along with what would be considered a bitter aroma. It starts to smell a bit chocolatey and as it warms up it just gets better.

Taste: Burnt caramel, maple, brown sugar, and chocolate liqueur. It has some nice flavors but the ingredients can't be tasted directly. A byproduct of import? Probably.

Mouthfeel: Decent carbonation with the expected bitterness. It has an above-moderate body with just a touch of sweetness and a lingering bitterness.

Oveverall: If you buy this beer, I highly recommend letting it sit in the glass for a while if it is an import. It really improves over time. It's always tough to review an import because you never know the conditions of the import. Fortunately, post import, this one seems to have done alright (no idea how it tastes before import). It's worth trying to see how the Hillfoots Village does an English Porter. At the very least it leads into some discovery about the Ochil Hills. From a neutral baseline the beer is lightly above average.

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Photo of Jacobier10
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On cask @ Blind Tiger in New York, NY.

What an awesome treat to have this on cask! Pours black and opaque with a small off-white head that has big bubbles from the hand pump pour. Chocolate malt aroma with lightly roasted malt and nuts. A pleasant earthiness comes out upon tasting and combines brilliantly with the chocolate malt flavor.

The finish on cask was so soft and light that it made the beer incredibly easy to drink. My friend took one sip of mine and ordered it as his next beer. An absolute joy to drink.

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Photo of seedyone
4.68/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From bottle at home purchased at Milk & Hops, Chelsea. This is a textbook brew. It its all the right notes in harmony. Outstanding without being overwhelming. Cosmetically it has just the right effervescence to show a rich, substantial head on the pour that settles to a khaki cap over a deep choco-coffee colored liquid with a noteworthy mouthfeel. The aroma carries more bitterness then meets the palate. Rich coffee & chocolate with a wonderful wintry texture. The sweetness has a touch of brunt sugar bitterness not unlike a well made toffee. The unctuous mouthfeel is rich without being cloying.

I wish I could find this everywhere all the time, but then again maybe the "treat" element makes the heart grow fonder.

If you see this try it. It's an education. No gimmicks. Just good.

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Photo of KooVee
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle bb Sep 19.

Lightish foam despite reddish tint of black colour, indicating roasted barley in the recipe.

Aroma is actually quite subdued, with caramel notes, only a whiff of smoke and roasted flavours, no chocolate to speak of.

Taste is that of a sweetish stout. There is the broad bitterness at the back, but dominant is a molasses type very slightly burned caramel flavour that sticks around relatively long. The interplay of bitterness and burnt caramel sustains interest until the end of each sip, and happily until the end of the bottle.

Mouthfeel is not as thick as reputation demands but it is above British average.

Overall a pleasant, sweet, stronger version of a Dry Stout, if one ignores the 'black ale' on the label. One gets the idea to compare this to say Guinness Export in a blind tasting, as a slightly more lightly built cousin. I do not taste anything porter-like.. too sweet, and the roasted barley does not fit. No chocolate or smoky notes. In this day and age, would benefit from a bit more boldness.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From notes 1/14/12: Pours ebony with a single finger of moderately lasting, coarse, mocha head that leaves speckled lacing across the glass. Aroma is dark roast, caramel, chocolate, dried plum/prune with hints of smoke and spicy hops. Taste is chocolate milk, caramel, roast, prune, some smoke, a slight burnt quality, a hint of coffee and hop spice. The hop character is more prominent in the mouth being present from mid-sip through the finish and into the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is excellent: full, heavy bodied with slight carbonation it is thick as the name "Engine Oil" would imply, slick, smooth and very drinkable. Very nice. In some respects more like a Wee Heavy/Sweet Stout than a porter.

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Photo of jkblr
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

11.2oz bottle coded B6088 poured into a perfect pint glass at fridge temp 6% ABV. The beer pours very dark brown to black with mocha colored head. The head recedes to a few bubbles and leaves a little lacing. The aroma is mild roasted malt and chocolate. The taste is pleasant roasty malt with hints of chocolate and coffee before a barely tangy nuetral finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with less than medium carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, very good. Absolutely worth the price if you enjoy a well crafted porter especially if you've never had it.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the bottle in a snifter via a good friend from England---Cheers Keith!
This classic pours a dark brownish black with cola highlights and a decent
head of off white foam that settles to a thick ring, thin swirling pool, and displays
some nice lacing. Nose of chocolate, subtle coffee, subtle char, toffee, and
caramel malt. Flavors exceed the nose with a subtle coffee infused rich
bittersweet chocolate note with touches of char and roast with subtle
vanilla and mild herbal hops. Perfect English mouth feel; medium-full
body, light carbonation, and a rich chocolate forward finish that
is a lightly bitter malt finish.

Overall---SUPERB. Always a treat from England, and this one flew
across the pond!

Cheers Keith!

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Photo of jamesroses
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle

Black,small bubbles mocha head, low carbonation.

Aromas of roasted malts, cocoa, chocolatey, some coffee and a fresh hop presence.

Taste follows the nose, that chocolatey edge and the roasted character very balanced. Hop presence in the end.

Goes diwn smooth. Lighter than expected but really good anyway.

Really good beer.

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Photo of Michelleroo
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just fabulous! Tricky! Comes in looking like a hearty stout and goes down super smooth and lighter than I expected. The color is very dark...just beautiful with a mocha head. When it advertises toasty and chocolatey, they mean it! I can’t say enough good things here, Love this beer!

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Photo of GeriSullivan
4.8/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

OMG. From no aroma in the bottle to spicy richness upon pouring. Next to no head. Flavor has a fullness that points out how thin the Berkshire Brewing Coffeehouse Porter I'm comparing it with really is. (I like the BBC porter; I love Old Engine Oil. Now very curious to try its variations. (Same name comes in bottles labeled black ale and porter; mine in the bar I'm in says it's a stout.) This one isn't, but it's by far the best black ale I've had the pleasure of drinking.

Terrific cold; even better at room temp. Nice bitter finish. I'll be seeking this one out.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served on cask. Classic visual, aroma isn’t super-punchy but you get the expected roasted malt. Taste is traditional but well down - balanced with some smokey malt, chocolate, light espresso, very mild hops. Creamy mouthfeel due to the cask.

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Photo of Rogerlb
3.96/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle from BevMo, $3.99. Pours black all right, like cola rather than the viscous quality you might expect from the name. Head is 1/4 inch, and straw colored, not overly dark (in other words, not khaki).

Aroma is roast, malty. Taste along those lines, roast, barley, and dried toast with no butter. Really no sweetness or malt. Non-sweet chocolate, grain, with anise in the final. Slightly sticky and a hint of hoppy bitterness.

Body is light for what announces itself as engine oil. Drinks like a bitter, or light Guinness, yet has the taste of a stout. Not chewy either. This is a good ale, they're calling it a porter. Easy to drink.

When you have half an inch left, the light is able to finally get through to reveal a dark brown tint.

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Photo of the_awesometeer
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer is black with a foamy thick tan head. I can smell chocolate and black coffee but there seems to even be a sweet aroma of vanilla or creme. The taste follows the nose well but I had a slightly more burn taste. The beer is smooth and creamy, no strong flavors of alcohol.

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Photo of Nass
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.75

There is no need for me to took about the color of this beer I think we all know generally what a stouts & porters looks like in a beer glass. Moreover, this english porter has a medium to heavy mouthfeel. This is a really smooth sipper type of porter. The abv is hidden really well. Cheers! A-

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Photo of bret717
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Look- pours cola brown with a one finger tan head

Smell- Intense dark roast coffee, a little chocolate

Taste- follows the nose closely, but the roast coffee note tastes closer to burnt, lending to a moderate amount of bitterness

Feel- medium bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall- Great porter with intense roast flavor and great body

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Photo of jjamadorphd
3.85/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Being and engineer I had to grab this and see what it was all about - it does my career namesake a solid...

Black is an understatement when it comes to how this looks. Every time I think I've seen the blackest beer I could see, another comes across my eyes to make me think twice. Well, this one made me think three times over it. Not much head to pour and no lacing, but it was beautifully black and impenetrable. The smell was strong on booze, but after the first few minutes it blended well with the roasted coffee notes and even a hint of caramel (I noted.) Mouthfeel was almost medium-bodied, it leaned toward being light, which made this dangerously simple to drink considering it's at 9% ABV. The beer's taste did not 'wow' me, but it was solid nonetheless - roasted malts, coffee, and a tamped down flavor of booze that, again, was impressive considering how high in alcohol it contains. A very good beer and one I'd like to have more than one on hand.

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Photo of moodenba
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cask version of the Scottish Harviestoun 6% Old Engine Oil "Porter" found in the Rocky Point, NY, BBDs, with a Sports Bar vibe, on a chilly February, 2018, night. The porter was served slightly cool, with a head encouraged, I believe, by a "sparkler".

This beer is excellent overall. The overall impression is a balanced Porter that goes down easily. My only quibble might be a slight bite due to the 6% alcohol level. I notice that in Britain, the cask is 4.5%.

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Photo of bobv
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2 oz. can.
Moderate to vigorous pour yields a huge tan head over a black body with fantastic lacing that sticks around forever. Wonderful nose of roasted malt and some chocolate. Taste of bitter chocolate, milk chocolate, roasted malt, and a bit of coffee. Nice feel and overall a great English Porter, and probably the best I've ever had.

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Photo of Dinglehacker
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into becher glass. Opaque black, lovely mocha colored head.

Nose is creamy roast with a surprise hop underlay. Taste follows, with chocolate, licorice, and light vanilla. Full mputh, some tingle.

A very good porter. Puts its flavor combo to good use.

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Photo of warrenc
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours dense black, thin head (bottle did travel overseas..) wonderful aroma of licorice/coffee. Taste is rich malt ,coffee and chocolate. Nice mouth feel, slight thickness creamy. Makes me think of a light stout. Very good. Shame i can't find on draft and have to settle for an expensive bottle.

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Old Engine Oil Black Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 1838 ratings