Old Engine Oil
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil
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Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Style:
Porter - English
Ranked #5
ABV:
6%
Score:
92
Ranked #2,584
Avg:
4.15 | pDev: 10.12%
Reviews:
862
Ratings:
1,864
From:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
 
Scotland, United Kingdom
Avail:
Year-round
Wants
  171
Gots
  269
SCORE
92
Outstanding
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil
Notes: Down your tools and take a swig of this classic craft stout. Beautifully engineered with premium roasted malt for a velvety mouthfeel. It’s proper vintage stuff. All thanks to the meticulous handiwork of our master brewers.

This dark and rich stout was first created in 1999 for a well-known supermarket beer competition, which it won with resounding success. Ever since it’s been a much-loved beer by the brewery and customers alike.

Brewer’s Notes: As soon as you arrive in the car pack you know Old Engine Oil is being brewed from the aroma. The blend of malts and hops produce a balanced bitter-sweet beer with smoky notes and lingering finish.

Hops: East Kent Goldings, Fuggles, Galena
Malts: Lager Malt, Pinhead Oats, Roast Barley
View: Beers
Reviews: 862 | Ratings: 1,864 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Black pour (go figure, right?). Creamy, soapy, dense caramel colored head on top that sticks to the glass.

S - Chocolate and chocolate roast dominate the nose with a slight bit of coffee roast. Smells like a glass full of chocolate roast.

T - Chocolate, chocolate roast, char, coffee bean, and more char. (!!!) The chocolate roast and char lingers for days well after the sip.

M - Viscous big medium body and dry on the back of the tongue.

O - This is a fantastic Porter, highly recommended.

Feb 11, 2021
Photo of nick_perry
nick_perry from North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black color. Foamy lingering 1-finger white head. Enjoyable roasted malt flavor with just a touch of sweetness and notes of espresso and leather. Mouthfeel is very silky but not overbearingly heavy. Everything is pretty well balanced.

Feb 09, 2021
Photo of taxandbeerguy
taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I finally found it! This brew has been on my wants list since 2013! (Specifically added just after my wedding day) 330 ml can served at cellar temperature into a tulip. LCBO purchase for $3.25 CDN.

Appearance - Very dark brown and near black in color. Huge swath of many fingers of head is poured, leaving a huge curtain of lacing. Great staying power of the light tan head. The body does in fact look like old engine oil.

Smell - Roasty notes, a touch of chocolate, but mainly more earthy, leathery with a tobacco or smokey hint. Molasses also seems prevalent. Fantastic nose and clearly a leafy hop assertiveness backing everything up.

Taste - Quintessentially British Isles in style. Earthy and bitter leafy hops, some overroasted grain leaving for a rich and bitter flavor. Loads of leather, some molasses and just enough smoke.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, leaning heavy with some carbonation, but super slick, velvety feel, yet never heavy like a bigger stout would be. Wonderfully balanced.

Overall - Love this brew. Lived up to my expectations and then some. Remarkably easy drinking, tons of flavor, Scottish flair, the name even describes the beer almost perfectly. One of the beers of the year for me and it's early. To me at least Old Engine Oil is to English Porter as Weihanstephaner Hefeweissbeier is to hefeweizens as Duvel is to Strong Belgian Pale Ales, as La Fin Du Monde is to tripels as Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is to APA's. The distinctive beer of the style that all others try to replicate.

Feb 04, 2021
Photo of BPVandenbroek
BPVandenbroek from Canada (AB)

4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Old Engine Oil fills my glass true to its name. It pours into my glass as black and thick as motor oil, throwing a cream filled coffee colored head with great retention.
Taking a sniff, the first thing I smell is coffee, supported quickly by dark, European chocolate. Malts make their presence known in the form of rye bread, hot and fresh from the oven. Below that are hints of nuttiness and a general earthy aroma. Each aroma leads smoothly, from one to the next, giving a rich, lush, seamless porter. All of this leads to a coffee scented aroma combined with earthy, leafy hops.
That first sip of Old English Oil shows me a porter that is full bodied, lush, and full flavored without being overpowering in its dark, roasty flavors. Old Engine Oil’s flavor is slightly more coffeeish than the aroma, giving slightly stronger flavors of dark, black, roasted coffee. Belgian chocolate and dark bread lend structure to the beer’s flavor profile. All this leads into a bitter finish full of dark roasted coffee.
It’s delicious, complex, and robust, without being overpowering in its flavors of roasted coffee. The flavors walk the line between flavor and overpowering complexity very deftly, making it a drinkable, approachable example of the style. In my opinion, it would be very easy for a porter to venture too far into the flavors of roasted coffee, making it hard to drink.

Jan 28, 2021
Photo of Pmicdee
Pmicdee from Canada (ON)

3.36/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a thick beige head. The smell is roasted malts and molasses. The taste is more bitter than I’ve come to expect for a stout. The toasty-ness I’m familiar with is present. A bit smokey. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, not watery, but thin.
Jan 21 2021

Jan 21, 2021
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Solid black appearance with about an average body. Medium light carbonation and an almost dry feel
...aroma is coffee grinds, black coffee,dark bakers chocolate roasted malt, bitter black coffee
.. taste is,bitter,black coffee bitter,dark chocolate bitter,did I mention bitter?. Roasted malt, coffee beans, dark fruit and an odd saltiness in the aftertaste.
.. this won't work for everyone but if in the mood then this is an excellent, very flavorful beer. Glad I tried it and would look for it again.

Jan 17, 2021
Photo of thehyperduck
thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

355 mL can from the LCBO; best before Aug 2021 and served barely chilled. Seems like a good night to finally tick off one of the oldest items on my "wants" list.... yet both the label and the Harviestoun website now describe this as a "craft stout" rather than a porter.

Pours a dark, black-chestnut brown colour with ruby red highlights, producing one finger of smooth, foamy, cream-coloured head that seeps away within two minutes or so. A creamy-looking collar is the main remnant; a few wisps on the surface also remain, but there's minimal lace. It smells of roasted grain, dark chocolate and coffee grounds, with additional hints of treacle, figgy dark fruit, earthy hops and a touch of smoke.

A tasty, flavourful stout - there's molasses, roasted grains and chocolate at the forefront, with hints of date and black cherry not far behind. Notes of coffee and baker's chocolate develop later on, alongside an earthy, woodsy finish with suggestions of thyme and floral hops; roasty aftertaste with lingering spice & earthiness. Medium in body, with moderately low carbonation levels that gently prickle the palate, lending a little bit of liveliness to this brew's mostly smooth mouthfeel. No sign of the 6% at all, really, which makes it more drinkable than it probably should be - I could easily plow through several of these short cans over the course of an evening.

Final Grade: 4.12, a an A-. Harviestoun's Old Engine Oil is one of the better English stouts (/stout porters?) that I've had over the years. It's not necessarily a world-beater, but it delivers everything I expect from this type of beer with skill and finesse, all in a neat, flavourful little package. A very nice way to ring in a brand new year - one which, barring an asteroid strike or nuclear war, couldn't possibly be any worse than the last one... right? (He asked nervously?)

Jan 01, 2021
Photo of Storm_Rryder
Storm_Rryder from Iowa

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

Wow, the roasted malt taste is really dominant in this beer. More bitter than a normal stout, that must be the porter side of it. Feels like there is some coffee like flavor, or maybe that is just a similar feel from the roasted malts? Either way, this is delicious ! I wish the can was bigger :-)

Dec 30, 2020
Photo of BGDrock
BGDrock from Canada (ON)

4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Midnight black body, forming a thick, sand head with several minutes retention.
Mild aroma of roasted malt - dark coffee & chocolate.
Intense roast malt flavours, of dark drinking chocolate, rich toasted coffee, eventually leading to a pronounced bitter finish owing to hops & the malt; hints of vanilla and cream provide a softer dimension; light heat in the lingering finish, which is very dry; medium carbonation & medium-full body, with oats providing a velvety feel.

Powerful flavour, the roast malts handled deftly and the feel rich but comforting, without being heavy. Very well done.
PS - seems Harviestoun has changed this classification to a stout.

Dec 12, 2020
Photo of InspectorHound
InspectorHound from Canada (ON)

4.11/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours light black with a one finger tawny head. Head disapates leaving a skim of bubbles across the top after 5 minutes.
Smell: Bitter dark chocolate with milk chocolate notes. Strong roasted malt aromas. Hazelnut and coconut hints too.
Taste: Sharp roasted malt notes, like burnt rye bread. Interesting mineral water taste over the mid sip. With leather and oatmeal through the middle and end.
Feel: Medium bodied. Stimulation on the bottom of the mouth and sides of tongue. Slightly oily at the end.
This is a charming, rich, dry porter. Less sweet than the American style porters that are more readily available in my neck of the woods. This earns a solid A

Dec 12, 2020
Photo of papposilenus
papposilenus from New Hampshire

4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

From an 11.2oz bottle, with an either meaningless or indecipherable enigmatic code stamp on the neck. Served in a willi becher.

As advertised, pours pretty much engine oil black but with a cola-red highlight or two and a big pouffy mocha head of foam. Retention is fairly epic, leaving a thick, bubbly cap and a fat webbery of sticky lacing.

A rich, robust, roasty aroma. Chocolate pudding, cardboard and pencil erasers - I don’t know how to make that sound like something that smells good, but it does.

Tastes of roasted cacao nibs and espresso, toasted cardboard and pencil erasers and you’re just going to have to take my word for it that that’s a good taste. Clean, toasted mild bitterness and a creamy pudding aftertaste.

Feel is creamy smooth, medium bodied and chewy with gentle but ample carbonation.

Overall, an easy-drinking, tasty treat for a cold, wet afternoon in front of the wood stove. I don’t know why, but I’d made up my mind this was going to be disappointing but instead it was a big pleasant surprise to the upside. I wish I’d bought more.

Dec 12, 2020
Photo of StoutElk_92
StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

4.58/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Old bottle

Roasty smoked meaty malts, pruned dark fruits, dark chocolate, coffee roast, baking chocolate on the palate, meaty smoky roast malts, dark espresso coffee, stewed prunes, the darkest of caramel, hint of hops.

Dec 08, 2020
Photo of Tony787
Tony787 from Canada (ON)

4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I bought a can at the lcbo in Ontario it said craft stout beer on my can my 3rd stout porter style beer I've had and the best ..
poured a nice 2 finger creamy head into glass leaves a nice lace as you drink it. the color is black to this beer .
black beer
thick dark chocolate malty flavor and coffee taste also smooth and a little sweet and bitterness .
very enjoyable to drink and probably would buy this stout beer again if I'm feeling like a stout black beer .
cheers

Nov 15, 2020
Photo of Limazulu
Limazulu from Idaho

4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-pours beautiful dark mahogany with ruby highlights. Average khaki head that persists and leaves sticky lacing
S-smoke, char, coffee grounds
T-nutty smoky roasted malts, plums. Average bitter, below average sweet.
M-Medium (+) body, effervescent subtle carbonation
O-a solid English porter that stays true to the style. No gimmicks.

Oct 10, 2020
Photo of VABA
VABA from Virginia

4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark color with a nice head and lacing
Aroma has roasted malt and chocolate hints
The taste follows the nose with a pleasant roasted malt and chocolate flavor
A medium bodied moderately carbonated beer
A good Black Ale

Aug 08, 2020
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

3.79/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L- Black, no sign of sediment in glass or empty bottle. Pours with 2mm tan head.
S- Smokey, coffee, the timber ashes in a fireplace the morning after a roaring night before.
T- Pungent hoppy/dry coffee, with distinct smokey note.
F- The ABV% is relatively low for this intensity of taste, which only seems to accentuate it's pungency further. Ie if this were say 8.5% or 10% the ABV% would bring a sense of richness to balance the pungent taste.
O- Taste-wise this is super-pungent, with the stout/porter notes exposed and at full volume. I can see why this beer is used as the base-brew for ageing into other beers such as Ola Dubh 12. I find the latter more enjoyable than this one, which I'd suggest is suited to committed fans of pungent black beer.
330ml bottle BB: 28/02/2022 Bought from BeersOfEurope/UK for home delivery to me in London. £1.91.
The Description here lists this beer as 'English Porter', yet it's neither. It's Scottish and the front lable states:
'Old Engine Oil - Craft Stout', and the back 'Award winning craft stout'.

Jun 18, 2020
Photo of jrc1093
jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.08/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

No canning date

Pours a deep black body accented with dark ruby hues and topped with multiple fingers of dense, soapy light mocha foam; good head retention leaves a rocky ½ finger of cap, a lasting, frothy collar, and comprehensive spatter of chunky, webby lacing around the glass.

Aroma brings a malted milk chocolate opening as a developing rummy tone offers a sweetness counterbalancing an overarching malty roast; wisps of ground espresso play on the back end against underlying herbal hops.

Taste shows a subtle depth of silky roast malt; a layer of cacao atop charred coffee grounds into a finish a touch acidic, a touch bitter, and with a dulled, hoppy edge.

Mouthfeel shows a medium-thick body, tight and fluffy along the palate with a mild oily texture, and a soft medium-light carbonation integrated effortlessly into the background; a smooth, brilliant little malty prickle presents on the finish, with a fading burst of intense malty grit through the swallow.

Soft and casual, this just gives the feel of a style-defining English porter (at least from this American's perspective) as it brings a quiet myriad roasty malt accessibly subtle and deftly placed; an truly pleasing achievement in sessionable dark ale.

May 12, 2020
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Can from B. United.

This one pours a pretty dark black color, with a small fluffy head, and lots of lacing.

This smells like clean but present roasted malt, toast, dark chocolate, smoke, and some sort of herbal hoppiness.

This has a very nice balance of bitter/roasty and sweet, with some chocolate and very light fruitiness, along with a big delicious roast level, dark chocolate, herbal flavors, and some light smoke.

This is much thicker than a 6% ABV would suggest, with a nice viscosity and creaminess to it.

This is a classic porter for a reason - this is good stuff.

May 11, 2020
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laketang from Arizona

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!.

Nov 11, 2019
Photo of ScaryEd
ScaryEd from New Hampshire

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.

Aug 20, 2019
Photo of Harrison8
Harrison8 from Missouri

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.

Aug 20, 2019
Photo of beersampler6
beersampler6 from Michigan

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.

May 07, 2019
Photo of SierraNevallagash
SierraNevallagash from Maine

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.

Mar 08, 2019
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teromous from Virginia

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.

Mar 03, 2019
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Jacobier10 from New Jersey

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.

Feb 24, 2019
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 1864 ratings