Old Engine Oil
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil
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Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom
Stout - English
Ranked #7
Ranked #4,961
4.13 | pDev: 10.17%
Jun 15, 2022
Sep 10, 2001
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
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Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Ratings by BGDrock:
Photo of BGDrock
4.09/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by BGDrock from Canada (ON)

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
More User Ratings:
Photo of C-Stockwell
4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by C-Stockwell from New Hampshire

L: solid pitch black with a slight khaki head.
S: dark roast coffee, chocolate, malt, molasses, and maple syrup
T: black coffee, chocolate, bitter, and malt
F: nice, fine carbonation

Overall, an excellent black ale.

Jun 15, 2022
4.17 by mamaraza from Texas on Apr 29, 2022
Photo of NCSapiens
4.29/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by NCSapiens from Indiana

Excellent smoky and toast flavor with great malts.

Apr 16, 2022
Photo of JohnniEMc
4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

These are observations after a clear pint glass filled from a tap was presented. It's a dark brown colored affair, but not black coffee brown, just dark brown. It really is a lovely soft dark brown. There's a tan head that's not overstaying its welcome. The aroma is of roasted malt, not overly roasted, with hints of toffee and a latte styled coffee. Even before the taste can be appreciated, the wonderfully smooth and rich body hits the drinker. It's full bodied and although never sweet, only turns bitter during the finish. That sensation is a combination of the roasting of the malt, the hops and a hint of the alcohol. The glass lacing is notably sparse for a brew with such a rich body, but so what?, since drinking isn't meant for the eyes. This is unmistakably outstanding.

Mar 19, 2022
4.1 by Chuckdiesel24 from Illinois on Feb 16, 2022
4.25 by Velivolus1 from Vermont on Jan 30, 2022
Photo of Treyliff
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Treyliff from West Virginia

12oz can poured into a tulip

A- pours black in color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that reduces to a ring around the edge

S- black roasted malts, black licorice, anise, char, coffee, oats, spicy and floral hops

T- roasted barely up front gives notes of char and coffee, followed by floral and peppery hops. Mid-palate gives sharp black licorice. The finish is bitter, with dark chocolate and black licorice on the linger

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into the finish

O- classic English porter, well done

Dec 25, 2021
3.24 by Houborg1 from Denmark on Dec 23, 2021
3.75 by -Andrew- from Michigan on Nov 09, 2021
4.15 by Curt3 from New Jersey on Nov 07, 2021
4.5 by doctorgary from New York on Oct 06, 2021
4.27 by arzt from Germany on Sep 25, 2021
Photo of 1BrewBacca
3.82/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by 1BrewBacca from Georgia

Look: Looks like a stout, pitch black pour, light brown head that melted to a thin ring around the glass. Medium Lace on the sides.
Smell and Taste: Rich dark chocolate is the dominate note with toasted malts and toffee.
Feel: Maybe the name is suggestive but I'd say oily. LOL
Overall: This brew is somewhat confusing to me. It's kinda stouty, if that's a word, kanda like a strong ale, kinda like a Scottish ale. ????

Sep 22, 2021
Photo of RichardLeahy
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by RichardLeahy from Australia

L. Dark brown/black, poured from a 330 ml bottle. Modest tan head. S. Slightly pungent, malty, dark grain. T. This is where it's at. Wow. Great intense, dark malt, molasses, a hint of licorice. Dry finish, very little sweetness. F. Slightly oily, smooth and a touch thick. O. Very impressive, intense and big beer that deserves its reputation.

Aug 09, 2021
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Alieniloquium from Florida

On tap at Lost Nation. Black body. Smells of intense roasted malt. Licorice and molasses. Tastes of intense roasted malt here too. Licorice, bitter chocolate, molasses, but no sweetness. Very bitter back end. Medium body. Excellent.

Jun 24, 2021
3.75 by XmnwildX12 from Minnesota on Jun 23, 2021
Photo of Peach63
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Peach63 from New York

Pours ebony with a 2 " foamy tan head, which lasts. Heavy lacing to the end.

Aroma of coffee, roast malt, black malt.

Taste is coffee, roast malt, black malt, chocolate. Astringent.

Full bodied, light carbonation. Dry, bitter finish.

Thick as engine oil and very tasty!

Jun 22, 2021
4 by Burg from New Hampshire on May 05, 2021
3.91 by TheEpeeist from Pennsylvania on Apr 03, 2021
Photo of steveh
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by steveh from Illinois

Prompted by the Beers of Fame thread, and realizing I'd had many of them in the past, but never reviewed them, I dug out an old notebook from the 2004 Chicago Real Ale festival where I took some detailed notes of some of the early examples I sampled.

I was able to enjoy this one at Chicago's Map Room from a cask -- whether or not it was truly CC, I can't say. Maybe my notes will be revealing.

A -- Dark, opaque black.

S -- Black Patent roasted malts and licorice. Yeasty nose and alcohol with warming.

T -- Rich, roasted malt flavor.

F -- Medium to robust body with a smooth, syrupy mouthfeel.

O -- Very flavorful beer. I had enjoyed this from bottles a few times prior, but the cask pour was quite nice -- and memorable after so long.

Mar 21, 2021
4.22 by GregSemenza from Connecticut on Mar 19, 2021
3.93 by emerge077 from Illinois on Mar 18, 2021
Photo of oldmankoch
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by oldmankoch from Tennessee

Right up their with its "big brother" the Engineers Reserve this is a delicious porter. A wonderful blend of bakers chocolate, coffee grounds, bit of charred gristle etc...

Mar 15, 2021
Photo of FBarber
4.73/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by FBarber from Illinois

This one pours a lovely dark mahogany brown color. Completely opaque. A two finger velvety mocha colored head forms on the beer and lingers for a while before slowly and almost imperceptibly dissipating until just a thin layer of foam remains on top of the beer. Its pretty much a perfect looking porter. The aroma on this is remarkably complex with notes of chocolate, toffee, with a certain hint of creaminess coming through. Then, there are the roasted malts that have a mild smokiness to them. Finally there are some light earthy hoppy notes that come through on the nose.

The flavor follows the nose with notes of chocolate, toffee, roasted malts, a light smokiness, and an earthy hop presence on the back end. There is a certain sweet creaminess to the beer. Its one of those beers that gives you something else to ponder every sip - at first I notice the creamy sweetness and chocolate notes, then on the next sip, Im drawn to the earthy hoppy bitterness, and then again the smokiness and roasted malts seem to take over. The resulting effect is one of a remarkably complex beer that requires your undivided attention to truly and fully appreciate it. The feel is smooth and silky. Moderate to medium bodied. Spritzy carbonation provides a certain liveliness to the beer. The finish is drier and somewhat powdery.

Overall this is an absolutely delightful beer that for me a least hits everything I want from a porter.

Mar 14, 2021
Photo of jzeilinger
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

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
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by nick_perry from North Carolina

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
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

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
3.75 by Chipwells from Georgia on Feb 02, 2021
Photo of BPVandenbroek
4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by BPVandenbroek from Canada (AB)

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
3.89 by polloenfuego from Canada (NB) on Jan 26, 2021
Photo of Pmicdee
3.36/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by Pmicdee from Canada (ON)

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
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

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
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

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
4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Storm_Rryder from Iowa

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
4.87 by David_Waterman from District of Columbia on Dec 26, 2020
Photo of InspectorHound
4.11/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by InspectorHound from Canada (ON)

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
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75
by papposilenus from New Hampshire

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
4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by StoutElk_92 from Massachusetts

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
Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 1889 ratings