Old Engine Oil Black Ale | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

1,741 Ratings
Old Engine Oil Black AleOld Engine Oil Black Ale

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Scotland, United Kingdom

Style: English Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-10-2001

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Ratings: 1,741 |  Reviews: 813
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

old ale? I don't know but here we go. Pours nearly pitch black, small brown head accompanies it. Smells a bit sweet with some soapy essence? Tastes a lot better though, caramel, cocoa, malty goodness and a slight hint of dryness in the finish. Overall it's a really nice beer. To me though this is like a really nice porter rather than an old ale in the way of flavor and appearence, but what the hey, if the Scots want to call it an old ale, an old ale it'll be.

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Photo of Viggo
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque dark brown, some red in the edges, super thick two finger tan head forms, refuses to leave, forms a very solid layer, nice lacing, looks great. Smell is sweet and malty, chocolate roast, bread, toffee, molasses and charred wood, some dark fruits, bit of raisin, enjoyable. Taste is nice, sweet malts, toffee, chocolate, like roast, bready, fruity, almost sherry in the finish, very smooth and a nice roast/graininess that underneath that holds it together. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, definition of smooth. Great low ABV beer, could drink these all night.

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Photo of beergirlblog
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was scared to try this because it sounds like it would be black and thick and bitter- but the name was so cool. The black-brown-ruby color was really beautiful, and it turned out to be much less intimidating in aroma and taste than expected: there were lots of dark roasted scents and flavors: malts, chocolate, grains, coffee, raisins. Unfortunately, the nice flavor profile was kind of let down by the thin feel of the beer- a little more body would carry them better. Overall, it was drinkable, but tasted a little weaker than I would have liked, but I'd definitely order it again.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Garnet-tinged black with violet-sepia lumpy head that clings and pits.
Meat juice, wood smoke and licorice on the nose - very umami.
Ash, pure cocoa, espresso grounds, prune juice, blackberry skins, then pine tar hops.
Concord grape finish and charcoal linger.
Round, chewy, medium.

This was previously labeled just "dark beer", not porter, and I can see some stock ale notes here.

Hard to exaggerate how astringent and bitter the black flavors are here - no sweetness that you'd associate with coffee or chocolate, only the most burnt roasty notes. This plays off the residual sugars that make it quite creamy, working out an interesting and very drinkable dynamic tension. Roast overwhelms any individual hop notes, though there is plenty of balancing bitterness.

Surprisingly nice, and one of the better beers you can buy at Dunne's.

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Photo of Murrhey
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a standard pressure-cap 11.2oz bottle into a conic pint glass in Kalispell, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Three-finger mocha head. Thick head that lasts forever. Black color, no light comes through. Nice looking beer.

S- Chocolate, toffee, roasted malts. Nice, deep aromas.

T- Delicious, thick flavors. Chocolate, roasted malts. Deep and rich. Yum.

M- Thick and almost chewy. Semi-dry.

O- This is an excellent beer. I enjoy this in all facets.

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Photo of Duffman79
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of glid02
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis in Atlanta.

Pours one shade from black with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of lightly roasted malts and cocoa powder. Also present are slight hints of tobacco and dark fruits. As the beer warms the dark fruit flavors gain a tart aroma.

Tastes good. Smooth and lightly roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by dark chocolate flavors that are neither rich nor bitter. Midway through the sip hints of char make an appearance before being sweetened by the addition of mild dark fruit flavors. The roasted malt, cocoa powder and dark fruit flavors carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I didn't find this beer to be overpowering but rather had a good deal of nuance that the UK tends to favor more than us across the pond. An interesting and well made beer that's well worth a shot.

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Photo of wedge
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with chocolate highlights covered with a slim, creamy beige head. Small spots of lace drip down the glass until the last sip. Malty chocolate aroma and a hint of rum...smooth milky creaminess, cherries, and maple syrup. Although the mouthfeel is insanely smooth and creamy, it isn't at all heavy. Sweet malty flavors, bitter chocolate, and a wine-like fruitiness. Very light carbonation and suprisingly drinkable finishing dry. Smooth, mellow, and malty...very nice on a lazy Friday afternoon off.

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Photo of mikedashg
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours very black with a smaller tan head. Not quite enough head and too dark for an old ale me thinks.

S-chocolate roasted malt an coffee

T-similar to nose. Chocolate, coffee,
roasted Malts. Dark fruits. Prunes and raisins. Very balanced. Slightly bitter, but also sweet.

M-moderately carbonated. Slightly viscous. Not too heavy. Kind of light.

D-lots of drinkabilty. Very tastey. Smooth. Creamy. Low on alcohal.

Seams closer to a light stout then an old ale as far as color and flavour profile. Still gets some pretty high marks though

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark engine oil black with some deep ruby hues on the edges. Average sized frothy, creamy, deep beige colored head with a bit below average retention and just a slight bit of lace left.

S - The initial whiff brings a lot of roasted coffee and dark chocolate along with some dark fruit (mostly date and prune like). Later smells bring out a touch of smokey whisky type aromas along with some molasses and a bit more fruitiness.

T - It starts out with a roasted grain type of taste along with a considerable amount of earthy hop and a touch of floral hop flavors. These provide a bitter bite, which, then starts to give way to the roasted coffee and dark chocolate and some roasted barley. On the finish some of that smokey and whisky taste comes out. The whisky taste is very subtle though. Also a bit of the dark fruit tastes linger on the finish.

M - Just short of full bodied with moderate carbonation. Pretty slick, smooth, and velvety.

D - Pretty drinkable beer that has a large array of flavors, but isn't overpowering. Provides some old ale, barleywine, and stout/porter flavors without being a mess. Smooth and easy to sip on, and with only a 6% ABV I could have another too.

Notes: Nice fairly complex beer. Has aspects of a number of different styles and has a bit more hop flavor than I was really expecting from an old ale that smells a lot like a porter/stout. It isn't my favorite beer to sip on, but it is definitely a nice one that offers a change of pace. I would definitely get this again, definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

got this in a 330ml brown bottle with gold foil around the cap..nice simple label.
The beer purs thick and slow..and leaves a very very small head which soon dissapears. The colour is rich deep dark brown almost black..light does not penetrate this.
I Liked the scent of the beer the aroma of malts is strong..some chocolate too..dark chocolate nice.
Taste is wonderfully full of malt with a thick cocoa like feel..some blackberries in there too..
very very smooth on the palate leaving a slight bitter aftertaste on the back of the tongue..buttery..mmm mmm
I find this very easy to drink..but the label on the back of the bottle says its a good after dinner drink..and i suppose it is since i just ate my dinner.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml Bottle bought from the Vineyard , Belfast..

Extremely black/dark purple body - only a little light passes through when held up to the light... Pours quite thick - head is an off white/yellow colour which lasts throughout…

Aroma of chocolate, roasted bitter malt and some raisin…

Quite dry bitter flavour – can taste strong coffee and chocolate…Quite a thick syrupy mouthfeel...

An excellent brew - quite similar taste to Rogue Imperial Stout, though not as thick and heavy. Highly recommended....

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Photo of jadpsu
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle is only 11.2 ounces. Pours as black as coalwith a milk chocolate brown head with a very full head that quickly fades leaveing side glass lacing.
Aroma: licorice, chocolate and coffee.
Taste: creamy, a little chewey with a lot of roasty maltiness. Sweet, then dry with some bitterness.
Very good beer/porter but when sold at the equivalent of $100.00/case it should be drop dead unforgetable. Not sure I could ever justify $100.00 a case beer to some kind of pleasure factor, but as good as this is, this doesn't get there.
Overall,score takes a -1 for the price/cost factor.

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Photo of argock
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. No easily decipherable freshness date. Single purchased at Market Street Wineshop (Charlottesville, VA) for $2.59.

A: Dark but soft brown with light coating of beige head with some spotty lace around the glass.

S: Chocolate and dark maltiness with little to no acridity deliver a nice waft of caramel and nougat with only light herbal, earthy hopping.

T: The flavor is porterish with more assertive hops and roast character than in the nose. Sour brown ale notes meld with sweeter malty unfermentables and finish with a good dose of herbal, spicy English style hoppiness that leaves a surprisingly dry finish.

M: Not really viscous as advertised but still solid with a nice medium body and low carbonation.

D: An interesting change of pace for sure -- the dryness and the creeping sourness would make it hard to have more than two, but I enjoyed this one helping with no problem. A very unique brew that I will come back to periodically to check in with.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into an English pint glass.
The appearance was a dark brown close to black color. Motor oil like sound glugs out of the bottle, (did I pour too fast), oh bother, I dunno, if anything, it gave good head (did I just say that? yeah, don't take that the wrong way, I'm not a pervert). Anywho, well, the head was slightly thick with a nice glossy level take of an off white to tan color. Lacing is fairly thick as well.
The smell had some honey and molasses colliding with some dark fruits and bleeds into some roasty coffee bean-esque notes. Honestly, the coffee beans seem more subtle and almost unreal.
The taste was moderately sweet through all previously mentioned flavors. Roastiness bursts into the bitterness nicely. Dark fruits seem moderated a bit more leading into the aftertaste. Decent wet finish.
The mouthfeel takes a medium body and slaps the roast and the bitterness on my tongue. Lay me down and go to bed, hot damn, that's nice! Don't take into question how this one feels once you feel it, as not just the roast and bitterness hit, then the smooth and creaminess come in to play ball. Love how this one feels!
Overall, everything comes together in a stellar manner mostly, ah, but that aroma, wishing the coffee beans would show more oomph! That's my only complaint. Looking forward to having more of this towards winter!

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Photo of ztoellner
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark chocolately brown with no light making it through the glass, Looks darker and bigger than it really is. A little bit of a frothy caramel head with lacing.

S- Smells of coffee, chocolate and dark roasted malt.

T - This is a very good porter! tastes like dark fruit, a little smokiness, and the roasted malt is right up front. there is some lingering bitterness in the aftertaste that reminds you to take another swig. Not much of an alcohol taste present.

M- Thinner than I expected with light carbonation. Very sessionable.

O- this could easily make itself a go to porter. Very good, great appearance, good roasted smoky flavor, and light enough to drink several.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from thw 12 oz slim into a pint glass.

Pours dark black with flecks of brown covered by a brown foam.

Roasted coffee/chocolate smell with underlying sweetness. Subdued roasted bitterness wrapped with malt. Quite flavorful, in an almost understated way. Almost tasting a bourbon/whiskey sensation that I know not to be there - but could easily see how this is barrel aged in other varieties.

Slight creamy mouthfeel. Very drinkable. Excellent,

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Photo of Darkale
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark, dark, dark brown, with a thick tan head, pocked and heavy. Aroma is of sweet chocolate, dense and sharp. The taste is dry, sharp, then slick; it's almost as if chocolate dust had been spread over cream. Chewy and rich, profound and wonderful.

Certainly a beer that I will have again.

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Photo of Antilochus
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased at a Kingston, Ontario LCBO. 330mL, 6.00%. Best before April 2009. The packaging says the mash includes oats and wheat. I'm pumped. Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Slight bubbly tan head crowns a magnificently opaque ruby-black body.

Aromas: decent grassy hop bouquet on pour. Dark chocolate, licorice, fresh espresso, molasses, toasted malt, bread, like.. candy - burnt sugar, some bitter oatiness too. Subtle dark fruit influence. Lots of malty sweetness in the background. Damn, this is nice. Chocolate malt takes front stage.

Medium-heavy velvety mouthfeel, nice oat bitterness on the palate, I can already taste the dark chocolate. Some nice accent candied sweetness too, coupled with toastedness. Totally balanced. Surprisingly bittersweet finish - chocolate isn't the first thing that comes to mind - licorice candy? Chocolate is very there though. A little acidic. Nice and warming too with 6.00% abv. Medium length finish.

Try it to believe it.

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Photo of andpit
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of iTunesUpdates
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of Noxious26
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml brown bottle with pry off cap poured in a pint glass.

Chocolate brown head is 1/4 inch on the pour but recedes to a thin ring with islands of foam. Absolutely pitch black with dark brown highlights when you hold it to the light.

Rather boozy and vinous aroma with a baclground of dried figs and prunes with hints of burnt and dark malts.

Dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate, dark roast coffee, with a boozy, almost port like finish. Aftertaste is boozy with an astringent burnt character.

Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Mild carbonation.

Overall a good beer and nice example of the style.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is really good stuff. Poured out to a pitch black color with low carbonation and a thin layer of foam. Some notes of lacing in the glass. Aromas of smoke, chocolate, coffee, caramel and earth blend well. Taste was very complex and inviting; flavors of coffee, roasted malts, nuts, grain and caramel whirl about in a sea of beer bliss. Some sweetness toward the finish. Aftertaste was slightly bitter and creamy. Mouthfeel was thick and heavy, like old heavy brewed coffee that was cold. Nice. This brews solid level of drinkability will bring me back in no time. Recommended.

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Photo of abuliarose
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, revealing black body with a decent-sized coffee-colored head. Smells alcoholic and fruity with undertones of aged dark malt.

Tastes nice and roasty with a lot of chocolate malt character but not any fruitiness like the smell gives off. Medium-bodied carbonation is not too sharp, but enough to accentuate the slight acidic mouthfeel. After all of it, the taste is quite bitter. The beer consistency is borderline heavy with a smooth, slightly drying finish. For sure this is something I would enjoy again.

I think this marks my first in the old ale category, but I am excited to go out for more. This one hits my mark.

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Photo of flagmantho
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 330mL bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: deep brown, very nearly entirely black. Lets no light through its thick body. Head is two fingers of frothy tan foam leaving a nice lace on the glass. Very nice indeed.

Smell: rich aroma of raw malt with some hints of chocolate thrown in. It's a very smooth effect; one of the maltiest beers (nevermind porters) that I've encountered.

Taste: rich malty flavor reminiscent of a Scottish ale, but with a good, chocolatey porter sensibility about it. Hops are earthy in character and provide a very nice and balanced bitterness toward the end. A wonderful beer.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a nice silkiness and a low level of carbonation. Not exactly creamy, but very smooth indeed.

Overall: a very good beer. I feel like it could be made truly great with a little bit creamier mouthfeel.

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Old Engine Oil Black Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.1 out of 5 based on 1,741 ratings.
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