Old Engine Oil | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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780 Reviews
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
United Kingdom (Scotland) | website

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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Reviews: 780 | Ratings: 1,649
Photo of mynie
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was hypey, back in the day. At least as hypey as any non-limited UK beer I've ever seen. And it's still hard to find in the states, because even though I've been looking for it for over a decade today was the first time I ever espied a bottle. It was expensive, even by modern standards, and I can see that perhaps dragging its rating down a bit.

The bottle calls it a dark ale and says it's viscous, chocolately, and roasty. So that sounds like a porter, but whatever.

Pours quite dark and thick. Not as gluggy as, say, an American RIS, but back when it was introduced 30 years ago, his was probably a site to behold.

Smells very smooth, with loads of sweet chocolate against rough and roasted porter grain. Well done.

Tastes... okay, the flavor is where it's clear that this is some kind of nebulous "dark ale" instead of a porter proper. The front is a very sweet, chocolatey stout, but then near the middle it gets sharp and zippy with large nodes of toffee, like a good Scotch ale, and then it finishes like a dry stout. A really neat and complex collection of flavors that not quite like anything I've ever had before and yet still perfectly balanced.

Really good.

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Photo of janubio
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a black colour, with an off white Medium head that lasts for a while. Aroma of coffee, chocolate, burnt sugar and red fruits. Medium to full body. Taste coffee, sherry wine, chocolate and red fruits.

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Photo of AngryDutchman
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12 oz bottle

Black with a dark cherry/beige one finger head. Ching!

Aroma matches the head, pleasantly dark fruit over malt and hops

Flavor is as plum/cherry as expected...not oily at all, hops being very far in the background (and on the tongue). Flavor lingers as a coating on the tongue long after the swallow. I imagine this has superior medicinal qualities.
Listed here as 6% abv but feels higher...not burn just hovers above the usual malt/hop layer one usually experiences.
A sipping malt beverage. I imagine this being a great selection to set back for aging to hold for special occassions

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Photo of Spike
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black from its 330ml bottle. Has a ruby edge when held to the light. One finger tan head leaves arches of lacing and a thick cap. A quick swirl easily rebuilds the head.

The nose is rich with toasted malts, hazelnuts, sweet coffee, sultanas.

Flavour is not quite as rich as the nose but chocolate and toasted malts are to the fore.

Light to medium body with lively carbonation. Dry and astringent. Some chewiness.

Now called a 'black ale' on its label, this is an excellent and complex porter/black ale: loads of bitterness; fantastic nose; toasty, chocolatey malts; rich effervescence.

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Photo of johnnyd10vt
3.38/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Good. Complex. But not a perfect 100 in my book so obviously others know better than I do. Perfectly black. Relatively thin. Slightly metallic nose. Well-balanced, slightly more to the bitter side.

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Photo of josanguapo
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From XXXII. In Teku glass. Watchimh True Detective 1x05. Like an Imperial Stout but less alcoholic and very easy to drink. BB date was this month. Superb nose

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Photo of dwagner003
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I was sorta disappointed by the look of this beer.. I expected something black and viscous.. It poured rather thin. The color did settle to be pretty black and opaque with thin tan head. Smell was nice and sweat, with dark fruits and some dark, burnt sugar. Taste is similar, with more roasted notes and a hint of coffee. Mouthfeel is a tad thin, but nice and smooth.

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Photo of ordybill
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. Pitch black appearance with a small tan head. The aroma is malt and chocolate, outstanding aroma. Excellent flavor of dark malt. A perfect beer.

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Photo of Hallu
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm not a big fan of American porters, I find them too bold. And for something bold, I prefer to have the chocolate and coffee flavours of an Imperial stout rather than a porter. But the English style porter is more to my liking. It's a lot more balanced here. I was a bit disappointed by the smell (stuffed nose at the moment though) but the taste is very much to my liking. Viscous, with a nice carbonation, it's got coffee and raisin flavours. A nice balanced bitterness from the hops and a finish that stays on the dark fruits. Lovely, would work well with a spicy lamb curry with low amount of chilies, or any lamb stew/roast with a sweet sauce. Oh and the deep brown/orange color of this beer is amazing.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours near black and opaque with a medium head that is quite dense and leaves medium lacing. Nose is roasty toasty malts and a bit of molasses. Tastes is creamy coffee and burnt campfire marshmellow...almost a touch smoky. Mouthfeel is medium-full with medium carbonation. Overall, a great beer that tastes more like a 8% stout.

 332 characters

Photo of ChevyNexus
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Very dark beer. No light seepage when held to bright led. Very dark roasted tastes of the hops and a slight coffee after taste. Not for a beginner in the dark beer world.

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Photo of Act25
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Astounding. Must try.

A: Black motor oil color with ruby highlights sporting a frothy head that retains and leaves blobs of lace.

S: Deep, ample, roasty, with chocolate, prunes, brandy.

T: Foillows smell with it roasty, smoke and dark chocolate flavors mixing with earthy hop, then more smoke and black licorice in a long twisting finish.

F: Medium to full with moderate carbonation

O: a meditation beer. Go for 12.

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Photo of rarigney
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown, almost black with a tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma of dark roasted grains. Taste is initially a little bitter, but not overpoweringly so. A very good Porter.

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Photo of gautch726
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You are initially greeted with a beautiful dark chocolate ale with a generously frothed, offwhite head. The smells that works it's way into your senses is a malty, nutty blend that promises warmth and happiness. The taste of this beer was surprising bitter how it presents itself with hops dominating the early move before tapering off into a more pleasant aftertaste in which chocolate and roasted grains follow you out. Not a big fan of that bitterness though. Great feel and is smooth all the way through. A good beer.

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Photo of ravenskana
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured very dark brown at the edge pf black with antique white head and darkened as it settled in the glass. Initially smell of chocolate and roasted nuts, taste included that along with oats, slightly charred toast, some bitterness but not overpowering. The finish lingers nicely and I’d love to have this again.

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Photo of stevoj
3.69/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black and oily, hence it’s name. Pours black, with thin silky beige head. Aroma is coffee, chocolate, oil. Taste is roast grains and mild hops bitterness. A nice sipper, especially on a cool day.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into cylinder glass. It pours jet black in color with a thin, khaki-colored head and some attractive lacing. It smells of roasty malt, burnt coffee, chocolate, and molasses. The taste really follows the nose but with the added pleasure of some dark fruit. It's very dry and earthy. This is one of the more complex porters I've tasted and the flavors really blend well. It is thicker than the average porter; in fact, it's stout-like in its viscosity. At 6% ABV, you could drink it either with a hearty meal or in a pub session. Overall, Old Engine Oil is one of my favorite porters: it is tasty and has many stout-like qualities but is easy to drink, as well.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Into my nonic, it pours just like as its name says leaving the same color body. A gentle foamy one inch tan/off-white head appears and settles into the top of the body leaving some small paper thin hills on top. The smell is roasty and bold with nice chocolate and coffee notes. The taste is the same yet offering a bit of a woodiness in it as well. The palate is about a medium with nothing harsh on the tongue, and fairly drinkable. Overall, this is a pretty good beer for its style and one that I would come back to.

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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!

 1,352 characters

Photo of vinicole
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very dark brown, Thin beige head.
Roasted malt aroma and something else catching the back of my nose.
Taste of treacle and molasses. Bitter at the finish.
Very smooth

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Photo of fishyakLA
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer labels itself as a "Black Ale," not a porter. The most similar beer I've had is MacLeod's Jackie Tar, which is listed as a stout. What both these beers shares is a "thinness," a lack of viscosity, that adds to the beer's drinkability. And it does this without losing the varied and complex tastes that make for a compelling dark beer. I'll leave it to the "experts" to mince words about how to correctly categorize this brew. All I know is that when I see it on the bottled beer list, it can attract me away from my usual preference of ordering something from on tap. I won't quite give it the 100 that the Bros. do. This beer is a very good example of beer life "on the dark side" and not sweet either. For all you IPA'ers...come try the dark side and consider starting here.

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Photo of WellRested518
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours nearly black with an off-white head. Steady lacing and decent head retention show fitting carbonation.

S- Toffee, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and a touch of cherry. Huge nose for a porter.

T- The taste is similar with a withdrawal of vanilla and an addition of earthy hops. A hint of dusty pine pitch really brings the drink together.

M- Low to medium carb. The slick mouthfeel works in tandem with bitter hops and roast to keep the beer dry and alive.

O- Great brew. Somewhere between a scotch ale, porter, and export stout.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz, B4139 (my guess is, this is the Julian date indicating it was bottled on 139th day in 2014, putting it at approximately 1.5 years old). Pours a very dark brown, with a beautiful head that lasts. Wonderful aroma of dark malts, and chocolate. Taste is about as close to perfect for a standard-ABV stout as I have ever tasted: chocolate, coffee, bitter--it's all there in spades. Great mouth-feel as well.

I knew this beer was highly rated, and yet it still really surprised me (it nearly blew me away) by how well balanced and drinkable it is. It has everything I expect in a porter/stout, and I could easily drink this anytime.

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Photo of dar482
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in a black color.

The aroma offers roasted coffee, chocolate, spicy anise, roasty malts.

The flavor follows with licorice and anise flavors throughout, a medium roasted malt, coffee, hints of cocoa, as the beer lingers with that spicy note on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium minus.

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Photo of breadwinner
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

I'm torn on this one. Jet black body is gorgeous, and the feel is indeed has some motor oil viscosity, impressive for a 6% brew. Loved the first couple sips, big roast bitterness, but as I went those roasted malts veered into burnt toast territory. This is a pretty beefy brew that I probably need to attempt to conquer again, as I feel it got the better of me the first go round.

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Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
92 out of 100 based on 780 ratings.
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