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Old Engine Oil Black Ale | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Old Engine Oil Black AleOld Engine Oil Black Ale
1,752 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:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-10-2001

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Ratings: 1,752 |  Reviews: 818
Photo of richbrew
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of tonyf55
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Lawnboy33
5/5  rDev +20.8%

Photo of bylerteck
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of sbricker
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of danielofthedale
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Very dark dark in color. Frothy head, about one finger thick that dissipates quickly

S-The roasty barley is the first thing I noticed. Chocolate and coffee as well. A faint smokiness in there too.

T-Big roasty flavor followed by some chocolate and a little coffee. Hops in the background but the bitterness provides a nice counter to the rostyness.Some smoke flavor is noticeable too.

M-Smooth and creamy mouth feel. Mild carbonation that just dances on the tongue. Light to medium body

O-A very good porter. It really delivers on the roast flavor I want in a porter. Not quite as complex as American Porters but is everything you look for in a traditional example of a porter. I will definitely have this again.

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Photo of Valmor88
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass.

A: BLACK pour with a dark brown head. Lets no light through when held up to light.

S: Malty and coffe/roasted cocoa nose.

T: Chocolate and coffee with lots of roasted malts and some cream. Slightly alcoholic finish with more roasted malts.

M: Medium carbonation and medium body.

O: A good english style porter. Great for drinking when you just want a porter, nothing crazy.

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Photo of Noxious26
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
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 nhindian
3.45/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11.2oz bottle poured into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip.

A - Despite the description on the bottle, the doesn't really resemble old engine oil at all. It is fairly dark, and is black throughout even around the thinnest points, it still looks a bit thin as it's pouring out of the bottle and seems rather fluid than viscous. Additionally, the head is a light tan, not really what I was expecting and is a finger's-worth tall. Not a whole lot of retention, and the lacing is decent, but nothing exceptionally special.

S - The nose is not what I was anticipating at all. It has a touch of roast, but it is actually a bit grassy and even skunky at times. It has an interesting herbal and fruity quality to it as well. It's a little smoky and also brings in a little bit of chocolate.

T - After my first sip of this I'm not quite sure what to make of the beer. It's certainly not the thick, viscous, roast-bomb that I was thinking it'd be, but it also isn't completely abstract from that idea either. It has points of deep complexity, from the malts, which encompass a wide range of flavors from smoke, to light chocolate, to a slight bitter roast, to the lighter or fruitier notes, in the form of the herbal qualities, dark fruits, and an almost Scotch-esque seasalt taste. Definitely interesting and complex, even if it wasn't what I was expecting.

M - Mouthfeel is actually relatively light-bodied with good carbonation. Don't come into this with a Dark Lord mentality where you will be fighting to get it down your throat. It goes down easily and leaves an earthy, somewhat smoky finish.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. A neat little beer that ends up delivering on things I wasn't really looking for, but are welcome nonetheless. I was expecting a little bit more heartier given the name and description, but I can't say I was entirely disappointed by what I did get.

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Photo of doktorhops
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Here's a blast from my past: Old Engine Oil. I remember having this on the old school pull-taps at the pub I worked at in Edinburgh twenty aught one. Good times! I particularly remember this fine ale because it was 8-9% at the time and we could only serve it as half pints due to the potency (one night I had 4 half pints before a night out... and the rest is history).

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a tulip pint.

A: "Black as the ace of spades" to coin a Monty Python phrase. This has one dark body body (possibly darker than Guinness!). The 1cm tan head retains well and leaves a bold (and inviting) lacing around the inside of the glass.

S: An overpowering chicory aroma leads with a strong roast barley base which gives it its bitter espresso fragrance. Like most ales of this style (and strength) there is a lingering smokiness to the profile.

T: This stuff really is old engine oil! The flavour is upfront and very demanding of your taste senses with a heady burst of chicory, chocolate and roasted coffee followed by vanilla and that hint of smoke, and finishing dry with slight bitterness in the after-taste. I could breath this it's so good!

M: Light on carbonation (as expected) with a rich sticky presence which further conjures an image of drinking a glass of engine oil.

D: I really love this brew and I'm glad with the drop in ABV it hasn't lost it's flavour like Guinness extra stout. This is a damn, damn fine representation of an extra stout that I highly recommend to anyone even remotely interested in dark ales. Not for the faint of heart though. As good as (if not better than) Cooper's extra stout... that's a big call too!

Food match: Savour this with some dark chocolate or indeed it would suit a well made stew/beef steak pie. Hard cheese if that's your thing (personally cheese and beer have never mixed well with me). Also a shepherds pie would be ace.

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Photo of Doshkin
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - perfect oily black color with brown undertones. really looks like some old sludgy engine oil. little cream colored head with no retention and quick dissipation

s - roasted sugary sweetness (can't go too in depth here... I have a cold right now)

t - little touch of chocolate. light body for how dark it looks. pleasant bitterness all the way through that carries into the aftertaste. this is a delicious brew

m - so smooth! very drinkable, mild carbonation.

o - this is an incredible beer. highly recommend

 514 characters

Photo of Daktyls
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black in color with a half fingered, light, mocha head that fades to a fine lacing in the center of the brew and a ring around the outside of the glass.

S: Roasted malts followed by chocolate and some dark fruits. There is a little bit of coffee as well.

T: Mostly malty with hints of cocoa and chocolate. A smokey character is present along with some light vanilla notes.

M: A very creamy character that couples well with the flavors. Full bodied with a light amount of carbonation.

O: Overall very good, a great example of a porter.

 553 characters

Photo of aidanskinner
4.83/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured into a 2/3 pint glass

a -black. makes Guinness look like a beer that's heard of black but has never seen it. <insert further hyperbole here, this is a seriously dark beer>. nice head that dissipates into pleasing lacing.

s - bits of malt, no yeast, chocolate, Agent Cooper coffee cut through with cherry pie

t - big sweet roasted mocha immediately cut with an amazingly dry hop bitterness

m - great. it's satisfying while being easily drinkable, good carbonation and light without even knowing what the word "thin" means.

o - the platonic modern porter. maybe not *quite* as interesting as Alice Porter but it sets out to be a perfect porter and it achieves that and then some.

 709 characters

Photo of DeltaGolfSierra
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The appearance is like, well, old engine oil - pitch black with a dark tan head. Nice lacing on the glass. The smell is strongly cocoa and a bit of dark fruit. The taste is much the same - cocoa up front, dark fruits in the back, with a roasty flavor as well. Mouthfeel is wonderfully viscous. The description on the label says it's viscous, chocolaty, and roasty. This beer delivers on all three.

 397 characters

Photo of ADZA
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark as night black hue which leaves a one finger khaki head and sporadic clingy lacing,the smell is milk chocolate with fruit and nut,milky mocha and sweet malts,the mouthfeel is light-medium bodied and has tastes of dark cocoa,milky bittersweet mocha,a touch of fruit cake,sweet dark malts and finished with a mix of dark belgian chocolate and herbal fruit punch and overall i like this drop and prefer it then most of the oak aged versions cheers.

 458 characters

Photo of Aaandrew
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

At first when pouring it in to my glass i get why it's nemed Old Engine Oli. It is so dark old satan would be afraid of drinking it on a stormy night. Even the foam is brown as dark chocolate.
Chocolate, coffe and another syrupy taste. Also a little hint of fruitness.
Creamy, smooth and truly well balanced. The remarkable sweetness combined with the minor bitterness is the first impression i get out of it. The caramel and what i believe is the hops combined makes a perfect combination. The roasted taste also get to dominate the stage for a little minute. The fruiteness from the smell also get to grow and take its place, cherry or grapes are what it reminds me of.

This beer i will remember for its dark apperance and smooth taste. If I would have been drinking this in another occasion i would have been drinking it to some heavy roastet beef.

 865 characters

Photo of claytong
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

appearance - pours a little dark auburn, in glass totally black except minor bottom of glass when put into the sun. great lacing. 2 inch head that slowly fades down to good lacing.

smell - lots of roasted cocoa and coffee, strong malt tone as well. bit of milk/cream, smells like an oatmeal stout.

taste - follows the nose with a bit of metallic taste (especially as it warms)

mouthfeel - creamy and good. when it warms it gets a bit too thin. carbonation is spot on. terrific.

 480 characters

Photo of johnnnniee
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a solid black color with a creamy khaki head that shows moderate retention. Smells of caramel, coffee, roasted grains, slightly fruity with a hint of mineral water. Taste is roasty and chocolaty with hints of coffee and earthy hops. Creamy velvety smooth mouthfeel, light level of carbonation with a medium body. Great dare I say sessionable porter.

 355 characters

Photo of eric5bellies
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - Pours a nice dark Ebony colour with a very nice creamy tigt coffeee coloured head that retains well.

S - Aromas are roasted malts and molassis with small amounts of chocolate.

T - The flavour is a strong vanilla and chocolate, complimented well with dark chcolate and roasted malt with alittle smoke. Plenty on offer here.

M - Nice thick mouthfeel with minimal carbonation. Very oily and damn smooth.

O - My first Harviestoun beer and it won't be my last. Higly recommended.

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Photo of evlu1441
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I bought this beer based on the name alone. I didn't even know it was somewhat renowned. I'm looking forward to this one.

It pours a thick pitch black with a nice rich brown head. Delicious looking beer.

The smell is slightly sweet and chocolaty with some smokiness coming through.

The taste is very rich and delicious! Some slight molasses sweetness comes through to start alongside some slightly tart maltyness. It then progresses into some deep bitterness towards the back of the tongue, and lots of complex toasty and chocolaty flavours start to develop. It's quite bitter on the finish, but leaves an aftertaste with all the character and complexity its name suggests.

Overall, this is an excellent porter. Full of character, and reasonably easy to drink. Delicious.

 775 characters

Photo of heygeebee
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a three finger head, black 'n' tan. Coarse bubbles. Head fades eventually. Nice.

Aromas of chocolate and roasted malts.

Taste, not too sweet, not too dry. Chocolate, coffee, caramel. Som esmokiness, but no ashtray thankfully. Nice.

Mouthfeel a little oily, carbonation low.

Good example of style.

 307 characters

Photo of jadpsu
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

 581 characters

Photo of gerite
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had to try this beer based on the name alone and it did not disappoint me.

It was listed on the menu as an "Old Ale" but is definitely an outstanding Porter. It pours as a solid dark brown color with a 2 to 3 finger tan head that leaves plenty of lace as you drink. It has a complex flavor of roasted malt and cocoa with a slight bitterness at the end.

If you like Porters, you must try this one.

 401 characters

Photo of lionchow
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark black with amber edges, with a thick light tan head.

Aroma is sweet hay and malt, with a bit of candi sugar. Some dry cocoa as well.

Flavor is a mix of hay, sweet dried fruit, and roasted malt. There is slight bit of lingering bitterness from the hops and the roast malt.

Mouthfeel is light, carbonation is low.

Overall, enjoyable. Nothing amazing but a good beer.

 379 characters

Photo of enfield249
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours thick and dark. No light through this one, caramel colored head.

S - dark fruit, malt, slight roast.

T - lots of coffee, chocolate, slight black patent.

M - full to very full, astringent, not cloying however.

O - A very big porter. Worth a try.

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Old Engine Oil Black Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 1,752 ratings
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