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 digr
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a jet black liquid with a slightly tan head.

S - Mild hop aroma and a dark treacle aroma.

T - Dry roasty malty slightly astringent but yummy dark flavors wihth a dry after taste that sticks between the teeth.

M - Dry , not thin, but puckering....

D - A little tough to drink too much due to the dryness and astringent aftertaste.

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Photo of SuperSpy
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer appears to be jet black as it's poured into my pint glass, but once held to the light you can actually see a very dark ruby red. There is a wonderfully thick tan head leaving it's mark along the edges of the glass as it slowly dissipates. The aroma is quite complex and sweet. Plenty of roasted malt, sweet coffee, charcoal and a hint of citrus.

The beer is creamy smooth and the flavor is heavier on the roast than the aroma would suggest, but the sweet malt has by no means been knocked to the sideline. There is cocoa, unsweetened chocolate, roasted malt and sweet coffee. The middle and toward the end is where the hops really start to show up, with earthy and floral flavors that give the beer a slightly dry but very well balanced finish.

Very impressed with this beer and I will be picking up more at the first opportunity.

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Photo of marty21
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark black with ruby highlights when held to light. One finger worth of dark tan creamy head. Settles to a nice cap and leaves quite a bit of lacing.

S: Coffee and caramel initially with some dark fruits in the background.

T: Lots of flavor. There's coffee, caramel, chocolate and some darker fruits. There's also a hoppy bitterness in the after taste.

M: Low carbonation with a medium body. Very easy to drink.

D: First tried this one at a beer festival and have bought it quite a few times since then. It has a great taste and feel to it. You won't get bored with this beer with all the flavors it has.

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Photo of biglite351
3.64/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - a half inch of red around the edges. Tight tan head that leaves some lacing.

S - nutty chocolate toasted malts with a touch of something like bacon.

T - some smoke (bacon), nut, chocolate and toasted malts. Not as strong as I had hopes for after the scent.

M - thin to almost watery. Some coating and a touch of tingle on front of tongue.

D - easily drinkable, but I would switch up sooner than layer.

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Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.35/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A random country store, a trip to buy scrap stainless. Two bucks and a pour into my trusty John Deere pint glass. A nice roasty nose, biscuit and toast and a hint of sour. Rolls across the toung pleasingly, dry and tangy, roasty and rich. Nice dark color, fast dissipating head.

A great beer, totally drinkable and fun and tasty.

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Photo of miketyree24
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Got this at a local liquor store because im a mechanic and thought it was a clever name. Now has become one of my favorites.

Poured it out and it is very black and thick just as the name would suggest. Great head but went away fairly quickly. Lacing is great. Aroma is off roasted malts, coffee, and very bitter dark chocolate. I even get hints of wood. Taste is exceptional and sits very well with the smell. They seem to balance each other very well. Really like the mouth feel, very smooth. Aftertaste is very slight and doesnt stick around which is what i like most about this beer. You can go right to trying something else without having that lingering taste in the back of your mouth. I could drink several pints of this very easily. Great beer!

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle with no freshness date. Pulled straight from the cellar, pried the top and poured into my KBS

Pours like the name implies... A dark, moderately viscous root beer brown with a creamy dark tan head.

Smells of roasted malts and toffee.

Nice creamy mix of mild caramel malts, light coffee grounds and milk chocolate. Sorta reminds me of a Samuel Smith beer in the nose (they must brew in similar ways ;) )...

Nice, easy and enjoyable.

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Photo of thepeter
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark but not quite pitch black with a dense frothy head that settles in time and leave lots of sticky lacing
S - Lot's of rich roasted malt, Chocolate, dark fruit and a bit of floural hops at the end.
T - Heavy on the Roasty malt flavors, Cocoa Powder that adds to the bitter hops and it finishes dry.
MD - smooth, medium bodied and a bit thinner than I expected. Flavor is a bit more intence (but nice) though one is enough in a night

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Photo of patreely12
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - typically dark porter. black, how it's supposed to be. less head than I was expecting, even after an aggressive pour. the head that did settle is a dark tan.

S - espresso, a little bit of smoke too and malt. even some dark chocolate (not the sweet, milk kind either. dark bitter chocolate). very rich.

T/M - tastes very similar to the nose. strong espresso, roasted coffee beans. full bodied and thick. some notable carbonation on the tongue. semi-bitter smokey and coffee aftertaste.

D - the name says it all. I can't think of another beer that suits the word "oil" better. doesn't have a high ABV, but is very heavy and filling.

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Photo of mattipt
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle, BBE 06/2012. Served at 5 degrees C from a conical 1/2 pint beer festival glass.

A - The colour is very reminiscent of well-known cola brands. Very dark with a ruby red hue. Pours into the glass with a few bubbles but, try as I might, I can't get a proper head on it.

S - The first impression is surprisingly a Guinness-like aroma; that then gives way to dark roasted malt that brings to mind Southern Italian dark-roasted, oily coffee beans. Nutty with a wonderful treacle sweetness. It takes me a long time to figure out the dominant taste though. I think through my Oriental spice cabinet until it hits me: sesame seed oil! That, and the traditional Finnish Easter dessert mämmi.

T - It takes a while for the taste to sink in. Treacly sweet and rich. Wholesome like freshly baked brown bread. Now I've figured it out, more sesame seed oil keeps coming through. Very smooth with minimal bitterness. All flavours blend together wonderfully.

M - Thick, oily, chewy and interesting, again the oily coffee beans come to mind. Coats the mouth wonderfully. Suitably flat without being too much so.

D - At 6%, it's very drinkable. Unlike many porters, it doesn't taste thin. Seems to withstand quite low temperatures. This feels like quite a demanding beer to drink though as it takes some analysis to get all the flavours out and in order. Alternatively, just sit down and enjoy the symphony. Fantastic stuff!

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Photo of BeerNemesis
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old Engine Oil | 330 ml. | 6.0% ABV | 2010

Brewer: Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Style: English Porter
Glass: Brandy snifter

"It's an impenetrable slick of black but for a laserlike glint of ruby under light. One viscous sip after another introduces an enigmatic blend of flavors--charred malts and sticky toffee; bitter, slightly oily hops towards the finish; and minor hints of stale espresso and dark chocolate here and there. It's a silky smooth operator, and a gestalt of a brew, that won't easily give up its secrets."

Tar black with glassy shards of ruby red.

Wet coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts.

Char twists into toffee into espresso and dark chocolate into licorice and back again. Mild, but packed to the hilt with flavor all the way through the bittersweet aftertaste.

Incredibly smooth and viscous, like silk sliding over velvet. Unparalleled for its style.

The blend is king, and all flavors submit readily to the flawless medley.

Would I get it again?:
Oh yeah!

Bottled: it doesn't don't say
Served: 01.02.2011

Price = $3.99 at Whole Foods

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From a 330 ml brown bottle. Pours out a dense opaque black colour, nearly impermeable to light except for a faint ruby tinge that appears under extreme intensity.

Intense notes of char, roast, licorice, molasses, coffee, dark chocolate in the aroma.

Flavour is greater than the sum of its parts, everything tends to blend in so well together that it becomes difficult to pick all the seperate components apart. Smooth roast and char up front, sweet molasses and licorice follows, dry cocoa kicks in on the finish along with some leafy herbal hops that linger into the aftertaste, while some more of that sweetness reappears for an encore.

Can't fathom a better mouthfeel for a beer of this style. Medium-full, silky smooth texture, very low carbonation, it all just works together, once again greater than the sum of its parts.

An absolutely excellent English Porter, incredibly enjoyable and worth seeking out. I will definitely be picking up more, and spreading the good word around every chance I get. One of the best of the style.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep black color with a thick tannish head and a good amount of lacing. Smells of roasted barley, a little smoke, and chocolate. Tastes pretty good with lots of roasted flavors, coffee, toffee, chocolate, and some smoke and just a touch of hops. Mouthfeel was thick and oily. Somewhat easy to drink.

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Photo of RickS95
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Completely black liquid, a black hole in a glass. Sadly, there is no head to speak of.

Scents of chocolate and roasty malts dominate the nose. It almost smells black.

The taste is just strong. It's an aggressive taste, with bittersweet chocolate and toast filling the palate.

There's nothing gentle about this beer. It's not so much a bitter taste as it is a strong taste. It's like a stout combined with a barley wine.

I like the beer, but I don't think I could drink a lot of it. The alcohol isn't all that high, but it's a bit more bitter than I like unless I'm drinking a high ABV beer or an IPA. There's nothing smooth about this.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.92/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The first of my series of final exam/surviving med school 1st semester celebratory beers. Poured at 45°F into Duvel tulip, allowed to warm a bit...

The pour procures an epically dark brown, nearly black, viscous liquid that is crowned with a 1.5" thick, frothy beige head. The glass is adorned with much lacing and the head retains as a bubbly ring with a large island in the center. I can't even begin to describe how rich and balanced the aromas are. Can't help but take a sip and both aroma and flavor are described together. Hefty amounts of cocoa and coffee at first, then comes a nice and subtle (that's the key here) ashiness that is balanced by sweet caramel and biscuits. Hint of burnt toast and blackstrap molasses. There is no alcoholic burn; only a tiny warmth is apparent in the finish. Bitterness akin to coffee and char linger on and on. Carbonation is as good as is gets, yielding a velvety smooth texture to this surprisingly light/medium bodied beer. Looks can be deceiving! But as such, this is a lovely drinker that I would be happy to quaff all day.

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Photo of mountsnow1010
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Name makes sense. Thick, black beer.
S - Primarily cocoa and roasty notes, figgy smell, blackcurrant-like odor, a bit of a dusty/dry sensation, not unpleasant. Not a ton of odor.
T - Chocolate and toasty/burnt malt flavor. They fit a lot of charred flavor in this. Really complex, hard separate flavors; really interesting. Dark fruity tastes as well. Nice solid flavor but it I think the char overwhelms all of the other flavors.
MF - Pretty thick, coats the mouth.
D - I could drink several of these.

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Photo of BeerdedEric
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark spots, tan and khaki colors in the head. The body is 100% opaque. The head seems to want to disappear about two minutes after the pour but actually sticks around with a silky smoothness.

Roasted maltiness, toffee, chocalate and a nutty aroma. A hint of hoppiness in the smell.

Coffee and chocolate upfront. Some Bitterness in the aftertaste. It's a nice taste but I feel something is lacking, I can't figure it out. It may be due to the blunt taste at first but then there's nothing working for it after that.

Medium to thick bodied but very silky smooth in texture. Feels nice in the mouth. Some carbonation tickles the front of the tongue.

Even though it's kind of thick bodied it's not very heavy. I could have a few of these. It is a good enough beer to drink more than just one.

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Photo of EtOHMD
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought this as a single. Shop owner said is was one of his personal favorites. Pours a thick syrupy dark opaque dark brown to black with hints of maroon at the edges. Thin head which dissipates quickly. Rich chocolatey roasted flavor with hints of cherry. Chewy feel with no aftertaste. Wishing I had bought more than one of these! Think it's going to become one ofmy faves.

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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 DaveHS
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Dark chocolate brown with a thin, dark tan head. Moderate soapy lacing.

S-Roasted malts, lactic sweetness.

T/M-Roasty and rich, with a pleasant, creamy mouthfeel and a surprisingly bitter finish. Almost no carbonation. Lush and silky, not too sweet. The roasted malts linger in the finish.

D-A very good porter.

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Photo of BigMike
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From an 11.2 oz. Bottle

A: Pours jet black with no signs of light coming through anywhere. A beautifuly dense tan head on top that's leaving a lace trail on the glass.

S: Dark roasted malts, chocolate.

T: Bittersweet chocolate, anise, a light roasted nuttiness. Finishes with bitter coffee notes.

M: super smooth and creamy. Light to medium body with light carbonation.

Overall: This is good beer. A real easy drinking flavorful porter. I recommend trying this one.

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Photo of atsprings
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass pours a deep almost opaque black with a nice frothy light tan head that lasts as a thin layer and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is a nice amount of smooth dark malts with slight baker's cocoa. The taste is loads of dark malts, cocoa, smooth coffee and slight molasses, very complex. This is a great English Porter, one I would certainly have again.

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Photo of ams0286
4.88/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A new arrival at the local A&P Liquor Store, I decided to pick this one up to pair with my fresh wild boar chops.

The appearance is exceptional. A thick foamy tan head tops the completely black beverage. As I enjoy this beer there is a great amount of lacing that remains on the glass all the way to the top.

The smell is on point as far as the style goes. Lots of roasted malts, molasses, dark chocolate and even a hint of dark dried fruits. I wouldn't mind if all of this was a little more forward, but it is amazing none the less.

For taste, I can't remember a better black ale that has been so robust. All of those aromas are further accentuated through the flavors in this beer and some. Up front you get a great amount of dark roasted and crystal malts. As this gives way a whole new arrangement of flavors appear. Toffee, dried fruits, even tobacco come across my palate. The hops in this brew are not lacking either. With such a strong malt backbone, you can find in the flavor a resiny/pine flavor that even carries some citrus.

Thick and smooth, even better as the beer warms. The low carbonation rate is again on point for the style. It comes close to the viscosity of and "Old Engine Oil" which is great, and exactly what I was seeking for tonight.

This is by far a session beer. The 6% ABV makes you aware the beer is there, and the body of the beer does too. I do think that this is a great example of the style and wish that more brands lived up to this standard.

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Photo of vfgccp
3.79/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep rosewood at the edges of a narrow glass, but otherwise as black as it's namesake. Caramel colored head with some decent lacing.

S - Toffee, espresso. Mild, but opened up as it breathed.

T - Toast, char, some woody notes, coffee, bitter chocolate (more like 80% cocoa then a regular dark chocolate bar). The flavors show a steady hand, with nothing over the top. Malt rounds out the aftertaste.

M - Very smooth, light body.

D - The char and bitter chocolate aren't overpowering. Would drink 2 at a bar if I caught this on tap.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black, dark tan head, with a little bit of lacing.

Aroma is very roasted, with some hints of chocolate and a bit of bitterness, seemingly from cocoa and hops.

Surprisingly hop forward initially, lots of roasted malts, slightly sweet with a bit of chocolate and dark fruits. Bitter chocolate on the finish.

Medium in body, slightly creamy, with little carbonation.

Good solid drinkability. Overall, a very nice brew.

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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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