Old Engine Oil Black Ale | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Old Engine Oil Black AleOld Engine Oil Black Ale
1,776 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: 1,776 |  Reviews: 827
Photo of jmdrpi
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330mL bottle, a bottle code but it's unclear what it means.

appears very dark brown, almost black. thin white head that fades quickly to a thin whispy covering.

pungent aroma of bittersweet chocolate, nice. tastes roasty, with major sweet chocolate and coffee flavor. but finishes fairly dry. medium body, with pretty smooth creamy carbonation and mouthfeel.

looks like the label has changed, it now says "Black Ale" instead of "Porter". no matter the style, it's a good beer.

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Photo of colts9016
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at 50 degrees. I am looking forward to this beer.

Appearance: A two finger head that has poor retention; moreover, the head is dark brown in color and is foamy and creamy. The color of the beer is oil like, dark brown near black. The clarity of the beer is opaque. The head on the beer left no lacing on the glass.

Nose: A robust roasted malt with chocolate, espresso, with a nice toasty note. The hop is there but mild. The hop is woody, with some floral esters. There is a nice yeasty aroma, toffee, molasses, caramel, and bready notes.

Taste: A robust chocolate malt, espresso, with a nice roasted note. There are a mild hop flavor that fruity with floral esters, and some wood. Other flavors are yeast, toffee, molasses, caramel, and bready.

The mouth feel is carbonated, smooth, and silky.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and the finish is medium. This is a really good porter with lots of flavor a very easy beer to drink. I am glad I got to drink it.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Best before date of March 2012.

Pours a solid black color. Head is minimal - a slight ring of chocolate.

Almost no nose that I can detect, with the exception of a hint of coffee.

What it lacks in smell, it makes up for in taste. "Distinctive notes of chocolate and coffee lead to a bittersweet aftertaste" reads the label, and that is exactly what you get. A very nice balance between the coffee and chocolate, both present but neither overwhelming. Smooth finish with a bit of bittersweet flavor that lasts a moment.

Though I probably wouldn't drink this as a session beer, or accompanying a meal, I think this would make a great desert beer.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with the slightest of brown highlights. A vigorous pour didn't produce too much of a head, but it is there.
Vanilla, banana, a bit of smoke and plum make up the start of the nose. There is a tiny bit of grain and dirt in the background.
The taste starts with dark fruits and earthy hops, a bit of buttered bread and banana, and a bit of smoke in the finish. There is a bit of a mineral and floral background as well. Goes down easy.
A little pricy for everyday drinking, but well worth the try. I got it because it is apparently the beer that becomes Ola Duba, which I grabbed for my cellar. Very nice brew, gave me hope for the future of my Ola Duba.

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

Had this on-tap at Sunswick 35/35 on 4/7/11.

Reviewed taken from notes.

A - This beer pours black in color, and has a decent light tan head on it. The head leaves some decent lacing behind.

S - It smells of dark roasted malts and chocolate. There are also notes of coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and caramel. Quite a nice smelling beer.

T - This starts out with a nice sweet roasted malt flavor. There are nice notes of coffee and chocolate. I am also getting nice flavors of vanilla, caramel, and a touch of dark fruits. The finish has some lingering roasted bitterness.

M - It has a medium body and the carbonation is on the lower side. It goes down smooth, and leaves some lingering roasted bitterness in the mouth.

O - There is good drinkability here. It has nice flavor, and I could easily drink a few of these in a night. It's sweet, but has a nice bitterness to it. I would definitely try this one again.

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Photo of wcintula
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Practically perfect in every way. Pours viscously with a brown head weighed down by the gravity of the beer itself. Smells of all the darks, roasted, chocolate, dried fruits, awesomeness. Super malt machine, easy and pleasant to drink. A porter that I can drink for the rest of my life.

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Photo of xvoltronx
5/5  rDev +20.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance - A light-trapping, intense void of a deep black. One of the deepest blacks I have ever seen in a brew. Creamy beige head that dissipates slowly.

Smell - Wonderfully aromatic. Toasty malts, slightly bitter hops and chocolate. Very complex.

Taste - A robust beer in every sense of the word. Malts break through right away and deliver a smooth, toasty start. The chocolate notes deliver an equally smooth finish. The light carbonation and very subtle hoppy bitterness add just enough definition to round out the brew. Very good balance of flavor.

Mouth Feel - Creamy and rich. Slightly tart, but overwhelmingly smooth.

Overall - This is truly a world class beer. Everything about Old Engine Oil screams attention to detail and experienced craftsmanship. The price is a little steep considering the size of one bottle, but it is well worth the expense as this particular brew is truly sensational and an excellent addition to a fine meal.

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

Poured from a 33cL bottle into a BrewDog cervoise glass. Best before March 2012.

A: Dark brown with a finger of creamy, off-white head. Matte and completely opaque. Pretty lacing.

S: Vanilla beans, roasted barley, mild coffee, bittersweet chocolate.

T: Milk chocolate; some pleasant bitterness -- both hops and coffee. Sweeter malts have a floral feel. Vanilla notes. The aftertaste is light and more bitter than sweet. Overall, well-balanced and quite nice.

M: Creamy-smooth. Luscious. Slightly carbonated.

D: A velvety, bittersweet, full-bodied, balanced porter. Pretty good, but not as good as the Ola Dubh which uses this beer as a base. Recommended.

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Photo of AnPiobaire
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I found this porter to pour a deliciously dark brown to black with reddish hues. There was a very thin tan head.

The aroma was of rich roasted malts, dark fruits, coffee, as well as chocolate.

The taste was of roasted malty goodness that mellows into a nice bittersweet chocolate finish.

As for mouthfeel, this brew was not as creamy as it would lead you on to believe, but very smooth. The smoothness and mild cabonation makes this one easy porter to put away. Down the hatch that is.

Overall this is a delightful porter that makes me proud of my Scottish heritage.

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Photo of ztoellner
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
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 goblue3509
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a black color with no light getting through and a brownish/tan color head that is three fingers in depth and frothy. No lace is left. The smell is of roastiness along with dark chocolate and dark fruits. The taste has a roasty backbone with hints of licorice and dark chocolate. The flavor is rounded out by dark fruits. The mouthfeel is well bodied with minimal carbonation. The drinkability is high, the drink goes down very easy, very good flavor and well rounded.

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Photo of Long813
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dated: MAR 2012
0239 07:21

A: Dark black body with a few mm's of light mocha head. Retention is minimal.

S: Aroma is full of sweet roasted malts. Some dark fruits and dark chocolate.

T: Following the smell, pleasant taste of roasted malts and dark fruits with hits of dark chocolate.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Water like texture, leaves a bitter aftertaste.

D: Well made porter, it's one I'll have again soon.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.96/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

#107. On tap at Taco Mac. I was very excited to see the positive reviews on this one. $4.75/Sniffer? One of the best prices on this menu.

Served in a snifter

(Appearance) Pitch Black with very light surface penetration. light film. Carbonation nearly impossible to see, but thin carbonation. Looks fine. 4

(Smell) Deep dark fruits, licorice. Not very potent. 3

(Taste) roasty flavors. Raisins and a touch of grapes. A smokey rush finish. Good. Quite nice. 4.5

(Mouthfeel) quite light and a bit thin but not watery. Texture is airy. Carbonation not intrusive. 4

(Drinkability) I could have a lot more of these. The price and the taste is all good here. 4


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Photo of Casey10
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a beer I had on tap at the lions pride in Brunswick, Me.

Had on tap the glass was nice and dark slight head, smell was almost burnt ends with a strong taste of dark roasted coffee. The feel really lasted with the burnt feeling of coffee and chocolate. Finally the drinkabilty is good as this would be something I would drink again.

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Photo of argock
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
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 OtherShoe2
4.64/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours deep brown with a good foamy tan head, that keeps a ring all the way down the pint. Nice lace rings.

Wow. Like a mini rauchbier. Roasty? You bet. I get a good whiff of smoke in this one, with rich roasted malt notes and even some blackstrap molasses.

Where to start-- Charred malt, with nice roasty undertones. An understated bitterness that works perfectly, leading to some creaminess/slight sweetness in the taste and mouthfeel that clears the palate and ultimately leads to the finish, which is bitter chocolate, french roast coffee, and...this graininess that is long and bitter. This is just layer after layer of flavor.

Medium-full bodied, but not thick at all. A bit of carbonation at the end of the sip.

A rare 5.0 here. Have seen this for years and never jumped. This is absolutely fantastic. One of the best porters I've ever had if not the best porter hands down.

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Photo of BikeChef
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow is this drinkable stuff... Deep and dark, with a inviting head, the taste is rich with roasted malt. Some hops and a bit of smokiness come out in the finish. This is the kind of exceptional beer that I could drink all night on a chilly evening. In these days of DIPAs, Imperial Stouts, etc., it's easy to forget how satisfying a "smaller" beer like this can be.

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Photo of burnheartsMKE
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I poured it too cold, but I immediately noticed a nice & delicate peach-like aroma quickly followed up with Tootsie-roll. The more I sniffed at the low-riding tumbler rim, the more I was reminded of an empty Halloween bag; that faint scent of chocolates, gummies & hard candies.

Taste had all the attributes of a really nice Americanized Russian Imperial Stout minus the sweetness and with a really thin body. It was dry with a small amount of fruit bitterness, chocolatey, and molasses-ish with a touch of soy sauce. Jess tried it and said it tasted, "Meaty" and I agree; that old Japanese notion of umami once again creeps back into my mind. The other flavor. In fact, that soy-saltiness kinda overwhelmed me by the end of my glass and I was unable to finish it.

Overall I really appreciated it and it was just what I was looking for tonight. I would have been happy with a smaller bottle, but I'm gonna blame this one on my bored-as-Hell-no matter-what-I'm drinking tonight taste buds.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.72/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I picked this beer up at Knightly Spirits in Orlando almost exactly a year ago now. It seems like a good time to give this beer a healthy review. I have seen it forever, but never picked it up for review. Anyway, here we go...

Appearance: Pours very dark black with a small 1/8" head of small tan bubbles after a pretty aggressive pour. After 20-30 seconds, the head had faded back into the beer. There was already some lacing left on the glass just from swirling when checking out the aroma.

Aroma: I initially got a healthy dose of sweet caramel malt along with some toasty Munich-type notes and some chocolate. There is some roast, but it is nicely reserved when compared to the other aromatics. As the beer is warming up some, the aroma is taking on a licorice note.

Taste: The flavor is much more roasty than I thought it would be from the aroma. There are chocolate notes along with a defined dark-malt acidity. The toasty Munich notes are also a big player in the flavor as well as the dark caramel malts. Overall the beer is medium bodied with ample carbonation. The finish is absolutely dominated by the malt so that it leaves a bit of a syrupy impression to linger. The dark malts are adding balance through the acidity, but this doesn't make it the most drinkable beer ever.

Opinion: Overall this is a pretty good beer. The dark malts have an unusual balance with the flavor so that it comes across a little on the harsh side. It is getting easier to drink as I am about half-way through the glass, but I would have to say that this beer is just a little on the "rich" side to be a regular drinker.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - near black with fluffy mocha head retained at a thin consistency
S - rich malt, licorice, coffee, tobacco, and chocolate
T - grainy and smoky malts and cola give way to bitter coffee and chocolate, alcohol sweetness, and chewing tobacco like undertones, with some floral hop balance
M - thick yet well carbonated, smooth and very full finish
D - a hearty beer complex in flavours, a great example of a porter, though definitely not for the faint of heart

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Photo of Schneic8
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle Poured into a mug.

Appearance: Very dark color, similar to a dark coffee. It had a relatively small head that lasted.

Smell: Smells of chocolate, caramel, and coffee. Also has the smell of dark fruits.

Taste: Has a coffee and chocolate taste. It is really hard to separate the flavors and has dark fruit flavors. It has a blunt taste at the beginning with a mild after taste.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium body with a smooth creamy texture. It has a light carbonation and goes down smooth.

Drinkability: A good beer that I am glad I tried. I wasn't a huge fan initially but I believe this is a beer that could grow on me. I need to get more accustomed to this style of beer.

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Photo of Kakaraht
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours midnight black with a thin tan head that reduced quickly to light lacing.

S: Roasted coffee and burnt malt along with a faint syrupy sweetness.

T: Very typical of its style with that not quite burnt chocolate malt flavor and heavy sweetness. There is a slight astringent bitterness to the beer that is somewhere between hops and burnt malt.

M: Heavy thick and sweet with a round character.

D: Very tasty drink and well recommended.

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Photo of sweemzander
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a thick pitch black color that produced a minimal tan frothy head. Decent retention.

(S)- A deep rich roasted profile. Hints at raisin, molasses, and cocoa.

(T)- Same as the smell. A good roasted bitter profile. Bits of molasses, raisin, and cocoa.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Rich, yet smooth and not overly bitter.

(D)- A great porter. Has a rich profile without being too over-the-top. A fine drinker for what it is.

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Photo of CampusCrew
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance: deep dark black, nearly ebony, loaded head

smell: loaded coffee, and sublte chocolate aromas

taste: very dry black ale. not a little of complex flavors, but nice and sessional and loaded with roasty malts

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: I dig this. a good everyday drinking black ale.

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Photo of BatDaddy
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

No freshness or bottled date that I can find. Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a dark ruby-tinged black with a slow to form head from a semi aggressive pour. Head is light chocolate color and settles down to a wispy lace that is full of circular shapes. Interesting and a bit peculiar - don't think I've seen lacing look like that.

S - Roasted chocolatey malt, some vague fruity sweetness. Notes of a freshly opened can of dark roasted coffee.

T - Bold dark roasted coffee. Strong and bitter, but smooth on the finish. Big malt backbone balanced out with some bittering hops and roasted notes. Very nice.

M - Smooth, and perhaps appropriately, a bit oily. Maybe it's the power of suggestion.

D - Really good. Great tasting and smooth feel make this a very enjoyable porter.

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Old Engine Oil Black Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 1,776 ratings