Old Engine Oil Black Ale | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Old Engine Oil Black AleOld Engine Oil Black Ale
1,779 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: 1,779 |  Reviews: 828
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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Photo of ajcormier
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Black, Black Black. Started with a one finger width head and fizzled out to a skim coat within a few minutes as an ale usually does. Zero light penetration. Completely opaque and dark as night. Slight reddish tinge, but mostly darker than it's name sake. Pour was good, medium viscosity. Certainly not as thick as some of the engine oil I've drained in my day... probably a good thing.

S- Sweet chocolate effervescence and classic roasted characteristics right off the front. As a porter the nose is a bit weaker than I was expecting. It's no stout, that's obvious, but it's not trying to be.

T- Ultra smooth and easy to drink. Small chocolates off the front with a nice malt profile. Good amount of bitterness to balance the coaco and coffee notes. Roasted dark malt flavors and slight bitterness linger on the palate even after the swallow. Surprising amount of heat for a 6% beer.

M- Good and mouth coating. Much better palate than some other porters I've had. Nothing exceptional however. it hits the mark but doesn't exceed expectations.

D- Great drink-ability. I didn't give it a 5 here however just because of the lingering roasted and bitterness. For an exceptional here it would have had to have a cleaner finish. All in all a great beer; except for the $3.99 per 12oz bottle. That makes for an expensive afternoon and thus also brings down my "drink-ability" scale to a 4.5.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.83/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pure black, this baby relentlessly absorbs any and all light that comes near it. Nice thick tan head that fades slow and rocky-like leaves some serious gobs of stickiness behind on the glass as it goes.

Some nice roast coffee and sweet malt notes in the aroma, with a hint of licorice and bitter chocolate as well. Tastes starts on the sweet side, licorice again, with some roastiness and a touch of astringency through the middle. Some lightly bitter hop bite in the finish but it stays smooth throughout. Chocolate and alcohol linger longer on the tongue.

Yes this beer is visibly viscous, body and a nice smooth, mildly carbonated feel. A nice easy drinker with depth or character and balance.

Love to have another!

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Photo of steve8robin
3.7/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting to try this one for a while, but kept passing it over on the shelves. There are many brews like this. 12oz bottle...

A: A nice super dark black with no light shining through. A tiny tan colored head that fades quickly to a nice bubbly lace atop the brew. Good.

S: I get some creamy milky cocoa and vanilla upfront followed by some burnt roastiness in the middle and a nice malty earthiness on the backend. Good.

T: I get a watery roastiness upfront with some watery vanilla in the middle. A bready rye on the backend. Not as god as I expected. Ok.

M: Light body with a decent carbonation. A watery roasty finish. Good.

D: Goes down very easy.

All in all, this brew kind of disappointed. Not as good as expected. Definitely many better ones in the style. Not worth your time.

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Photo of chinchill
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle served in pint glass. This bottle has a different label BA. It looks exactly like the Old Engine Oil label on the brewer's website except my label says "Black Ale" rather than "Dark Beer". 6% ABV

A - not quite old engine oil, but still black, opaque and rather viscous for a beer. Dark mahogany highlights under illumination.

Complex aroma, dominated by smokey and roasted malt notes. Some hop bitterness in the rich and deep taste. A touch of fruitiness and unpleasant burnt toast flavor. Modestly bitter, roasted malt finish.

Mouthfeel is this brew's forte: it is thick and smooth with a nice light level of carbonation.

A sipper rather than a multi-beer quaffer.

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

A: Pours a pitch black (albeit with ruby highlights when held to the light) with a one-finger tan head that fades with impressive lacing.

S: Roasted malt, chocolate and crystal malt, with notes of prunes and currants.

T: Follows the nose. The slightly sweet start is balanced by the dark, nearly ashy, roast of the malt. Not much development over the palate, but the aftertaste is rather like dark chocolate.

M: Medium body with rather light carbonation, leading to a creamy mouthfeel.

D: A porter that drinks like a stout! I think I'll have another.

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

A - Black as night.

S - Some chocolate and some roasted.

T - Nicely balanced. Starts out with a semi-sweet chocolate flavor and ends with pleasant bitterness on the back side.

M - Medium and dry finish.

D - Very nice.This delivers exactly what it says it is striving for on the bottle.

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Photo of July2Nov
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: "Old Engine Oil" indeed! So dark. Can see an ever so slight bit of ruby-brown on the edges...i think. Half inch of lacing.

Smell: Smells like roasted coffee with some dark, bitter chocolate thrown in as well. Very inviting.

Taste & Mouthfeel: This one has a thickness to it at first, but it's deceiving because it becomes very drinkable later on. It's like Guinness on steroids. Has the roasted notes of the smell, along with a baker's chocolate taste and chalkiness. Bet this one would be awesome on tap!

Drinkability: If you like your stouts dark, then check under the bottle top of this beauty. Your going to like it, trust me...my dad's a used car salesman.

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

certainly name fits the name. Black as used oil except when held to a light. Then one sees a hinty of ruby red. Nice rich tan head,receeds to an thin cap, leaving tons of thin web lace.

Sweet roast malts, sweetened coffee, and a wisp of syrup.

Coffee, bittersweet chocolate, balanced by a nice bitterness right in the middle. Finishes with hop and bittersweet flavours battling it out.

Smooth, smooth, smooth. Nice medium-full feel.

Very well crafted world class porter

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Photo of RedBeerHead
4.49/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pour like a traditional porter, pitch black with a light head that settles quickly to a light foam.

good smell of toasty, chocolate and vanilla. very good aroma.

taste is nutty and surprisingly light. nice aftertaste, not overwhelming at all.

very drinkable for a porter. nice and smooth. this is a good find.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer is dark with a thick hea that recedes to thr edge of the glass

The aroma is roasted malt thru annd thru and is wonderfull like dark chocolate icecream

The taste matches the aroma but mix in coffee at thr end its wonderful starts with a chocolate malt and a nice creamyness then a dryer. Roasted coffee flavor

Mouth is very nice doesn't dry to much

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Photo of digr
3.85/5  rDev -7%
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 +5.8%
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 -1.4%
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 -12.1%
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 -19.1%
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 +12.3%
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 -12.3%
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 -11.4%
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 -5.8%
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 +5.1%
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 +5.1%
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 +12.3%
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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Old Engine Oil Black Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 1,779 ratings