Old Engine Oil Black Ale | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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Old Engine Oil Black AleOld Engine Oil Black Ale
1,786 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: 1,786 |  Reviews: 829
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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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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Old Engine Oil Black Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 1,786 ratings