Old Engine Oil | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

796 Reviews
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

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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Reviews: 796 | Ratings: 1,688
Photo of Hallu
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I'm not a big fan of American porters, I find them too bold. And for something bold, I prefer to have the chocolate and coffee flavours of an Imperial stout rather than a porter. But the English style porter is more to my liking. It's a lot more balanced here. I was a bit disappointed by the smell (stuffed nose at the moment though) but the taste is very much to my liking. Viscous, with a nice carbonation, it's got coffee and raisin flavours. A nice balanced bitterness from the hops and a finish that stays on the dark fruits. Lovely, would work well with a spicy lamb curry with low amount of chilies, or any lamb stew/roast with a sweet sauce. Oh and the deep brown/orange color of this beer is amazing.

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours near black and opaque with a medium head that is quite dense and leaves medium lacing. Nose is roasty toasty malts and a bit of molasses. Tastes is creamy coffee and burnt campfire marshmellow...almost a touch smoky. Mouthfeel is medium-full with medium carbonation. Overall, a great beer that tastes more like a 8% stout.

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Photo of ChevyNexus
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Very dark beer. No light seepage when held to bright led. Very dark roasted tastes of the hops and a slight coffee after taste. Not for a beginner in the dark beer world.

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Photo of Act25
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Astounding. Must try.

A: Black motor oil color with ruby highlights sporting a frothy head that retains and leaves blobs of lace.

S: Deep, ample, roasty, with chocolate, prunes, brandy.

T: Foillows smell with it roasty, smoke and dark chocolate flavors mixing with earthy hop, then more smoke and black licorice in a long twisting finish.

F: Medium to full with moderate carbonation

O: a meditation beer. Go for 12.

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Photo of rarigney
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours very dark brown, almost black with a tan head that dissipates quickly. Aroma of dark roasted grains. Taste is initially a little bitter, but not overpoweringly so. A very good Porter.

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Photo of gautch726
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You are initially greeted with a beautiful dark chocolate ale with a generously frothed, offwhite head. The smells that works it's way into your senses is a malty, nutty blend that promises warmth and happiness. The taste of this beer was surprising bitter how it presents itself with hops dominating the early move before tapering off into a more pleasant aftertaste in which chocolate and roasted grains follow you out. Not a big fan of that bitterness though. Great feel and is smooth all the way through. A good beer.

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Photo of ravenskana
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured very dark brown at the edge pf black with antique white head and darkened as it settled in the glass. Initially smell of chocolate and roasted nuts, taste included that along with oats, slightly charred toast, some bitterness but not overpowering. The finish lingers nicely and I’d love to have this again.

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Photo of stevoj
3.69/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black and oily, hence it’s name. Pours black, with thin silky beige head. Aroma is coffee, chocolate, oil. Taste is roast grains and mild hops bitterness. A nice sipper, especially on a cool day.

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Photo of MacMalt
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into cylinder glass. It pours jet black in color with a thin, khaki-colored head and some attractive lacing. It smells of roasty malt, burnt coffee, chocolate, and molasses. The taste really follows the nose but with the added pleasure of some dark fruit. It's very dry and earthy. This is one of the more complex porters I've tasted and the flavors really blend well. It is thicker than the average porter; in fact, it's stout-like in its viscosity. At 6% ABV, you could drink it either with a hearty meal or in a pub session. Overall, Old Engine Oil is one of my favorite porters: it is tasty and has many stout-like qualities but is easy to drink, as well.

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Into my nonic, it pours just like as its name says leaving the same color body. A gentle foamy one inch tan/off-white head appears and settles into the top of the body leaving some small paper thin hills on top. The smell is roasty and bold with nice chocolate and coffee notes. The taste is the same yet offering a bit of a woodiness in it as well. The palate is about a medium with nothing harsh on the tongue, and fairly drinkable. Overall, this is a pretty good beer for its style and one that I would come back to.

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Photo of SitkaSteve
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into an English pint glass.
The appearance was a dark brown close to black color. Motor oil like sound glugs out of the bottle, (did I pour too fast), oh bother, I dunno, if anything, it gave good head (did I just say that? yeah, don't take that the wrong way, I'm not a pervert). Anywho, well, the head was slightly thick with a nice glossy level take of an off white to tan color. Lacing is fairly thick as well.
The smell had some honey and molasses colliding with some dark fruits and bleeds into some roasty coffee bean-esque notes. Honestly, the coffee beans seem more subtle and almost unreal.
The taste was moderately sweet through all previously mentioned flavors. Roastiness bursts into the bitterness nicely. Dark fruits seem moderated a bit more leading into the aftertaste. Decent wet finish.
The mouthfeel takes a medium body and slaps the roast and the bitterness on my tongue. Lay me down and go to bed, hot damn, that's nice! Don't take into question how this one feels once you feel it, as not just the roast and bitterness hit, then the smooth and creaminess come in to play ball. Love how this one feels!
Overall, everything comes together in a stellar manner mostly, ah, but that aroma, wishing the coffee beans would show more oomph! That's my only complaint. Looking forward to having more of this towards winter!

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Photo of vinicole
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Very dark brown, Thin beige head.
Roasted malt aroma and something else catching the back of my nose.
Taste of treacle and molasses. Bitter at the finish.
Very smooth

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Photo of fishyakLA
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer labels itself as a "Black Ale," not a porter. The most similar beer I've had is MacLeod's Jackie Tar, which is listed as a stout. What both these beers shares is a "thinness," a lack of viscosity, that adds to the beer's drinkability. And it does this without losing the varied and complex tastes that make for a compelling dark beer. I'll leave it to the "experts" to mince words about how to correctly categorize this brew. All I know is that when I see it on the bottled beer list, it can attract me away from my usual preference of ordering something from on tap. I won't quite give it the 100 that the Bros. do. This beer is a very good example of beer life "on the dark side" and not sweet either. For all you IPA'ers...come try the dark side and consider starting here.

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Photo of WellRested518
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours nearly black with an off-white head. Steady lacing and decent head retention show fitting carbonation.

S- Toffee, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, and a touch of cherry. Huge nose for a porter.

T- The taste is similar with a withdrawal of vanilla and an addition of earthy hops. A hint of dusty pine pitch really brings the drink together.

M- Low to medium carb. The slick mouthfeel works in tandem with bitter hops and roast to keep the beer dry and alive.

O- Great brew. Somewhere between a scotch ale, porter, and export stout.

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

12oz, B4139 (my guess is, this is the Julian date indicating it was bottled on 139th day in 2014, putting it at approximately 1.5 years old). Pours a very dark brown, with a beautiful head that lasts. Wonderful aroma of dark malts, and chocolate. Taste is about as close to perfect for a standard-ABV stout as I have ever tasted: chocolate, coffee, bitter--it's all there in spades. Great mouth-feel as well.

I knew this beer was highly rated, and yet it still really surprised me (it nearly blew me away) by how well balanced and drinkable it is. It has everything I expect in a porter/stout, and I could easily drink this anytime.

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Photo of dar482
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer comes in a black color.

The aroma offers roasted coffee, chocolate, spicy anise, roasty malts.

The flavor follows with licorice and anise flavors throughout, a medium roasted malt, coffee, hints of cocoa, as the beer lingers with that spicy note on the finish. Mouthfeel is medium minus.

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Photo of breadwinner
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

I'm torn on this one. Jet black body is gorgeous, and the feel is indeed has some motor oil viscosity, impressive for a 6% brew. Loved the first couple sips, big roast bitterness, but as I went those roasted malts veered into burnt toast territory. This is a pretty beefy brew that I probably need to attempt to conquer again, as I feel it got the better of me the first go round.

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Photo of Sorphus
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black liquid with some light ruby-red hues and a small fine poring chocolate-toasty brown head with good lacings. Aromas of roasted malts, coffee and bitter chocolate arise with a light earthy bit dark fruity touch to it. Just enough carbonation to lift the palate with a light slick texture and a mediuto full yet elegant body. Flavours of coffee, roast malts and bitter chocolate intermingle and offer more complex subtle herbal-earthy hop notes. Lasting roast bitter chocolate finish which also leaves a good impression when combining with chocolate brownies or chocolate creme.

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Photo of Saviour
4.06/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L - pours cola-coloured, with a dark one-finger head.
S - coffee, hops and dark chocolate
T - bittersweet (just like the signing on the bottle says) with a chocolate bitterness and some fruit sweetness.
F - low carbonized, medium-bodied. Bitter chocolate and rye aftertaste.
O - very good, but not outstanding.

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Photo of manfromanotherplace
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looks like old engine oil!its a delicious beer, ive tried all the ola dubhs and this is better than the 12 and right up there with the 16.i wouldnt call it viscousy or chocolatey, as the bottle does, but its still a good beer.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pretty black color. Tan head, mixed texture.

Smells of lager. Meh. Hints of chocolate, malt emerge after time in glass.

Taste is idiosyncratic, citrus rind, malt, bitter.

Mouthfeel is moderately rich, especially for 6% ABV. Perhaps a bit more carbonation than strictly necessary.

Finish is long, mouth-coating, bitter, not intense.

Not a great beer. But far from bad. There are better choices.


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Photo of Greywulfken
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: black body of ale with a couple of fingers of tan foam

S: chocolate malts, some char, a hint of espresso

T: follows the nose with some typical but well-executed porter flavors: chocolaty, a bit of deep hidden fruit, some coffee, and hints of char and maybe anise

M: smooth and medium weight, modest carbonation, nice aftertaste

O: a solid porter - I'm sure one that regular drinkers of the style will enjoy

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The Old Engine Oil is a decent porter. The beer poured an opaque black with ecru head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent has hints of earth and peat. The taste is a well balanced with roasty malt at the front and then a slight bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium in body with smooth carbonation. Overall this is a very good beer and worth a try.

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Photo of BWood
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Tried this porter and was not really a fan. Very roasty. Left me wishing there was more coming on the back end. Very interesting that this was in the lock box at total wine and limited to 1 per person.

Black butte porter reserve from Deschutes destroyed this

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Photo of cjgiant
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours basic black with a moderate light tan head. The head starts almost foamy but turns soapy, strangely enough. The head died last at the edges, minor lacing.

Nose is classic dark-beer notes, with dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, and a bit of charcoal. There is a semi-sweet nuttiness I also detect. As the beer warms, I get less of the opening notes and more dark fruit, prune and fig.

Taste is actually a bit more dark-roast coffee, with more bitterness than I got in the nose. There is also a hit of citric bite (lemony) at one point that hits and runs as a green-twig wood note comes on. Note that these additional notes all play along or on top of a coffee (as it warms, it also resembles unsweetened cola - or at least what I imagine that to be).

The body is decent-medium, but the feel is mildly thin. There is a nice lingering light tingle on the tongue after the taste fades.

A very solid Porter, one that has a hint of sweetness but isn't sweet, a hint of roast, but isn't roasty or smokey, a hint of bitterness but not hoppy. It seems a well-made beer, and glad I tried it.

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Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.1 out of 5 based on 1,688 ratings.
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