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 woodychandler
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

CAN you believe it?!? I have NEVER before reviewed Old Engine Oil & now, I have the opportunity to do so from a CAN! It is a brief detour onto The CANQuest (tm) from the eradication of the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody, but it fits with my current immersion in Porters over the last couple of days.

From the CAN: "Beer Engine-Uity"; "Black Ale"; "Viscous * Chocolatey * Roasty"; "Crafted with a Twist Since 1983"; "[World Beer Cup] Best Porter 2010"; "Our classic car obsessed Master Brewer always has a [CAN] of motor oil handy for essential lubrication of his beloved autos, which is how he came up with Old Engine Oil, its thick, dark chocolate viscosity revealing the inspiration behind the name,; Using loads of deep-roasted malt creates its rich black color and adding plenty of oats gives it a wonderful, velvety mouthfeel.; A [CAN] of this is just the job for anyone who appreciate beautifully engineered stuff that used to be made properly. So undo the top button of your pit overalls, ease into the wingback and roll out a rare taste of truly great British beer.; Welcome to the Owners' Club."

I was really anticipating the Crack! of a CAN for the first time in quite a while & once acCANplished, an inverted Glug seemed to be in order. This produced a finger of foamy, rocky, light-tan head that quickly reduced to wisps. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose smelled of roasty malts, dark chocolate & light smoke. Mmm. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium, light for the style & especially in light of its name. Taste was mostly dark chocolate, but black coffee, smoke & raisins also managed to work their way into the woof and warp of this beer. Finish was dry, smoky, chocolaty & very tasty. I CANnot thank Harviestoun enough for deigning to put such an iconic beer into CANs!

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Photo of fscottkey
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: [3.75] The can lists the ABV (6.0%) but there is no date code. The tulip is half beer and half head. The beer is dark brown to black. The head is dense and the same color as a Wendy's frosty. Looks pretty good in a glass.

S: [3.75] Dark fruits, figs, raisins, mild milk chocolate, toasted oats.

T: [3.75] Dark fruit, roasted marshmallows (charred but sweet) again mild milk chocolate.

M: [4.00] The beer is creamy and nice. I am not sure it is as thick as they think it is. The carbonation and creaminess lead to a nice overall mouthfeel.

O: [3.75] The is a pretty good stout. All around good flavor and aroma. At 6% it is near sessionable. I'd get this again

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Photo of warpedrevolution
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of VAcrossr
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DJ-Hophead
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

330 ml bottle, M and S, Bristol - Pours jet black with a medium tanned head. Medium carbonation. Nice lacing. Aroma - roasted malts, light dark chocolate, oaty - porridge. Taste - Sweet, smooth, roasted malty notes, dark chocolate, crips bitter finish. Solid well balanced porter that ticks all the boxes.

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Photo of 88caprice
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Look: very dark, black, slight ruby hues, tan head, lacing.
Smell: roasty, sweet, charred, coffee, woody.
Taste: BIG and roasty, charred, burnt marshmallow,
Feel: smooth, full bodied, moderately carbonated.

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Photo of dcotom
4.66/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Brolo75
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 ounce can poured into a pint glass

A: Pours black with a creamy, full, tan colored head, lots of lacing, low carbonation, minimal head retention.

A: Chocolate, roasted nuts, coffee, picking up sweet cream, may lactose, smells nice.

T: Chocolate, coffee, nuttiness, moderate amount of coffee like bitterness, touch of sweetness, finish has more roasted notes, toffee, roasted nuttiness and chocolate, coffee lingering in the aftertaste, very balance and easy to drink.

M: Smooth and creamy, low carbonation, dry coffee like finish.

O: This is really good, lots of flavors, chocolate, coffee, roasted nuts, amazing mouthfeel, a beer I would regular reach for during colder weather.

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Photo of ygtbsm94
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of TheSupremeAJ
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of Jacob17
3.53/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Abinlp
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Karibourgeois
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Wrigfen
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mig100
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of AleSan
3.46/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Can... Less good than I read around. Excellent coffee aromas, cocoa, hazelnut. Well the palate, soft and smooth in a slender body, but in the end comes out all the alcohol, too strong, warm and detached from the rest

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Photo of igl
4.71/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of plumcrazyfx
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Great taste, balanced, not too sweet which was good, would have liked to see a more creamy foam

95 characters

Photo of Dzu
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 0.33l bottle into goblet.
L: Dark brown with a little biege foam head.
S: Cocoa beans, dark chocolate.
T: Bittersweet, roasted sugar,coffee.
F: Tight body, lowcarbonation.
O: Great porter! I'd like it to be more sweet.

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Photo of Bunman3
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of 911CROFT
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

330ml bottle into a Spiegleau Stout glass. Paid £1.50 for a single.

Pours a completely opaque, dark black body, that shows only a few mahogany glimmers near the edges of the glass when held to the light. A bubbly, two-finger in height, light tan coloured head with excellent retention, slowly condenses to a thick cap, leaving behind plenty of sticky, spotty lace.

Charred dark malts, burnt grains and powdered baking chocolate comprise the majority of the heavily roasted nose. Hints of a sweeter toasted profile and a faint berry-like fruitiness are perceptible underneath, while traces of ash, and woody, herbal hops become apparent towards the back-end. Taste roughly follows suit, adding further interest to the already complex nose. Dry, dark-roasted chocolate malt, powdered cocoa and lightly burnt acidic coffee lead initially above traces of lighter toasty grains. Mid-palate, tart red berries are joined by faint, but apparent notes of ripe black cherry, plums, dates, raisins and hints of dark chocolate, before roasted bitterness begins to re-build. In the mouth, a medium body paired with low amounts of soft, exceptionally fine carbonation give a pleasantly slick, smooth and creamy feel, despite being slightly less ‘oily’ than anticipated. Towards the back-end, sharp, faintly acidic dark malts, burnt espresso, smoke, ash and traces of leafy, herbal, woody hops combine to give a heavily roasted, slightly sour and mildly bitter finish. After the swallow, burnt coffee, dry roast, char and smoke linger considerably alongside a suggestion of dark fruit to finish slightly dry and chalky, with a touch of roasted grain astringency.

Overall this is a very good beer. Robust and characterful, it expertly balances complexity and depth of flavour with a high level of drinkability suitable to the style. Its flavour is predominantly dry and intensely roasted, but well-balanced by dark fruit and toasted profiles for the most part. To my tastes however, I found the finish just a little too dominated by black patent malt, with sharp and acrid characteristics becoming pronounced enough to detract very slightly from enjoyment.

 2,148 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin light brown head that dissipates to patches, with light lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, milk chocolate, a hint of vanilla. Flavor starts with toasted malt with a hint of char, milk chocolate, light drip coffee, slightly sweet at first, then drying out to a lingering dark charred malt and mild dark chocolate finish. Medium bodied with light creaminess. A very nice English style porter, leaning a bit towards an export stout style. Malt has good chocolate and light coffee flavors and the char in the finish is well done. It is certainly as dark as old engine oil, but not quite as viscous. Still aptly named and flavorful.

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Photo of q33jeff
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle to pint glass

LOOK: Dark black color, thin, very little head
AROMA: toasted barley, chocolate-medium to strong.
TASTE: Toasted Grains, bittersweet chocolate, some woodiness.
FEEL: Very Drinkable, low carbonation

Very nice beer.

Could be a bit "peppier", if that's a word to descibe a beer, but good all around qualities.


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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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