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Old Engine Oil | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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785 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: 785 | Ratings: 1,663
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.

 226 characters

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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Photo of Cannybrew
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with soft brown sugar head. Smell for me doesn't jump out and shout anything other than a sweet spice but the taste is phenomenal - dark chocolate, coffee, orange and red currant. Feels impressive, thick, lightly carbonated, smooth and super swallable!

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Photo of BigOldOaf
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Pitch black with a nice, half-inch beige head that dissipates quickly.

S - Roasted malt with hints of dark chocolate and coffee mixed in.

T - Roasted malts start and lead into deep, dark chocolate with perhaps a hint of coffee. Perfect amount of bitterness.

F - Medium body, good carbonation with a nice graininess that's reminiscent of Taza chocolate.

0 - This is a great beer. The grainy, bitter dark chocolate is what makes it all come together for me. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at Hop City, Birmingham, AL.

A: Dark as, well, old engine oil. A tan half finger head that petered out quickly.

S: Dark chocolate, malts, a bit smokey. Some coffee notes, too.

T: Follows nose in a smooth, passionate, easy drinking style. Great for sipping. Dark and lovely.

M: Medium to heavy with medium carbonation.

O: Glad I got to try this British staple. A fine porter that drinks like a stout. But then, there's not that much difference between the two. Tasty. Let it warm for maximum viscosity and thermal breakdown.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.56/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Black. Out of curiosity I held a powerful flashlight behind my sampling glass, and still only got faint ruby tinges. Light brown thin head that fades to a ring, spots of lace. I'm looking for viscosity; looks thick, but I want milkshake.

S: Powerful, almost acrid on first whiff. Lots of roasted malt, oat.

T: Bittersweet chocolate is there, but mostly simple oat and roasted malt. Some vanilla mid-palate. Tasty, but unoriginal. Good long bitter finish.

M: The reason why I sought this out!... It's ok. Definitely thick, but not engine oil thick. The carbonation is fine and restricted, which helps.

O: Maybe I was expecting too much, but I really don't see what the big deal is. It's good, but I think it benefits greatly from people reading "viscous, chocolatey" on the bottle and then finding/inventing those characteristics. The "roasty", however, is there in spaded.

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Photo of ed_loves_ipa
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very tasty, if you're into stouts. Malty chocolaty notes. Very clean tasting IMHO. Not as string tasting as Narwhal or Wake up Dead nitro. Very well made RIPS.

 162 characters

Photo of Immortale25
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. Bottleneck says 3162.

A- Pours a 99% opaque black color with a 1/4 inch light brown head that retains decently before becoming a thin ring around the edge of the glass and a half sheet of sheer surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Very pleasant aroma of dark roasted malt brings to mind chocolate, nuts, caramel and coffee. Also quite biscuity.

T- Quite a bit more generic than the flavor with just straight dark roasted malt, little sweetness and a charry aftertaste.

M- Pretty basic for a porter with medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- Very surprised that the flavor doesn't follow through with what the aroma lets on. A very good porter but it's missing the flavor and mouthfeel to make it great.

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Photo of SmashPants
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Format: I had this a few years ago as I was just starting into craft beers and hated it. Retrying it to see if my tastes have (hopefully) caught up to it. A slim, very dark brown 330mL bottle with a funky label with an old car. Can't really lose out there.

Appearance: poured into a tulip glass. A near jet black body with an inch of dark tan head that slowly drops to an inch of creamy and rocky finger. Fantastic lacing down the glass. Even jet black as it pours out of the bottle.

Aroma: a strong aroma of roasted malts - specifically coffee - with milk chocolate and a touch of rough cocoa. Smells pretty good.

Taste: the sweet milk chocolate comes through more strongly here alongside the dark roasted coffee. Quite sweet, and very tasty.

Aftertaste: the sweetness backs off some to be replaced by a lovely warming bitterness from the roasted malts.

Mouth feel: moderate to fuller in feel with a moderate carbonation. A pretty good feel with somewhat of a creamy feel.

Overall: well I am very glad that I have decided to retry this beer. A full-bodied and full-flavoured English Porter that shows fantastic roasted dark coffee and sweet milk chocolate. Well worth the having at AU$5 a bottle.

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Photo of interzen
4.95/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

330ml bottle poured into a Vedett tulip glass

Look: Black, black, BLACK! Seriously, this is blacker than a black thing. In Hell. At night. Tan head which sticks around for a while, with some lacing.

Smell: The first thing that sprang to mind was 'tar', closely followed by 'coffee' - there's a ton of toasted malt character in there, too. A faint bit of fruity/floral character but really the tar/coffee aromas are front and centre.

Taste: Toasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate - the chocolate isn't as in-yer-face as something like Sam Smith's Chocolate Stout but it's definitely there. Chuck in a few resinous notes in the finish and you've got something which is absolutely delicious.

Feel: The word 'viscous' appears on the bottle, and with a name like 'Old Engine Oil' you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd need a spoon for this. Not so - granted, it's a bit 'thicker' than your average brew but nowhere near stout levels. Slips down ever so nicely.

Overall: This is my first encounter with the output of the Harviestoun Brewery and it won't be my last. I don't care whether people classify this is a 'black ale' or a porter - categorising it won't detract from the fact that it's across the board awesome; lovely balance of flavours. Definitely a keeper.

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Photo of archyquaffer
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%

This beer is styled as a "Black Ale", which I see is listed separately but with only 7 reviews. Therefore, I'm not quite sure I'm reviewing this in the right place. But what gives with changing the style but not the name? Or, is "black ale" simply another descriptor for a porter?

Anyhow, a fairly aggressive pour produces a sticky, frothy, pale tan head of about an inch. The beer is a very dark brown.

I perceive a overbaked biscuity aroma with a hint of diacetyl. The roasted malts come through nicely in the flavor, and are accentuated by bark-like, nut, and burnt chickory flavors that suggest strong coffee, but without the astringent flavors of old, overcooked coffee. It's relatively light in body despite the name and drinks like a black lager more than anything.

A decent beer and apparently rare in my area, but hardly worth the $4.29 I paid for the 11.2 ounce bottle.

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

Beautiful black brew, topped by a very small brown head with poor retention.

Smooth, dark and rich chocolate and roasted barley aroma. A bit of cream, as well. Very robust aroma, but enticing and sweet as well.

Tons of dark, overripe fruit up front, earthy hops in the middle, and waves of roasted barley on the back-end. Extremely roasty: burnt toast, black coffee, dark cacao. Not very sweet, as implied by the aroma, but very robust. Earthy hops, and a little sweetness up front from a caramel/toffee/butterscotch note.

The name is misleading if you're expecting a thick stout. It's more cloying and lasting than chewy.

If viewed as a robust porter, this is an excellent example of the style. It's roasty bitterness is at first abrasive, but it's exactly the way it should be.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

It, called Black Ale vs Porter, is a lovely black colour and brings a 1 finger head of tannish foam with a careful pour. As the foam shrinks, great lacing left behind.

The smell is marvelous with smooth notes of chocolate, both sweet and bitter. Almost? get a hint of licorice.

The taste brings that chocolate with no hint of the licorice I noted in the smell. Nicely roasty to go along with the chocolate, this such a soothing, comforting beer to drink.

The silkiest of mouth feels, this is just bloody awesome. I'm glad I picked up a few bottles, both with the labels upside down and right side up.

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Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.1 out of 5 based on 1,663 ratings.
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