Old Engine Oil Black Ale | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

1,737 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,737 |  Reviews: 812
Photo of Silke_Neryn
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of EdgarGerik
4.87/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of williahd
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of cdub70085
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Grogsky
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark ruby red, not as dark as a guinness, however. Head is a rich white chocolate colour, creamy, but dissipates quickly. Aroma gives slight hints of roasted grain. Feel is creamy, yet crisp. Bold sweet chocolate flavour. A nice bitter finish. Reminds me of a milk stout, but not quite as sweet. Feels as though I've just trekked through the Scotish Highlands to a cabin on a hill. A great way to relax after such a trek.

 429 characters

Photo of Newffff
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours very nice. Poured into chilled pint glass. Small 1 finger head.
Rich smells of chocolate, coffee.

Drinks well, lingering after taste

Amazing on a hot day

 162 characters

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

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

Poured (kinda hard) from a 12oz bottle into a clean pint glass. The head and bubbles look almost like a nitro porter, the way they sorta cascade upward and collect forming a 1.5-2 inch head that dissipated slowly and sticks generously to the glass, absolutely gorgeous. Smell is of chocolate, burnt roasted malt, a touch of smoke, and an even lighter note of sugar. Fantastic. Taste is just as good as the last two categories with a huge roasted, dark chocolate character. Then a touch of bitterness, that transitions to sweet, and then finishes bitter again. Deceptively simple flavor profile that reveals more and more depth as you drink it and as it warms in the glass. Not surprisingly, from the name, the feel in the mouth is thick, viscous, and luxurious. Fortifying, even. No surprise the porter is the classic post work beverage of the working stiff. And this is a perfect example of it, perfectly executed and cheap af to boot. This is some top notch stuff!

 966 characters

Photo of Hendrick24
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Now listed as a "Black Ale" rather than a porter, Old Engine Oil is now in my glass.

It pours a deep, dark chocolate color with brown highlights. Not quite the blackness I was expected (I've seen some BLACK oil changes). The head is 3 fingers tall, and fuzzy on the sides.

Wow, from my perspective this smells like a Rauchbier. Very smokey, with meat locker, roast chicken and/or pork, dark barley, and some exhaust fumes (very interesting!). A touch of citrus at the very end of the aromatic profile lends some versatility.

Taste is made up of roasted barley, perhaps some carafe malts, with burnt coffee and citrus. Some figs. Hints of chocolate here and there, but only minor hints. This is by far a roast, dark profile with pot coffee and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel is exceptional. Just thick, viscous, parching, and coats the mouth like a glug of oil.

Overall, I was pretty impressed here. It's not overwhelmingly, jaw-dropping good. It is however THE PERFECT BEER for when you feel like an Imperial Stout but do not want to get annhiliated by the alcohol content. This one rushes in at about 6% ABV, HALF of most Imperial Stouts. Try it if you haven't yet, you may become a fan.

 1,190 characters

Photo of JonCorbett
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: I love the image the name evokes - It does look like dark old engine oil. Not nearly black-black, still has a few scarlet twinges at the edge and base of the glass. Nice frothy, creamy khaki head made up of tightly woven small bubbles, almost as fine as nitro’d stout. And super lace coating the glass all the way to the end.

Aromatics: All kinds of sweet toffee and caramelized coffee bean, with bittersweet dark cacao all of which gently masks light essence of very ripe plum with maybe a hint of vanilla.

Taste: I get a nice espresso jolt and luxurious dark chocolate bitter. Quite a nice earthy hop with hints of piney resin in there and a slight toasted/burnt biscuit - but it doesn’t detract at all from the sweetened bitter front end.

Feel: Velvety cream and relatively thin (light to medium body), does a fantastic job of coating the entire palate. Carbonation is on par - on the lower end but this is necessary to keep its overall creamy qualities.

Overall: Fantastic black ale. And if you are in the Porter/Stout/Black Ale fan club I highly recommend it. It has a wonderful balance of characteristics and very easy to enjoy.

Pairing : Gotta go with a well seasoned and preferably smoked and/or slow grilled pork or beef roast. This beer needs a nice lean but juicy meat that is loaded with spice and rub, and a nicely developed thick caramelized crust. Throw in some large chunks of onion, garlic, and roasted jalapeños to give it a flavour pack that will blend so nicely with this beer.

 1,526 characters

Photo of Calraven
4.36/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of daydesiang
3.64/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

So dark in colour, one and half finger bread. Smell of chocolate, coffee. Taste of strong chocolate, Malts, mild coffee and weak hops. Medium to full bodied. Better than average stout, 3.7

 188 characters

Photo of sokol_1993
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of fountainofyouth
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

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

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

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

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

Photo of fosters9
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of MichialTanner1
3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of EdwardPW
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of mynie
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This was hypey, back in the day. At least as hypey as any non-limited UK beer I've ever seen. And it's still hard to find in the states, because even though I've been looking for it for over a decade today was the first time I ever espied a bottle. It was expensive, even by modern standards, and I can see that perhaps dragging its rating down a bit.

The bottle calls it a dark ale and says it's viscous, chocolately, and roasty. So that sounds like a porter, but whatever.

Pours quite dark and thick. Not as gluggy as, say, an American RIS, but back when it was introduced 30 years ago, his was probably a site to behold.

Smells very smooth, with loads of sweet chocolate against rough and roasted porter grain. Well done.

Tastes... okay, the flavor is where it's clear that this is some kind of nebulous "dark ale" instead of a porter proper. The front is a very sweet, chocolatey stout, but then near the middle it gets sharp and zippy with large nodes of toffee, like a good Scotch ale, and then it finishes like a dry stout. A really neat and complex collection of flavors that not quite like anything I've ever had before and yet still perfectly balanced.

Really good.

 1,187 characters

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

Old Engine Oil Black Ale from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.1 out of 5 based on 1,737 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.