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Old Engine Oil | Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.

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786 Reviews
Old Engine OilOld Engine Oil

Brewed by:
Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
United Kingdom (Scotland)

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: 786 | Ratings: 1,662
Photo of Sigmund
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330 ml bottle, trade with maeib. Black colour, impenetrable for light. Moderate tan head. Looks like old engine oil, smells like old engine oil too - just add dark and roast malts, oak, leather, liquorice and dark bitter chocolate. Lovely roast malts flavour, oily texture. Elements of oak, dark bitter chocolate and substantial hops, maybe some dried fruits and English liquorice too. Great roasty bitter aftertaste with elements of peaty smoke. A great beer! Thanks, maeib!

 475 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is really good stuff. Poured out to a pitch black color with low carbonation and a thin layer of foam. Some notes of lacing in the glass. Aromas of smoke, chocolate, coffee, caramel and earth blend well. Taste was very complex and inviting; flavors of coffee, roasted malts, nuts, grain and caramel whirl about in a sea of beer bliss. Some sweetness toward the finish. Aftertaste was slightly bitter and creamy. Mouthfeel was thick and heavy, like old heavy brewed coffee that was cold. Nice. This brews solid level of drinkability will bring me back in no time. Recommended.

 580 characters

Photo of Naes
3.48/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is black in color with a good tan head, though lacing is minimal.
The aroma is malty and a bit bready.
Flavor is rather sweet at first, but is balanced out by roasted malt and a faint hop presence.
Mouth feel is medium bodied and a bit syrupy.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.2/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

11.2 oz bottle

Appearance: Pours with very little head over the dark brownish red liquid. What little head does show does not last long or leave much lacing. Pretty average looking beer.

Smell: Light roasted aroma with a touch of caramel and fruits. Not much volume to the smell.

Taste: Moderately interesting coffee toast to it with some toffee and faint floral hop flavor. No bitterness to speak of with mostly a sweet malty base flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: There's not much to say about this beer. It's average and even boring for the style. Perhaps it took a hit on the journey across the ocean. I don't know. But I won't be having another one of these. It lacks any sort of complexity or depth.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Engine Oil. What a great name. This beer pours with a dark brown with a frothy head. It that cappacino? There is lots of chocolates and caramels throughout. In the nose and flavor. Suprisingly, quite easy drinking. Nothing really bad to say about this. Good show.

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

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich black malt scent that is dominated with chocolate aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth and rich, chocolate flavor that goes down easy and finishes creamy with an earthy feel. The mouthfeel is awesome. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking old ale. It has excellent flavor and aroma; a fine sessions ale.

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Photo of jakester
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. No date on the label. I drank this in a goblet glass.

This beer does look like engine oil when you pour it. Almost opaque, with a hint of deep garnet with a touch of brown if you hold it up to a bright light. A 1/2 finger of tan foams forms on top, which quickly drops to islands and a ring. No lacing observed.

Aroma is strong chocolate, very fruity, like cherries or dates. Alcohol in there as well. Not much in the way of hop aroma.

Flavor is chocolate, but not too sweet. A definite hop bittering is present, making the flavor of this interestingly yummy. Very fruity. I do think I can pick up some grassy/herbal hops in there also. Aftertaste is pure dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel is luxuriously smooth and creamy. Carbonation is soft. This beer just rolls around in your mouth. Great mouthfeel. Finish is incredibly creamy, like a chocolate milk shake.

I get the feeling this is what an old ale is supposed to be. I haven't had many. This beer is fantastic. Highly recommended.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330ml Bottle bought from the Vineyard , Belfast..

Extremely black/dark purple body - only a little light passes through when held up to the light... Pours quite thick - head is an off white/yellow colour which lasts throughout…

Aroma of chocolate, roasted bitter malt and some raisin…

Quite dry bitter flavour – can taste strong coffee and chocolate…Quite a thick syrupy mouthfeel...

An excellent brew - quite similar taste to Rogue Imperial Stout, though not as thick and heavy. Highly recommended....

 518 characters

Photo of edmundfitzoil
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a brown bottle with gold foil on the top.
The beer poured a nearly pitch black and the far edges allowed enough light to look mahogany. The head started as a finger of cream colored foam that dissipated leaving a foam ring around the glass as I drank it.It left a little lacing. The aroma is complex to say the least. Chocalate, toffee, a sweetness that I just place, and a remarkable aroma that faintly reminds me of soy sauce of all things. I don't know if I can do it justice. The beer tastes just as complex: smokey coffee flavor, chocalate that ends in a subtle bitterness that finishes beer perfectly. The mouthfeel is a very well balanced full body.
This beer is darn good. A great after dinner snack or a nicht cap (the way I'm enjoying it). Nothing to complain about, and I even like the name. I just wish it were available more often here.

 868 characters

Photo of Buildscharacter
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pouring out exactly as the name sounds, I knew this beer was going to be a winner. It's super thick and smells of burning wood, oak, maple, and roasted vanilla.

The taste is of scotch, burned...well charred wood and just overall a strong malty character. This is a supurb beer that I enjoyed quite a bit. I don't think that I could drink all that many of them, but it's quite good. I took off for appearance because it didn't hold it's head for anything.

 458 characters

Photo of foamer
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes:

Pours a pitch black (a little like motor oil) with a nice thick, frothy, creamy light tan-coloured head (not at all like motor oil). Leaves some nice bubbles and lacing down the glass. Aroma of unsweetened chocolate and caramel. Flavours of chocolate, caramel with some coffee hints and finishing off with a nice subdued roasted malt bitterness with some faint hops creeping through. Exceedingly pleasant indeed. Tastier than actual engine oil I should think. Quite smooth and silky mouthfeel for a bottled ale with just the absolute minimum of carbonation. This is a nice and drinkable old ale from the good people at Harviestoun. All their regular brews are solid beers and this is no exception. The only downside is it's awfully hard to find in Glasgow (until Sainsbury's brought it in for a festival) and impossible to find in Ontario. If you do see it, buy it. You will not be disappointed.

 919 characters

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

This was a dark brown, clear bre with a very low head. About what I would expect from an old ale.

Dark malt, with a little roasted character, and dark chocolate. Basically, it reminded me of a "light stout".

Taste was of light roasted malt and dark chocolate, with a hint of hop bitterness. Again, more like a porter or a stout than an old ale. But still quite good.

Mouthfeel was good, creamy, smooth, and a little chewy. Very good.

A highly drinkable beer. HOWEVER... to really put it in context, and for another level of taste experience, you have to also have tried the special reserve aged in whisky barrels.

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Photo of PatYoda
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Murky brown with a tiny bit of foam. Appearance gets a kicked a notch up though for long lasting head and nice lacing. Smell jumped out at me immediately after pouring. Strong roasted malt notes dominate with some dark fruit in the background. On first taste, the roastiness reigns supreme and the fruit is there backing it up. Caramel tastes as well. Mouthfeel is nice and smooth with just the right amount of carbonation to keep things moving. Lots of bitter dark chocolate on the aftertaste, and the hop bitterness is actually pretty strong. This is my first Scottish Old Ale and it's exceptional! Drinkability is outstanding.

 629 characters

Photo of deejaydan
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours opaque and low carbonation, produces a minimal head, and low lacing. Aroma is slightly fruity, but also restrained. Taste is grainy, chocolately, smooth. Just a bit of hops in the finish. Nicely done, thick enough and interesting to keep my interest.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An Old Ale? Hmm...I could've sworn that this was just an old-fashioned porter or stout...irregardless of that, this was a *tasty* beer and one that was severely gulpable on cask.

This came off of the hand-pull rather unimpressive; rather flat and somewhat opaque mahogany. The smell was equally modest and pedestrian...slightly peaty with a nice roasted character, but nothing to throw me into beer-desire-sweats.

But the taste - the taste. Almost uncapturable in words (as the best tend to be) just slightly smoky, sweet, peaty, and altogether painfully drinkable. Even at ~$5 a pint, I couldn't get enough of this. The mouthfeel was deliciously slick and almost refreshing for a darkish beer.

Like Stonecrusher says, some are thrown off by the name of this baby...but the taste is world-class and amazing, even bottled. On cask, an absolutely delighting killer of a brew.

Still available in Muncie, IN, at the Heorot for at least another week on cask...get there if you're nearby.

 994 characters

Photo of GreenCard
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Best before Sept. '06...

Appearance: deep dark brown/black, opaque, thinnish layer of tan foam that flattens quickly to a thin cap, lace

Aroma: malt, prunes, roast, acetone, soy sauce, newspaper, dark cocoa powder, rotten apples (faintly)

Flavor: faintly sweet for a second, then a long bout of roasty bitterness and coffee notes, slight tartness, burnt chocolate, resiny hops, burnt toast, smoke, finishes ultra-dry with a lingering hops and burnt grain bitterness

Mouthfeel: full body, gentle carbonation, soft and silky texture

Other comments: Reminded me of an "Adambier" at first (like Hair of the Dog - Adam that hasn't gone sour). It's like a concentrated dry stout. I gave it a 2.5 for drinkability because it is so rich and bitter that I could definitely only have one of them in a sitting. Might be interesting to age a few of them.

 857 characters

Photo of kingjames1
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle, black and viscous - though not quite as thick as oil!

Not really a head, just a nice tan lace on the edges of the glass.

The smell is very nice, though a little weak (compared to a quality stout). Roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of chocolate -- and some fruitiness?

Taste is more of the same - more intense, and that's good. One reviewer thought it was a bit cloying, but I thought the balance of was quite good: sweet, roasted maltiness, a bit of hops bitterness, and an ever so slight edge of alcohol.

This is lighter than a typical stout (I know, I know, its an old ale), carbonation is perfect, in my opinion for this brew. Very smooth and very drinkable, especially for such a complex (if relatively subtle) ale. This would be dangerous if it weren't for the price!

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Photo of ypsifly
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an undated 12oz into a pint glass.

Black like an imperial stout. Not much of a head that falls into a thin island of foam surrounded by a thin ring.

Smells of roasted malts with dark chocolate. Slight dryness. Smells like a stout but rather mild overall.

Rich and robust in flavor with lots of roasted malts, a slight sweetness that has notes of chocolate, and a nice hop background that lingers in the finish.

Smooth mouthfeel that makes for a very drinkable brew.

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Photo of dansteino
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark reddish brown. Some lacing.

Smell: Wow! Caramel, chocolate, and coffee with a touch of ripe fruit.

Taste: Rich. Very sweet with a slightly bitter finish. Caramel.
Brown sugar. Chocolate Milk. Roasted coffee.

Mouthfeel. Pleasant but a little cloying.

Drinkability: One or two tops, but that is it.

Overall, a very thought provoking and enjoyable beer.

 384 characters

Photo of gentlebubbles
3.51/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

on tap at Redbone's

Damn! This looks like a nice stout! Deep black with light tan head and a teeny, teeny glint of ruby at the bottom. Leaves a thin flotsam down the sides of the glass.

Sweet, heavy malt aroma.

Taste: more malt, very dark with the burnt bite of black patent and a bit of bootblack oiliness.

Not nearly as heavy as the name led me to expect, just a nice, medium, slightly slick body.

It's good, but there are other stouts I'd rather have. This is an Old Ale? Sure tastes like your basic straightforward stout to me.

 548 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The color is pitch black with a creamy tan head. Not much retention except for bubbles around the insides of my pint glass. The aroma is chocolaty with a touch of roasted smell. The taste is insanely rich. Sweet chocolate flavor is inhanced by light roasted taste, peat flavor, and just a little herbal hop. Old Engine Oil has a great depth of complexity and is incredably smooth. Only 6% ABV makes this even easier to drink. Highly recommended.

 445 characters

Photo of horndecker
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wonderful imagery conjured by the name and presentation.

It's the color of cherry cola, or perhaps walnut stain, with a short but fine tan head which leaves some little islands of foam and clumps of lace. Pour very carefully or you'll find heeps of sediment and wee yeasties filling your mouth.

The aromas are of espresso, cocoa, taffy and syrup, a little wildflower honey, and soy (in a nice way). Later a hint of banana.

The first sip brings a slightly bitter mineral wash followed by large roasted malt and fruit - figs maybe. A beautiful balance of flavors and aromas.

It has a medium smooth body with fine carbonation filling the mouth. A really nice old ale, with mucho emphasis on the malt and yeast.

 721 characters

Photo of Sammy
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A hoppy barley wine. Taste like a dry grainy lighter barley wine. Beautiful fruity aroma like fruity good wine. Some roasted malt and chocolate throughout. Dark colour and initial malty head. Not too sweet. Fruit on aftertaste. Smooth, would be fine with this all night.

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Photo of cypressbob
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served in a Cantillon snifter

Pours with a dark brown body, with burgandy hints. Half inch dark tan head, thick viscous syrupy body

Smell, strong hints of roasted malt, thick english bittering hops, lasting warming caramel and alcohol on the finish. Syrupy estery alcohol on the nose

Taste, bittering hops, thick syrupy malt, some sweetness, almost stout like roasted malt. Thick rich biscuity body, lingering sweet chocolate malt

A fantastic beer, full of flavour, something to savour

 510 characters

Photo of maybrick
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

What a great beer. I had it from the bottle poured into a 12 ounce mug. This is a black hole. I held it up to the window (it was 1:30 and sunny) and barely any light shown through. Black in color just like used motor oil. There was a very nice head but very little mose as the temperature was around 38. I let it rest for about ten minutes and wow, what a nose now - malty, sweet, but not any hop that I could detect.

My first taste brought a huge smile to my face. Very smooth, interesting balance between malt and hop. Tates included, sweetened coffe, caramel, plums.

Good finisher too. No alcohol burn, just a nice warming. I couldn't drink this one after another as it is kinda of heavy. But, I can see having 3 or 4 per session.

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Old Engine Oil from Harviestoun Brewery Ltd.
4.1 out of 5 based on 1,662 ratings.
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