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 Dithyramb
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass tonight at Max's. They had it listed as a "Scottish brown." Looked just like a fine stout, coming out deep jet black color, dark tan head with okay retention and pretty lacing.

Very light malt and alcohol aroma. Caramel, dark malts, smooth creamy and sweet. Enjoyable brew. The mouthfeel was slightly oily on the tongue, leaving a sweet, but not cloying feeling. Not what I'd expect from an old ale. 6% was very drinkable and worth several.

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

It pours a deep, dark, almost black with a slight reddish hue. Light is not capable of passing through this beer.Maybe it was my pour, but I got a minimal tan head.
It smells sweet, toasted and coffee is certainly there, too.
I gave it higher numbers than I normally would for the mouthfeel. It is a medium to medium heavy bodied brew. It has an almost wine-like feel in the mouth that I was really impressed with.
This is one I know I could drink a few of, but a bit heavy to be a session beer.

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Photo of riversider76
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost black. Long lasting tan head. Nice lace. Smell was on the light side, but was of malts and roasted coffee. Mouthfeel was not too light,not too thick. Taste was smooth and refreshing. malty, somewhat sweet start with a nice bite at the finish. Really good stuff!

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Photo of Kwak
3.37/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It poured thick with the look of sludge at first with its head almost gone in a second.
after my first sip it had appeared almost light with a strong after taste
at the top almost a tint of red along the edge to break up the almost pure black body
Strong malt and bitter with a dark roast feel to it.
Very tasty butt maybe just one!!

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

Nearly opaque mahogany colour with a thin, light brown head. Fine lacing covered the glass. Rich caramel and toffee aroma with raisin, figs and faint floral hops. Very malty with moderately high bitterness to bring things into balance. There's also a faint chocolate character that adds some complexity to the dried fruit (raisins, figs) flavour. Bitterness and caramel linger in the finish. Medium to full bodied with fine carbonation and an off-dry texture. A good old ale with plenty of malt character balanced by a surprising bitterness.

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Photo of fisherman34
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown in colour with medium carbonation. Porter-like aromas of dark baking chocolate and a touch of coffee. There is a very mild fruity flavor in this beer, like red grapes or cassis, that mixes well with the chocolate and coffee elements. Somewhat watery, but still very good. Reminds me a bit of a lighter bodied St. Ambroise Oatmeal stout. This one is more like a porter than the other Old Ales that I've sampled.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 ounce bottle. Old Engine Oil pours out a not quite black color with a reddish tint. The head is small and fades quickly. The aroma is roasted coffee, molasses, and licorice. Flavor is rich and roasty, a little buttery, and sweet with caramel flavor. Some sweet cherry fruitiness. The finish is bitter, and it makes you forget how sweet this beer is. Medium mouthfeel. Not exactly motor oil, but tasty nonetheless. Very smooth and easy to drink. This is not what I think of as an Old Ale, but whatever it is I love it.

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Photo of BuckSpin
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had to pick this one up. Got a bottle of the aged Reserve as well, so it makes sense to see what the original is like. Odd pour...its slate/gray brackish out of the bottle, thick yet epervescent with bubbles, a deep, ruddy, blood ruby hue...nice. 1/4" head of mized aggitated tan foam faded rather quickly, some lacing. Nose is nice, rich, some alcohol, roots, old spiciness, some smoky & burnt traces.

Its creamy, thicker than it pours. Nice coffee tones, slight sharpness,wip of light sweetness, slight hops & bitter on the pallete. Rich on the the swallow, its chewy, mild bitters, slight aftertwang, soft glow on the mouth that echoes. This is nice.

I like old ales, and would enjoy this one again. Glad I picked it up...look forward to the aged Reserve!

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a medium foamy brown head with minimal retention. Aroma of chocolate with roasted malt is easily identifiable. The roasted malt with some medium notes of chocolate and coffee also dominates taste. Overall, this is a very enjoyable beer from a style that I’m having more and more of hard time to pin down.

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

That this beer is aptly named is evidenced in the pour--dark as old engine oil with a reddish-amber tinge to it. Head is thin but nonetheless laces a bit. Smell is pleasant and surprisingly strong even when pretty well chilled. Nose has a smooth chocolate-toffee base and a hint of fruit that most closely invokes cherry. Question: Will it taste as smooth as it smells? Answer: Thankfully, yes. Sweet (though not cloyingly so) and smooth up front with some roasty bitterness quickly asserting itself and lingering nicely. The relative shortcoming is the mouthfeel, which seems watery when compared to the smell and taste.

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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!

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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.

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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....

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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