Brew Review

Beer Review – Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Engineer’s Reserve Blackest Ale


On a trip to the Roger Wilco (formerly the Wine Warehouse), I picked up a bottle of Old Engine Oil Engineer’s Reserve from Harviestoun brewery. I had already had the Old Engine Oil and the Bitter & Twisted, so I was familiar with the brand and I really like the style, English porter (black ale).  Harviestoun is a small, brewer located in Alva, Clackmannanshire, Scotland. The brewery was founded in 1985 and has been bought and sold several times and is once again independent.

From the Harviestoun site:

 The intensely flavoured but incredibly smooth Engineer’s Reserve is our fabulous Old Engine Oil brewed up to 9% ABV. Three hop varieties – grassy Fuggles, spicy East Kent Goldings and fruity Galena – are combined with roast barley providing a slightly burnt, toasted coffee character. Enjoy a bottle after dinner and take time to savour the earthy, hop fruity flavours of this spectacularly dark, rich beer.

I found the Engineer’s Reserve to have the following characteristics.

  • Appearance: Dark, dark brown with a layer of tan foam and a lot of lacing.
  • Aroma: Heavily roasted chocolate and malt with dried fruit (figs, prunes, raisins) and a hint of hops.
  • Taste: Thick and creamy with a blast of chocolate followed by a sweet, fruity note with a slightly roasted, burnt finish.
  • ABV: 9%

This was an Old Engine Oil on steroids. Every bit as flavorful and chocolaty as the original, the Engineer’s Reserve has an enhanced fruity note that adds to the well-balanced taste and covers up the additional alcohol content. At 9% ABV, this could be a dangerous find.

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