Harviestoun Old Engine Oil

Harviestoun: Old Engine Oil (Scotland: Old Ale: 6% ABV)

Visual: Black. Thin grey brown bubbles for a head.

Nose: Light lactose under roasted nuts. Vanilla. Lightly chalky. Chocolate milk shake. Milky coffee.

Body: Bitter chocolate. Peanuts. Vanilla toffee. Bourbon. Lightly chalky. Liquorice. Earthy bitterness. Sour dough. Chocolate liqueur. Oily. Treacle. Sour dark fruit and raisins.

Finish: Oily and tarry. Rye bourbon. Charred oak. Bitter earthiness. Cheese puffs. Sour tang. Bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: You know, I’ve known for years that this beer does, in fact, come in non barrel aged version AKA this beer. Yet only now do I try it and do notes. It actually tastes kind of like it had been aged in rye bourbon barrels. Go figure.

It is mainly that vanilla toffee influence and rye spiciness that makes me think of that, and with all that no wonder it made for such a good base for barrel ageing, it is half way there already.

The non barrel aged tasting parts of this non barrel aged beer seem to float half way between a bitter cocoa infused imperial stout and a well made old ale. That is without needing actual coca or the amount of alcohol and imperial stout would have. There is a sweet chocolate front, but it quickly kicks bitter as hell and then the old ale style comes in with dark tart fruit grounded by a traditional earthy hoppiness that calls to mind the Black IPA style.

Frankly all that means that it is punching way above its weight class, and yet comparatively easy drinking due to the smoothness and lower abv (lower is comparative on something kicking out at 6% abv of course). While the tail end is pretty heavy in the oily characteristics, the next sip taken washes that way with the sweet and smooth chocolate front that comes in before the bite.

This is rounded, robust and right up my alley. Really rocking the range and rewarding revisiting. For such a heavy duty beer it doesn’t weight to heavy but gives so much. Definitely worth your time.

Background: Many thanks to the Independent Spirit of Bath for this, the second bottle given to me for tasting noting. As always I will try to be unbiased, with the only advantage given being that it gets shove do the front of the to be uploaded queue, which only seems polite. I drank Old Dubh 40 Year ages back as one of my first tasting notes and loved it, so it is cool to finally go with the unaged version.