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Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Reserve with Habaneros

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Harviestoun Old Engine Oil is the blackest of black ales, as the name would attest. This brewery in Clackmannanshire, Scotland, has won numerous awards over the years for its beer, but I only recently stumbled across Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Reserve with Habaneros.

Yes, habanero peppers. So, it’s a 9 percent alcohol by volume mouth punch with a spicy kick? Count me in. Much like the base Old Engine Oil, the beer’s aroma was mostly roasted malt, coffee, and a bit of dark chocolate – the peppers are only hinted at on the nose.

As I took my first sip, I barely perceived the habaneros, and briefly felt disappointed. But as I sipped, the flavor crept into the thick, creamy ale, eventually beginning to tickle the back of my palate, and then into my throat. By the time I was near the beer’s end, the heat had built to a near-perfect conclusion. I am always intrigued by a pepper bear – particularly one laced with habaneros – and this one was a fine specimen. If Ballast Point’s Habanero Sculpin IPA punches you in the mouth, Harviestoun’s foray into habaneros is more a whisper to a scream. I hope I get to enjoy it again one day.