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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,457 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,457
Hads: 3,053
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.61%
Wants: 168
Gots: 624 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
Old Ale | 11.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-26-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,457 | Hads: 3,053
Photo of gustavmahler-09
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark orange with a slight head that dissipates quickly. Smell is subtle, fruity. Taste is big, prunes, raspberries, coffee, and boozy. Feel is not very carbonated, but is edgy, and resonant. Seems like a barleywine. This is class of 2015. I will be interested to see how it matures.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich, hazy brown-magenta. Light head, with no lacing. Notes of malts, caramel, and brown sugar in the aroma. The taste is sweet, with brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and malt notes. Mouth feel is Fairly mouth coating, with a good thick, bold texture. Fairly easy to drink, even at over 11% ABV. Overall, it's a fantastic beer. It evokes a sense of consuming a beer with a king in an old medieval drinking hall.

Served in a 12oz snifter. 2015 version.

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Photo of jahbless
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 version, 11.9%. Appearance: reddish orange very little head. Smell: brown sugar, caramel, figs, vanilla, malty sweetness Taste: very smooth and fruity. Nice mouthfeel. Overall: absolutely delicious, would drink often. If this is representative of barleywine/old ale style, then I want more.

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Photo of therubicon
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy. Alcohol and stone fruit in the nose. Taste of plums, figs, raisins, and brown sugar, with a perceptible but pleasant alcohoic burn. Great alternative to a brandywine for a cold winter night.

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Photo of BodiesLexus
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

current review is 2014 bottle, aged 1+ year.
Firstly, I have zero experience with true 'old ales'.
Think I'm looking for a BW maltiness with fruity sharpness and undertones of everything smooth and amber in nature.
Tried a 2014 of this fresh, felt it was harsh, tingly, grainy, alcohol clashing. A bit of hard candy when warmed, the only big positive in a style I bought in order to age.
Here we go, year 2.
Poured a pretty, cloudy orange/brown with stately half-inch white head, receding gradually to nothing.
Aromas of grainy heaviness, nicely accented by unexpected medium (green grapes, peaches) and dark (candied cherries, jelly grapes) fruits! Wow, very surprised to catch wine-like fruit notes so prominent that seemed to be nowhere in this same bottle a year ago. Bravo. Alcohol not noted in nose.
Taste is amber maltiness at high abv (noticeable alky burn that manages to disappear quickly, thankfully) with very faint fruity sharpness to dry it out but the maltiness still stands prominent. The warmer it gets, the more the fruity sharpness becomes a candied sweetness which melds oh so nicely with the grainy heaviness. AFtertaste still notably sharp grain and lingering alky dryness. To my tastes, this is 4x-5x more complex than when fresh. Mostly enjoyably so.
Feel is flat and somewhat heavy, not overly so. The bit of fruity characteristic adds a huge buoyancy to the experience. I'm hoping that further aging will enhance that fruity lightness to balance out the somewhat non-descript grainy maltiness which is the correct base of the beer, but which lacks definition so far here after a year and a bit. I'll knock on wood and suppose that my next tasting in 6-8 months will be a really good step forward in this process.

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Photo of mjurney
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 version.

Deep mahogany color. Highly carbonated. Thick beige head.

Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruit, some alcohol.

Very rich and sweet, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, a little woody. Dark fruit character, figs/prunes. Vanilla bean and spiced rum towards the end. Finish is boozy, but very smooth. Full bodied, chewy, warmth, easy drinking, slight dryness.

It's a very good Old Ale.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.41/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby, with light, persistent bubbles around edge.

Smells of salami, grape, caramelized crust of steak, blood. Not unpleasant, but odd and hard to pinpoint.

Taste improves greatly as prune juice and chocolate, with a nice frothy effervescent mouthfeel.

I've had a slew of barleywines this winter, so far, this comes out on top.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours mahogany in the glass with an off white head that left quickly and left not trace that it was ever there. The aroma contains sweet caramel, alcohol, roasted malts and the scent of a freshly cracked hazelnut. The taste is sweet and caramel like with a nuttiness that reminds me of roasted sesame seeds. The beer has a medium body and lower carbonation. The finish is bitter hops and warming booze that shock your mouth into watering and creating a lingering sweetness.

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

2013 Cellar for two years :
-pours a clear reddish browh with a small to medium,quickly dissipating,foamy,offwhite head
-low carbonation visible

caramel,toffee,nutty,figs, alcohol ,slight chocolate,brown sugar
-plums,raisins,figs,brown sugar,,syrupy,toasty finish
-very sweet
-low to medium carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol present
Very good, but also very sweet

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Photo of drmeto
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2014 Version

-pours a clear red-brown with a small to medium,quickly dissipating,foamy,offwhite head
-low carbonation visible
-small particle floaties visible
caramel,toffee,nutty,figs,strawberries,slight chocolate,brown sugar
-plums,raisins,figs,brown sugar,strawberries,syrupy,toasty finish
-very sweet
-low to medium carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol present
More a Barleywine than an Old Ale.
Very good, but also very sweet

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Photo of NickSMpls
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Recommended by our local beer store. Bought a 4-pack of '14 and one of '15. Poured the '14 on Christmas eve. Clear dark honey color with light, but lingering, carbonation. Aroma of pit fruits - figs, dates and apricots. Mouthfeel is light and little hint of the ABV dynamite. Sweet flavors with a port wine profile - delicious! Let it warm to cellar temp before poring.

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into pint glass in December 2015. No date on the bottle.

Appearance: Dark Amber with tan head. Beer color is deep. Head is thin, and leaves a thin film on the glass.

Smell: Aroma is sweet. There is some caramel aroma as well, and a little hops.

Taste: The taste is also dominated by the sweetness from the malt. There is a little bite from the hops, but not much.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, but with a nice punch from the alcohol, which confirms the 11% on the bottle.

This is a smooth strong Ale. Good drinking, and something I would like to drink again.

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Photo of Tele
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: Bottle (2015 Vintage)
Consumed: 12.14.15

A: 4.5 Pours a coppery brown with a one-inch, light tan head with good retention and lacing.

S: 4.25 Aromas are really nice, but a bit muted. Good malt presence bringing raisins, figs, caramel, apple pie, and a tiny bit of clove.

T: 4.25 Like the nose, there are great things going on flavor wise, but it’s pretty quiet. Starts off a bit sweet with a lot of the characteristics from the nose, especially caramel and malt with some booziness thrown in. The beer moves seamlessly into a very mild hop bitterness until finally finishing dry with flavors of candied apple.

M: 4.5 Full-bodied and satisfying without feeling too heavy. Great carbonation too.

O 4.25 This is a really nice old ale and the balance between sweet and bitter flavors is excellent. If the flavors were a little more pronounced, it would be a perfect example of the style.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a lovely orange with a slight haze. Amber hues and coppers amidst a soft glow. Thin tan head that fell fats but on a subsequent pour I was able to coax a bit of a lush head. Nose is nutty and fruity. A touch of treacle sweetness at first. Then the layered malt complexity is revealled. Caramel toffee, and soft sweet cake like breaddy malt. Dark fruits like fig and dates, a lovely hop floral to underscore. Golding show a bit of sweet herbal as this beer goes to finish with a touch of residula sweetness and a festive ting from alcohol. Excellent. Mouthfeel is medium and never gets too heavy or chewy. The flavors are prominent but delicate. It is impeccably smooth.

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Photo of Spikester
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Hazy reddish brown with about 3 fingers of light tan five minute head. No lace.
Smell is light toffee.
Taste is toffee plums brown sugar and a bit of noble hops toward the end.
Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. The finish is semi dry and wanders from sweet to bitter.
Overall a powerful and tasty beer. Proceed with caution.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

bottled on the 223rd day of 2014 (8/11/14) and bought in July of 2015. consumed 12/9/15. bought a 4 pack so i could age 3 bottles and consume 1 now.

pours a dark mahogany color with a barely present white head.

smell is sweet like heavy caramel malt. smells like a barleywine. slight tones of alcohol as well but is covered well by the sweetness.

taste is sweet but has heavy alcohol tones. causing a warming effect almost instantly in my mouth. not a bad taste but could cover more of the alcohol. a sipper for sure.

overall this is good but isn't special to me. had my first barleywine ever last night and completely enjoyed it. now i'm interested in that style and beers of similar taste so i tried this. tastes similar to that barleywine but the alcohol is less hidden. not bad but put me down a rabbit hole. can't wait for the aged bottles now!

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

Aging is recommended on this beer, however I could not help cracking open a fresh 2015 vintage.

I never refrigerated this beer, and poured it straight into a Chimay goblet. The beer poured a nice mahogany color with a thin white head that dissipated quickly, likely due to the alcohol content. Definitely a brilliant color out of this beer.

The aroma of this beer was reminiscent of sherry, brandy, oak, oats and caramel malts. Due to a near 12% alcohol content alcohol was present in the nose.

The flavor of this beer was delightfully simple. Strong notes of cherry, sherry, brandy and oak. Not much more than those flavors. Due to the strength of this beer I was suspecting a more malt flavors, but rather than a heavy sweetness from the malt it has a brown sugar sweetness. Some reviews report hop flavor in this beer, I did not taste any hop flavor nor recognize any hop bitterness. As alcoholic as this beer is minimal

Mouthfeel was smooth, little to no bitterness. An extremely sweet beer.

All and all a well rounded beer that's quite easy to drink for the high ABV. As a fresh and un-aged beer it's very simple and lacking complexity. For a more fair review I should age this beer and try some vintages. I anticipate buying another four pack and giving this a go.

When beers approach the more extreme side i.e. higher alcohol contents there's a lot that go wrong. There are no off flavors in this beer, nor nothing unpleasant. I think this is a beer that can be enjoyed by most people and certainly a great way to showcase the diversity of beer. Also a great introduction to a very old style of beer.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a medium to moderately deep copper/amber brown in color with a very small head. The head is off-white in color and only about a centimeter thick. There is just a little bit of lacing from the small amount of head that remains after a moment in the glass. Looks like a fair amount of carbonation in the glass for the style and ABV.

S- The first noticeable scent that hits the nostrils is a fairly decent dose of sweetness. The sweetness is mostly caramel-like with a bit of balancing, red malt smell moving in during the middle of the drink. Right in the middle of the scent is just a touch of brown sugar sweetness mixing in. The back half of the smell is a combination of fading sweetness, light booze, and maybe just the slightest bit of hops bitterness.

T- At first sip, this beer displays its unique flavor profile. The sweetness from the scent is there early on, but not nearly as strong in the taste of the beer, instead being replaced by the balanced, caramel malt flavor. Some hops bitterness move in more quickly in the taste than in the scent, giving the beer a light to moderate, piney bitterness in the middle of the drink that carries throughout the back half as well. Underneath the hops bitterness is a mild, caramel flavor that moves in and out repeatedly throughout the drink.

M- This beer is very high in carbonation, not only for the style, but just overall. Outside of the carbonation, the beer is fairly light on the palate and there is no noticeable alcohol, both which are surprising for this beer and style.

Overall, this is an interesting beer that is very good. To me, it is light a hybrid of barleywine and old ale. It has some sweetness and some bitterness, and really doesn't lean towards either. It is a very balanced beer in flavor and displays surprisingly little alcohol for its content.

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Photo of BikingDutchman
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - Dark reddish/brown with a half inch tan head that dissipates quickly.
S - Sweet dark bread with a little bit of dark fruit/raisin.
T - Very sweet with a lot of dark bread and bread crust. Also a lot of dark fruit that reminds me of raisins prunes. Sweetness is balanced by just enough bitterness, but little to no hop flavor or aroma. It is a little bit boozy, but that is expected from 11.9% abv.
M - Heavy and sweet. The moderate carbonation helps, but it is an unapologetically heavy beer.
O - The sweetness brings a complexity to this beer with all of the dark malty flavors. It's really a treat that is refreshing among all of the hoppy beers that are available. I'm curious how it would be different with age.
Edit - 12 oz. 2015 bottle

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Photo of Absolut
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 version poured into a snifter while watching MNF.

first half of review at fridge temp.

pours a clearish dark brown with a fizzy head. surprising carb for such an old beer, but it dissipates quickly.

smells of oak, molasses, vanilla and malt.

taste is interesting. starts of reminiscent of sucaba- minus the depth and barrel flavor. I get molasses, vanilla, booze and an after taste that is dry, medicinal and leaves a coating in the mouth like Nyquil.

interesting but somewhat disappointing.

letting warm...

after warmed. its a very good beer, but where others kick it up after the initial wave, it falters into a medicinal flavor.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle of 2012 edition, poured into a nonic pint at ~40 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, vaguely reddish brown, and forms a thin head of beige foam that rather quickly turns into a ring. Leaves patches of lacing on the glass.

Smell: At 3 years of age, the aroma is a bouquet of sweetness and malt, very caramel and molasses. Fig, plum, date, and the like swirl around in the scent as well, alongside a vague hint of booziness that seems less rum, more whiskey.

Taste: All the sweetness in the nose did not lie. This opens in a wash of dark stone fruit preserves slathered on bread and topped with molasses. A medicinal quality comes in as the beer moves along the palate, much like I'd imagine an early 19th-century cough syrup might have tasted like. Rusted iron notes appear as well, giving a metallic tang to shadow the syrupy sweetness, and there are bits of a burnt caramel-vanilla tone. An oaky and vinous tinge round out the flavor palate, and the aftertaste lingers as the molasses, preserves, and medicinal syrup.

Mouthfeel: Sticky is the first word that comes to mind, with minimal sharpness from carbonation rolling through a full-bodied beer.

Overall: A delicious old ale / English barleywine, which ages quite well.

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

12oz bottle: 2007 vintage. Reddish-brown hue with some finings and a tan head of moderate height. Sugared date & fig nose. Boozy, almost like it was BBA. Tasty: aged fruit & caramel. Full body and nedium+ carbonation.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I tried two vintages dated 5/2014 (2104 vintage) &12/2014 (2015 vintage). The 2015 vintage: decent carbonation when opened; pours a clear mahogany color, with a surprisingly small about of head; strong aroma of--what I think is called---dark fruits, and booze; medium body, with some heat from the alcohol; caramel, brandy like flavors, sweet, and a strong boozy flavor. I drank the 2014 version a day before, and it was basically the same, but not as strong, and so, smoother.

I really like this beer: there is no weird or off flavors, and it satisfies in just about every way (I only wish it didn't have to sip it because of its strong alcohol). I have three of each year laid down, so it will be interesting to see how it does with more age; but for now, I prefer the fresher (at ~8 months) over the slightly aged one (at ~16 months). This is definitely a beer to enjoy with with others.

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Photo of SometimesIfart
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

North Coast Old Stock Ale 2015 Vintage.

Ahhh yes sir, I have been wanting to try this guy since I saw it hit shelves. Haven't had an old ale on quite some time, maybe 'round the last time I fucked your nasty STD ridden wife. But hey, got this at a loss on their part of $2.99 ( they lose on the new ones hoping to sell it for more later and make a profit, smart business and really can't complain too much, especially since they make a ¢50 profit per 4 pack without it being a loss at all ;) ).

Look - A harder pour than your dads biker amongst the time he plowed your mom an ultimately gave birth to you yield the deepest of all Amber heads with a two finger off though not completely off the mark white head. Carbonation appears pretty low and it sits like cough syrup in a glass without the overly present thickness. Lacing isn't quite there, though just enough to prove its point without sticking around for too long. 4

Smell - The breadyness is all ruling along with a big dosage of whole chip ness of the mesquite and oak flakes variety. Tootsie roll esque chocolately sweetness without massive cloying dosage that is unbearable. Bit of cherries, but muted enough as to know it doesn't murder you on the taste. 4..

Taste - You start of initially with a large and dominating hit of the boozyness left to question you about whether or not you should have another sip. The wood is up next followed by a small though noticavle dark fruit flavor. Alcohol is also there in a warming and moderately burning quality though not enough to male you stop. Slight dark fruits an full leveled rye and burnt breads come through and complete the flavor. 4.

Feel - The feel is very, very full and a bit sweet with just enough carbonation to keep things interesting. Feel s nice big wood chip ordeal on the tongue followed by some heat and alcohol for the tinge-like alcohol bullshit. 4

Overall - Overall, still to this not a huge fan of Old Ales. In my opinion they basically taste like a wooded dubbel in my OWN opinion. Prettttyyyyy good, though is slow, and a heavy to drink guy. Take it as you will ladies and gentleman just don't have as a finisher. Thing about Old Ales is they nearly always 4, but don't offer much to go beyond a 4...

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Photo of SayBoom
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

My 333 foreign beer) 2014 vintage.
Intense red, no any head, a small amount of bubbles.
Lots of strong aromas: caramel, raisins, dry fruits, alcoholic aroma, notes similar rotten apples. The smell is really intricate.
The sweetness is very high, smooth caramel and toffee, moderate bitterness, hints of wood.
Palate full, creamy, boozy heat.
Big and complex Old Ale. I think it perfect candidate to post «winter beer».

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,457 ratings.