Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

2,683 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,683
Reviews: 1,373
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 133
Gots: 461 | FT: 16
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.90% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-26-2001)
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Ratings: 2,683 | Reviews: 1,373 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by GClarkage:
Photo of GClarkage
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

03/25/09- Purchased at Bevmo in San Mateo, CA.

Vinatge 2008, 12.5% abv.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, 12.5% abv. Poured into my Old Stock glass.

Appearance- Nice congac hued color (light caramel color with an orange tint). About a 1/4 inch head upon pour. Leaves some light spotty lace and a few short lived streaks. Perfectly fine for a high abv brew.

Smell- Roasted sweet caramel. A good amount of alcohol. Pretty deep malt, some burnt sugar. Maybe a dried date scent. A bit more outgoing this would be phenomonal.

Taste- First thing that comes to mind is a bit watery, After that the caramel malts come in, then the light alcohol burn. Malt is heavily roasted with a decent and suprising hoppy bitterness. Some dark fruit flavors, but a bit more alcohol flavor than needed.

Mouthfeel- Too carbonated for an old ale. Also a bit watery as stated above. Where is this hoppy aftertaste coming from? Old Stock and hops?

Drinkability- Still a good job and flavorful. I've had many Old Stocks through the years and am finally going to do a vertical from 2003 to present and rate them. I have had many bottles better than this one, and this one is fairly good. Will update as I do the years and will be complete by Sunday I am hoping. Looking for an average of 4.3 or so if the bottles held up.

3/26/09-

Vintage 2007, 11.7%

Appearance- Better head retention, fairly thick rim remains for the entire consumption of beer. Lacing is also a bit more. Possibly a bit darker in color.

Smell- Relatively similar. Has a slight odd chlorine scent to it. Otherwise very aeromatic. Lots of dark malts and some dark fruits. Alcohol is here as well.

Taste- Very malty, lots of caramel. Alcohol is a bit more hidden. Fairly bready and more of an intesne flavor than the '08. Hops are much less detectable than the '08.

Mouthfeel- Much more smoother, though still a bit more carbonation than desired. Slightly creamy and a bit thicker than the '08. Has a slightly odd aftertaste when waiting a minute bewteen sips.

Drinkability- Already much better than the '08. As long as the rest of them taste this good, I'll be happy. A bit smoother would make for a top notch old ale though.

3/27/09

Vintage 2006, 13.25% version.

Appearance- Leaning towards the '08 version. Larger bubbled quick receeding head, lighter lace markings and a nice brandy-cognac looking color.

Smell- Quite different in the nose. Still has the dark fruits with much more alcohol and a medicinal-plastic nose...phenols? Stong nose, but not as nice of a scent as the other years.

Taste- Fuller flavor for sure. Lots of super roasted caramel. Much more alcohol burn in the flavor. Hops are back, but not as much as in the '08. Probably more raisin flavor among the dark fruits detected.

Mouthfeel- Higher carbonation is back. Alcohol literally leaves a light tongue burn. Alcohol is detectable in the aftertaste as well. As is a nice hoppy bitterness.

Drinkability- I wish I had purchased the second running version with a lower abv level to compare. Stronger, a bit more flavor, but a bit weird in the nose and brisk in the mouthfeel. So far '07 is the winner. I do like it a bit better than the '08 though.

3/28/09

Vintage 2005, 11.4% abv

Appearance- No major differences. The color seems a bit more hued towards a ruby red rather than a brown caramel tint. Nice light ring of haed throughout the beer. Some light lace sheeting.

Smell- Pretty much roasted caramel and some alcohol soaked furits. Odd that when the beer was first opened it bursted with aroma. I could smell it from several feet away. After about 5 minutes I really had to sink my nose into the glass to get a scent. Some definite leather notes as well. Would probably pair very well with some pipe tobacco.

Taste- The most flavorful per abv level one so far. Nothing flavor really takes over one another. Some nice deep roasted caramel, a touch of hoppy goodness, some dried fig, date and grape notes. A bit of an earthy leathery flavor.

Mouthfeel- The smoothest of them all so far. Flavor lasts a bit after the swallow. Caramel burnt malt aftertaste with the slightest of alcohol burn and slight hop bite. Carbonation is near perfect level. Just a touch too high.

Drinkability- Probably tied with the '07 for my favorite. You can tell it has aged nicely and probably will continue to do so. Going to raise the mouthfeel and drinkability a notch. I will need an outstanding one in the next two to raise the taste a notch.

3/28/09-

Vintage 2004, 11.4% abv.

Only can type limited words due to length. Basically it's all alcohol in this year. Hops held up good, but still my least liked tied with the '08.

Vintage 2003, 11.4% abv.

Appears this one is just as good as the '05 and '07. Very nice roasted caramel taste and lower on the abv spectrum. Pretty smooth as well. Call it a three way tie.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 on tap at the Comsumer Beverage in Orchard Park,NY.Great to see this highly anticipated annual offering at the growler station at Consumers,pours a rich deep amber with a thinner but well retained creamy-like off white head.One word to describe the nose would be rich just rich and almost warming dark fruit,caramel,brown sugar,and a real alcohol zip as it warms to the right temp,this beer is big and brash to say the least its fresh and nothin is holding this puppy back.Starting out a little sweet with raisin/prune and brown sugar notes up front with that warming alcohol always prevelant a nice drying earthiness shows up late and I thing really cuts thru the sweetness even now at such a very young age a touch of hoppy leafiness shows up as well.This growler is going to be drank slowly over a few days its warming,rich and ever so smooth but the alcohol keeps me from going overboard on it and I think its a good thing,I'll by a bottle and hold and see how it ages.Masterful.

Photo of don1481
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 12 oz 2012 edition bottle of this. Let's see how this goes.

A: Pours, like others have said, a hazy brownish-red color. Around a half finger of head. Good amount of bubbles.

S: Definitely boozy, but raisin-y/molasses as well. Intriguing on the nose.

T: Holy wow. I did *not* expect this, even after reading the other reviews. Can't taste the alcohol really at all, which is surprising at this level of ABV. Definitely get the raisin, vanilla notes that others wrote about here. Very complex.

M: Slightly syrupy is an appropriate descriptor here. Definitely thicker than other beers, but not at all a negative. It's... different.

O: Spectacular. I'm going to get a few of these and cellar them and see what happens. I'm very glad that I pull up BA on my phone whenever I'm in the liquor store!

Photo of RoyalT
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Dark, thick, heavy brown with a beautiful tan head that almost stayed the night and left some cool lacing (I thought high ABV ale wasn’t supposed to lace?).

Smell – Big, strong aroma of dark, heavily-sweetened malt. The sweetness comes mostly from dark sugars. Everything is very strong, dark, and soaked in alcohol.

Taste – Amazingly, this is nowhere near as harsh as I thought it was going to be from the nose. The toasted malt is there, juicy and firm. The sugars are enormous. This is one of the most sugary, syrupy, ales that I’ve ever had. I can pick up some dark fruits, but mostly it’s brown sugar. Lots of alcohol, too, but not harshly so.

Mouthfeel – Chewy, gooey, and sticky. This almost full-bodied ale is a mouthfeel. It’s also a lot smoother than I thought from the sharp aroma.

Drinkability – At 11.5 ABV this one is a real sipper, although I’d be lying if I said it’ll last me the night. This is good stuff and belongs in the tummy. Hmm!

Update – I remember this being a gem when I first had it in 2003 and wanted to try an ’04 batch in ’05 to see if it still blew me away.

Boy, did it ever! This beer smells scary, like it’s going to kill your taste buds and burn your throat all to hell. But, after the first swig, trust ensues. You can still sense the strong ABV, but this ale is extremely smooth and flavorful. One of my all time favorites!

Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of tectactoe
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Photo of ricke
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008. Serving date: 2009-01-18. Served in snifter.

Presentation: 355 ml bottle. Freshness date on label (Best before August 2010). The label says "limited release", but i don't know what it's supposed to mean.

Appearance: Dark, ruby-colored with a cappuccino-colored small head that dissipates quickly. No actual lacings - just a minimal ring of foam around the edges.

Smell: Primarily sweet caramel malts coupled with ripe fruits and raisins. Some notes of chocolate, and perhaps faint notes of saffron. Alcohol becomes present with deeper breaths. The smell is really appealing. Nice.

Taste: Again, sweet caramel malts are up-front. Then pleasant fruity flavors - ripe apples and raisins - appear, coupled with chocolate and nougat. Coffee flavors are also present, which creates a sensation of chocolate coated coffee beans together with the taste of chocolate. The finish is slightly bitter, and perhaps even a bit tart. The well hidden alcohol provides a nice warming feeling. The aftertaste of this one is very long. It leaves a nice, sweet and sticky film in the mouth that lingers on way after the beer is finished. This beer tastes amazing; it's heavy and bold with big and rich flavors balanced very nicely. Very complex. If I would mention something on the negative side, I would have to say that it maybe is a little too sweet and therefor becomes a bit too heavy to handle (at least in larger quantities)

Mouthfeel: Smooth and chewy, medium-bodied leaning towards full. Medium carbonation. The alcohol is certainly present, but hides nicely between the rich flavors.

Drinkability: This is a really good beer, with lots or aromas and nicely balanced flavors. Definitely a sipper. It's actually reminiscent of a brandy, with its rich and balanced - almost luxurious - overall character. One bottle is enough for one night, though. However, I would definitely like to have it again.

NOTE 1: Will probably by some bottle to cellar for a few years. Really think that it will be good past its freshness date (which was attached on my sample by the importers of the beer, not the brewery itself).

NOTE 2: ABV-level is 12,5% according to the label.

---

2009 vintage. ABV: 11,5%

A: Brownish amber with a minimal off-white head that quickly fades away. Minimal lacings.

S: Malty with note of caramel, fudge and vinous fruits (currants, blackberries, plums and raisins).

T: The taste is sweet with a whole range of malty flavors - caramel, fudge and dark bread. Hints of coffee and leather. Quite a lot of vinous fruits. The finish is mildly bitter with a leafy hop note, wood and sweet and warming alcohol.

M: Medium body, semi-smooth texture (could have been smoother). Gentle carbonation.

D: Good, but will probably get better with age. Not as good as the 2008 vintage.

Grades: A 3,5; S 4; T 3,5; 3,5; D 4. Overall: 3,65 (B).

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of MadScientist
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2008 bottle with 12.5% ABV

A: A medium copper with a light, haze and an orange hue. The head is head is thin and low and is made of fine bubbles the quickly dissipate to a long lasting ring.

S: Aromas of raisins, prunes and a rich malt sweetness with a smooth alcohol. Moderate caramel with a touch of graininess giving the impression of smelling a bag of crystal malt. There is a moderate fruitiness besides the raisins and prunes that is somewhat orange like and vinous. No hops to speak of.

T: A rich and sweet malt flavor dominates, somewhat checked by a moderately-light hops bitterness and the alcohol. There is no noticeable hops flavor, which isn't a surprise after being cellared for 4 years. The balance is fairly sweet and the finish is slightly sweet with a light Madeira like oxidized flavor. There is a touch of hops bitteress in the after taste.

M: This is a full-bodied beer with a moderately-light carbonation. There is a significant amount of alcohol warmth.

O: A smooth, caramel and malty beer that doesn't get too sweet. This beer has mellowed nicely over the years and is a real treat, I'll have to lay down a few more.

Photo of brownbeer
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage

A- pours a tawny amber with a thin tan head.

S- Candi sugar, red delicious, maple, brown sugar. Very malt driven.

T- Rich and sweet. Caramel, raisin, apple, a bit of residual sugar.

M- Viscous with low carbonation and a little light on the body.

D- A good winter nightcap. I don't think this quite holds up to some of the great old ales. But I will revisit this in about three years.

Photo of kaimcm
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle 2005

A: deep and rich amber. looks like a ruby with a very thin ring around the perimeter. extremely warm color.

S: candied sugars, rum soaked pastries, alcohol, raisons, dates

T/M: very rich and viscous, a syrupy mouthfeel brings a coating malt and sweetness. The sugar is quelled by a warming and spicy alcohol character. Raisons, dates, concentrated vinous flavours abound. Rum cake as well. A powdery aspirin quality arrives at the end of the lingering finish.

D: Expensive and 11.4% ABV, but considering, goes down pretty easy. An awesome and complex brew. Cheers to North Coast. We need to see their beers more frequently and more affordably out here in NE. Another winner.

Photo of lilbuddha
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up randomly from elkton's state line liquers, as part of a "Just grab a bunch of bottles to try out" binge. i was planning on drinking it last night, but saw it was 11.5% and thought "nah I better wait for a night where this is my first". So tonight, the 9th of Dec I'm giving this its time

At first glance, into my Chimay Goblet (which apparently isn't the best container), I think to myself that I've

A- found a bottle full of Apple Cider, deep Brown with a deep haze, and that I should probably be scared. The head starts healthy but quicky dies with just one fine perfectly formed lace around the ring as I bend the glass slightly. So it won't win any awards for looking pretty, but then again I've got eyes for the golden's

S - Hmmmm what is THIS ? All of a sudden I'm smelling a Chimay ? No, this is something different, theres a slight alcohol scent on my nose. At first pour there *seemed* to be an explosion of smells but nothing I can put a finger on. I swish the glass some and sniff it deeply but can't get that initial smell to come back...Its almost too tame in scent to be nearly 12%.... better take a swig then !

T - Come on, this has to be Chimay++ or something. Maybe its just my pathetically small beer vocabulary / experience (this my 3rd ? review ), but this is a good drink and thats my baseline reference for a heavier beer. Where sometimes the alcohol taste is a bad thing, it is the absolute highlight of this. Everything else points your buds to that taste. I'm still teaching my brain to identify these notes, but yes, acidity its there... a kind of raisiny ( i'm reading the style notes as I type ) or something else ..

D - I haven't put my finger on base line, it lingers as an aftertaste, it makes me open my mouth and swallow over and over to aerate the back of my tongue. its a good feeling, not buttery (as my 4th review I have scant notes on is wandering through my mind ), but sticking. There is no sweetness to the front, the outer edges of my mid tongue get the alcohol feeling and the back of my tongue gets the thick of it... but man this is going down smooth.

And here I am, 99% done with my review, and somehow 90% done with this glass. Is there any way else to describe a great beer that is somehow so strong but so drinkable ? I couldn't possibly handle more than a couple of these in night though, my scrawny 4'5" body is feeling it already !

Cheers to this, I'll be buying it again.

edit: from other reviews, I need to pick up a bottle with some age, I'll have to update when I do.

Photo of Tiernan
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

North Coast Brewing Co. Old Stock Ale 2009 11.5% alcohol content. Brown bottle with cream colored label Old Stock ale in red backed with 2009.

A- Pours a deep amber fluid that prevents most light from passing through it. Mild to none head very light lacing. Expected with such high alcohol.

S- Big head banging fumes of alcohol sear the nose, also massive malt backbone. ( Mostly caramel scents with vanilla and lightly wood-like character)

T-M- Whoa... let this one warm up a tad before consuming. After a temp of about 50-55 degrees
is reached... I begin. Very strong caramel and chocolate malty alcohol taste. This is followed by a smooth and fresh oak finish. Full bodied flavor and feel with a toasty alcohol warmth. Almost bourbon like.

D- All and all great for the style and good on a strong ale occation. Will get for others to try.

Photo of TimBeaulieu
5/5  rDev +21.4%

Photo of GameOfBeers
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of bdkucharski
2.95/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2010 bottle from scout11

A - Red/Copper, presents a tan colored head even when pured gently. Fades quickly to nothing. Syrupy.

S - Sweet alcohol, vinuous.

T - Alcohol, sometimes sweet, sometimes boozy, solventy when served over-chilled from the fridge. Sweet and sour, sweet sugar, sour cherries, and some golden raisins coming through. Reminds me of some German rieslings I have had with some definite acidity. No bitterness.

M - Overcarbonated, so let it sit for awhile. If its out of your fridge its best to let it warm to cellar temperature anyway. Thick at first, but goes down thin, strong alcohol does give a coat-your-tongue effect nonetheless.

O - Out of balance for my taste. I can enjoy a half a bottle, but a full bottle may be too much.

Photo of skybluewater
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage. Pours a deep rusty amber color. Smells of fruit, mostly prune. Taste is very malty, with a dried fruit undertone. Highly (and way too) drinkable for a 11% plus ABV beer-I had to restrain myself from gulping this one! The only drawback is the mouthfeel, which is a bit fizzy, but that disappates as the beer warms.

Great brew here, very soothing on a cold fall night. I'm glad I have three more to get me through the coming cold months.

Photo of bulldogg915
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of EastBay_Nick
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of danthehopslamman
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I know this is supposed to be an old ale, but I've got to knock it down a notch because I think it's more representative of a barleywine. Served in a tulip glass, the beer was a reddish brown, a little hazy, with an almost nonexistent head. Mainly a fruity aroma. The taste was fairly balanced between fruit and malt, but I was looking for more of a malt presence. I thought the alcohol was a little on the intrusive side, being more than noticeable.

Photo of NWer
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured into an oversized wine glass.
Appears dark red oxide color with no head to speak of and a minimal layer of small tight foamy bubbles around the perimeter of the glass.
Nice nose. Mellow caramel notes.
Taste heavy on the alcohol with caramel flavor throughout.
Nothing complex that I could tell. Alcohol aftertaste lingers in the back.
Beats the hell out of brandy.

Photo of DaftPatrick
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,683 ratings.