1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

2,813 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,813
Reviews: 1,413
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 144
Gots: 522 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

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 (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 2,813 | Reviews: 1,413
Reviews by blakesell:
Photo of blakesell
3.74/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 bottle obtained from cellar number 1. Alc./Vol. listed on the bottle from this year 13.25%

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a cloudy red brown with a thin quarter finger of head that quickly subsides to nothing. Hardly a ring around the sides of the glass but when swirled I can come up with some lacing. Lacing is still surprisingly thin considering how high the ABV is.

Smell- Boozy and malty. Light Sherrylike oxidation. The booziness is very high here and is somewhat detracting and hurting the point score here. Outside of this the smell is very pleasing but that estery alcohol isn't doing it any favors and is probably why they came down on it in future batches.

Taste- Sherry nutty oxidation coming through again. Ripe dates, a bit of raisin, some brandy chocolate covered cherry flavor poking through. I'm getting some chipotle spices as well but it may just be the food pairing or the alcohol warmth that is shining in.

Mouthfeel- Warming, prickly on the tongue, lightly sticky on the lips. Medium low in carbonation, as full bodied as a beer of this color could possibly get.

Drinkability- I don't see drinking a lot of these in the future due to sheer inaccessibility, I would however like to try another in a year if I still have any lying around (and I think I do). North Coast ages just fine and I will be enjoying them again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.27/5  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
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
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 +9.5%
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 Todd
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh my! This is some headache material just waiting to be consumed! Thick ruby colored beer, coffee colored foamy head that relaxes to nothing quickly, but there's plenty of carbonation going on. Steely caramel aroma, very sweet smelling and inviting. Mouthfeel is viscous, chewy and very full to the palate. Massively sweet and complex in the malt department. Loads of caramel, assertive raisin, notes of chocolate and plenty of coffee (two creams and sugar-like). Light bitter edge flows into an immense alcohol spice. And right about at this point you think "Oh my! ..." as the warming alcohol bathes your noodle in its sublime pool of numbness and brings some redness and heat to your cheeks. Finish is sweet and full of fumes from the alcohol.

A bit of expected oxidation in the form of wet paper, but other than that this 2002 vintage is a freagin' rockin' example of an olde school Old Ale!

Photo of Jason
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz short brown bottle with the vintage date of 2002 and 11.4% abv … no need for a freshness date.

Appearance: Dark hazy amber brown in colour, thin lacing … a bit sticky yet again, thin.

Smell: Steely caramelized malts, juicy ripe fruit … raisins? A malty and alcoholic aroma.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy, ripe fruit melds with the alcohol to produce a rum raisin like flavour. He steely caramel malt has a bite and rides with a faded hop character. Sweet caramel and toasted grain run throughout, again … lots of malt. Sweet yet pleasing finish.

Notes: One of the few old ales I have had from an American brewery and an excellent job they did. The maltiness hides some of the 11.4% abv and there seems to be a good bit of balance even after it has aged for a good while.

Photo of KYGunner
4.14/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

2014
Pours with a great deal of effervescence that continually fuels a thick fizzy head. Great barley brown color.

Lots of strong aromas as I can smell it from three feet away. Barley malts, grainy, earthy, caramel, toffee, dates and light prune mix with a tinny alcohol.

The front end reveals dark fruits; prune, date and raisin. Mid palate has the malts and grains. It ends a little sweeter with caramel, molasses, sorghum and apricot.

The feel is a little hot but I served this at about 60F so that should have finished most of the booze.

Great beer, wonderful winter supper.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Release 2011 (09/21/11)
Brown sugar, maple syrup, chocolate malt, and an underlying cherry-like alcohol/ester combo works to perfection with an alcohol culmination of rum and port wine. Malty throughout with a full and rounded start and an even fade to malty-dry finish of alcohol warmth with a linger of toffee and chocolate.

Release 2010 (02/23/11)
North Coast continues to develop the recipe for much more sultry flavor and cleaner alcohol taste. Brown sugar and cherry-like esters give the impression of port wines and brandies. Bold toffee flavor dominates early with a follow of ripe grapes, cherries, sherry, dates, and raisons. Syrupy textures give a sticky feel, and with a follow of warming, if not hot alcohols. Seemingly a Barleywine, except for a lightened body and drier finish.

Release 2003 - 3.8 (3/26/07)
These vintage ales turn out as beauties after a few years of age. Still strong flavored with malts and very warm with alcohols, but a lot smoother and more appreciable than the 'fresh' releases. This has all the flavors aromas and textures needed in an Old Ale, but must be respected as a brandy.

Release 1005 - 4.2 (4/27/07)
The regular 11% version with over a years worth of cellering. The beer matures wonderfully in about that time's span. Not nearly as alcoholically intense or fusal as it was last year. Sweetness dominates and the hops have fallen out, leaving a well balanced, quite clean, characterful, fruity, syrupy joy to drink. I do beleive that this beer can handle another year of maturing before tiring. Great way to close the evening.

Release 2006 - 4.1 (1/28/06)
Is the sanctity and purity of Old Ales no longer respected. 13%? What's next. The beer is as flavorful and strong as ever. Very syrupy, malty, thick, and alcoholically harsh. More age will definately mellow the brew and meld the flavors, but for now, it's just tough to drink. The hops are too fresh. The alcohols are too hot and abrasive. The malts are too sugary. Still, a wonderful beer, but one that must be babied and approached with caution.

Release 2005 - 4.1 (1/28/06)
Surprised to have never rated an Old Stock. These are one of my favorite 1-off resease beers. This '05 abounds from the bottle and into the glass with big syrupy, brown sugar, molassas barley flavors with as spicy, hoppy, and bready scent. Alcoholic aroma promises strength to accompany the sweetness. Tastes of strong malts that hinge on dates, molassas, walnuts, and dried cherries. Hop bitterness and flavor round out the sweetness and all boldness without getting too harsh. Strong alcohols boarder on hot fusals and sweet thinning. Moderately heavy, thick, and smooth on the palate. Weakens a bit into the finish to become more easily drank. Another winner for North Coast.

Release 2003 - 3.8 (3/26/06)
Found a 4 pack stocked away at a local beer store. As I remembered, this beer had all of the right ingredients, but quite hot and fusal. Hoping that a couple of years would have mellowed it out. Not so. There are big plumb, fig, and prune flavors with an unneccesarily fusal hot character; too much to ignore. Light chocolate and cherry flavors help, but the heat and hops combine for a tough drinking beer. A heartburn just waiting to happen. Otherwise, a solid brew.

Photo of guityler83
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2014-
A: Large foamy head poured from the bottle. The fine, off white / khaki colored head had great persistence and left a layer atop the beer that stayed for even longer. Alcohol legs kick up when swirled and slowly glide down the edge of the mini-snifter. The beer is a dark mahogany / rosewood color with excellent clarity.

S: Tons of big malt character. Sweet toffee, raisins, caramel and dates. Melenoidin character comes through prominently along with toasty bread sweetness. Medium earthy / herbal hop aroma and a slight alcohol bite.

T: Moderate bitterness with herbal hop flavors blending into the middle then dropping off in the end. The super complex malt bill is the star of this beer Mellenoidins for days, toasted bread crust, raisins, caramel, dark cherry and other bready bakery flavors. The sweetness is high in the middle and end where the hops drop off and there is a slight hottness to the alcohol. In a weired way it reminds me of a cough syrup beer.

M: Big alcohol warming in the chest warms you right up - good winter beer. Low carbonation with a substantially big body and viscous mouthfeel.

O: A big beer that drinks like one. The great malt character in this beer reminded me of a few barley wines I’ve had. I would be interested in doing a side by side with a fresh vs aged (2yr+) to see how this develops, I have a feeling I’d like the aged more

Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -2.7%

Photo of tectactoe
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%

Photo of ricke
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
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 -14.8%

Photo of MadScientist
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
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 -3.9%
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
4.28/5  rDev +4.1%
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
4.69/5  rDev +14.1%
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 -2.7%

Photo of wesbrownyeah
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
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 +21.7%

Photo of GameOfBeers
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of SanFranJake
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of bdkucharski
2.96/5  rDev -28%
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
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
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 +9.5%

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,813 ratings.