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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,441 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,441
Hads: 3,000
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.61%
Wants: 168
Gots: 608 | 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 (26) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Stock Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,441 | Hads: 3,000
Photo of Gump
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008. Rich mahogany in color. A good amount of carbonation creates a matching foam top that settles quickly.
The initial sweet malt aroma is woodsy, raisiny and bourbon-like. Before taking the first sip, I notice the head is now completely gone.
Sweet carmel flavors, medical and alcohol, remind me that this is a big beer that should be sipped, but the drinkability is also very good, especially if you like the clean, high-octane burn of 12% ABV.
Well balanced and clean, medium light body.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark maroon color, with a surprisinlgybig head for a beer with this high of an ABV (about 1/2" and inch). Smell is very strong of raisins and alcohol, with a little hop presence. Taste is off the wall with alcohol, wow. A lot of other flavors are present, which are all accented by the alcohol. The flavor finishes with a smooth chocolate and hop favor. Mouthfeel is full, and slick. Perfect for this beer. A big, delicious beer, good for a cold, rainy day such as this.

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Photo of zymrgy
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 version 12.5% alc
Nice sweet, almond and raisin nose.

Sweetness predominates the flavor.
Has an ammaretto/cherry flavor with hints of raisin. Very subtle hop bitterness in the finish in an attempt to balance the sweetness.
Has a slight alcohol burn at the end but not excessive for the the strength.

A very dangerous beer to to drink because it seems so smooth but is very big.

Can't wait for the 2009!

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Photo of AtrumAnimus
4.84/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This one is the best barley wine I have ever tasted on draft. The nose reminds me of a Hennessey XO cognac. The alcohol smell is very strong and usually something I don't enjoy as much in the nose. This one is the exception though. I love good cognac therefore the nose is exceptional in my opinion. The taste is also exceptional. The Cognac like nose lends to the flavor - and they are right - the warmer this barley wine the better it tastes. The after taste is fruity and not bitter like many barley wines I have tried. According to their web site this is a vintage limited run of 12,000 cases. So I would grab the bottles while you can. But if you can get the draft - man you are in for a treat.

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Photo of jeffjfindley
4.84/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Beautiful blood red to amber color. Not much of a head though, and what there is doesn't stick around very long.

Smell: Over the top wonderful. Very fruity, especially plums. I can't sniff this beer without making a verbal exclamation of delight.

Taste: In addition to the aforementioned fruitiness, this also posseses some serious port wine character to it. There is no mistaking the fact that this beer has a serious ABV. I don't believe it gets more satisfying than this.

Mouthfeel: Malty throughout with the stimulating warmth you would expect from a brew of these proportions.

Drinkabilty: This is disappearing from my goblet at an alarming rate. The high alcohol content should serve to dissuade the well-advised to stick to one or two before getting on that forklift, but aside from that this one is extraordinarily drinkable.

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Photo of SomethingClever
4.83/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter 2012 bottle

A: like a glass of cloudy Carmel almost no head

S: You get these nice hop notes but they are over powered by Carmel malts, figs, dates

T: rich Carmel toffee dates smooth hints of hops but very mellow but you can tell this was pretty high hopped but they are so mellow. Almost no booze taste

M: medium to full bodied doesn't lay on the tongue too much

O: just a beautiful beer, it has the deep hints of hops but very mellow in taste smooth Carmel toffee deep thick doughy bread taste. This beer is quite impressive and thank god easily looked over

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.82/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

2014 vintage

A - 4.75 - Pours an incredibly dark ruby with cognac brown and caramel orange tinges. Forms a half finger of medium tan colored, quickly dissipating head. Low head potential and retention, little to no lacing.
S - 4.5 - Simple, but bold. Heavy malt, nuttiness, marzipan, light whisky and the unmistakable aroma of very distant and light peach.
T - 5 - Heavy malts, caramel, peanut butter, marzipan, whiskey, oak wood sap, bittersweet dark chocolate and molasses. Once at room temperature, swish this one around your mouth and sip it slowly, it is EXTREMELY complex. Absolutely no trace of booze, extremely impressive at the extreme ABV.
F - 4.5 - Nice medium bodied mouthfeel.
O - 5 - One of the absolute best representations of the old ale style I've had and one of the tastiest beers I've had the pleasure of drinking in a LONG time. For fans of these two beers, it almost reminds me of a delicious hybrid mixture of Founder's Curmudgeon and Backwood Bastard. A+, 5 star beer. HIGHLY recommended to stock up on and cellar for a special occasion!

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Photo of alexgash
4.82/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 bottle.

Pours a beautiful ruby-brown with a sticky khaki head. Mama likes. Smells of sweet, sugary toffee malts, backed by a spicy hop bouquet. I could smell this all day! Taste starts with the big sugary, toffee malt component. Not overly sweet (which is good), and very rich and brandy-like with notes of ripened fruit. Alcohol is coming through some, but not overpowering. Pretty good-sized resinous hop wallop kicks in, but simply balances the malt; it doesn't overpower it. Finish is bitter, with lingering notes of candied bananas, and butterscotch liquer. Mouthfeel is big, but not cloying and not too syrupy. A great, warming sipper. Mmmmm....

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

North Coast Old Stock, on tap at The Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, listed as 12.5% ABV.

Appearance: A bit over a finger of very creamy head, white with faint caramel speckles. Good retention, head lingers for a while. Gorgeous lacing to boot. Color is caramel/peanut butter, hazy and thick.

Smell: Classic Old Ale, with caramel, butter, toffee/hard candy and cooked-boiled sugar. Raisins, of course. A tad of hops at the end of the whiff, very faint.

Taste: Follows nose, intensified. Reminds of J.W. Lees' old ales... strong sweetness all around. Dark-fruit puree, a hint of wood. Must, sherry reduction sauce. Oxidation, bubblegum feel.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy and ominous, but not as much as the bottle version. Fresher indeed, more accessible. Full flavor and body, low but adequate (for the style) carbonation. Dry and persistent at the end, makes you want to wet your lips and play with your teeth as if you had just done blow and wanted to get every speck of out it.

Overall: One of my favorite brews of all time, from day one. Never disappoints. On tap it appears as slightly less complex than the bottle, but it still is an ouistanding beer. Super drinkable and fresh, booze never shows up. Well balanced and rounded, this could easily be the best example of the style, at least in the US.

Also had it on a growler, filled at Consumer's Beverage in Lockport, NY, near Buffalo, in late December 2010.

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Photo of Rumrunner
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served at Lucky Baldwin's pub in Pasadena at the So. Cal. BA gathering on 10/11/03. 2001 vintage. Belgian style goblet. This keg was tapped that evening and the owner of LB's was excited about tapping it and even talked to me for a minute about this ale.

This is a sipping ale. It took me over an hour to finish it. What a great way to spend an hour.

Pours a deep mahogany with red hues. A nice burnt quality to the color of this ale as well. The head was a weak beige which disappeared quickly and did not leave much lacing around the glass. The scents are dominated by a resiny malt. Very heavy molassas and brown suger and then some dried figs. There is a green apple sweetness to break up the malts. Heavy on the alcohol but as it warms the alcohol takes on a wonderful cognac quality.

Heavily malty with some spices that provide a touch of a bitter bite but are really along for the malty ride. There are so many flavors to this ale. It is quite incredible. First comes the caramel and molassas. The dried figs dipped in brown sugar come next. Dark bread flavors tease but never show themselves fully. Then there is some green apple and white wine grapes for a good addition of fruit. There are some spices at the end and a very nice peppery finish. Not to be left out is the alcohol. At first it is very present and can bite. As the ale warms it mellows and takes on a smooth cognac sipping quality. It adds to the flavors. Wonderful and very complex, the flavors evolve the slower it is consumed.

Medium bodied and sticky in the mouth. It does have a thickness to it. The alcohol at first gives a nice smooth burn in the throat. It mellows as the ale warms and just reminds the drinker it is a high alcohol ale. Because of its high ABV and thickness I would never call this ale a session ale. Unless that session is one excellent hour to an hour and a half drink. It has great drinkability in enjoying just the one.

I think this being the 2001 vintage, it has mellowed this ale to a fantastic state. I can see where this ale has all the qualities of being harsh if it was in an early stage.

Overall I really enjoyed this ale. Just take it slow and easy. It will reveal its mysteries near the end of the story. One just has to have restraint of eagerness about how quickly they get to the end.

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Photo of dawgontap
4.79/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beer for the ages, or at the very least, a great beer to age. Nice caramel notes that only get better if you can stop yourself from drinking it right away.

Allow it to age and you will find some of the intense alcohol (which you would never guess even initially) fade into a growing complexity.

Patience is a virtue that will be rewarded with this well made balanced beer

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Photo of Spadoof
4.78/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from: Vintage Estates (Boardman, Ohio)
Origin: 12oz Bottle
Bottled on: 2010 Vintage
Tasted on: 07-14-11
Glassware: DFH Snifter
Serving Temperature: 53 F

Notes: $3.99 a bottle. Reviewed from notes

I) Appearance: Deep red and copper body with a light tan head. The head pour about 1/2 finger a fell extremely slow, leaving a wonderful webbing of sticky lacing on the sides of my snifter.

II) Smell: Plenty of roasted malts, toffee, caramel, chocolate covered raisins, alcohol and maybe some butterscotch.

III) Taste: The taste mirrors the nose extremely well. Again a great variety of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit, caramel, butterscotch and a warm alcohol finish.
A) Malt Intesity (1-5): 5
B) Hop Intesity (1-5): 1

IV) Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy and very pleasant.

V) Drinkability: 11.7%, maybe one or two on a rare occasion

VI) Concluding thoughts: I would definitely buy this again. If you see this somewhere, pick up a case and cellar it for a few years!

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Photo of Rudgers73
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006. 13.25% ABV.

Poured into my Hennepin goblet it shows itself as a deep reddish brown with a murky character to it. Much lighter in color than I had expected. There is a very slight head that fades quickly to a ring. The smell is awesome. The first thing that comes to mind is rum-soaked raisins. Behind are chocolate and fruity notes with a little tinge of boozy aroma at the very back. The taste is incredibly complex. I served this beer relatively cold, but there is still a huge burst of flavor that pours out of it. It reminds me of a strong doppelbock, or an eisbock. This is one of the most quenching 13.25% ABV beers I've ever had. Of the strongest beers I've had, this is by far the best tasting. Nutty turning to a fruity flavor (I'm assuming the fruity flavor is from the alcohol). I taste candied dark fruits and Christmas spices. The finish is so mellow and smooth you don't have a clue how strong it is. As it warms up it begins to show a little of the alcohol spice, but nothing close to most beers 10% and up. The mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, thick, and filmy. As far as drinkability goes, this has to be the most drinkable beer of this size that I've ever had. I want to buy a bunch as cellar them for a few years. I imagine they would taste dangerously good.

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Photo of BDTyre
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Awesome Old Ale from a brewer I wish I had more access to.

Ruby with a vigorous head that seems to expand slowly before finally dying down. A little on the light side I think for an Old Ale...it reminds me more of a barley wine in appearance.

Smell is more reminiscent of barley wine as well. Plums, raisins, sweet malt and vinous notes. Faint dry scent to it, not quite as sweet as a barley wine.

Great, malty taste. Brown sugar, raisins, slight yeast taste. Low on hops, and faint vinous tastes.

A great sipper. Very nice as an after dinner drink or just by itself on a quiet evening. Low carbonation, smooth but not too thick feel to it.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4.77/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


12 oz bottle of 2004 vintage Old Stock. I poured this into an Old Guardian glass and it was a dark ruby red with a few errant bubbles wandering around the glass. The smell was inviting and reminded me of cocoa or chocolate. The taste was amazingly complex yet subdued. The alcohol was very well hidden. I had a 2005 last year and it was not this good. This has a syrupy, sweet taste and is very, very good. I'm glad I have more but I want to see what more time does to these beers. I think I'll drink the next 04 in 08.

08/29/08 2003 vintage 11.4%

Smells like honey-nut wheat bread, alcohol, candy, maple syrup, nice.

A:4 S:4 T:4 M:4 D:4

03/30/08 2003 vintage 11.4%

Nice ruby at first and then chestnut as the glass fills. Nice aroma of candied alcohol and tastes really good. This has held up well and I'm not getting the oxidation I got from a bottle earlier this year. Syrupy mouthfeel.

A: 4 S:4.5 T:4 M:4 D:4

03/05/08 2005 vintage 11.4%

I haven't had this vintage in about two years when it was only a year or so old. To start off, it is not nearly as good as the 2004 I had earlier this week or the 04 I had two months ago, those were awesome. Nice ruby color, a good initial head and then just bubbles. Subtle sweet aroma There is more oxidation than the 04 and a syrupy alcoholic flavor which I have liked previously but this vintage needs more time, at least a year.

A:4 S:3.5 T:3.5 M:3.5 D:3.5

01/22/08 2004 vintage 11.2%

Delicious, brown color, murky, alcohol tingles the tongue. Oxidation is present but so is a very awesome brandy flavor. I swear I tasted cognac! Good stuff but watch out cause it can really kick your ass.

A:4.5 S:4 T:4.5 M:4 D:4

1/08/08 2003 vintage

Murky amber-brown with a small ring of bubbles at the edge of the glass. Smells sweet with alcohol and a slight hint of oxidation (wet cardboard) at the end. Whoa, delicious, complex, cocoa, chocolate, malty. Alcohol tingles on the tongue.

A:4 S:4 T:4 M:4 D:4

11/2007 2001 vintage

On the vintage menu at the Bull and Bush. This was good but not as good as the 2004 I had earlier in the year. Seems like it has reached the end of the road as the flavors were very, very subdued.

A:4 S:4 T:3.5 M:4 D:4

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Photo of Jarod
4.76/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Limited Reserve 2001
This beer poured into the glass a cloudy amber/red/orange color. The head was beige in color, fairly thick and foamy. The lace was barely there. The aroma was a whole cornucopia of smells all stuffed into the little bottle. I smelled simply the following items swirling in my glass. Sweet and tart granny smith apples, alcohol, sweet malt, baked apple pie with sugar topping, some other dark fruits, sandlewood like a barrel that held apple cidar was used, some nuts and again alcohol. The first thing I noticed about this beer that it was strong and thick and the first sip was full of flavors waiting to be discovered. I tasted sweet malts, baked apple pie, alcohol, kind of woody like it was aged in an oak barrel that was used to hold apples or other fruits, nuts and roasted malts, roasted sugars and a sweet hint of cocoa. This beer was bitty all through out. A warm alcohol glow filled my body afterwards. It left me feeling warm and fuzzy. This is a definite sipping beer. Awesome.

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Photo of 2ndstage
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow what a beer. I had been looking for this one for quite some time, imagine my surprise when I found this on a shelf. Amarillo is NOT a place to find good beer.

Pours a nice dark garnet hue. Minimal head that dispersed within a minute or so.
Strong malty aroma with a few tones of maybe licorice. Very smooth for the gravity of this ale, Alcohol presense is definately right up front on the first sip to is soon soothed by the creamy malt backbone.
Mouthfeel is quite a bit lighter than I expected in this style but I find it much more pleasing than some other versions of this kind.
On the hop front nice balance Fuggle taste/aroma fits in quite well with this one.

Drinkability. Very smooth goes down well but beware the 11.4% will definately reach out there and smack you soon.

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Photo of jonkissee
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is exceptional in taste and mouthfeel.
It accompanies a serious attitude with a satisfaction that I have experienced in very few beers. With a slight warming to perhaps 50 deg. you will be enthralled with a complex yet piercing bite that will keep you coming back for more, beer after beer. I would definitely recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys the complexities of beer.

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Photo of jneiswender
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured out of a 12 ounce bottle into a chalice serves cool

Pours an off-white head somewhat thickand a beautiful somewhat cloudy Ruby body

Smells like a Grainfield

Tastes like a Grain field with a somewhat receipt chalky finish

Medium mouth feel

What makes this beer so great is that is just so incredibly drinkable not in the least bit overpowering and yet so flavorful

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Photo of crob3888
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Practically a barleywine/old ale hybrid.

Lots of sweet malts and alcohol warmth in this mahogany beauty. Raisin, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, dark cherries. Delicious.

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Photo of jdklks
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. ive been waiting for this one for the last year and figured there would be no better time than christmas...

A- deep dark amber. murky but not cloudy.

S- the smell is just fantastic. dark fruits, molasses, malty, and hints of bourbon and alcohol.

T- the taste is just as good as the smell. ages VERY well. i obviously cannot directly compare the aged version with the version i had a year ago, but this is definitely better than i can remember and certainly better than the 2008 i have been drinking over the past couple of days in preparation/anticipation. its malty, fruity, with a hint of hoppiness. lots of burnt caramel and brown sugar. the alcohol is well disguised but definitely there. bourbon/whiskey flavors are present, and the finish is just plain smooth.

M- full bodied with a smooth finish. a little too much carbonation, which may add to the flavor but takes away from the mouthfeel. still, very smooth with lingering flavors on the palate.

D- The flavors leave you wanting more. one of the more complex beers ive ever had. the high alcohol content takes away somewhat from the drinkability if only because of the immediate buzz it gives. the four pack they put them in is a good idea as more than 4 might leave you incapacitated for the night.

when i had this last year it was far from one of my top brews, and the 2008 right now is the same way. however, this one, aged only 1 year, is one of the better beers ive ever had. i would definitely suggest putting a few away, as i will be for years to come.

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Photo of jonnylieberman
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I don't know what to say... This is a truley superlative beer, one of perhaps the 4 or 5 best I have ever tasted. Maybe better. I drank my 2002 bootle in March of 2004. Plenty of time to age, though I am sure it will ast another decade.

Beautiful, complex mix of colors. Copper, for sure, but also reds, browns, and golds.

The smell is massive and potent. Winey, vanilla... alcohol and raisois, perhaps. Point is, complex.

The taste is the reason. Fantastic. You have two or three sips and you begin wondering why other beers exist. Two more sips and you find yourself digging holes in the backyard so as to bury the other bottles. Wouldn't want anyone else gettting ahold of your treasure, would you? Fantastic.

Mouthfeel is that of aged barleywine. A complex mix of balance and flavor that I feel has to be experienced rather than described. Balance, balance, balance!

Cost and 11.4% abv are the only factors keeping this from being my session beer. Cheers to North Coast for making one of the most remarkable beers on planet earth.

Note: I have 6 bottles buried in my beer cave.

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Photo of Impfan
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wonderfully sophisticated English style old ale.

Nose and flavor of apples, grapes, port, sherry, caramel, toffee, and pears in brandy.

Syrupy and yet almost ethereal body which is mouth-coating, and yet paradoxically sprightly.

Incredible execution of an old ale that will, undoubtedly become even more stupendous with age.

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Photo of Crotor
4.74/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I cannot say enough how enormously pleased I am that an American brewery - a Pacific Northwest Brewery at that - has created an old ale/barleywine without falling into the tired habit of extreme hopping. Yes, a beer can have in excess of 9% alcohol with the IBUs remaining under 70. In this big - nay - gigantic beer, the hopping takes a backseat to glorious, huge, multi-layered, exceedingly complex malt. One's head could explode just trying to fathom all the flavors in the malt... Vanilla, caramel, treacle, toffee, coffee, and chocolate all viscously slide around one's tongue when one is drinking Old Stock. The slight alcoholic heat backing these flavors is noticable, but remarkable subdued considering the 11.2% ABV. The deepest amber color and exceptional lacing complete the experience.

This beer rivals Jesus.

Updated 1/7/05:

Wow. The 2003 release is over a year old now, and it's even more amazingly and massively malty than I remembered. Drinkability is up too. Easily the easiest drinking big beer I've ever had. Dangerously easy...

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Photo of bonsreeb85
4.74/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'08 vintage

A - dark brown w/ some orange highlights. Large head from pour can't hold up very long, this is exceptable from a beer at 12+ though.

S - toffee caramel, roasted malt, burnt sugar, cocoa and coffee beans. also cherries, raisins, figs and possibly a hint of licorice as alcohol rounds it all up.

T - woody, spicy and slightly sweet -very complex-
tastes of cherries, vanilla and oak. you can taste the alcohol as it warms your belly and soul simultaneously. this is my 1st old ale and my taste buds are loving it! the complexity of this brew is so gratifying I can only imagine this beer getting better with even more aging.

MF - carbonation is a bit high on this full bodied sipper.

D - this is a drink for sipping not gulping(despite the incredible taste) an excellent cap to a chilly fall night. well built, and complex but i can't imagine more than 2 in a sitting though. extremely rich and heavy.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,441 ratings.