Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

1,425 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,425
Hads: 2,927
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 152
Gots: 568 | FT: 22
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,425 | Hads: 2,927
Photo of Talisker
1.74/5  rDev -57.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

2012 vintage.

12oz bottle (x2) from a four-pack purchased at Draeger's, San Mateo CA.

Old Stock Ale is year after year one of my favorite beers. I drink it on tap at the brewpub, buy bottles - I love it fresh, love it aged.

This 2012 vintage is a disaster, judging by these bottles. Metallic odor reminiscent of a macro lager. Thin mouthfeel, no robustness. Little complexity or flavor at all, but what's there is muted and off - maybe hints of cardboard, but hard to find anything going on at all.

Old Stock Ale has been one the unsung giants of the American beer scene. What happened to it in 2012? (604 characters)

Photo of NJpadreFan
1.8/5  rDev -56%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

North Coast- Old Stock Ale

Appearance- hazy ruby red with absolutely no head. Flat, no bubbles.
Smell- Alcohol, raisins, cherries, prunes, & alcohol.
Taste- Alcohol immediately followed by raisin/ prune juice (which I hate!) followed by even more alcohol. wretched!!
Mouthfeel- burning stinging alcohol! aftertaste is stomach turning pruno.

Overall- this is bad, real bad! Honestly, for the life of me, who likes the flavor of rubbing alcohol mixed with raisin/ prune juice. This is comparable to cough syrup!
Sorry North Coast this is liquid hell! (559 characters)

Photo of Badger5209
1.92/5  rDev -53.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This is a very sweet beer, literally, not figuratively. I didn't like it. Poured some out, which I never do. I see this is highly rated, which is why I bought it. But the emperor has no clothes as far as I am concerned. (222 characters)

Photo of beardedterror
1.93/5  rDev -52.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2012 vintage: Poured into a snifter, served at cellar temps:

A: Pours a deep ruby red color. 1 finger head, which dissipates quickly: to be expected of something this high ABV.

S: Pineapple is the first thing I notice, which is not really welcomed in an old ale. Some crystal malts and some dark fruit come in much, much later, but the pineapple is very overpowering.

T: Booze. Very harsh, unpleasant fruity alcohol flavor dominates the front palate. Slightly bitter, with a very strange fruit flavor that I can't put my finger on; closest to pineapple. Very slight roasty, caramel flavor comes through 2 minutes after initial taste. Very long lasting finish. Absolutely no hop flavors whatsoever.

M: Creamy, thick texture. Feels good in the mouth. Low carbonation. Very harsh, hot alcohol feel.

O: Should probably be aged for at least another year. EXTREMELY far outside the style guidelines for an Old ale. Nearly outside for a barleywine at that. Harsh alcohol flavors make this unpleasant. Tastes like pineapple booze. (1,027 characters)

Photo of beck2008
2/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I was very disappointed with this ale. I am a big fan of strong ale but this was nothing like I expected. It poured like a coke - a quick fizzy head formed and rapidly disappeared entirely. The appearance was like a red ale and very clear. The mouth feel was thin, the taste was akin to brown ale with a shot of whiskey, this is no exaggeration. It lacked complexity and character. I was all around just a hard ale to drink. I am hoping this was just a bad bottle. I will cellar this and see what it tastes like in a year. (522 characters)

Photo of 4thelvofbeer
2.19/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.25

Not sure if the bottle was bad, or stored improperly, but...I usually like Old Ales, but this one truly tasted "old"...tasted like old shoe leather...unfortunately, and I do mean unfortunately, this was a drain pour after about 4 drinks...

Opened a 2010 Vintage bottle on 1/23/2013. Notes:

A: Cloudy Brown/Amber
S: Musty...
T: Musty again, not more more to say, not a lot of flavors, somewhat water-watered town muted taste
M: Somewhat thin and slightly watery...
O: Not good (477 characters)

Photo of barrelman
2.21/5  rDev -46%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

The beer poured deep burgundy with little head. Actually let's get down to it. This beer was tough to drink and here's why. The alcohol was overpowering. I am no stranger to high alcohol beer and realize the difficulty with balancing such a potent beer, but I feel that some work needs to be done with this one. The aroma, taste and mouthfeel are dominated by alcohol. (368 characters)

Photo of Quej
2.33/5  rDev -43%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - Poured a clear reddish brown, with very little head and no visible carbonation. Nice enough looking, nothing special though.

S - A very strong smell of sweet nutty malts and dark red berries amid the tingle of alcohol.

T - Lots of sweet flavours and fruits followed by a lingering burn of alcohol. There is some good hop taste, but it is severely overpowered by the burn of the alcohol and the thick oily sweetness. Very reminiscent of cough syrup.

M - Thick and coating, with a strong unpleasant burn. Once again, feels like cough syrup.

D - I had a hard time finishing this beer, due to the overly sweet alcoholic taste, and its thick body. Don't think I would buy another.

Note: 2006 bottle, 11.7% abv. (714 characters)

Photo of jt31914
2.38/5  rDev -41.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle

A: 1 inch of head with a dark amber and brown color; not anything unusual.

S: Strong alcohol tones, some hoppiness and scotch aromas as well. Very much a liquor smell.

T: Tastes of burnt caramel with a dry fig/pearlike finish. The burnt taste is too strong and odd tasting for me, while the finish is tingly and odd. This beer is unique, but not in a way that I enjoyed.

M/D: Bubbly in mouth and somewhat harsh on finish (although at 11.5% I shouldn't be surprised). Not overly drinkable and honestly this brew is a big disappointment. (553 characters)

Photo of crossovert
2.48/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle, 2010 vintage.

It pours a beautiful, dark, deep red with a big white head that quickly dissipates with no lacing.

It is fruity in the aroma with a predominance of raisins. There is some caramel and sugar scents as well.

The flavor is pretty sweet. It tastes like raisins and oxidized fruits. It isn't the most pleasant flavor, it is rather pungent and cloying.

Despite being a year old it still seems hot with alcohol.

I have had a lot of great barleywines/old ales lately and this one fell on it's face in comparison. (536 characters)

Photo of dvb
2.59/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Great reddish-brown color. Not much of a head on it. Less than a finger.

S - Very boozy and sweet smelling.

T - Like a Belgian triple with Jack Daniels added to it.

M - Almost syrupy.

D - This one is not for me. I got through it pretty quickly, but only because it was my first of the evening. It's not terrible, but the booziness is just too much. I would not buy it again. (383 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.65/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed on 06/22/2009. Draft at Sunset Grill. Pours a dark amber with a white head. Aroma of sweet malt and jam. Flavor of super sweet malt, yeast (?). Overpowering sweetness and booze. Wow, I don't know what other people see in this beer, but I don't care for it. (265 characters)

Photo of msquared36
2.67/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Dark brown that fades to copper toward the bottom of the glass. Thin film of foam that maintains.

Scent is sweet and malty. Not strong.

Overpowering sweetness that gives way to a boozy finish. Hints of roasted malt and ripe fruit trying cut through, particularly as it warms. But it's really getting drowned out.

Heavy carbonation and a bit chewy. Feels like it left a film in my mouth.

Not a fan. High alcohol content, which is not incorporated well into the overall taste. (478 characters)

Photo of jmerloni
2.68/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - A nice brown-violet color that appears very creamy in the glass. Nice tan'ish head that lasts a while.

S - Holy malt. Dark fruits - dates, figs, grapes. Molasses.

T - WEIRD! This tastes almost purely like sugar plums. Perhaps the sweetest beer I've ever tasted. A bit repulsive in that sense, but it is true to the style. Dark fruits, plums, dates, figs, molasses. Flavors taste a bit roasted and nutty.

M - Pretty thick and oily tasting. Not a dry finish at all. Very alcoholic finish.

D - Not drinkable at all. If you can drink one of these, you're lucky. I'm glad I tried it, though. This is a very interesting style of beer that I have yet to taste. I'd like to try another in the style. Cool. (705 characters)

Photo of johnyeast
2.68/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Brown in color with a slight head. Very strong smell. Smells hot- high in alcohol content. Also oak and bourbon. It really takes you back with the first taste. Takes you off guard. High ABV. High ABV taste. Bitterness as it warms and sweet in the finish. I admit this beer is not for me. This reflects my scoring on the taste mouthfeel and drinkibility. (353 characters)

Photo of benclimbs
2.79/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

(not on tap)

2nd Review of this beer (had the 2009 vintage)
Today picked up a 2010 Vintage and it NEEDS another review.

I was excited to get this, see this beer everywhere but really enjoyed it last time i had it - WTF happened? I'm not sure if I got a bad bottle, or if they messed something up this year, but this is NOT the beer i had in 2009.

Looks like a normal, nice reddish brown strong ale, not much lacing, but that's understandable at 11.7% (new ABV?).

Smell is where it really comes out that this beer is not ok - it smells like a skunky, bready, strong lager - almost smells like Super Tenents or something raunchy, only a bit of redeeming wine like character, but more boozy...not alright. (i even let it sit for 30 min to see if it would dissipate)

Taste is just ok for a strong ale - a bit of sweet stuff, bready malts, but tastes viscous, strong and harsh - a little hop backbone at the end but nothing much...could be more sticky so mouthfeel is not bad.

Can't give it much in the drinkability departmet - harsh, pretty gnarly, and tastes every bit of 11.7%.

I'm seriously dissapointed in this beer from a pretty darn good brewery, unless Im going crazy, this is NOT the same beer I tried in 2009. (1,228 characters)

Photo of EK33
2.83/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2011

A-Head quickly dissipated and low carbonation. Color is reddish-orange.

S-Mainly alcohol with light dark plum and some caramel sweet notes.

T-What you smell, you get with alcohol overpowering flavor.
The fruit and sweetness show slightly with a minor bit of hop bitterness.

M-A little lighter than I would prefer for this style of beer. This is truly a small sipper and large alcohol would back that up.

O-This is a beer that calls for aging. Due to high overpowering alcohol, should be approached more like an Irish/Canadian Wisky than a beer.

Cellaring to try at 5 and 10 years. (593 characters)

Photo of Brent
2.86/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Sorry Matt, but this one did not score with me. Great bronze/ruby color, but the flavor was an overwhelming bittersweetness that coated my tongue so that I could not get any other dimension from the beer. At a whopping 11.4% abv, I did not even get any spicyness from the alcohol. Perhaps this beer will integrate the flavor over time and develop more character, but for the time being, it just wasn't my cup of tea ... I mean beer. (435 characters)

Photo of SamN
2.88/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz 2009 bottle purchased from Wilbur's, once again. Poured into a tulip glass. I'm thinking this might be far too early to open, but I want to get a baseline for future cellarings.

Pours a clear cherry color with a soda-like fizz of carbonation for head, no retention. Very pretty, lighter than I was expecting.

Smell is of oak brandy, smokey alcohol, leather, old fruits, some light maltyness. Lots to smell, the powerful alcohol nose makes it hard to really smell what's in here, but what I can is very complex and rich.

I don't know what the deal is here, but I can barely taste anything except for the booziness that burns my tongue after swallowing. Honestly, I can't very much at all; malt, a creamy wood taste, like an old brandy. Bummer, I can't tell if it's me or this bottle.

Mouthfeel is a full body with some carbonation. Leaves your mouth with a sticky sweetness. Definitely on point there.

Due to a lack of real taste and an overpowering alcohol presence, this beer is bound to take a while to finish. Maybe I'll pick up some flavors yet. (1,060 characters)

Photo of chakadrum
2.9/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I browsed the shelves of Total Wine for something interesting that I had never tried before. I've felt that North Coast is a bit hit or miss but I must say the 12.5% ABV caught me off guard and I was quite curious.

The was a dark ruby thing. Beautiful. Light head with minimal lacing. Dissipated quickly. That's about all it had going for it.

To be blunt, this beer was not impressive. I suspect this one falls into that category of high ABV hype. You think it is good because it is strong and has a bunch going on. It just didn't deliver.

Smell was really nice. Lots of biscuit. It reminded me of Manchester, England for some reason. It got my excited.

I taste alcohol. I taste solvent. The biscuit is all cut up. No fun. It reminds me of the time a friend suggested we drink Steel Reserve. Biggest mistake of my life. Ok, maybe that is being a bit dramatic.

Even if the biggest advocate of this beer ever came up to me, paid me $50 and gave me a free bottle of the freshest of this brew, I'd still be disappointed. (1,022 characters)

Photo of xpoweruser
2.92/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark amber/caramel color. Off-white foamy head. Cloudy.

Aroma: Sweet fruit with lots of caramel and toffee.

Taste: Fruity with a nice caramel and toffee flavor. Slight bitterness, but this brew is dominated by the malts. Alcohol flavor is covered up well, only slightly noticeable with a slight warming effect.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, goes down easy. The body of this beer is actually pretty light. High carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent beer, but not nearly as full bodied and complex as I would like. (513 characters)

Photo of harrymel
2.94/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Vintage 2012, reviewed 07MAR12
ABV 11.7%
Pours a ruby ale with a nice dome of cream foam. Smells of alcohol, grain, some caramel, nothing special. Flavor is alcoholic, bitter, some sweetness, some bitterness. Really poorly defined. I don't recall having had this so fresh, but I don't recommend. Medium on viscous body with moderate carb and a semi dry finish. I'm not impressed fresh. Maybe one should simply buy and age as the beer is better with just a year on it.

Note to NC: release beer when ready, no sooner.

Vintage 2010, Reviewed 22MAR11
A: Pours a beautiful mahogany ale with hues of cherry red. Single finger head of roasted peanut dissipates in a couple minutes and leaves a thin sheet of the same. Spotty lacing. Brilliant clarity.
S: Initially, alcohol comes out punching! Then I get the tones of vanilla, malt, cherries (maraschino), light soapy smell (not bad, but different). Good nose, will be better with age I bet.
T: Mmmm. Toffee, light noble hops, cascade resin and citrus are subdued, yet present. Alcohol is slightly sweet, but not in any way offensive. Hint of cornbread. Again, maraschino cherries. Nice. The toffee keeps teasing me, more time = more toffee = more happy!
M: Full bodied and medium carbonation. Dries the mouth and forces my tongue to push for resonating flavors. Nice.
O: Excellent crafsmanship. Good old ale. The profile compels me to keep a dozen in the cellar for a year or two. Should become more tawny in character. Pretty stoked about the potential here. 4/4/4/4/4-4 (1,519 characters)

Photo of bdkucharski
2.96/5  rDev -27.6%
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. (754 characters)

Photo of jimiv73
2.96/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

okay this stuff is hard to drink for me lol! its dark when you pour it off and it has chocaltely features about it which i can do without! its was 11.99 for a 4 pack and the alcohol level is 11.5% and its in there this beer is strong and will kick your ass! the finish is horrible it tasted like spoiled beer yuck spit and spit again!! (335 characters)

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.97/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ruby color, minimal head eviscerated soon after. Aroma is alcoholic.

Taste is alcoholic, a little cherry, syrup and molasses feel. Reminiscient of brandy. Powerful. This is a sippin' beer. Some apple possibly. Doesn't fade downbottle. Sweet. Carmel. Damn alcohol is too prevalent for my tastes. No hops.

My uncle who likes port wine might be into this. Not my thing, but no denying these guys make fantastic beers. (418 characters)

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,425 ratings.