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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,449 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,449
Reviews: 1,354
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 126
Gots: 398 | FT: 17
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: 2,449 | Reviews: 1,354 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of msquared36


2.65/5  rDev -35.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 02:28:15 | More by msquared36
Photo of KillaB


2.75/5  rDev -33.3%

01-29-2013 08:27:13 | More by KillaB
Photo of Nunya


2.75/5  rDev -33.3%

01-04-2013 00:46:01 | More by Nunya
Photo of Walkerjgt


2.75/5  rDev -33.3%

07-16-2014 12:50:35 | More by Walkerjgt
Photo of mquartuccio87

New York

2.75/5  rDev -33.3%

03-02-2014 21:17:19 | More by mquartuccio87
Photo of SamN


2.8/5  rDev -32%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2009 23:41:48 | More by SamN
Photo of benclimbs


2.8/5  rDev -32%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2010 03:57:01 | More by benclimbs
Photo of EK33


2.8/5  rDev -32%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


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.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2012 01:46:48 | More by EK33
Photo of chakadrum


2.83/5  rDev -31.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2009 02:05:13 | More by chakadrum
Photo of Brent


2.85/5  rDev -30.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2002 21:55:45 | More by Brent
Photo of harrymel


2.88/5  rDev -30.1%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2012 15:38:36 | More by harrymel
Photo of xpoweruser


2.93/5  rDev -28.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2010 03:54:27 | More by xpoweruser
Photo of Minkybut


2.93/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I poured this promising beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The bber was a nice mahoganny color with a nice tan head. The smell was a little nutty and I was hopeful by that and the caramel notes coming off the head. First taste was good I thougght then the alcohol just washed all that great taste away. What a shame. I will not buy again.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2008 16:11:37 | More by Minkybut
Photo of TurdFurgison


2.93/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2007 vintage. The pour looked pretty good (deep burgandy brown) but other than that it was a bit too sweet and alcoholic for me. The aroma was very malty, a little burnt, and cough syrup sweet. The flavor was too sweet too drink easily, and burned with alcohol on the backside. Thickish mouthfeel was a redeeming factor, but not enough to help me finish the bottle (I didn't).

Serving type: bottle

05-05-2007 21:02:16 | More by TurdFurgison
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2011 01:21:29 | More by bdkucharski
Photo of jimiv73


2.95/5  rDev -28.4%
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!!

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2009 00:16:23 | More by jimiv73
Photo of Jack_Malts


2.96/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

North Coast Old Ale 2013 vintage 11.9% abv

Pours a deep amber with a fizzy caramel head that only sticks around for a few seconds before dissolving into a fizzy ring. Not much lacing.

It has a metallic smell that is noted. Sweet fruity flavors ascend with it. Dark fruits emerge - lots of raisin in there with some dried fig. I’m getting mellow candied pineapple as well. Very ripe plums. There’s even a little grape musk.

The taste is very nice, the metallic flavor is still there though. very much grape must, which is sort of a star in this flavor profile. There’s a bit of an unappealing lager taste. The fresh fruit juice flavors work well with the darker, dried flavors. The alcohol is detectable at times.

medium bodied, plenty of carbonation, not very smooth, alarmingly so.

So, this beer is not at all what I was expecting, considering the barrel aged 2011 vintage that I had recently. Much more metallic and carbonated than I expected. The fruitier flavors are appreciated, but the metallic and lager flavors create an unappealing imbalance. I have to say I was quite disappointed, considering how big a fan of the 2011 barrel aged I am (despite its big 24$ price tag I've bought it every chance I get). Also a disappointment considering how much I like this brewery.

This beer has a lot of doppelbock qualities that are unwelcome in an old ale. I also feel like a beer of this high abv should have a body and complexity to it that this beer falls short of. This beer really can’t justify the drunk it will make me. That metallic flavor keeps coming back every sip to haunt me. Maybe I have a bottle that was inappropriately stored on its side? Either way, it would probably be better to seek out a different vintage. Something about this beer tastes wrong to me. Don't try the 2013 vintage. Seek out a different one.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2014 09:34:12 | More by Jack_Malts
Photo of Liquids


2.98/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

My first old ale. Coppery amber to translucent brown color. Thin, loud fizzing, soda-like, quickly dissipating head. Sweet, alcoholic, inviting aroma. Extremely alcoholic bite and aftertaste, which is not surprising at 11.4%. Beneath seems to lie a tasty, medium-bodied, moderately hopped brown ale. Carbonation dissapears quickly and leaves a medium mouthfeel, as in comparison to the strong alcohol wash, everything seems thin and watery. Probably not a style that strives for "balanced," but could be impressive if the alcohol wash weren't so intense and overpowering. Drinkable, but slow going, and at the first few sips I thought I might find myself drainpouring it before I finished. More than one of these is hard to imagine. Would probably be best over a meal and conversation. Would not return here (glad I got a single), and may avoid this style in the future.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2006 17:54:41 | More by Liquids
Photo of ManekiNeko


2.98/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2002 edition. Served chilled in a glass. Allowed to warm up a bit as the beer was consumed.

Appearance: Clear caramel colored head with an ephemeral tan head. No retention or lacing.

Smell: Aromas of green apples, maple, and faint apricots. A splash of herbal hoppines as well. Smell is not very strong overall.

Taste: Caramel and toasted malt bittersweetness followed by a slow burn of alcoholic taste that's not quite unpleasant, but not all that integrated with the other flavors, either. Some prune flavors as well. Peppery notes on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Relatively full bodied with the aforementioned burning sensation going down. Kinda hinders the enjoyment,

Drinkability: Hindered by the inadequate alcohol masking. I've had stronger ABV beers that mask better. I think this stuff needs to age some more.

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2003 14:04:26 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of EastBay_Nick


3/5  rDev -27.2%

07-14-2013 06:03:52 | More by EastBay_Nick
Photo of Beerandraiderfan


3/5  rDev -27.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2010 21:44:01 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of BSW


3/5  rDev -27.2%

12-27-2011 04:31:11 | More by BSW
Photo of Mbpike


3/5  rDev -27.2%

08-30-2013 17:28:47 | More by Mbpike
Photo of jerrymiller


3/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is orange-ruby with a rocky, dark tan head. It pours clean and clear with a 3/4 inch head.

Smell is strongly of alcohol and cherry. Very fruity and sweet. Dark port smells as the beer warms up. It gets better, but the alcohol content is dominant.

Taste is not surprisingly burdened by the alcohol content, but upon sipping, subtler malt tastes bubble through the thick, sweet fruit.

Drinkability is easy as the alcohol numbs everything pretty quickly. Very tight carbonation initially gives way to sweet, porty roughness. Balance is ok, but the overall complexity is tarnished by the alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2006 03:43:22 | More by jerrymiller
Photo of ohiobeer29


3/5  rDev -27.2%

03-23-2014 01:13:26 | More by ohiobeer29
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,449 ratings.