Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

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1,425 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,425
Hads: 2,928
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 152
Gots: 569 | 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: 2,928
Photo of ScotB260
4.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a burnt caramel color with an average head. Sticky lacing on the glass, no "legs" what so ever. In fact I've never seen a beer that stuck to the glass quite like this. Smells of honey and oats. Taste is very rich, but mellow with the high ABV. This is definitely at the top of my ales list. (296 characters)

Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.41/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage
Cloudy dark Amber color. Thin head that dissipates quickly.
Dark fruit smell of raisins little banana flavor.
Taste of caramel brûléed sugar and sweet bread.

Overall a really excellent beer (208 characters)

Photo of fx20736
4.38/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Dark Amber, offwhite head, no lace

Smell: orchard fruits, malt, white raisins, plums

Taste: brown sugar, dates, sherry, gingerbread cookies

Feel: sticky

Overall: Complex aroma and flavvors, this is an amazing beer (224 characters)

Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.82/5  rDev +17.8%
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! (1,098 characters)

Photo of StArnoldFan
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Not a huge fan of old ales, but this has to be one if the best examples of the style. 2015 vintage, smooth and sweet. Straight sipper and much better as it warms. I'd like to get ahold of an aged vintage and see how it changes over time. (237 characters)

Photo of mblk6062
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I always look forward to the release of this awesome Old Ale, and the 2015 version did not disappoint! This year's has more of a molasses/bourbon smell, leading to a toffee/raisin taste, with that always wonderful, warm banana bread finish. I will be buying as much of this as I can get my hands on - will only get better with age! (332 characters)

Photo of Bisco42
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage Otsuchi Commemorative Recovery Release - March 2012

Poured into a snifter at 55 degrees, had been cellared upright for exactly 3 years.

L - Pours a dark amber/brown color with a 1 inch head. Lacing remains down the side, but spotty. Bubbles forming up the snifter.

S - Very malt-y, boozy and earthy. Reminiscent of a proper Old Ale.

T - This is where the complexity begins. Getting a lot of different tastes here. Beginning with Marris Otter malt and finishing with the (seemingly) fresh Fuggles hops. The aftertaste bursts with caramel and booze, still burning after 3 years, could probably sit for another several years to allow things to set and combine. Still delicious though, but in small sips every now and again.

F - Thick, robust, full and carbonated. Nothing too overbowering, but enough to allow my palate to retain the entire flavor of the beer. Perhaps the highlight of this fine brew.

O - An excellent take on the easily obtainable Old Ale. Unfortunately, I think this style is lost, and I love how North Coast is continuing to make this extraordinary. Compared to the 2015 version, this is incredibly different but in a good way. Will probably pick up another bottle and allow it to age for longer. NC really got it right with this one. (1,288 characters)

Photo of vic21234
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 Vintage poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

A- Pours a clear and slightly fizzy ruby color with a small amount of head which quickly fades.

S- Dark fruits with a slight hint of tartness.

T- Raisins and dark fruits along with overall sweetness.

M- Medium bodied, sweet with and slight alcohol bite.

Nice old ale, I'll be sitting the rest down for a few years though to see how it does. (408 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage at 55 degrees into hand washed and dried snifter
Aroma of malt and wood, some alcohol but not overpowering
Head small (2 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to 3 mm ring and partial layer
Lacing poor – few small gravitationally elongated circular islands of tiny bubbles
Body dark amber, clear, effervescent
Flavor very subdued, sweet, dates, warming alcohol; no hops, no diacetyl
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4.5, Overall 4.25 (523 characters)

Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.98/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice beer. 2014 variety. dark brown and clear. i didn't get a lot of aroma but there was a bit of sugariness. caramel and vanilla is prominent, a little sour. at 11.8%abv, it's masked well. (194 characters)

Photo of JebBeerFish
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

There are times when I get caught up in trying to find hard-to-find craft beer, and overlook the very good more widely available craft beer. Old Stock Ale is such a beer that I have overlooked for that reason, as well as its' label which I have found somewhat boring.

This is a very good beer. The beer bursts with flavor early on, especially bourbon and vanilla, as well as dark fruits and a balanced sweetness. It brings to mind Backwoods Bastard in the prominence of the bourbon and vanilla. As it warmed, and especially, towards the end, it evolves into sherry flavors and a tartness. The higher abv is noticeable, but not in an unpleasant way. I intend to stock up on a number of 4 packs. (694 characters)

Photo of IowaBiertrinker
4.22/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Just did a vertical of the 2010, 2013, and 2014. 2010 was more fruit and plumb flavor. 2013 was a nice balance of malt, fruit and hop, and 2014 was more brash and hop flavor. A nice ale regardless of the year! (212 characters)

Photo of Andrew041180
3.85/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured an amber brown with a relatively thick head that receded to a ring. Nothing particularly interesting to look at. Smell was really nice. Faint, but a burnt caramel and brown sugar type aroma. Taste was a bit too rich for me. Aroma amplified quite a bit. The feel was excellent, actually felt the carbonation for quite a while even though there were no real visible signs of any. Nice and thick. Low drinkability though and I felt that the beer flattened out maybe half an hour (halfway) thru it. (509 characters)

Photo of georgiaboy8686
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

The 2014 edition. Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Look: Very aggressive pour yielded hardly any head which fizzled rather quickly. No lacing whatsoever. The color is slightly amber to mostly ruby. A bubble rises from the bottom ever now and then.

Smell: Smell is sweet and boozy. Dark fruits, brown sugar, and candied cherry. There is a slight burn in the nose from the 11.8%. For what it's worth, my wife passed by me drinking the beer and said it smelled like doughnuts.

Taste: This beer reminds me of a Belgian Quad, in that it has lots of dark fruit characteristics. Right out of the fridge it was quit boozy, but as it has warmed to room temperature it has become smooth. Like the smell, the taste is quit sweet.

Feel: This is where it differs from a Quad. It is thicker, almost to the extent that a stout would be.

Overall: It's a good beer. I think it would be perfect candidate to cellar. I'm looking forward to seeing how it evolves over time. (975 characters)

Photo of Indydoc
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look: Beautiful deep orange/amber color
Smell: Clean slightly earthy
Taste: Very complex and subtle, caramel and vanilla notes - Delicious!
Feel: Silky, alcohol well hidden (beware!) (182 characters)

Photo of guityler83
3.97/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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 (1,390 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

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. (582 characters)

Photo of AirBob
4.6/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage

A - One finger of dense off-white head. Opaque, but not hazy, ruby-brown body with plenty of visible carbonation. Good retention.

S - Rum. Brown sugar. Woodsy. Golden raisins. Slight notes of chewing tobacco and light chocolate.

T - Follows the nose, but way more fruit towards the end and more dry woodsyness towards the front. Still picking up on a little chewing tobacco.

M - Medium carbonation. Full bodied. Sweet finish, but still pretty drinkable for such a big beer. Alcohol is hidden pretty well too (534 characters)

Photo of cvm4
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L - Pours a murky deep brown body with a one finger khaki head. Not much lacing or retention to speak of.

S - A great mix of bourbon qualities such as oak, vanilla and brown sugar as well as the awesome base of old stock.

T - Bourbon characteristics are very pronounced along with the base shining through.

F - Medium bodied and low carbonation. Tight carbonation bubbles. A bit of alcohol heat come in.

O - Set it down for a year or two to let it calm down and meld together. It's a great beer, just has way more potential down the road. (542 characters)

Photo of Oldejoe
4.43/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks. Warm golden brown, lighter frothy head.
Smell. Warm, earthy, mild spicey, hint of a bite.
Taste. Good malt high on back palate, swirly bitters around the lower mouth.
Mouth. Fairly full, chewy, bit of sparkle.
Overall. One of my favorites. I think I need to let it warm up a bit. (286 characters)

Photo of BIA_BrewMasta
4.11/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A top tier ale. The balance between ABV and drinkability is fantastic for an ale. Marketing is a little weak for how good the beer is. Worth looking into for the brewery. Fantastic beer (185 characters)

Photo of outdoor7or24
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 bottle had on 1-12-2015. 12 oz bottle purchased at CBX.
A: pours a dark copper orange, +1 finger graham cracker color foam head, few spots of lacing.
S: sweet malt with some heat from the alcohol, some orange
M: medium body with some sticks residue on the tongue
T: sweet butter caramel, oak, vanilla, burbon notes for sure, alcohol as it warms is more noticeable, slight orange or citrus at the end, the finish is a little bitter and hot bite from the alcohol
O: great old ale, I'm sure more time would mellow this out some. (532 characters)

Photo of HipCzech
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 12 oz bottle poured into a 7 oz Libbey Embassy snifter (bottle marked "11072014").

Appearance: Clear, deep, garnet brown with khaki foam. An airy, bubbly head leaves a dense collar of foam; spare lacing.

Smell: Big, sweetly malty, with growing alcoholic fumes.

Taste: Full and malty; plenty of caramel, rum soaked raisins, and almost numbing alcoholic bite.

Mouthfeel: Relatively full body, lush and smooth. Lively, prickly carbonation.

Overall: Unapologetically boozy; big and complex malts make. A nice sipper. (526 characters)

Photo of happilyhopped
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle of 2014 Old Stock Ale From North Coast. Poured into medium sized snifter.

A: Pours almost syrupy, definitely more viscous than most beers. Color is a honey amber color when held up to the light. When not, it appears a kind of murky brown color like a burnt sienna. About a quarter inch of head appears, but dissipates very quickly leaving only a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Bubbles are very tiny, almost champagne'esque

S: Initial smell is of toffee and booze. Definitely a slight burn in the nostrils from the alcohol heat. After getting past that i get a bit of citrus, possibly a hint of orange zest, lime or grapefruit leaves.

T: Initial taste is of rich sweet caramel. Also getting a lot of brown sugar, some vanilla, and subtle toffee as well. There is a slight fruity tinge to the beer as well. Candied orange and dried citrus fruits come to mind. Almost like the orange flavor you get in orange flavored dark chocolate. The finish is a little lighter than i expected, though still packs a punch. Just a hint of hoppy bitterness finishes it off. Very subtle. Very good. A few minutes after a sip i noticed similarities to the malty flavor of some bourbons that lingers long after the alcohol burn fades off.

M: There is an intense, perhaps overwhelming feeling of bubbles covering your mouth. Very similar to champagne because the bubbles are so tiny. I feel them dancing across my tongue after taking a sip a minute ago so the sensation lingers a bit. Not my favorite feeling, but not one i necessarily mind. Definitely got some thickness to it too. Coats the mouth and is slightly syrupy.

O: Overall this beer is pretty delicious for me. I like old ales and for 11.8% the booze isn't overwhelming. It is on the sweet side as most old ales tend to be, but the nice fruity characteristics mixed with the slightly bitter finish really help balance it out. I bought a few of these to cellar after tasting how good this can be with a few years on it. So i am drinking this fresh and will try it again in a year to see how it evolves. (2,077 characters)

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Layer of whitish head rapidly disperses, No lacing . Dark expresso brown.

Bit of sweetness on the nose
Malty with dry fruit,maybe prunes or figs
Satisfying viscous mouthfeel
This is a beer for cold winter days (216 characters)

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