Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

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2,684 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,684
Reviews: 1,374
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 134
Gots: 463 | FT: 16
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: 2,684 | Reviews: 1,374 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(Vintage 2004)

Appearance: Marvelous color; a stunning mosaic of reds, browns, and golds. Even when poured a wee bit aggressively, the head quickly seperated, stretched thinly across the surface of the beer.

Smell: Mammoth malts weigh heavily in the nose. Thick molasses, brandy, vanilla, dried raisins, and alcohol are all very prominent.

Taste: "Hands up" on this malt rollercoaster, please! The vibrant flavors are varied and plentiful. Richly textured caramel and sweetened molasses up front. Sweet, ripened fruits roll by the palate, followed with sugar-coated bread. All of these flavors are punctuated by a zippy spiciness. The 11.4% alcohol is, at first, cumbersome on the palate, but eventually mellows to a relaxing hotness.

Mouthfeel: Medium. Considerably lighter than I remember it being, although its alcohol, syrupiness, and colossal range of flavors help it to seem a bit hardier.

Drinkability: Such an excellent example of balance within a beer. Its all so very impressive. Drinkable? Definitely, but the alcohol can really shake you up, so take it easy, friends. I'll certainly be returning to the store to grab more to cellar.

Photo of oberon
4.28/5  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 largadeer
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage.

Appearance - Semi-clear burgundy with very little head or lace, just a small ring of foam around the glass. This stuff could be mistaken for port.

Smell - Sweet and boozy with a big toffee and berry aroma.

Taste & mouthfeel - Sweet without being cloying. The malt backbone is enormous, providing a wide range of flavors from ripe fruit and caramel to burnt toast. Bittering hops are still noticeably present, though they take a back seat to the malt. A slight alcohol bite appears for a second in the background and then disappears in the finish. The beer ends on a drier note, with a bourbon-like character.

Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage, 11.9% ABV, procured from a random grocery store in Portland, Oregon last summer.

This beer pours a hazy, dark golden brown hue, with one finger of fizzy pale beige head, which leaves little in the way of lace as it hastily dissipates. It smells of reserved, but sturdy, caramel malt, brown sugar, candied apple, mild Belgian spice, and musty, dusty earthy hops. The taste is caramel/toffee malt, a bit of bread pudding, soft black fruit, mild savoury spice - mixed and muddled, somewhat bitter earthy hops, and a very subtle booze warming. The carbonation is sedate, with a feeble prick here and there, the body a stolid medium weight, and deftly smooth, but for an incisive booze edge, sans heat. It finishes still rather sweet, the musty fruit and simmering booze edge quite up to the task of pummeling the palate.

English barleywine, Old Ale, what's a few flavour nuances between friends? A lovely sipper, strong, but you don't immediately know it, and very well balanced. A preferable steeling against the newly-arrived, sub-zero temperatures into which I intend to wade...

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer totally kicked my ass. i was unaware of the abv, and its fairly well hidden, so i ended up a whole lot more wasted than i set out to get, but thats okay... pours a thick honey color with an average white bubbly head. smells of sweet caramel, fresh apples, and fruity yeast. flavor is complex and very rich. there are tropical fruity notes from the yeast like banana and papaya, but they are subtle. balanced by earthy sweet hops that come more to the fore in the finish. again, the alcohol content is not readily apparent, so be careful with this one. feel is nice, if a bit on the heavier side body-wise. fair carbonation. overall an exciting beer that is entirely original as far as i am concerned. ill just have to proceed with more caution next time i hook into one of these...

Photo of TMoney2591
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

Thanks to plenum for this vintage gem!

2007 Vintage. Old stock indeed. It pours a murky dark apple cider topped by a very minor spritz of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises buttery biscuits, caramel, chocolate, graham crackers, ginger, and a well o' fusels deep in the back. The taste holds notes of orange peel, slight pine, buttery toffee, light cocoa, and a decidedly noticeable alcohol burn. The body is a hefty medium, with a moderate carbonation and a chunky feel. Overall, I think age has done some good for this brew (remembering way back to my fresh bottle a year or so ago), but I'm not sure I could drink much of this at once.

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of zeff80
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Edition - sampled on St. Patrick's Day 2009

A - Poured out a cloudy, opaque, dark brown color with a reddish hue. It had a small, short-lived, off-white head that left no lace.

S - It smelled of brandy, fruitiness and sweet caramel malt.

T - It tasted very sweet and a little boozy. It had caramel and toffee flavors with a subtle chocolate taste.

M - It was soft, smooth and dry. A medium-bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

D - This was very good but didn't live up to my hopes. I'd like to try a newer version to compare.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2000. The aroma starts with dark fruit, alcohol, a touch of sweet maltiness, and some light hop character. The color is brownish with some crimson tints. The head starts fairly creamy with a light beige color but dissipates quickly as expected in a high alcohol beer. The flavor starts with a burst of sharp dark fruit and malt, followed by a fairly heavy touch of alcohol, and then a drying hop character which is somewhat aggressive, but far from overwhelming. The finish is dry, but one sided. An excellent beer, but it's no Samiclaus or Thomas Hardy's either. An excellent beer from an excellent brewery!

Photo of Jason
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
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 WVbeergeek
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2002 Old Stock Ale, yeah baby. Appearance: Deep ruby mahogany with a nice sized cream head leaves a nice pattern of scattered lacing. Aroma: Rich alcoholic brandy tone with rich overly ripened fruit soaked in alcohol, very compex and strong smelling. Taste: Malts slightly burnt orangepeel tone with a plums simmered in brown sugar tone a finishing bitter note but the hops don't play a vital role here this is one malty alcoholic tasting beer. Mouthfeel: Full bodied chewy texture medium carbonation big beer weighs in at 11.4, wow. Drinkability: It's a winter warmer chill and enjoy with a beer over the course of at least 45 minutes let this one warm up a bit, you won't be sorry.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Acquired from grub courtesy of the Birthday Club 2, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of bourbon, spices caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste is malty, but as boozy as you might expect from such a high ABV. Flavors of caramel, bourbon and some spices start out. There's a very mild hops presence that is just enough to provide some balance. The alcohol burn isn't really there at first but it kind of creeps up on you, which is nearly unavoidable with a 13.25% ABV. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very flavorful, goes down nicely, not too filling, extremely strong kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent high-powered beer to sip on for as long as you can handle it.

Photo of nickfl
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Small head that dissapates quickly. Dark amber color seems to have nice clarity.

S - Caramel, alcohol, and some hops. Some roasted notes, a little bit woody as well.

T - Lots of hop flavor and maltyness. Strong alcoholic flavor. A little bit of raisiny flavor but not as sherry like as some other barley wines. Finishes with a nice long, drawn out bitterness.

M - Relatively thin and dry for such a strong ber. High level of carbonation as well.

D - Not overly complex, but a very solid and enjoyable example of the style.

Photo of Kegatron
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle into a snifter. 2010 vintage.

Pours a deep clear ruby with a near finger of fizzy mocha head. This immediately dissipates, leaving back some very thin foamy ringing out the sides and a spackling of light spotty lace. The aroma smells of ripe dark fruit, cocoa, caramelized sugars, roast and spicy warmth. This is pretty cut and dry with the flavors but they really come together into a delicious blend.

The taste mirrors the nose, with notes of dark fruit, roasty molasses, cocoa and a kiss of brown sugars on the finish. There is just a ton of sticky delicious flavor to this. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied with a sharp carbonation up front that spreads out into a firm creaminess as it works its way over the tongue. The alcohol underneath here will definitely warm you up but doesn’t detract from the other flavors at all. This is a VERY steady sipper for 12% ABV.

This has to be one of the most underrated beers out there. It’s 12% ABV yet drinks like a champ, it’s readily available on shelves, and its tastes and smells awesome! What a great beer! I’d be putting away cases of this if I had the cellar room.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Pours a fully fogged in very slightly orange touched brown. Nose is caramel, chalky, and dark fruits. Flavor is extremely smooth and brings just enough complexities. I get an alcohol burn, but it's more of a warming thing. Chalky almost strawberry flavorthing is there. Bourbon tones. Sweet tones abide, but it's not overdone. Carbonation still nips at the tongue quite a bit. Liquid is slick and smooth. Well this is quite good. A firm example of why you should buy some beers and never touch them for years.

Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Seems appropriate, nice cold night, they make some nice beers too, great brewery, and this beer is no exception, just haven't reviewed it yet. 2013 vintage, just in time for the end for the year.

Pours a decent fizzy fluffy slight brownish reddish colored head that keeps trying to rise to a huge head but the alcohol keeps battling it back, but eventually stabilizes on an almost 1 finger head that starts to fade at a med pace, then slows to a crawl at a thick frothy small head cover, light lacing, dark ruby cranberry murky sediment laden beer.

Nose is pretty nice, right on for an old ale almost barleywine like, fairly sweet smelling malts, little syrupy, reddish candy malt and lots of toffee, butterscotch and biscotti like candy, nice soft candy malt aged malt like, little dark fruit plum fig date like, caramel and butterscotch candies, mild phenolic booze and bitter hop aroma.

Taste is fairly sweet, a big candy flavor again, with lots of caramel and toffee, butterscotch candies again, some caramelized sugars and candied dark fruits. Candied dark fruits come through with fig/date like, but no raisin, hint of brown sugar and molasses, with a little syrupy sweet candy. A light aged soft malt but not as much as I expected for an old ale, but there, with a little toffee and brittle candy. Mild booze warmth and hint of tingle, but a clean booze, as well as a hint of spicy hop character. Finish is drier but sticky sweet, lots more candy with toffee, brittle, and caramel galore, little butterscotch too, mild syrupy but not a lot, and hint of warming booze and hop bitterness.

Mouth is fuller bod, little syrupy but smooth, some booze warmth and tingle, decent carb.

Overall pretty good, a cross between barleywine and old ale, aged malts are lighter but nice, good candy with toffee and butterscotch, caramel, etc, booze is held in check and balanced decently by the sweetness but not overly sweet and there is enough booze warmth to be a good strong old ale. Tasty and enjoyable sipper for the cold night.

Photo of Slatetank
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this one up at Julio's -2008 vintage -poured from the stubby 12ozer into a snifter

A - A caramel brown colored liquid w/ translucent clarity and quick to settle beige cap w/ ultra fine bead. The lace clings is a haphazard streamer/spotted appearance

S - Vanilla spice and caramel aroma w/ a slight creamy almost custard-like aroma of subtle oxidation

M - The feel is surprisingly crisp w/ relatively full carbonation and a mild warmth of alcohol w/ sweet textures from mid taste into a semi-dry toasted finish

T - A taste of nut and mild caramel malt sweetness w/ a mild pine flavor in the hop dept is followed by a light pepper and subtle note of coffee w/ toffee-like buttery edge and mild brown sugar flavor w/ a light vanilla bean accent and mild molasses quality w/ more pine from the hops and sweet malted caramel notes into the long finish. As it warms it brings more of an alcohol warming and caramel tootsie roll from the malt emerges

D - I really wasn't sure what to expect other than good mentions of this brew - a really solid old ale w/ substantial malt body - what this style is all about. The alcohol is very well hidden for a brew upwards of 11% abv

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.25/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of russpowell
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2004 version Pours a murky caramel with a tiny/filmy white head. Head retention and lacing minimal

Smell: Bourbon-like oakiness hits you up front, then raisin and leather comes to the fore.

Taste: Big malt presence coupled with toffee/treacle- like sweetness and Bourbon. Warming alcohol burn on the finish

Mouthfeel: Chewy and well balaced. Carbonation is understated but appropriate

Despite it's heft, this goes down too smoothly. This will take the chill out of the winter night

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle poured into a Chimay chalice. Beer is brown with a lot of haze and a thin brown head of small bubbles that breaks super quickly and pulls back to a halo. Carbonation appears low.

Aroma is super sweet and molasses. Lots of malt sugar.

Beer is way thinner than I expected, the lead off is almost entirely alcohol, the midpalate is mild sweetness with some roasted candies like caramel or darker molasses. The finish is a little dry.

I reviewed this tonight because it was the new vintage, I realized I had never reviewed it before but I'm currently setting up quite a vertical that I will replace this review with in the future. This beer is pretty hot young.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2002 Vintage.
Appearance: a brilliantly ruby reddish hue, with a darkish head that dies down immediately.
Aroma: dazzling! full of dark fruits (cherries, berries, grapes), and wine, port, cognac... a very evident alcoholic component!
Big hops, big malt, big booze: that's the basic lineup, but when it all tastes so good, who could want anything else
A sweet, syrupy characteristic shines through the mouthfeel...the fruit and the booze (brandyish) totally dominates the overall texture.
One thoroughly decadent ale, and a truly stand-out examples of a barleywine.
thanks to weefishheads.

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty sure this was a 2012 vintage.

Rusty brown color, slightly hazy, an aggressive pour yielding a relatively small beige head that laced the glass well. Sugary aroma--malts, maple, brown sugar, butterscotch--dark fruits, minor hit of booze. The taste was similar, lots of sweet malts, dark sugars, toffee, some chocolate and hazelnut, rum raisin. Heavier medium body, smooth, some alcohol warmth, as would be expected from the ABV. Very nice overall. I'll have to seek out more of this, and keep some in the cellar.

Photo of beernads
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,684 ratings.