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Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

1,465 Reviews
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Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-26-2001

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Reviews: 1,465 | Ratings: 3,080
Photo of craftbeersweden
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2015 Edition

Dark, copper with a thin head. No lacing stays on the glass.

Nose: Marsipan, vanilla, syrup, apple, caramel malt & butter.
Taste: Sweetness, marsipan, eggnog, vanilla, bourbon whiskey and cake.
Full, complex body with little but crisp carbonation.


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Photo of chinchill
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz 2015 bottle allowed to warm for about 25 minutes then served in a Porter Bar goblet.

Aroma: complex mix of various dark dried fruits, fruitcake, and hints of toffee.

Flavor: similar to the aroma; good complexity and balance. Sweet for style, leaning a bit towards a barleywine.

Feel: full and smooth but with more alcohol heat than optimal. Light but appropriate carbonation.

Overall: excellent.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2014 Vintage, no bottle date.

Purchased on 9/23/2015;
Opened on 3/28/2016.

Reddish-brown and clear with a large, frothy, off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Sweet and fruity aroma of caramel and sweet malts with a slightly vinous quality to it. No hops whatsoever. Flavor is sweet and complex, but not so much as an English Barleywine. It's strong but does not overpower. Full bodied and warming.

I don't think I would purchase this one again but there is nothing wrong with it. Just didn't excite me with the complexity that a strong ale can often have. A good sipper for my fantasy baseball draft.

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Photo of LAp
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a thick, 1 finger tan-mocha head. Nose is grape and cherry, with an almost Flanders red hint of funk. The slightest trace of whisky/bourbon is present on the nose as well. The palate is medicinal dark fruit and prominent malt, with a touch of bitter hop on the backend. Mouthfeel is medium, with a solid body rounding out the beer. Overall, a strong contribution to the style, if nothing groundbreaking.

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Photo of twage04
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a copper/brown, hazy color. Some booze and bourbon aroma. Taste is deep booze and dark fruit, bourbon. Definitely a sipper, warms you up. Reminds one of a Belgian dark strong, just maltier. Enjoyable beer but I didn't find myself that taken with it. This was from last year, although I'm not sure if it was early or late 2015. Perhaps could have benefited from aging?

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Photo of 20holmbrew
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a bottle from a four pack - 2015 version. I plan on aging 3 of the 4, buying a 4 pack with each yearly release. Old ales are new to me but seems like an interesting style to experiment with and to see how it changes over time. Reminds me a lot of barleywine. Quite sweet and hot.

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Photo of breakingbland
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Flying Squirrel in Chattanooga

This beer starts with a caramel aroma which continues into the taste along with spice. There is a pleasant level of alcohol heat which along with woodiness gives an impression of bourbon. A great beer!

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Photo of gustavmahler-09
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark orange with a slight head that dissipates quickly. Smell is subtle, fruity. Taste is big, prunes, raspberries, coffee, and boozy. Feel is not very carbonated, but is edgy, and resonant. Seems like a barleywine. This is class of 2015. I will be interested to see how it matures.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich, hazy brown-magenta. Light head, with no lacing. Notes of malts, caramel, and brown sugar in the aroma. The taste is sweet, with brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and malt notes. Mouth feel is Fairly mouth coating, with a good thick, bold texture. Fairly easy to drink, even at over 11% ABV. Overall, it's a fantastic beer. It evokes a sense of consuming a beer with a king in an old medieval drinking hall.

Served in a 12oz snifter. 2015 version.

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Photo of jahbless
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 version, 11.9%. Appearance: reddish orange very little head. Smell: brown sugar, caramel, figs, vanilla, malty sweetness Taste: very smooth and fruity. Nice mouthfeel. Overall: absolutely delicious, would drink often. If this is representative of barleywine/old ale style, then I want more.

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Photo of therubicon
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy. Alcohol and stone fruit in the nose. Taste of plums, figs, raisins, and brown sugar, with a perceptible but pleasant alcohoic burn. Great alternative to a brandywine for a cold winter night.

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Photo of BodiesLexus
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

current review is 2014 bottle, aged 1+ year.
Firstly, I have zero experience with true 'old ales'.
Think I'm looking for a BW maltiness with fruity sharpness and undertones of everything smooth and amber in nature.
Tried a 2014 of this fresh, felt it was harsh, tingly, grainy, alcohol clashing. A bit of hard candy when warmed, the only big positive in a style I bought in order to age.
Here we go, year 2.
Poured a pretty, cloudy orange/brown with stately half-inch white head, receding gradually to nothing.
Aromas of grainy heaviness, nicely accented by unexpected medium (green grapes, peaches) and dark (candied cherries, jelly grapes) fruits! Wow, very surprised to catch wine-like fruit notes so prominent that seemed to be nowhere in this same bottle a year ago. Bravo. Alcohol not noted in nose.
Taste is amber maltiness at high abv (noticeable alky burn that manages to disappear quickly, thankfully) with very faint fruity sharpness to dry it out but the maltiness still stands prominent. The warmer it gets, the more the fruity sharpness becomes a candied sweetness which melds oh so nicely with the grainy heaviness. AFtertaste still notably sharp grain and lingering alky dryness. To my tastes, this is 4x-5x more complex than when fresh. Mostly enjoyably so.
Feel is flat and somewhat heavy, not overly so. The bit of fruity characteristic adds a huge buoyancy to the experience. I'm hoping that further aging will enhance that fruity lightness to balance out the somewhat non-descript grainy maltiness which is the correct base of the beer, but which lacks definition so far here after a year and a bit. I'll knock on wood and suppose that my next tasting in 6-8 months will be a really good step forward in this process.

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Photo of mjurney
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 version.

Deep mahogany color. Highly carbonated. Thick beige head.

Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruit, some alcohol.

Very rich and sweet, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, a little woody. Dark fruit character, figs/prunes. Vanilla bean and spiced rum towards the end. Finish is boozy, but very smooth. Full bodied, chewy, warmth, easy drinking, slight dryness.

It's a very good Old Ale.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.41/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby, with light, persistent bubbles around edge.

Smells of salami, grape, caramelized crust of steak, blood. Not unpleasant, but odd and hard to pinpoint.

Taste improves greatly as prune juice and chocolate, with a nice frothy effervescent mouthfeel.

I've had a slew of barleywines this winter, so far, this comes out on top.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours mahogany in the glass with an off white head that left quickly and left not trace that it was ever there. The aroma contains sweet caramel, alcohol, roasted malts and the scent of a freshly cracked hazelnut. The taste is sweet and caramel like with a nuttiness that reminds me of roasted sesame seeds. The beer has a medium body and lower carbonation. The finish is bitter hops and warming booze that shock your mouth into watering and creating a lingering sweetness.

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Photo of chicagoish
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Cellar for two years :
-pours a clear reddish browh with a small to medium,quickly dissipating,foamy,offwhite head
-low carbonation visible

caramel,toffee,nutty,figs, alcohol ,slight chocolate,brown sugar
-plums,raisins,figs,brown sugar,,syrupy,toasty finish
-very sweet
-low to medium carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol present
Very good, but also very sweet

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Photo of drmeto
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2014 Version

-pours a clear red-brown with a small to medium,quickly dissipating,foamy,offwhite head
-low carbonation visible
-small particle floaties visible
caramel,toffee,nutty,figs,strawberries,slight chocolate,brown sugar
-plums,raisins,figs,brown sugar,strawberries,syrupy,toasty finish
-very sweet
-low to medium carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol present
More a Barleywine than an Old Ale.
Very good, but also very sweet

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Photo of NickSMpls
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Recommended by our local beer store. Bought a 4-pack of '14 and one of '15. Poured the '14 on Christmas eve. Clear dark honey color with light, but lingering, carbonation. Aroma of pit fruits - figs, dates and apricots. Mouthfeel is light and little hint of the ABV dynamite. Sweet flavors with a port wine profile - delicious! Let it warm to cellar temp before poring.

Update: '15 batch poured on 26 Feb '16. This one is cloudy and has a nutty, almond taste and strong malt backbone. Next year - a vertical '14 - '16 !

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into pint glass in December 2015. No date on the bottle.

Appearance: Dark Amber with tan head. Beer color is deep. Head is thin, and leaves a thin film on the glass.

Smell: Aroma is sweet. There is some caramel aroma as well, and a little hops.

Taste: The taste is also dominated by the sweetness from the malt. There is a little bite from the hops, but not much.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, but with a nice punch from the alcohol, which confirms the 11% on the bottle.

This is a smooth strong Ale. Good drinking, and something I would like to drink again.

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Photo of Tele
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Serving Type: Bottle (2015 Vintage)
Consumed: 12.14.15

A: 4.5 Pours a coppery brown with a one-inch, light tan head with good retention and lacing.

S: 4.25 Aromas are really nice, but a bit muted. Good malt presence bringing raisins, figs, caramel, apple pie, and a tiny bit of clove.

T: 4.25 Like the nose, there are great things going on flavor wise, but it’s pretty quiet. Starts off a bit sweet with a lot of the characteristics from the nose, especially caramel and malt with some booziness thrown in. The beer moves seamlessly into a very mild hop bitterness until finally finishing dry with flavors of candied apple.

M: 4.5 Full-bodied and satisfying without feeling too heavy. Great carbonation too.

O 4.25 This is a really nice old ale and the balance between sweet and bitter flavors is excellent. If the flavors were a little more pronounced, it would be a perfect example of the style.

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Photo of utopiajane
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a lovely orange with a slight haze. Amber hues and coppers amidst a soft glow. Thin tan head that fell fats but on a subsequent pour I was able to coax a bit of a lush head. Nose is nutty and fruity. A touch of treacle sweetness at first. Then the layered malt complexity is revealled. Caramel toffee, and soft sweet cake like breaddy malt. Dark fruits like fig and dates, a lovely hop floral to underscore. Golding show a bit of sweet herbal as this beer goes to finish with a touch of residula sweetness and a festive ting from alcohol. Excellent. Mouthfeel is medium and never gets too heavy or chewy. The flavors are prominent but delicate. It is impeccably smooth.

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Photo of Spikester
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Hazy reddish brown with about 3 fingers of light tan five minute head. No lace.
Smell is light toffee.
Taste is toffee plums brown sugar and a bit of noble hops toward the end.
Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. The finish is semi dry and wanders from sweet to bitter.
Overall a powerful and tasty beer. Proceed with caution.

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Photo of Wiffler27
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

bottled on the 223rd day of 2014 (8/11/14) and bought in July of 2015. consumed 12/9/15. bought a 4 pack so i could age 3 bottles and consume 1 now.

pours a dark mahogany color with a barely present white head.

smell is sweet like heavy caramel malt. smells like a barleywine. slight tones of alcohol as well but is covered well by the sweetness.

taste is sweet but has heavy alcohol tones. causing a warming effect almost instantly in my mouth. not a bad taste but could cover more of the alcohol. a sipper for sure.

overall this is good but isn't special to me. had my first barleywine ever last night and completely enjoyed it. now i'm interested in that style and beers of similar taste so i tried this. tastes similar to that barleywine but the alcohol is less hidden. not bad but put me down a rabbit hole. can't wait for the aged bottles now!

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Photo of MaxBrews
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aging is recommended on this beer, however I could not help cracking open a fresh 2015 vintage.

I never refrigerated this beer, and poured it straight into a Chimay goblet. The beer poured a nice mahogany color with a thin white head that dissipated quickly, likely due to the alcohol content. Definitely a brilliant color out of this beer.

The aroma of this beer was reminiscent of sherry, brandy, oak, oats and caramel malts. Due to a near 12% alcohol content alcohol was present in the nose.

The flavor of this beer was delightfully simple. Strong notes of cherry, sherry, brandy and oak. Not much more than those flavors. Due to the strength of this beer I was suspecting a more malt flavors, but rather than a heavy sweetness from the malt it has a brown sugar sweetness. Some reviews report hop flavor in this beer, I did not taste any hop flavor nor recognize any hop bitterness. As alcoholic as this beer is minimal

Mouthfeel was smooth, little to no bitterness. An extremely sweet beer.

All and all a well rounded beer that's quite easy to drink for the high ABV. As a fresh and un-aged beer it's very simple and lacking complexity. For a more fair review I should age this beer and try some vintages. I anticipate buying another four pack and giving this a go.

When beers approach the more extreme side i.e. higher alcohol contents there's a lot that go wrong. There are no off flavors in this beer, nor nothing unpleasant. I think this is a beer that can be enjoyed by most people and certainly a great way to showcase the diversity of beer. Also a great introduction to a very old style of beer.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a medium to moderately deep copper/amber brown in color with a very small head. The head is off-white in color and only about a centimeter thick. There is just a little bit of lacing from the small amount of head that remains after a moment in the glass. Looks like a fair amount of carbonation in the glass for the style and ABV.

S- The first noticeable scent that hits the nostrils is a fairly decent dose of sweetness. The sweetness is mostly caramel-like with a bit of balancing, red malt smell moving in during the middle of the drink. Right in the middle of the scent is just a touch of brown sugar sweetness mixing in. The back half of the smell is a combination of fading sweetness, light booze, and maybe just the slightest bit of hops bitterness.

T- At first sip, this beer displays its unique flavor profile. The sweetness from the scent is there early on, but not nearly as strong in the taste of the beer, instead being replaced by the balanced, caramel malt flavor. Some hops bitterness move in more quickly in the taste than in the scent, giving the beer a light to moderate, piney bitterness in the middle of the drink that carries throughout the back half as well. Underneath the hops bitterness is a mild, caramel flavor that moves in and out repeatedly throughout the drink.

M- This beer is very high in carbonation, not only for the style, but just overall. Outside of the carbonation, the beer is fairly light on the palate and there is no noticeable alcohol, both which are surprising for this beer and style.

Overall, this is an interesting beer that is very good. To me, it is light a hybrid of barleywine and old ale. It has some sweetness and some bitterness, and really doesn't lean towards either. It is a very balanced beer in flavor and displays surprisingly little alcohol for its content.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,465 ratings.