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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,455 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,455
Hads: 3,050
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.61%
Wants: 167
Gots: 624 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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.
View: Beers (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Stock Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,455 | Hads: 3,050
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle says 2004 behind the label. Pours a murky brown, like a heavy apple cider. Smells of cherries and alcohol with a little malt. Tastes like a port with a dry hop finish that obscures the alcohol. Very nice considering its 11.4%. Mouth feel is heavy, but slippery. Good Beer.

P.S. Took a half hour to drink. When I finished, the color had turned crystal clear. Also, When this beer warmed up, the noxious alcohol smell and taste never showed up. This is another finely crafted beer from the NCB.

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Photo of bcm119
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful color, sort of like mohogany. Fine tan head. Lots of black fruit in the aroma, dried cherries, figs, sherry. Tawny port-like nose, becomes semi-sweet with more dark fruit; woody with hints of black licorice. Smooth alcoholic rumminess, but hops add balance and complexity. Very refined, and has a holiday feel to it. Alcohol is warming but not even slightly unpleasant, like rum cake. Really interesting and worth seeking out.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

North coast is a phenom.

Poured into a snifter it produced a filthy dirty head that laces on occasion but mostly you get that alcohol slide down the sides of the glass....sweeet!. dark ruby red color with medium lazy carbonation. For sure you have to pick up the huge alcohol smell although its not overbearing. Caramel is there to chill it out a bit. The drinks are warm regardless of temperature. Big coffee flavor balanced by some sweet malts. I get some light fruitiness as well although its well in the background its welcomed and a nice fit.

No date of any kind on the bottle but I would imagine this would be better in a few years as its still a bit raw for an 11%+ brew. I will hunt this down hopefully and find a big bottle to store but for now this is a must purchase and for the price it packs the punch for sure. yaawwwn goodnight. slosh.

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Photo of DrJay
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2004: Deep ruby brown, slightly hazed, with a thin, light tan head that leaves a bit of lace. Bready aroma with lots of caramel and toffee along with some raisins. Alcohol was quite pronounced, but not completely out of balance. Moderately low bitterness compared to the amount of malt in this one. Lots of caramel and nuts, with a toffee finish and faint hop flavour. Alcohol throughout with a lot of warming and a little burn. The carbonation was coarse and didn't last for long. The nut and alcohol combination was a little reminiscent of whiskey. Overall, it seemed a little young and rough around the edges. A little aging could do it some good.

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Photo of Viggo
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy ruby red, small tan head forms, some legs but no lacing. Smell is nice, chocolate, pecan pie, cinnamon, alcohol and some bread. Taste is burnt toast up front, nuts, alcohol, some hopping and a sweet toffee finish. Mouthffeel was light, with really low carbonation that wasn't suited to the body, pretty intense alcohol burn. This beer was hit and miss, some really impressive parts and some not so impressive parts, this would really benefit from some aging, but worth a try. Good call DrJay.

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Photo of buckiflyer
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another pop the cap beer now available in NC, paid 1.75$ for a bottle from Whole Foods. 2004 vintage. Poured at room tempature as website suggested, a clear dark brown color, very little head. A very clean smell, maybe a hint of Rasberry and alcohol. Pow! what a finish, you can tell this one is high in alcohol. Sipped for an hour. May buy another and let it age.

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Photo of blackie
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2004 Vintage

appearance: My careful pour creates a thin off white head which leaves only a few islands of bubbles behind. The color is a deep mahogany with huge red hues coming through.

smell: Big malty flavors come through first, giving aromas of dark fruits.. Leathery and tobbacco like earty nuances are noticeable while a strong Ethanol presence tickles the back of the nose. A nice amount of hops provide just enough backing for the malt.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is medium low and the body medium heavy. It is pretty thick and has somewhat of a smoothness to it.

taste: As the silky liquid hits my tongue I first notice the big malty fruitiness alongside the strong ethanol presence. The alcohol in this one is really really strong, and it could definately use some time in the cellar to mellow out. The taste actually kind of suffers, and I think the alcohol is covering up some of the good flavors my tastebuds are searching for. The hops provide a bittering that lasts into the finish, as well as an ethanol astringency as alcohol fumes exit through the nose.

The alcohol in this one is huge and has to mellow out some for this beer to get a higher score for taste in my book. A beast.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 vintage: Pours a magnificent, cloudy ruby-tinged mahogany with a nice than head that is quickly killed by the alcohol. Aroma is striking with its malty, sweet and alcoholic presence with hints of caramel, molasses, fruity esters, dark fruits (currant and blackberry), toffee and a slight diacetyl presence. This one is definately a sipper, as the alcohol bite is somewhat harsh. The flavor is incredibly complex with huge malt notes of molasses, brown sugar, caramel, toasted bread, currant, plum, blackberry, raisins and toffee. There are some light floral and piney hop notes here but they definately take a backseat to the malt. This almost seems like an english barleywine due to the huge malt profile, and this beer has quite a scotch-like burn and some nice vinous flavors . The mouthfeel is huge and thick, chewy with a big body and light carbonation, drinkability is just descent as this one still carries a big alcohol bite and is fairly harsh. Quite enjoyable and complex, but could definately mellow out some more.

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Photo of PatYoda
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2002 Version.

Hazy Mahogany with a long lasting thick ring of foam around the side of the glass. Smell is some plum, raisin, and a definite brandy smell - lots of alcohol in the nose here. It gets better as it warms (or perhaps as I get more drunk?) Taste is all malt at first. Dark fruit galore. Some maple syrup in there as well. The finish is moderately bitter with some balancing hops and smacking of tongue numbing alcohol. A little spiciness as well, maybe from the alcohol. A bit too medicinal for my tastes, otherwise this would be great. Mouthfeel is relatively thick and slick. Overall, not something I would want all the time, but certainly good enough.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 Edition

Appearance: Pours a clear garnet color with a tan head that quickly disappears. A thin lacing rings the glass perfectly.

Smell: Prunes, must, cloves, burnt brown sugar. All things dark and sweet. A definite alcohol presence on the nose.

Taste: Prunes, raisins, with a present and strong alcohol backbone. Maybe some spices like cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar as it warms. Still, the alcohol is pretty present and has a sharp bite to it.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and lively carbonation. Burns a bit on the way down.

Drinkability: One to sip for sure. This could stand to benefit from some aging. A little rough around the edges for me but a nice change of pace.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 edition. Pours showing little to no carbonation, a crimson amber. Aroma is sweet and malty, and is one that I was getting whiffs of at arm's length when I popped the cap off. That's pungent, in a good way. Peppermint and candied plums are there as well. Complexity. Heat. The alcohol surrounds all facets of this, yet doesn't mask any of the flavors here. Sweet cinnamon and molasses, licorice, chocolate covered cherries...booze. No carbonation. This is one to sip, and sip slowly. Maybe could use some age, and I would certainly love to try some older samples. I'll be getting another bottle or two for the cellar for sure, but this is still very interesting in its fresh state. Whoo!

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Photo of JackStraw22
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2004 eddition.

Appearance: Opaque dark amber body. Inch of tan head, retention wasn't great.

Smell: Thick malty sweetness, lots of bready aroma. There's a hint of the big alcohol in there. Cherry and vanilla aromas too.

Taste/Feel: Damn, this is an ass kicker! Very sweet with a nice vanilla aftertaste. There's some bitterness to make it bearable, but it's not the focus. Alcohol is there, but it's balanced. Creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I couldn't drink this too often, but I'd certainly seek it out again, especially to see how it ages. I've got a couple bottles of 2002 I'm looking forward to trying.

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

2003 vintage.
Makes me think of a less bitter(though not a whole lot), lower hopped, sweeter, maltier American barley wine. Alcohol flavor and presence is way big in this.
Caramel, toffee sweetness is dominant. The aroma gives you a warning before it hits the tongue. There is quite a bit of hops bitterness, but not as much as in a barely wine, and it appears more in the finish and mouthfeel than the flavor itself. Quite a bit of raisin and prune in the flavor.
This has a pretty thick, smooth mouthfeel to it. Sticky.
While, odds are, you're not going to down a four pack of these by yourself at a sitting, a bottle of this would probably make for an excellent after dinner drink or nightcap. This is one to sip and to be savored.

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Photo of Shaw
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 edition: I have several bottles of the 2000 and 2002 vintage in my cellar that I can't bring myself to drink. I saw this year's vintage at Whole Foods and had to buy a four-pack!

It pours a cloudy brown in color with a slight, white head. The smell is very complex. It smells like carmel candy with fruity notes and lots of alcohol aromas. It's excellent.

The taste is big, as expected. This is a beer with lots of malt sweetness and a massive amount of hop bitterness to balance it out. The powerful flavors of alcohol are all over this beer. The flavors of plum or perfume are also present, like they are in the taste.

The body is very slick, thanks to the high ABV. I've knocked down the drinkability a few points because this beer is so strong. One is definitely enough.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.89/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2002 Edition: One of my longtime favorites, this beer will go into a tulip. The head is much more subdued than my previous bottles from this year. The half inch head quickly fades to nothing. The body is transparent only when held to a light source, and even then one must be quite close to the glass.

The nose is malty and vinous. Slight vanilla and raisins are detected. This baby is in its prime. The malts are complex. I really cannot pick any individual flavor out of this. The malt is somewhat roasty, with dark fruits as well. The finish is dry, almost like I am drinking Cabernet. Must be the remnants of the hops. The mouthfeel is thick, but not coating as I imagine it once was. Even if there was a hint of the 11.4% ABV, this would be extremely drinkable. Time has been good to this, as the alcohol is buried deeply within this one. I cannot find any more recent vintages of this one in Indy. There seems to be plenty of this one, though. I give a three for appearance because of the enormous head on every other occassion that I drank this one. I will edit this the next time I pop one.

Edit: My glass might have been slightly dirty the last time. This time, I get the nice head I am accustomed to from this one.

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Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 edition. What can I add to these raves? It’s just some kind of mad beer. Pours a "bright" brown that doesn't make you think of barley wine just yet. Nice tan head on top. Mouthfeel is sticky and rough like a buckwheat honey. This is full of rough edges, yet I wanted to savor every one of them. Couldn’t figure the malt or hop presence, but toward the end of the sample, my upper lip was curled slightly inward from bitterness.

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Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a very warm/alcohol scent that is rich in malts. It has a complex array of smells. It's sweet and warm, but also with a dry feel. The taste is great. It has an intensely rich, malty flavor that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with some roasted barley. It has a mildly bitter hop flavor that goes down slow and smooth and finishes warm. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great beer. It has nice complexity and an overall good taste; a good drinker.

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Photo of KoG
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Take away the small head it produced and the lacing, and it looks like a glass of brandy. Dark brown with amber-red highlights.

Smell is super malty along with dark fruit, raisin and maybe a touch of plum, along with a wisp of that 11.4%.

Taste is bold to say the least. Some sweetness paired with the spicyness of the alcohol and light citric hops. Slight rum taste backed by fruit, alcohol takes over as it warms and can become astringent, I had to pair this with something unsweet.

Not a bad brew at all. The alcoholic burn is a bit much and this may require a bit of laying down before I try it again.

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Photo of EPseja
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a chalice at just above cellar temperature.

A - Looks like a crystal clear tawny port with orange and ruby highlights. The head stared out at a full inch, then quickly diminished to almost nothing in under a minute. Good points for the color and clarity, but points off for the disappointing head.

S - Serious malts that smell like they've come from a whisky barrel. Vanilla (or vanillin) mingles with subdued and well blended alcohol. Molasses. Cognac and orange peel. Reminds me of the miniature dark chocolate liquor bottles you find around the holidays -- this one being the equivalent of the Grand Marnier. Full and satisfying.

T - The very first taste on the tongue is super-dry malt. The sweetness in the smell does not carry over into the taste. In the middle, the vanilla and whisky tones make their appearance side by side with an understated sweetness. The aftertaste is dominated by a creme brulee flavor and the slow-burn of the alcohol. Very complex.

M - The very first thing that you notice once this beer enters your mouth is a very tingly (but tasteless) effervescence on the tip of your tongue. This quickly subsides, and the beer takes on a round, slick medium consistency without being syrupy.

D - Although it's inital nose might make one think that it's going to be thick, this beer's lightness of mouthfeel makes it a very smooth drinker.

Overall, I would liken this beer to a cordial. This beer has all of the flavor of a well-developed tawny port (and then some), but with half the alcohol and a lighter palette-feel.

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Photo of charlesw
3.47/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obtained through trade (thanks again, Mike!).

Pours dark brown. I want to say that it's clear, but I can't see through it. Maybe it's just brown. No, dark brown. Small tight head that quickly vanishes leaving a lasting lace.

It smells like BnR Rum Raisin ice cream - no question about it (I used to make the stuff).

The taste follows through a good deal on that... A thick caramel maltiness with that rum raisin taste not far behind. No hops detected. Thick aftertaste of a lighter molasses...

Nice in the mouth - creamy, smooth, nice and thick.

It would be hard for me to call this really drinkable - the rum raisin flavor is really strong. I mean, you'd have one, you know? So, drinkable... Well... Actually, it goes really well with the potato-leek soup that I'm having right now. I mean, yesterday I had the same soup and a very hoppy (bitter) beer and the beer was just terrible with it. But with this creamy (well, bland) soup the beer is perfect - nice and smooth, easy to swallow, it helps clear the palate a bit before the next bite of soup...

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Photo of karst
4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bright mahogany color with a 2 finger tan head and some lace.

Aromas of caramelized malt, alcohol, ripe dark fruits, (raisins- plums- figs).
Flavors similar with lots of caramel. Pleasing carbonation stronger that I would expect in a 2 yr old Barleywing. Round creamy medium mouthfeel. Hops still present. Alcoholic notes are smooth and vinous.

Pleasant to sip.

after a year in the cellar fruit and hops reduced. Strong alcoholic aroma with some weakened caramel. Nice round mouthfeel. Excellent winter sipper.
Although my cellar temps fluctuate a little too much - this has done well!

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Photo of board45
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle
2003 edition

Cloudy, dark, rich, golden brown w/ a thin mocha head. The nose is coffee and espresso. The taste is loaded w/ malt, w/ espresso and hazelnut. Tons of nut here. Initially you taste none of the alcohol but at the finish it is awfully warming. I also find a little sweetness in the middle but cant tell exactly what it is. Oak accents are there too. I look forward to having more.

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Photo of paterlodie
4.49/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Good appearance with light yellowbrown head and dark brown beercolor. Nose is fenomenal, yeast and hop fruity with strawberries but yeastspice also. Lots of malts with sharp roast and sweet caramel. Further lots of alcohol with cognac hint. Taste is complex being sweet, alcoholic, roast&fruit( strawberry again) before staying alcoholic bitter. Woww this warms almost as cognac. This is enjoyable, maybe litle too sweet but forgiven with such a full taste.

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Photo of sinistermadman
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a deep red-amber hue while emanating minimal head action.

Smell has a strong alcohol nose, but some fruit and caramel are evident as well. Smells like it packs a punch.
This stuff could burn the house down. Very sweet taste and quite smooth. Mouthfeel is quite respectable considering the alcohol content. Very creamy and full. Did I mention this stuff is sweet? Sweet fruit and malt dominate the flavor from beginning to end. My eyes almost water if I breathe out my nose after taking a drink. A well crafted brew that will destroy your puny ass if you don't respect it.

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Photo of barrelman
2.21/5  rDev -46.1%
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.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,455 ratings.