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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 2ndstage
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow what a beer. I had been looking for this one for quite some time, imagine my surprise when I found this on a shelf. Amarillo is NOT a place to find good beer.

Pours a nice dark garnet hue. Minimal head that dispersed within a minute or so.
Strong malty aroma with a few tones of maybe licorice. Very smooth for the gravity of this ale, Alcohol presense is definately right up front on the first sip to is soon soothed by the creamy malt backbone.
Mouthfeel is quite a bit lighter than I expected in this style but I find it much more pleasing than some other versions of this kind.
On the hop front nice balance Fuggle taste/aroma fits in quite well with this one.

Drinkability. Very smooth goes down well but beware the 11.4% will definately reach out there and smack you soon.

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Photo of WetCoaster
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber with a slightly off-white head. Almost no retention on first pour; pretty solid on the second. Fine mild carbonation.

Smell: Super juicy, fruity, flowery sweetness. Malty, syrup heavy, with almost no hop scent to speak of.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Wow, that is one mouthful of malt. Big-ass chewy sweetness with a slight green apple tartness. Slightly bitter in the finish. Still, not overwhelming. The mouthfeel--huge surprise--is thick, coating and syrupy, but the carbonation puts up quite a struggle, giving it a crispness.

Drinkability: Surprisingly good; this is actually quite a friendly beer. Like Anchor's Old Foghorn, this is a huge beer, but it's not at all dark or overpowering. Juicy, sweet, even a bit tart; it's a nice drinking beer. But don't drink more than one, lemme tell ya--whoa.

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Photo of crookedhalo
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yeah, this one's always a fun one. Pours a tawny, russet copper color with a thin beige head. Aromas of scorchy candied malt and a whole lotta hops, melded in well with the malt. Lightly fruity, but in a big sense; everything about the beer is big. Lotsa hinting at wine-ness with a chock-full of tannins from the hops. Alcohol is noticable, just buried amongst goodness. Some gummy aromas, like gum sap from Brazilian rubber trees. God, I'm a sucker for a good old ale, sometimes I just get lost in them. Lightly sticky in the mouth, but I suppose it's a given with the 11.4% ABV tag. But the flavor is marvelous. Richly malted, with an equalling hop counterbalance, which really defines a good old ale, IMHO. Just a touch of lime sherbet nearer the finish (sounds wierd, but bittering after sweetness..., not so illogical in a strong ale) I'm impressed by this beer year in and year out. It doesn't seem to differ. A staple where heartiness is in order. Highly recommended for the strong ale lover.

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Photo of NolanGTI
4.57/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This may be my new favorite beer. Problem is I am having problems keeping it in the cellar, it beckons me every week....

The color is not unlike a typical ruby ale with a nice dark edge to it. The absolute most distinctive quality you notice before drinking is the aroma, not the color. At first whiff, you'll smell alcohol and lots of it.

After you get past the alchohol there is a beuatiful boquet on this baby. I have smelled something differerent almost every time I drink it. Being an old ale it seems to be more complex, like a great wine.

What amazes me about this beer is after the stunning aroma it has suck a delicate taste. It takes a sip or two to cut through the alcohol, but then you begin to notice all kinds of subtle flavors layered in with a great malt charecteristic.

It doees have the nice alcohol burn and definitely should be had in small quantities to avoid an evil hangover (learned the hard way).

I will be heading to shangy's to stock up on more next time I am there.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampling a 2004 version of this ale, sent to me by my buddy Sulldaddy. I pour into a tulip glass at room temperature. It pours a chestnut/ruby color with a slightly fizzy head that lessened to a slight edge layer with minimal lacing on the glass; very clean looking ale, which is always nice. Aroma up front is vanilla with an underlying sour aroma with dry oak aromas throughout as well; lots of alcohol on the sniff which killed some aromas; reminded me a lot of a bourbon or maybe even a dry sherry. Taste is lots of sweet fruits (plums or cherries maybe- hard to distinguish) along with lots of drying notes on the finish due to the alcohol. Some malt flavor comes through on the body but the bourbon flavor really comes through. It actually reminds me of a fruity Southern Comfort. Mouthfeel is lots of alcohol and even MORE alcohol! Little carbonation gives way to the alcohol making this a dry brew which warms my tummy. I loved this one really. Exactly what I want out a "big beer". Thanks Sully!!!

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I am sampling a 2004 vintage in a pint glass at room temperature.
The beer pours a deep crimson color with a frothy off white head foaming up about 1 cm and fading quickly to an edge layer. Aroma is a mixture of raisins, red grape juice, toffee, a bit of biscuity scent and some mild earthy hops.
First sip reveals a slightly syrupy texture with average and prickly carbonation. Sweet brown sugar and molasses starts the beer with chocolate covered dark fruit in the middle (raisins) and finishes with a bit of a hot alcohol bite that warms me as it passes down my throat to my belly. WOnder if that will mellow in my remaining bottles?
The syrupy texture is smooth and coats my palate, while leaving a sweet coating on my lips. A very tasty and robust beer that is not for the faint drinker. This is definately not a good choice for trying to convert someone to the world of better beer, but I enjoy it a lot!

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Photo of beercollector
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This 2003 pours a nice ruby with an average off-white head. There is good lacing that stays well on the side of the glass.

A heavy malt aroma with a light herbal hop and then a medicinal smell.

This is a full bodied malty old ale with a slight hop aftertaste. It has a soft carbonation and moderate sweetness. This is a beer to sit down with and spend the evening slowly sipping a couple.

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Photo of longarm
4.24/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 release. Appears dingy amber with decent carbonation that lasts quite well.

Aroma is outstanding, filled with sweet oranges and caramel, not caramel malt, but candied caramel. I'm also catching a small amount of something resembling cotton candy. Slightly alcoholic as well.

Flavor generally sweet, like dates with mild alcoholic heat and slight hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit cloying, maybe a bit too heavy on the malt, but it coats extremely well.

Considering the strong sweetness and especially high alcohol, it's a rather drinkable and pleasant brew. I think this would go well paired with a cold, dark chocolate based dessert.

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Photo of granger10
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 version:

This beer pours a deep mahogany amber color with a tight tan head that holds up. Minimal lacing. Vinous aroma with caramel and dried figs and then a sharp brandyish alcohol kick. Starts somewhat sweet and fruity with a caramel and apple flavor. Underneath there's a roasted earthiness. Alcohol precense is strong, even for this somewhat aged bottle. Tastes like a brandy or cognac or scotch or something along those lines, i'm not completely sure. Hop flavor is almost drowned out by the alcohol but the hops do provide a drying lingering sensation in the back of my mouth. Firm and slick bodied in feel, this beer is quite tasty and goes down well while the flavors hold in the aftertaste for quite some time. Very nice!

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.56/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a really pretty drink. Sorry if that sounds light in the trousers, but it has the richest amber colour I have yet laid eyes upon. Black cherry or super ruby double cranberry comes to mind. A thin and bubbly one finger head rose up and crashed into the alcoholic inferno beneath in moments. No lace. Not even a ringer by the time I got to the middle of the glass. I see some carbonation spritzing off to the atmosphere. That colour though. WaWa WeeWa.

The smell says whiskey dumped on some caramel and apple and maybe some cherry. Sweet and strong smelling. Not super pungent by any stretch.

The taste was really a shock. Not much happening here. I had certain expectations going into the taste test that just were not met. I can say for an old ale with not that much flavor it hides the alcohol pretty well. I am unsure how this thing pulls that stunt off, but it does. You get a sugar crystally, fruity, carameled flavor followed by a warmth that let's you know that this old girl has some joy juice in it. Tiny bitterness or alcohol bite in the finish. But the whole thing is kinda light. Both in texture and in taste. The thickness and boastful flavors that I expected are nowhere to be found. But the colour! I wonder at this point if I have made a crucial error and sprung this bastard loose too early. Then I think, well it isn't going to grow a set and get thicker in the bottle if I leave it for a year. Flavors could possibly improve, but the body is not going to get any more full. I am kind of disappointed as I have contemplated drinking this bottle for awhile ( okay, a few days )now and the thing just fell short. Flopped like a fat, wet titty. Not to worry, I intend to get another bottle and age that sucka into a dust covered cellar dweller. Ahh yes, hope. It is all I have. This is far inferior to T.C.O.A. is all I hafta say to those that feel me : )

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Photo of cokes
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear, rusty amber/bronze with a patchy pale tan lacing.
From here on out, it's analogous to fruit punch. Smelling strongly of pineapple, cherry, pear, and grape. Spiked with rum.
Tastes similar. Full of tropical and domestic fruits, like a heavy syrup Tropicana puree. Gobbed with pineapples, apples, pear, peach, cherry, grape, plum, raspberry. The underlying base is caramel, but the fruit is so thick as to basically negate the standard conception of malt..and, for that matter, alcohol. If anything, it's a bit one-sided with it juiciness, but it's so damn delicious, and nothing here is forced, out of place, or artificial seeming. A quick breadiness reminds us that this is, in fact, beer, and precedes an algae-rich hop notion of plant life.
Heavy, thickened texture, with a sluggish carbonation that gives this just the movement it needs to prevent it from seeming stagnant or cloying.
There is nothing else like this, American, British, anywhere.

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Photo of ism
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 opened 2005-03-28. 11.4% ABV.

Pours with a small head that disappears quickly, the lacing nonexistent after a minute, both succumbing to the alcohol. Beautiful amber-ruby hue. Scent of complex blend of raisin, spices, fruit, caramel, and alcohol. Light carbonation and slight acidity tickles the tongue, and sweet caramel washes over, with raisin, cloves, and orange peel. Goes down with a nice alcohol warmth, very light bitterness emerging, and a bit of coriander. A thorough adventure from glass to throat.

A complex beer, quite warming, not devastating, very pleasing, and I am confident it will get better. I immediately cellared the remaining three. You cannot pass this up.

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Photo of asabreed
4.9/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer about 6 months ago and have been dying to try it again; I deemed it then as one of the best beers I've ever tasted.

Thankfully, I was able to find a 4-pack at Carytown Wine and Beer in Richmond for about $10, and I would've paid much more to be able to buy for bottles for sure. I think I had the 2003 edition 6 months, but now this is the 2004, and a fresh bottle that I just opened. One of the reasons it has an almost perfect score is for my expectations being so high, and they ended up being pretty much right on as far as what I can recall after that first taste.

Appearance: Beautiful amber, orange, reddish color, with a lace that sticks and then recedes quickly. Nice outline of white around the beer that remains nicely, and no lace sticking to the wine glass.

Smell: Better than I remember it. Raisins. Toffee. Faint hints of chocolate. Faint hints of many kinds of fruit. The Caramel presence is huge, though not cloying but extremely surprising and welcoming. The sweetness is what surely fills the nose, but again, it's not so sweet you think it's a fruit beer. Reminds me of a good barley wine, yet the faint smell of hops usually in many isn't present, andf it really isn't missed in that sense because the aroma's so complex.

Taste: Extremely complex, and extremely inviting. The flavors come out immensely from the smells. And for how sweet it smells, once would imagine the sweetness would overtake the palate. However, the aftertaste is one of the attributes that denies any such claim. One may think it would be too sweet, too overpowering with the alcohol, too unbalanced. Not at all. I don't know how it's done, but not only is the aftertaste sweet, it's balanced, complex yet again, and stays with you in the mouth. Stunning.

Mouthfeel: I don't see how it can get any better. This may be the perfectly delicate balance between light and chewy.

Drinkability: The only reason I'm giving this a rating that isn't perfect is for the extremely high ABV. I would never drink more than one at a time because it's so goddamn good you'd be a fool to do so.

This is a gorgeous beer and one that will remain, I imagine, in my top five for as long as I continue to drink it. Please seek this out, as it's worth it for the price if you can find it in singles or a 4-pack. Bravo, North Coast.

NOTE: As I said, this is the 2004 batch, so it could have been brewed and bottled over a year ago or less than six months ago. That said, I can't wait to shelve a few of these for at least a year to see what wonderful things happen. I've had way too many barley wines in the past year that have been so green that I couldn't believe I even attempted to open it. This is a case where, in [probably] less than a year, this beer's come through, which makes it even more inviting that in its "green" state it can be such a fantastic thing.

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

12 FL. OZ.
ALC./VOL. 11.4%

Appearance – clear ruby body; cream-colored head crackles falls victim to the 11.4% abv after a few seconds to leave a direct view of the ale’s body; headless beer grants no lace; carbonation runs away after a few minutes

Smell – caramel; spice; red fruit punch; figs; astringent alcohol

Taste – caramel and spice in the front with a bit of chocolate and dark fruit; alcohol and interwoven malt and hop run the late show with tolerable bitterness working the afterparty

Mouthfeel – nice moderate body and a touch of oil, but the alcohol does send the smoothness packing late and dries up the tongue; it'll only get better with age

Drinkability – big warming effect at 11.4%; light carbonation eases the drink

This one has great potential and I feel that there’s a better future if it sits.

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

This is a 2002 vintage bottle. A clean dark amber/brown beer some orange and ruby highlights. A good dried fruit character stars the aroma and somr tabacco. With a nice nutty maltiness in the background. The dried fruit character starts out the flavor. With notes of coffee and toffee floating around your tongue. Ending with a bittersweet fruit and a tabacco like finish. Oh did I forget the alcohol warmth going down. Nice....

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Photo of Higravity
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was the 2003 vintage sevred in a tulip glass. Well is it deep amber with litlle head but whatever it is 11+%. It did not have a big nose to it. Mostly I really like this one for the chewy body and it nicely complex malt flavors. It plays at being sweet as the bittering hops are low to my taste, but it is not cloy-sweet. Subtle dried fruit aftertaste with perfect carbonation level leaves your mouth watering for another sip.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark mahogany, still as night, calm and ever-inviting. An intense nose that welcomes port, alcohol, raspberries and figs. Sweet and nearly full bodied, twigs, cherries and plums all to be found; rich and chewy. Alcohol makes a quick entrance, but the door is open; butterscotch and chocolate, coupled with dark malts and sugar; incredible, this stuff is not good but awesome! Aging? Can it get better?

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Photo of palma
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is some monster ale if id say so, weighing in at 11.4 % ABV.

2003 vintage. Sampled 3/12/2005.
Sweet aromatic malty aroma consisting of fruit, caramel, licorice, and cocoa notes. Rich malty taste up front. Prune/raisin, cherry, and grape flavors. Vinous, sherry-like finish. Very light bitterness. Some warming alcohol but not as much as I expected. ABV is hidden here.
Creamy mouthfeel. Light carbonation.
Pretty easy to drink, considering the high alcohol content.

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Photo of shapudding
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No dating.
Deep chestnut that you can barely see through. No head, just a bit of off-white ring and a slight rign. Vineous and fruity, sherry and port, sweet and malty- so nice! Thick and almost chewy feeling. You can feel the bite of the carbonation a bit, with a creamy foaminess to it.... nice. Bitey hoppiness, peppery, caramelly and roasty malts. Blackened toast with a touch of honey. A lot of flavor left in your mouth after each sip, a lot going on. Bit warm, not really “hot”, the alcohol becomes more pronounced as it warms. There is just a ton of intense, deep flavors in here. Great as a sipper or with some rich foods or a nice cheese plate. Highly enjoyable

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2000

Pours a murky reddish brown with a disappointingly small head of tan foam. Lots of aroma, mostly of dried fruits and a little hop sense. The flavors weigh heavily to the dried fruit variety; hints of prunes and raisins in there with a nice thick moutfeel that does not come across as syrup. A little too much of everything for me to want more than one to a session.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden froth rises-falls-evaporates to the corners of the globe. The color of light through a brown glass bottle. It glistens as it swirls around the glass. Yes, yes, smells fruitful -- candied, spicy orange peel, big fluffy, crusty pannetone.
A little cough syrupy. Pretty enjoyable. Tobacco, gum, alcohol numbness, strong darjeeling tea - a little nutty.

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Photo of inebrius
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Liquid Stollen! Aromas of candied fruit, marzipan, dough and marzipan. Smells like marzipan, stick your nose into it while munching on marzipan you freak. Malt coated egg fritters rest heavy in the mouth carrying wisps and whirls of spiced rum as the juice flows heavily down and through the pipes. A good nightcap or dessert beer.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 on the bottle....I believe it was distributed in '04 though.
Pours a very impressive, cloudy dark brown with a half a finger of caramel head. Lace is fairly thin, but clings nicely.
Packed w/ aromas...apples are first detected, along w/ just a hint of alcohol.
Wow...this one packs a punch and its not all due to the alcohol. Tastes of cherries, grapes and raisins...again, alcohol present in the aftertaste...but then again, how the hell can you altogether hide 11% plus??
The mouthfeel is real nice...thick and sweet w/ a very nice bitter aftertaste. I could enjoy two of these in an evening w/ out any effort, but this is one brew to cherish and not abuse.
A big thanks to IrishMike for recommending this one.
I'll keep the remaining three in the cellar for special occasions.

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Photo of maxpower
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 vintage pours a murky dark reddish brown with a small light brown head with large bubbles that leaves a thin lacing in my glass. Fruity plum, vanilla and grapefruit aromas, dark fruit, caramel, chocolate and nutty flavors. Full bodied with a full and thick lightly carbonated mouthfeel, finishes on the dry side, alcohol well hidden, very nice.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is my first experience with old ales. Vintage 2003. 12 oz., served at room temperature, overflowing with foam when opened. Pours into the snifter a deep dark red with a 1 finger light tan head that leaves no lacing. Some sediment is floating around. There was a little bit of rust on the bottle where the crimped part of the cap was touching. Smell is of strong malts - dark fruit, apple, diacetyl, bubblegum, a hint of earth, and alcohol. Tastes very very malty - same as the scent but with a wine quality. The hops leave a slight bitterness but the malts dominate the aftertaste. The beer is thick, chewy, low on carbonation, and leaves a warming sensation as it goes down. A definite sipping beer with too strong a flavor (not to mention abv) to drink more than 1 or 2 a night. It is intense and not for the faint of heart, but it warms the soul well on a cold winter night.

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