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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: 3,048
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.61%
Wants: 167
Gots: 620 | 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: 3,048
Photo of clvand0
3.36/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This was the 2003 version that I tried from a small bottle. Pours a very dark color that shows some light around the edges and has a dark head that dies off very quickly. The aroma was sweet and malty with a bit of alcohol. The flavor was a little sharp in my opinion. This one needs to be laid down for a while. The flavor is sweet and malty and finishes with a bitter kick. I'm going to put one of these away for a while.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.85/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark maroon color, with a surprisinlgybig head for a beer with this high of an ABV (about 1/2" and inch). Smell is very strong of raisins and alcohol, with a little hop presence. Taste is off the wall with alcohol, wow. A lot of other flavors are present, which are all accented by the alcohol. The flavor finishes with a smooth chocolate and hop favor. Mouthfeel is full, and slick. Perfect for this beer. A big, delicious beer, good for a cold, rainy day such as this.

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Photo of Skidz
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002 edition

A violent burst of gas escapes from the mouth of the bottle as the cap is lifted. Pours out a gleeming orange and sits a hazy orange rosé. Small off-white head emerges, then fades quite rapidly, leaving little traces along the surface.

Smells of caramel, malts, warmed cinnamon, apples and a nice does of herbal hop aroma. Nice spicy character, and alcohol acending from within.

Tastes of malts and exudes a stong alcoholic spiciness. Figs, prunes and apples make up the estery build. Tight against the sides of the tounge spring peppery and highly herbal notes that last long into the well defined, bitter finish.

Smooth and strong in a medium-full body with well-built and tingling carbonation. Glides along easily and delivers where it counts. A very good warmer that doesn't overtly intrude inside the mouth.

Tastetacular and delicious. Leave a few lying around the house for a cold, lonely winter's day or evening. To be enjoyed long after it's date.

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Photo of aracauna
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A downright gorgeous dark ruby body glows in the light. The yellowish tan head forms easily, but soon fades. The fading head is a bit of a disapointment, but what a gorgeous color the body is. The aroma is thickly malty with occassional whiffs of milk chocolate. There’s a hop bitterness that tingles the sinuses a bit, but it’s held in check to be a balancing note instead of overly dominate. The malt alternates between bread and that phantom chocolate with streaks of hop bitterness to break it up. A good bit of oak comes through toward the late middle. Awesome barleywine.

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

So, after carrying my laundry home in a driving rainstorm, what could cheer me up more than the North Coast Old Stock that I found in the fridge!

Pours a cloudy coppery molasses color with a small oatmeal colored head that fades pretty quickly. Sugary malt barleywineish smell. Thick brown sugar, maple, caramel with a whiskey-level punch and just a pinch of hops. Gooey and smooth, what you imagined it would have been like had you busted open the bottle of Vermont syrup at your grandmas house. Same finish as a shot of Frangelico with a lemon. You gotta love sweet stuff to love this stuff, but on a cold rainy day Captain Old Spice would give this a resounding "R".

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

Vintage Bottle 2003, Sampled September 2004
Pours a pretty, clear, deep ruby color and is topped by an amber-tan creamy head. The aroma is heady with rich notes of malt, caramel, malt extract. The malt aromas are accentuated by hoppy notes of citrus, apricot, and orange. The taste is full and sweet, and it coats my mouth in a fruity accompaniment that is caused by a marriage of citrusy hop notes and dark fruit malt notes. This is pretty tasty, with notes of plum, raisins, citrus, pine, sherry, leather, and caramel. This beer is a good example of the Barley Wine style, it is perhaps weighted towards the hop end of the scale, but not so much that you can't easily pick out the rich notes that the malts bring to this beer.

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3.96/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

red amber in color. This beer really has a nice appearance to it, despite scant head retention.
Smells of a distinct malty sweetness and a touch of the booze.
There are a lot of distinct flavors present in the overall character of this beer. Sometimes i wonder if it's a shame that there's so much alcohol. I think some of the individual tastes are tougher to pinpoint as a result of this. But what the hell's the matter with that? The tastebuds aren't all dead, yet. The malts hang heavily. Like the backdrop for this brew, they're all around and everywhere. Some fig, prune character is resonating in between sips.
definitely a well crafted beer. North Coast has yet to disappoint me. One bottle left, and it'll soon be joining some others, sitting in the dark for days and months and months on end, waiting for me to one day enjoy them. Kind of like veal.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ruby red, crystal clear liquid was topped with a small foamy head that did not last. The aroma was sweet and malty with honey, raisin, cherry, and vanilla notes. The taste was rich, with warm alcohol reminiscent of port wine or rum, buttery toffee, roasted nuts, and brown sugar. The mouthfeel was dry and roasty with a distracting peppery alcohol afterburn. The aftertaste is also quite bitter. This is definitely an after dinner sipping beer.

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Photo of meathookjones
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured out with a mahogany body with a tall light tan head that peaked from the top of the glass. The head stays around for a while and leaves lace that slowly slides back down to its creator. After being poured a light sweet fruity smell comes from the glass being accompanied by caramel a slight alcohol scent. Caramel covered fruity sweetness meets your lips with the first sip. A bit of hop bittering provides a nice balance as the finish is quite warming with a slight alcohol sting on the tip on the tongue. Some chocolate notes were also detected as this warmed as was a stronger alcohol presence. Mouthfeel was creamy and chewy at times with an almost full body. Drinkability was good, as I could have had another one after this if I wasn’t going to bed afterwards. Great ale here that I recommend to anyone to try.

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

12ozer from a 4-pack purchased at Town & Country Liquors/Table & Vine, West Springfield, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" beige head above a somehwat murky reddish-brown brew. Head receded somewhat quickly, but a layer bubbles remained for the duration. Lacing was okay. Aroma was stronyl of sweet malts and alcohol, as an old ale should be. Taste is mainly of sweet malts and alcohol, but not the burn your insides of Avery's Beast, but rather a nice, full, warming ethanol, which is much preferrable. Mouthfeel and drinkability were excellent for the style, kind of scarily so, to be truthful. I could see this gracing my fridge again...

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper color with a strong white head that leaves a pretty lace. Aromas are initially fruity giving off some fig and raisin-like tones followed by some alcohol notes and candy sugar. There's also a bit of a toffee aroma in the mix as well. Initial flavors are big and fruity with a really strong dark fruit flavor. Raisins and figs are most present. Following a strong alcohol flavor overwhelms the mouth. Whew this beer is kicking! Afterwards the flavor of this brew progresses to be quite malty with a mix of caramels and toffees leading the way. The finish to this brew is a bit sweet with still more dark fruits, and just a hint of hops that leaves a tingling spice. For being an Old ale this brew is fairly light bodied and smooth, with a light carbonation that just tingles on the tongue. Definetly a nice brew to try out.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.24/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

From the 2002 bottling...

Appearance: brownish amber, good clarity, thinnish layer of tan suds that quickly fizzle into a creamy crown

Aroma: rum, hazelnuts, wood, raisins, slight waft of woodsy hops, malty sweetness, sherry, hint of roast, over-ripe apples

Flavor: lots of peppery alcohol slightly balanced by malt sweetness, burnt caramel, licorice, "peach-pit-almond" bitterness, finishes semi-sweet with an aftertaste of sherry and the same harsh bitterness lingering, also a hint of desert wildflower honey

Mouthfeel: full body, lots of alcohol warmth, fine carbonation

Other comments: Starts off quite promising, but that odd bitterness gets pretty "kvetching" during the first half of the glass. After my pallate got used to it, however, the bitterness was no longer off-putting. Drank this one at room temperature, as suggested by frank4sail (who gave this beer to me).

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Photo of SeanChouffe
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red color with amber highlights. Carbonation is fine, but plentiful, and the head is a yellow/cream color. Lacing is sticky -- the head dies to a fine layer. Aroma is heavy malt and caramel with fruity esters and some real ?Juicy Fruit? notes. Mouthfeel is smooth, full bodied, thick and syrupy. Flavor is sweet at the start, caramel, with a blunt hop presence and a lingering but pleasant bite at the finish.

IMHO: Intense, but not over the top. A nice balance of characteristics -- not subtle. I would recommend this beer to the barleywine lover.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruddy chestnut with a thin tan head and not much carbonation. The nose is definitely barleywine caliber, with rich, sweet malty notes and some musty, whiskey-stained oak.

Taste is smooth, rich malt and caramel along with sweet maple syrup, toffee and real cream butter. Definite woody flavors, smokey, mild spices. Maybe some candied cherries to be found as it warms a bit. Slight bready nature and a low alcohol presence in the taste.

Syrupy mouthfeel yet smooth, easy to drink despite the ABV. Tastes like drinking a fine dark chocolate candy with a Grand Marnier center. Could use some aging, I think.

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

2002 version.

Pours a clear brown with major red hightlights. Holding the beer up to a light turns the beer a dark syrupy ruby color. The head is short lived and quickly fades to an off-white collar around the glass. When swilred, the beer leaves alcoholic legs on the sides of the glass. This is going to be an alcoholic monster.

Smell is muscat wine, flowers, caramel and slight hint of dry, clean cardboard. An alcohol burn is there too.

Taste is sweet nutty and caramel malts with a real maple syrup edge to it. Hop bittering is apparent after the sweetness fades a bit. In the end you get a shadow of sweetness balanced by a bitter snap.

This is a thick syrupy beer that has generous carbonation to offset the sweetness. Too much carbonation leaves a carbonic bite that is not so pleasant. Alcohol warms the tongue and throat on the way down.

One is enough for me. I'm aging two of these and will open in a year or three to see what happens to it.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.6/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2003 - Bright mahogany color with a finger high firm head of pumpkin insides hue, lots of good lacing in sheets and thick webbings.

Aroma is a whole lotta caramelized malt action which ensues with a pretty juicy and strong waft with a bit of alcoholic heat enriched within the malts. Its coming across more like a dopplebock. Malty rich with caramel for sure. Semi sweet, ripe and dark fruit notes of raisins soaked in cherry sauce and drizzled in toffee.

Flavors repeat the nose perfectly I think,....lots of caramel; smooth, dark, rich, thick, chewy caramelized malty goodness. Very round and full of malts. Chewy dark breads and dark fruits of cherry, fig, and raisin make for some slight mixing and are noticeable more closer to the finish. Hops still seem pretty juicy too with a slight fruity sense and oily resin but extremely tame on bitterness. The malts dominate here and by a good measure. Some slight alcoholic singes interweave within the caramel and help keep a slight burning or toasty warming aspect among the bigger gulps.

And gulping is what will happen with this tasty, full bugger, as it is quite laxed, full, creamy, and smooth with just the right warmth of alcohol. Upon first sipping this massively yummy concoction there is now way this has 11.4%, ahhh...but now as a stumble to type....ummm...it does! I've seen this many times on the shelves but never picked it up. It took a trade with Bighuge to work it into my fridge. Now I'm kicking myself that I never did pick it up. Looking forward to the 2001 - also acquired in with my trade with Bighuge. Thanks my man!

2001 - Color is a bit more crimson and not as bright as 2003, more of a murky glow to it. Head comes out to be about a finger high and is tannish, dusty orange, thick and firm. Resides slowly so the retention is still good even after a few years of sitting - a thin collar keeps and lacing is very minimal.

Smell...however...Wow, has this sucker smoothed out. What 2003 revealed as a hugely caramel assault, this is tame, and by quite a bit. Its all but residual sweetness revolving in a stream of tangy dark fruits, mostly plum, and lots of it, bits of raisin supersede, and a pretty beefy ethanolic heat. Caramel is in there but much more subdued and underneath. It comes across more like the English style Old Ales I've encountered.

Taste verifies the synopsis attained through the aroma, very English style now, tangy, sweet, dark fruits of plum and raisin all over the place. Much, much different from the caramel load of 2003, those little hints of raisin and darker fruits in 2003 have all but taken over now. The caraeml is all but hidden in an under current of chewy smoother gobs sticking in parts of the finish. Alcohol radiates up into the nose after each sip with a sizable warmth.

Feel is well mannered, heated, smooth, beefy, full, lightly chewy, and tangy tangy tangy. Much more mellower in tone with a bigger warmth that was hardly noticeable in the 03. Now its quite different. Alot of malty tang! Oof da...Ageing this stuff has turned it into one major sipper. The 2001 has transposed into a gooey dark fruit plummy/raisin tangy melange; which is fine, and some may like it that way. But not all that much by me. I much prefer the fresher 03, much more likeable character with the caramel and more drinkable for sure in my book. But thats just me. There are certain Barleywines and Old Ales that do age well. This one is OK. But in my humble experience and tastes I've found liking those styles alot more without too much aging.
Respectively given: 4.5/4/4/4/3.5

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Photo of Crotor
4.74/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I cannot say enough how enormously pleased I am that an American brewery - a Pacific Northwest Brewery at that - has created an old ale/barleywine without falling into the tired habit of extreme hopping. Yes, a beer can have in excess of 9% alcohol with the IBUs remaining under 70. In this big - nay - gigantic beer, the hopping takes a backseat to glorious, huge, multi-layered, exceedingly complex malt. One's head could explode just trying to fathom all the flavors in the malt... Vanilla, caramel, treacle, toffee, coffee, and chocolate all viscously slide around one's tongue when one is drinking Old Stock. The slight alcoholic heat backing these flavors is noticable, but remarkable subdued considering the 11.2% ABV. The deepest amber color and exceptional lacing complete the experience.

This beer rivals Jesus.

Updated 1/7/05:

Wow. The 2003 release is over a year old now, and it's even more amazingly and massively malty than I remembered. Drinkability is up too. Easily the easiest drinking big beer I've ever had. Dangerously easy...

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Photo of avylover
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours out thick & golden with ruby highlights. There is a small tan head. Aroma is full of caramel & bready maltyness along with a good whiff of alcohol. This is a malt lovers wet dream. I'm more of a hophead, but this is a good brew.Sweet & malty, some fruity type flavors, and subtle hopping. Alcohol is evident in the finish - very warming. Mouthfeel is chewy & slick, with very slight carbonation. Drinkablity is decent considering the style, but I would have a rough time putting down two of these. If you like 'em big & mean, this will do just fine.

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

Pours a murky, dark, rusty amber with a rather fine head that quickly builds up after the pour and just as quickly fades away. A decidedly rich nose with less alcohol smell than expected. Full, sweet and caramely, with a nonetheless definite alcohol "bite"--a combination that evokes Scotch ales for me. Mouthfeel is similarly full and decidedly soft and chewy; presumably the fine carbonation is at work here. Alcohol warmth, while unceasingly present, is nontheless not as strong as expected. Some astringency up front gives way to a full, caramely sweetness; no shortage of malt here.

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

This beer was not what I expected. Many other barleywines were very hoppy. This one poured a minimal head and not much lace. The nose is unusual. I struggle to describe. It is not bad smelling but I think it is sweet and malt, Taste is rather dark fruity a little bitter and a good dose of malt. Once again, very different. Mouthfeel is good.

This beer is unique. Not bad tasting but not what I expected. I wonder what this would taste like if it aged some more.

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Photo of beergeek279
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 vintage, served in the 12 oz. bottle, into a pint glass. The color is amber, with a short layer of bubbly head. The smell is a light citrus hoppiness and a bit of malt. The taste is very strongly malty sweet, with a very slight hop, and a strong, burning alcohol. Mouthfeel is chewy. As for drinkability, this is a bit cloying, so not many more.

Well, I've always enjoyed North Coast's beers, and this is enjoyable as well. Though it's not up with my favorite barleywines/old ales (just a bit unbalanced...I never thought I'd say a California beer needed more hops!!!), it's still one I'd probably have again.

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Photo of FranklinPCombs
3.21/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a beautiful cherry brown color, but it loses points on appearance becaseu there is little head that came out, and what little there was was gone within a few minutes anyway. The smell is not what I would call pleasant, although I feel that if it aged for a few years that it could meld together better. Its got an almost chokingly harsh smell, with huge spices, chocolate, red wine and sticky malts. The taste is a bit better, but it is almost entirely overpowered by the chocolate taste, not letting much of anything else through. The aftertaste is too sweet and syrupy too. The mouthfeel is good, except for the various contributing factors of the taste (sweetness mostly) but meduim body and good carbonation make it ok. Theres plenty of alcohol here and it sure doesnt hide it. I wanted to like this beer, but I feel I drank it prematurely.

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

2003 edition in a squat amber bottle. Not that it matters, but there is no freshness dating.

Appearance: An aggressive pour yielded a deep, rust-colored clear body with a thick off-white colored head that quickly died down to a thin layer at the edges. Minimal sticky lacing of the glass.

Smell: Ripened dark fruits, brown sugar, medicinal alcohol.

Taste: Quite tasty. Rum-soaked raisins up front, followed by caramelized brown sugar, ending with a "paper"-like flavor that is quickly overtaken by a sweet whiskey taste.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Very smooth with a well-hidden ABV. Only a slight warming effect noted. Nothing too harsh or overbearing. Well-balanced and it got better as it approached room temperature. Damn nice.

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Photo of BrewMan82
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a red, dark amber with a thin off-white head that melts away quickly. The aroma is quite strong - nuttiness, sweet fruit, alcohol, and even an extremely sweet red licorice aroma are all present. Flavor is a bit strong on the alcohol, maltiness present but somewhat overtaken. There is little bitterness - just a hint of hops - very nicely balanced. I was a bit let down on flavor after the huge aroma. The nice aromatic elements shine through a bit in the aftertaste, which is malty sweet and very smooth. No lacing. No head after a few minutes. The carbonation is perfect - light and lively on the tongue. Overall - tasty and above average. I'll have it again.

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Photo of Foxman
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a crisp, clear darkish amber, with ruby pools. Two fingers of off-white head swells, then settles soon to tightly bubbled springs. Spotty lacing punctuates the inside of the glass.

The aroma delivers thick, viscous tendrils of toasted malt, blessedly sweet and rife with notes of caramel, vanilla, and baked dough. A stiff whiff draws the vapor of alcohol well into the light.

Upon sipping, a dense, lightly roasted malt sweetness dominates from the start, but bears tidings of caramel and butterscotch, and a distant berry note as well. A vague hops character wdges into the middle and duels with a stalwart spine of alcohol, which is very present but certainly manageable. The sweetness fades toward the end to allow a mild bitterness to linger at the finish. By design, it's all about malt, the trace of hops adds a small measure of intrigue.

Full bodied, it's syrupy and chewy on the palate. The alcohol cools and dries the tongue, opening the door to a very mild lingering tingle.

Captain, there be malt here! And plenty of it. It's thick, sweet, and filled to the brim with malted grain, and damned if foregoing any semblance of balance doesn't work here. The muscular ABV raises a red flag and if you're wise, you'll take heed. But if thick rich malt is your bag, baby, then you'll suffer the alcohol gladly and have another, just as I will. So now, excuse me while I enjoy what's left.

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