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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,644 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,644
Reviews: 1,371
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 129
Gots: 454 | FT: 15
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,644 | Reviews: 1,371 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of crhensel
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(Bottle 2011 vintage) Pours a murky dark amber with a full finger tan head that fell fast. The nose is very subtle for a barleywine, but had hints of earth and some prune/plum that was very pleasant. It's very rich in the mouth with a pleasant caramel malt flavor up front, and a very nice warming from the alcohol at the finish. The flavor sticks around for a while, but that's not a bad thing. An excellent choice on a very cold night!

crhensel, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of bitterbeerguy
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewing a 2009 Vintage bottle after a real long 12 days of work. Thanks for the extra Chris!

This brew pours a cloudy, deep red-orange color with hints of brown. Initially poured with small white bubbles, but has subsided to nothing at the bottom of the wine glass I poured it into.

Aroma is profound- caramel apple pie meets fig meets raisin. Hints of boozy character, but very balance

This beer is beautiful. One of the best I have ever had from a taste profile. All the above smells are present as individual flavors. I cannot believe the depth of this beer. Toasted walnuts and marshmallow on the end with a slight hint of boozy finish.

If I could have a case of this to age it would be in my cellar.


bitterbeerguy, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of mjmadsen21
5/5  rDev +21.4%

mjmadsen21, Jan 13, 2012
Photo of movingtrain
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one is fresh, 2011 vintage. I picked two up: one to try now, and one to set back for a year or two.

Pours a gorgeous amber color. Carbonation is strong, and, with a mild pour, the head actually increases some before falling to a light film around the edges of the glass.

The first note that comes to mind in the aroma is red apple--tart, but with a fine sweetness. There are also notes of cherry, cinnamon, burnt caramel, and hard candy. The aroma is also quite woody, perhaps with hints of cedar and oak.

The flavor is actually quite sweet, with notes of caramel and vanilla, but also a nice red apple tartness coupled with a candied sugar. The sweetness is also reminiscent of an old fashioned hard candy. There is a bit of peppery spice apparent, as well.

This beer is very, very warming. Meaning, of course, that the strong ABV here is quite apparent. However, this is not, by any means, a weakness in the beer. In fact, the wonderful balance of flavor and warming alcohol makes this beer exceptional.

Overall, this is an outstanding, balanced, full-bodied beer.

movingtrain, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of Atyoungberg
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Atyoungberg, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of ckapp
5/5  rDev +21.4%

ckapp, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15%

ygtbsm94, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of Rob315
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Duvel tuilp.

Look: Pour produces a 1 finger off white / butterscotch head that quickly dissipates into a ring around the glass, and eventually disappears. Color is Dark caramel, bourbon color with ruby highlights. Active carbonation.

Smell: Sour fruits, figs, caramel, sweet maltiness. As it warms sweet cake like notes intensify.

Taste / Mouthfeel: Very carbonated. Caramel upfront followed by sweet and sour fruity notes, figs, rumcake, alcohol warms up in the finish. Sweet figs and caramel linger in the after taste. Sweet cake like notes intensify as it warms.

Overall: An exceptional brew of great strength, very complex, definitely a sipper. Paired well with smoked almonds. Would love to see what a year or two in the cellar would produce.

Rob315, Jan 11, 2012
Photo of JRod1969
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

JRod1969, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of bonbini26
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

bonbini26, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of CWhite
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

CWhite, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of kojevergas
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given recommendations from trusted acquaintances. It's labelled "Old Stock Ale 2011". ABV 11.9%, as concurrent with the site at the date of this writing. Cost was $3.49 USD plus tax in Orange County, California.

A: Pours a two finger head of nice cream lacing, good thickness, and great retention (especially for the high ABV). I'm quite impressed by the retention, frankly. The colour is a delightful transparent caramel-ruby. Sitting in me Guinness goblet I can hardly wait to drink it.

Sm: Caramelized malt, cream, toasted malt, some sort of vague dark fruit (which is buried), and yeast. A light to mild strength aroma, but nevertheless a pleasant one.

T: A mellow flavour of dark fruit over a toasted malt foundation, with assorted esters about the fringe, adding complexity. A bit of alcohol warmth tamed by the pleasant yeast. I really quite fancy this one, lads. It's really nicely balanced, and the subtlety of the flavour grows on you as you drink. It's really quite lovely. I'm digging this one, especially for the style. The yeast never comes off as musty at all.

Mf: Smooth and wet, complementing the flavour profile near perfectly. It's unobtrusive yet supportive. Not unique, but certainly remarkable.

Dr: It's a great beer, highly drinkable, with an alcohol punch that warms but doesn't dissuade. Really lovely. Everyone should try this. I'm impressed.

kojevergas, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of welldigger888
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a bit murkey garnet with little head and no lacing.

Sweet and intoxicating, this brew is full of it's self. Sweet stone fruit raisen and a leathery earthy quality. Big grain bill with a fare share of crystal seems to hold court.

Not even a bit cloying in the sweetness, taste follows nose w/ raisen stone fruit caramel and a hint of earthy hop.

Full bodied full drinking elixer here, glad to only have 1 on hand as could meet with defeat in am.

This was a vintage 2010 and the time in closet did not harm. The 11.7% was well hidden except in my cheeks.

welldigger888, Jan 10, 2012
Photo of msubulldog25
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Guess I'm a little surprised to have never reviewed this Old Ale (currently far and away the most-reviewed version of its style); have had it many times over the years in both bottle and draught form.

This is a 12 oz. bottle, Vintage 2007, listed ABV 11.7%. Served from the chilly cellar (where it's been hiding the last 4+ years) to a snifter.

A: Pours the deep brown of tanned leather, seeming thick and impenetrable in dimmer light. Held to light, however a rich garnet with the rosy tint of planed cedar shows beautifully. Carbonation has held up superbly, a 1/2 finger crown of dense almond cream that withdraws to the edges in a couple minutes, leaving a small gossamer film swirling gently in the center. thin lace droops, breaks and glides gently back to the surface. Gorgeous.

S: No surprise that the scent is sweet; it's a given in every iteration of this (fresh or aged) that I've tried. Juicy raisins and dates, figs, mingled spices - there's a 'mincemeat' quality here - with cocoa, toffee and amaretto notes. A pleasant intensity, nothing overbearing wafting from the glass.

T: Powdery cocoa and earthy spices. Toasted nuts, dates and raisins, baked apples, brown sugar - something akin to a warmed fruit compote in a glass. I recall fresher pours having brasher hop bitterness; here are subtle woody notes, vanilla, mushy fruits. Not a hint of oxidation (which I've read is prone to occur), just a well-round/balanced dessert-like treat.

M: Mellow warmth and exceedingly creamy texture - one of the smoothest big beers I've encountered and one that doesn't show the slightest hints of wear/oxidation. Carbonation is mild, yes, but still lively enough to enrich the texture. Medium feel without being sticky. Well, maybe the the slightest malty stickiness hanging on the lips, but in the mouth it's simply luscious.

O: A lovely beer that is quite good fresh and benefits substantially with some years in the cellar. No longer booze-heated and well-bittered, this mellowed miracle in a glass is among the best I've tasted. I now feel somewhat smarter for starting to stash these away a few years back, because the payoff is...well.... sublime.

msubulldog25, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.74/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

vintage 2011 poured into oversized snifter.

Appearance: dark red to a medium brown colored beer. The beer is murky and slightly opaque, but it glows red when held up to light. 1 finger of white head results after a vigorous pour; it then fades down into a ring around the glass.

Smell: The malts are sweet and fruity. Also getting some spiciness.

Taste: candied sugar, toffee, and caramel. Figs, dates, pears and apples are subtle in this beer. Cereal and grainy malts. The beer gets a little bit spicy midpalate and finishes mildly bitter, earthy, and moderately boozy. Slightly champaigny and fruity note.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation levels. The carbonation is just right to keep the beer from becoming too syrupy. Finish is dry and astrigent.

Overall: This is still fairely hot, but its a good candidate for aging I would say. I've had some really awesome Old Ales recently and this one does not quite measure up to Kunhenn 4D, Founders Curmudgeon, or Hair of the Dog Adam. The beer will hold its own in the middle of the pack.

4DAloveofSTOUT, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of JayAre46
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

brown stubby bottle 2011 vintage pours a dull brownish red a gives a finger of light khaki head that recedes to a thin ring around the edges absolutely no lace. the nose is an absolute sweet candy malt bomb, caramel, dark fruits, big alcohol presence in the back, from the nose this one is going to be big. the taste is as expected, sweet, strong caramel malt maybe some toasted aspects, prunes, dark dark cherries, some undesirable medical syrupy flavor and the alcohol is big in the back tingles the tongue and leaves it numb and dry. some time will do this one some good as long as the sweetness holds up and it can avoid as much oxidation as possible. full bodied and heavy syrup, the carbonation is enough to keep it from being messy. overall this is a solid brew and slightly harsh but that was expected. improves as it warms.

JayAre46, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of babybew
4/5  rDev -2.9%

babybew, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of CLBizzle
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

CLBizzle, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of atone315
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

atone315, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of jtierney89
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle.

Wow this things pungent, getting some scents from about an arms length away from the glass. Clarity is impressive too. Beautiful amber hue. About a two finger off whit head which dissipates quickly.

Wow! the nose is like a goddamn candy shop. I could keep my nose over this for hours. Smells like a specific candy but I can't quite put my finger on it.

I got it! I've got that big overpowering scent, oddly enough, it's strawberry jam. And it's amazing. Underlying notes of burnt licorice, caramel, and toffee.

I'm excited to give this a sip.

Sweetness is big time there. Not like other old ales I've had. Alcohol presence is noticeable on the breath. Sweet strawberry syrup taste is big up front. Huge chewy mouthfeel. Candy like sweetness dominates the mouth. Sweet caramel malts are ever present.

Some detectable hops but the majority of the counter balance to the sweetness comes from the abv.

Some detectable notes of burnt licorice lie under the sweetness.

Not what I want out of an old ale but boy is this thing damn good.

jtierney89, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of Stoffel
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Stoffel, Jan 06, 2012
Photo of MexicanSkittel
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage. On tap in SF

Appearance is good, a copper, orange, rusty, red. Slight hazyness with no head. There is a beige ring of tiny bubbles evenly surrounding the glass.

Taste is semi sweet, some molasses, roasted oats and barly. Some brown sugar rounds out with a little creme brûlée. Raisin, stewed fruits, with a little musty.

The nose hold the brown sugar and vanilla. I'm finding an underline of hops, and a little bourbon. Ok nose, but smells are all a little faint.

Mouth feel is really nice. Tiny bubbled carbonation is gentle on the tongue. Alc is not overwhelming. The finish of raisin and sweets linger for a good while.

Overall I like this beer, I'm no expert but I think a year, two or three ago it was probably out of this world.

MexicanSkittel, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of christopheraknox
4/5  rDev -2.9%

christopheraknox, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of radicalruckus
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

radicalruckus, Jan 05, 2012
Photo of 11amoreno72
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

11amoreno72, Jan 03, 2012
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,644 ratings.