Dismiss Notice

Site Performance Updates: We're aware of the nightly site outage, and working on resolving the issue.

Follow our progress ...

Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

1,470 Reviews
For Trade:
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

View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,470 | Ratings: 3,103
Photo of Southernbrew
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 bottle

Pours a beautiful dark copper with a minimal head.

Powerful aroma of alcohol, caramel sweetness and a faint fruitiness, strawberries maybe?

Taste is delightful. Powerful alcohol flavors blend with a smooth caramel and sweet maltiness, that begins to leave a pleasant stomach warming. Sweetness becomes more pronounced as further progress is made and leaves a delightful butterscotchy aftertaste.

A beautiful old ale, a recent addition to the available line up in Georgia.

 495 characters

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

2002 Vintage. Pours clear red/chestnut in color with minimal head that falls into a ring. Very full nose filled with sweet fruits (pear, apple, peach), caramel malt, cocoa, spices,pine, and oak with a strong alcohol tinge. Mmmm, a very full-bodied brew filled with flavors of caramel, molasses, oak, vanilla, peach, root-beer, and moist gingerbread. This huge maltiness is well balanced by spicy, piney hops. Lush, velvet-smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is noticable, but certainlt not over-powering. Lip-smacking sweetness remains on lips, yummy.

2004 vintage. Seems a shade deeper in color, a haunting deep garnet red when my St. Bernardus goblet is heald up to the light. Aroma displays a similar, yet lesser array of fruity flavors. Chewy caramel, burnt English toffee, dates, and a more noticable alcohol presence. Theres a touch of oaky vanilla in there too. The flavor bursts forth with all the complex goodness that the nose tells of. It is noticably hoppier, but certainly not overly-so. Balance is exceptional as expected. I would KILL for a chance at a vertical tasting of this expertly crafted and delicious brew!

 1,122 characters

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

Pours a clear cold hazed nut brown brew. No head to speak of but it has a high surface tension, the bubbles veer left and right when they hit the to get free.

Smell is super fruity with big tropical fruit smells, the strongest of which is pineapple. Lots of malt smell and hints of chocolate and tea in the scent too.

Taste is big. Strong hit of fruit flavor the moment you take the first sip; this is a powerful beer! The fruit flavor passes quickly as the alcohol cleans your palette. Mild sweetness passes quickly and leaves chocolate and coffee flavors. The alcohol content makes itself known by a strong warming effect in your throat. Latter more sour fruit flavors appear like lemon and sour apples. The hops make themselves known as a herbal background taste.

Mouthfeel is thinner than you would expect for a beer this big.

Drinkability is great FOR A SIPPING BEER! No way can you chug this and you won't want to! This is like sipping an expensive brandy or port wine.

 987 characters

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a bottle at Red Bones with PatandDavid. 2002 Vintage.

This old ale poured a clear, chestnut color with tan foam that settled. The smell was richly malty with some fusel alcohol and some dried fruit aromas. The taste was malty with flavors of dried fruit (figs, fruitcake), some alcohol (fusels), rum, and light caramel as well. The mouthfeel was smooth and warming with medium-full body and modest carbonation. The lingering aftertaste was bitter with some dried fruit flavors. This was a very good ale, and the alcohol content was deceiving. Mmm, good.

 569 characters

Photo of Ellbert
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: A nice copper color with a small very large bubbly head. The head doesn't last long but it leaves a very sticky lace that looks beautiful.

Smell: Roasted caramel, wood chips, molasses, alcohol all attack the nose. There really is no finess in this. It is what it is and it lets it all out at the aroma.

Taste: Raisins, figs, burnt caramel. These are some of the great flavors I can taste in this. Even though these are great they do not hide the alcohol very well. The alcohol makes itself too well know in this beer.

Mouthfeel is very sticky and rich, I liky.

Not very drinkable based on the alcohol basically.

 635 characters

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

2004 vintage.

Appearence: Pours a reddish brown, that's semi-clear. A little off-white head sits atop and leaves a little lacing.

Smell: A malty, almost oak smell arise first, with a nice malt back. No alcohol presence really, which make it smell less spicy than I had hoped.

Taste and Mouthfeel: An intant attack of malts on the taste buds. Many caramel, molasses, and sticky sweet notes flow around my mouth. The end has a decent amount of juicy hop aftertaste. Tastes a little young (I know I should've aged it.... I just couldn't wait!), but still a very good taste. Nice and sticky in the mouth. Very tart.

Drinkability and Overall: A very intense beer, that with a little bit of proper aging would do wonders. Already I like it a little more than the 2003 (see review below). And the drinkability is much higher on this one simply because the alcohol is well-hidden. If you get this tho, put it down for a while.

This one was sent to me by GClarkage. Thank you again for the great brew.
2003 vintage. (overall rating 4.3)

Appearence: Pours a nice brown color with a huge burnt umber head. Leaves beautiful lacing. Has only the fewest bubbles of carbonation.

Smell: The bouquet is all malts and alcohol. A rich, wonderfully complex smelling ale that has all the qualities a fine old ale should.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tastes very sweet and malty with a huge alcohol body. On the tiniest bit of hops are present in the finish. A sticky mouthfeel enhances the flavor of this beer even more. Very complex without being too overpowering. The alcohol content warms you the whole way down. Almost a smoky, caramel flavor sticks in your moth long after the beer is down.

Drinkability and Overall: A very rich, complex ale that is accompanied with a huge amount of alcohol. Not for the average beer drinker but definitly a treat to try. I wouldn't have too many of these tho, considering the high alcohol and the chewy mouthfeel. Put on some Wes Montgomery, light a few candles, snuggle with your old lady, and drink this beer.

Again, thanks to Bashiba for the phenomenal sample.

 2,112 characters

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

2002 Vintage
Pours a dark hazy, mud brown with a thin strip of off-white lacing. Small pin pricks of lace slide down the glass along with alcoholic tannins.
Aroma is caramel, peat, raisins and grain alcohol. Whisky like notes in air.
Flavor is smooth caramel and dark citrus, almost a light dark rum flavor. Some roasted and peat notes are in the background and bitterings hiding behind the massive alcohol front.
Mouthfeel is very thick and chewy. Heavily sweet and complex malt balance some of the alcohol burden but not all. Tinge of bitterness at the closing bell also counteracts the pure alcohol hit.
Drinkability is solid but sticky sweetness and heavy alcohol make one enough. Well done to the folks at NC for a classic example of style.

 750 characters

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

2003 vintage. A reddish brown ale after fizzing from a high quality Belgian-like pour. Some cognac and barleyiwne aroma. Fine carbonation on the tongue. Immediate tummy warming from the alcohol. Barley wine and malt tastes, with Eno epsom salt. Numbing aftertaste. Unique.

 272 characters

Photo of skybluewater
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage. Pours a deep rusty amber color. Smells of fruit, mostly prune. Taste is very malty, with a dried fruit undertone. Highly (and way too) drinkable for a 11% plus ABV beer-I had to restrain myself from gulping this one! The only drawback is the mouthfeel, which is a bit fizzy, but that disappates as the beer warms.

Great brew here, very soothing on a cold fall night. I'm glad I have three more to get me through the coming cold months.

 453 characters

Photo of PatandDavid
4.7/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was awesome. Shared an '02 bottle of this at one of my favorite beer bars this weekend...none of us knew they had it. Straight out of the celler, the serving temp was awesome. Four of us shared the bottle in small sample glasses, but that was enough for all of us, because the beer was fantastic. Mahagony color, no head when poured. Medium mouthfeel, low carbonation. There's some fruit in the aroma (raisins), but tastewise is where this beer delivers. My notes list raisins, plums, caramel, but I also wrote down chocolate chip cookie dough ( the brown sugar and chocolate also appear). This beer was superb.

 616 characters

Photo of cncbofh
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Came in a 4-pack. Bottle labeled 2003 Release.

First thing that hit me wasn't the pour (decent head, nice reddish/brownish glow)... but the smell. Oh Gods, the smell!

Figs, raisans, brown sugar, caramel... best smelling brew I've ever had the pleasure of dipping my sniffer into. The taste was exactly the same. Malty, sugary sweet, fruity and very complex. Give this guy a year or two more, and you're in beer heaven. Great stuff.

 437 characters

Photo of dgallina
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

North Coast Old Stock Ale 2003 vintage.

Pours a deep, clear, reddish brown with small tan head which leaves a light film of foam and moderate lace. The nose is deep with roasted caramel malt and alcohol spice. Flavor starts off with vinous toasted malts, develops into creamy sweetness, and finishes with slight hop bitterness and very strong alcohol spice. Medium-thick and creamy body which serves the style well. The raw alcohol (almost scotch-like) character is a bit over-pronounced for my taste.

 504 characters

Photo of CortexBomb
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 bottling consumed in early 2005. Served at cellar temp initially, and then allowed to gently warm.

Pours out a nice dark, almost blackish orange / tan with a light head which made an appearance but left in less than a minute. The smell is sweet...some definite malt presence as well but not much beyond that.

Flavour is a serious shock, deep and tasty. The sweet, malty tones from the aroma waste no time in making themselves known, while a soft, but delightful hop reminder lurks on the back of the tongue. There are definite soft, brown sugary tones present, along with other spices such as cinammon, not in abundance, but enough to lend a certain character. Overall sweet and tasty, though the sharpness would probably be brought down a bit by laying this down for a spell.

Mouthfeel is big and oily, just like I like my old ales while the drinkability is downright dangerous. Without strong bitter effects or big alcohol effects on the palate this is one big beer that is easy to drink on a cold evening.

Another big winner for North Coast!

 1,061 characters

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

Oooooh. I will not do this brew justice.

Pours a hazy orangey-brown witha a thin tan head. Head dissipates to nothing and I mean nothing. No lace either. Smell is fruity and rich, molasses malt. Cherries and fig evident. Some vinuous smells.

Rich warming malt. Fruitiness of cherry, apple, and grapes. Cinamon and light nutmeg. A persistent rounded hoppiness underneath. Just so thick and chewy and tasty. Full bodied and a sweet molassess sticky aftertaste. Oh, so smooth and oh so good. Can't believe I waited so long to try this one. Really smooth for 11% ABV. A masterpiece.

 584 characters

Photo of bultrey
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm reviewing the draft version of this right after I reviewed the bottle, because I had each only a few days apart from one another. On draft, this is sublime. I mean really f@#$%in good. It has many of the same characteristics as the bottled version, but is just so much smoother and more balanced. Hints of chocolate, fig, and overripe fruit, but with a mellowness that can't be described. If you find this on draft, do not pass it up.

 438 characters

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.

 423 characters

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.

 483 characters

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.

 984 characters

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.

 579 characters

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".

 672 characters

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.

 729 characters

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.

 864 characters

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.

 444 characters

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.

 829 characters

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...

 663 characters

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,470 ratings.