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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.

2,533 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,533
Reviews: 1,363
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 124
Gots: 413 | FT: 14
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: 2,533 | Reviews: 1,363 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Slatetank
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this one up at Julio's -2008 vintage -poured from the stubby 12ozer into a snifter

A - A caramel brown colored liquid w/ translucent clarity and quick to settle beige cap w/ ultra fine bead. The lace clings is a haphazard streamer/spotted appearance

S - Vanilla spice and caramel aroma w/ a slight creamy almost custard-like aroma of subtle oxidation

M - The feel is surprisingly crisp w/ relatively full carbonation and a mild warmth of alcohol w/ sweet textures from mid taste into a semi-dry toasted finish

T - A taste of nut and mild caramel malt sweetness w/ a mild pine flavor in the hop dept is followed by a light pepper and subtle note of coffee w/ toffee-like buttery edge and mild brown sugar flavor w/ a light vanilla bean accent and mild molasses quality w/ more pine from the hops and sweet malted caramel notes into the long finish. As it warms it brings more of an alcohol warming and caramel tootsie roll from the malt emerges

D - I really wasn't sure what to expect other than good mentions of this brew - a really solid old ale w/ substantial malt body - what this style is all about. The alcohol is very well hidden for a brew upwards of 11% abv

Slatetank, May 26, 2010
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.45/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage; 11.7% alcohol

A. Pours a beautiful amber with a small tan head that dissipates quickly.
S.Smells of malt, estery fruitiness, freshly baked bread, and yeast.
T. Unfortunately the taste is rather muted right now. The bready/yeasty component comes through with some subtle orange citrus, but there's not much else going on. That said the high alcohol content is hidden very well.
M. Medium bodied with a low level of carbonation.
D. While not a bad beer, this isn't very interesting right now. I've got a 4 pack left for the cellar so I'll pull one of these out in a couple of years to see if aging helps develop some of the characteristics.

BeerAndBourbon, May 25, 2010
Photo of StaveHooks
3.05/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured into an over sized wine glass. Pours a nice cherry wood color. 1 finger tan head that vanishes fairly quickly.

S - Soy sauce, boozy malt, candied fig, cherry, prunes, all kinds of fruit. It's hard to distinct.

T - Brown sugary fig, syrupy raisin, sweet toasted malt, nice spice in the middle, a little soapy towards the finish. Thick and sticky.

Very sugary sweet fruit flavor and that's about it. Wasn't extremely enjoyable and I don't see myself seeking this one out any time soon. I might age the one I have left to see if I drank it to soon.

StaveHooks, May 24, 2010
Photo of HisDorian
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I haven't been on BA in a while, and this beer made me want to review again!!

Bought it in a mix 6 with barleywines and RIS's. Poured from 12 oz bottle into a room temp beer mug, it's a little lighter than I expected. Gorgeous ruby red color. No kind of carbonation or head, though. Maybe I could have poured it a little more aggressive??

Smells of caramel, maybe a hint of vanilla. Maybe raisins? Super sweet and malty...

Tastes exactly like it smells. The 11.4% ABV is hidden wonderfully. Still a little warm, but not overtly strong... well, not in the flavor. I can feel it about half way into the glass.

Nice big flavors and thick on my tongue. Not as "chewy" as a lot of beers, but still a malty, mouth smacking beer. Not finding myself licking my gums, though.

This is a great beer for "one and done". Possibly even two, but no more. Super sweet, malty, barleywine feeling beer. I'm gonna keep this one in the back of my head for another time. North Coast hits another home run!!

HisDorian, May 19, 2010
Photo of GoGriz
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up at Yankee in Attleboro - Older Vintage (2008)

Poured into a Chouffe snifter, head pours creamy but thin and dissipates quick enough that I turned my head for a moment and it was gone. Beautiful and caramel colored in the glass, you know that the flavor contained within is aching to be drank. No light passes through the bulb of the glass as it sits there. Mini bubbles trickle to the top while I give myself time between sips. Flavor reminds me of bourbon and fig with a thick, oily finish to it. High alcohol with a soft and subtlely bitter finish. A wonderful beer.

GoGriz, May 18, 2010
Photo of oregonskibum
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Review transcribed from notes. 2009 vintage.

A: Brown with amber/orange tints. 1/2 inch off-white head that fades fairly quickly.

S: Smell is domimated by spiced apples, vanilla, baby powder and some light bubble gum. Very complex. As it warms, more caramel and banana bread flavors come out.

T: Caramel, apple, some faint smokiness. Big bready, malth flavors come in mid-taste. Definitely hot with a strong alcohol presence (should die off in a year). As it warms, spicey notes become more prominent.

M: Medium to heavy body, super high carbonation. Carbonation was high to the point of being distracting.

D: This needs some age. The taste, while complex and interesting, is a little on the hot side. Look forward to this in a year or two.

oregonskibum, May 15, 2010
Photo of Arbitrator
3.15/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. 2010 vintage.

A: Pours a clear mahogany body with short-lived light tan head. There is very little retention, no lacing, no collar -- the beer looks absolutely still in a few minutes.

S: Grapes / raisins, caramel, dates. I'm enjoying the complexity, though it is undermined by its own sweetness a strong boozy presence.

T: Caramel, raisin, dates, even light cherry. This isn't absolutely cloying, but it's sickly sweet. It gets boozy in the finish, particularly pronounced as it warms. I understand that it's fresh, but I expect a beer to be drinkable right away or close to it. This is really stretching the limits.

M: Chewy, sticky flavor. Not well disguised ABV; you can sense that it's around 12%. But, again, it's fresh. This is a beer meant to be aged.

D: In the 2009 and and 2010 cases, I just drank one of the four-pack to evaluate it, and then put the rest aside for aging. I expect it to be phenomenal in a couple of years. We'll see.

Arbitrator, May 14, 2010
Photo of Bfarr
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Stock Ale pours a clear mahogany with a thin brown head that rapidly dissipaits. Aroma is of maple syrup and all around sweetness. There's a lot more going on in flavor. Mostly there is just the sweetness in the form of toffee and cherry with a little allspice/anise. There is a slightly fuzzy mouthfeel with a little tongue coating.

This is a remarkably smooth drinker. It reminds me of cognac in flavor with the alcohol being well blended into the sweet flavor. The slightly fuzzy feeling is quite enjoyable. Not a bad sipping beer.

Bfarr, May 11, 2010
Photo of klikger
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

A - Dark amber with a very small amount of head and no lacing

S - Booze(!), grapes, sugar, and raisin.

T - Licorices, dates, and alcohol heat (which is welcome on a cold Wisconsin spring night) hit up front. Hints of leather and vanilla give way to a boozy, medicinal aftertaste.

M - Warming, a bit syrupy and sticky, very little carb

D - One and done for now; I have some in the cellar, and I'll open another in three to six months.

I was a bit disappointed in this beer; I've been digging Old Ales as of late and had high expectations, as North Coast makes several incredible beers. I'd much rather go with a Bell's Third Coast if I'm in the mood for this style. That being said, my wife took a couple of sips from my snifter, hijacked the last four or five ounces, and went on to proclaim this as one of her top five beers, period. To each her/his own.

klikger, May 09, 2010
Photo of johnwarne
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A beer haiku for you:

Old Ale tastes that way:
Something OK this way comes;
Try to be patient.

My first experience with this genre--the first sip gave way to the second, which improved ever so slightly. High alcohol content, but not in the good sense that so many great Belgians might exhibit. Taste the alcohol more than the flavor.
Not a waste, but not world class.


johnwarne, May 02, 2010
Photo of WeedKing4
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a very dark clear red with some foam forming in the duvel tulip glass. The taste is of sugary dark fruits and it goes down so damn smooth. I picked up no hint of the 11.50% alc at all. Wishing I picked up more then two bottles of this stuff. Very damn good beer.

WeedKing4, May 01, 2010
Photo of lightindarkness
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a north coast snifter... why not?

Pours a dingy stained copper with amber edges. Small soft cream colored head rises, but really isn't what this beer is all about, considering abv and style - not lasting long and adding little to the beer.

Smells of deep bready toasty malts with some caramel sweetness. Mild hints at date and spicy alcohol.

Taste is why I love this beer, with each vintage aging and developing a nice depth as it gets older. This, a 2009, is bready with a mildly harsh grain accentuated by alcohol, dulled and rounded with a cane sugar and caramel sweetness that holds nicely to the end, where a little alcohol tinge cuts, all leaving a lingering lightly fruity dark doughy flavor hanging into aftertaste. A little sweetness left on the lips.

Feel is medium, carbonation present but weak, hanging on the palate but without a strong coating or oily feel. A little dense and creamy.

Good. High abv and overall character make it sippable without being highly drinkable. Good to have around to sip and age as you can, a few years on a bottle seems to bring it to near ideal conditions, deepening, filling, and rounding a little as it goes.

lightindarkness, Apr 28, 2010
Photo of dwilson01
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz into my souvenir brewery tours of San Diego pint glass.

It looks thick and malty, very dense dark caramel coloring. A hint of redness in the body. The head is an off white sandy color, initially very strong but recedes quickly, no lacing and very minimal carbonation.

The smell is smooth as hell, toffee, caramel and raisins for the most part. Although it doesn't say barrel aged or anything this definitely has a small woody accent to it.

A ton of flavoring, comes on as thick as it looks. Very much like a barleywine but not as sweet. The sweet caramel and raisins from the nose come through nicely and there is an added fruitiness in there as well, cherry I think. It's very sweet from all the malt they pour into this bay boy with a slight estery flavor in there. The end holds a nice spicing to it which tones down the alcohol flavor (honestly the alc flavor is miniscule to begin with), 11.7 abv on the bottle and I really get nothing even close to that.

Feels like it looks, smooth in the beginning, and gives you a nice amber ale spiciness in the end, great dichotemy.

It's definitely drinkable like I always say, a sipper to be sure, not so smooth that it slides down your throat but extremely flavorful and makes you think about it every time...Savor the Flavor!

Overall this is pretty awesome in my opinion, it makes me think of a barrel aged barleywine with it's flavor character. The cherry and raisin makes it seem Belgian but there is absolutely zero sourness.

dwilson01, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of atigerlife
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage.

Pours brown with strawberry highlights. Creamy small brown head that lasts a little while. Murky.

Aroma of hops, musty, darke cherries and malts.

Taste is malty with some hops. Get some grapes, prunes, nectarine, peach and some hay-like taste. Interesting. Rather unusually, as it warmed I liked it less.

Mouthfeel is medium/heavy, creamy and lightly cleansing.

Quite drinkable considering the ABV. Quite nice and interesting.

atigerlife, Apr 24, 2010
Photo of Brez07
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Bottle lists ABV as 12.5%. Poured into a Portsmouth snifter

A: Sits in the glass a murky red/brown color. Very limited amount of head is present. No lacing left in the glass

S: Molasses right up front. This is followed by chocolate, sweet candied sugar, some raisin/fig and just a touch of alcohol (apparently still needs another year before this goes away)

T: Same as the smell. The chocolate/raisin is most prevalent, with the molasses/sugar just adding to the complexity. Not overly sweet. Again, very small amount of alcohol here

M: Medium bodied, fairly smooth with decent amount of carbonation

D: Very easy to drink, but the booze is still present in this one. I would sit on this another year and would expect it drinks incredibly then

Brez07, Apr 13, 2010
Photo of stakem
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at TJ's, I really should have inquired about the vintage of this as it will haunt me until I have it again and/or find out.

Pours a cloudy amber orange color with an off white creamy head. Nose is full of caramel notes, maltiness and suggestions of oak and vanilla. Mostly sweet aroma is strikingly similar to cotton candy and floral hops. Taste is malty sweet with vanilla, caramel and a little bit of hops in the finish blend with the warmth of the alcohol and some faint astringency. Medium feel and mild amount of carbonation. This is one extremely smooth and drinkable ale. Absoslutely an unexpected awesome surprise.

stakem, Apr 12, 2010
Photo of Brabander
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It was a pity that the bottle could be opened so difficult. Too much carbonation came loose when i tried to open the bottle. The head disappears very fast and there is little carbonation.

The smell was better although it has the typical USA smell as i call it.

Tasting was ok, not bad at all. I tasted some coffee and a sweet hoppy taste.

Mouthfeel is average. Drinkable it is.

Brabander, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of Flashsp2
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Stock '09, sampled March '10

Poured into snifter. Generates a dense creamy beige head atop a deep
mahogany body with orange highlights. Leaves tracks or lace that don't
really stick, but sort of slowly drag down the glass. Head dissipates
to leave a solid ring and a island of floating foam in the middle.

Nose is all over the place. Subtle and mellow, soft, with the rough
edges rounded. Vinous of port wine, cognac, roasted nuts, caramel,
overripe plums, booze, dark fruits, rich malt, raisin, whisky, candied
citrus, spice.

Palette is similar to the nose, i.e. all over the place. Toasted whole
wheat drizzled in apple blossom honey, sweet citrus, whiskey, plums,
red apple skins, chewy malt, nuts. Booze is discernable, but not
'hot'. It doesn't really get in the way, it just subtly reminds you
that this is a big beer. It's rich and decadent, a beer that begs

Mouthfeel is chewy and soft, with a heavy viscosity and a low level

While this is quite easy to drink, it's certainly not a beer to be
consumed in any serious quantity. This best enjoyed over the course of
an hour, allowing it to come to room temperature which let's this bad
boy breathe.

Flashsp2, Apr 07, 2010
Photo of coalcracker
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage (11.7% ABV)

Appearance: Pours very dark ruby red and is actively effervescent. Head does not retain for long.
Smell: Very sharp aroma upon opening. Quite unique- tart fruits definitely in the mix here. Sure smells like candi sugars, but I'm not sure if this is in the recipe.
Taste: Slow build-up to a boozy and slightly bitter sensation at the middle and end of the tasting- can sense a warming alcohol tingle at the finish. Dark fruits, plum, raisin, cherry, and dark bready malts constitute the flavor profile.
Mouthfeel: Medium to above average texture. Dry finish. Alcoholic tingle definitely noted.
Drinkability: Sipper for sure. Probably the strongest olde ale I've ever had. Pretty hot for a 2007.

Overall, quite an experience. Not exactly my cup of tea, but not a loser. Drink with respect.

coalcracker, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

**11/24/11** more notes

Opened up a 2008 bottle for Thanksgiving, around 3 years old. This is the first Old Stock I've had that wasn't a gusher. This might be my favorite experience with it so far, it's nice at 3 years old. Great appearance. Big ol toffee/vanilla/raisin bomb, brown sugar and buttery malts. Drinks easy for 12.5%. Seems more balanced and less hot with the extra age on it, a little less sweet than I remember it being too. I definitely can recommend aging it this long.

**original review**
2008 bottle. Damn, this thing was the worst gusher I've had. Foam poured out instantly and wouldn't stop for about 10 seconds, luckily saved a bit with my mouth and the glass. Lost a couple ounces though, shucks. This is my first 'old ale'. Pours nearly black, but holding it up to the light reveals see-through dark red. Very carbonated and quite a bit of sediment. Nice head rests on top, color somewhere between off-white and tan, eventually just turns into a thick ring not leaving much lacing. For the smell, first thing that comes to mind is "doppelbock". Cola, maple, burnt toast, vanilla. Quite a great scent. Taste pretty much follows the nose, getting alot of cola, unsweetened maple, dark malt, a whiskey-ish feel, probably a combination of vanilla+booze. The alcohol comes through much more in the taste than in the scent, but it is not overly boozy for 12.5%. Caramel and smoke also come to mind. Kind of reminds me of a cross between a scotch ale and a doppelbock. Pretty complex stuff, although I think I prefer smelling these flavors rather than tasting them, a little too heavy and not a huge fan of the tastes. This has been aged for around 2 years, I imagine the booze on this thing fresh must be pretty crazy. Taste actually improves a bit in the finish I think, a warming sweet vanilla flavor seems to take over. Mouthfeel is good, nothing really mentionable here. Definitely malts over hops, the aging has had a part in this I'm sure. Drinkability is pretty limited here simply because of the nature of the style. The price and booze taste isn't high considering the alcohol content. I was considering buying a 4-pack of the 2008 to age but I think I will pass on it. Good, just seems like the flavors here are a bit too powerful for my taste. I still wouldn't mind trying the Reserve though...anyone wanna give it up? :P

Chico1985, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of sk8man121
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage 12 oz bottle poured into Shipyard pint glass.

A: Pours a dark strawberry color with copper tones throughout. Head is a creamy tan that leaves barely any lacing on the glass. Looks pretty nice.

S: Smells distinctly of currants and dark fruit. Roasted malts are present, along with quite a bit of alcohol in the nose. I can't wait to take a sip.

T: VERY boozy w/ more dark fruit, oak and chocolate. Quite malty and sweet; typical for the style.

M: Thick & chewy with lighter carbonation than I expected.

D: Very filling; may well be a meal. The high ABV makes it hard to want to drink more than one of these, but it certainly is a tasty creature. I think a year or two would do wonders for this, which isn't to say that it doesn't drink well fresh because it does.

Give it a shot!

sk8man121, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Phelps
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 edition, poured into my perfect pint glass.

Pours a hazy cola-brown with notes of light amber and ruby. A foamy one-finger khaki head quickly fades to a sudsy ring. Tons of champagny bubbles dance to the surface in ribbons.

In the nose: grainy caramel malts. Burnt sugar, honey. Bubble gum. Milk chocolate. Black currants.

Taste is very interesting. Starts mellow and sweet, with dark burnt sugars. Plums, currants, licorice. Belgian dark fruits. Heavy malts come later, ranging from sweet caramel to bitter light coffee, with heavier emphasis on the dark stuff. Almost like a combo belgian dubbel/porter. Big alcohol and stringent hops hit at the finish.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly full. Light yet full, it reminds me of whipped cream. High carb. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden.

A decadent beer, and one that I'll definitely seek out again. Old ales are quickly moving up the rankings in my list of favorite styles.

Phelps, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Stunner97
3/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2010 batch of stock ale

Appearance- dark brown to amber red, very thick murky in color, small bubbles stream along the bottom of the glass, tan head starts quick and quickly fades off

Smell- sweet molasses, slight raisony smell, rum, slight alcohol, and slight hopping on the nose

Taste- starts up front with a real lot of malts, and slight hop in mid palate but not much, sweet malts, overall though very boozy flavor almost like tasting a straight liquor or rum, may need some age to really mellow of that heat,

Mouthfeel- heavy thick and viscous, alot going on here in this very heavy beer

Drinkability- at this current point at least in this beers life I have to be realistic and admits its drinkablity is fairly low, theres just to much heat and not a great balance, I would be intrigued to see how this balances out in a couple year time but i think this is one if I had a 4pack of id certainly be cellaring for bit,

Stunner97, Mar 28, 2010
Photo of dcajero
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found a 4 pack of the 2007 model hidden on the back of the shelf at my local liquor store. Had to smile as the clerk tried to wipe off the layer of dust at the register.

Appearance - Hazy and the color of iced tea until held to the light when it shines ruby red. Poured a good 3/4 inch head that was gone in 5 minutes with no lacing.

Smell - Cherry blossoms, raisins.

Taste - More cherries, raisins hints of caramel or brown sugar.

Mouthfeel - Has a nice crisp feel on the edges but a heavy almost oily feel overall. The alcohol is front and center but not overwhelming to any extent.

Drinkability - Definitely not for up and about type activity. At the end of the day this is a nice easy bring down. At the ABV it can sneak up on you.

dcajero, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ruby color, minimal head eviscerated soon after. Aroma is alcoholic.

Taste is alcoholic, a little cherry, syrup and molasses feel. Reminiscient of brandy. Powerful. This is a sippin' beer. Some apple possibly. Doesn't fade downbottle. Sweet. Carmel. Damn alcohol is too prevalent for my tastes. No hops.

My uncle who likes port wine might be into this. Not my thing, but no denying these guys make fantastic beers.

Beerandraiderfan, Mar 25, 2010
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,533 ratings.