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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,811 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,811
Reviews: 1,412
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 144
Gots: 521 | FT: 22
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

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 (20) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,811 | Reviews: 1,412
Photo of gfreed
4.07/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 version. Despite the nearly 12% ABV, I'd classify this as a good beer to hand someone who has never before had a heavy hitter. The color isn't terribly dark; the aroma isn't terribly powerful; the taste isn't terribly strong. The alcohol doesn't hit too hard, but there is an odd taste of... pizza? Maybe a plain cheese pizza with too much red sauce. I don't know. It isn't bad, however; just out of place. There's a big hit of peaches as well, along with the usual stuff you find in a big beer like this. Worth a try, especially on a heading-into-fall evening.

Photo of BeardedRiker
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

***2011 Release***

My brother really loves barleywines, old ales, and strong ales. He was good enough to leave a couple behind at my friend's place so I tried one out. I haven't had a North Coast Brewing beer in a long time so I'll gladly try another of theirs.

Like most other beers of this style the head wasn't too tall, about a finger in height, and bubbled away quickly. It has a creme color to it. I like the look of the beer. It is a very red amber color that I don't think I've seen in other beers.

I'll be honest, I'm helping cook a lobster, shrimp, and chicken paella right now so it's difficult to get a good smell of this beer without getting a huge whiff of the awesome paella cooking slowly outside. Anyway, it has a strong boozy smell with sweet, fruity sugary goodness. Apples come out for me as if it's winey. Sweet malts and a bit of pine.

You know, despite the obvious booziness, that adds a great warming/numbing feeling on the tongue and in the mouth, this is a very well-balanced beer. I'm liking the alcohol without it being overpowering, even for it being almost 12% ABV. Again, the wine-like flavors come through with apple, white grapes, maybe some raisin. There's brown sugar sweetness that balances it out a lot. This is one of those beers that is good at almost any temperature. Bready malts add depth too.

Medium-high carbonation tingles the tongue the whole time. It's medium-bodied that's smooth but with a tad dry finish.

Photo of agomega
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance: A rich caramel color. Almost no head, only a little fizz.

Smell: A boozy fruity flavor is at the forefront. In the background are subtle hints of malt, caramel, raisins.

Taste: The taste is also very boozy with the flavor of rich fruit in the background. Fairly sweet with not much in the way of hops or bitterness. You can definitely tell the alcohol is present by the alcohol hear in the finish, but it isn't overly offensive.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation.

Overall: This is a good beer. It is fairly sweet, which gets a little bit old towards the end of the glass. The flavor is interesting, but I was hoping for a little more complexity. I will save a couple bottles and try again in a year or two.

Photo of rwathree
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage.

A: Reddish brown color, opaque even when held to light. Yields a slightly brown head that disappears quickly. Leaves little in the way of lace, but that color is almost perfect.

S: Candied brown sugar, red wine, and a bit of alcohol heat. It's nice up front, but there's something offensive about the heat, like rubbing alcohol.

T: It's good. The heat of the alcohol does a great job of balancing out the vine-fruit sweetness that I get up front. After that, just a slight, dry hop bitterness cuts through the burn. Next to no aftertaste. Impressive.

M: Creamy, moderate carbonation. Resinous.

O: So, I didn't like the smell, but that was after taking multiple, inquisitive whiffs. This is a fantastic interpretation of the style. Sweet and strong but balanced enough to keep it drinkable. I haven't had this since 2007 and it's every good as I remember it being.

Photo of bayougutter
4.39/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage

Poured a dark aged copper color with a small off white head that dissipated quickly leaving only a ring. Minimal lacing.

The nose is abundant with a lot happening. Here's what I get: sticky sweet malts, raisins, grapes, nutty banana bread, caramel/toffee, and a little alcohol. A lot going on with the aroma.

Taste: There is a lot happening with the taste as well without being "too much". I get the alcohol from right off but not too much, then the sweet malts,toffee, a little raisin/ripe fig in the middle, a candy flavor that I can't put my finger on. Finishes well with all of the flavors coming back with a little alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is medium thick, good coating of the palate, and nicely carbinated til the end.

Overall I was expecting a lot from reviews and from what I had heard and wasn't let down at all. This one is almost like a sweet barley wine. It's on the sweet side but not too much or cloying and it's complex without being too complicated. It's hard to explain the above comments but I do know that I enjoyed it well. A must try. Curious to see how it will age.

Photo of garymuchow
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared a 2010 with a friend. Thanks John. Thick rich heavy and sweet malt aroma that very much resembles a barleywine. Complex, sweet and sometimes candy like. Small head that leaves a small minimal amount. Flavor is complex with great malt flavors. Has richness, but not as sweet as the aroma would expect. Light flavors from the oak are nice. Moderately heavy body with nice smoothness. Very nice drink and enjoyed greatly.

Photo of FanofHefe
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Version. Pours a deep amber color, clear, with a bit of ruby red tint and touch of carbonation bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. A small, light tan head quickly dissipates, as expected for the high abv.

Rich aroma, period. A lot going on here so I hope I don't miss too much. Sweet, caramel malt; dark fruit; rum/bourbon; a bit of alcohol; apple; fig; and a hint of earthy hops.

Not as many flavors come through as expected from the aroma. The sweet malt and alcohol flavors dominate, but don't disappoint too much. The malt fades to a pancake syrup flavor and the rum gives a kick. I can see this brew taking on many variations as it ages.

No doubt, an alcohol presence in the mouthfeel that is sweet, but not cloying. Will put a few back for aging and expect different but good results down the road.

Photo of Kendo
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2011, consumed on 8/24/2011.

A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass, pretty aggressively. Result: a big, cream-colored head that dissolves quite quickly - it visibly (and audibly) recedes.

S: Nice - booze-soaked fruit.

T: Like black cherry soda and booze. Dark, dried fruits as well - plummy/prunes and some vinuous characteristics. Sweetness - molasses-like, caramel malt and toffee. Even suggestions of chocolate at times. Finishes with a waft of alcohol heat. No noticeable hops or bitterness at all. This one is all booze and heavy, sweet (sugary & fruity) malt.

M: Thick and heavy. Carbonation is faint, making the feel pretty slick.

O: Good stuff - I'll bet this one will age nicely.

Photo of McNealc31
4.87/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 version. Deep mahogany color with loads of roasted butterscotch and some wood in the nose. That butterscotch flavor absolutely coats the mouth with a bit of sour tang in the finish. Hops add a welcome kick and some bitterness, but don't get in the way of anything. Picking up some grapes and late chocolate as it warms. It's a heavy hitter at more than 11% ABV, but the alcohol is just a pleasant warmth.

Photo of dgilks
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper colour with a small but short lasted off-white head. Fair head retention.

Toasty malt aroma with some lightly tart yet fresh and fruity notes. Good.

Sweet, thick and syrupy malt with some rich dark, dried fruit notes. Quite plummy.

Full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A really solid English Barleywine. There was some good fruitiness and malt depth here. Unfortunately, I felt like I didn't quite get this beer as it didn't scream greatness to me.

Photo of FosterJM
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

720th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12 oz

2010 vintage

App- A burnt reddish color with a little streak of light brown. A one finger head with no cling and lace. A small ring of bubbles around the edges.

Smell- A light smell of booze with a small malt base and a bit of whispy sugar. To me it has a small barrel note and a layer of vanilla.

Taste- A very drinkable 11%. A great vanilla spirit note and a very bubbly malt note. A lot softer than other old ales. Not over the top bold like others. Balanced and restrained.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonated. A great bubbly spritzy malt.

Drink- A nice old ale. Its a 12 oz is awesome. Very balanced and rich. Big notes of vanilla and malt. Not overly done but still smooth and tasty.

Photo of 1Adam12
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark red, almost brown. Looks dirty, IN A GOOD WAY!! Lots of raisin on the nose. A bit of alcohol. Lots of dark fruit. Same on the taste. Doesn't taste as strong as the smell. This could've been better, but still really good. The taste just doesn't match up with the nose. Nose is very strong, taste, well, not so much. Very light in body compared to what I feel it should be. Nose indicates fuller mouthfeel. Just not there. Still good, don't get me wrong. Just didn't meet expectations once I smelled it. Picture raison d'extra, minus the extra. Thats what this is.

Photo of nhindian
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

2011 vintage.

A - Pours a deep red mixed with bursts of orange and darker spots of orange. Think of the last flash of sun before it sets, mixed with the twilight. Fairly hard to see through, but from what can be determined, there are streams of carbonation rising to meet the air. Pretty actively carbonated given the style and ABV, which is show through the almost 3-fingers of cream-colored head that has nice retention. The lacing appears promising at first, but the alcohol finally makes it succumb to it's legs.

S - Smells malty, sugary, and fruity. Almost comes off as a quad in the way that it mixes the alcohol, sugar, and fruits to give it rum or port quality to it. There's maybe even some brown sugar in here as well that mixes with the hops, which are subtle. Malts give off toffee and slight caramel.

T - The taste is everything the nose promises and more. Definitely getting a fortified wine aspect in this beer in the way that the alcohol mixes with the grapes and raisins and gives off a warming heat. The alcohol is no stranger, but it appears as an old friend rather than a stranger wanting to mug you for all of your money; it is complementary to the other flavors in this beer. Overall a malt-forward beer that all but forsakes the minimal amount of hops that were in the nose. Think big flavors of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and even the slightest bits of cocoa in the finish..

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy-bodied with high carbonation for the style. Comes across as slick and finishes semi-dry on the palate. Smooth and easy-drinking.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. The only thing that I can fault this beer for is being perhaps a bit too sweet. The flavors are all spot on, but I can't help but feel that the sugar is covering some of the more nuanced tastes. While there is some alcohol, it serves to exemplify the flavors and is nowhere approaching the near 12% this beer contains. A great old ale that should age with the best of them. Now I want to try the 2009 bourbon-aged version!

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, thanks chiefbrutus

A - pours a murky red/brown filling to a dark brown body with a rich red gradient at the edges and a medium tan head with good staying power. Real pretty.

S - chocolate, caramel, cherries, dark fruits. Nice nose! Great complexity.

T - Nice sweet malt profile, toffee, cherries, a touch of chocolate, some earthy notes. I can't believe this is 4 years old. I can't wait to see this in another 4 or 8 or 12 years.

M - Thick and smooth, with some real life from the carbonation

O - this is incredible. It's a bit sweeter than I'd like at this point, but shoot, it's tasty.

3.84/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from 2011 vintage, into a tulip.

A: Pours a murky brown, amber body, with low level of head formation. Carbonation is slow and steady, lacing is left in small swaths.

S: the aroma is overall quite low for style. Burnt leather and plum. No hop character. The aroma is a very bad introduction to a very well balanced beer.

T/M: The body is viscous and very akin to maple syrup in texture, mouthfeel is left in a silky coat. The body has flavors of plums, raisins and pecans. Spice on the finish, a healthy dose of yeast character is presented on the finish.

O: This is a very good beer, maybe a very good bench mark for the style. Big depth on the texture and body notes. Even with warming up the aroma remains a bit weak.

Photo of Arithmeticus
4.48/5  rDev +9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured at basement temp in large ale glass

A: not much head; good carbonation; clear ruddy color
S: very strong alcohol aroma, a bit like whiskey
T: Oh wow, this is amazing, so much like a whiskey beer--good whiskey; raisin, brown sugar also noticeable; the alcohol. like the flavor, is intense and concentrated

Oh do enjoy this one; I can tell it will age well.

Photo of mlazzaro
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2002 12 oz. bottle from capped four pack. 11.4%ABV.
I personally aged this for five years in my basement.
Pours a cloudy brown with a small light brown head. Smells darker than it looks- dark malty aromas like toffee and a bit of chocolate. I feel like I smell something reminiscent of dark fruits as well. Flavors of caramel and toffee maltiness finishing up with some spicy yeast flavors. Beer is smooth, but very warming to the esophagus. It took a bit for my palate to adjust, I do enjoy it more and more as I sip on. Super unique taste, I have a hard time comparing it to another beer. Well worth cellaring, I had four this was the last and best example of the four.

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Bells tulip glass.

A- Pours a nice one finger beige head nice lacing and retention, well carbonated, bubbles streaming off the bottom, dark brown burnt orange color murky.
S- Sweet fruity aroma, dark fruits raisins, plums, caramel, malt, toffee.
T- The alcohol is present but not overpowering, warming beer, dark fruits, raisins plums, definitely some sweet caramel, brown sugar, toffee, sweet from the malt.
M- Medium/big mouth feel, well carbonated, crisp finish.
O- Fairly enjoyable beer, easy drinkability for how high the abv is, nothing too special as to seek out again, but glad to try it once

Photo of azdback
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A 2010 bottle poured into a Stone Imperial glass. Dark carmel red color. A whirlwind of tiny carbonation bubbles lead to a large two finger head. The head is light tan in color and very velvety in appearance. The high alcohol reduces the lace to a no show.

Smell is mostly candied barley and earth. The sweet from this high ABV is very prevalent, but quite enjoyable. There is also quite a bit of alcohol in the nose.

Taste is ultra sweet. Very syrupy sweet from the malts. It is closely described as caramel, melted and poured into my glass. I can get some alcohol here too, but I think it is well masked for the ABV. There is some tart fruit in there also. I want to say candied Macintosh apples or pears. Very enjoyable!

Mouth is great. Well carbonated and rich, almost chewy, like a stout. Some alcohol burn on the throat and tongue more as this warms.

Overall I enjoyed this. It has been in my "gonna drink fridge" for over six months. I am glad I finally pulled the trigger on it. Pick this up when you get the chance. I promise you wont be disappointed!

Photo of cagocubs
4.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from bottle into snifter glass. 2010 Batch.

A: Pours a lighter brown, copper color similar to some red ales. Bubbly tan 1 finger head that laces and sticks around to a point of a cap.

S: Sweet smell assaults the nostrils, brown sugar, toffee, caramel, rum, vanilla. Dark fruit mellow tone like raisin and plum. This has such varying smells its quite amazing.

T: What you smelled is what you get in the taste. The sweetness coats the mouth and leaves you wanting more. Sweet smells can be tasted. At 11.7, you bet your bottom its hot from the alcohol. Great warming with sweet taste and malts.

M: Great. Carbonation is perfect. Warming effect creates new dimensions to the beer. Good mouth coating and smooth body.

O: I can't wait for my 2010 batch to age even more. This was a positive experience in all facets of beer rating. One of my favorites.

Photo of sergeantstogie
4.94/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2011 batch.

Poured a gorgeous dark amber color. I can almost imagine ants frozen in time in this dark yet glowing elixir.

The smell is just a hint of what lies ahead in flavor. It smells like walking into a house where a pineapple upside down cake just got thrown to bake in the oven by mom because she was afraid that pineapple was going to rot and we don't have the kind of money where something as expensive as a pineapple can go to waste.

The taste is pineapple upside down cake. What else did you think I would say? Well to be honest there are hints of boozy bourbon vanilla. Just a hint.

For such a heavy experience of a beer, it comes off very light. Not a ton of carbonation, but it's an old ale; That's ok.

This is the second year I have been lucky enough to drink this delicious beer and I gotta say it is easily on my Island list if such a thing exists. Dessert in a glass without being sweet and cloying. The only ding in my score comes from this and all the past Old Stock Ales from North Coast have had almost no head. Apart from that this beer would have been all 5's.

Photo of colforbin73
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


i purchased a four pack a few months ago and i am reviewing this while having the last one -- and this is the best. make sure this beer is good and cold in your fridge, at least 3 or 4 days at a cold temp.

pours a delicious burnt dark amber color with a fine red head into a stemless wine glass. luscious rich malts and earth in the nose, caramel malts and a slight hint of yeast. very wet and earthy.

the taste is indeed "old" and "ale" -- but better. refined and slow-made tasting, like the mash was extra thick and stirred by brown-robed monks. syrupy, maple and candied sugar, but with a good sour finish. really a special beer.

i look forward to further editions of this ALE. i promise to drink more judiciously in the future. HOLD ON to this 6 months before you try one.

Photo of JAXSON
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 bottle. Pours a very clear garnet with a thin ring of head. Nose is rich with raisins, dried tobacco leafs, caramel malt. Mouth is sweet syrup, dark fruits, leafy hops, tobacco. Finish is long with tobacco leaf, a bit to its detriment. I'm not sure whether that is oxidation or just some lingering hop character. To be sure though, this 2010 bottle is way, way better now in August 2011 than it was in August 2010, as I've had a few over the months. Much more mature, rich, and tight.

Photo of ExplosivoSR
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

A - Pours a nice mahogany, with a finger head that dissipates in an instant.

S - Toffee, brown sugar, fig, a bit of wood.

T - Rum raisin, sweet malts, toffee, and alcohol. Very rich and complex.

M - Medium body, with a perfect amount of carbonation.

O - I was pretty blown away by this beer. I went in expecting to like it, but not as much as I ended up. Big, bold flavors are what this is all about.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.3/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by jayhawk73. Thanks Jeff!

The beer is dark ruby hued, with a thin, wispy tan head that leaves faint lacing on the snifter. The aroma brings malt, toffee, alcohol. The flavor is sweet, with notes of toffee, caramel candies, malt. The feel is medium bodied on the palate. The sweetness is present throughout, but not cloying. The beer actually reminds me of Samichlaus. Good stuff. This will certainly age well. I would definitely have this again.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,811 ratings.