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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,780 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,780
Reviews: 1,401
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 144
Gots: 509 | FT: 20
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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,780 | Reviews: 1,401 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Radome
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Beer was a light to medium brown color but totally cloudy and opaque but with tons of tiny bubbles rising through it. The head was light tan and very wispy, made up of many miniscule bubbles. It faded from about 1/4" thick to a thin layer that remained throughout.

S - Aroma is surprisingly muted. I get some caramel and nutty notes, but the biggest component is sweet alcohol. No hops noted.

T - The taste is all about malt and alcohol. I get some bready, nutty malt up front, then a big wave of sweet alcohol. Not much complexity. Some hop background is apparent at the end of the palate, but not identifiable by variety.

M - Medium to heavy body, but it is lightened by a fizzy, fluffy feel from the carbonation. There is some burn from the alcohol. Lingering mouth-coating sweetness.

D - Overall I like this beer, but it is very "hot" and sweet from all the alcohol. I am a fan of lower-hopped English-style Barley Wines, but this one could use some additional element to add complexity and bring some of the focus away from the unbalanced alcohol.

Photo of Francepants06
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage.
I aged it 2 years hoping the alcohol would dilute a bit, but I think I opened it too early. It was a great dark brown beer. It has roasted nut aromas with a caramel lingering finish.The nose was pretty average smelled like stainless steel barrel. The alcohol is a little high,it definitely could have aged for another 2 years. It's too bad North Coast brewing co. is not going to ship to Louisiana during the summer months, I guess I better stock up.

Photo of beck2008
2/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I was very disappointed with this ale. I am a big fan of strong ale but this was nothing like I expected. It poured like a coke - a quick fizzy head formed and rapidly disappeared entirely. The appearance was like a red ale and very clear. The mouth feel was thin, the taste was akin to brown ale with a shot of whiskey, this is no exaggeration. It lacked complexity and character. I was all around just a hard ale to drink. I am hoping this was just a bad bottle. I will cellar this and see what it tastes like in a year.

Photo of Franz4
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 version 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- A deep walnut/mahogany color. A vigorous pour got a finger of head on it, but that settles quickly to nothing. Instead of lacing it leaves legs like a wine might.

S- Alcohol is slightly noticeable. First scent is dried fruit, mostly apricots, followed by a touch of toffee

T- Dried fruit comes through again, slight heat is noticeable, very complex as the flavors change several times. Heat lingers which is pleasant and brings out additional flavors. This is a very enjoyable sipper. Some cherry is evident, some grainy notes as well.

M- The alcohol is noticeable, and that's a good thing in this brew. It's a sipper for sure, taste lingers with you for a while. It's slick and smooth, but it goes down slowly.

O- A very complex brew, not for every occasion for sure, but this was a nice example of an old ale. I see more of this sipper in my future.

Photo of Ralphs66
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When I saw this on the menu at Holy Smoke, I frankly, had no idea what it was. Never had an old ale before. So it came out in a 4 tasting flight. Looked like a very bubbly cheerwine (that monstrosity of a soda from NC). Almost no head whatsoever. First taste and smell and I'm thinking, "How come it didn't say Barleywine on the menu?". Not as overtly sweet as your typical barleywine, but MANY of the same characteristics. Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla. At almost 12%, the alcohol is pretty well hidden. Still a sipper however. My 5 ounce pour was the perfect quantity.

Photo of claspada
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage. Pours a honey-thick amber, slightly hazy, with literally zero head, disappointing, maybe it's too cold.

Aromas begin quite fruity with orange marmalade, plums, vinous red grape notes and a predominant dark cherry sweetness. As it warms you get more of the caramel and brown sugar maltiness. A little too sweet and sugary; the alcohol becomes more prevalent as is warms as well.

The taste begins with waves of caramel and butterscotch malts quickly followed by lesser brown sugar and toffee notes. You get the fruitiness more in the flavor as it warms with red grapes, plums, pears and hard apple cider. Alcohol flavors become a tad too prevalent towards the end of this 12 oz offering.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick, with adequate carbonation. Alcohol presence/bite makes this difficult to truly enjoy to its full capacity but helps to dry out the palate.

Overall this was a very good beer although it is still not reached "maturity" yet as the flavors are a bit too alcohol heavy, preventing complete enjoyment/savoring. Looking forward to cellaring and sampling the rest of the 4 pack over the next couple years.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.
12.5% ABV per label.

Pours a murky dark amber color with a small 1/2 bone colored head that fades to nothing. Very small spots of lacing dot the glass on the drink down. Smells of caramel, rum raisin, and malt. A very nice sweet raisin bread aroma on this beer. Taste is very sweet and rich with brown sugar/caramel and raisin bread flavors. Low carbonation with a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Slight alcohol burn in the throat with each sip. Overall, this is a good beer that I stumbled on at my local Whole Foods in early 2011. I think they found a 4 pack in the back that they put out for sale. After tasting this year's brew, I am kicking myself for not buying more than one. I will look into getting these each year that they are released for aging purposes.

Photo of phillybeer7779
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage poured into an Old Stock snifter

Appearance- Dark reddish brown in color, almost merlot-like. Poured with about a centimeter of thin head, which dissapated quickly, didn't even leave a bubble after a few minutes.

Smell- Aroma of some caramel and chocolate, with a little bit of alcohol on the nose.

Taste- Caramel malt and alcchol heat in the flavor. a hint of licorice, maybe?

Mouthfeel- A little thin on the body, with a little bit of an alcohol burn on the way down. Not much in the way of carbonation.

Overall- A quality, old ale. Not a beer that I'm going to want to drink another of, but a good beer to spend an hour with.

Photo of 100floods
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

part 1/4 in my aging experiment of this 2011 batch.

Pours a deep burnt red/orange hue. Very, very bubbly. Cream tan head with a hint of gold stuck around for a few seconds and then split. Spiced malt, brown sugar, and wood. A little toasty as well. Very pleasing. Nice malty sweetness that works hand in hand with some toasted malts and a nice caress of hops. This beer presents a nice balance. Just a hint of alcohol towards the back of each sip. Just a hint of a wine-like acidity which seems to open this beer up a bit. After letting this sit I'm getting some rasin and booze flavors. A nice change from other strong ales. Very curious to see what age will do to this.

Photo of WankelEngine
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into pint glass

A: Pours a deep amber-ruby color. It’s is clear, but fairly dark. There is a small head of maybe one finger, tan and creamy. I don’t see any lacing.

S: Smells overwhelmingly malty and sweet; reminds me of a barely wine. It is a roasted caramel scent with a bit of toffee.

T: Roasted malt is the most notable flavor. This lends a variety of subtle flavor to the brew including dark fruit and sweet caramel. There is a light chocolate flavor with becomes more apparent in the aftertaste. Next to no taste of hops present. The aftertaste itself is sweet and relatively mild, given a bit of bitterness by the high alcohol content.

M: Moderately thick. Carbonation helps keep the mouthfeel from getting syrupy and this is fairly drinkable despite its high alcohol content.

O: A drinkable, sweet beer. Although I could taste next to no hops to balance this beer, the malt contributes some relatively complex flavors.

Photo of Spadoof
4.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from: Vintage Estates (Boardman, Ohio)
Origin: 12oz Bottle
Bottled on: 2010 Vintage
Tasted on: 07-14-11
Glassware: DFH Snifter
Serving Temperature: 53 F

Notes: $3.99 a bottle. Reviewed from notes

I) Appearance: Deep red and copper body with a light tan head. The head pour about 1/2 finger a fell extremely slow, leaving a wonderful webbing of sticky lacing on the sides of my snifter.

II) Smell: Plenty of roasted malts, toffee, caramel, chocolate covered raisins, alcohol and maybe some butterscotch.

III) Taste: The taste mirrors the nose extremely well. Again a great variety of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit, caramel, butterscotch and a warm alcohol finish.
A) Malt Intesity (1-5): 5
B) Hop Intesity (1-5): 1

IV) Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy and very pleasant.

V) Drinkability: 11.7%, maybe one or two on a rare occasion

VI) Concluding thoughts: I would definitely buy this again. If you see this somewhere, pick up a case and cellar it for a few years!

Photo of xnicknj
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into snifter - 2010 vintage

Pours a brilliant deep mahogany cherry color with some ruby tones which filter through the light. An almost solid layer of off white head fades into a filmy retention which lasts throughout the entire pour. Some spots of lacing as well.

A bit sweet and warm in the nose with a nice helping of roasted malts and candied dark fruit. Some burnt sugar, cinnamon spice, and cherry with a surprisingly soft alcohol flair.

Rich roasted malts with some thick, syrupy sweetness. Candied fruit with raisins and cherry along with burnt brown sugar. Heavy malt backbone with caramel and toffee. The hops have definitely faded over the past year+ allowing some of the flavors to mellow and mesh together, although this could definitely use some more time. Finishes with some sticky sweetness and a bite of alcohol.

Full bodied, milder carbonation, a bit heavy but smooth and lingering on the tongue. Considering the heavier profile and high ABV, this drinks pleasantly, and could still benefit from significant aging.

Photo of Pellinore1
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle pours clear, dark amber, yielding less than a finger of light tan head. As this fades, it leaves almost no trace.

I smell dark, fruity malts, along with some definite booziness. Behind this, I pick up just a bit of caramel sweetness.

The taste follows nicely on the smell, with fruit, spices, and a little bready malt defining the flavor.

Smooth and a little sticky, with some big alcohol warmth at the end.

A fine old ale, overall, but a little boozy for my taste. I'd like to try this again with a little more age, and can only imagine it will be improved.

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.72/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage.
Pours a hazy brown(ish) with no head.
There is a ton of boozy fruit up front. Souring yeast follows along with some booze.
Not a bad 2+ year taste. Plum, bittersweet chocolate, earth and a touch of booze. Goes down smooth and easy.
I like the 2009 barrel aged version better, but this isn't bad.

Photo of calebroberts811
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a four pack of the 2011 vintage and I plan to taste it again next year.

First Taste: 5-14-2011.

A - Deep ruby red color, brandy color; one-finger tan head that quickly dissipated. Little carbonation

S - Apricots/orange peel, caramelized pineapples, cinnamon, cloves and booze. Rather like potpourri, actually.

T - Rich malty caramel notes on the front that are enhanced by the warmth of the alcohol. Quite spicy with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and a tiny sliver of orange and apple peel.

M - Just enough carbonation to keep it from being syrupy, but it's still quite cloying and as a previous reviewer said it best: "chewy."

In conclusion, I am certainly excited to wait until next May to try the next one because some of the goopy-ness needs to mature away.

Photo of Jeriba
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2010 vintage, poured in a snifter.

A: Pours a dark reddish brown with a fairly healthy amount of head.

S: Smells like the California Raisins fell off the wagon.

T: Strong whiskey-like booziness that is actually quite pleasant. There's definitely an oak flavor, and more of the afore-mentioned raisin plus a fig sweetness as it warms. I feel like I should be wearing a smoking jacket and listening to jazz.

M: To start with, it goes down like a smooth bourbon. The carbonation holds up well throughout.

D: Did my office sprout oak paneled walls while I wasn't looking? This is a very strong, but pleasant, slow-sipping beer. I plan to stock up and try it again in a few years.

Photo of flannelman808
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this was much better than expected ... 2011 vintage.

A: Dark cherry oak color, and topped with an off white head with medium retention. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: Rich over ripe fruit and heath bar! Nearly funky.

T: Woody quality hits me first which wasn't expected. If husk is a description than I am going to coin "Woody Plant" right now as this is what Im getting from this stuff. There is a great sour gummy coke bottle sort of flavor in a good (Haribo) sort of way.

M: Very long finish. This has an almost gritty, tacky quality.

O: Very good stuff and I can't wait to age some/try older vintages.

Photo of Retsinis
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this beer on tap at Tony's Darts Away.

A: Served in a snifter, the beer pours semi clear, and is a rich dark brown color, with a quarter inch of tan colored head, that quickly receded to just a ring of bubbles around the edges of the glass. No decernable lacing.

S: I pick up scents of roasted caramel, oak, molasses, some toffee, and alcohol.

T: As expected, a prominent malt presence layered with flavors notes of toffee, caramel sweetness, and even a mild vanilla/bourbon quality. Warming alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Chewy and well balaced. Carbonation is understated but appropriate.

O: Good stuff. Fresh to me is not overly complex, given the alcohol. I like this beer though, and have now started to set aside a vertical of it, and am looking forward to try some vintage bottles.

Photo of flipper2gv
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks a lot to BEERchitect for this bottle!

A: Very opaque dark reddish orange. Head is beige, 1 finger worth. Retention is ok and lacing is sub par for the ABV.

S: When I imagined what an old ale would smell before I had the chance to have one, this is exactly what I had in mind. Big ripe dark fruits like prunes, dried figs, dark cherries. Also, big on the leathery, oaky and smoky notes. Very strong malts in the form of: caramel, molasses, licorice and toffee. Slightly boozy like rhum soaked prunes. Amazing smell and strong!

T: Goes along the same lines. Superb balance of dark and sweet fruits (prunes, dried figs and dark cherries), rhum, scotch (leather, oak, smoke, light pepper) and malt (caramel, molasses, licorice, toffee and maple syrup). Amazing beer for sure! A bit too much alcohol though :(

M: Big body but still very creamy and not harsh in any way. Carbonation is nice and low.

O: The scotch notes are what surprised me the much with this brew. Very interesting all around, but a little too much alcohol for my taste. Drinkability is lower than average because of this very reason. Still, it became one of my favorite beer.

Photo of Knapp85
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 2008. A freight train of a beer. This pours out as a nice deep brown color with a tan colored head that doesn't stick around very long. The smell of this brew is sweet and a little smokey some roasted malts in there too, perhaps even some hops shining through it in the back too. The taste is very complex. It reminded me more of a barely wine really. There was a strong alcohol warming sensation here. Also there were some rich dark fruits and roasted malts. The mouthfeel was on the thicker side. Overall a tasty brew!

Photo of 7ate9
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage
The appearance is the worst part of this beer. It doesn't matter that much to me, but it's a certain shade of browny orange with no head that looks somewhat unappetizing. Smell makes up for it boy howdy. Raisins leather caramel candied orange peel fig syrup. Taste follows the nose. A pleasant sweetness and very well concealed ABV. Thick but not cloying. This is a treat. And this vintage was still just gathering dust on the shelf. I'll be clearing the shelf of the rest.

Photo of Kinsman
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage

Murky mahogany color with a light shade of tan for the head. Moderately sized head but faded without leaving any lace.

Holy malt aromas Batman! Lots of sweet and malty aromas displaying notes of vanilla, raisins, and toffee. Slight whiff of alcohol can also be detected.

Syrupy sweetness with lots of malt flavors on the palate. Vanilla and dark fruits make up the bulk of the flavor profile. Flavor has a decidedly English profile to it with light hints of spicy EKG hops. Alcohol makes this one a little hot at a relatively young age.

Mouthfeel is thick and slightly chewy with a syrup-like quality to it. Overall, Old Stock Ale is one heckuva Malt-Bomb. Estimated age of 6-8 months makes this bottle a bit too young for it to peak in flavor. Once the alcohol cools down a bit, I could see this being a very enjoyable brew.

Photo of ajfa531
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Labeled 2010. 12 oz bottled half-poured into a Duvel tulip.

Medium-brown on the table. Deep orange-red up to the light. Not much head when poured. Swirled to produce a light tan head that faded quickly, leaving ring around the surface and thin covering.

I love the malt in the aroma. Lots of caramel and dark fruit. Reminds me of port with the mixing of the sweetness, the fruitiness, and the alcohol. I'm not getting much from the hops. I cannot tell if I'm picking up on citrus or piney notes, or I'm looking too hard.

The malt is definitely there. Then, the alcohol comes through heavy. The Bros mention rum raisins. I definitely see this. There is a dry rum/vodka aspect to the alcohol. I don't remember it being this forward. I can say that once my mouth got used to it, it isn't as aversive. Some toasted graininess in the finish along with chocolate. Coffee-like qualities adding to dryness.

The mouthfeel is good, but, could be chewier. Maybe it has fermented out too far. The residual sugars may help the feel and add to the taste at the same time.

Overall, a pretty good beer. I would trade off a couple ABV points to add to the feel and taste. This beer is much more enjoyable when paired with an equally strong-flavored item. I tried one while eating brie and it went nice together. Some cinnamon ice cream tonight isn't bad either.

Photo of beerman21
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Edition Poured from a bottle

A-Pours dark copper color brown, with little to no lacing.

s-smells of maple surup, figs, raisans, sweet candy buttscotch comes to mind.

T-Strong alchol infused maple surup, blend of figs raisans, bottscotch sweetness. Beer has after taste of rum and maple surup. Alchole is very warming.

M- thin mouthful that coats the mouth and lingers for quite awhile. very enjoyable and complex.

Overall enjoyable Old Ale, I'm sure this beer will age nicely. Not the first or the last time i'll purchase this brew. Hope to hold on to one for a few years and age.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage

A: Poured a hazy ruby red/amber color. A small head forms upon pouring and dissipates to a smattering of bubbles. Decent lacing.

S: A little bit of alcohol, but overall it is rather sweet smelling. A little bit of fruit and an earthiness.

T: Again a little bit of alcohol, but a lot less than I thought there would be since this bottle is rather fresh. Overly malty, no hops to speak of at all. Some caramel, plums, and brown sugar.

M: Medium to full bodied, and a bit high on the carbonation for the style.

O: Pretty good, even with the hints of alcohol (which weren't entirely unexpected at 11.7%). Good flavor, but the high carbonation was a bit strange.

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,780 ratings.