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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.

2,417 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,417
Reviews: 1,352
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 123
Gots: 394 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,417 | Reviews: 1,352 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Riccymon


4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is the 2008 vintage. After drinking a handful of bottles of another old ale (Great Divide's Hibernation Ale) in the previous weeks, this was right in line with my impression of the style.

Poured from the bottle a dark, lifeless purpley-red with just a covering of brownish head that quickly dissipates. Smell is of dark rye, cherry, and vanilla. Taste is at first malty with some caramel, grape, and cherry, but finishes with significant bitterness from the alcohol and hoppiness. Port-like for sure.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, leaving my mouth tingling. Drinkability? Not so much... this is the definition of a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2009 02:27:52 | More by Riccymon
Photo of steadydose


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Goblet, no head, sticky lacing, brown color, carbonation clings to sides of glass, slightly hazy/murky.

S: Sweet, caramel, port wine(cinsuat) brandy hints, raisins.

T: Sweet malt, boozy, low level bitterness that lingers a second. Sweet finish, port like.

M: Good Carbonation, supple, alcohol.

D: Good sipping beer, high alcohol limits the amount I will drink in a sitting, but I really enjoyed this beer.

Makes for a good desert beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2009 01:59:22 | More by steadydose
Photo of htomsirveaux


3.3/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle tried 9 Feb 2008. This was the 2007 vintage.

Small parchment colored head. Slightly murky deep copper red color. Aroma of ethanol, cherries, and cranberries. Lots of alcohol upfront, very warming in the mouth. Burnt caramel. Licorice, rye and some leather. Lots of alcohol. Dark dried fruit. Finishs with alcohol and some cherry pits. Medium body.

Powerful alcohol hit detracts from an otherwise decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2009 05:51:07 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of DefenCorps


3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, 2007 vintage. I don't get much of a hankering for old ales but I'm tired tonight and could use something that puts me to sleep gently. Into my 22oz snifter

A: Crystal clear deep ruby red with a thin tan head that recedes rather quickly to a wispy disk. Some carbonation is visible. Solid

S: Rich and malty with plums, fruits, caramel and alcohol. Almost brandy-like in richness, this is a very intense beer. There's a mild bread-like aroma present as well, probably from all the Marris-Otter they use in this brew? Reminds me in ways of a young JW Lees

T: Opens up rather big and rich. Fruity with plums, and as with the nose, alcohol is noticeable, creating a warming effect. The classic MO flavors are present, an intense complex sweetness that I can't quite describe - dark honey? Finishes long, mildly sweet and alcoholic.

M: Medium in body with carbonation that's maybe a touch too high, this one finishes rather well

D: A slow sipper if there was one. I'll drink one a year for the next 4 years, I guess?

**Edit 03 Jan 2014**

I found a long forgotten four pack in the cellar.

Age has tamed and arguably dulled this beast. Nutty, toffee, with walnut and almond oil, burnt sugar, earthy and mildly dusty. Alcohol is noticeable. The palate has a fruity character with date sugar, a moderate, almondy nuttiness from the alcohol , almost amaretto like, actually. Brown sugar, toffee and burnt sugar bitterness are present. Solid stuff. 3.75/3.75/3.75

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2009 04:53:18 | More by DefenCorps
Photo of superdedooperboy


4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served at The Mellow Mushroom in Evans, GA.

2008 bottling; 12 oz. brown bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a rich, hazy red-orange, raising a small off-white head of large bubbles that settles quickly to nothingness. This is a thick ale, sticking to the sides of the glass as it's swirled.

Nose consists mostly of rum-soaked figs, plums, and raisins, with a warming alcoholic presence.

Thick and chewy in the mouth; rich, sweet caramel opens up with a big, juicy middle of figs and other dark fruits, some sour cherries, a rounded bittering hop presence, and rumminess. It slides over the back of the tongue with a big wallop of warming alcohol that gets much bigger as the drink warms, leaving a heavy lingering dryness that calls for another sip.

Most definitely a quiet sipper, at 12.5% ABV this is quite a big beer, and the alcohol certainly shows itself. Nicely complex, but too astringent in its alcohol presence to attribute any real drinkability to it. Overall, delightful and contemplative.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2009 16:12:40 | More by superdedooperboy


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Edition

Hazy orange brown with a small off white cap on top. The cap falls quickly. Aroma full of fruits, raisins, figs...dark, ripe fruit. Malty throughout - no hops in the nose. Fruity and malty flavor. Brown sugar. Alcohol still up front...11.4% is in the house! Long, malty flavorful finish. Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Good companion to aged cheddar and dried sausage right now. Definitely a sipper with some digestif / port like qualities going on its fourth year in the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2009 22:26:00 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
Photo of Birchgrove77


3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Bottle

Appearance: Beautiful amber, mahogany color with a thin light tan head. Carbonation bubbles beautifully up from bottom of glass. Simply beautiful.

Smell: A very earthy aroma, but not much in the way of distinct smells or flavors.

Taste: Simply wonderful, exceeded my expectations. Sharp flavors of molasses, raisin, and bourbon. Some subtle flavors of prunes, maple syrup, and homemade caramel come through on the finish. Mouthfeel was wonderful, lingered on the taste buds as the alcohol warmth slowly expanded on the back of the mouth.

Drinkability: Considering the 12.5% alcohol this isn't something I would drink often, but a bottle on a cold winter night is fantastic. I'm floored by how balanced this beer tastes for such a high ABV. This could easily be the best beer I've tasted thus far in 2009. Hopefully, the other three get better with some age on them.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2009 05:37:50 | More by Birchgrove77
Photo of FtownThrowDown


4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

'05 Bottle.

Cracked this with Pwoods at my house one evening. Pours a ruby brown in color. Not much head forming on the pour. Probably a result of it's age and ABV. Smell is very nice. Just a hint of oxidation, think this one might be peaking right about now. Lots of sweet malts and sugars and some slight dark fruit in the flavor. Still a huge beer. This is what cellaring is all about. Very smooth and very viscous. A definite sipper. Incredible beer, it's time for a vertical.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2009 15:37:42 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of geokills


4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

The young 2008 Old Stock ERUPTS a most beautifully light auburn (e.g. http://site.wigsunlimited.com/tb-light-auburn.jpg - shade ambient light depending) with a fairly lively tan head to start, moderating into a creamy coating high atop this flavorful brew. With thick molasses and velvety feel to balance a bold and alcoholic content, this one hits me with a lingering hoppy bitterness on the finish of strong malt presence. This one is serious.

Seriously strong, often incapacitating... but ever deliciously so!


Serving type: bottle

02-12-2009 02:16:10 | More by geokills
Photo of jujubeast6000


3.05/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed 2/7/2009 (2008 bottle):

Pours a pretty clear brown reddish colored body, with small off-white head, diminishing quickly. Fruity, strawberry, aroma, some fizziness. Some malty nuttiness too. Not much hops or bitterness, just maltiness. Sweet taste, syrupy. Thick mouthfeel, some lightish carbonation. Very sweet fruity tasting, strawberry seeds, slight acidic and bitterness. Very strong taste, a slight hotness, but almost completely covered by the malts. Dark fruitiness, red grape, maybe plum. Better with food.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2009 23:24:15 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of Gilgemesh


4.58/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is of the 2007 vintage.

A - Dark reddish brown in color. A thin head that disappeared quickly. There isn't so much lacing as there are legs. It oozes down the sides of the glass.

S - Heavy sherry or port aromas. There are some cherry notes. The alcohol is very noticable.

T - Nice malty flavor with sherry notes and a hoppy bitterness. The alcohol provides a compliment to the bitterness in the finish.

M - Big in the mouth but well balanced. The alcohol provides a nice ending with the bitterness of the hops making you want to go back for another swig.

D - A nice complex version of this style. The alcohol drowns out some of the other flavors, but that should fade as it ages. The finish is just about perfect. It makes you want to take another taste to get the warm sweet flavors back in your mouth. But each time you do it finishes with the dry bitter hoppy ending. I like this beer alot. I will need more.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 19:09:59 | More by Gilgemesh
Photo of illidurit


4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

08 vintage, 12.5% abv. Poured into a goblet. Dark opaque orangish-brown color. Small tan head that fizzles out quickly, probably due to the huge alcohol content. Aroma is cocoa powder with a touch of roast and some deep dark fruitiness. Flavor is hot cocoa with a stewed raisin character and some peppery alcohol. A kiss of caramel and a dry slight bitterness make up the finish. Full flavor with enough body to back it up. Alcohol isn't horribly evident, but it is there. Good beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 07:52:52 | More by illidurit
Photo of thryn


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

this is an 08 bottle -- very young. I'll be following it with an 07 I saved. Gods, please be with my liver.

Poured into a St. Bernardus goblet.

Very clear reddish brown. Lively bubbles of carbonation head to the top, where some creamy-looking and cream colored lacing is hanging out.

Sniff: plum, raisin, caramel, toast. hints of bourbon and vanilla.

This hits the palate with strong bourbony alcohol. Raisin and biscuit follow. Vanilla comes in waves. There's a little bit of biscuitiness. Finish is like whisky, but smoother than any whisky could hope to be. A little dry.

Just a little thin in the mouth. Carbonation is present on the lips when the lacing hits, but not on the palate, as it should be.

I could drink this all night. But slowly. Great for the coldest night of the year so far. Wish the boyfriend wasn't insisting on running the damn heat.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2009 04:56:10 | More by thryn
Photo of BretSikkink


3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange-red highlights in a brown ale with some tan head - mostly thin bubbles - on top. Spotty lacing.

Aromatic enough for this big style. Strong alcohol presence, with lots of dark fruits marinated in booze.

Fusel alcohols are in evidence throughout, but the flavor is plenty complex to overcome the booze. American hops, plenty of citrics and peppery hopping. The malts are more reminiscent of a brandy or cognac than a Budweiser.

Syrupy mouthfeel, with plenty of fruity slickness. Fully textured, with a lot of body. Highly recommended.

Serving type: on-tap

01-31-2009 17:47:10 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of Yesac


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Murky dark brown in color. A thin layer head. Lacing on the glass.

S - Big alcohol aroma. Has a port wine sweetness to it. Hints of malt.

T - Heavy caramel and brown sugar notes. Some malt and a strong alcohol taste. Great sipper.

M - Brown sugar sweetness coates the palate. Medium bodied. Medium carbonation

D - Easy sipper here if you can handle a high ABV brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2009 21:54:08 | More by Yesac
Photo of beertunes


5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the 2008 Vintage. Poured into 12oz "pint" glass. Poured a deep, rich worn-leather color with a tinge of ruby/orange on the edges. Poured with 1/4 inch of dark khaki head that quickly dissipated. A full, malt filled aroma with just a hint of sweet fruitiness. The taste is wonderfully fulfilling, full-figured and well rounded with just enough hop spicieness to counter the solid malt foundation. The body is also a well built, full ,tongue-coating treat. Ultimate in it's drinkability, caution is well advised. Note that this beer is slightly hot when new, but smooths out relatively quickly. This beers stores wonderfully and if you have the chance for an aged vintage, do not hesitate. Truly magnificent, a world class classic.

Update for the '09 version. One of the few beers I think actually improves with age, this brew is magnificent even when fresh. What a great beer. So many flavors, so much texture. Absolutely enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2009 22:44:56 | More by beertunes
Photo of BamaBeerBuff

North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 vintage. This is a little young but I've got another couple of bottles sealed up from this vintage for comparison later on down the road.

A: Pours an inviting and deep burgundy-crimson with a rather thick, creamy head. Retention is actually stellar considering the 12.5 ABV on this one. Lacing is little, but that's due to the high alcohol and low, low hop levels in this style.

S: Big, malty aroma with loads of caramel, apple, raisin, and alcohol. Some spice is evident, as well. It definitely has a brandy/cognac element to it. A wonderfully explosive malty aroma gets very high marks.

T&M: Flavor is big and sweet initially with tons of caramel/brown sugar sweetness and a hint of fruit. Spice and lots of warming alcohol come in on the finish, which is a bit off-putting. The body is big, but still smooth. Carbonation is very measured and slightly tingling. It's got a really smooth feel--definitely a sipper.

D: In its present form this beer is not very drinkable. The alcohol is just too hot on the end to allow those sweet malts to dominate like they should. I'm interested to see how 2 or more years affects this one and am glad that I stowed a few from the present vintage in the cellar.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2009 05:23:19 | More by BamaBeerBuff
Photo of HeyItsChili


3.68/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured from a bottle into my Charleston Beer Exchange pint glass. Pours a deep red amber with a thin ecru head that dissolves into a viscous topfoam. I don't know if that was word, but it is now.

S - The aroma is fantastic. Big caramel apple scent (red, not Granny Smith), with some beefy malt, mild spices.

T - Warm, malty,and brown sugary sweet fading into a strong alcohol finish. Not bad, not great.

M - Medium bodied, slightly viscous, mild carbonation.

Notes - For me, the drinkability takes a hit because of the ABV% and the taste could be better.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2009 02:28:32 | More by HeyItsChili
Photo of bigkahunas4


3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a goblet. Body is a cloudy brown, with some red and orange highlights. Thin white, half finger head evaporates quickly. Some nice suddy lacing. Nose is mainly a candy apple, lots of caramel, some cinnamon and pie crust as well.

This is a big malt bomb. Flavor is driven by the big ABV here, but it's warming and not brash. Notes of apple peel and caramel. Medium body, tickling to the tip of the tongue, and sticky in the back.

I'm not stoked by this, but not disappointed either. When I'm looking for a high ABV, there are just better options out there. Wouldn't turn it down, or turn anyone away. It's enjoyable, just not the best. I'd like to see how this ages to see if the alcohol mellows a bit.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 00:10:14 | More by bigkahunas4
Photo of ricke


4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008. Serving date: 2009-01-18. Served in snifter.

Presentation: 355 ml bottle. Freshness date on label (Best before August 2010). The label says "limited release", but i don't know what it's supposed to mean.

Appearance: Dark, ruby-colored with a cappuccino-colored small head that dissipates quickly. No actual lacings - just a minimal ring of foam around the edges.

Smell: Primarily sweet caramel malts coupled with ripe fruits and raisins. Some notes of chocolate, and perhaps faint notes of saffron. Alcohol becomes present with deeper breaths. The smell is really appealing. Nice.

Taste: Again, sweet caramel malts are up-front. Then pleasant fruity flavors - ripe apples and raisins - appear, coupled with chocolate and nougat. Coffee flavors are also present, which creates a sensation of chocolate coated coffee beans together with the taste of chocolate. The finish is slightly bitter, and perhaps even a bit tart. The well hidden alcohol provides a nice warming feeling. The aftertaste of this one is very long. It leaves a nice, sweet and sticky film in the mouth that lingers on way after the beer is finished. This beer tastes amazing; it's heavy and bold with big and rich flavors balanced very nicely. Very complex. If I would mention something on the negative side, I would have to say that it maybe is a little too sweet and therefor becomes a bit too heavy to handle (at least in larger quantities)

Mouthfeel: Smooth and chewy, medium-bodied leaning towards full. Medium carbonation. The alcohol is certainly present, but hides nicely between the rich flavors.

Drinkability: This is a really good beer, with lots or aromas and nicely balanced flavors. Definitely a sipper. It's actually reminiscent of a brandy, with its rich and balanced - almost luxurious - overall character. One bottle is enough for one night, though. However, I would definitely like to have it again.

NOTE 1: Will probably by some bottle to cellar for a few years. Really think that it will be good past its freshness date (which was attached on my sample by the importers of the beer, not the brewery itself).

NOTE 2: ABV-level is 12,5% according to the label.


2009 vintage. ABV: 11,5%

A: Brownish amber with a minimal off-white head that quickly fades away. Minimal lacings.

S: Malty with note of caramel, fudge and vinous fruits (currants, blackberries, plums and raisins).

T: The taste is sweet with a whole range of malty flavors - caramel, fudge and dark bread. Hints of coffee and leather. Quite a lot of vinous fruits. The finish is mildly bitter with a leafy hop note, wood and sweet and warming alcohol.

M: Medium body, semi-smooth texture (could have been smoother). Gentle carbonation.

D: Good, but will probably get better with age. Not as good as the 2008 vintage.

Grades: A 3,5; S 4; T 3,5; 3,5; D 4. Overall: 3,65 (B).

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 21:45:40 | More by ricke
Photo of dawgontap


4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A beer for the ages, or at the very least, a great beer to age. Nice caramel notes that only get better if you can stop yourself from drinking it right away.

Allow it to age and you will find some of the intense alcohol (which you would never guess even initially) fade into a growing complexity.

Patience is a virtue that will be rewarded with this well made balanced beer

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 15:49:55 | More by dawgontap
Photo of bound4er


4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 Edition

A firm pour produces a one finger light tan head and reveals a slightly cloudy amber looking ale. No lacing is evident but a nice skim remains from start to finish. This stuff smells intoxicating - oak (vanilla and caramel), dark rum, white wine grapes and a faint weediness (hops) aroma. There's booze here but it doesn't come across "hot". The taste is as rich as it smells - vanilla, figs and some alcohol that adds nice warmth. A great, creamy mouthfeel and minimal carbonation complete the package.

This is a big beer - sipping is in order. I really enjoyed it but it is not something I want to drink on a regular basis. Having a couple on hand to reach for when the mood strikes would be perfect.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2009 02:27:39 | More by bound4er
Photo of jyeast101


2.65/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Brown in color with a slight head. Very strong smell. Smells hot- high in alcohol content. Also oak and bourbon. It really takes you back with the first taste. Takes you off guard. High ABV. High ABV taste. Bitterness as it warms and sweet in the finish. I admit this beer is not for me. This reflects my scoring on the taste mouthfeel and drinkibility.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2009 02:52:34 | More by jyeast101
Photo of matty


4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cloudy amber ale with a rapidly fading head.Aroma is raisins and rum.Taste is dark fruit.There is a nice warmth at the end of each sip.This is easily one of the best beers I've had since joining Ba.Highly recommended and you bet your sweet ass I'll be buying again!!

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2009 04:35:24 | More by matty
Photo of JonathanL7890


4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on Tap, vintage 2008.
Poured a substantial 3 finger head that took awhile to dissipate.
No lacing to speak of.
Aroma: green apple. malty. caramel.
Taste: caramel, some bubblegum. roasted malts , very complex.
Moutfeel. creamy , very nice.
Drinkability: not bad for such a potent brew.

Serving type: on-tap

01-12-2009 19:56:08 | More by JonathanL7890
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,417 ratings.