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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.

2,577 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,577
Reviews: 1,368
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 126
Gots: 435 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,577 | Reviews: 1,368 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of wknight167
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage

Apearance - Pours a dark mohagany with brick red highlights and a thick 2 finger tan head that stsicks around ofr a while and leaves some impressive lacing.

Nose- Malty and very sweet nose. Dark caramel, stone fruits, grape moalsses and vanilla are all present as is ethanol.

Palate- Intensely sweet, but not cloying. Stone fruits, chocolate, brown sugar and molasses. The chocolate becomes more prominent as it warms. The alcohol shows through and brings a brandy-like character to this brew.

Mouthfeel- Thick and syrupy, but the carbonation level does a lot to make this drinkable.

Drinkability- Definitely a sipper, but not too hard to put down fresh. I can't wait to see waht some age does to it.

wknight167, Jan 25, 2010
Photo of Gyle41386
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark reddish brown that becomes a brilliant ruby color when held to light. About a finger of tan foam doesn't stick around for long, but leaves behind some nice lacing.

Very sweet nose. Loads of alcohol soaked dark fruit, like cherries, grapes, and raisins. Richly malty, too.

There's a lot going on here. Molasses, vanilla, dark fruit, booze, caramel. Wow. The finish is alcohol warmth, but falls just short of being a harsh burn. This is a good one to warm you up at night. The flavor profile is big, yet somehow still subtle. Perhaps it's because there's such an onslaught of flavors, yet they still remain pretty nicely balanced.

Full, syrupy body. Low carbonation level. Very, very smooth drinker. Still a tad hot, which is to be expected, but it could still use a little more time. I'll definitely be picking more of these up...I'd love to try a bottle that's 5+ years old.

Gyle41386, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of capra12
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed with speedwayjim served out of a Bluepoint snifter glass.

Appearance: cloudy and brown, with a 1/2 finger head, little lacing.

Smell: smells like a brown ale with caramel malts, a bit of booze on the nose.

Taste: opens with an enjoyable boozy and caramel and dark malt profile. There is a raisin soaked booze profile from the middle to end leaving a malty aftertaste with an alcohol kick.

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied with minimal carbonation, and smooth.

Drinkability: I would have this again only just one other. I recommend this to those who want to try a complex old ale that has a nice alcohol profile that isn't overwhelming.

capra12, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of chickenm
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage, 12.5% abv.

Pours a brown/amber color with a tan head. Aroma of caramel malt, dark fruits, and molasses. Malty alcoholic flavor that is nicely balanced with a bit of hops bitterness. Some vanilla and wood flavors in there too. Great mouthfeel, medium-full bodied, not too syrupy. This is very boozy yet still very drinkable. Good stuff.

chickenm, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of mondegreen
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage.
12oz. Poured into a Snifter.

A: Golden brown with minimal head and no lacing. Looks attractive in the snifter.

S: Deep sweet malts, very rich nose.

T: Very powerful malts with notes of vanilla and maybe a little oak. Strong alcohol bite in the aftertaste.

M: Wonderfully thick, but not syrupy. Oily might be a good term, but in a good way.

D: Pleasent flavor that doesn't wear the palate. Sure, the alcohol presence is strong, but for such a high ABV it is just right.

mondegreen, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown body with minimal head that has a strong malt smell of roasted and caramel malts along with some oily. A real strong ale with a sturdy malt base - caramel, toffee, roasted malts along with some woodiness as well as small amounts of dark chocolate. Also tads of dark fruit, cherry and some herbal hoppy leafiness. Great balance with this beer with sweetness and a tad dryness in backbite with fruit and ABV for a crisp finish. Great sipper that warms as up as you keep sipping on it.

clayrock81, Jan 19, 2010
Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage, 12,5% abv

A: garnet in color with a cream colored head that quickly fades into a film. The brew is clear in the goblet, with no sign of lacing.

S: the bouquet is vibrant, with heavy notes of prunes, molasses, and spices.

T: the brew is exploding with vanilla, oak, molasses, and prunes. Absolutely perfect.

M: thick and creamy, with a bit of oiliness.

D: the paragon of the style. A must have for fans of the style, as well as something to look in to for fans of DIPAs, RISs, and barleywines. Worth seeking out.

Avagadro, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of ocelot2500
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany color with a small rising tan head that leaves plenty og lacing on the glass.

Smells of dark fruits, alcohol, and some sugary sweetness.

Tastes of dark fruits, caramel, and a small hop flavor. Flavors of fig and raisin are dominant with a syrupy sweetness. A very small hop earthiness finishes the taste. Comes through pretty hot as well to create an almost liqueur like flavor.

Mouthfeel is thick and full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

ocelot2500, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of climax
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my snifter, this one was a chestnut brown, any light on the beer revealed quite a bit of red glow. Head was pretty small, and retention and lacing were minimal.

Nose was wine-esque. Ripe fruit aromas, specifically grape and apple were at the forefront. Dark sugars, licorice, cognac, and some woodiness were all present as well.

Flavor was warming (as it should have been), wood, brown sugar, overripe fruit, and fruit snacks. The alcohol is hidden quite well, most of it's evidence felt on the way down opposed to intense flavor.

Body was good and thick, real syrupy mouthfeel. Carbonation was sharp at first and stayed crisp throughout. It all gave way to a slightly dry but relatively clean finish.

It takes a while to quaff, like a good wine, only thicker.

climax, Jan 15, 2010
Photo of goldbot
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2009 vintage, 11.5% ABV.

This beer pours thick, mahogany, and quite cloudy. It is truly a beautiful color actually. There is a thin, tan head which dissipates very quickly. Almost no lacing, although there are nice legs on the glass like a good wine.

Smells initially of caramel and chocolate, with some bread and nut aromas. Hints of the ethanol content. A bit of hoppy fruit scent which becomes stronger as the beer warms.

Taste is very sweet and malty - more caramel and chocolate at first. Finishes somewhat dry with a nice hoppy bitterness, with a fair amount of alcohol warmth on the back end. It is almost wine- or port-like with the alcohol. As it warms, it takes on more of a fruitier and hoppier taste.

A thick, viscous mouthfeel, but with a nice crisp carbonation feel. This beer is actually rather drinkable for its 11.5% ABV. It is definitely better to drink warm - it becomes more balanced and complex. It could however stand to mellow out a bit from the alcohol warmth and the heavy malts. I'm looking forward to try this aged for a couple years. I only have one extra right now, but I'll be sure to pick more up so that I can age some for a while.

goldbot, Jan 06, 2010
Photo of BeerStine
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 batch 12 oz bottle served out of a snifter.

This beer looks amazing from the pour I just made. Brown with hints of red when you look at the right angle. The head is a light brown that looks thick and fluffy. Lot of sweet milk smell with slight fruity esters. Very faint hops sent. Mostly malts here. Taste is smooth as can be. Taste follows smell: sweet malty goodness. Mouthfell is rather light with light carbonation. Drinkability is outstanding.

It blows my mind that this is a 11.5% beer. I would have never guessed.

Somehow this beer is sweet without being too sweet. It's dessert in a bottle and I would like to drink many of these. If I were to find a fault in this beer it's that it may be slightly one-dimensional due to the sweet malt dominance.

BeerStine, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of br3wmeister
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged one year

A- Large foamy light tan head good retention and nice lacing. Orange/Pink colored beer with a light haze to it.

S- Caramel, nuts, toffee, light peppery alcohol, sweet and malty also a hint of cherries in there. This is a very nice smelling beer.

T- Wonderfully flavored beer! Toffee, caramel, and a light cherry flavor up front. Some light spiciness from the alcohol, light bitterness from the hops just enough hops to make this beer not to sweet. This beer is very sweet and has a mouth coating oily thickness. But does dry a little in the end urging you to drink more.

Overall this is a wonderful beer, I will have to have a fresh one and see how I like it some time.

br3wmeister, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of blakesell
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 bottle obtained from cellar number 1. Alc./Vol. listed on the bottle from this year 13.25%

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a cloudy red brown with a thin quarter finger of head that quickly subsides to nothing. Hardly a ring around the sides of the glass but when swirled I can come up with some lacing. Lacing is still surprisingly thin considering how high the ABV is.

Smell- Boozy and malty. Light Sherrylike oxidation. The booziness is very high here and is somewhat detracting and hurting the point score here. Outside of this the smell is very pleasing but that estery alcohol isn't doing it any favors and is probably why they came down on it in future batches.

Taste- Sherry nutty oxidation coming through again. Ripe dates, a bit of raisin, some brandy chocolate covered cherry flavor poking through. I'm getting some chipotle spices as well but it may just be the food pairing or the alcohol warmth that is shining in.

Mouthfeel- Warming, prickly on the tongue, lightly sticky on the lips. Medium low in carbonation, as full bodied as a beer of this color could possibly get.

Drinkability- I don't see drinking a lot of these in the future due to sheer inaccessibility, I would however like to try another in a year if I still have any lying around (and I think I do). North Coast ages just fine and I will be enjoying them again.

blakesell, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of mooseisloose
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Old Stock Ale, hmmm. I've had lots of "new" Ale, let's give it a whirl. Popping the top this ale has a delicious smell of butterscotch, licorice, anise and malts. Pours into a pint with a thin but fizzy big bubble head. The color is a medium brown that is only slightly translucent. Upon tasting, it's the mouthfeel that first becomes evident. This is a very thick ale, high viscosity, almost like motor oil. The taste is very malty sweet, black licorice, some butterscotch, some anise, very similar to the smell. No bitterness here too speak of, or if there is the malt buries it. Sniffing the bottle after the pour it has an interesting tequila smell. This is tasty and it is one heavy hitter. I'll sip the rest of this one and the other 3 from the 4 pack are going to get cellared. Cheers!

mooseisloose, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of HalfFull
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz. glass and served in a large red wine glass. A young 2009 vintage tasting. Pours a deep mahogany brown with a thin skim of off white foam. Mostly clear on the pour, and ruby in the light. Head settles out to a thin ring, leaving light and temporary lacing.

Nose is deep in maltiness and somewhat compelling. Raspberry, dark cherry, orange and chocolate notes remind me of some Sabra Liqueur. A bit of vinous alcohol is notable but pleasant given the overall scent and depth in the delivery. A fresh top off yields a good dose of earthy hops and a touch of vanilla.

Orange and chocolate continue to the taste, accompanied by a rich and deep malt base. Finishes with some cherry chocolate liqueur. A light carbonation keeps steady throughout. Enough to give some texture to the malts, yet not so much to overwhelm the depth they provide. Offers decent drinkability and depth for a new vintage, no real shortcomings though the flavor should garner more complexity in time.

Value: B+

HalfFull, Dec 29, 2009
Photo of darklordlager
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 North Coast Old Stock

A: Pours a dark mohagany/brown colour, with a decent amount of head for such a high abv brew. Head recedes to a mere covering within a few minutes.

S: Candied dark fruit, rich caramel, sweet cherries, belgian candi sugar, and sweet spiced rum.

T: Sweet rich caramel-covered raisons and figs. Prunes, sweet cherries. Very intense. Spicy and rich. A little bit bready/biscuity somewhere in the middle as well. Wow, this beer is really drinking fantastic with a year of age on it.

M: Not thin, to be certain. Viscous, though not syrupy.

D: Definitely a nightcap, but incredibly tasty at that. The barrage of great and complex flavours keep you bringing it back. Hides the alcohol like a champ. Gets slightly hot after it warms quite a bit, but pleasant. Very well done--now if only I could get my hands on the Bourbon and/or Brandy version of this...

darklordlager, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I think this is a phenomenal beer. I am drinking vintage 2008, and it is a week from 2010. Drinking out of a goblet of some sort...

A - Reddish and slightly syrupy. After a minute, it looks like a nice Amontillado.

S - Mostly sweet molasses with light hop aroma and a slightly sour tone. Very sophisticated, and it gets better as it warms up.

T - Exceptionally smooth, given the 12.5% ABV. Rich dried fruit flavors, prune, raisin, fig, with a warming cognac-like alcohol kick; sweet but balanced with a crisp hoppiness with a light celery undertone (I find that celery in most North Coast brews).

M - Silky and smooth. Doesn't 'drink hot'.

D - I'd recommend drinking this any evening, or anytime it is cold, or with food (especially where red wine would be appropriate).

Sip this bad boy, out of a nice glass, and let it warm up.

ktrillionaire, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of oceanman
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 release, opened 12/12/2009.

Pours a strangely appetizing hazy auburn color with surprising carbonation for an older brew.

Smells of raisins, apples, brown sugar, grapes (and characteristics of port and other wines), caramel. Alcohol is already apparent.

A lean malty sweetness up front gives way to a big alcoholic burn starting at the mid-palate. A somewhat port-like finish is ultimately subsumed by alcohol.

Almost an excellent beer, but alcohol is markedly out of balance, which is disappointing after 2+ years in the cellar. Still, impressive complexity.

oceanman, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of goethean
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle served in pub pint glass at 55f. Complex profile of medium-dark caramel, toffee, and malt. Some hops bitterness apparent, but flavor profile is dominated by rich malt sweetness. Slight notes of roasted nuts, butterscotch, molasses, toasted brown bread, bourbon. Wonderfully drinkable, although highly alcoholic at a surprisingly high 12.5%. This one ranks up there with my other favorite barleywine: New Glarus iced barleywine. Both are impeccable.

goethean, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of bargerking
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

07 Vintage poured into pint sized snifter glass.

A: Pale brown. Peach/burnt orange hue. Thin head but decent cosidering its got a few years on it. Head is offwhite. Creamy body. Lacing is ideal and has good retention.Visuals are on par.

S: Brown candi sugars. sweet. Hints of hop bitterness. Figs. Spicy. Hints of booze, not bad.

T: Sweet sugars. Hints of chocolate. Dried friuts. Still really warm! wow.

M: Thick. Strong malt bomb but tastey! Sticky aftertaste. My stomach is coated with a cozy warmth! A lot of booze. Really suprised!

D: Great beer for its style. Still way too hot IMO. It seems like this beer could go another 3-5 years. I have one more bottle. I think I will repay a visit in 2012.

bargerking, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of jminsc76
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Drinking a 2009 version with alexd3891 (this happened awhile ago and I am JUST getting around to writing the review, as will be many of my musings; but I ain't telling you which ones!).

Pours a nice creamy head, almost peach in color, atop a deep ruby body. Shows off some nice creamy legs as I tilt the glass.

The aromas include melon, cinnamon, and vanilla, with an overall incredibly refreshing bouquet.

Flavors include caramel, melon, some bitterness, and a bit of booziness on the finish. It's pretty good, but the aromas are flawless.

The mouthfeel is smooth, but could still use some work.

Overall, I have never tasted an Old Ale with a significant amount of melon, but then again the first old ale I have ever had was Adam from Hair of the Dog, and that one is CRAZY! Seriously though, this is good, but alexd3891 and I paired it with a 2008 version and the major difference was A LOT less heat and all of the aforementioned flavors just sang on the palate.

Also, we paired both versions with some Mimolette (a French cheese), which tends to make everything delicious; however, I have drank the 2008 without the Mimollete and it remains just so goddamn good.

jminsc76, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of lilbuddha
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up randomly from elkton's state line liquers, as part of a "Just grab a bunch of bottles to try out" binge. i was planning on drinking it last night, but saw it was 11.5% and thought "nah I better wait for a night where this is my first". So tonight, the 9th of Dec I'm giving this its time

At first glance, into my Chimay Goblet (which apparently isn't the best container), I think to myself that I've

A- found a bottle full of Apple Cider, deep Brown with a deep haze, and that I should probably be scared. The head starts healthy but quicky dies with just one fine perfectly formed lace around the ring as I bend the glass slightly. So it won't win any awards for looking pretty, but then again I've got eyes for the golden's

S - Hmmmm what is THIS ? All of a sudden I'm smelling a Chimay ? No, this is something different, theres a slight alcohol scent on my nose. At first pour there *seemed* to be an explosion of smells but nothing I can put a finger on. I swish the glass some and sniff it deeply but can't get that initial smell to come back...Its almost too tame in scent to be nearly 12%.... better take a swig then !

T - Come on, this has to be Chimay++ or something. Maybe its just my pathetically small beer vocabulary / experience (this my 3rd ? review ), but this is a good drink and thats my baseline reference for a heavier beer. Where sometimes the alcohol taste is a bad thing, it is the absolute highlight of this. Everything else points your buds to that taste. I'm still teaching my brain to identify these notes, but yes, acidity its there... a kind of raisiny ( i'm reading the style notes as I type ) or something else ..

D - I haven't put my finger on base line, it lingers as an aftertaste, it makes me open my mouth and swallow over and over to aerate the back of my tongue. its a good feeling, not buttery (as my 4th review I have scant notes on is wandering through my mind ), but sticking. There is no sweetness to the front, the outer edges of my mid tongue get the alcohol feeling and the back of my tongue gets the thick of it... but man this is going down smooth.

And here I am, 99% done with my review, and somehow 90% done with this glass. Is there any way else to describe a great beer that is somehow so strong but so drinkable ? I couldn't possibly handle more than a couple of these in night though, my scrawny 4'5" body is feeling it already !

Cheers to this, I'll be buying it again.

edit: from other reviews, I need to pick up a bottle with some age, I'll have to update when I do.

lilbuddha, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of jsh420
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bootle

pours hazy ruby brown with a 1 finger head tht left some spotted lacing

smells of dark roasted nutty fruit malts

taste still has a little heat drom the alcohol but still a great tasting brew - very complex first sweet apples -> carmel bready malts -> dark fruit nutty roasted malts chocolate

mouthfeel still has plenty of zip and bite with a medium/ heavy sticky body

drinkability - after a couple more years of aging this would rival most high abv brews

jsh420, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of moosiz
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby brown into a pint glass.The bottle says 2007. Some clarity, but not much. Agressive pour produced a solid 3/4 inch biege cap of foam that recedes quickly to a stcky ring. Nice steady tiny bubble carbonation.

Smells of molasses, honey, dark plum and fig wrapped in a candy sugar coating and then dipped in a mellow brandy.

Alcohol dances all around the toungue but it has partners such as raisins, slight marachino cherry, and black molasses. This is either simple and perfect for the style or too complex for me to really describe.

Bold, not overly sweet, balanced, and dry. The finish is just solid.

For the style this brew is drinkable. Its not a pounder. Sip a couple of these on a cold Michigan night, its good for what ales ya.

moosiz, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of rapidsequence
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2008 vintage.

Appearance: Hazy dark brown clears to a nice ruby. Initially a foamy little uneven head, but that fades away after a few minutes. Some leggy lacing when you swirl or sip, but nothing really sticks because of the 12.5% abv.

Smell: Very strong, complex, sweet, and malty. Dark, raisiny fruit and vanilla and caramel notes.

Taste: Sweet and strong malt. Lots of hot alcohol and some slight medicinal fusel flavors. Again, caramel and vanilla, as well as raisins.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and full. Not flat at all. Not syrupy either, which can be a problem.

Drinkability: This one has been in my basement for more than a year, but still could use some mellowing. Its really delicious and a joy to drink, but a little boozy-- it is a 12% old ale though, cant really knock it for that. Otherwise, its full, rich, and pretty fantastic.

rapidsequence, Dec 02, 2009
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,577 ratings.