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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: 145
Gots: 508 | 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.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,780 | Reviews: 1,401 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Anthony1
3.81/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a cloudy, opaque, dark brown color with a reddish hue. It had a small, short-lived, off-white head that left no lace. It smelled of brandy, fruitiness and sweet caramel malt. It tasted very sweet and a little boozy. It had caramel and toffee flavors with a subtle chocolate taste. It was soft, smooth and dry. A medium-bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence. This was very good but didn't live up to my hopes. I'd like to try a newer version to compare.

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

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown with a 2 finger off white head

smell: booze, malts, dark fruits,

taste: alcohol,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, burns going down,

drinkability: due to the alcohol burn it was hard to finish.


the cpj

Photo of ChugginOil
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rugged ruby red with barely any head because of the high ABV. The nose brings scents of sweet malt and alcohol. This one is meant for age. The taste is beast. Bold caramel and butterscotch tones blast through an alcohol soaked biscuit. The mouthfeel is creamy yet bold with a good amount of carbonation to create a good "bite". The alcohol presence is noticed which is what makes this brew a giant. One or two and call it a night

Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.84/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date: 28 February 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 12fl oz bottle
Vintage: 2010

Poured aggressively around 45ºF, producing a brief 2-finger head, reducing to no film, no lacing. Color is clear orange-crimson. Going to review after this warms a little more.

Aroma is complex. Before identifying any aromas, lots of spice attacks the nose, almost like horseradish or wasabi. This begins with brown sugar, and then continues with deep smells of raisin and prune. This one drinks like a barleywine. As the beer descends, it gets sweeter, and aroma of cherries, earthy hay and grass come forth. Wonderful.

Taste is malty- and fruity-sweet and accompanied by a small amount of booziness. Medicinal cherries are present, much like in a classic kriek, but without tasting like a doctor's office. Some unripe apricots come through, but could certainly use some age to sweeten.

Moderate sweet malt sticks to the palate between tastes. Carbonation is lighter-than-average. This vintage reminds me of an "unripe" Thomas Hardy's Ale -- one of my favorites. This beer is an excellent candidate for aging, and there is no doubt in my mind that the booziness will subside over the years.

Photo of Barleythenred
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

Appearance: Dark brown with a little bubbly head

Smell: only a essence of ethanol notes are present

Taste: fizzy with a presence of alcohol and a little tangy

Mouthfeel: bubbly and medium body

Drinkability: good but a define need for age is apparent

Photo of justintcoons
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a reddish-burgundy with little head. Medium-heavy carbonation.

N: Caramel, booze and a hint of citrus.

T: Loaded with caramel, whiskey, booze, raisin, wood, vanilla and burnt sugar. Finishes with some herbal and floral notes.

M: Sticky, medium bodied and warming.

D: This is a sipper. Alcohol is pretty strong. Put the remaining 3 in my cellar to see what some age will do.

Photo of herman77
3.72/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage. 11.7%

A: Hazy dark amber-brownish with a small khaki colored head that dies off fairly quick. No lacing.

S: Sweet, rich carmel, bourbon, raisins, figs and rum. Smells a hot and boozy.

T: Intensely rich carmel malt with figs and dark raisins. Something reminds me of leather and oak. Sweet bourbon flavors mixed with a semi-spicy rum. You can kind of pick up on the hops, but they just get smacked down with all the alcohol. Big boozy aftertaste! Its almost like a semi stiff mixed drink where you can pick up the alcohol on the backend.

M: Medium to fuller body. Nice carbonation feel to it. Pretty smooth and slick

O: A sipper for sure. Its just so strong and hot still. I would probably love this with some age on it.

The rating doesn't do this beer justice, its meant for aging not drinking fresh, but I had to try it fresh.

Photo of Cadebro
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep mahogany red with a thin cream head that quickly subsides. Leaves a thin line of lacing.

S: Smells of plum and molasses, but is mostly overpowered by the high alcohol content.

T: Tastes of apple and caramel and is again overpowered by alcohol.

M: Has a very sticky and velvety mouthfeel that is pleasant and is followed by the carbonation.

D: With an 11.7% ABV and rich flavors it should be slowly savored.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer. It is quite sweet but the layered flavors and aroma are a trip to enjoy. I look forward to purchasing another and aging it for a year or so.

Photo of Wamba
4.73/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very impressive beer. Smooth as a baby's bottom yet hits like a freight train.

One of the most beautiful beers I've seen. A wonderful reddish brown that just sparkles in the light. An aggressive pour yields a substantial head that retreats quickly leaving virtually no lacing.

The aroma is fantastic, caramel, vanilla and the promise of sweet malty goodness. Even my wife, that does not like beer, likes the smell of this one.

The promise of sweet malty goodness is delivered in full! Loads of caramel, vanilla and malt. The alcohol adds a really nice spicy punch.

The drinkability is dangerous on this one. It is smooth and sweet and carries a hefty wallop.

As a side note, I really like this beer at just slightly above room temperature. It really brings out the flavors and smoothness.

Enjoy but be careful with this one!

Photo of birderbeerer
3.61/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Old Stock, drinking 2/22/11

Beautiful looking beer. Deep mahogany with a three-finger, off-white, thick head. Excellent lacing.

Smells super sweet. Definite alcohol presence but also some overripe apples and pears. Interesting but the booze drowns out the nicer aromas.

Tastes very sweet as well. Almost too sweet in that there's no offsetting balance in hops or weight. Definitely high alcohol. Caramel and the overripe apples and pears again.

Drinks well but slowly. Overall, a good strong ale but nothing to rave about.

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a mahogany clear with a short lived head.
I notice a little effervescence in the body of the beer.

Produces a short lived but frothy head and very little lacing.

Nose emanates wafts of caramel, sweet malt and alcohol.

Flavor is undeniably an ale. I think that the flavor profile is somewhat "thin" or "transparent"-- I get an effervescent start on my palate then the strong bitter hops followed by a sweet malt and alcohol flavor. To my taster it actually seemed like a procession of flavors rather than a commingled potpourri.

The flavor is strong and "up front and center stage". This is a strong ale!

The flavor also is part of the high ABV. I find it no surprise that the ABV of almost 12% exists given the sweet-bitter flavor of this beer.

Mouthfeel is cordial although I find it "different" given what I think is a "hole in the middle" flavor profile. Nevertheless the mouthfeel beckons another sip.

Drinkability is lower than I like mostly because of the ABV-- I don't think I can enjoy two bottles of this beer without the deleterious effects of the ABV. To me this is a minus.

Photo of mothman
3.32/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Finally getting around to reviewing this one. Doing a side-by-side with an 07-08.

Poured into a pair of snifters.

Both pour a light layer of fizzy beige head. Color is a murky caramel brown with a peach hue to it.

Aroma: Both are similar but the 07 sticks out more and is more flavorful. Caramel, dark fruits, plums, raisins, licorice, toffee, and malts. It has cereal grains as well.

Taste: More cereal grains and malts. Toffee and some caramel. The malts come out more in the 07. The 08 has a little more of the dark fruits, licorice, plums, and molasses showing. There is some red apples here and raisins.

Mouthfeel: Warm, smooth, and dry. Medium bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. Ends dry with grains.

Overall, I enjoyed the -bal aged version way more. This is a rather boring old ale. It is decent, but fairly average. Drinking 24 oz of this might be a challenge..

Photo of MadCat
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle is labeled 2009, so it must have been sitting in the store a bit. ABV is 11.5% in case anybody is curious about each vintage.

Appearance: Murky brown color, like dirty water. No head, no lacing. Looks old.

Smell: Sweet, sweet malt. Caramely hints. Not much more to it. Faint hint of alcohol.

Taste: More sweet malt, with some roasty flavors in there, some caramel. Hints of plums, chocolate, and coffee. Very complex. The more you sip (this is a sipping beer) the more it reveals itself to you. I was concerned after the first sip, but am enjoying it more and more after each sip. Flavors are well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Thick, decent carbonation, feels good.

Drinkability: As I said, this is a sipping beer, but it is warm and inviting, so you could finish off the four pack if you wanted to and had a good bit of time on your hands. The ABV does not show itself.

Overall: This is a tough beer to review. Very foreign to me, but enjoyable. This would make a good special occasion beer. Reminded me a little bit of a quad.

Photo of Janderson91
3.71/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The 2010 vintage. Put three in the cellar (closet) and drinking one for the sake of comparison.

A - Old Stock looks very enticing. A nice one finger head for a beer of such high gravity. It's a translucent very dark red. Leaves little to no lacing.

S - Smell is of big malts and a lot of alcohol. Maybe a bit of spicy hoppiness as well.

T - Taste follows the nose. Begins very sweet which eventually gives way to a slight bitterness. Leaves a very boozy sweetness in the mouth.

M/D - Mouthfeel is full as you would expect. This is definitely a sipper with the alcohol being so prevalent.

Can't wait to see what this beer does in a year or two. Really enjoyed it now but I'm sure it will only get better.

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

taste- bright fruit, wine-like character, almost champagne-like, reminded me of a lambic

color- deep chestnut

clarity- clear

smell- fruit, wood

body- full, alcoholic, tart finish, astringent

appearance- big off-white creamy head when first poured, head completely disappears after some time

overall impression- very complex flavors

notes and comments- i prefer this beer with some age to it

beer spy- north coast brewing company, fort bragg ca, 2/13/11

glassware: thistle

Photo of radioscooter
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No knowledge of this one, just bought it on a whim at VE.

Poured into a pint glass. Medium pour achieves a thick, one finger head that dissipates rather quickly leaving drapey lacing behind. Medium reddish amber.

Smell is unimpressive. Musty, formaldehydish.

Taste. First sip is nothing but sweet booze and caramel. Malty goodness. Hints of vanilla, toffee, burnt sugar etc. VERY boozy. Hot and spicy, with a peppery finish. Great example of the style from an American brewery no less.

SIPPER. Take heed.

This one should be laid down for a few years to lose the extreme spikes and blend into something much more balanced.

I bet this one turns out to be a star in a few years.

Photo of CaptainTripps
3.08/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A: Will have to say, its the oddest looking beer i have every encountered. It poured a very dark mahogany/red/weird with about a fingers worth of off white head.

S: Well it keeps the weirdness flowing i can tell you that much, kinda hard to tell what its throwing at your nosey. Caramel is a big factor along with some different woody phenols. Slight vanilla in there. Pretty sweet smelling as well with some light fruit action going on - think some figs and dates. Just odd.

T: Weirder. Caramel is the big character in this beer along with some super sweet malt. Vanilla and toffee are also mingling around the tongue. Dark fruits are present as well but applied differently then how you would describe say a belgian strong dark ale or Quad. Sweet sweet sweet beer.

M: Pretty thick and full bodied for the most part, pretty low carbonation - think RIS carbonation values. Alcohol pretty well hidden behind the super sweet malt finish. Dry on the finish as well

D: I will have to say, this beer has an acquired taste. I can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the beer but this is a one time tick for me. Might cellar some and come back to it, but right now it just pretty average/super strange.

Photo of boudreaux
3.81/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Limited Release - ABV 11.7% (higher than listed ABV)

Pours a deep red/brown; perfectly clear and crisp looking; nice, bubbly head about a finger thick that lasts about 10 seconds; reduces to just about no lacing at all, save for minimal around the edge of the glass.

Smells are light and remind me of Sam Adams Boston Ale; kind of sweet malt, mixed with a hint of stringent notes; brown sugar and a hint of bitter roasted coffee or dark chocoloate; alcohol also present

Taste is similar to smell, except more pronounced and full-bodied; all the smells are there in flavor; the sweet brown sugar comes through especially strong, as does the stringent notes, resulting in a very well-balanced taste

Mouthfeel is pleasant, with the big alcohol warming the whole mouth, starting at the tongue; carbonation is nice and provides a lighter, crisper note; coats the tongue with a slightly sticky but also oily feeling; ironic, I know

Drinkability is wonderful. If the ABV weren't so high, I'd probably drink through 4-5

Photo of veinless
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage.

This beer appeared a gorgeous deep, dark maroon/brown, but had the most fizzy, soda-pop like head I have seen in a long time - that just didn't do it for me.

Smells of raisin, sweet wheat and dark fruit, specifically dates.

The taste follows, with a nice raisin sweet start, a malty dark fruit/date middle, and some booze heat to finish. The heat is well done, with just enough to get the job done. I also got a hint of vanilla near the end which was quite pleasant; it wasn't much, but it was there.

Mouthfeel is good, with the carbonation helping to bring out the vanilla in particular. Syrupy coating after a swallow nice as well, to go with the sticky texture. Drinkability is pretty good for an 11% abv beer, but the tastes can become a jumble after a bit. One single of this guy is the right amount.

Photo of bum732
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

S: Dark fruity malt with some caramelized pineapple, caramel sweetness slightly, some oak notes, lots of rum.

L: Amber red, fairly clear, ring of tan foam.

T: Crisp prickly toffee maltiness with dark fruits up front. Medium bitterness leading to a bold toffee sweetness and some alcohol. Caramel rum sweetness.

M: Medium-full body, prickly medium-high carbonation.

Decent, fairly alcoholic and carbonated. Probably better with age, looking forward to it.

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle (2010) into a snifter glass. It poured a dark amber color with a half finger width white head that disappeared quickly. The aroma consisted of a LOT of booze with some hops, malt, caramel, and a bit of dark fruit. The taste was very strong at the beginning and then rounded out well at the end. I was blown away on my first sip with the amount of alcohol character that it had. As it warmed I started to taste some light, pleasant hops, caramel malt, and maybe some toffee. So much going on. Medium body and so-so carbonation. Overall, an interesting old world barley wine ale.

Photo of AwYeh
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2010 vintage; 12 oz bottle poured into snifter.

A: Pours a transparent, striking, dark crimson red. Half finger of off-white head that slowly dissipates around the edges of the glass. No lacing.

S: Amazingly sweet, oddly enough the first smells I pick up are of white grapes, red grapes, and raisins, with just a tiny, tiny tinge of sour grapes. If I was a first time beer/wine drinker and I was offered a glass of this in comparison to almost any wine, I would pick this as the "grape drink." Dark fruit, toffee malts, and ethanol round this one out.

T: Equally sweet and fruity; once again overwhelmed by grape and dark fruit flavors, along with those of dates and currants. A little boozy; almost no bitterness here.

M: Medium-bodied; low-average carbonation, very smooth and creamy, with a just slightly dry finish.

D: A little too sweet for my tastes; I'll definitely need to pick a 4-pack up next time I spot one to see how this beer develops over the years.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had a feeling I wouldn't hold onto this for a year. 2010 vintage poured into my Samuel Adams perfect pint glass.

A - Wow a nice half inch of foam from such a big ale! Semi dark amber in color with a bit of haze.

S - First impression of the nose, slight caramel, bit of toffee and vanilla. Second whiff same but with a slight it of alcohol in the nose.

T - Huh. Its hard to say its very smooth since the ABV is rather high but I get slight caramel with a bit of toffee, alcohol, and a touch of vanilla. Hard to drink...

M - Heavy, thinner than KBS but the ABV weighs down drink ability a bit.

D - OK wow this would definitely be a bit easier to drink with some age so don't crack these bad boys right away. Still as I sip it gets easier yet less flavor, which is kind of sad. Not the best old ale I ever had but still very drinkable. May buy another to age.

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, this is the 2010 vintage. The beer pours a vibrant, deep amber-red coloring with no head. Heavy smells of sweet malt, caramel, and a bit of hazelnut, with a slight hint of sour grapes. Flavors are heavy sweet, with caramel and toffee tones. Also, there are roasted characteristics present, with a shift to a slightly sour aftertaste. The beer has a sharp and carbonated feel in mouth initially, yet has a full and syrupy/viscous feeling throughout the mouth. There is a spiced and slightly sour aftertaste, with a strong nudge of the booze, and the finish is viscous and stale. Strong flavors and alcohol notes make this a sipper, and only one or two per sitting for me, but tasty nonetheless.

Photo of jefferz5000
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

Pours a nice clear deep reddish amber hue. Quite beautiful with an off white head that eventually fades into a subtle ring around the edges of the glass.

Smells fragrant and sweet. Figs, dates, vanilla, raisin, some hops, perhaps some honey?

The taste is quite similar to the nose, but I actually like it better. I'm getting more vanilla and everything meshes quite well. It's very smooth as well, considering the 12.5% abv. It IS a 2008 bottle though, so that is helping.

Feels quite nice. A pleasant amount of carbonation, but doesn't take away from the rich smoothness of this beer. Medium to full bodied, I'd say.

For 12.5%, drinkability is rather high. Kinda scary, but like I said before, it is the 2008 vintage. I honestly haven't had any other vintage yet, but I can't imagine something younger being better. A very respectable beer.

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