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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.

2,534 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,534
Reviews: 1,363
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 124
Gots: 413 | FT: 14
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: 2,534 | Reviews: 1,363 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of McDiddyPop
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed my first Old Stock Ale finally. 2008 vintage, poured into a pint glass.

Old Stock pours a deep ruby red that shines a bright copper color when held to the light. Perfect clarity with scattered bubbles floating to the top. The thin fizzy head receded quickly and left no lacing to speak of.

The aromas I got from this beer were incredible, only gaining more depth and complexity as I let it warm. It started off with a dry sweet grainy scent- much like a rich pumpernickle rye. The alcohol shows slightly with a mentholated quality. As I kept smelling, I got some rich caramel and toffee that ultimately gained a maple syrup aroma. Awesome.

The taste was almost as complex as the aroma. Malty and delicious. Sweet rich toffee and caramel with a slight alcohol warmth at the back of my throat. For 12.5% the alcohol is barely noticeable, and really starts to show up halfway through the glass as a warming feeling in my stomach.

The mouthfeel seemed a bit thinner than I would expect given the complexity and the strength, but the moderate carbonation level helped bring everything together without getting too heavy on the palate.

Drinkability is extremely high given the ABV but the alcohol still does limit the experience somewhat. The many facets this beer presents make for an enjoyable experience. I can't wait for winter so I can enjoy one of these in front of a fire on a cold night.

McDiddyPop, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of Brenden
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The color of this brew is a sort of reddish brown. The head pours well, dissipating none to slowly but not too quickly either. There's a foam left behind that leaves just a trace of some thin lacing around.
The aroma is alcoholic right up front, pretty sweet with some fruit and a bold malt.
There's a metallic sweetness straight up in the flavor, and the caramel malt provides a firm backbone. Perhaps black currants are here, raisin or plum as well, and alcohol sits on the palate all the way. Hops lie underneath, not to be squelched by the other elements but playing its role. Interestingly, it doesn't detract from the experience and is quite complimentary. This one's very interesting in how the flavor shifts in every sip, alternating between fruits and caramel and grains and back again, the alcohol there the entire way.
Thick and robust, this one's got a pretty big body. While smooth, there's also a bite of crispness and the finish is dry, lingering with some hops and malt playing together under an ever-present alcoholic note.
I find the old ale to be an intriguing style, and this one's just a nice brew. That 12.5% really does the job.

Brenden, Sep 23, 2009
Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: This beer pours dark brown with lots of "redness". The head that dissipates rather quickly is medium large, off-white and leaves some lacings.

S: Heavy roasted sweet malt, that holds both chocolate and fudge notes. Very complex. Hint of cherry.

T: Heavy roasted sweet malt, that holds dark fruity notes. There is of course alcohol in the taste - but not to much. A nice floral hoppy twist brings citric notes. Very complex.

M: The aftertaste is so long, mostly sweet but some dryness/bitterness is also present - very well balanced. The body is full and the carbonation is light.

D: The only thing I can come up with that isn't great about this beer is the alcohol - you can't manage to drink as much of this one as you would like to. One of the best american beers I've ever had!!!

Evil_Pidde, Sep 19, 2009
Photo of webmanspidey
3.43/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2009 bottle. Poured into a chalice with a mild translucent brown color.. pretty fizzy with a quickly dissipating head. Smell is sweet and nutty, hints of pecans, caramel, and fudge. Taste is very sweet with a huge alcohol burn up front.. behind the burn are some raisins, dark fruit, and nuts. Mouthfeel is fairly light and fizzy. Alcohol is very prevalent here and it hurts the drinkability.. I'm going to have to take my time with this one.

webmanspidey, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of burnstar
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark murky brown with a smallish off-white head. Smell is sweet caramel, raisins, dark fruit and a hint of alcohol. Taste has a background sweetness. Raisins and dark fruit again. Chocolate. Light bitterness and some herbal notes in the finish. Very tasty. Strong and boozy. Medium to full bodied with a dry finish. This is definitely a sipper. Overall a very pleasant and pretty extreme malt bomb.

burnstar, Sep 12, 2009
Photo of donniecuffs
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

***This was done at a promo event where Old Stock 2007 was on tap***

Poured into an American pint glass.

A: Nice amber appearance with a thick white head that laced well.

S: Sweet/tart blend of sour cherry, rhubarb, vanilla, and brown sugar. Fairly impressive.

T: The sweetness was a tad on the thick side, but overall fairly well balanced with all of the flavors from the nose well-evident.

M: Thick-bodied beer, but has a creamy texture that smooths it out.

D: Nice to sip post-meal, but I don't think that it's possible to slug down more than one or two of these during a session.

donniecuffs, Sep 10, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Founder's Kentucky Bfast glass. 11.7% ABV. No date other than Vintage 2007.
Thanks to Sweemzander for this beer!

A - Murky brown amber that looks like bad pond water. At the bottom a noticeable steady stream of carbonation rises through the highlights. Little head rises up with a fizz and settles to a ring of light tan foam.

S - Boozy mango, pineapple, raisin, and raspberry fruity sweetness like jam on the buttered toast aroma. Very malty sweet notes in the background. A light kiss of hops is overwhelmed by the booze on the nose. Spicy black pepper from the alcohol on the nose but not outrageous.

T - A subdued sweet malt backbone is instantly washed away by damn-near hot solvent-like alcohol. When you get past the initial burn, the fruity notes begin to emerge with a zing. There sure are some good nuances to this beer but you'll need to dig past the boozy flavor to find them.

M - A spritzy carbonation level dances on the tongue while the hot alcohol and spice certainly makes it zippy with a warm finish. Medium-full bodied and almost syrupy, it's definitely a drink-and-a-half.

D - I have absolutely nothing against high alcohol beer but when the booze is the more prominent factor and overwhelmed good parts of he beer, then I have a problem. This is the case with this beer. Vintage 2007 and it's still this boozy? Wow. It has a lot of good things going on but it's sad they are majorly overshadowed by a boozy burn that's hard to get passed. At least as it warmed it began to really let go of the booze to let the nuances pull out further.

BeerFMAndy, Sep 08, 2009
Photo of SamN
2.8/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz 2009 bottle purchased from Wilbur's, once again. Poured into a tulip glass. I'm thinking this might be far too early to open, but I want to get a baseline for future cellarings.

Pours a clear cherry color with a soda-like fizz of carbonation for head, no retention. Very pretty, lighter than I was expecting.

Smell is of oak brandy, smokey alcohol, leather, old fruits, some light maltyness. Lots to smell, the powerful alcohol nose makes it hard to really smell what's in here, but what I can is very complex and rich.

I don't know what the deal is here, but I can barely taste anything except for the booziness that burns my tongue after swallowing. Honestly, I can't very much at all; malt, a creamy wood taste, like an old brandy. Bummer, I can't tell if it's me or this bottle.

Mouthfeel is a full body with some carbonation. Leaves your mouth with a sticky sweetness. Definitely on point there.

Due to a lack of real taste and an overpowering alcohol presence, this beer is bound to take a while to finish. Maybe I'll pick up some flavors yet.

SamN, Sep 08, 2009
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage

A- A dark molasses-brown with ruby highlights. Smallish head, but high ABV so that's understandable.

S- Big molasses, caramel, vinous notes with some dark fruit. Smells delicious.

T- Follows the nose nicely. This one's a malt bomb, no doubt. Big molasses sweetness followed by some rum and caramel notes. A bit of hops to give it a citrus kick. Plum and raisin flavors in there too. Tasty.

M- A bit thick, coating, smooth. Nice stuff.

D- Pretty high considering the ABV. Delicious stuff that's worth seeking out.

LordAdmNelson, Sep 07, 2009
Photo of cavedave
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2008 vintage

It pours a thick and cloudy, nearly opaque brown with a rapidly disappearing, thin, dark beige head. It looks to be alive.

The aroma is a heavy bouquet of caramel, molasses, alcohol, with lighter notes of citrus,dark fruits, and an even lighter herbosity.

Wow, this brew has a massive, immediate shock of flavor that begins with alcohol and molasses, into graininess, that morphs into less intense dark fruit flavors, to finally finish in a flourish of alcohol, burnt sugar, bitter herbosity, and alcohol. I am afraid to light a match near my mouth. If this description sounds less than delicious, let me clarify that this is extremely delicious, complex on the dark side, and a wonderful brew. As it warms the flavors grow more defined, notes of oak sneak in, and the alcohol becomes less prominent a part of the profile (the opposite of expectations).

In the mouth this brew is full bodied to say the least, but has tasteful carbonation to help keep it light ( but not too much carb.) just right for this style, is very viscous, clings well, promotes a long finish, and showcases the flavors well. The flavors preserved in the mouth between sips are excellent.

It seems ridiculous to rate drinkability of an old ale carrying 12.5 ABV, but compared to other old ales I would rate this as avg. I could sip another of these without trouble, but everything I'd try to do after that would be trouble.

cavedave, Sep 03, 2009
Photo of Kemmerlin
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Coke brown with an interesting head it poured like coke and the head fizzled and disappeared like coke and the carbonation kept on highly bubbling.
S: has a stale bread and vanilla oak aroma. I do not know much about this beer but it seems to me as though it was aged in oak barrels for quite sometime.
T: highly alcoholic in flavor with the oak vanilla pushin through and syrupy malts yielding a powerful sweet taste.
M/D: slightly bitter and sour with a dry feel after a couple o minutes. The drinkability is decent as a sipper but not the best old ale I've had by far.

Kemmerlin, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of kiddynamite920
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Vintage 12 oz bottle poured into a small Chimay goblet.

A: A nice deep ruby, visible carbonation. Carbonation was rich on the pour but died down quickly, maybe due to room temperature serving. Small ring left around the edges. Nice color.

S: Boozy raisin smell, some chocolate and sweet malts come through. Hops are still present. Very sweet with some caramel and molasses and even oak notes.

T: Very sweet and with luscious dark fruit character. I get raisins again and a slick caramel flavor. Hops are still present on the palate as well. Glad I tried this one fresh before I age some more.

M: Very viscous, nice and smooth. Quite nice.

D: One and done, nice to have while watching a movie but certainly not a beer you would bring for a night out.

kiddynamite920, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of BigMike
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Edition

Listed at 11.5% abv. on the label as opposed to 12.5% on the site.

Pours a gorgeous mahogany, ruby red chestnut color. Two finger head disappears in a few seconds.

Lots of nuts and caramel on the nose. Molasses and almonds. Smokey oak aroma too.

Flavor is rich and creamy. A nuttiness dominated the flavor. Caramel, and smoked wood. Cedar. Almonds, molasses. Dried pears and apricots.

Heavy thick and rich mouthfeel. Decent carbonation.
As this warms up the flavor profile remains the same however the flavors are intesified.

Very drinkable as far as having one. After that its a bit too much.

BigMike, Aug 31, 2009
Photo of PatronWizard
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Birthday 4-pack from my lovely wife! Whatta woman!

Pours a deep shade of caramel (really dark) with a big fat head of creamy off-white bubbles. Looks great.

Smell is good but rather one dimensional. Got the whole caramel toffee bready biscuit thing going on. Don't know if I actually smell the booze, but my eyes tend to dry a little as I stick my sniffer over the glass.

I docked the smell score a little for being one dimensional but the taste is one dimensionally awesome. Taste like caramel infused with straight liquor baby. Bottle says 11.5%, Daddy says thank you North Coast! Can almost taste some of the bready characteristics but mostly caramel booze. I like. I like a lot. This is a beer for men.

Light on the carbonation, very full bodied, almost have to chew it, syrupy. I need more. I just love a beer that fights back.

Overall: great friggin beer people

PatronWizard, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of dvb
2.58/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Great reddish-brown color. Not much of a head on it. Less than a finger.

S - Very boozy and sweet smelling.

T - Like a Belgian triple with Jack Daniels added to it.

M - Almost syrupy.

D - This one is not for me. I got through it pretty quickly, but only because it was my first of the evening. It's not terrible, but the booziness is just too much. I would not buy it again.

dvb, Aug 29, 2009
Photo of flagmantho
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2009 vintage, 11.5% ABV. Poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: deep copper, slightly opaque with evident carbonation. Had about 1 finger of head which dissipated rapidly.

Smell: malt, caramel, nut and earth aromas. Quite complex and reminds me of a nut brown ale.

Taste: the alcohol is pretty big in this one. Nutty and a little bit estery; bitter at the front (this may be exacerbated by the alcohol) but with little hop flavor. Good flavor, but you really gotta be prepared for the booziness.

Mouthfeel: a thick tongue-coating syrup which stays the course; naturally, this means the alcohol sticks around. Just a few sips in and I'm sure I'd fail a breathalyzer test.

Drinkability: it's tasty, but it really packs a wallop. A good sipper, but twelve ounces is certainly all *I* need.

flagmantho, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of stoutfiend27
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 12oz bottle poured into my brooklyn snifter

a-beautiful ruby color with a nice off tan rocky head that lived a short life

s-some malt, maple syrup, sweet

t-toffee, maple syrup, some fruity esters, sweet malt and alcohol

m-thick and chewey, oily but not as viscous as i would have thought

d-alcohol kills this one..more than a couple and i could end up a mess in the morning...one maybe two on a cold weekend night...

overall i was a little taken back by this ...the 2008 i had def had more character...maybe this one is good ...but it needs some time in the cellar imo

stoutfiend27, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of DeathbySexyBT
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2008

A: Deep leathery brown with a crimson trim to the body. Thin bubbly head that provides a modest temporary lacing.

S: A hint of rum carried by oak, peach, dates, and a hearty caramel aroma.

T: A definite sweetness is offered at first but a bitter finish and the high alcohol content offset any unpleasant thoughts that might develop about someone turning and Old Ale into a dessert beer. A very deep, rich flavor as this beer warms.

M: Creamy and full. A decent carbonation that could be bumped up a tad.

D: At 12.5% ABV I would say that this beer would be a one and done for me. It is extremely smooth which makes this a dangerously good beer especially after aging for a year.

DeathbySexyBT, Aug 23, 2009
Photo of jimiv73
2.95/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

okay this stuff is hard to drink for me lol! its dark when you pour it off and it has chocaltely features about it which i can do without! its was 11.99 for a 4 pack and the alcohol level is 11.5% and its in there this beer is strong and will kick your ass! the finish is horrible it tasted like spoiled beer yuck spit and spit again!!

jimiv73, Aug 22, 2009
Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

vintage 2008, 12.5%ABV

A- Deep, garnet colored body with impressive clarity on a darker brew. Head is tight-knit, but quickly disperses.

S- Pear, peach, and plum esters all waft up in a cloud of warm, gentle alcohol. Some musty notes of leather and dust.

T- Balance of sweetness and bitterness reminds me of a raspberry pie filling. There is a lot of sugary sweetness in this beer, perhaps the most I've ever had in a beer. The alcohol is also mesmerizing. Flavors of caramel, pine, and toast.

M- Dense without being sticky and viscous.

D- I don't know when it isn't a good time to drink this beer. I guess after you've already had one or two, but don't let that stop you.

EnojysAnyBeer, Aug 18, 2009
Photo of bobsy
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 version - Courtesy of Ritzkiss, and a suitable nightcap to an evening of good beer (at least it would have been but for cracking open the Christoffel Blond after I finished it... most of which I ended pouring away). A classic old ale pour that puts you in the mind of a barleywine. Oaky body with an off-white filmy head hugging the surface. Strong malty aroma comprised of toffee, chocolate and dark fruits... it actually follows Thomas Hardy's quite closely. The flavour follows the aroma almost to the letter, with a strong caramel background, off which chocolate and rum soaked dates play. Its very rich and full flavoured. Alcohol is there, but manages to hide somewhat under the layers of flavour. The body is a touch lighter than I expected, verging on medium, and with a moderate and appropriate carbonation.

2007 version - Much the same as the '08, but perhaps a touch softer and better at hiding the alcohol. Perhaps a bit more brown sugar in the flavour too.

bobsy, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of Derek
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage.

A: Amber-copper-brown, very little head, some leg.

S: Toffee, sherry-like alcohol, brown sugar, hints of figs.

T: Toffee, brown sugar, some dark fruit and plenty of alcohol (very brandy-like), balanced bitterness.

M: Well-attenuated moderate body has a drying alcohol finish. Well-crafted.

D: A pleasant sipper.

Thanks Bobsy!

Derek, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of brokenleadedcask
3.08/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Received from AlleyKatKing, thanks Josh! "Live" review

When I opened the box from our trade I was pleasantly surprised to see this gem waiting for me, a 2007 vintage. It poured a typical orangey root beer color with an orange/brown head, which only lasted 5 minutes. No lacing held onto the glass, not surprising for a almost 12% beer. Smelled of raisins, plum, orange peel, and STILL plenty of booze. I know this isn't barrel aged but I get some oak in the taste, some nutty flavors, some citrus from the hops, and pretty spicy. Some stickiness, thin, and not as creamy as expected after a couple years. Goes down easy, the alcohol as high as it is but it doesn't replace the classic English Old Ale.

brokenleadedcask, Aug 14, 2009
Photo of OlRasputin989
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A hazy dark brownish-red, with a big fizzy off white head.

S: baked apples, caramel, raisin bread and an alcoholic tingle, mostly malty sweet.

T: brown sugar, raisins and plums followed by a bittering bourbon and pepper flavor

M: Smooth entry followed by an dry finish

Overall, this beer is a decent barleywine. I'm just not too into the whiskey-like flavor and aftertaste of this one. The mouthfeel after finishing a glass is all but pleasant. It's definitely a sipper.

OlRasputin989, Aug 13, 2009
Photo of ShogoKawada
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is my 100th review. Let me take this note to say that I've fallen in love with BA and the members that make it what it is. This one's for you, guys!

Bottle poured into tulip. 2007 Old Stock, 2+ years on this one! Sweet. Didn't even notice when I bought it. I must be blind, because the date is drop set in HUGE letters behind the beer name on the label.

A- Brown, dirty penny brown, with a caramel head that's rather impressive for the ABV. Settles quickly into my glass.

S- Smelled like whiskey while pouring, my first impression. Closer up I get a red wine dryness and pungent sweetness that is very inviting. Alcohol is there, but expertly blended into aroma.

T- Full mouth assault. Cloyingly sweet, tart, and dry in the finish. This is a thickly malted beer with a large flavor profile. There's a bready balance to the tongue, and while the alcohol is in full effect, it's not overbearing, overpowering, or unpleasant. Fruity sweetness on several levels satisfy anyone looking for something unusual and remarkable.

M- Great warming, great 'thickness' to this beer. It takes its time going back and forth on your tongue... in no hurry and strolling at a leisurely pace. Cannot, cannot, cannot be improved upon. This is fantastic beer.

D- Moderate. One'll do ya. But I loved it, and will buy this again. A slow sipper, for sure. An hour or more is not out of the question on this one. The flavors unwind a bit as it creeps into room temperature. I enjoyed the f outta this beer.

In closing, for $3, this beer is a steal. A nice, strong, flavorful beer that demands to be enjoyed slowly, with a smile on your face and a warmth in your head.

ShogoKawada, Aug 12, 2009
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,534 ratings.