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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.

2,448 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,448
Reviews: 1,354
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 127
Gots: 398 | FT: 17
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: 2,448 | Reviews: 1,354 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Reagan1984


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

Well, I've heard that this beer is one to age. I plan on doing so but I need to drink it "fresh" first before coming back to experience it as an aged beer. This bottle says vintage 2008 on the collar.

Even with an aggressive pour there was not much of a head that would form. The color is a deep, deep ruby amber color. Like a mahogany piece of furniture. The clarity is fine... just a touch of haze. No lacing or carbonation is evident.

Aroma is fantastic, deep and full of fruit aromas. Cherries, berries, A touch of malt, as in malted milk or malted balls. A nice sweetness.

With the first sip I can see that this would be wonderful to age. As a young beer there is immediately great depth to the malt flavors I taste. Some honey notes in here as well. If this improves with age, this would be insane. Initial malt, followed by deep fruits that are somewhat sweet but not too much. Then a caramel moment and back to the deep malt tones. Lots going on here. Great complexity.

Mouth feel is thick and luxurious. The carbonation is subtle and brings some life to the party. Body is very thick and while the alcohol isn't really present in the flavor... you know it's there. Warming effect. I need to grab more if this and get it into the cellar.

A sipper and one to savor. Supremely drinkable. I can now see why this is a highly regarded beer.

Training wheel beer before the step up to barley wine. (this is meant as a positive)

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 01:53:58 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of JAA


4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It may take you half the bottle to figure out that this is one of the best beers you have ever had, but if you bought the four pack, you will thank baby Jesus you had the foresight to do so.

If the 2008 is this good, how good will it taste in a few years?

poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass. Very dark amber with red highlights and only the tiniest head that subsides much too quickly.

yeah yeah yeah, dark fruits, caramel, unsweetened tea, you know, the usual suspects. But there is something about it that beckons you back for another sip and another and another. At 12.5% alcohol, this quality could get you into a lot of trouble.

I would drink this beer if it were mopped up from a convenience store bathroom and wrung into a glass.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2009 22:29:56 | More by JAA
Photo of PDXHops

South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage, poured into a Duvel tulip.

Apparently Old Stock has plenty of carbonation, as I've got a gusher on my hands. After it settles down (and I mop a half ounce or so off the floor), it pours a very dark see-through red, almost brown. Initially about 1/2 finger of head that quickly vanishes, and no lacing.

Smells very sweet, like plum pudding and fresh baked bread. Just a hint of a floral smell. Very boozy- if you closed your eyes, you could easily imagine a little glass of sherry in front of you.

What a treat in the mouth. Loads of sherry and marsala notes. Big dark fruit, big caramel and big malt flavors. Just a bit of hops that tingle at the finish. Even after the gushing episode, the carbonation is still quite generous for such a big beer. The mouthfeel is a tad thinner than I expected, but did not subtract from my enjoyment at all. Really sticks to your palate- this stuff is great!

Overall impression- This is one incredible beer fresh. Can't wait to see how it ages.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 01:31:46 | More by PDXHops
Photo of seanbhudson


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

Review of the 2001, I was lucky to get this in a beer exchange.

Pours a dark reddish brown color with a small tan head that dissipates quickly. No noticeable lacing.
Strong smell of sweet malts and dark malts along with the heavy scent of alcohol. Rum raisin comes to mind.
Raisin and sweet malts. There are hints chocolate and it finishes with a coffee flavored bitterness. Reminds me of a raisin bran muffin. Amazingly smooth but there is a slight burn from alcohol throughout.
Full bodied beer with syrupy consistency and soft carbonation. Slight spicy pepper finish from the alcohol.
A lot smoother than I expected. If it wasn't for the alcohol burn I could drink a lot more.
NOTES: BBCSD-0812 Geoff

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 05:18:09 | More by seanbhudson
Photo of paco1029384756


4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage.

Pours a beautiful dark ruby color with one finger of light creamy head.

Scent of rich, sweet malts, sugars, fruits, caramel and a hint of alcohol. The alcohol gives this one a nice sharp edge and keeps the sweetness from being dominant.

Taste of rich malts, earth, caramel, sugars and fruits. Finishes strong with sweet malts. Tastes a little too young, I'd like to try one with a couple of years behind it.

Mouthfeel is full and heavy with a little bite from the carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 01:25:30 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of jdklks


4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. ive been waiting for this one for the last year and figured there would be no better time than christmas...

A- deep dark amber. murky but not cloudy.

S- the smell is just fantastic. dark fruits, molasses, malty, and hints of bourbon and alcohol.

T- the taste is just as good as the smell. ages VERY well. i obviously cannot directly compare the aged version with the version i had a year ago, but this is definitely better than i can remember and certainly better than the 2008 i have been drinking over the past couple of days in preparation/anticipation. its malty, fruity, with a hint of hoppiness. lots of burnt caramel and brown sugar. the alcohol is well disguised but definitely there. bourbon/whiskey flavors are present, and the finish is just plain smooth.

M- full bodied with a smooth finish. a little too much carbonation, which may add to the flavor but takes away from the mouthfeel. still, very smooth with lingering flavors on the palate.

D- The flavors leave you wanting more. one of the more complex beers ive ever had. the high alcohol content takes away somewhat from the drinkability if only because of the immediate buzz it gives. the four pack they put them in is a good idea as more than 4 might leave you incapacitated for the night.

when i had this last year it was far from one of my top brews, and the 2008 right now is the same way. however, this one, aged only 1 year, is one of the better beers ive ever had. i would definitely suggest putting a few away, as i will be for years to come.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2008 23:28:44 | More by jdklks
Photo of srroos


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

2006 bottle poured into a wine glass:

A: Hazy amber with one finger of tan head.

S: Big caramel aroma with some hops in the background.

T: Very sweet caramel up front giving way to a bitter finish. Fruity esters come forward when you swirl the glass.

MF: Very well carbonated and creamy. Excellent!

D: High alcohol makes this a definite sipper. One bottle will last a long while.

An excellent beer for a cold winter night. Very warming and delicious!

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2008 06:30:11 | More by srroos
Photo of jpiper


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

2008 Bottle at cellar temperature.

Upon opening, the foam started spilling out. Pours an amber brown with a generous head which quickly dissipates leaving a thin ring for 10 minutes or so.

The aroma is of fruits: raisins, dark cherries and a dark syrup sweetness.

The flavor has dried dark fruits, a deep, rich sweetness. Plenty complex, with a nice, lasting, balancing bitterness. It wasn't alcoholy tasting, but very warm on the finish. The bitter bite is just a bit much by the end of the bottle.

In the mouth, it's thinner than I expected, but full. I poured it maybe a touch warmer than i'd like, which made it a bit thinner and effervescent.

It's a sipper, but quite tasty. The heat makes it a slow drinker. Not much chance of getting two of these down in a session.

It was pleasant tonight, but will be good, maybe great with age.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2008 04:35:03 | More by jpiper
Photo of jsp2


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

2008 version poured into a wide and shallow mason jar. Good creamy head retention and clear caramel color. Smells good like caramel and butter, pretty sweet smelling. The taste is an initial malty sweetness, followed by bitter hoppy alcohol, followed by dry chewiness. This brew has a great thickness and presence, and the carbonation is not too much to interrupt things. Excellent.

At $10 for a 4 pack of 12oz bottles I would buy this brew again and keep a few on hand for cold rainy nights after a long day of work. This beer has a lot of flavor and I would drink it with spicy, rich foods, it should hold up well. Maybe not as delicate as far as flavors, compared to some other brews in this category, but has enough other features to be great.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2008 23:23:08 | More by jsp2
Photo of scruffwhor


4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 edition, 12.5% abv.

Pours a dark cognac amber that makes me think of dark cherry juice. Sometimes reminds me of polyurethane. No head really and no bubbling what-so-ever. Leather wrapped cherries drizzled in caramel and alcohol. What an inviting aroma! Great caramel malt flavor to start. Makes me think of a subtle candied caramel with just a soft push of fruit in the middle. Great yeasty esters that mix well with some funky leather and just a touch of earth. This is a juic palated old ale. Very fruity and flavorful. Plenty of well integrated warmth. This is an awesome sipping beer. WOW!!!

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2008 04:28:01 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of Bung


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

2008, Solid amber pour, very slight cream head that dissappated quickly. Big sweet malty aroma. Tastes of the same with carmal/toffee, slight fig, raisin. Carbonation stays up front with very little hop prescence to speak of, making it a bit sticky. This reminded me more of an old ale, which I enjoy much more than barley wine. Thought this was good and will only get better with a little age.
Update 10/30/2008
Alcohol does seem more present in the 2007.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2008 01:55:00 | More by Bung
Photo of glid02


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

Was lucky enough to try this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a cloudy, buttery copper color with a two-finger off-white head. The head dissipates slowly into a thin layer of bubbles on top and a thick ring around the glass. Lacing is better than expected for a beer with such a high ABV.

Smells mostly of butterscotch with hints of brandy and chocolate.

Tastes great. Smooth butterscotch up front, with large chocolate notes near the end of the beer. Dark fruits mingle with those flavors throughout, and the ending leaves a taste of both butterscotch and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness that coats the mouth with good carbonation.

Drinkability is great for the style. The alcohol is hardly noticeable and all flavors work very well together. This is a dangerous beer.

Overall I've heard a lot about this beer and it did not disappoint. I'm looking forward to trying the 2007 version and you should try any version you can get your hands on.

Serving type: on-tap

12-13-2008 06:39:53 | More by glid02
Photo of magictrokini


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

Another tasty brew from North Coast. Pours is a clear brown with almost no head. Aroma of alcohol and caramel. Taste is an amazing, balanced mix of malts, hops, and caramel. The beer then comes to a an end with a very strong sherry finish. The alcohol really highlights the rich flavors of this beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2008 22:36:40 | More by magictrokini
Photo of drseamus

New York

4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage served in my DFH glass.

A: Very opaque dark amber body with patches of tan head. The opaqueness was even visible in the stream of the pour.

S: Classic old ale aroma. Sweet caramel exudes from the rim of the glass and dark fruits come along for the ride, especially raisins.

T: It opens big with a sweet wave crashing on my tongue. A bit of bitterness and spice creep in the sides as raisins and other dark fruits bring up the rear. The sweetness remains throughout. Aftertaste is light and sweet.

M: Super smooth. Almost syrupy. Barely any carbonation at all.

D: I haven't had one fresh in a while but this baby is super smooth with only a year on it. It just seems to lack a defining characteristic.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2008 01:11:00 | More by drseamus
Photo of midnite2sixman


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

!2 oz bottle from Logan's Alley in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Great place.

This 2007 edition looks the same color as stained cherry on the sides of my Martin SWDGT. A deep dark ruby mixed with amber.

The smell is huge fruit up front. Raisins are abundant and some brown sugar.

At first sip you can't escape the alcohol content of this one, but that taste is quickly erased by the huge fruit and caramel blasts from this malty beer. Tastes like it was aged in bourbon or whiskey casks but not sure.

The mouthfeel is a bit thick actually, in a good way. Almost coats your mouth like a robitussin or something but instead of tasting like medicine this one is truly the nectar of the Gods.

One helluva beer! Don't pass this one up!

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2008 05:29:05 | More by midnite2sixman
Photo of roadhouse


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

Poured from a 12 oz. 2007 bottle into a snifter.

Appears ruby red with a slight yellowish tan head of about half an inch. It sinks down to a skim and ring rather quickly. Leaves a thing ring of lacing.

Aroma is exploding with caramel malts, raisins, candied fruit, a light hint of vanilla, and a strong perfumy alcohol.

The taste has a huge burst of caramel maltiness up front that is backed by a dark fruitiness that is just as fierce. Very strong alcohol component in here as well, almost like it was barrel aged. A hint of vanilla towards the back end that is slightly stronger than in the aroma. The alcohol really makes itself known in this even at one year old and somewhat detracts from the overall flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, somewhat slick and chewy, but very creamy as well. Drinkability lowered a bit by the hot alcohols.

This was a very tasty Old Ale, though I wish it didn't have such a heavy hot alcohol warmth to it. I have one more bottle cellared that I will try to keep for another year.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2008 05:05:55 | More by roadhouse
Photo of spointon


4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz stubby brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a slightly cloudy dark caramel/amber color with a 3/4" yellowish tan head. The head quickly dropped to a thin skim and left zero lacing behind. Decent amount of carbonation in suspension.

S= Aroma started from sweet caramelly malts and shot up to white oak, vanilla beans, rum soaked raisins, and alcohol in one big leap.

T= Unbelievably complex flavor profile here. Front end was all malty sweetness (reminiscent of a wee heavy's caramel note) followed by barrel flavors of oak, vanilla, bourbon, rum soaked raisins, heavy dark fruits, and some red wine character. Finish was mildly sweet with a huge alcohol wallop. Pleasant aftertaste of light bourbon.

MF= Heavy side of medium bodied with a slightly oily, viscous mouthfeel. Lower carbonation level.

D= Wow this is one damn good beer. I am only a lukewarm fan of most bourbon barrel aged beers as the liquor tends to overwhelm the beer flavors. Not so with this fine ale. It seems to defy the barrel yet draw from it some very interesting flavors. Once it was in my glass, I could hardly keep myself from drinkong it too fast, and at this ABV, that makes for one dangerous beer. One of my new favorites for sure.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2008 06:57:30 | More by spointon
Photo of maximum12


4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Being a school night, & being righteously afraid of this beer, I split the 12 oz. bottle of 2007 with the wife. Thanks for swnicholson for sending this my way in a long-ago trade.

The bourbon notes are faint but persistent, & come out more in the taste than the smell. This beer is all over the place: sweet as cherry pie, a silky bourbon touch, & alcohol offering me just one bite of apple. The overall effect is just short of stunning, almost literally. Supremely, nuclear-tipped-dangerously drinkable for the assigned ABV. A sipper that I want to sip every twenty seconds or so.

I think my vision is starting to blur already. This is a hard-hitting, nicely balanced, minimalist kind of beer, if there exists such a thing. My first old ale in quite a while, & if this is representative of the genre, I'll be seeking out more. My second North Coast brew, & along with Old Rasputin, I approve.

Excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2008 03:47:24 | More by maximum12
Photo of RblWthACoz


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


Pours a fully fogged in very slightly orange touched brown. Nose is caramel, chalky, and dark fruits. Flavor is extremely smooth and brings just enough complexities. I get an alcohol burn, but it's more of a warming thing. Chalky almost strawberry flavorthing is there. Bourbon tones. Sweet tones abide, but it's not overdone. Carbonation still nips at the tongue quite a bit. Liquid is slick and smooth. Well this is quite good. A firm example of why you should buy some beers and never touch them for years.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2008 20:00:57 | More by RblWthACoz
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,448 ratings.