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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.

2,479 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,479
Reviews: 1,357
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 126
Gots: 407 | FT: 16
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: 2,479 | Reviews: 1,357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oneeye


4.45/5  rDev +8%

North Coast 2007 Old Stock Ale

Poured into a snifter.
Pours dark brown with a black cherry glow. A small brownish yellow creamy head. A Creamy head that stays with the beer. Little lace with caramel highlights.
The aroma is strong with whiffs of alcohol. A mixture of dried dark fruits with the smell of nature. Hints of black cherry and vanilla. The smell of a sunny fall day. Dried leaves and trees.
A strong taste of malts and alcohol. Bourbon like or a strong wine with woody features. Dark fruit with bakers chocolate. Funky cheeries with a hint of vanilla. Sour apples and dark caramel brown sugar. The taste of burnt malts and a warmth of alcohol linger on.
Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with a bitter warmth.
Drinkability is great. When you choose to drink a beer this big, plan on sipping this one. You only need one Old Stock Ale to enjoy the whole experience.
I'll be back in a couple years to review the other bottle I put in the cellar.

08-10-2008 16:17:02 | More by oneeye
Photo of dbONE


4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

This was given to me in 12 oz bottles from the folk at NC. I went home after the event and poured the 2008 batch in a belgian glass.
Watching emerge from the bottle a nice ruby/amber appeared into a aroma that started with molasses and deviled eggs with a hint of wood, caramel and vanilla.
The head was bright white the fade away quickly.
A tang approaches the palette with caramel and low carbonation and trickles through the rest of the palette with the same sweet flavor.
Hoppy bitterness shine as it disapears to the back of the throat leaving a coat on the tongue that lingers for a great aftertaste.
The 12.5% is hidden in this creation well so take your time and let it warm. If you cellar this one you will find it to be a different experience, if you can wait that long.

08-05-2008 03:56:53 | More by dbONE
Photo of shuriyukum


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%

Appearance: Dark brown, touch of ruby red. Small, uniform bubbles and a thin lace. Appears creamy.

Aroma: Malty, sweet, toasty, chocolate, toffee.

Taste: Sweet and malty up front, a plethora of flavor (as dictated by the aroma) and finished clean, just slightly bitter. Enough to balance out the heavy malt flavors and definite presence of alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick and fullbodied, as expected for an old ale of this caliber. Characteristic of a barleywine, yummy and delicious. Leaves a definite, flavorful presence on the palate but is well enjoyed.

Drinkability: Extremely well-balanced for its strength, a testament to the design of the this brew. It may be tough to swig a couple back to back...but this ain't the beer to do that! Savor and enjoy with a chocolately dessert, or better yet, a smooth cigar.

This is a unique old ale, tasty & delicious. A great example from America when considering what Fuller's and Thomas Hardy have out on the market.

08-05-2008 01:50:19 | More by shuriyukum
Photo of CrellMoset


4.15/5  rDev +0.7%

2008 vintage from Total Wine in Chantilly, VA. Poured into a Watou chalice.

Appearance: A deep, ruby brown body with a fast-fading, highly active head that dissipates into nearly nothing, minimal carbonation. Looks very thick and syrupy.

Aroma: Sweet fruity alcohol and roasted malts (molasses) - very interesting how these two meld together. A little too mild, even as things warm, however.

Taste: Tons of lightly-smoked, roasted, and toasted malts - brown sugar, buttery toffee & butterscotch, burnt toast and coffee (both of which become more prominent as it warms) - and a few fruity esters - raisins, figs. In conjunction with the sweet, smooth alcohol, it's reminiscent of dark rum, in places. Very interesting and complex.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy and thick, with medium-to-large sized bubbles that are surprisingly uniform. Warming alcohol feel in finish.

Drinkability: This one's sorta high in alcohol, but it's as well-hidden as you can expect, and everything else is great/interesting/complex/tasty, so I'll give it a nice middle of the road number.

08-05-2008 01:37:18 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of garcia2a


3.78/5  rDev -8.3%

This one's been in the cellar for a few years and decided to treat myself.

This beer pours a deep, opaque ruby-brown with light carbonation. The head was thin, cream colored and rimmed.

The bouquet was of heavy sweet malts with hints of carmel, toffee, baker's chocolate and just a faint back nose of spice. This translated well into the taste as the first bite was sweet toffee malts with a light bitter aftertaste. This sweet with bitter was nicely balanced and played well through the drinking.

This beer is a heavybodied beer along the lines of barleywine, so it is not your everyday drinker. It is a flavor packed treat that if you have it, savor it!

07-28-2008 05:07:31 | More by garcia2a
Photo of QuentinCompson


4.58/5  rDev +11.2%

12 oz bottle into Orval chalice

A - Nice pour; Finger and a half head down into murky dark amber brew; too smooth for lacing, it seems...

S - Dark caramel alcohol hop; rainy flowers; dark purple; scentious

T-M - Malty nose, carbonation, thick brew, caramel chocolatey hops tinted out with flowers and spice, maybe some wood barrels involved; Malty throughout really, almost mashy.

D - If I had a few of these, after a dinner at a party, I would be a happy camper. Excellent stout brew, the carbonation lifts off a lot of the heaviness of an average stout...

07-26-2008 07:04:27 | More by QuentinCompson


3.73/5  rDev -9.5%

A. Woundreful apperance in bottle and coloer, deep rich amber, almost no head, light lace.

S. Rich carmel, malty. with light smokey aroma.Can def smell the high abv.

T. Huge, malt and oak, smokey with subtle hints of carmel and fig.

M. Smooth but big bodied with a slight tartness.

D. Not a session beer by any means, but I would def have more than one. It's high abv makes it a great buy, but not your pick as a "go to" beer.

07-16-2008 02:48:28 | More by GORDONSWALTHAM
Photo of zymrgy


4.88/5  rDev +18.4%

2008 version 12.5% alc
Nice sweet, almond and raisin nose.

Sweetness predominates the flavor.
Has an ammaretto/cherry flavor with hints of raisin. Very subtle hop bitterness in the finish in an attempt to balance the sweetness.
Has a slight alcohol burn at the end but not excessive for the the strength.

A very dangerous beer to to drink because it seems so smooth but is very big.

Can't wait for the 2009!

07-10-2008 18:11:56 | More by zymrgy
Photo of daliandragon

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

Pours into a goblet with a rusty orange color and a tiny wisp of cover acting as head. Nose is very sweet and malty with fruit and oak tones. Raisin and maybe fig notes predominate for me.

At 11.7% I was expecting the booze to overwhelm but despite a pleasant warming sensation this is more about sweet malt doused nicely with dry fruit and wood. Slight caramel, vanilla, and bourbon notes meet in the aftertaste.

I usually don't like big, aggressive brews but I find this one manageable. It is decadent without being overwhelming. I can see it as a nightcap and would look for it again. For the style and abv, I find this extremely drinkable.

07-09-2008 06:17:42 | More by daliandragon
Photo of GatorBeerNerd


4.13/5  rDev +0.2%

A: Beautiful ruby tinted brown similar to a lot of barleywines but slightly darker in color. There is very little head even with an aggressive pour. What little head is there quickly disappears completely. It leaves no lacing.

S: Very sweet malty aroma, once again reminiscent of many barleywines. Dark fruit aromas mix in with the malts with no hint of alcohol for such a high ABV. I thought I remembered more of a bourbon aroma when I had it on tap at a local restaurant, but I can not pick it up here.

T: Much more aggressive in the mouth than the aroma would suggest. It starts out very sweet from the malt as soon as it touches the lips. The flavor has hints of raisins and caramel. There is a nice balance of bitterness to go with the fruity malty sweetness. The finish is dry, but leaves the mouth with a warming boozy aftertaste. It warms much more than many Winter Warmers. Outstanding brew.

M: A medium body thickness with just a hint of carbonation in the mouth. It is slightly slick in the mouth.

D: The warming from the alcohol make this one a sipper. Since it gets better as it warms up, that is just fine.

07-08-2008 02:46:27 | More by GatorBeerNerd
Photo of Strix


3.45/5  rDev -16.3%

Reddish-orange with a decent head that gradually fades to nothing.

Smells of alcohol. With a little caramel.

Taste is unabated alcohol. Finishes with caramel, bourbon, and woody notes. This is quite hot at this point - not entirely unpleasant, but the alcohol is front and center.

Mouthfeel smooth and creamy.

This is worth a try, if you don't mind the serious alcohol bite. I probably won't be back though.

07-07-2008 00:03:27 | More by Strix
Photo of julian


3.85/5  rDev -6.6%

Bought from QFC U-Village in Seattle. 2008 12oz bottle

A: brownish amber color with about 75% opacity. visible carbonation but not extreme. head is pretty meager and vanishes just about as quick as it appeared.

S: the 12.5% abv is clearly noticeable to the nose which is nicely complimented by a faintly sweet vanilla and molasses essence mixed with a rich and sweet sherry aroma. alcohol still more dominant however.

T: No avoiding the boozy taste of this one. It's strong, yet malty sweet. Slightly phenolic taste, but mostly malty and alcoholic.

M: medium carbonation and slightly chewy boozy feel. warms the mouth, but goes down relatively easily.

D: This is a force to be reckoned with. The sweeter malty and sherry taste is comforting and assuring but the dominant alcohol is reminder to how potent this brew really is.

07-02-2008 04:07:04 | More by julian
Photo of RixBeer


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

Pours a chestnut-mahogany color that is very reminiscent of a hardwood floor. Darker on one end than the other, with a nice fluffy eggshell colored 1/4" head that does NOT fade at all. DAMN that is some serious sticking!

Smells of sweet maple and caramel malt with huge sherry overtones and some nice fig aromas popping out now and again. Some very mild sherry aromas in the mix as well.

Some nice caramel and sherry flavors with a nice bittersweet apple in the flavor from the hops. A semi hot burn in the finish with tiny undertones of figs, nuts and maple [syrup].

Nice carbonation with a very nice mouthfeel. Deceivingly light compared to prior versions [IMHO].

This beer is very drinkable and surprisingly smooth. Just don't plan on going anywhere. This one packs a huge punch. Thank you North Coast!

06-29-2008 03:21:47 | More by RixBeer
Photo of midaszero


4/5  rDev -2.9%

2008 bottle poured into North Coast Snifter I got at a glass night for Old Stock awhile back.

A - Nice mahogany color with off white head and ok lacing.

S - Smells kind of sweet and you can smell the 12.5% ABV

T - Slight caramel tasting with some whiskey like dryness

M - Well carbonated and not much burn for all the alcohol

D - One full bottle is usually all it takes but more is drinkable if that is what you desire.

06-28-2008 02:11:26 | More by midaszero
Photo of lordofthewiens


3.95/5  rDev -4.1%

I know this is supposed to be an old ale, but I've got to knock it down a notch because I think it's more representative of a barleywine. Served in a tulip glass, the beer was a reddish brown, a little hazy, with an almost nonexistent head. Mainly a fruity aroma. The taste was fairly balanced between fruit and malt, but I was looking for more of a malt presence. I thought the alcohol was a little on the intrusive side, being more than noticeable.

06-27-2008 22:43:01 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of indiapaleale


4.03/5  rDev -2.2%

2008 Vintage ~

Weighing in at 12.5% alcohol, the 2008 Old Stock Ale is a heavy looking beer as it comes out of the bottle. Once its made its way into the glass its a very rich dark auburn brown color with wisps of redness. Not much head on this one and the carbonation level is minimal as far as I can tell. Its a great looking beer.

Smell is very rich and sweet brown sugar and dark brown bread accompanied with dark stewed fruit. Some apple cider vinegar notes are present as well that lead to some red wine characteristics. This is another very complex beer as far as smell goes. So many strands to pull apart!

Taste is absolutely delicious from the first chewy sip. Very balanced. Sweet malt tastes combine with some toasted dark bread and some more bitter notes quite well before the alcohol dryness hits you at the end. The sweetness and the bitterness play off each other nicely and the warming from the alcohol is a nice little feature as well. You'll definitely want to give this beer a chance to warm up a bit so you can experience all the flavors it has to offer. You'd be crazy not to love a beer with such complexity and strength.

06-24-2008 02:21:45 | More by indiapaleale
Photo of PatrickJR

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

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

A - Ruby brown with a slight haze. Smallish off-white head that disappears quickly, some decent lacing before all traces of foam disappear.

S - Wonderful aroma. Intense malt sweetness, approaching something like a sherry or port. Dark fruit, bread, walnuts, caramel, it's all there in one beautifully succinct package.

T - A little less intruiging than the nose. Very sweet and candy-like at first, then morphing into a raisin/over-ripe/grape flavor. Flavor further dries out to reveal some simple grain characteristics before the brief alcohol bite. Finishes with a minimal bitterness.

M - A little syrupy but not too much. Low to moderate carbonation.

D - Somewhat intense for my tastes. Increased body would improve drinkability, much like a barleywine. Sweet as well with little to balance except the alcohol. I bumped this up half a point though because the 11.7% is EXCEPTIONALLY well hidden.

06-21-2008 07:08:05 | More by PatrickJR
Photo of bator22

New York

4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

A: Pours a ruby/brown, slightly hazy. Some lacing that remains on the glass.

S: Sweet aromas; brown sugar, caramel, candy

T: Caramel and vanilla, at the end a hint of cream

M: Very smooth condsidering the alcohol level. A very creamy mouthfeel

D: Loved this beer, i could certainly drink several of them

06-19-2008 13:32:11 | More by bator22
Photo of srandycarter


4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

Tried out with 2011 series 4 years after reviewing first time. Original view at bottom.

A - Fairly clear, medium to dark caramel, very little head, big ring and thin pond scum. Lace is sudsy and thin.

S - Thick sweet malt with an herbal spicy, almost medicinal note. Anise. It is somewhat anise. Don't usually like this, but it is working so far.

T - Lush sweet malt, big hot booze present, the anise thing mid to latter taste.

M - Medium body, overall good finish and balance.

D - I could have a few. Wish there was less anise though, would have scored higher for T, M and D.

A - Murky brown with initial 1 inch off white head, nice and thick. Leaves after a few minutes, with just a ring left. Lacing persistent thin bubbled and soapy.

S - Heavy sweet malts, brown sugar and lots of alcohol in the nose, almost like some sweet extract.

T - Heavy, creamy, thick. Very sweet center, very boozy and surprising enough hops to balance the monster out.

M - Creamy, coating, carb good for such a high ABV.

D - No way. One 12 oz is about all I would want of one of these per session.

06-16-2008 01:56:00 | More by srandycarter
Photo of saintwarrick

South Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

2007 vintage. Pours a brownish, dark amber with a somewhat fizzy, off-white head that just laces the glass. Aroma is big and thick, like an imperial stout. Figs and prunes lead a dark fruit aspect while the rest of the smell is very sweet, molasses and caramel with a touch of whiskey. Taste is extremely malty, not overly sweet however, some light caramel and chocolate covered raisins. Also adds in a big blend of dark fruits. There's a nice bit of bitterness there before it is finished off by a throat-warming alcohol finish that again reminds me of whiskey.

So damn malty and so complex. A sipper, but a great beer to be had at any time.

06-11-2008 06:24:34 | More by saintwarrick
Photo of RickSawyer


4.65/5  rDev +12.9%

2008 bottle, freshest old stock I have ever had...

Pours a ruby red, honey amber hue with a beautifully creamy tight head. Smell is sweet, cherry, molasses, hints of roasted cashew. Very port-esque / sherry-like in the nose. Taste is very 'porty'. Sweet, cherries covered in brown sugar, raisins, heavy caramel. Mouthfeel is nice, thick and creamy. Carbonated perfectly for the flavors to tickle the tongue. A wonderful dessert beer. If you enjoy port I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy Old Stock.

06-06-2008 22:31:06 | More by RickSawyer
Photo of sholland119


4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

A-Pours a rich, opaque medium brown. Little head or stickiness.

S-Dark, rich fruits and not a little bit of booziness. This is going to be a sipper (duh! 13.3% ABV).

T-Caramel sweetness from the jump, layers of honey and golden raisins with a solid whiskey finish. Nice warming alcohol feel.

M-Rich, creamy and oily. Very nice.

D-Obviously one is the recommended dosage. I will enjoy exactly 12 oz. in one sitting.

Not my usual preferred type of beer due to the high alcohol content and rampant booziness. But this one does it just right. It will only get better as it warms.


06-04-2008 00:49:29 | More by sholland119
Photo of pmcadamis


4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

My bottle is a 2007 vintage, and it looks like my bottle is slightly lower in alcohol than previous years (my bottle lists an ABV of 11.7...still a bruiser by any definition.

A - This beer looks exactly like the bottle! The head is the yellowed parchment color of the label, and the brew is the color of the brown bottle itself! Upon closer inspection, the brown body has some deep ruby highlights and it's pretty much transparent....like looking into a dark crystal. The head starts at about a finger and quickly drops to a thin haze and turtleneck collar, but with nearly 14%ABV, I'm not surprised!

S - Autumn leaves, single malt scotch, and expensive cognac intermingle with tootsie rolls and what I imagine gummy bears would smell like minus the fruit flavoring. Like maybe vanilla gummy bears. Some sweet concentrated orange in a frozen can is noticeable, but only just. This is gloriously toasty and buttery, and is pure joy to sniff.

T - Much like the nose, this is wondrously dark and rich like smoky Islay single malts, while remaining sweet and alluring like cognac. Honeycomb, honey drenched hop buds, crispy waffles (not doughy) and lightly bitter orange rind (Grand Marnier comes to mind). Outstanding!

M - Full bodied and buxom, yet tight and controlled....never flabby or round. This has a similar body to many tripels that I've tried in that it's tight, attenuated, alcoholic, and firm, yet still very full bodied. The initial sweet coating is swept away first by alcohol fumes, then by an intense hoppy finish. Wow...my jaw is on the floor.

D - I think quite highly of this brew, but I honestly wouldn't want to drink this too fast, and I don't know if I would want more than one. It's a sipper, not a slugger and I can't fault it for that. If drinkability means purchasability and enjoyability, then I give this a 4.5.

05-22-2008 18:54:44 | More by pmcadamis
Photo of GbVDave


4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Val-Dieu chalice.

2006 vintage. 11.6%abv.

A: Pours a nice looking hazy melted caramel color with some burnt orange highlights. Small and creamy light-tan colored head recedes quickly to a thick and creamy ring that leaves curving streams of lace in the glass.

S: Incredible aromas of caramel, whisky, raisins, chocolate, bruised and over-ripe plums, caramel apple, vanilla, and rich, sweet, malty goodness.

T: See above. HUGE blast of sweet caramel malt, whisky, and dark ripe fruit. Chocolate, dry toasted malt, bitter hops, caramel apple, vanilla, and mint round out the bill. Awesome booziness!

M: Very large and creamy. Incredibly oily and coating. Sweet caramel and whisky sticks to everything in my mouth. Finish is sweet and long lasting.

D: Lip-smacking sweetness is expertly balanced by earthy hoppiness and the aforementioned booziness. It's not hot or ragged in the least-just boozy enough to show you that it's not to be trifled with. What an awesome beer!

05-20-2008 23:01:56 | More by GbVDave
Photo of Donnie2112


4.35/5  rDev +5.6%

2008 vintage

appearance: brownish red, swirling head, nice

smell: sweet, caramel, brown sugar

taste: caramelly, maple, sweet breadiness, rolls into a slightly burnt malt and hint of hops

mouthfeel: warm, thick, nice carbonation

drinkability: very drinkable, warms me on a cool night and has enough of a crisp bight to finish clean

2007 release poured into an oversized wine glass

appearance: Makes me think of a "tobacco sunburst" maple guitar top, hues of translucent reds and browns and champagne like streams of bubbles continuosly flow up the glass

smell:nose is all molasses with a hint of something that could be perceived as citrus

taste: sweet molasses and bread with a hint of yeasty nuttiness balanced out by a warming alcohol and the slight tinge of last little bit of citrusy hops left

mouthfeel: heavy bodied, plenty of carbonation a bit of oily astringince at the end

rather nice, I think this one could stand to sit in the cellar a bit longer. Look for my 06 review shortly

06 poured into an oversized wine glass

appearance: rather dark, brownish, red, translucent, lingering bits of head and slight lacing

smell: rummy a bit of raisins, rather sweet, just a bit of metallic alcohol I am going to have to upgrade my smell rating on this bad boy

taste: sweet, raisins, a bit bready and not even a hint of hops, a bit of alcohol

mouthfeel: medium carbonation, heavy body, maybe just a little bit of astringence.

drinkability: Excellent, so sweet, so smooth. I just want to keep drinking it and unfortunately I can't.

I've got another vertical of this and I want to try it in a year. Seriously people you've got to try this stuff aged because it is absolutely wonderful. I don't know how to score it because the aged 06 comes off as world class and the 07 comes off as great and the 08 just ok.

05-20-2008 00:32:42 | More by Donnie2112
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,479 ratings.