1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,526 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,526
Reviews: 1,363
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 124
Gots: 414 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Stock Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 2,526 | Reviews: 1,363 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of simonjohansson
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%

It starts out with a nice smell of toffee, some cherries, pear, some dried fruits - figs, apples, plums? Lots of foam, though. Somewhat surprising. Some alcohol, as well.

The taste is good, but not as good as the smell. Soft, sweet fruits, mentioned above, caramell, toffee, almonds (?), quite bitter too, and som "green" hops. Its pretty easy to drink, almost a bit thin, and somewhat mild. I didnt find much alcohol in the taste, surprisingly, but I felt it in my head pretty soon.

Total: nice beer, but needs more depth in taste, and less alcohol. Expensive too.

simonjohansson, Sep 27, 2008
Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.58/5  rDev +11.2%

2006 Vintage

Great beer. Pours an dark woody brown - not a ton of head but a good amount. Aroma is incredibly inviting - fruity with a bit of toffee or something similar and a bit of chocolate. Very complex and multi-layered taste - invites multiple tastings to figure out what exactly is going on. Drinkability is very good - the alcohol is very high in this drink and it is blended well, but it still gets to you after a few (tonight I've had WAY too much to drink, so it is hard to telll, honestly). Fantastic beer - highly recommended.

prsguitarsr4me, Sep 20, 2008
Photo of Brewlore
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

***2008*** 12oz bottle.

Pours a nice brown/slightly reddish color (almost looks like sludge! but a good sludge indeed). The head on this is quite minimal but the head slowly formed to thin layer that was an off white color. Faded quickly leaving a nice lace around the edge.

The aroma is potent. This years version being 12.5% it's no wonder. You catch a whiff of the alcohol right up front. But beneath that is a great dark fruit/malty backbone. The hops, well, there's so much action going on with the alcohol & malt that they get somewhat lost in the mix. But that's ok for this type of brew. There's underlying sweetness in the aroma.

The taste...well it's a sipping beer no doubt. Tons of flavor and alcohol arrive ripping your taste buds apart. Chocolate, roasted malts, toffee, dark fruit, and the warm sensation of alcohol. It's all here! I'm sure these flavors will enhance greatly as the beer warms and the alcohol may very well get quite crazy as it warms.

Thick and heavy on the palate. Very close to syrup like consistency. Low levels of carbonation, which works well with how this beer feels.

This is quite a delicious and fairly complex beer. The alcohol is constantly in your face which makes this beer not so easy to drink. It's tasty, it's potent, and it's surely a sipping beer. One 12oz should be enough to slowly slip on in the cool evenings.

Brewlore, Sep 16, 2008
Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev -2.9%

2007 vintage (11.7% abv). 12fl oz. bottle served in my DFH snifter. Brown/ruby in appearance with little light penetration but decent clarity considering the depth of color. One inch cream-colored head eventually settled into a broken skim that coalesced around the shoulders of the bowl; no lacing present during the tasting. Bold nose - sugary sweet up front, caramel notes and dark fruit (perhaps raisins, figs, prunes). Hot booze, toffee, bourbon and a hint of vanilla. Alcohol warmth throughout the mouth. Slightly viscous with some carbonation burn from start to finish. Tasty, but definitely a sipper. Looking forward to seeing how this one ages, but a little too hot right now.

Jwale73, Sep 16, 2008
Photo of kzoobrew
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Pours a ruby color with a creamy white colored head. Not much in the way of retention. Some lacing.

Big malt and dark fruit in the nose. Some what raisiny. Some alcohol in the nose.

Raisin and rum flavors are picked up first. Slight vanilla flavors linger in there. Big warming alcohol punch.

Very creamy and smooth. Easy to drink despite the noticable alcohol content. Good carbonation, lively.

Enjoyable brew. I am sure it would be just as tasty possibly more with some age.

kzoobrew, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of steelcutoats
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Old Stock Ale Review

This is a monster of a beer. I poured a 12 oz. bottle into my crystal tasting snifter. The color was a deep caramel, almost impervious to light. The aroma was thick with deep notes of fruit and roasted malts. The taste was unique as "Old Ales" go...very smooth and fruity, probably from figs if I had to guess. There isn't much in the way of hops in this beer, but it has a great overall taste. Truly epic, pick up a few and mellow out to some Led Zeppelin.

steelcutoats, Sep 14, 2008
Photo of aubuc1
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

12 oz bottle from 2007 poured in to a goblet.

Pours a deep brown/amber with a very thin head.

The smell is berries sweet malt.

Taste is of raisins, then sour raspberry. Maltiness follows and finishes with an alcohol warming.

Mouthfeel is full and carbonated, very nice.

For almost 12% this is masked very well. Much smoother than I anticipated. Great experience.

aubuc1, Sep 10, 2008
Photo of baggio
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%

Bottle@home, 2007 vintage, 11.5% ABV

A: Dark red with a nice, white, creamy lace that sticks to the glass.

S: Alcohol, Malt, Ripe dark fruit, Caramel, Sugar.

T: Bourbon, Caramel, Raisin, Molasses, Dark caramel, Hint of vanilla.

M: Thick and creamy with almost no carbonation and a slightly boozy finish.

This beer was perfect for sipping late at night. Rich and powerful and quite complex. Could use some more aging still i reckon, still very nice. Recommended!

baggio, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of orangemoustache
3.2/5  rDev -22.3%

Pours a slightly hazy reddish brown with a thin off-white head that dissipates at a fairly rapid rate leaving behind no lacing. The nose is strong with alcohol and some lightly toasted malt,maybe a hint of raisins on the tail. Jeez this alcohol is way stronger on the tongue than in the nose,I was hoping it would be a bit more hidden(it packs quite a wallop). I also taste some dark fermented fruits and a touch of over ripened peach. Some slight toasted grains and light hop bitterness. The body is medium and slick. Carbonation is minimal with a tangy alcohol burn on the tongue. A decent brew and definitely interesting.

orangemoustache, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of swizzlenuts
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%

2008 edition

The nose on the beer is very chocolaty and malty, and smells like a barleywine. The colour is a deep red with a very small head that dissipates quite quickly. The beer tastes really strong. It has a big barleywine sweet flavour with a hint of chocolate. There is a presence of alcohol as well. This is just a bit over powering. The mouthfeel is quite thick, which is good. Not drinkable at all really.

I bought this and I am aging 3/4 of the four pack. I will review them in a year!

swizzlenuts, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of DoubleJ
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

2007 Vintage (11.7% ABV), and on to the beer we go:

Pours hazy, caramel colored. In the glass it rests ruby brown with caramel and orange hues. My nose is catching that kick of booze, with burnt sugar, vanilla, dates, and delicate yeast. The first sips of this ale are hit hard with the alcohol. It's sweet at first (akin to caramel chews), fusel alcohol cuts through. In comes flavors of vanilla and a lovely pick-me-up of buttery yeast. The taste starts to grown on you as you adjust to the alcohol character, but it's a sipper nonetheless.

DoubleJ, Sep 08, 2008
Photo of DavidSeanNJ
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

***2008 Vintage***

I had my doubts about this one due to the beer being so young. Decided to give it a shot. I was told that this one tastes good even at this early date.

A- Very dark brown/ruby color with a tan head that did not stick around too long. Carbonation bubbles eveident, heavy oxidation.

S- Wow. There was an attactive boozey sweetness that would just not go away. All I could smell was candy and alcohol. Caramel. Sugar. VERY SWEET.

T- Jackpot! Rich as hell. The figgy caramel and toffee came through the most. Hot booze. Reminded me of a barley wine but with less hop and more sugar.

M- Carbonation. Lots of it. Burning my tongue and throat from the booze. Syrupy, thick.

D- This one is so tasty that I could not put it down. Perfect nightcap beer. Well done. I would love to lay one down for a while.

DavidSeanNJ, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of cvstrickland
3.83/5  rDev -7%

12-ounce stubby from the 2007 brewing, labeled at 11.7% abv, poured into a pint willi glass yields a clear copper-burgundy body with a cap of ecru foam that settles quickly to a persistent sheet. No lacing remains on the glass.

The smell is dark and sugary with note of ripe red apple, dark rum, and brown bread.

The taste is rich and sweet with an odd oxidized flavor of clear brown sugar rock candy and a sting of fiery alcohol. The drink takes a fruity turn as the alcohol morphs from hot and chemical, to soft and caramelly, to peppery and plummy... but the backbone of the drink never strays from boozy in feel and flavor. This brewing of Old Stock Ale is apparently in need of more aging, and big-time.

Medium in body, raw in character... and, oh yes, a sipper.

cvstrickland, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of elniko
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured from bottle into snifter, 2008 vintage. I have three more in my cave aging that I am really looking foward. The 2004 vintage that I had recently was stupendous.

A: Very little head, rich opaque coloring. No carbonation apparent. Interesting looking brew.

S: First thing I notice is alcohol which makes sense since ABV is 13.25%. Strong on the nose, hints of raisin and caramel.

T & M: Wow....this is one strong brew. I get tones of toffee in the finish. Mouthfeel is full with very little bitterness. I can't wait until my other bottles age as some of the up front strongness should meld into some wonderful flavors. Definite caramel tones as well.

D: I don't think there is any way I could drink more than one, still wonderful job by North Coast as usual.

elniko, Sep 06, 2008
Photo of Bananaman
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

Really nice beer from North Coast Brewing. Can't really decide if I think it's a Barley Wine or an Old Ale. I have two more bottles that I will store for a while.

Looks amazing in the glass! The bottle is really beautiful too. Mahogny colored with a nice beige foam-ring.

Taste is very sweet, almost syrupy with some nice hints of bitter berries and hardly roasted nuts. There is a really nice hoppiness that is balanced by the sweet maltyness. Really nice!

I think this one could be close to "a five" after a couple of years in the "beer cellar".

Bananaman, Sep 05, 2008
Photo of mtstatebeer
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%

12 oz. bottle 2008. Pours a reddish-brown with an average, fizzy, off-white head. Aroma is sweet malts, a tiny bit hoppy, and a little plum. Flavor is sweet with a bit of a bitter finish. It is very warming on the palate with light alcoholic finish. Warms very well, first barley wine. Good experience.

mtstatebeer, Sep 03, 2008
Photo of SLeffler27
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%

A dense almond head raises about one finger, then resides to a thin layer. Impressive for nearly 12% abv. Below, our quarry is a cloudy, rich cinnamon, neatly contained by a snifter glass. This Old Stock is an 07 vintage, and North Coast's logo is worth noting, for its distinctive and elegant graphic.

Nuts and wheat bread stand out, followed by molasses, plumb and raisin. As this one warms, oak and vanilla are presented on alcohol fumes. Chuck full of character, Old Stock harkens back to a time of oak lined parlors filled with cigars, books, and honor.

Darn, the flavor suffers from the lofty expectations of appearance and aroma. Still the acidic entry is tamed by roasted nuts and leather, with a lingering finish. The rest of this four pack is destine for a slumber in the cellar. Let's see what this baby can do with time.

The dense body is a touch oily, with light carbonation and a strong warming alcohol, just short of burning.

Aging will do this one well. Yet it still rates well, despite the strong presence of alcohol and sharp flavors. Old Stock is highly contemplative, to be enjoyed with a cigar, and stimulating conversation. Bring this one out when debating an upcoming presidential election.

SLeffler27, Sep 01, 2008
Photo of changeup45
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%

4/3/2008. 2008 Batch with 12.5% abv. Pours a deep amber color with very little head or lacing. Aroma is winey, candy sugars with sour fruits. The flavor is sugary and sour with bitter fruits, a touch of malt, alcoholic and red wine-like. Smooth and warming. It does go down quite easily but seems a bit basic. Obviously this beer is very young so perhaps I'll take the advice of others (and the brewery) and let the others age for a while.

changeup45, Aug 27, 2008
Photo of charlzm
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Consumed 08/20/08 at Blue Palms Brewhouse, Hollywood, CA.

This particular sample was aged two years - yes, the keg was from 2006 and was just now being tapped.

Deep caramel brown colored beer. Hints of highlights by the dim bar lights. A really fine, creamy head about 1/8 inch thick sits atop the brew.

An aroma of sweet, dark malts, pitted fruits and... is that nutmeg? wafts into the nostrils.

Mouthfeel is a tad chewy.

Flavor reminds me of sweet red wine with some thin roasted malt character, nuttiness and that subtle spice again. Some bitterness on finish. Sort of like a brown ale on steroids. No discernable alcohol character, which is amazing considering the ABV. Only a slight off character (a touch of cardboard, due perhaps to oxidization) mars this brew.

Very drinkable. Too drinkable, maybe?

charlzm, Aug 21, 2008
Photo of Thunderball
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%

Poured into a tulip, and delivered a pencil thin, off-white head. The smell was of caramel sweetness with some spice. The mouth feel was of a spice and white pepper, with a bread like component. The taste, and this is the best part. vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar, spice, pepper, bitter sweet chocolate, toasted english muffin. So complex, so much going on that my tongue is fatigued. The alcohol shows itself in the stomach, and the brain. This is by far the best brew I have had the pleasure to introduce to my lips! To me, this is like "mother's milk". Whatever doesn't kill you will make you stronger. Tonight, I'm invincible!

Thunderball, Aug 19, 2008
Photo of IBUnit63
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

Vintage 2007 into Cab glass...

Big, bready pillowy 1-finger yeasty head with nice seam, a thick cling to the glass and staying power. Wood-colored body... a split between mahogany hue and cherry darkness - a deep chestnut color? Ample carbonation.

Oooh...some bourbon, vanilla, alcohol - apples, cinnamon and raising with brown sugar. Smells like dessert.

Powerful stuff. Raisins, figs and deep dark caramel malt - a little coffee and some slight earth. Runs very hot from the alcohol - it's great but use warmth to calm it down.

Nice feel - a little astringent from alcohol - it's good nonetheless. Burns like a good single-barrel bourbon.

This needs time but it's good nonetheless - easy to drink for style but a nice sipper.

IBUnit63, Aug 18, 2008
Photo of froghop
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

poured this 2008 into a snifter, a dark caramel in color with a small tan head, good lacing.

smell of burnt toffee, roasted nuts, some berry, and some cocoa.

taste is thick, nuts, toffee, malt, touch of cocoa, with an oily finish, as it warms becomes more smooth.

froghop, Aug 11, 2008
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.

oneeye, Aug 10, 2008
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.

dbONE, Aug 05, 2008
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.

shuriyukum, Aug 05, 2008
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,526 ratings.