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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.

2,675 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,675
Reviews: 1,373
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 134
Gots: 457 | FT: 15
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: 2,675 | Reviews: 1,373 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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!!

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Photo of SurlyDuff
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Old Stock is a superb high-alcohol brew by North Coast. It's got more alcohol than even most barleywines i've had.

Pours a sticky looking amber, reminds me of runny maple syrup.

Aroma is big spicy hot alcohol at first, with some overripe fruits and sticky toffee/caramel malt. Burbon and cognac liquor flavors in here too.

This ones a slooowww sipper, with lots of big sticky hops and packed with malt.

Photo of beerman207
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Bamadog for the hookup on this one.

A - Color is a cinnamon with little to no lacing.

S- Nose has a nice spicy tone with cinnamon, chocolate, and caramel coming through. I can barely smell the alcohol which is a plus considering how heavy this one is.

T- Very sweet in the beginning with a nice warming coming through in the finish from the alcohol. I'm picking up raisins, honey, chocolate and dark fruit in the taste here.

M- This one is almost like syrup in the mouthfeel but not in a bad way.

D- I have to give this one low drinkability based on the high ABV. Man, having two of these would leave me feeling a mess.

Photo of bort11
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2008 vintage, poured into a tulip glass. Quarter inch of fine light tan head. It recedes with no lacing, though that is to be expected with a 12.5% ABV. Quite often the higher the ABV, the less lacing you see. Color is a dark chestnut brown with streaks of highlighting around the edges.

Smell has a pretty bold vanilla aroma. There are some dark sugars and malts. Taste has more of the vanilla mixed with some spicy dark wood. Earthy and dry. Dark root spices, bits of clove and ginger.

A year of aging has been kind to this beer. Mouthfeel has a mild body, thought the carbonation is still crisp. I bet this would have aged nice for another year or so.

Blipped "Old Joe Clark" by Woody Guthrie

Photo of Pagzzz
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle - 2009 vintage

Appearance: Deep ruby color with shades of brown, crystal clear, firm tan head on pouring, settles to a thin ring after a few minutes.

Aroma: sweet light and dark caramel, figs, rich maltiness, peaches? Alcohol evident, but not overpowering. Almost no hop aroma.

Taste: Rich, rich malty goodness with myriad caramel flavors. medium-high bitterness is surprisingly high given the subdued hop aroma and flavor. Dark dried and fresh fruits like raisins, dates and figs.

Mouthfeel: full body, sweetness carries through the finish. Super, warm finish calls out for a chilly evening by the fire or a rich full body cigar. very nice!

Photo of BMoney575
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled on 8-3-09
2007 Vintage
11.7% ABV

Pours a completely cloudy brown color, a thin ring of white head, and quickly fading lacing. Looks boozy.

Smell is huge. Molasses hits up front, dominating all else. Anise is there, with subtle toffee and dark fruit. Everything is taken to the next level by the great alcohol aroma.

Taste is sweet, fruity, and boozy, nowhere near as complex as the smell. Super roasted, the only balancing factor is the bitter alcohol on the finish.

Mouthfeel is just right, thick and creamy to combat the alcohol.

Drinkability is actually quite good, if you're in the mood for a strong old ale.

Overall, not the best I've had, but a good beer nonetheless.

Photo of Hornet2003
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2008 vintage.

A: Cola coloured with no head, whatsoever.

S: Lots of raisiny, sweet aromas. It reminds me of caramel cooking in a pan.

T: Quite sweet but not cloying at all. There is also a nice hoppy bitterness that lingers on the tongue. There is an alcohol presence but very subtle. Plums, Prunes, and dates are the predominant fruit flavours.

M: I really like the carbonation of this beer. It's prickly and lends itself well to the obviously aggressive nature of the beer. Not syrupy, despite the sweetness.

D: I have to give this an average drinkability rating because although I'm only drinking one in a sitting, I could never imagine drinking more than that. Average denotes that it is a beer that you could drink one and be satisfied with it.

Overall: I really enjoy this "old ale". I could just imagine it would have been a blast to brew, thinking full well that every ingredient added to the kettle is double in strength and quantity to what would make an average beer. I just imagine the brewers with the Mr. Burns finger tapping hand grasp..."Excellent"

Photo of ChuckVee
3.33/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

2007 vintage

Pours a nice deep amber with a head that fades out to nothing quickly. The smell is sweet with some plum and chocolate, but mostly dominated by malt and alchohol. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous. This is definately a sipping beer. Deep, rich flavors of sweet malt, wood, leather, tobacco and a brief kick of hop bitterness are followed by some not so welcome alchohol hotness. I originally put these down for a few years hoping that the rocket fuel aspect of this beer would fade a little. It did, but not enough for me to rate it over a 2.5 in drinkability. Really a shame, considering it's potential for excellence. Wonderfully complex and well crafted Old Ale, but I am not interested in breathing fire after every sip. I have another 3 bottles that I will try in the coming years and see if they fare any better.

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

Extra from tzanio -- thanks bro! This is the 2007, which lists an ABV of 11.7% vs. the 12.5% on this profile.

Poured into a pint glass with a translucent, dark amber body and a thin dusting of off-white head. Falling gauze-like lacing, doesn't stick around too long.

Smell of malt that's rich, but not strong, if that makes sense. Caramel smell, some fig-like fruit.

First sip is al-co-HOL-ic, with some malty sugars. It's not surprising that the booze is up front, but I wasn't expecting to be hit with it quite so hard. Some darkly fruity, raisiny flavors, reminiscent of rum. Finishes with a kind of roast bite, a little hop snap, but most of the restrained bitter is from that roasty flavor.

The mouthfeel is warm with a kind of fuzziness from the booze. The flavors mellow out & the malt gains momentum further down the glass, making it not quite so bracing. A good beer, & one I'm satisfied with after one.

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,675 ratings.