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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,784 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,784
Reviews: 1,401
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 145
Gots: 509 | FT: 20
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-26-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,784 | Reviews: 1,401 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mbudner
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured into a snifter

A- Pours caramel-colored with a very thin yellow-ish head that dissipated quickly leaving no lacing. When held to the light, it almost has a ruby glow to it.

S- It smells delicious. I'm getting some dried fig, sweet caramel, brandy notes from a combination of the fruitiness (possibly apricots) and the booziness. As it warms, I'm getting a lot of raisin and maybe some honey.

T- Less sweet than the nose would have led me to believe and more of an assertive bitterness from the alcohol than I expected. Last time I had this was a few months ago in a spotted vertical of '03, '04, '06, and '08. I can definitely see why/how this is a must age beer. Not that it is bad fresh at all. After sipping on it for a little, I'm either more acclimated to the booziness or it is starting to fade with exposure and warmth and the beer is really beginning to shine. Similar dark fruits in the taste as well as a bit of tobacco. As it nears room temperature and loses a lot of the carbonation, it becomes much more peaty, almost like a scotch ale. I'm really liking this as it progresses.

M- Assertively carbonated, which I haven't seen much in the style, but if I recall correctly, this mellows with age and is therefore a very good thing. Not too cloying (which I feared upon first whiff.) Nice creamy mouthfeel in the finish, which is surprising due to the initial carbonation level on the tip of the tongue.

D- Dangerously drinkable for an 11.5% old ale. Not too sweet or cloying and the alcohol really begins to mask itself after a few minutes of exposure.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, 2009 Vintage,

A: Pours a dark brown, good rich colour, light white head.

S: Classic dark Olde English barleywine and some booze, real light hopping.

T: Robust, full flavours of caramel and malt. Booze is well integrated at this young an age.

M: Smooth, solventy, rich and powerful with residual sugar and ethanol.

D: This is already quite good. Really a sipper right now. I can see 5-7 years of aging could turn this into something phenomenal, I'd love to sample a bottle in 2015.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.27/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. 2009 vintage.

Pours a cloudy deep brown with no head or lacing at all. Nose is sweet, a bit boozy and quite fruity, theres some candy apple here.

Wow, taste is really complex, nice hint of sweetness, a bit boozy. Age this sucker as long as you can! Drinkability is a bit low due to booziness.

Photo of generalnotsew
3.16/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Diarrhea feces brown with no head. But I will give it an average as I have never had an Old Ale before. May be what it is supposed to look like. But still, doesn't look very pleasant.

S: Very malty and spicy in the nose. I am picking up some fig and a lot of sweetness. Has a fruit quality. Very complex.

T: I am getting cherry and fig here. Bit of a hop aftertaste. I really can't get into the taste. I am not going any further for now as I would be wasted trying to pick this one apart.

M: Very thick and chewy. Doesn't look like it has much carbonation but it is there. Extremely warming on the throat. I can still feel it burning.

D: I just can't picture myself drinking many of these. Way too overpowering not to mention the abv.

I had to adjust today. The more I tried to drink the less I liked it. Never had the style before so I could chalk it up to that. That being said I am usually pretty easy to please and this just didn't do it for me. The low drinkability was the hardest for me to do. Sometimes I feel that score does not fit right. This is definitely a sipper. Doubt I will buy this again.

Photo of AnswerInQuestion
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass (not the best I know, but it was all that as availible)

A: Pleasant chesnut brown with no head after pour.

S: Sweet nuts like cashew and macadamia. Fig and banana. Dark and sweet - not overpowering; delightful!

T: Deliciously similar to the smell, except that the high alcohol content unfortunately has a slightly-too-strong presence on the back of the palate.

M: Smooth with a light, pleasant carbonation. Lingering alcohol sting.

D: This beer is great, but the high abv steers me away frommore than just a bottle. Alcohol content isn't always an issue with me, but the sting in this beer keeps reminding me of it's guilty pleasure.

Photo of dudecandle
3.72/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage into pint glass:

A: Cloudy reddish-brown body with large light-mocha head which disappeared quickly. With alcohol this big, can't really expect much more.

S: Light buttery smell, some nuts, floral and some dark fruit, chocolate and booze

T: Like the smell, except sweeter with some additional toffee and dark fruit, which gives it a very red wine-like taste, which leads into a long alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Very low on the carbonation, plus the aforementioned alcohol-burn finish

D: The high alcohol is detectable, but it's quite easy going down anyway. Flavors work well together, but could be a bit more foreward

Photo of fastsrt
4.67/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into a snifter
A: no head, carbonation keeping a small ring alive. looks like a double, with a rich carmel color.

S: dark fruits, booze, figs, raisons smell is reminiscent of a quad.

T: sweet dried dark fruits, caramel, the alcohol is a big part of the flavor complexity.

M: this thing is thick and full body it has a great feel, and the way it finishes and lingers on the pallet is exactly the way a beer this big should feel.

D: this is a sipper, but a savior none the less, any more than 2 would be bad news. bought a four pack and am going to lay the other 3 down should be amazing with some age.
2010 in a wine glass

A: creamy head, rich amber

S: rich, fruity, richer than the quad i just had.

T: there is some hot alcohol there, this beer will become more complex and balanced with age.

M: nice carbonation.

D: it is one of my favorite beers. I have some from, 09 and the stock ale reserve.

Photo of hopsbreath
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. This is powerful stuff. After an agressive pour, the minimal head that formed receeded to the thin ring encircling the inside of the glass. Smells almost like Southern Comfort, I definetely can tell that this is a hangover waiting to happen. Hopefully I won't get punched out by Mike Tyson. Hot, astringent, extremely boozy, not unlike young bourbon with a hint of vanilla. Would have liked some more carbonation on this one, the mouthfeel was cough syrup like. It literally coated my teeth. Overall verdict, its not ready and luckily I still have three bottles I can put back for a year or 2. Hopefully they will mellow and be more enjoyable then.

Photo of wknight167
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage

Apearance - Pours a dark mohagany with brick red highlights and a thick 2 finger tan head that stsicks around ofr a while and leaves some impressive lacing.

Nose- Malty and very sweet nose. Dark caramel, stone fruits, grape moalsses and vanilla are all present as is ethanol.

Palate- Intensely sweet, but not cloying. Stone fruits, chocolate, brown sugar and molasses. The chocolate becomes more prominent as it warms. The alcohol shows through and brings a brandy-like character to this brew.

Mouthfeel- Thick and syrupy, but the carbonation level does a lot to make this drinkable.

Drinkability- Definitely a sipper, but not too hard to put down fresh. I can't wait to see waht some age does to it.

Photo of Gyle41386
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark reddish brown that becomes a brilliant ruby color when held to light. About a finger of tan foam doesn't stick around for long, but leaves behind some nice lacing.

Very sweet nose. Loads of alcohol soaked dark fruit, like cherries, grapes, and raisins. Richly malty, too.

There's a lot going on here. Molasses, vanilla, dark fruit, booze, caramel. Wow. The finish is alcohol warmth, but falls just short of being a harsh burn. This is a good one to warm you up at night. The flavor profile is big, yet somehow still subtle. Perhaps it's because there's such an onslaught of flavors, yet they still remain pretty nicely balanced.

Full, syrupy body. Low carbonation level. Very, very smooth drinker. Still a tad hot, which is to be expected, but it could still use a little more time. I'll definitely be picking more of these up...I'd love to try a bottle that's 5+ years old.

Photo of capra12
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed with speedwayjim served out of a Bluepoint snifter glass.

Appearance: cloudy and brown, with a 1/2 finger head, little lacing.

Smell: smells like a brown ale with caramel malts, a bit of booze on the nose.

Taste: opens with an enjoyable boozy and caramel and dark malt profile. There is a raisin soaked booze profile from the middle to end leaving a malty aftertaste with an alcohol kick.

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied with minimal carbonation, and smooth.

Drinkability: I would have this again only just one other. I recommend this to those who want to try a complex old ale that has a nice alcohol profile that isn't overwhelming.

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

2008 vintage, 12.5% abv.

Pours a brown/amber color with a tan head. Aroma of caramel malt, dark fruits, and molasses. Malty alcoholic flavor that is nicely balanced with a bit of hops bitterness. Some vanilla and wood flavors in there too. Great mouthfeel, medium-full bodied, not too syrupy. This is very boozy yet still very drinkable. Good stuff.

Photo of mondegreen
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage.
12oz. Poured into a Snifter.

A: Golden brown with minimal head and no lacing. Looks attractive in the snifter.

S: Deep sweet malts, very rich nose.

T: Very powerful malts with notes of vanilla and maybe a little oak. Strong alcohol bite in the aftertaste.

M: Wonderfully thick, but not syrupy. Oily might be a good term, but in a good way.

D: Pleasent flavor that doesn't wear the palate. Sure, the alcohol presence is strong, but for such a high ABV it is just right.

Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown body with minimal head that has a strong malt smell of roasted and caramel malts along with some oily. A real strong ale with a sturdy malt base - caramel, toffee, roasted malts along with some woodiness as well as small amounts of dark chocolate. Also tads of dark fruit, cherry and some herbal hoppy leafiness. Great balance with this beer with sweetness and a tad dryness in backbite with fruit and ABV for a crisp finish. Great sipper that warms as up as you keep sipping on it.

Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage, 12,5% abv

A: garnet in color with a cream colored head that quickly fades into a film. The brew is clear in the goblet, with no sign of lacing.

S: the bouquet is vibrant, with heavy notes of prunes, molasses, and spices.

T: the brew is exploding with vanilla, oak, molasses, and prunes. Absolutely perfect.

M: thick and creamy, with a bit of oiliness.

D: the paragon of the style. A must have for fans of the style, as well as something to look in to for fans of DIPAs, RISs, and barleywines. Worth seeking out.

Photo of ocelot2500
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep mahogany color with a small rising tan head that leaves plenty og lacing on the glass.

Smells of dark fruits, alcohol, and some sugary sweetness.

Tastes of dark fruits, caramel, and a small hop flavor. Flavors of fig and raisin are dominant with a syrupy sweetness. A very small hop earthiness finishes the taste. Comes through pretty hot as well to create an almost liqueur like flavor.

Mouthfeel is thick and full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

Photo of climax
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my snifter, this one was a chestnut brown, any light on the beer revealed quite a bit of red glow. Head was pretty small, and retention and lacing were minimal.

Nose was wine-esque. Ripe fruit aromas, specifically grape and apple were at the forefront. Dark sugars, licorice, cognac, and some woodiness were all present as well.

Flavor was warming (as it should have been), wood, brown sugar, overripe fruit, and fruit snacks. The alcohol is hidden quite well, most of it's evidence felt on the way down opposed to intense flavor.

Body was good and thick, real syrupy mouthfeel. Carbonation was sharp at first and stayed crisp throughout. It all gave way to a slightly dry but relatively clean finish.

It takes a while to quaff, like a good wine, only thicker.

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

12 oz bottle, 2009 vintage, 11.5% ABV.

This beer pours thick, mahogany, and quite cloudy. It is truly a beautiful color actually. There is a thin, tan head which dissipates very quickly. Almost no lacing, although there are nice legs on the glass like a good wine.

Smells initially of caramel and chocolate, with some bread and nut aromas. Hints of the ethanol content. A bit of hoppy fruit scent which becomes stronger as the beer warms.

Taste is very sweet and malty - more caramel and chocolate at first. Finishes somewhat dry with a nice hoppy bitterness, with a fair amount of alcohol warmth on the back end. It is almost wine- or port-like with the alcohol. As it warms, it takes on more of a fruitier and hoppier taste.

A thick, viscous mouthfeel, but with a nice crisp carbonation feel. This beer is actually rather drinkable for its 11.5% ABV. It is definitely better to drink warm - it becomes more balanced and complex. It could however stand to mellow out a bit from the alcohol warmth and the heavy malts. I'm looking forward to try this aged for a couple years. I only have one extra right now, but I'll be sure to pick more up so that I can age some for a while.

Photo of BeerStine
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2009 batch 12 oz bottle served out of a snifter.

This beer looks amazing from the pour I just made. Brown with hints of red when you look at the right angle. The head is a light brown that looks thick and fluffy. Lot of sweet milk smell with slight fruity esters. Very faint hops sent. Mostly malts here. Taste is smooth as can be. Taste follows smell: sweet malty goodness. Mouthfell is rather light with light carbonation. Drinkability is outstanding.

It blows my mind that this is a 11.5% beer. I would have never guessed.

Somehow this beer is sweet without being too sweet. It's dessert in a bottle and I would like to drink many of these. If I were to find a fault in this beer it's that it may be slightly one-dimensional due to the sweet malt dominance.

Photo of br3wmeister
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged one year

A- Large foamy light tan head good retention and nice lacing. Orange/Pink colored beer with a light haze to it.

S- Caramel, nuts, toffee, light peppery alcohol, sweet and malty also a hint of cherries in there. This is a very nice smelling beer.

T- Wonderfully flavored beer! Toffee, caramel, and a light cherry flavor up front. Some light spiciness from the alcohol, light bitterness from the hops just enough hops to make this beer not to sweet. This beer is very sweet and has a mouth coating oily thickness. But does dry a little in the end urging you to drink more.

Overall this is a wonderful beer, I will have to have a fresh one and see how I like it some time.

Photo of blakesell
3.74/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 bottle obtained from cellar number 1. Alc./Vol. listed on the bottle from this year 13.25%

Poured from the 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Beer pours a cloudy red brown with a thin quarter finger of head that quickly subsides to nothing. Hardly a ring around the sides of the glass but when swirled I can come up with some lacing. Lacing is still surprisingly thin considering how high the ABV is.

Smell- Boozy and malty. Light Sherrylike oxidation. The booziness is very high here and is somewhat detracting and hurting the point score here. Outside of this the smell is very pleasing but that estery alcohol isn't doing it any favors and is probably why they came down on it in future batches.

Taste- Sherry nutty oxidation coming through again. Ripe dates, a bit of raisin, some brandy chocolate covered cherry flavor poking through. I'm getting some chipotle spices as well but it may just be the food pairing or the alcohol warmth that is shining in.

Mouthfeel- Warming, prickly on the tongue, lightly sticky on the lips. Medium low in carbonation, as full bodied as a beer of this color could possibly get.

Drinkability- I don't see drinking a lot of these in the future due to sheer inaccessibility, I would however like to try another in a year if I still have any lying around (and I think I do). North Coast ages just fine and I will be enjoying them again.

Photo of mooseisloose
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Old Stock Ale, hmmm. I've had lots of "new" Ale, let's give it a whirl. Popping the top this ale has a delicious smell of butterscotch, licorice, anise and malts. Pours into a pint with a thin but fizzy big bubble head. The color is a medium brown that is only slightly translucent. Upon tasting, it's the mouthfeel that first becomes evident. This is a very thick ale, high viscosity, almost like motor oil. The taste is very malty sweet, black licorice, some butterscotch, some anise, very similar to the smell. No bitterness here too speak of, or if there is the malt buries it. Sniffing the bottle after the pour it has an interesting tequila smell. This is tasty and it is one heavy hitter. I'll sip the rest of this one and the other 3 from the 4 pack are going to get cellared. Cheers!

Photo of HalfFull
4.09/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 12 oz. glass and served in a large red wine glass. A young 2009 vintage tasting. Pours a deep mahogany brown with a thin skim of off white foam. Mostly clear on the pour, and ruby in the light. Head settles out to a thin ring, leaving light and temporary lacing.

Nose is deep in maltiness and somewhat compelling. Raspberry, dark cherry, orange and chocolate notes remind me of some Sabra Liqueur. A bit of vinous alcohol is notable but pleasant given the overall scent and depth in the delivery. A fresh top off yields a good dose of earthy hops and a touch of vanilla.

Orange and chocolate continue to the taste, accompanied by a rich and deep malt base. Finishes with some cherry chocolate liqueur. A light carbonation keeps steady throughout. Enough to give some texture to the malts, yet not so much to overwhelm the depth they provide. Offers decent drinkability and depth for a new vintage, no real shortcomings though the flavor should garner more complexity in time.

Value: B+

Photo of darklordlager
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 North Coast Old Stock

A: Pours a dark mohagany/brown colour, with a decent amount of head for such a high abv brew. Head recedes to a mere covering within a few minutes.

S: Candied dark fruit, rich caramel, sweet cherries, belgian candi sugar, and sweet spiced rum.

T: Sweet rich caramel-covered raisons and figs. Prunes, sweet cherries. Very intense. Spicy and rich. A little bit bready/biscuity somewhere in the middle as well. Wow, this beer is really drinking fantastic with a year of age on it.

M: Not thin, to be certain. Viscous, though not syrupy.

D: Definitely a nightcap, but incredibly tasty at that. The barrage of great and complex flavours keep you bringing it back. Hides the alcohol like a champ. Gets slightly hot after it warms quite a bit, but pleasant. Very well done--now if only I could get my hands on the Bourbon and/or Brandy version of this...

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I think this is a phenomenal beer. I am drinking vintage 2008, and it is a week from 2010. Drinking out of a goblet of some sort...

A - Reddish and slightly syrupy. After a minute, it looks like a nice Amontillado.

S - Mostly sweet molasses with light hop aroma and a slightly sour tone. Very sophisticated, and it gets better as it warms up.

T - Exceptionally smooth, given the 12.5% ABV. Rich dried fruit flavors, prune, raisin, fig, with a warming cognac-like alcohol kick; sweet but balanced with a crisp hoppiness with a light celery undertone (I find that celery in most North Coast brews).

M - Silky and smooth. Doesn't 'drink hot'.

D - I'd recommend drinking this any evening, or anytime it is cold, or with food (especially where red wine would be appropriate).

Sip this bad boy, out of a nice glass, and let it warm up.

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,784 ratings.