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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.

2,417 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,417
Reviews: 1,352
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 123
Gots: 394 | 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: 2,417 | Reviews: 1,352 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2006 edition, served in a snifter.

A - clear, deep brown color with a small head that went away in a few minutes.

S - some alcohol aroma, fig/date aroma as well.

T - very good taste of sweet dates, malt and some spices. Alcohol doesn't attack, but you know it's there.

M - medium/full bodied with very mild carbonation.

D - good sipper, an excellent 1 to 2 hr. nightcap brew.

Serving type: bottle

09-06-2007 03:38:31 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of dabears


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

Beer was a vintage 2004, 11.4% ABV. Deep, rich mahogony in colr, with a nutty-sweet port like nose. Sweet, alcoholic, and port like on the palate, it finishes with a touch of spice. A great example of strong ale or barleywine style ale. First Review...


Serving type: bottle

09-03-2007 23:51:42 | More by dabears
Photo of redneckchugger


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

serving type, 12 ounce bottle in a proper english pint
appearance, opauge brown, tan head, fades quickly, very good looking beer.
smell, alcholol, raisins, toffee,...coffee??
taste, nutty with raisens, like a nut brown on steroids, alchol in the back, strong but no burn, still a bit much though
mouthfeel, thick, but not overly, would be better on tap i think
drinkability, complete opposite of a session beer, but it is hard to pace my self, which i why i am glad i only bought one

overall a great beer, on of the best old ales i've had, but a bit too much alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2007 19:26:48 | More by redneckchugger
Photo of bluejacket74


4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, 2006 Old Stock Ale, 13.25% ABV. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours mahogany with a half inch off-white head. It smells like brown sugar, dark fruit (mostly raisins) and alcohol (sherry/brandy). It tastes like plums, caramel, brown sugar, and raisins. It's a very malty beer. You can definitely notice the alcohol, but there's not much of a burn at all which is nice. You can notice the alcohol more in the aroma than in the taste. However, the alcohol does hit you later on. Mouthfeel is full, thick, slick and creamy, very nice. Drinkability is pretty good too, even considering the ABV. I don't know if I could drink more than a couple of these at a time! It's a sipping beer, but definitely a good one.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2007 00:46:37 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of udubdawg


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

pours a reddish brown color, vibrant and with a sizeable yellowish tan head of large bubbles that pop audibly as it rapidly recedes. Even a slight swirl would bring quite a bit back. A thin cap would remain through the entire glass, and lacing was nonexistent.

Boozy, with underlying vague fruit and brown sugar - not my favorite aroma, but pretty decent. This is a year old and hasn't lost any edge.

Tasty. Smooth toasty maltiness abounds, with alcohol everpresent. Fruit is stronger and now raisin and plum are discernable. Quite a bit of carmelized sugar. A sipper to say the least. Carbonation is quite low, and the creamy body glides across the tongue, warming everything - I wouldn't call it a burn, but it isn't that far off.

Again, this is a sipper, but one I'd have again in a heartbeat. Could use a couple more years, and this particular year ('06) is a couple percent stronger than the others I've got.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2007 21:25:17 | More by udubdawg
Photo of hunteraw


4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 edition

Received in a trade from barleywinebrewer.

Appearance: Effervescently carbonated, smallish khaki head on top of a garnet/leather body. Good retention. Lacing limited by alcohol?

Smell: Caramel and dark fruits, aroma reminiscent almost of a Belgian dark ale's malt profile, but without the distinctive Belgian yeast. Hint of biscuit/toast also reveals itself - attractive aroma, with just a hint of underlying alcohol.

Taste: Wow, very good. Sweetness of dark fruits (raisin are balanced by hop bitterness, caramel at the swallow. Aftertaste is a New Belgium-esque biscuit. Complex, layered, delicious. Would not have guessed 11.7% alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth but carbonation seems a little excessive for this style and alcohol content.

Drinkability: Very good, sole limitation is the alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2007 07:27:28 | More by hunteraw
Photo of John_M


3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Max's the other night. I've never seen the draft version of this any place other then in Ft. Bragg, so I'm rather amazed to see it on tap here.

The beer pours a rich mahogany color, looking for all the world like a prototypical barleywine. There is decent head retention and good lacing. The beer smells very sweet and malty, with lots of sweet cherry and ameretto. The beer smells very rich and boozy. On the palate this beer tastes like exactly what it is: a well aged ale, with nuances of cherry syrup, more amaretto, vanilla, nuts, sherry and a hint of chocolate. However, the beer is very, very sweet, which along with the alcohol, detracts considerably from it's drinkability. The beer is very warming and smooth, but is also a bit cloying from the sweetness and high abv.

A good beer, but a little bit goes a long way. The bartender gave me a 12 oz. pour of it, which was more then I could reasonably handle. I think the idea of pouring it in a brandy glass, as they do at the brewpub, is a much better idea.

Serving type: on-tap

08-07-2007 14:18:02 | More by John_M
Photo of ndekke39


4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. from the 2006 edition.

A: Hazy ruby red when held up to the light, with a thin, off-white head. Good retention, rings of lace around the glass.

S: Bananas, yeasty, caramel, alcohol.

T: Yeast, bananas, maple syrup, a little bite from the alcohol (but it's hidden well - watch out), hints of bitterness on the finish, then a little burn from the 11.6% ABV.

M: Medium body. Slight fizz on the back of the tongue.

D: A really good Ole Ale. That alcohol is well hidden, so be careful, but it's lovely to sip. Nice, sharp sweet flavors without being too overwhelming. Even as it warms to room temperature, I'm still liking it. Another high score for North Coast.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2007 01:34:31 | More by ndekke39
Photo of BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Awesome Old Ale from a brewer I wish I had more access to.

Ruby with a vigorous head that seems to expand slowly before finally dying down. A little on the light side I think for an Old Ale...it reminds me more of a barley wine in appearance.

Smell is more reminiscent of barley wine as well. Plums, raisins, sweet malt and vinous notes. Faint dry scent to it, not quite as sweet as a barley wine.

Great, malty taste. Brown sugar, raisins, slight yeast taste. Low on hops, and faint vinous tastes.

A great sipper. Very nice as an after dinner drink or just by itself on a quiet evening. Low carbonation, smooth but not too thick feel to it.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2007 06:39:13 | More by BDTyre
Photo of Mdog


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

2006 bottling, 13.25% ABV

Appearance: Thick-looking brownish-red, decent sized head at first but little retention.

Smell: Smells very good and very sweet--red licorice, sweet raisins, brown sugar.

Taste: Huge malty sweetness. Brown sugar, raisins...for a beer this strong there is little or no heat from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Thick, lasting sweetness.

Drinkability: A nice night capper but a little strong to have more than one.

I hadn't drank one of these in several years but picked up a single to try. It was as good as I remembered, a malt bomb to be respected. Not really the season for a big old ale like this--but highly recommended for a cold winter's night.

Serving type: bottle

08-04-2007 20:38:04 | More by Mdog
Photo of IPAcraig


3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured this into my De Garre snifter. Drinking this while wathcin the 1st season of "Big Love" on DVD.

A - Pours a murky brown with a thin tan head. After a vigorous pour it didnt reveal much of a head or lacing; though it does have a steady stream of co2 running up the ide of the glass.

S - I think I am going to hae to let this one warm. I get hints of malt sweetness and raisins. Just a hint of alcohol as well. At first the aroma is very faint, however it really open up with a little bit of warming.

T -This beer has a huge malty profile. Not particulary well balanced but who cares. The flavor is very similar to the aroma, dark fruit and raisins with a bit of an alcohol bite. A nice earthy hoppiness in the aftertaste.

M - Thick and lightly carbonated, but appropriate for the style; not so undercarbonated to be oily.

D - A fairly drinkable beer. I am not struggling to finish this one, but I couldnt do 2 in a row.

This old ale blows away Thomas Hardy, imo. Well worth the $3 for this 12oz bottle (rather than the $8 8oz bottle of Hardy).

Serving type: bottle

08-01-2007 01:05:20 | More by IPAcraig
Photo of Grundle20


3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer pours with a visible viscosity and dark brown in color. A small tan head crowns the beer but it showcases poor lacing and retention.

The nose is thick with malty goodness. There's strong tones of figs and currants with an earthy clay like undertone. For such a big beer the alcohol is very well suppressed and really only comes across as a faint burn in the back of my nostrils. All in all it's about what I would expect from an old ale.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Everything from the scent and the appearance of this beer comes through in spades in the taste. The beer is thick and rife with malt flavors of figs, molasses, and a delicate touch of black cherries. Alcohol comes through a bit more here as an apparent burn at the back of my palate. The finish is full and all the flavors of this beer hold on through to the aftertaste.

The beer is tasty, but it's simply too potent for me to get in to drinking it. I'll be nursing this beer for a while...

Bottom Line:
I'm pretty stoked to see how this ages, and I've got a few shoved away for the years to come. If you're in to sipping beers then this is a fine one, probably one of North Coast's better beers IMO.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2007 18:05:39 | More by Grundle20
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally decided to break out one of these from the old closet. I had been holding onto about a 7 year vertical, and had never even tried one. So the other night, I decided to grab one at random, from a decent ageing and see how they hold up..

2005 Vintage

A - Poured a deep hazy reddish amber, no real head or lace to speak of, just a syrupy looking liquid in the glass, no visible carbonation. Nice color but other then that pretty standard.

S - Strong alcohol notes were apparent immediatly, one I got past that there was some light sweetness coming up, mixed with an off fruitiness and a touch of some earthy grain.

T - Very strong, almost overwhelming. Still alot of alcohol in this for sure. No real hoppiness to speak of, just some maltiness and a slight bit of a bourbon taste to it. Maybe some plums and as it got towards the end a bit of a back hoppiness picked up.

M - Quite harsh due to the high ABV, but as far as liquid feel, very smooth, not alot of life in it, but not too slick either. Had the constency of a cough syrup, a bit thick.

D - A bottle put in a snifter is an all night sipper. Really can't drink more then one of these, and a sip every 5 minutes is more then enough for me.

Overall this was a fairly good old ale. It definatly holds up well with age, will have to try a new one to see what the initial was like, but it was enjoyable, albeit very very strong

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2007 17:05:58 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of BeardedSquash


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

2006 Vintage.

A: Beautiful ruby red. Not much in the way of a head, but the a few active columns of carbonation keep some tan on the top of the beer.

S: Sugar coated plums with hints of honeysuckle and caramel.

T: First tastes are filled with spiced malts followed by a subtle hop bite at the swallow. The 13.25% alcohol is well hidden in the sweet grainy notes.

M: Much more lively than I expected, a nice surprise. Syrupy malts coat the mouth while the carbonation stirs the flavors on the tongue. A wonderful mix.

D: Just one of these makes itself known in the head. Proceed with caution, but enjoy in the meantime. A delicious beer worthy of some attention.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2007 04:08:19 | More by BeardedSquash
Photo of giblet


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

wow! i liked this choice. from a bottle into a snifter. nice color, nice head, nice lacing. smelled nice. chocolate and caramel. this beer smelled very good but tasted even better. watch out for that abv. after a few tastes i could taste the alcohol. pretty sure if i had two in a row i would have a start to a buzzz!

i like heavy beers but can not drink many of them. this was a very good single for me. i am looking forward to the next five of them!

good choice from a very good brewer.

suckem up and movem out!


Serving type: bottle

07-19-2007 08:58:41 | More by giblet
Photo of chrhowe


4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old Stock pours a very dark red, amber color with no head to write home to Mom about, but subtle and quickly dissapating into a very small ring on the outside. I smell candy and caramel, maybe some bananas as well. I get almost a bourbon/candy taste, along with that caramel. The taste is really good. Once sipped it is quite smooth to the mouth, however, it heats as it goes. I really enjoy this brew and have cellared one to see what a year or so will do. However the high alcohol and the boubon-like qualities will keep the drinkability down on this one. Most definitely a slow sipper. A great one from North Coast!

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2007 23:55:16 | More by chrhowe
Photo of timtim

District of Columbia

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

2007 vintage pours a ruby red/brown with a dark white (does that make sense?) head that goes away quick like samichlaus. plenty of carbonation though. hops and malt and fruit (raspberry!) in the nose. pretty complex and interesting. also smell booze. tons of things come through in taste, but raspberry, hops, booze, sugar, mostly dominant. mildly syrupy mouthfeel. from a beer this strong, i would expect much more syrup. nice carbonation, mouthfeel smooth and not as bitter as would be expected. i can sip on this one all night long, but it would probably be wise to only inbibe as an apertif. tasty, strong, delectable.

Serving type: bottle

07-04-2007 04:04:22 | More by timtim
Photo of bluegrassbrew


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

12oz bottle 2007 vintage into a snifter.

Pours a deep purple red with a minimal head that drops to just a slight ring. Minimal lacing.

Smell is grabbing! Raspberry jam and whiskey dominate.

Taste is a minty raspberry cream start with an Irish whiskey finish.

Mouthfeel is solid.

Overall, a very tasty beer. High alcohol keeps the drinkability down. I would love to see how this ages.

Serving type: bottle

07-01-2007 21:47:11 | More by bluegrassbrew
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

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

2004 Vintage, tasted on 6/30/07

Appearance: Pours a hazy caramel color with a modest head that disappears quickly but does splash the chalice with lace

Smell: Rich caramel aroma with hints of figs and dates; considerable alcohol on the nose

Taste: Starts with a rich, sweet caramel flavor; after the swallow, the fruit and alcohol make an appearance with just a touch of bitterness at the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low to moderate carbonation; considerable warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Not as big in the mouthfeel area as the 2003; nevertheless a top flight Old Ale

Thanks, JesseDaniel, for the opportunity

Just for kicks, I tried the 2011 bottling on 11/27/11 and the major difference, as expected, was the level of hops in the flavor profile; still, this ale uses English hops so they blend very nicely with the big malt bill; the beer also has more of a cherry flavor than I recalled in earlier versions

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2007 20:49:15 | More by brentk56
Photo of nickfl


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

A - Small head that dissapates quickly. Dark amber color seems to have nice clarity.

S - Caramel, alcohol, and some hops. Some roasted notes, a little bit woody as well.

T - Lots of hop flavor and maltyness. Strong alcoholic flavor. A little bit of raisiny flavor but not as sherry like as some other barley wines. Finishes with a nice long, drawn out bitterness.

M - Relatively thin and dry for such a strong ber. High level of carbonation as well.

D - Not overly complex, but a very solid and enjoyable example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-18-2007 03:33:10 | More by nickfl
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First off, let me say that this is not a fresh example of this brew, but rather an Autumn 2003 release that I was fortunate enough to find a 4pk of in a local store.

It poured almost the same shade of brown as a tootsie roll candy with a slight red hue to it. Head was certainly not khaki or sand coloured, but rather a light brown. The whole thing was a bit darker than I had imagined it would be. It looked wonderful.
The smell was awsome! I am really hesitant to give anything a 5,0, but if there were a 4,75, I'd have assigned it here. If you have ever received or eaten from one of those large tin tubs of popcorn that are separated three ways with the butter, cheese, and caramel popcorn that are so popular around Christmas, then you'll know what I mean when I say this reminded me instantly of the caramel popcorn out of one of those. Undeniably, there was a definite presence of booze here, but more than anything else, was that specific caramel popcorn smell. Delicious! That taste, too, was rather strong of toasted cereal and certainly caramel with a definite presence of alcohol.
Mouthfeel was very full and heavy, but right where it should be, all things considered. And while this was very good, indeed, its heaviness and abv really limit its drinkability. This is, without question, a sipper. More than two of these in a reasonable amount of time, and I would likely be sick. All in all, however, this is a really nice example of the style!

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2007 19:36:14 | More by SilentSabre
Photo of k3n


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz stubby bottle, 2007 vintage, 11.7% alv/vol, no freshness dating.

A: Dark reddish brown, with streaks of light breaking through the edges. One finger head dissipates quickly to a halo of small bubbles leaving no lacing. A few lively streams of bubbles from the bottom of the glass.

S: Sweet malts, chocolate, alcohol. Can a smell be syrupy?

T: Loads of malt, candied fruit, and alcohol. I was expecting the taste to be cloyingly sweet, from the smell, but it's more balanced than I thought it would be. Still a bit on the sweet side, though.

M: Very creamy, and goes down easily for well over 10% alcohol. The carbonation gives it a good zing that cuts through the sweetness. There's a bit of alcohol heat at the end.

D: For such a high ABV, quite drinkable. The sweetness does make it hard to do more than sip this one slowly, though.

This is my second old ale, and I'm quite pleased with the style. I look forward to trying these as they age, and the flavors integrate more fully.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2007 03:52:56 | More by k3n
Photo of scott


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

A well balanced baby from the get-go, the complexities are numerous. A tight frothy head initially, fading into a large rim of noticeable alcohol. a sipper for sure, this baby warms you up, but the alcohol is hidden nicely. Very balanced, and highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2007 01:08:43 | More by scott
Photo of BeerZack

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep deep amber body with hardly a head after a few seconds.

On the nose there is alcohol, sweet malt scents, some caramel and marzipan.

This has a pretty unique taste... almost want to say I taste balsamic vinegar. There is definately some alcohol taste and maybe some oaky/woody notes. Some burnt sugar/creme brule also.

Rather than a hop bitterness on the finish I get a tannic mouthfeel that reminds me of a wine. Overall, its pretty complex in flavor and mouthfeel, but when I drink it again it will be after some aging.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2007 14:00:08 | More by BeerZack
Photo of rallison


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

2006 bottle. Glad to have gotten to try one of the 13.25% bottles.

Poured a dark ruby brown with a nice 1/2 finger head that unfortunately quickly dissipated. Smell is of sweet caramel malts, rum soaked raisins and some alcohol.

Taste is quite intense. Lots of rum infused caramel/toffee malts. Raisins, dark fruits. Maybe a touch of red wine. Alcohol is definitely present, but serves a purpose similar to alcohol in the good whiskeys. Truly a nightcap sort of beer. Well done in flavors for this sort of beer.

Mouthfeel is extremely rich and somewhat syrupy. Drinkability is decent for the style.

Overall, recommended. I always enjoy this beer, and have some stashed away aging - can't wait to try those.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2007 07:47:13 | More by rallison
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,417 ratings.