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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.

2,686 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,686
Reviews: 1,375
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 134
Gots: 465 | 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)
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Ratings: 2,686 | Reviews: 1,375 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of srroos
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006 bottle poured into a wine glass:

A: Hazy amber with one finger of tan head.

S: Big caramel aroma with some hops in the background.

T: Very sweet caramel up front giving way to a bitter finish. Fruity esters come forward when you swirl the glass.

MF: Very well carbonated and creamy. Excellent!

D: High alcohol makes this a definite sipper. One bottle will last a long while.

An excellent beer for a cold winter night. Very warming and delicious!

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

2008 Bottle at cellar temperature.

Upon opening, the foam started spilling out. Pours an amber brown with a generous head which quickly dissipates leaving a thin ring for 10 minutes or so.

The aroma is of fruits: raisins, dark cherries and a dark syrup sweetness.

The flavor has dried dark fruits, a deep, rich sweetness. Plenty complex, with a nice, lasting, balancing bitterness. It wasn't alcoholy tasting, but very warm on the finish. The bitter bite is just a bit much by the end of the bottle.

In the mouth, it's thinner than I expected, but full. I poured it maybe a touch warmer than i'd like, which made it a bit thinner and effervescent.

It's a sipper, but quite tasty. The heat makes it a slow drinker. Not much chance of getting two of these down in a session.

It was pleasant tonight, but will be good, maybe great with age.

Photo of jsp2
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 version poured into a wide and shallow mason jar. Good creamy head retention and clear caramel color. Smells good like caramel and butter, pretty sweet smelling. The taste is an initial malty sweetness, followed by bitter hoppy alcohol, followed by dry chewiness. This brew has a great thickness and presence, and the carbonation is not too much to interrupt things. Excellent.

At $10 for a 4 pack of 12oz bottles I would buy this brew again and keep a few on hand for cold rainy nights after a long day of work. This beer has a lot of flavor and I would drink it with spicy, rich foods, it should hold up well. Maybe not as delicate as far as flavors, compared to some other brews in this category, but has enough other features to be great.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 edition, 12.5% abv.

Pours a dark cognac amber that makes me think of dark cherry juice. Sometimes reminds me of polyurethane. No head really and no bubbling what-so-ever. Leather wrapped cherries drizzled in caramel and alcohol. What an inviting aroma! Great caramel malt flavor to start. Makes me think of a subtle candied caramel with just a soft push of fruit in the middle. Great yeasty esters that mix well with some funky leather and just a touch of earth. This is a juic palated old ale. Very fruity and flavorful. Plenty of well integrated warmth. This is an awesome sipping beer. WOW!!!

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

2008, Solid amber pour, very slight cream head that dissappated quickly. Big sweet malty aroma. Tastes of the same with carmal/toffee, slight fig, raisin. Carbonation stays up front with very little hop prescence to speak of, making it a bit sticky. This reminded me more of an old ale, which I enjoy much more than barley wine. Thought this was good and will only get better with a little age.
Update 10/30/2008
Alcohol does seem more present in the 2007.

Photo of glid02
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was lucky enough to try this on-tap at the Brick Store in Atlanta.

Pours a cloudy, buttery copper color with a two-finger off-white head. The head dissipates slowly into a thin layer of bubbles on top and a thick ring around the glass. Lacing is better than expected for a beer with such a high ABV.

Smells mostly of butterscotch with hints of brandy and chocolate.

Tastes great. Smooth butterscotch up front, with large chocolate notes near the end of the beer. Dark fruits mingle with those flavors throughout, and the ending leaves a taste of both butterscotch and chocolate.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a good thickness that coats the mouth with good carbonation.

Drinkability is great for the style. The alcohol is hardly noticeable and all flavors work very well together. This is a dangerous beer.

Overall I've heard a lot about this beer and it did not disappoint. I'm looking forward to trying the 2007 version and you should try any version you can get your hands on.

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

Another tasty brew from North Coast. Pours is a clear brown with almost no head. Aroma of alcohol and caramel. Taste is an amazing, balanced mix of malts, hops, and caramel. The beer then comes to a an end with a very strong sherry finish. The alcohol really highlights the rich flavors of this beer.

Photo of drseamus
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage served in my DFH glass.

A: Very opaque dark amber body with patches of tan head. The opaqueness was even visible in the stream of the pour.

S: Classic old ale aroma. Sweet caramel exudes from the rim of the glass and dark fruits come along for the ride, especially raisins.

T: It opens big with a sweet wave crashing on my tongue. A bit of bitterness and spice creep in the sides as raisins and other dark fruits bring up the rear. The sweetness remains throughout. Aftertaste is light and sweet.

M: Super smooth. Almost syrupy. Barely any carbonation at all.

D: I haven't had one fresh in a while but this baby is super smooth with only a year on it. It just seems to lack a defining characteristic.

Photo of midnite2sixman
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

!2 oz bottle from Logan's Alley in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Great place.

This 2007 edition looks the same color as stained cherry on the sides of my Martin SWDGT. A deep dark ruby mixed with amber.

The smell is huge fruit up front. Raisins are abundant and some brown sugar.

At first sip you can't escape the alcohol content of this one, but that taste is quickly erased by the huge fruit and caramel blasts from this malty beer. Tastes like it was aged in bourbon or whiskey casks but not sure.

The mouthfeel is a bit thick actually, in a good way. Almost coats your mouth like a robitussin or something but instead of tasting like medicine this one is truly the nectar of the Gods.

One helluva beer! Don't pass this one up!

Photo of roadhouse
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Appears ruby red with a slight yellowish tan head of about half an inch. It sinks down to a skim and ring rather quickly. Leaves a thing ring of lacing.

Aroma is exploding with caramel malts, raisins, candied fruit, a light hint of vanilla, and a strong perfumy alcohol.

The taste has a huge burst of caramel maltiness up front that is backed by a dark fruitiness that is just as fierce. Very strong alcohol component in here as well, almost like it was barrel aged. A hint of vanilla towards the back end that is slightly stronger than in the aroma. The alcohol really makes itself known in this even at one year old and somewhat detracts from the overall flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium-full, somewhat slick and chewy, but very creamy as well. Drinkability lowered a bit by the hot alcohols.

This was a very tasty Old Ale, though I wish it didn't have such a heavy hot alcohol warmth to it. I have one more bottle cellared that I will try to keep for another year.

Photo of spointon
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz stubby brown bottle into a shaker pint glass.

A= This ale poured a slightly cloudy dark caramel/amber color with a 3/4" yellowish tan head. The head quickly dropped to a thin skim and left zero lacing behind. Decent amount of carbonation in suspension.

S= Aroma started from sweet caramelly malts and shot up to white oak, vanilla beans, rum soaked raisins, and alcohol in one big leap.

T= Unbelievably complex flavor profile here. Front end was all malty sweetness (reminiscent of a wee heavy's caramel note) followed by barrel flavors of oak, vanilla, bourbon, rum soaked raisins, heavy dark fruits, and some red wine character. Finish was mildly sweet with a huge alcohol wallop. Pleasant aftertaste of light bourbon.

MF= Heavy side of medium bodied with a slightly oily, viscous mouthfeel. Lower carbonation level.

D= Wow this is one damn good beer. I am only a lukewarm fan of most bourbon barrel aged beers as the liquor tends to overwhelm the beer flavors. Not so with this fine ale. It seems to defy the barrel yet draw from it some very interesting flavors. Once it was in my glass, I could hardly keep myself from drinkong it too fast, and at this ABV, that makes for one dangerous beer. One of my new favorites for sure.

Photo of maximum12
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Being a school night, & being righteously afraid of this beer, I split the 12 oz. bottle of 2007 with the wife. Thanks for swnicholson for sending this my way in a long-ago trade.

The bourbon notes are faint but persistent, & come out more in the taste than the smell. This beer is all over the place: sweet as cherry pie, a silky bourbon touch, & alcohol offering me just one bite of apple. The overall effect is just short of stunning, almost literally. Supremely, nuclear-tipped-dangerously drinkable for the assigned ABV. A sipper that I want to sip every twenty seconds or so.

I think my vision is starting to blur already. This is a hard-hitting, nicely balanced, minimalist kind of beer, if there exists such a thing. My first old ale in quite a while, & if this is representative of the genre, I'll be seeking out more. My second North Coast brew, & along with Old Rasputin, I approve.

Excellent beer.

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


Pours a fully fogged in very slightly orange touched brown. Nose is caramel, chalky, and dark fruits. Flavor is extremely smooth and brings just enough complexities. I get an alcohol burn, but it's more of a warming thing. Chalky almost strawberry flavorthing is there. Bourbon tones. Sweet tones abide, but it's not overdone. Carbonation still nips at the tongue quite a bit. Liquid is slick and smooth. Well this is quite good. A firm example of why you should buy some beers and never touch them for years.

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

A - Bright amber in color with a small off white head that leaves no lacing. Some effervescence.

S - Malt, alcohol, caramel, malt and more alcohol. This smells promising.

T - Promising turns into the realization that this is a seriously strong ale. Malt, raisins, some caramel combined with a good dose of alcohol heat that is ever present. This is a mighty tasty sipper.

M - A little thin for what I was expecting, but still medium bodied and smooth.

D - Despite the hefty ABV this is a very flavorful, slow savoring beer that could easily last the entire evening.

Photo of sprucetip
3.45/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A very clear, deep, reddish amber. Beautiful. Modest head quickly went away. No lacing.

Smells mostly of alcohol at first, but then some sweet maltiness and dark, dried fruit aromas mingle somewhat.

Interesting complexity in the taste, but not sure if it "works" for me. Starts with a sweet, alcoholic maltiness, but a bitterness then cuts across it sharply and lingers well after the swallow. At first I thought that this might be a hop bitterness, But thought differently later. Though hops likely contribute to this bitterness, I suspect that the bitterness is actually a dryness, likely caused by adjunct sugars fermenting at 100%. It finishes very dry, and this taste lingers. Very interesting.

Slick, thick and full, with a significant warming. Almost numbing.

Very thick and viscuous. Surely it was designed to be the sipper it is.

I'm glad I tried it. I'd be stoked if I made it, but don't expect to be returning to it often.

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

Pours a dark amber with a white head that is gone in seconds. Smells of alcohol, dark fruits and brown sugar. Taste is sweet, but with a good kick from the alcohol. A lot of dark fruit (figs, dates, raisin) flavors. Good example of this style. Good beer.

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Out of a bottle this beer had a very short-lived head of white foam that quickly became a neat collar and left some moderate broken lacing. The liquid was deep ruby colored with some visible rising carbonation. The aroma was strong and pungent like a cognac, ripened fruits (cherries in particular), alcohol and esters which when combined were slightly sour. The flavors were equally big and bold, a rich honey-like sweetness first hit my palate followed closely by pears, figs, black cherries. This was then augmented by caramel malt and some spiciness from the hops. Behind all of this was the alcohol heat which was not covered up per se but kneaded into the flavor profile and lingered on the finish. The body was medium/full accompanied by a lively carbonation. Clearly this one could have aged with grace another five years. Impressive and apropos, a fine example of what an Old Ale can be.

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

Acquired from grub courtesy of the Birthday Club 2, so a big "Thank you" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of bourbon, spices caramelized malts and some hops.

T: The taste is malty, but as boozy as you might expect from such a high ABV. Flavors of caramel, bourbon and some spices start out. There's a very mild hops presence that is just enough to provide some balance. The alcohol burn isn't really there at first but it kind of creeps up on you, which is nearly unavoidable with a 13.25% ABV. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish.

D: Very flavorful, goes down nicely, not too filling, extremely strong kick, very good representation of style, this is an excellent high-powered beer to sip on for as long as you can handle it.

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

I've never had an Old Ale before. To me it was a mix between a Grand Cru and a Scotish Style Ale.

Pours a clear copper/ brown color with a thin white head that laces nicely. Smells of sweet sugar and alcohol. The alcohol comes through in the taste but its not too overpowering, it gives it a nice sweet flavor. I also pick up some carmelized sugar or dark fruits. A very smooth and easy drink. Good texture for mouthfeel, I thought it would be heavier than it was. A nice mellow beer, I could of had another. Try it.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle > Fatty snifter

The color of this brew is very striking, it's a deep ruby-red amber with swirling carboation that creates a quick, bubbly tan colored head that is gone pretty fast, it just melts away over this thick liquid.

The aroma is very malty sweet....smoked caramel pretty much says it all. The hops deliver a very spicey, peppery and earthy balance in the aroma.

This has a wonderful Malt complexity, thick and sweet with caramel and toffee notes, but it's the balance of the earthy and peppery hops that makes this brew so sublime. The earthy, semi-bitter hop rides in right at the end and flows through the complex malt very well. The heat 12.5% abv heat is actually very well hidden, providing more depth and bite right at the end.

This is a full body feel, although pretty lively and active at first, it mellows grately as times goes on and becomes much more lifeless, which is pretty classic for the style.

You WILL feel the 12.5 % after a 12 0z. serving, but it's a nice warm buzz just in time for colder weather!

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

2007 Vintage. Thanks to Emperor Stan for cellaring this in his store. 12oz bottle served in a snifter. Poured a dark amber/brown with a thin head. Lots of dark fruit (raisins, figs) in the aroma. Burnt sugar and some alcohol. Port like aroma. Medium to full bodied, a bit syrupy. Some sweetness in the beginning. Warming, fairly complex malt flavor. Some hop bitterness in the finish. I think a little age did this one some good. A good sipper for a cold evening.

Photo of Lexluthor33
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew was ruby reddish tint on a brown color. A one inch head and excellent retention.
The aroma was of brandy soaked raisins,chocolate cherries and malts. The alcohol could not hide as it was obvious this was going to be a high ABV.
The taste was sweet like caramel then I tasted cherry chocolate with malts and coffee hints. These flavors were just dominant,yet the alcohol warmth followed with every sip.
The feel was creamy,smooth and full bodied. There was medium carbonation.

Notes: What I expected and for sure a winter brew to be savored. This beer is a gem and something to look forward to in the cold of winter.

Photo of Brad007
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brownish-ruby red color with a one finger head. So far, so good.

Aroma is smooth with a hint of cherries, roasted chocolate malt and a tiny bit of caramel.

Taste is decent with cherries, roasted chocolate malt and even a bit of creaminess in this old ale. Alcohol is barely even present here.

Mouthfeel is full of the cherry and roasted malt flavors with lingering creaminess and a very slight alcohol warmth that is barely noticeable. Warms up the insides.

For an old ale of 13.25%, this sure is deceptive. Best to sip this beast while savoring a cold first day of November. This beer was made for the colder months for sure. Enjoyable and with aging, will only become even more enjoyable. I gotta pick up another bottle.

Photo of jwinship83
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2006 bottle
A- murky brown to red with fast moving bubbles of carbonation under a small beige head

S- cherries, alcohol, leather, apples, red grapes

T- lots of port like qualities. strong sense of booze.

M- thin and watery. almost like hard liquor. burns all the way down.

D- the strength of this one is enough to discourage a second. the booze isnt as well hidden as i would like either. maybe in a few more years this one will be better. drinkable now, just not one of my go to beers

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

-2008 Bottling

A- Pours a deep dark ruby color with a 1 finger head into my large snifter. After about a minute, the tan/cream colored head recedes into a thin cap.

S- Definitely port-like. Bit butterscotch, caramel, chocolate, grapes, hop oil, dark fruits, light prune and fig, bits of anise, and graham cracker. Complexity..

T- Starts off bold and buttery with dark smooth notes of caramel, dark fruit, oak, butterscotch, suggestions of alcohol. The finish has some warming alcohol, oak with residual sweet-malts.

M- Big, smooth and creamy. Appropriately low carbonation.

D- This will warm you up on a chilly evening with ease. It's got a load of aging potential, but I doesn't beat Bells Third Coast Old Ale on taste or price. If you haven't had it though, definitely try it.

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,686 ratings.