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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.

2,488 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,488
Reviews: 1,358
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 126
Gots: 406 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,488 | Reviews: 1,358 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jameaterblues

New York

3.98/5  rDev -3.4%

2005 vintage:

A- Thick amber color, with bright red hints....1/3inch creamy golden head, light lace, and visible carbonation.
S-This beer smells thick and syrupy...which is hard to do...whisky or bourbon like scent....with brown sugar.
T- Slight acidity on the tip of the tongue...body is very rich, with sugary alcohol...this beer is sweet....I have had beers that remind me of wine but very few that remind me of liquor...this one has a very bourbon like finish with alcohol present(especially at 11.4%)...and I confirmed this after drinking some fine bourbon on the rocks the other evening.
M/D- Moderate carbonation....which was a surprise....heavy and tongue coating...almost unlike any beer I have tasted...I think the whisky taste comes from the beer being aged in whisky barrels(but I am not 100% sure if that is a fact) ...slightly reminded me of a wee-heavy ale. I am interesting in trying other old ales...they are very interesting.

07-14-2006 22:33:32 | More by jameaterblues
Photo of MaGno


4/5  rDev -2.9%

A: A beautiful chestnut to mahogany color with a very slight head that draws down to small tight creamy lace.

S: Smoky and fruit balance. The smell of alcohol is nice and not overwhelming. Smells of figs and molases maybe?

T: Wow! This is quite a nice brew. Taste is very light and smooth at first, almost dissapointing after the wonderful aromas...then the brew gives you an uppercut right to teh tastebuds! Tastes of figs and slight hints of chocolate. A little vanilla flavor detected at finish.

M: Nice smooth and creamy. Very light carbonation on the tongue. Dry yet refreshing finish.

D: This is not your everyday brew. I will definately drink this again, but its for special occasions. One of those brews you break out when you are feeling a bit sophisticated and want to walk around the house in your Hefner robe and slippers.

This was a 2005 Old stock ale, 11.4% A/V, No other dates on bottle. Poured in a Snifter.

07-01-2006 04:37:33 | More by MaGno
Photo of Brian700


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

This is a bottle of the 2006 and it lists the ABV as 13.25 on the bottle. It pours a deep reddish garnet color with an off-white head that sits pretty low but stable leaves a little bit of lacing.

The aroma is of sweet malt, some raisins, and alcohol. The alcohol intensifies all of the sweetness and dark fruit flavor and warms the mouth nicely.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with medium carbonation.

This is a pretty drinkable beer and would probably be even better with a few years of age on it.

06-29-2006 06:53:28 | More by Brian700
Photo of ej285701


3.83/5  rDev -7%

2006 release, 13.25% abv.

Poured into a goblet. It comes out a very nice clear, brownish-red color with a half inch tan head composed of large bubbles which quickly disappear and leave no lacing behind.

The smell is great. Most notable are sweet cherries, figs, dark fruits, and caramely malts. The alcohol is there as well, but it does not dominate.

The taste is very similar to the smell except the the alcohol is much more noticable. It is very strong at around mid-palate, but in the finsh the alcohol is taken over by the malts which leaves you with a fairly pleasant aftertaste. Not bad for a beer of this strength.

The mouthfeel is fairly thick but well carbonated to keep it feeling light and to keep it from becoming cloying...at first. About half way through it seems to lose most, if not all of its carbonation and becomes very surapy. It drinks more like a liqueur than a beer.

Drinkability is still good. I don't get tired of the flavors, but could not drink more than one due to the strength. I think this beer was definitely meant for aging. It should be great in a few years.

06-20-2006 05:02:03 | More by ej285701
Photo of Suds


4.4/5  rDev +6.8%

I opened one of several bottles of the 2004 vintage that I’ve been cellaring. The brew pours a clear mahogany color with a fairly big and lasting head, given the high ABV. The head is a somewhat dark shade of tan. The aroma is at once earthy, malty, and alcoholic. There’s plenty of caramel, berry, and fig smells mixed in there as well. I think that there were more hops notable in the brew I tasted when it was younger. The taste is syrupy and sweet, with a lot of sugar and malt qualities. The alcohol is notable immediately, giving an intense warming on the tongue and throughout the mouth. A lot more fruit comes forth in the hind-taste. Sweet and full with an almost chewy mouthfeel. Low carbonation for beer in general, but notably carbonated for the style. Extremely drinkable, and very satisfying.

06-13-2006 00:50:55 | More by Suds
Photo of klewis


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%

2004 edition

A: Pours a murky brown with a one-finger bubbly white head that quickly subsides to a frothy ring around the snifter.

S: Aromas of raisins and dark fruits, vanilla, and molasses. The alcohol is alost entirely hidden in the smell.

T: Flavors of dark fruit and bourbon with strong alcohol flavors. Initially, I tasted nothing but oxidation, but that faded as the beer warmed and I had a few more sips.

M: So thick that it might help to chew. This one has the perfect amount of carbonation and a texture that sticks to your mouth. Doesn't get much better than this.

D: The taste was a bit disapointing, but all other aspects of this beer make me want to try other vintages. Definitely worth trying.

05-30-2006 23:35:58 | More by klewis
Photo of jerrymiller


3/5  rDev -27.2%

Appearance is orange-ruby with a rocky, dark tan head. It pours clean and clear with a 3/4 inch head.

Smell is strongly of alcohol and cherry. Very fruity and sweet. Dark port smells as the beer warms up. It gets better, but the alcohol content is dominant.

Taste is not surprisingly burdened by the alcohol content, but upon sipping, subtler malt tastes bubble through the thick, sweet fruit.

Drinkability is easy as the alcohol numbs everything pretty quickly. Very tight carbonation initially gives way to sweet, porty roughness. Balance is ok, but the overall complexity is tarnished by the alcohol.

05-30-2006 03:43:22 | More by jerrymiller
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

2006 Release:
Alc.Vol. 13.25%

Presentation: Picked up a fresh 2006 Four-pack of 12 ounce bottles from a recent trip to Hollingshead’s Delicatessen in Orange at the weekend.

Appearance: Deep ruddy mahogany with a supreme clarity which refracts the falling light to provide a light show that impresses, the ruby body has a gem like quality that improves the appearance no matter what kind of light is used. The head fizzes into life quickly after the pour, but soon rises and falls like a freshly served Iced Coke, the remnants are minimal, only a thin line of small tan colored bubbles cling to the edge, more like scum mark than a halo head, but this does look impressive nonetheless. Low conditioning

Nose: Molasses with a hefty dollop of caramelized sugars and berries. Baked apples coated in crystalline brown sugar, plums and hard skinned Californian figs. The alcohol is here, and it’s not hiding, but it takes a distinctly educated tone, it is not stupid, it has a responsible presentation, a mixture of Single Malt Whisky with hints of Bourbon.

Taste: It needs to settle and relax, before it warms up and slowly acclimatizes and becomes comfortable before it will take off all of its clothes in your company. But once it is naked it has a fine entourage of followers; Figs, plums, molasses, brown sugar, toasted malts, hints of maple sauce, raisins, prunes and alcohol soaked Edinburgh toffee. It is all here, accentuated and finished off with a warming alcohol, but not quite harsh enough to be classed a burn, more of a kick.

Mouthfeel: Bordering on presenting a Whisky Mouthfeel, it still nevertheless exhibits a light creaminess in the overall feel, despite the low conditioning, the alcohol is not so harsh, but it is still prevalent. In this respect I think that aging will probably refine the Mouthfeel more than the flavors I suspect.

Drinkability: Beyond beer, but despite the lack of carbonation this is still extremely “dangerously drinkable”. Even at the stated strength and with its robust nose and flavors, it is not a shy libation when prostituting itself in the drinking stakes. Beware.

Overall: I note that the 2006 deviates from previous examples of past years in so much as the main label is a different color, no longer a light gray color but now with a cream-brown background, you know like J.W. Lees Harvest Ales. But much more important is the increase of over 2% on the engine size, it is now up to an advertised 13.45% ABV. As always this can be aged, and should be to get it at its best, but sampling this fresh is still quite the treat.

Good to go right now, but I think it will shape up nicely in the coming years …and at $9.99 for Four x 12 ounce bottles of 13.45% brew; it is a real bargain for the price and a cheap addition, neigh investment, for the cellar.

Highly Recommend.

05-23-2006 05:15:58 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of phisig137


3.65/5  rDev -11.4%

2004 vintage pours a red copper color with no head and no lacing at all. Very light carbonation forms a tiny ring around the rin of my Samichlaus tulip.

Aroma is woody and vinous, with alcohol bringing up the rear. Dark cherries and plums fill the nose, as well as a hint of vanilla. Very complex and enjoyable.

Flavor tastes of tobacco and leather. Solidly bitter finish, with flavors of caramel developing in the midpalate. Large Sherry flavors, and very reminiscent of dry marsala wine. Again, very complex, and could use some time to mellow out even more. Mouhfeel is slightly astringent and light Drinkability is somewhat low, due to the alcohol warming and harsh bitterness.

Even being two years old, I think this beer needs at least another 2 to mellow out fully. I'd like to see some more sweetness in an old ale, and more body as well. This beer was obviously designed to age, and I feel that it needs to. The other three bottles from this 2004 six pack will be sitting in my cellar for a while I think.

05-23-2006 02:59:52 | More by phisig137
Photo of WeisGuy

New York

4/5  rDev -2.9%

2005 vintage

a - pours a rather transparent rust color; small tan head completely disappears after a few minutes; no hint of lacing

s - malt and alcohol dominate, very sweet smelling slight plum or raisin

t - very malty, slightly sweet, quite spicy, finish is lingering alchol

m - carbonation is evident, oily and coating after swallowing

d - quite drinkable for a high abv, but don't think I'd probably have any more than two, one would usually be good

Quite a old ale overall without much aging. I think this one would definitely benefit from extended cellaring...that's where the other three bottles are headed. I still enjoyed this at an early age though. Taste is already pretty complex, but a bit harsh...that will probably tone down a bit with aging.

05-16-2006 02:42:28 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of NEhophead


4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

A glowing mahogany in color. Thin, creamy; lightly tan head that leaves a few trails of spotted lacing.

Sweet molasses; carmelized malt and sugar. Bourbon-soaked figs, plums, and apple. The alcohol presence is very fragrant with the intense sweetness.

Ripe plum and fig that start as a light sweetness that turns rich and chocolatey. A coating of candied Belgian sugars. The alcohol is warming, but still a little rough around the edges.

Full bodied; slick and gaseous. A nice balance on the palate between the malt profile and the alcohol character.

This is a very complex ale that can only improve with age. At 13.25% abv, this is best to be shared, but to be enjoyed no doubt!

05-15-2006 22:54:14 | More by NEhophead
Photo of ram3139

New York

3.53/5  rDev -14.3%

2002 Vintage

Appearance: Hazy orange/rust color with a small head that quickly dissipates.

Smell: Sweet and tart fruit smell with quite a bit of alcohol

Taste: Sweet and sort of spicy at first. Fades to a more earthy fruitiness with the alcohol coming through last. Reminds me of a dark belgian dubbel without the typical belgian yeast flavor.

Mouthfeel: Not thin, but I was expecting something a bit more. Low carbonation. Still coats the palate well and the flavors linger for a while.

Drinkability: I thought it was pretty average for drinkability until I noticed the ABV. It hides the alcohol and while the flavors are strong, they don't have a really sharp bite.

Overall, a strong but sweet beer thats surprisingly drinkable. Would be a great after-dinner beer.

05-07-2006 01:54:59 | More by ram3139
Photo of ReDave


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Bottle labeled 2005.
Very dark [pretty much brown] Very little tanish head that soon vanishes to a thin wisp around the edge of the glass, no lace. Served at a slightly cooler temp than the recomended room temperature. Very complex flavors that do rather well at this young age. Malty with a nice hop edge. There is a slight alcohol burn at the end. Surprisingly drinkable and i think it will just get better.

I wonder when this finished fermenting, and then was bottled?

04-30-2006 03:22:18 | More by ReDave
Photo of bennetj17


3.7/5  rDev -10.2%

2004 Vintage
No head, and by appearances barely any carbonation. Color runs tan to blood red, and is very murky. The smell is strong on raisiny malt and alcohol. A light raspberry-like fruitiness is also present. Nose is slightly reminiscent of a scotch ale/ wee heavy. Taste is loaded with sweet and tangy malt flavors- raisin, plum caramel, cocoa. Finish is earthy with alcohol astringency arriving late. Slight bitterness also. Carbonation was actually decent despite looking flat at first. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Decent flavor complexity overall, I might try some other vintages if I get the chance. Alcohol is heavy though, be careful...

04-28-2006 00:26:51 | More by bennetj17
Photo of skotster13


4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

Appears that I am lucky enough to be the first to review the 2006. It just hit our shelves at Beverages & More! 2 days ago. New label, more colorful, caught my eye.

ST: 12 oz stubby...the 2006 is 13.25% alc./vol...OH YEAH!!!

A: Absolutely beautiful in the glass. Sitting on my desk it appears dark like molasses. Held up to the last hours of sunlight out my front window it shows off a deep scarlet hue. Gorgeous! The head is an offwhite-tan that recedes quickly with lacing that fades the same

S: Smells slightly like barleywine. Has hints of cognac. A definite sweetness to it.

T: It tastes slightly of cognac as well. The alcohol is very forward and remains steady thruout, lingering heavy on the palate for quite some time. I taste candied dates or stewed raisins, but not overpowering. It really does hang on...for minutes afterwards you have that sweet coating on your tongue. The alcohol has a very pleasant exploding quality as it hits the throat.

MF: Lovely on the palate. There is some serious viscosity. Coats the mouth with residual sugars and stays like your relatives...but you don't mind this.

D: If you don't have to work the next day you could take yourself to another planet with a four-pack of this...or drink one and cellar the rest....but either way you will have a hard time not drinking all that you can get your hands on...assuming that $11 a 4-pack is affordable.

04-27-2006 02:53:25 | More by skotster13
Photo of mcallister


3.88/5  rDev -5.8%


A highly carbonated pour and head that dwindled to nothing fairly quickly. Good caramel color that is a tranparent amber held up to a light.

Smells of fig, caramel, maple, barley, malt, and an alcohol bite.

Really big round taste of malt, slight hop, caramel, fig, a tad of maple syrup, very drinkable and very smooth. Delicious, not overly
sweet but some RS to keep things interesting. Is a nice alcohol burn in the chest but I would half expect in a beer of this substance.

Love the mouthfeel of this one and the finish lasts forever. Very complex and overly drinkable. Delicious old ale or is this a barley wine?

04-27-2006 00:02:30 | More by mcallister
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

3.68/5  rDev -10.7%

2004 bottling. Hazy, glowing violet-red. Thin wispy swirls and ring of sand-colored foam. Vinous, boozy nose -- like cherry cordials swimming in port. Nostril stinging (almost) alcohol vapors. Spicy alcohol is the first thing I notice, then cherries and orgeat syrup. Nutty essence of almonds. Finish is vinous, bitter, and alcohol-laden. The alcohol is the most noticeable characteristic. This one could probably sit for five more years and meld a bit. For as highly alcoholic and sweet as this is, the mouthfeel is surprisingly on the thinner side. Definitely not syrupy, but almost. Peppery and stinging from the high abv, but more or less smooth. When looking for something sweet and boozy, this one would fit the bill. But there are several other options that go down a lot more smoothly. Good, but not stellar.

04-26-2006 02:19:40 | More by orfeu
Photo of Tupperwolf


4.6/5  rDev +11.7%

2005. Pours a dark ruby colored beer into my Stone Old Guardian glass; I pour rather slowly and receive no head whatsoever, so, thinking quick, I grab a clean spoon and give a hearty stir! A finger thick head builds with the agitation, and hangs around for a minute, but leaves no lacing. The beer is visibly sticky, liquid clinging to the glass.

A slight raisin and a roasty, browned sugar and molasses are in the scent, the molasses dominant; Some alcohol is evident, and slight whiffs of dark chocolate mingle. Mostly it's rich in sweetness.

Wow. Awesome flavor for such a new brew. Slight raisin and grape skin begin a journey down a long road of flavors. There's a serious biscuit flavor next, a brown-sugar oatmeal caress, alcohol, rum, sugar, coffee with vanilla cream - mmmm. It's so damn malty and SO complex.

A very, very, very sticky mouthfeel is lightened by slight tingling carbonation. It briefly warms in the mouth with alcohol, just as some of the creamier, more sugary flavors kick in, making a nearly perfect sensation of sweetness. This is one of those beers that you just can't lick off of your lips after a sip - too sticky.

I haven't had a 10%+ abv brew in quite some time that was as drinkable as this. It's awesome.

04-20-2006 01:38:23 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


4.63/5  rDev +12.4%

2003 Edition

Appearance - pours a cloudy pretty reddish brown. A light off-white head disappears after a bit and barely manages a ring of bubbles around the edge.

Aroma - intensely rich, dark fruit like raisin or fig, molasses. Hints of soy, alcohol, and chocolate as it rests in the glass. Good stuff, great resilience. It's like sniffing candy.

Taste - sweet malty start, rather boozy but mellowed. Molasses, dark chocolate come out in force just as soon as the alcohol subsides a bit. The swallow brings on some raisiny sweetness, pleasant warmth, chocolate residue, very nice. A trace of hops briefly on the finish.

Mouthfeel - heavy and thick, subdued carbonation, big and yummy.

Drinkability - enjoyed at proper pace, you probably won't get through more than three of these, but they are a most enjoyable sipper.

04-14-2006 04:24:03 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of KarlHungus


4.1/5  rDev -0.5%

2005 vintage. This brew pours a classic brown color. The head is light brown, creamy and long lasting. Brown on brown...this beer simply looks interesting and different. The aroma is of caramel, toffee, butter and cream. The taste is very sweet with a nice alcohol warmth in the finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied with low carbonation and very smooth. Overall, this brew is very drinkable at this early age, but could benefit greatly from a couple years of aging.

04-12-2006 18:49:37 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of rrwiltse


3.9/5  rDev -5.3%

2003 Vintage.
Poured with no head, characteristically of most old ales. Nice malty color; the aroma is of very sweet malt and ALCOHOL for sure! Damn! The sweet malt tingles the tongue, and the alcohol burns just a tad on the way down. An excellent brew, can't wait to taste the rest of the bottles as they age even more!

04-07-2006 23:31:26 | More by rrwiltse
Photo of jorjoria

New York

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Appearance: Pours a very clear ruby/amber color with very little head and some slight lacing.

Smell: Nice malt aroma with hint of alcohol and some subdued hopiness.

Taste: Very nice sweet malt, with some raisin, and a hint of vanilla which fades into nice residual hop flavor. Form what I understand the hop flavor is much more in your face when the beer is younger. The beer is also pretty thin probably a result of the higher alcohol content. But over all a very taste beer. The alcohol content is a little overwhelming when consuming at room temperature but I think it fits well with this beer.

04-07-2006 14:00:17 | More by jorjoria
Photo of yelterdow

New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev -1%

2003 Vintage.

Appearance- Pours a clear, liquid cherry chestnut into an oversize snifter. The head, a very light beige, grows to one inch and settles to a disjointed array of many different size bubbles. Minimal lacing, not surprising with the high ABV.

Smell- A big alcohol nose that umbrellas the aromas of leather, tobacco, wood, and the darkest fruits imaginable. Sweet, wet malt notes come forth as the beer opens up. Rum cake. Vintage port aromatics, this keeps getting better...

Taste- A surprisingly huge alcohol presence, much more tonight than last year when I sampled this same beer... boozy vanilla, rum, figs and of course malts. The finish brings a slightly burning sensation in the back of the throat... sip accordingly.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Tingly upon entry, slick and very liquid in the mouth, then a wee bit rough going down. The complex, rich flavors are cohesive and balanced nicely, but I'm still noticing the alcohol more than last year's sampling.

I believe this beer as optimal at about 18 months.

04-05-2006 03:57:49 | More by yelterdow
Photo of chance269


4.68/5  rDev +13.6%

2006 Vintage...purchased from the brewery. Traditional 12oz. bottle served in my Old Stock snifter. New recipe brings ABV to a whopping 13.25%!!!

Appearance: Color is rich, deep cherry wood/mahagony. Pours with a nice 1/2" off-white head that fades quickly to less than 1/8".

Smell: Sweet malts mixed with hints of burnt cherry, apricot...strong rum/brandy like alcohol notes. Even some champagne like qualities when first poured, but those faded as the beer warmed.

Mouthfeel: Velvety and chewy, full-bodied with a creamy finish.

Taste: Beautiful. Has a rich malt profile with a tinge of hopiness that fades with the alcohol burn. Faint hints of licorice and burnt cherries...perhaps molasses and cane sugar as well?

Notes: I didn't expect this 2006 vintage to come out until October/November, but the brewery said it's ready to ship. In my opinion, one of the better vintages of the past few years; it's very mellow, yet assertive in it's flavor. Take your time with this one if you can find it, and as with all vintages of Old Stock, I look forward to laying this one down for several years.

04-03-2006 16:12:06 | More by chance269
Photo of Byeast


4.43/5  rDev +7.5%

My bottle of North Coast's -Old Stock Ale , is a 2005 vintage.
Poured a clear ,deep mahogany/ruby, with a very thin head of tan lace. Smell is an intense , deep , sweet malty aroma , some caramel , with a good fuggles hop kick to balance , rum like alcohol in the nose, very nice. Taste is rich and tongue coating , sweet , chewy malty goodness ,bit of coffee and raisin, balaced with a fair amount of hop character. Mouthfeel is chewy and slightly viscous. Wow , im very impressed. A awsome old ale , the alcohol has a very pleasant effect to the senses and brain. A rich , strong and tasty treat. I will be buying some more to cellar , and more to drink!

03-29-2006 04:18:21 | More by Byeast
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,488 ratings.