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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: 135
Gots: 457 | 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: 2,675 | Reviews: 1,373 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Rudgers73
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006. 13.25% ABV.

Poured into my Hennepin goblet it shows itself as a deep reddish brown with a murky character to it. Much lighter in color than I had expected. There is a very slight head that fades quickly to a ring. The smell is awesome. The first thing that comes to mind is rum-soaked raisins. Behind are chocolate and fruity notes with a little tinge of boozy aroma at the very back. The taste is incredibly complex. I served this beer relatively cold, but there is still a huge burst of flavor that pours out of it. It reminds me of a strong doppelbock, or an eisbock. This is one of the most quenching 13.25% ABV beers I've ever had. Of the strongest beers I've had, this is by far the best tasting. Nutty turning to a fruity flavor (I'm assuming the fruity flavor is from the alcohol). I taste candied dark fruits and Christmas spices. The finish is so mellow and smooth you don't have a clue how strong it is. As it warms up it begins to show a little of the alcohol spice, but nothing close to most beers 10% and up. The mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, thick, and filmy. As far as drinkability goes, this has to be the most drinkable beer of this size that I've ever had. I want to buy a bunch as cellar them for a few years. I imagine they would taste dangerously good.

Photo of BeerTruth
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2006 version.

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Let this one warm up a bit before pouring.

Aggressive pour yields only a one finger light tan colored head that quickly dies down to a thin layer. Very little stickiness, just about nothing actually. Dark, cloudymahogony hued color to this brew. Smell is a whole lot of malt. Caramel scented with lots of dark fruits; raisins, dates, plums. Tobacco and leather in the nose as well. Taste starts off with a boozey caramel malt with chocolate sweetness as well. Flavor is a bit strong in the alcohol department, it's present from start to finish. Oak like vanilla notes towards the end with a warm molasses aftertaste. Mouthfeel is full, thick, and rich. A bit dry as well which surprised me. Maybe I'm just not a fan of the style, but I had a tough time drinking this one. I could see even more age doing this brew some good.

Photo of Floydster
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2007 version, 11.7% ABV, not 13.25%

12 ounce bottle purchased from Beverage Warehouse in Playa Del Rey

Poured into my Firestone pint glass with a medium brown/red color and 1/4 inch vanilla colored head that stuck around for quite some time

Smell was full of fruit and caramel, dominated by malt and no real hops were evident

This brew was really sweet, filled with various fruits including prunes, raisins, and cranberry hints, lots of caramel and sweetness, nice dry finish that balances out the massive fruity flavor, candy-like aftertaste that lasts for about thirty seconds

Could not drink too many of these, maybe another bottle or two at most

I will keep my other bottles for a long period of time and maybe crack one of them open in a year and see what happen to it

Nice beer from North Coast, one of their best, recommended

Photo of Jmamay22
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm a little apprehensive with Old Ales having tried one only once before and I had great difficulty enjoying or finishing it. Hopefully North Coast can change my mind.

There's a new label and a new abv listed at 11.7%. This bottle is marked clearly as being bottled in 2007. Pours a ruby red brown with a tan colored head that eventually dissipates to a three hundred and sixty degree collar. The dark ruby colored beer looks brilliant under the proper lighting. No lacing.

Smells of sweet raisin and malt. There's a hop bomb scent and a sugar bomb scent. This one is a sugar bomb (in the nose) with a hint of maple syrup.

Tastes of sweet raisins. It’s something along the lines of sugar and caramel coated raisins. I imagine that the earlier version with higher abv must have been even sweeter and more pronounced alcohol flavor. Letting this warm up closer to 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit lets this beer open up nicely. The subtle hints of caramel and molasses are released and the malts are in check. Alcohol and hop dryness at the end, but no hop flavors.

Thick and full mouthfeel. A true sipper and definitely limited to one of these in a sitting. As a drank the glass the beer did grow on me (or was it the alcohol?) and I went from thinking this an above average beer to one I will have to pick up again for the cold winter months that are quickly approaching.

Photo of dbalsock
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

App: Pours with a full 2 finger tan head that goes down to a ring. The body is dark amber with maroon highlights.

Smell: Plums, molasses and brownsugar hit immediately followed by an overal fruitcake sensation, some piney hops and an uninvited metal of some sort.

Taste: The brown sugar is great, especially when added to mericino cherries. There's some apple in there, which takes away a little, but the caramel and bready finish makes it enjoyable too.

Mouthfeel: Bold and asertive with a mixed bitter end and alcoholic twang that lasts. It's also oily on the palate, and could have a little drier consistency for my liking.

Drinkability: I want to cellar this and have it for years. Very drinkable, and I'm very willing to have it again and again.

Photo of dnichols
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into a Dupont pint glass.

A: Deep murky brown with swirls of Oolong tea complexion -- an unususal blend of brown and red hues. There was a woody almost walnut complexion and the head was deeply tanned and abundant before disipating to a slight covering of the liquid and a ring around the edge of the glass.

S: Smoking!!!! I quite cigs three years ago but this beer evoked memories I had long forgotten. Nice rich sweet and smoky aroma that is full of dark fruits and roasted malts and nuts.

T: Wet and refreshing on the front but dry and sweet on the back. It is damp and dark, rich and smarmy, full of tabacco and long wet wood campfires odors and suprisingly clean on the palate. The dryness onteh backside is shortlived and replaced by a smoky rich sweet coating ofthe palate that ensures you remember the sip you just completed and invites you to take another swig on this complex and interesting brew.

Mouthfeel: This beer kicks ass. Its relatively high bodied full of flavor and has an ABV that snick's up on you. It drys and wets the lounge at the same time. Cool...a beer for all seasons. For something with this high an ABV, this possessed only moderate body. Nice, subtle carbonation helped tame this beast.

Drinkability: My...My...one or two are about right for a Wednesday night. After all I do need to work on Thursday...or do I??? This is a smooth, rich and creamy beer that my become overly filling and sweet deeper into a session. However, this is a great beer to kick off a night on the town.

Comment: OK....I'm a fan. This is a neat experience...rich, creamy, malty and full of flavor. I'll be back and can't wait to find out what this brews brothers and cousins have in store for me.

Photo of Quej
2.3/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - Poured a clear reddish brown, with very little head and no visible carbonation. Nice enough looking, nothing special though.

S - A very strong smell of sweet nutty malts and dark red berries amid the tingle of alcohol.

T - Lots of sweet flavours and fruits followed by a lingering burn of alcohol. There is some good hop taste, but it is severely overpowered by the burn of the alcohol and the thick oily sweetness. Very reminiscent of cough syrup.

M - Thick and coating, with a strong unpleasant burn. Once again, feels like cough syrup.

D - I had a hard time finishing this beer, due to the overly sweet alcoholic taste, and its thick body. Don't think I would buy another.

Note: 2006 bottle, 11.7% abv.

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 2006 bottle from Dennis Brother Liquors and poured into a snifter

A: chocolate cherry color to black with an off white head the disappeared quickly even though poured heavily down the center of the glass. Cloudy and opaque

S: Alcohol spice is clear but not overwhelming, horse blanket and malt, dark fruit, cherry.

T: Excellent chocolate, dark fruit, oily taste that covers the tongue from front to back. Again, alcohol is clear but not overwhelming. Spicy right in the front, sweet and fruity throughout. Love this beer, and it improves with temp.

M: thick and sweet, and fills the mouth.

D: Unless you have a sweet tooth, this one might be a overwhelming from the malty, vinous taste. Sip and enjoy.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
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.

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...


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Edit from 11/14. Tried the 2010 version of this beer on tap at Apex in PDX,, and was fascinated by what a few years of bottle age does for it. The beer wasn't nearly as sweet or boozy tasting, and there was almost a flower flavor aspect to the flavor profile that was intriguing. Very, very impressive an nice..... So I get the impression that this beer ages very ,very well.

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.

Photo of BDTyre
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.

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.

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).

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.

Photo of mikesgroove
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

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.

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!


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!

Photo of timtim
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.

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