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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,728 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,728
Reviews: 1,389
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 139
Gots: 483 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  11.80% ABV

Availability: Fall

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

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,728 | Reviews: 1,389 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SargeC
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber colored brew. Thick, golden-tan head.

Smell: Sweet malt, alcohol, bourbon, sherry and hints of grapes.

Taste: Strong malt presence. Sweet and boozy in the start, evolves into a fruit flavored, crisp and slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Dense and waxy.

Drinkablity: Very flavorful, yet simple in its approach.

Photo of Slynger
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bright clear auburn color with dirty white head. Darkly fruity cherries, plums, and apples. Sweet, malty, caramel and toffee, barleywine-like nose. Taste is sharp, spicy, hot, bitter, and sweet, with a big alcohol kick. Heavy malty sweet with dark cherry and plum brandy spiciness. Full and syrupy mouthfeel. Whew!! Rip-roaring, red-hot, and raw. Stick Old Stock on your shelf for a while.

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

12 oz. bottle into a tulip @ Flying Saucer, Raleigh. Nice ta' meet ya NCBeernut.

Bottle poured an attractive deep purple, with amber-plum highlights. The head is actually large for a beer of this magnitude, ABV-wise (11.7% says the bottle, contra the 13.25% of BA). The aroma is an intoxicating mix of dark cherries, brandy, and oaked bourbon barrels. It's not a convential aroma.

Flavor brings some serious heat, in the form of a whopping booze note alongside prune, oak, cranberry, sour apple, and a touch of under-ripe hops. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, viscous, and leaves a fuselage of alcohol sitting on the tarmac that is the back of the palate. All in all, a decent Oldie...probably not the most drinkable beer in the world, but I could definately go for a few in the cellar.

[EDIT: Purchased a cellared 2005 Old Stock at the Whip-In in Austin, Texas. Consumed on 3/3/2009. Flavor profile is amazing. Gone is the boozy heat, replaced by intricate malt layers of rich toffee, dark chocolate truffle, and a subdued, yet still warming sherry liquor note. A slight hint of oxidation mingles with some hoppy bitterness in the finish. This beer is delicious with 4 years on it! A-4.0; S-4.5; T-4.5; M-4.0; D-4.0; Overall-4.3]

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is strong and malty with a touch of salt and a hint of caramel. It pours a lovely clear brown with a fairly thick, if not persistent, head. Flavor is malty and sweet, and has a nice alcohol zing to it. Finish is smooth but with a strong alcohol bite.

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

Served into a pint glass. 2007 Limited Release.

Dark Amber/Coffee colored body that created a tan rocky head, which quickly drops low.

Has a caramel mocha like flavor. Very sweet malts.

I can already feel the headache brewing with only half the bottle gone. Its really quite excellent

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

Had this on-tap at Frisco Grille in Columbia, MD.

The beer poured a slightly cloudy, reddish-brown color into a chalice with a thin, tan head. A slightly sweet, alcoholic nose. A real big alcohol component throughout, mixed with malt sweetness, and a bit of hop bitterness at the finish. In my opinion, the alcohol and malt sweetness are too dominant, with not nearly enough hop flavor and bitterness to balance out the 11% ABV.

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

2007 bottle, label states 11.7% abv. Pours a crisp deep ruby with a thin head that quickly diminishes leaving no ring or lacing. Aroma is a nice blend of burnt caramel, brown malt and some dried fruits. The taste is a great complex blend of toffee, burnt caramel, fruit, molasses, and a touch of mocha with just a slight hop character. The beer is certainly on the heavy side, but it becomes smoother the more it warms. This one is a sipper for sure, but an enjoyable one.

Photo of Tilley4
3.83/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been dying to try this one for a while and finally found a bottle of 07 lingering around the shelves here.

Nice dark reddish pour with a pretty active head.

Smells like a strong ass barleywine. Sweet but malty, yet strong also.

Definitely a kick to this one. Little rough yet but you can tell it has potential to be really f$#king awesome in a year or two.

Will be on the lookout for more and see if I can age it.

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

2007 vintage.

Appearance - Semi-clear burgundy with very little head or lace, just a small ring of foam around the glass. This stuff could be mistaken for port.

Smell - Sweet and boozy with a big toffee and berry aroma.

Taste & mouthfeel - Sweet without being cloying. The malt backbone is enormous, providing a wide range of flavors from ripe fruit and caramel to burnt toast. Bittering hops are still noticeably present, though they take a back seat to the malt. A slight alcohol bite appears for a second in the background and then disappears in the finish. The beer ends on a drier note, with a bourbon-like character.

Photo of BMan1113VR
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage. Very nice malty (cookie and molasses) and hoppy (pine) aroma. Also detected some tawny port, alcohol and raspberry. Poured a medium sparkling clear amber with a creamy off-white head. Initial flavor is alcohol followed by a long and nutty aftertaste. Mouthfeel is creamy and carbonation is soft. There is a strong presence of alcohol throughout. Will probably improve with age.

Photo of london1o1
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I recently drank a 2002 and 2006 Old Stock side by side (in Jan. '08). The difference is remarkable. I suppose I should be rating the '06, since that's closer to what people will be drinking straight out of the stores, but I can't bare to rate such an inferior product. While there were many similarities (I'm not sure if the recipe has remained unaltered or not, but they certainly taste as if they were at least similar recipes), and the '06 tasted like something that could some day develop into the '02, the various flavors of the '06 are so much more rough and aggressive, while the '02 has allowed them to mellow and intermingle, resulting in a much rounder, more subtle combination of flavors. I cannot recommend aging this beer enough. I still have a bottle of the '02 and the '06, and plan and trying them with the '08 in '10.

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

A - Poured a nice amber color with a tan head that leaves some lacing

S - Is of sweet malt with some hops and alcohol that get through

T - Is more sweet malt with an alcohol kick to it

M - Fairly thin with very little carbonation to it

D - This is a very good beer that has a good taste to it if the abv wasn't so high it would be easy to drink more than one or two well it still is but I wouldn't recommend it

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

Had at the pub this weekend.

A - burnt orange, small head

S - sweet malt, hops do show through

T - wow this is sweet! Alcohol comes through as well

M - pretty solid body, not a lot of carbonation

D - this is a solid beer for the style and I'd been meaning to try it forever. Definitely enjoyed it and glad I got to have it on tap. Would order again for sure.

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

2007 vintage, 12oz bottle poured into a pint

I was ecstatic to find a 4 pack of this sitting on the shelf yesterday. Put 2 away for safe keeping.

Pours a beautiful crystal clear mahogany and has some tiny bubbles that make their way to the surface. The head bubbled up a light tan head and had some staying power.

Earthy malt smell and dark ripe fruit. Black cherries, caramel, apples, oak, and alcohol. You can tell this is already going to be a heavyweight.

A swirl around the tongue yielded a burst of fruit and a cool, well-rounded flavor balance. Not much hidden in the taste, really mimics the smell. The alcohol digs deep early and doesn't hold up.

Very free on the tongue, actually pretty light. Lifts away nicely and leaves a hot alcohol burn in its wake.

This is an after-dinner sipper. I enjoyed this bad boy and can't wait for its brethren in my basement 1-2 years from now.

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

from '05. Thanks to miguelmandingo for sharing this bottle with me.

A: ruby orange. very little head.

S: sweet caramel, hints of medicinal cherry, toffee, booze, small hints of chocolate.

T: yeasty, boozy, sweet caramel, cherry medicinal stuff. Hints of chocolate. getting better with age.

M: hot, but not too hot. It is quite high in alcohol afterall. Thinner than I expected.

D: It's about as drinkable as I would expect it to be at such a high percentage. 1, maybe 2 of these for me is enough.

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

Had on draft at Frisco's Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Pour a deep copper, almost brown with a decent tan head of foam.

S- Somewhat sweet, fruity and spicy, no real strong hop presence.

T- Lots of alcohol present, dried fruit, maybe figs and raisins, and a hint of apricot.

M- Very full bodied, little carbonation, overall balanced.

D- To much alcohol to have more than a couple, not enjoyable enough to have repeatedly.

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

2006 bottling. Pours very dark brown with copper highlights. The head kicks up substantially at first, but dies down to a collar quickly. The aroma has some good depth, showing caramel malts, marshmallow and milk chocolate, but it is compromised by some overly hot raw alcohol. On the palate things are considerably softer, with good malt depth and lovely raisin notes added on to the caramel and chocolate indicated in the aroma. Still a bit hot on the palate. Overall, this is a beer that is rounding out into something special, and certainly one that is benefiting from aging time. I wish now that I had had the patience to hold on to this for three more years, as it's showing some major long-term potential.

Photo of benito
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Is this really an old ale? Despite what this site and the BJCP style-guidelines say, I can't buy it. Call me a curmudgeon, but this is much more barley wine than old ale...and it is a great one that should embrace its 'barley wine-ness'

Old Stock Ale is a still amber with little carbonation and no persistent head. It has distinct hop aromas mixed with hints of sherry, tropical fruit and little vanilla. The flavor has a distinct peppery flavor, rich malty notes, and a strong bitter finish. It is medium in body, mixing lightness with a syrupy quality that is almost imperceptibe. Overall, the drinkability is high for such a strong beer.

What I love about this beer are its aroma and mystifying mouthfeel. What I dislike are the length of flavor (too short) and the persistent bitterness that I expect more from a barley wine than an old ale. Perhaps the 2007 vintage will taste 'older' (yes, pun intended) in a year or so, but as it is, I'll ding this a few points on marketing and style alone.

Nonetheless, it is a pleasure to drink and highly recommended.

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

The 2007 release sports a characteristically classy North Coast label of old tan parchment with handsome, simple red lettering on top of a black North Coast insignia. Pours a pretty ,deep auburn-red with a nutty-looking golden-tan head that diminishes rapidly to a ring surrounding surface islands. A good swirl shows lacing sticking momentarily and sliding back down. Lively bubbles flowing up from the bottom.

Smells of ripe dark fruit abound, mixed with honey, molasses, a faint wineyness and an interesting overarching creaminess. Gorgeously complex nose in this one.

The taste is also intense and complex. Powerful sweetness with the same creaminess hovering over the top, giving way to a sharp, pungent bitterness in the finish that radiates toward the back of the throat and lasts a while. Tastes of plums, figs, apricots, candied sugar and a healthy slocking of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is slick and oily, but with a surprisingly high amount of carbonation giving it a crispness I didn't expect and can't decide if I like. Certainly not drinkable as a session beer -- way too rich, powerful and intense. But absolutely worthwhile as a slow sipper, and one is definitely enough.

A worthwhile budget version of a Thomas Hardy's or something along those lines. I bought a single to sample. I'll definitely go back to Julio's for more to cellar -- I'd be eager to see what this is like after a couple years to mellow out and mature.

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

Thanks to tayner and JohnGalt1 who both included these as extras. You two are awesome!

Pours a deep hazy brown with some ruby highlights around the bottom of the glass. Massive off white head with good lace. the nose is creamy with spices and some almost roasted smell. Very spicy and creamy taste with some alcohol. Fermented fruits through the middle, raisin and some date. The finish has a little bit of a coppery taste to it which hopefully will fade with some age. The aftertaste has some fruit in it and lingers for some time. Mouthfeel is good and viscous, drinkability isnt amazing but is still ok. Alcohol defenitely rears its head here. Excited to see how this will cellar.

Photo of dsa7783
3.15/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copped a short, fat, 12oz bottle singly from Total Wine and More in Union... bottle specifically reads "North Coast 2007 Old Stock Ale" & "11.7% ABV"... Pours a cinnamon-colored, ruby-red, dark-brown appearance with a frothy head that soon dissipated... smell is full of malts, and caramel... deep, dark, rich, very sweet, caramel taste... slightly overbearing flavor that is very sweet, loaded with brown sugar, malts, esters, and strong alcohol presence... I would take it easy with this one, as the 11.7% ABV will hit you hard... a beer to be enjoyed over a long period of time... not the best sample from North Coast, but certainly worth a try... mouthfeel and drinkability were compromised due to the hefty ABV and ultra-sweet, thick, rich flavor... not my favorite brew, but worth-a-go...

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

Purchased a bottle at Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, MA.

A: Thin ring of off white head tops the dark russet colored brew. Opaque. Looks viscous.

S: Nice aroma. Sweet fruity esters take prominence. Molasses sweet malt underscores. Faint alcohol aroma detectable.

T: Malty sweet flavor is very strong but not overpowering. Some chocolate flavors in background. Dried fruit esters – plums and raisins add complexity. Alcohol flavors are like sweet strong sherry/port. Touch of bitterness on back end but overall finish is sweet.

MF: Overly carbonated for an old ale. Alcohol warmth evident but surprisingly limited. Medium body. This beer is pretty fresh and would probably be improved with some aging – reduction in carbonation, better attenuation.

D, notes: A sweet but not overly sweet old ale. Makes it a good sipping beer but not particularly sessionable.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 12 oz from the Boise Coop for about $3.25 (may have been cheaper).. poured into my New Belgium snifter at just cooler than cellar temperature... sharing this one with Brenda 2 to 1.

1" head despite a fairly aggressive pour drops quickly leaving no lacing... Clear dark amber brew with pretty ruby highlites.

Malt aroma is almost thick enough to chew... complex dark malts with caramel and toffee.. yeasty fruit esters.. soft spicy hop aromas are barely present... dark fruit and more than a touch of alcohol... very complex.

Obviously huge malt presence... with more caramel and a little molasses.. light chocolate and coffee, but are evident... more toasted malts are present on the finish along with a good dose of earthy hops... big body helps to hide the alcohol, but it's still around... fairly high levels of yeasty fruitiness.

I've had these every year since I moved to Boise, I just wish I would have gotten into cellaring sooner... I can see how a long time in the cool dark could help really take the Old Stock to the next level... all and all, this is a fantastic beer and will only get better with a few years on it.

Photo of watchnerd
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is my first old ale review, so I don't really no what to expect from the style. I'll write as if I'm comparing it to a triple or a barleywine, since these would seem to be near relatives. Serving was a 12 oz bottle, 2007 vintage, poured into a goblet.

Hmmm, what the heck to make of this beer?

Appearance: Clear and caramel, like Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale, but even darker. Modest head that faded into a ring.

Aroma: Caramel, dates, raisins, dark malt, lots of dark malt, and alcohol esters.

Taste: Very complex. Intense dark malt, molasses, dark fruits, a hint of bourbon, and an alcohol kick on the finish. This is an 11% ABV beer and you can tell. Hops are there, but completely dominated by everything else.

Mouthfeel: Lightly carbonated, just thick enough - any thicker and this beer would taste like molasses.

Drinkability: This beer is so intense, so flavorful, so dominant, and so alcoholic, you only need one. After that, put the rest away and revisit in a week. Much like Stone's Ruination IPA, this is an intense experience, a novelty beer for when you want to do have some serious one-on-one time with a beer. You might be able to pair it with a dessert, much like a port, or with prime rib with currants. But this is a dominant beer that deserves to be respected and treated with moderation.

Photo of Minkybut
2.93/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I poured this promising beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The bber was a nice mahoganny color with a nice tan head. The smell was a little nutty and I was hopeful by that and the caramel notes coming off the head. First taste was good I thougght then the alcohol just washed all that great taste away. What a shame. I will not buy again.

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,728 ratings.