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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,736 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,736
Reviews: 1,391
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 139
Gots: 484 | 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: 2,736 | Reviews: 1,391 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of benito
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
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
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
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
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
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
3.18/5  rDev -22.8%
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
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
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
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
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
4/5  rDev -2.9%
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
3/5  rDev -27.2%
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.

Photo of BeerSox
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into nonic

Deep amber hue, bordering on brown with a slight haze. A thin light tan head slowly settles to a thin cap.

The aroma is strictly caramel and raisin, with a bit of alcohol punching through.

Once again, the malts run the show with some burnt caramel and a slight estery spice. The alcohol shows up in the end. Full bodied with lower carbonation.

I've always looked forward to purchasing this beer. I think this year is a little less sweet than last year. For the amount of alcohol, it doesn't have too sharp of a taste. Recommended.

Photo of stephens101
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, pristine amber into a snifter. There's very little head. Smells of raisins, grapes, caramel, faint apples and some subtle earthiness in the background. The aroma is complex and satisfying in and of itself. Taste has a slight boldness up front that is quickly followed by an essence of warmth, some pine, big malts, chocolate, faint coffee, alcohol heat and a shot of hops to keep it interesting. Left behind is some sugary sweetness to accompany the certain contentment this beer provides. Carbonation is excellent despite the lack of head. In fact, a few minutes after the pour, bubbles are still actively searching for an escape. I wouldn't describe this beer as full-bodied, as there is a certain weightlessness to it's complexity. However, it becomes quite filling as you empty your glass, and demands to be sipped as you let the warmth and alcohol do it' s work.

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

2006 Poured with an off white, lingering head. Ruby colored when held to light, more amber on the table. Smells very sweet, malty. Taste sweet and malty and not a whole lot of hop presence, some hints of the alcohol. Feels thick and bubbly at the same time. Very drinkable. You would not know this is 13% beer. Would recommend this beer.

Photo of tayner
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 bottle

Pours medium brown with a off white bubbly head. there is some carbonation bubbles sticking to the sides of the snifter.

citrus hops, caramel, sugar, and alcohol nose

taste was not what i was expecting when i smelled it. Sweet malt, caramel, sugar, with the finish slightly hopped, but not much, and then an alcohol burn after swallowing. Dont really notice the alcohol until you swallow.

Light feeling in my mouth but still coating, is that possible? very likely due to the moderate carbonation it has.

I could drink this as a session beer if it were colder outside, but then i would likely be drunk after a 4 pack.. the alcohol is well hidden.

I know these are meant for cellaring, and if this one gets better with age i better stock up on it because i will want alot of them in the future!

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

Served at cellar temp. Bottle reads 11.7%, 2007 release.

An army of bubbles works its way slowly up the sides of the snifter, disappearing into an inch-thick beige head that takes its time to mellow. Color is a lovely burgundy with candly-apple red hues.

Aroma is brandy, cherry, Twizzlers, pomegranate, caramel, stewed apples, sweet cream. Alcohol is present but very well behaved.

Flavor is complex, kind of busy, even elusive. This is my third bottle in the past couple months and it leaves a different impression every time. Sherry booziness surrounds everything, ensuring the experience is a warming one--but definitely not "hot". The sweeter aspects noted in the aroma are still fruity, but become more candy-like in the flavor. Hershey's chocolate syrup makes an appearance. A kickback in the finish of cheap wino liquor is the only unappealing aspect. Hops are here for sure, but they almost drown amidst the warming alcohol and fruity/candy sweetness. That's not to say it's cloyingly sweet. It's just right. Any more, though, and it would've veered toward over-the-top territory.

It's slightly syrupy, but foams up in the mouth making for an airy, tingly feel. Would've worked better if it were creamier and/or smoother, but it still has roundness and firmness enough to please.

Despite its richness and high ABV, it's quite drinkable...or sippable, rather. If I can exercise the willpower, I hope to cellar the final 2007 bottle until 2009 or so.

Photo of EPICAC
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep amber. Topped by a thick, fluffy beige head that fades quickly to a thin film leaving patchy lace.

Smell: The nose is malty with some caramel, raisins and dark fruit. There's a bit of cherry tartness, a medicinal character, and bit of effervescentalcohol.

Taste: Sweet malts: caramel, raisin and dark fruit. There's a tart character that runs throughout. The finish is medicinal with a light bitterness and an alcoholic spice.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Very nice for such a strong and malty beer.

Overall: An interesting old ale, the malts don't overpower and there are nice medicinal, and spicy elements that provide balance.

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

Caramel brown colour with slight tan head. No lacing, but the high abv probably cancels it out.

Smells of sweet malts, and fruits, like raisins. Clove.

The taste is sweet malt, like honey and fruit, with warming alcohol. Bitterness in the aftertaste.

The warming alcohol lends to the smooth taste.

A sipping brew, almost like a liquor. O so nice.

After aging for another year, this ale has only gotten better. Smoother, and more rich. Goes down easier than before.

I believe this is the 05 release, and now it is 1-13-08. This was a steal from local good beer store, and it has proven to be one of the best agers I have purchased.

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

2007 Bottle served in a wine glass at around 50 degrees F.

Pours a dark, cloudy reddish amber with a thin tan head. Leaves huge legs on the glass when swirled. Smells of molasses and alcohol. Taste is sweet, with hints of toasty maltiness, smokiness, and caramelized sugar. There is a tiny hint of earthy hops. The alcohol is present, but does not distract. This is a malt oriented beer, the slight bitterness is only to balance the scale. Mouthfeel is super full, and carbonation is slightly high. This has probably the highest alcohol content (11.7%) of any beer I've had, but even with this in mind, it is surprisingly easy to drink. I probably wouldnt want more than one of these at a time because of the high alcohol and how filling it is, but it is a very enjoyable beer to sip.

Photo of PlaywrightSam
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. A: Very syrupy brown/amber, not much head to speak of. Huge soda-like carbonation. S: Lots of malt, caramel, some boozey spice, pretty distant hops. T: Sweet malt up front with some definite bitter cocoa notes, some alcohol present on the finish, earthy hops remain pretty distant. M: Thick, smooth, moderate to high carbonation. D: Though the alcohol does make an appearance in the finish, it's pretty well hidden--and the balance is pretty great. Wonderful bitter notes to accompany the maltiness. I would have expected a bit more complex flavor profile out of such a huge beer, but for what it is it's very drinkable.

Photo of gmfessen
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one sitting on a shelf for a while now, (2005 vintage) waited for the New Year to pop it - here goes. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a muddy brown color with a faint amber hue with no head but does have lots of bubbles rising from the bottom of the glass. The smell is very complex; mostly a sweet fruitiness of raisins, cherries and dates and the alcohol is also quite apparent, almost brandy-like. The taste is much the same, lots of depth with the foremost taste being the sweet fruit flavor, not much in the way of a hop presence but is mostly balanced by the brandy-esk alcohol bite at the end. The mouthfeel is full bodied, chewy with a slight mouth burning carbonation. Dangerously drinkable @ 13.25%, this is one that you have to remind yourself to slow down. Very well done, I need to get my hands on several more to see how they age. The tasting of this is bittersweet; I've been saving it for at least 2 years now and although I'm enjoying it now I don't have another aging - time to go to the beer store!

Photo of Murchmac
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 bottle

This beer pours with a beautiful, healthy, tan head, that quickly goes away and does not follow you down the glass. Ruby brown in color.

Smells of alcohol, syrup, cherries, and brandy. Nice smell when it warms up.

Drink this beer a little on the warmer side, more flavors come out then. The alcohol is a little hot on this one right now. When you get through that though, sweet cherry, syrupy, brandy taste. Tastes like it smells.

Decent mouthfeel, age this puppy. If you like this style, get two, one for now, one for later

2006 Bottle

Only thing changed is the taste. This one tastes sweeter and thicker. Thickening on the tongue, easy drinking, smooth ride, take it easy. Mellow sherry notes. Eggs a fucking lent.

2004 Bottle

Poured into my Toronado 20th Anniversary Belgian tulip glass.

Pours a beautiful cloudy honey brown with a one finger head that quickly vanishes but leaves lacing on the outside. Still has some decent carbonation to it.

Smells amazing! When certain beers age an amount i think they end up tasting like wood. This beer smells like wood, brandy, syrup, and sweet sweet alcohol. You can smell those malts in action.

2004 was a good year. Great taste, the alcohol and brandy/cognac notes have blended nicely into a strong bolus of sweet syrupy goodness. My god this beer is good. If you have vintage years, save them at least 4 3 years.

Mouthfeel is amazing.

My ratings would change for this beer.

4.5 says the east german judge
4.5 says the judge from the dagobah system
4.5 says the judge from stuckeyville
4.5 says the judge from american idol
4.5 says the judge from the bubble

Photo of Winter
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage.

Crimson in color with a short-lived light tan head that reduced to a thin surface ring. Sweet malty aroma. Dark fruit notes apparent in the nose. Some caramel and alcohol in there also. Full bodied mouthfeel is sharp with carbonation and coats the tongue. Huge malt profile. Candy-like sweetness, but not cloying by any means. Ale fruitiness... almost like a distorted cherry flavor... almost like a cherry brandy. It has a sharp graininess to it midway. Loads of alcohol toward the back and about halfway through consumption that "warming effect" can definitely be felt. A true "winter warmer" in that sense. I can't really see drinking this on a hot day. A beer for every season, right? So it fits perfectly on a cold night at the end of December. Very drinkable for an 11%+ abv.

It might be interesting to try a recent release, but I almost like the drinkability this 2 year old vintage has to offer.

Photo of Traquairlover
3.52/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12-oz bottle initially poured into a pint glass then transferred into a 22-oz snifter. This is a 2007 which I am tasting to have reference point for others which I am going to cellar for at least 1 to 3 or 4 years.

A = Clear garnet, brown, tan foamy head quickly dissipates.

S = Funky is probably the best word I can think of for the smell. It smells like overripe pumpkin so strongly that I can barely discern anything else. I will be interested to see how this changes with age, because it is the least favorable part of the beer at the moment.

T = Taste is good for which I am thankful after the smell. There is a very rich creamy taste of caramel malt, and a healthy dose of bitterness. Not as complex as it will be in the future but a good showing for such a young ale.

M = Medium body, good carbonation, coats mouth well, but does not last as long in the finish as I wish. I think that is because the alcohol is still just a little too prevalent.

D = At the moment I'd say drinkability is only average. But I will be eagerly awaiting opening bottles in the future.

Photo of pwoods
3.39/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz. brown bottle, purchased at Party Source, poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep mahogany with some ruby tints. Holding to the light only produces a weak glow in the body. Even in my large snifter, I get a 1 1/2 finger pour. Decent head retention but no lacing.

S: The first think I noticed was a liver smell. I don't know if I'm crazy or what but I swear that's what I'm getting. When I try to pick it apart a bit more, I get a smoky wood and brandy scent along with a very vinous character. Alcohol becomes very present. I guess it's not as bad as the first waft suggested.

T/M: Dark plump raisins and dates. Still very woody and smoky. Alcohol is very present but it doesn't sting. Malts are robust and syrupy with plenty of sweetness. A bit of bitterness in the finish which is quite dry and even wamer.

D: I have a 4 pack to lay down and I don't think I'll touch then until this time next year. I think this would make a very nice after dinner sipper. I'd love to see this put in the hands of a big brandy drinker.

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

I was given a 2003 bottle and couldn't wait to give it a try.

It pours a deep, dark amber. While the head is very thin, it does remain for quite a while, leaving some lacing on the glass.

The smell, I'm a little less than impressed here. It seems to not give off much smell at all. I am dealing with a bit of a minor cold, so take that with a grain of salt. what I so smell is raisins, not too much, not too little.

At first sip I thought I was drinking a great Belgium dubel. The complexities are really hard to pick up on, there is a hint of raisins, a bit of a woody taste, oak i'd guess. Maybe a little bit of a plum taste but so faint I can't really put my finger on it. The alochol is not noticeable, the bottle says 11.4%, it is hidden very well.

There is an immediate after taste that is slightly unpleasant but it quickly fades leaving a warm woody taste behind.

Carbonation is higher than I would expect, but not so much it takes away from the experience.

The more I drink, the more I like this beer. I have never had this beer before, So I couldn't make any comparisons between a fresh bottle and one that is aged for 5 years.

Photo of kundabuffer
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

"2005" is the date on my bottle (purchased dec. 2007). ABV is "only" 11.4 on this one.

The smell is faint and primarily composed of alcohol and golden raisin, with some hops coming through. As the beer warms the flavors develop more. An even blend of malt and hops with a pleasantly sweet though not terribly complex taste. Stays wet on the palate with (not surprisingly) verly little carbonation. However, what's really remarkable is how smooth the taste is for the alcohol content, hence my drinkability score. I wouldn't necessarily want to drink this often or a lot, but this aspect of the beer is impressive to me.

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

Pours dark mahogany with a slight white head.

Aroma is caramel, dark fruit, woody with plenty of fusel alcohol.

Taste is similar to the nose with generous sweet syrupy dark malt, dark fruit with a strong brandy-like alcohol quality. Brown sugar, toffee, maple, some mustyness and a definite woody aspect that brings dryness. Finish holds lingering alcohol.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, syrupy and sticky.

This is certainly a big beer. Sweeter than the offering from previous years. As good as it is now, I can't wait to cellar this one for another year or more.

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,736 ratings.