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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,783 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,783
Reviews: 1,401
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 145
Gots: 509 | FT: 20
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.
View: Beers (21) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,783 | Reviews: 1,401 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of blackjack000
4.67/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very dark amber/reddish-brown color in the glass, with a thin light-tan head. The beer looks to have an inviting, thick consistency. The head remained in its slim consistency to the very end.

Smell: Aromatic black liquorice, potpourri, some alcohol poking through, anise seed, warm sugar. As this beer warms slightly, the smells really come through nicely.

Taste: This ale has a very strong and rich flavor, and is very pleasant to drink. The alcohol comes through a little too strong, and could be put in check with more malt and hop flavor. Not that I wasn't expecting a strong alcoholic taste, I just think it could be better complemented. Other than that, the beer has a nice sweet, syrupy alcoholic flavor. Woah, I just glanced up and noticed the 13.25% alcohol by volume. I guess I can excuse any heaviness of alcohol in the taste or scent. I suppose this beer did quite well in masking the alcohol content, considering!

Mouthfeel: Heavy-medium mouthfeel balanced out by carbonation. At times the beer almost feels thick and viscous as it coats my mouth. Very interesting feeling, and I really enjoyed it.

Drinkability: The beer is instantly warming my belly up. The alcohol content is quite contenting, something I would love to drink after coming in after shoveling snow. This beer makes me think of snow drifting in the back of my collar and wind cutting into the openings of my coat sleeves, and how this warming ability of Old Stock Ale would make it all worthwhile. The 13.25% ABV really takes me back. I remember seeking out 8% malts to get my mind right when I was in the Navy. If only I was more enlightened, I could have put my money towards something like this; an all-around good and flavorful experience, while still packing quite a respectable punch.

Photo of SaucyA
3.52/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Into a tulip at cellar temp, this 2007 specimen poured a beautiful deep ruby/amber color. Clear and filtered, but no lacing whatsoever. Head was enormous at first, 2+ fingers of white goodness, but faded quickly.

S - Dark fruits and raisins, alcohol, light molasses or brown sugar notes. Fusel undertones, but somehow works.

T - I can't put my finger on this one, and not being terribly into old ale's, I'm having trouble rating it. It's ever-changing. Hot and boozy up front, but mellows on the finish. Mostly alcohol in the first half, and tobacco, raisin, paper, prunes, rum, and saw dust at the end... all while riding a malty sweet wave. It's interesting... cinammon in the late aftertaste.

M - Slightly thin, but still chewy. Medium carbonation. Not syrupy and not oily... different.

D - A sipper. The abv and random flavors make this a little less appealing... it's a great try, but it won't be a staple in my fridge. I'll chalk it up to experience.

Notes: I'd love to try this after it aged for a couple years, or the barrel aged version. If the heat toned down a little bit, I could see this being spectacular.

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

2008 release, poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. At first a nice head but fades away rather quickly which is a little disappointing.

Smell is nice, very nice. Comes off a little sweet, with a good amount of bitter and malty aromas.

Taste and mouthfeel are excellent. The bitter is balanced very well with the sweet taste of it. Feels a bit like a good dessert wine. The malt flavor has just the right amount of toasted characteristic to it. Mouthfeel is very smooth with a nice lingering aftertaste. The alcohol is detectable but not as much as you would think given the high 12.5%. You can find it if you look for it, but the beer tastes so good that it's hard to concentrate on finding it. Sneaky bastards.

Normally I would say that a beer this good is one that I could drink all day long but with the 12.5 abv this stuff will knock you on your .ass if you're not careful. I had 2 bottles of it and was feeling more that just a little warm and fuzzy on the inside. Overall a damn good beer, I'm going to take the other 2 bottles from the 4 pack and cellar them and compare them to next year's.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

This is a deep dark honey color, creamy and cloudy. It looks beautiful... Not a lot of head but what was there was thick.

Smell is deep- malty, caramel, mildly fruity.

I haven't tasted anything else I could compare this to. Rich, nutty, malty, sweet - almost a dessert quality. The alcohol is definetly present but disappears behind the sweet, complex flavor.

Feel is excellent, full and creamy, really nice effort. Too rich for me to drink for than 1 or 2, but excellent none the less.

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

Pours a dark, clear honey color with lots of foam. Head recedes quickly with some lacing left behind.

Smell lightly of alcohol, melon, and malt.

Tastes incredible! Great balance between the alcohol & malt with a nice hoppy citrus finish. I drank this at about 55 degrees, which is fairly warm for an ale, and it tastes great.

This is my new standard for how ales should feel in your mouth. Nice smooth viscosity.

At 11.7% alcohol, I'm not sure how long into the evening I would last, but I sure would like to give it a try! It tastes great and goes down smooth with very balanced alcohol.

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

2006 Vintage. Pours an ambery brown in color, mainly clear, with a light caramel tan small head that recedes to a ring. Aroma is a strong fruity aged maltiness, raisins and some prunes, good sized amount of sweet caramel maltiness and toffee in the smell as well. Light berries and alcohol are also evident. Spiced rum like qualities. Taste follows with a good sized rich sugary prune and caramel flavor up front, vanilla, some spiced rum mid taste as it turns drier before a good alcohol warmth in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium, slightly creamy feel is cut by the drying and warming alcohol. An interesting beer for sure. Some great aged barleywine characteristics as well as some qualities that are unique to itself, at least in my experience, like the aged rum. Look forward to the barrel aged versions of this.

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

2005 vintage. This poured a muddy copper color with apparent carbonation and very little head. It smelled like sweet onion and caramel. It tasted the same, with added apple cider flavoring (mulled spices). The flavor was very sweet with only a slight bitterness in the aftertaste and almost no noticeable hops. The texture was kind of watery but very easy to drink.

2007 vintage. This poured a clear, medium brown with no head. It smelled like rich caramel malt with some hops and alcohol scent. It tasted like caramel and walnut malts with pine hops and slight alcohol warming. It was watery with some carbonation and had a sweet, clean, lasting aftertaste. Overall this had great flavor, although it could have been a bit more refined (aged another couple of years). With time, this would be the perfect beer to drink by fireside.

2008 vintage. This poured a fairly clear reddish brown with tan head. It smelled like honey wheat and alcohol with some caramel malt. It tasted like sweet brown sugar and honey wheat, with some bitter pine hops for balance, and a little alcohol warming. It was thick with slight carbonation and had a lasting sweet and bitter aftertaste. Overall this vintage was bolder but less delicate or complex than I remember the 2007. This was still very tasty, but it will clearly get better with age.

Photo of enfield249
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage

A - Pours a dark copper red, with a thin light tan head of about 1 finger, that fades to a fat ring of foam around the top of the beer.

S - Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, roast, some alcohol. I think the high alcohol content really brings those aromas out.

T - The first thing I get is a nice toffee and light rosat flavor. Then that fades and the beer leaves pretty warm with a alcohol flavor.

M - Medium full, feels like a lot of carbonation, and of course a lot of alcohol warming, and even some tingling.

D- A really awesome old ale. Very drinkable, a bit much for more then weekly, but great taste all around.

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

2008 bottle.
This beer pours a very nice mahogany color. The nose is... familiar yet undeterminable.... vanilla, some hops, some sweet, fresh pasta in there as well???

Great on the palate, tastes of dark dried fruits, light molasses sweetness, wine, some hops thrown in for balance. No alcohol kick at all...easy to drink... this beer could be dangerous.

I drank this beer with a simple sandwich... a thick slice of glazed smoked ham (gotta love holiday leftovers) on whole grain bread with just a dab of Grey Pupon. A good match for the beer, unexpectedly.

Overall I'm impressed. I'm going to lay some of these down. I can't wait to see how it ages.

Photo of JDV
3.06/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fresh 2007 on tap. Pours a rich maroonish color with a small offwhite head. Smell is mainly alcohol and light maltiness with an almost faint skunkiness to it, somehow. Prickly, boozy mouthfeel, with flavors of alcohol, hops, and somewhat dry. Decent flavor and drinkable, but I can see this being a lot better with some age, and look forward to trying some older bottles.

Photo of stumac
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 Vintage, drank it March '08.

Stashed away for lil bit. popped it open with some buddies.

A - not much head, nice dark amber color

S - awesome. lots of dark fruits, figs, dark cherries. caramel malts

T - dark fruits, dark cherries for sure, nice brandy back tone, light alcohol burn (not a bad burn, more like a warming sensation)

MF - smoothe, nice sipping beer. low carbonation, medium to light bodied

D - theres good beer and then theres great beer. this beer is a great beer.

looking forward to aging more of this recipe for years to come.

2008 Vintage, drank it February of '09.

pours up a deep mahogany color with a quickly fading off white head. the nose is composed of English smelling malts, caramel, burnt wood. I taste dark cherries, sherry, wood, caramel apple. A very complex beer. medium bodied, low carbo, deeelish.

Photo of avalon07
3.28/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber hue and a thick consistency. Not a huge amount of head, but OK.

This had a pretty malty smell, along with some sweets. Fairly well-balanced in this category.

While malts are evident in the taste, the alcohol is really, really obvious. The flavor is pretty harsh.

There's a nice amount of carbonation, but the finish is pretty rough.

This beer is a mixed bag. What it comes down to for me is the taste. The alcohol isn't masked in the least. Other than that, it's okay.

Photo of jbphoto88
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2008 bottle of the old stock ale. Pours a dark amber, leather color. Nice initial head but it fades quick and leaves almost no evidence of its existence.

Smell is slightly fruity and reminds me of fresh cantaloup.

Taste is sweet and malty. There is also the fruity taste of cantaloup but also darker caramelized fruits and a sugary aftertaste. There is a fine warmth from the ABV that warms the mouth and throat.

The beer isn't harsh on the mouth despite the higher ABV. There is no alcohol twang that inhibits the drinking of this brew. Maybe not a good thing at 13.25% This is an easy drinking beer with a smooth mouthfeel and silky aftertaste.

Photo of Yotus
3.71/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

When poured into a goblet-style glass, a decent tight tan head blossomed. Deep ruby-brown color, clear as a bell. No hop aromatics to speak of; some bread-like notes indicating some Munich-type malt; head fell back within a couple of minutes, but is no surprise given the 12.5% ABV. I also detect some apple notes; this beer is vintage 2008 and is obviously very young.

Rich, luxurious body with a good kick of hop bitterness. Whoa - this is one alcoholic monster, very hot. So much, in fact, that it detracts from the beer's overall finish, which is on the sweet side.
Dark fruit and malt.

This beer should continue to improve over the next couple years. I'd recommend putting some of this away for New Year's Eve, 2009. It will score better after it mellows out.

Photo of cjgator3
3.62/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

2007 release, 12 oz bottle. Pours a dark mahogany color with not much of a head on this brew. The aroma is sweet and malty with dark fruit and caramel. The taste, like the aroma, is on the malty side with dark alcohol soaked fruits, and a slightly spicy finish with a warming sensation from the high ABV. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Overall, this is a pretty decent brew, but the high ABV causes the drinkability to be on the low side. This brew is just a little bit too boozy for my tastes, but it is worth a try.

Photo of jenbys2001
4.65/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2007 release: 11.7%

Brilliant beer. I had no clue the alcohol content was so high until I read the label as I was sipping it. Huge flavor - dark fruits, hoppy kick, high carbonation. This is one of my new favorite "big" beers, although it's really way too drinkable considering the ABV. It really reminds me of several Belgian trappist ales.

Photo of irishkyle21
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second beer from North Coast, the first being Old Rasputin. 2006 clearly marked on the bottle. Old Stock Ale pours with a fluffy white head. The lacing keeps building up layers as I sip. Has a deep reddish/copper color.

Smells of a lovely mix of fruits, hops, a good maltiness that becomes richer and sweeter as I drink. The alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelmingly so.

Tastes of malts, fruits, hop bitterness and a warming alcohol that reminds me of Brandy. This beer will hold up for a long time to come.

Photo of Lothore
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Version

A- Pours a beautiful deep ruby hue with not too much of a head

S- Lots of caramel, malty to the core, coffee undertones, have to admit the nose on this one makes me excited to taste it.

T- masterfully balanced. Lots of raisins and figs all the way through, caramel underneath, hints of coffee towards the end. Alcohol pretty prevalent the whole way.

M- Fairly thick, quite a bit of carbonation.

D- The alcohol cramps the drinkability a bit but it definitely doesn't feel too young to drink for me. I'll have to seek out some vintages of this one and see what i've been missing.

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

This beer pours a dark copper with ruby highlights, and has a big fluffy mostly white head that impales itself to the glass on the way down. The Aroma is wonderful, caramel, raisins, dried fruits, slight bit of citrus hops, but mostly sweet smelling malt. Taste hits with the sweet malt and caramel up front, some hop twang in the middle, giving way to an alcohol burn at the end. Mouthfeel is sweet and sticky, ample carbonation. Great sipping beer. Tastes a little sweet, but that just made me drink it quicker.

Photo of rye726
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


Mahogany with not much of a head.

Goes from dull when cold to very sharp when warm. Fruit alcohols with sweet malts and earthy hops.

Mild at first, but complexity grows on the palate. Plums, cherries figs, raisins, prunes, caramel a musky hops.

Full creamy body with good carbonation. A nice old ale, but not my favorite year. Still a well priced hybrid of j.w. lee's and hardy's.

2008 vintage pops up the flavor to a 5

Photo of Redwood21
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: the appearance was decent, head could better and have better retention. but at this abv i am not all too depressed. the color is deep black as one might expect

S: not much aroma to note, the style indicates lower on this end, but it could be stronger still. there was some wine alcohol estery aroma and that was about it.

T: ripe dark fruit, with an almost port oak wood taste, with a sweet finish, attributed to the original fruit tastes

M/D: this beer has a sharp almost acutely carbonated feel. it tingles on the tongue and it way too drinkable for this abv

Photo of Lothar666
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle was from 2007.

A- Poured a dark mahogany brown with a creamy off-white head that was a full two fingers thick but receeded rather quickly. No sediment was readily visible.

S- Strong fermented dark fruits in the nose- raisins, apples, figs, pears and grapes combined with the scent of cane sugar and english toffee.

T- A delicious and complex mixture of dark fruits and sugars in the flavor profile with a delightful hop bite and warming alcohol in the finish. Toffee, apples, pears and grapes are all present in this delightful winter brew.

M- Thick, full bodied and syrupy with a pleasant tingle from the hops and the alcohol. Mouth texture is excellent and this one is a pleasure to swish and savor.

D- Drinkability suffers a bit from the undisguised burn of the alcohol, but this is compensated for by complex and delicious flavors, making this one a pleasure to sip on. I would still like to see what a couple years in the cellar will do to this one.

Photo of neonbrown82
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

This is a very good beer, and a great deal for a four pack. The beer pours to a bright ruby red color with hints of mahogany. A billowing fizzy head appears on the pour, but it quickly recedes, leaving no lace in it's wake. What do you expect for a beer boasting 12.5% on the label? Carbonation remains quite apparent throughout the drink, but it just can't support a head.

The beer has a strong metallic odor to it on the pour, but it falls to the background as it has a chance to breath and warm up. The malt is definitely the highlight here. Lots and lots of it. Smells like some candi sugar, even. Plenty of caramel, as one would expect. Some toasted bread aromas and dark fruity fig esters. Behind all of that is a blast of rocket fuel that really stings the nostrils. It may sound bad, but for some reason it just works with this particular beer. Doesn't smell too particularly hoppy.

The taste, on the other hand, reveals a strong hops presence. The bitterness is nearly as formidable as the malt. Quite a good balance for a beer of this size, even considering the strong alcohol bite it delivers to the palate. I'm having a hard time trying to distinguish any additional spices in here. I'm thinking it's probably just the yeast at play, but there is definitely a spiciness going on.

The body is as full as they come. Despite the apparent carbonation, the bubbles are barely detectable on the tongue. Smooth and silky. The alcohol bite makes up for any lack of bite from the carbonation. It's a sipper for sure. It provides a nice warming effect and a little buzz off of a single 12 oz serving. I enjoyed it, and I look forward to aging some, or even drinking some more fresh, given that it is only $8 for a 4pk! With beers of this "caliber," I am used to paying much more. It definitely helps out the beer's overall drinkability, considering I am unlikely to drink more than one of these on any given night, and most likely not when it is warm out.

Photo of GilGarp
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 release, 12oz. bottle, 12.5% ABV.

Poured it into a tulip style glass, it had a small amount of head. It's a beautiful dark amber color, like a cognac.

Alcohol seems to overwhelm the aroma. The taste and mouthfeel are like that of a Belgian trapist ale turned up loud with a predominant woodsy apple character.

I agree with other reviewers that this one will age very well. It's definately too early to give a fair evaluation but I did anyway.

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

2007 Release--11.6% ABV

Appearance: It's clear and a deep red-amber color. Head is off white and about two fingers deep. Retention was average and lacing was light.

Smell: Caramel-toffee malts and dark fruit (raisin and plum) are the strongest scents. There is a brown sugar like, sweet smell to it. Alcohol is noticeable, but not overly strong in smell. Notes of piney hops emerge in addition to a slightly yeasty smell toward the end. Pretty complex.

Taste: Caramel-toffee malts are strong initially and give it a sweet taste. Roasted malt and dark fruit flavors complement the sweetness. Hops give it some balance. Perhaps a bit of citrus sweetness (mostly grapefruit) is noticeable, but not quite as apparent as in a barleywine. Alcohol is blended pretty well, but definitely noticeable.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's thick and definitely a sipping beer. Carbonation is good. It's a big beer at 11.6%, but smooth and drinkable nonetheless. I'd still limit myself to one in a sitting due to its strength. Overall, this is an excellent beer. Definitely recommended.

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,783 ratings.