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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,813 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,813
Reviews: 1,413
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 144
Gots: 523 | FT: 23
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: 2,813 | Reviews: 1,413
Photo of indiapaleale
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage ~

Weighing in at 12.5% alcohol, the 2008 Old Stock Ale is a heavy looking beer as it comes out of the bottle. Once its made its way into the glass its a very rich dark auburn brown color with wisps of redness. Not much head on this one and the carbonation level is minimal as far as I can tell. Its a great looking beer.

Smell is very rich and sweet brown sugar and dark brown bread accompanied with dark stewed fruit. Some apple cider vinegar notes are present as well that lead to some red wine characteristics. This is another very complex beer as far as smell goes. So many strands to pull apart!

Taste is absolutely delicious from the first chewy sip. Very balanced. Sweet malt tastes combine with some toasted dark bread and some more bitter notes quite well before the alcohol dryness hits you at the end. The sweetness and the bitterness play off each other nicely and the warming from the alcohol is a nice little feature as well. You'll definitely want to give this beer a chance to warm up a bit so you can experience all the flavors it has to offer. You'd be crazy not to love a beer with such complexity and strength.

Photo of PatrickJR
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into oversized snifter. 2007 vintage.

A - Ruby brown with a slight haze. Smallish off-white head that disappears quickly, some decent lacing before all traces of foam disappear.

S - Wonderful aroma. Intense malt sweetness, approaching something like a sherry or port. Dark fruit, bread, walnuts, caramel, it's all there in one beautifully succinct package.

T - A little less intruiging than the nose. Very sweet and candy-like at first, then morphing into a raisin/over-ripe/grape flavor. Flavor further dries out to reveal some simple grain characteristics before the brief alcohol bite. Finishes with a minimal bitterness.

M - A little syrupy but not too much. Low to moderate carbonation.

D - Somewhat intense for my tastes. Increased body would improve drinkability, much like a barleywine. Sweet as well with little to balance except the alcohol. I bumped this up half a point though because the 11.7% is EXCEPTIONALLY well hidden.

Photo of bator22
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a ruby/brown, slightly hazy. Some lacing that remains on the glass.

S: Sweet aromas; brown sugar, caramel, candy

T: Caramel and vanilla, at the end a hint of cream

M: Very smooth condsidering the alcohol level. A very creamy mouthfeel

D: Loved this beer, i could certainly drink several of them

Photo of srandycarter
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried out with 2011 series 4 years after reviewing first time. Original view at bottom.

A - Fairly clear, medium to dark caramel, very little head, big ring and thin pond scum. Lace is sudsy and thin.

S - Thick sweet malt with an herbal spicy, almost medicinal note. Anise. It is somewhat anise. Don't usually like this, but it is working so far.

T - Lush sweet malt, big hot booze present, the anise thing mid to latter taste.

M - Medium body, overall good finish and balance.

D - I could have a few. Wish there was less anise though, would have scored higher for T, M and D.

A - Murky brown with initial 1 inch off white head, nice and thick. Leaves after a few minutes, with just a ring left. Lacing persistent thin bubbled and soapy.

S - Heavy sweet malts, brown sugar and lots of alcohol in the nose, almost like some sweet extract.

T - Heavy, creamy, thick. Very sweet center, very boozy and surprising enough hops to balance the monster out.

M - Creamy, coating, carb good for such a high ABV.

D - No way. One 12 oz is about all I would want of one of these per session.

Photo of saintwarrick
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage. Pours a brownish, dark amber with a somewhat fizzy, off-white head that just laces the glass. Aroma is big and thick, like an imperial stout. Figs and prunes lead a dark fruit aspect while the rest of the smell is very sweet, molasses and caramel with a touch of whiskey. Taste is extremely malty, not overly sweet however, some light caramel and chocolate covered raisins. Also adds in a big blend of dark fruits. There's a nice bit of bitterness there before it is finished off by a throat-warming alcohol finish that again reminds me of whiskey.

So damn malty and so complex. A sipper, but a great beer to be had at any time.

Photo of RickSawyer
4.62/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle, freshest old stock I have ever had...

Pours a ruby red, honey amber hue with a beautifully creamy tight head. Smell is sweet, cherry, molasses, hints of roasted cashew. Very port-esque / sherry-like in the nose. Taste is very 'porty'. Sweet, cherries covered in brown sugar, raisins, heavy caramel. Mouthfeel is nice, thick and creamy. Carbonated perfectly for the flavors to tickle the tongue. A wonderful dessert beer. If you enjoy port I can almost guarantee that you will enjoy Old Stock.

Photo of sholland119
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a rich, opaque medium brown. Little head or stickiness.

S-Dark, rich fruits and not a little bit of booziness. This is going to be a sipper (duh! 13.3% ABV).

T-Caramel sweetness from the jump, layers of honey and golden raisins with a solid whiskey finish. Nice warming alcohol feel.

M-Rich, creamy and oily. Very nice.

D-Obviously one is the recommended dosage. I will enjoy exactly 12 oz. in one sitting.

Not my usual preferred type of beer due to the high alcohol content and rampant booziness. But this one does it just right. It will only get better as it warms.


Photo of pmcadamis
4.72/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

My bottle is a 2007 vintage, and it looks like my bottle is slightly lower in alcohol than previous years (my bottle lists an ABV of 11.7...still a bruiser by any definition.

A - This beer looks exactly like the bottle! The head is the yellowed parchment color of the label, and the brew is the color of the brown bottle itself! Upon closer inspection, the brown body has some deep ruby highlights and it's pretty much transparent....like looking into a dark crystal. The head starts at about a finger and quickly drops to a thin haze and turtleneck collar, but with nearly 14%ABV, I'm not surprised!

S - Autumn leaves, single malt scotch, and expensive cognac intermingle with tootsie rolls and what I imagine gummy bears would smell like minus the fruit flavoring. Like maybe vanilla gummy bears. Some sweet concentrated orange in a frozen can is noticeable, but only just. This is gloriously toasty and buttery, and is pure joy to sniff.

T - Much like the nose, this is wondrously dark and rich like smoky Islay single malts, while remaining sweet and alluring like cognac. Honeycomb, honey drenched hop buds, crispy waffles (not doughy) and lightly bitter orange rind (Grand Marnier comes to mind). Outstanding!

M - Full bodied and buxom, yet tight and controlled....never flabby or round. This has a similar body to many tripels that I've tried in that it's tight, attenuated, alcoholic, and firm, yet still very full bodied. The initial sweet coating is swept away first by alcohol fumes, then by an intense hoppy finish. Wow...my jaw is on the floor.

D - I think quite highly of this brew, but I honestly wouldn't want to drink this too fast, and I don't know if I would want more than one. It's a sipper, not a slugger and I can't fault it for that. If drinkability means purchasability and enjoyability, then I give this a 4.5.

Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Val-Dieu chalice.

2006 vintage. 11.6%abv.

A: Pours a nice looking hazy melted caramel color with some burnt orange highlights. Small and creamy light-tan colored head recedes quickly to a thick and creamy ring that leaves curving streams of lace in the glass.

S: Incredible aromas of caramel, whisky, raisins, chocolate, bruised and over-ripe plums, caramel apple, vanilla, and rich, sweet, malty goodness.

T: See above. HUGE blast of sweet caramel malt, whisky, and dark ripe fruit. Chocolate, dry toasted malt, bitter hops, caramel apple, vanilla, and mint round out the bill. Awesome booziness!

M: Very large and creamy. Incredibly oily and coating. Sweet caramel and whisky sticks to everything in my mouth. Finish is sweet and long lasting.

D: Lip-smacking sweetness is expertly balanced by earthy hoppiness and the aforementioned booziness. It's not hot or ragged in the least-just boozy enough to show you that it's not to be trifled with. What an awesome beer!

Photo of Donnie2112
4.33/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage

appearance: brownish red, swirling head, nice

smell: sweet, caramel, brown sugar

taste: caramelly, maple, sweet breadiness, rolls into a slightly burnt malt and hint of hops

mouthfeel: warm, thick, nice carbonation

drinkability: very drinkable, warms me on a cool night and has enough of a crisp bight to finish clean

2007 release poured into an oversized wine glass

appearance: Makes me think of a "tobacco sunburst" maple guitar top, hues of translucent reds and browns and champagne like streams of bubbles continuosly flow up the glass

smell:nose is all molasses with a hint of something that could be perceived as citrus

taste: sweet molasses and bread with a hint of yeasty nuttiness balanced out by a warming alcohol and the slight tinge of last little bit of citrusy hops left

mouthfeel: heavy bodied, plenty of carbonation a bit of oily astringince at the end

rather nice, I think this one could stand to sit in the cellar a bit longer. Look for my 06 review shortly

06 poured into an oversized wine glass

appearance: rather dark, brownish, red, translucent, lingering bits of head and slight lacing

smell: rummy a bit of raisins, rather sweet, just a bit of metallic alcohol I am going to have to upgrade my smell rating on this bad boy

taste: sweet, raisins, a bit bready and not even a hint of hops, a bit of alcohol

mouthfeel: medium carbonation, heavy body, maybe just a little bit of astringence.

drinkability: Excellent, so sweet, so smooth. I just want to keep drinking it and unfortunately I can't.

I've got another vertical of this and I want to try it in a year. Seriously people you've got to try this stuff aged because it is absolutely wonderful. I don't know how to score it because the aged 06 comes off as world class and the 07 comes off as great and the 08 just ok.

Photo of claytri
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a dark amber with a nice tan head. The aroma was of sweet malt with hints of dark fruit. The taste was of sweet malt, cherry, and a nice alcohol burn. The feel was syrupy and wet. This was a very nice and drinkable old ale. The taste was fairly sweet, but although not directly tasted the hops had been used to good effect keeping the beer very drinkable.

Photo of erosier
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: Pours a nice amber color with a short light tan colored head that is fades fast to a slight ring around the beer.
S: It has a very sweet smell with hints of apples in the nose along with alot of alcohol.
T: It has a very sweet taste of some nice malts, followed by a lot of alcohol but no burn, then some fruity tones in it.
M: Very mellow and warming.
D: The drinkability is very high for a beer of this magnitude and I would love to have this one again.

Photo of botham
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip. '2004' is watermarked behind the 'old stock ale' on the bottle. pours a caramel brown color without highlights. a half finger of head dissipates quickly into a soapy rim.

aroma is very rich and full of malts. there are some caramel malts, along with some dark fruit and a base of an earthy aroma. similar to a barleywine in that the aroma is packed with malts and is quite concentrated.

taste is quite malty, with caramel and distant chocolate present, and dark fruit notes as well. very rich and full flavored. fruit notes include raisen, plum, and a touch of cherry. finishes with residual malt and grape.

mouthfeel is full bodied with a tart texture and a semi dry finish.

drinkability is decent. this is a huge brew with a large alcohol tag, 11.4% APV, that keeps the malts coming and slams the palate with flavor. rich and complex, this is a solid old ale.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.82/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle at 12.5%

Pours a clear amber color with a good sized head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a thin film of head on top.

Smell is rather sweet, malty with some caramel, light fruit presence (apple or pear maybe?), some alcohol bite but not as strong as most old ales tend to be.

Taste is controlled by the malt and caramel, any fruit presence from the aroma is mostly lost, sharp alcoholic bite that's known to most old ales.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice amber. Smells of sweet caramel malt and alcohol. Taste was very sweet. Caramel malts and rum notes abounded, and there was maybe a hint of balancing hops. This was a solid Old Ale. Good syrupy mouthfeel, overall a very good Old Ale. Good in bottle and on tap too.

Photo of drxandy
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

'07 stock ale poured into a snifter, nice pour, thin white head faded down to nothing
deep golden red-amber brown shade

smelled of hot alcohol, complexity including caramel, granny smith apples, sugar

taste of deep caramel-y malt, really nice alcohol warmth, sweet fruity notes (apple, etc), nice bitter citrus hopping, grapefruit peel

reminded me of a lighter cognac, nice and complex

mouthfeel was thick and creamy yet bitter and hot - really nice, age would do this one great and it was drinking really well from this batch (not sure when it was produced)

paired with a string (moz) cheese :D - paired extremely well for the record, they worked together very nicely

overall, i want more!!

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to egajdzis for sharing this '05 vintage...
Appears a dark amber with a small, white head that slowly fades into a mild collar. Small CO2 rises to the top. Scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of brown sugar, dark fruit, vanilla, caramel, and cashews.
Taste is of the aromas with a nice mixing that makes me want more and more with every sip.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, with slight heat warming the mouth, and vanilla lingering.

Photo of Trueant1
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours carmel color with a thick tan foamy head.
Sits in the glass dark and red.

Smells of rich caramel, hops and alcohol.

Taste is rich and creamy caramel. Raisens,plumbs and many other fruits. Very alcoholic! Smooth sipper.

THis is a thick, sticky, and rich beer with the alcohol making it a sipper. Great stuff.

I tried the 2008 vintage to review.

Photo of halfP1NT
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a 2006 vintage.

Appearance is dark ruby brown, almost opaque, with a thin, white head that recedes quickly.

Smell is raisins, dark fruit, slightly sweet. Definite alcohol presence. Almost smells a little bready, like pumpernickel. Reminds me of a port.

Taste is dark fruits- raisins, dark cherries, figs. Also a bit of licorice & leather comes through as it warms. Very complex, alcohol is extremely evident & lingers after the sip, burning in the back of my mouth. As I held it in my mouth, I also tasted chocolate a bit.

The combination of the high alcohol & complex dark fruits reminds me of drinking a port. The alcohol coats my mouth & I feel it through my nose. This is a really big beer, took me about 2 ½ hours to finish one glass. Very enjoyable taste and aroma, drinkability is good, just very slow.

Photo of dmowen
3.67/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is a 2005 that I'm reviewing. Poors out a dark amber color with a good head the fades rather quickly. Smells of whiskey and roasted carmel. Mouth feel is good and drinkability is OK as long as it is cold. When allowed to warm some in the glass the whiskey taste comes across very strong.
The bottle I reviewed has been sitting in the back of my frig for about 2 years so I'm unsure if that affected the taste or not.

p.s. As I'm sitting here sipping this I find that it does get smoother as it warms up even more.
... ok, last swallow,,, mmm not to bad after all. hint; let beer warm up before drinking;
i think you'll enjoy it more

Photo of trill
3.37/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This is the '07, so I'm rating this one fairly young for the style. Some barleywines can be quite appealing at this age, though, so here we go.

Pours a fairly transparent copper with a thin cream skin. Smells like dirt, earthy hops, and a little dark fruit, with very little malt sweetness in the aroma. Taste is molasses, powerful Fuggle bitterness, nearly overwhelming carbonation, and significant alcohol burn. The mouthfeel seems off for the style; too thin and fizzy. Light tobacco flavor, a touch of malt breadiness, and an interesting rye-like nuttiness. This one needs time to pull itself together; I won't be opening another bottle for a few years.

Photo of everetends
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulling this one from my beer journal. Got this brew as a four pack from a Harry's Farmers Market in Marietta, Ga.

The pour comes out a dark copper, almost ruby/amber color. Beautiful pour with just a touch of head.

Smell is a bit strong but beautiful. Comes across as caramel malt, sweets, and alcohol.

Taste is a bit malty with a touch of fruit (raisans maybe). The most prevelant taste was alcohol, but it a great flavor. Has the finish that I equate to a good scotch, warming you from within and stays with you.

Mouthfeel is nice. The alcohol is not overwhelming and goes down easy once you know what you are in for.

Drinkability is tricky. I really enjoyed this beer and I had it set aside for the last world cup final. I drank the entire four pack and I was good and drunk for the remainder of the day. Not one to be handled in mulitple bottles in one sitting, but very enjoyable.

Photo of dreadnatty08
3.28/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

2008 Vintage
Pours a dark ruby red and caramel color with an off-white head that dwindles to a thin covering soon after the pour. Aromas are strong alcohol, almost fusely, plenty of rich, dripping plums and raisins with a dose of chocolate. No hop aroma. Flavors are more of the same, alcohol dosed dark fruits with a bit of chocolate, toasty malts. Carbonation is WAY high and truly hinders the drinkability of this otherwise excellent ale. Why they chose this carbonation level is beyond me. It thins it out and just makes the alcohol shine with the sweet malts masked in big bubbles.

Photo of Neehan
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An aggressive pour leads to a copper body with about a half-inch light caramel head, but it disappears rather quickly and with little lacing. Very complex with strong alcohol paired with caramel, toffee, and malts that slightly burn the nose. These are repeated in the taste, with the alcohol becoming more present as it warms in the glass. This is a definite slow sipper as it is very rich, very heavy and complex. This is a good selection if you are looking to sit down and careful explore and contemplate its characteristics, and less for casual drinking. Depends on what you are after here, but either way you won't be disappointed.

Photo of Overlord
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pleasant burnished amber. Smells of sweet caramel malt and alcohol (I'm not going to lie, this beer is laden with alcohol flavors).

Taste was overridingly sweet. Caramel malts and rum notes abounded, and there was maybe a hint of balancing hops. This was a good solid beer, Good syrupy mouthfeel, though. Could use a bit more carbonation, but the dark fruits, bit of rum notes, and brown sugar laden caramel were quite nice. Just a bit hot. Needs more time.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,813 ratings.