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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.

2,474 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,474
Reviews: 1,357
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 127
Gots: 407 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,474 | Reviews: 1,357 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of longarm


4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

2002 release. Appears dingy amber with decent carbonation that lasts quite well.

Aroma is outstanding, filled with sweet oranges and caramel, not caramel malt, but candied caramel. I'm also catching a small amount of something resembling cotton candy. Slightly alcoholic as well.

Flavor generally sweet, like dates with mild alcoholic heat and slight hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit cloying, maybe a bit too heavy on the malt, but it coats extremely well.

Considering the strong sweetness and especially high alcohol, it's a rather drinkable and pleasant brew. I think this would go well paired with a cold, dark chocolate based dessert.

04-05-2005 23:22:49 | More by longarm
Photo of granger10


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

2003 version:

This beer pours a deep mahogany amber color with a tight tan head that holds up. Minimal lacing. Vinous aroma with caramel and dried figs and then a sharp brandyish alcohol kick. Starts somewhat sweet and fruity with a caramel and apple flavor. Underneath there's a roasted earthiness. Alcohol precense is strong, even for this somewhat aged bottle. Tastes like a brandy or cognac or scotch or something along those lines, i'm not completely sure. Hop flavor is almost drowned out by the alcohol but the hops do provide a drying lingering sensation in the back of my mouth. Firm and slick bodied in feel, this beer is quite tasty and goes down well while the flavors hold in the aftertaste for quite some time. Very nice!

03-31-2005 22:38:33 | More by granger10
Photo of SupaCelt


3.55/5  rDev -13.8%

This is a really pretty drink. Sorry if that sounds light in the trousers, but it has the richest amber colour I have yet laid eyes upon. Black cherry or super ruby double cranberry comes to mind. A thin and bubbly one finger head rose up and crashed into the alcoholic inferno beneath in moments. No lace. Not even a ringer by the time I got to the middle of the glass. I see some carbonation spritzing off to the atmosphere. That colour though. WaWa WeeWa.

The smell says whiskey dumped on some caramel and apple and maybe some cherry. Sweet and strong smelling. Not super pungent by any stretch.

The taste was really a shock. Not much happening here. I had certain expectations going into the taste test that just were not met. I can say for an old ale with not that much flavor it hides the alcohol pretty well. I am unsure how this thing pulls that stunt off, but it does. You get a sugar crystally, fruity, carameled flavor followed by a warmth that let's you know that this old girl has some joy juice in it. Tiny bitterness or alcohol bite in the finish. But the whole thing is kinda light. Both in texture and in taste. The thickness and boastful flavors that I expected are nowhere to be found. But the colour! I wonder at this point if I have made a crucial error and sprung this bastard loose too early. Then I think, well it isn't going to grow a set and get thicker in the bottle if I leave it for a year. Flavors could possibly improve, but the body is not going to get any more full. I am kind of disappointed as I have contemplated drinking this bottle for awhile ( okay, a few days )now and the thing just fell short. Flopped like a fat, wet titty. Not to worry, I intend to get another bottle and age that sucka into a dust covered cellar dweller. Ahh yes, hope. It is all I have. This is far inferior to T.C.O.A. is all I hafta say to those that feel me : )

03-31-2005 14:32:35 | More by SupaCelt
Photo of cokes


4.47/5  rDev +8.5%

Clear, rusty amber/bronze with a patchy pale tan lacing.
From here on out, it's analogous to fruit punch. Smelling strongly of pineapple, cherry, pear, and grape. Spiked with rum.
Tastes similar. Full of tropical and domestic fruits, like a heavy syrup Tropicana puree. Gobbed with pineapples, apples, pear, peach, cherry, grape, plum, raspberry. The underlying base is caramel, but the fruit is so thick as to basically negate the standard conception of malt..and, for that matter, alcohol. If anything, it's a bit one-sided with it juiciness, but it's so damn delicious, and nothing here is forced, out of place, or artificial seeming. A quick breadiness reminds us that this is, in fact, beer, and precedes an algae-rich hop notion of plant life.
Heavy, thickened texture, with a sluggish carbonation that gives this just the movement it needs to prevent it from seeming stagnant or cloying.
There is nothing else like this, American, British, anywhere.

03-29-2005 07:14:22 | More by cokes
Photo of ism

New Jersey

4.45/5  rDev +8%

2004 opened 2005-03-28. 11.4% ABV.

Pours with a small head that disappears quickly, the lacing nonexistent after a minute, both succumbing to the alcohol. Beautiful amber-ruby hue. Scent of complex blend of raisin, spices, fruit, caramel, and alcohol. Light carbonation and slight acidity tickles the tongue, and sweet caramel washes over, with raisin, cloves, and orange peel. Goes down with a nice alcohol warmth, very light bitterness emerging, and a bit of coriander. A thorough adventure from glass to throat.

A complex beer, quite warming, not devastating, very pleasing, and I am confident it will get better. I immediately cellared the remaining three. You cannot pass this up.

03-29-2005 01:55:38 | More by ism
Photo of asabreed

New York

4.9/5  rDev +18.9%

I had this beer about 6 months ago and have been dying to try it again; I deemed it then as one of the best beers I've ever tasted.

Thankfully, I was able to find a 4-pack at Carytown Wine and Beer in Richmond for about $10, and I would've paid much more to be able to buy for bottles for sure. I think I had the 2003 edition 6 months, but now this is the 2004, and a fresh bottle that I just opened. One of the reasons it has an almost perfect score is for my expectations being so high, and they ended up being pretty much right on as far as what I can recall after that first taste.

Appearance: Beautiful amber, orange, reddish color, with a lace that sticks and then recedes quickly. Nice outline of white around the beer that remains nicely, and no lace sticking to the wine glass.

Smell: Better than I remember it. Raisins. Toffee. Faint hints of chocolate. Faint hints of many kinds of fruit. The Caramel presence is huge, though not cloying but extremely surprising and welcoming. The sweetness is what surely fills the nose, but again, it's not so sweet you think it's a fruit beer. Reminds me of a good barley wine, yet the faint smell of hops usually in many isn't present, andf it really isn't missed in that sense because the aroma's so complex.

Taste: Extremely complex, and extremely inviting. The flavors come out immensely from the smells. And for how sweet it smells, once would imagine the sweetness would overtake the palate. However, the aftertaste is one of the attributes that denies any such claim. One may think it would be too sweet, too overpowering with the alcohol, too unbalanced. Not at all. I don't know how it's done, but not only is the aftertaste sweet, it's balanced, complex yet again, and stays with you in the mouth. Stunning.

Mouthfeel: I don't see how it can get any better. This may be the perfectly delicate balance between light and chewy.

Drinkability: The only reason I'm giving this a rating that isn't perfect is for the extremely high ABV. I would never drink more than one at a time because it's so goddamn good you'd be a fool to do so.

This is a gorgeous beer and one that will remain, I imagine, in my top five for as long as I continue to drink it. Please seek this out, as it's worth it for the price if you can find it in singles or a 4-pack. Bravo, North Coast.

NOTE: As I said, this is the 2004 batch, so it could have been brewed and bottled over a year ago or less than six months ago. That said, I can't wait to shelve a few of these for at least a year to see what wonderful things happen. I've had way too many barley wines in the past year that have been so green that I couldn't believe I even attempted to open it. This is a case where, in [probably] less than a year, this beer's come through, which makes it even more inviting that in its "green" state it can be such a fantastic thing.

03-21-2005 05:44:12 | More by asabreed
Photo of Wonka


4.05/5  rDev -1.7%

12 FL. OZ.
ALC./VOL. 11.4%

Appearance – clear ruby body; cream-colored head crackles falls victim to the 11.4% abv after a few seconds to leave a direct view of the ale’s body; headless beer grants no lace; carbonation runs away after a few minutes

Smell – caramel; spice; red fruit punch; figs; astringent alcohol

Taste – caramel and spice in the front with a bit of chocolate and dark fruit; alcohol and interwoven malt and hop run the late show with tolerable bitterness working the afterparty

Mouthfeel – nice moderate body and a touch of oil, but the alcohol does send the smoothness packing late and dries up the tongue; it'll only get better with age

Drinkability – big warming effect at 11.4%; light carbonation eases the drink

This one has great potential and I feel that there’s a better future if it sits.

03-20-2005 23:36:28 | More by Wonka
Photo of ybnorml

Rhode Island

4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

This is a 2002 vintage bottle. A clean dark amber/brown beer some orange and ruby highlights. A good dried fruit character stars the aroma and somr tabacco. With a nice nutty maltiness in the background. The dried fruit character starts out the flavor. With notes of coffee and toffee floating around your tongue. Ending with a bittersweet fruit and a tabacco like finish. Oh did I forget the alcohol warmth going down. Nice....

03-20-2005 21:59:27 | More by ybnorml
Photo of Higravity


3.95/5  rDev -4.1%

This was the 2003 vintage sevred in a tulip glass. Well is it deep amber with litlle head but whatever it is 11+%. It did not have a big nose to it. Mostly I really like this one for the chewy body and it nicely complex malt flavors. It plays at being sweet as the bittering hops are low to my taste, but it is not cloy-sweet. Subtle dried fruit aftertaste with perfect carbonation level leaves your mouth watering for another sip.

03-18-2005 16:43:16 | More by Higravity
Photo of GeoffRizzo


4.53/5  rDev +10%

Dark mahogany, still as night, calm and ever-inviting. An intense nose that welcomes port, alcohol, raspberries and figs. Sweet and nearly full bodied, twigs, cherries and plums all to be found; rich and chewy. Alcohol makes a quick entrance, but the door is open; butterscotch and chocolate, coupled with dark malts and sugar; incredible, this stuff is not good but awesome! Aging? Can it get better?

03-13-2005 02:40:08 | More by GeoffRizzo
Photo of palma

New York

4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

This is some monster ale if id say so, weighing in at 11.4 % ABV.

2003 vintage. Sampled 3/12/2005.
Sweet aromatic malty aroma consisting of fruit, caramel, licorice, and cocoa notes. Rich malty taste up front. Prune/raisin, cherry, and grape flavors. Vinous, sherry-like finish. Very light bitterness. Some warming alcohol but not as much as I expected. ABV is hidden here.
Creamy mouthfeel. Light carbonation.
Pretty easy to drink, considering the high alcohol content.

03-12-2005 05:53:16 | More by palma
Photo of shapudding


4.08/5  rDev -1%

No dating.
Deep chestnut that you can barely see through. No head, just a bit of off-white ring and a slight rign. Vineous and fruity, sherry and port, sweet and malty- so nice! Thick and almost chewy feeling. You can feel the bite of the carbonation a bit, with a creamy foaminess to it.... nice. Bitey hoppiness, peppery, caramelly and roasty malts. Blackened toast with a touch of honey. A lot of flavor left in your mouth after each sip, a lot going on. Bit warm, not really “hot”, the alcohol becomes more pronounced as it warms. There is just a ton of intense, deep flavors in here. Great as a sipper or with some rich foods or a nice cheese plate. Highly enjoyable

03-11-2005 03:23:14 | More by shapudding
Photo of AtLagerHeads


4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

Vintage 2000

Pours a murky reddish brown with a disappointingly small head of tan foam. Lots of aroma, mostly of dried fruits and a little hop sense. The flavors weigh heavily to the dried fruit variety; hints of prunes and raisins in there with a nice thick moutfeel that does not come across as syrup. A little too much of everything for me to want more than one to a session.

03-07-2005 16:47:40 | More by AtLagerHeads
Photo of gbontrag


4.15/5  rDev +0.7%

Golden froth rises-falls-evaporates to the corners of the globe. The color of light through a brown glass bottle. It glistens as it swirls around the glass. Yes, yes, smells fruitful -- candied, spicy orange peel, big fluffy, crusty pannetone.
A little cough syrupy. Pretty enjoyable. Tobacco, gum, alcohol numbness, strong darjeeling tea - a little nutty.

03-05-2005 20:41:44 | More by gbontrag
Photo of inebrius


4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

Liquid Stollen! Aromas of candied fruit, marzipan, dough and marzipan. Smells like marzipan, stick your nose into it while munching on marzipan you freak. Malt coated egg fritters rest heavy in the mouth carrying wisps and whirls of spiced rum as the juice flows heavily down and through the pipes. A good nightcap or dessert beer.

02-28-2005 03:20:29 | More by inebrius
Photo of warriorsoul


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

2003 on the bottle....I believe it was distributed in '04 though.
Pours a very impressive, cloudy dark brown with a half a finger of caramel head. Lace is fairly thin, but clings nicely.
Packed w/ aromas...apples are first detected, along w/ just a hint of alcohol.
Wow...this one packs a punch and its not all due to the alcohol. Tastes of cherries, grapes and raisins...again, alcohol present in the aftertaste...but then again, how the hell can you altogether hide 11% plus??
The mouthfeel is real nice...thick and sweet w/ a very nice bitter aftertaste. I could enjoy two of these in an evening w/ out any effort, but this is one brew to cherish and not abuse.
A big thanks to IrishMike for recommending this one.
I'll keep the remaining three in the cellar for special occasions.

02-20-2005 00:29:25 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of maxpower


4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

2003 vintage pours a murky dark reddish brown with a small light brown head with large bubbles that leaves a thin lacing in my glass. Fruity plum, vanilla and grapefruit aromas, dark fruit, caramel, chocolate and nutty flavors. Full bodied with a full and thick lightly carbonated mouthfeel, finishes on the dry side, alcohol well hidden, very nice.

02-18-2005 22:03:59 | More by maxpower
Photo of mmmbeer


4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

This is my first experience with old ales. Vintage 2003. 12 oz., served at room temperature, overflowing with foam when opened. Pours into the snifter a deep dark red with a 1 finger light tan head that leaves no lacing. Some sediment is floating around. There was a little bit of rust on the bottle where the crimped part of the cap was touching. Smell is of strong malts - dark fruit, apple, diacetyl, bubblegum, a hint of earth, and alcohol. Tastes very very malty - same as the scent but with a wine quality. The hops leave a slight bitterness but the malts dominate the aftertaste. The beer is thick, chewy, low on carbonation, and leaves a warming sensation as it goes down. A definite sipping beer with too strong a flavor (not to mention abv) to drink more than 1 or 2 a night. It is intense and not for the faint of heart, but it warms the soul well on a cold winter night.

02-14-2005 04:40:56 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of mgdeth


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%

Appearance - This beer is a beautiful reddish-brown, and has a creamy off-white head.

Smell - Malty sweet aromas mix with sort of a musty dried fruit character. Hop aroma is absent. Alcohol smell is present.

Taste - Luscious sweet malt ushers in an alcohol tang that clubs you in the head and sticks with you way into the aftertaste. Hops also show up , but the balance is tilted toward malt. I also detect some hefty fruity flavors in there.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied, with a full complement of alcohol warmth. Wow. Reminds me of brandy.

Drinkability - Although enjoyable at first, the alcohol presence in this beer is a bit overwhelming. Given the style, this is not such a bad thing, but it is still more than I like.

Comments - This is a complex beer, and truly a sipping one as well. Give it a try, but save up some money before you do because this stuff is not cheap.

02-14-2005 04:22:57 | More by mgdeth
Photo of ProudBeerSnob

New York

4.35/5  rDev +5.6%

Pured a very dark copper color, with very minimal head. aroma is FANTASTIC! ...Sweet, malty, almost rumlike. Taste is good, not what I was expecting, almost like a barleywine. Great body for this style..not too heavy for its sweetness. A very drinkable brew that I will keep in mind for those cold winter evenings.

02-14-2005 02:00:03 | More by ProudBeerSnob
Photo of DrainBamage


3.8/5  rDev -7.8%

Pours a nice brown color. Not quite clear, a little opaque. Head is quite thin and is mostly just around the side of the glass. Smell is quite fruity, like a cantaloupe. Taste is flavorful and fruit-like. Mouthfeel is a step above average and has a nice slight bitter aftertaste. Nicely carbonated and goes down smoothely. Drinkability is quite high and one that I'll keep in mind every so often.

02-13-2005 03:24:53 | More by DrainBamage
Photo of IrishMike

New Jersey

4.47/5  rDev +8.5%

Bottled 2003 (released as new), and purchased from the local liquor store at $9.99 for a four pack.

appearance- Pours a beautiful deep ruby with just the slightest amount of carbonation bubbles making their way up the glass. Small off white head present but fleeting, little spots of lacing holding their own on the glass. Maybe nothing special as far as head retention is concerned, but damn what a gorgeous color.

Smell- Wow! Smells like a well aged English Barley-wine; sweet, with notes of raisin and dry fruit exploding from the body. I didn't think a "new" beer could smell this great; the next-best thing to that '97 J.W. Lees i had. Mellow and soothing. No hops to cloud up that great malty odor.

Taste- Seems to carry the theme of the well-aged English BW, plus a moderate hop profile that takes over in the forefront. Hops do their part but respectfully back away as the brilliant malt characters (raisins, toasted bread, and dark fruits) come in and steal the show. Finishes sweet with a roasted overtone, nicely creating a juxiposition with the hops that start off this brew. Full bodied and very complex. Alcohol profile present, but nowhere near dominating.

mouthfeel- A very full body that hits the mouth and immediately takes over. Can't reasonably fault it, as the toasted malts hang around for a nice after taste. Well, maybe the alcohol character does out stay it's welcome just a tad too long.

Drinkability- Far too heavy and strong to make a session out of, this is one that you drink a single bottle and savor during the entire experience. That one bottle certainly is a thing a beauty, though.

I hadn't even heard about this beer until it hit my liquor store about a month ago, and my manager recommended it to me. He certainly hit the nail on the head with this one; this beer is more akin to a well aged English BW that you can buy by the four pack. This was the first time trying it, and i can already tell that it'll be a regular in my fridge. What a pleasant surprise.

02-10-2005 03:48:28 | More by IrishMike
Photo of ypsifly


4.58/5  rDev +11.2%

Pours a deep amber with a quickly fading light tan head. Nice lacing as it recedes.

This is one of the best smelling beers I have ever had the pleasure to sniff! Smells like bread made with lots of raisons and nuts with just a touch of spice. Almost like a really good holiday fruit cake.

A very balanced taste. Reminds me of an English style Barley Wine, but with a hoppier/more alcohol finish. The alcohol comes on slowly and tends to give more of a warming effect rather than that jolt other high abv brews often have.

The full mouthfeel is right in line with what I would expect from this style...full.

This is one of the best tasting brews I have tried in a long time. The smell is the real standout trait. I keep sniffing my glass more than I'm sipping it. This would be a very drinkable beer, but with the high abv, a four pack will get most drinkers wasted. A beer that tastes/smells this good can make that happen faster than you might want.

02-08-2005 06:23:10 | More by ypsifly
Photo of Reidrover


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

Ok its a nice looking brown with ruby accents,the head is small and off white colour..very nice lacing present throughout the glass.
Very rich,creamy,malty aromas,backed by a spicy scent of alcohol
Good taste,pretty "thick" and fruity,rum and raisin!. Slight hoppy bitterness complimented by the alcohol, which is rather sherry like .
Quite nice on the palate,smooth until the end, alcohol warmth present in the throat.
Its a very nice cold night sipper, though I doubt I can manage more than one at a sitting.

02-05-2005 05:22:41 | More by Reidrover
Photo of pentathlete


4.05/5  rDev -1.7%

This is my first old ale. The "watermark" on the label shows "2003". The alcohol presence hits the nose from the moment the cap is removed. Poured into an oversized Burgundy glass. Earthy, muddy medium brown, opaque, with ruddy hints. Minimal head that dissipated quickly.

Aside from the alcohol, I smelled rust, an old metallic odor as if I opened an disused jar of nails from Grandpa's workshed. This smelled like something other than beer (of course, now I have to find examples of old ale to compare this to.)

This ale coats the mouth, but without feeling thick. My tongue and throat were immediately bathed in alcohol with a decent concomitant burn. Finish is long and warm. Other flavors (raisins? prunes?) were breaking through. Was this a rum-based liqueur?

This is a sipping beer for me. I enjoyed it immensely, an ideal after-dinner quaff, with a cigar maybe, in lieu of a cognac or whiskey. It certainly warms the digestive track. I will have this ale on hand as an alternative to distilled spirits.

01-23-2005 14:43:18 | More by pentathlete
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,474 ratings.