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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,785 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,785
Reviews: 1,401
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 145
Gots: 508 | 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: 2,785 | Reviews: 1,401 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

The most recent manifestation of this lists an 11.6% ABV on the bottle.

A thick finger of tan froth tops a cloudy, cider-brown body. Caramel and brown sugar malt dominate the nose as well as the taste, which is quite sweeter than I expected. Hints of chocolate cake emerge as it progresses. There's a lot to like here. In fact, I find the taste to be quite akin to barleywine, though somewhat less complex and less hopped than my favorite barleywines. I'm impressed with how smooth and creamy this is. While somewhat of a sipper because of the very high ABV, this is one that I can easily enjoy a couple of, primarily because of the easy-going texture and flavor.

Well done, but I can't say I'm entirely surprised, given the greatness of Old Rasputin and Brown Shugga. Well worth trying; a refreshingly sweet old ale.

Photo of MisterClean
3.64/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz from Total Wine

A - Dark burgundy, little head, which dissipates really fast and leaves no legs.

S - Barley, wheat, and alcohol.

T - Anise, barley, ginger, and very syrupy.

M - Light bitterness, alcohol, and warming.

D - Could have aged a couple more years.

Photo of NCSUdo
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle, 2007 batch

A: Pours ruby under a very effervescent tan head. No lace and no retention, but not very surprising.

S: Smells of candied fruit in harmony with a light citrus hop. Citrus is a little bit grapefruit but mostly a freshly peeled orange aroma, it's very good. Maybe a hint of caramel thrown in and very little to no alcohol.

T: Fruity and caramel maltiness up front. Finishes with some hints of alcohol, moderate bitterness and light citrus hops. A bit of chocolate comes through after the finish as well. Again, the citrus is mostly of fresh orange. I even pick up a slight coconut hint that surprised me.

M/D: Full bodied, carbonation is not prickly, bit it does cause the body to break down to a bit of a froth on the tongue. Alcohol is there a little in taste and big time in warmth. Drinkability is good. It's a sipper but has enough redeeming qualities to make it more than an average drinker.

Photo of DIM
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: Old Stock is a slightly hazey amber copper color. It pours with almost no head, just athin whispy off-white ring around the glass.

s: This smells of apple blossoms, malty sweet raisins, and honey. A pleasant aroma of alcohol blankets everything. It smells a bit like brandy.

t: This is surprisingly subdued, given the abv, and quite complex. Mild flavors of somewhat tart apples and cheries, brown sugar, and alcohol. There was a wonderful element of sweetness that I can't find a word for as well.

m: This was very thick, a perfect vehicle for all the subtle nuances of this one.

d: This is agreat sipper for a winter evening. As great as this was after more than a year, I can't help but think that a few more years would help.

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

From the 2007 batch, 11.7%abv.

Eye:This is one fine looking beer. The brew is reddish copper in color with some orange highlights, and is a bit cloudy. Head is off white, tea-stained tan and is creamy in appearance, holds its retention very well-until one starts drinking, then it just shrinks to a thick veil over the top of the beer. and looks to have nice looking lacing, a little thin though as it sits on the sides of the glass.

Nose: Aroma fills the room once the cap is popped. Strong malt backbone fills the nostrils. Easily noticeable is a very familiar smell that I just can't put a finger on. Spicy notes and alcohol are evident. Nice complex and big aroma, some dark fruit in here too. Great aroma all in all.

Tongue: Flavor is very nice on this one. Fruity notes are evident coming from the alcohol, as well as the flavor of the alcohol itself. Big malt flavor as well, I'm specifically getting a bit of caramel, and some spicy notes-either from alcohol or hops, I can't be sure. Pretty hard to pick this one apart, the alcohol is so apparent that it is hard to distinguish the different flavors. However, all the flavors present blend together very nicely.

Mouthfeel and Drnkability: This beer definitely warms as it goes down. Body is medium leaning heavily towards heavy. Lower carbonation gives this beer an authentic feeling in the mouth making it feel as if it has been aged quite a long time before being bottled. This is a beer that is meant to be sipped on, don't try to drink the four pack in one night. This is one that I think I'll revisit every year. Great brew.

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

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

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

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

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Dense and waxy.

Drinkablity: Very flavorful, yet simple in its approach.

Photo of Slynger
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

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

Photo of wagenvolks
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

Served into a pint glass. 2007 Limited Release.

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

Has a caramel mocha like flavor. Very sweet malts.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of Tilley4
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

Nice dark reddish pour with a pretty active head.

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

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

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

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

2007 vintage.

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

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

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

Photo of BMan1113VR
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of london1o1
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

M - Fairly thin with very little carbonation to it

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

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

Had at the pub this weekend.

A - burnt orange, small head

S - sweet malt, hops do show through

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

M - pretty solid body, not a lot of carbonation

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

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

2007 vintage, 12oz bottle poured into a pint

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: ruby orange. very little head.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo of geexploitation
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

Photo of benito
4.03/5  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.

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,785 ratings.