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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.

2,525 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,525
Reviews: 1,363
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 124
Gots: 413 | FT: 14
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: 2,525 | Reviews: 1,363 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

pentathlete, Jan 23, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

This beer pours a dirty amber color with a finger of head that falls to ring the beer. The nose is very sweet, full of malty goodness. Touches of raisins in there, but very sweet. The flavor is big, full of raisin and bready tones. Some of the alcohol come through as well. The feel is thick, and very warming in my stomach. Wow. What a nice beer for a cold winter day. For having a very big alcohol, this one is really good. I am enjoying this, but slowly.

kmpitz2, Jan 15, 2005
Photo of shippos
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%

poured from a growler filled at fingerlakes beverage center.
pillowy rocky light tan colored head and a deep amber red body. heavy malty aroma, with dried fruit and figs underneath a ton of caramel and thick sugary malt. rich dense mouthfeel, coats the mouth very well. smooth and lucious...like liquid candy. glass feels like it to, sticky. verydrinkable but a growler by yourself...it's tough, I'd suggest splitting it with some friends.


shippos, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of Kookiekwan
3.68/5  rDev -10.7%

This beer pours a cloudy orange/amber had a one finger head with fair retention and average lacing. The aroma was of spicy chocolate malt. The taste is sweet molasses, licorice, chocolate, and vanilla. This beer is full bodied, bitter, and has a slightly nutty finish.

Reflection: A very complex beer, but I could only have one in a sitting.

Kookiekwan, Jan 01, 2005
Photo of Southernbrew
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%

2003 bottle

Pours a beautiful dark copper with a minimal head.

Powerful aroma of alcohol, caramel sweetness and a faint fruitiness, strawberries maybe?

Taste is delightful. Powerful alcohol flavors blend with a smooth caramel and sweet maltiness, that begins to leave a pleasant stomach warming. Sweetness becomes more pronounced as further progress is made and leaves a delightful butterscotchy aftertaste.

A beautiful old ale, a recent addition to the available line up in Georgia.

Southernbrew, Dec 28, 2004
Photo of AlexJ
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%

2002 Vintage. Pours clear red/chestnut in color with minimal head that falls into a ring. Very full nose filled with sweet fruits (pear, apple, peach), caramel malt, cocoa, spices,pine, and oak with a strong alcohol tinge. Mmmm, a very full-bodied brew filled with flavors of caramel, molasses, oak, vanilla, peach, root-beer, and moist gingerbread. This huge maltiness is well balanced by spicy, piney hops. Lush, velvet-smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is noticable, but certainlt not over-powering. Lip-smacking sweetness remains on lips, yummy.

2004 vintage. Seems a shade deeper in color, a haunting deep garnet red when my St. Bernardus goblet is heald up to the light. Aroma displays a similar, yet lesser array of fruity flavors. Chewy caramel, burnt English toffee, dates, and a more noticable alcohol presence. Theres a touch of oaky vanilla in there too. The flavor bursts forth with all the complex goodness that the nose tells of. It is noticably hoppier, but certainly not overly-so. Balance is exceptional as expected. I would KILL for a chance at a vertical tasting of this expertly crafted and delicious brew!

AlexJ, Dec 27, 2004
Photo of Zorro
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%

Pours a clear cold hazed nut brown brew. No head to speak of but it has a high surface tension, the bubbles veer left and right when they hit the to get free.

Smell is super fruity with big tropical fruit smells, the strongest of which is pineapple. Lots of malt smell and hints of chocolate and tea in the scent too.

Taste is big. Strong hit of fruit flavor the moment you take the first sip; this is a powerful beer! The fruit flavor passes quickly as the alcohol cleans your palette. Mild sweetness passes quickly and leaves chocolate and coffee flavors. The alcohol content makes itself known by a strong warming effect in your throat. Latter more sour fruit flavors appear like lemon and sour apples. The hops make themselves known as a herbal background taste.

Mouthfeel is thinner than you would expect for a beer this big.

Drinkability is great FOR A SIPPING BEER! No way can you chug this and you won't want to! This is like sipping an expensive brandy or port wine.

Zorro, Dec 17, 2004
Photo of UncleJimbo
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%

Sampled from a bottle at Red Bones with PatandDavid. 2002 Vintage.

This old ale poured a clear, chestnut color with tan foam that settled. The smell was richly malty with some fusel alcohol and some dried fruit aromas. The taste was malty with flavors of dried fruit (figs, fruitcake), some alcohol (fusels), rum, and light caramel as well. The mouthfeel was smooth and warming with medium-full body and modest carbonation. The lingering aftertaste was bitter with some dried fruit flavors. This was a very good ale, and the alcohol content was deceiving. Mmm, good.

UncleJimbo, Dec 14, 2004
Photo of Ellbert
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%

Appearance: A nice copper color with a small very large bubbly head. The head doesn't last long but it leaves a very sticky lace that looks beautiful.

Smell: Roasted caramel, wood chips, molasses, alcohol all attack the nose. There really is no finess in this. It is what it is and it lets it all out at the aroma.

Taste: Raisins, figs, burnt caramel. These are some of the great flavors I can taste in this. Even though these are great they do not hide the alcohol very well. The alcohol makes itself too well know in this beer.

Mouthfeel is very sticky and rich, I liky.

Not very drinkable based on the alcohol basically.

Ellbert, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of santoslhalper
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%

2004 vintage.

Appearence: Pours a reddish brown, that's semi-clear. A little off-white head sits atop and leaves a little lacing.

Smell: A malty, almost oak smell arise first, with a nice malt back. No alcohol presence really, which make it smell less spicy than I had hoped.

Taste and Mouthfeel: An intant attack of malts on the taste buds. Many caramel, molasses, and sticky sweet notes flow around my mouth. The end has a decent amount of juicy hop aftertaste. Tastes a little young (I know I should've aged it.... I just couldn't wait!), but still a very good taste. Nice and sticky in the mouth. Very tart.

Drinkability and Overall: A very intense beer, that with a little bit of proper aging would do wonders. Already I like it a little more than the 2003 (see review below). And the drinkability is much higher on this one simply because the alcohol is well-hidden. If you get this tho, put it down for a while.

This one was sent to me by GClarkage. Thank you again for the great brew.
2003 vintage. (overall rating 4.3)

Appearence: Pours a nice brown color with a huge burnt umber head. Leaves beautiful lacing. Has only the fewest bubbles of carbonation.

Smell: The bouquet is all malts and alcohol. A rich, wonderfully complex smelling ale that has all the qualities a fine old ale should.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Tastes very sweet and malty with a huge alcohol body. On the tiniest bit of hops are present in the finish. A sticky mouthfeel enhances the flavor of this beer even more. Very complex without being too overpowering. The alcohol content warms you the whole way down. Almost a smoky, caramel flavor sticks in your moth long after the beer is down.

Drinkability and Overall: A very rich, complex ale that is accompanied with a huge amount of alcohol. Not for the average beer drinker but definitly a treat to try. I wouldn't have too many of these tho, considering the high alcohol and the chewy mouthfeel. Put on some Wes Montgomery, light a few candles, snuggle with your old lady, and drink this beer.

Again, thanks to Bashiba for the phenomenal sample.

santoslhalper, Dec 07, 2004
Photo of CRJMellor
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

2002 Vintage
Pours a dark hazy, mud brown with a thin strip of off-white lacing. Small pin pricks of lace slide down the glass along with alcoholic tannins.
Aroma is caramel, peat, raisins and grain alcohol. Whisky like notes in air.
Flavor is smooth caramel and dark citrus, almost a light dark rum flavor. Some roasted and peat notes are in the background and bitterings hiding behind the massive alcohol front.
Mouthfeel is very thick and chewy. Heavily sweet and complex malt balance some of the alcohol burden but not all. Tinge of bitterness at the closing bell also counteracts the pure alcohol hit.
Drinkability is solid but sticky sweetness and heavy alcohol make one enough. Well done to the folks at NC for a classic example of style.

CRJMellor, Dec 04, 2004
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%

2003 vintage. A reddish brown ale after fizzing from a high quality Belgian-like pour. Some cognac and barleyiwne aroma. Fine carbonation on the tongue. Immediate tummy warming from the alcohol. Barley wine and malt tastes, with Eno epsom salt. Numbing aftertaste. Unique.

Sammy, Dec 03, 2004
Photo of skybluewater
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%

2003 vintage. Pours a deep rusty amber color. Smells of fruit, mostly prune. Taste is very malty, with a dried fruit undertone. Highly (and way too) drinkable for a 11% plus ABV beer-I had to restrain myself from gulping this one! The only drawback is the mouthfeel, which is a bit fizzy, but that disappates as the beer warms.

Great brew here, very soothing on a cold fall night. I'm glad I have three more to get me through the coming cold months.

skybluewater, Dec 02, 2004
Photo of PatandDavid
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%

This was awesome. Shared an '02 bottle of this at one of my favorite beer bars this weekend...none of us knew they had it. Straight out of the celler, the serving temp was awesome. Four of us shared the bottle in small sample glasses, but that was enough for all of us, because the beer was fantastic. Mahagony color, no head when poured. Medium mouthfeel, low carbonation. There's some fruit in the aroma (raisins), but tastewise is where this beer delivers. My notes list raisins, plums, caramel, but I also wrote down chocolate chip cookie dough ( the brown sugar and chocolate also appear). This beer was superb.

PatandDavid, Nov 16, 2004
Photo of cncbofh
4.53/5  rDev +10%

Came in a 4-pack. Bottle labeled 2003 Release.

First thing that hit me wasn't the pour (decent head, nice reddish/brownish glow)... but the smell. Oh Gods, the smell!

Figs, raisans, brown sugar, caramel... best smelling brew I've ever had the pleasure of dipping my sniffer into. The taste was exactly the same. Malty, sugary sweet, fruity and very complex. Give this guy a year or two more, and you're in beer heaven. Great stuff.

cncbofh, Nov 15, 2004
Photo of dgallina
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%

North Coast Old Stock Ale 2003 vintage.

Pours a deep, clear, reddish brown with small tan head which leaves a light film of foam and moderate lace. The nose is deep with roasted caramel malt and alcohol spice. Flavor starts off with vinous toasted malts, develops into creamy sweetness, and finishes with slight hop bitterness and very strong alcohol spice. Medium-thick and creamy body which serves the style well. The raw alcohol (almost scotch-like) character is a bit over-pronounced for my taste.

dgallina, Nov 05, 2004
Photo of CortexBomb
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%

2003 bottling consumed in early 2005. Served at cellar temp initially, and then allowed to gently warm.

Pours out a nice dark, almost blackish orange / tan with a light head which made an appearance but left in less than a minute. The smell is sweet...some definite malt presence as well but not much beyond that.

Flavour is a serious shock, deep and tasty. The sweet, malty tones from the aroma waste no time in making themselves known, while a soft, but delightful hop reminder lurks on the back of the tongue. There are definite soft, brown sugary tones present, along with other spices such as cinammon, not in abundance, but enough to lend a certain character. Overall sweet and tasty, though the sharpness would probably be brought down a bit by laying this down for a spell.

Mouthfeel is big and oily, just like I like my old ales while the drinkability is downright dangerous. Without strong bitter effects or big alcohol effects on the palate this is one big beer that is easy to drink on a cold evening.

Another big winner for North Coast!

CortexBomb, Nov 04, 2004
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.45/5  rDev +8%

Oooooh. I will not do this brew justice.

Pours a hazy orangey-brown witha a thin tan head. Head dissipates to nothing and I mean nothing. No lace either. Smell is fruity and rich, molasses malt. Cherries and fig evident. Some vinuous smells.

Rich warming malt. Fruitiness of cherry, apple, and grapes. Cinamon and light nutmeg. A persistent rounded hoppiness underneath. Just so thick and chewy and tasty. Full bodied and a sweet molassess sticky aftertaste. Oh, so smooth and oh so good. Can't believe I waited so long to try this one. Really smooth for 11% ABV. A masterpiece.

ViveLaChouffe, Oct 29, 2004
Photo of bultrey
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%

I'm reviewing the draft version of this right after I reviewed the bottle, because I had each only a few days apart from one another. On draft, this is sublime. I mean really f@#$%in good. It has many of the same characteristics as the bottled version, but is just so much smoother and more balanced. Hints of chocolate, fig, and overripe fruit, but with a mellowness that can't be described. If you find this on draft, do not pass it up.

bultrey, Oct 28, 2004
Photo of clvand0
3.35/5  rDev -18.7%

This was the 2003 version that I tried from a small bottle. Pours a very dark color that shows some light around the edges and has a dark head that dies off very quickly. The aroma was sweet and malty with a bit of alcohol. The flavor was a little sharp in my opinion. This one needs to be laid down for a while. The flavor is sweet and malty and finishes with a bitter kick. I'm going to put one of these away for a while.

clvand0, Oct 26, 2004
Photo of TastyTaste
4.88/5  rDev +18.4%

Pours a very dark maroon color, with a surprisinlgybig head for a beer with this high of an ABV (about 1/2" and inch). Smell is very strong of raisins and alcohol, with a little hop presence. Taste is off the wall with alcohol, wow. A lot of other flavors are present, which are all accented by the alcohol. The flavor finishes with a smooth chocolate and hop favor. Mouthfeel is full, and slick. Perfect for this beer. A big, delicious beer, good for a cold, rainy day such as this.

TastyTaste, Oct 22, 2004
Photo of Skidz
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%

2002 edition

A violent burst of gas escapes from the mouth of the bottle as the cap is lifted. Pours out a gleeming orange and sits a hazy orange rosé. Small off-white head emerges, then fades quite rapidly, leaving little traces along the surface.

Smells of caramel, malts, warmed cinnamon, apples and a nice does of herbal hop aroma. Nice spicy character, and alcohol acending from within.

Tastes of malts and exudes a stong alcoholic spiciness. Figs, prunes and apples make up the estery build. Tight against the sides of the tounge spring peppery and highly herbal notes that last long into the well defined, bitter finish.

Smooth and strong in a medium-full body with well-built and tingling carbonation. Glides along easily and delivers where it counts. A very good warmer that doesn't overtly intrude inside the mouth.

Tastetacular and delicious. Leave a few lying around the house for a cold, lonely winter's day or evening. To be enjoyed long after it's date.

Skidz, Oct 18, 2004
Photo of aracauna
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%

A downright gorgeous dark ruby body glows in the light. The yellowish tan head forms easily, but soon fades. The fading head is a bit of a disapointment, but what a gorgeous color the body is. The aroma is thickly malty with occassional whiffs of milk chocolate. There’s a hop bitterness that tingles the sinuses a bit, but it’s held in check to be a balancing note instead of overly dominate. The malt alternates between bread and that phantom chocolate with streaks of hop bitterness to break it up. A good bit of oak comes through toward the late middle. Awesome barleywine.

aracauna, Sep 30, 2004
Photo of PopeJonPaul
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

So, after carrying my laundry home in a driving rainstorm, what could cheer me up more than the North Coast Old Stock that I found in the fridge!

Pours a cloudy coppery molasses color with a small oatmeal colored head that fades pretty quickly. Sugary malt barleywineish smell. Thick brown sugar, maple, caramel with a whiskey-level punch and just a pinch of hops. Gooey and smooth, what you imagined it would have been like had you busted open the bottle of Vermont syrup at your grandmas house. Same finish as a shot of Frangelico with a lemon. You gotta love sweet stuff to love this stuff, but on a cold rainy day Captain Old Spice would give this a resounding "R".

PopeJonPaul, Sep 29, 2004
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.08/5  rDev -1%

Vintage Bottle 2003, Sampled September 2004
Pours a pretty, clear, deep ruby color and is topped by an amber-tan creamy head. The aroma is heady with rich notes of malt, caramel, malt extract. The malt aromas are accentuated by hoppy notes of citrus, apricot, and orange. The taste is full and sweet, and it coats my mouth in a fruity accompaniment that is caused by a marriage of citrusy hop notes and dark fruit malt notes. This is pretty tasty, with notes of plum, raisins, citrus, pine, sherry, leather, and caramel. This beer is a good example of the Barley Wine style, it is perhaps weighted towards the hop end of the scale, but not so much that you can't easily pick out the rich notes that the malts bring to this beer.

Gueuzedude, Sep 17, 2004
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,525 ratings.