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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,810 Ratings

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Ratings: 2,810
Reviews: 1,412
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 10.95%
Wants: 144
Gots: 521 | FT: 22
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: 2,810 | Reviews: 1,412
Photo of LittleBreeze
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2004

Somewhere between a chestnut and amber hue. Aroma of dark fruits, caramel, buttery rich smell.

Taste is outstanding. Rich. Warming and tastes like it smells. Alcohol was there but imo hardly detected.

Thick and coats the tongue. Each sip is better than the last. Hints of vanilla warms its way up.

This is a sipper. I found it went down to easy. I like this vintage.

Photo of Vancer
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Poured a murky brown, and with a bit of aggression at the end of the bottle, a very nice 1” tan head popped up in the ol’ Corsendork tulip.

Aroma of a musty bourbon barrel, dark fruit, especially the ol’ ripe raisons. Delicious quaff of a malty bourbon brew, almost Barleywine in taste. The powerful 11.6% hides well in this thick bodied brew – whew, no wonder it’s almost $3 a 12oz bottle. Finishes sweet with just a hint of alcohol fire.

Definite sipper brew, sliding nicely with the fire and college football.

Photo of jwc215
3.43/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2007 edition:

Pours hazed dark brown with an off-white head that thins and stays around. Good head retention for style and abv level.

The smell is rum-like - boozy with prunes and raisins. Some woody earthiness comes through.

The taste is of caramel and booze. Some muted prune-like fruitiness is there as well as woody/earthy notes. Sweet alcohol dominates.

The feel is almost syrupy. Raw and a bit sticky.

Interesting - very hot (which was expected). A slow-sipper to be sure. Maybe this would be better after having mellowed with age, though not bad as it is.

Photo of soulgrowl
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 release.

Appearance: Roaringly fizzy parchment-beige head with only fair retention (but you can't expect too much in that department from a beer of this strength) atop a stunning, luxurious, gemstone-clear body of red and brown and plum.

Smell: Loaded with boozy depth, immediately reminiscent of sherry and red vermouth. Spicy with grain alcohol and piquantly citric evergreen herbal hops, a bitterness well met by the grape juice, port, bananas en flambe, caramel, and wheat bread sweetness of the malt profile.

Taste: Exuberant with spice and fat with sugar, a sweet little girl grown into an angry young woman. Red wine, red vermouth, red cough syrup. Redolent of grape juice, boysenberry syrup, and spiced rum. Lush and sweet yet aggressive as a brushfire, with hot, prickly alcohol and dangerously bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Soft yet surgingly hot with a prickle of alcohol at the swallow. Clean and tidy in the finish.

Drinkability: Wow! Robust is an understatement, difficult to drink is an overstatement. It's a sipper - like a sherry, like a port. Fans of American barleywines should love this one. An obvious match for Stilton or stronger.

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

2006, from my cellar.
Small capped bottle poured into a snifter.
Brown, with some crimson highlights, and a surprisingly (for the ABV) medium tan head, that does not last long and leaves no lacing.
Aroma starts with alcohol, evolving into sugary maltiness and dark fruits. Medium to full on the palate, it warms you up instantly with the high ABV, but the ensuing malty sweetness and fruitiness makes it quite pleasant. Not complex, but quite pleasant.
A single is more than satisfying, as expected. Not spectacular but quite well done.

Photo of jayfarley3
4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 version poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle. pours a dark amber brown color with a small tan head. smells strong of malt and alcohol and a bit of caramel. i usually dont like sweet tasting beers but this one tastes very good. tastes of sweet caramel malt, fruit and has a strong alcohol flavor. mouthfeel is full bodied with moderate carbonation. this beer is very drinkable for the high alcohol content.

Photo of elmore
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into tulip glass from 2007 bottle labled 11.7 ABV.

pours a rich opaque brown color with a light tan 1 inch tight head which shows fair retention. Very thick as if the small bubbles had to struggle to the top.

rich sweet carmel smell - the smell really comes out as it warms and reminds me a bit of brandy.

slightly sweet malty taste upfront with alcohol aftertaste shortly after.

thick velvety mouthfeel with a good amount of carbonation for the style.

great beer - haven't had too many like this one and don't think I could drink more than one at a time.

Photo of bushbeer75
4.47/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz brown bottle 2006 edition 13.25 ABV poured into a snifter

North Coast Stock Old Ale poured a dark chestnut/mahogany amber hue with a 1-finger tan head that dissipated quickly. Smell and taste is rich/full, of dark fruit, malt and is balanced with sweetness at the finish. Mouth feel is creamy/slick, chewy, and has lighter carbonation that is right on style.

Drinkability is only limited by its high ABV –“dangerously” drinkable “BIG” Ale. Old Stock is a Sherry like Old Ale and makes a GREAT nightcap. To date, Old Stock is my favorite Old Ale!!!

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

Decent head and pleasant lace. Pours a dirty (read cloudy) light brown.

Rich warm malty smell: lots of alcohol; caramel candy aroma.

Stronger hop bite than expected. The rich aroma comes through in the sweet, malty flavor. Full bodied as would be expected; relatively low carbonation.

This is a deceptively easy-to-drink barley wine. At 13.25% ABV, this is like having three beers in one. This is an excellent beer if your having only one.

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a cloudy dark tea color with a thin creamy tan head which left little lacing.

Aroma is heavy on the malts side with some toffee and tobacco notes as well. Little hops presence.

The taste is also heavy on the malts side with dark ripe fruits and chocolate rounding it out. The alcohol is there and you know it in the finish.

Medium mouthfeel, rich and creamy, but also a bit drying. Gives the tongue a nice alcohol zing.

I really like this beer. Not sessionable but easy to savor and enjoy.

Photo of Rudgers73
4.77/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006. 13.25% ABV.

Poured into my Hennepin goblet it shows itself as a deep reddish brown with a murky character to it. Much lighter in color than I had expected. There is a very slight head that fades quickly to a ring. The smell is awesome. The first thing that comes to mind is rum-soaked raisins. Behind are chocolate and fruity notes with a little tinge of boozy aroma at the very back. The taste is incredibly complex. I served this beer relatively cold, but there is still a huge burst of flavor that pours out of it. It reminds me of a strong doppelbock, or an eisbock. This is one of the most quenching 13.25% ABV beers I've ever had. Of the strongest beers I've had, this is by far the best tasting. Nutty turning to a fruity flavor (I'm assuming the fruity flavor is from the alcohol). I taste candied dark fruits and Christmas spices. The finish is so mellow and smooth you don't have a clue how strong it is. As it warms up it begins to show a little of the alcohol spice, but nothing close to most beers 10% and up. The mouthfeel is creamy, smooth, thick, and filmy. As far as drinkability goes, this has to be the most drinkable beer of this size that I've ever had. I want to buy a bunch as cellar them for a few years. I imagine they would taste dangerously good.

Photo of BeerTruth
3.52/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2006 version.

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Let this one warm up a bit before pouring.

Aggressive pour yields only a one finger light tan colored head that quickly dies down to a thin layer. Very little stickiness, just about nothing actually. Dark, cloudymahogony hued color to this brew. Smell is a whole lot of malt. Caramel scented with lots of dark fruits; raisins, dates, plums. Tobacco and leather in the nose as well. Taste starts off with a boozey caramel malt with chocolate sweetness as well. Flavor is a bit strong in the alcohol department, it's present from start to finish. Oak like vanilla notes towards the end with a warm molasses aftertaste. Mouthfeel is full, thick, and rich. A bit dry as well which surprised me. Maybe I'm just not a fan of the style, but I had a tough time drinking this one. I could see even more age doing this brew some good.

Photo of Floydster
3.69/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2007 version, 11.7% ABV, not 13.25%

12 ounce bottle purchased from Beverage Warehouse in Playa Del Rey

Poured into my Firestone pint glass with a medium brown/red color and 1/4 inch vanilla colored head that stuck around for quite some time

Smell was full of fruit and caramel, dominated by malt and no real hops were evident

This brew was really sweet, filled with various fruits including prunes, raisins, and cranberry hints, lots of caramel and sweetness, nice dry finish that balances out the massive fruity flavor, candy-like aftertaste that lasts for about thirty seconds

Could not drink too many of these, maybe another bottle or two at most

I will keep my other bottles for a long period of time and maybe crack one of them open in a year and see what happen to it

Nice beer from North Coast, one of their best, recommended

Photo of Jmamay22
4.1/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm a little apprehensive with Old Ales having tried one only once before and I had great difficulty enjoying or finishing it. Hopefully North Coast can change my mind.

There's a new label and a new abv listed at 11.7%. This bottle is marked clearly as being bottled in 2007. Pours a ruby red brown with a tan colored head that eventually dissipates to a three hundred and sixty degree collar. The dark ruby colored beer looks brilliant under the proper lighting. No lacing.

Smells of sweet raisin and malt. There's a hop bomb scent and a sugar bomb scent. This one is a sugar bomb (in the nose) with a hint of maple syrup.

Tastes of sweet raisins. It’s something along the lines of sugar and caramel coated raisins. I imagine that the earlier version with higher abv must have been even sweeter and more pronounced alcohol flavor. Letting this warm up closer to 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit lets this beer open up nicely. The subtle hints of caramel and molasses are released and the malts are in check. Alcohol and hop dryness at the end, but no hop flavors.

Thick and full mouthfeel. A true sipper and definitely limited to one of these in a sitting. As a drank the glass the beer did grow on me (or was it the alcohol?) and I went from thinking this an above average beer to one I will have to pick up again for the cold winter months that are quickly approaching.

Photo of dbalsock
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

App: Pours with a full 2 finger tan head that goes down to a ring. The body is dark amber with maroon highlights.

Smell: Plums, molasses and brownsugar hit immediately followed by an overal fruitcake sensation, some piney hops and an uninvited metal of some sort.

Taste: The brown sugar is great, especially when added to mericino cherries. There's some apple in there, which takes away a little, but the caramel and bready finish makes it enjoyable too.

Mouthfeel: Bold and asertive with a mixed bitter end and alcoholic twang that lasts. It's also oily on the palate, and could have a little drier consistency for my liking.

Drinkability: I want to cellar this and have it for years. Very drinkable, and I'm very willing to have it again and again.

Photo of dnichols
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured a 12 ounce bottle into a Dupont pint glass.

A: Deep murky brown with swirls of Oolong tea complexion -- an unususal blend of brown and red hues. There was a woody almost walnut complexion and the head was deeply tanned and abundant before disipating to a slight covering of the liquid and a ring around the edge of the glass.

S: Smoking!!!! I quite cigs three years ago but this beer evoked memories I had long forgotten. Nice rich sweet and smoky aroma that is full of dark fruits and roasted malts and nuts.

T: Wet and refreshing on the front but dry and sweet on the back. It is damp and dark, rich and smarmy, full of tabacco and long wet wood campfires odors and suprisingly clean on the palate. The dryness onteh backside is shortlived and replaced by a smoky rich sweet coating ofthe palate that ensures you remember the sip you just completed and invites you to take another swig on this complex and interesting brew.

Mouthfeel: This beer kicks ass. Its relatively high bodied full of flavor and has an ABV that snick's up on you. It drys and wets the lounge at the same time. Cool...a beer for all seasons. For something with this high an ABV, this possessed only moderate body. Nice, subtle carbonation helped tame this beast.

Drinkability: My...My...one or two are about right for a Wednesday night. After all I do need to work on Thursday...or do I??? This is a smooth, rich and creamy beer that my become overly filling and sweet deeper into a session. However, this is a great beer to kick off a night on the town.

Comment: OK....I'm a fan. This is a neat experience...rich, creamy, malty and full of flavor. I'll be back and can't wait to find out what this brews brothers and cousins have in store for me.

Photo of Quej
2.33/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

A - Poured a clear reddish brown, with very little head and no visible carbonation. Nice enough looking, nothing special though.

S - A very strong smell of sweet nutty malts and dark red berries amid the tingle of alcohol.

T - Lots of sweet flavours and fruits followed by a lingering burn of alcohol. There is some good hop taste, but it is severely overpowered by the burn of the alcohol and the thick oily sweetness. Very reminiscent of cough syrup.

M - Thick and coating, with a strong unpleasant burn. Once again, feels like cough syrup.

D - I had a hard time finishing this beer, due to the overly sweet alcoholic taste, and its thick body. Don't think I would buy another.

Note: 2006 bottle, 11.7% abv.

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.57/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 2006 bottle from Dennis Brother Liquors and poured into a snifter

A: chocolate cherry color to black with an off white head the disappeared quickly even though poured heavily down the center of the glass. Cloudy and opaque

S: Alcohol spice is clear but not overwhelming, horse blanket and malt, dark fruit, cherry.

T: Excellent chocolate, dark fruit, oily taste that covers the tongue from front to back. Again, alcohol is clear but not overwhelming. Spicy right in the front, sweet and fruity throughout. Love this beer, and it improves with temp.

M: thick and sweet, and fills the mouth.

D: Unless you have a sweet tooth, this one might be a overwhelming from the malty, vinous taste. Sip and enjoy.

Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2006 edition, served in a snifter.

A - clear, deep brown color with a small head that went away in a few minutes.

S - some alcohol aroma, fig/date aroma as well.

T - very good taste of sweet dates, malt and some spices. Alcohol doesn't attack, but you know it's there.

M - medium/full bodied with very mild carbonation.

D - good sipper, an excellent 1 to 2 hr. nightcap brew.

Photo of dabears
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer was a vintage 2004, 11.4% ABV. Deep, rich mahogony in colr, with a nutty-sweet port like nose. Sweet, alcoholic, and port like on the palate, it finishes with a touch of spice. A great example of strong ale or barleywine style ale. First Review...


Photo of redneckchugger
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

serving type, 12 ounce bottle in a proper english pint
appearance, opauge brown, tan head, fades quickly, very good looking beer.
smell, alcholol, raisins, toffee,...coffee??
taste, nutty with raisens, like a nut brown on steroids, alchol in the back, strong but no burn, still a bit much though
mouthfeel, thick, but not overly, would be better on tap i think
drinkability, complete opposite of a session beer, but it is hard to pace my self, which i why i am glad i only bought one

overall a great beer, on of the best old ales i've had, but a bit too much alcohol.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, 2006 Old Stock Ale, 13.25% ABV. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours mahogany with a half inch off-white head. It smells like brown sugar, dark fruit (mostly raisins) and alcohol (sherry/brandy). It tastes like plums, caramel, brown sugar, and raisins. It's a very malty beer. You can definitely notice the alcohol, but there's not much of a burn at all which is nice. You can notice the alcohol more in the aroma than in the taste. However, the alcohol does hit you later on. Mouthfeel is full, thick, slick and creamy, very nice. Drinkability is pretty good too, even considering the ABV. I don't know if I could drink more than a couple of these at a time! It's a sipping beer, but definitely a good one.

Photo of udubdawg
3.96/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

pours a reddish brown color, vibrant and with a sizeable yellowish tan head of large bubbles that pop audibly as it rapidly recedes. Even a slight swirl would bring quite a bit back. A thin cap would remain through the entire glass, and lacing was nonexistent.

Boozy, with underlying vague fruit and brown sugar - not my favorite aroma, but pretty decent. This is a year old and hasn't lost any edge.

Tasty. Smooth toasty maltiness abounds, with alcohol everpresent. Fruit is stronger and now raisin and plum are discernable. Quite a bit of carmelized sugar. A sipper to say the least. Carbonation is quite low, and the creamy body glides across the tongue, warming everything - I wouldn't call it a burn, but it isn't that far off.

Again, this is a sipper, but one I'd have again in a heartbeat. Could use a couple more years, and this particular year ('06) is a couple percent stronger than the others I've got.

Photo of hunteraw
4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 edition

Received in a trade from barleywinebrewer.

Appearance: Effervescently carbonated, smallish khaki head on top of a garnet/leather body. Good retention. Lacing limited by alcohol?

Smell: Caramel and dark fruits, aroma reminiscent almost of a Belgian dark ale's malt profile, but without the distinctive Belgian yeast. Hint of biscuit/toast also reveals itself - attractive aroma, with just a hint of underlying alcohol.

Taste: Wow, very good. Sweetness of dark fruits (raisin are balanced by hop bitterness, caramel at the swallow. Aftertaste is a New Belgium-esque biscuit. Complex, layered, delicious. Would not have guessed 11.7% alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth but carbonation seems a little excessive for this style and alcohol content.

Drinkability: Very good, sole limitation is the alcohol.

Photo of John_M
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at Max's the other night. I've never seen the draft version of this any place other then in Ft. Bragg, so I'm rather amazed to see it on tap here.

The beer pours a rich mahogany color, looking for all the world like a prototypical barleywine. There is decent head retention and good lacing. The beer smells very sweet and malty, with lots of sweet cherry and ameretto. The beer smells very rich and boozy. On the palate this beer tastes like exactly what it is: a well aged ale, with nuances of cherry syrup, more amaretto, vanilla, nuts, sherry and a hint of chocolate. However, the beer is very, very sweet, which along with the alcohol, detracts considerably from it's drinkability. The beer is very warming and smooth, but is also a bit cloying from the sweetness and high abv.

A good beer, but a little bit goes a long way. The bartender gave me a 12 oz. pour of it, which was more then I could reasonably handle. I think the idea of pouring it in a brandy glass, as they do at the brewpub, is a much better idea.

Edit from 11/14. Tried the 2010 version of this beer on tap at Apex in PDX,, and was fascinated by what a few years of bottle age does for it. The beer wasn't nearly as sweet or boozy tasting, and there was almost a flower flavor aspect to the flavor profile that was intriguing. Very, very impressive an nice..... So I get the impression that this beer ages very ,very well.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,810 ratings.