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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.

2,644 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,644
Reviews: 1,371
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.92%
Wants: 129
Gots: 454 | FT: 15
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: 2,644 | Reviews: 1,371 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.63/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003 Edition

Appearance - pours a cloudy pretty reddish brown. A light off-white head disappears after a bit and barely manages a ring of bubbles around the edge.

Aroma - intensely rich, dark fruit like raisin or fig, molasses. Hints of soy, alcohol, and chocolate as it rests in the glass. Good stuff, great resilience. It's like sniffing candy.

Taste - sweet malty start, rather boozy but mellowed. Molasses, dark chocolate come out in force just as soon as the alcohol subsides a bit. The swallow brings on some raisiny sweetness, pleasant warmth, chocolate residue, very nice. A trace of hops briefly on the finish.

Mouthfeel - heavy and thick, subdued carbonation, big and yummy.

Drinkability - enjoyed at proper pace, you probably won't get through more than three of these, but they are a most enjoyable sipper.

brewdlyhooked13, Apr 14, 2006
Photo of KarlHungus
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage. This brew pours a classic brown color. The head is light brown, creamy and long lasting. Brown on brown...this beer simply looks interesting and different. The aroma is of caramel, toffee, butter and cream. The taste is very sweet with a nice alcohol warmth in the finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied with low carbonation and very smooth. Overall, this brew is very drinkable at this early age, but could benefit greatly from a couple years of aging.

KarlHungus, Apr 12, 2006
Photo of rrwiltse
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2003 Vintage.
Poured with no head, characteristically of most old ales. Nice malty color; the aroma is of very sweet malt and ALCOHOL for sure! Damn! The sweet malt tingles the tongue, and the alcohol burns just a tad on the way down. An excellent brew, can't wait to taste the rest of the bottles as they age even more!

rrwiltse, Apr 08, 2006
Photo of jorjoria
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very clear ruby/amber color with very little head and some slight lacing.

Smell: Nice malt aroma with hint of alcohol and some subdued hopiness.

Taste: Very nice sweet malt, with some raisin, and a hint of vanilla which fades into nice residual hop flavor. Form what I understand the hop flavor is much more in your face when the beer is younger. The beer is also pretty thin probably a result of the higher alcohol content. But over all a very taste beer. The alcohol content is a little overwhelming when consuming at room temperature but I think it fits well with this beer.

jorjoria, Apr 07, 2006
Photo of yelterdow
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage.

Appearance- Pours a clear, liquid cherry chestnut into an oversize snifter. The head, a very light beige, grows to one inch and settles to a disjointed array of many different size bubbles. Minimal lacing, not surprising with the high ABV.

Smell- A big alcohol nose that umbrellas the aromas of leather, tobacco, wood, and the darkest fruits imaginable. Sweet, wet malt notes come forth as the beer opens up. Rum cake. Vintage port aromatics, this keeps getting better...

Taste- A surprisingly huge alcohol presence, much more tonight than last year when I sampled this same beer... boozy vanilla, rum, figs and of course malts. The finish brings a slightly burning sensation in the back of the throat... sip accordingly.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Tingly upon entry, slick and very liquid in the mouth, then a wee bit rough going down. The complex, rich flavors are cohesive and balanced nicely, but I'm still noticing the alcohol more than last year's sampling.

I believe this beer as optimal at about 18 months.

yelterdow, Apr 05, 2006
Photo of chance269
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage...purchased from the brewery. Traditional 12oz. bottle served in my Old Stock snifter. New recipe brings ABV to a whopping 13.25%!!!

Appearance: Color is rich, deep cherry wood/mahagony. Pours with a nice 1/2" off-white head that fades quickly to less than 1/8".

Smell: Sweet malts mixed with hints of burnt cherry, apricot...strong rum/brandy like alcohol notes. Even some champagne like qualities when first poured, but those faded as the beer warmed.

Mouthfeel: Velvety and chewy, full-bodied with a creamy finish.

Taste: Beautiful. Has a rich malt profile with a tinge of hopiness that fades with the alcohol burn. Faint hints of licorice and burnt cherries...perhaps molasses and cane sugar as well?

Notes: I didn't expect this 2006 vintage to come out until October/November, but the brewery said it's ready to ship. In my opinion, one of the better vintages of the past few years; it's very mellow, yet assertive in it's flavor. Take your time with this one if you can find it, and as with all vintages of Old Stock, I look forward to laying this one down for several years.

chance269, Apr 03, 2006
Photo of Byeast
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My bottle of North Coast's -Old Stock Ale , is a 2005 vintage.
Poured a clear ,deep mahogany/ruby, with a very thin head of tan lace. Smell is an intense , deep , sweet malty aroma , some caramel , with a good fuggles hop kick to balance , rum like alcohol in the nose, very nice. Taste is rich and tongue coating , sweet , chewy malty goodness ,bit of coffee and raisin, balaced with a fair amount of hop character. Mouthfeel is chewy and slightly viscous. Wow , im very impressed. A awsome old ale , the alcohol has a very pleasant effect to the senses and brain. A rich , strong and tasty treat. I will be buying some more to cellar , and more to drink!

Byeast, Mar 29, 2006
Photo of goochpunch
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 vintage

Pours a very clear ruby color with a minimal head. Smells of candied cherries swimming in some sort of spirit. A lot of pineapple in the nose as well. Flavor is of hard cherry candies and apple juice. Some oxidization present, but it doesn't detract too much. Alcohol is present as well, but is a mellowing bitterness in the finish. This is kind of a one-trick beer, honestly, but, for what it is, tastes pretty damned good. Mouthfeel is viscous will slightlu stinging carbonation. Very appropriate here. All told, it's a little too hot and a little too slick to make me want to drink a lot of.

Now, this is the Old Stock I remember. This is one of the 2004s that I've had laying around the past several months. I could not stand the 2005 as green as it was, when I had it earlier this month, but it just goes to show what can happen in a year and some change. I don't know if I'll have the patience to hold on to my last 2004 until next year, but this seems pretty optimal for what this beer brings to the table. The alcohol is drastically mellowed, but the oxidation flavors have increased (which is why I'd be afraid of aging it longer than it has). Overall, this is a pretty solid old ale (more like an American barleywine in the malt profile, really), but one should seriously consider laying this down for at least a year.

goochpunch, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of jakester
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the 2004 model. I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. I drank it in a goblet. No dates are necessary.

Pours a deep, dark garnet/red with a one finger head of deep beige foam. Carbonation appears moderate. The head falls to islands and a ring, with minimal to no lacing.

Aroma is rum soaked raisins right in your face, followed by dark crystal malt complexity. Not much in the way of hop aroma. Alcohol is definitely present, but fairly well hidden for now. We'll see as it warms...

First flavor is dark crystal malt, fairly complex, followed by rum soaked fruits, especially raisins. Hop bitterness seems pretty high, or the alcohol is grabbing the back of my throat. Residual sugar is pretty high. There might be some piney hop flavor, it's a little hard to tell. The alcohol is coming through strongly. Still, for 11.4%, it's not bad. Aftertaste is sweet and heat.

Mouthfeel is pretty full and resiny slick. Carbonation adds a nice zing. Lips are sticky from sugar. Back of my throat is being attacked by hop bitterness and alcohol. Finish is warm and sticky.

I'm not sure how "drinkable" a beer like this is, but it sure is tasty.
Rich and complex, strong and dark, like I like my women! I can feel the alcohol after half the bottle. Sitting around a campfire, this would be awesome!

jakester, Mar 26, 2006
Photo of unklesyd
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the 2005. Had the 2004 about three weeks ago. Wanted to try side by side, but... uh, didn't.

Fantastic ruby: deep melted red as it pours. Even though there is NO head, the surface of the brew bubbles and seems to hold some mysteries of its own.

Lots going on in the nose. The obvious dried fruits are not overpowering, but subtle. Very inviting. Hints of spicy/floral hops melded with well cooked malt tell that this is a well-balanced beer.

Good blend of flavors, including a contiuation of the interplay between crunchy carmel-y malts and subtle hops that have died back a bit. Lots of lingering on the back of the tongue, as a heavy cream sauce laced with a sharp liquor would leave.

Wonderful heaviness after the sip is done: not too thick or syrupy as you drink, dry yet lingering on the aftertaste.

More than willing to drink another of these. Not now... later. This is an end-of-session capper. Liked the fresher version. I little more cutting and not as heavy as 2004. Get it while you can.

unklesyd, Mar 25, 2006
Photo of Liquids
2.98/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

My first old ale. Coppery amber to translucent brown color. Thin, loud fizzing, soda-like, quickly dissipating head. Sweet, alcoholic, inviting aroma. Extremely alcoholic bite and aftertaste, which is not surprising at 11.4%. Beneath seems to lie a tasty, medium-bodied, moderately hopped brown ale. Carbonation dissapears quickly and leaves a medium mouthfeel, as in comparison to the strong alcohol wash, everything seems thin and watery. Probably not a style that strives for "balanced," but could be impressive if the alcohol wash weren't so intense and overpowering. Drinkable, but slow going, and at the first few sips I thought I might find myself drainpouring it before I finished. More than one of these is hard to imagine. Would probably be best over a meal and conversation. Would not return here (glad I got a single), and may avoid this style in the future.

Liquids, Mar 16, 2006
Photo of kaimcm
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle 2005

A: deep and rich amber. looks like a ruby with a very thin ring around the perimeter. extremely warm color.

S: candied sugars, rum soaked pastries, alcohol, raisons, dates

T/M: very rich and viscous, a syrupy mouthfeel brings a coating malt and sweetness. The sugar is quelled by a warming and spicy alcohol character. Raisons, dates, concentrated vinous flavours abound. Rum cake as well. A powdery aspirin quality arrives at the end of the lingering finish.

D: Expensive and 11.4% ABV, but considering, goes down pretty easy. An awesome and complex brew. Cheers to North Coast. We need to see their beers more frequently and more affordably out here in NE. Another winner.

kaimcm, Mar 15, 2006
Photo of Hibernator
4.6/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

North Coast Old Stock Ale
12 oz brown bottle
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a chestnut brown. Thin off-white colored lace circles the beer. Random spots of sticky lace appear on the glass.

Pleasant aroma of juicy malts and figs with a backdrop of sugars.

Sweet malty backbone with vinous fruit flavors at the forefront. Juicy raisins or pruins dipped in caramel and brown sugar. Fruity cherry flavors with a toffee buttery presence. Nicely hopped finish.

Incredibly well balanced for such a power house of an Old Ale. A true sipper at 11.4% ABV and very well crafted. Beautifully complex and multi dimensional. Recommended.

Hibernator, Mar 12, 2006
Photo of custardcb
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005 Bottling of Old Stock. Pours a nice rust color with a light tan head. The bubbles in the head are quiet large and retain their structure for quiet some time. While it isn't cloudy in appearance I wouldn't call it completely clear either.

The nose is a bit biscuity with hints of rains and toasted nuts; it almost reminds me of some tawny ports. Upon tastey the alcohol is rather evident and so is a bit of acidity. There is a slightly tart taste to it but fruit tones are evident as well. Mostly those of figs and other real earthy foods.

Overall it is a bit strong and I usually only have one or two while drinking them because of the alcohol content. Anymore after that and I wouldn't be able to enjoy the full characteristics of the beer.

custardcb, Mar 08, 2006
Photo of cubedbee
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a pint glass, this is a murky caramel brown , no head, a slight spotty lacing, not much to look at. Nose is rich and malty, definitely not of caramel, slight hint of alcohol. Taste is very full and malty, caramel, toffee, raisins, plums, dry chocolate, nuts, alcohol—very intense and flavorful, very good. Full bodied with a thick luxurious mouthfeel, this is a real pleasure to sip. For the beast of a beer this is, it’s great, but I honestly would have trouble downing two of these in a row.

cubedbee, Mar 06, 2006
Photo of objectivemonkey
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2005 edition, pours a deep dark copper with a good head to start with, but it shrinks to nothing pretty quick, to just a thin film around the edges, and a little bubbling going on.

Aroma is ... well, its a little fierce. Strong caramelized malts and a biting alcoholic duo with some darker fruits underneath, something like raisins. Mouthfeel is a little more than medium bodied, smooth, and sort of creamy-like.

Taste was a little baffling at first, coming off a little metallic. I let it sit for a while, and the second time around the metallic tinge was gone, and now its more clear that this is simply a heavily malted and alcoholic beer, but handling the alcohol well. Massive amounts of caramel malts and some raisin and a warming alcohol. I'm really warming up to this beer, now that the beer itself is warming up.

I started out not impressed , but this turned out pretty wicked awesome. I think I'll grab a few more stash them in the cellar.

objectivemonkey, Mar 03, 2006
Photo of rhoadsrage
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

(Served in a snifter)
A 2006 brew sampled on 1/27/08

A- This beer pours a brown dense body with light red hue. There is a matrix of microbubbles racing to the surface. The is a thick head of tan that last for a few sips.

S- The smell of sweet caramel has a faint cherry lifesaver note to it with a white caramel a butterscotch candy hint.

T- This beer had a soft cherry lifesaver note that fades to sweet caramel malt with just a faint hint of soft bitterness from the last note of green hops. This is balanced with a fusel alcohol hint. As this beer warms the finish takes on more of a sherry quality to the alcohol.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and an alcohol heat finishes the beer.

D- This beer still has a good bit of alcohol but I think it really need the hops to support the malt. I don't know if it could improve any more or if its on its way down. If the alcohol mellows it may just leave a big sugary sweetness.

(Served in a snifter)
A 2004 brew samples 2/28/06

A- This beer pours a deep warm brown body with a thin wisp of bubbles forming the head but they are soon gone. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- This beer has a sweet dark malt aroma with a big alcohol with a faint hop spice to it. The alcohol really dominates.

T- There is a smooth soft malt flavor that is quickly overtaken by an alcohol flavor. There is a slight bitter note in the finish that is not really hops, but maybe oxidation.

M- This beer has a medium full mouthfeel with a silky texture. The alcohol is softer in the finish that it is in the taste.

D- This beer has some nice malt but not a lot of depth and complexity. The alcohol really is hot and might need another few years to rest.

rhoadsrage, Feb 28, 2006
Photo of NJpadreFan
1.75/5  rDev -57.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

North Coast- Old Stock Ale

Appearance- hazy ruby red with absolutely no head. Flat, no bubbles.
Smell- Alcohol, raisins, cherries, prunes, & alcohol.
Taste- Alcohol immediately followed by raisin/ prune juice (which I hate!) followed by even more alcohol. wretched!!
Mouthfeel- burning stinging alcohol! aftertaste is stomach turning pruno.

Overall- this is bad, real bad! Honestly, for the life of me, who likes the flavor of rubbing alcohol mixed with raisin/ prune juice. This is comparable to cough syrup!
Sorry North Coast this is liquid hell!

NJpadreFan, Feb 27, 2006
Photo of Bcant
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 brewing year.

From a 12oz bottle to a large snifter, this old beer from North Coast is a purely-brown colored body with a cappuccino like head that dissipates fast, leaving only the thinnest rim of teeny-tiny bubbles hugging the glass. The bouquet is sweet and alcoholic, featuring toasty caramel and date notes. At first the smell is very present but when you really get your nose in there the alcohol dominates. Complex malt flavors: caramel, raisons, cane sugar and coffee. The alcohol is warming and not as raw as the bouquet suggests. The mouthfeel is big and sticky and biter(ish) hop finish enhances drinkability; though anyone who takes this one on too aggressively is in for a world of trouble.

Bcant, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of francisweizen
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

1999 vintage. Cola brown with nary a head to speak of. A few fine bubbles appear and they are than washed away. Served at toom temp this one really warms up with the aromas of caramel, figs, and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon. Where they came from I don't know. Taste is spicy and warming with some nice big maltiness and only a bit of hops to help meld this one a bit. At this point it's a malt monster with many complexities shining through that just arent there when this is fresh. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but thinning out a bit by now, this in no means hurts the excellent drinkability. Drink it fresh, but always put a few in the back of your cellar/closet.

francisweizen, Feb 23, 2006
Photo of jmz62565
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours a clear dark red almost like beet juice with a small tan head. The color is really nice. The smell has a malty sweetness to it along with some dark fruits and alcohol. The taste has a strong malt sweetness along with a strong alcohol flavor. Some darker fruits,prunes and raisins, have also a presence in this beer. The m/f is heavy and the balance is OK,but not great. Overall, this is a very good brew from a brewer who knows what he's doing.

jmz62565, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of danielharper
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from Frugal MacDougal, Nashville, TN.

2004 bottling date.

Pours deep brown color, like a thin chocolate milk, with a thick khaki head that dissipates to soapscum after a few minutes. Looks great in the glass.

Very sweet, malty caramel in nose. Thus far the alcohol is hidden from me conpletely, making this a very incredible find for a beer as big as this.

Taste... ahh, now there's the alcohol. Very sweet up-front flavor, all that caramel and the like, but with a strong alcohol phenol as the beer goes down. Warms the chest like hard liquor, but smoothly and very drinkably like a very fine example of such. I was expecting a bit more hoppiness here, but the malts are very nice in and of themselves, and make this beer really wonderful.

Nice, thick mouthfeel. A joy to wash around the mouth and allow the flavors to settle in. Not the thickest beer I've had, but close.

This is a "sipper", not a "gulper", but it's one that I'll sip as regularly as I can get them. A very good beer.

danielharper, Feb 18, 2006
Photo of ashleyshalyn
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from short little glass bottle 12 oz into a snifter

A: Reddish mahogany w/ no head

S: Malty Malty fruit, alcohol w/ slight nutty essence and raisons

T: Strawberry and Raspberry malt sweetness with alcohol and an oily caramel characteristic.

M: Full, thick, and syrupy.

This is a killer Ale to try. I highly recommend giving it a whirl!

ashleyshalyn, Feb 17, 2006
Photo of monkeybutler
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this case of 2004 for almost 6 months now. I bought one of the last ones from the Beer Yard, and it was money well spent.

It pours a deep ruby red-brown, which little head to speak of, almost no lacing and moderate carbonation.

The smell is of bourbon and sweet malt aroma.

The tast is great. I can't say enough. It's sweet and rich like a port, smooth as a 12 year bourbon and satisfying in ways I can't describe.

It's cloyingly malty, and not quite as syrupy as you'd think, as far as thickness goes. You get a little carbonic bite in the finish.

I could drink this all night. Well...not all night, maybe 1/4 a night, and I'd be dead asleep after that.

It's such a good old ale, or barleywine or whatever. I just hope that I can stave off temptation to drink my last 8 bottles. I'd like to save some for years to come.

monkeybutler, Feb 10, 2006
Photo of Citadel82
4.93/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2003 Bottling enjoyed with friends during the superbowl and paired with a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup...Sublime!

Poured out deep brown with an aple tan head that left plenty of lace. Aroma of cocoa and toasted malt. Rich and deep and dessert like. Taste was wonderfully complex blend of caramel, chocolate and toasted malt. Thick and rich and luscious on the tongue makes this tipple exceptional as a nightcap or with a good book.

Citadel82, Feb 06, 2006
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 2,644 ratings.