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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,455 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,455
Hads: 3,050
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.61%
Wants: 167
Gots: 624 | FT: 23
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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 (25) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Stock Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,455 | Hads: 3,050
Photo of schoolboy
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. I could drink this regularly and never tire of it. Maybe I should stock up.

It is very pretty in the glass - something I did not really expect. Lovely head and continuous bubbles. The aroma is boozy and malty. And just plain cool. Again, not what I expected. Very civilized yet pronounced.

The taste is one of the best boozy ales ever. It makes no excuse for all the alcohol but instead puts the malts to good use, blending into a lovely sweet and bitter brew. The finish is like the primary, more sweet that bitter but still slightly bitter.

If you want a change of pace from all those over hopped ipas or nasty representations of big old world ales, this is the modern California way to go. Very refined. I don't think this needs aging, but it would be interesting to try it.

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Photo of bcsbeer
4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 edition. 12 Oz bottle that I pulled from the cellar
(cardboard box in my closet )

Poured a dirty looking amber, cleared up with time and temperature.
Head was surprisingly active for a 3yr old high gravity ale. Produced a one finger head that slowly reduced to a thin layer, but would respond on command. The inhale was intoxicating, I was getting a light alcohol warmth with candy like notes of cherries, bubblegum and caramel. Almost like a tamed down cough syrup with out the medicine. Flavors were complex and rich, evolving as it warmed up. Picking up sweet boozy malts best described as rum cake. The one problem with this beer is that I could not keep the glass on the table, as soon as the aftertaste receded, I found my arm reaching for another taste. It went by too quick. Everything improved on this towards the end. I would love to have a do over and drink this at room temperature start to finish.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 version poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a dense burgundy/red, with little to no head and sliver of lace.

S - Plums, figs/dates, booze, dark fruit, wood, nuts.

T - Let this warm for peak taste. Initially, the taste doesn't match the nose, could have used a few more room temp minutes. Toasted grains and malts compete with the plum/fig. Wood elements and some brown sugar. The heat is present (it is apparent on some swigs more than others), not as much in the nose, and only mildly recognized when sipped.

M - Carbonation is low, though there is enough to keep this from becoming syrup. The heft, as expected, is heavy.

O - Was finally glad to try this one, and it is a very well made Old ale. This is one that needs to be matched with good food pairing or precursor at 12%.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage. I've had this in my fridge for a handful of months. My original plan was to sit on it for a few years, but for some reason, I got impatient and opened it now. Poured into improper glassware. Oh well.

Appearance: Burgundy with excellent clarity. There was a bit of a head when pouring, but it went away quickly and left nothing but a wispy ring on top. Very "quiet" beer, as there's very little carbonation coming from the bottom of the glass. Great color, but that's about it.

Smell: Alcohol and dark fruits, as expected, bu there's this very unusual maple syrup quality that I get... unusual, but fantastic. There's obviously malty sweetness in there as well, but it's predominantly dark fruits and alcohol, with that super pleasant maple syrup aroma. Not flooded with depth but I'm liking the smell of this one.

Taste/feel: First sip, not enjoying it much. It's just intense alcohol flavor and a bit of warmth with only trace dark fruits. As I'm drinking on, I'm picking up more flavors, but almost exclusively in the aftertaste. For the life of me I can't understand why I'm smelling so much from this beer, but tasting so little... it's like a mind trick. It goes in with the mildest carbonation and a flat Coke-esque body, which is already a fairly underwhelming start. Then comes a huge rush of intense alcohol flavor followed by a dark fruit taste that lingers to the end. Not as sweet as the nose would suggest, but of course, it's an Old Ale, so it's still on the sweet side. The finish of this has a very slight spicy characteristic to it that I like, but it doesn't save what I feel is a pretty uninteresting and overrated Old Ale. I will say that even though I can taste a lot of alcohol in this beer, there's not all that much burn, so that's a plus for this particular beer.

I'm not sure age would have done a whole lot for Old Stock Ale. Sure, the alcohol flavor may tone back a bit, but I don't feel like there are a lot of other flavors there that would suddenly blossom into something fantastic. It's quite good, but I've had many better in the style.

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Photo of VetsPackage
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 1/20/15
Not too many better that are as widely available at NC stuff is. Raisins, brown sugar, toasted nuts on the nose and follows with the taste accompanied with rich molasses and caramel flavors from the prolonged boil. What little hop profile this one has to begin with had subdued even more after 6 months in the cellar and though it lends some warmth from the alcohol is still hides the nearly 12% abv well. Look forward to revisiting this one at the 1 year mark

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Photo of zac16125
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12o oz bottle into a snifter
2014 Vintage

A: Pours a very hazy to the point of being opaque, murky brownish colored with under 1 fingers width of tan head. Head dissipates down very quickly and leaves no lacing. 3.75

S: Tons of dark fruits and sweetness; currants, dates, and cherry. Candied sugar and toffee. Some booze to round it out. Fantastic. 4.5

T: Not quite as sweet as the nose, particularly the dark fruits aren’t as prominent. Still lots of caramel and toffee, subtle bakers cocoa, burnt sugar. Some bitterness as well, and a fair amount of booze. Its very good but a let down from the aroma. 4

M/D: Medium bodied, carbonation appropriate, ABV is noticeable but non-dominant, drinkability is good.4

O: Very good beer that I would enjoy any day. 4.25

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Photo of mlockman
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

While not the best Old Ale I've had, it's definitely one of the best. The flavor is sweet malt flavors of toffee and caramel, perfect amount of carbonation, and while outstandingly smooth for the high ABV it provides a pleasant warming sensation in your face/head as the alcohol sets in.

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Photo of Buck89
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Nice dark ruby color with 1 inch head that dissipated quickly. Amoma was sweet caramel and a touch of plum. Tasted delicious with caramel and molasses with mild earthy bitterness and a warming alcohol finish. Feel was thick and long finishing consistent with style. Overall a wonderful brew.

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Photo of BranfordBound
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

If you don't like hops but crave malts, this should be one of your regulars. Really lovely beer that's full of dark fruit, molasses, and caramel. A hint of sugar and a hint of burn, everything in moderation. Dangerously drinkable at 11.8%, worth trying!

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Photo of pat61
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours clear chestnut with a slight haze under a thin tan film.
S: Estery, alcoholic aromas also malt and wine
T: Malty sweet, traces of brown sugar or light molasses, alcoholic.
F: Low to moderate carbonation, medium full body, warming,
O: This is a big beer with a lot of alcohol but is not as well blanced as some.

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Photo of Ian_B
3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Love North Coast, and this is definitely good but just personally not a big fan of this style or at least this profile. My rating is an attempted blend of objective quality and personal preferences, per usual. So overall good flavours/feel, very drinkable, just doesn't do much for me.

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Photo of stompilator
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2014 edition poured into a snifter.

A - Poured a deep crimson, thin beige head.

S - Earthy spice, plums, berries, caramel, and a bit of booze. (The 2012 takes on a more caramelly, fruity aroma)

T - A nice, floral and earthy, decidedly English hop burst kicks things off, but the massive malt presence quickly takes over, with an incredibly sweet, molasses-y, caramelly taste. Wild, viney, dark fruit notes join soon after, which compliments the malt incredibly well. A subtle booziness begins to roll out later in the palate, giving a hard, almost woody edge to the flavor. In the end, the hefty, caramelly sweetness lingers over all else. (The 2012 was incredibly sweet by comparison, with near-cloying green apple, butterscotch, and toffee)

M - Thick and mouth-coating. Wonderfully dry.

O - Everything about this beer is massive. The flavors are many, but they marry into a gargantuan, incredibly complex brew. Every vintage seems to be special in its own way.

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Photo of Edman5P
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First sip was too cold so I let it sit for about 2 min and took another sip and it was way tastier..Head dissipated too quickly.. Almost no lacing.. I tasted overripe banana, caramel malt, molasses with a warm touch at the end.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a four-pack of the 2014 vintage. Poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.

L: Pours a rich burgundy with about a half-inch of off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves moderate lacing on the glass. Considerable visible carbonation at the edges.

S: Deep caramel malts, rum-soaked raisins and cherries, grape juice, a hint of molasses, and a bit of clear alcohol. Nice, assertive bouquet.

T: Sweet caramel malts at the front, with a developing flavor of rum-raisin that persists into the middle. Sweet bready malts in the creamy middle, along with more of the rum-raisin and a touch of cherry and molasses. The clear alcohol begins to poke through in the middle and carries over into the back. The back end is quite boozy with a good deal of clear alcohol coming through, along with a definite spiciness that follows the rum-raisin notes. There's a bit of lingering tart/bitterness at the close, which accompanies more of the warming alcohol.

F: Medium-bodied, with some nice creaminess and just a bit of syrupy stick at the close. Nice level of carbonation on this one.

O: This beer certainly packs a wallop. As much as my description seems to hint at an overly boozy brew, this one does hide it's high ABV considerably well. This is one you have to take your time enjoying, but it's well worth seeking out if you're into the style.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Beautiful red-brown body, crystal clear, light brown head. Still.

S: Cherry, a little buttery/woody, grape skin. Warm malt.

T: Boozy. Some pulpy wood, dark fruit. Reminiscent of a port. Malty caramel lends an overall warmth but never really shows its face directly.

M: Still, congruent with the look, a bit of bite on the tongue as well as some alcoholic warmth. Medium-full body, somewhat tannic.

O: This is a cool beer! Verges into wine-ish territoy but stays on the beer side of things. Great sipper, not sure it has tremendous appeal for a casual day but a great one if you're in the mood for the style.

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Photo of 57md
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 version.

Brownish copper in color. Nose is malty and bready. Rich , sticky and full-bodied. Molasses sweetness is the highlight here. Alcohol esthers are a bit too tuned-up on the finish.

This offering would be an excellent candidate for aging.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage

Pours beautiful mahogany color with 1 finger off white head.

Aroma is huge rum soaked dark fruits. Alcohol is definitely present in the aroma.

Taste is very forward. I get a lot of malt sweetness, followed by those dark fruits. I get primarily raisins and a slight brown sugar sweetness also. The final third of the sip is alcohol. It is akin to that of a rum. It isn't just alcohol heat but also the actual flavor. Carbonation is actually pretty lively beer.

Overall the beer is actually pretty pleasant. While I tend to like to have the alcohol flavor a little less, it is good nonetheless. I do like the dark fruit flavor, but the overpowering alcohol detracts a bit for me. I definitely understand why this beer ages well. I pair it with dessert--- bread pudding with raisins in a rum sauce! It gets an 87/100.

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Photo of bassfishingguy
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a few bottles of this a week or two ago and opened one tonight to see how it was 'fresh'. Upon pouring the bottle into a snifter, I got quite a bit of plum, among other fruits (which I can't put my nose on). There was definitely some alcohol on the nose prior to sampling.

This one pours a nice amber with a quickly dissipating white head. I can taste quite a bit of plum/fruitiness which is almost immediately followed by a malty alcohol finish.

As this is a bit out of my realm of preferred beers, I think the rating I give may suffer. That being said, I still really enjoyed it, and I'm sure I'll enjoy the aging (hoping it will mellow some of the malt/alcohol finish on the beer).

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Photo of kkleu357
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

2012 Old Stock Ale consumed on 4/16/15. Very hazy body. Looks sort of like a barleywine. Big aroma of dark fruits. Lots of raisin and plum flavor. Has the mouthfeel and maltiness of a barleywine. Pretty darn good with a few years on it.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 vintage bottle dated 12/23/2014. Served in a wine glass.

Appearance: reddish orNge with an initial strong white head that sank to a small ring of bubbles around the side of the glass.

Nose brown sugar, caramel, figs, vanilla, malty sweetness

Taste: very smooth and fruity with raisins, strong hop bitterness that cuts the sweetness in half. The alcohol presence is still there even after 5 1/2 months in the cellar. It is very warming and needs to mellow. Nice even carbonation as to allow the beer to not just lumber on your plate. Nice mouthfeel.

Overall: I already have the 2014 and 2015 set up for a vertical tasting. It's going to be hard not to drink them in the mean time. World class barleywine/old ale.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Stock Ale doesn’t sound like it would be very appealing to new-beer-comers, but to an old hat like me it sounds: f__king-fant__tic! I have thus far enjoyed every single... no wait, ALMOST every North Coast brew on offer (their Brother Thelonious Belgian Strong Dark Ale was a bit of a disappointing sugar-bomb). North Coast’s Old Stock Ale is up against Doc’s favourite Old Stock Ale: Theakston Old Peculier, however I think at nearly double the ABV (11.8% versus 5.6%) I think North Coast has it in the bag... although let’s not forget Thelonious, which I just mentioned [duh!].

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Nice deep hazy reddish/brown greets me with a “How do you do sir?”, I do very well North Coast Brewing Old Stock Ale 2014 vintage thanks for asking, with an ecru head that soon fades to a lace ring, mmmm. 7/10.

S: Boozy as a fruit cake that was dosed in Long Island Iced Teas, set on fire, extinguished with brandy, and reignited with Bacardi 151°... yes, it is a boozy-alcohol laden aroma. There are dark fruit and brown sugar notes in there as well, you just have to get through the spirits to reach them. Hints of Vegemite as well. 6/10.

T: The flavour profile is multifaceted - caramel, butterscotch, coconut, dark fruits, hints of wood, brandy, each sip recalls a previous sip like some sort of total-sip recall “Get ready for a surprise!” *fat lady mask explodes in the soldiers’ faces*... Quaid escapes... digging these flavour nuances... finish is dry with hints of medicinal bitters. Not nearly as boozy as expected. 9/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied with a liquor-like density that betrays the carbonation and makes it feel light and denser than it really is. 8/10.

D: Well this certainly got a whole lot better after warming up... and likewise I’m feeling warmed up like I just downed a pint of hot Glühwein... this is a big Old Stock Ale that hits hard when it hits, YHBW (You Have Been Warned). This is definitely (if you’re in to this sort of thing - which I am not, not that there’s anything wrong with it if you are - leben und leben lassen) a beer that you can cellar and see results with - the slight alcohol burn will be lessened after a year or two and it will become a great deal more refined than it already is. 8/10.

Food match: A nice juicy steak with a rich mushroom and brandy sauce, celeriac mash and olive oil roasted asparagus spears.

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Photo of ajm5108
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a 2013 & 2015 back-to-back. Nose brings lots of oak, dark fig, raisin, a little honey and cherry. Taste has an easy heft from the barrel, a little peaty and smokey but very smooth. The '13 gave me more of the dark cherry and fig flavor, the '15 had much more of the woody oak, obviously. Both had excellent mouthfeel, very slight carbonation giving in to a silkiness, but not oily or viscous. Preferred the '15 a little more but a fantastic beer either way.

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Photo of Budinetz
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage. Poured at cellar temperature. Nice bready, caramel malts. Caramel flavor on the finish and a very well hidden high abv. Smells almost woody when it warms up a bit.

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Photo of BeerDocT
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2015 vintage. Purchased to try now, not purchased to put in a dark room for the next five years.

Appearance 3.0: Poured out a deep walnut color. Absolutely no head. No lacing. CO2 bubbles make it look like you've got a glass full of cola.

Smell 4.0: Good bouquet. Sharp smells with big notes of barley and sweet malt, along with some hints of a very aggressive yeastiness.

Taste 4.0: Front is dry, and this quickly transitions into a big middle where the predominmate taste is a sweet barley malt. Like sticking your finger into Liquid malt extract and tasting it. Finish serves to clean things up with hints of corn, a light hoppiness (definitely British hops) and a pleasant tartness. Aftertaste is reliatively short with an emphasis on the malt and slight tinges of corn.

Mouthfeel 3.75: Too carbonated. I don't know how that is going to work out with the suggested aging, but my experience with the high-gravity homebrews of friends who choose to CO2 big beers is that the conditioning just continues until you get explosions and a beer that is almost undrinkable.

Overall 4.0: A good beer. High ABV will make it a favorite of some based on that alone, but this is a good beer on its merits. Good, but not great. It has several big problems in its profile and while I enjoyed it, I won't purchase it again. Too expensive for the taste results, but I am saving one for aging. However, I doubt that will improve any of the problem areas with this brew.

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Photo of MartyMaltose
4.33/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle. Awesome beer-drinking experience with boldness, richness, and variety built into each sip--like listening to Richard Strauss instead of the usual Mozart. My peak of love for this beer was 2012-2013; seems like this year it's all heat and less sweet. Maybe it's gone from my #1 favorite to just one of my favorites--but I'm still overjoyed that it exists. The price at Total Wine was quite reasonable for what you get.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,455 ratings.