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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,441 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,441
Hads: 2,998
Avg: 4.1
pDev: 15.61%
Wants: 166
Gots: 609 | FT: 23
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 (29) | 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: 1,441 | Hads: 2,998
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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Photo of crob3888
4.75/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Practically a barleywine/old ale hybrid.

Lots of sweet malts and alcohol warmth in this mahogany beauty. Raisin, toffee, brown sugar, molasses, dark cherries. Delicious.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle opened April 2015

A - Murky mahogany brown. Fine dark bone white head pours a quarter finger high but hangs around with nice retention. Low lace.

S - Sweet and surprisingly bright. Butter scotch, lemon, maple syrup, amaretto, and bread crust.

T - Smooth caramel, fruitcake and butterscotch with a toasty amaretto backdrop. The impression is net sweet, but the boozy warmth and bright carbonation bring a really nice balance to the beer.

M - Silky smooth with a medium light frame. Warm finish. Really nice carbonation.

O - A really nice example of the style. The 2013 is drinking really well.

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Photo of ScotB260
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a burnt caramel color with an average head. Sticky lacing on the glass, no "legs" what so ever. In fact I've never seen a beer that stuck to the glass quite like this. Smells of honey and oats. Taste is very rich, but mellow with the high ABV. This is definitely at the top of my ales list.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.41/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage
Cloudy dark Amber color. Thin head that dissipates quickly.
Dark fruit smell of raisins little banana flavor.
Taste of caramel brûléed sugar and sweet bread.

Overall a really excellent beer

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Photo of fx20736
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look: Dark Amber, offwhite head, no lace

Smell: orchard fruits, malt, white raisins, plums

Taste: brown sugar, dates, sherry, gingerbread cookies

Feel: sticky

Overall: Complex aroma and flavvors, this is an amazing beer

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.82/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

2014 vintage

A - 4.75 - Pours an incredibly dark ruby with cognac brown and caramel orange tinges. Forms a half finger of medium tan colored, quickly dissipating head. Low head potential and retention, little to no lacing.
S - 4.5 - Simple, but bold. Heavy malt, nuttiness, marzipan, light whisky and the unmistakable aroma of very distant and light peach.
T - 5 - Heavy malts, caramel, peanut butter, marzipan, whiskey, oak wood sap, bittersweet dark chocolate and molasses. Once at room temperature, swish this one around your mouth and sip it slowly, it is EXTREMELY complex. Absolutely no trace of booze, extremely impressive at the extreme ABV.
F - 4.5 - Nice medium bodied mouthfeel.
O - 5 - One of the absolute best representations of the old ale style I've had and one of the tastiest beers I've had the pleasure of drinking in a LONG time. For fans of these two beers, it almost reminds me of a delicious hybrid mixture of Founder's Curmudgeon and Backwood Bastard. A+, 5 star beer. HIGHLY recommended to stock up on and cellar for a special occasion!

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

Not a huge fan of old ales, but this has to be one if the best examples of the style. 2015 vintage, smooth and sweet. Straight sipper and much better as it warms. I'd like to get ahold of an aged vintage and see how it changes over time.

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Photo of mblk6062
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I always look forward to the release of this awesome Old Ale, and the 2015 version did not disappoint! This year's has more of a molasses/bourbon smell, leading to a toffee/raisin taste, with that always wonderful, warm banana bread finish. I will be buying as much of this as I can get my hands on - will only get better with age!

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Photo of Bisco42
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2012 Vintage Otsuchi Commemorative Recovery Release - March 2012

Poured into a snifter at 55 degrees, had been cellared upright for exactly 3 years.

L - Pours a dark amber/brown color with a 1 inch head. Lacing remains down the side, but spotty. Bubbles forming up the snifter.

S - Very malt-y, boozy and earthy. Reminiscent of a proper Old Ale.

T - This is where the complexity begins. Getting a lot of different tastes here. Beginning with Marris Otter malt and finishing with the (seemingly) fresh Fuggles hops. The aftertaste bursts with caramel and booze, still burning after 3 years, could probably sit for another several years to allow things to set and combine. Still delicious though, but in small sips every now and again.

F - Thick, robust, full and carbonated. Nothing too overbowering, but enough to allow my palate to retain the entire flavor of the beer. Perhaps the highlight of this fine brew.

O - An excellent take on the easily obtainable Old Ale. Unfortunately, I think this style is lost, and I love how North Coast is continuing to make this extraordinary. Compared to the 2015 version, this is incredibly different but in a good way. Will probably pick up another bottle and allow it to age for longer. NC really got it right with this one.

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Photo of vic21234
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 Vintage poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

A- Pours a clear and slightly fizzy ruby color with a small amount of head which quickly fades.

S- Dark fruits with a slight hint of tartness.

T- Raisins and dark fruits along with overall sweetness.

M- Medium bodied, sweet with and slight alcohol bite.

Nice old ale, I'll be sitting the rest down for a few years though to see how it does.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage at 55 degrees into hand washed and dried snifter
Aroma of malt and wood, some alcohol but not overpowering
Head small (2 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, fizzy, rapidly diminishing to 3 mm ring and partial layer
Lacing poor – few small gravitationally elongated circular islands of tiny bubbles
Body dark amber, clear, effervescent
Flavor very subdued, sweet, dates, warming alcohol; no hops, no diacetyl
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.25, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4.5, Overall 4.25

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Photo of alienlifeforcecube
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice beer. 2014 variety. dark brown and clear. i didn't get a lot of aroma but there was a bit of sugariness. caramel and vanilla is prominent, a little sour. at 11.8%abv, it's masked well.

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

There are times when I get caught up in trying to find hard-to-find craft beer, and overlook the very good more widely available craft beer. Old Stock Ale is such a beer that I have overlooked for that reason, as well as its' label which I have found somewhat boring.

This is a very good beer. The beer bursts with flavor early on, especially bourbon and vanilla, as well as dark fruits and a balanced sweetness. It brings to mind Backwoods Bastard in the prominence of the bourbon and vanilla. As it warmed, and especially, towards the end, it evolves into sherry flavors and a tartness. The higher abv is noticeable, but not in an unpleasant way. I intend to stock up on a number of 4 packs.

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Photo of IowaBiertrinker
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Just did a vertical of the 2010, 2013, and 2014. 2010 was more fruit and plumb flavor. 2013 was a nice balance of malt, fruit and hop, and 2014 was more brash and hop flavor. A nice ale regardless of the year!

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,441 ratings.