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Old Stock Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,429 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,429
Hads: 2,942
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 10.27%
Wants: 160
Gots: 580 | 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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,429 | Hads: 2,942
Photo of outdoor7or24
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 bottle had on 1-12-2015. 12 oz bottle purchased at CBX.
A: pours a dark copper orange, +1 finger graham cracker color foam head, few spots of lacing.
S: sweet malt with some heat from the alcohol, some orange
M: medium body with some sticks residue on the tongue
T: sweet butter caramel, oak, vanilla, burbon notes for sure, alcohol as it warms is more noticeable, slight orange or citrus at the end, the finish is a little bitter and hot bite from the alcohol
O: great old ale, I'm sure more time would mellow this out some. (532 characters)

Photo of HipCzech
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 12 oz bottle poured into a 7 oz Libbey Embassy snifter (bottle marked "11072014").

Appearance: Clear, deep, garnet brown with khaki foam. An airy, bubbly head leaves a dense collar of foam; spare lacing.

Smell: Big, sweetly malty, with growing alcoholic fumes.

Taste: Full and malty; plenty of caramel, rum soaked raisins, and almost numbing alcoholic bite.

Mouthfeel: Relatively full body, lush and smooth. Lively, prickly carbonation.

Overall: Unapologetically boozy; big and complex malts make. A nice sipper. (526 characters)

Photo of happilyhopped
4.36/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle of 2014 Old Stock Ale From North Coast. Poured into medium sized snifter.

A: Pours almost syrupy, definitely more viscous than most beers. Color is a honey amber color when held up to the light. When not, it appears a kind of murky brown color like a burnt sienna. About a quarter inch of head appears, but dissipates very quickly leaving only a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass. Bubbles are very tiny, almost champagne'esque

S: Initial smell is of toffee and booze. Definitely a slight burn in the nostrils from the alcohol heat. After getting past that i get a bit of citrus, possibly a hint of orange zest, lime or grapefruit leaves.

T: Initial taste is of rich sweet caramel. Also getting a lot of brown sugar, some vanilla, and subtle toffee as well. There is a slight fruity tinge to the beer as well. Candied orange and dried citrus fruits come to mind. Almost like the orange flavor you get in orange flavored dark chocolate. The finish is a little lighter than i expected, though still packs a punch. Just a hint of hoppy bitterness finishes it off. Very subtle. Very good. A few minutes after a sip i noticed similarities to the malty flavor of some bourbons that lingers long after the alcohol burn fades off.

M: There is an intense, perhaps overwhelming feeling of bubbles covering your mouth. Very similar to champagne because the bubbles are so tiny. I feel them dancing across my tongue after taking a sip a minute ago so the sensation lingers a bit. Not my favorite feeling, but not one i necessarily mind. Definitely got some thickness to it too. Coats the mouth and is slightly syrupy.

O: Overall this beer is pretty delicious for me. I like old ales and for 11.8% the booze isn't overwhelming. It is on the sweet side as most old ales tend to be, but the nice fruity characteristics mixed with the slightly bitter finish really help balance it out. I bought a few of these to cellar after tasting how good this can be with a few years on it. So i am drinking this fresh and will try it again in a year to see how it evolves. (2,077 characters)

Photo of Thirstygoat
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Layer of whitish head rapidly disperses, No lacing . Dark expresso brown.

Bit of sweetness on the nose
Malty with dry fruit,maybe prunes or figs
Satisfying viscous mouthfeel
This is a beer for cold winter days (216 characters)

Photo of Badger5209
1.92/5  rDev -53.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

This is a very sweet beer, literally, not figuratively. I didn't like it. Poured some out, which I never do. I see this is highly rated, which is why I bought it. But the emperor has no clothes as far as I am concerned. (222 characters)

Photo of JasW
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

The 2014 poured a gorgeous burgundy-tinted dark amber color into a tulip. Boozy nose. Has one of the most complex yet inexplicably balanced tastes of any beer I've ever tried. Malt, yeast, hops, fruit -- they all seem to be in there. My head is swimming, and it's not just the 11.8% ABV. This beer is an unabashed treat, and the folks at North Coast deserve a medal. Or at least people lining up to buy it. I could believe that kind of hype for an ale like this. (463 characters)

Photo of jopezu
5/5  rDev +22.2%

old stock ale 2013 bottle poured into a snifter. deep amber cider color. slight head that dissipates quickly, but holds a compact, effervescent carbonated mouthfeel very well throughout the duration. nose is sweet sugar, dark fruit and bread. taste is a subtle, roving complexity; burnt sugar, raisin, fig, plum, and toast. at 11.9 abv, there is a gliding ester quality and warming booze tone. an amazingly balanced sipper. enjoy! (437 characters)

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked this up in Totowa a few weeks back, 2014 on the bottle. Never had this before and I haven't had an Old Ale in quite some time and even though I've been reviewing beers on here for years, bottles like this always throw me for a loop. There's a *lot* going on here and although that's not a bad thing, it can overwhelm the taste buds pretty easily. Very complex and strong, this was an Old Ale that was true to form.

This had a very dark brown hue with a hint of plum tint to it, with strong carbonation and a fluffy head that quickly settled down. Lots of bread and dark fruit in the nose, reinforced by currant, booze, and yeast in the taste. Some brown sugar sweetness and fig was underneath everything but the overall taste was that of a highly fermented apple cider. Sweet, malty, and potent, this packed quite a punch even though the warming effect really wasn't there. A bit more sweet or potent and this could have been a Barleywine. A bit more wheat and it could have been a Dark Wheat Ale or Dunkelweizen. A bit more fruit and this would have been a true fall seasonal with pear and grape notes. As it was, this was the epitome of what an Old Ale should be, given that other years reviewed on here had varying tasting profiles, like a Lambic.

Strong this felt and strong this was but that didn't detract from the profile or drinkability of this beer. The yeast and fruit flavors lingered beautifully long after the liquid went down and there was enough malt her to make this full but just short of feeling cloying or chewy. Short of having too much grain or rye, this beer nailed what an Old Ale should be and in terms of quality, stands toe-to-toe with the Old Rasputin. An outstanding offering and the example of why brewers should add an Old Ale to their portfolio. Complexity is rarely more enjoyable than this. (1,833 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into snifter; 2012 vintage, bottled in early 2012. Pours slightly hazy dark ruby red color with a 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, toffee, toast, raisin, plum, fig, apple, date, cherry, brown sugar, brown bread, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, toast, brown bread, raisin, plum, fig, apple, date, cherry, brown sugar, light nuttiness, herbal, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown bread, raisin, plum, fig, apple, date, cherry, brown sugar, light nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a creamy and moderately slick/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome old ale. All around great complexity and balance of dark/bready malt and fruity/earthy yeast ester flavors; and quite smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,530 characters)

Photo of SomethingClever
4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter 2012 bottle

A: like a glass of cloudy Carmel almost no head

S: You get these nice hop notes but they are over powered by Carmel malts, figs, dates

T: rich Carmel toffee dates smooth hints of hops but very mellow but you can tell this was pretty high hopped but they are so mellow. Almost no booze taste

M: medium to full bodied doesn't lay on the tongue too much

O: just a beautiful beer, it has the deep hints of hops but very mellow in taste smooth Carmel toffee deep thick doughy bread taste. This beer is quite impressive and thank god easily looked over (601 characters)

Photo of PatrickKellyCT
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 Vintage

Look: Almost looks like dark apple cider, very thick and dense appearance, a ring of lace formed around the glass

Smell: Lots of brown sugar, some caramel/toffee, a little bit of alcohol. Very malty.

Taste: Just like the smell. Tons and tons of sweet brown sugary malts. Massive beer, very complex. Definitely some alcohol but it is masked well by all of the surrounding flavors.

Moutfeel: Very dense mouthfeel, sticky and syrupy. Definitely a sipper.

Overall a great beer on a cool November night. Enjoy! I'll be sipping this one for hours. (559 characters)

Photo of brongladest
4/5  rDev -2.2%

A: dark , white head
S:intensely malty, a bit bready, alittle boozy/bourbony
T: huge malt, bready, bourbon boozy, slight bitter at the end
M: full body, a bit creamy
final verdict: good beer, would be better aged a year or two (226 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
3.96/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

355ml 2003 bottle poured into tulip 5/10/14, big thanks towards Phly21ca for the bottle

A 11 years old and still some noise when I pop the cap so that's a good sign, clear dark brown has a red glow when held to the light, a finger of foam doesn't last long and leaves no lace

S leather, tobacco, sugar coated raisins, a little molasses, some oxidization, but its held up remarkably well for a beer this old

T brown sugar, a little brandy, has a desert wine aspect that's hard to place, no booze at all, lots of burnt sugars, its past its prime I'm sure but still very good

M leaning towards full, low carbonation but not flat, the booze is completely gone, is it nutty on the finish? hazelnut maybe? I cant place it to save my life

O I wasn't sure what to expect but this ones done well considering it was bottled over a decade ago, there's signs of age no doubt and its over the hill but still drinking surprisingly well

I think this might be the oldest beer I've ever drank, I had a 99 JW Lees Harvest Ale back in 2010 so it would be close. I was expecting a novelty but this one was well worth drinking, now I want to find other vintages, thanks again Phil for the experience (1,195 characters)

Photo of Damian
3.74/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
2012 vintage
Served in a snifter

The nearly crystal clear, crimson-mahogany liquid was topped by a one-finger tall, foamy, khaki colored crown that quickly faded to a film of bubbles. Spotty lacing trickled down the glass.

The nose was pleasant yet subtle initially. Semi-sweet with caramel and toffee notes. Somewhat fruity. Raisins and figs were noticeable. As the beer warmed, the aroma became much sweeter and more intense. Strong rum-like notes really came forth. Loads of brown sugar. Notes of oak were detectible as well.

Sharp, boozy notes overwhelmed the flavor profile initially. Carmel malts came through on the front end. Fruity with hints of plums, raisins and figs. Brown sugar was noticeable in the center. Subtle metallic notes appeared on the back end. The finish was hot and biting with strong earthy and piney hop notes. Really tough drinking. With time, the flavor profile intensified and the alcohol became much less of an issue.

The mouthfeel was perhaps the most impressive aspect of this beer. Super creamy, soft and supple. Somewhat sticky. The liquid contained a fine, medium, tongue blanketing effervescence that made the beer feel light and airy on the palate but still gave it enough weight.

Even with two years of age on this bottle, North Coast's Old Stock Ale was quite boozy and rough around the edges. With its almost cloying sweetness on the front end and harsh, hoppy and boozy notes on the finish, this drank a lot like an old school, West Coast-style barleywine. Perhaps a bit more time in the cellar would do it some good. (1,641 characters)

Photo of FLima
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage.
Murky brown orange color with a thin head with short retention.
Aroma with notes of molasses, lots of dark fruits, banana and licorice.
Bold flavor with notes of prunes, raisins, real toffee, definitely with a profound vinous character, burnt coconut, orange marmalade, rum flamed banana, maple syrup, and earthy and herbal hops. Flavors just keep coming, you have to stop sometime. Quite dry aftertaste with a medium bitterness.
Medium to full body with mild carbonation with the tiniest bubbles. Alcohol of 11.9% abv is intriguingly well hidden, and when it starts to show up it positively contributes to its flavor.
This is an outstanding Old Ale, those American bastards, they did it again! Great complexity with lots of vinous, dark fruit and toffee notes. Nectar from heaven. (795 characters)

Photo of gonzo000
3.55/5  rDev -13.2%

This beer has several outstanding qualities, but the spice profile is not my best friend. Body was great. Color was beautiful. Something in the finish that I did not care for. That being said, it is still a good beer. (223 characters)

Photo of samtrillo
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

2014 Vintage...

No head or lacing. Deep dark purple hue.

Smells of rich caramel malt and alcohol. Maybe a bit of red wine or grape.

Tastes of a sweet caramelized barleywine like flavor. Alcohol definitely noticeable but enjoyable guided by this beer. A bit of red grape in the taste.

Low carbonation and a bouncy mouthfeel with the ABV and big malt.

Overall, I'm into big beers like this. Reminds me of a barleywine. (423 characters)

Photo of tillmac62
4.3/5  rDev +5.1%

2014 vintage. Clear heavy amber pour with a huge dark ruby cast making it almost red. Good head, lacing and retention. The nose is dark fruits (plum, raisin and fig) over a faint caramel sweetness with moderate alcohol notes. Full bodied with a rich creamy texture. Average carbonation with a bit of effervescence on the finish. The flavor profile is loaded with complexity, yet well balanced. The 11.8% alcohol is very well hidden, but becomes more prevalent as it warms. It begins with a burst of caramel sweetness that flows into the dark fruit flavors, but the sweetness is never absent due to the heavy malt bill. Chocolate notes appear in the middle that relent to coffee/toffee notes. The finish is where the alcohol is most prevalent, leaving you with that nice alcohol burn at the back of the throat, but yet not overpowering. The finish is somewhat tannic with a touch of hops over a fading caramel sweetness. An outstanding Old Ale and a fine example of OC's brewing prowess. (998 characters)

Photo of jucifer1818
4.5/5  rDev +10%

I picked up this beer about a year ago, and Had it during a tough time....and it was worth the wait.

Its a very, very smooth brew. The extra time most likely helped round off its edges and give a bee with a huge amount of balance and harmony.

To me, it tastes more like a great barleywine, but I suppose that a old ale is essentially a aged barleywine that has most of its hops suppressed by time.

I suggest this beer heavily. 4.5/5 (435 characters)

Photo of RexBanner
4.95/5  rDev +21%

Poured from bottle into a goblet.
Its appearance was a dark amber. Hazy, no carbonation was noticeable. 1 1/2 finger creamy head that faded into nothing rather quickly. Nice looking beer.

Aroma: Some yeast, although very faint. Maple syrup, corn flakes, alcoholic esters, hops and maybe vanilla or corn syrup, I couldn't quite make it out.

Taste & mouth feel: Robust was the first word that came to mind. Deep "beer" taste. Slight sweetness from the malts but then there is a sharp bite from both the hops and the carbonation. Chewy and full although it looks like a thin beer. The carbonation is by no means assertive; medium is more like it. Nice sweet corn syrup taste but nothing like an adjunct beer. The bready yeast and hops helps balance this beer out.

Very, very good beer. This is for sure a beer drinkers beer. The kind of taste one thinks of when desiring a good beer to end the work day. One of the better American old ales in the market. The reason I say that is that many of the other American old ales tend to be too sweet and end up tasting more like milder version of a barleywine. This one was balanced. My recommendation, however, would be to age it after purchasing, for a year. (1,208 characters)

Photo of mj81
4.25/5  rDev +3.9%

2011 vintage.

2 finger egg shell head that quickly falls to nothing. Pours a cloudy brownish yellow. Nose is dark fruits and boozy (even at 3 years old). Taste follows nose. Dark fruits, a little boozy but it helps to enhance the complexity of the flavors. Getting a little vanilla, molasses and toffee too. Maybe a hint of cherry. Overall very solid and well done. (366 characters)

Photo of delta490
4.5/5  rDev +10%

Pours a cloudy ruddy brown with a short lasting light tan head. The head burns off quickly and leaves no lacing. Despite that, there is a trickle of carbonation on the finish. The aroma is rich, with deep toffee and dark fruit notes. The taste is similar, with a nice warming effect from the alcohol that doesn't overwhelm the flavors. It has a certain creamy quality to it that simply adds to the combination. A great, well-built Old Ale.
It gets even better as it warms. (473 characters)

Photo of illpass78
3.62/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark, vaguely cloudy ruby with some pretty furious carbonation. The carbonation makes a lot of noise; it's almost angry sounding.

Aroma: Booze really dominates the smell. There's also some caramel, grape, and grassy hop smell, but the booze kind of drowns them out.

Taste: This beer has a very big boozy presence that becomes more pronounced as it warms. The other flavors in the nose are also present, but for me, as someone who doesn't drink a lot of high-alcohol beers, the booze was very forward. Also some vinous characteristics. The warmer it got, the harsher it got; by the end it was basically paint thinner.

Mouthfeel: Well-balanced, medium body.

Overall: I'm not really the audience for this beer, because I'm not super into howitzer-grade alcohol. It's well executed, and old/stock ale fans will almost certainly enjoy it. A decent sipper, but not something that motivates me to genuflect. (965 characters)

Photo of chickenflea
3.86/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage in 12oz bottle. Served at 48degs. The beer poured a cloudy caramel color. A thick foamy head persisted for about 15 mins. Aroma is molasses, fermented dark fruit, prune, alcohol and bread (the Maris Otter comes through!). Alcohol and vinous sweetness on the palate. A pleasant bitterness on the finish with a touch of oxidation. This is a big beer and it takes time to sort it out. Thick mouthfeel with a long long finish. Overall, nothing to complain about. It doesn't feel like there are a lot of silly spice additions to detract from the wonderful malt and the rich gravity of this beer. I have come to expect a lot from North Coast. This beer does not disappoint. It's a little hot. I have three other bottles that I will let sit another year. Then we will see if the alcohol has mellowed a bit. (812 characters)

Photo of Catracho5
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is the 2012 bomber edition. I have never had this fresh.

Serving type: 22 ounce bomber poured into a Belgian tulip glass.

Appearance: Looks great in the glass, dark reddish brown, cloudy, off white head, lots of tiny bubbles, not much lacing,

Smell: Two years old and not much on the aroma. There is some kind of faint malt aroma, not sure what it is, but definitely no alcohol on the nose. Not much for aroma, very subtle I can't identify the smell. It's like a bread, malt, caramel aroma, definitely not significant.

Taste: Bitterness upfront, some malt bread flavor in the middle, a nice grape wine like flavor with some slight sourness. As the beer warms, the bitterness lessens, the grape like flavor becomes more prevalent, very nice.

Mouthfeel: a lot of tiny bubbles, dry, metallic like feel, not thick.

Very nice beer, definitely better a little warm than right out of the fridge. Very good, I am going to try 2014 to get a comparison. Definitely worth a try. (981 characters)

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
91 out of 100 based on 1,429 ratings.