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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 FLima
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of SHDoyle
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Description: Dark amber color, borderline red, with just a bit of 'dirty' white head that quickly dissipates after the initial pour. I didn't get much of anything from the aroma except maybe a bit of malty sweetness and possibly some dark fruits. Wasn't bad, just kind of non-existent. The taste had much more to offer than the smell an d almost reminded me a bit of a quad: dark fruits, roasted flavors with sweetness up front and a bit of bitterness on the finish. As might be expected with a beer of this ABV, the alcohol was prominent. Feel was velvety, thick, viscous and it coats the mouth - exactly what you'd want and expect from a full bodied old ale.

Suggested food pairing: Fish and chips

If you like this beer then you should also try: Curmudgeon

Ideal time to drink this beer: In a raucous waterside pub, sitting squeezed into a booth with friends. You get started early on this and it's so eminently quaffable and smooth that you drink a few too many. You feel like hell the next day, but last night was a lot of fun and worth the throbbing in your head.

Overall: 4.25 (This beer is good and I would likely drink it again) Straightforward, smooth and full bodied, this beer isn't so much drinkable as it is 'quaffable'. One quaff after another, you could easily quaff away on this one without thinking twice, which could be dangerous given the ABV. This a case of a beer not doing anything pretentious or fancy, just executing a solid, high-quality brew.

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Photo of gonzo000
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%

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.

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Photo of samtrillo
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

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Photo of jucifer1818
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

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

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Photo of RexBanner
4.95/5  rDev +20.7%

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.

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Photo of mj81
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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Photo of delta490
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

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.

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Photo of illpass78
3.62/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

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Photo of chickenflea
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
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.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

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Photo of JamesStreet
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage poured into snifter
A- Brownish-ruby hue with very small tan head
S- bready malts, raisins, sweetness, some oaky wood
T- follows nose pretty much. Slight malty booziness.
M- wonderful, velvety creamy mouthfeel. Not much on the hops, very faint, if any. Medium carb.
O- overall, very nice Old Ale. Almost a barrel-aged booziness that gives a good alcohol presence, but no burn. Very nice offering.

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Photo of Mikus
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 Old Stock Ale in my snifter... absolute perfect melding of aroma, taste, experience... such a different vibe. Very deep amber hue accented by a strong, sweet molasses scent. Tastes like a liquid dream... smoothest mouthfeel I have experienced, save perhaps FIS... overall a winner... back to the bottle shop for a few more to age.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Firestone Walker tasting glass. Vintage 2012.

A: Clear molasses-brown. No head.

S: So sweet, so pleasant. Strong and intimidating. Dead-yeast-booze and wine and raisins.

T: A little on the sweet side, with heavy brown sugar notes and hints of yeasty sharpness. Not a WHOLE lot going on, but it's alright.

M/O: A little bland and generic (over-smooth). I'm sure it's delicious, and I'd like to try it again.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Dark amber brown/orange with an off-white ring of head.

S: Sweet, but faint nose, some dark fruits, some must, but not a ton else.

T: Some sweet dark fruits, bready malts, pretty subtle. A bit of orange, some other sweet fruits.

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

O: It's subtle, it's sweet, and it's good.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Old Stock Ale 2014

Appearance - Pours a relatively clear deep reddish amber with a light khaki finger width head. Good retention, resulting in a broken layer of surface suds and a decent ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell - Caramel, sweet raisin and coconut notes hit the nose with a nice harmonic balance.

Taste - Follows the nose. Deep caramel character is the base, with notes of sweet raisin and especially coconut, which strengthens as the brew warms. Maybe a touch of red apple in there. A light, warming quality comes through in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with light carbonation. Velvety, almost cream-like quality. Semi-dry finish. Stupid smooth for nearly 12%.

Overall - Man oh man, where has this been all my life? I'm in love. Originally reviewed 2014, but now it's 2015 and I'm up to a good eight or so four packs from both years. One might compare this to drinking a BA barleywine, without all the strong bourbon punch. Thank Goodness the GP hasn't caught on to how brilliant this brew is, as it's basically available to me all year-round.

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Photo of Bone53
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 2013 bottle into a snifter at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit

Appearance: Dark amber color and an aggressive pour which resulted in a huge light beige head that dissipates quickly.

Smell: Caramel malt, brown sugar, dark fruit, alcohol

Taste: Caramel, slight dark fruit, and not much else

Mouthfeel: Very thin body; I can't believe how thin this is. For something with this abv. I expect a heavy, coated mouthfeel, and I don't get it. Becomes boozier the warmer it gets. Disappointed to say the least

Overall: Very underwhelmed; This is the 2013 vintage, likely aged around a year, and the flavor nor mouthfeel are on par with my favorites in the style. Not much balance to it other than caramel, very little dark fruit, and booze. I recently had Bells Third Coast Old Ale and that blew this away in my opinion. Won't be returning any time soon

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

Poured from a large bottle into a paper cup poolside after a long motorcycle ride. Three years old--2011 brew sampled in 2014. Brown-amber color, thick frothy head, can't judge lacing in a paper cup. Aroma is unique, sweet brandy, caramel malt, and a fairly strong aroma of alcohol. Flavor is amazing--brandy, caramel, molasses, sweetness,slight hops. Mouth feel is medium with very little carbonation. Overall this is a unique and outstanding ale.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From the 2014 batch. Sampled on May 6, 2014.

Wow! For some reason I thought I had already reviewed this one. The pour is a gorgeous looking mahogany amber with a modest off-white head.

Lots of aroma and character on the nose including roasted pale caramel malts, molasses, yeast, a touch of dark fruit. Low booze note for a fresh one. It just invites me in for a sip.

The body is big and bold with a smooth texture to it.

The taste is sweet and malty with a barleywine feel but not quite. Definitely has a nice cellar feel to it. This is tasty to the extreme.

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Photo of barczar
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage.

Pours a slightly hazy medium brown/dark copper with ruby highlights and a foamy khaki head that dissipates into a small pool of foam.

Raisins, prunes, booze, deeply caramelized malt, buttery toffee, and brown sugar form the aroma. Dark fruit and sweetness dominate.

Flavor reveals toasted, nutty caramel malt at the base, which is brown sugar sweet initially, but finishes fairly bready and dry. Underlying notes of raisins, prunes, dates, and figs are accompanied by sherry and a sort of vinous/tart cherry note.

Body is full, almost chewy, with modest carbonation that's accented by the vinous character. Alcohol warmth is still pretty hefty.

Very characterful brew. Love the contrast of sweet and tart tones, and the underlying dark fruit adds nice complexity. Still a bit hot, this should age well. The finish is just a touch flat.

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Photo of JerUrbans
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage

Pours a cloudy caramel color with light tan head.

Smell is very nice, dark fruits, sweet and sour, and roasted malt.

Tastes is sweet malt, caramel, a very big, smooth flavor.

Mouth-feel, smooth smooth, smooth, nice light carbonation.

Overall, for 12% abv I only get some heat way, way at the end. Very Excellent brew. I know I should age some but this is really one of the finest beers I've had and I don't know if i have the will power. Such a balanced flavor, would pair excellent with anything on the grill or smoker.

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Photo of neurobot01
3.71/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage into a snifter. Served at cellar temp.

Appearance: nice red color, nonexistent head.

Smell: makes me a little nervous. I get cherries, but also wet cardboard. Sweet, but with a little biting tanginess.

Taste: up front, an explosion of flavor. Sweet, with the tangy cherries I picked up in the nose leading the way. A little bitterness. And then, as quickly as it comes on, the flavor disappears—very little aftertaste, just a ghostly hint of bitter cherry.

Feel: medium, pretty slick. Almost can't tell if the tingliness is from the carbonation or just a flavor, but if it's the former, it's a bit too much for the style.

Overall: maybe I'm just not an old ale guy, but this didn't quite do it for me. But, I've got another three bottles, so I'll get a chance to try this a bit further down the line and see if the beer (or my palate) improves.

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Photo of abeeronthebeach
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. Drank after Weihenstephaner Original Premium and Rodenbach Grand Cru.

A - Fingers appear discernible yet warped on the other side of the glass which is a good indicator of a high gravity beverage. Colours fluctuate between brandy brown and sherry red. Head vanishes swiftly, something I like in this style.

S - Sweet malt. Dark dried fruits; in particular date and prune. Christmas pudding is also evident. Toffee and a faint whiff of banana. So that would be banoffee then.

T - Lovely and sweet. I swear to God I'm tasting actual treacle. Mellow malt profile riffs with caramelized rum booziness. Hop character is minimal which is fine by me.

M - Smooth, thick, mildly carbonated and decidedly viscous.

O - The abv. is expertly masked. This beer already has a rich flavour profile, so I'll be interested to see how it drinks with a few more years on it; hopefully it takes on new layers of complexity. A great beer to round out a great session. Just needs a little more depth and complexity which should come with age.

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Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage 12oz bottle, poured into snifter.
Deep garnet with a fluffy khaki head that fades slowly leaving some slimy lacing.
Smells good; metallic caramel malt, tobacco, dark fruit, sweet bread.
Taste is awesome...sweet bready malt, caramel and toffee, sweetness, some tannic leafy crispness, puff of booze.
Mouthfeel is glorious, like a belgian quad. Fluffy and huge but somehow light.
Overall, a great old ale. Can't wait to cellar one of these for a bit, and also looking forward to trying the 2011 vintage I've been eyeing.

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