1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Old #38 Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old #38 StoutOld #38 Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,061 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,061
Reviews: 630
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.26%
Wants: 39
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Irish Dry Stout |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 10-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old #38 Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,061 | Reviews: 630 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kaseydad


3.45/5  rDev -9.7%

Pint glass pour and I am met with a dark, dark brown ale with a nice beige colored head that quickly develops to a ring around the glass. Roasted malty aroma with some chocolate hints. Smokey taste with some roasted malts in there. There is a somewhat harsh/spicy swallow. with a bitter aftertaste. Very thin mouthfeel. Totally unexpected. It looks hearty and smells good, but much too watery for me. Not very drinkable for myself. I have had this a few times and try to like it, but it just doesn't "do" it for me. Love the brewery, just not this beer.

12-16-2010 02:33:49 | More by kaseydad
Photo of DrDemento456


4.43/5  rDev +16%

I threw this in my sixer at random and now I look wondering "this is from the same company that sells Old Rasputin? It must be good!"

A - Wow a ton of mocha head! An aggressive pour produced a 2 inch foam with the beer being pitch black in color.

S - Smells like dry coca with a bit of chocolate nibs and a bit of roasted malt for texture.

T - Ow wow that's dry! It does shine through with roasted flavors of coffee and coco chocolate with a slight creamy finish.

M - Light to medium bodied and creamy!

D - Wow this has to be one of the smoothest dry roasted stouts I have ever drank. In so that I would only be able to finish one or two a sitting. Regardless I will have to track down more beers from the North Coast Brewing Co. since I only had a couple and they are amazing!

12-15-2010 02:37:22 | More by DrDemento456
Photo of Shrews629


4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Appearance - Very dark brownish/black color with a few deep ruby highlights when held toward the light. Thick tan head. Creamy and full. The retention wasn't exceptionally long, but it hung around for a few minutes then settled to a nice film. Pretty good lacing also.

Smell - Roastiness comes forth first in the nose. Getting a type of dark fruitiness. Like a deep cherry or a deep, dark plum. Picking up some hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste - The taste mimics the smell very well. The roasted malt and dark fruit is present, but I also found a mint-chocolate chip ice cream sort of flavor. It was subtle, but there. Could just be me. It wasn't unpleasant. Kind of interesting.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. Nice and smooth. Creamy. Bountiful amounts of flavor left on the palate. Dry and delicate. Goes down way too easy. I like it.

Drinkability - This is a very sound and agreeable Stout. Perfect for those cold Winter nights. It's a session beer for me. I would love to pick this up again. I want another one. Goes down easy and is not overly filling. A very, very, very nice beer. Cheers.

12-12-2010 15:59:35 | More by Shrews629
Photo of jsh420


3.45/5  rDev -9.7%

pours muddy dark brown with a 1+ finger head that stuck around for good while

smells of chocolate roasted malt and a tiny bit of dark fruit

taste - what a let down - watery flavors just a complete mess after such a great nose

mouthfeel was a little over carboanted but overall food

drinkability - is always as good as the taste - and this beer taste was such a let down

12-10-2010 04:34:07 | More by jsh420
Photo of ryan1788a5


4/5  rDev +4.7%

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours black with shades of ruby. This one is not opaque. A two-finger tan head sticks around for a while and leaves plenty of delicate lacing behind.

S: Molasses, roasted malt, roasted barley, hints of coffee, subtle dark chocolate, plums, a slight earthiness, and maybe some citric hops.

T: Molasses opens, along with a sweet cola-like expression. Burnt acrid edge is fleeting and barely registers on the palate. Plums and currants surface for just a moment, then fade into the background. Hops balance but don't add much to the flavor. Dries out in the finish and offers deep tastes of roasted malt and barley that manifests itself in the form of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. The earthiness suggested by the nose seemed absent.

M: Thick and creamy. Ample seltzer-like carbonation adds to the cola impression.

D: High. Easily quaffable.

Notes: A very easy drinking Dry Stout. Not as acidic, acrid, and burnt as many examples of the style tend to be. Stays very sweet until the finish. A solid, reliable beer and a good start for those who want to venture further than Guinness within the style.

12-06-2010 19:37:16 | More by ryan1788a5
Photo of PicoPapa


3.83/5  rDev +0.3%

12oz bottle with No Freshness Date, which is disappointing since I got this from a Beer Store that notoriously has beer that sits around for awhile on the shelf so I'm guessing this may have some age on it. Pours a deep, dark brown with a thin layer of head. Minimal lacing. Aromas of chocolate, caramel and alcohol. Flavors of caramel, chocolate and an overall nice sweetness to it. Nowhere near as boozey as it smelled. This is a pretty good stout and worth a second look. A bit thin but a nice sweet brew.

12-06-2010 06:06:28 | More by PicoPapa
Photo of TheLVBeerGuy


3.53/5  rDev -7.6%

Poured it into a Pint glass

A- Pours a dark brown like old used engine oil. Honestly its almost black. Chocolate milk colored head starts about a finger length and goes down to about half that. Great lacing

S- Good roasted coffee aroma, very appetizing on the nose and makes you want to dive in

T- very simple and delicious. you get the roasted barley notes with a great strong hoppy finish. Very full and chewy

M- very full much more like eating a stout than drinking it. Im really enjoying the way it coats your mouth and throat.

D- Keep it simple stupid. nice and simple stout. Cheers.

this is truly the simplist version of the style. The reason it doesnt rate too high for me is that it doesnt stand out. it is good but not exceptional. Tasty but it doesnt stand alone.

11-18-2010 03:27:16 | More by TheLVBeerGuy
Photo of Tilley4


4.33/5  rDev +13.4%

Another one of those brews that I'd never tried but consistently overlook for other things... Won't do it again... This was great..

A nice ruby brown appearance but the foamy head and lacing stole this show... Head never got below 3/4 inch the whole time and it coated the glass the whole way through...

Lots of dark chocolate here as opposed to just roasted malts... Perhaps a bit of coffee as well... Very rich and robust aromas for this style... Like Guinness kicked up...

Dark bitter cocoa and rich deep roasted malts with hints of the coffee from the aromas... A kiss of hops present on the finish as well... Quite delicious... This is one of the better Dry Stouts I've ever had for sure... Not over the top, just a solid as hell brew from a great brewery...

Very sessionable... I enjoyed this the whole time and was sad to see it go...

11-08-2010 14:08:09 | More by Tilley4
Photo of PintOHops


3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Glass - Nonic

A - Almost completely black with just a bit of brown around the top and bottom. It produced a 1-finger tan head that died down quickly, and held a thin tan ring atop my beer but it didn't leave any lacing.

S - Charcoal, dark chocolate and raisins are upfront. Hints of coffee with mild sweetness. A bit smokey but that's about all I'm getting, not a robust aroma but not soft either.

T - A bit acidic upfront with a dominate and well rounded semi dark chocolate flavor throughout. Smokey notes, not sweet at all really. It finishes dry and smokey with just a touch of bitterness. A very simple and delicious brew.

M - A little smooth with moderate crispness and a lite- medium body.

D - I could enjoy 2-3 with some grub on a cool day but for me that would probably do. I really liked that it wasn't overly sweet, and the flavors where simple and very chocolaty. Overall I wouldn't mind picking this one up again sometime, and I think it's worth a try for sure. cheers!

10-29-2010 23:17:29 | More by PintOHops
Photo of JosiahS


3.73/5  rDev -2.4%

Glass: Nonic

Pours close to black but a little ruby-red appears along the sides. Nice looking caramel, 1-finger head, somewhat creamy, splashy lacing.

Right away i can smell those rich roasted chocolate malts, just a little caramel and butter. Light floral hops.

Upon first sip. roast is what i get hit with first, along with the bitterness that is expected. Soon after, about mid-pallete, the bitterness lessens and the rich cocoa and soft coffee notes take the lead. It finishes relatively clean(in-terms of stouts) with a decent dryness. Lingering roast is there and bitterness as well, but not overdone.

This is a good beer but by no means a beer there would be any sort of hype for, which is to say, it's decent but there isn't any originality or wow-factor. "A decent dry stout" would be my response if someone would happen to ask what i thought of it.

10-29-2010 23:14:09 | More by JosiahS
Photo of charlzm


4.05/5  rDev +6%

Consumed October 12th, 2010 at Tony's Darts Away, Burbank, CA.

An essentially black liquid with a sticky tan head.

Aroma is grainy and bitter roasted chocolate.

Flavor has a prune/raisin note before segueing into dark, roasted malt. Chocolate, coffee flavor but lacking the associated bitterness for the most part.

A touch thin and watery, but not fatally.

A proper Irish Dry Stout, easily blowing away the sour brown water that passes for draft Guinness in the USA. A touch heavier than the "big three" IDS's, but more satisfying to drink.

10-27-2010 05:01:04 | More by charlzm
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +6%

Bottle from Long813 ages ago, 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Can't believe I haven't opened this yet. Thanks again Martin.

Pours a near black, finger of light khaki head fading to a real thin layer and a bit of a collar. Some dark ruby red around the edges when held to the light. Minimal lace. Loads of malted barley and milk chocolate in the nose. Maybe some molasses and licorice here too. Nice and sweet smelling. Tastes mostly of chocolate with a bit of coffee, smooth and a bit watery. Mouthfeel is smooth with only a small amount of carbonation, but this goes down quick. A nice drinker and a nice dry stout overall.

10-25-2010 02:03:12 | More by liamt07
Photo of NODAK


3.9/5  rDev +2.1%

Aroma has a lot of roasted malts on it with a definite chocolate presence. Roasted chocolate is definitely the predominant aroma.

Pours a very dark brown, nearly black, in the glass. Somewhat thin head that's somewhat tight with good retention is there.

Taste is pretty light for a stout, but from what I've experienced, that's usually the case with the Irish dry stouts. Mouthfeel is pretty thin as well. Taste profile is much like that of the nose...a decent roasted malt taste with some chocolate present. There's a small bitterness on the backend. A little roasted character hangs around after the swallow.

Decent stout for those who may be entering into the world of craft beer, or who want something that's easy drinking. I certainly can't fault it for what it is....pretty well balanced and light.

10-24-2010 02:16:12 | More by NODAK
Photo of aepb1


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%

A- Dark brown with an airy tan head and decent lacing

S- Chocolate, coffee malty sweetness

T- Roasted malts up front and moves into a slight bitterness but it's a good balance overall

M- Medium/full bodied, smooth

D- Very good and will definitely revisit

10-21-2010 15:46:30 | More by aepb1
Photo of Natural510


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%

12oz bottle, no dating.

Pours an opaque black with porous brown head. Nice lacing throughout.
Scent of sweet, roasted malt with charcoal bitterness.
Roasted malt dominates the flavor; thick with notes of coffee, charcoal and red wine. An element of sweetness, but not as much as the nose indicates.
Mouthfeel is fine; a creaminess to the brew but also slightly thin.
Very nice dry stout; had all the elements of a milk stout but not quite as sweet, which is actually quite nice. Will seek again.

10-15-2010 06:01:50 | More by Natural510
Photo of drizzam


3.98/5  rDev +4.2%

A - Pours with a dark brown body, topped by a fluffy tan two finger head. Excellent head retention and generous lacing.

S - Plenty of toasted malt and dark chocolate in the nose. Smells delicious.

T & M - Those roasted malts are forefront, followed by a dark bitter chocolate and some hops rounding things out. The hop presence is bigger than I would have expected and it lends a bitter dryness to the end of this brew. Medium bodied mouthfeel, maybe a bit light for a stout.

D - A very tasty brew, if it was between this or Guinness, I would drink this hands down any day of the week. An easy drinker and a good example of the style. I would love to try this on Nitro...think that would add a creaminess to the brew that would make it phenomenal!

10-11-2010 23:49:14 | More by drizzam
Photo of PEIBeerGuy

Prince Edward Island (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev -3.7%

Premier Wine & Spirits carries a good selection of brews from the North Coast Brewing Company. This is one of the several I've picked up, Old No. 38 Stout... a name which makes one think of old-time beer... black as a railway tie and thick as molasses.

The beer is pretty dark. Its colour is quite dense. I thought this one would have a mammoth head, for whatever reason, but couldn't squeeze any more out of it than you see here. About a finger's worth that lowers to pretty much nothing, with very limited lacing.

It has a bit of an alcoholic smell... a bit of bourbon / dark rum, perhaps. Some sweetness / molasses?

The flavour is mostly all coffee bean, with a bit of chocolate. Also there is a bit of fruit, like cherry or raspberry. That alcoholic smell is pretty well all gone in the taste.

The feel is fairly watery. Not what I expected. I like my stouts a little thicker. I'd almost call this more of a dark ale in how it feels. The carbonation is fine, as is the balance of bitter & sweet. The finish is fairly dry.

It's easy to drink, as it's not very rich. You could put a few down, but if you're looking for a great stout, there are other better picks.

10-02-2010 15:01:36 | More by PEIBeerGuy
Photo of velosuds


4.03/5  rDev +5.5%

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date. Single purchased at Cost Plus World Market for $1.59.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown hue with a full, two finger creamy tan head with good retention and ample lacing.

S-Faint bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and dark roasted barley malts with some sweetness present.

T-Roasted malts, creamy chocolate, coffee and a subdued, but pleasant hop bitterness.

M-Firm bodied, very smooth with just the right carbonation level.

D-This was better than I expected. I favor the American, and heavier Foreign/Export and Russian Imperial Stout styles. This is the best Irish Dry Stout I have had and will definitely enjoy this again.

09-28-2010 02:58:30 | More by velosuds
Photo of SAxDRC5


3.55/5  rDev -7.1%

A - Pours an opaque dark brown. light tan head. Head stays around for quite a while. leaves a white lacing.

S - Smells of roasted malts, dark chocolate and burnt coffee. maybe a slight scent of sweet fruit.

T - Taste is about the same as the smell. The dominant flavor is the roasted malts. a bit of brown sugar flavor. ends with coffee, chocolate, and hops.

M - Fairly light. pretty creamy feeling. a bit dry. not the typical feel for a stout.

D - low ABV for a stout makes it quite drinkable.

09-26-2010 03:06:47 | More by SAxDRC5
Photo of Lesbrad


4.55/5  rDev +19.1%

This beer is what Guinness ought to be. it looks a little more tantalizing, smell a lot better and actually have great flavor and mouthfeel, unlike it's more heralded forefather.

Note: do not drink this in a bottle or not on nitro. This beer is meant to have a thick pillowy head.

This is the best Dry Irish style stout in America - bar none!

a black with cascading creamy rising nitro head, thick cafe au lait or cappuccino top

s a little chocolate with strong coffee aroma on a nice roasted malt backdrop

t much like the smell is a stronger roasted presence and a touch of what seems to be oatmeal

m full, rich, creamy - perfect

d surprisingly sessionable, totally satisfying

09-25-2010 15:15:23 | More by Lesbrad
Photo of culver501


4.22/5  rDev +10.5%

A-pours black with a 1 inch light tan head

S-I don't see oatmeal as a qualifier for this stout but the first smell i get is that sweet flaky oat smell, otherwise a faint nose of milk chocolate

T-the taste doesn't maintain the oaky flake form the nose but it's still well balanced between a roasted coffee flavor and a little bitter and then sweet flavor

M-pretty average for a basic stout

D-very drinkable, especially at this ABV

09-19-2010 10:03:17 | More by culver501
Photo of beeragent


4.1/5  rDev +7.3%

Poured into a pint glass from a 12oz bottle.

A - Pours a deep brown, appearing almost black when completely poured. 1/4 inch mocha head with light lace on the glass.

S - Strong aroma of coffee and roasted malts!

T - Like the aroma, a simple taste of roasted malts and coffee. No cocoa flavor commonly associated with some stouts. Very smooth taste.

M - A bit thicker than what I expect an Irish Dry Stout to feel like. More like medium bodied with low carbonation.

D - It would be hard not to like this stout. It has everything that a basic stout should have. Great body, flavor, and aroma. For an everyday stout, this is perfect.

09-11-2010 23:08:32 | More by beeragent
Photo of djbreezy


4.35/5  rDev +13.9%

appearance - generous head, dark black/brown, pours light/medium

smell - roasted malts and barley, cocoa, coffee

taste - coffee and chocolate notes, carefully roasted barley and malt, hops, water, a nice balance to bring forth a very balanced stout flavor

mouthfeel - slightly creamy, medium body, not too light, slightly dry

drinkability - very flavorful for simple ingredients, nice example of the style, really didn't know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised

09-09-2010 04:15:14 | More by djbreezy
Photo of morebeergood


3.88/5  rDev +1.6%

Single bottle purchased at the liquor store. Poured into a stemmed glass. Extremely dark brown color. Huge off-white head. Plenty of lacing on the glass. A near perfect looking stout. Smell was like chocolate powder. Taste was quite flavorful. Dark coffee flavors and hints of cocoa. Mouthfeel was not as good as I would have wished for. For an Irish styled stout, it was on the thin side. If it was brewed with more body, it would kick ass. Drinkability was high, as it was smooth, flavorful, and has a moderate abv. A somewhat run of the mill stout, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with Old # 38.

09-04-2010 03:57:45 | More by morebeergood
Photo of Flightoficarus


3.95/5  rDev +3.4%

Serving type - Bottle

A - Pours a deep dark brown/slightly ruby hue, with a thin sepia head that quickly gives way to a fairly creamy lacing.

S - Smell is of sweet cocoa, bakers chocolate, roasted coffee, and a very slight presence of floral hops.

T - Taste is of bittersweet chocolate and roasted coffee, with semi-bready malts, and very slight hop bitterness at the end.

M - Medium bodied, moderately carbonated. Somewhat creamy going down.

D - This one is slightly less full-bodied than most stouts, so it gets a good drinkability score.

Overall - A pretty solid stout overall. The Irish dry stout category suits it well. This is a good beer to seek out if you want the roasted flavors of a dark beer, but without the heavier body associated w/many stouts and porters. Pretty approachable, drinkable, and true to style!

08-19-2010 08:06:35 | More by Flightoficarus
Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 1,061 ratings.