1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
BA SCORE
86
very good

1,073 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,073
Reviews: 631
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 10.97%
Wants: 38
Gots: 23 | FT: 1
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: 1,073 | Reviews: 631 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of morebeergood
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

morebeergood, Sep 04, 2010
Photo of Flightoficarus
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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!

Flightoficarus, Aug 19, 2010
Photo of 4000qtrap
1.83/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Source/Serving: Draft, on hand pump

Smell: Not very intense. Smooth, sweet cocoa and 'lite' creamed coffee.

Taste: Really light and creamy...pretty sweet with some cocoa from the nose. The only thing that keeps this from being a total bore is a mild fruity - though not great and reminiscent of a canned (straw)berry note in the middle that is unique. But, as it sounds not very tasty. A slight sour note appears as it warms. Finish is a little dark grainy, very smooth and doesn't linger but does leave a shadow of roast coffee behind.

Maybe the low score is just a sign that Irish Stouts aren't my thing??? But i'm still trying to judge to style....

4000qtrap, Aug 03, 2010
Photo of biglite351
2.48/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - light through the middle of the glass. Tight head.

S - very mild malts and a barley scent.

T - rather bland. Minor malts with a mild coffee bitterness, but mild.

M - tiny tingle on front of tongue.

D - nothing bad about it, but so mild that I do nor think that it OS worth it.

biglite351, Jul 28, 2010
Photo of GarrettMD
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an opaque black with 1 finger tan creamy head. Head retention is great, lacing as well.

S - Smells of dark malts, brown sugar, some dark fruits, molasses, very sweet smelling for a stout. As the head dissipates, roasted malts come through much more.

T - Taste is just as sweet as the smell suggests. The dominant flavor is the roasted malts, but the sweetness compliments it perfectly. The molasses, brown sugar, and dark fruits come through less than in the smell, but they are still there. Slight chocolate/coffee tastes as well.

M - Fairly light for a stout, though that keeps with the style. Roasted flavor almost feels like it's sticking to your mouth. Finish is all roasted malts and chocolate.

D - Average ABV, low carbonation, rich flavor, make this beer very easy to drink. Hard not to go back for another sip. Will definitely get more of this.

GarrettMD, Jul 20, 2010
Photo of CHL
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark, sweet-smelling malty beer with a bit of alcohol noticeable, light hops as the beer warms. I actually favor this sort of profile in a dark beer.

The taste is quite sweet-biased for a stout, which is what I look for. It's roasted, bitter, and sweet like molasses, then smoky. Strong coffee flavor to begin with, which becomes more complex and satisfying as the beer warms, bringing out some hops.

I wish it was a little thicker, but it is creamy and feels refreshing and crisp going down. Quite drinkable for a dark beer.

CHL, Jul 17, 2010
Photo of sfprint
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Very DARK brown, with a slightly darker than cola head.

S: Somewhat sweet, but with what, I'm not sure. Definitely sweeter than most stouts.

T: Smokey stout that's slightly sweeter than usual, which I favor. And I usually find smokiness offensive, but this one's pretty good. Besides the smoke, the malt is quite heavy. + some unsweetened chocolate.

M: Medium to thin body for a stout, with almost no carbonation. Slightly drying.

D: For a smokey stout, this one is rather good.

sfprint, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of Daktyls
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black as black can be. Held it up to the light and nothing came through this brew. Very little head with bigger bubbles clinging to the glass with tiny patches of lacing floating about in the center.

S: Initially smells somewhat like molasses, though faintly, giving way to roasted barley and malts. Follows with a hint of roasted coffee beans.

T: As with the nose, initially has a faint taste of molasses, giving way to a watery malt and barley flavor. Follows weakly with a hint of coffee. After smelling the aroma, a lot was left to be desired by the taste. While certainly not bad, it was a little disappointed after a promising smell.

M: Very slick feeling, not creamy or viscous as with other stouts, but a very clean feeling that makes its presence known and goes on its way. Medium amount of carbonation with a medium-light body.

D: Quite drinkable though not particularly memorable as the flavors are a little on the weak side. Again, not a bad beer but good for what it is.

Daktyls, Jul 02, 2010
Photo of Long813
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dated: NA
From: Premier Wine & Spirits

A: Dark brown almost black body with only a thin ring of head. No head to speak of.

S: Pleasing notes of dry roasted malts, some hoppiness to it, roasted coffee and some smoke.

T: Hard to pick out much of the flavours here. Mixture of roasted malts.

M: Light bodied and medium carbonation. Water like texture and leaves a dry malt finish.

D: Not bad. Favourite of the style so far, but far from a likable stout. For what it is, it's good.

Long813, Jul 01, 2010
Photo of bobsy
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black pour with the faintest (and I mean absolute faintest) hint of brown at the edges. A light tan head lingers for the duration and puts down a few streaks of lace. Chocolate malt aroma, with mild coffee and caramel. Lightly sweet and pleasing. Extremely smooth and approachable flavour. Milk chocolate belends with caramel and light coffee notes, while a dark fruitiness provides depth. The occasional hint of tobacco hovers at the back of the palate. Relatively light body with a smooth and creamy carbonation makes this one go down easy.

A surprisingly good stout from a great brewery. I'd argue that this should be rated a lot higher than it is based on drinkability alone.

bobsy, Jun 20, 2010
Photo of chickenflea
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is a dry Irish stout; not an imperial stout. I read so many reviews that say that they want MORE from this beer. But this is not one of those overpowering stouts.

A very solid offering from a very fine brewery. The beer pours a very dark ruby amber tone that looks black almost opaque with a mohogany colored billowing two finger width head.

The aroma is where this beer shines. The dark fragrant roasts and strong coffee aroma just powerful.

The taste is not shabby either with very refined with hints of espresso and notes of sour cream. The dark roasted barley fills this beer with slight burnt finish that is pleasant when matched with the other flavors going on. The malts are prevalent, but the hops are not lost in the final judgement.

Medium body and an acidic mouthfeel.

A fine example of the style.

chickenflea, Jun 11, 2010
Photo of ZorPrime
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to BBrianBoogie for sending me this one during CanBIF6.

Beer pours black, not very dark. I get some reddish notes on the edge. Nice brown head, very thick but disappear quickly. Thin film stays however. The aroma is intense for a dry stout. I get some licorice and some chocolate. Not much coffee notes. In the taste, still it is chocolaty with an espresso bitterness at the end. The taste lingers in the mouth. A little bit thin in the mouth.

ZorPrime, May 31, 2010
Photo of grittybrews
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black into a Chimay chalice with a bit of loose, tan head that quickly receded to a thin film with little lacing.

Nice aroma of coffee, sweet chocolate, and roasty malts. Moderate carbonation and a surprisingly light and dry mouthfeel for a stout. Very dry flavor as well with just a hint of smoke, toast, and coffee. The chocolate from the initial aroma doesn't really come into play, although the flavor becomes more pleasantly creamy as the beer warms. Fairly quick, watery finish with a malty emphasis. Easy to drink, but it didn't really leave much of an impression.

grittybrews, May 28, 2010
Photo of SShelly
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on nitro.

Black with a giant creamy head.

Aroma is lightly roasted but very very light.

Flavor is light and creamy, light chocolate and roast thick mouthfeel. Leaves almost nothing in the mouth but a light creaminess, really want more roast.

This is a decent beer, could use more of everything.

SShelly, May 28, 2010
Photo of jdense
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle from West Richland WA Beer and Wine, poured into shaker pint glass 3.22.2010

Dark brown opaque body no visible carbonation dark tannish rising brown head ala Guiness, rocky, slow dissipation with significant lacing. The first smell was heavily of coffee, but nose became more nuanced as the beer warmed, some grassy hops and a bit of chocolate. Coffee forward taste which once again gained in complexity as the beer warmed, some chocolate, sweetish malts and grassy hops not bitter on the back end. Mouthfeel was pretty oily and full. Drinikability, wihile I am not a fan of this particular style, was pretty good. Worth a try, certainly worth doing a side by side comparision with the Big Three.

jdense, May 24, 2010
Photo of chaz01
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasting portion at a North Coast beer tasting event at a local grocery store. Poured into a champagne flute glass. The beer rep from North Coast indicated that the philosophy of the brewer was to make beers that closely resemble the style guidelines for that type of style (i.e., to make the perfect beer for that style), and that Old 38 was a fine example of that philosophy for the dry Irish stout.

A: Dark & black in color, with a nice foamy head.

S: Deep aromas of roasted malts and coffee.

T: I pick up that sweet Irish whiskey like flavor that you typically find in Irish stouts, along with some coffee flavors. The beer finishes with burnt toast sensation and somewhat dry.

M: A little light bodied for a stout, but that's likely typical for this style. Creamy and low levels of carbonation.

D: Well balanced, smooth and light bodied stout. Not a sipping beer, you can have a couple of these easily. I'd much prefer this beer than some of the Irish counterparts like Guinness or Beamish.

chaz01, May 23, 2010
Photo of HalfFull
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. Pours a solid and dense black in color with half an inch of mocha foam. Clear and dark mahogany in the light and offering decent retention initially, glassing off a bit by mid pint.

Nice roasted malt nose with a fair amount of chocolate and some roasted coffee bean notes. Smell reminds me of some bigger stouts. Lighter in flavor than the nose and pour might suggest and offers a bit of dark fruit with a somewhat thin body. Some texture returns on the finish then the dry roasted character returns and lingers moderately along with some chocolatey spice. Quite dry overall with a bit too much of overly roasted coffee underpinning the taste and feel for me though decent nonetheless.

HalfFull, May 13, 2010
Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with about an inch tan head. The head sticks around for a while, and there's a good amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, and some dark fruit. The taste is the same as the aroma, but it's sweeter than I expected. Mouthfeel/body is on the light side of medium, it's a bit creamy and coating with good carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth, easy, and enjoyable to drink. I think this is a good overall brew. I'd buy this again in the future.

bluejacket74, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of compass40204
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Starts with a surprisingly light mouthfeel, especially for a beer this rich. Clean up front. Gives way to roasty flavors of black patent malt and some bitter chocolate. Persistent lacing from a thick tan head. Aroma kinda unspectacular, just a pleasant malt character, faint. Starts gently, finishes strong. I may have another...

compass40204, Apr 16, 2010
Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The pour is dark brown in color with a pretty solid tan head.

S: The nose is primarily of dark chocolate and coffee with a pretty solid roasted malt aroma in the background. A little bit more sniffing gives off some dark fruit aromas.

T: The dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts all work quite well together in terms of the flavors. The fruits are a bit harder to pick out than they were in the nose, but still there, as is a bit of char.

M: The body is medium with a smooth, mildly creamy feel on the tongue.

D: A very nice, sessionable stout. I was pleasantly surprised by how flavorful it is.

womencantsail, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of CityBoy1986
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip from a 12 oz. bottle.

The pour is almost black with only a few hints of ruby. A decent tan head hangs around for a while and leaves nice lacing.

The nose is a mixture of coffee and chocolate with just a hint of barley. The taste is more of the same with the added flavour of dark fruits - maybe berries.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a nice amount of carbonation and some dryness on the finish. Drinkability is decent; the dryness does leave my tongue calling for more.

Overall, a nice example of the style.

CityBoy1986, Mar 30, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-cola brown colored beer, quite dark cola, with hues of red shining through. The head is a dark khaki color that is relatively tight and thick looking. The retention is pretty solid and the lace is very good

S-the nose is quite strong and very nice. Ample dark chocolate blesses the nose first. Hints of slightly burnt roasted coffee lie underneath. A touch of roasted barley come in towards the back with a faint sweet dark berry presence.

T-this is quite tasty. Dark chocolate and roasted coffee meet together up front. The roasted barley is slighty present in the middle just enough to let you know it is there. The dark fruits are again faint; but make a definite appearance in the back and actually linger throughout the finish.

D-this is medium bodied, very smooth and has just a hint of creaminess. Its actually a little wet thoughout and just has a hint of dryness at the finish. The carbonation is nice and low but enough to hold together throughout and finish with body.

M-this is a very tasty stout! Big bold flavors and enough of a body to let you know it's a stout. Nice array of flavors, nothing crazy but a very good irish stout.

cpetrone84, Mar 21, 2010
Photo of dudecandle
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque black with hints of brown when up against the light. Wisps of head, but some more on agitation.

S: Light coffee and some charcoal, dark fruit with some subtle caramel sweetness

T: My favorite thing about this stout is that the chocolate isn't the most forward. The coffee stands out the strongest for me, some barley sweetness, with a good dose of dark fruit and charcoal. Yes, charcoal, it's just dirtier than 'smokey'. It's also got a very welcome herbal hop on the finish. Very well rounded.

M: Big body, with that good long finish with the hops.

D: This is an excellent stout. The flavors are so big that I was shocked to later learn how low the alcohol is. Great complexity in the flavor, nothing stands out too powerfully, and everything comes together quite nicely.

dudecandle, Feb 28, 2010
Photo of jizdepski
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

attractive looking stout poured into goblet from near room temperature bottle. head is monumental and rocky, nearly as full as the steam billowing from the locomotive pictured on the bottle. beer itself is near jet black. head retains quite well and laces wonderfully. definitive roasted malts on the nose, along with some dark, ripe fruits, coffee, and a hint of hop character. big roasted coffee flavors up front, also malty sweet with fruit, and some subtle hops. has a tangy, slightly sour sweetness on the not-too-bitter finish, that is just a bit dry. love the mouthfeel, full, creamy, and good carbonation level. overall a very nice drinking experience, and a top notch stout.

jizdepski, Feb 26, 2010
Photo of Stimack
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew poured to a nice deep brown color guess more on the black side with a nice frothy small light tan head that broke down pretty quickly. Fair amount of lacing though. Aroma has roasted malts, Chocolate with a nice sweet aroma. Nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either. The flavor seems to have more of a burnt malt flavor, which came across as roasted in the nose. The astringency of it is nice and seems to help the hop bitterness. After subsequent the chocolate and coffee comes out - both of these seem to make the beer feel a little sweet on the tongue. Hope presence is there and adds a nice finish, which you don't get on most dry stouts. Does have a dry finish in the mouth. Slightly watery feel but from my past experiences with Dry Stouts they all seem this was so I am thinking that this might be expected.

Stimack, Feb 21, 2010
Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 1,073 ratings.