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Old #38 Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old #38 StoutOld #38 Stout

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

1,066 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,066
Reviews: 631
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.26%
Wants: 39
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
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Ratings: 1,066 | Reviews: 631 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of cbl2
2.93/5  rDev -23.3%


Black with ruby hints and a weak tan head.


An unpleasant salty sardine type aroma emerges from this one along with a burnt smell


Ocean flavor persists along with that smoky/roasted malt presence that was evident in the aroma. There is a touch of sweetness at first, and in the finish. Finish is also very bitter, causing a bit of mouth pucker. Not my favorite stout.

cbl2, Jun 29, 2004
Photo of mattcrill
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Are you sure this is a stout? What kind? It pours, smells, and tastes more like a porter (if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, hmm...) Pours dark brown with a tan head that quickly disappears. Smells like coffee and malts. Taste is rather boring with carbonation dominating and not much mystery to it. It was a pretty drinkable brew but just not my definition of a stout. Not a good example.

mattcrill, Jun 26, 2004
Photo of watermelonman
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%

This poured to a medium dark with a small head. It's leaving some lace, but not too much.

Dark coffee dominates the smell. Malts come through in the taste, with some of the coffee flavor evident here as well. It's got very decent drinkability and mouthfeel.

A little plain, but there's nothing wrong with it.

watermelonman, May 31, 2004
Photo of Skidz
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%

Pours out dark brown and sits a dark, murky brown in the glass; nearly opaque. A little fluffy tan head on top.

Smells of roasted grains, spice, chocolate and coffee. Pretty basic aroma.

Tastes of mildly roasted grains, chocolate and coffee. A medium bitterness with nice hops on the finish.

Medium in body but the carbonation is a bit heavy for me. Good taste, but a bit difficult to drink; lots of carbonation.

Skidz, May 24, 2004
Photo of merlin48
3.63/5  rDev -5%

Pours a dark cola, opaque black body with a moderate tan head that hangs around for a few minutes. Nice sheets and patches of lace adorn the glass. Aroma is subdued, with burnt coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Mouthfeel is light bodied, amply carbonated, and has a mild, peppery, hops bite on the tongue. Dark, roasted malt flavors dominate the taste. Chocolate, roasted coffee, and a chicory nuttiness, all dominate. Bitter hops provide a nice balance. Above average for an Ameican stout, but nothing extraordinary. Nice drinkability.

merlin48, May 19, 2004
Photo of hobbes2112
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%

Finally got this one into my local store (I hate TABC) a nice surpise on a warm May afternoon.

Pours with a thick, quickly retreating, tan head.

The smell is fantastic, dry and roasty; the way a Stout should smell.

The tastes reflect what you expect from the aroma, just a little more spread out. In some magical North Coast paradox this is a watery/dry beer. A spread-out compact flavor mapping. I alternate between thinking it is somewhat bland and full on intense, the longer you wait after a mouthfull the more flavors you get. Not a beer you chug, but not really a sipper either.

At about $7.30 for 6 this will absolutely be on my rebuy list.

hobbes2112, May 12, 2004
Photo of WesWes
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%

The beer pours a deep black color with a thin off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a nice black malt/ roasted scent that is a bit dry and awfully malty. The taste is good. It has a rich black malt flavor that is dry and dark tasting. It goes down easy and finishes with a black malt aftertaste. The mouthfeel is great. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine stout with great flavor and mouthfeel; an excellent sessions brew.

WesWes, May 08, 2004
Photo of IceAce
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%

APPEARANCE: Jet black with deep brown around the very bottom of my beer-clean .5 ltr pilsner glass. An agressive pour yielded a 1.5 finger collar of rapidly dissipating foam. The lacing left behind is beautiful.

AROMA: A very malty nose with a hint of alcohol and a beautiful yeast.

TASTE: Beautifully balanced flavor with a very nice malted finish. Perfect CO² level for a bottled stout.

MOUTHFEEL: While nothing seemed to be missing...I couldn't help but to wish for more depth in this beer.

DRINKABILITY: A good session stout that stands up well to others in this catagory. While I wouldn't actively seek it out, I also would not try to avoid another 'Old 38' experience.

IceAce, Apr 25, 2004
Photo of HardTarget
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%

Aroma: Nice chocolate and roasted malts with a hint of licorice.
Appearance: Very black with brown edges in front of a good light. Thin tan head of less than half a finger, but I was a little too gentle on the pour. It left a sheet of solid lace that ended up in a classic lace pattern.
Flavor: Wow, quite a kick. No hops in the aroma, but they pop right out in the taste with a slightly harsh bitter. It’s lighter in alcohol, but comparable to Old Rasputin in taste (oh yeah, North Coast makes that as well). After I got used to the hops, some of the roasted character started coming through.
Mouthfeel: It has a medium body with a slight mouth coat with a hop pucker at the end.
Overall Impression: A bit toward the bitter side of the equation for a stout, but a rich and complex taste. Much like Old Rasputin over all, and while I’m a big fan of Old Rasp, the toned down version just didn’t click with me. Worth a try, and a happy karma point, but don’t think I’ll be getting another soon.

HardTarget, Apr 11, 2004
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%

Appearance - center-poured into a pint glass, got a finger and a half of bumpy tan head, receding fast. Beer looks a tad hazy, some murky brown and red hues. Patterned lacing decorates the glass. Good start.

Aroma - good basic roasted coffee and chocolate smell.

Taste - not as malty as I'd have guessed, and more hop bitterness hitting sooner than I'd have guessed. Some metallic notes on the swallow, but not too bad. Finish is softly smoky and drying, well done, but misses the mark by a little. More coffee/roasted malt comes through as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - not as thick as it could be, but smooth with pleasant carbonation.

Drinkability - a rather drinkable stout, a good pick for someone who wants a beer with some personality, but would be overwhelmed by an Imperial or other thick brew. Perhaps a nice stepping stone to that next level of beer appreciation.

brewdlyhooked13, Apr 03, 2004
Photo of beerluvr
4.05/5  rDev +6%

Escapes into the Duvel tulip with a large and lacy deep tannish head. Clear very dark brown liquid with ruby highlights. Roasty nose with a subtle smoky, chocolatey notes too. A somewhat thinnish body supports flavors of bitter roasted barley bite, paired with some slight fruitiness and charcoal-like tastes. Finishes with a bitter chocolate/hoppy note. Nice and drinkable, but needs some more body to raise it to a very good stout level. As it stands now, it reminds me of a robust porter in body/taste.

beerluvr, Apr 02, 2004
Photo of Gasp100
4/5  rDev +4.7%

I'm not a huge fan of stouts but this was part of a sampler and when I actually drink a stout I'm usually surprised to find that I like them more than I thought. This was very solid, simple and easy to drink. Poured your typical dark brown/black with a little bubbly tan head that disipated quickly with barely any lace to speak of down the glass. The smell was coffee, chocolate, some over-ripe dark fruit and burnt or roasted grains. The taste was very heavy on the coffee but in a good way. Almost like drinking ice coffee (which I love) and the alcohol was hidden well with a slight hint of bittersweet chocolate. The mouthfeel was clean, nothing cloying or overly sweet and this topped off the night well. I couldn't drink more than 2 or these (or any stout --- except a dry one like Guinness) hence the lower drinkability. Another nice offering from North Coast.

Gasp100, Mar 21, 2004
Photo of ppoitras
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

12ozer bottle from a beer exchange with a friend at the holidays.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, a hearty 3/4 inch light brown head formed over the reddish-mahogany colored liquid. Great malt nose, with coffee and chocolate out in force. The coffee flavor seems to dominate, with the other grains rounding things out, and a slight hops bite to finish it off. Maybe just the right beer at the right time and place, but this one hit the spot.

ppoitras, Mar 18, 2004
Photo of woemad
3.73/5  rDev -2.4%

Bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $1.39. Poured a very dark brown with reddish tinges. Small tan head that stuck around for a while. Moderate lacing.

Smell is malty and very rich. Consists of chocolaty/coffee sweet bitterness, with a little bit of figginess thrown in. Yum!

Taste is quite good, and would be better if it were a little thick, which is how it feels like iot should be. Weird. All the flavor elements are there for a good robust stout. It just feels like its been watered down, even if it doesn't taste like it. Make sense?

Mouthfeel - see above.

I really wanted to like this, and I thiought I would based on the smell. It isn't really bad, just disapointing. While it's better than a lot of other beers out there that are truly bad, there are plenty of better stouts out there as well.

woemad, Mar 14, 2004
Photo of jackndan
3.05/5  rDev -20.2%

North Coast No. 38 Stout: A thin stout. Pours without a lot of head, despite a vigorous pour. What little head it had was deep tan, but dissipated very quickly. The aroma was the best part of this beer, rich and smooth, very roasted malt aroma. As is typical, the aroma leads into the taste, very nice roasted malt taste with a bare hint of chocolate/toffee and coffee. The problem with this beer is the mouthfeel is very weak, this is a relatively thin stout, not much to hang the nice flavors off. Needs a backbone.

jackndan, Mar 14, 2004
Photo of RBorsato
4.68/5  rDev +22.5%

Dark brown to black with ruby red highlights (to a light source), a nice creamy tan-brown head, and good carbonation and lace. Roasty malt aromas, light coffee notes, and some light hoppiness for good measure. Smooth roasty robust flavor with a touch of hop flavor; nicely balanced !! Medium bodied and creamy with a dry roasty coffee-ish finish.

Per N.C.B.Co. website:
Style: Dublin Dry Stout
Bitterness: 46 IBU's

1993 GABF- Silver - Dry Stout
1992 GABF- Bronze - Dry Stout

($6.99 / 6-pack)

RBorsato, Mar 11, 2004
Photo of BCMan
3.13/5  rDev -18.1%

This brew is dark but not dark enough. When put to the light test is apppears to be a deep red color. An aggressive pour produced a small, frothy head that faded nearly as fast as was made. All that was left was a small group of bubbles. The scent is a bit sweet with chocolate tones. The taste is a lot like its smell. The flavor is sweet with chocolate and malt tones. Mouthfeel comes up a little too thin for me. A small aftertaste finishes a bit dry. I was looking for a bit more from this beer.

BCMan, Feb 24, 2004
Photo of Razor
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%

Old No. 38 Stout is definitely a darker beer in appearance. There is a distinct dark brown/reddish color almost to the point of being black. It is a great appearance for a stout beer and I'm very satisfied with the look. There is a tannish head to Old No. 38 after pooring into a glass which looked better than average.

There is an intense smell of chocolate and coffee aromas that are quickly picked up by your nose, but not too powerful to overwhelm the rich smell.

The taste is very nice for a stout beer which consists of a malty chocolate and coffee tast as stated above. It also has a hint of bitterness in the after taste that is refreshing.

Mouthfeel is a basic average. It doesn't have a crisp kick but I wouldn't expect it with the look of this beer. There just wasn't anything that excited my mouth but it also isn't bad.

The drinkability is abover average. It has a nice taste to it with chocolate and coffee flavors.

Overall Old No. 38 Stout is a good beer. It has a refreshing flavor and is a great choice for a stout.

**Pocket A's in one hand, Old No. 38 Stout in my other**

Razor, Feb 18, 2004
Photo of UnionMade
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%

The beer pours a transparent dark brown, pretty much black, with red highlights through light. A thick beige foam tops the liquid, settling into a well maintained dense mist. Plenty of sticky lace clings to the glass.
The aroma is mainly a rich roasty chocolate malt. A distinct graininess, like pure, freshly cracked chocolate malt. Some woody yeast, with heaps of dark roasted fresh coffee. Very light date and fig esters, with faint herbal hops, providing a perfect balance to the bittersweet malt.
The flavor starts with solid chocolate malt up front, slightly burnt, filling the mouth with burnt maltiness immediately. Slightly grainy, adding a bit of husky coarseness, with some dark-roast coffee and a touch of hazelnut. A faint figgy fruitiness eases through, traveling into a mild herbal hopping into the finish. A bit of earthy woodiness and powdery yeast, finishing the beer with impressive dryness. Medium bodied, with a robust, slightly powdery mouthfeel supported by mild, easy-going carbonation.
Probably my favorite beer so far from these folks. Very, very drinkable, with solid, robust flavor. Excellent malt flavor, with a very drinkable grainy chocolate malt unmistakability. One of my top stouts.

UnionMade, Feb 10, 2004
Photo of MobBarley
4.05/5  rDev +6%

Pours a deep ruby hue with an average tan head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells of citric hops, good dark coffee and, peculiarly, my old hayloft.

Tastes smokey and toasty. A nice piney hop flavor comes first, followed by a multitude of smokey maltiness. Burnt, caramel-like notes abound. The finish is a little sweet, a little hoppy, a little fennel-like and honestly not terribly interesting.

I like the mouthfeel, though like the flavor it is a little thin for the style. Good carbonation keeps it lively. I just wish it were chewier, as it drinks like many a porter I've had.

Drinkability is good for a stout. I can really imagine myself knocking these back like I might an IPA. Good introductory stout, but not your typical North Coast selection.

MobBarley, Jan 24, 2004
Photo of Mitchster
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%

Pours to a dark brown, closer approximating a brown ale than a stout in color, forming a very airy tan head with decent retention and lacing. Aroma begins with rich and very pleasant sweet milk chocolate with vanilla, roasted grain, and hints of coffee. Mouthfeel is flittery and light, smooth and refreshing with a medium body. This stuff tastes pretty good too...bittersweet chocolate, dark coffee, vanilla, a tang of metal, chalk, and some burnt wood and cavendish tobacco in the finish. Hops are very well balanced and the brew is only mildly bitter. Alcohol is barely apparent, but I detect a tang as it warms. Finish is medium dry.

Pleasantly surprised with this one...I wasn't expecting much based upon the color and pour, but this is an enjoyable stout with some complexeties and depth beyond it's appearance. A little light in color and body, but worth a try.

Mitchster, Jan 21, 2004
Photo of drewbage
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%

A regular stout from the folks at North Coast, brewers of one of America's best Imperial Stouts (Old Rasputin).

Sampled from a 22oz bottle with a cap in decent condition and a good pop on opening.

Beer pours pitch black with a tan head that disappates quickly into a low barely there head.

Aroma is of lightly buttered popcorn with a burnt coffee scent propelled by CO2. Behind the roast is a molasses and leather the crawls slowly into your nose and holds on tight long after the glass has been moved away.

Flavor starts with a touch of sweetness before a big chicory and roast bite rises up and dries out your palate just in time for a large grassy hop bite and a long lingering dryness.

drewbage, Jan 16, 2004
Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured a black with a ruby shine towards the base of my glass. Had a nice fluffy tan head and a little bit of lacing. The nose was super soft and fruity with just hints here and there of coffee, but in my opinion the nose was too delicate and didn't stand up well to the job. Taste was subdued and full of light coffee flavors and a more pronounced flavor of whole beans. This went well with the roasty malt flavors evident further down the glass. The mouthfeel was not too thin, but it could have been thicker. I think I would like to see a nitro-draught of this as it would be an excellent alternative to guinness, which is the standard in the style.

GreatPondBrewer, Jan 13, 2004
Photo of pio
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%

super dark ruby liquid with about a half inch of tan head and a lace like little islands and masses.
beautiful bready barley scent with a slight smoke and peat note. a nice hint of florals. a big biscut, molasses ans pumpernickel. only a hint of java and cocoa.
not too thick on the flavor. pretty damn good smokey notes, a plesant molasses not very bitter at all yet not sweet. a hint of oily leather and nuts.
big bubble carbonation and a bit oily. plesant, but not too much above average in my opinion. a bit watery but again, not unplesant.
a high drinkability due to sessionability.
i could have thought this was a porter.

pio, Jan 04, 2004
Photo of findlayfan
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%

Light colored, substantial head.

Nice, somewhat "dusty" smell.

Fairly clear mahagony body with moderate bubbles.

Medium-dry with slight chocolate notes and just a touch of sweetness in the aftertaste.

Overall, a good, drinkable stout - nothing special, but perfectly acceptable.

findlayfan, Jan 02, 2004
Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
86 out of 100 based on 1,066 ratings.