Old Stock Ale
North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
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English Old Ale
Ranked #12
Ranked #2,313
4.15 | pDev: 10.36%
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
Notes: Like a fine port, Old Stock Ale is intended to be laid down. With an original gravity of over 1.100 and a generous hopping rate, Old Stock Ale is well-designed to round out and mellow with age. It’s brewed with classic Maris Otter malt and Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops, all imported from England.
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Reviews: 1,560 | Ratings: 3,367 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of StoutElk_92
4.49/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2016 vintage - 12oz bottle

Pours amber red orange with a creamy frothy receding off-white light khaki colored foam head. Smells like fine caramel malt, toasty, bready, some toffee, dried fruits, apricot, fig, yellow apple, lightly fruity, with mild citrus marmalade and herbal earthy hop notes. Taste is well balanced, sweet, dry, toasty, fruity, with a melange of dried fruit notes, some dark fruits, toasty bready caramel malts, some toffee, marmalade, orange citrus, grapefruit, apricot, fig, yellow apple, raisins, plum, grape, a hint of spice, with some herbal earthy hops. Feels medium bodied, smooth and slick with moderate carbonation. Overall a really nice old stock ale.

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Photo of KooVee
3.53/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

330ml bottle, 2018 vintage, so 1+-2years old. Bb in 14 years.

Clear reddish shade of amber colour. Dense head with staying power.

Nose is (orange) marmalade and malt. A bit of herbal notes. The aroma is by no means aggressive. Surprisingly subdued. Some medicinal phenols emerge as the beers warms up.

Mouthfeel is still quite substantial and sweet. There is a definite element of alcohol mixing with the herbal hops and their bitterness that is too coarse and dominant. Very little in terms of dark fruit, but perhaps still somewhat hidden underneath the dankness. Aftertaste is spicy and phenolic.

Still too young by far. The hops have to mellow down, the alcohol and the phenols to merge.

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Photo of ASKasten
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Old Stock Ale 2019 is smooth, sweet and too not bitter with a delicate use of spices. Highly recommend to try this fine ale. You will not regret it.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.9/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2019, 10.2% ABV. At least 10 years since I had this one. Deep caramel colored body with ruby hues when held to light; thinner tan head quickly fades to a foam. Sweet, malty aroma of toasty grain, caramel, toffee, brown sugar, honey, and alcohol. Bold flavors & very sweet: notes of brown sugar, toffee, grain, caramel, spicy & earthy hops, pepper, and booze. Full body, quite syrupy, more sweet than bitter, lower carbonation, and some nice pepper and spicy hop to cut the sweetness on the finish. Much better than I remember, however I was most likely a rookie at beer tasting when I had this last. I doubt I had tried many Old Ales when I had this last time.

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Photo of fptan
4.82/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Referencing the 2018 and 2019 versions.
I've never had a more perfect beer.
The malt character runs deep in this ale, with subtle shifts in flavor after hitting the tongue. It's got a big caramel backbone, not what one would call sweet, but filled with raisin / toffee / plum-like flavors. The hops' role is very small here, and I suspect it helps balance this ale's huge malt character with bitterness while moving out of the way to let the malt speak with the senses. Carbonation is on the low side- I'd imagine 1.9-2.1 volumes if I had to guess.
The look is that of an opaque fresh cider, the bottle is a sophisticated, understated look for a very sophisticated ale.
Old Stock stands leaps and bounds above its peers.

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Photo of egrandfield
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It’s like a malty, lighter, weird barleywine. Could definitely have another. Had the 2019 version poured into a wine glass. Good stuff and very unique. Prost!!!

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Photo of Freonicus
4.18/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Lots of caramel and raisins in this. Nice thick mouthfeel. "Its a bit nutty". lol This is a unique beer. Alcohol is hidden decently well. I can see how it would get better with age (best by date is 2035). I like it. Somewhere between a port and a stout.

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Photo of rex_4539
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

L: Murky red color, one finger off white head, ok lacing, light carbonation.

S: Sweet, some wine notes probably due to oak.

T: Sweet (too sweet), a bit malty, oak, plenty of alcohol.

F: Full bodied, plenty of flavor. A slow sipper, hard to drink.

O: An interesting ale, no doubt. But I'd rather drink Fuller's Vintage Ale if I want this style to be honest.

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Photo of paging12
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tumbler from a bottle. Overall, tastes like a doppelbock. This is a good beer. Nice and bready. Good caramel flavor and aroma. Fizzy when poured.

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Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.05/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle
Carpe Brew'Em Snifter
Let's go.

Caramel toffee color with a butter colored head of 2 fingers, receding to a thick ring, no lace left behind.

I get almost no nose whatsoever. I don't know if it's due to the age, but even with agitation, I get only slight hints of oak tannin.

Flavor is muted, has a bit of robust oakiness and some muted toffee with a definite presence of grassy hop. I'm searching for sweetness amongst the richness but I get none. As it warms I do get a little more flavor but it's fleeting. It tastes like it should be something fantastic, but it's akin to licking the glass after the beer is gone.

Mouthfeel is very nice, has a good drying tannic quality to it with lots of thickness and fullness. Burning alcohol is spot on, very warming, and everything seems to be in order here.

Overall, very unimpressive, I want to try 2019 and see if 2018 was just a fluke. My first time trying the beer, I heard of great things, but I'm not getting it here.

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Photo of TinFang
4.66/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

2019 version. Best by May 2034, but I like this ale so much I can't conceive of resisting temptation that long. 10.2 ABV.

Smell - intense malty beer with clove/mace/cinnamon hints. Dark fruits but not overtly sweet. Rum, molasses and a touch of alcohol.
Appearance - has glass appeal. Murky ruby tan with 4mm of tan head that settles in little while. Viscous during the pour.
Taste - Not boozy. Deep and complex, plum pudding with refreshed spices before serving.
Feel - a bit thin due to little carbonation.

Definitely a favoite.

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Photo of Mapping_Jim
3.68/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2018 version. Definitely not as good at previous versions. Malt forward with accompanying sweetness caramel. Some booziness but a bit thin without much mouthfeel. Caramel color is good with a very thin head. Smell is inviting but taste is disappointing. Easy to drink but not particularly satisfying.

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Photo of darktronica
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage on draft, but I've had many bottles of multiple vintages over the years. Pours a rich copper with half a finger of head. Classic old ale notes, brown sugar, black tea, vanilla, very light oxidation, a touch of iodine, and booze. An exemplar of the style.

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Photo of sjdevel
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look - pours a deep copper color with a slight reddish hue - very little head and retention is low - reduces to nearly nothing in just a minute or so

Smell - caramel, malt, dark brown sugar, toffee - not overly pungent, but noticeable - smells like an English brew (ESB-like)

Taste - huge blast of alcohol and maple syrup - nice British yeast flavor - 'old ale' flavor is very evident - toffee and dark brown sugar - starts very sweet with toasted marshmallows but tapers off into drier plum and toasted bread

Feel - quite thin for an English style brew - but at 12% ABV it is understandable (along with the low carbonation)

Overall - this is a very tasteful brew that is complex and powerful - boozy at first but doesn't seem overly so - a slow sipping beer for sure - I would gladly grab more of these and will if I see them (went to the North Coast tap room and had this one on tap and then purchased from the store). This bottle was from a 2018 batch.

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Photo of Foyle
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

2018 version, poured from 12 oz bottle into tulip glass. A thin tan heads falls quickly, no lacing. Color is cloudy amber with mild streaming carbonation evident. Rich aroma of ripe fruit, prunes, caramel, bread dough. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, astringent with a dry finish and lingering alcohol warmth. Flavors of raisin, plumb, caramel, tannins, yeast rolls, earthy and citrus hops. Overall: extremely good.

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Photo of DoghouseReilly3946
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Date: Best by January 2034, imbibing date of 01/16/19.

Appearance: Old Stock is deep ruby, almost mahogany colored in the glass and produces two fingers of a fizzy off white to beige tinted head.

Aroma: I wasn't sure what to expect being that this is less than two months old, but damn this smells awesome. Tons of sweet syrupy fruity aromas, date, fig, and raisin everywhere. Deep into the aroma there is a sweet bread note with a bit of toffee and some clove and nutmeg as well. I bet I have been sniffing this one for ten minutes and I keep getting more layers and not one single indication that this beer clocks in at 12%. There is also an aged Demerara rum quality about Old Stock as well.

Taste: So unique, with loads of those sweet dates, figs, and raisins just washing over the palate. The taste is in the same ballpark as a nice Belgian quad, but without the monster yeast taste. Around the mid palate, Old Stock just does a swan dive into hop territory lending a nice bitterness that keeps things interesting and from getting too cloying. The mouthfeel is oily and coats the palate like velvet but never feels heavy. Some alcohol is coming through as it comes up to temp, but nothing overt or unpleasant. About an hour in, vanilla notes and a toffee caramel richness have presented themselves. I keeping getting a constantly rotating series of flavors with each sip. One drink maybe all about the dark fruits, while the next is very vanilla forward, and the third brings to mind a spiced Christmas bread. Old Stock is wonderfully, almost absurdly complex and a beer that certainly lived up to its reputation. I would love to grab some of these to age for fiver years or so.

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Photo of puck1225
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Rich mahogany color with thin head and lacing. Pungent woodsy smell. Caramel, dark dried fruit, and hazelnut. Goes great with cheese, ham and crackers!

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Photo of NedFredHead
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Lovely mahogany pour with a thin head that dissipates quickly. Tastes like coke, dried fruit, and caramel. Booze-forward but with a dry, smooth finish.

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Photo of patre_tim
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy with a few dark chunks of yeast, and some visible, but mostly hidden carbonation. Topped with less than a finger of light tan head.

Smells of caramel and coke. Very light on the nose.

Tastes of caramel, creme brulee, yeasty dark bread, and raisins.

Medium body with a little, foamy carbonation.

Drinking this 2018 batch in Redding, Feb 7th, 2019. I got it in Sacramento. Decent and delicious.

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Photo of mothmanscott
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes 12/17/11: Pours a murky, old penny brown with 2 fingers of tan, short-lived, foamy head which leaves minimal lace as it recedes. Aroma is subtle toast,molasses, toffee, dates, figs, prune and alcohol with a buttery hint. Taste is similar but much more robust, especially the sweetness; alcohol with butter in the finish.The mid-sip is dark fruit and molasses which initiate a dryness that peaks in the buttery finish and lingers long in the aftertaste. The experience can be likened to a bite of well brandied, aged, dark fruitcake. Delicious!

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Photo of REDAMI
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into Chimay goblet.

L - Thin tracing of foam over hazy dark copper pour.

S - Brown bread, molasses, dark sugars, faint toffee.

T - Grainy brown bread, treacle bitterness, slightly peaty. Primary flavors of dark grains and toasted malts.

F - Fine stinging carbonation, dry finish, no overt alcohol heat for being such a high ABV.

A fine dark English ale. No hoppiness to speak of but a pleasant dry finish and balanced bitterness.

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Photo of Tony210
3.97/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rich, deep amber, appropriate foamy head that slowly recedes. Nice malty aroma; lots of caramel, toffee, molasses, brown sugar. Taste follows nose; caramel, toffee, molasses. Slightly sweet with a nice counterbalance of bitterness on the finish. English yeast is very present, not my favorite flavor. A good beer, I don’t care for the yeast flavor.

13 oz bottle, 2017 vintage
4 rating

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Photo of liquidAndy
4.59/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Wonderful rich beer with rich toffee notes, big chewy body, and perfect balance of hops and malt. Not boozy, as some have noted, but a nice warm coat gently being draped over you.

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Photo of Sabtos
4.1/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Time has improved this beer so elegantly that it was enough for me to revise my less than flattering original review, deleting it altogether while enjoying this 5 year old 2013 bottle consumed in late 2018.

The body is like a dark amber maple syrup, with a light, persistent tan blanket that fades to a chain around the edge.

Aroma exudes cinnamon apple, plum and liquefied raisin up front. The middle nose has toasty aged oak and tree bark with fainter accents of light smoky molasses and grape.

Taste features a sort of toasty caramel and graham-like biscuit with faint accents of brown sugar, prune, and an almost bourbon barrel sort of char or a prickly, peppery vanillin that tingles with a slight heat.

The surprisingly moderate to light body has a mildly crisp effervescence with a tingly, perfectly semi-dry finish.

Old Stock is one of the OGs that set the standard, and it certainly does not disappoint after all this time, holding up astonishingly well.

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4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Wowza ! First time having this from NCB.. 2018 version poured moderately into a pint glass.
Beautiful mahogany color with a creamy light brown head .
Nose was nice but nothing overwhelming .
Taste was stunning to me who likes that heavy booze forward brew .
Overall I can’t wait to buy some more .
Love it :)

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 3367 ratings