Old Stock Ale
North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
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English Old Ale
Ranked #12
Ranked #2,167
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: 1,547 | Ratings: 3,341
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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Photo of siskiyoucellar
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Old Stock defines American Old Ale for me - it’s a classic. This is a 2016, after a couple years in my cellar. Nice warm caramel brow with a huge wonderful aroma full of booze, bread and dried fruit. Taste is honey-charcoal-molasses-leather-cherry and much more. Feel is just a bit thin, but that seems exactly right for an old ale. Classic and deservedly so.

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Photo of HotDogBikeRide
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Brown and very slightly reddish hued body. Slowly forming and not too large of a head. Sweet malt nose, a little woodiness perhaps and a little nutty. Served slightly more chilled then I had hoped. The taste followed suit - a sweet, sticky, nutty, big beer with a roasted-ish brown sugar backbone. The hops cut through just a bit in the feel for me, adding a yin to the yang if you will when it comes to the finish, which is thinner then expected. Cheers.

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Photo of SD-Alefan
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2013 edition. Pours from the bottle a medium brown with a minimal tan head. It's hazy with a few floaters.
The aroma features rich maltiness, toffee and caramel with a hint of plums.
The taste is sweet, fruity, with a bit of bitter and a slight char. Notes of toffee, fig and plum.
A touch thin, still well carbonated.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter via a friend from work---Cheers Randy!
This great old standard pours a nice lightly muddled mahogany with a
nice head of off white foam that settles to a thin ring with subtle light
lacing. Nose of dried fruits, subtle raisin, astringent tinged booze,
brown sugars, and spicy hops. Flavors follow the nose with dried cherry
and touches of assertive alcohol with raisin and fig notes that mingle
with a light toffee and date flavor that are balanced out by spicy and lightly
pine touched hop flavors. Nice mouth feel; lightly coating, lightly sticky,
warming, smooth, low carbonation, and a sweet yet balanced with spicy
hop finish. Of note this one improves mightily with warmth.

An excellent ale.


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Photo of tp1962
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very good old ale! I tried the 2018.
1 inch head when poured.
Nice brown color
Taste was excellent with notes of chocolate and fruits.
Slight warmth going down from 12% ABV.
I will keep this in stock for that special occasion or on a cold winter day.
Would recommend to everyone!

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Photo of Viaduck
4.02/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It’s color is a perfect for my furniture: mahogany. It’s head peaked out of the bottle but when pour into a glass there wasn’t much there. Very pretty sweet smell on caramel, grain & ripe fruit. Taste is salty- bitter & a little bit of sweet. Caramel flavors with dark fruits, alcohol & malt. A fair amount of alcohol burn & adequate carbonation.

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Photo of Dewsby
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L) Pours a lovely, copper hued dark amber. Lovely off-white head, little retention and lacing.

S) Nose has dark candied fruit, toffee, light caramel, and some toasty bread. Not overpowering.

T) Definitely a malt bomb. Has a clean taste to it. A little bit of bittering from the hops can be detected on the finish to balance out the intense sweetness. Lovely all around.

F) Good medium carbonation, and has a nice mouthfeel. Could stand to be a bit thicker in my opinion, but fits the flavor profile well.

O) A solid and drinkable old ale. I had the 2018 stock. Would recommend for anyone that likes doubles or malt-bombs.

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Photo of MasterfulIdiot
4.43/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2017 edition poured into a Duvel tulip.

The beer is a nearly-opaque mahogany, with glints of bright red where the light hits it. A fairly aggressive pour kicks up about one finger of an effervescent beige head that dissolves to a film and a ring within a couple minutes, and doesn't leave any remnants on the glass. I'd like a bit more of a head, but I think this is as good as it gets at this abv!

Aroma is caramel, sweet malts, and dark fruit with a hint of an alcohol burn. A bit like a boozy raisin.

Taste is fruitier than expected, with lots of raisins, cherries, plums, etc. up front, followed by some hints of brown sugar and then a kick of alcohol. There's a welcome and surprising kick of hop astringency mixed in with the alcohol to keep it from getting too sweet. Finish is fairly bitter, with a lingering taste of dark fruit and maybe a hint of black tea.

Mouthfeel is on the medium end of full-bodied, with a wonderfully creamy carbonation. Looking at it, I expected the carbonation to be too prickly, but it's just enough to undercut some sweetness.

Overall, super enjoyable! I wouldn't want to drink it all the time, but it's one I'd like to keep on standby.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 edition, 355ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Hazy mahogany brown in color with slight amber shade, the pour builds up thin quickly recedes brown frothy head that dissipates to some lasting foamy bubble on the surface and leaves just slight lacing on the glass-side.

Big smell of sweet caramelized malt in the lead, along with toffee, toasted bread, biscuit, brown sugar, maple syrup, fruity, raisins, grap-ish like a fine wine, slight alcohol perfume with its spice, quite complex aroma overall.

Still led by sweet caramel and toffee throughout the palate, then it is followed by fruity raisins and grap-ish winy flavor. Alcohol is silently introduced in the middle with slight spiciness while malt reclaims its place with notes of toasted bread, biscuit, and brown sugar. Hop reveals at the end with some grassy bitterness through the taste buds.

Bold body without being too sticky or oily with low carbonation and quite smooth mouthfeel that is proper to carry all the things well, the feeling is well-rounded with some dry alcoholic finish.

This is supreme malty beast. Alcohol fusel maybe a tad too much but surely it is worthy for aging for many years to come.

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

2017 edition, 12oz bottle. Medium brown color, only a thin lacing of bubbles. Smells of toasted malt and raisins. Lightly carbonated feel. Tastes of malt at first, followed by raisin-y sweetness. A lingering warmth is the only hint of the high ABV. Very good.

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Photo of Gdobber
4.21/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2017 12 oz poured into a tulip.
Look: dark ruby to brown with a 1 finger white head. looks beautiful. Head has great legs.
Smell: Funky, musty, rich fruit, plum,
Taste: rich, dark fruit, malt, toffee chocolate that you get in a valentines box
Feel: best part of the beer, slightly carbonated but not too syrupy

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 3341 ratings