Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

1,494 Reviews
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-26-2001

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Reviews: 1,494 | Ratings: 3,181
Photo of TurdFurgison
2.98/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

2007 vintage. The pour looked pretty good (deep burgandy brown) but other than that it was a bit too sweet and alcoholic for me. The aroma was very malty, a little burnt, and cough syrup sweet. The flavor was too sweet too drink easily, and burned with alcohol on the backside. Thickish mouthfeel was a redeeming factor, but not enough to help me finish the bottle (I didn't).

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Photo of jerrymiller
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance is orange-ruby with a rocky, dark tan head. It pours clean and clear with a 3/4 inch head.

Smell is strongly of alcohol and cherry. Very fruity and sweet. Dark port smells as the beer warms up. It gets better, but the alcohol content is dominant.

Taste is not surprisingly burdened by the alcohol content, but upon sipping, subtler malt tastes bubble through the thick, sweet fruit.

Drinkability is easy as the alcohol numbs everything pretty quickly. Very tight carbonation initially gives way to sweet, porty roughness. Balance is ok, but the overall complexity is tarnished by the alcohol.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2002 edition. Served chilled in a glass. Allowed to warm up a bit as the beer was consumed.

Appearance: Clear caramel colored head with an ephemeral tan head. No retention or lacing.

Smell: Aromas of green apples, maple, and faint apricots. A splash of herbal hoppines as well. Smell is not very strong overall.

Taste: Caramel and toasted malt bittersweetness followed by a slow burn of alcoholic taste that's not quite unpleasant, but not all that integrated with the other flavors, either. Some prune flavors as well. Peppery notes on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Relatively full bodied with the aforementioned burning sensation going down. Kinda hinders the enjoyment,

Drinkability: Hindered by the inadequate alcohol masking. I've had stronger ABV beers that mask better. I think this stuff needs to age some more.

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Photo of Minkybut
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I poured this promising beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The bber was a nice mahoganny color with a nice tan head. The smell was a little nutty and I was hopeful by that and the caramel notes coming off the head. First taste was good I thougght then the alcohol just washed all that great taste away. What a shame. I will not buy again.

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Photo of BierReise
3/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had a few different brews from North Coast and although a good brewery, I don't think they stack up to others in Cal. like Stone, Alesmith and Bear Republic to name a few. This is a good example of a barley wine with all the classic characteristics such as the sweet alcohol nose and rich malt flavor. Very even throughout but nothing outstanding. Perhaps this bottle (2001) might smooth out if cellared. Will have to wait and see

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice ruby and brown color scheme to it. Aroma is just straight booze, all the 12% abv is there.

Taste once again drops almost nothing but hot alcohol. An amalgamation of brandy, syrup, brown malt. So hot. Red apples dumped in rubbing alcohol. Caramel. Is this complex or just a bunch of mismatched stuff? I wasn't a fan. Just so hot. Sticky.

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Photo of kungpao
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2011 Old Stock bottle.

A- Copperish orange color. Pours with a decent 1 to 2 finger head that quickly reduces to nothing.

S- Dark fruits, sugar, a bit of aroma hops. This thing smells pretty sweet and a bit boozy.

T- The smell translates over to the taste quite a bit. Lots of dark fruits. Raison, fig, dried apricots. Not enough bittering hops to balance the the sweetness. A bit overly sweet and way too much alcohol. This is not my cup of tea.

M- Pretty average nothing to write home about nothing to complain about.

O- I was expecting alot more with this one. I could see how this would be a candidate to age. I've never come across a beer that was this bad early on that will drastically change into something awesome with age. I'll hold out on trying any more unless its got some considerable age on it.

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Photo of Jack_Malts
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

North Coast Old Ale 2013 vintage 11.9% abv

Pours a deep amber with a fizzy caramel head that only sticks around for a few seconds before dissolving into a fizzy ring. Not much lacing.

It has a metallic smell that is noted. Sweet fruity flavors ascend with it. Dark fruits emerge - lots of raisin in there with some dried fig. I’m getting mellow candied pineapple as well. Very ripe plums. There’s even a little grape must.

The taste is very nice, the metallic flavor is still there though. very much grape must, which is sort of a star in this flavor profile. There’s a bit of an unappealing lager taste. The fresh fruit juice flavors work well with the darker, dried flavors. The alcohol is detectable at times.

medium bodied, plenty of carbonation, not very smooth, alarmingly so.

So, this beer is not at all what I was expecting, considering the barrel aged 2011 vintage that I had recently. Much more metallic and carbonated than I expected. The fruitier flavors are appreciated, but the metallic and lager flavors create an unappealing imbalance. I have to say I was quite disappointed, considering how big a fan of the 2011 barrel aged I am (despite its big 24$ price tag I've bought it every chance I get). Also a disappointment considering how much I like this brewery.

This beer has a lot of doppelbock qualities that are unwelcome in an old ale. I also feel like a beer of this high abv should have a body and complexity to it that this beer falls short of. This beer really can’t justify the drunk it will make me. That metallic flavor keeps coming back every sip to haunt me. Maybe I have a bottle that was inappropriately stored on its side? Either way, it would probably be better to seek out a different vintage. Something about this beer tastes wrong to me. Don't try the 2013 vintage. Seek out a different one.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2010 batch of stock ale

Appearance- dark brown to amber red, very thick murky in color, small bubbles stream along the bottom of the glass, tan head starts quick and quickly fades off

Smell- sweet molasses, slight raisony smell, rum, slight alcohol, and slight hopping on the nose

Taste- starts up front with a real lot of malts, and slight hop in mid palate but not much, sweet malts, overall though very boozy flavor almost like tasting a straight liquor or rum, may need some age to really mellow of that heat,

Mouthfeel- heavy thick and viscous, alot going on here in this very heavy beer

Drinkability- at this current point at least in this beers life I have to be realistic and admits its drinkablity is fairly low, theres just to much heat and not a great balance, I would be intrigued to see how this balances out in a couple year time but i think this is one if I had a 4pack of id certainly be cellaring for bit,

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Photo of jujubeast6000
3.05/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed 2/7/2009 (2008 bottle):

Pours a pretty clear brown reddish colored body, with small off-white head, diminishing quickly. Fruity, strawberry, aroma, some fizziness. Some malty nuttiness too. Not much hops or bitterness, just maltiness. Sweet taste, syrupy. Thick mouthfeel, some lightish carbonation. Very sweet fruity tasting, strawberry seeds, slight acidic and bitterness. Very strong taste, a slight hotness, but almost completely covered by the malts. Dark fruitiness, red grape, maybe plum. Better with food.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.05/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured into an over sized wine glass. Pours a nice cherry wood color. 1 finger tan head that vanishes fairly quickly.

S - Soy sauce, boozy malt, candied fig, cherry, prunes, all kinds of fruit. It's hard to distinct.

T - Brown sugary fig, syrupy raisin, sweet toasted malt, nice spice in the middle, a little soapy towards the finish. Thick and sticky.

Very sugary sweet fruit flavor and that's about it. Wasn't extremely enjoyable and I don't see myself seeking this one out any time soon. I might age the one I have left to see if I drank it to soon.

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Photo of Liquids
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

My first old ale. Coppery amber to translucent brown color. Thin, loud fizzing, soda-like, quickly dissipating head. Sweet, alcoholic, inviting aroma. Extremely alcoholic bite and aftertaste, which is not surprising at 11.4%. Beneath seems to lie a tasty, medium-bodied, moderately hopped brown ale. Carbonation dissapears quickly and leaves a medium mouthfeel, as in comparison to the strong alcohol wash, everything seems thin and watery. Probably not a style that strives for "balanced," but could be impressive if the alcohol wash weren't so intense and overpowering. Drinkable, but slow going, and at the first few sips I thought I might find myself drainpouring it before I finished. More than one of these is hard to imagine. Would probably be best over a meal and conversation. Would not return here (glad I got a single), and may avoid this style in the future.

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Photo of JDV
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Fresh 2007 on tap. Pours a rich maroonish color with a small offwhite head. Smell is mainly alcohol and light maltiness with an almost faint skunkiness to it, somehow. Prickly, boozy mouthfeel, with flavors of alcohol, hops, and somewhat dry. Decent flavor and drinkable, but I can see this being a lot better with some age, and look forward to trying some older bottles.

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Photo of SFRider
3.06/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark Amber/Red.
Smell: Sweet malts.
Taste: Bitter sweet. Musky at the end. The after taste really lingers with heavy muskness, slightly skunky on the breath.
Mouthfeel: A syrup like smooth. Medium carbonation.
Drinkability: Very drinkable. I definitely plan on drinking this beer again.
Serving Type: Bottle poured into a wine glass.

I didn't enjoy this beer as much at the end as I did in the beginning. Certainly has a high ABV, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will be a great beer. Has a good smell, and my first sip was enjoyable. But by the end, it had warmed up a bit and was tough to get down. Make sure you drink it cold. It's definitely worth having once. And I know a number of other beer drinkers really like this brew - so give it a shot. Would I have it again? Maybe - but likely not too soon. Far too many new beers for me to try.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.07/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Minimal head, no retention, no lacing. This is to be expected from a more boozy beer such as this. The beer itself is a semi clear deep garnet color.

S- Golden raisins, toffee and nuts. Some alcohol is present as well.

T- Malty, sweet, grainy and lightly bready. Big toasty malts, plums and some alcohol.

M- Full bodied and highly carbonated. A little too much carbonation. Its very sharp and prickly. I would rather this beer be smoother and velvety.

D- Pretty warming beer at 11.7%. One and done for me. This is probably better with age.

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Photo of CaptainTripps
3.08/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip

A: Will have to say, its the oddest looking beer i have every encountered. It poured a very dark mahogany/red/weird with about a fingers worth of off white head.

S: Well it keeps the weirdness flowing i can tell you that much, kinda hard to tell what its throwing at your nosey. Caramel is a big factor along with some different woody phenols. Slight vanilla in there. Pretty sweet smelling as well with some light fruit action going on - think some figs and dates. Just odd.

T: Weirder. Caramel is the big character in this beer along with some super sweet malt. Vanilla and toffee are also mingling around the tongue. Dark fruits are present as well but applied differently then how you would describe say a belgian strong dark ale or Quad. Sweet sweet sweet beer.

M: Pretty thick and full bodied for the most part, pretty low carbonation - think RIS carbonation values. Alcohol pretty well hidden behind the super sweet malt finish. Dry on the finish as well

D: I will have to say, this beer has an acquired taste. I can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the beer but this is a one time tick for me. Might cellar some and come back to it, but right now it just pretty average/super strange.

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Photo of TXHops
3.09/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2002 Bottling.

-OG: approx. 1115
-FG: approx.1.030
-ABV: 11.4%
-AA: approx. 72%
-Calories/12 oz: approx 379
-Real Extract: approx 11 P
-Floor-malted Maris Otter Pale Malt and Fuggles Hops imported from England
-Fuggles Hops

Note--I don't have the exact Original Gravity for Old Stock Ale (though if someone gets it for me, I'd be quite appreciative) so most of the above numbers are approximations based on the fact that I know OG is greater than 1.100 and my own rough estimation of apparent attenuation (AA).

Old Stock Ale pours a deep, but brilliant garnet color: maybe chestnut or mahogany is more accurate... A tan head is thrown up with the pour, but it slowly relents to the high ABV and becomes nothing more than wisps of cirrus clouds across the top of the beer.
Interestingly, Old Stock Ale smells almost completely inert. You'd think that with that much gravity and the requisite hopping rate that I'd be able to pick up something. However, I only get the vaguest dried-fruit maltiness and a bit of wine-like alcohol.

The flavor is similar--frightfully subdued. While there's a LOT of viscous mouthfeel, and quite a bit of carbonation, there isn't much flavor. I taste (and feel) a considerable amount of alcohol--the mouthfeel is hot and peppery and the finish burns and tingles inside my mouth for quite a while after the beer's been swallowed. If I thoroughly rinse my mouth with water, wait 5 minutes and then really concentrate, I can get a slight brown sugar flavor to come through before the alcohol takes over. Where are the hops? Where's all that malt? For something with the shear quantity of raw ingredients as Old Stock Ale, there should be a lot more going on in the glass. I'm suspecting that there's something wrong with my taste buds tonight, so I'm going to re-visit this review after my next sample of Old Stock. However, I remember drinking last year's vintage and having the same reaction--UNDERSTATED. Talk about subtle. Subtlety is a great trait in most beer, but this is over the top subtlety.

Now that I've let the beer warm to room temps, I can also pick up some raisin flavors, though the alcohol presence has increased. Like I said, I'll re-review soon to verify these results...

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Photo of brokenleadedcask
3.1/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Received from AlleyKatKing, thanks Josh! "Live" review

When I opened the box from our trade I was pleasantly surprised to see this gem waiting for me, a 2007 vintage. It poured a typical orangey root beer color with an orange/brown head, which only lasted 5 minutes. No lacing held onto the glass, not surprising for a almost 12% beer. Smelled of raisins, plum, orange peel, and STILL plenty of booze. I know this isn't barrel aged but I get some oak in the taste, some nutty flavors, some citrus from the hops, and pretty spicy. Some stickiness, thin, and not as creamy as expected after a couple years. Goes down easy, the alcohol as high as it is but it doesn't replace the classic English Old Ale.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.1/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 release

Appearance -- Pours a ruby red with a finger of beige head that slowly dissipates into a fog of beige foam over the liquid line.

Smell -- Caramel, brown sugar, raisins, some spiciness, and a strong whiff of alcohol.

Taste -- Rum-soaked raisins, molasses, some spiciness and a hint of vanilla, and an abundance of ethanol.

Mouthfeel -- Full-bodied, slick, viscous, with biting alcohol.

Drinkability -- Easily one of the booziest beers I've ever had, and even at 11.5% it probably shouldn't have been. There was certainly some deep malty character, but the taste of ethanol overwhelmed all of the flavors I hoped would come out based on the nose.

EDIT: 10 months later the booziness has improved remarkably. Still not my favorite, but I'd bump this to a B/B+

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.11/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for picking up a bottle of this.

Consumed 10/3/12

2012 vintage

Appearance: Light brown/amber with some lighter caramel around the edges - murky and still, with some clarity when held up to the light - little, beige head - fades to a little ring and a wispy cap, leaves some nice streaks of lacing

Smell: Booze and caramelized malts - the boozy sweetness is borderline port-like - caramelized malts, very cooked, with toffee, malt extract, and burnt sugar - some light and dark fruits - interesting, but not really good - kind of smells like an English Barleywine

Taste: Hot booze and sugar - kind of tastes like a mixed drink, kind of tastes like fruity cold medicine - cooked, caramelized, heavy caramel malts - caramel, sugar, toffee, and molasses - way, way too sweet - light and dark fruits, with some port - again, tons of booze - lightly bitter - unapologetically rough and harsh

Mouthfeel: On the light side of full - minimal carbonation - oily, with tons of booze

Overall: Somewhere between unpleasant and amusing

This has so much booze. Too much booze. I understand that this was the intention, but I'm not really a big fan. It's definitely drinkable as a sipper, but it's really harsh. Maybe this needs to sit for years. Or maybe 2012 was just a bad year. Either way... borderline drain pour.

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Photo of Swim424
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into sweetwater glass.

Pours a clear amber color. Nice head that falls real quick. Smells very malty, and sweet.
Very sweet upfront, hanging in there throughout with a bit of a boozy kick on the finish. Medium body, with a boozy after taste. This seems like it is way to sweet and boozy without enough hop balance. To much alcohol taste to it. This isn't terrible, but not worth the price unless your looking for something on the boozy end.

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Photo of briggssteel
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance- A dark brown. Looks pretty thick but has a nice head.

Smell- A lot of malt coming through in the smell. A lot like a bock. Picking up some fruit like smells. Very sweet smelling.

Taste- A lot of sweetness right off the bat. It kind of melds into a dark fruit taste and ends with a strong alcohol kick.

Mouthfeel- Definitely a thick, sticky type feel.

Drinkability- I hate to rate something this low for drinkability but I have to be honest, I really didn't care to finish the beer I had let alone start thinking about opening another. In my opinion it's just much too sweet and there's too much of a boozy aftertaste although it is 11%, so what else would you expect.

As a last note if you're into doppelbocks or stronger abbey ales I'm sure this beer is right up your alley. I just personally don't care for a ton of dark malt flavor and sweetness in my beer.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.15/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. 2010 vintage.

A: Pours a clear mahogany body with short-lived light tan head. There is very little retention, no lacing, no collar -- the beer looks absolutely still in a few minutes.

S: Grapes / raisins, caramel, dates. I'm enjoying the complexity, though it is undermined by its own sweetness a strong boozy presence.

T: Caramel, raisin, dates, even light cherry. This isn't absolutely cloying, but it's sickly sweet. It gets boozy in the finish, particularly pronounced as it warms. I understand that it's fresh, but I expect a beer to be drinkable right away or close to it. This is really stretching the limits.

M: Chewy, sticky flavor. Not well disguised ABV; you can sense that it's around 12%. But, again, it's fresh. This is a beer meant to be aged.

D: In the 2009 and and 2010 cases, I just drank one of the four-pack to evaluate it, and then put the rest aside for aging. I expect it to be phenomenal in a couple of years. We'll see.

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Photo of generalnotsew
3.16/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Diarrhea feces brown with no head. But I will give it an average as I have never had an Old Ale before. May be what it is supposed to look like. But still, doesn't look very pleasant.

S: Very malty and spicy in the nose. I am picking up some fig and a lot of sweetness. Has a fruit quality. Very complex.

T: I am getting cherry and fig here. Bit of a hop aftertaste. I really can't get into the taste. I am not going any further for now as I would be wasted trying to pick this one apart.

M: Very thick and chewy. Doesn't look like it has much carbonation but it is there. Extremely warming on the throat. I can still feel it burning.

D: I just can't picture myself drinking many of these. Way too overpowering not to mention the abv.

I had to adjust today. The more I tried to drink the less I liked it. Never had the style before so I could chalk it up to that. That being said I am usually pretty easy to please and this just didn't do it for me. The low drinkability was the hardest for me to do. Sometimes I feel that score does not fit right. This is definitely a sipper. Doubt I will buy this again.

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Photo of dsa7783
3.18/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copped a short, fat, 12oz bottle singly from Total Wine and More in Union... bottle specifically reads "North Coast 2007 Old Stock Ale" & "11.7% ABV"... Pours a cinnamon-colored, ruby-red, dark-brown appearance with a frothy head that soon dissipated... smell is full of malts, and caramel... deep, dark, rich, very sweet, caramel taste... slightly overbearing flavor that is very sweet, loaded with brown sugar, malts, esters, and strong alcohol presence... I would take it easy with this one, as the 11.7% ABV will hit you hard... a beer to be enjoyed over a long period of time... not the best sample from North Coast, but certainly worth a try... mouthfeel and drinkability were compromised due to the hefty ABV and ultra-sweet, thick, rich flavor... not my favorite brew, but worth-a-go...

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,181 ratings.
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