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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 1,494 | Ratings: 3,181
Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From tap at NCBC in Fort Bragg CA. A first four me on this style. Sweet sweet sweet. Definitely a good choice for warm winter nights. High alcohol for sure!

 156 characters

Photo of bbtkd
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

North Coast Old Stock Ale 2016, 12% ABV, 34 IBU. Pours medium viscosity and dark brown, with a slight off-white head. Nose is malt and slight alcohol. Taste is malt, oak, and alcohol - hard to hide the 12%. Decent mouthfeel, and overall very good.

 251 characters

Photo of GrumpyGas
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

2016 batch "BY JULY 2032"
12oz bottle poured into a stretch snifter is a cloudy amber colored body with little head, but a slight ring and islands of bubbles. Active bubble-up through the murk and a little spotted lacing.

Aroma is malt, oak, booze, and a hint of sour.
Flavor leans bright, but that might be carbonation driven. Caramel malt, oak, and I think I taste almost a smoke flavor.
Mouthfeel is lighter toward medium and a little carbonated tickle on the tongue. Finish is oily, but clean.

 498 characters

Photo of Stoutmaster9
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2016 batch. Four pack for about twelve bucks.
Poured into a pint glass.

Slightly murky amber -brown, with lots of zesty wee bubbles and an enduring half finger head, creamy lacing.
Smells sweet and malty. Strong booze. Echo of fruit.
Taste follows the nose. Malty. Creamy. At first simple, with subtle fruits not overpowered by the booze, not altogether.

There is little doubt; this is a brew of perilous enchantment. Going to save a pint or three for some time. It feels like I have had this before, a lifetime ago. Beyond strange. I would slowly savor one of these only on a full belly, upon a cozy, quiet Shire night.

The second half of the pint, after warming up, was beyond boozy. Difficult to get through, even in 'sipping mode'. Served on the frosty side would be better!

 786 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: cloudy; medium brown in color; 1+ finger light brown head that receded to a splotchy cap; no lacing;

S: definitely malt forward; a little spice; a little boozy; some caramel and wood;

T: all malt - a little sweet; oak, a little dried fruit; booze; a little port-like; mild bitterness on the finish;

M: medium to full bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: nice complexity; a great sipper;

 412 characters

Photo of Red5StandingBy
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz short bottle into goblet. Freshness date of May 2017.

L: Deep ruby, finger width tan head with decent retention.

S: Sweet caramel aroma, bit of dried fruit.

T: Follows the nose closely, strong alcohol burn, toasted grains, figs and raisins.

F: Medium-Full body, syrupy yet decently smooth.

O: A bit disappointed but still a solid beer. Not an every day drinker.

 395 characters

Photo of AustinWadkins
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Pours a dark Amber color with a moderate head that quickly bubbles down and vanishes

Smell is sweet, raisins, pecan, licorice, fig, faint smoke, alcohol

Taste is sweet, licorice, raisins, alcohol, bit of yeast in the end. Very warming

Overall this beer was fantastic! You could deffinetly taste the aging! Definitely worth the wait!

 342 characters

Photo of Mindcrime1000
4.53/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 version:

Look--Pours with little head that dissipates quickly but persistent lacing throughout. Color is a pleasing and interesting garnet.

Aroma--Toasty malts forward, followed by smoke, with a background bitterness, and just a touch of booze. Excellent complexity augmented by the fact that this beer has plenty of the aroma it is selling.

Taste--Excellent complexity. Dried fruits and toasted malts on the front of the palate, somewhat like a Scotch Ale, followed by brown sugar, smoke, chocolate, vanilla, anise, and a touch of wine or oak. But just when this seems and sounds like a sweet syrupy "mess," a touch of hops and booze brings a pleasant balance at the end to a pleasing finish. In fact, I felt like just a bit more of the bitterness would have made this perfect. Despite the high ABV (11.8%), the "booze" is present, but as a complementary "warming note," not a "burn."

Feel--Elusive in its description. Initially thin on the palate. Then the sweetness rounds it out, with the booze and hops providing a nice finish, though I wouldn't call it "crisp." Perhaps the only disappointing aspect of the brew. Like the taste, it needed just one more notch of balance.

Overall--I have nothing truly negative to say about this brew. I am more of a Belgian fan, but this take on a classic English style rivals or exceeds plenty of offerings from the other side of the Channel--and this is a state-side take. The complexity is outstanding. I just wanted one more "notch" of something bitter, sour, or (?) to provide a counterpoint to the malty sweetness. Still--highly recommended.

 1,613 characters

Photo of Victory_Sabre1973
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Old Stock Ale 2015

Pours a dark red, almost brown body. The head is bubbly, and 2 finger. The nose is minimal, but I do smell something that I can't really describe. The taste is somewhat mellow, at first, then the booze hits me. Some hints of vanilla. Interesting beer. I don't know if ageing it further would imporve it. Drinking at 62 F, if it matters.

 356 characters

Photo of kitschiguy
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle / 11.8%

Poured a dark, cloudy reddish brown. Head not great. Some lacing.

Nose is very nice - bready and biscuity like a good strong English ale.

Palate offers up much more though - a little spice, vanilla, dried fruit and a port-like note. Long finish with low bitterness. Complex if a little boozy.

Mouth is surprisingly thin given the strength and complexity but it's still pretty good,

Overall a great beer. Will probabaly age well which is good as I have 2 more that I'll keep for at least a year.


 535 characters

Photo of do_ob
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 bottle.

Bottle into a snifter. Mahogany in color (brownish red), and opaque in appearance. Little head to speak of, but a thin skirting remained throughout. The color is very interesting and inviting. Nose is sweet licorice, caramel, toffee, and dark fruits. Not overly sweet but overall it's got a candy nose. The taste is a good balance of the aroma. Strong caramel and dark fruit throughout with a touch of sweet alcohol. No burn whatsoever. Hints of earthy, Belgian yeast here and there along with candied sugar, toffee, and syrup. Very delicious. The feel is perfect - dense and syrupy without being chewy or overly filling. Modest carbonation makes this one a pleasure to sip. It only gets better as it approaches room temperature.

Right up there with Curmudgeon. Slightly sweeter in comparison, but tastes just as good. A lovely beer for the cold months.

 870 characters

Photo of Hop_God
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75


A: deep amber to copper red. Thin round bubbles white to caramel in color

S: figs. Booze. Caramel. Hops

T: scattered. Raw alcohol. Hops. Some oak. Little caramel and bitterness. Not much of anything going on.

F: medium body. Crisp thin finish

O: yea it's ok. I fear that it's too fresh. Will age a few. Maybe similar to HOD doggie claws which I don't like fresh but 4-7 years on it is outstanding

 408 characters

Photo of RBBLASC
3.47/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Look - medium dark like a Quad with minimal head.

Smell - slight boozy, with hints of dark fruit.

Taste - heavy sweet intertwined with boozy. Hints of fig like sweetness that cannot hide the alocohol content. Similar to a boozy quad.

Feel - felt heavy on the tongue with the high concentrations of malt, and little carbonation to lively it up.

I would like to let it age and see what happens.

 398 characters

Photo of Delmarvabeer
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a tulip glass, temp around 40 F (recommended 60F)
A: Hazy Brown/Amber color with no head but a slight rimming around the edge.
S: sweet, syrupy with a slight hint of dried fruit, very boozy smelling
T: Very sweet, malty. Slight bitterness on the back end, but very slight
F: Very heavy and thick, chewy, very low carbonation
O: Not sure is this is my type of beer but has a decent flavor and is very heavy. Could only drink one per sitting.

 452 characters

Photo of MoMaMe
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This is a full body beer with a lot of flavor.
It starts off fruity and ends with a sweet, syrupy finish. It's a heavy beer. On first taste, the favors were complex and indulgent - quite enjoyable. But because of its sweetness, richness, and malt-heaviness, it's not a beer for casual drinking. The favors linger a long time on the palate, and the alcohol taste is noticeable - not surprising nice it's 11.8%

It's definitely a good beer worth trying, quite delicious.

 474 characters

Photo of stevoj
4.01/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 edition. Heavy malt aroma, touches of dried fruit, wood and peat. Alcohol even burns the nose slightly. Dark brown/ruby with thin but tight beige head. Taste is more malt, oak barrel, plums. silky mouthfeel and lots of alcohol warmth. Smooth finish.

 254 characters

Photo of jds16
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2015 bottle. Not bad, but I was expecting more here. Nice deep copper color, head vanishes immediately. Smells like toffee and booze, tastes like nuts soaked overnight in liquor. Thick mouthfeel seems just right. Definitely improved as it warmed, but came off as too one dimensional to me. As much as people talk this up I feel like I'll need to give this another try but this bottle was merely good.

 400 characters

Photo of Guppy314
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a bottle, pours as deep cloudy copper. There is a beige head that fades to nothing. Aroma is of malt with some indistinct spice like cardamom. Flavor is malt-forward and boozy with caramels and sweet toffee finishing with a slight butterscotch. Definitely worthwhile, but one is enough.

 295 characters

Photo of Bruno74200
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2016 vintage.
I was expecting more from it. It's not bad, don't get me wrong but it lacks a bit on deepness. It's a lot about nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnut) but not so much about dark fruits as I thought it'd be. I like the dryness though.
Maybe some aging might do the trick

 278 characters

Photo of HopHunter19
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark brown, very little but lasting head. Kind of murky.
S - lots of malts, dark fruits, caramel, little yeasty
T - basically the same as the smell but way more boozy
M - medium to heavy mouthfeel, alc present but okay, aftertaste is dark fruit, caramel malts, yeast
O - okay beer, would rather have a imperial stout or English barley wine. Bells Third Coast Old Ale is better.

 383 characters

Photo of sokol_1993
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: dark brown, very little but lasting head. Not too lively.
Smell: Sweet malty smell, but also a lot of alcoholic smell.
Taste: a lot of overwhelmingly alcoholic taste, ooh boy! Extremely warming. Other than that, dark fruit, malty, raisiny, vinous. Sweet, and very viscous to the point that you feel that you can chew it. It became a bit more bitter at the end.
Feel: full body, sweet and strong aftertaste.
Quite a good beer, very complex. Definitely will have it again. But one should leave it until the end of the evening, due to its strong and alcoholic taste; it'll ruin everything for you.

 605 characters

Photo of TBoneJones
3.68/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep clear mahogany pour. Low head, fair lacing, body appears medium rich. Color is nice though.
Smell is malt and some molasses. Not much here.
Taste is booze-wrapped malt and bitter caramel with a distant hint of vanilla.
Feels thick, a bit sticky.
A decent sipper, I must be missing something based on the rave reviews. Maybe aging this works wonders?
Maybe I'd like it sweeter. I recall another brewer's old ale Curmudgeon being so. This beer seems vinous only in a medicinal way, acidic and fairly dry.

 511 characters

Photo of LennyOvies
4.58/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2016 version.

L- Dark brown reddish body, creamy ivory head with loe retention.
S- Malty-sweet, molasses, toffee, liquor, dry fruits.
T- Malty, caramel, toffee, molasses, nuts, vinous, some booze.
F- Full, rich.
O- Remarkable, I imagine this is much better when aged.

 268 characters

Photo of MMOSNN
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Year-old 2015 version poured in a goblet.
Look - a super hazy brown, but there's some red in there too. The head is very thin and khaki colored. Very spotty lacing.
Smell - raisins, brown sugar, some notes of vanilla and chocolate, and slight booziness.
Taste - so much complexity here. It's similar to the nose and extremely rich. You get sweet notes in the form of caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, and there's a good amount of raisan and chocolate, almost like a Raisinette. I'm not noticing much booze, especially considering the ABV.
Feel - good carbonation, chewy mouthfeel, smooth finish, a little slick.
Overall, age is doing wonders to this beer. It's losing complexity visually due to the aging process, but everything else is completely stellar. I have some 2016 bottles that I plan on aging, and I'll definitely be looking forward to this beer every year.

 864 characters

Photo of erk0607
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Look: Like oak but with purpleish hues (at least in dim lighting), small ring and small carbonation bubbles

Smell: Like a slightly tart strawberry jam

Taste: Sweet on first sip, turning into a somewhat mediciney taste, berry, malt. Super dark and rich, almost too strong. Very complex. Bitter. Definitely one to let warm up. Flavors just exploded having cupped my tulip glass for a few minutes. Much more rasiny and the malt becomes noticeable. Still noticeable alcohol though.

Feel: Slick, higher viscosity liquid that foams up on the tongue. Noticeable alcohol presence.

Overall: First beer of this style I've had, and I can't say I like it sadly. Reading the BA description of what an Old Ale should be, this fits in very nicely, hence the score. Perhaps it's the alcohol presence, but it reminds me a lot of slightly better tasting NyQuil. I bought a four pack, put two away for a later date, had one for myself and will share the other with a buddy. I gave my ratings based on style, personally this gets a high 2, which I find strange for a guy who loves his Quads.

 1,085 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,181 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.