Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

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1,483 Reviews
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

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

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-26-2001

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Reviews: 1,483 | Ratings: 3,139
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.

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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.

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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.

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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 mobrado
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fabulous beer. The only drawback is that the mouthfeel gets a little too sticky from the sweetness as it warms up. But you have to let it open up for all flavors to develop. I could see this age well for many, many years.

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Photo of colts9016
4.51/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 Edition

An oversized wine glass was implemented. A hard poor produced a minimal head. the color of the beer is like used oil with no clarity.

Nose. A very rich malt caramel sweetness with citrus, pine, resin, and some fruity esters. It is a super complex nose with background aromas of stone fruit. alcohol, and brown sugar.

A rich complex malt profile with caramel, toffee citrus, pine, resin, fruity esters, and dark cherries.

The mouthfeel is slightly carbonated, full body, chewy thick beer.

Overall this is on awesome beer. Fantastic flavor, rich complex malt, slight alcohol warming but very balanced. very very good. I really enjoy this beer.

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Photo of Beginner2
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Listed in the "1001 Beers To Drink Before You Die," this one will have to wait for my review at my next tasting from this former 4-pack getting smaller in my cellar.

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

2015 Edition

Dark, copper with a thin head. No lacing stays on the glass.

Nose: Marsipan, vanilla, syrup, apple, caramel malt & butter.
Taste: Sweetness, marsipan, eggnog, vanilla, bourbon whiskey and cake.
Full, complex body with little but crisp carbonation.


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Photo of chinchill
4.11/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz 2015 bottle allowed to warm for about 25 minutes then served in a Porter Bar goblet.

Aroma: complex mix of various dark dried fruits, fruitcake, and hints of toffee.

Flavor: similar to the aroma; good complexity and balance. Sweet for style, leaning a bit towards a barleywine.

Feel: full and smooth but with more alcohol heat than optimal. Light but appropriate carbonation.

Overall: excellent.

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Photo of Jacobob10
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2014 Vintage, no bottle date.

Purchased on 9/23/2015;
Opened on 3/28/2016.

Reddish-brown and clear with a large, frothy, off-white head that dissipates fairly quickly. Sweet and fruity aroma of caramel and sweet malts with a slightly vinous quality to it. No hops whatsoever. Flavor is sweet and complex, but not so much as an English Barleywine. It's strong but does not overpower. Full bodied and warming.

I don't think I would purchase this one again but there is nothing wrong with it. Just didn't excite me with the complexity that a strong ale can often have. A good sipper for my fantasy baseball draft.

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Photo of LAp
4.27/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a hazy reddish-brown with a thick, 1 finger tan-mocha head. Nose is grape and cherry, with an almost Flanders red hint of funk. The slightest trace of whisky/bourbon is present on the nose as well. The palate is medicinal dark fruit and prominent malt, with a touch of bitter hop on the backend. Mouthfeel is medium, with a solid body rounding out the beer. Overall, a strong contribution to the style, if nothing groundbreaking.

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Photo of twage04
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a copper/brown, hazy color. Some booze and bourbon aroma. Taste is deep booze and dark fruit, bourbon. Definitely a sipper, warms you up. Reminds one of a Belgian dark strong, just maltier. Enjoyable beer but I didn't find myself that taken with it. This was from last year, although I'm not sure if it was early or late 2015. Perhaps could have benefited from aging?

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Photo of 20holmbrew
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured from a bottle from a four pack - 2015 version. I plan on aging 3 of the 4, buying a 4 pack with each yearly release. Old ales are new to me but seems like an interesting style to experiment with and to see how it changes over time. Reminds me a lot of barleywine. Quite sweet and hot.

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Photo of breakingbland
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Flying Squirrel in Chattanooga

This beer starts with a caramel aroma which continues into the taste along with spice. There is a pleasant level of alcohol heat which along with woodiness gives an impression of bourbon. A great beer!

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Photo of gustavmahler-09
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark orange with a slight head that dissipates quickly. Smell is subtle, fruity. Taste is big, prunes, raspberries, coffee, and boozy. Feel is not very carbonated, but is edgy, and resonant. Seems like a barleywine. This is class of 2015. I will be interested to see how it matures.

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich, hazy brown-magenta. Light head, with no lacing. Notes of malts, caramel, and brown sugar in the aroma. The taste is sweet, with brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and malt notes. Mouth feel is Fairly mouth coating, with a good thick, bold texture. Fairly easy to drink, even at over 11% ABV. Overall, it's a fantastic beer. It evokes a sense of consuming a beer with a king in an old medieval drinking hall.

Served in a 12oz snifter. 2015 version.

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Photo of jahbless
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 version, 11.9%. Appearance: reddish orange very little head. Smell: brown sugar, caramel, figs, vanilla, malty sweetness Taste: very smooth and fruity. Nice mouthfeel. Overall: absolutely delicious, would drink often. If this is representative of barleywine/old ale style, then I want more.

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Photo of therubicon
4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Cloudy. Alcohol and stone fruit in the nose. Taste of plums, figs, raisins, and brown sugar, with a perceptible but pleasant alcohoic burn. Great alternative to a brandywine for a cold winter night.

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Photo of BodiesLexus
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

current review is 2014 bottle, aged 1+ year.
Firstly, I have zero experience with true 'old ales'.
Think I'm looking for a BW maltiness with fruity sharpness and undertones of everything smooth and amber in nature.
Tried a 2014 of this fresh, felt it was harsh, tingly, grainy, alcohol clashing. A bit of hard candy when warmed, the only big positive in a style I bought in order to age.
Here we go, year 2.
Poured a pretty, cloudy orange/brown with stately half-inch white head, receding gradually to nothing.
Aromas of grainy heaviness, nicely accented by unexpected medium (green grapes, peaches) and dark (candied cherries, jelly grapes) fruits! Wow, very surprised to catch wine-like fruit notes so prominent that seemed to be nowhere in this same bottle a year ago. Bravo. Alcohol not noted in nose.
Taste is amber maltiness at high abv (noticeable alky burn that manages to disappear quickly, thankfully) with very faint fruity sharpness to dry it out but the maltiness still stands prominent. The warmer it gets, the more the fruity sharpness becomes a candied sweetness which melds oh so nicely with the grainy heaviness. AFtertaste still notably sharp grain and lingering alky dryness. To my tastes, this is 4x-5x more complex than when fresh. Mostly enjoyably so.
Feel is flat and somewhat heavy, not overly so. The bit of fruity characteristic adds a huge buoyancy to the experience. I'm hoping that further aging will enhance that fruity lightness to balance out the somewhat non-descript grainy maltiness which is the correct base of the beer, but which lacks definition so far here after a year and a bit. I'll knock on wood and suppose that my next tasting in 6-8 months will be a really good step forward in this process.

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Photo of mjurney
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 version.

Deep mahogany color. Highly carbonated. Thick beige head.

Brown sugar, caramel, toffee, dark fruit, some alcohol.

Very rich and sweet, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, a little woody. Dark fruit character, figs/prunes. Vanilla bean and spiced rum towards the end. Finish is boozy, but very smooth. Full bodied, chewy, warmth, easy drinking, slight dryness.

It's a very good Old Ale.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.41/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby, with light, persistent bubbles around edge.

Smells of salami, grape, caramelized crust of steak, blood. Not unpleasant, but odd and hard to pinpoint.

Taste improves greatly as prune juice and chocolate, with a nice frothy effervescent mouthfeel.

I've had a slew of barleywines this winter, so far, this comes out on top.

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Photo of FriedSlug
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This beer pours mahogany in the glass with an off white head that left quickly and left not trace that it was ever there. The aroma contains sweet caramel, alcohol, roasted malts and the scent of a freshly cracked hazelnut. The taste is sweet and caramel like with a nuttiness that reminds me of roasted sesame seeds. The beer has a medium body and lower carbonation. The finish is bitter hops and warming booze that shock your mouth into watering and creating a lingering sweetness.

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

2013 Cellar for two years :
-pours a clear reddish browh with a small to medium,quickly dissipating,foamy,offwhite head
-low carbonation visible

caramel,toffee,nutty,figs, alcohol ,slight chocolate,brown sugar
-plums,raisins,figs,brown sugar,,syrupy,toasty finish
-very sweet
-low to medium carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol present
Very good, but also very sweet

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Photo of drmeto
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2014 Version

-pours a clear red-brown with a small to medium,quickly dissipating,foamy,offwhite head
-low carbonation visible
-small particle floaties visible
caramel,toffee,nutty,figs,strawberries,slight chocolate,brown sugar
-plums,raisins,figs,brown sugar,strawberries,syrupy,toasty finish
-very sweet
-low to medium carbonation
-medium to full body
-alcohol present
More a Barleywine than an Old Ale.
Very good, but also very sweet

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Photo of NickSMpls
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Recommended by our local beer store. Bought a 4-pack of '14 and one of '15. Poured the '14 on Christmas eve. Clear dark honey color with light, but lingering, carbonation. Aroma of pit fruits - figs, dates and apricots. Mouthfeel is light and little hint of the ABV dynamite. Sweet flavors with a port wine profile - delicious! Let it warm to cellar temp before poring.

Update: '15 batch poured on 26 Feb '16. This one is cloudy and has a nutty, almond taste and strong malt backbone. Next year - a vertical '14 - '16 !

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,139 ratings.
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