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Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

1,470 Reviews
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

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

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: 1,470 | Ratings: 3,108
Photo of faernt
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

So I broke out the old stock and opened a 2001. It is well. The cap came off with a little pop. It wasn't much but it made a noise. The pour was quiet with a little head which settled into a ring. The nose is what I'd hoped for...spicy and caramelly. The taste is smooth and silky. I look for old ale to taste this way. The 2001 is ready now. It is 11.22.05 and I couldn't be more satisfied. If you have any in your cellar try one. My cellar is not one of the 55F constant types so it may accellerate the aging. Nonetheless. it is ready to be a smoother. I'm glad to have the space and patience to have let this one sit. It is a praise for aging.

Update: 2010 Old Stock Ale
This one just came into Chicago. It's a little hot, but worthy of drinking now. As you might gather by my dates, the 2002,2003,2004, and 2005 are history. Good history...this beer ages well and I'm now committed to aging it longer. The alcohol content is rising...now 11.7% abv. This is nightcap beer.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.4/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(Vintage 2004)

Appearance: Marvelous color; a stunning mosaic of reds, browns, and golds. Even when poured a wee bit aggressively, the head quickly seperated, stretched thinly across the surface of the beer.

Smell: Mammoth malts weigh heavily in the nose. Thick molasses, brandy, vanilla, dried raisins, and alcohol are all very prominent.

Taste: "Hands up" on this malt rollercoaster, please! The vibrant flavors are varied and plentiful. Richly textured caramel and sweetened molasses up front. Sweet, ripened fruits roll by the palate, followed with sugar-coated bread. All of these flavors are punctuated by a zippy spiciness. The 11.4% alcohol is, at first, cumbersome on the palate, but eventually mellows to a relaxing hotness.

Mouthfeel: Medium. Considerably lighter than I remember it being, although its alcohol, syrupiness, and colossal range of flavors help it to seem a bit hardier.

Drinkability: Such an excellent example of balance within a beer. Its all so very impressive. Drinkable? Definitely, but the alcohol can really shake you up, so take it easy, friends. I'll certainly be returning to the store to grab more to cellar.

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Photo of sinistrsam
4.32/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a North Coast Old Stock Ale 2002 a few months ago and was so impressed I absolutely had to check out. I knew I couldn't be as lucky to have that vintage again, but the 2004 blew my mind as well. It is a dark brown, hazy, creamy pour, with almost no head whatsoever. And the bouquet..It was very strong, with hints of raisin, roasted malt, sugars, hops.
The taste kicks you in the face; it is strong but somehow not overpowering. You can certainly taste the 9% alcohol, but also raisins, plum, hops, roasty malts. This was a very powerful and complex beer and done excellently.It was a little harsh at times in the mouthfeel, but always made up for it with a wonderful aftertaste. Hats off to North Coast, yet again.

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Photo of dnrobert24
3.86/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This was a 2005 vintage consumed in 2005 in a snifter. I am positive that this beer will get better with some cellaring, I simply had to try a "fresh" bottle to get an idea of what I was starting with. While this is defined as an "old ale," I think it better qualifies as an English Style Barleywine. In fact, I paired this with a blue cheese meal, as if it were a barleywine.

The color was an orange rust. Also, it had some chill haze and was a little murky. When I popped it open, I didn't even have to pour it to get the aroma, immediately I smelled a floral bouquet (rose?) and dried fruits. I am hoping the aroma was a portent of the taste once this ages a bit.

I grilled some filet mignon topped with Maytag Blue Cheese. On the side I had a baked potato with sour cream and butter and a salad with basalmic vinagrette, dried cranberries, and more blue cheese. As soon as I took a bite of the blue cheese, the aroma of the beer changed to a juicy vinous scent. The beer was initially candy sweet with hints of prunes or raisins, which complemented the blue cheese. The aftertast was actually a little tart. The alcohol stood out, although it was not "hot." It merely punched in at the end of every sip and was very recognizable. This may mellow out with time. The carbonation was great and the body smooth. Nevertheless, the beer seemed to actually get more bitter towards the end, making it a little difficult to drink up. All in all, it was a very pleasant dinner combination, one that I hope to repeat perhaps a year or two down the road.

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Photo of jaluria
3.27/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a medium-brown, translucent color with white head that doesn't stay and leaves behind only minimal lacing. Some carbonation is present, but not very much. Aromas of malt, alcohol, dried fruit, and oak-wood seem to come out all at once. Very interesting and appealing. The taste, however, is a different story. The alcohol dominates the taste buds with only a slight sugar/malt backbone. In light of the aromas present, this is a disappointing beer. Not much complexity in this beer. The sweetness turns sour in the back of my throat leaving an unpleasant, dry aftertaste that only gets worse over time. I sipped this beer slowly but could only finish 3/4 of it. An interesting style that I wanted to try, but I won't be having this again. I imagine that if you are really in the mood for this, it would be an enjoyable brew...but, I don't see such an event occuring for me. The high ABV and the alcohol taste prevent this from having a higher drinkability score.

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Photo of BeerFink
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Evacuating this bottle reveals a rich caramel/copper/amber hued brew. Head is fleeting, but a thin khaki ring remains. Aroma is a potent conglomeration of alcohol, overripe fruits, and an impressive malt bill. Caramel and molasses assist in the olfactory assault. Similar to the aroma, the flavor takes no prisoners. Heavy and oily, this is truly delightful. Big malts present bready flavors with strong caramel sweetness. Slightly burning alcohol is warming and enjoyable without being too overpowering. Ripe apples and grapes provide a sweetness and acidity at the same time. Some darker fruits are hinted at, but escape my conscious. Hops provide a hint of pine and the slightest whisper of citrous, but are mostly present in their spiciness. Even a little saltiness from the bold hops. The hops blend well with the sticky sweet malts and alcohol. Finishes sweet and alcoholicly potent. Mouthfeel is very full and thick, massively satisfying. Extremely enjoyable old ale, full of complexities, and devilishly drinkable.

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Photo of yoyo
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So the local stores finally started getting serious about stocking North Coast products. This one took me by suprise. All of a sudden there I see Old Rasputin and Old Stock Ale side by side. What the ??@#$! IS that a 2003 vintage of Old Stock Ale? I'll happily grab three mispriced 4-packs. Yes, a fine reddish, high alcohol sweet ale pre-aged just for me. I promptly packed away 8 of them in the closet for the future. Boy that feels good. Love having great beer hanging out in the closet. This beer rates with some of the better ales from Canada and Belgium. Rock on North Coast, I'll make it to see you someday!

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Photo of ddellarocca
4.57/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thankfully Old Stock Ale was my last beer of the night. It is the perfect cap, especially if you want to slow down. Yes, it has a high ABV, but I promise you, it will take you longer than you think to drink this. It took me about an hour to an hour and a half to finish this heavy ale with a surprisingly mellow mouthfeel. As another reviewer commented, as it sat, it did not "skunk" at all. The taste and smell remained just as strong (good odors!) as when I first popped the cap.

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Photo of 1whiskey
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, v.2004. This pours out a beautiful reddish maple color, very clear. Near yellow head dissappears in seconds. Pretty beer.

Huge aromatics on this one. Complex and very sweet. Noticable alcohol fumes, brandy soaked cherries, licorice, raisins, pineapple(?). Some herbal notes also detectable.

Taste closely mirrors the nose, but doesn't overwhelm. Suprisingly smooth and just a bit of a dry hop finish to balance all the sugar up front. Also more of a molasses taste as it warms up. Smooth, syrupy mouthfeel with little carbonation.

This has a very high alcohol content (11.4%ABV) and drinks like a dessert wine. But considering the style and the high ABV, this is exceptionally easy to drink. I wouldn't want to drink this all the time, but it makes for a nice treat once in a while. Great beer to break out for company. This is yet another fine offering from North Coast Brewing Co.

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Photo of MrNuggets
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A chilly Saturday evening I sit and study this old ale. A beautiful ale, beauty broken down and represented to you in the following verse:

Set sail
Please these buds
Prepared for gail

Slowly cut a

Spirituous trough
Cherrywood dark
The ebbing soft

Gallant ship
You never fail
Bringing wheat
And prized Old Ale

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle says 2004 behind the label. Pours a murky brown, like a heavy apple cider. Smells of cherries and alcohol with a little malt. Tastes like a port with a dry hop finish that obscures the alcohol. Very nice considering its 11.4%. Mouth feel is heavy, but slippery. Good Beer.

P.S. Took a half hour to drink. When I finished, the color had turned crystal clear. Also, When this beer warmed up, the noxious alcohol smell and taste never showed up. This is another finely crafted beer from the NCB.

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Photo of bcm119
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful color, sort of like mohogany. Fine tan head. Lots of black fruit in the aroma, dried cherries, figs, sherry. Tawny port-like nose, becomes semi-sweet with more dark fruit; woody with hints of black licorice. Smooth alcoholic rumminess, but hops add balance and complexity. Very refined, and has a holiday feel to it. Alcohol is warming but not even slightly unpleasant, like rum cake. Really interesting and worth seeking out.

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Photo of DogFood11
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

North coast is a phenom.

Poured into a snifter it produced a filthy dirty head that laces on occasion but mostly you get that alcohol slide down the sides of the glass....sweeet!. dark ruby red color with medium lazy carbonation. For sure you have to pick up the huge alcohol smell although its not overbearing. Caramel is there to chill it out a bit. The drinks are warm regardless of temperature. Big coffee flavor balanced by some sweet malts. I get some light fruitiness as well although its well in the background its welcomed and a nice fit.

No date of any kind on the bottle but I would imagine this would be better in a few years as its still a bit raw for an 11%+ brew. I will hunt this down hopefully and find a big bottle to store but for now this is a must purchase and for the price it packs the punch for sure. yaawwwn goodnight. slosh.

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Photo of DrJay
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2004: Deep ruby brown, slightly hazed, with a thin, light tan head that leaves a bit of lace. Bready aroma with lots of caramel and toffee along with some raisins. Alcohol was quite pronounced, but not completely out of balance. Moderately low bitterness compared to the amount of malt in this one. Lots of caramel and nuts, with a toffee finish and faint hop flavour. Alcohol throughout with a lot of warming and a little burn. The carbonation was coarse and didn't last for long. The nut and alcohol combination was a little reminiscent of whiskey. Overall, it seemed a little young and rough around the edges. A little aging could do it some good.

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Photo of Viggo
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy ruby red, small tan head forms, some legs but no lacing. Smell is nice, chocolate, pecan pie, cinnamon, alcohol and some bread. Taste is burnt toast up front, nuts, alcohol, some hopping and a sweet toffee finish. Mouthffeel was light, with really low carbonation that wasn't suited to the body, pretty intense alcohol burn. This beer was hit and miss, some really impressive parts and some not so impressive parts, this would really benefit from some aging, but worth a try. Good call DrJay.

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Photo of buckiflyer
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another pop the cap beer now available in NC, paid 1.75$ for a bottle from Whole Foods. 2004 vintage. Poured at room tempature as website suggested, a clear dark brown color, very little head. A very clean smell, maybe a hint of Rasberry and alcohol. Pow! what a finish, you can tell this one is high in alcohol. Sipped for an hour. May buy another and let it age.

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Photo of blackie
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2004 Vintage

appearance: My careful pour creates a thin off white head which leaves only a few islands of bubbles behind. The color is a deep mahogany with huge red hues coming through.

smell: Big malty flavors come through first, giving aromas of dark fruits.. Leathery and tobbacco like earty nuances are noticeable while a strong Ethanol presence tickles the back of the nose. A nice amount of hops provide just enough backing for the malt.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is medium low and the body medium heavy. It is pretty thick and has somewhat of a smoothness to it.

taste: As the silky liquid hits my tongue I first notice the big malty fruitiness alongside the strong ethanol presence. The alcohol in this one is really really strong, and it could definately use some time in the cellar to mellow out. The taste actually kind of suffers, and I think the alcohol is covering up some of the good flavors my tastebuds are searching for. The hops provide a bittering that lasts into the finish, as well as an ethanol astringency as alcohol fumes exit through the nose.

The alcohol in this one is huge and has to mellow out some for this beer to get a higher score for taste in my book. A beast.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 vintage: Pours a magnificent, cloudy ruby-tinged mahogany with a nice than head that is quickly killed by the alcohol. Aroma is striking with its malty, sweet and alcoholic presence with hints of caramel, molasses, fruity esters, dark fruits (currant and blackberry), toffee and a slight diacetyl presence. This one is definately a sipper, as the alcohol bite is somewhat harsh. The flavor is incredibly complex with huge malt notes of molasses, brown sugar, caramel, toasted bread, currant, plum, blackberry, raisins and toffee. There are some light floral and piney hop notes here but they definately take a backseat to the malt. This almost seems like an english barleywine due to the huge malt profile, and this beer has quite a scotch-like burn and some nice vinous flavors . The mouthfeel is huge and thick, chewy with a big body and light carbonation, drinkability is just descent as this one still carries a big alcohol bite and is fairly harsh. Quite enjoyable and complex, but could definately mellow out some more.

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Photo of PatYoda
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2002 Version.

Hazy Mahogany with a long lasting thick ring of foam around the side of the glass. Smell is some plum, raisin, and a definite brandy smell - lots of alcohol in the nose here. It gets better as it warms (or perhaps as I get more drunk?) Taste is all malt at first. Dark fruit galore. Some maple syrup in there as well. The finish is moderately bitter with some balancing hops and smacking of tongue numbing alcohol. A little spiciness as well, maybe from the alcohol. A bit too medicinal for my tastes, otherwise this would be great. Mouthfeel is relatively thick and slick. Overall, not something I would want all the time, but certainly good enough.

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Photo of mattcrill
3.65/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2004 Edition

Appearance: Pours a clear garnet color with a tan head that quickly disappears. A thin lacing rings the glass perfectly.

Smell: Prunes, must, cloves, burnt brown sugar. All things dark and sweet. A definite alcohol presence on the nose.

Taste: Prunes, raisins, with a present and strong alcohol backbone. Maybe some spices like cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar as it warms. Still, the alcohol is pretty present and has a sharp bite to it.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and lively carbonation. Burns a bit on the way down.

Drinkability: One to sip for sure. This could stand to benefit from some aging. A little rough around the edges for me but a nice change of pace.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 edition. Pours showing little to no carbonation, a crimson amber. Aroma is sweet and malty, and is one that I was getting whiffs of at arm's length when I popped the cap off. That's pungent, in a good way. Peppermint and candied plums are there as well. Complexity. Heat. The alcohol surrounds all facets of this, yet doesn't mask any of the flavors here. Sweet cinnamon and molasses, licorice, chocolate covered cherries...booze. No carbonation. This is one to sip, and sip slowly. Maybe could use some age, and I would certainly love to try some older samples. I'll be getting another bottle or two for the cellar for sure, but this is still very interesting in its fresh state. Whoo!

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Photo of JackStraw22
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, 2004 eddition.

Appearance: Opaque dark amber body. Inch of tan head, retention wasn't great.

Smell: Thick malty sweetness, lots of bready aroma. There's a hint of the big alcohol in there. Cherry and vanilla aromas too.

Taste/Feel: Damn, this is an ass kicker! Very sweet with a nice vanilla aftertaste. There's some bitterness to make it bearable, but it's not the focus. Alcohol is there, but it's balanced. Creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: I couldn't drink this too often, but I'd certainly seek it out again, especially to see how it ages. I've got a couple bottles of 2002 I'm looking forward to trying.

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Photo of ommegangpbr
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 vintage.
Makes me think of a less bitter(though not a whole lot), lower hopped, sweeter, maltier American barley wine. Alcohol flavor and presence is way big in this.
Caramel, toffee sweetness is dominant. The aroma gives you a warning before it hits the tongue. There is quite a bit of hops bitterness, but not as much as in a barely wine, and it appears more in the finish and mouthfeel than the flavor itself. Quite a bit of raisin and prune in the flavor.
This has a pretty thick, smooth mouthfeel to it. Sticky.
While, odds are, you're not going to down a four pack of these by yourself at a sitting, a bottle of this would probably make for an excellent after dinner drink or nightcap. This is one to sip and to be savored.

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Photo of Shaw
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 edition: I have several bottles of the 2000 and 2002 vintage in my cellar that I can't bring myself to drink. I saw this year's vintage at Whole Foods and had to buy a four-pack!

It pours a cloudy brown in color with a slight, white head. The smell is very complex. It smells like carmel candy with fruity notes and lots of alcohol aromas. It's excellent.

The taste is big, as expected. This is a beer with lots of malt sweetness and a massive amount of hop bitterness to balance it out. The powerful flavors of alcohol are all over this beer. The flavors of plum or perfume are also present, like they are in the taste.

The body is very slick, thanks to the high ABV. I've knocked down the drinkability a few points because this beer is so strong. One is definitely enough.

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Photo of Sephiroth
4.89/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2002 Edition: One of my longtime favorites, this beer will go into a tulip. The head is much more subdued than my previous bottles from this year. The half inch head quickly fades to nothing. The body is transparent only when held to a light source, and even then one must be quite close to the glass.

The nose is malty and vinous. Slight vanilla and raisins are detected. This baby is in its prime. The malts are complex. I really cannot pick any individual flavor out of this. The malt is somewhat roasty, with dark fruits as well. The finish is dry, almost like I am drinking Cabernet. Must be the remnants of the hops. The mouthfeel is thick, but not coating as I imagine it once was. Even if there was a hint of the 11.4% ABV, this would be extremely drinkable. Time has been good to this, as the alcohol is buried deeply within this one. I cannot find any more recent vintages of this one in Indy. There seems to be plenty of this one, though. I give a three for appearance because of the enormous head on every other occassion that I drank this one. I will edit this the next time I pop one.

Edit: My glass might have been slightly dirty the last time. This time, I get the nice head I am accustomed to from this one.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 1,470 ratings.
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