Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

1,492 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,492 | Ratings: 3,173
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.

 1,554 characters

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.

 968 characters

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.

 1,022 characters

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!

 614 characters

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.

 481 characters

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.

 913 characters

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

 336 characters

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.

 502 characters

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.

 436 characters

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.

 857 characters

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.

 650 characters

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.

 505 characters

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.

 364 characters

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.

 1,211 characters

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.

 1,030 characters

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.

 667 characters

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.

 691 characters

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!

 691 characters

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.

 632 characters

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.

 738 characters

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.

 788 characters

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.

 1,232 characters

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
3.98/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003 edition. What can I add to these raves? It’s just some kind of mad beer. Pours a "bright" brown that doesn't make you think of barley wine just yet. Nice tan head on top. Mouthfeel is sticky and rough like a buckwheat honey. This is full of rough edges, yet I wanted to savor every one of them. Couldn’t figure the malt or hop presence, but toward the end of the sample, my upper lip was curled slightly inward from bitterness.

 434 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a very warm/alcohol scent that is rich in malts. It has a complex array of smells. It's sweet and warm, but also with a dry feel. The taste is great. It has an intensely rich, malty flavor that boasts of pale and crystal malts along with some roasted barley. It has a mildly bitter hop flavor that goes down slow and smooth and finishes warm. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a great beer. It has nice complexity and an overall good taste; a good drinker.

 631 characters

Photo of KoG
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Take away the small head it produced and the lacing, and it looks like a glass of brandy. Dark brown with amber-red highlights.

Smell is super malty along with dark fruit, raisin and maybe a touch of plum, along with a wisp of that 11.4%.

Taste is bold to say the least. Some sweetness paired with the spicyness of the alcohol and light citric hops. Slight rum taste backed by fruit, alcohol takes over as it warms and can become astringent, I had to pair this with something unsweet.

Not a bad brew at all. The alcoholic burn is a bit much and this may require a bit of laying down before I try it again.

 614 characters

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,173 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.