Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

1,491 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: 1,491 | Ratings: 3,172
Photo of ybnorml
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a 2002 vintage bottle. A clean dark amber/brown beer some orange and ruby highlights. A good dried fruit character stars the aroma and somr tabacco. With a nice nutty maltiness in the background. The dried fruit character starts out the flavor. With notes of coffee and toffee floating around your tongue. Ending with a bittersweet fruit and a tabacco like finish. Oh did I forget the alcohol warmth going down. Nice....

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Photo of Higravity
3.93/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was the 2003 vintage sevred in a tulip glass. Well is it deep amber with litlle head but whatever it is 11+%. It did not have a big nose to it. Mostly I really like this one for the chewy body and it nicely complex malt flavors. It plays at being sweet as the bittering hops are low to my taste, but it is not cloy-sweet. Subtle dried fruit aftertaste with perfect carbonation level leaves your mouth watering for another sip.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Dark mahogany, still as night, calm and ever-inviting. An intense nose that welcomes port, alcohol, raspberries and figs. Sweet and nearly full bodied, twigs, cherries and plums all to be found; rich and chewy. Alcohol makes a quick entrance, but the door is open; butterscotch and chocolate, coupled with dark malts and sugar; incredible, this stuff is not good but awesome! Aging? Can it get better?

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Photo of palma
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is some monster ale if id say so, weighing in at 11.4 % ABV.

2003 vintage. Sampled 3/12/2005.
Sweet aromatic malty aroma consisting of fruit, caramel, licorice, and cocoa notes. Rich malty taste up front. Prune/raisin, cherry, and grape flavors. Vinous, sherry-like finish. Very light bitterness. Some warming alcohol but not as much as I expected. ABV is hidden here.
Creamy mouthfeel. Light carbonation.
Pretty easy to drink, considering the high alcohol content.

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Photo of shapudding
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No dating.
Deep chestnut that you can barely see through. No head, just a bit of off-white ring and a slight rign. Vineous and fruity, sherry and port, sweet and malty- so nice! Thick and almost chewy feeling. You can feel the bite of the carbonation a bit, with a creamy foaminess to it.... nice. Bitey hoppiness, peppery, caramelly and roasty malts. Blackened toast with a touch of honey. A lot of flavor left in your mouth after each sip, a lot going on. Bit warm, not really “hot”, the alcohol becomes more pronounced as it warms. There is just a ton of intense, deep flavors in here. Great as a sipper or with some rich foods or a nice cheese plate. Highly enjoyable

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2000

Pours a murky reddish brown with a disappointingly small head of tan foam. Lots of aroma, mostly of dried fruits and a little hop sense. The flavors weigh heavily to the dried fruit variety; hints of prunes and raisins in there with a nice thick moutfeel that does not come across as syrup. A little too much of everything for me to want more than one to a session.

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Photo of gbontrag
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden froth rises-falls-evaporates to the corners of the globe. The color of light through a brown glass bottle. It glistens as it swirls around the glass. Yes, yes, smells fruitful -- candied, spicy orange peel, big fluffy, crusty pannetone.
A little cough syrupy. Pretty enjoyable. Tobacco, gum, alcohol numbness, strong darjeeling tea - a little nutty.

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

Liquid Stollen! Aromas of candied fruit, marzipan, dough and marzipan. Smells like marzipan, stick your nose into it while munching on marzipan you freak. Malt coated egg fritters rest heavy in the mouth carrying wisps and whirls of spiced rum as the juice flows heavily down and through the pipes. A good nightcap or dessert beer.

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2003 on the bottle....I believe it was distributed in '04 though.
Pours a very impressive, cloudy dark brown with a half a finger of caramel head. Lace is fairly thin, but clings nicely.
Packed w/ aromas...apples are first detected, along w/ just a hint of alcohol.
Wow...this one packs a punch and its not all due to the alcohol. Tastes of cherries, grapes and raisins...again, alcohol present in the aftertaste...but then again, how the hell can you altogether hide 11% plus??
The mouthfeel is real nice...thick and sweet w/ a very nice bitter aftertaste. I could enjoy two of these in an evening w/ out any effort, but this is one brew to cherish and not abuse.
A big thanks to IrishMike for recommending this one.
I'll keep the remaining three in the cellar for special occasions.

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

2003 vintage pours a murky dark reddish brown with a small light brown head with large bubbles that leaves a thin lacing in my glass. Fruity plum, vanilla and grapefruit aromas, dark fruit, caramel, chocolate and nutty flavors. Full bodied with a full and thick lightly carbonated mouthfeel, finishes on the dry side, alcohol well hidden, very nice.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is my first experience with old ales. Vintage 2003. 12 oz., served at room temperature, overflowing with foam when opened. Pours into the snifter a deep dark red with a 1 finger light tan head that leaves no lacing. Some sediment is floating around. There was a little bit of rust on the bottle where the crimped part of the cap was touching. Smell is of strong malts - dark fruit, apple, diacetyl, bubblegum, a hint of earth, and alcohol. Tastes very very malty - same as the scent but with a wine quality. The hops leave a slight bitterness but the malts dominate the aftertaste. The beer is thick, chewy, low on carbonation, and leaves a warming sensation as it goes down. A definite sipping beer with too strong a flavor (not to mention abv) to drink more than 1 or 2 a night. It is intense and not for the faint of heart, but it warms the soul well on a cold winter night.

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

Appearance - This beer is a beautiful reddish-brown, and has a creamy off-white head.

Smell - Malty sweet aromas mix with sort of a musty dried fruit character. Hop aroma is absent. Alcohol smell is present.

Taste - Luscious sweet malt ushers in an alcohol tang that clubs you in the head and sticks with you way into the aftertaste. Hops also show up , but the balance is tilted toward malt. I also detect some hefty fruity flavors in there.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied, with a full complement of alcohol warmth. Wow. Reminds me of brandy.

Drinkability - Although enjoyable at first, the alcohol presence in this beer is a bit overwhelming. Given the style, this is not such a bad thing, but it is still more than I like.

Comments - This is a complex beer, and truly a sipping one as well. Give it a try, but save up some money before you do because this stuff is not cheap.

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Photo of ProudBeerSnob
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pured a very dark copper color, with very minimal head. aroma is FANTASTIC! ...Sweet, malty, almost rumlike. Taste is good, not what I was expecting, almost like a barleywine. Great body for this style..not too heavy for its sweetness. A very drinkable brew that I will keep in mind for those cold winter evenings.

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

Pours a nice brown color. Not quite clear, a little opaque. Head is quite thin and is mostly just around the side of the glass. Smell is quite fruity, like a cantaloupe. Taste is flavorful and fruit-like. Mouthfeel is a step above average and has a nice slight bitter aftertaste. Nicely carbonated and goes down smoothely. Drinkability is quite high and one that I'll keep in mind every so often.

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Photo of IrishMike
4.49/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled 2003 (released as new), and purchased from the local liquor store at $9.99 for a four pack.

appearance- Pours a beautiful deep ruby with just the slightest amount of carbonation bubbles making their way up the glass. Small off white head present but fleeting, little spots of lacing holding their own on the glass. Maybe nothing special as far as head retention is concerned, but damn what a gorgeous color.

Smell- Wow! Smells like a well aged English Barley-wine; sweet, with notes of raisin and dry fruit exploding from the body. I didn't think a "new" beer could smell this great; the next-best thing to that '97 J.W. Lees i had. Mellow and soothing. No hops to cloud up that great malty odor.

Taste- Seems to carry the theme of the well-aged English BW, plus a moderate hop profile that takes over in the forefront. Hops do their part but respectfully back away as the brilliant malt characters (raisins, toasted bread, and dark fruits) come in and steal the show. Finishes sweet with a roasted overtone, nicely creating a juxiposition with the hops that start off this brew. Full bodied and very complex. Alcohol profile present, but nowhere near dominating.

mouthfeel- A very full body that hits the mouth and immediately takes over. Can't reasonably fault it, as the toasted malts hang around for a nice after taste. Well, maybe the alcohol character does out stay it's welcome just a tad too long.

Drinkability- Far too heavy and strong to make a session out of, this is one that you drink a single bottle and savor during the entire experience. That one bottle certainly is a thing a beauty, though.

I hadn't even heard about this beer until it hit my liquor store about a month ago, and my manager recommended it to me. He certainly hit the nail on the head with this one; this beer is more akin to a well aged English BW that you can buy by the four pack. This was the first time trying it, and i can already tell that it'll be a regular in my fridge. What a pleasant surprise.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.59/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep amber with a quickly fading light tan head. Nice lacing as it recedes.

This is one of the best smelling beers I have ever had the pleasure to sniff! Smells like bread made with lots of raisons and nuts with just a touch of spice. Almost like a really good holiday fruit cake.

A very balanced taste. Reminds me of an English style Barley Wine, but with a hoppier/more alcohol finish. The alcohol comes on slowly and tends to give more of a warming effect rather than that jolt other high abv brews often have.

The full mouthfeel is right in line with what I would expect from this style...full.

This is one of the best tasting brews I have tried in a long time. The smell is the real standout trait. I keep sniffing my glass more than I'm sipping it. This would be a very drinkable beer, but with the high abv, a four pack will get most drinkers wasted. A beer that tastes/smells this good can make that happen faster than you might want.

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

Ok its a nice looking brown with ruby accents,the head is small and off white colour..very nice lacing present throughout the glass.
Very rich,creamy,malty aromas,backed by a spicy scent of alcohol
Good taste,pretty "thick" and fruity,rum and raisin!. Slight hoppy bitterness complimented by the alcohol, which is rather sherry like .
Quite nice on the palate,smooth until the end, alcohol warmth present in the throat.
Its a very nice cold night sipper, though I doubt I can manage more than one at a sitting.

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Photo of pentathlete
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is my first old ale. The "watermark" on the label shows "2003". The alcohol presence hits the nose from the moment the cap is removed. Poured into an oversized Burgundy glass. Earthy, muddy medium brown, opaque, with ruddy hints. Minimal head that dissipated quickly.

Aside from the alcohol, I smelled rust, an old metallic odor as if I opened an disused jar of nails from Grandpa's workshed. This smelled like something other than beer (of course, now I have to find examples of old ale to compare this to.)

This ale coats the mouth, but without feeling thick. My tongue and throat were immediately bathed in alcohol with a decent concomitant burn. Finish is long and warm. Other flavors (raisins? prunes?) were breaking through. Was this a rum-based liqueur?

This is a sipping beer for me. I enjoyed it immensely, an ideal after-dinner quaff, with a cigar maybe, in lieu of a cognac or whiskey. It certainly warms the digestive track. I will have this ale on hand as an alternative to distilled spirits.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dirty amber color with a finger of head that falls to ring the beer. The nose is very sweet, full of malty goodness. Touches of raisins in there, but very sweet. The flavor is big, full of raisin and bready tones. Some of the alcohol come through as well. The feel is thick, and very warming in my stomach. Wow. What a nice beer for a cold winter day. For having a very big alcohol, this one is really good. I am enjoying this, but slowly.

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Photo of shippos
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured from a growler filled at fingerlakes beverage center.
pillowy rocky light tan colored head and a deep amber red body. heavy malty aroma, with dried fruit and figs underneath a ton of caramel and thick sugary malt. rich dense mouthfeel, coats the mouth very well. smooth and lucious...like liquid candy. glass feels like it to, sticky. verydrinkable but a growler by yourself...it's tough, I'd suggest splitting it with some friends.


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Photo of Kookiekwan
3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a cloudy orange/amber had a one finger head with fair retention and average lacing. The aroma was of spicy chocolate malt. The taste is sweet molasses, licorice, chocolate, and vanilla. This beer is full bodied, bitter, and has a slightly nutty finish.

Reflection: A very complex beer, but I could only have one in a sitting.

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Photo of Southernbrew
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 bottle

Pours a beautiful dark copper with a minimal head.

Powerful aroma of alcohol, caramel sweetness and a faint fruitiness, strawberries maybe?

Taste is delightful. Powerful alcohol flavors blend with a smooth caramel and sweet maltiness, that begins to leave a pleasant stomach warming. Sweetness becomes more pronounced as further progress is made and leaves a delightful butterscotchy aftertaste.

A beautiful old ale, a recent addition to the available line up in Georgia.

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

2002 Vintage. Pours clear red/chestnut in color with minimal head that falls into a ring. Very full nose filled with sweet fruits (pear, apple, peach), caramel malt, cocoa, spices,pine, and oak with a strong alcohol tinge. Mmmm, a very full-bodied brew filled with flavors of caramel, molasses, oak, vanilla, peach, root-beer, and moist gingerbread. This huge maltiness is well balanced by spicy, piney hops. Lush, velvet-smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is noticable, but certainlt not over-powering. Lip-smacking sweetness remains on lips, yummy.

2004 vintage. Seems a shade deeper in color, a haunting deep garnet red when my St. Bernardus goblet is heald up to the light. Aroma displays a similar, yet lesser array of fruity flavors. Chewy caramel, burnt English toffee, dates, and a more noticable alcohol presence. Theres a touch of oaky vanilla in there too. The flavor bursts forth with all the complex goodness that the nose tells of. It is noticably hoppier, but certainly not overly-so. Balance is exceptional as expected. I would KILL for a chance at a vertical tasting of this expertly crafted and delicious brew!

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Photo of Zorro
4.57/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear cold hazed nut brown brew. No head to speak of but it has a high surface tension, the bubbles veer left and right when they hit the to get free.

Smell is super fruity with big tropical fruit smells, the strongest of which is pineapple. Lots of malt smell and hints of chocolate and tea in the scent too.

Taste is big. Strong hit of fruit flavor the moment you take the first sip; this is a powerful beer! The fruit flavor passes quickly as the alcohol cleans your palette. Mild sweetness passes quickly and leaves chocolate and coffee flavors. The alcohol content makes itself known by a strong warming effect in your throat. Latter more sour fruit flavors appear like lemon and sour apples. The hops make themselves known as a herbal background taste.

Mouthfeel is thinner than you would expect for a beer this big.

Drinkability is great FOR A SIPPING BEER! No way can you chug this and you won't want to! This is like sipping an expensive brandy or port wine.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from a bottle at Red Bones with PatandDavid. 2002 Vintage.

This old ale poured a clear, chestnut color with tan foam that settled. The smell was richly malty with some fusel alcohol and some dried fruit aromas. The taste was malty with flavors of dried fruit (figs, fruitcake), some alcohol (fusels), rum, and light caramel as well. The mouthfeel was smooth and warming with medium-full body and modest carbonation. The lingering aftertaste was bitter with some dried fruit flavors. This was a very good ale, and the alcohol content was deceiving. Mmm, good.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,172 ratings.
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