Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
Liked This Beer
4.12 w/ 3,230 ratings
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

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Ratings: 3,230 |  Reviews: 1,512
Photo of welldigger888
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a bit murkey garnet with little head and no lacing.

Sweet and intoxicating, this brew is full of it's self. Sweet stone fruit raisen and a leathery earthy quality. Big grain bill with a fare share of crystal seems to hold court.

Not even a bit cloying in the sweetness, taste follows nose w/ raisen stone fruit caramel and a hint of earthy hop.

Full bodied full drinking elixer here, glad to only have 1 on hand as could meet with defeat in am.

This was a vintage 2010 and the time in closet did not harm. The 11.7% was well hidden except in my cheeks.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Guess I'm a little surprised to have never reviewed this Old Ale (currently far and away the most-reviewed version of its style); have had it many times over the years in both bottle and draught form.

This is a 12 oz. bottle, Vintage 2007, listed ABV 11.7%. Served from the chilly cellar (where it's been hiding the last 4+ years) to a snifter.

A: Pours the deep brown of tanned leather, seeming thick and impenetrable in dimmer light. Held to light, however a rich garnet with the rosy tint of planed cedar shows beautifully. Carbonation has held up superbly, a 1/2 finger crown of dense almond cream that withdraws to the edges in a couple minutes, leaving a small gossamer film swirling gently in the center. thin lace droops, breaks and glides gently back to the surface. Gorgeous.

S: No surprise that the scent is sweet; it's a given in every iteration of this (fresh or aged) that I've tried. Juicy raisins and dates, figs, mingled spices - there's a 'mincemeat' quality here - with cocoa, toffee and amaretto notes. A pleasant intensity, nothing overbearing wafting from the glass.

T: Powdery cocoa and earthy spices. Toasted nuts, dates and raisins, baked apples, brown sugar - something akin to a warmed fruit compote in a glass. I recall fresher pours having brasher hop bitterness; here are subtle woody notes, vanilla, mushy fruits. Not a hint of oxidation (which I've read is prone to occur), just a well-round/balanced dessert-like treat.

M: Mellow warmth and exceedingly creamy texture - one of the smoothest big beers I've encountered and one that doesn't show the slightest hints of wear/oxidation. Carbonation is mild, yes, but still lively enough to enrich the texture. Medium feel without being sticky. Well, maybe the the slightest malty stickiness hanging on the lips, but in the mouth it's simply luscious.

O: A lovely beer that is quite good fresh and benefits substantially with some years in the cellar. No longer booze-heated and well-bittered, this mellowed miracle in a glass is among the best I've tasted. I now feel somewhat smarter for starting to stash these away a few years back, because the payoff is...well.... sublime.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

vintage 2011 poured into oversized snifter.

Appearance: dark red to a medium brown colored beer. The beer is murky and slightly opaque, but it glows red when held up to light. 1 finger of white head results after a vigorous pour; it then fades down into a ring around the glass.

Smell: The malts are sweet and fruity. Also getting some spiciness hops or yeast.

Taste: candied sugar, toffee, and caramel. Figs, dates, pears and apples are subtle in this beer. Cereal and grainy malts. The beer gets a little bit spicy midpalate and finishes mildly bitter, earthy, and moderately boozy. Slightly champaigny and fruity note.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation levels. The carbonation is just right to keep the beer from becoming too syrupy. Finish is dry and astrigent.

Overall: This is still fairely hot, but its a good candidate for aging I would say. I've had some really awesome Old Ales recently and this one does not quite measure up to Kunhenn 4D or Hair of the Dog Adam. The beer will hold its own in the middle of the pack.

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Photo of JayAre46
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

brown stubby bottle 2011 vintage pours a dull brownish red a gives a finger of light khaki head that recedes to a thin ring around the edges absolutely no lace. the nose is an absolute sweet candy malt bomb, caramel, dark fruits, big alcohol presence in the back, from the nose this one is going to be big. the taste is as expected, sweet, strong caramel malt maybe some toasted aspects, prunes, dark dark cherries, some undesirable medical syrupy flavor and the alcohol is big in the back tingles the tongue and leaves it numb and dry. some time will do this one some good as long as the sweetness holds up and it can avoid as much oxidation as possible. full bodied and heavy syrup, the carbonation is enough to keep it from being messy. overall this is a solid brew and slightly harsh but that was expected. improves as it warms.

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Photo of babybew
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of CLBizzle
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of atone315
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of jtierney89
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle.

Wow this things pungent, getting some scents from about an arms length away from the glass. Clarity is impressive too. Beautiful amber hue. About a two finger off whit head which dissipates quickly.

Wow! the nose is like a goddamn candy shop. I could keep my nose over this for hours. Smells like a specific candy but I can't quite put my finger on it.

I got it! I've got that big overpowering scent, oddly enough, it's strawberry jam. And it's amazing. Underlying notes of burnt licorice, caramel, and toffee.

I'm excited to give this a sip.

Sweetness is big time there. Not like other old ales I've had. Alcohol presence is noticeable on the breath. Sweet strawberry syrup taste is big up front. Huge chewy mouthfeel. Candy like sweetness dominates the mouth. Sweet caramel malts are ever present.

Some detectable hops but the majority of the counter balance to the sweetness comes from the abv.

Some detectable notes of burnt licorice lie under the sweetness.

Not what I want out of an old ale but boy is this thing damn good.

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Photo of Stoffel
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of MexicanSkittel
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage. On tap in SF

Appearance is good, a copper, orange, rusty, red. Slight hazyness with no head. There is a beige ring of tiny bubbles evenly surrounding the glass.

Taste is semi sweet, some molasses, roasted oats and barly. Some brown sugar rounds out with a little creme brûlée. Raisin, stewed fruits, with a little musty.

The nose hold the brown sugar and vanilla. I'm finding an underline of hops, and a little bourbon. Ok nose, but smells are all a little faint.

Mouth feel is really nice. Tiny bubbled carbonation is gentle on the tongue. Alc is not overwhelming. The finish of raisin and sweets linger for a good while.

Overall I like this beer, I'm no expert but I think a year, two or three ago it was probably out of this world.

 756 characters

Photo of radicalruckus
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of 11amoreno72
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of hopluva1
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Packman4IL
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of EK33
2.83/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


A-Head quickly dissipated and low carbonation. Color is reddish-orange.

S-Mainly alcohol with light dark plum and some caramel sweet notes.

T-What you smell, you get with alcohol overpowering flavor.
The fruit and sweetness show slightly with a minor bit of hop bitterness.

M-A little lighter than I would prefer for this style of beer. This is truly a small sipper and large alcohol would back that up.

O-This is a beer that calls for aging. Due to high overpowering alcohol, should be approached more like an Irish/Canadian Wisky than a beer.

Cellaring to try at 5 and 10 years.

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Photo of animal69
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of 2378GCGTG
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip at 46 degrees

Appearance: Red, like a light red wine, with a 1 inch head. This color is gorgeous, never seen anything like it, it's almost like its a watery blood color.

Smell: Sweet, sugary with medium fruits like pears and figs. A bit of alcohol comes through, but it doesn't hint at the huge ABV at all. The finish is interesting, it seems to have a very light nutty note.

Taste: Dates and figs, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, and a bit of christmas finish, like a light cinnamon taste.

Mouth: Light and velvety, with a perfect amount of carbonation. This is extremely drinkable, almost like a session beer. There is no hint of the high 11.9 ABV.

Overall: If not for the price I would have finished the 4 pack. Plan to age my remaining 2, this is an amazing beer and should greatly improve with age with the fruit flavors coming out more. Looking forward to a year on the bottle.

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Photo of Breylan
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of laituegonflable
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this in a blind head-to-head with the 2009 Bourbon-barrel aged version of the same. (This was the 2011 vintage)

Pours a red, metallic colour. Head is off-white; pleasant but thin with a ring of dense cloudy bubbles around the rim. Lace is sticky and slow-moving. Looks nice.

Smells very sweet and nutty, with a hint, but a noticeable hint, of sharp booze. Nutty caramel malt with sticky rye, chalk dust, licorice and Grand Marnier. Interesting tang and twist on a very sweet, nutty beer.

Taste is a bit sweet and syrupy, but also plenty of nuttiness to it. Yet it has an unfortunate honey flavour, with some slight corny sweetness to it as well. Slightly papery in some ways, with the big bold flavours thinning out at the end, drying up the sweetness which lacks the complexities it may have had. Slight lemony tang on the back, but yeah, it's a bit chalky and cardboardy, just not that great.

Decent texture, with an okay stickiness that then gets really dry, almost sharp, late. Feels almost stripped back to its boozey roots.

Has some sense that it might have been great, but it's sharp on one hand, and simple on another. Hot and cold; seems unbalanced.

 1,169 characters

Photo of tat2dhllblly
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of jsnoek
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of jonstep
3.19/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Old Stock Ale is from North Coast Brewing Co, and my prime decision for trying this brew. I am a fan of the Acme brand, so I thought I’d see if the quality carried over to this brand. I got a 12oz bottle of this brew from the local beer/wine superstore. I chilled it overnight and poured it into a 12 oz. weizen glass. Following is what I found:

Appearance: A nice dark brown color that was cloudy in appearance. The head lasted about a minute and was about a ½ an inch thick.

Smell: It may have been my stuffy nose, but there was not much of a smell.

Taste: The taste was a toasty taste, and the alcohol content was obvious. This is a strong beer.

Mouthfeel: The beer feels good on the palate, carbonation is not too strong. You can sure taste the alcohol.

Overall: I felt the beer was a little strong for my palate. It is a quality brew however, and it shows. I probably would not buy this beer again, as it is a little strong for me. I like getting my alcohol in over two to three beers rather than one strong one. I should also note the Old Stock Ale I bought was designated "2011" and had a 11.9 ABV rather than the 11.7 listed on the BA page.

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Photo of Fatehunter
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle, five years old. Pours no head on a cloudy brown body. The aroma is dry hay, grain, dirt, and super ripe plums. The taste is super sweet: fruits, caramel and candy with a little alcohol heat at the end. The texture is soft and still fizzy.

Four years old now. Almost no head on a dark and cloudy straw colored body. The aroma is mostly grain, just a hint of fruit. The taste is quite sweet but no more alcohol heat. I didn't change the rating but I liked the 2010 bottle better in 2012.

Over a year of sitting in the cellar. Let's see the change.
2010 Bottling

Poured into a tulip glass. Hazy copper, half finger of head, quickly gone though.

Still smells like lots of ripe fruit: apple, orange, pear. There's more malt to smell, dry grains.

Tastes sweet, malty, a pear and cider. Ends as a bitter sweet combo. Alcohol hidden.

Heavy body, sticky texture, low carbonation. Lasting heat but not "alcoholy".

It tastes better than a year ago. Very complex and drinkable for a high ABV.

2010 Bottling

A - Poured from bottle into 200 mL tulip glass. 1/4 inch dirty white head developed and quickly faded. Rust/amber color, not quite transparent. Noticeable carbonation.

S - Bright, new fruit with pear and apple most apparent. Under that is malt. Quite pleasant.

T - Alcohol, caramel and malty sweetness. The taste lingers in the mouth for awhile afterward. Almost like the beer version of port.

M - Syrupy and fairly carbonated. It is heavy on the tongue.

D - For its style it is good. One bottle is plenty to enjoy for awhile. I have a few more of these that are going to sit in storage for a few years, maybe even a decade. I'm excited to see how time changes it.

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Photo of davidmsilver
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87.9% out of 100 with 3,230 ratings
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