Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

3,224 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: 3,224 |  Reviews: 1,512
Photo of BerkeleyBeerMan
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark-gleaning reddish copper, Quickly vanishing beige head.The appearance is oily and boozy, it almost looks like bourbon.

Smell: The alcohol is concealed but present. Their is an astringency that jumps at you. Don't sniff it too long. Sniff and drink. My first impression is of polished leather then more palatable aromas of licorice, black currants, bread and alcohol arrive. The malts are highly roasted.

Taste: Smokey and oaked flavors. Hints of marshmallow, dark chocolate, dates, raisins and cola. Boozy but malty enough to enjoy. may be a little harsh for some, not your usual ale. Very strong.

Mouthfeel: Delicate and chewy, yet sharp clingy sharp and alcoholic. Acidic. The malts clean up in the back and help the ale go down smooth. Both smooth and slightly harsh. Only the slightest in natural carbonation.

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Photo of antlerwrestler19
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found a couple 4-packs from 2009 still sitting at a small random store across from a bar a couple weeks back - only took one but not a bad find.

Pours deep cloudy brown with a red hue coming through almost no head and not a touch of lace at all - only small bubbles pierce the top of this brew as it sits in front of me. The smell is rich with dark candied fruits, cordial cherries, brown sugar, candy apple, and a decent amount of booze still coming through. Bursts open with flavor on the tongue - cherries, sweet sugary dark fruits, fresh figs and raisins definitely come to mind, just a vortex of sweetness and complex fruit flavors. A sweet, slightly bitter, and wonderfully pungent concoction all at once - little carbonation to this full bodied mouthfeel round it off and I'm left with a strong aftertaste of...well...pretty much every flavor I've listed above on my tongue.

Glad I found this beer...probably going to snag that other 4-pack I left behind and set it aside for awhile.


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Photo of baconbourbon
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - A very dark red with a slight cloudiness to it. There is absolutely no head or lacing.

Smell - There is a strong complexity present with a mixture of apples and new leather shoes. This smells great.

Taste - Extremely leathery up front with an apple and brown sugar finish.

Mouthfell - Smooth, goes down easy. Nothing special.

Overall - This is a very well balanced old ale. Not the best of its class, but still damn good.

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Photo of depechemode1983
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Color is reddish brown. Head is tan and has little retention. No lacing. Although head was minimal and lacing was lacking, the color is beautiful.

S - Carmel malts, bitter hops with citrus fruits through the middle to give it some balance. I'm getting cherries as well, along with alcohol.

T - Bittersweet. Theres a good amount of citrus and dark fruits going on, along with a candy sweetness. That candy sweetness comes in first. Then it moves into sweet pineapple, cherries, and raisins. And last but not least alcohol. Finish is very boozy.

M - Medium bodied. Light carbonation. Tons of alcohol warmth.

O - It's a sipper. If you like sweet boozy beers with a little balance then this is for you. Personally I love this one. A single bottle would last at least an hour while watching a movie.

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Photo of kungpao
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2011 Old Stock bottle.

A- Copperish orange color. Pours with a decent 1 to 2 finger head that quickly reduces to nothing.

S- Dark fruits, sugar, a bit of aroma hops. This thing smells pretty sweet and a bit boozy.

T- The smell translates over to the taste quite a bit. Lots of dark fruits. Raison, fig, dried apricots. Not enough bittering hops to balance the the sweetness. A bit overly sweet and way too much alcohol. This is not my cup of tea.

M- Pretty average nothing to write home about nothing to complain about.

O- I was expecting alot more with this one. I could see how this would be a candidate to age. I've never come across a beer that was this bad early on that will drastically change into something awesome with age. I'll hold out on trying any more unless its got some considerable age on it.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5


My first Old Stock Ale ever..

It pours a copper colour with, easily, a 2 finger head of foam. As the foam recedes, it leaves some nice lacing.

The smell is kind of blowing me over; I get hoppy, malty, and fruity notes with maybe a touch of earth? It's nice but kind of confusing my nose buds.

The taste, well, it's an easier deal here. Pretty big flavour of caramel malt up front, some toffee, a bit of bread, very little bitterness, muted flavours of dark fruit that I claimed I smelled in the nose, lots of warming alcohol in the taste as well as after the swallow.

I'd say of all the flavours I tasted/sensed, which I would say are all on the rather mild side for such a big brew, the alcohol might have been the foremost? I didn't expect that but all of the claims of how good this is are of cellared examples so I guess I need to seek some of them out. ;^)

On the high end of medium bodied, fairly low with the carbonation, the mouthfeel is spot on for the style. Despite my non impressed state of this fresh Old Stock, I finished my glass pretty quickly.

I MUST revisit.

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

Poured a 2010 vintage from a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Appearance: brown with a red tint. a fingers head that disappeared rather quick. little carbonation almost none after a couple minutes of settling.

Smells: sweet with cherry note. I kind of smell a little woody hint.

Tastes: a nice barley backbone with a cherry and hop taste in the middle. I do get the taste of tobacco a little but it blends with the sweet taste quite well.

Mouthfeel: a burn from the 11.7% but it's still a pleasure on the palate. a real dry and actually kind of carbonated finish.

Overall: I do love this ale. I might favor this brew over most old ales, but it is a good brew regardless of my opinion. I found a small store by me that had two four packs stuffed away and when I got them home I realized they were nearly a year and a half aged, I was happy with my score for $10 a four pack.

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Photo of camil1mj
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage served at cellar temp into my Founder's snifter.

A: Deep crimson/orange/brown. Off white head that quickly recedes, leaving a ring of head around the edges of the glass.

S: Boozy maltiness.

T: Lighter flavors than expected. Malt, oak, cherries and caramel are all present with an astringent alcoholic finish.

O: Not a bad beer. Glad to gave access to it as we reach into the cold Winter months. A sipper no doubt.

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Photo of Gushue3
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter

A- Sits a red mahogany with small white head above it that realy has no retention or lacing. Head clears out very fast and the body looks a 5th grade school picture background. Really with the head area was nicer.

S- Lots of sweetness going on in the nose. theres almost a sweet cherry scent that i cant quite put my finger on along with some alcohol and dark fruit like fig to round out the scent

T- sweet throughout that is somewhat muted in the middle. I get some cherry like the nose somewhere toward the middle /end thats more of a black cherry than tart. Tobacco leaves round out the taste and while it's got a-lot going on it seems like its missing something.

M- Medium feel with less carbonation, borderline flat. Leaves my mouth somewhat syrupy .

O- Body was promising until the had head away. not a bad beer but not a top choice for me i guess.

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Photo of Ungertaker
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle of 2009 vintage into a New Belgium snifter.

A- The color was a burgundy-hued brown with one-inch of tan head and a swirling of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. Head fades to about a quarter-inch and leaves a foamy lacing in its tracks.

S- scotch, raisins, malt, banana

T- dried fruit, booze, sweet bread, scotch, slight burn upon swallowing

M- medium-bodied, almost viscous feel, carbonation is faint, but present throughout with a light tingle

O- a little sweet for my taste, but a great brew otherwise. This beer ages incredibly well. I wish I had waited to do a side by side with '11.

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Photo of capeannbass36
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 12 ounce bottle poured into a goblet.

A- Pours a clear, slightly brown tinted ruby color topped with an Irish Cream colored, one finger head that quickly dissipated. Light lacing throughout.

S- Sweet, caramel, malt, and dark fruit with some booze.

T- Follows the nose, but surprisingly better.
Caramel, malt, brown sugar, dark fruit, and raisins. As it warms, a hint of vanilla.

M- Slick, smooth, light to medium carbonation.
Very warm on the swallow.

O- Definitely want some more to cellar. This is so damn good, it is very difficult to completely describe. Adding to my favorites list for sure!

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. 2010 bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance - Reddish brown body with a minimal head, which is gone in a flash. The body is pretty clear and it hardly sticks to the glass with a swirl.

Smell - Booze! It's a lot of booze. Behind that is a lot of dark fruits and some caramel malt. Smells good, but very boozy.

Taste - Pretty well follows the taste. Booze and dark fruits with a slight caramel sweetness. It finishes with a slight earthiness that I expect from an old ale.

Mouthfeel - Low carbonation and high alcohol, but it isn't a problem. It's also quite dry, which is surprising. The flavors don't linger a whole lot, which might be nice. Makes it feel somewhat light for an 11.7% ABV beer.

Overall - Just my style. I love giant, boozy old ales. I have a bunch of these in the cellar and I like to crack one open when I feel like zonking out on the couch. A little harsh on the booze, but its within the style.

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Photo of mithrascruor
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle (2011) poured into a chalice.

Appearance: Pours a somewhat dark reddish brown color. Moderately dark tan head has good retention and turns to a heavy film.

Smell: I'm having a tough time identifying anything specific, but it is definitely a pleasant aroma. Certainly malty, with perhaps some raisins and other fruits, but nothing is very prominent.

Taste: Strong malt flavor with nice subdued raisin and fruit flavors. The alcohol flavor is rather well-masked. Light, roasted bitter tones in the finish & aftertaste, along with caramel.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and quite smooth, with light carbonation. There's a tad bit of alcohol burn on the tongue, but not too strong.

Drinkability: Really high ABV, but (surprisingly) it isn't very apparent in the taste. Obviously a beer for slow drinking.

I wasn't impressed with this on tap when I had it last year, but either this year's version is better, or it just works better in the bottle. The alcohol flavor is mellower, and it is a very impressive, pleasant, and drinkable Old Ale.

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Photo of chugalug06
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle is dated: 9/2010

A - Pour is very nice and easy. Head settles quickly. Brew is of medium body. Brew is wonderful clear raisin color, head is off-white, slightly yellow.

S - Mild pine and apple. Very sweet, not too much heat. Not over-whelming.

T - Very smooth and delicious for the high ABV... Not too much heat, it's mellowed very well. Lots of big full fruit flavor. Grape, apple, date, figs... Lots of vanilla

M - Perfect carbonation! Awesome bitterness, not overly. Smooth, slight burn.

O - Awesome brew! I can't wait to see what my others do with a few more years on them! I hope to be re-reviewing and updating.

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

2011 version. Despite the nearly 12% ABV, I'd classify this as a good beer to hand someone who has never before had a heavy hitter. The color isn't terribly dark; the aroma isn't terribly powerful; the taste isn't terribly strong. The alcohol doesn't hit too hard, but there is an odd taste of... pizza? Maybe a plain cheese pizza with too much red sauce. I don't know. It isn't bad, however; just out of place. There's a big hit of peaches as well, along with the usual stuff you find in a big beer like this. Worth a try, especially on a heading-into-fall evening.

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Photo of BeardedRiker
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

***2011 Release***

My brother really loves barleywines, old ales, and strong ales. He was good enough to leave a couple behind at my friend's place so I tried one out. I haven't had a North Coast Brewing beer in a long time so I'll gladly try another of theirs.

Like most other beers of this style the head wasn't too tall, about a finger in height, and bubbled away quickly. It has a creme color to it. I like the look of the beer. It is a very red amber color that I don't think I've seen in other beers.

I'll be honest, I'm helping cook a lobster, shrimp, and chicken paella right now so it's difficult to get a good smell of this beer without getting a huge whiff of the awesome paella cooking slowly outside. Anyway, it has a strong boozy smell with sweet, fruity sugary goodness. Apples come out for me as if it's winey. Sweet malts and a bit of pine.

You know, despite the obvious booziness, that adds a great warming/numbing feeling on the tongue and in the mouth, this is a very well-balanced beer. I'm liking the alcohol without it being overpowering, even for it being almost 12% ABV. Again, the wine-like flavors come through with apple, white grapes, maybe some raisin. There's brown sugar sweetness that balances it out a lot. This is one of those beers that is good at almost any temperature. Bready malts add depth too.

Medium-high carbonation tingles the tongue the whole time. It's medium-bodied that's smooth but with a tad dry finish.

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

2010 bottle poured into a goblet.

Appearance: A rich caramel color. Almost no head, only a little fizz.

Smell: A boozy fruity flavor is at the forefront. In the background are subtle hints of malt, caramel, raisins.

Taste: The taste is also very boozy with the flavor of rich fruit in the background. Fairly sweet with not much in the way of hops or bitterness. You can definitely tell the alcohol is present by the alcohol hear in the finish, but it isn't overly offensive.

Mouthfeel: Medium body and carbonation.

Overall: This is a good beer. It is fairly sweet, which gets a little bit old towards the end of the glass. The flavor is interesting, but I was hoping for a little more complexity. I will save a couple bottles and try again in a year or two.

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Photo of rwathree
4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage.

A: Reddish brown color, opaque even when held to light. Yields a slightly brown head that disappears quickly. Leaves little in the way of lace, but that color is almost perfect.

S: Candied brown sugar, red wine, and a bit of alcohol heat. It's nice up front, but there's something offensive about the heat, like rubbing alcohol.

T: It's good. The heat of the alcohol does a great job of balancing out the vine-fruit sweetness that I get up front. After that, just a slight, dry hop bitterness cuts through the burn. Next to no aftertaste. Impressive.

M: Creamy, moderate carbonation. Resinous.

O: So, I didn't like the smell, but that was after taking multiple, inquisitive whiffs. This is a fantastic interpretation of the style. Sweet and strong but balanced enough to keep it drinkable. I haven't had this since 2007 and it's every good as I remember it being.

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Photo of bayougutter
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage

Poured a dark aged copper color with a small off white head that dissipated quickly leaving only a ring. Minimal lacing.

The nose is abundant with a lot happening. Here's what I get: sticky sweet malts, raisins, grapes, nutty banana bread, caramel/toffee, and a little alcohol. A lot going on with the aroma.

Taste: There is a lot happening with the taste as well without being "too much". I get the alcohol from right off but not too much, then the sweet malts,toffee, a little raisin/ripe fig in the middle, a candy flavor that I can't put my finger on. Finishes well with all of the flavors coming back with a little alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is medium thick, good coating of the palate, and nicely carbinated til the end.

Overall I was expecting a lot from reviews and from what I had heard and wasn't let down at all. This one is almost like a sweet barley wine. It's on the sweet side but not too much or cloying and it's complex without being too complicated. It's hard to explain the above comments but I do know that I enjoyed it well. A must try. Curious to see how it will age.

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

Shared a 2010 with a friend. Thanks John. Thick rich heavy and sweet malt aroma that very much resembles a barleywine. Complex, sweet and sometimes candy like. Small head that leaves a small minimal amount. Flavor is complex with great malt flavors. Has richness, but not as sweet as the aroma would expect. Light flavors from the oak are nice. Moderately heavy body with nice smoothness. Very nice drink and enjoyed greatly.

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Photo of FanofHefe
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Version. Pours a deep amber color, clear, with a bit of ruby red tint and touch of carbonation bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. A small, light tan head quickly dissipates, as expected for the high abv.

Rich aroma, period. A lot going on here so I hope I don't miss too much. Sweet, caramel malt; dark fruit; rum/bourbon; a bit of alcohol; apple; fig; and a hint of earthy hops.

Not as many flavors come through as expected from the aroma. The sweet malt and alcohol flavors dominate, but don't disappoint too much. The malt fades to a pancake syrup flavor and the rum gives a kick. I can see this brew taking on many variations as it ages.

No doubt, an alcohol presence in the mouthfeel that is sweet, but not cloying. Will put a few back for aging and expect different but good results down the road.

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

Vintage 2011, consumed on 8/24/2011.

A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass, pretty aggressively. Result: a big, cream-colored head that dissolves quite quickly - it visibly (and audibly) recedes.

S: Nice - booze-soaked fruit.

T: Like black cherry soda and booze. Dark, dried fruits as well - plummy/prunes and some vinuous characteristics. Sweetness - molasses-like, caramel malt and toffee. Even suggestions of chocolate at times. Finishes with a waft of alcohol heat. No noticeable hops or bitterness at all. This one is all booze and heavy, sweet (sugary & fruity) malt.

M: Thick and heavy. Carbonation is faint, making the feel pretty slick.

O: Good stuff - I'll bet this one will age nicely.

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Photo of McNealc31
4.87/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 version. Deep mahogany color with loads of roasted butterscotch and some wood in the nose. That butterscotch flavor absolutely coats the mouth with a bit of sour tang in the finish. Hops add a welcome kick and some bitterness, but don't get in the way of anything. Picking up some grapes and late chocolate as it warms. It's a heavy hitter at more than 11% ABV, but the alcohol is just a pleasant warmth.

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Photo of dgilks
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper colour with a small but short lasted off-white head. Fair head retention.

Toasty malt aroma with some lightly tart yet fresh and fruity notes. Good.

Sweet, thick and syrupy malt with some rich dark, dried fruit notes. Quite plummy.

Full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

A really solid English Barleywine. There was some good fruitiness and malt depth here. Unfortunately, I felt like I didn't quite get this beer as it didn't scream greatness to me.

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

720th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter
12 oz

2010 vintage

App- A burnt reddish color with a little streak of light brown. A one finger head with no cling and lace. A small ring of bubbles around the edges.

Smell- A light smell of booze with a small malt base and a bit of whispy sugar. To me it has a small barrel note and a layer of vanilla.

Taste- A very drinkable 11%. A great vanilla spirit note and a very bubbly malt note. A lot softer than other old ales. Not over the top bold like others. Balanced and restrained.

Mouth- Medium bodied and medium carbonated. A great bubbly spritzy malt.

Drink- A nice old ale. Its a 12 oz is awesome. Very balanced and rich. Big notes of vanilla and malt. Not overly done but still smooth and tasty.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,224 ratings.
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