Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
3,283 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

Bros Score:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,283 |  Reviews: 1,530
Photo of jgreenearrow
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on draft into a chalice.

A: Pours a brownish red color with significant lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: The nose is made up of raisin and sweet malt. Some hints of plum and fig.

T: Sweet malt and raisin hit the palate at the start and carry through to the middle. Some slight bitterness in the finish.

M: This is a light to medium bodied beer. Carbonation is adequate.

Overall, this is an excellent old ale. The flavors of the beer are rich and complex. This is definitely a beer that I would have again.

 521 characters

Photo of doughanson78
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Dark ruby red. Very clear. One finger off white head with great retention. Ok lacing.

S: Rich toffee. Caramel. Dark fruit, plums, raisins. Brandy. Light vanilla. Light nuttiness. Very complex.

T: Very malty. Lots of brandy. Slightly hot. Big caramel. Lots of dark fruits. Raisins, plums, black cherries. Very sweet but balanced. Some barrel aged quality's. Complex.

M: Medium to full bodied. Very creamy. Slight warmness.

O: Very good beer. A bit hot, but will definitely come to age in a year or two. A must try and must age. This journey will be fun.

 596 characters

Photo of kevo237
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Vintage.

Purchased a 4-pack and decided to drink the first one fresh. Aging the rest indefinitely.

Looks like iced tea in my pint glass. No head whatsoever. Smell is alcohol and caramel sweetness. Tastes like straight up cough syrup at first, then settles down to a nice caramel with slight cherry taste that coats the mouth. It instantly fizzes in your mouth after a sip. Very heavy mouthfeel and definitely a sipper. I can't wait to see how this will taste a few years down the road as I think the alcohol burn will settle and the beer will release much more flavor that is currently hidden.

 602 characters

Photo of TCgoalie
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My giant snifter is full of a brownish-reddish-gold brew. Some head appears upon pouring but quickly recedes.

Lovely roasty caramel notes alongside peaches, cherries, and a small dose of cocoa.

Caramel malts provide a baseline on which the beer builds. Cherries and pine resin appear with the addition of a lot of heat. The alcohol sting is a large focal point which carries into the aftertaste.

Big and full in the mouth with a smooth tongue coating.

This is a big ale with some good complexity. A solid version of the style.

 530 characters

Photo of rowingbrewer
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a rich reddish brown color with very little offwhite head. the smell is caramel sweet. the flvor is very smooth with the caramel malty goodness up front. for almost 12% there is very little burn to support it. mouthfeel is right on lower carbonation and thick. overall a very solid beer.

 303 characters

Photo of codfeast
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'10 bottle to chalice.

A: hazy ruby color, head instantly disolved. Carbintion bubbles kept surfacing and swirling.

S: malt, caramel, raison, and booze.

T: malty sweet, caramel and cotton candy turns to dried dark fruit with a booze finish.

M: mild carbination, with good amount of booze.

O: a real sipper. not something I would drink all the time, but certainly a real good beer and U.S. rep of the style.

 411 characters

Photo of zoso1967
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

Old Stock pours a wonderful deep crimson amber with an equally wonderful head of tightly packed tan bubbles. The head has great retention and leaves pretty nice lacing as well.

The aroma is just what I would expect from a quality old ale. It is malty up front with a good dose of caramel, as well as some brown sugar and a bit of herbal spice. There is also a nice fruity character that lends the beer a great richness. Alcohol is noticeable in the aroma

Wow, this beer is delicious. Malty, rich and fruity, this beer’s flavors are very well integrated. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, plumb, a hint of apple, some earthy spice and some alcoholic heat all mix together to give this beer a very enjoyable flavor. As the beer warms it does start to get a little bit hot, but it is not so much that it is not still enjoyable.

The mouthfeel is medium and has a nice smoothness to it. The body is actually a bit lighter than I would normally expect for this style, but I am enjoying it. The finish is surprisingly light and slick, leaving a pleasant sweetness after swallowing.

Overall this is an excellent rendition of the style. I would imagine that with a bit of age on it the alcohol would mellow out some and it might be even more drinkable and enjoyable. As it is this beer is still a wonderful brew to slowly savor on this rainy summer day.

 1,360 characters

Photo of davey101
4.53/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage poured into a DFH signature glass. This is my first old ale!

A - Dark copper/brown body, with a nice mocha head. Awesome lacing and retention.

S - I'm actually a bit puzzled by the smell. It reminds me of a tamed version of a scotch ale, with the caramel and toffee aromas. Very sweet malts, and candied dried fruits. I almost get a hint of raspberries in there as well. Alcohol is detectable.

T - Caramel, toffee, raspberries, plums, figs, bittersweet chocolate, malt and booze. Those are all flavors I also use to describe barley wines, yet this taste so different from that style. Its very sweet, and the flavors are so well balanced yet complex. The taste really is a solid 5

O - I've heard a lot about this beer and seen it on the shelves many times...but I always passed. There was one bottle placed on the mix a six rack at the local beer shop so I bit. This beer went beyond my expectations. Its a big, meaty beer but it also remains drinkable at such a high abv. I get so many different flavors, but I never get the impression that they're being thrown at me. This is a world class beer. Exceptional stuff, I can't wait to see what age does to these.

An hour in and the head and lacing is gone. Its sitting in the glass much like a hard liquor and it has leeegggs!

 1,291 characters

Photo of andrewinski1
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a tulip. Nice dark amber color with a thin off-white head.

The aroma has notes of sweet fruit and caramel. Very malty.

The taste starts with thick silky caramel and dark fruit. There is a bit of heat in the finish, but it kind of adds to the charm of this mildly sweet sipper.

The mouthfeel is huge on this and the carbonation is mellow. This drinks a little like a port.

I enjoy this one from time to time. I often come back to it. I don't think it's super special, but it has a niche.

 502 characters

Photo of BobZ
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage poured into my Duvel tulip.

Thanks to Jonah for the extra, glad to try this beer.

Appearance: A dark rusty orange brown with a nice head that reaches about a 1/4" before it recedes to a light ring.

Smell: Caramelized malt, apricot, maybe some toffee and definitely phenols.

Taste: Wow a barley wine! That's my first impression. Rich malt, almost a caramel flavor, maple syrup, it is a very sweet beer up front. The alcohol helps add some punch at the finish and really serves to cleanse the palate. It's the alcohol that keeps this beer from becoming overly cloying; however, it is a sipper for certain. Very malty beer.

Mouthfeel: Tends to coat the mouth at first; however, as stated above the alcohol tends to clean the palate at the finish.

Overall: This was my first "Old Ale" and I was very surprised to how much like a barleywine it truly was. If you love malty sweetness with some alcoholic heat this is a must try. For me, it's not a flavor profile that is among my favorites.

 1,003 characters

Photo of rickyleepotts
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere… especially for a beer with this big of an ABV. After reading about this beer, and having already tried a few North Coast beers in my day, I was excited to drink the Old Stock Ale. (Had a great night last night at Barley Island, by the way. Got the chance to try several of their big beers, including their imperial red. Those blog posts will actually appear on rickyleepotts.com, not here… those beers were all on draft!)

For a beer with this big of an ABV, you would think it would be a tad bit thicker than it is. But it pours out nice, with light bubbles… almost like a good barleywine would pour. Heck, this is so big in terms of ABV, it might as well just be called a wine! You get some subtle chocolate notes on the nose. Let’s take a sip.

The beer is not carbonated at all… and it EXPLODES with flavor on the palate. Holy cow, this beer is incredible. It doesn’t taste like anything it smells, and has a very smooth finish, and a LONG aftertaste that I just don’t want to go away. Perhaps another drink will solve that…

This been has been referred to as a dessert beer, and I can see that. It’s not as thick as most dessert beers, but it doesn’t need to be. This beer is BIG and very very VERY good! Did I just find a new favorite beer?

 1,301 characters

Photo of AgentZero
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'04 bottle.

A - Brown beer with some redish highlights. White head that ha decent retention and left some spots on the sides.

S - Lots of dark fruit, crystal malts. Caramel is good, and it smells quite pleasant.

T - Toffee, dark fruits, very smooth, with some nutty taste and some crystal malts. Little bit of maple. This is actually quite nice, and there isn't much in the way of alcohol in this bottle.

M - Smooth, lower carbonation, pretty full bodied.

O - Really great beer, not sure if the newer versions would live up to this, but something with this much age on it is quite good. Very easy to drink.

 611 characters

Photo of PicoPapa
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. 2008 vintage, 12.5% Abv. Pours a dark mahogany color with ruby hues and no head. No lacing. Aroma is boozey. A bit earthy with some dark fruits but the alcohol dominates this one. Im not a big alcohol drinker but this one smells maybe like bourbon. Taste is mostly of toffee and booze. I didn't expect a whole bunch of flavors due to the high Abv but there isn't too much taste other than the alcohol flavor, but its still a good beer. Obviously not a high drinkability here. Its a decent beer but a bit pricey. Id like to try a fresh one next to compare. Overall, its good to grab every so often.

 610 characters

Photo of ToasterChef
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a bottle of the 2011 edition. I'm drinking it out of my Smuttynose Big Beer series snifter. It is served at cellar temperature. Unlike the BA listing, the label on this bottle says this beer is 22.9% ABV.

The liquid is colored brown, with ruby highlights. It is clear, but difficult to see through, due to the liquid being colored so dark. A small head of off white foam is present after I pour, but it quickly settled to a skim. Lots of tiny carbonation bubbles are rising from the bottom of the glass. Swirling the glass about revives the foamy head and leaves a good coating on the sides of the glass.

The nose has some interesting plum notes. I can also smell some crystal sugar, but it doesn't come across as overly sweet. Some pine hops and alcohol also make up the aroma.

The beer has a rich, malty flavor. Lots of mildly sweet plum, some toffee, a bit of alcohol and heat in the finish and as I swallow. It is very tasty and deceptively balanced. You wouldn't think this beer is almost 12% alcohol.

Easy drinking with very little coating or stickiness gives this beer an impressive mouthfeel. I can feel the carbonation dancing on my tongue as I sip. A little bit of warmth as I swallow is welcome.

This is a very good old ale. It's also widely available and well suited to aging, making it a great beer to hold on to to make a vertical (my current collection goes back to 2008). The high ABV will affect you quickly, making this a beer that you enjoy slowly, but that also allows you to savor it. It comes highly recommended.

 1,547 characters

Photo of pmarlowe
3.52/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage. Tulip glass.

Pours a dark amber maroon, with about a finger of fizzy foam which dissipates within a minute. Wow, that's audible fizz. No lacing. Smell is pretty muted: sweet grape, a little caramel and toffee, brandy, a little alcohol. Tastes like grape, malt, a little hoppiness, smoky caramel, a little booziness. As it warms a lot of the primary flavors become muted to the point of not tasting much except malt and hops. Medium-high carbonation and body, and warming alcohol. Overall, this is a good, middle of the road old ale with some nice flavors but nothing standout.

 591 characters

Photo of litheum94
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. Reviewed on 6/1/11.

Deep garnet body. Fizzy tan head that settles out with a loud hiss, leaving nothing on top.

Loads of ripe fig on the nose. Some toffee notes. Plum. Hazelnut. Caramel malts.

Aromas follow through, with figs, toffee, and a nutty boldness. Slight maple syrup flavor, also contributing to the mouth feel. Lots of carbonation. Finish has a slow, liquor burn, with just a dash of leafy hops and a lingering, residual sweetness.

This remains one of my favorite beers, and I look forward to it every year. I'll be getting more to cellar, as this beer only gets better with time.

 609 characters

Photo of rundocrun
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

A - Pours a maple syrup-brown color with copper and amber highlights when held up to the light. Has a finger of coarse deep tan head that fades quickly. No lacing on the glass.

S - Ripe prunes and raisins hit the nose first. I'm also noticing a deep candy-like sweetness reminiscent of vanilla and mild molasses. There is a brandy-like booziness here. Yum! Very mild spiciness in the background almost like a belgian yeast strain were present. No hop aroma, but that fits with the style.

T - A very clean sweetness toward the front. Deep, rich caramel comes through right afterwards. Not overly hoppy. Really just a mild balanced bitterness. Toward the finish is when this beer gets really boozy. To date this is the strongest beer I've ever had, though, so it's all relative. Each sip finishes with warm alcohol spiciness.

M - Medium-to-thick body. Carbonation is mild, but what I would expect for a stronger beer. Syrupy finish that leaves the mouth feeling sticky. Deep alcohol warmth hits the chest from first sip to last.

 1,087 characters

Photo of homebrew311
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep clear crimson with a velvety white head, decent retention and some sticky lacing

S: dark fruits are the first notable aroma with emphasis on plum and fig. Some notes of brown sugar come through in the middle along with some delicate notes of vanilla.

T: the flavor starts out bold and fruity, some notes reminiscent of a Belgian quad minus the Belgian yeast qualities. Notes of dark cherries and brown sugar. The flavor gains momentum and becomes rather bold and earthy as it finishes. A noticeable dash of alcohol come through as well.

MF: medium body, mellow carbonation

O: This beer is well balanced while providing some nice in your face flavors without being overwhelming. Definitely worth a try.

 721 characters

Photo of Allpe45
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
2010 vintage
Poured into a snifter

Appears extremely dark red with a rosy tinge, short tan head recedes quickly. Active legs and decent lacing.

Smells like bready toasted malts. Candy apple and figs unfold when agitated, along with a sweet alcohol aroma.

Taste is very similar to the smell. Bready malts up front, an interesting caramel sweetness in the middle, candy apple and dark fruit in the finish with a warming alcohol sensation.

Sticky/syrupy, low carbonation, medium bodied. Sweet sticky lingering feel.

Easy to drink but definitely a sipper.

 569 characters

Photo of imbibehour
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle vintage 2011 poured into a shaker pint at Quarry House tavern Silver Spring MD.

A two finger head is produced, with a very creamy looking light caramel brown head uniform throughout. Dig that head color. A gorgeous clear red copper body is present with rust like hues. Fantastic staying power on the head, while drinking the body disappears into cherry red on the end. There is no visible lacing or stickyness.

Very malty on the nose, but also something very unexpected. Sweet and earthy, dirt, almost manure even. I am shocked.

Giant malt borderline feeling like a wee heavy Scotch Ale. Sweet and big bodied but not syrupy either. Chocolate sense slightly in the mid palate and the finish with giant malt feeling gives a sense of Ovaltine chocolate bar. More sips and drink bring more thickness it seems and the feel gets a little more syrupy.

Overall pretty darn tasty and one unique smelling brew.

 911 characters

Photo of kellog
4.62/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010. The initial pour has a nice pillow of foam that quickly dissappears, but every sip brings champagne like bubbles up the side of the glass. The color is toffee/mohagany like and reminds me of the chocolote river in Willy Wonka which makes it equally inviting to drink. Smells like Caramel Apple and cotton candy (this is getting better than a chocolate river) and fig with similar tastes of caramel, hints of vanilla and raisin/prune. I was surprised to find out it is in the 12% range because it seems extremely sessionable, but I did notice a warm alcohol finish that assures me that it is meant to be enjoyed slowly, but thoroughly in my case.

 651 characters

Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. 2007 vintage. Pours a dark copper reddish color with a light tan head. Swirling generates a nice darker tan head. Head settles and collars around the glass nicely. Caramel, toffee, biscuit, and slight booze round out the nose. This things smells sweet. Caramel sweet upfront. Some dark fruit flavors as well. Overall, rather sweet but easily drinkable for the abv.

 372 characters

Photo of BBP
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage

A- Pours a dark ruby chestnut and holds a slight head in the beginning, but soon falls back to nothing. It begins to looks like a flat beer, although it almost resembles a nice liquor at this point. No lace to speak of.

At halfway through this drink, there wasn't even a bubble at the top.

S- Booze and baking were the first two things I noticed. Raisins, carmel, and sugar were there. It really smells a lot like a liquor.

T- After the appearance and smell, you'd almost expect people taking shots of this or putting it on the rocks. Taking that into consideration, it seems very easy on the palate.

There's a lot of flavors in the aroma that come through in the taste. I appreciate that it's a tastefully sweet brew, and the sugar is well under control.

There's a definitive bubblegum taste in the beginning. Cinnamon comes in after as well as dark fruit (figs being the most prominent). I can sense some oak notes to this, and perhaps some hints of vanilla.

I found the "generously hopped" description on the label laughable. While I realize that many good craft breweries generously hop brews compared to BMC, the hops in this, especially the fresh 2011 vintage, were nowhere close to holding up to the malt. The provided some balance, but that's where it ended.

Overall it tasted like a good brew. However, it didn't knock my socks off in any way. I'll put the other 3/4 back and see how they're looking in a couple years.

M- Medium leaning towards full body. The alcohols harshness is balanced out by the light carbonation which leaves you with an average amount of prickliness on the tongue. Slightly dry and sticky in the finish.

O- As far as drinkability goes, it's extremely smooth. There's a ton of heat as it goes down, but none on the palate. Later on in the review, I definitely felt the heat in my stomach pretty harsh.

I found this to be a drink that may need to be set aside to age. I wasn't impressed by the new 2011 vintage, but I wasn't really let down either. I'm curious to see how the age will change it.

 2,061 characters

Photo of kdiggidy
3.59/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Bottle

A - pours a dark amber with a huge head of thick white foam.

S - didn't pick much up on the smell, a little malty and boozy

T - still very hot, this one will be great in a couple years. I do pick up some brown sugar and dark fruit, finishing with the warming of alcohol.

M - thick and creamy, very nice

O - I enjoy this brew. The 2010 was the first I've had, and I have a 2011 that I am cellaring, but I wanted to make sure to have it fresh as well so I had a point of reference when I crack it in a few years.

 527 characters

Photo of robbrandes
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

taster, poured from a bottle. Tasting @ Elegance - thanks Carl! reviewed from notes

pours a root-beer brown, with a billowing head in the glass.

nose is a pleasing mix of malt, carmelized sugar and molasses.

exceptional malt depth and breadth on the mouthfeel. is this really pushing 12%!?!? every indication said 'too sweet', but this beer absolutely works.

 361 characters

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 3,283 ratings