Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
3,264 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: 3,264 |  Reviews: 1,522
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Spider889
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by a generous BA (cannot remember who) at Jackie O's One Funky Afternoon. 2009 vintage.

Maple syrup in color with light lacing and good clarity.

Smelled delicious. Lovely barrel aging effects. Lots of sweet brown sugar and molasses notes.

Tasted pretty damn good too. Tobacco, raisin, bourbon and maple all come together very nicely. Oak dryness is also present.

The beer is hot, but the deliciousness makes the alcohol tolerable. Very light carbonation, but it manages to feel prickly due to the alcohol heat.

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Photo of bsuedekum
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 2010 version poured into a Bells Tulip.

A - I think this is near perfect for an old ale look. The color is perfect and the overall appearance approaches perfection, but I'd like it to be just a touch more clear and less murky. The color reminds me of the awful water that used to come out of the Bundy's sink on Married with Children or the water the Goonie's get from the Fratelli's. What could look more like an "old ale" than that color? ha.

S - The nose on this one is just slightly above average. It has some roasted nuts in there along with sugars, but nothing is too prominent.

T - I like this beer, especially as a quality alternative to the IIPAs and RISs I usually find myself drinking. My quickest description on this one is sugars and booze. It blends well and isn't hot... a really well balanced beer.

M - Decently carbonated with medium body and crisp finish.

O - Locally I pay $3.50 for this beer and think it's worth every penny. A great beer on some week night after work when you just want to pour one and enjoy it slowly. Or a beer to have when sitting down to a game or movie because it's not one you'll finish in 10 minutes most likely.

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Photo of Sam21
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

4-pack purchased for $12.99. 12oz bottle, 2010 vintage, poured into snifter.

Appearance – Deep ruby brown body. Thin wispy tan head that fizzles down to nothing within the first minute. Really nice ruby color when held up to the light.

Smell – Sweet chewy raisins, dried plums, sugary figs, and delicate caramel. Slight alcohol burn at the back of the nose. Nice depth to the sweetness. There is a lot to take in here.

Taste – Rich dark fruit and caramel. Figs, raisins, dark cherries and prunes create a smoothie of fruit flavor. Interesting woody flavors are present at well and dry up a bit of the sweetness. Finish is long, fruity, lightly woody, and sweet. Alcohol adds a pleasant burn, but is nicely integrated into the malt.

Mouthfeel – The body straddles medium and full. The carbonation is light and fluffy which keeps the body from feeling full. Nice scrubbing bubble action.

Drinkability – Nice balance of dark fruits and overall sweetness. Subtle pockets of flavors keep you hooked and interested. Complex and rich. Paired nicely with some Stilton cheese. Excellent.

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Photo of comfortablynumb1
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

12oz bottle poured into a North Coast Brewing pint glass...

A - Pours amber with a two finger off white head on a fairly aggressive pour. Head dissipates fairly quick, and there is not much lacing to be had...

S - Good amount of sweet notes come through. Caramel, molasses, plums, and some alcohol...

T - Lots of sweet malts. Caramel, plums, brown sugar, toffee, and molasses. Ends with an alcohol bite and some oak. This one is deliciously malty. Alcohol is not over the top, but it is very noticable...

M - Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Super smooth...

O - For the abv this one is smooth. One of my go to Old Ales. Have a four pack aging in the celler. Looking foward to revisiting these in a couple of years. North Coast brewed a winner here...


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Photo of Radome
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter.

A - Beer was a light to medium brown color but totally cloudy and opaque but with tons of tiny bubbles rising through it. The head was light tan and very wispy, made up of many miniscule bubbles. It faded from about 1/4" thick to a thin layer that remained throughout.

S - Aroma is surprisingly muted. I get some caramel and nutty notes, but the biggest component is sweet alcohol. No hops noted.

T - The taste is all about malt and alcohol. I get some bready, nutty malt up front, then a big wave of sweet alcohol. Not much complexity. Some hop background is apparent at the end of the palate, but not identifiable by variety.

M - Medium to heavy body, but it is lightened by a fizzy, fluffy feel from the carbonation. There is some burn from the alcohol. Lingering mouth-coating sweetness.

D - Overall I like this beer, but it is very "hot" and sweet from all the alcohol. I am a fan of lower-hopped English-style Barley Wines, but this one could use some additional element to add complexity and bring some of the focus away from the unbalanced alcohol.

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Photo of Francepants06
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage.
I aged it 2 years hoping the alcohol would dilute a bit, but I think I opened it too early. It was a great dark brown beer. It has roasted nut aromas with a caramel lingering finish.The nose was pretty average smelled like stainless steel barrel. The alcohol is a little high,it definitely could have aged for another 2 years. It's too bad North Coast brewing co. is not going to ship to Louisiana during the summer months, I guess I better stock up.

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Photo of beck2008
2/5  rDev -51.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

I was very disappointed with this ale. I am a big fan of strong ale but this was nothing like I expected. It poured like a coke - a quick fizzy head formed and rapidly disappeared entirely. The appearance was like a red ale and very clear. The mouth feel was thin, the taste was akin to brown ale with a shot of whiskey, this is no exaggeration. It lacked complexity and character. I was all around just a hard ale to drink. I am hoping this was just a bad bottle. I will cellar this and see what it tastes like in a year.

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Photo of Franz4
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 version 12 oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- A deep walnut/mahogany color. A vigorous pour got a finger of head on it, but that settles quickly to nothing. Instead of lacing it leaves legs like a wine might.

S- Alcohol is slightly noticeable. First scent is dried fruit, mostly apricots, followed by a touch of toffee

T- Dried fruit comes through again, slight heat is noticeable, very complex as the flavors change several times. Heat lingers which is pleasant and brings out additional flavors. This is a very enjoyable sipper. Some cherry is evident, some grainy notes as well.

M- The alcohol is noticeable, and that's a good thing in this brew. It's a sipper for sure, taste lingers with you for a while. It's slick and smooth, but it goes down slowly.

O- A very complex brew, not for every occasion for sure, but this was a nice example of an old ale. I see more of this sipper in my future.

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Photo of Ralphs66
3.53/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When I saw this on the menu at Holy Smoke, I frankly, had no idea what it was. Never had an old ale before. So it came out in a 4 tasting flight. Looked like a very bubbly cheerwine (that monstrosity of a soda from NC). Almost no head whatsoever. First taste and smell and I'm thinking, "How come it didn't say Barleywine on the menu?". Not as overtly sweet as your typical barleywine, but MANY of the same characteristics. Caramel, butterscotch, vanilla. At almost 12%, the alcohol is pretty well hidden. Still a sipper however. My 5 ounce pour was the perfect quantity.

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Photo of claspada
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage. Pours a honey-thick amber, slightly hazy, with literally zero head, disappointing, maybe it's too cold.

Aromas begin quite fruity with orange marmalade, plums, vinous red grape notes and a predominant dark cherry sweetness. As it warms you get more of the caramel and brown sugar maltiness. A little too sweet and sugary; the alcohol becomes more prevalent as is warms as well.

The taste begins with waves of caramel and butterscotch malts quickly followed by lesser brown sugar and toffee notes. You get the fruitiness more in the flavor as it warms with red grapes, plums, pears and hard apple cider. Alcohol flavors become a tad too prevalent towards the end of this 12 oz offering.

Mouthfeel is medium to thick, with adequate carbonation. Alcohol presence/bite makes this difficult to truly enjoy to its full capacity but helps to dry out the palate.

Overall this was a very good beer although it is still not reached "maturity" yet as the flavors are a bit too alcohol heavy, preventing complete enjoyment/savoring. Looking forward to cellaring and sampling the rest of the 4 pack over the next couple years.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.
12.5% ABV per label.

Pours a murky dark amber color with a small 1/2 bone colored head that fades to nothing. Very small spots of lacing dot the glass on the drink down. Smells of caramel, rum raisin, and malt. A very nice sweet raisin bread aroma on this beer. Taste is very sweet and rich with brown sugar/caramel and raisin bread flavors. Low carbonation with a thick and chewy mouthfeel. Slight alcohol burn in the throat with each sip. Overall, this is a good beer that I stumbled on at my local Whole Foods in early 2011. I think they found a 4 pack in the back that they put out for sale. After tasting this year's brew, I am kicking myself for not buying more than one. I will look into getting these each year that they are released for aging purposes.

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Photo of phillybeer7779
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage poured into an Old Stock snifter

Appearance- Dark reddish brown in color, almost merlot-like. Poured with about a centimeter of thin head, which dissapated quickly, didn't even leave a bubble after a few minutes.

Smell- Aroma of some caramel and chocolate, with a little bit of alcohol on the nose.

Taste- Caramel malt and alcchol heat in the flavor. a hint of licorice, maybe?

Mouthfeel- A little thin on the body, with a little bit of an alcohol burn on the way down. Not much in the way of carbonation.

Overall- A quality, old ale. Not a beer that I'm going to want to drink another of, but a good beer to spend an hour with.

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Photo of 100floods
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

part 1/4 in my aging experiment of this 2011 batch.

Pours a deep burnt red/orange hue. Very, very bubbly. Cream tan head with a hint of gold stuck around for a few seconds and then split. Spiced malt, brown sugar, and wood. A little toasty as well. Very pleasing. Nice malty sweetness that works hand in hand with some toasted malts and a nice caress of hops. This beer presents a nice balance. Just a hint of alcohol towards the back of each sip. Just a hint of a wine-like acidity which seems to open this beer up a bit. After letting this sit I'm getting some rasin and booze flavors. A nice change from other strong ales. Very curious to see what age will do to this.

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into pint glass

A: Pours a deep amber-ruby color. It’s is clear, but fairly dark. There is a small head of maybe one finger, tan and creamy. I don’t see any lacing.

S: Smells overwhelmingly malty and sweet; reminds me of a barely wine. It is a roasted caramel scent with a bit of toffee.

T: Roasted malt is the most notable flavor. This lends a variety of subtle flavor to the brew including dark fruit and sweet caramel. There is a light chocolate flavor with becomes more apparent in the aftertaste. Next to no taste of hops present. The aftertaste itself is sweet and relatively mild, given a bit of bitterness by the high alcohol content.

M: Moderately thick. Carbonation helps keep the mouthfeel from getting syrupy and this is fairly drinkable despite its high alcohol content.

O: A drinkable, sweet beer. Although I could taste next to no hops to balance this beer, the malt contributes some relatively complex flavors.

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Photo of Spadoof
4.78/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from: Vintage Estates (Boardman, Ohio)
Origin: 12oz Bottle
Bottled on: 2010 Vintage
Tasted on: 07-14-11
Glassware: DFH Snifter
Serving Temperature: 53 F

Notes: $3.99 a bottle. Reviewed from notes

I) Appearance: Deep red and copper body with a light tan head. The head pour about 1/2 finger a fell extremely slow, leaving a wonderful webbing of sticky lacing on the sides of my snifter.

II) Smell: Plenty of roasted malts, toffee, caramel, chocolate covered raisins, alcohol and maybe some butterscotch.

III) Taste: The taste mirrors the nose extremely well. Again a great variety of roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruit, caramel, butterscotch and a warm alcohol finish.
A) Malt Intesity (1-5): 5
B) Hop Intesity (1-5): 1

IV) Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy and very pleasant.

V) Drinkability: 11.7%, maybe one or two on a rare occasion

VI) Concluding thoughts: I would definitely buy this again. If you see this somewhere, pick up a case and cellar it for a few years!

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Photo of xnicknj
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into snifter - 2010 vintage

Pours a brilliant deep mahogany cherry color with some ruby tones which filter through the light. An almost solid layer of off white head fades into a filmy retention which lasts throughout the entire pour. Some spots of lacing as well.

A bit sweet and warm in the nose with a nice helping of roasted malts and candied dark fruit. Some burnt sugar, cinnamon spice, and cherry with a surprisingly soft alcohol flair.

Rich roasted malts with some thick, syrupy sweetness. Candied fruit with raisins and cherry along with burnt brown sugar. Heavy malt backbone with caramel and toffee. The hops have definitely faded over the past year+ allowing some of the flavors to mellow and mesh together, although this could definitely use some more time. Finishes with some sticky sweetness and a bite of alcohol.

Full bodied, milder carbonation, a bit heavy but smooth and lingering on the tongue. Considering the heavier profile and high ABV, this drinks pleasantly, and could still benefit from significant aging.

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Photo of Pellinore1
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle pours clear, dark amber, yielding less than a finger of light tan head. As this fades, it leaves almost no trace.

I smell dark, fruity malts, along with some definite booziness. Behind this, I pick up just a bit of caramel sweetness.

The taste follows nicely on the smell, with fruit, spices, and a little bready malt defining the flavor.

Smooth and a little sticky, with some big alcohol warmth at the end.

A fine old ale, overall, but a little boozy for my taste. I'd like to try this again with a little more age, and can only imagine it will be improved.

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Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.72/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage.
Pours a hazy brown(ish) with no head.
There is a ton of boozy fruit up front. Souring yeast follows along with some booze.
Not a bad 2+ year taste. Plum, bittersweet chocolate, earth and a touch of booze. Goes down smooth and easy.
I like the 2009 barrel aged version better, but this isn't bad.

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Photo of calebroberts811
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a four pack of the 2011 vintage and I plan to taste it again next year.

First Taste: 5-14-2011.

A - Deep ruby red color, brandy color; one-finger tan head that quickly dissipated. Little carbonation

S - Apricots/orange peel, caramelized pineapples, cinnamon, cloves and booze. Rather like potpourri, actually.

T - Rich malty caramel notes on the front that are enhanced by the warmth of the alcohol. Quite spicy with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice and a tiny sliver of orange and apple peel.

M - Just enough carbonation to keep it from being syrupy, but it's still quite cloying and as a previous reviewer said it best: "chewy."

In conclusion, I am certainly excited to wait until next May to try the next one because some of the goopy-ness needs to mature away.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 3,264 ratings