Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

3,219 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: 3,219 |  Reviews: 1,509
Photo of AmericanGothic
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Unibroue tulip. 2010 vintage.

A: Dark copper color, minimal carbonation, no lace.

S: Pleasant, sweet vinous quality, lots of plums and currants.

T: Mellow, dark malts. Molasses, brown sugar, some toffee and medium sherry. Alcohol lingers lightly through the finish. Delicious.

M: Surprisingly carbonated mouthfeel, in spite of the lack of visual carbonation. Light syrup feel.

O: Quite a nice brew. Minimal complexity, but lots of subtlety and refinement. Will buy it again, no doubt.

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Photo of HattedClassic
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Year

Appearance: Less than a finger of head and no lacing afterward. Pours a nice clear and clean brown with a mix of red in it.

Smell: Caramel smell tends to dominate with honey coming in at a close second. I detect some alcohol but after blowing my nose and putting it right above the actual beer.

Taste: Complex but mainly made of sweet tastes. Caramel with some light cherry and sugar undertones in it. The first thing that came mind was the malts. I also detect some honey mixed in with the caramel taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation and goes down fairly smooth. Basically a crisp feel but feels smoother later in the drink. At one point I thought I heard carbonation bubbling up in my mouth.

Overall: I think this is definitely worth buying and heartily recommend it for a good night of reading and drinking or watching a movie and drinking.

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

2010 Vintage.

A - Beautiful deep auburn pour. Steady carbonation and lacing down the side of the tulip as I drink.

S - Sweet malts, caramel and burnt sugar--a little honey, as well. Fruitiness with raisins especially prominent. Faint cherries with fantastic vinous quality. A bit of alcohol heat. Wonderfully complex.

T - Sweetness is as complex as the nose. Sweet malts and stone fruits. Heat is apparent early, but opens to ever more sweet goodness. Burnt sugar and raisins of the nose jump out, along with big honey and caramel flavors. Cherries, again faint, as the glass warms. Heat lingers on the back of the throat.

M - Full-bodied. Definitely a sipper.

Overall - Fantastically complex Old Ale. Goes down far too easy for an 11.70% beer. Really need to buy a 4-pack or two and cellar it for a few years, but I would never turn this down fresh.

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Photo of nickthegun12
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

wow this big beer is good!

the appearance is dark reddish brown color....quickly fading head....and no lacing....due to the dextrose in this ale

smell is of dark fruits, i think the boos comes through in the nose....

the taste kinda catches you off guard....kinda catches in your throat...the boos really comes out in the taste...very full bodied...the dark fruits and sweet taste also come out...

the feel is dry!...lots of carbonation

overall...this is a great beer....can't say enough about north coast

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.8/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

North Coast Old Stock, on tap at The Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen, NYC, listed as 12.5% ABV.

Appearance: A bit over a finger of very creamy head, white with faint caramel speckles. Good retention, head lingers for a while. Gorgeous lacing to boot. Color is caramel/peanut butter, hazy and thick.

Smell: Classic Old Ale, with caramel, butter, toffee/hard candy and cooked-boiled sugar. Raisins, of course. A tad of hops at the end of the whiff, very faint.

Taste: Follows nose, intensified. Reminds of J.W. Lees' old ales... strong sweetness all around. Dark-fruit puree, a hint of wood. Must, sherry reduction sauce. Oxidation, bubblegum feel.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy and ominous, but not as much as the bottle version. Fresher indeed, more accessible. Full flavor and body, low but adequate (for the style) carbonation. Dry and persistent at the end, makes you want to wet your lips and play with your teeth as if you had just done blow and wanted to get every speck of out it.

Overall: One of my favorite brews of all time, from day one. Never disappoints. On tap it appears as slightly less complex than the bottle, but it still is an ouistanding beer. Super drinkable and fresh, booze never shows up. Well balanced and rounded, this could easily be the best example of the style, at least in the US.

Also had it on a growler, filled at Consumer's Beverage in Lockport, NY, near Buffalo, in late December 2010.

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Photo of Paulster88
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 poured into pint glass.

Didn't enjoy my first Old Stock Ale at all. Tried it again and this one has become one of my favorites.

Pours a dark red with one finger head. Lacing doesn't last very long.

Smell was strong alcohol and fruity.

Taste is sweet up front but aftertaste is all alcohol. Mouthfeel was fairly smooth with a slight burn from the alcohol.

This reminds me of port, this is dessert for me. Very enjoyable but one's my limit. Too sweet to have two in one night.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.92/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2nd bottle of the night. i don't often have 2 of the same beer in one night, a good sign for North Coast.
Appearance is a deep Mahogony hue with a minimal collar.
The aroma is semi-sweet and seems like there is a decent amount of residual sugars leftover from fermentation, and it is hiding the 12% way too well. i had no idea until i checked the bottle. Cherry and blackberries.
The flavors through the first half of the bottle were kinda rough, but through the course they really smoothed out as it went along. Alcohol is noticable but never goes past that subtle warming preasence. Overall it is sweeter with caramel and sweet fruits but does not go into the cloying zone. On the finish the fruit notes comes through very strong.
Mouthfeel is full bodied and slightly sticky. Oily.

A good beer at a good price. Dig it. something i always consider buying a few packs of to have hanging around for that affordable yet solid Old Ale itch i always get.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
Bottled in 2009
Served in a snifter

A - It pours a ruddy brown. It is topped with two inches of beige head.

S - The aroma is sweet wine. I'm not a wine connoisseur so I can't place the wine that it reminds me of. I also get some molasses. Lots of sweetness.

T - I get some dark cherries, fig, molasses and some faded hops. Oh, and some alcohol.

M - It has a very smooth mouthfeel. It's not thick but you know that this is rolling over your tongue.

O - This was a very pleasant find in a local bottle shop. I was going to polish off the four pack but I think I'll sit on a couple of these for another year or two.

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Photo of crossovert
2.48/5  rDev -39.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle, 2010 vintage.

It pours a beautiful, dark, deep red with a big white head that quickly dissipates with no lacing.

It is fruity in the aroma with a predominance of raisins. There is some caramel and sugar scents as well.

The flavor is pretty sweet. It tastes like raisins and oxidized fruits. It isn't the most pleasant flavor, it is rather pungent and cloying.

Despite being a year old it still seems hot with alcohol.

I have had a lot of great barleywines/old ales lately and this one fell on it's face in comparison.

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


A: Pours out a dark mahogany with an orange hue when held to the light. 1/2 inch tan foamy head forms, then recedes to roughly 1/4 inch with no lacing.
S: Earthy yeast, fresh baked bread, play dough, cinnamon and brown sugar with a bit of alcohol.
T: Alcohol comes through immediately, followed by some spicy cinnamon flavor that gradually leads the palate into an immense kick of dark fruits. Raisins, plums, dates soaked in alcohol seem to appear and warm the soul. A caramel sweetness follows the hefty malt profile, which gives the beer a huge backbone and a sourdough like character. Finishes with a touch of bitterness and a spicy-boozy warmth. Dark fruits appear again and leave a lasting impression on the taste buds.
M: Smooth and creamy, moderate-full body with some fairly intense carbonation going on.
O: This one is heavy on the alcohol, so be prepared. However, it's truly an enjoyable beer to sit on for an hour or so as your body warms up and takes in the complex flavor that this one throws at you. It's filled with spice, dark fruits, warmth and sweetness and is an enjoyable example of the style. Definitely will be putting a couple of these away for a few years to see what a little age will do for it-

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Photo of canucklehead
4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found a four pack of 2009 at a local store and eventhough they have sitting on the shelf for a long while I took the chance that they would be aged nicely. I was right , this beer is now mellowed and blended to show off the dark fruit and the cognac notes while still keeping the hops in the mix. Not as big as Old Guardian or Old Crusty but still lots of mouthfeel and still a few more years in the cellar would add to the beer

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Photo of badboyrsl84
3.8/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2009 bottle

Pours a caramel colored almost see thru

Smells - malty, caramel, alcohol, some raisins.

Taste - the alcohol has cooled down a bit. I get caramel, malt, a strong sense of raisins and a little burn of alcohol on the way down. Overall it has cooled off in the alcohol and over powering caramel flavor. I get way more raisin in this one.

This brew has been aging well so far. I can't wait to give it more time.

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

2010, 12 oz. bottle served in a Duvel tulip.

I was very attracted at the aspect of drinking this beer. The beer to me is like a toned down Olde School from D-Fish Head. I am excited to see how long this beer can go for. As for the first bottle:
A: Reddish brown, coppery tones, a more vigorous carbonation that sustained the head a bit on the edges and sides of the glass. A pretty beer indeed.
S: Cinnamon, brandy, rasins, toffee, pepper, oak and alcohol dominate, not to say that's bad, that's a pretty long list, but the nose is dominating/aggressive
T: Spicy and fruity, this beer has it all; like I said, I cannot wait to try this in a few years once it has toned down, it is a bit aggressive and I find the carbonation to prick up the spicy flavors in the beer...
M: ...which hinders the mouthfeel a bit, again, I am waiting for this to fade away with age, it is nothing but promising. This beer his heavy and has a almost hoppy, dry mouthfeel.
D: kinda hard to drink a few of these, I was happy stopping at one.

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Photo of plfahey
4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle (2008 vintage) poured into a tulip glass (12/12/11).

Rich fruity aromas-sugar plums, raisins, caramel, and burnt sugar, with flavors of dark tar molasses, deep toffee and grape licorice. Peppery, fruity, warming alcohol abounds, but is quite smooth, almost dangerously so. Carbonation is moderate-higher than I would expect for its age, and augments the already full mouthfeel, which has only thinned ever so slightly. Delicious, seductive, and truly awesome in the original sense of the word.


12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass. Vintage 2010 (opened on 3/11/11)

Appearance-Mahogany with bright ruby red highlights and brilliant clarity. Pale tan head dies down to a trace of foam.

Aroma-Wow, what a heady aroma-I feel like I could get drunk just from smelling this. Rich, bread dough malt aromas with light molasses, toffee, caramel, raisins, and grapes. Abundant perfumy alcohols.

Flavor-Caramel and raisin show up first. Followed by toffee, molasses, grapes, plums, and prunes. Sweet up front, but powerful alcohol comes through and dries up the flavor. Alcohol comes through as a bit peppery/spicy in the finish, but is in no way hot which is impressive, especially for a beer this boozy.

Mouthfeel-Full bodied-so thick its somewhat chewy. Carbonation is moderately low. Alcohol warmth is huge, but never becomes hot. Sublimely Smooth.

I've got several of these to age over the next few years, but even fresh, this beer is incredible. For something this intense and boozy, it's superbly drinkable. God damn this is good.

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Photo of metter98
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a ring of off white bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of raisins are present in the nose.
T: The taste is very malty and has a slight amount of sweetness along with flavors of raisins.
M: It feels full-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer tastes very strong but the presence of alcohol is well masked. This definitely a sipping beer.

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Photo of Anthony1
3.81/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out a cloudy, opaque, dark brown color with a reddish hue. It had a small, short-lived, off-white head that left no lace. It smelled of brandy, fruitiness and sweet caramel malt. It tasted very sweet and a little boozy. It had caramel and toffee flavors with a subtle chocolate taste. It was soft, smooth and dry. A medium-bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence. This was very good but didn't live up to my hopes. I'd like to try a newer version to compare.

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Photo of THECPJ
3.7/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown with a 2 finger off white head

smell: booze, malts, dark fruits,

taste: alcohol,

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, burns going down,

drinkability: due to the alcohol burn it was hard to finish.


the cpj

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Photo of ChugginOil
3.78/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rugged ruby red with barely any head because of the high ABV. The nose brings scents of sweet malt and alcohol. This one is meant for age. The taste is beast. Bold caramel and butterscotch tones blast through an alcohol soaked biscuit. The mouthfeel is creamy yet bold with a good amount of carbonation to create a good "bite". The alcohol presence is noticed which is what makes this brew a giant. One or two and call it a night

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Photo of ToAzwethinkweizm
3.84/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Date: 28 February 2011
Glass: Sierra Nevada XXX snifter
Type: 12fl oz bottle
Vintage: 2010

Poured aggressively around 45ºF, producing a brief 2-finger head, reducing to no film, no lacing. Color is clear orange-crimson. Going to review after this warms a little more.

Aroma is complex. Before identifying any aromas, lots of spice attacks the nose, almost like horseradish or wasabi. This begins with brown sugar, and then continues with deep smells of raisin and prune. This one drinks like a barleywine. As the beer descends, it gets sweeter, and aroma of cherries, earthy hay and grass come forth. Wonderful.

Taste is malty- and fruity-sweet and accompanied by a small amount of booziness. Medicinal cherries are present, much like in a classic kriek, but without tasting like a doctor's office. Some unripe apricots come through, but could certainly use some age to sweeten.

Moderate sweet malt sticks to the palate between tastes. Carbonation is lighter-than-average. This vintage reminds me of an "unripe" Thomas Hardy's Ale -- one of my favorites. This beer is an excellent candidate for aging, and there is no doubt in my mind that the booziness will subside over the years.

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Photo of Barleythenred
3.87/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage

Appearance: Dark brown with a little bubbly head

Smell: only a essence of ethanol notes are present

Taste: fizzy with a presence of alcohol and a little tangy

Mouthfeel: bubbly and medium body

Drinkability: good but a define need for age is apparent

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Photo of justintcoons
3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a reddish-burgundy with little head. Medium-heavy carbonation.

N: Caramel, booze and a hint of citrus.

T: Loaded with caramel, whiskey, booze, raisin, wood, vanilla and burnt sugar. Finishes with some herbal and floral notes.

M: Sticky, medium bodied and warming.

D: This is a sipper. Alcohol is pretty strong. Put the remaining 3 in my cellar to see what some age will do.

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Photo of herman77
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage. 11.7%

A: Hazy dark amber-brownish with a small khaki colored head that dies off fairly quick. No lacing.

S: Sweet, rich carmel, bourbon, raisins, figs and rum. Smells a hot and boozy.

T: Intensely rich carmel malt with figs and dark raisins. Something reminds me of leather and oak. Sweet bourbon flavors mixed with a semi-spicy rum. You can kind of pick up on the hops, but they just get smacked down with all the alcohol. Big boozy aftertaste! Its almost like a semi stiff mixed drink where you can pick up the alcohol on the backend.

M: Medium to fuller body. Nice carbonation feel to it. Pretty smooth and slick

O: A sipper for sure. Its just so strong and hot still. I would probably love this with some age on it.

The rating doesn't do this beer justice, its meant for aging not drinking fresh, but I had to try it fresh.

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Photo of Cadebro
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep mahogany red with a thin cream head that quickly subsides. Leaves a thin line of lacing.

S: Smells of plum and molasses, but is mostly overpowered by the high alcohol content.

T: Tastes of apple and caramel and is again overpowered by alcohol.

M: Has a very sticky and velvety mouthfeel that is pleasant and is followed by the carbonation.

D: With an 11.7% ABV and rich flavors it should be slowly savored.

Overall I really enjoyed this beer. It is quite sweet but the layered flavors and aroma are a trip to enjoy. I look forward to purchasing another and aging it for a year or so.

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Photo of Wamba
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a very impressive beer. Smooth as a baby's bottom yet hits like a freight train.

One of the most beautiful beers I've seen. A wonderful reddish brown that just sparkles in the light. An aggressive pour yields a substantial head that retreats quickly leaving virtually no lacing.

The aroma is fantastic, caramel, vanilla and the promise of sweet malty goodness. Even my wife, that does not like beer, likes the smell of this one.

The promise of sweet malty goodness is delivered in full! Loads of caramel, vanilla and malt. The alcohol adds a really nice spicy punch.

The drinkability is dangerous on this one. It is smooth and sweet and carries a hefty wallop.

As a side note, I really like this beer at just slightly above room temperature. It really brings out the flavors and smoothness.

Enjoy but be careful with this one!

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Photo of birderbeerer
3.61/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 Old Stock, drinking 2/22/11

Beautiful looking beer. Deep mahogany with a three-finger, off-white, thick head. Excellent lacing.

Smells super sweet. Definite alcohol presence but also some overripe apples and pears. Interesting but the booze drowns out the nicer aromas.

Tastes very sweet as well. Almost too sweet in that there's no offsetting balance in hops or weight. Definitely high alcohol. Caramel and the overripe apples and pears again.

Drinks well but slowly. Overall, a good strong ale but nothing to rave about.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,219 ratings.
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