Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
3,234 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:
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Ratings: 3,234 |  Reviews: 1,513
Photo of 7ate9
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage
The appearance is the worst part of this beer. It doesn't matter that much to me, but it's a certain shade of browny orange with no head that looks somewhat unappetizing. Smell makes up for it boy howdy. Raisins leather caramel candied orange peel fig syrup. Taste follows the nose. A pleasant sweetness and very well concealed ABV. Thick but not cloying. This is a treat. And this vintage was still just gathering dust on the shelf. I'll be clearing the shelf of the rest.

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Photo of Kinsman
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage

Murky mahogany color with a light shade of tan for the head. Moderately sized head but faded without leaving any lace.

Holy malt aromas Batman! Lots of sweet and malty aromas displaying notes of vanilla, raisins, and toffee. Slight whiff of alcohol can also be detected.

Syrupy sweetness with lots of malt flavors on the palate. Vanilla and dark fruits make up the bulk of the flavor profile. Flavor has a decidedly English profile to it with light hints of spicy EKG hops. Alcohol makes this one a little hot at a relatively young age.

Mouthfeel is thick and slightly chewy with a syrup-like quality to it. Overall, Old Stock Ale is one heckuva Malt-Bomb. Estimated age of 6-8 months makes this bottle a bit too young for it to peak in flavor. Once the alcohol cools down a bit, I could see this being a very enjoyable brew.

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Photo of ajfa531
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Labeled 2010. 12 oz bottled half-poured into a Duvel tulip.

Medium-brown on the table. Deep orange-red up to the light. Not much head when poured. Swirled to produce a light tan head that faded quickly, leaving ring around the surface and thin covering.

I love the malt in the aroma. Lots of caramel and dark fruit. Reminds me of port with the mixing of the sweetness, the fruitiness, and the alcohol. I'm not getting much from the hops. I cannot tell if I'm picking up on citrus or piney notes, or I'm looking too hard.

The malt is definitely there. Then, the alcohol comes through heavy. The Bros mention rum raisins. I definitely see this. There is a dry rum/vodka aspect to the alcohol. I don't remember it being this forward. I can say that once my mouth got used to it, it isn't as aversive. Some toasted graininess in the finish along with chocolate. Coffee-like qualities adding to dryness.

The mouthfeel is good, but, could be chewier. Maybe it has fermented out too far. The residual sugars may help the feel and add to the taste at the same time.

Overall, a pretty good beer. I would trade off a couple ABV points to add to the feel and taste. This beer is much more enjoyable when paired with an equally strong-flavored item. I tried one while eating brie and it went nice together. Some cinnamon ice cream tonight isn't bad either.

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Photo of beerman21
4.27/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Edition Poured from a bottle

A-Pours dark copper color brown, with little to no lacing.

s-smells of maple surup, figs, raisans, sweet candy buttscotch comes to mind.

T-Strong alchol infused maple surup, blend of figs raisans, bottscotch sweetness. Beer has after taste of rum and maple surup. Alchole is very warming.

M- thin mouthful that coats the mouth and lingers for quite awhile. very enjoyable and complex.

Overall enjoyable Old Ale, I'm sure this beer will age nicely. Not the first or the last time i'll purchase this brew. Hope to hold on to one for a few years and age.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage

A: Poured a hazy ruby red/amber color. A small head forms upon pouring and dissipates to a smattering of bubbles. Decent lacing.

S: A little bit of alcohol, but overall it is rather sweet smelling. A little bit of fruit and an earthiness.

T: Again a little bit of alcohol, but a lot less than I thought there would be since this bottle is rather fresh. Overly malty, no hops to speak of at all. Some caramel, plums, and brown sugar.

M: Medium to full bodied, and a bit high on the carbonation for the style.

O: Pretty good, even with the hints of alcohol (which weren't entirely unexpected at 11.7%). Good flavor, but the high carbonation was a bit strange.

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Photo of csiewert
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a thick brown color with little head. The aroma has strong notes of caramel and some alcohol. The taste starts with a caramel sweetness and then moves to fruity fig notes. The mouthfeel is somewhat overcarbonated and the alcohol is somewhat apparent. Overall a very good beer, but make sure you sip it.

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Photo of divineaudio
3.79/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2010 batch.

a - pours deep garnet with two fingers worth of creamy tan head. retention is excellent. no real lacing to speak of.

s - smells musty and fruity. raisin, grape, brown sugar, slight oakiness, vanilla. slight alcohol presence.

t - rich and hot. alcohol burn first, followed by carmel malt with a slight woodiness to it. hints of vanilla crop up with darker fruit flavors. finish adds a bitter tinge with a little more heat.

m - heavy in body with adequate carbonation and noticeable alcohol burn.

d - had to take this one slow, but it was delicious. definitely needs a few years to calm down, but seems like it can only get better from here.

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Photo of output01x
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle (dated 2010) into a pint glass.

A vigorous pour yields almost no head. The tiny tan-colored head that does form dies off almost immediately. The body is a murky brown nearly the same color as the bottle it came from. Huge carbonation bubbles cling to the glass like a soda. No lacing can be seen.

Aromas are of sweet malts, caramel, booze, and some grassy hops.

Dark fruit and caramel sweetness up front. Notes of licorice and fresh bread are also detectable. A strong alcohol warmth finishes the sip.

Full bodied with strong carbonation, this beer is thick and a little sticky. It coats your mouth well and fizzes on your tongue.

North Coast Old Stock Ale is most definitely a sipper and at 11.7% ABV, you wouldn't want to drink more than a couple. However, the complexity and excellent sweetness makes each sip most enjoyable.

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Photo of TheSupremeAJ
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 poured into pint from 12oz bottle.

Pour is of beautiful cherry wood and a velvety smooth frosting head. Aroma is very traditional; caramel hops, malt, and traditional hops are there. Alcohol is noticeable (as it should be...)

Taste is very sweet and rich.... licorice and malt is heavy. The rich mouthfeel fills your palatte and is very thick and sweet.

Overall very good, almost barleywine!

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

This is my first "Old Ale" style.

A: Head-What was there goes away fast. Color-Looks like well preserved antique cherry furniture.
S: Sweet, really sweet, like your first girlfriend before she goes crazy and you realize the sweet is just part of the crazy. Caramello is JEALOUS! I sense a little spicey but I wouldn't call it sassy.
T: I don't taste two scoops of raisens, but maybe store-brand dosage. Not a lot of bite from the alcohol. A tad bitter, not like your mother in law but possibly your friend's mother.
MF: Medium of the road on all accounts. Kind of slid down like an upside-down go-kart.
Overall: I've had this style before I'm pretty sure, but I don't remember when since I don't review EVERY beer I drink. I don't find it overly complicated, but I'm new to this style. I like it for sure, however its just too new to make a strong statement about it.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 version, poured into an oversize wine glass.

A: hazy dull red/brown, with a thin off white head and notable alcohol legs.

S: sweet malts and dark fruits. Rum raisin bread, prunes, alcohol fenels, nuttiness.

T: slightly tart fruit sweetness. A malt bomb for sure, lots of sweet character and some toasted grains; no hops to be found here. It has a viscous quality, almost scotch-like, especially with the alcohol burn. Again the darker fruits are dominant.

MF: starts chalky and drying, medium bodied and viscous. Not a lot of carbonation, but spot in for this beer.

O: In my opinion, enjoyed best when sipped at cellar temp and treated like a fine whiskey. A well crafted beer that's not my favorite style.

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Photo of beerandcycling88
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

A It pours out thick with a thin caramel head that dissipates quickly. The body is a great reddish brown almost burgundy color.

S The nose is pretty strong, and dominated by a boozy cherry smell, with a hint of oak.

T This one starts with cherries again. It follows this with notes of buttery toffee, and finishes with alcohol. Very reminiscent of port.

M The mouthfeel is very thick yet it is quite smooth and finishs with some warming from the alcohol.

Overall this an excellent beer. It could use some more time to mature but it is well on its way to becoming a truly amazing beer. An excellent choice for an evening of sipping after a big meal.

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Photo of birdypowder
4.57/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Old Stock is what a barley wine should be. The guys at North Coast got it right and I look forward to buying more of this beer for aging and future sipping!

Deep amber in color with good clarity. Swirling the glass brings out (albeit begrudgingly) a thin light brown head which leaves minimal lacing. Typical barley wine.

All kinds of sweet delicious fruits greet you. Plums, figs, raisins, cherries...there's some honey too. The Fuggles and EKG's are barely noticeable but do manage to keep things from getting out of hand.

There is an amazing plum like sweetness that lasts throughout, guiding this stealthy 11% brew down your throat where it begins to warm your body from the inside out. The alcohol is strong and noticeable in the finish, but it is not overbearing and is managed well by the complexity and sweetness of this monster brew.

A little lighter than expected but still true to style. It's definitely thick enough.

Spot on for style. This is what barley wines should strive to be.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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

Pours a hazy amber with thick tan head. The head quickly dissolves into many small bubbles. Medium carbonation. The smell is predominately sweet malt and dried dark fruit. Caramel and some oakiness are also present. Very unique smell. Strong alcohol aroma. Not much hop presence.

Tastes of sweet malt with plenty of dark fruits, caramel and even some toastiness. Finishes with a strong estery alcohol bite that goes down warm, but not too hot. Some oak is also detected. Sticky brown sugar like flavor coats the palate. Extremely smooth considering the strength. Has a thick, full-bodied mouthfeel with a considerable amount of carbonation. This is one delicious malt bomb. The 11% abv makes itself known. Old Stock is a sipper and is surely not for the faint of heart. Wonderfully complex and delicious.

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Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 bottle 12.5% ABV

Age has done this beer well I'd say.

A - Reddish brown and pours a 1/2 inch of solid head from a semi-aggressive pour. A good swirl in the Delirium Tremens snifter keeps bringing up more head and the beer is pretty active in the glass for being 3 years old.

S - Figs, dates, raisins and a rum. BROWN SUGAR. Caramel and butterscotch also in the background.

T - Follows smell. The 12.5% is masked well but make no mistake...it's very warming. It's almost crisp for being such a big beer. Hard to explain. The caramel sweetness comes out more as it warms.

M - Almost creamy and surprisingly not syrupy. One of the best aspects of this beer which I'd say is due to the age on this one.

O - This is a sipper but goes down pretty easy for the ABV.

This is a very good Old Ale. A beer I'd treat myself to once every 4-5 months or so. Glad I have one more 2008 left.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4.39/5  rDev +6.6%
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 +4.4%
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 +3.2%
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 -1.7%
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 +16.5%
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 +7.5%
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 -4.9%
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 +1.2%
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 -39.8%
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 -0.5%
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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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 3,234 ratings
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