Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

3,222 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: 3,222 |  Reviews: 1,511
Photo of misinformed
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle reviewed, 12/24. Pint glass.

A- Clear, dark cherry brown. Poured with around an inch of purplish head that faded pretty quickly to a small ring around the edge of the glass. No lacing.

S- Sweet malt and dark fruits, toffee. Alcohol is definitely present as well.

T- Lots of nice dark roasted malt notes including toffee, hints of molasses and smoke. Dark sweet fruit and alcohol. Complex, but a bit harsh. The alcohol is very assertive.

M- On the heavier side of medium bodied, but not thick or mouth coating at all. Good carbonation and lots of alcohol heat.

D- I enjoyed one bottle and could've had a second easily. Nice complex flavor although it does seem a bit harsh this young. The higher alcohol is definitely noticeable and only sometimes becomes too assertive. Definitely worth a revisit in a year after the rest of the 4 pack has chilled out a bit.

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Photo of ejeffer11
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006 vintage stored at cellar temp since purchase - served at cellar temp.

Pour shows suprising head life and ample carbonation - some vintages with age to them have shown much less carbonation. very dark brown appearance with continual bubbles surfacing.

smell is exceptional - toffee, candy, carmel...dessert in a glass.

while sweetness is evident as expected with such a high alcohol brew, there is still some remaining hop profile which balances the beer exceptionally. The bitterness and sweetness work amazingly.

20 minutes in, and the beer is still showing carbonation life. the flavor is just amazing - port, brown sugar, caramel and it is not overly sweet which many barleywines with age end up falling into..a syrup sweet mess.

This is an amazing beer, which after four years in the cellar could stand a few more i'm sure. I looked at a few reviews of the recent release and many identify the overwhelming alcohol bite. While a good beer upon release, this beer is so much better with a few years under its belt. I have many vintages in the cellar and have tried them numerous times at 2 - 6 years old. this beer just seems to keep getting better with age. A recent 04 was equally amazing.

Some may hesitate to purchase, with a four pack around 15 dollars in 2010, but at this price for the quality, old stock is a great bargain. Just hold off drinking for a few years.

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Photo of TheKingofWichita
3.3/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a honey color with a thick white head and tons of lacing left over. Smells of caramel, toffee, and tons of booze. Tastes of caramel, toffee, malts, honey, and alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium with a fair amount of carbonation. Drinkability is medium because the alcohol is so upfront.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. I messed up the pour and only got about a finger of tan head, which dissipated quickly to leave a spotted lacing and ring of foam around the edge. The color is a hazy, deep amber or dark copper that is perhaps leaning toward brown.

Smell: After popping the cap I immediately noticed a nice, boozy smell of caramel malts. Once in the glass, the beer smells of sweet caramel malts, toffee, honey, maple syrup, and vanilla. There is also a noticeable, but subtle, alcohol presence, but I can't put my finger on what kind of hard liquor it reminds me of.

Taste: Very sour and somewhat unpleasant. No flavors stand out, but there is a definite taste of caramel malts, toffee, and honey. However, the flavor experience is mostly dominated by a vodka-like sharpness of alcohol. I suppose the taste will mature with a lot of aging.

Drinkability: Though I can't speak for the entire 2010 vintage, I do not think this bottle was ready yet. I do not know how young it was, but more aging would have, I suppose, done it well.

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Photo of Morey
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a super hazy brown color. Reddish hues can be seen when held up to the light. Nice tan head has settled to a thin lace after a few minutes or so. Decent head retention.

Smells a bit like whiskey. Not sure if this bad boy is barrel aged or not? Sweet caramel tones are also being detected. Nice.

Taste a bit like whiskey too. There's a slight sweetness towards the middle. Alcohol lingers in the finish.

Full bodied mouthfeel.

I could drink a couple bottles, but for what it is, it's pretty drinkable.

Morey's Bottom Line: This is my first go-round with this beer, but it won't be my last. I'm adding this one to my favorite winter beers list. An enjoyable sipper.

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

Yeah, I'm drinking a 2010 bottle young... I'm just not that patient. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Great Divide balloon glass. Drank while watching a UK / Indiana basketball game.

The beer ended up with a 2 finger head after a vigorous pour. A decent off-white color with nice tight bubbles. Doesn't stay around that long because of the booze level, but it is nicely composed. The body itself is a medium brown with rich ruby notes.

The nose is somewhat acidic... which was definitely unexpected. Not bad though. Underneath that sour bite is a bready caramel. Surprisingly lacks an alcohol sting. Interesting.

The flavor of the beer is malty and bready. Not quite as thick as I would have liked... but that does keep it drinkable. There's a slight sour tinge to it. Not bad, but is this what they wanted? The flavors aren't jumping out at me... it seems a bit two dimensional. I want to give a further description of the flavors, but they aren't coming to me. On the plus side, the booze is very well hidden. This ups the drinkability and I'll have no problem downing this. I'd still like to get a bit thicker moufeel on this, but maybe that's just me.

Overall, this was a decent big beer, but I want a bit more out of it. It's drinkable and enjoyable, but not mindblowingly memorable. Also, the sour notes in the nose and taste are a bit confusing. Is that intentional?

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Photo of JayS2629
4.07/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark muddy brown with a thin mocha colored head and sea foam lacing.

S- Deep cramel aroma, dark fruits, figs and raisins, hints of spice and chocolate. Oak.

T- Heavy carmel and toffee with hints of vanilla and chocolate. A good dose of booze. Hints of oak and rum...or maybe bourbon.

M- Heavy with a touch of booze burn and slight creamy feel.

D- Wow! Its so complex in flavor between woody flavors of oak, spice, rum, chocolates and vanilla. However it is so strong. A sipping beer for sure. The booze burn and heaviness of the beer brings it down a notch despite is flavor profile.

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

Served on nitro-tap into a Bell's tulip at Al's of Hampden.

A - Pours nut brown with a very spotty tan head leaving no lacing down the glass.

S - Tons of rich caramel malt up front with a touch of booze. Some dark fruits like raisins and figs mix well with a bit of spice and strong brandy flavor from the booze. A very complex nose.

T - Lots of caramel sweetness up front from the malt giving way quickly to lots of dark fruit flavors similar to the nose, toffee, and vanilla. Finish is strong booze that lingers on the pallet for some time. I liked this one a lot but I don't think I could drink more than one at a time. It is a very heavy beer.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. A good amount of booze burn lingers for some time. I think the nitro hurt this one a bit.

D - Not too bad. I like this one out of the bottle better. I think if it was on co2 it would have been a bit better. Still one of my favorites for the style.

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Photo of Chaney
3.91/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I pour this into an oversized snifter.

A: I poured this one really hard and generated a nice 3 finger mocha head that melted into something that resembled iceberg formations in the Arctic. The brew itself was a crimson red, almost the color of a fine red wine. I could see right through it to the other side.

S: Sort of a musty, sugary, English Barleywine. Lots of dark fruit, a hint of chocolate, but unfortunately, also a good bit of stomach acid.

T: Liquified cherry "Jolly Rancher", coco nibs (especially on the finish), raisons, plums, a hint of booze (but luckily not as much as I was expecting), and no hop bitterness of any kind. Can you say beet sugar?

M: There was virtually no lacing, but for some reason, the alcohol killed some of the potential syrupiness. The carbonation was fine for this style. A bit of lingering by the sweet elements, but not too bad.

D: I don't like this beer as much as many of my friends. However, this beer is complex... and so is the style in general.

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Photo of jsprain1
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Appearance is a mix of garnets and browns.
S- Delightfully malty with some vanilla and mollasses notes. Notes of alcohol.
T- Sweet caramel and mollasses notes. Plenty sweet and finishes with a strong dark fruit flavor.
M- Medium, though the sweetness and alcohol add some presence to it.
D- All in all a very solid old ale that hides that 11.5 well.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.76/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in an oversized wineglass. 11.7% ABV.

pours a dark, ruddy amber tone with a good degree of clarity; a tan finger of head quicky dissipates into a thin collar around the glass.

nose is a bit underwhelming but with dark fruits, molasses, and caramel malts all evident.

flavor takes the aroma and improves upon it: stronger presence of dark fruits; the molasses are there, as is the caramel maltiness... some spices, breadiness... sweet, but nowhere near cloying; some booze in the finish. a tasty beer.

medium-plus bodied beer with average cabonation. pretty drinkable considering its strength. i endorse this beer.

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Photo of cratez
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz (355ml) bottle purchased from Ryan's Party Store in Port Huron, Michigan. Pours a brownish ruby hue with a thick tan cap that quickly dissipates to a thin ring of bubbles. Aroma and flavour are ethanol, vinous dark fruit, mild esters, oak wood, roasted barley, toffee sweetness, prunes, burnt caramel, cocoa nibs, rum, brown sugar, fig, and a spicy sting of warming alcohol. Mouthfeel is fuller than medium (but thinner than I expected), silky texture through the middle, clean boozy finish with some heat in the throat. Drinks like a barley wine with a much lighter palate.

The evident alcohol makes this a textbook 'sipping beer.' I've read that Old Stock is not meant to be consumed fresh, and is best enjoyed after cellaring for a year or so. Well, I can see why ageing is suggested. Although I had no problem savouring this ale, it's a bit young and harsh right now. Overall it's still a very good brew, but I'm willing to bet that vintaged versions are more rewarding than this fresh new bottle.

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Photo of Vierenner
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful, rich color -- light brown with slight red tint. Pours with a shallow, dense head and leaves a nice, persistent foam ring around the snifter. Has both a sweet smell and taste. Seems like perhaps there isn't enough flavor to counteract the 11.7% alcohol -- there is sort of a bite after every sip. Overall still a very good beer.

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Photo of mostpoetsdo
3.5/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The 2010 version, poured into my Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a murky, dirty looking ruby-brown. A small, light tan head, dissipates to almost nothing. Not much head.

S: Holy booze. Smells like sourish fruit, with a lot of alcohol, and some chocolate thrown in there.

T: Heavy malt up front, matched with tart fruit and toffee. A chocolate-booziness is there, almost overwhelming. This beer could use some age.

M: Fairly heavy, yet rather thin. Major alcohol burn.

D: A sipper for certain.

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

Surprised I haven't reviewed this yes, had multiple vintages. This one is 2008, been in my cellar since purchase.

Pours a dark mahogany brown, a good finger of head on the pour, streams of bubbles heading up - still good carb. Leaves some islands on top of the beer, not much else.

Nose is giving a lot more milk choco than I ever remember. Bit of sherry, some roast, toffee.

Love how this beer ages, just so much better than fresh. Sweetness has come to the fore a little bit, some cocoa, toffee, fruit bread, a slightly bitter and chewy finish which leans on some roasted barley, a hint of earth and a generous dash of alcohol that never comes off as astringent or burning. Drinking like a fine port or similar - this is just an awesome evening treat. Light to medium carbonation, not too chewy but creamy mouthfeel. Warming all the way down. Delightful.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.52/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Half Acre shaker pint glass.

Thanks to plenum for this vintage gem!

2007 Vintage. Old stock indeed. It pours a murky dark apple cider topped by a very minor spritz of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises buttery biscuits, caramel, chocolate, graham crackers, ginger, and a well o' fusels deep in the back. The taste holds notes of orange peel, slight pine, buttery toffee, light cocoa, and a decidedly noticeable alcohol burn. The body is a hefty medium, with a moderate carbonation and a chunky feel. Overall, I think age has done some good for this brew (remembering way back to my fresh bottle a year or so ago), but I'm not sure I could drink much of this at once.

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Photo of Vdubb86
4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint Glass

Thanks to TMoney2591 via Plenum for this tasty lick

2007 Vintage. This beer pours a cloudy very viscous lighter brown color with little to no head to speak of. This beer smells rather pleasant. It smells of grandma's candy jar with lots of butterscotch some orange and a hint of grassy notes in there. The flavor is straight up butterscotch to the point where it seems as if there is a Worthers in my mouth right now. There is the obvious background liquor flavor that is to be found with this ABV, but it's not too strong. The vapor from the alcohol is a bit too strong to give it too high a rating on the mouth feel, but otherwise this is a pretty solid and good beer to drink.

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Photo of Thanby
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a 12 ounce bottle into a pilsner glass at about 60F, a little warmer than standard but I prefer it to more easily distinguish the flavors.
Vintage 2007

Dark thick amber in color, small head that dissipates into a ring with a fizzy center.

Smells strongly of molasses, plum, caramel, and other dark fruit. Just a tiny bit of alcohol in the background.

First taste is a mix of molasses and plum, sweet and very smooth. A little thin at the end, and an alcohol kick that you feel rather than taste, very warming.

Lighter body but a little syrup finish, lingering phenols but surprisingly clean.

This stuff is wonderful, if a bit harsh when it's fresh, but after about 3.5 years, it is unbelievably mellow. Everything settles down and blends together, leaving the individual flavors less pronounced and more as part of a whole. An absolutely excellent choice for cellaring, I'm going to make it a regular part of my collection.

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Photo of vkv822
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into snifter.
2010 vintage.

Pours a deep burgundy-red with a nice tan head that leaves a light swirl across the top of the beer and a ring of bubbly foam around the edge of the glass. There is fairly active rising carbonation.

The smell and taste is of caramel and molasses malt, with strong notes of dark fruits such as raisins, currants and dates. There is a faint aroma of alcohol in the finish, though in the taste there is quite a bit more warming alcohol feel.
There aren't really any hops to speak of, though there is perhaps a slight pine note towards the finish that blends well into the dark fruits and spice.

The mouthfeel is smooth, yet fairly thin body, with subtle carbonation. The alcohol leaves a very nice warming in the throat. I would like to see this have a bit more body.

For such a high ABV this is a very smooth and easy drinking beer. I've tried this with some age, and am surprised at how smooth this is even fresh.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled in 2010

beer pours a mahogany color with a tan head

smell - dates, prunes, raisins, molasses, malts, booze, oak

taste - dark fruits, raisins, prunes, dates, figs, currants

mouthfeel - medium carbonation, heavy, full mouthfeel, really boozy aftertaste/finish

drinkability - a sipper for sure, maybe with some age this one becomes more mellow

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

2010 bottle. Have some more of these and an '09 in the cellar, but couldn't wait to try one out. Probably unfair to review this one without some age on it, but here we go:

Poured a murky ruby-tinged mahogany into a tulip with a finger of long-lasting eggshell head. Moderately sweet aroma of toffee, apple, and raisin with some boozy warmth.

Moderate carbonation and a creamy, syrupy smooth mouthfeel. Sugar cookie malt up front with toffee and dark fruit followed by molasses, vanilla, pear, and lots of raisin. Just a hint of oak and a distinct but not overpowering alcohol presence on the finish.

Quite sweet and a definite sipper. There was a nice complexity of flavors going on that will probably better integrate with time, but the sweetness was a little overpowering when tasted fresh.

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Photo of despainmakesbeer
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brownish raspberry color. Head at pour fades to a nice tan ring around edge of glass. Musty aroma with some sourness, as it warms aroma dominated by dark, somewhat fruity (raisininess), alcohol smell. Moderate carbonation. Dark fruits come through on beginning of drink, followed by warming alcohol feel. Slight burning on the finish, to be expected for an 11.5% beer. Almost mediciny aftertaste. Great start, slightly lesser finish, but good for the style.

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Photo of lesann87
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a very dark amber color with minimal taupe color head that dissipated quickly.

The aroma is quite complex with alcohol, caramel and raisins.

For such a high ABV the beer is very drinkable (dangerous!) and smooth. I can definitely taste the caramel and raisin flavors and while I notice the alcohol, it is not at all overpowering.

Really enjoyed this beer! was recommended to me after mentioning I liked barleywines, much less boozy than barleywines (that I have tried) and very enjoyable.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.62/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a light mahogany color, with very little head. The nose is mostly of alcohol, almost a brandy like scent. This is a very smooth beer, the flavors are a creamy brandy flavor, with just a hint of oak, and a somewhat heavy alcohol finish. Even with the high alcohol levels, this is a pretty smooth drink, and I could easily drink several of these in a session.

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

Vintage 2007. 11.7 ABV.

A: very nice deep brown color, poured with a nice head that quickly dissipated with a ever-so-thin lacing
S: medium nose, medicinal qualities with slight oxidation
T: very, very nice - sherry qualities, rich, luscious with a slight tweak of oxidation but nothing distracting, very well-made, seems a bit thin in body for 11.7 but nothing to lower score, slight burnt caramel taste
M: nice, a bit thin in body
D: good but not something I would seek out in the future because just lacked unique character and depth

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,222 ratings.
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