Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

3,204 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 3,204 |  Reviews: 1,503
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.

 956 characters

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

 353 characters

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.

 795 characters

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.

 462 characters

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.

 499 characters

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.

 373 characters

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

 537 characters

Photo of pmlondrigan
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a really nice deep red color, clear with a decent head which fades to nothing pretty fast. Aroma is low but smells of liqour soaked raisins and rich malts, with burnt caramel. Caramel, rich toffee and more currant and raisin in the flavor, bready malts, slightly sharp and alcoholic. Mouthfeel is slick kinda oily, but really hot from the alcohol. Wouldn't want to drink too much of this stuff, but its good. Interested in having one with some age on it.

 470 characters

Photo of jdhilt
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage. Pours with a three-finger tan head that fades quickly to a ring leaving some lace. Murky brown color. Good carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Nose is dark fruit and alcohol. Flavor is raisins and some alcohol. Nice old ale. $5.99 for a 12oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

 301 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a New Belgium Globe. 2010 vintage.

A: Deep reddish-brown color. Clear and clean looking. One inch cream colored head with hints of red. Head is persistent. Lacing is patchy and sparse.

S: Vinous and wine-like. Faint hints of alcohol and spiciness. A bit of molasses, and maybe some caramel. Very faint whiffs of oak.

T: Deep raisin character, red wine, and molasses. Spiciness and a generous warming sensation from the alcohol. Finishes with tastes of wine, raisins, molasses and a bit of dry chocolaty roastiness.

M: Thick, syrupy, and chewy. Carbonation is a bit higher than I expected, but not off-putting.

D: A definite sipper, as any good Old Ale will be. I would love to drink this beer again, but I doubt that most people will have more than one or two in a sitting.

Notes: This is a great Old Ale. I would love to sit by a fireplace and sip on this in the dead of winter. This would probably be excellent with even more age on it.

 972 characters

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

Appearance: Poured a nice deep red-copper in the absence of any cloudiness. Retention of the nearly one inch downey snow-white head was shortlived, but still what little remained left delicate lace with each sip.

Aroma: The smell made my mouth water, even on the pour. Candied cherries, pears, and plums simmering in brandy - yum. Sweet maltiness hitting the back of the nose. The alcohol definitely making its presence known.

Flavor: Pretty complex just as the nose indicated. Warm and soothing. Brandy-like with sticky warm raison bread on the sides of the tongue. The sweet malts and simmering fruit is obvious, but fairly shortlived as the alcohol warmth flows across the palate.

Mouthfeel: The alcohol is a bit numbing, but the feel is medium-full with a good balance of carbonation.

Drinkability: Only my second Old Ale, but I know enough to understand that this is meant to be savored slowly. The alcohol is too intense for more than one per sitting.

Impression: Good. Looking forward to letting the other bottles age and sharing with a friend.

 1,057 characters

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

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle(2008) into a SA perfect pint glass. The pour is deep gold with a solid 2 inch white head. Lots of booze and toffee on the nose. The flavor has lots of toffee, vanilla and a very heavy booze prescence. It has a hot alcohol finish. It has a full body, a suprising amount of carbonation and a very boozey feel to it. A great sipper courtesy of bauermj.

 381 characters

Photo of BeanBone
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A clear, dark red-brown body capped by a finger and a half of creamy off-white head that fades rather quickly and leaves the barest patches of lacing.

Aroma: Raisins and other dark fuits, mild hops, vanilla, and smokiness over heaps of sweet, earthy, and toasty malt. Plenty of booze throughout, especially as it warms.

Flavor: Mirroring the nose, this carries forward the exact same mix of elements. The hops, malt, and booze are all big, but play nicely together with no element dominating. A mix of bready malt, leafy hops, and booze in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full and a little chewy with smooth moderate carbonation. Lots of warmth from the booze throughout.

Drinkability: Drinking a little quicker than the burly alcohol content would suggest, this falls into the faster part of sipper territory.

Verdict: Old Stock is a brilliant brew and has totally lived up to its lofty reputation so far. Part Barleywine, part Old Ale, this is a great example of a big beer. Making such a great impression while fresh, I can't wait to see how this evolves over the years.

 1,088 characters

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

2009 vintage

Pours a deep dark red/amber color with a very slight tannish head.  Smells are caramel malts, dark fruits, brown sugar and a touch of molasses.  Tastes are caramel, some prunes, yeast, alcohol and some raisins.  Mouthfeel is kinda chewy, with just a little carbonation.  As for drinkability, even though this js mellowed a bit it's still a sipper.

 365 characters

Photo of bheilman
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Ruby brown in color with a slight head that disappeared rapidly. The smell is rich fruit, maybe ripe fruit, maybe cherry, would be what I'm trying to describe. The taste is great. The flavor is complex with rich raisin and caramel flavors that aren't overwhelming. The aftertaste lingers and helps add to the flavor, yet again it is subtle and not overwhelming. The beer is too strong to drink more than one and does have an alcohol bite to it. Overall this is delicious and I can't wait to try it again.

 504 characters

Photo of scoobybrew
4.54/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - hazy (probably from bottle conditioning) copper color with a modest head that settles, most likely from alcohol

S - toasty, caramel, hints of chocolate, very complex malt aroma; any hop is lost is the richness

T - rich, sweet complex malt flavor - much like aroma hints of nut and caramel and chocolate but every sip brings another nuanced dimension; hops are all but absent except for bittering, but the finish is distinctly malty and some sweetness lingers; fruity yeast esters are also present; alcohol definitely noticed, especially on the finish

M - medium-full body and moderate carbonation; alcohol warmth evident

D - This is quite a nice old ale, perhaps one of the better I've had from this side of the pond. I'll enjoy laying a couple of these down for a special occasion.

 790 characters

Photo of mirish72
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Has picked this up earlier this year and let it age a while, but a streak of cold rainy weather broke my willpower to age this one. Poured into a goblet, pours a nice brownish red. Really sweet smelling, lots of big malts. This one is boozey, warms you up as it goes down. This one definitely gets better with age, one is enough as this one could kick your arse. Mine said 12.5% ABV on the bottle, not sure who is right.

 420 characters

Photo of Sjokvistarn
4.1/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 version

A: Pours a brown-red copper like color, on the verge of blood red tones. Turbid and a bit unclear at first, barely any head at all but a small beige layer that disappears without lingering.

S: Alcohol, reminds you of liquor. Light truffle, herbs with the heaviest influences from dark pepper. Lingering tones of vanilla makes this a true experience.

T: More alcohol, the warmth really floods through the mouth and stays there almost forever. Apricot, dried fruits, fermented berries and yeast in general dominates. Characteristics of a nice glass of rum and raw sugar.
Hardly any bubbles at all, small carbonation provides a good steady mouthfeel.

It's already good, no doubt about it, but give it a few years and it will be amazing. Will match perfect with cheeses.

 783 characters

Photo of hosehead83
3.88/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2009 bottle-poured into a wine goblet.
Deep amber/copper in color, with a short, quickly fading head of foam.
Aroma-Definite big malt profile, whiff of alcohol.
Taste-Low carbonation, plummy, spicy malt, lots of warming alcohol. Full-bodied and complex, this is a slow-sipper to be sure.

 295 characters

Photo of hardy008
3.82/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy brown with crimson highlights and a small tan head with decent retention for the abv. The aroma has figs, dates, raisins, caramel, and booze.

The taste is very sweet, with dates, figs, raisins, caramel, and booze. Just like the aroma. A nice tasting beer, but a little too hot with booze in my opinion.

Full bodied, low carbonation, chewy, and very sweet, bordering on syrupy. A good beer, which might be much better if it aged a few years. 2009 Vintage.

 462 characters

Photo of bobhits
3.43/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

2010 old stock ale.

Pours a red wine, even darker level of red. A 1 finger head forms and quickly (within seconds) leaves.

Cherries, alcohol, prunes, some grape fruit hops I believe, kinda off smelling. Maybe raspberry/strawberry liquor. Really different and unlike other old ales I've had.

Hmm, berry sweetness, a sweet malt but I can't place it. There are some hops to add bitterness, but they don't jump out. The alcohol is pretty noticeable. imagine a bitter alcohol laced strawberry raspberry mix, emphasis more on the bitter and alcohol. Mix in a bit of malt vs fruit sweetness and you'll be in the ball park.

The carbonation doesn't hold a head but it's in every drink. Very well carbonated. For the 11.7% it's a touch thinner feeling that i'd expect. It's pretty darn good for the style. i've been wanting to try this for a long time. I'm really glad I finally bought a single (even if i feel beer trappe "got me" on this one which they rarely do).

This is a less hoppy (and american) version of Fullers Vintage Ale. I suspect this will be a master piece with age. Sadly I have one bottle so I won't see what age does here. I truly think this might be 5 worthy with age, but for now...well my score stands.

 1,222 characters

Photo of codewarrior
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle (2010) from a 4-pack, poured into a chalice

A: Dark as hell. Foamy head, lots of carbonation, head dissipates very quickly.

S: Tangy and sweet, smells strong and ****ing tasty.

T: Tangy and sweet, tastes exactly like it smells. There is lots of booze in this. Settles into a nice finish like a strong brown (similar finish to Des Rocs Grand Cru ... but a lot better).

F: Light in the mouth. Musty and old, like grandpa ... but in a good way.

D: ****ing awesome. seriously. tasty, tasty old beer. Look forward to seeing how this stands up to a spin in the cellar.

 580 characters

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A. 1 finger of head that vanished very quickly. Just a litte bit of lacing left. Color is a dark ruby.

S. Big smell from a good distance away. Alcohol, cherries. Caramel malt. Bit of sourness. Brown sugar, and molasses. Dark fruit, but definitely a cherry hint to it. Big complex aroma that awakens as it warms. Toffee and vanilla from the barrel.

T. Taste is complex as well. 3 predominant flavor themes, Malt, Barrel aging, Fruitiness. The malt give a big rich caramel malt taste to it. Brown sugar and molasses flavor come out. The Barrel aging lends some vanilla, toffee, and alcohol flavors. The fruitiness is a dark fruit, cherry taste. This also imparts a litte sourness.

M. Medium/full bodied. Medium carbonation. Finishes surprisingly dry for all of the flavors that are going on. Some lingering sweetness the more you drink.

D. This isnt a little beer, but it is pretty drinkable. The sweetness helps it go down pretty easy for me. Lots of complex aromas and tastes going on with this beer. This is a truly delicous beer fresh. Interested to see how it changes over time.

 1,088 characters

Photo of FernMaster
3.72/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Tulip because I wanted to use a glass that I've neglected for a bit.

I'm very surprised at myself I've paused Mad Men to review this, to be fair I'm at the opening credits.

North Coast's Old Stock Ale pours a very bleak brown colour with little to no head at all. There's a very thin wisp of lacing around the glass, but that's about it.

The smell is very strong, as I check the bottle I notice it's 11.7% abv, yep, you can smell it. There's some bourbon notes to the nose along with the alcohol. Also some dark fruits and there's something sweeter there to, I'm not exactly sure what it is though.

Old Stock Ale gives a very powerful punch to the mouth. There's a lot there and the initial shock of it is overwhelming and it's hard to discern anything other than intensity in that initial drink. As you slow down to discern what's there, you begin to notice quite a bit of characteristics there. Sip this, or you will have a miserable drink. There's this initial dark chocolate, caramel flavor present, with those dark fruits coming in at first, raisins or something similar. After that there's this bourbon "roastyness" to the drink and it finishes that way, with this sort of spice and heat to it, which might just be the alcohol. I like it, but it's very very commanding.

It has a strong enough presence that it's a very good mouthfeel, strong and not watery at all. Like I said above, DRINK SLOW. If you drink this beer fast you miss almost everything it has to offer, this is a classic sipper.

I don't remember how much I paid for this single bottle, it wasn't that much though, less than Rasputin but more than most beers. It's good and I could probably see myself in the future (namely winter) picking up another bottle or so of this.

 1,783 characters

Photo of DaveJanssen
4.52/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Reviewed 4/10/2010. 10 oz pour in tulip on tap at North Coast.

Ar: Raisin, plum, prune, alcohol, heavy caramel and toffee, mild oak, heavy candy sweetness, maple

Ap: thick dense tan head, good retention, hazy brown amber

T: Heavy sweet, caramel, strong maple syrupy sweetness, plum, prune, chocolate, toffee, strong earthy fruit, date, great complex malt, very sweet and complex, alcohol, brown sugar

M: Sweetness makes it difficult to drink a lot of but is appropriate for style and size, heavy and sweet, mild carbonation, toasted sugar end

O: Much better on tap, solid, complex and heavy, beautiful malt profile, amazing, great fruit, i didn't remember this beer being anywhere near this good

 700 characters

Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,204 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.