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Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
3,239 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: 3,239 |  Reviews: 1,515
Photo of Chaney
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
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%
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 -8.7%
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 -4.4%
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 -2.2%
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 -15%
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 +4.4%
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 -14.6%
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 -0.7%
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 +13.3%
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 -2.4%
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 -16.7%
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 +0.7%
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 -5.8%
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 +10.4%
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 +12.1%
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 -10.2%
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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Photo of pmlondrigan
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.12/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of DelMontiac
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of bonkers
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of BeanBone
4.39/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

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Photo of Lukafer
3.87/5  rDev -6.1%
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 +5.6%
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.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 3,239 ratings
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