Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
3,273 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: 3,273 |  Reviews: 1,527
Photo of bsp77
3.2/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Glowing reddish-brown with thin off-white head and very little lacing.

Smell: Toffee, plum, cherry and light English hops.

Taste: Very sweet malts with toffee, butterscotch, plum and cherry. Light spicy and floral hops on the the finish that do nothing to cut the sweetness, along with more medicinal cherry. There are some nice flavors to be found here, but just too sweet.

Feel: Thick and chewy body with low carbonation. Nicely warming but with a cloyingly sweet finish.

Drinkability: Sweet and boozy. Maybe I would like this better with a couple of years on it. As is, I will pass in the future.

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Photo of alleykatking
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle. Vintage 2008.

A- Pours a murky brown color. Half inch eggshell white head shows poor retention. Nice streaks of lacing on the sides of the glass that caught me by surprise.

S- Darker fruits upfront on the nose. There is a big caramel malt base that I love on this beer once it has a few years of age on it. Brown sugar sweetness mixes with molasses as well. Light metallic hint to this lets me know I'm smelling vintage I suppose.

T- Caramel/Toffee malts come through on the front with a big burst of darker fruits. Middle of the beer mixes the brown sugar and molasses together with hints of alcohol and even more darker fruit. The alcohol leads from the middle to well in the ending of this aged beauty. Light soy flavoring as well but this gets put in the very background with chocoalte covered darker fruits leading the onward charge to the ending.

M- Heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style but light overall. This beer blankets your entire palate when sipping. Darker fruits and heavy malts left on the palate. Aftertaste is warming alcohol, caramel malts, chocolate covered darker fruit. Flavors were put well together although a little off balanced from the darker fruits hogging all the glory. The metallic nose didn't transcribe into the beer itself so I was happy. Heavy drying on the palate from the alcohol.

D- This beer was very drinkable. The alcohol was never a factor in the overall taste. The ABV limits this one but a two year old treat is well worth the wait even if you end up drinking a couple of bottles.

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Photo of wschmit
3.28/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2010 12 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip.

A: Short, 1 cm slightly yellow head settles quickly into a ring of fine carbonation and patches on top of a slightly hazy sherry-like body pretty good carbonation.

S: Not overly sweet for a "young' old ale. Slightly saccharine malt notes of raisin, and even a bit of peach or berries, perhaps in conjunction with mild hopping. Pleasant but moderate nose.

T: A bit one-note malt flavor, with alcohol present. I even detect a vaguely metallic sensation by the end. The earthy, mildly bitter hops are actually detectable--with mixed results, for me.

M: Decent, even high carbonation for the style, but it's young still. Helps it go down.

D: Mid-range. The booze isn't overwhelming, but there's not much to assist the palate. I'm gonna hold on to another bottle for a year and give that a fair shake, but I'm not terribly hopeful.

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Photo of bohemiandonut
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 Bottle

It's that time again. I find myself once more gainfully unemployed with nothing I'd rather do than tick new beers and even review a few of then. Apparently this is one I should have tried a long time ago.

Pour is unexpectedly amber and translucent. Little head, but a couple well-received swirls decide that this beer is no joke.

Smell is definitely not a booze-fest. I get a bit of nutty, English-style malt with a similar English-style fruitiness. Nothing dreamy, but it is intriguing how mild the aromatics are here given the abv. I sip...

Oh, there's the alcohol! It's "hidden" under what appears to be a Belgian candi sugar, which accentuates the dark fruit esters donated by the malt. Very reminiscent of the Belgian style. Unfortunately, the flavors are a bit discordant (at this age?), and I'm reminded mainly of the many failed American attempts to brew a decent Quad or Dubbel. I'd be interested in trying some of this aged, but I can't imagine an experience vastly different to or better than what I can get from Rochefort or Bernadus any time.

Really, I think there's just way too much sugar in this beer for it to work. It comes off a bit too syrupy for me. Decent nightcap to be sure, but there are ones far better in this league.

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Photo of Daniellobo
4.12/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting the 08 vintage, same brew, but a very different experience. This is a rich, long sipper that makes me like this brew again after the poor review I did when I had it younger.

Presentation: 12 oz brown capped bottle. Simple and somewhat classic design with the emblems of North Coast Brewing over a dark cream background. Bottling date as 2008 brew. Notes 12.5% Alc. by Vol. Poured into a snifter.

A - Clear amber brown pour. Short head with short retention, it stills retains a fair surface memory ring and leaves no lacing. For the time passing it is holding itself visually well.

S - Nose has grown, malty, rich, sweet range with caramel and toffee, some port.

T - Hmm, time has done this brew, and maybe my appreciation, some good. Sure enough there is a hefty boozy sense, but now it hold the brew and does not hinder it. Malt touches shine, with caramel, toffee, and a nice fruity sense of raising, those notes of port...

M - Medium-full body with medium low carbonation that tingles well in the back of the tongue, sticky touch with a warming sense picking up the finish after the creamy flow.

D - Rich long sipper, it has mellowed the hard alcoholic edge, while pushing up a nice complex range.

Notes: OK, credit where credit is due. I was pretty disapointed last I had this ale, but this year+ of aging has done wonders with it and puts it back where I had it originally in my memory. If a bit of patience is all it requires to feel this good...

09-30-09 Review
A 3 S 3 T 3.5 M 3 D 3

A - Amber brown translucent hue. Short head that fades in a blink leaving no lacing and a minimal memory on the surface.

S - Alcohol over a malty range of notes. But nothing too remarkable.

T - Booze highlight over that caramel malt. Some notes of dry fruit emerge, raisins and a touch of coffee.

M - Fairly carbonated but with a flat smoothness that does not stimulate much.

D - Hmm, it sure is a drink to enjoy as a sipper and gains toward the end but may not have a very enticing range to help you get there.

Notes: It had been a while since I had this drink, and I had great memories. I was really looking forward to revisit it, but must confess it was a bit of a let down. It felt a bit flat during most of the experience. In fact it even felt too boozy, which typically is not a problem for me, quite the contrary... I typically like it. But on this occasion I found little to make the alcohol presence interesting. Luckily towards the end on the last pour it recuperated some of the tones and complexities that I remembered, but not many. Not that its temperature had changed so much, but at least it ended into a somewhat higher note. I´ll try to cellar the rest of this 4pack and see if a couple of years have a good effect on it.

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Photo of 1759Girl
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance> Medium to dark brown, mud puddle. No liveliness, no head, no lacing. It aged an additional three years at my house and looks like it's been pulled from centuries of storage.

Smell> Mostly sharp alcohol nose, followed closely by malt aroma, with slight notes of sour beer.

Taste> WOW. Sherry, anyone? (editors note: the person pouring read the bottle as having 14.5% ABV and I was thinking that even seemed low... reading BA's ABV listing of 11.5%, I am guffawed).
The ale is sweet, but the pungency of the alcohol is inescapable; it seems into every other flavor (yes, there are notes of other things, but almost all is overshadowed by the alcohol). The finish is reminiscent of prunes and port.

Mouf> average for the style

Drink> If only I had a few (several) shots of espresso to accompany me, this could have been like a fourloko night. It's tasty to sip, but honestly this was just too intense for me to drink much of.

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Photo of foogerd
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Bottle.
A- Dark amber brown, minimal head and some lacing.

S- Really sweet raisins some malt and brown sugar, a somewhat subdued aroma.

T- Finally this brew redeems itself, so much complexity from the sweetness department here. Theres sugared raisins vanilla even some dark chocolate powder here. A slight tartness rounds out the sweetness of this brew, very dry finish.

M- Smooth chewey and carbonated.

D- Sweet malty and tasty with a noticeable alcoholic presence.
I'd love to see how this would taste mellowed out from age.

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Photo of morayeel
5/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

All i can say is what a monster of a beer.
North coast brewing is awsome. I feel i need to let the case i bought age a year before i review it due to the wildness.

Very hoppy and boozzy with carmel and some fruit taste.

Bought the 2010 case so im going to age this case a few months and then taste and review later.

12% this ale rocks

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Photo of ryanonline
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

deep dark brown with tinges of ruby, and lots of tan head that chillaxes right at the top for a bit. very cloudy, nice.

hoppy, yet not over-abundantly so as well as somewhat sweet. raisins and figs with just a touch of leather.

lots of the same in the taste, but a faint amount of spice (hop presence?). lots o' sweet dark fruit flavor, I even get some caramel. nice dry alcohol flavor as well.

creamy and full bodied with some moderately effervescent carbonation, and a nice even finish. the mouthfeel is where its at on this one.

still retains some nice drinkability despite being full bodied. good stuff.

love this beer, this one and old rasputin from north coast. yummy yummy.

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Photo of neorunner
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Blind Beer #11 - http://flic.kr/p/99QzG7

Special Thanks to Flexabull for sending me this beer in Round 3 of the Blind Beer BIF.

Last beer for this round of the BIF. Heavily duct taped cap, actually trying to open this one without removing the tape caused me to crack the top of the bottle. Thankfully it was all captured by said tape and the cap itself. Wrapping calls out snifter so I went with my Ommegang glass.

Appearance is cloudy brown with a thin head that doesn't last long at all. Aroma is very boozy and has vanilla and cherry notes. This has to have some kick to it and the alcohol is probably the reason the head retention was so minimal. I'm wondering if its the alcohol, but there is a green tinge on the edge of the beer when you tilt the glass.

Flavor is booze, malt, cherries, dried figs, plums. I'm loving the layers in this beer, getting some chocolate and molasses as it warms. While I definitely feel the booze as a warming sensation, the finish is mellow and chewy and not as hot as one would expect with the alcohol. This is a great sipper and I wouldn't doubt its vintage.

Going to guess American Barleywine on the style.

Answer is: North Coast Old Stock 2005! Wow! I know what I need to start filling my cellar with. I have some 2009 in the cellar and just shelled out for a bottle of the bourbon aged Old Stock. I'll be sure to forget about that bottle for awhile.

What a great beer to conclude this BIF. Thanks again Paul, I've had a blast.

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Photo of Elimination
4.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What a beast of a beer

A remarkable red velvet maroon color, slight brown hues, dark, but still a visible shine from the other side. Thin little head, hugging the rim of the glass.

Smell concord grape juice, molasses, brown sugar, slight bread, a bit of a citrus hop.

Now this was a 2010, but still is a little fresh. Grapes, raisins, darker fruits, a bit of carmel, toffee, and a good amount of sharper hop notes.

Thick moutfeel, has a sticky viscosity, perfect.

Now, some people say old ales and barleywines walk a thin line. This is definately one that could go either way for me. It has a sharper hop presence than most old ales, yet has such a great strong malt backbone it still fits nicely in as a old ale. Either way, a great beer.

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

2010 bottle poured into a Chimay chalice. Beer is brown with a lot of haze and a thin brown head of small bubbles that breaks super quickly and pulls back to a halo. Carbonation appears low.

Aroma is super sweet and molasses. Lots of malt sugar.

Beer is way thinner than I expected, the lead off is almost entirely alcohol, the midpalate is mild sweetness with some roasted candies like caramel or darker molasses. The finish is a little dry.

I reviewed this tonight because it was the new vintage, I realized I had never reviewed it before but I'm currently setting up quite a vertical that I will replace this review with in the future. This beer is pretty hot young.

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Photo of ElGallo
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage. 11.7% ABV. 12 oz. bottle poured into a balloon glass.

I had heard that this was North Coast's gem, and it did not disappoint. Good finger of head on the pour but it dissipates quickly. Not much lacing to speak of. Color is a deep but clear amber with some ruby tones when gently swirled.

The nose is sweet and malty. Not as dark-malt heavy as say Old Engine Oil, and maybe a bit barleywine like. Very intriguing.

This tastes just as good as it looks and smells. A smooth, warming, malt-forward ale with a sweet but pleasant aftertaste that lingers. Some nice brandy notes come through as it warms.

Overall, this is a hit for lovers of old ale and malt-forward beers in general. Must find more to age... and drink now :)

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.39/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage, poured into goblet.

appears an opaque cloudy brown with orange highlights. little head.

aromas of brown sugar, vanilla, very nice. tastes of caramel, toffe, raisins, but not too sweet. pretty tasty, I've have to buy some more to cellar again.

mouthfeel is sticky, syrupy, but not that thick. just enough carbonation to move it over your tongue. barely any alcohol taste for an almost 12% abv beer. very impressive.

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Photo of mexikrainian
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Stone tulip.

Appearance: murky amber-brown with zero head and non-existent lacing.

Aroma: caramel, molasses, malts, dried fruits, and apple.

Flavor: apple, caramel, brown sugar, subtle hops, spices, and warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: syrupy, medium body with light carbonation.

Overall impression: this will keep you warm in the winter. be ready for bold flavors with high alcohol. reminiscent of a whiskey throat feel.

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Photo of silentjay
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

pours almost black (muddy brown) which gives life to a smallish eggshell colored head that retains slightly but laces well. good for the style.

aroma of raisins. chocolate covered raisins. a touch metallic and musty (hope its not oxidized) with plenty of molasses and brown sugar and dark caramel.

flavor gets rid of any of those oxidation worries. chocolate covered raisins dominate, but there is sooo much going on here. molasses, soy sauce, caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, browned butter, maple syrup, but still plenty of alcohol.

pretty heavy, syrupy body with minimal carbonation and quite a bit of an alcohol burn on the finish.

drinks ok for the style. fruity, sweet, syrupy, and rich, but very tasty.

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Photo of BigB415
4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark orange sort of red color with no lacing. Smells like a barleywine to me. When I take a sip I get the very subtle hints of alcohol which is no surprise since this beer has a 11.5% ABV. What I'm surprised at is the fact that there is no bite. I get the flavor right off the back when I sip and then it goes away leaving very little mouth feel which is nice with 11.5% ABV. All in all a very smooth ale from a great brewery.

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Photo of TheTippler
3.73/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had the 2010 vintage. Poured amber-brown color. Sweet malty flavor. Very malty, in fact. Lots of molasses on the nose and pallet. The 11.7% abv is apparent and could be overwhelming to some. Medium+ body. Syrupy. Brandy flavors, dark fruit flavors. This beer would be remarkable with aging.

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Photo of DovaliHops
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky reddish brown with a very small white head. Lots of bubbles. Scent is very barleywine-ish. Dark fruits with big malt backbone. The alcohol is not as present as it was fresh. This one is almost a year old. Taste is very malty with some very tasty dried, dark fruit flavors. I get prunes, raisins, and dates. The alcohol has mellowed out over this last year...making this a much better beer. Mouthfeeel is not too syrupy and very delightful. Drinkability is fair considering the ABV. I'd recommend everyone to sit on this beer for about a year, as it has balanced out nicely.

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Photo of sugit
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


A: Deep brownish caramel cloudy color. Very fizzy 1/2 finger head. Left small ring around glass. Leaves nice lacing as you swirl it around a bit. Lots of carbornation given the style.

S: Very boozy nose. Caramel and a bit of honey in there, but tough to get past the booze though.

T: Very rich and sweet. Upfront is all caramel malts and booze. Damn tasty though. Nice hit of vanillia on the way down. Very very subtle hop bitterness. I swear I taste bourbon, but since it's not BA, it must be just the alcohol and sweetness.

While still a bit sharp only a slight warming, which given the ABV, is imnpressive.

M: Full body. Very nice carbonation. Bit of a creamy feel. Very nice indeed.

D: Very drinkable and smooth for 11.5%. Alcohol is well hidden, esp how much it comes out in the nose. This is still a one and done for me though.

A couple years will do this beer wonders.

So far I have 08-10 in the cellar. Would really like to add a bottle from earlier to do a nice vertical tasting.

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Photo of froggyfrog
4.47/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Stock Ale 2004

Aroma incredibly intense. Burnt sugar abounds. Dark fruits: plum, raisin also apple (not cidery).

Tons of tiny fizzy carbonation bubbles pop-rock the tongue. Flavor bursts with leather, tobacco, hay and banana.

Sugary sweet, oxidation-heavy. Moderately weighty, slippery.

Spicy alcohol strong in the finish.

Slightly less robust than the 2005 (sampled last year). Delicious with definable oxidation and heavy with sweet fruit.

Excellent but likely on the decline. Drink now if you're holding.

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Photo of mavbrew
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into snifter, 2010.

A: Pours a deep amber color with a finger thick, off-white head that quickly dissipates leaving only a ring around the glass.

S: Scent has a caramel, toffee tone with some hints of honey. Nose is sweet, malty and has some alcohol to it.

T: The taste is as you would expect from the nose, there is a sweet flavor up front with some caramel notes. There are definite malt characteristics mid sip and the finish leaves a bit of an alcohol flavor that sticks around with what tastes like honey.

M: Medium bodied with average carbonation, a nice crisp feel.

D: Although 11.5% ABV, it is masked well by the flavor, it is still present but not as much as you would expect. This is my second North Coast review and I have been impressed so far, this is a good beer and should definitely be tried if ever come across.

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Photo of xpoweruser
2.92/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark amber/caramel color. Off-white foamy head. Cloudy.

Aroma: Sweet fruit with lots of caramel and toffee.

Taste: Fruity with a nice caramel and toffee flavor. Slight bitterness, but this brew is dominated by the malts. Alcohol flavor is covered up well, only slightly noticeable with a slight warming effect.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, goes down easy. The body of this beer is actually pretty light. High carbonation.

Drinkability: Decent beer, but not nearly as full bodied and complex as I would like.

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Photo of the1DarkLord
4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had this beer before, a few years ago. Since then, I have drank the -bal versoins, but have not had this puppy again until now.

2008 vintag poured into a tulip glass.

It pours clean amber sap colored with highlights of burnt orange that glimmer in the light. The head dissipates and leaves some spotty lacing on top. To be honest, I am a little impressed at the carbonation level for this beer.

The smell is good. some phenolic sharpness, carmelized brown sugar, maybe some roasted fig (or some similar fruit may be a better descriptor). Either way, the nose is good, but for me, there is too much of that alcohol sharpness hiding other smells that could shine more otherwise.

Now for the first sip. Surprisingly not as carbonated as it looked based on the pour. The flavor has all the components that I wish the nose had as well. It is like caramelized figs, pears and raisins that have been simmered in brown sugar and brandy for a while. It is warming, complex, somewhat spicy, sweet, and smooth. The finish is coats your mouth, but without being too syrupy or cloying.

Most definitely a sipper (well duh, at this ABV, what would you expect?!)

With this taste fresh in my mind, I am looking forward to tasting the newly released bourbon barrel version.

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Photo of JizackFH
4.37/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a very nice dark amber color. It has a big fluffy tan head that has excellent retention. It slowly fell, and left no lacing on the side of the glass.

S - It smells of toffee, caramel, honey, and vanilla. It smells very sweet, but there is a nice alcohol bit that counter acts the sweetness. There are also some dark fruits, such as figs and raisins present.

T - There is a lot of caramel sweetness up front. There are good notes of toffee, vanilla, oak, chocolate, raisins, and figs. There is also a nice alcohol presence that comes out and stays through the finish.

M - This has a heavy body, with very nice carbonation. It has a bit of a chewy quality to it, and is quite creamy. There is also an alcohol warmth in the finish.

D - This is very drinkable. It goes down easy and tastes great. I think the alcohol content is hidden pretty well also. This is exactly what I had hoped it would be when I bought it. Great beer. I think I'll go back to the store and get a 4-pack of this.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 3,273 ratings