Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
3,275 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: 3,275 |  Reviews: 1,527
Photo of jera1350
4.39/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2008:

Pours into a snifter a muddy brown color with a thin bubbly tan head that reduces within a minute to a trace of suds.

The nose offers up scents of dark rum and apple cider.

First off, this is a very sweet beer. It comes in the form of brown sugar, molasses, caramel and toffee. Flavors of dark rum and oak are also prevalent. Good amount of complexity.

Not full bodied, feels a touch thin. The carbonation is a hint bubbly, but leaves the beer being pretty smooth.

I am really enjoying this bad boy. Very nice sipper of a beer. Loving the flavor it offers. I am actually building a vertical of Old Stock to hold onto for both of my sons starting with the year they were born. I think they are in for a real treat!

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Photo of Hojaminbag
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old stock  has a slightly hazy, dark reddish orange body with about a finger and a half of off-white head.

The aroma is packed with a rich, malty aroma that includes caramel, toffee, a lot of sweetness and a bit of bitter chocolate.

The flavor is full of sweet, sticky toffee notes and hints of caramel that impart a very rich, full flavor.  Toasted malts make a pretty strong impression in the flavor also, along with a hint of dark fruit in the background.  A touch of bitter chocolate from the aroma pops up also, but it is very subdued.  Flashes of bitter hops appear underneath the malt, especially in the finish, where it mixes with a blast of alcohol warmth.

The body is full and the carbonation is fairly low, making for a creamy, full bodied beer that matches up perfectly with he rich malty body.

Old stock is a great beer if you're in the mood for a malt bomb.  I'm curious how this would taste aged, but it's damn good fresh. It hides that huge abv pretty well also.

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Photo of Jeffo
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Was fortunate enough to get both a 2007 and 2009 vintage of this brew as extras in recent trades. A big thanks goes out to DLucky and NYCWeatFan for the goods!

From a bottle into a snifter

Vintage: 2009

APPEARANCE: Watch out, she's a gusher! Once I poured it out, she settled down just fine. Poured a one finger, thick looking off-white or cream colored head with good retention. Seal brown colored body with little carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a wisp and ring and the remain the whole way, leaving some dots of lacing down the sides.

SMELL: Medium strength nose of caramel malt, dried fruit and some nut mix. Dates, prunes, figs, as well as some earthy tones.

TASTE: Caramel malt and some toffee notes. Some nuts in there as well as some spices from the alcohol. A bit of booze in there for good measure. Milder but lingering aftertaste of caramel and toffee sweetness, as well as some spicy alcohol is well balanced. A burst of spicy booze come through long after the swallow as well. Really good stuff.

PALATE: Medium-full body and creamy smooth on the palate. Goes down smooth with a bit of heat after the swallow, and finishes slightly mouth-coating and sticky.

OVERALL: A good brew for sure. I would definitely have this one again. A very tasty treat that would probably mellow out very well with a little age on it. It's still a little hot, but I can imagine the 2007 is drinking superbly right now. If I had known the 2007 was waiting for me, I'd have saved the 2009 and done a side-by-side. I'll have to try to score another young bottle for a comparison next time I'm at home. Thanks for hooking me up gents!

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Photo of geryeb624
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 12 oz. bottle poured into my DFH Signature Glass.

A- Dark brown with thin, wispy white head that soon recedes into a ring of foam. Lives a bit of lacing upon a swirl of the glass.

S- Boozy, with hints of dark, bready malts and dark fruits. Raisins & figs peek through the nose.

T- Dark malts and fruitiness start the brew, with some roasty bitterness and a bit of hops finishing. Some warming alcohol in the end as well. Some sugary sweetness shows as the beer warms as well.

M/D- Creamy, chewy mouthfeel with a nice level of carbonation. Surprisingly drinkable given the ABV, though I'd probably be anchored to the couch after 2 or 3.

A very nice, malt-forward ale. My first offering of the style and from North Coast, though I'll be pursuing more of both in the future.

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Photo of kruthar
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got a 2008 Old Stock Ale last year at Dark Lord Day and finally got around to opening it.

Appearance: Deep Brown color, only slightly transperant. White head that disapates till ery thin than stays.

Smell: Very first whiff gave me the thought of whisky. Later smells prove a strong licorice smell, very potent.

Taste: Very sweet first taste off the tongue followed by a strog alcohol bite then finishes with the licorice taste. licorice taste lingers for a long time on the back of the tongue.

Mouthfeel: still highly carbonated after two years, small carbonation bite on the tongue.

Drinkability: overall this beer is very sweet and leaves that licorice after taste in the mouth for a long time. if you like icorice youll like this beer.

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Photo of imwalle
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: dark brown, but still see through. thin head that leaves really fast

Smell: the first thing i noticed was molasses and then some fruits

Taste: yet again i first noticed the molasses then some fruits, most likely dried figs. there is a roasted taste at the end that is quickly followed by a bitterness. you can feel the heat off of it too.

Mouthfeel: some carbonation and then the alcohol is felt again.

Drinkability: it is a great beer but i think it would be even better in the winter instead of the summer heat. i would not want to drink more than one in a sitting. could not chug it even if i wanted to.

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Photo of tewaris
3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz. 2008 vintage poured into a New Belgium snifter.

Appearance 5/5

Pours dark reddish brown with a big light tan colored head, as a result of a vigorous pour, that recedes into a thin head. Even though the beer seems clear, there's a certain viscosity to it. No sediment.No lacing.

Aroma 4.5/5

Dark/dry fruit... I am thinking raisins, figs. Hint of molasses. Sweet & rich.

Taste 3/5

Falls short compared to the wonderful aroma. There's a certain bitterness adequately balanced, and even shadowed by the malt presence but I don't detect any "character". Slightly vinous. It might not be a fair comparison but the aroma hinted at a magnificent taste similar to J.W.Lee's barleywine and that's where the disappointment lies. Alcohol warms me up as is suitable for an ale of this strength. Finishes slightly bitter and dry although the malt presence, hence sweetness, is evident. The bottle reviewed is two years old and hence attenuated, otherwise a sweeter finish won't be surprising.

Mouthfeel 4/5

A body thinner than I'd have preferred but that comes with two years of aging. Carbonation is present, and welcome. As noted earlier, alcohol warmth is felt, yet it can't be called "hot".

Drinkability 5/5

It can't be chugged but it's a strong ale, what do you expect?


I don't think it's the best representation of the style, but it is a satisfying brew nonetheless. My only valid complaint is the lack of a solid character.

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

Stubby 12oz bottle into wide-mouth water glass. This 4-pk was highly recommended by the employee at Spec's in San Antonio.

Cloudy brown in color with a finger of tan head that quickly melts into the carbonation. Aroma is rich in delicious-smelling caramel malts.

Roasty malt and booze up front with hints of coffee and mild sweetness not far behind. And despite the alcoholic warming feeling upon swallowing, this beer is exceptionally easy to drink*. This is a full-bodied, delightfully creamy brew!

* it's quite easy to drink two of these at the end of the day; any more would lead to an evening of unpleasantness from this lightweight :(

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

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass. 2010 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a medium chocolate color with a slight ruby tint. The color is just a bit darker than iced tea. Basically no head at all, maybe 1/5 finger which dissipates almost immediately. No lacing.

Smell: Malt, dried fruit and alcohol are dominant with hints of caramel, dried nuts and chocolate.

Taste: Strong and sweet malt flavor up front then a distinct alcohol bite and slight fruitiness in the middle followed by flavors of dried nuts and fruits at the finish. Aftertaste is a mix of bitter, sweet and a hint of remaining alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Distinct alcohol bite.

Drinkability: High drinkability for a beer of this ABV. This is a sipper so it must be judged as such. Just sit back, relax and savor this one.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. This would make a great winter warmer. For those not familiar with the style, I suggest checking it out. You won't regret it.

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Photo of jonkissee
4.75/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is exceptional in taste and mouthfeel.
It accompanies a serious attitude with a satisfaction that I have experienced in very few beers. With a slight warming to perhaps 50 deg. you will be enthralled with a complex yet piercing bite that will keep you coming back for more, beer after beer. I would definitely recommend this beer to anyone who enjoys the complexities of beer.

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Photo of rarbring
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer is clear ruby red with a hint of brown, a bit lighter than red wine, the head is beige and goes down quickly leaving no lacing but good curtains.

The smell is ripe, sweet fruits, figs, dates and raisins, some vinous notes. Some earthy musky tones in the background.

The taste is sweet, very sweet, dried fruits, raisins, oranges, peaches, some bitterness, cocoa beans and bitter orange peel. Some alcohol is noted.

Very low carbonation, a complex body finished of with an alcoholic warmth.

After dinner with a very ripe cheese this works well for me.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into my Narke Tulip.

Pours a medium brown with lots of red showing though, light tan head, good retention and great lacing...The aroma is what really stands out here, balanced and strong, I get a whiff from several feet away. There is vanilla, dark brown sugar, bourbon, light cherries, really similar to a barleywine but sweetet and without a hoppy finish...The taste is equally as nice, bourbon, lots of vanilla, cherries, and a sligth alcohol finish.

All around a super nice Old Ale that should be tried.

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Photo of SuperNova777
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 2009 vintage bottle

A:Poured a nice ruby red color w/ a two finger head that slowly settles

S:Smells of molases, malt, a little bit of hops, and vanilla as well

T:Very sweet barley/malt taste up front with a tiny bit of alcohol burn, some vanilla on the back burner that leaves a nice coat on the palate

M:Medium bodied with fairly decent carbonation, was looking for maybe a little thicker body from a old ale

D:Not the best old ale I have ever had but still good. I can see letting some of these sit a little longer to let smooth out and let the flavors complex and grow a little more.

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

bottle courtesy of klikger. poured into my kbs snifter.

a - brown color, not cloudy. tan head.

s - malts, caramel, some booze.

t - nuts and caramel. faint pepper spice. alcohol is there, but not as big as I was expecting.

m - creamy mouthfeel. lower side of carbonation as expected.

overall - very tasty beer. I could imagine being very happy with 2 or 3 of these on a cold night.

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

2009 vintage

I'm trying really hard to do a better job evaluating beers for what they're supposed to be as much as what I prefer. Case in point, this is not my style of beer at all. I would have a hell of a time giving this beer anything over "average" for drinkability because there's no chance at all that I'd ever want a second in a sitting. That I even came back to it at all for a re-visit after the initial line-up says volumes about it's relative balance.

My notes:
Reddish, cola bourbon color, fine head.
Molasses, caramelized citrus, vanilla, and brown liquor on the nose.
Raisins and more vanilla on the palate.
Food Pairing: Date tres leches cake with polencio syrup

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.86/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage into an IRS tulip.

Pours an intense ruby red with an off-white fingers head.

Smells malty, rich, with a little bit of funkiness. There is naturally a hint of booze.

Taste is a malt bomb, alcohol, with a bit of crispness.

Medium bodied, smooth, yet lingering.

This is a sipper, not a chugger. /end

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Photo of farrago
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finger's worth of deep tan foam, moderate sized bubbles, quick to evacuate and simmer down to the surface, equally weak retention to what lacing does appear. Thick, close to viscous appearance, like orange clay mud in a glass, the brackish look gives way to some yellow at the outermost edges. Smells almost like a bakery or candy store, avalanche of caramel, toffee, butterscotch, milk chocolate, molasses, pralines, cinnamon, bourbon before prune, date, fig and dried peach scents ensue with a slice of raisin bread too, nothing hoppy or even really funky. Full-bodied with surprisingly good fluidity given the voluptuousness of the nose, the carbonation tightly woven yet not smothered in this environment. Here there's a peat moss, charcoal ash and unprocessed grains element to balance, at least in part, the molasses, honey, butterscotch, milk chocolate, vanilla fudge and date, fig, raisin fruit. Plus there's a nice glancing blow of orange, lemon citrus to lend zest. Creates more inner mouth perfume than you'd expect too. No session beer but great to finish off the evening with.

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Photo of ahalloin
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Live review from a 2009 vintage.

Received this as an extra in a trade. Thanks Rob! You dah man!

I poured the entire bottle into my wide snifter filling about half the glass. Wow, this is a seriously beautiful beer in the glass!! Pours a semi translucent reddish brown color with slight hints of deep copper. There is definitely a reddish note to the color though. Simple light tan head appeared and dispersed to thin ring atop the beer.

The smell is subtle with notes of melted caramel, toffee, dark ripe fruits, a touch of nuttiness, and slight alcohol. I wish the smell had more presence, but it is right on for an Old Ale.

The taste is everything you would expect from the smell, but in a more pronounced fashion. Big malty sweetness in layers of toffee, caramel, and dried fruits. I'm reminded of a sweet subdued red apple draped in heavy caramel. Some nuttiness as well. The 11.5% ABV is fairly well hidden. I get a slight heat from it in the finish.

The mouthfeel is big and creamy. The carbonation still dances in my mouthfeel 15 minutes after the pour. Despite being elderly, this beer is very much alive... (do you see what I did there? :)

The drinkability is pretty good despite the heavy alcohol content, which is negated through the balanced malty sweetness.

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Photo of slowbie
3.67/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: pours a dark orange-brown color with a one finger head that disappears quickly. Minimal lacing.

Smell: sweet caramel malts with some dark fruitiness. a little bit of alcohol in the nose.

Taste: Something about the taste doesn't quite live up to the smell. The taste is a weakened version of the caramel malts in the smell leading into a dark fruit plumlike aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very watery for an old ale. Carbonation level a little low for my taste.

Drinkability: Not the best old ale I've ever had, but a solid beer overall.

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Photo of bagpiper2005
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pour: Dark red-amber color with 1 finger of caramel-colored head that dissipated rather quickly and left no lacing on the glass, and extremely effervescent.

Smell: Strong with notes of caramel malts, molasses, dark fruits, a little bit of hops, and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Caramel malts kick things off up front which then gives way to a big molasses taste with undertones of toffee and a little bit of a carmel apple taste. The back finishes up with a hint of spice, a brown sugar note, and a light-to-moderate hop bitterness. The alcohol is really well disguised, though the beer is rather warming.

Mouthfeel: Heavy body, a little sticky, and surprisingly low carbonation for how effervescent it is in the glass.

Drinkability: The stickiness of the beer makes it a little rough to go down, and it's definitely just a sipper. Very filling also, think of this as a meal in a bottle.

Final Notes: This would make a great beer to sip by the fireplace or campfire in the wintertime or to pair with a dessert. Warming and deliciously sweet, but you must treat it with respect.

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Photo of benclimbs
2.79/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

(not on tap)

2nd Review of this beer (had the 2009 vintage)
Today picked up a 2010 Vintage and it NEEDS another review.

I was excited to get this, see this beer everywhere but really enjoyed it last time i had it - WTF happened? I'm not sure if I got a bad bottle, or if they messed something up this year, but this is NOT the beer i had in 2009.

Looks like a normal, nice reddish brown strong ale, not much lacing, but that's understandable at 11.7% (new ABV?).

Smell is where it really comes out that this beer is not ok - it smells like a skunky, bready, strong lager - almost smells like Super Tenents or something raunchy, only a bit of redeeming wine like character, but more boozy...not alright. (i even let it sit for 30 min to see if it would dissipate)

Taste is just ok for a strong ale - a bit of sweet stuff, bready malts, but tastes viscous, strong and harsh - a little hop backbone at the end but nothing much...could be more sticky so mouthfeel is not bad.

Can't give it much in the drinkability departmet - harsh, pretty gnarly, and tastes every bit of 11.7%.

I'm seriously dissapointed in this beer from a pretty darn good brewery, unless Im going crazy, this is NOT the same beer I tried in 2009.

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Photo of jeffthecheff
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown color with a bit of red. The head is just a tight cap of sand colored foam.

The aroma has a good level of intensity, fitting with an 11.5% brew. The classic dark fruit aromas are all there, with figs and raisins coming to mind first. There is a little bit of a woody, bark and stem character coming through. Alcohol heat is on the low side.

In the taste, the alcohol heat comes through just a bit more. Some fruitiness is also present, but most of the flavor is a mouth coating maltiness with a hint of cocoa. There seems to be a tiny hint of acidity to bring some sharpness to the malt flavor.

The mouthfeel is lowly attenuated, with a good, maybe even slightly high level of carbonation. It's fitting, but doesn't elevate the beer any. The drinkability on this is about average. It's high abv and a slow sipper, but I found myself losing interest towards the end.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Fort Bragg California @ North Coast Brewing Company. Drinking Old Stock Ale on tap on July 20, 2010.

Wiseman Justin Reporting:

Appearance: Dark Amber and clear. Head is tight and retention is low. Lacing is very low. For the alcohol % it is above average. Lacing much better in my glass than in my buddies glasses which is good for this review.

Smell: Sweet Alcohol dances delightfully on my nose. Not a lot going on.

Taste: Shocking better on tap. Delightful burn going on. IT's really good on tap WOW. All of it's flaws that are so apparent are not here, it dances along your tongue with hints of dark fruits. Smooth, alcohol is hidden behind the actual flavor of Old Stock Ale that must only be revealed in bottles by aging it for a fortnight.

Mouthfeel: I think this is far less syrupy than it's bottled brethren. This is a vast improvement.

Drinkability: Still the12% alcohol bomb that demands sipping. Delicious but not so much that you can pound these past the point of caution.

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Photo of tbizzle0
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz into my Duvel tulip.

Very malty nose, though I couldn't really pull out any individual smells except for a bit dark fruity malt flavor.

Wow, lots of flavors in this one. Tons of sweet malt flavor, molasses, brown sugar, some vanilla and a lot of dark fruits. It's buttery, it's warm, it's sweet... very good beer

Carbonation and mouth feel were very good. I'll definitely get more of this one for those cool fall nights!

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Photo of 2DaMtns
3.85/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This wasn't what I really expected. It is much heavier and intense, and that is not a bad thing, but I cracked it open hoping for a good kicking back beer after work at 3am.

It poured a nice, dark copperish color, with a good head, although by the time I got settled in my chair the head was gone.

This has a powerfully sweet taste. For 11.5%, I didn't taste the alcohol as much as I expected, but now, 10-15 minutes after finishing it, I feel flushed, like I just took a double shot of whiskey. It's pretty smooth, has a decent mouthfeel, and is a good beer overall, I just wasn't prepared for it. This would be better with a meal, or just after eating. Not one to drink quickly or to have more than one or two of at a time.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 3,275 ratings