Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

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Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
3,266 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: 3,266 |  Reviews: 1,525
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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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

a - Pours a deep brown color with 2 inches of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells very very sweet. Smells of sugar, molasses, dark fruits, and caramel malts.

t - Tastes of dark fruits, sugar, and fruity malts. Also a decent amount of alcohol in the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Little bit of heat.

d - A decent dark ale, but I thought it smelled and tasted too sweet, and I thought the alcohol was too prevelant in the taste. Might give another shot.

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Photo of jmerloni
2.68/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - A nice brown-violet color that appears very creamy in the glass. Nice tan'ish head that lasts a while.

S - Holy malt. Dark fruits - dates, figs, grapes. Molasses.

T - WEIRD! This tastes almost purely like sugar plums. Perhaps the sweetest beer I've ever tasted. A bit repulsive in that sense, but it is true to the style. Dark fruits, plums, dates, figs, molasses. Flavors taste a bit roasted and nutty.

M - Pretty thick and oily tasting. Not a dry finish at all. Very alcoholic finish.

D - Not drinkable at all. If you can drink one of these, you're lucky. I'm glad I tried it, though. This is a very interesting style of beer that I have yet to taste. I'd like to try another in the style. Cool.

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

Appearance - Pours a dark copper/brown with about a finger of head that quickly dissipates leaving spotty lacing.

Smell - Heavy dark fruits such as plums and raisins. Caramel malts, alcohol, etc.

Taste - Quite similar to the nose. However, the initial taste is heavy malt sweetness. This is followed by a massive amounts of dark fruits (as the nose). Slight nuttiness, almost no alcohol warming and I can't taste any while drinking it. For almost a 12% this is hidden quite well.

Mouthfeel - Quite an impressive Mouthfeel...heavy viscosity, decent carbonation.

Drinkability - Damn...this is a sipper. I attempted to quaff a bit of this and it did NOT work. Heh... Quite a solid old ale. Very nice. Glad I got this as a single.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours ruby brown with a skim beige head that ends up as a ring. Chill haze, no lace.

Brown bread, toasted malt, boozy fruit and caramel aromas.

Toasted malt and burnt sugar, with browned stone fruit, with some caramel, a little butter and vanilla, and a long mild bitter finish. Just terrific and complex, with multiple changes and layers of flavor. Alcohol is there but pretty well hidden.

Medium-full body, just the right amount of carbonation.

This is going down easier than anticipated. It is going to kick my ass too. 11% is no joke. I could have one more, and that would be it. Tasty and probably better as a winter sipper. Still, a must try. Very good.

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Photo of briggssteel
3.15/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appearance- A dark brown. Looks pretty thick but has a nice head.

Smell- A lot of malt coming through in the smell. A lot like a bock. Picking up some fruit like smells. Very sweet smelling.

Taste- A lot of sweetness right off the bat. It kind of melds into a dark fruit taste and ends with a strong alcohol kick.

Mouthfeel- Definitely a thick, sticky type feel.

Drinkability- I hate to rate something this low for drinkability but I have to be honest, I really didn't care to finish the beer I had let alone start thinking about opening another. In my opinion it's just much too sweet and there's too much of a boozy aftertaste although it is 11%, so what else would you expect.

As a last note if you're into doppelbocks or stronger abbey ales I'm sure this beer is right up your alley. I just personally don't care for a ton of dark malt flavor and sweetness in my beer.

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

Reviewed from notes, 2010 and 2008 bottles side by side, scores for the 2010.

A- Dark ruby red with an off-white head that builds up for a bit but has low retention. A ring persists for a while. A nice color, sticky suds but no lace.

S- Some yeasty bread notes and dark fruit up front with some caramel. A bit roasty, alcohol is well hidden. 2008: Much stronger aroma that is an absolute blast of caramel.

T- Nice toasty and roasty caramel. The dark fruit in this beer has always impressed me. Some hop bitterness and grassy flavors. Cherries. Great balance and alcohol that is hidden amazingly. 2008 is much sweeter and way heavier on the caramel.

MF- Moderate, creamy body that has a good amount of warmth to it. Some bitters on the palate among low carbonation, the feel suits the flavors.

DB- Price good for the ABV and taste. The fruit, roasty and barleywine notes are great and the aged version is very nice. Glad I have a good amount of bottles to age. Hard to take much at once but still enjoyable.

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Photo of Bendurgin
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Gave this a pretty aggressive pour to see if I could come up with any head due to the 11.5 abv. Success! About a finger of head that looks just like cappuccino foam. It was short lived an quickly resided into spotty lacing. All in all though, this amber colored beer looks great with tiny bubbles floating to the top. When I cram my nose into my glass I immediately get sucker punched with a fist full of alcohol, this was not unexpected. After the first whiff of getting over the alcohol burn, layers of toffee and caramel come to fruition with a faint hint of brandy in the background. This syrupy beer is very warming with comforting flavors. Once again toffee and caramel come to mind with a bit of fruit; particularly plumbs. Roasted malts everywhere! The finish does leave a lingering taste of alcohol on the middle of the tongue. This is a flavorful beer which feel good in the mouth, a bit syrupy and the alcohol is warm going down, but nothing I wouldn't love on a chilly winter evening. The light carbonation very much helps bring all the flavors to life. Certainly a sipper, but as this comforting beer can be enjoyed on the best of quiet evenings.

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Photo of diamondc
3.47/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2010 vintage.

Not that much to look at in a Duvel tulip glass. Ruby red, with barely a wisp of foam after the head dies down.

Smells like peach cobbler to me. Can smell the booze immediately. Incredibly hot. Like drinking cherry cough syrup. Trying to get past the ethanol I get a bit of butterscotch, fruitcake, red grape flavor. Hops are non-existant. Definitely one for the cellar, or closet in my case.

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Photo of eat
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage from a trade with ritzkiss. Thanks a ton! I haven't had anything from North Coast since I drank a Brother Thelonious while watching some jazz at the Blue Note in NYC a year and a half ago. 12.5% ABV listed on the bottle. Poured into an over-sized wine glass as my only snifter recently broke.

The beer pours an initial finger of cream white head which immediately fades to a patchy cover and ring around the glass; expected along with the high alcohol. Opaque and a dark, nutty brown colour, this stuff looks alright.

The smell is pretty awesome and definitely seems aged. Dusty red wine, brown sugar, butter, prune juice, soft spices (cinnamon, white pepper) and some light earthiness all stick out amongst a sweet, complex nose. Almost no alcohol is evident; it must have smoothed itself out with age.

This stuff is very well balanced, being quite sweet but matched by an understated earthy bitterness. Alcohol definitely creeps into the mix but only in the best way possible; warming as it should. The flavour parallels the nose, with lots of dark brown sugar, vinous notes (dry port, slight cognac), prunes, distant spice and some musty-old-basement all underscored with soil-like hop bitterness.

While hidden a bit in the mouth by all the sweetness, some serious IBUs show up on the finish, leaving a chalky feel behind. Its silky medium body is lightly carbonated.

This brew makes for an ideal night cap; great on a cool summer evening but probably more appropriate to warm up with in the winter months. This is a sipper if I've ever tasted one, easily able to fill an hour's time like a fine single malt. Not incredibly "drinkable" but so delicious. A little bottle of this stuff is definitely enough all on its own.

I haven't tried this stuff fresh but looking at the reviews, I wouldn't touch this stuff for at least a year. At two years old, this is some serious beer. If you're buying some new bottles just stash them somewhere and forget about them. I could imagine this aging for a good long while. I would love to have a bunch of this sitting in my imaginary cellar.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 3,266 ratings