Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

3,215 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: 3,215 |  Reviews: 1,507
Photo of Flashsp2
4.37/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Stock '09, sampled March '10

Poured into snifter. Generates a dense creamy beige head atop a deep
mahogany body with orange highlights. Leaves tracks or lace that don't
really stick, but sort of slowly drag down the glass. Head dissipates
to leave a solid ring and a island of floating foam in the middle.

Nose is all over the place. Subtle and mellow, soft, with the rough
edges rounded. Vinous of port wine, cognac, roasted nuts, caramel,
overripe plums, booze, dark fruits, rich malt, raisin, whisky, candied
citrus, spice.

Palette is similar to the nose, i.e. all over the place. Toasted whole
wheat drizzled in apple blossom honey, sweet citrus, whiskey, plums,
red apple skins, chewy malt, nuts. Booze is discernable, but not
'hot'. It doesn't really get in the way, it just subtly reminds you
that this is a big beer. It's rich and decadent, a beer that begs

Mouthfeel is chewy and soft, with a heavy viscosity and a low level

While this is quite easy to drink, it's certainly not a beer to be
consumed in any serious quantity. This best enjoyed over the course of
an hour, allowing it to come to room temperature which let's this bad
boy breathe.

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

2007 vintage (11.7% ABV)

Appearance: Pours very dark ruby red and is actively effervescent. Head does not retain for long.
Smell: Very sharp aroma upon opening. Quite unique- tart fruits definitely in the mix here. Sure smells like candi sugars, but I'm not sure if this is in the recipe.
Taste: Slow build-up to a boozy and slightly bitter sensation at the middle and end of the tasting- can sense a warming alcohol tingle at the finish. Dark fruits, plum, raisin, cherry, and dark bready malts constitute the flavor profile.
Mouthfeel: Medium to above average texture. Dry finish. Alcoholic tingle definitely noted.
Drinkability: Sipper for sure. Probably the strongest olde ale I've ever had. Pretty hot for a 2007.

Overall, quite an experience. Not exactly my cup of tea, but not a loser. Drink with respect.

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Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

**11/24/11** more notes

Opened up a 2008 bottle for Thanksgiving, around 3 years old. This is the first Old Stock I've had that wasn't a gusher. This might be my favorite experience with it so far, it's nice at 3 years old. Great appearance. Big ol toffee/vanilla/raisin bomb, brown sugar and buttery malts. Drinks easy for 12.5%. Seems more balanced and less hot with the extra age on it, a little less sweet than I remember it being too. I definitely can recommend aging it this long.

**original review**
2008 bottle. Damn, this thing was the worst gusher I've had. Foam poured out instantly and wouldn't stop for about 10 seconds, luckily saved a bit with my mouth and the glass. Lost a couple ounces though, shucks. This is my first 'old ale'. Pours nearly black, but holding it up to the light reveals see-through dark red. Very carbonated and quite a bit of sediment. Nice head rests on top, color somewhere between off-white and tan, eventually just turns into a thick ring not leaving much lacing. For the smell, first thing that comes to mind is "doppelbock". Cola, maple, burnt toast, vanilla. Quite a great scent. Taste pretty much follows the nose, getting alot of cola, unsweetened maple, dark malt, a whiskey-ish feel, probably a combination of vanilla+booze. The alcohol comes through much more in the taste than in the scent, but it is not overly boozy for 12.5%. Caramel and smoke also come to mind. Kind of reminds me of a cross between a scotch ale and a doppelbock. Pretty complex stuff, although I think I prefer smelling these flavors rather than tasting them, a little too heavy and not a huge fan of the tastes. This has been aged for around 2 years, I imagine the booze on this thing fresh must be pretty crazy. Taste actually improves a bit in the finish I think, a warming sweet vanilla flavor seems to take over. Mouthfeel is good, nothing really mentionable here. Definitely malts over hops, the aging has had a part in this I'm sure. Drinkability is pretty limited here simply because of the nature of the style. The price and booze taste isn't high considering the alcohol content. I was considering buying a 4-pack of the 2008 to age but I think I will pass on it. Good, just seems like the flavors here are a bit too powerful for my taste. I still wouldn't mind trying the Reserve though...anyone wanna give it up? :P

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Photo of sk8man121
3.95/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage 12 oz bottle poured into Shipyard pint glass.

A: Pours a dark strawberry color with copper tones throughout. Head is a creamy tan that leaves barely any lacing on the glass. Looks pretty nice.

S: Smells distinctly of currants and dark fruit. Roasted malts are present, along with quite a bit of alcohol in the nose. I can't wait to take a sip.

T: VERY boozy w/ more dark fruit, oak and chocolate. Quite malty and sweet; typical for the style.

M: Thick & chewy with lighter carbonation than I expected.

D: Very filling; may well be a meal. The high ABV makes it hard to want to drink more than one of these, but it certainly is a tasty creature. I think a year or two would do wonders for this, which isn't to say that it doesn't drink well fresh because it does.

Give it a shot!

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

2009 edition, poured into my perfect pint glass.

Pours a hazy cola-brown with notes of light amber and ruby. A foamy one-finger khaki head quickly fades to a sudsy ring. Tons of champagny bubbles dance to the surface in ribbons.

In the nose: grainy caramel malts. Burnt sugar, honey. Bubble gum. Milk chocolate. Black currants.

Taste is very interesting. Starts mellow and sweet, with dark burnt sugars. Plums, currants, licorice. Belgian dark fruits. Heavy malts come later, ranging from sweet caramel to bitter light coffee, with heavier emphasis on the dark stuff. Almost like a combo belgian dubbel/porter. Big alcohol and stringent hops hit at the finish.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly full. Light yet full, it reminds me of whipped cream. High carb. Alcohol is extremely well-hidden.

A decadent beer, and one that I'll definitely seek out again. Old ales are quickly moving up the rankings in my list of favorite styles.

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Photo of Stunner97
3.03/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

2010 batch of stock ale

Appearance- dark brown to amber red, very thick murky in color, small bubbles stream along the bottom of the glass, tan head starts quick and quickly fades off

Smell- sweet molasses, slight raisony smell, rum, slight alcohol, and slight hopping on the nose

Taste- starts up front with a real lot of malts, and slight hop in mid palate but not much, sweet malts, overall though very boozy flavor almost like tasting a straight liquor or rum, may need some age to really mellow of that heat,

Mouthfeel- heavy thick and viscous, alot going on here in this very heavy beer

Drinkability- at this current point at least in this beers life I have to be realistic and admits its drinkablity is fairly low, theres just to much heat and not a great balance, I would be intrigued to see how this balances out in a couple year time but i think this is one if I had a 4pack of id certainly be cellaring for bit,

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Photo of dcajero
4.73/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Found a 4 pack of the 2007 model hidden on the back of the shelf at my local liquor store. Had to smile as the clerk tried to wipe off the layer of dust at the register.

Appearance - Hazy and the color of iced tea until held to the light when it shines ruby red. Poured a good 3/4 inch head that was gone in 5 minutes with no lacing.

Smell - Cherry blossoms, raisins.

Taste - More cherries, raisins hints of caramel or brown sugar.

Mouthfeel - Has a nice crisp feel on the edges but a heavy almost oily feel overall. The alcohol is front and center but not overwhelming to any extent.

Drinkability - Definitely not for up and about type activity. At the end of the day this is a nice easy bring down. At the ABV it can sneak up on you.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.97/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Ruby color, minimal head eviscerated soon after. Aroma is alcoholic.

Taste is alcoholic, a little cherry, syrup and molasses feel. Reminiscient of brandy. Powerful. This is a sippin' beer. Some apple possibly. Doesn't fade downbottle. Sweet. Carmel. Damn alcohol is too prevalent for my tastes. No hops.

My uncle who likes port wine might be into this. Not my thing, but no denying these guys make fantastic beers.

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Photo of femALEist
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this 2005 version on tap at Monk's Kettle.
It's a barley wine and 11.5% and boy, was it ever so delicious.
It poured a red raisin color with almost no carbonation. We ordered it with our meal so that it would be warm by the time we were ready to enjoy it's deliciousness. It smelled like brown sugar, caramel, toffee, malt, molasses and port (like I said before, my kind of beer). It tasted amazing. It just ages extremely well. It tasted like roasted nuts, butterscotch, caramel and toasted malt goodness.

It's funny how all of these Winter/Holiday beers have been all over the market, when THIS beer is probably my favorite Winter Beer. It's just perfect to sip on a cold winter's night by the fire.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Bottle review today.

A-pours a hazy dirty reddish copper colored beer with a thin very light tan colored head that fizzles away quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass

S-the nose is rather boozy. Chocolate and molasses lie up front giving a dark roasted malt aroma to this brew. Then, alcohol soaked, and I mean soaked, dark fruits come in after. Plum and raisin with hites of figs all soaked in rum.

T-the taste is sweeter but the alcohol is still quite present. Dark chocolate with a touch of molasses are light but show the roasted malts up front. The sweetness follows suit taking over as rum soaked raisins and plums kick in with notes of cherries and figs. More chocolate hits at the finish with the sweet dark fruits

M-medium body and very smooth. Nice level of carbonation with a good crisp clean finish. Nice creamy feel as well making it easy drinking

D-this is pretty tasty, it is a little boozy taking away from the overall drinkability but I can imagine that this really opens up with some age. Definitely decent fresh; but I'm sure age will make this awesome!

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Photo of aaron12
4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

wow!, this is scary how easy it goes down...

this beer is extremely impressive!

it's sweet, but not too much. for how strong it is, i was expecting much more of a over baring malt flavor, but nope... it's just right. this comes on quick, the first few sips go down fast, and then it hits you. you realize this is very much a sipping beer. plums, peaches, brown sugar, cherries., but done with a great balance so to not be overly sweet.
well done! i will drink this again.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes on 11/10/09, 2008 Vintage on tap at MacGregor's

A - Clear burgundy red, short lived white head. Not much lace. 4.0

S - Lots of caramel and toffee. Hint of rum and raisins. 4.0

T - Mostly rum and raisins, hint of prune juice and red wine. Finishes somewhat bittersweet with a touch of roasted grain and cocoa. 4.0

M - Very smooth, dancing carbonation. 3.5

D - Very drinkable for an 11.5% beer but the alcohol will definitely sneak up on you! 4.5

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Photo of sway0925
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'm new to this so please forgive me

It pours a deep red with little very little head

Smells of sweet fruit and carmel and the taste of carmel, toffee, and apple come through.

Mouth feel was a little to carbonated but this did not take away from the overall notes of the beer

Even with the high alcohol content you really can not tell. It goes down smooth and finishes nicely reminds me of drinking a nice whiskey on a warm day....

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Photo of jt31914
2.38/5  rDev -42%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle

A: 1 inch of head with a dark amber and brown color; not anything unusual.

S: Strong alcohol tones, some hoppiness and scotch aromas as well. Very much a liquor smell.

T: Tastes of burnt caramel with a dry fig/pearlike finish. The burnt taste is too strong and odd tasting for me, while the finish is tingly and odd. This beer is unique, but not in a way that I enjoyed.

M/D: Bubbly in mouth and somewhat harsh on finish (although at 11.5% I shouldn't be surprised). Not overly drinkable and honestly this brew is a big disappointment.

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Photo of MASPuros
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 On tap at the Verdugo in a tulip glass

A: Murky and a dirty amber color ... little foam and not much sign of bubbles. Looks sticky and syrupy

S: Reminds me of carmel apples, dark fruits like apple cider with hints of caramel and toffee. Nice sweet smell.

T: A mixture of fruits and carmel. Nice sweetness and a slight hop bitterness. Slight tobacco and leather taste. Pleasant warming feeling from the ABV ... each component complimented the other. Nice balance

M: Sticky with tiny bubbles. I love the aftertaste this leaves on the palate. Almost like I had a glass of sweet brandy.

Overall great beer I will be seeking more of! Don't take this one lightly .. sip and enjoy!

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Photo of bminor7
4.64/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

12 from Pearl St. Beverage in Burlington. This is the 2010 vintage. I'll compare to the 2008 vintage, which I had right after this.

Clear cranberry hue...not much lacing or foam to speak of. Heavy and syrupy body, which I like. This body you can tell just from the scent, which is dark fruits, heavy amounts of sugar, and a snappy alcohol burn. Very similar to a BSDA but more well-rounded. Taste has many vinous elements, darm malts with subdued hops. sticky MF and hot alcohol following up the back, but not in an offensive quantity. There is also a savory spicy quality that I have not met before. This would go well with Thanksgiving dinner, for sure.

12 from EBI in Saratoga. Dusty old 2008 vintage picked up in late 2009.

Appearance is much different than the 2010. Still a garnet hue but this beer is almost totally opaque with turbidity. A coffee-crema ring of foam forms at the edge of the glass, looking to stay awhile. A deep, cherry and spicy prune and alcohol scent...really intense, I found myself huffing it. Methinks this one has improved significantly. The taste is also worth a few words, namely detailed elements of dark fruits like plum, cranberry, hot ABV (got at least one shiver from a good sip), still sugar there but less obvious and more effectively integrated. Heavy and not something you should have more than one of. I say that, and this is my 2nd Old Stock within the last 3 hours, so I'm feeling alright. But about that beer - outstanding new, superfluous aged.
I was very excited to try this and glad I picked it up. I would recommend it, unless you go to the same beer stores I do.

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Photo of sitarist
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage aged a few months.

Pours a deep leather tan with an off white head that fades quickly to a coating. Some legs but no lacing.

Smells like apple cider with hints of caramel and toffee. Fruity sweet and welcoming. Warn and boozy.

Taste= Over ripe fruit(apples and pears), sweet(caramel and toffee), nutty, with a nice brandy like alcohol presence. Warming and well balanced, I cant wait to see what the cellar does to this beer over time.

It is heavy bodied, but with a nice dose of a fizzy' flavor dancing carbonation. The flavors stick to your palate as it dries.

Highly sip-able! Nothing is overbearing. They say to age this beer; I cant imagine how great this beer will get its all-ready near perfect. I'm looking forward to next winter. Just beware of the high ABV..

(July 2013: Drinking a bottle of the 2009 next to a bottle of 2013. I just have to say that this beer is amazing fresh, but it ages unbelievably.)

(Aug/5/2013: 2009 vs 2012... 2009 has aged so well, it has mellowed nicely, flavors have married, still complex, but more subdued...Its flavor has benefited the most from aging; I get raisin, prune, chewing-tobacco, dates, caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Near perfect body/mouthfeel.
The 2012 has a ruby hue, more clear than the 2009. 2012s' aroma compares nicely to the 2009, not quite as complex. Flavor is quite different... Ripe apple, caramel, dates, toffee, brown sugar. A little bit more heat on my tongue, but still pleasantly smooth.)

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

Twelve ounce bottle into snifter.

A: Two finger head over a dark amber with ruby highlighted body. Lace doesn't stick but is present on tip. Head dwindles to a nice sheen.

S: Musty basement Maris Otter Pale Malt heaven. Brandy und rum raisin.

T: Super in your face dark molasses liqueur with a malt backbone. Fuggles hops are heavily blanketed but rise up enough for a molasses soaked spice and pleasant dry finish. Give me a case of this and the blizzard of '78, a warm fire, und plenty of vittles for the crock pot.

M: Medium syrupy yumminess.

D: A strong ale. Buy lots, drink a few, and cellar the rest. You'll be thankful in the future.

Wow this one just gets better and better as you let it set in the glass. A-one brew!

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

12oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A: Pours out a russet, sandy brown amber, deep and clear and topped with a thin but stout, sandy brown head. No lacing but none really expected, decent enough legs considering the alcohol content.

S: Aroma is of raisins covered in cognac, caramel, figs, caramel apples and earth. Subtle but deep.

T/MF: First sips bring on thick rows of caramel and a boozy heat. Raisins from the aroma and caramel apple evident in the aroma do most of the heavy lifting in terms of flavor. The finish is what to me is most interesting about this beer. Finish is a bit like gin, with a light taste of juniper berries and pine, mixed with a bit of tobacco to boot. Feel is every bit of 11.5% with a surprisingly lively carbonation that really works to get things moving across the tongue.

D: A deep sipper to be sure, but full of flavors too complex to detail here because I would really only be doing this beer a disservice. This beer would make an excellent addition to the cellar, it would be interesting to see how this develops over time.

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Photo of kaseydad
4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 Vintage

Snifter pour and I am met with hazy brown colored ale with nice burgundy highlights and a big finger and a half off-white head. Not bad for a 4 year old brew. Not bad at all. The aroma consists of some bourbon-like qualities, raspberries and strawberry syrup. Simply amazing. A good hop quick on the taste with some wood aspects, a slight boozy burn on the swallow and a medicine/cough syrup aftertaste, which stays in the throat. The booze burn stays for awhile which is unique and there is a slight numbing sensation on the gums. Full-bodied mouthfeel. Drinkability is pretty good even with the high alcohol content but consuming more than one could be tiresome.

Overall I have had this many times and am never disappointed. I recently had an 05 vintage and that was amazing as well. A great beer to cellar at the right temperature....waiting to consume is the problem.

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Photo of HumulusLupuLust
4.89/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

i)low, thin head; hazy dark copper

II)couldn't get over how much this smelled like powdered grape kool-aid, green apple, raisons, watermelon candy from cracker barrel, not too much alcohol on the nose, misc. fruit, wood, smoked peat, cinnamon

III)first sip rang juniper berry, caramel; nice carbonation; well hidden alcohol, however, spicy; lemon, oak finish, hint of peat, alcohol warms halfway through.

this beer reminds me of an oaky tripel, a 11.7% that sips like a 7-9er. this beer is now one of my favorites. last year's was good, this one's great.

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.07/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A- Minimal head, no retention, no lacing. This is to be expected from a more boozy beer such as this. The beer itself is a semi clear deep garnet color.

S- Golden raisins, toffee and nuts. Some alcohol is present as well.

T- Malty, sweet, grainy and lightly bready. Big toasty malts, plums and some alcohol.

M- Full bodied and highly carbonated. A little too much carbonation. Its very sharp and prickly. I would rather this beer be smoother and velvety.

D- Pretty warming beer at 11.7%. One and done for me. This is probably better with age.

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Photo of HiGravShawn
3.58/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Nice caramel coloring with decent head for a big brew.

S: Okay. Has a definite molasses thing going on. Getting a metallic smell in there from something.

T: Big, malty, and sweet. Kinda slaps you across the face on the first sip. To be expected though as it's 12% ABV. Once settled it is very enjoyable for a sipping and/or dessert brew.

M: Thick and viscous like a syrup. Matches the flavor well.

D: Drinkable for what it is... a sipping beer.

Conclusion: Too sweet for my general tastes, but when it comes to big, malty sipping brews this is a good one to keep around.

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Photo of ricke49
4.72/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

For a 10%+ abv brew this is truly an amazingly drinkable (hidden alcohol) concoction. But not so hidden as to deny the desired 'warmth'.

And having consumed a 12 oz. bottle (at a price that equates to $6.42 - if it were in a 22 oz. bomber) I believe this quality ale ranks as a true bargin.

The malt base is essentially perfect; and the limited hop presence - well, what would one expect from this style? It all ties together in a delightfuly sippable ale that North Coast should be very proud of, and all ale lovers should be lucky enough to sample.

Raisin and caramel mix without being overly sweet. This one ale would get me through the coldest winter and would be one of my two creations to retain (in the hypothetical world of only being allowed two different beers) - the other being, to balance things out, Deschutes ESB.

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

Poured a dark amber brown color with a frothy beige-tan head. Lots of carbonation sticking to the sides of my glass. Aroma is of very strong alcohol and dark fruits. Taste is strong. Mostly alcohol with dark fruit and lots of sweet sweet malt. Brown sugary sweet. Nice hints of raisin and apples. I dunno if i held on to this too long or what, but the hops are way too mellowed out. They are supposed to be there right? This needs balance. Feel is slightly syrupy and coating. This is not drinkable. Too sweet and cloying.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,215 ratings.
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