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

Pours a hazy, cloudy dark reddish-brown color, with a decent initial khaki head which quickly recedes to the edges of the glass. Aromas of caramel, toffee, apples, dark fruits and vintage port. Very vinuous on the palate, with spicy raisins, juicy apples, apricots and alcohol. A very complex and enjoyable barleywine/old ale.

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

Nice dark rust in color that reminds me a bit of apple cider fresh from the mill. Minimal head but a constant ring around the top of the brew all the way through leaving a thick, runny lacing all the way down the glass. A firm but not overbearing aroma of grapes and caramel stand out in the scent. There is a dent of alcohol that comes out on the nose too but no as strongly as one would expect with it's high abv (11.5% to be exact). A woodsy nuance comes out too where one would almost think it is barrel aged but there's nothing on the label stating such. A very warming and friendly smell all around.
First sip and there's already a lot of different levels of flavors coming out. A smooth buttery caramel steps up first softening up the tastebuds. Next comes a finely aged quality port wine likeness that is just as quickly followed by either something that reminds me of cherries or green apples. It's hard pinpointing which exactly. I had my better half take a sip as to see if she could tell which and she's torn between the two as well. The finish has a little bit of hotness from the high alcohol count but is mellowed out by vanilla and more of that caramel taste that it had in the beginning.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.4/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into snifter. 2010 vintage.

A: Pours a very dark ruby-red brown with a thin light brown head that faded quickly into a thin scum and collar around the glass. Decent spots of lacing.
S: Notes of rich alcohol, rum cake, raisons and dark fruits, caramel, dark malts, and sweet butterscotch and toffee.
T: Heavy diacetyl butterscotch taste mixed with some caramely malt, raisin and toffee. Alcohol is still hot since this is a fresh bottle, and overpowers some of the flavors. Notes of rum and cough syrup come through as well. Diacetyl died down about halfway through the glass.
M: Slick medium-full body, medium carbonation that is soft and creamy, and a mouthfeel that is hot with alcohol and sweetness. Aftertaste is fruity, syrupy and spicy.
D: I feel bad review this beer so fresh. This will be better in a year or two. Right now it's just too hot. Flavors are rich enough though. Will try this again after some ageing and probably give it a higher score.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.82/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A bottle from the 2009 bottling.

A: The pour is a sort of muddy brownish red color with a short lived tan head that settles down to a thin ring.

S: A strong aroma of dark fruits, leather, toffee, and dark sugars. There is a mild alcoholic presence in the form of sherry, rum which works nicely with the plums and raisins.

T: There is a bitterness and dryness that wasn't quite expected. The leathery quality really shines through along with some dark/burnt sugars. Surprisingly, the fruits are somewhat subdued.

M: The body is full with a smooth carbonation. A bit sticky and chewy as well.

D: Not the best of the old ales that I've come across. Perhaps I need to try this one at varying ages to see how it might differ.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.1/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

2009 release

Appearance -- Pours a ruby red with a finger of beige head that slowly dissipates into a fog of beige foam over the liquid line.

Smell -- Caramel, brown sugar, raisins, some spiciness, and a strong whiff of alcohol.

Taste -- Rum-soaked raisins, molasses, some spiciness and a hint of vanilla, and an abundance of ethanol.

Mouthfeel -- Full-bodied, slick, viscous, with biting alcohol.

Drinkability -- Easily one of the booziest beers I've ever had, and even at 11.5% it probably shouldn't have been. There was certainly some deep malty character, but the taste of ethanol overwhelmed all of the flavors I hoped would come out based on the nose.

EDIT: 10 months later the booziness has improved remarkably. Still not my favorite, but I'd bump this to a B/B+

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Photo of steve8robin
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Got 2 of these, extras in a trade. 2010 12oz bottle...

A: Looks very good! Deep murky brown swamp blended with wine ruby red. Thick 1 inch off white head that fades at a decent pace, but never completely disappears. Very good.

S: Dark fruit: raisin, plum, grape upfront with sweet sugar malt in the middle. Hints of booze in the middle / back with a slight port on the backend. Good.

T: Kind of a thick murky taste. Watery booze upfront with a sweet malty sugar wall immediately following. Hints of vanilla, oak, and earthiness on the backend. Decent.

M: Medium carbonation with a very creamy smoothness. Very good.

D: A little hot. The 11.5% is not very well hidden. Decent.

All in all, this is an ok brew. Not as good as expected for an old ale. I've been getting into Old Ale's like Hardy lately. Good to try at least once if you have access, but don't bother hunting this brew.

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Photo of doctormo
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wow, I picked up a 4-pack today to go with 2 - 4-packs of Surly and a couple of sixers to qualify for the case discount and tried one in the late afternoon.

This ale is tasty and strong. However, I realized that my timing was stupid as I have things yet to do today had I a couple of nice beers to quench the palette and the 11-12% alcohol of this beer will knock me out. I only drank half the bottle and set it aside for functional reasons so my review is first impressions only.

Very nice color and appearance, almost beautiful in a BA way. The taste is full and complex and the alcohol content is masked by the nice flavor but clearly there. A very fine tasting ale but must be imbibed with caution.

I recommend that Old Stock Ale be drunk as a first beer when the palette is clean and the mind is clear. Afterwards, you can drink a regular ale and think you got a Coors Light by mistake. This is one fine ale albeit a bit strong.

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

Listed as 12.5% on the draft list. Served in a Chimay chalice.

Appearance: tall, lean head - moderate wilt; lazy lacing, the sherry-red pigment sinks low
Smell: a mix of port wine and barleywine
Taste: a mix of whiskey and barleywine
Mouthfeel: thick, slick, sweet, neat; smooth whiskey finish
Drinkability: very much so, but one and done

North Coast succeeds again. Enjoyable but not sustainable. Thought it would go nice with the BBQ pulled pork sandwich I ordered, and it just made the grade. A lot of high alcohol brews like this will be all ethanol when paired with sweet, smoky meat The intriguing and intoxicating flavor of OSA, however, luckily, held firm. It packs a (and resembles a refined, hard fruit) punch.

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Photo of Freethyhops
4.01/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had this on a few occasions but a favorite trader of mine sent me a 2008 vintage a short while ago and I decided to crack it and realized I haven't reviewed it. So 12oz 2008 vintage into a snifter.

a- the beer pours a dark amber that shows great clarity and a nice change of color with deep ruby tones when held to light. a persistant centimeter of cream colored head left nice lacing along the side of the glass.

s- heavy sweet malts, mainly caramel and reminscent of raisons with a hint of alcohol

t- massive malt sweetness with tones of caramel, highly fruity esters and a bit of nuttiness. really no oxidation but just a hint of alchohol as it warms past cellar temps. there's nothing mind-blowing here but it's really exceptionally smooth and well melded.

m- massive viscosity....to the point of being chewy. the feel really adds to the richness of the beer and a subtle carbonation fits well. a tame amount of alcohol warming.

d- it definitely takes a hit here. this one defines a sipper if there was a definition. a very rich flavorful beer. it is very tasty and easily aquired for a decent price, so it could be a regular nightcap beer and one that ages gracefully.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this one up at Julio's -2008 vintage -poured from the stubby 12ozer into a snifter

A - A caramel brown colored liquid w/ translucent clarity and quick to settle beige cap w/ ultra fine bead. The lace clings is a haphazard streamer/spotted appearance

S - Vanilla spice and caramel aroma w/ a slight creamy almost custard-like aroma of subtle oxidation

M - The feel is surprisingly crisp w/ relatively full carbonation and a mild warmth of alcohol w/ sweet textures from mid taste into a semi-dry toasted finish

T - A taste of nut and mild caramel malt sweetness w/ a mild pine flavor in the hop dept is followed by a light pepper and subtle note of coffee w/ toffee-like buttery edge and mild brown sugar flavor w/ a light vanilla bean accent and mild molasses quality w/ more pine from the hops and sweet malted caramel notes into the long finish. As it warms it brings more of an alcohol warming and caramel tootsie roll from the malt emerges

D - I really wasn't sure what to expect other than good mentions of this brew - a really solid old ale w/ substantial malt body - what this style is all about. The alcohol is very well hidden for a brew upwards of 11% abv

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Photo of BeerAndBourbon
3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage; 11.7% alcohol

A. Pours a beautiful amber with a small tan head that dissipates quickly.
S.Smells of malt, estery fruitiness, freshly baked bread, and yeast.
T. Unfortunately the taste is rather muted right now. The bready/yeasty component comes through with some subtle orange citrus, but there's not much else going on. That said the high alcohol content is hidden very well.
M. Medium bodied with a low level of carbonation.
D. While not a bad beer, this isn't very interesting right now. I've got a 4 pack left for the cellar so I'll pull one of these out in a couple of years to see if aging helps develop some of the characteristics.

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Photo of StaveHooks
3.05/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured into an over sized wine glass. Pours a nice cherry wood color. 1 finger tan head that vanishes fairly quickly.

S - Soy sauce, boozy malt, candied fig, cherry, prunes, all kinds of fruit. It's hard to distinct.

T - Brown sugary fig, syrupy raisin, sweet toasted malt, nice spice in the middle, a little soapy towards the finish. Thick and sticky.

Very sugary sweet fruit flavor and that's about it. Wasn't extremely enjoyable and I don't see myself seeking this one out any time soon. I might age the one I have left to see if I drank it to soon.

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

I haven't been on BA in a while, and this beer made me want to review again!!

Bought it in a mix 6 with barleywines and RIS's. Poured from 12 oz bottle into a room temp beer mug, it's a little lighter than I expected. Gorgeous ruby red color. No kind of carbonation or head, though. Maybe I could have poured it a little more aggressive??

Smells of caramel, maybe a hint of vanilla. Maybe raisins? Super sweet and malty...

Tastes exactly like it smells. The 11.4% ABV is hidden wonderfully. Still a little warm, but not overtly strong... well, not in the flavor. I can feel it about half way into the glass.

Nice big flavors and thick on my tongue. Not as "chewy" as a lot of beers, but still a malty, mouth smacking beer. Not finding myself licking my gums, though.

This is a great beer for "one and done". Possibly even two, but no more. Super sweet, malty, barleywine feeling beer. I'm gonna keep this one in the back of my head for another time. North Coast hits another home run!!

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

Picked up at Yankee in Attleboro - Older Vintage (2008)

Poured into a Chouffe snifter, head pours creamy but thin and dissipates quick enough that I turned my head for a moment and it was gone. Beautiful and caramel colored in the glass, you know that the flavor contained within is aching to be drank. No light passes through the bulb of the glass as it sits there. Mini bubbles trickle to the top while I give myself time between sips. Flavor reminds me of bourbon and fig with a thick, oily finish to it. High alcohol with a soft and subtlely bitter finish. A wonderful beer.

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Photo of oregonskibum
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Review transcribed from notes. 2009 vintage.

A: Brown with amber/orange tints. 1/2 inch off-white head that fades fairly quickly.

S: Smell is domimated by spiced apples, vanilla, baby powder and some light bubble gum. Very complex. As it warms, more caramel and banana bread flavors come out.

T: Caramel, apple, some faint smokiness. Big bready, malth flavors come in mid-taste. Definitely hot with a strong alcohol presence (should die off in a year). As it warms, spicey notes become more prominent.

M: Medium to heavy body, super high carbonation. Carbonation was high to the point of being distracting.

D: This needs some age. The taste, while complex and interesting, is a little on the hot side. Look forward to this in a year or two.

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

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. 2010 vintage.

A: Pours a clear mahogany body with short-lived light tan head. There is very little retention, no lacing, no collar -- the beer looks absolutely still in a few minutes.

S: Grapes / raisins, caramel, dates. I'm enjoying the complexity, though it is undermined by its own sweetness a strong boozy presence.

T: Caramel, raisin, dates, even light cherry. This isn't absolutely cloying, but it's sickly sweet. It gets boozy in the finish, particularly pronounced as it warms. I understand that it's fresh, but I expect a beer to be drinkable right away or close to it. This is really stretching the limits.

M: Chewy, sticky flavor. Not well disguised ABV; you can sense that it's around 12%. But, again, it's fresh. This is a beer meant to be aged.

D: In the 2009 and and 2010 cases, I just drank one of the four-pack to evaluate it, and then put the rest aside for aging. I expect it to be phenomenal in a couple of years. We'll see.

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