Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

3,219 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: 3,219 |  Reviews: 1,509
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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Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage.

My first Old Ale.

A - Pours a hazy dark orange with ruby red hints. Thin head that disappears quickly. Still active carbonation can be seen rising up in the glass.

S - Boozy sweet smell as the beer was poured. Upon further inspection. Nice sweet alcoholic notes are quickly present. Sweet bourbon and some brandy as well. Maple syrup notes as well as caramel. Some yeasty esters are definitely present. Very complex nose but aromas are very poignant. The yeasty notes remind me of some Belgian Quads.

T - Very sweet start to this beer. Boozy sweetness with almost a wine like feel and even taste. Chalky middle due to the yeast character. Almost no hop character except for at the last second there is a faint dry bitterness. Raisins and other dark fruits are very present.

M - Crisp even though there doesn't seem to be much CO2, there is. Medium-hig body with a high level of complexity. Still the finish is a bit more watery than expected because of the chalky yeast.

D - Overall a very good beer. Surprisingly since I dont enjoy very very sweet beers. At 11.5 the ABV is a bit much.

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Photo of MOB210SA
4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I bought the last one of these from Gabriel's, not knowing if they would get more, I've been holding onto this for the past couple weeks. Since then they restocked, and there's more so Ill grab some more, depending on this. The makers of Old Raputin, I know I wont be disappointed. I actually picked this and Old Rasputin up for the first time, together.

2008 bottle. Different ABV than the site says, 1% more making it 12.5%

Good pour resulted a quickly fizzling half finger head, cream tan. Died down in a hurry. Leaving no lacing and a very modest head. The head sticks to the walls, but falls too quick to leave any real lacing. Great looking ruby orange. The walls of my glass are bare at the end.

First whiff, reveals lots of sweet malt, and sweet fruit. With a nose reminiscent of Avery's The Beast. Just toned down slightly. Loads of strong dried fruit, and dark fruit. Cognac (my favorite liquor) is shining through too. I'm not detecting too much hops, but some. Hidden is not something that has anything to do with the alcohol here. Oh, it is there.

The taste is mostly dried dark fruits, musky maltiness with a good hot finish. Again, the alcohol is def. there. A plum/raisin, with a small fruitiness that I cant quite pick out. After reading feloniousmonk's review I have to say it is indeed apple that I was smelling. Thanks felonious for unknowingly helping.

Not exactly full bodied. Its a big ale, and is slightly syrupy, but goes down smooth and warms you through to your bones. If this is how all old stock ales are, I'm coming back for more.

This was damn good, but I have to say there are a lot of 10% beers that I could drink all night. This isnt one of them. I know its slightly stronger, but that isnt the reason. Simply put, A single bottle is very drinkable. More probably wouldnt be.

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Photo of MetalHopHead6
4.47/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

North Coast Old Stock Ale is heavy, sweet, and ALE.

It poured dark murky brown with very little head and no lace. It smelled and tasted like fermented dark fruit and had a heavy thick feel, exactly as expected from old ale. This has the feel of murky, dusky, dark-wood places, and seeps deep into the dusky dark part of the soul.

Old Stock is a terrific ale that would be a pleasure to sip with, or after, dinner or slowly with a book in a dark quiet place. It's exactly as an ale should feel

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

appearance: deep dark brown, copperish highlights

smell: toffee and heavy caramel

taste: tons of sweetness, toffee, caramel

mouthfeel: medium bodied

drinkability: decent beer but was a little on the sweet side. I'll be aging another though. would probably go well with some apple pie

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Photo of wescj
4.55/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Very thick burgandy in color, about a half inch of tan head. Very enticing.

Smells nice and sweet, in a well-rounded way that lets you know it's going to be a malty one.

Very complex malt flavors. Toffee and raisen are a couple of prime flavors. Nice and sweet. Doesn't cloy, though; there's enough hops to make a good balance. Enough booze to leave a good, warm taste.

Delightfully dry mouthfeel, wit a winey aftertaste. Very good beer overall.

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Photo of THORN
4.39/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 Fl. Oz. bottle poured into Duvel snifter. Served 50-55 F.
A: Dark brown, purple around the edges. Pours half inch of dark vanilla colored head, very bubbly. Retains no head and very little lace.
S: Bold malts, chocolate, and caramel. Faint coffee and raisins.
T: Malts are the most abundant flavor in this beer. they are toasted and sweet. Caramel starts a transition to slight bitter hops. After-tones of coconut and sweet raisins. Alcohol isn't noticeable.
M: Medium to medium light on tongue. A little bit syrupy.
D: Not over-whelming in flavor, but very drinkable for the ABV.

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Photo of mbudner
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage poured into a snifter

A- Pours caramel-colored with a very thin yellow-ish head that dissipated quickly leaving no lacing. When held to the light, it almost has a ruby glow to it.

S- It smells delicious. I'm getting some dried fig, sweet caramel, brandy notes from a combination of the fruitiness (possibly apricots) and the booziness. As it warms, I'm getting a lot of raisin and maybe some honey.

T- Less sweet than the nose would have led me to believe and more of an assertive bitterness from the alcohol than I expected. Last time I had this was a few months ago in a spotted vertical of '03, '04, '06, and '08. I can definitely see why/how this is a must age beer. Not that it is bad fresh at all. After sipping on it for a little, I'm either more acclimated to the booziness or it is starting to fade with exposure and warmth and the beer is really beginning to shine. Similar dark fruits in the taste as well as a bit of tobacco. As it nears room temperature and loses a lot of the carbonation, it becomes much more peaty, almost like a scotch ale. I'm really liking this as it progresses.

M- Assertively carbonated, which I haven't seen much in the style, but if I recall correctly, this mellows with age and is therefore a very good thing. Not too cloying (which I feared upon first whiff.) Nice creamy mouthfeel in the finish, which is surprising due to the initial carbonation level on the tip of the tongue.

D- Dangerously drinkable for an 11.5% old ale. Not too sweet or cloying and the alcohol really begins to mask itself after a few minutes of exposure.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ, 2009 Vintage,

A: Pours a dark brown, good rich colour, light white head.

S: Classic dark Olde English barleywine and some booze, real light hopping.

T: Robust, full flavours of caramel and malt. Booze is well integrated at this young an age.

M: Smooth, solventy, rich and powerful with residual sugar and ethanol.

D: This is already quite good. Really a sipper right now. I can see 5-7 years of aging could turn this into something phenomenal, I'd love to sample a bottle in 2015.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.27/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. 2009 vintage.

Pours a cloudy deep brown with no head or lacing at all. Nose is sweet, a bit boozy and quite fruity, theres some candy apple here.

Wow, taste is really complex, nice hint of sweetness, a bit boozy. Age this sucker as long as you can! Drinkability is a bit low due to booziness.

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Photo of generalnotsew
3.16/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Diarrhea feces brown with no head. But I will give it an average as I have never had an Old Ale before. May be what it is supposed to look like. But still, doesn't look very pleasant.

S: Very malty and spicy in the nose. I am picking up some fig and a lot of sweetness. Has a fruit quality. Very complex.

T: I am getting cherry and fig here. Bit of a hop aftertaste. I really can't get into the taste. I am not going any further for now as I would be wasted trying to pick this one apart.

M: Very thick and chewy. Doesn't look like it has much carbonation but it is there. Extremely warming on the throat. I can still feel it burning.

D: I just can't picture myself drinking many of these. Way too overpowering not to mention the abv.

I had to adjust today. The more I tried to drink the less I liked it. Never had the style before so I could chalk it up to that. That being said I am usually pretty easy to please and this just didn't do it for me. The low drinkability was the hardest for me to do. Sometimes I feel that score does not fit right. This is definitely a sipper. Doubt I will buy this again.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass (not the best I know, but it was all that as availible)

A: Pleasant chesnut brown with no head after pour.

S: Sweet nuts like cashew and macadamia. Fig and banana. Dark and sweet - not overpowering; delightful!

T: Deliciously similar to the smell, except that the high alcohol content unfortunately has a slightly-too-strong presence on the back of the palate.

M: Smooth with a light, pleasant carbonation. Lingering alcohol sting.

D: This beer is great, but the high abv steers me away frommore than just a bottle. Alcohol content isn't always an issue with me, but the sting in this beer keeps reminding me of it's guilty pleasure.

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

2009 vintage into pint glass:

A: Cloudy reddish-brown body with large light-mocha head which disappeared quickly. With alcohol this big, can't really expect much more.

S: Light buttery smell, some nuts, floral and some dark fruit, chocolate and booze

T: Like the smell, except sweeter with some additional toffee and dark fruit, which gives it a very red wine-like taste, which leads into a long alcohol burn on the finish.

M: Very low on the carbonation, plus the aforementioned alcohol-burn finish

D: The high alcohol is detectable, but it's quite easy going down anyway. Flavors work well together, but could be a bit more foreward

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Photo of fastsrt
4.67/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into a snifter
A: no head, carbonation keeping a small ring alive. looks like a double, with a rich carmel color.

S: dark fruits, booze, figs, raisons smell is reminiscent of a quad.

T: sweet dried dark fruits, caramel, the alcohol is a big part of the flavor complexity.

M: this thing is thick and full body it has a great feel, and the way it finishes and lingers on the pallet is exactly the way a beer this big should feel.

D: this is a sipper, but a savior none the less, any more than 2 would be bad news. bought a four pack and am going to lay the other 3 down should be amazing with some age.
2010 in a wine glass

A: creamy head, rich amber

S: rich, fruity, richer than the quad i just had.

T: there is some hot alcohol there, this beer will become more complex and balanced with age.

M: nice carbonation.

D: it is one of my favorite beers. I have some from, 09 and the stock ale reserve.

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Photo of hopsbreath
3.55/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage. This is powerful stuff. After an agressive pour, the minimal head that formed receeded to the thin ring encircling the inside of the glass. Smells almost like Southern Comfort, I definetely can tell that this is a hangover waiting to happen. Hopefully I won't get punched out by Mike Tyson. Hot, astringent, extremely boozy, not unlike young bourbon with a hint of vanilla. Would have liked some more carbonation on this one, the mouthfeel was cough syrup like. It literally coated my teeth. Overall verdict, its not ready and luckily I still have three bottles I can put back for a year or 2. Hopefully they will mellow and be more enjoyable then.

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Photo of wknight167
4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage

Apearance - Pours a dark mohagany with brick red highlights and a thick 2 finger tan head that stsicks around ofr a while and leaves some impressive lacing.

Nose- Malty and very sweet nose. Dark caramel, stone fruits, grape moalsses and vanilla are all present as is ethanol.

Palate- Intensely sweet, but not cloying. Stone fruits, chocolate, brown sugar and molasses. The chocolate becomes more prominent as it warms. The alcohol shows through and brings a brandy-like character to this brew.

Mouthfeel- Thick and syrupy, but the carbonation level does a lot to make this drinkable.

Drinkability- Definitely a sipper, but not too hard to put down fresh. I can't wait to see waht some age does to it.

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Photo of Gyle41386
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle. Poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark reddish brown that becomes a brilliant ruby color when held to light. About a finger of tan foam doesn't stick around for long, but leaves behind some nice lacing.

Very sweet nose. Loads of alcohol soaked dark fruit, like cherries, grapes, and raisins. Richly malty, too.

There's a lot going on here. Molasses, vanilla, dark fruit, booze, caramel. Wow. The finish is alcohol warmth, but falls just short of being a harsh burn. This is a good one to warm you up at night. The flavor profile is big, yet somehow still subtle. Perhaps it's because there's such an onslaught of flavors, yet they still remain pretty nicely balanced.

Full, syrupy body. Low carbonation level. Very, very smooth drinker. Still a tad hot, which is to be expected, but it could still use a little more time. I'll definitely be picking more of these up...I'd love to try a bottle that's 5+ years old.

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Photo of capra12
3.97/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed with speedwayjim served out of a Bluepoint snifter glass.

Appearance: cloudy and brown, with a 1/2 finger head, little lacing.

Smell: smells like a brown ale with caramel malts, a bit of booze on the nose.

Taste: opens with an enjoyable boozy and caramel and dark malt profile. There is a raisin soaked booze profile from the middle to end leaving a malty aftertaste with an alcohol kick.

Mouthfeel: light to medium bodied with minimal carbonation, and smooth.

Drinkability: I would have this again only just one other. I recommend this to those who want to try a complex old ale that has a nice alcohol profile that isn't overwhelming.

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Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage, 12.5% abv.

Pours a brown/amber color with a tan head. Aroma of caramel malt, dark fruits, and molasses. Malty alcoholic flavor that is nicely balanced with a bit of hops bitterness. Some vanilla and wood flavors in there too. Great mouthfeel, medium-full bodied, not too syrupy. This is very boozy yet still very drinkable. Good stuff.

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Photo of mondegreen
4.42/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage.
12oz. Poured into a Snifter.

A: Golden brown with minimal head and no lacing. Looks attractive in the snifter.

S: Deep sweet malts, very rich nose.

T: Very powerful malts with notes of vanilla and maybe a little oak. Strong alcohol bite in the aftertaste.

M: Wonderfully thick, but not syrupy. Oily might be a good term, but in a good way.

D: Pleasent flavor that doesn't wear the palate. Sure, the alcohol presence is strong, but for such a high ABV it is just right.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown body with minimal head that has a strong malt smell of roasted and caramel malts along with some oily. A real strong ale with a sturdy malt base - caramel, toffee, roasted malts along with some woodiness as well as small amounts of dark chocolate. Also tads of dark fruit, cherry and some herbal hoppy leafiness. Great balance with this beer with sweetness and a tad dryness in backbite with fruit and ABV for a crisp finish. Great sipper that warms as up as you keep sipping on it.

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Photo of Avagadro
5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 vintage, 12,5% abv

A: garnet in color with a cream colored head that quickly fades into a film. The brew is clear in the goblet, with no sign of lacing.

S: the bouquet is vibrant, with heavy notes of prunes, molasses, and spices.

T: the brew is exploding with vanilla, oak, molasses, and prunes. Absolutely perfect.

M: thick and creamy, with a bit of oiliness.

D: the paragon of the style. A must have for fans of the style, as well as something to look in to for fans of DIPAs, RISs, and barleywines. Worth seeking out.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,219 ratings.
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