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 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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Photo of Briken
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Stock Ale pours a clear mahogany with a thin brown head that rapidly dissipaits. Aroma is of maple syrup and all around sweetness. There's a lot more going on in flavor. Mostly there is just the sweetness in the form of toffee and cherry with a little allspice/anise. There is a slightly fuzzy mouthfeel with a little tongue coating.

This is a remarkably smooth drinker. It reminds me of cognac in flavor with the alcohol being well blended into the sweet flavor. The slightly fuzzy feeling is quite enjoyable. Not a bad sipping beer.

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter

A - Dark amber with a very small amount of head and no lacing

S - Booze(!), grapes, sugar, and raisin.

T - Licorices, dates, and alcohol heat (which is welcome on a cold Wisconsin spring night) hit up front. Hints of leather and vanilla give way to a boozy, medicinal aftertaste.

M - Warming, a bit syrupy and sticky, very little carb

D - One and done for now; I have some in the cellar, and I'll open another in three to six months.

I was a bit disappointed in this beer; I've been digging Old Ales as of late and had high expectations, as North Coast makes several incredible beers. I'd much rather go with a Bell's Third Coast if I'm in the mood for this style. That being said, my wife took a couple of sips from my snifter, hijacked the last four or five ounces, and went on to proclaim this as one of her top five beers, period. To each her/his own.

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

A beer haiku for you:

Old Ale tastes that way:
Something OK this way comes;
Try to be patient.

My first experience with this genre--the first sip gave way to the second, which improved ever so slightly. High alcohol content, but not in the good sense that so many great Belgians might exhibit. Taste the alcohol more than the flavor.
Not a waste, but not world class.


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Photo of WeedKing4
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours a very dark clear red with some foam forming in the duvel tulip glass. The taste is of sugary dark fruits and it goes down so damn smooth. I picked up no hint of the 11.50% alc at all. Wishing I picked up more then two bottles of this stuff. Very damn good beer.

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Photo of lightindarkness
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Into a north coast snifter... why not?

Pours a dingy stained copper with amber edges. Small soft cream colored head rises, but really isn't what this beer is all about, considering abv and style - not lasting long and adding little to the beer.

Smells of deep bready toasty malts with some caramel sweetness. Mild hints at date and spicy alcohol.

Taste is why I love this beer, with each vintage aging and developing a nice depth as it gets older. This, a 2009, is bready with a mildly harsh grain accentuated by alcohol, dulled and rounded with a cane sugar and caramel sweetness that holds nicely to the end, where a little alcohol tinge cuts, all leaving a lingering lightly fruity dark doughy flavor hanging into aftertaste. A little sweetness left on the lips.

Feel is medium, carbonation present but weak, hanging on the palate but without a strong coating or oily feel. A little dense and creamy.

Good. High abv and overall character make it sippable without being highly drinkable. Good to have around to sip and age as you can, a few years on a bottle seems to bring it to near ideal conditions, deepening, filling, and rounding a little as it goes.

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Photo of dwilson01
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz into my souvenir brewery tours of San Diego pint glass.

It looks thick and malty, very dense dark caramel coloring. A hint of redness in the body. The head is an off white sandy color, initially very strong but recedes quickly, no lacing and very minimal carbonation.

The smell is smooth as hell, toffee, caramel and raisins for the most part. Although it doesn't say barrel aged or anything this definitely has a small woody accent to it.

A ton of flavoring, comes on as thick as it looks. Very much like a barleywine but not as sweet. The sweet caramel and raisins from the nose come through nicely and there is an added fruitiness in there as well, cherry I think. It's very sweet from all the malt they pour into this bay boy with a slight estery flavor in there. The end holds a nice spicing to it which tones down the alcohol flavor (honestly the alc flavor is miniscule to begin with), 11.7 abv on the bottle and I really get nothing even close to that.

Feels like it looks, smooth in the beginning, and gives you a nice amber ale spiciness in the end, great dichotemy.

It's definitely drinkable like I always say, a sipper to be sure, not so smooth that it slides down your throat but extremely flavorful and makes you think about it every time...Savor the Flavor!

Overall this is pretty awesome in my opinion, it makes me think of a barrel aged barleywine with it's flavor character. The cherry and raisin makes it seem Belgian but there is absolutely zero sourness.

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Photo of atigerlife
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage.

Pours brown with strawberry highlights. Creamy small brown head that lasts a little while. Murky.

Aroma of hops, musty, darke cherries and malts.

Taste is malty with some hops. Get some grapes, prunes, nectarine, peach and some hay-like taste. Interesting. Rather unusually, as it warmed I liked it less.

Mouthfeel is medium/heavy, creamy and lightly cleansing.

Quite drinkable considering the ABV. Quite nice and interesting.

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Photo of Brez07
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Bottle lists ABV as 12.5%. Poured into a Portsmouth snifter

A: Sits in the glass a murky red/brown color. Very limited amount of head is present. No lacing left in the glass

S: Molasses right up front. This is followed by chocolate, sweet candied sugar, some raisin/fig and just a touch of alcohol (apparently still needs another year before this goes away)

T: Same as the smell. The chocolate/raisin is most prevalent, with the molasses/sugar just adding to the complexity. Not overly sweet. Again, very small amount of alcohol here

M: Medium bodied, fairly smooth with decent amount of carbonation

D: Very easy to drink, but the booze is still present in this one. I would sit on this another year and would expect it drinks incredibly then

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Photo of stakem
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at TJ's, I really should have inquired about the vintage of this as it will haunt me until I have it again and/or find out.

Pours a cloudy amber orange color with an off white creamy head. Nose is full of caramel notes, maltiness and suggestions of oak and vanilla. Mostly sweet aroma is strikingly similar to cotton candy and floral hops. Taste is malty sweet with vanilla, caramel and a little bit of hops in the finish blend with the warmth of the alcohol and some faint astringency. Medium feel and mild amount of carbonation. This is one extremely smooth and drinkable ale. Absoslutely an unexpected awesome surprise.

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