Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale
Liked This Beer
4.12 w/ 3,230 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: 3,230 |  Reviews: 1,512
Photo of lilbuddha
4.69/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up randomly from elkton's state line liquers, as part of a "Just grab a bunch of bottles to try out" binge. i was planning on drinking it last night, but saw it was 11.5% and thought "nah I better wait for a night where this is my first". So tonight, the 9th of Dec I'm giving this its time

At first glance, into my Chimay Goblet (which apparently isn't the best container), I think to myself that I've

A- found a bottle full of Apple Cider, deep Brown with a deep haze, and that I should probably be scared. The head starts healthy but quicky dies with just one fine perfectly formed lace around the ring as I bend the glass slightly. So it won't win any awards for looking pretty, but then again I've got eyes for the golden's

S - Hmmmm what is THIS ? All of a sudden I'm smelling a Chimay ? No, this is something different, theres a slight alcohol scent on my nose. At first pour there *seemed* to be an explosion of smells but nothing I can put a finger on. I swish the glass some and sniff it deeply but can't get that initial smell to come back...Its almost too tame in scent to be nearly 12%.... better take a swig then !

T - Come on, this has to be Chimay++ or something. Maybe its just my pathetically small beer vocabulary / experience (this my 3rd ? review ), but this is a good drink and thats my baseline reference for a heavier beer. Where sometimes the alcohol taste is a bad thing, it is the absolute highlight of this. Everything else points your buds to that taste. I'm still teaching my brain to identify these notes, but yes, acidity its there... a kind of raisiny ( i'm reading the style notes as I type ) or something else ..

D - I haven't put my finger on base line, it lingers as an aftertaste, it makes me open my mouth and swallow over and over to aerate the back of my tongue. its a good feeling, not buttery (as my 4th review I have scant notes on is wandering through my mind ), but sticking. There is no sweetness to the front, the outer edges of my mid tongue get the alcohol feeling and the back of my tongue gets the thick of it... but man this is going down smooth.

And here I am, 99% done with my review, and somehow 90% done with this glass. Is there any way else to describe a great beer that is somehow so strong but so drinkable ? I couldn't possibly handle more than a couple of these in night though, my scrawny 4'5" body is feeling it already !

Cheers to this, I'll be buying it again.

edit: from other reviews, I need to pick up a bottle with some age, I'll have to update when I do.

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Photo of jsh420
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bootle

pours hazy ruby brown with a 1 finger head tht left some spotted lacing

smells of dark roasted nutty fruit malts

taste still has a little heat drom the alcohol but still a great tasting brew - very complex first sweet apples -> carmel bready malts -> dark fruit nutty roasted malts chocolate

mouthfeel still has plenty of zip and bite with a medium/ heavy sticky body

drinkability - after a couple more years of aging this would rival most high abv brews

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Photo of moosiz
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby brown into a pint glass.The bottle says 2007. Some clarity, but not much. Agressive pour produced a solid 3/4 inch biege cap of foam that recedes quickly to a stcky ring. Nice steady tiny bubble carbonation.

Smells of molasses, honey, dark plum and fig wrapped in a candy sugar coating and then dipped in a mellow brandy.

Alcohol dances all around the toungue but it has partners such as raisins, slight marachino cherry, and black molasses. This is either simple and perfect for the style or too complex for me to really describe.

Bold, not overly sweet, balanced, and dry. The finish is just solid.

For the style this brew is drinkable. Its not a pounder. Sip a couple of these on a cold Michigan night, its good for what ales ya.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2008 vintage.

Appearance: Hazy dark brown clears to a nice ruby. Initially a foamy little uneven head, but that fades away after a few minutes. Some leggy lacing when you swirl or sip, but nothing really sticks because of the 12.5% abv.

Smell: Very strong, complex, sweet, and malty. Dark, raisiny fruit and vanilla and caramel notes.

Taste: Sweet and strong malt. Lots of hot alcohol and some slight medicinal fusel flavors. Again, caramel and vanilla, as well as raisins.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and full. Not flat at all. Not syrupy either, which can be a problem.

Drinkability: This one has been in my basement for more than a year, but still could use some mellowing. Its really delicious and a joy to drink, but a little boozy-- it is a 12% old ale though, cant really knock it for that. Otherwise, its full, rich, and pretty fantastic.

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

Pours a ruby brown color with minimal khaki head and little lacing and some stickyness. Smell is a huge carmel malt burst, molasses as well, with rasin, fig and alcohol on the back end. Taste is of uber-sweet malts... carmel, raisin and smooth and subdued booze profile. Hints of wood and hops on the finnish. Mouthfeel is chewy and sticky, minimal carbonation. Good solid Old Ale, very sweet and malt forward with well hidden ABVs.

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Photo of nerow
4.55/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours reddish brown into an oversized brandy snifter, minimal head minimal lacing. Smells quite yeasty with a bit of spice, some chocolate perhaps?

The taste bowls me over like an onrushing train: Carmel, chocolate, coffee, a hint of bitter almonds and a wonderful aftertaste of vanilla assail my senses. As the beer travels down my gullet I wonder to myself...is this what the beer in nirvana tastes like? Mouthfeel is bready and substantial.

Probably one of the most drinkable beers I've had to date. The 11.5 ABV is extremely well hidden, with only a feeling of warmness indicating it was even there. It was all I could do to not drink the entire glass in one fell swoop. Measured sips provided maximal pleasure along with a constantly changing portfolio of flavors.

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Photo of advill88
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A fairly rough pour yielded a dark amber reddish color with a 1/4 inch head.

Smell is of strong malt, with some caramel fruitiness. Alcohol is also apparent in the nose.

Taste is a strong blast of malt, with some cherry/raisin fruitiness, caramel, and a warming alcohol finish. Mouthfeel is quite heavy and quite viscous with a moderate carbonation.

I don't usually go for these "malt bomb" type beers, but this is absolutely delicious as a sipper. Granted, I wouldn't drink more than one at a time because of the high ABV, but this would be a great beer for those cold winter evenings.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Slow pour resulted in no head retention and very little release of carbonation. First scents of brown sugar and molasses. After letting the beer warm the taste reveals notes of coffee, chocolate and sweet sugary candy. Some candied dark fruit such as prunes, grapes, and nut like nature are somewhat like a fruit cake. Alcohol is certainly present and hinders the drinkable nature, it makes this a sipper.

(I had bought a 4 pack of these and have drank 2 others on a different occasions. So while drinking this one tonite I looked over my notes.)

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Photo of woosterbill
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Prime 16 into a snifter.

A: Deep, opaque brownish-red body with one finger of dense reddish-tan head; the head slowly recedes into a solid cap, leaving little lace. Good looking beer, but nothing too remarkable.

S: Oloroso sherry - sweet nuttiness and a healthy dose of booze. Slight spiciness as well. I like it.

T: Follows the nose precisely, plus a bit of Irish whiskey and vanilla on the finish.

M: Rich and thick with nice moderate carbonation. Really coats the mouth.

D: Hugely boozy, but that's not really a bad thing in a sipper of this sort. Still, not a beer anyone would really call "drinkable."

Notes: This one takes no prisoners. If you like nutty dessert wine, give it a shot.


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Photo of josefnewsong
4.97/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow... Had a sample poured in a champagne flute. Color was ruby red/bronze with a scent like whisky and brown sugar with some dark fruits in the mix. The taste was so complex that it felt ooollld, caramel, toffee, wood, and whisky...maybe molasses, dark fruits. just damn good.


this seems to get better with every year that it ages

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 12oz. bottle.

Pours ruby/brown with a small off-white head that retains a covering down the glass, some light lacing.

Big fruity aroma, cherries, grapes, dark fruits, chocolate, vanilla, toffee. Wonderful to inhale.

Flavor is very malty, caramel, chocolate, brown sugar, and dark fruits. Quite sweet but not cloying.

Mouthfeel is wonderful, very rich and full. Medium carbonation.

Potent alcohol content, but I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't hot going down, quite subdued, one year of age probably helped a lot in this regard.

A wonderful brew, gonna pick up the last 4-pack at my store tomorrow and age a number of bottles.

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

2009 Vintage, another North Coast Brew that I can check off the list.

A: Ruby, ruby, red in color with a touch of bronze. A great 5 cm off-white head that quickly ceased to exist. Lacing optional need not apply here I speculate.

S: This smells of grapes, cognac aka alcohol, and plenty of malt.

T: Very sharp on the front of the tongue at first a sweet alcohol duvet with the slightest of hops. I am trying to describe the finish of this beer, but the finish appears to end in my stomach. A very warming, intoxicating beer. Included in the flavor profile of this beer are raisins, grapes, fresh leather...that fade to a sugary finish.

M: Good mouf for the outwardly high ABV character. Coats the mouths and slowly warms the GI tract.

D: High ABV being the biggest disincentive to drink this. I wonder how this would mellow with age, I enjoy the alcohol profile on this beer, smacks me in the front of the tongue.

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Photo of philbe311
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - No head to speak of, just a very fizzy thin lace of large medium-tan bubbles... Some bubbles linger around the side of the glass where additional bubbles can be seen rising through to the top... A deep dense murky ruby red color with bronze highlights...

S - A very compelling aroma... Sweet alcohol dominates... All other scents struggle to rise to the forefront... Brown sugar... Caramel... Raisins and figs...

T - This one is a big boozy assault on the palette... Some caramel and toffee notes... Dark fruit... Bubble gum... Some woody notes... Grainy... There are some assertive hops buried deep down under the surface...

M - Medium to full bodied... Dense and chewy... Slightly sticky and syrupy... The warmth of the alcohol clings to the tongue and lingers... Not overly carbonated, but there is a intense bubbly bite on the tongue... Crisp...

D - This is an in your face brewing creation... Be warned this brew needs to be sipped slowly... A definite attention grabber of a brew... Memorable, but I could never envision an occasion that would call for more than one of the booze bombs...

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Photo of bump8628
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 vintage 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Ruby red in color with a finger of tan head that settles down into some wispy foam.

The aroma has a big, fruity nose like ripe raspberries and black cherries. In the background there may be a light touch of chocolate and caramel.

The flavor is overwhelmingly jammy (raspberry, cherry, and strawberry) in a very good way. Nutty cocoa gives some depth to the fruitiness. Some spicy alcohol just barely warms the throat and hops are present only to balance this malt masterpiece. This is one of the most unique beers I've ever tasted.

For such a strong ale the mouthfeel is surprisingly not heavy or syrupy and the alcohol is so well hidden. Mild carbonation really allows the complexities to shine.

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Photo of pourmeup
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2009

A- Pours a redish copper color with a light tan head that quickly resides to a thin ring around the edge of my glass, leaves no lacing behind.
S- Alcohol predominates the nose with toasted malts, freshly made caramel, and vanilla coming through as well
T- Has a unparalleled sweetness from the malt, hops come through slightly on the after-taste, dried dark fruits, oak, caramel, vanilla, and roasted malt predominate the flavor profile, very warming
M- Heavily carbonated, creamy though, flavors coat the pallet but remain for a short time
D- Not as drinkable when its fresh, could use 1-2 years in the cellar.


Bottled in 2007

A- a deep red amber in color with a creamy tan head that quickly resides to a thin ring around the edge of the glass
S- smell of toasted oats, dark dried fruits, little bit of molasses on the nose with a slight alcohol aroma
T- caramel, great coming from the malts, sweetness, molasses, almost no hop profile this far after cellaring
M- not as thick as we were hoping, nice carbonation level; not too high, not too low, finishes clean
D- so drinkable after 2+ years in the cellar, almost no alcohol flavor to slow you down

Calen and Daniel

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

2009 vintage 12 oz bottle poured in snifter.

A - Vigorous pour produces ½ finger off white head that dissipates to a collar with few patches near center that leaves minimal lacing. Color a tawny bronze with a heavy chill haze that clears somewhat as beer warms.

S - Vanilla, malt, brown sugar, followed by bourbon and heady alcohol. No hop aroma detected.

T - Sweet malt, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, baking spices, booze, followed by hop bitterness, sherry and alcohol glow.

M - Slick and viscous, light carbonation, and alcohol burn.

D - This is definitely a night cap sipper. Can't see drinking more than one in a sitting.

Overall - This old ale is an elegant after dinner fireside sipper that delivers a nice bourbon like alcohol punch.

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Photo of UA8
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours deep ruby color with a very slight creamy light brown head.

S- Smells of dark dried fruits (raisins, figs, cherries), sweet malts, and a touch of smooth alcohol but just a hint.

T- Leads sweet and syrupy with a huge caramel malts and big dried cherry and raisin notes. Midpalate is much of the same with hints of yeast complexity. Finishes big and bold with dark malts and sweetness.

M- Syrupy and full bodied like and old ale should be. Minimal carbonation.

D- One of my favorite old ales so far. Big syrupy and round. Although the alcohol is very well hidden. I've got several of these to age and see what comes.

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Photo of kegger22
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a cloudy, dark amber, almost red, with respectable head that quickly faded to nothing. The aroma was sweet like cotton candy sweet and alcohol, lots. The taste was heavily alcohol, tasted like a bourbon barrel aged beer. There was also caramel and a lot of brown sugar. The feel was full bodied with adequate carbonation. Drinkability, no way. I don't think you could even sniff two of these, but it was very smooth like two fingers of Johnnie Walker Black. Excellent!

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

2006 Bottle courtesy of HogtownHarry- Deep mahogany pour, with a half inch beige froth. Nose of prunes and wood, brown sugar, a bit of alcohol, some spices, lots of hops, deep rooted nuances of gold rum. Big brown sugar and caramel malts are upfront in the mouth, a bit of smoked wood, sherry, some prune, floral hops, again with the gold rum, quite spicy. In terms of palate, this barley wine ale is among the the best I've had. This version is 13.25%, quite heady and hefty, but you'd never know because it is so balanced, mellow and drinkable. This is one world class BW. Very well done. Thanks a lot for this Harry!

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

Appearance: Deep copper color, slightly veiled, ruby highlights, thick light-tan head

Aroma: complex, hints of treacle, molasses, burnt sugar, prunes, raisins, sherry

Taste: very smooth, lots of dark/dried fruits, molasses, caramel, toasted malts

Mouthfeel: full-bodied

Finish: dry finish with slight ethonalic warming

Drinkability: Despite the high alcohol content, this beer is very easy to drink. The flavors are spot on for an old ale/stock ale.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.42/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage.

A- A deep leathery orange brown that is somewhat cloudy and has a nice crystal ball effect. The light orange head is thin but creamy and adds nicely to the visuals.

S- Oh man... this is wonderful. Loads of caramel, grapes, brown sugar, raisins, cinnamon, cherries, chocolate, vanilla... This could quite possibly be one of the best smelling beers I have encountered.

T- Much the same as the aroma but there is a distinct nuttiness and not quite as much of a wow effect the nose held.

M- Surprisingly thin and almost a bit metallic. It is smooth at first, but there is still an assertive bitterness, even after 2 years. The alcohol is fairly apparent as well.

D- An enjoyable sipper. The alcohol is not nearly as apparent as it could be and it does taste damn good. Worth getting, and I bet this could age for quite some time.

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

Purchased from Boo's in Columbus, Ga.
2009 Vintage
appearance - reddish brown. Decent head on the pour. Dissipated quickly. A real looker.
smell - buttery, port like. This is young, but already mellow for an 11.5. According to the North Coast site, "It's brewed with classic Maris Otter malt and Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops, all imported from England."
taste - a little bit of a letdown after the killer nose.
mouthfeel - lightly creamy, but again somewhat of a letdown.
Probably my own fault. I loved the 2008 and couldn't wait to crack this open. I'll lay a few down.

Edit 10/29/2010
taste - Put a couple back and opened one a year later. That's more like it. The age has really made a difference. Lives up to that buttery, port like nose now.

Edit 12/10/2010. 2010 Vintage. Grabbed a couple of 4 packs of the new vintage. This was promises to be better than the '09. The young one is delish already.

Edit 7/10/2011. 2011 Vintage. Fresh, it is already gorgeous. The nose is quite good too. The taste is again, surprisingly mellow (the 11' is 11.9%) but doesn't yet have the "damn this is great" qualities it'll hopefully have with some age.

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Photo of olmatty
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- Pours a deep reddish brown with a low off white head.

Smell- Brandy alcohol some sweetness and malts

Taste- Strong alcohol presence that tastes of brandy that flows into sweet toffee biscuit maltiness.

Mouthfeel- Slightly brisk carbonation and somewhat syrupy

Drinkability- Surprisingly smooth and drinkable for a huge beer. Very beautiful beer.

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

Poured into a snifter from a 12oz bottle.

Pours dark brown in color with copper and ruby tones. It is almost opaque. When held to light traces of ruby show through in the murky dark brown body. Head is minimal, and what does form, dissipates quickly. Lacing is non existent.

Smells very sweet. The aroma is dominated by molasses, currents, and cherries. There is also a presence of burnt toffee and alcohol.

Tastes sweet with a potent kick of burnt toffee and spices. Flavor is complex- cherries, molasses, raisins, currants, caramel, wood, and a noticeable dose of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is sticky and chewy, without a lot of carbonation. The sweet finish lingers for a while.

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Photo of dpnelson1978
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into Duvel tulip.

$13.49 / 4 pk.

S: Sweet lemon, and possibly oak or cedar.

A: Big loose orange to tan head, with a clear red to brown body.

T: Woody oak with pleasant sweetness and mild hops.

M: Low carbonation and a medium body.

D: Very high for such a high abv. I really like this beer.

O: Yum! Packaging says to lay it down for a year. Hmmmm.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87.9% out of 100 with 3,230 ratings
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