Old Stock Ale | North Coast Brewing Co.

1,488 Reviews
Old Stock AleOld Stock Ale

Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.80%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-26-2001

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Reviews: 1,488 | Ratings: 3,162
Photo of UrbanCaveman
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle of 2012 edition, poured into a nonic pint at ~40 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, vaguely reddish brown, and forms a thin head of beige foam that rather quickly turns into a ring. Leaves patches of lacing on the glass.

Smell: At 3 years of age, the aroma is a bouquet of sweetness and malt, very caramel and molasses. Fig, plum, date, and the like swirl around in the scent as well, alongside a vague hint of booziness that seems less rum, more whiskey.

Taste: All the sweetness in the nose did not lie. This opens in a wash of dark stone fruit preserves slathered on bread and topped with molasses. A medicinal quality comes in as the beer moves along the palate, much like I'd imagine an early 19th-century cough syrup might have tasted like. Rusted iron notes appear as well, giving a metallic tang to shadow the syrupy sweetness, and there are bits of a burnt caramel-vanilla tone. An oaky and vinous tinge round out the flavor palate, and the aftertaste lingers as the molasses, preserves, and medicinal syrup.

Mouthfeel: Sticky is the first word that comes to mind, with minimal sharpness from carbonation rolling through a full-bodied beer.

Overall: A delicious old ale / English barleywine, which ages quite well.

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

12oz bottle: 2007 vintage. Reddish-brown hue with some finings and a tan head of moderate height. Sugared date & fig nose. Boozy, almost like it was BBA. Tasty: aged fruit & caramel. Full body and nedium+ carbonation.

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Photo of HopsAreDaMan
4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I tried two vintages dated 5/2014 (2104 vintage) &12/2014 (2015 vintage). The 2015 vintage: decent carbonation when opened; pours a clear mahogany color, with a surprisingly small about of head; strong aroma of--what I think is called---dark fruits, and booze; medium body, with some heat from the alcohol; caramel, brandy like flavors, sweet, and a strong boozy flavor. I drank the 2014 version a day before, and it was basically the same, but not as strong, and so, smoother.

I really like this beer: there is no weird or off flavors, and it satisfies in just about every way (I only wish it didn't have to sip it because of its strong alcohol). I have three of each year laid down, so it will be interesting to see how it does with more age; but for now, I prefer the fresher (at ~8 months) over the slightly aged one (at ~16 months). This is definitely a beer to enjoy with with others.

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Photo of SometimesIfart
3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

North Coast Old Stock Ale 2015 Vintage.

Ahhh yes sir, I have been wanting to try this guy since I saw it hit shelves. Haven't had an old ale on quite some time, maybe 'round the last time I fucked your nasty STD ridden wife. But hey, got this at a loss on their part of $2.99 ( they lose on the new ones hoping to sell it for more later and make a profit, smart business and really can't complain too much, especially since they make a ¢50 profit per 4 pack without it being a loss at all ;) ).

Look - A harder pour than your dads biker amongst the time he plowed your mom an ultimately gave birth to you yield the deepest of all Amber heads with a two finger off though not completely off the mark white head. Carbonation appears pretty low and it sits like cough syrup in a glass without the overly present thickness. Lacing isn't quite there, though just enough to prove its point without sticking around for too long. 4

Smell - The breadyness is all ruling along with a big dosage of whole chip ness of the mesquite and oak flakes variety. Tootsie roll esque chocolately sweetness without massive cloying dosage that is unbearable. Bit of cherries, but muted enough as to know it doesn't murder you on the taste. 4..

Taste - You start of initially with a large and dominating hit of the boozyness left to question you about whether or not you should have another sip. The wood is up next followed by a small though noticavle dark fruit flavor. Alcohol is also there in a warming and moderately burning quality though not enough to male you stop. Slight dark fruits an full leveled rye and burnt breads come through and complete the flavor. 4.

Feel - The feel is very, very full and a bit sweet with just enough carbonation to keep things interesting. Feel s nice big wood chip ordeal on the tongue followed by some heat and alcohol for the tinge-like alcohol bullshit. 4

Overall - Overall, still to this not a huge fan of Old Ales. In my opinion they basically taste like a wooded dubbel in my OWN opinion. Prettttyyyyy good, though is slow, and a heavy to drink guy. Take it as you will ladies and gentleman just don't have as a finisher. Thing about Old Ales is they nearly always 4, but don't offer much to go beyond a 4...

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Photo of SayBoom
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

My 333 foreign beer) 2014 vintage.
Intense red, no any head, a small amount of bubbles.
Lots of strong aromas: caramel, raisins, dry fruits, alcoholic aroma, notes similar rotten apples. The smell is really intricate.
The sweetness is very high, smooth caramel and toffee, moderate bitterness, hints of wood.
Palate full, creamy, boozy heat.
Big and complex Old Ale. I think it perfect candidate to post «winter beer».

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

In Bar Viriato, Sevilla. In wine cup. With Viriato Burger. 5€. Pleasantly warm. Really nice in aroma and taste. To drink with care because of its high ABV

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Photo of Nugganooch
4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 release 12oz bottle with my FW snifter glass
Notes taken on 03/01/2015 – side by side with Bells Third Coast

A: The body is the color of a russet brown with some dark ruby tones. Showing off some bubble action there with a minor amount of clarity to it. A cautious pour produces a nice even layer of dark khaki cream across the top. Moderate holding strength to it with only a few dots of stick noted. More so has the alcohol legs going.

S: Caramelized fig and sugary vanilla bean meets rum soaked breads and spiced plum. I get notes of leather and tobacco signature of that Maillard reaction in an Old Ale. Has a molasses sweetness to it all throughout and a bit of stinging alcohol presence in the nose. Very nice and on point with the style.

T: Flavors comprise of vanilla toffee and caramelized fig, darkened breads, and nutty toasted malt grains. Not unlike a candied nougat here. Getting some tart plum like fruity esters noted. Subtle leather and molasses. Leafy bitterness as well with a dose of grassy alcohol spice. Seemingly hot in a way but not really in a detracting manner. Has an almost vinous note about it like a sherry wine. Really well balanced at near 12% ABV I would. Very tasty indeed.

M: Medium to full bodied. Lightly creamy on the palate with a lower perceived carbonation feel. Some modest hop bitterness there with a good amount of warming alcohol. Nice lighter drying effect to the finish.

D: A well groomed sipper. The perfect companion to your favorite lounge chair and a good read. One of the better takes on the Old Ale and exemplary of the style I would say. Often taken for granted here with its availability.

Very comparable with Bell’s Third Coast and both being solid renditions of the style. I am giving a slight nod to North Coast for a touch more depth and complexity in flavor and better overall balance here.

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Photo of schoolboy
4.44/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. I could drink this regularly and never tire of it. Maybe I should stock up.

It is very pretty in the glass - something I did not really expect. Lovely head and continuous bubbles. The aroma is boozy and malty. And just plain cool. Again, not what I expected. Very civilized yet pronounced.

The taste is one of the best boozy ales ever. It makes no excuse for all the alcohol but instead puts the malts to good use, blending into a lovely sweet and bitter brew. The finish is like the primary, more sweet that bitter but still slightly bitter.

If you want a change of pace from all those over hopped ipas or nasty representations of big old world ales, this is the modern California way to go. Very refined. I don't think this needs aging, but it would be interesting to try it.

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Photo of bcsbeer
4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 edition. 12 Oz bottle that I pulled from the cellar
(cardboard box in my closet )

Poured a dirty looking amber, cleared up with time and temperature.
Head was surprisingly active for a 3yr old high gravity ale. Produced a one finger head that slowly reduced to a thin layer, but would respond on command. The inhale was intoxicating, I was getting a light alcohol warmth with candy like notes of cherries, bubblegum and caramel. Almost like a tamed down cough syrup with out the medicine. Flavors were complex and rich, evolving as it warmed up. Picking up sweet boozy malts best described as rum cake. The one problem with this beer is that I could not keep the glass on the table, as soon as the aftertaste receded, I found my arm reaching for another taste. It went by too quick. Everything improved on this towards the end. I would love to have a do over and drink this at room temperature start to finish.

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Photo of Apellonious
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 version poured into a tulip glass.

A - Pours a dense burgundy/red, with little to no head and sliver of lace.

S - Plums, figs/dates, booze, dark fruit, wood, nuts.

T - Let this warm for peak taste. Initially, the taste doesn't match the nose, could have used a few more room temp minutes. Toasted grains and malts compete with the plum/fig. Wood elements and some brown sugar. The heat is present (it is apparent on some swigs more than others), not as much in the nose, and only mildly recognized when sipped.

M - Carbonation is low, though there is enough to keep this from becoming syrup. The heft, as expected, is heavy.

O - Was finally glad to try this one, and it is a very well made Old ale. This is one that needs to be matched with good food pairing or precursor at 12%.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.77/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage. I've had this in my fridge for a handful of months. My original plan was to sit on it for a few years, but for some reason, I got impatient and opened it now. Poured into improper glassware. Oh well.

Appearance: Burgundy with excellent clarity. There was a bit of a head when pouring, but it went away quickly and left nothing but a wispy ring on top. Very "quiet" beer, as there's very little carbonation coming from the bottom of the glass. Great color, but that's about it.

Smell: Alcohol and dark fruits, as expected, bu there's this very unusual maple syrup quality that I get... unusual, but fantastic. There's obviously malty sweetness in there as well, but it's predominantly dark fruits and alcohol, with that super pleasant maple syrup aroma. Not flooded with depth but I'm liking the smell of this one.

Taste/feel: First sip, not enjoying it much. It's just intense alcohol flavor and a bit of warmth with only trace dark fruits. As I'm drinking on, I'm picking up more flavors, but almost exclusively in the aftertaste. For the life of me I can't understand why I'm smelling so much from this beer, but tasting so little... it's like a mind trick. It goes in with the mildest carbonation and a flat Coke-esque body, which is already a fairly underwhelming start. Then comes a huge rush of intense alcohol flavor followed by a dark fruit taste that lingers to the end. Not as sweet as the nose would suggest, but of course, it's an Old Ale, so it's still on the sweet side. The finish of this has a very slight spicy characteristic to it that I like, but it doesn't save what I feel is a pretty uninteresting and overrated Old Ale. I will say that even though I can taste a lot of alcohol in this beer, there's not all that much burn, so that's a plus for this particular beer.

I'm not sure age would have done a whole lot for Old Stock Ale. Sure, the alcohol flavor may tone back a bit, but I don't feel like there are a lot of other flavors there that would suddenly blossom into something fantastic. It's quite good, but I've had many better in the style.

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Photo of VetsPackage
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 1/20/15
Not too many better that are as widely available at NC stuff is. Raisins, brown sugar, toasted nuts on the nose and follows with the taste accompanied with rich molasses and caramel flavors from the prolonged boil. What little hop profile this one has to begin with had subdued even more after 6 months in the cellar and though it lends some warmth from the alcohol is still hides the nearly 12% abv well. Look forward to revisiting this one at the 1 year mark

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Photo of zac16125
4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12o oz bottle into a snifter
2014 Vintage

A: Pours a very hazy to the point of being opaque, murky brownish colored with under 1 fingers width of tan head. Head dissipates down very quickly and leaves no lacing. 3.75

S: Tons of dark fruits and sweetness; currants, dates, and cherry. Candied sugar and toffee. Some booze to round it out. Fantastic. 4.5

T: Not quite as sweet as the nose, particularly the dark fruits aren’t as prominent. Still lots of caramel and toffee, subtle bakers cocoa, burnt sugar. Some bitterness as well, and a fair amount of booze. Its very good but a let down from the aroma. 4

M/D: Medium bodied, carbonation appropriate, ABV is noticeable but non-dominant, drinkability is good.4

O: Very good beer that I would enjoy any day. 4.25

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

While not the best Old Ale I've had, it's definitely one of the best. The flavor is sweet malt flavors of toffee and caramel, perfect amount of carbonation, and while outstandingly smooth for the high ABV it provides a pleasant warming sensation in your face/head as the alcohol sets in.

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Photo of Buck89
4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter. Nice dark ruby color with 1 inch head that dissipated quickly. Amoma was sweet caramel and a touch of plum. Tasted delicious with caramel and molasses with mild earthy bitterness and a warming alcohol finish. Feel was thick and long finishing consistent with style. Overall a wonderful brew.

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Photo of BranfordBound
4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

If you don't like hops but crave malts, this should be one of your regulars. Really lovely beer that's full of dark fruit, molasses, and caramel. A hint of sugar and a hint of burn, everything in moderation. Dangerously drinkable at 11.8%, worth trying!

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Photo of pat61
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours clear chestnut with a slight haze under a thin tan film.
S: Estery, alcoholic aromas also malt and wine
T: Malty sweet, traces of brown sugar or light molasses, alcoholic.
F: Low to moderate carbonation, medium full body, warming,
O: This is a big beer with a lot of alcohol but is not as well blanced as some.

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Photo of Ian_B
3.44/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Love North Coast, and this is definitely good but just personally not a big fan of this style or at least this profile. My rating is an attempted blend of objective quality and personal preferences, per usual. So overall good flavours/feel, very drinkable, just doesn't do much for me.

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Photo of stompilator
4.95/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 edition poured into a snifter.

A - Poured a deep crimson, thin beige head.

S - Earthy spice, plums, berries, caramel, and a bit of booze. (The 2012 takes on a more caramelly, fruity aroma)

T - A nice, floral and earthy, decidedly English hop burst kicks things off, but the massive malt presence quickly takes over, with an incredibly sweet, molasses-y, caramelly taste. Wild, viney, dark fruit notes join soon after, which compliments the malt incredibly well. A subtle booziness begins to roll out later in the palate, giving a hard, almost woody edge to the flavor. In the end, the hefty, caramelly sweetness lingers over all else. (The 2012 was incredibly sweet by comparison, with near-cloying green apple, butterscotch, and toffee)

M - Thick and mouth-coating. Wonderfully dry.

O - Everything about this beer is massive. The flavors are many, but they marry into a gargantuan, incredibly complex brew. Every vintage seems to be special in its own way.

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Photo of Edman5P
3.99/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First sip was too cold so I let it sit for about 2 min and took another sip and it was way tastier..Head dissipated too quickly.. Almost no lacing.. I tasted overripe banana, caramel malt, molasses with a warm touch at the end.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Slightly hazy amber color with beige head. Aroma has dark fruits and brown sugar. Taste follows with dried raisins, bitter burnt sugar, earthy hops. Medium to light body, medium bitterness, quite dry. A well made old ale but I think it's too bitter and earthy for the style.

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Photo of DabblinWiscCraft
4.26/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a four-pack of the 2014 vintage. Poured at cellar temperature into a snifter.

L: Pours a rich burgundy with about a half-inch of off-white head that dissipates quickly and leaves moderate lacing on the glass. Considerable visible carbonation at the edges.

S: Deep caramel malts, rum-soaked raisins and cherries, grape juice, a hint of molasses, and a bit of clear alcohol. Nice, assertive bouquet.

T: Sweet caramel malts at the front, with a developing flavor of rum-raisin that persists into the middle. Sweet bready malts in the creamy middle, along with more of the rum-raisin and a touch of cherry and molasses. The clear alcohol begins to poke through in the middle and carries over into the back. The back end is quite boozy with a good deal of clear alcohol coming through, along with a definite spiciness that follows the rum-raisin notes. There's a bit of lingering tart/bitterness at the close, which accompanies more of the warming alcohol.

F: Medium-bodied, with some nice creaminess and just a bit of syrupy stick at the close. Nice level of carbonation on this one.

O: This beer certainly packs a wallop. As much as my description seems to hint at an overly boozy brew, this one does hide it's high ABV considerably well. This is one you have to take your time enjoying, but it's well worth seeking out if you're into the style.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Beautiful red-brown body, crystal clear, light brown head. Still.

S: Cherry, a little buttery/woody, grape skin. Warm malt.

T: Boozy. Some pulpy wood, dark fruit. Reminiscent of a port. Malty caramel lends an overall warmth but never really shows its face directly.

M: Still, congruent with the look, a bit of bite on the tongue as well as some alcoholic warmth. Medium-full body, somewhat tannic.

O: This is a cool beer! Verges into wine-ish territoy but stays on the beer side of things. Great sipper, not sure it has tremendous appeal for a casual day but a great one if you're in the mood for the style.

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Photo of 57md
3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 version.

Brownish copper in color. Nose is malty and bready. Rich , sticky and full-bodied. Molasses sweetness is the highlight here. Alcohol esthers are a bit too tuned-up on the finish.

This offering would be an excellent candidate for aging.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage

Pours beautiful mahogany color with 1 finger off white head.

Aroma is huge rum soaked dark fruits. Alcohol is definitely present in the aroma.

Taste is very forward. I get a lot of malt sweetness, followed by those dark fruits. I get primarily raisins and a slight brown sugar sweetness also. The final third of the sip is alcohol. It is akin to that of a rum. It isn't just alcohol heat but also the actual flavor. Carbonation is actually pretty lively beer.

Overall the beer is actually pretty pleasant. While I tend to like to have the alcohol flavor a little less, it is good nonetheless. I do like the dark fruit flavor, but the overpowering alcohol detracts a bit for me. I definitely understand why this beer ages well. I pair it with dessert--- bread pudding with raisins in a rum sauce! It gets an 87/100.

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Old Stock Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
4.1 out of 5 based on 3,162 ratings.
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