Old #38 Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
660 Reviews
Old #38 StoutOld #38 Stout

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

Style: Irish Dry Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.40%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
53 IBUs

Added by kbub6f on 10-18-2001

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Reviews: 660 | Ratings: 1,247
Photo of Arbitrator
1.43/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Black, thick body with some head that recedes over a few minutes. No substantial lacing.

S: A little bit of chocolate and coffee, but mostly roasted malts and... lentils. I just couldn't get past the smell. I've never smelled any beer like this before.

T: The roasted malts are way overdone and dominate the taste. Some grassy hops in the finish. Extremely weird-tasting, imbalanced, and it's hard to believe this is a stout. I must have gotten a bad one.

M: Medium-bodied with medium carbonation.

D: I don't even want to finish this. My first drain pour. The rest of the six-pack is going to be given away.

EDIT: I did give the other 5 away and got very positive comments. I have since realized that this bottle was oxidized, and I am going to buy another one and re-review it.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
1.86/5  rDev -51.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Source/Serving: Draft, on hand pump

Smell: Not very intense. Smooth, sweet cocoa and 'lite' creamed coffee.

Taste: Really light and creamy...pretty sweet with some cocoa from the nose. The only thing that keeps this from being a total bore is a mild fruity - though not great and reminiscent of a canned (straw)berry note in the middle that is unique. But, as it sounds not very tasty. A slight sour note appears as it warms. Finish is a little dark grainy, very smooth and doesn't linger but does leave a shadow of roast coffee behind.

Maybe the low score is just a sign that Irish Stouts aren't my thing??? But i'm still trying to judge to style....

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Photo of cvfish
2.28/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - Poured black, but not a deep cloudy black that I would expect from a stout, created a tan head that disappeared quickly

S - Smelled some malts and coffee, brown sugar

T - Lots of roasted bitterness, some mild chocolate, some cream

M - I hate drys, so this isn't going to be good. The dryness hits the tongue hard, and its not pleasing, to me at least

D - Can't really go back for more, my buddy is on a quest to get me to like dry irish stouts, but it's not looking good

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Photo of MadCat
2.42/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Nice black with a small light brown head, leaves some lacing

Smell: Funky sweet medicinal smell, I doubt its supposed to be like that. There is some roasted malt in the background, but the rest of the smell is covered up by the funk.

Taste: Just as funky and medicinal, but not as sweet. I can taste some good roasted malts in the background

Mouthfeel: Medium body with crisp carbonation.

Drinkability: Tempted to drainpour, but I will soldier on in hopes it gets better.

Overall, it looks like I got a bad bottle. Glad I only bought one, but I am sorely disappointed, as I was looking forward to this. Probably not going to try and find another. Side note, I did have a dunkelweizen earlier in the night, but I don't think that affected my palate as I cleansed it, and I smell the funk in addition to tasting it.

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Photo of biglite351
2.48/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A - light through the middle of the glass. Tight head.

S - very mild malts and a barley scent.

T - rather bland. Minor malts with a mild coffee bitterness, but mild.

M - tiny tingle on front of tongue.

D - nothing bad about it, but so mild that I do nor think that it OS worth it.

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Photo of Jablonski
2.49/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a pint glass. Of the Irish Stout's I've had, this beer is the last opaque, as I could see through it when held to light. It has a small tan colored head. The smell appears to be great, and strong for the style. I can pick up milk chocolate with some coffee as well. The taste was almost repulsive. Initially there was a strong roasted flavor up front, and before the taste could settle in, the dry bitterness set in. I'm not sure what hops were used, but it left for a bad aftertaste. This one was close to a drain pour. The mouthfeel was decent: good carbonation yet a bit weak on thickness. Due to the bad taste, I cannot rate this beer high on drinkability, even with it's low ABV. I'm using this beer as a later drink in my evenings to finish off this six pack.

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Photo of bashiba
2.61/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured a clear dark brown with light amber highlights and a thick and sticky tan head.

Has a light and sweet and roasty malt odor.

Has a very acidic and bitter taste with some hints of smoke and cocoa.

Finishes dry with a cloying bitterness.

Not very good, a real let down as the first North Coast Beer I did not really like.

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Photo of mulder1010
2.68/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

355 ML poured into a tulip

A-- Poured a dark brownish cola color and settled black with a few small tints of ruby here and there. Mocha colored head, one finger in height. Has good staying power until finally fading to film. Two finger height in swirling. No lacing.

S-- Roasted malts, chocolate and Carmel. Very soft smelling at first and flavors pick up more with air.

T-- Thin and watery taste. Bits of water, roasted malts, chocolate, and Carmel. Very watery up front.

M-- Medium carbonation and lighter feel. Small bit of watery gap in the mid palate but much better than the taste. Decent amount of sweet carmel, dairy milk and roasted malts in the back palate. Finishes dry and sweet with lingering sweetness.

O-- What beer lacks for in taste, it makes up for in feel. Easy to drink but in a way bordering more on a dark brown ale. Nothing too exciting but it is quite sessionable.

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Photo of MisterClean
2.7/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Shared with a friend at a homebrew meeting.

A - Light chocolate head and light black in color. Dissipates fast.

S - Slightly peppery, with some smoke, and pineapple type hops.

T - Pepper, smoke, and the hops now taste kind of grassy.

M - Not greatly balanced. Mouthfeel fairly thin and syrupy.

D - Drinkable, but not great. Usually I have high praise for north coast beers.

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Photo of Knapp85
2.73/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out like a typical Irish Stout, the black body with a tan thick head. The head had some pretty good retention and stuck around for a little while. The smell of the beer was of old leather and earth. Some roasted burnt notes as well. The taste was kind of metallic... Not really what I was thinking it'd be like. I was kind of turned off by the taste of this beer completely. Perhaps it was a bad batch but I just couldn't get over how much I disliked the taste of this beer. Everything else was pretty good here.

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Photo of scratch69
2.73/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I poured a bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance- Dark brown with ruby highlights. A half a fingers worth of light tan head and little lacing.

Smell- Boozy with a hint of malt.

Taste- Light taste of hops with a slight boozy flavor.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied and crisp. Good amount of carbonation.

Overall- Not good. I was hoping for better after I saw the BA score, but I was really disappointed once I tried it.

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Photo of stevef
2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured with a light brown foamy head. The color was dark brown with a slight reddish tint.
The smell was slightly roasty although it didn't have a lot of smell to it.
Taste was of roasty grain with a hint of coffee.
There was just a slight taste of hops in the middle and the beer finished with a metallic aftertaste.
I had a difficult time enjoying this beer due to the lack of smell and the metallic taste was a real turn off.

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Photo of JackStraw22
2.83/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

This beer looks great. Dark brown, not quite black body, with some ruby highlights, great tan head. Good retention and nice lacing. Lots of roasted malt in the aroma and slightly smokey. Taste: blech. There's a really metallic taste that is just completely overpowering. It tastes like blood. (I don't drink blood, but have had the taste in my mouth ;-) I've really never tasted something like this, not good at all. I think there must be something wrong with this bottle. I'm going to try another one sometime soon and edit this. Hopefully it will be better,

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.86/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 05/10/2009. 12 oz. bottle. The beer pours black with a thick light tan head. Aroma of super sweet malt, roasted malt, and some raisins. Flavor of roasted, sweet malt with some vegetal notes. This was not very interesting. It was sweet and meh.

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Photo of Gatzby
2.87/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I opened this with "Mmm, stout" echoing in my head and was sorely disappointed. Medium-dark brown in color, letting plenty of light through, definitely not stout-like! Poored smooth, letting off very little head, which disappated quickly.

Smelled mostly of coffee, with a slight alcohol tinge to it. Some minor fruit smell underlying. Didn't have the heady, mouth-watering smell of other stouts. Not unpleasant, but lacking strong, defining characteristics.

Mouthfeel was fairly smooth, more consistent with an ale in my mind. Not very thick or heavy on the tongue. Drinkable, but certainly not the stout I was looking for. Might not be a bad session brew.

Flavor was mostly coffee, with a hint of the hops. No strong alcohol taste, and maybe a slight hint of chocolate. A weak coffee flavor is the most dominant, though.

Overall, an adequate beer, but not exceptional. In a pinch, it would be fine, but I won't go out of my way to find it again.

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Photo of OneDropSoup
2.9/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to (I'm pretty sure) crazynelson for the extra!

Pours a thick, opaque black with a thin ring of tan head, subtle highlights around the bottom. Tiny bubbles, this has a champagne-like consistency, not as thick as other dry stouts. Some lacing that dissipates fairly quickly.

Smells like grape soda at first, then sort of funky/veggie-ish, & a little sweet. Getting very mild milk & roast notes toward the end. Tastes of grape soda up front, too, then fades to a dull, almost chalky malt flavor that characterizes a lot of dry stouts, but here just seems limp. I was very happy with the first after-taste, which finished in a pleasant milk chocolate/roast coffee character. Sadly, that disappeared after the first sip, & I desperately tried to get it back after that, as it was the best part of the brew. No luck.

The mouthfeel is thin, nothing like the thick creaminess I expect from the style. A little fizzy, but that dies in about half a second. This reminds me more of a brown ale or a weak porter than a stout, & I'm sad to say I find it lackluster. North Coast has never disappointed me before, but there is just so much more to be expected from the style.

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Photo of Seanstoppable
2.9/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a mug as a completely pitch black beer with plenty of thick tan head. Head slowly evaporated, leaving lacing down the glass. Taste is smooth, with some brief chocolaty hints. Not very strong and doesn't last very long either. Overall, I was very underwhelmed by the averageness of this beer. Drinkable, but unremarkable.

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Photo of cbl2
2.91/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Black with ruby hints and a weak tan head.


An unpleasant salty sardine type aroma emerges from this one along with a burnt smell


Ocean flavor persists along with that smoky/roasted malt presence that was evident in the aroma. There is a touch of sweetness at first, and in the finish. Finish is also very bitter, causing a bit of mouth pucker. Not my favorite stout.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The pour was near spot on for the style and really showed a tremendous amount of promise. Dark as night with a rich and creamy tan head that rose up from the bottom and settled down very nicely along the top of the glass. Bu that was about the best it would get. Too light of a n aroma, as roasted malts and chocolate notes seem to be horribly off balance. Hints of coffee maybe? But it all seemed to be a bit of a mess for me to be honest. Smooth, even carbonation on a somewhat mellow profile, needed a bit more of a punch to really be anything worthwhile to me. Roasted chocolate, hints of tobacco, a light sweetness, but again it really all seemed terribly off balance to me to be honest.

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Photo of rickyleepotts
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours out thick, and has a dark brown head… it looks like Coke to be honest. Well, I drink a LOT of diet soda, so maybe I am slightly jaded. I have had beers this dark before, especially while in Europe. I remember one night I was in some random underground pub in Rzeszów and I ordered whatever they had on tap. We had just gotten in, and I wasn’t familiar with the beers yet. That beer had a similar head as this. That beer ended up being 13% ABV… so needless to say, I only had a couple.

When you first drink a stout, you expect it to be thick, and creamy. This beer looks like it will be thick, but starts off extremely carbonated and smooth. I am quite impressed with how smooth it is actually. It has a certain kick to it at the end too. Not sure what that is sneaking up on me… but it has that bite. I like it!

The beer also has a great nose. It smells just as good as it tastes. And with a low ABV, you might get just as much enjoyment out of smelling this one. But when you do take the first few drinks, the aftertaste sticks around. But it sticks around in place on the palate you wouldn’t expect. That’s not a bad thing, but something unexpected. Stouts are usually not this drinkable. This is a nice after dinner drink… but bring me a six-pack instead of a pint.

The beer is good. I also love the train coming at you on the bottle. There’s a story behind said train, actually. Weird to think this beer started as a home-brew and ended up being chilled in my refrigerator.

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Photo of mattcrill
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Are you sure this is a stout? What kind? It pours, smells, and tastes more like a porter (if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, hmm...) Pours dark brown with a tan head that quickly disappears. Smells like coffee and malts. Taste is rather boring with carbonation dominating and not much mystery to it. It was a pretty drinkable brew but just not my definition of a stout. Not a good example.

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Photo of Higravity
3.01/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This was oh so average. Nothing to see here folks move along. Black body topped with a slight tan head, giving way to some lacing. Smell is very muted, a little roastedness and coffee shine through. The taste is roasty coffee but it doesn't really finish dry and the body was too thin. I could drink this one again but I might be bored. Yawn, well on to the next one.

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Photo of JDFish
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured dark brown with a medium almond head that disappeared quickly. Smell is dominated by molasses. Tastewise, there are some citrus notes, some coffee and sweet molasses. A bit of alcohol flavor eeked out and it was a bit chalky and dry at the finish. Decent lacing halfway done. Easy to drink, but just average flavor for this category. Too many other good ones out there...I won't be buying this one again.

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Photo of tr4nc3d
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a black color with a 3 inch head. Lacing is left on the side of my glass.

Smells very much like dark fruit, sugary, plums come to mind, roasted malts.

Mild bitter hop taste in the beginning with some floral notes in the middle. Hint of dark sugar is noticable. This fnished with a roasted coffee burnt aftertaste.

Feels thin and needs more flavor, tad watery feeling in the end.

I couldnt see myself drinking this beer again.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.04/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

This is a stout? WTF, I can see right through it! Pours dark brown, not black, with a modest brown head that quickly recedes, leaving only spots of lace as it does.

Aroma is mainly coffee, dark toasted malts, chocolate, and some dark fruit. A mild floral hops character is hiding in there somewhere.

Flavor is very roasty, lots of coffee, lite on the chocolate, and somewhat nutty. The main thing going on here is bitter coffee and cocoa.

Mouthfeel is pretty thin, especially for a stout. Body is very light, more like a brown ale, bordering on watery. Not bad tasteing, certainly not stout enough for my expectations though. It displays very little of the requisite characteristics of this style, for that, it's score suffers.

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Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,247 ratings.
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