Old #38 Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
86
very good
1,252 Ratings
Old #38 StoutOld #38 Stout
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,252
Reviews:
663
Avg:
3.83
pDev:
10.97%
 
 
Wants:
66
Gots:
89
For Trade:
1
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,252 |  Reviews: 663
Photo of prisoner1572
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Bierliebhaber3
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This stout pours a very dark brown color with a thick, foamy, deep tan head with good retention. The scent is heavily malty with hints of coffee and chocolate. The flavor is strong and malty with mostly roasted, bitter coffee flavor and a little bit of dark chocolate and toffee. The aftertaste is smooth and creamy, but dry, very much the typical Irish stout mouth-feel (think Guinness). Maybe it’s just because I haven’t had a stout in a while, but this tastes really good right now. My only complaint would be that it’s maybe a little bitter in a stout for my taste, but otherwise it’s a really good, robust, full bodied stout.

 638 characters

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black pour with a brown to the outside color scheme, 1/2" tan head. A little boozy, acrid burnt malt notes.

Taste brought out chocolate malt more than the nose. Chewy, smooth, but amply hopped at the same time. Carbonation on point. Mixture of dry and chewy at the same time.

This is a nice, more sessionable stout than Old Rasputin. Just depends where you're wanting to go with your drinking that day I guess.

 419 characters

Photo of evanwoertz
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark chocolate black into the snifter with an initial 2 finger head that fades to a finger in a couple minutes' time. Mossy blobs are left on top to remind me of where the head was.

Lots of bitter dark chocolate in the aroma, with licorice, coffee, barley, and molasses. Nice nose.

Taste is heavy on the coffee but surprisingly the bitterness is countered by the rich malts used generously in the recipe. It's not sweet at all, to call it sweet would be a grave sin; it's very much anti-sweet - tons of roast coffee and burnt raw cocoa/cacao...but still not exactly bitter. With this being said, it has been extremely easy to drink so far, and I'm almost done with it!

Feel is supremely carbonated, and rests on that as its strength. The dryness typical of Irish-style stouts is there, but overshadowed by hard notes of wispy smokiness and occasional wet laps of hydration.

Overall, the Old #38 is a solid performer, I'd have it again; it didn't blow me away but nothing has drank easier to my palate on the stout side of things for a good long while. Nice little crafty brew here.

 1,095 characters

Photo of gandres
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Tap to glass @ North Coast Brewing tap room@ Fort Bragg,CA
Appearance: Black, big foam-last long
Aroma: licorice, fragrant, aromatic
Taste: no bold taste, lightly bitter, light sweetness
Palate: light body, soft carbonation, abrupt finish
Overall: good beer, but not the top stout
Drank: April 13, 2016

 302 characters

Photo of beertraveler08
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Beginner2
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Interesting.
North Coast is a good example of a second (possibly first) generation brewer who did the English style very well, but also made numerous offerings in the Belgian style and few were as good... although possibly successful enough to keep North Coast brewing them. Anyway, perhaps this is a lesson in sticking to your knitting.
Old #38 was first brewed in 1988 from a recipe in a home-brew "how-to" manual. It is dry, true to the Irish tradition. And it's hops (53 IBU) are well-concealed from my sensitive palate.
I was saving this bottle for next winter, but today it snowed (and stuck) in Chicago after opening day (baseball), so I felt obliged to raid my stash.

Bottom-line: I recommend this stout.

Reviewed in Roger Protz' CAMRA classic "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

Old #38 also is listed on the "1001" and deserves to be there. The review was written by one of my top five favorite beer writers, fellow Chicagoan Randy Mosher and I recommend reading it. He did quote Michael Jackson as saying that Old #38 "may well be one of the best stouts produced in America."
I couldn't find that reference, but I will share that MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave Old #38 three of four stars and called it "creamy and chocolatey with lots of flavour development."

 1,266 characters

Photo of Tone
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a black color. One inch head of a tan color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, alcohol, hint of roasted malt, hint of tea, and a hint of hops. Fits the style of an Irish Dry Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of hops, sweet malt, hint of roasted malt, hint of yeast, hint of tea, and slight alcohol. Overall, a pretty darn good Irish Dry Stout.

 425 characters

Photo of npendres
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of tomb_ride
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Khaymanbb
4.62/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Barracudas
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of EdwardAbbey
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of ledouge
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Miami66
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Beerasaurus
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of lastmango
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured black with a 3 finger creamy tan head. Lots of lacing. Mild aroma of roasted malt and cocoa. Smooth light roasted malt, chocolate and black licorice. Mild bitterness on the end. Moderate body and soft carbonation. Did I say smooth? This is a nice Stout that is very drinkable.

 290 characters

Photo of LennyOvies
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

L- Jet black body with a creamy tan head with medium persistence, leaves no head after several minutes.
S- Dark chocolate and roasted grains.
T- Bitter dark chocolate, brown sugar, wood. Dry finish.
F- Rich, creamy, smooth.
O- Although the smell is weak, overall this is a very good stout. Very smooth, easy drink.

 314 characters

Photo of CraftBeerRunner
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somehow very thin feeling and unsatisfying.

43 characters

Photo of GFD400
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of 6thstreetbrewpub
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of rickklein9
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of absurdi5m
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Photo of stompilator
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12oz. bottle, into a bomber converted into a pint glass.

A - Black as night, beige head, slightly opaque.

S - Dark chocolate, roasted grain.

T - Bitter chocolate blooms out in the front-palate. Nutty chocolate malt dominates, with a bitter roastiness fading up with it. A mineral-laden water character comes in around the mid-palate. Not unlike oversteeped black tea. Fairly bitter throughout, ending on a light residual roastiness and bitterness.

M - Creamy and full-bodied, moderate dryness and residual bitterness. Low carbonation.

O - Very solid dry Irish stout. Nails all the characteristic flavors well.

 629 characters

Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,252 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe