Old #38 Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
86
very good
660 Reviews
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
Reviews:
660
Ratings:
1,247
Avg:
3.83
pDev:
10.97%
 
 
Wants:
62
Gots:
87
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 660 | Ratings: 1,247
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."

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of Cylinsier
4.16/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tap

Pours jet black with a tan film for a head.

Smells of roasted malts, coffee, and a dry nuttiness.

Tastes of coffee, cocoa, oak, and toasted malts.

Medium body with tingly carbonation throughout.

Very tasty stout with a lot of good flavor and body, especially for the abv. Definitely worth trying and one of the better Irish stouts I have had in a while.

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Photo of Pukstopper
4.21/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

My rating covers about 6 ounces as my wife took the other 6 as she likes it as well and there was only 1 bottle in our sampler 6 pack.
Poured a black color into a pint glass with nice head that fades leaving nice lacing. Good Carmel notes with nice malty overtones
A nice east stout to drink.

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Photo of Cnote_crafty_1
5/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old No. 38 Stout %5.4 ABV, 53 IBU's

Look: It is ofcourse black as night with a tan head.
Smell: Just a faint smell of roasted barley, grains, but more aroma than you would get from most irish style dry stouts
Taste: It has a nice full flavor with hints of chocolate, coffee, dark barley malts and grains. It is pretty bitter as you would expect from a beer touted as a beer brewed in an Irish style. There is not a heavy aftertaste that lingers at all.
Feel: It is a light feel, but it does have a nice body to it.
Overall: It is a very nice drinkable beer that has alot of flavor. I would surely drink it again. If you are looking for a drinkable stout that has a bit of a bitter bite to it this would be a good choice.

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Photo of Gorilla_Biscuits
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It pours nicely, it's pitch black. Just a great looking stout. It's enjoyable and it's thick for a low abv stout, but it tastes mostly like tobacco with some bitter dark chocolate and coffee. So it's nothing too crazy, but it's a great basic stout.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Looks amazing. Black body with a think tan head. Fades slowly, leaves moderate lacing and a thin layer that never fades.
S - Light roasted malts, coffee, bitter cocoa.
T - Cocoa, roasted malts. The usual suspects.
M - Creamy, medium body, very low carb.
O - A very good example of the style, Irish Dry. Easy to drink.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours bright, dense black under a 1” tan foam cap.
S: Malt aromas with chocolate and light coffee notes.
T: Rich roast malt, caramel with a little chocolate in the flavor. Nothing harsh or burnt.
F: Medium full body, medium to medium low carbonation.
O: This is a nice, drink all day kind of a stout.

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Photo of stevoj
3.69/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On nitro at Boise Brewing. Pours extra thick and creamy, head silky smooth and tight. Inky black body, roast grain on the aroma, plenty of coffeeish bitterness. Pretty slippery and slick for a stout. Extra appearance points for the nitro body.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: [3.50] Very dark, almost black beer. Pours out with a 1/2 a finger of tan head. The head is creamy and recedes down but does not disappear. I can't find an ABV or a date.

S: [3.50] Bittersweet cocoa. Dark fruits. Raisins maybe.

T: [3.50] Smoked hickory up front with a hint of bacon. The middle has some sweetness and the finish has a slight bitter note.

M: [3.75] The mouthfeel is creaming and it coats the tongue.

O: [3.50] This is decent beer. I got none of the coffee flavors indicated on the label. But the body and the mouthfeel were nice. The flavor holds up well. The bottle is missing ABV and a date - I always hate that. I'd guess this is in the 6.7% ABV range. No my favorite but it is worth repeating.

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Photo of SensorySupernova
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Jet black with very smooth off-white head. Eventually settled to a ring of lace around the outside.

Smell: Roast malt, coffee.

Taste: Roasted malt up front, pretty dry, coffee, fades at the end to leave very little aftertaste. Very little bitterness.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin, fine carbonation.

Overall: Solid flavor, pretty standard, would be nice with more body.

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Photo of kitch
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 fl oz bottle into a pint glass. There was no bottled or best by date on the bottle.

Appearance: The beer poured a rich opaque black colour with a bit less than one finger caramel tan head that dissipates quickly leaving a small amount of lacing.

Aroma: Aromas are a bit weak, but mainly of roasted malts, cocoa dark chocolate and brown sugar. There is also a slight amount coffee mixed in.

Taste: Sweet cocoa and roasted malts followed by brown sugar, milk chocolate, coffee and maybe a small amount of caramel.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, sticky, light to medium bodied with light carbonation and a small alcohol kick.

Overall: Overall this was a decent stout that may be a little bit on the sweet side. However when compared to Guinness, I have to say that I’m leaning towards Guinness for a variety of reasons. It’s not as sweet, only one-third of the cost, and a lot easier to find in Hong Kong since its available in every supermarket.

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Photo of doktorhops
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

All aboard the North Coast Old #38 - next stop: anything but a train-related joke. Please have your tickets ready [Dammit Doc!]. I like North Coast, especially their Old Rasputin RIS (which is a DSM or a ‘Doc’s Stout Must-haves’ not to be confused with the ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ or ‘The Other DSM’) so it’s only natural that their Old #38 Stout - North Coast’s take on the Irish Dry Stout style (e.g. the one that Guinness is) and I should cross paths for a good old fashioned review. In case you were wondering what the Old #38 is North Coast’s web page has the answer young grasshopper: “Named for a retired California Western Railroad steam engine on the Fort Bragg to Willits run through the Redwoods”. Goody.

Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Rich black opaque body with a delightful 1 cm mocha head that beckons the drinker to sip and be merry. The head soon reduces to a thin lace but my appetite remains. This beer on nitro tap would be a force to be reckoned with. 8/10.

S: Classic Stout aromas - coffee and cocoa make a smell-pearance, along with brown sugar and some toasty smoke-char. “Hey you wanted a classic Stout, you got it!” says North Coast as it lays down the aroma gauntlet to Stout-lovers worldwide. 9/10.

T: The coffee characters take on a ripe coffee berry flavour, merging with powdered cocoa and topped off with a hint of brown sugar and that smoky roasting note towards the finish, which is a balanced juxtaposition between dryness and coffee grind bitters. The aroma does perhaps oversell the flavour a little as it has a watery/metallic aftertaste that detracts from the overall taste. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied, slightly watery, with a light to flat carbonation. Certainly not winning any awards here. 6/10.

D: There is a damn good brew in this Stout that is marred by aftertaste and body, which is a shame because I do enjoy nearly all of North Coast’s brews, it just feels as if this particular North Coast Stout was brewed on a Friday afternoon. How does it compare to Guinness? Well I would say favourably, but then again Guinness borders on water for me with all the drops in ABV it has had over the last decade - Old #38 fortunately doesn’t suffer from the mid-strength handicap of today’s Guinness, yet in some ways I would take a Guinness over this any day (it’s a lot cheaper for starters, and the nitro-cans beat bottles). 7/10.

Food match: The perfect match for a Irish Dry Stout is still Beef & Guinness pie.

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Photo of MartyMaltose
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Solid all around, and very affordable for the quality if purchased as a sixer at World Market. It is a perfect enhancer for all manly meals--pizza, curries, grilled burgers or sausages, pasta with red sauce. In an ideal world, this would be the basic stout served everywhere, with premium stouts offered where there are lots of taps. I enjoy drinking these North Coast brews that have no faddish flavorings but are simply beautiful products of a remarkable brewer who is an artist with the basics.

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Photo of mikeg67
3.94/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Pours black with tall, long lasting, creamy, beige head and nice lacing. Aroma is of bready malt, toast, dark fruit, coffee and brown sugar. Body is medium, creamy and smooth. Taste is of toasted malt, coffee, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruit and herbal hops. Finish is long and dry. On a sweet side but tasty brew.

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

I found #38 to be very good across the board. Nothing elaborate on the nose or the palate, just a straightforward stout that moves along nicely front to back. Would definitely drink it again.

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Photo of delta490
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown, with hardly any light getting through. The head is creamy tan and burns off quickly, leaving small amounts of lacing. Dark malts dominate, with notes of dark chocolate and coffee and earthy hops adding to it. The taste is very similar to the aroma, just not quite as robust and forward.The body is thinner, has a hit of carbonation and a nice dry finish.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours dark brown with a frothy brown head that settles and laces fairly well.

S: Roasted malt, dark chocolate, a little coffee, maybe a little spice.

T: Dark roasted malt, some coffee, bittersweet chocolate, a little smokiness, a little dark fruit, maybe even a touch of licorice.

M: Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Pretty darn solid stout.

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Photo of DrainBamage
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours thick black with a lace of head. Smells like chocolate and coffee malts.At first sip its very sweet but goes down smooth and ends with a little bitterness. Overall a fairly drinkable Stout.

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Photo of Chessmaster
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%

Served from bottle into a Sam Smith's pint glass.

A:Pours an attractive black with brown/ruby highlights. Head dissipates quickly to thin cap

S: Primarily toasty notes, with sweet caramel smell.

T:Caramel and roasted grain, which finishes with a dry bitterness. Very nice

M: Medium bodied, soft carbonation, pleasant

O: Very drinkable and enjoyable stout. Delicious flavor and nice aroma. Would buy again.

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

A: poured into a mug to a nice shade of black with a huge and rocky light tan head with excellent staying power
S: smells a little sweet with some notes of roasted malt and coffee
T: taste is smooth light chocolate flavor with a little coffee and some light roasted malt notes. swallow is a little sweet with more coffee and roasted malt
M: this beer has a medium heft on the palate with soft but adequate carbonation and a drying finish
O: A very good beer that's a pleasure to drink. It isn't a monster of a stout but it drinks nicely and has good flavors.

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Photo of BucBasil
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 330mL bottle into a pint glass.

The beer's head leaps to the top of the glass as soon as it's poured, but then settles back down slowly, a bit more retention than cola but still somewhat fizzy. Head was Light tan by the way. The beer is an opaque brown color with only a slight amount of light coming through on the edges of this dark dark brew.

S: Toasty character stands out as well as a sweet caramely note. Brown sugar and slight traces of alcohol mix in with some dark fruit and some watery hot chocolate.

T: Not so in your face, but actually somewhat sweet at first.Caramel and toast. Finishes nice and roasty with a bit of char and coffee in the aftertaste.

F: The low point of this beer. A bit watery feeling. Not as creamy or substantive as you want any stout to be.

Overall a solid brew. Could be a regular go to, but there are a lot of similar beers out there. Kind of depends on whats next to it.

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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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