Old #38 Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
662 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: 662 | Ratings: 1,251
Photo of SawDog505
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass. Pours a very dark brown with a one inch tan head, that leaves behind tons of lace. Smell is chocolate, coffee, bread, and toffee. Taste is all of that, chocolate being the dominant flavor really well balanced and smooth. Body is fairly light for a stout, plenty of carbonation, a little dry, and very drinkable. This is a solid stout, not earth shattering but nice.

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Photo of Khad
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this poured from a bottle into a Stout glass.

Appearance is very nice, with a pretty black pour and I don't mean ruby. The head comes off as creamy and tan but doesn't stick around long. There is some lacing for the duration but not much. All seems straight forward but pleasant. Yes, as advertised, no mistaking that this is an Irish Stout. To the nose, you get plenty of malt, plenty of dark chocolate and some might say coffee but I got something along the lines of creamy black tea. The mouth-feel is nice and creamy with nothing overbearing, very light on the palate. The taste is once again straight forward and nothing ground breaking but still very enjoyable. Up front is the creamy chocolate, accompanied by mocha and very light expresso in the end. You will also be able to taste a lot of the malt and that's something I like in Stouts. All around a very nice beer although a bit on the pricey side here in Vegas. I'd buy it again if the price was right as this is a nice one but there are better choices out there. This is NOT a big beer and no way resembles a serious Imperial Stout. It's not complex and will remind you of most other Irish style Stouts but it still sits higher on the shelf than most. Recommended.

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

Very dark. Black, for sure, with a sudsy beige cap of an inch or more.

Dark cocoa, coffee, light roast, tanginess, light cream, and earthy notes.

Roasty enough, with light coffee notes. Barley grain, light vanilla, and malt bitterness. Not much for hops. Simple, but decent.

Wooly body with a good tautness. Spicy carbonation creates a nice tickle.

Pretty solid for an Irish Dry Stout.

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

I bought a six pack of this beer. This is my 1st beer today, and the 4th of this pack.

A: Poured into a mug, its rich dark black in color, hard pour resulted in a 2 inch head, creamy and tan in color, some lacing.
to style

S: Dark Malts, rich dutch chocolate. I let it warm up from 40f to 55f. Now I get some rich creamy coffee, some warm bread like malt, but no hops detected. more sweetness hit the nose as it warms more past 60f. to style

T: at first you get bitter dark chocolate and roasted malts. the back end taste leaves a sweet creamy hot chocolate like and coffee but with some bitterness.., balanced dry malt, some yeast , but the hops are barely there. humm barely to style, but I fudge it some

M/D: Nice smooth creamy beer. dry aftertaste with lingering sugar sweetness. light body, light carbonation. to style.

O: Nice beer easy to drink. I could drink this all day. I will buy this again. Good stuff! RECOMMEND

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Photo of megahurts4
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

North Coast Old No.38 Stout

Appearance: very dark brown, small head, and a little lacing.

Smell: vanilla, chocolate, and cocoa.

Taste: roasted grain, chocolate, and a light hop.

Mouthfeel: light.

This has some good aromas and flavors in a light body.

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Photo of RhyminBelmont
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Cole's open mic

A- a thick and creamy chocolate milk head comes and chills for a while. Dark dark brown and pretty impermeable.

S- light and crisp roast, might be a little cold to tell but nothing outstanding here.

T- chewy malt and thick slightly drying bitter roast tones. Full of flavor, nails the style.

O- I've been on a non imperial Stout kick lately and this is killing it for me. Would drink again, this would be easy to session. Fridge staple material if not ISO worthy.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle. Sampled on November 14, 2013.

It pours mainly dark brown with a small, short-lasting beige head. But I see some reddish hues glistening around the bottom of the glass.

The aroma is of chocolate malts, smoke. coffee, and perhaps butterscotch...or is that caramel? But it does exhibit a mixture of smoke and sweetness on the nose.

The body is thin to medium, which was probably its least enjoyable aspect.

The taste is more sweet and malty than the nose might suggest with muted coffee but more forward malts and butterscotch. Low bitterness. A very quaff-able beer.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a thin tan head on a black body.
The aroma is roasted malt with some lemon and coffee. On the light side but good.
The taste has a nice cream to it; roasted malt and mild bitterness round it out.
The texture is smooth except for the finish that has a nice fizz.
A tasty stout with great balance and approachability.

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Photo of stercomm
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a shorty 12 oz bottle into a 16 oz tulip glass

A - Very dark brown in color with a nice big mocha head that recede slowly leaving a nice thin layer along the top of the beer, very slight lacing.

S - Immediate sense is toast with some sweetness and slight cocoa, very subdued smell.

T - Taste profile follows along the smell, balanced, nothing overpowering, toasted malts, a slight sweetness starting out, some hints of chocolate, finishes rather dry.

M - Medium bodied, mild carbonation, slight creaminess.

O - A solid beer, nothing overpowering, nothing out of place.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of North Coast Brewing Company's Old #38 Stout a couple weeks ago for $1.70 at Toskey Sands Market. The only beer I've had from this brewery is Old Rasputin and since that's such a solid Stout I thought I would give one of their other Stouts a try, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date. Poured from a shorter brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks nice, it's got some nice artwork of a steam train that goes good with the name. It poured a dark brown color that bordered on being black and it took on more of a dark brown hue when held to the light with two and a half fingers worth of light mocha colored head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left some nice spotty rings of lacing behind. This is a good looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a with a higher amount of sweetness followed by a good amount of dark roasted malts that impart a medium roasted, dark chocolate and cocoa powder like aromas with a light bit of vanilla and coffee coming through. Up next comes a very earthy aroma that may be from the hops, but I'm not sure. The aroma was nice and pretty true to style.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a medium amount of sweetness followed by a good amount of dark roasted malts that impart a nice medium roasted, dark chocolate and cocoa powder like flavors with a very slight amount of vanilla and a very light coffee flavor showing up in the back ground. Towards the end I get that same earthy aspect that I got in the aroma with a slightly higher amount of low bitterness with a nice roasted and chocolate like aftertaste. This a pretty nice tasting beer, that was very true to style.

M- Smooth, slightly rich, a little creamy, on the the thicker side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was pretty nice, the carbonation was a little high, but other than that it was pretty good.

Overall I thought this was a good beer and a good example of the style, it had pretty much all the aspects that I look for in the style with nothing that was too out of place for the style. This beer had good drinkability, it was smooth, a little creamy, not to filling and the taste did a good job at holding my attention, I could see myself drinking a couple of these, it's a pretty easy drinking dark beer. What I liked the most about this beer was how true to style it was, it's just what I want in an Irish Dry Stout. What I liked the least about this beer was the aroma, it wasn't bad, but it had a slight stale aspect to it. I would buy this again, and I would like to try a bottle that I know is fresh, I enjoyed it and it was priced well. I would recommend this to anyone who likes the style. All in all I was happy with this beer, it represents the style nicely and it's pretty easy drinking. Good job North Coast, I'll have to keep an eye out for more of your beers, keep up the good work.

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Photo of bisonbrewing
3.16/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

pours dark brown/black with a small creamy head dissipating quickly. sediment suspended throughout the glass. dry malted barley predominates the nose while a subtle hint of coffee/bitter chocolate harkens back to the murphys and Guinness I had in Ireland. underwhelming malt flavor up front, followed by a dry roasted character, light hops, and bitter chocolate. thin/weak body is its most salient feature, although for the style its quite on point.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

A- Pours deep, deep brown to black. About a 1 finger, tan and chocolate brown head forms and retains pretty well. Lacing is also pretty good.

S- Dry, dark malts are first and foremost. Hints of bitter chocolate and lots of dark malts intermingle to provide a fairly delicious smelling aroma.

T- Starts of with a lot of dark malts and their subsequent bitterness. Very much like chocolate bitterness, but drier. Some burnt flavors also mix in to heighten the bitterness. Just a slight hint of chocolate makes an appearance in the middle of the drink. Ends with more dark malt bitterness that lingers for a little bit.

M- Lighter in body, but smooth and fairly creamy. Sits light in the stomach.

Overall, this is what a dry stout should be; bitter, dry, and light in body. Quality malt scents and flavors make this a great example of the style.

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Photo of BradtheGreat7
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz short brown bottle with a label that features the Steam Engine the beer is named after. Decent looking label of green and the train engine. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A - black colored with the smallest hint of ruby and a solid brown. Tan colored head pours lovely and sits to perfection like a sheet of straightened cloth leaving good stick.

S - not much going on other than a dry roasted aroma with hints of dark malt and a faint whiff of bitter chocolate.

T - dark and roasted malt flavors with a hint of coffee and bitter chocolate. A toffee comes toward the middle with a small amount of bland hop flavors creeping in toward the back. Dry finish but the bitterness lingers for a moment.

M - pretty decent texture and not a bad thickness to the body. I can't say its smooth but it is pretty refreshing for a stout. The dry character allowed me to enjoy this stout and the roasted malts are done fairly well in 38.

O - a pretty good stout. Nothing fancy or out of this world about it, but a solid year round offering from a solid brewery. I really dig North Coast and while this isn't one of my favorites from them its still something ill grab from time to time.

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.26/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled back on 9/15/13. Chilled down to 36 degrees in my beer cooler and poured in a pilsner glass. Pours a nearly black in color with with a good 3+-finger tan head that lasts awhile. Lots of lacing is seen with each sip. The aroma is of roasted malt, espresso and chocolate. Perfect carbonation. When first sipped the taste of bittersweet chocolate is apparent and on the dry side. Very taste and smooth though and goes down very easy. No harsh aftertaste. Overall, a good stout.

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Photo of Omnium
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle > Pint Glass

A - Pours a ruby black, one finger of tan head, mild lacing.
S - Weak aroma, some roasted chocolate malt, very very little earthy undertones.
T - Taste makes up a little bit, mild bitterness, kinda herbal, dried fruits, some lighter smoked and roasted malts.
M - Dry? yes, but its more on the metallic side, kinda lame.
O - Not a fully satisfying IDS, but a decent one, I wouldnt seek it out again though.

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Photo of mattsdenney
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle pour into tulip glass. Pours nice and dark, one finger of light brown frothy head. Scents of charred bread, chocolate, malted milk balls, and black coffee. Pretty bitter but also great flavor from the dark malt and roasted barley. Notes of coffee, chocolate, and malt, very toasty. The mouthfeel is light with mild carbonation. Not too heavy or filling, pretty drinkable. Overall a nice dry stout, flavorful, perfect balance of bitterness and sweetness.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

Look: Dark chocolate black, cream colored head that recedes to a film and leaves sheets of foamy lacing.

Aroma: Cocoa powder, dark chocolate, roasted malts.

Taste: Dry bitter chocolate coated with a cocoa kind of note. Bitter hops in the finish balance out the chocolate notes.

Mouthfeel: A tad watery.

Overall: A really good dry stout. I'm glad I finally bought it.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into tulip. no dates.

A: pretty much pitch black. head is frothy and is big. retention is fantastic. spotted lacing.

S: bittersweet. dark roast coffee. a touch of vanilla. virtually no hop aroma to be found.

T: roasty and plenty dry. a minor bit of sweetness. quickly depleted after the roast comes back into the finish. ash. I cant tell if there is a little bit of butter on the back-end or not...

M: carb is super mellow. would love to see this on nitro or in nitro packaging. medium body.

D: my only complaint would be that this is a little too big of a body for a dry irish stout, however I may be being picky. not blown away here, but a good brew for sure.

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Photo of PieOhMy
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A Black. Foamy. Tan head that fades slow.

S Chocolate. Roasted malts. Burnt sugar. Banana. Mocha.

T Very much coffee up front yet not overpowering. Toasted cereal grains. Malts. A little bitter. Closes with a nice lemon pepper zest.

M Bready. Thick, full, chewy. A little bit bready but finishes clean and refreshing (especially for a beer this thick).

O Nice stout. Reminds me of a fuller but toned down Extra Foreign Stout. Coffee is there but it doesn't floor you. Bitterness is there but not overpowering. A little zesty but not off-putting. Everything is pretty subtle but noticeable. If you get the chance to try this you should take it.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

"Named for a retired steam engine on the California Western Railroad Redwood route, Old No. 38 Stout is a smooth, firm-bodied stout with the toasted character and coffee notes of dark malts and roasted barley." Brewed in the style of an Irish Dry Stout, but reminds me more of an Export Stout based on it's qualities and aroma.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served north of 48ยบ Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a brown smooth, yet crispy head with an average retention and light crispy lacing. Body color is a dark brown, near black. Moderate visible carbonation. Appearance is nice although not a big draw of this beer. 3.5

(Smell) Aroma consists of a moderate roasted barley, a forward herbal and floral hop character, and a mild acidity that wafts over an otherwise clean, subtle malt base. The aroma reminds me a great deal of a Guinness Foreign Extra, and probably comes close to other Export Stouts in its composition. I really enjoy the hop presence in this one, it's a driving hop character that pairs well with the roasted barley. Potency is medium. 3.75

(Taste) A lot more of the same, although the acidity is a bit more pronounced, with a very subtle clean roasted bread finish. The hop character is very herbal and mildly grassy, and the malt bill is somewhat masked, much like an Irish dry stout would be. Sweetness is moderate at best and the hop character and acidity makes for the most pronounced part of this beer, complimenting a notably dry finish. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Carbonation is very light, with just a touch of buzz on the tongue, but not a lot of creaminess or thickness to go with it, it feels a lot like a dry stout minus the nitrogen boost. Body is medium/heavy for a dry stout, medium+ overall. Alcohol presence is mild for the style, tucked behind the hop character. 3

(Overall) I find this beer uncommitted between competing styles, and as such I can't determine whether I actually enjoy it or not. The makings of an Irish dry stout are nearly all there, with a dry, modestly-hopped malt body, well masked. The hops are more prevalent than in the average dry stout, and make for more of an export-style stout. Despite the focus, I can find many enjoyable things in this beer, it's not my choice beer, however, but may be a step up from Guinness or Murphy's lovers, however. 3.5

North Coast Brewing Company's
Old No. 38 Stout

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Photo of CrazyHarry
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a really terrific dry stout.

Pours a dark black with a creamy tan colored head that has a nice sheen to it.

Faint aromas of coffee and chocolate, but the real joy is the taste - medium bodied, smooth mouthfeel with flavors of roasted dark malts, chocolate and coffee without the tart/sour flavor of a Guinness. I could drink this all night!

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Photo of tito42
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle to a tulip.

A: Nearly opaque black with a touch of cola around the edges of the glass. Thick, foamy, cocoa head.

S: Roasted barley, bready yeast, earthy hops, peat, and hints of plum and chocolate.

T: Strong roasted barley presence up front. Flavors of plum and chocolate are much more present than in your reference Irish Dry Stout (Guinness). White cane sugar.

M: Light-bodied as a dry stout should be, with a middling hops finish for the style and a bit of a drying effect on the tongue.

O: Very solid dry stout. My first North Coast brew, I'll definitely be trying more of their offerings.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.87/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a "stubby" 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Dark brown/black in color, with ruby highlights, big, thick cloud-deck of tan foam.
Aroma-Faint chocolate, coffee notes
Taste-Dark roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, drying finish. Roasty and tasty, a nice example of the style.

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

12 oz bottle into Samuel Smith tulip pint glass

A - Massive cocoa head on top of a surprisingly dark brown beer with red highlights. Impressive head retention, bits of lacing. Lives up to expectations, for sure.

S - Initial aroma is a blast of chocolate and lots of sweet, sugary, dark roasted malt. Some coffee. Aroma fades a bit, but is still a very pleasant component of the beer.

T - Roasted malt character, chocolate, a touch of bitterness. A pinch of mineral character. Cereal grains in the aftertaste - reminds me of Grape Nuts.

M - I have to remind myself that this is an Irish Dry Stout and that the thinner mouthfeel is appropriate (as compared to an American Imperial Stout, which I usually drink). It's pleasantly carbonated, very refreshing, and just because it's thinner than most of the stouts I drink - that doesn't mean it's "thin." Some dryness with the grape nuts aftertaste. Definitely begs for another sip.

O - I really enjoyed this beer. It's not a style I drink that often, but it makes me want to try a few others and compare. My hunch is that this is a fuller flavored representative of the style. A lot of the flavor and aroma profile could work just as well in a bigger, oilier Imperial Stout. But it works quite well in this context. A MUST TRY for fans of the style, and one I will check in with from time to time, I'm sure. Worth trying for any BA. Could be an excellent "gateway beer" for Guiness drinkers.


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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, no bottle dating. Pours very dark brown, almost black color; with a 1 finger dense tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of cocoa, chocolate, roasted malt, light char, toast, molasses, raisin, toffee, light coffee, and roasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity; decent strength. Taste of cocoa, chocolate, roasted malt, toast, light char, molasses, toffee, light raisin, light coffee, and roasted earthiness. Lingering notes of cocoa, chocolate, roasted malt, toast, molasses, toffee, light raisin, and earthiness on the finish for a short bit. Very nice balance and complexity of roasted flavors with some light fruitiness; with good robustness, and zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy, chalky, and fairly crisp mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with almost zero warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good dry stout style. Good balance and complexity of nicely robust flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering; but I probably got an old bottle judging by the fruitiness and molasses notes.

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Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,251 ratings.
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