Old #38 Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
661 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: 661 | Ratings: 1,249
Photo of hobbes2112
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Finally got this one into my local store (I hate TABC) a nice surpise on a warm May afternoon.

Pours with a thick, quickly retreating, tan head.

The smell is fantastic, dry and roasty; the way a Stout should smell.

The tastes reflect what you expect from the aroma, just a little more spread out. In some magical North Coast paradox this is a watery/dry beer. A spread-out compact flavor mapping. I alternate between thinking it is somewhat bland and full on intense, the longer you wait after a mouthfull the more flavors you get. Not a beer you chug, but not really a sipper either.

At about $7.30 for 6 this will absolutely be on my rebuy list.

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Photo of WesWes
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep black color with a thin off-white head. The aroma is good. It has a nice black malt/ roasted scent that is a bit dry and awfully malty. The taste is good. It has a rich black malt flavor that is dry and dark tasting. It goes down easy and finishes with a black malt aftertaste. The mouthfeel is great. It is a medium/full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine stout with great flavor and mouthfeel; an excellent sessions brew.

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Photo of IceAce
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

APPEARANCE: Jet black with deep brown around the very bottom of my beer-clean .5 ltr pilsner glass. An agressive pour yielded a 1.5 finger collar of rapidly dissipating foam. The lacing left behind is beautiful.

AROMA: A very malty nose with a hint of alcohol and a beautiful yeast.

TASTE: Beautifully balanced flavor with a very nice malted finish. Perfect CO² level for a bottled stout.

MOUTHFEEL: While nothing seemed to be missing...I couldn't help but to wish for more depth in this beer.

DRINKABILITY: A good session stout that stands up well to others in this catagory. While I wouldn't actively seek it out, I also would not try to avoid another 'Old 38' experience.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Nice chocolate and roasted malts with a hint of licorice.
Appearance: Very black with brown edges in front of a good light. Thin tan head of less than half a finger, but I was a little too gentle on the pour. It left a sheet of solid lace that ended up in a classic lace pattern.
Flavor: Wow, quite a kick. No hops in the aroma, but they pop right out in the taste with a slightly harsh bitter. It’s lighter in alcohol, but comparable to Old Rasputin in taste (oh yeah, North Coast makes that as well). After I got used to the hops, some of the roasted character started coming through.
Mouthfeel: It has a medium body with a slight mouth coat with a hop pucker at the end.
Overall Impression: A bit toward the bitter side of the equation for a stout, but a rich and complex taste. Much like Old Rasputin over all, and while I’m a big fan of Old Rasp, the toned down version just didn’t click with me. Worth a try, and a happy karma point, but don’t think I’ll be getting another soon.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - center-poured into a pint glass, got a finger and a half of bumpy tan head, receding fast. Beer looks a tad hazy, some murky brown and red hues. Patterned lacing decorates the glass. Good start.

Aroma - good basic roasted coffee and chocolate smell.

Taste - not as malty as I'd have guessed, and more hop bitterness hitting sooner than I'd have guessed. Some metallic notes on the swallow, but not too bad. Finish is softly smoky and drying, well done, but misses the mark by a little. More coffee/roasted malt comes through as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - not as thick as it could be, but smooth with pleasant carbonation.

Drinkability - a rather drinkable stout, a good pick for someone who wants a beer with some personality, but would be overwhelmed by an Imperial or other thick brew. Perhaps a nice stepping stone to that next level of beer appreciation.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Escapes into the Duvel tulip with a large and lacy deep tannish head. Clear very dark brown liquid with ruby highlights. Roasty nose with a subtle smoky, chocolatey notes too. A somewhat thinnish body supports flavors of bitter roasted barley bite, paired with some slight fruitiness and charcoal-like tastes. Finishes with a bitter chocolate/hoppy note. Nice and drinkable, but needs some more body to raise it to a very good stout level. As it stands now, it reminds me of a robust porter in body/taste.

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Photo of Gasp100
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm not a huge fan of stouts but this was part of a sampler and when I actually drink a stout I'm usually surprised to find that I like them more than I thought. This was very solid, simple and easy to drink. Poured your typical dark brown/black with a little bubbly tan head that disipated quickly with barely any lace to speak of down the glass. The smell was coffee, chocolate, some over-ripe dark fruit and burnt or roasted grains. The taste was very heavy on the coffee but in a good way. Almost like drinking ice coffee (which I love) and the alcohol was hidden well with a slight hint of bittersweet chocolate. The mouthfeel was clean, nothing cloying or overly sweet and this topped off the night well. I couldn't drink more than 2 or these (or any stout --- except a dry one like Guinness) hence the lower drinkability. Another nice offering from North Coast.

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

12ozer bottle from a beer exchange with a friend at the holidays.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, a hearty 3/4 inch light brown head formed over the reddish-mahogany colored liquid. Great malt nose, with coffee and chocolate out in force. The coffee flavor seems to dominate, with the other grains rounding things out, and a slight hops bite to finish it off. Maybe just the right beer at the right time and place, but this one hit the spot.

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Photo of woemad
3.74/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle purchased at Huckleberry's in Spokane for $1.39. Poured a very dark brown with reddish tinges. Small tan head that stuck around for a while. Moderate lacing.

Smell is malty and very rich. Consists of chocolaty/coffee sweet bitterness, with a little bit of figginess thrown in. Yum!

Taste is quite good, and would be better if it were a little thick, which is how it feels like iot should be. Weird. All the flavor elements are there for a good robust stout. It just feels like its been watered down, even if it doesn't taste like it. Make sense?

Mouthfeel - see above.

I really wanted to like this, and I thiought I would based on the smell. It isn't really bad, just disapointing. While it's better than a lot of other beers out there that are truly bad, there are plenty of better stouts out there as well.

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Photo of jackndan
3.09/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

North Coast No. 38 Stout: A thin stout. Pours without a lot of head, despite a vigorous pour. What little head it had was deep tan, but dissipated very quickly. The aroma was the best part of this beer, rich and smooth, very roasted malt aroma. As is typical, the aroma leads into the taste, very nice roasted malt taste with a bare hint of chocolate/toffee and coffee. The problem with this beer is the mouthfeel is very weak, this is a relatively thin stout, not much to hang the nice flavors off. Needs a backbone.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.68/5  rDev +22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Dark brown to black with ruby red highlights (to a light source), a nice creamy tan-brown head, and good carbonation and lace. Roasty malt aromas, light coffee notes, and some light hoppiness for good measure. Smooth roasty robust flavor with a touch of hop flavor; nicely balanced !! Medium bodied and creamy with a dry roasty coffee-ish finish.

Per N.C.B.Co. website:
Style: Dublin Dry Stout
Bitterness: 46 IBU's

1993 GABF- Silver - Dry Stout
1992 GABF- Bronze - Dry Stout

($6.99 / 6-pack)

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Photo of BCMan
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This brew is dark but not dark enough. When put to the light test is apppears to be a deep red color. An aggressive pour produced a small, frothy head that faded nearly as fast as was made. All that was left was a small group of bubbles. The scent is a bit sweet with chocolate tones. The taste is a lot like its smell. The flavor is sweet with chocolate and malt tones. Mouthfeel comes up a little too thin for me. A small aftertaste finishes a bit dry. I was looking for a bit more from this beer.

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Photo of Razor
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Old No. 38 Stout is definitely a darker beer in appearance. There is a distinct dark brown/reddish color almost to the point of being black. It is a great appearance for a stout beer and I'm very satisfied with the look. There is a tannish head to Old No. 38 after pooring into a glass which looked better than average.

There is an intense smell of chocolate and coffee aromas that are quickly picked up by your nose, but not too powerful to overwhelm the rich smell.

The taste is very nice for a stout beer which consists of a malty chocolate and coffee tast as stated above. It also has a hint of bitterness in the after taste that is refreshing.

Mouthfeel is a basic average. It doesn't have a crisp kick but I wouldn't expect it with the look of this beer. There just wasn't anything that excited my mouth but it also isn't bad.

The drinkability is abover average. It has a nice taste to it with chocolate and coffee flavors.

Overall Old No. 38 Stout is a good beer. It has a refreshing flavor and is a great choice for a stout.

**Pocket A's in one hand, Old No. 38 Stout in my other**

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

The beer pours a transparent dark brown, pretty much black, with red highlights through light. A thick beige foam tops the liquid, settling into a well maintained dense mist. Plenty of sticky lace clings to the glass.
The aroma is mainly a rich roasty chocolate malt. A distinct graininess, like pure, freshly cracked chocolate malt. Some woody yeast, with heaps of dark roasted fresh coffee. Very light date and fig esters, with faint herbal hops, providing a perfect balance to the bittersweet malt.
The flavor starts with solid chocolate malt up front, slightly burnt, filling the mouth with burnt maltiness immediately. Slightly grainy, adding a bit of husky coarseness, with some dark-roast coffee and a touch of hazelnut. A faint figgy fruitiness eases through, traveling into a mild herbal hopping into the finish. A bit of earthy woodiness and powdery yeast, finishing the beer with impressive dryness. Medium bodied, with a robust, slightly powdery mouthfeel supported by mild, easy-going carbonation.
Probably my favorite beer so far from these folks. Very, very drinkable, with solid, robust flavor. Excellent malt flavor, with a very drinkable grainy chocolate malt unmistakability. One of my top stouts.

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Photo of MobBarley
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep ruby hue with an average tan head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells of citric hops, good dark coffee and, peculiarly, my old hayloft.

Tastes smokey and toasty. A nice piney hop flavor comes first, followed by a multitude of smokey maltiness. Burnt, caramel-like notes abound. The finish is a little sweet, a little hoppy, a little fennel-like and honestly not terribly interesting.

I like the mouthfeel, though like the flavor it is a little thin for the style. Good carbonation keeps it lively. I just wish it were chewier, as it drinks like many a porter I've had.

Drinkability is good for a stout. I can really imagine myself knocking these back like I might an IPA. Good introductory stout, but not your typical North Coast selection.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours to a dark brown, closer approximating a brown ale than a stout in color, forming a very airy tan head with decent retention and lacing. Aroma begins with rich and very pleasant sweet milk chocolate with vanilla, roasted grain, and hints of coffee. Mouthfeel is flittery and light, smooth and refreshing with a medium body. This stuff tastes pretty good too...bittersweet chocolate, dark coffee, vanilla, a tang of metal, chalk, and some burnt wood and cavendish tobacco in the finish. Hops are very well balanced and the brew is only mildly bitter. Alcohol is barely apparent, but I detect a tang as it warms. Finish is medium dry.

Pleasantly surprised with this one...I wasn't expecting much based upon the color and pour, but this is an enjoyable stout with some complexeties and depth beyond it's appearance. A little light in color and body, but worth a try.

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

A regular stout from the folks at North Coast, brewers of one of America's best Imperial Stouts (Old Rasputin).

Sampled from a 22oz bottle with a cap in decent condition and a good pop on opening.

Beer pours pitch black with a tan head that disappates quickly into a low barely there head.

Aroma is of lightly buttered popcorn with a burnt coffee scent propelled by CO2. Behind the roast is a molasses and leather the crawls slowly into your nose and holds on tight long after the glass has been moved away.

Flavor starts with a touch of sweetness before a big chicory and roast bite rises up and dries out your palate just in time for a large grassy hop bite and a long lingering dryness.

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Photo of GreatPondBrewer
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a black with a ruby shine towards the base of my glass. Had a nice fluffy tan head and a little bit of lacing. The nose was super soft and fruity with just hints here and there of coffee, but in my opinion the nose was too delicate and didn't stand up well to the job. Taste was subdued and full of light coffee flavors and a more pronounced flavor of whole beans. This went well with the roasty malt flavors evident further down the glass. The mouthfeel was not too thin, but it could have been thicker. I think I would like to see a nitro-draught of this as it would be an excellent alternative to guinness, which is the standard in the style.

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Photo of pio
3.57/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

super dark ruby liquid with about a half inch of tan head and a lace like little islands and masses.
beautiful bready barley scent with a slight smoke and peat note. a nice hint of florals. a big biscut, molasses ans pumpernickel. only a hint of java and cocoa.
not too thick on the flavor. pretty damn good smokey notes, a plesant molasses not very bitter at all yet not sweet. a hint of oily leather and nuts.
big bubble carbonation and a bit oily. plesant, but not too much above average in my opinion. a bit watery but again, not unplesant.
a high drinkability due to sessionability.
i could have thought this was a porter.

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Photo of findlayfan
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Light colored, substantial head.

Nice, somewhat "dusty" smell.

Fairly clear mahagony body with moderate bubbles.

Medium-dry with slight chocolate notes and just a touch of sweetness in the aftertaste.

Overall, a good, drinkable stout - nothing special, but perfectly acceptable.

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Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.76/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A firm tan head stays afloat above a dark body that looks black, but may be very dark brown; superior lacing that coats the entire glass. The nose is light and a bit on the earthy side, full of roasted grain notes and a bit off. The flavor has an odd oatey sense for a stout, but this may be the level of roasting of the barley.

The feel is super; full and creamy smooth without any sense of being syrupy. A very drinkable stout, but just a bit short on flavors.

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Photo of crookedhalo
3.78/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep coppery brown with a nice thicket of beige to tan colored head. Nice lacing. Toasted malt aroma, vanilla and cocoa, orange zest, bakers chocolate in there, too. A bit thin, but the toasted malty flavors of a stout are there. Rather quaffable. Right balance of hops. Good.

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Photo of rkhaze
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a clear dark mahogany with a creamy beige head. Left fair lace. Aromas of sweet roasted malt, bitter chocolate, coffee and mildly spicy hops.
Tasted of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt and a bit of licorice. Finishes cocoa dry with a mild tangy hop bitterness. Nice bittersweet balance.
Seemed light in the body for the style but that certainly made it more drinkable. A little light for me but still a quality brew.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep, dark brown in color with a nice tan head.
Aroma of chocolate, cocoa, and roasty malt with a nice mix of hops (citrus maybe).

Taste is big on the chocolate and cocoa. A mild roasty malt bitterness as well. Significant, but not overwhelming hop flavor (seems citrusy or maybe floral) for a stout. Nicely balanced between sweet and bitter.

Good mouthfeel and drinkability. Fairly easy going for a stout. Nothing real bold, but still quite tastey.

Overall a good stout.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – What a head! I controlled it at the pour but it just stayed there, like a Venezuelan soccar goalie fending his net. I finally lost the waiting game and just drank it down. The body is pure, beautiful, solid black. The lacing literally covered my glass with a dark tan film of intricate design.

Smell – Big espresso and chocolate flavors with a lot of bitternes and some darkish malt to boot. The espresso bean, coffee, and chocolate aromas come together to form a wonderful (imperial) stout fragerance.

Taste – The smells from the nose come out in the taste. The coffee and dark chocalate especially are in full force, but the rest of this (rather complex) bouquet wimp out at the tongue.

Mouthfeel – A little thinner than I had hoped for, but good nevertheless. This one is on the full side of medium-bodied and somehow has a refreshing finishing.

Drinkability – At 1.29 per bottle this is a steal.

Update – I originally reviewed this in 2003 but drink it regularly so am posting an update with a 2005 vintage. I juggled some scores around but over all this is a good stout that smells terrific.

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Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,249 ratings.
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