Old #38 Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
1,256 Ratings
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,256 |  Reviews: 664
Photo of Morey
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This stout pours pitch black in color. No light shines through, even when held up directly to it. Nice two finger beige colored head which has settled to about a centimeter thick after about 5 minutes or so. Moderate retention/lacing.

Smells roasty, yet clean at the same time. A fairly mild aroma for the style.

Taste is more of the same. Roasted barley pairs well with a slightly earthy hop bitterness. Finishes rather clean and smooth on the back end.

Medium bodied mouthfeel with a carbonation level that's a bit on the high side.

I could drink a few of these, but I'd be ready to switch things up after that.

Morey's Bottom Line: A pretty good stout. Doesn't have that creaminess that I like in a stout, but maybe dry stouts aren't supposed to? Would happily drink again, but probably won't search it out.

 817 characters

Photo of DerekP
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The only thing that tends to be up in the air in terms of a Stout's appearance is the head. In this case, a beige to sandy brown. Head is definitely sticking around on this one.

Smell is deeply rich. Chocolate cake on ice, chocolate milk, thick brown bread, enough hops to bring it to a splendid balance.

Taste is roasted to burnt up front. Smoky. A touch of bitterness from the hops. Amazing how they pulled off such a milk chocolately, friendly smell while pushing harsher qualities through on the taste. Mucho props. It's part of what makes this beer so delicious.

Enough bite, but a tad bit thin. That in mind, a little dangerous because it's exceptionally drinkable. My only suggestion would be for the brewmaster to add a little more to the body. Other than that, a solid, in some aspects, outstanding stout.

 817 characters

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

Poured from 12oz bottle.

A- Pours a deeper brown color. One finger tan head shows poor retention. Some light spotty lacing on the sides of the glass when all is said and done.

S- Roasted malts give off a coffee vibe. Some light notes molasses with a helping of chocoalte. Nothing really else going on except for maybe a light hint of bitter hops but nothing else. Muted aroma for the most part.

T- Mild roasted malts in the front of this beer blend with a light chocolate note. Coffee like notes linger for most of the beer but everything is a little on the light side for me. Muted bitter hop finish on this beer lets you know it's there but not in strong force.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little weak for the brewery from what I've had from them. Light roasted malts and chocoalte left on the palate. Aftertaste is mostly light alcohol, roasted malts, and a hint of faded bittering hops. Blended well for the style and very clean tasting with no off flavors. Light drying on the palate from the alcohol.

D- The lower ABV gives a boost to the drinkability of the beer. Nice overall flavors (although muted) lend to the overall enjoyment of this beer. A nice look at the style and something you can just sit back and enjoy.

 1,242 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.01/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought a six-pack at the local beer store. Poured into a pint glass. The beer pours a jet black, with a thin, tan colored, dense head. The nose is almost completely coffee, with some molasses and malty notes. The beer has inital flavors of bitter coffee, with a sweet undertone of malt based tastes. There was a smooth, round, full feel to the beer in mouth, and the flavors blend into a decent, light crisp finish. It's more dry than a cream or milk stout, but not as dry as an oatmeal of most dry stouts. The aftertaste is all coffee, but actually without the bitter. The easy aftertaste makes this beer easy to drink all night long.

 635 characters

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.

 411 characters

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

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into pint glass.

A: pours a dark "root beer" brown, not quite opaque. slight 1/8" bubbly tan head. head dissipates quickly.

S: instant dark/French roasted coffee aroma, raisin, slight dried apricot. very pleasing.

T: sweetened coffee, less floral/fruitful than aroma implied. finish is French-roasted coffee, lingering raisin reappears on finish, with a slight hint of anise.

M: thin, slightly fizzy, but smooth going down. was expecting a slightly thicker feel.

D: fairly high, but dark roasted coffee taste/finish may not be for everyone. not terribly warming and alcohol is low enough and hidden to enjoy a few, if it's your cup of coffee.

 673 characters

Photo of kwjd
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Toronado in San Francisco. Pours an opaque black colour with a finger of tan head. Nice lacing on the glass and good head retention. Smells like both chocolate and coffee with the roasted malt. This is what an irish dry stout should smell like. Nice sweetness level with faint bitterness of the roast. Smooth mouthfeel. Very enjoyable stout.

 360 characters

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

A dark pour, brown edge to it. Roasted malt, alcohol through and through in the nose.

A fair amount of chocolate mouthfeel to this one. Sturdy, chewy, not overly alcoholic as if it made you think in the nose. Does have a hop and slight bitter presence. The carbonation delivers the beer just right. Nothing over the top, dry enough, chewy enough. A damn good stout at a very decent price.

 390 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a shaker pint glass at The Firkin.

No controversy surrounding the number here, Jack! It pours into a Guinness-esque cascade, which settles out into a sleek black-brown topped by a finger-and-a-half of light tan foam. Quite lovely, I should say. The nose is somewhat weak, comprising light roasted malts, very light cocoa, and a hint of maple syrup. The taste does not deviate too far from this, holding notes of mild roasted malts, dark chocolate, a touch of espresso, and a vague feeling of gingerbread at the finish. The nitro allows everything to coalesce and slide about in an unassuming manner. The body is a sleek medium, with a light and comforting nitrogenation and a consequently ridiculously smooth feel. Overall, a nice little Irish stout. Were this always on nitro, I'd have a solid go-to when all other taps fail.

 837 characters

Photo of g00dness
4.11/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a semi-opaque black with an inch of lacy Breyer's vanilla-looking head.

Nose couldn't much break through the head, some roasted malt, cream and chocolate.

Taste started with a strong affogato flavor, worked through pumpernickel, hazelnut and cream flavors with a long dry chocolatey finish.

Mouthfeel was smooth, creamy and awesome. Was a bit thin for a stout, a.k.a. normal thickness for a beer :) Went well with dinner.

Drinkability was high. Kind of like a good pressed coffee, where the flavor is there for sure, but its not super thick, so you plow through it.

Excellent beer, and I can see why it was chosen by my local cafe, as it is pretty much the beer version of their coffee.

 698 characters

Photo of mjw06
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A nice rich two-finger thick tan head that retained well and left only a scant lacing on my mug.

The smell was a slightly faint waxy cocoa, with a just a hint of smokiness.

Full bodied flavor and feel of a smoky and toasty toffee, dark almond and roasted barley. The stout is very close to style, almost lacking in uniqueness, but reveling in goodness. The roasted notes are very smooth on the finish, lacking in any particular astringents or unpleasant residuals.

 466 characters

Photo of kaseydad
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Pint glass pour and I am met with a dark, dark brown ale with a nice beige colored head that quickly develops to a ring around the glass. Roasted malty aroma with some chocolate hints. Smokey taste with some roasted malts in there. There is a somewhat harsh/spicy swallow. with a bitter aftertaste. Very thin mouthfeel. Totally unexpected. It looks hearty and smells good, but much too watery for me. Not very drinkable for myself. I have had this a few times and try to like it, but it just doesn't "do" it for me. Love the brewery, just not this beer.

 553 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I threw this in my sixer at random and now I look wondering "this is from the same company that sells Old Rasputin? It must be good!"

A - Wow a ton of mocha head! An aggressive pour produced a 2 inch foam with the beer being pitch black in color.

S - Smells like dry coca with a bit of chocolate nibs and a bit of roasted malt for texture.

T - Ow wow that's dry! It does shine through with roasted flavors of coffee and coco chocolate with a slight creamy finish.

M - Light to medium bodied and creamy!

D - Wow this has to be one of the smoothest dry roasted stouts I have ever drank. In so that I would only be able to finish one or two a sitting. Regardless I will have to track down more beers from the North Coast Brewing Co. since I only had a couple and they are amazing!

 782 characters

Photo of Shrews629
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Very dark brownish/black color with a few deep ruby highlights when held toward the light. Thick tan head. Creamy and full. The retention wasn't exceptionally long, but it hung around for a few minutes then settled to a nice film. Pretty good lacing also.

Smell - Roastiness comes forth first in the nose. Getting a type of dark fruitiness. Like a deep cherry or a deep, dark plum. Picking up some hints of coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste - The taste mimics the smell very well. The roasted malt and dark fruit is present, but I also found a mint-chocolate chip ice cream sort of flavor. It was subtle, but there. Could just be me. It wasn't unpleasant. Kind of interesting.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel. Nice and smooth. Creamy. Bountiful amounts of flavor left on the palate. Dry and delicate. Goes down way too easy. I like it.

Drinkability - This is a very sound and agreeable Stout. Perfect for those cold Winter nights. It's a session beer for me. I would love to pick this up again. I want another one. Goes down easy and is not overly filling. A very, very, very nice beer. Cheers.

 1,109 characters

Photo of jsh420
3.52/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours muddy dark brown with a 1+ finger head that stuck around for good while

smells of chocolate roasted malt and a tiny bit of dark fruit

taste - what a let down - watery flavors just a complete mess after such a great nose

mouthfeel was a little over carboanted but overall food

drinkability - is always as good as the taste - and this beer taste was such a let down

 373 characters

Photo of ryan1788a5
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours black with shades of ruby. This one is not opaque. A two-finger tan head sticks around for a while and leaves plenty of delicate lacing behind.

S: Molasses, roasted malt, roasted barley, hints of coffee, subtle dark chocolate, plums, a slight earthiness, and maybe some citric hops.

T: Molasses opens, along with a sweet cola-like expression. Burnt acrid edge is fleeting and barely registers on the palate. Plums and currants surface for just a moment, then fade into the background. Hops balance but don't add much to the flavor. Dries out in the finish and offers deep tastes of roasted malt and barley that manifests itself in the form of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. The earthiness suggested by the nose seemed absent.

M: Thick and creamy. Ample seltzer-like carbonation adds to the cola impression.

D: High. Easily quaffable.

Notes: A very easy drinking Dry Stout. Not as acidic, acrid, and burnt as many examples of the style tend to be. Stays very sweet until the finish. A solid, reliable beer and a good start for those who want to venture further than Guinness within the style.

 1,150 characters

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

12oz bottle with No Freshness Date, which is disappointing since I got this from a Beer Store that notoriously has beer that sits around for awhile on the shelf so I'm guessing this may have some age on it. Pours a deep, dark brown with a thin layer of head. Minimal lacing. Aromas of chocolate, caramel and alcohol. Flavors of caramel, chocolate and an overall nice sweetness to it. Nowhere near as boozey as it smelled. This is a pretty good stout and worth a second look. A bit thin but a nice sweet brew.

 508 characters

Photo of TheLVBeerGuy
3.51/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured it into a Pint glass

A- Pours a dark brown like old used engine oil. Honestly its almost black. Chocolate milk colored head starts about a finger length and goes down to about half that. Great lacing

S- Good roasted coffee aroma, very appetizing on the nose and makes you want to dive in

T- very simple and delicious. you get the roasted barley notes with a great strong hoppy finish. Very full and chewy

M- very full much more like eating a stout than drinking it. Im really enjoying the way it coats your mouth and throat.

D- Keep it simple stupid. nice and simple stout. Cheers.

this is truly the simplist version of the style. The reason it doesnt rate too high for me is that it doesnt stand out. it is good but not exceptional. Tasty but it doesnt stand alone.

 779 characters

Photo of Tilley4
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another one of those brews that I'd never tried but consistently overlook for other things... Won't do it again... This was great..

A nice ruby brown appearance but the foamy head and lacing stole this show... Head never got below 3/4 inch the whole time and it coated the glass the whole way through...

Lots of dark chocolate here as opposed to just roasted malts... Perhaps a bit of coffee as well... Very rich and robust aromas for this style... Like Guinness kicked up...

Dark bitter cocoa and rich deep roasted malts with hints of the coffee from the aromas... A kiss of hops present on the finish as well... Quite delicious... This is one of the better Dry Stouts I've ever had for sure... Not over the top, just a solid as hell brew from a great brewery...

Very sessionable... I enjoyed this the whole time and was sad to see it go...

 845 characters

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

Glass - Nonic

A - Almost completely black with just a bit of brown around the top and bottom. It produced a 1-finger tan head that died down quickly, and held a thin tan ring atop my beer but it didn't leave any lacing.

S - Charcoal, dark chocolate and raisins are upfront. Hints of coffee with mild sweetness. A bit smokey but that's about all I'm getting, not a robust aroma but not soft either.

T - A bit acidic upfront with a dominate and well rounded semi dark chocolate flavor throughout. Smokey notes, not sweet at all really. It finishes dry and smokey with just a touch of bitterness. A very simple and delicious brew.

M - A little smooth with moderate crispness and a lite- medium body.

D - I could enjoy 2-3 with some grub on a cool day but for me that would probably do. I really liked that it wasn't overly sweet, and the flavors where simple and very chocolaty. Overall I wouldn't mind picking this one up again sometime, and I think it's worth a try for sure. cheers!

 987 characters

Photo of JosiahS
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Glass: Nonic

Pours close to black but a little ruby-red appears along the sides. Nice looking caramel, 1-finger head, somewhat creamy, splashy lacing.

Right away i can smell those rich roasted chocolate malts, just a little caramel and butter. Light floral hops.

Upon first sip. roast is what i get hit with first, along with the bitterness that is expected. Soon after, about mid-pallete, the bitterness lessens and the rich cocoa and soft coffee notes take the lead. It finishes relatively clean(in-terms of stouts) with a decent dryness. Lingering roast is there and bitterness as well, but not overdone.

This is a good beer but by no means a beer there would be any sort of hype for, which is to say, it's decent but there isn't any originality or wow-factor. "A decent dry stout" would be my response if someone would happen to ask what i thought of it.

 862 characters

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

Consumed October 12th, 2010 at Tony's Darts Away, Burbank, CA.

An essentially black liquid with a sticky tan head.

Aroma is grainy and bitter roasted chocolate.

Flavor has a prune/raisin note before segueing into dark, roasted malt. Chocolate, coffee flavor but lacking the associated bitterness for the most part.

A touch thin and watery, but not fatally.

A proper Irish Dry Stout, easily blowing away the sour brown water that passes for draft Guinness in the USA. A touch heavier than the "big three" IDS's, but more satisfying to drink.

 545 characters

Photo of liamt07
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Long813 ages ago, 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Can't believe I haven't opened this yet. Thanks again Martin.

Pours a near black, finger of light khaki head fading to a real thin layer and a bit of a collar. Some dark ruby red around the edges when held to the light. Minimal lace. Loads of malted barley and milk chocolate in the nose. Maybe some molasses and licorice here too. Nice and sweet smelling. Tastes mostly of chocolate with a bit of coffee, smooth and a bit watery. Mouthfeel is smooth with only a small amount of carbonation, but this goes down quick. A nice drinker and a nice dry stout overall.

 624 characters

Photo of NODAK
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Aroma has a lot of roasted malts on it with a definite chocolate presence. Roasted chocolate is definitely the predominant aroma.

Pours a very dark brown, nearly black, in the glass. Somewhat thin head that's somewhat tight with good retention is there.

Taste is pretty light for a stout, but from what I've experienced, that's usually the case with the Irish dry stouts. Mouthfeel is pretty thin as well. Taste profile is much like that of the nose...a decent roasted malt taste with some chocolate present. There's a small bitterness on the backend. A little roasted character hangs around after the swallow.

Decent stout for those who may be entering into the world of craft beer, or who want something that's easy drinking. I certainly can't fault it for what it is....pretty well balanced and light.

 807 characters

Photo of aepb1
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Dark brown with an airy tan head and decent lacing

S- Chocolate, coffee malty sweetness

T- Roasted malts up front and moves into a slight bitterness but it's a good balance overall

M- Medium/full bodied, smooth

D- Very good and will definitely revisit

 258 characters

Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,256 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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