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

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Ratings: 1,256 |  Reviews: 664
Photo of HalfFull
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. Pours a solid and dense black in color with half an inch of mocha foam. Clear and dark mahogany in the light and offering decent retention initially, glassing off a bit by mid pint.

Nice roasted malt nose with a fair amount of chocolate and some roasted coffee bean notes. Smell reminds me of some bigger stouts. Lighter in flavor than the nose and pour might suggest and offers a bit of dark fruit with a somewhat thin body. Some texture returns on the finish then the dry roasted character returns and lingers moderately along with some chocolatey spice. Quite dry overall with a bit too much of overly roasted coffee underpinning the taste and feel for me though decent nonetheless.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with about an inch tan head. The head sticks around for a while, and there's a good amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, and some dark fruit. The taste is the same as the aroma, but it's sweeter than I expected. Mouthfeel/body is on the light side of medium, it's a bit creamy and coating with good carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth, easy, and enjoyable to drink. I think this is a good overall brew. I'd buy this again in the future.

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Photo of compass40204
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Starts with a surprisingly light mouthfeel, especially for a beer this rich. Clean up front. Gives way to roasty flavors of black patent malt and some bitter chocolate. Persistent lacing from a thick tan head. Aroma kinda unspectacular, just a pleasant malt character, faint. Starts gently, finishes strong. I may have another...

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

A: The pour is dark brown in color with a pretty solid tan head.

S: The nose is primarily of dark chocolate and coffee with a pretty solid roasted malt aroma in the background. A little bit more sniffing gives off some dark fruit aromas.

T: The dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts all work quite well together in terms of the flavors. The fruits are a bit harder to pick out than they were in the nose, but still there, as is a bit of char.

M: The body is medium with a smooth, mildly creamy feel on the tongue.

D: A very nice, sessionable stout. I was pleasantly surprised by how flavorful it is.

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Photo of CityBoy1986
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip from a 12 oz. bottle.

The pour is almost black with only a few hints of ruby. A decent tan head hangs around for a while and leaves nice lacing.

The nose is a mixture of coffee and chocolate with just a hint of barley. The taste is more of the same with the added flavour of dark fruits - maybe berries.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a nice amount of carbonation and some dryness on the finish. Drinkability is decent; the dryness does leave my tongue calling for more.

Overall, a nice example of the style.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-cola brown colored beer, quite dark cola, with hues of red shining through. The head is a dark khaki color that is relatively tight and thick looking. The retention is pretty solid and the lace is very good

S-the nose is quite strong and very nice. Ample dark chocolate blesses the nose first. Hints of slightly burnt roasted coffee lie underneath. A touch of roasted barley come in towards the back with a faint sweet dark berry presence.

T-this is quite tasty. Dark chocolate and roasted coffee meet together up front. The roasted barley is slighty present in the middle just enough to let you know it is there. The dark fruits are again faint; but make a definite appearance in the back and actually linger throughout the finish.

D-this is medium bodied, very smooth and has just a hint of creaminess. Its actually a little wet thoughout and just has a hint of dryness at the finish. The carbonation is nice and low but enough to hold together throughout and finish with body.

M-this is a very tasty stout! Big bold flavors and enough of a body to let you know it's a stout. Nice array of flavors, nothing crazy but a very good irish stout.

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Photo of dudecandle
4.52/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque black with hints of brown when up against the light. Wisps of head, but some more on agitation.

S: Light coffee and some charcoal, dark fruit with some subtle caramel sweetness

T: My favorite thing about this stout is that the chocolate isn't the most forward. The coffee stands out the strongest for me, some barley sweetness, with a good dose of dark fruit and charcoal. Yes, charcoal, it's just dirtier than 'smokey'. It's also got a very welcome herbal hop on the finish. Very well rounded.

M: Big body, with that good long finish with the hops.

D: This is an excellent stout. The flavors are so big that I was shocked to later learn how low the alcohol is. Great complexity in the flavor, nothing stands out too powerfully, and everything comes together quite nicely.

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Photo of jizdepski
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

attractive looking stout poured into goblet from near room temperature bottle. head is monumental and rocky, nearly as full as the steam billowing from the locomotive pictured on the bottle. beer itself is near jet black. head retains quite well and laces wonderfully. definitive roasted malts on the nose, along with some dark, ripe fruits, coffee, and a hint of hop character. big roasted coffee flavors up front, also malty sweet with fruit, and some subtle hops. has a tangy, slightly sour sweetness on the not-too-bitter finish, that is just a bit dry. love the mouthfeel, full, creamy, and good carbonation level. overall a very nice drinking experience, and a top notch stout.

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Photo of Stimack
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brew poured to a nice deep brown color guess more on the black side with a nice frothy small light tan head that broke down pretty quickly. Fair amount of lacing though. Aroma has roasted malts, Chocolate with a nice sweet aroma. Nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either. The flavor seems to have more of a burnt malt flavor, which came across as roasted in the nose. The astringency of it is nice and seems to help the hop bitterness. After subsequent the chocolate and coffee comes out - both of these seem to make the beer feel a little sweet on the tongue. Hope presence is there and adds a nice finish, which you don't get on most dry stouts. Does have a dry finish in the mouth. Slightly watery feel but from my past experiences with Dry Stouts they all seem this was so I am thinking that this might be expected.

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Photo of irishking1977
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Black, viscous liquid that, while pouring, forms a tan head that recedes quickly leaving little lace. Is this beer or engine oil?

S: Malty, bitter chocolate/coffee aroma with little else. Basic by most stout standards, but not offensive.

T: Malty and mildly bitter with a quick finish. This one really is very dry. Does remind me of Guinness, but not pasteurized and not as thick.

M: Chalky, fairly chalky and somewhat malty. Slightly watered down. Decent carbonation.

D: Nearly parallel to Guinness, both of them are virtually interchangeable. A novice beer drinker who didn't want to drink a brew that is too bitter or too sweet probably should give these kind of stouts a try. Not my favorite style, but I always enjoy trying brews I've never had before, no matter what the style or brand.

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Photo of Zaplt
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

appearance -very dark brown or even black.

smell - the usual malty aroma of a stout but with that dry irish stout spin. roasty coffee, strange dark fruityness? (am I going crazy?),

Taste - strange very light mouthfeel with a darker malt - this style is hard for me to enjoy for some reason. nice chocolatey/coffee dark finish after a bizarre first wave of lighter malt that makes it taste like a watered down stout.

Overall I just plain don't like this style I've decided - watered down stout is all I can think of but I think they did an alright job of doing what they were aiming for - nothing special though.

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Photo of Popkas
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Pour is a dark brown (almost black with red hues). Minimal head quickly recedes leaving a touch of lacing from what head there was.

S: Hmm. Bittersweet and smell of dark fruit.

T: Flat malts upfront and then a bitter coffee like ending.

M: Fiz fills the mouth - a bit distracting.

D: Drinkability is average at best.

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

Pours a very dark brown, almost flat black, with a nice big tan head.

Aromas are of dark fruits, cereal grains, and some cocoa.

Taste is very creamy and kind of sweet. Some bitter bakers chocolate, coffee, and dark almost burnt sugars. Finish is has a light earthy pine note and a general chocolate like note.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, full, smooth, and thick. Maybe a little thin in the finish though.

Drinkability is nice. Not sure this fits in the Irish Dry Style, seems to be more of an American Stout. Definitely errs of the session side though, light in alcohol and not overpowering in flavors. Tasty and goes down easy, all in all... a nice drinkable stout.

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

A - Almost black in colour with a very thin head that disappeared quickly. Some visible carbonation.

S - A very distinct chocolate nose with some coffee with toasted malts. A very robust nose.

T - Lots of roasted malts with coffee. Very well balanced.

M - Medium body, somewhat thick and chewy. Carbonation is just right.

D - A very solid stout. Could drink a couple.

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Photo of beertunes
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured black, as expected. The beer had a nice deep tan head, about 3/4 of inch thick, that had decent retention and lacing.

The aroma was the expected smooth, slightly sweet malt dominant brew that typifies the style. The flavor was spot-on where it should be for this style, solid malt, some roasted notes and just a hint of hop sharpness on the finish.

The body and drinkability were both at the upper end of the spectrum for this type of brew. Overall, a very good example of the style. Worth your time to try.

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Photo of mempath
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

nice deep dark stout. no surprise. actually nice lacing and a good frothy head.

nose is the expected though wonderful smokey toffee that reminds me of the old Guinness.

a swallow and this is actually sweet. sweetest stout i've had. mouthfeel finishes a bit thin but fits the sweet profile. some toasty notes and fruitiness. not alot, but a ripe fruit sense i find interesting.

very drinkable. a different sort of stout. nothing amazing, but rather unique. and balanced. actually, amazing in another sense.

try one!

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

Old #38 poured about the color it looked inside the bottle, dark brown to onyx. Head was quick forming and slow leaving. The nice creamy tan belt of foam left a lingering crater as it so lazily evacuated.

Nose was a bit weak and none too complex IMO, even at the hardly cold temp I first whiffed it. A pretty substantial hop profile was the first thing I smelled followed by more specific flavors of blackberries and roasted barley.

The flavor has a bit more to offer than the nose. Sweet and bitter pretty much duke it out the whole way down. Roasted chocolate, tart berries, and sweet sugars led to a semi-dry nutty finish.

The body was a little shy of full. The feel was fluffy with an initial sharpness from the carbonation. It's a good beer, but it's not as memorable as I was hoping.

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Photo of Florida9
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Durty Nellie's. I was told they pulled one of their Surly beers to get this one on the nitro-tap.

Color is an opaque black. Served with a finger of very creamy tan head that has very good retention. Smell is of lightly roasted malts. Taste is of dry dark malts, though there really isn't a lot going on here. Best I can describe it as is "malt" because there just isn't a whole lot of anything else. Medium body, maybe a little on the thinner side for a malt, but the Nitro certainly lends a creaminess to the mouthfeel.

Over this beer is okay. It reminds me of a better version of Guinness, which, in my opinion is both good and bad. Good because its a better version, but still bad, because Guinness just isn't that great of a beer.

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Photo of morimech
4.34/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am surprised this beer does not get even higher scores. An attractive stout with a dark brown color that appears black in the glass. Thick, creamy tan head that has good retention. Just light lacing though. Really surprised by the aroma. I am a sucker for English hops and this stout seems to be stuffed with them. Awesome floral and herbal aromas that compliment the chocolate and roasted malt. The hops come into play in the flavor as well. The beginning is hop flavors followed by the customary roasted malt that gives some chocolate and coffee notes. Not being on nitro or casked, it cannot compete in the mouthfeel department. But this beer still has a nice body and carbonation. Nice flavor and low ABV makes this extremely drinkable.

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Photo of mwa423
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A - Pours a jet black with a couple fingers of dirty tan head that quickly died and made a nice lacing that stuck to the side of the glass.

S - Sweet and malty, not a lot of smell, but what is there is dead on irish dry stout.

T - Not a lot of taste, but very drinkable. The coffee and malt coat the tongue and leave a little hint of caramel zing on the end.

M/D - Mouthfeel is on the light side but but it isn't thin or watery feeling like Guinness. I would call this a very drinkable stout that I would reach for in an instant when I was looking for dark, but smooth and easy to drink.

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Photo of ThaBobfather
3.71/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a decent topping of brownish head.
Smell is a good toasted taste with a solid coffee ground aroma.
Taste is very toasted with some coffee, malt, and barley taste.
Finish is incredibly dry with a left over taste of iced coffee grounds, solid.
Drinks fairly well here. Very much to style on the Irish Dry, I'm glad I tried this.

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

A: Dark reddish brown, big tan head and leaves behind some nice lacing.

S: Coffee and burnt malt.

T: Chocolate and malty up front, followed by a bitter coffee aftertaste.

M: Smooth and creamy, not too thick at all, but almost a little thin.

D: Very high, very delicious.

North Coast has yet to disappoint me.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pitch black with frothy nitro head, great retention (thanks to the NO2) and tons of lacing

S: nose is very heavy on the roasted notes, huge notes of roasted barley and black patent malts, some chocolate and coffee, very robust. Very nice aroma for a dry stout

T: the front of the palate is quite muted, possibly from the nitrogen, but by mid palate, the huge roasted grain profile makes its appearance. It is not quite as robust as the nose, but still prominent. The finish has roastiness as well which is nice, but the body seems to thin, its like there is something missing.

MF: thick and creamy nitrogen texture with a light tasting body, the nitrogen lends an artificial thickness which is a little disappointing

D: this is very drinkable and a sessionable stout. I love the roasted profile.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.45/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep, opaque sable with a thick, fine-bubbled, fairly persistent beige head. Aroma is strong, smoky and oily with undertones of unsweetened chocolate and molasses and just a whiff of coffee. Smoky flavor has a woody undertone as well as firm tones of molasses and mocha. Texture is smooth and fairly tingly, leaving a satisfying and slightly gritty finish.

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

12 oz poured into my trusty Sam Adams glass

Appearance: Handsome and black, but hardly any head to speak of.

S: Chalky, oddly harshly malty, with a tad bit of chocolate on the end to redeem it. Let it breathe in the glass for a bit and it comes alive and improves.

T: That's the stuff. Bone-dry, chalky again but in a good way, with nice notes of chicory, very dark chocolate, and some supple bitterness.

M: Spritzy yet mellow, like a good iced coffee with carbonation.

D: Let this one sit in the glass for a bit, especially if it's been in a cold fridge. There's a lot going on here for a middleweight Irish stout, and this one might even make a nice session stout. It's been a favorite of mine for a while now; finally getting around to a review. It may not pair up with mussels or scallops as well as Guinness does, but I'd have it with seafood in a jiffy -- also good Mexican (mole) dishes, or lamb stew. Or (vanilla ice cream) dessert!

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