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 dotsonjamesg
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Avery Out of Bounds Stout

Served in an 6 oz frosted stout cup. Purchased this brew in a six-pack at Springhill Liquor in Little Rock, AR.

Appearance: Filtered black with a luscious one-finger head that lingers a little bit.

Smell: Smokey malts...not much else.

Taste: Bitter sweet chocolate bite initially then it moves in to a strong smoky flavor. Bitter sweet flavor lingers on and on.

Mouth feel: It's a lil over carbonated but its not enough to distract me.

Drinkability: If you can enjoy a good stout, its great. The brew isn't too heavy on the palate and it goes down smooth.

Not a big fan of Irish stouts and this one definitely change my mind. Its not bad but I have definitely had better.



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

Beer pours a deep dark brown, almost opaque and black however when held to the light very faint ruby hues show on the edges. There is a slight tan head that recedes to a film - slight lacing that quickly fades on the sides of the glass. Nose is of strong chocolate and roasted malt. Taste is of roasted and sweet malts, chocolate, with a deeper coffee finish. There is slight hop bite blended in - just enough to give a kick. Mouthfeel is slightly carbonated, creamy mouthfeel...not too filling. This is a nice stout!

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

Mild foam for a head but sits there like it's waiting for a late bus, patient but ready to go. No real lacing to speak of. Black as coal color, dull orange rust hue at the very outer rims. Carefully toasted nose of dark chocolate, coffee bean, chocolate coated raisins, maple syrup, comes at you slowly with its hands out in friendliness, the hops lack a distinct scent profile but do firm up and sharpen the dominant malts, lasts well but tactfully in keeping with general demeanor. Medium-bodied, probably fuller but it is sufficiently dry that it's hard for the palate to fully register what's soaking in. Again, no lack of black chocolate, coffee, licorice, malted milk ball flavors, slight increase in oatmeal, cereal graininess. Carbonation noticeable when you want to notice it, that is, appropriate level. Drying finish brings out shades of tea leaf, lemon peel and poor brown earth. Hits the right notes but not gonna sing the aria.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.88/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Old 38 is an almost black ale with a reddish tint and a tan head that fades to a tight film. It leaves nice lacing on the glass and stays the whole way down. It has a roasted aroma that's sweet and a touch tart. There are notes of coffee, licorice and brown sugar. It is medium-full bodied and incredibly smooth. It feels a bit fluffy in the mouth. The finish is dry and dusty. The flavor is very roasted, almost smokey, with notes of coffee, chocolate, and caramel. It's a touch sweet and syrupy, but perfectly balanced. I think this may be the stout on which I originally developed my palate. The malt and hops just work together on a new plane of beer existence. I could drink a bucket of this. This is like a beer custom made for me.

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Photo of bowersdm
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12oz bottle poured into a nonic.

A - black, nice head (my notes from when I tried this are really shitty, so I didn't make a note of the size or color)

S - roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, tobacco. it smells like guinness.

T - roasted barley, bitter chocolate, tobacco, and some hops in the finish. it's very dry as it should be, but it's not really to my liking.

M - too much carbonation.

D - i love stouts, but i'm still not a fan of irish dry stouts.

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Photo of webbcreative
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Jan 25, 2009
black. little head to speak of. smells of a bit of coffee. flavors are kind of everywhere, not to well balanced to my pallet. Dry obviously, but also roasted malts, and bitter finish, i like all the flavors individually, but together, they just arent working properly in this one....not a drain pour, just not something i will be having again....

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Photo of tr4nc3d
3.03/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a black color with a 3 inch head. Lacing is left on the side of my glass.

Smells very much like dark fruit, sugary, plums come to mind, roasted malts.

Mild bitter hop taste in the beginning with some floral notes in the middle. Hint of dark sugar is noticable. This fnished with a roasted coffee burnt aftertaste.

Feels thin and needs more flavor, tad watery feeling in the end.

I couldnt see myself drinking this beer again.

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Photo of mjl21
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter. No bottling info is given and abv is not listed.

A-Black. Pours a 3/4 finger head that goes away fast. Small tan ring remains. Small splotch of foam remains.

S-Roasted malt and some floral hops.

T-Roasted malt with sweet chocolate and bitterness hitting on the backend.

M-Very smooth. A lot of carbonation. Not too heavy.

D-Very good. Like the carbonation and bitterness. Easy to drink.

A nice Irish Dry stout. Does not bog you down by being too heavy. Could easily have a few in a night.

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Photo of nsmartell
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I enjoyed this beer from the comfort of my own living room. From the 12oz bottle to a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color with a fluffy off-white head that didn't stick around for too long.

Smell: Roasted malts and a hint of coffee.

Taste: Just as the smell suggests, tastes of roasted malts and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth.

Drinkability: Would try again, but won't be seeking out anytime soon.

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

In a tulip:

Light tan head, almost white, with decent retention. Lacing's a little thin but not bad. Tons of caramel: specifically, reminded me of Werther's hard candy. Roasty, chocolate, and black coffee smells as well. The taste focuses on coffee, with a little malt and a roasted bitter. The mouthfeel was a little thin, but not too bad for the style. Perfect level of carbonation. Fairly sessionable, which is somewhat diminished by the big coffee bitter.

Overall: I'm a big north coast fan, and was very happy with this brew. Try the Old Rasputin, which will also not disappoint.

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Photo of tlinner
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A bit lighter than most stouts; holding it up to the light, you can see to the other side. The nose is pretty weak. I honestly can't smell much of anything. The taste is of roasted malts, sweet chocolate (sweeter than most) and toffee. Finish is pleasantly dry. Not great, not bad. I'd honestly have expected better from this brewery, though.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This 12 oz straggler showed up at the Stout Tasting we hosted several weekends ago; it sat watching helplessly as most of its bigger 'n' badder brethren were voraciously consumed. An Irish Stout sounded good tonight, so out of the fridge and into the pint glass it goes. Thanks to whoever brought this and left it behind.

A: Seems impenetrably black, but held to light it shows thin stripes of vibrant ruby at the top and bottom. Very nice mocha-colored cream rises to two-fingers before settling as a papery-thin film, clingy as a dense froth at the edges. Lacing looks like a sponge blotted the glass - very nice.

S: Familiar grainy roast with a tinny/metallic twang. Fairly robust, lightly sweet.

T: Toasted, nearly charred grain. Bittersweet cocoa, a light coffee roast, a little smoky(?). Flavors are pretty rich, dancing a fine line between sweetness and bitterness. Finishes (as expected) dry/bitter.

M: Notable gritty/grainy texture...leaves a starchy film. Modest carbonation, creamy feel.

D: Wish I had a nice shepherd's pie or beef stew to pair this with; still, it's fine as a stand-alone end to the evening. Likeable, easy to drink, just a bit high in alcohol to be truly sessionable. Worth a try, a stout I'd have again.

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

Appearnce- Pours a puffy one-finger, tan head with lots of tiny bubbles, poor retention and moderate lacing, beer is opaque black.

Smell- Big hit of chocolate and coffee beans

Taste- Just like the aroma, the chocolate comes first, then some coffee, no sweetness to speak of and the hops are present but unobtrusive. Nice dry finish.

Mouthfeel- Slightly thin bodied, yet silky carbonation and beautifully creamy and dry.

Drinkability- Just right for a few to go down well. One of the most drinkable stouts I've had.

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Photo of Gavage
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a black color with a fluffy 3" head that lasts a while.

Smell: roasted malts and some floral bitterness comes from the glass.

Taste: roasted malts, dark chocolates, and some softer espresso notes are the core flavors. The bitterness is a bit stronger than expected.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Smooth from start to finish and a hint of dryness late. Aftertaste is long as the roasted tones linger a while in the mouth.

Drinkability: easy to drink stout that is strong on the roasted tones with a bitter profile. A few of these can be had in a session.

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

12oz bottle into nonic.

Pitch black with a very thin rim of ruby along the bottom edge of the glass. A tan one finger head slowly settles to a thin cap, coating the glass.

Lots of light and toasty grain with a very velvety smooth creamy overtone. A little bit of brown sugar is in there.

Roasted grain sets up the base, with some molasses notes in the middle. Full bodied (lighter bodied for a stout, as you would expect for the style). Bitterness is on the low end, mostly coming from the malts.

A very smooth Irish Dry Stout, on the top of that I have tried. I'd recommend this over Guinness Draught, unless you really want the nitro feel. A little higher on the %ABV side, still maybe sessionable. Recommended.

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Photo of taylorhamrick
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours out a dark brown, not quite black. A 2cm head sits on top, with loose clumps of bubbles. A little lacing and alright retention. The smell is the nicest part. Some sweetness with a roasted back. A very nice smell for a dry irish stout. The taste is kind of bitter, but without the pleasant coffee taste I'd expect to accompany. There isn't as much sweetness or creaminess as I'd expect from the nose. The mouthfeel is kind of prickly and lacks the smoothness I'd expect from other examples of the style. It actually drinks fairly well, and gets much better as it warms.

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

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Pours an almost opaque black with a thin off-white diminishing head. Aroma is a nice mix of fresh ground coffee, roasted malts and powdered cocoa. The taste is all the roasted malts I'd expect from a stout with traces of espresso and lingering bitter cocoa. The beer is light to medium bodied with smooth carbonation. This is an enjoyable textbook stout to say the least.

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Photo of cvfish
2.28/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

A - Poured black, but not a deep cloudy black that I would expect from a stout, created a tan head that disappeared quickly

S - Smelled some malts and coffee, brown sugar

T - Lots of roasted bitterness, some mild chocolate, some cream

M - I hate drys, so this isn't going to be good. The dryness hits the tongue hard, and its not pleasing, to me at least

D - Can't really go back for more, my buddy is on a quest to get me to like dry irish stouts, but it's not looking good

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Photo of Arbitrator
1.43/5  rDev -62.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Black, thick body with some head that recedes over a few minutes. No substantial lacing.

S: A little bit of chocolate and coffee, but mostly roasted malts and... lentils. I just couldn't get past the smell. I've never smelled any beer like this before.

T: The roasted malts are way overdone and dominate the taste. Some grassy hops in the finish. Extremely weird-tasting, imbalanced, and it's hard to believe this is a stout. I must have gotten a bad one.

M: Medium-bodied with medium carbonation.

D: I don't even want to finish this. My first drain pour. The rest of the six-pack is going to be given away.

EDIT: I did give the other 5 away and got very positive comments. I have since realized that this bottle was oxidized, and I am going to buy another one and re-review it.

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

Poured into a pint glass. Head settled nicely, with a dark color complex. Overtones of caramel and milk and some oats give way. Gulp. Silky texture on the palate, smooth going down with a hint of that milk sensation into the picture. The star of the show happens to be the warmness of the dairy flavor. Not necessary too much per se, buy enough hint to take this beer into to the pinnacle stage for style.

Recommend: Yes, will be trying other NCBC beers now too.

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Photo of alovesupreme
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No expiration or born on date and I have a feeling this beer is a little older than it should be. North Coast should be dating their beer by now.

Pours with very little head that fades away rather quickly, Dark brown in color with light penetrating through the body of the beer.

Lots of roasted malts in aroma, some coffee, molasses and honey. Great smelling beer, probably the beers greatest asset.

Black coffee and carob; slight hop flavor but the bitterness is unquestionably due to the roasted character.

More carbonation than I expected, not as creamy I would like but fair body considering style.

A good stout by a great brewery. I probably wont by this again for a while but have no regrets about the 6 pack.

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

On tap @ the North Coast taproom in Ft. Bragg.

Poured deep black with some garnet highlights and a loose off-white head.

The aroma mostly of roasted malts, hints of bittersweet chocolate, and mild fruits. Some mild herbal and earthy hops were there as well.

The flavor of the beer had a mild malty backbone, but was mostly carried by the dark caramel and roasted malts. The hop bitterness was assertive and earthy and balanced out the beer well.

The body and mouthfeel were both medium. The carbonation level was appropriate and complimented the rest of the beer.

This is beer is well balanced and easy to drink. It makes for a very flavorful and accessible session beer.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12/20/2008 (bottle):

Pours an almost pitch black colored body, with a humongous foamy tan head. Very vigorous and very lasting. Very chocolaty aroma, a little musty, some.roasted coffee. A lot going on in the nose. Creamy smelling aroma too. Creamy, ashy, bitter chocolate taste. Light fizziness. Not as sweet a taste as in the aroma.. Nice taste, not too heavy or alcoholy.

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Photo of sholland119
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty decent representation of the style, though nothing extraordinary. Pours medium brown with a fluffy white head. Aroma has some roasted malt and not much else. Taste is similar. Nice moderate roastiness and a dab of hops. Mouthfeel is nice for the style, a bit less thin than I often encounter. I could certainly enjoy more than one.


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Photo of BWH3
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep brown ale with little if any red hues topped by thick beige head which stands long. The nose is filled by toffee, melanoidins, sherry, and burnt paper. However, the palate is almost entirely dominated by a dry ashy roasted grain flavor that takes on an astringent quality similar to over steeped tea. The beer as the qualities necessary for style including relatively thin, still, and dry, but just to dry on palate. Just an average American version of an Irish Dry Stout

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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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