Old #38 Stout | North Coast Brewing Co.

very good
1,257 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: 1,257 |  Reviews: 664
Photo of daythree16
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Has a one-finger head with great retention that leaves thick chunks of lace as you drink it. Thick, creamy head makes me almost wish I had a straw.

The smell is of chocolate and roasted malts with a slight aroma of alcohol.

Tastes like it smells, with the espresso taste and roasted malts playing the lead and it has really well balanced hop presence. My only problem was a slight metallic taste. However, I've had the beer before, and I don't remember that last time, so it may be a one-time thing.

The beer is a has a good and heavy mouthfeel, but coming in at just under 6% ABV, I could see myself having a few more.

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Photo of botham
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint. pours deep brown with garnet highlights and a sizable light brown head that remains for a couple minutes, leaving moderate lacings.

aroma is roasted, with a marshmallowy sweet character, and a side note of caramel and dark fruit. odd mix for an irish dry.

taste is roasted, with the same dark fruit base and notes of caramel, coffee, and a lightly burnt quality. not bad.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with a thin texture and a smooth finish of residual chocolate and caramel, with a bit of dark fruit.

drinkablility is good. this is a decent irish dry, though there is much better out there.

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Photo of Drewcifer
4.57/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a very dark brown, nearing black, with a finger of tan head.

The aroma is roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of cocoa powder.

Taste is slightly sweet chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, a bit of a hazlenutty taste muddled in as well. A pleasant aftertaste, I was expecting bitter but it wasn't there, instead, a very mild finish.

Good body on the heavy side of medium, somewhat creamy and smooth, a very pleasant carbonation - it's there, but not kicking your tongue to be noticed.

Wonderfully drinkable. Great flavor, not as heavy as some stouts, a nice ABV for drinking more than one or two in a sitting, very good example of the style. Probably my favorite Irish Dry I've had so far, and high up in all the stouts I've had.

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

Had from a nitro-pour at the Frisco Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Pours a nice deep dark brown, nearly black, with a nice creamy nitro-poured brown head.

S- Some chocolate and coffee notes, little else.

T- Nice and rich, lots of coffee and some chocolate. Although the beer starts sweetish, the finish is dry.

M- Creamy smooth, this beer is great on nitro. Full bodied.

D- All in all a great beer. I could enjoy several pints a night.

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Photo of TheTrevor
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark chocolate brown with a two-finger dark tan head. The smell is toasted malts with some hints of coffee. The taste starts off with some semi-sweet chocolate tasting malt that gives way to some slight coffee tastes that are cut by some hops. The mouthfeel is fairly thick with some pretty mild carbonation. This is a tasty beer, but I think it might sit a little heavy to drink more than one of at a time.

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

Big tan head on black

Big aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, something sweet, and a hint of coffee

Taste & Mouthfeel
Very tasty, creamy, big upfront but thin in the middle, however, there's a nice finish of flavor, very sweet like a milk stout, good mouthfeel with nice carbonation (a bit like Rasputin)

A very tasty stout with nice notes of roasted malts and coffee, but a little too lactic and sweet for me.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Short, fat, 12 oz bottle purchased singly from Total Wine and More in Union...
Pours a jet-black, ebony hue with a decent-sized foamy head that exhibited impressive staying power before slowly receding and leaving a hefty amount of lacing...
Subtle, cocoa-powder aroma replete with thick, chewy malts and espresso...
Taste strongly mirrored the aroma, with a wonderful flavor of rich, deep, dark chocolate, dark latte, creamy mocha, and rich toffee with hazlenut...
Excellent overall flavor, as expected from a great brewery with a good reputation for churning out impressive brews...
Thick, rich, creamy mouthfeel to match with a superb level of drinkability as well...
This one went down crisply and smoothly without any interference and a full-bodied flavor for a relatively modest 5.6% ABV...
Great stuff...
Sweet, rich, and thick - recommended...

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

Appearance: Poured from the stubby 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is black with a 1 inch brown head resting upon the liquid. Head fades to a partial cover and leaves little clumps of lace.

Smell: Roasted malts giving off typical stout aromas of burnt chocolate and coffee.

Taste: Big and malty (roasted malts with high roasted coffee bean and bitter chocolate flavor. An ample bitter finish leads me to believe this one is not lacking in hops. Bit flavor, different than the Irish nitro cans I pick up when I am feeling in the mood for an Irish Stout. Good malty, flavorful beer.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, chewy. Seems naturally carbonated (not too much). A touch prickly on the tongue with a dry finish.

Drinkability: Along the lines of Boulevarde's Dry Stout, but fuller in body. I typically look for an ABV around 5 or less for this style cause I like having many at a time. This is a tad high, but still it is a great beer. I would recommend giving this a try.

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

Opened 12 fluid ounce bottle, poured into Nonic glass.

Pours 2" of tan foamy head that holds well, some lacing on glass - Opaque dark brew.

Smell is of coffee with slight bitter action. Nothing complex, but a very clean brew. Finish is short with no aftertaste. While there are other Irish stouts I like more, this is very pleasant. All in all, a good brew.

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

Pour is opaque black with an off-tan head on top. Smell is lightly roasted, chocolate.

The flavour is dry and roasted. Light chocolate tones lurk in the background. Some spicy hops on the very edge of the tongue. Lightly nutty. A good representative of the style.

Mouthfeel is decently full and carbonated, but not exceptionally thick. The drinkability, a shade above average as well. This is a solid, enjoyable take on the style, but it's nothing I would go out of my way for.

The bottom line: As Irish Dry Stouts go, North Coast has put together a good variation on the style. There is nothing here that is particularly memorable, but if you're in the mood for a lighter stout like this, Old #38 is an affordable and tasty option.

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

I don't about the style, but this certainly is a tasty beer. I got big milk and dark chocolate flavors along with chocolate grains and an aroma to match. There's a medium body with a balancing bitterness and touch of citrus hops flavor. Overall this is a great dessert beer and I'd love to see a coffee version of this.

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Photo of JDV
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours almost black with a creamy, foamy semi lasting tan head. Smell is nuts and cream and roastiness. Hazlenut creamer like notes. Flavor is dark and roasty, slighty sweet, and with a light shortly lived slightly dry bitter finish. Average body. Not too thin but not as thick as I prefer. Moderate carbonation. Pretty good standby stout that you could easily have more than one of. Not unhappy that I bought a 6 pack of this in Las Vegas. Nice beer.

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

Pours nearly black with a ruby edge and a frothy tan head. Aroma has hints of coffee, cocoa, and some citric hops. Not an overwhelming nose, but a pleasant one.

Dry roasted notes with a touch of figs and chocolate in the middle that leads into a dry finish with touch of a citric tanginess to it. Flavor fades fast with little to no aftertaste. There's enough carbonation to to give a creamy mouth feel thats a little on the light side.

This is a good sipping stout that would make a nice session beer.

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Photo of Gehrig
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Old #38 reminds me of the bus number I used to ride in Western New York, first to high school then college. Good times.

The beginning to this beer experience is outstanding, with three tan fingers of cloud topping a nearly black body, with thick layers of lacing on the way down reminding the drinker of its great start. Alas, this peters out somewhat on the track to enjoyment, and it starts with the smell which is, to be kind, difficult to locate. Eventually, some roasted chocolate, and touches of caramel and coffee emerge. I'm honestly shocked at how tepid this is, with the taste as well. Mouthfeel salvages much with #38, with ample carbonation coaxing the coffee forward for more than a cameo.

I'm still perplexed that the same brewery that made the big, bold, and brilliant Old Rasputin made the Little Engine That Should Have But Didn't. Old #38 is a letdown--not a disaster, but a journey into what could have been, but wasn't. In all, decent.

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Photo of m1ked
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Opaque blackness. Rootbeer float like head shrinking down to a more modest lacing.

S- Light cocoa, wet smokey wood.

T- Muted burnt wood, subtle cocoa, bitter coffee end.

M- Smooth and creamy. I like this feel.

d- Not my favorite of this style, but still very drinkable. I do enjoy their many other offerings.

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Photo of SargeC
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black brew with a dense, tan head.

Smell: malt, coffee, bitter chocolate and hints of caramel.

Taste: Nice even balance of malt and hop flavors. Chocolate, and toffee flavors mix well with the malt.

Mouthfeel: Full body. Very smooth and refined.

Drinkablity: A very tasty and well-crafted brew.

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Photo of d0ggnate
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm fond of North Coast brews and I find Old #38 to be a one of those beers that I will only have about once or twice a year, but I enjoy it greatly each time I do.

A: Dark brown/black with thick light brown/tan foamed head. Head disappeared quickly, but left patchy lace on my glass.

S: Hints of dark fruit and day-old coffee fill my nose, but for the most part I smell familiarity.

T: Dry, but delicious. Taste of smoke or chalk-like flavors (but in a good way). Hint of coffee and plum, too.

M: Coats my tongue, but melts away quickly. Very smooth and almost watery. Beer drinks very flat.

Old #38 is a great, extremly drinkable stout. I enjoy it each time I pop the bottle.

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Photo of hwwty4
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12oz bottle into my trusty Boulevard Goblet. Poured a dark, dark brown that allowed tan hues to show through when held to the light. Had a light tan head that disappeared quickly and left little lacing. Aroma is heavy on the roasted malts, with a bit of chocolate, nuts and almost buttery notes. Taste is heavy roasted malts and unsweetened chocolate. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but hey, thatÂ’s the style. This is one of the better Irish stouts on the market.

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

Dark brew with a creamy head that dissapated very quickly. would have liked to see more head. Bitter hop and chocolate aromas, touch of dark fruit. Good mouthfeel, on the lighter side for a stout, but thats how it was made. Cocoa flavors, roasted malts,bitterish chocolate flavor dominates. This is how Guinness should taste. I was suprised by how much I thouroughly enjoyed this brew, very solid.What it lacks in inital apperance is made up by flavor.If your're looking for a good Irish stout, get it!

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours your basic black with a small cocoa head. Trace of lacing. Ok aroma-very metal like and somewhat medicinal. Very, very solid roasted flavor. Stands out quite well. Deep plum flavor. Lingering bitterness and somewhat dry. Decent mouthfeel. Very drinkable and enjoyable. I could see doing this one on a regular basis.

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

This is a really great stout. I wish they sold it in Texas. I got this as an extra in a trade with JDV. Thanks man, I owe you.

Poured a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - This beer looks great. It produced a solid two finger head that had the texture of latte foam. It slowly dissipated to a thin crown across the top of the brew and left a little bit of lacing behind as it fell. It is dark brownish black and light can only penetrate the perimeter of the beer.

Smell - It smells pretty good. I can smell roasted malts, cocoa powder, and a bit of hops as well. There is a slight bready or caramel scent to it as well.

Taste - It tastes very much like it smells. It has a nice roasty character at the front of the flavor, and that ties in with the unsweetened chocolate note and a hint of caramel. There is a decent hop backend that provides a slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - It feels very nice going down. There is enough carbonation to keep my interest, but not enough to detract from the overall mouthfeel. Medium bodied. It mouthcoats more than I would have expected, but that is a good thing.

Drinkability - I mostly drink imperial stouts, but this is one of my favorite non-imperial varieties. This beer has the big flavor I want in a beer and has a low enough ABV to make this very sessionable. Very easy drinking.

Thanks again for the opportunity to try this one again, JDV.

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

Poured an attractive dark brown with some garnet highlights and nice tan head that dissipated to a small tan ring. Aroma is of caramel, chocolate, and coffee. Flavor is also of caramel, chocolate, and coffee that is balanced by the hop presence. Mouthfeel is pleasant and little lacing was left on glass. This was a nice beer that I enjoyed especially after it warmed a little which enhanced the flavor. Very smooth with high degree of drinkability.

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Photo of baos
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From notes.

12 oz into 70's King's Island mug.

A: One finger head. Pours a dark dak dark brown. Nice collar has she and lacing as well. A nice unltra thin sheen of head that sticks around for ye.

S&T: Coffee goodness and bits of unsweetened chocolate.

M: Not bad is what I wrote. I remember maybe wanting a bit more.

D: This is a very drinkable beer. Grab a sixer and ante up lads.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
3.91/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an impenetrable black with a nice and fluffy light tan head. The nose is very weak, but does have some malt and coffee in it. The taste is wavy. At first it seems thin, but quickly jumps to dark malty flavors. Some coffee bean through the middle and a little vanilla, very little though. The carbonation provides a crispiness. there is a bit of coppery taste on the finish. Mouthfeel is average, thin and just a bit too carbonated for my taste. Very drinkable, and a great session stout. A good offering from North Coast, but Ill take old raspution instead every time!!

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Photo of Redwood21
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours an inky brown if that is possible to understand, with a nice head that dies away after too short a time. decent lacing remains but nothing too far above par
S: You definitely get the roasted coffee aroma with this beer, smells as if someone dropped some chocolate into the coffee
T: it has a nice coffee taste with a roasted malt too, maybe thats just me. as it warms the alcohol is more perceivable

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Old #38 Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
3.83 out of 5 based on 1,257 ratings.
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