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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 661 | Ratings: 1,249
Photo of The_Kings_Quart
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Nice dark mocha pour with about a finger's worth of creamy head that fades to a thin skim along the top.

S: Very delicate chocolate and spice. Little bit of coffee and a less than pleasant hit of yeast now and then. Gives it an almost metallic smell at times.

T: Nicer than what the smell left me with. Much milder compared to others of its kind, but there's a very faint tartness that's a nice touch. More coffee to the finish, which is a bit oily, but still clean enough.

MF: Airy and a little too susceptible to foaming in the mouth. Mild carbonation. Nothing particularly thrilling here.

O: Had two bottles of this because the first tasted like liquid tinfoil. Second bottle was good, but this is still much better on tap as far as I'm concerned. Nevertheless, a decent brew, and worth trying.

 805 characters

Photo of mithrascruor
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a nice black color with some brown at the edges. Big, fluffy medium-tan head becomes a bit rocky after a while, and has good retention.

Smell: Deep roasted malt aroma, with a hint of cocoa.

Taste: Chocolate milk with a bit of sugar. Sure, there's the roasted malt bast and some hop bitterness at the finish, but it is like Nesquik abducted my beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and pretty smooth, with some light carbonation.

Drinkability: It is very easy to drink.

I see where it is coming from for an Irish-style dry stout, and while it is fairly tasty (as a beverage) and almost too easy to drink, just too much like hot cocoa in my beer.

 694 characters

Photo of elNopalero
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This pours a solid black with creamy, thick “chocolate milk” in beer form foam.

I get a toffee cocoa aroma that’s both smooth & sweet.

The beer itself is sweet with a body that holds up as expected, with a flavor that’s sweet, creamy and chocolaty.


The Old 38 I had finished like… bbq sauce. Yes. Bbq sauce. It doesn’t taste like it, doesn’t smell like it, and there’s no reason to think of bbq sauce given that it’s a stout, but after I finished my pint while struggling to place the “off” notes I realized it’s … bbq sauce. Go figure. Is it maple syrup (artificial maple syrup) that’s lending those hints? I never noticed such a characteristic in other brews made with maple but I definitely found this here—and corroborated my findings with others tasting with me. Pretty sure I won’t try this one again.

 851 characters

Photo of Overlord
3.23/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark, but with an almost ruddy, translucent brown look to it. Not quite "stout-ish." Big light tan head.

Smells ... hmmm...charred, and almost ... sour? Taste is, again, weirdly sour. If I didn't know better, I'd say this was an oatmeal stout (I only know better cuz' I looked up the style). Sour, charred malt, not much balancing sweetness, a bit wearying, even in a 12 oz. bottle. Not too much aroma or flavor to it.

Not my cup of tea, and too thin.

 459 characters

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.

 437 characters

Photo of phantomwyse
3.27/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Medium roasted black coffee, more brown than black. Tannish 1-finger head, i expected more from a stout.

S: Understated chocolate notes, weak milky coffee, some roasted sweetness.

T: Roasted coffee, milk chocolate, slight woodsmokey.

M: Silky dry.

D: Drinkable, yes, but there are much better representations of the style out there.

 339 characters

Photo of harrymel
3.27/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled unk

A: dark, single finger of toasted cream falls to a sheet of the same. Spot lace.
S: dry, leather, coffee, oats, soil.
T: follows the nose well.
M: full and hi carb. Dry finish
O: pretty good. Likely would prefer on nitro or even with a shot of espresso in it.

 276 characters

Photo of yelterdow
3.27/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served at just under cellar temperature in an oversize snifter for maximum sniffage.

Appearance- a huge, light tan rocky head that dissipates quickly to an uneven, sporadic mess. Pours black and thin.

Smell- Burnt coffee roasts and dark chocolate initially, opening up to a sweeter "Raisinets" aroma with a mild alcohol note.

Taste- The aforementioned espresso/coffee gives way to a sharp hop afterbite that, in my opinion, overwhelms the gustatory experience. It remains for too long and keeps this stout just out of balance.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The thin, watery mouthfeel makes this brew easy drinkin', but the incongruencies in its DNA would prevent me from repurchasing.

 691 characters

Photo of danielharper
3.29/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Purchased from Great Spirits, Huntsville, AL.

A: Dark black, thick brown head that dissipates slowly.

S: Roasted malty aroma, no hops.

T: Very sweet up-front, with some notes of coffee and a very dry finish.

M: Moderate, not watery but not overly thick. Refreshing. About as expected.

D: Overall about average for a dry stout. Not the greatest beer in the world, but fans of the style should like it.

 415 characters

Photo of ByTor2112
3.3/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I first tried this way back in the day when nobody on the East Coast knew of this stuff. Thanks to HimerMan for sending this to me as an extra with a trade.
Poured very dark, a hint of garnet when the light passed through it on the side of the glass. Nice espresso colored head that left no lacing.
Dark roasted malt aroma, a little coffe is there also.
Initial taste is dark malt and a burnt tatse, not bad. The hops give a good balance with decent bitterness that combines well with the dark malts. The hops get really earthy as this stout warms up.
Good no-nonsense stout.

 580 characters

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.

 324 characters

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....

 360 characters

Photo of Duhast500
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass

The color is a dark black with a deep maroon color when held to the light. Some slight head but no lacing.

The smell is light but has a malty flavor that has a pin of brown sugar and a little chocolate flavor as well.

The taste is some dark chocolate and a little roasted malt. Is a nice even flavor but not too strong.

It seems to be missing a little something but that may be me getting used to Imperial Stouts, otherwise this beer is a nice beer experience. It has a nice even medium body and feels great going down. It dies have a slight aftertaste but only the briefest.

 624 characters

Photo of mjohn27603
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured with a 2 inch head. Deep brown in color. Taste is very much of coffee not too bitter. The mouthfeel is a bit disappointing, being a bit on the watery side. Sweet taste. Nothing outstanding or objectionable.Slight bitter aftertaste starts to settle in after a while. This one doesn't really stand in North Coast's lineup.

 327 characters

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

Dark walnut brown, nearly black. Creamy tan head, okay lacing, decent retention. Cocoa, graham, and light roasty aromas. Flavor is very roasted, with coffee notes and a slightly charred bitterness. Semisweet chocolate provides a touch of sweetness. Mouthfeel is decent, but the carbonation is too high. This style would be better suited to a light carbonation to enhance a creamy body. Nonetheless, this is miles tastier than the standard Irish stout fare like Guinness and Murphy's.

 483 characters

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.

 632 characters

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

Appearance: Pours a distinctly brown color, with a mediocre tan head that quickly subsided while my head was turned for a few moments to watch a Seinfeld episode.

Smell: Black malts and bittersweet chocolate lead with some toffee and floral hop notes lingering in the background. There's a slight sourness here.

Taste: An unmistakable roasted malt taste from beginning to end. A brief suggestion of chocolate, but its mostly just a coffee-like flavor throughout. Again, slightly sour.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Short, simple, and to the point. Not unlike this review itself. A rather thin body - thankfully the carbonation remains somewhat low. A very "easy" stout. Let me just finish with a joke. What do you get when you cross a baked potato with a


 777 characters

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

Live review. Poured from a 12 oz bottle purchased as a single for $1.89 from Cost Plus World Market in Mentor, Ohio yesterday into my Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale pint glass.

A Almost completely black body (holding it up to direct light reveals a deep, dark mahogany color, maybe 5% light comes through) under a medium brown, creamy looking head.

S Dark Roast malt, maybe with a touch of chocolate. Inviting, interesting.

T Dark malt, not a strong taste. A rather basic Stout taste to me. Gone is the chocolate notes that I thought I smelled.

M Smooth but not as creamy as the look had suggested.

D Fine for a Stout which are not particularly drinkable normally.

Notes: When you consider that you could simply get Old Rasputin (same brewery of course, a superior, masterful beer) then this is certainly second tier from North Coast. That being said, this is a fine Stout.

 878 characters

Photo of facundoCNB
3.38/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - poured a thick dark black with a nice amount of dark tan head, leaving behind lots of lacing.

S - malty, slightly boozy/sugary (almost a hint of rum), hints of fruit

T - very light in taste surprisingly. bitter hops, sweet malts.. very well balanced

M - very crisp stout (just looked at the description and it's a dry stout so that makes sense). nicely carbonated

O - not a bad stout, my 2nd review for an irish dry stout, and it's not as good as black sun, but it's still pretty awesome in its own way.

 511 characters

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.

 733 characters

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

12 ounce bottle purchased in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Appearance is black tone with a thin one finger head.
Smell is strong, like black licorice.
Taste is thick and slightly sweet.
Mouthfeel is alright, but makes you thirsty and leaves you wanting to drink some water.
Drinkability is average, I much prefer some other irish stout options out there.

 356 characters

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.

 1,027 characters

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

Pours a very dark brown color (nearly black) and has a thick medium tan head. The smell of roasted mocha coffee and malts get the mouth watering. First taste of each swallow reveals an odd twang, but then fades to a more pleasant chocolate and roasted malt flavor. It has a rather thin mouthfeel and light clean finish for a stout. It could stand a little tweaking to get rid of the strange twang, but maybe it’s on purpose. Not bad, and I can struggle through the trenches to get through the twang ;-) since I have a few more of these. Cheers!

 551 characters

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

A: Dark black, lots of head on top..

S: Roasted barley, a little bit of smoke, something funky in there...

T: Smokey, bitter, with a nice aftertaste of roasted barley.. Maybe a hint of a cream taste.

M: Lacking something, what it was I am not sure. Just not the body I was looking for.

D: I think that one is enough for me.. Nice and smokey, but is missing the elegance that other's have.

 392 characters

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.

 748 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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