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 Josiah2729
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Dark black with half a finger of creamy tan head that dissipates fairly quickly, decent lacing.

Smell: Dark roasted malt, some coffee, slight hoppiness.

Taste: Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee, a hint of bitterness from the hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium thickness, slight carbonation, somewhat of a creamy texture.

Overall: Delicious stout, I will try again.

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Photo of misterscooter
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Overall, this is a good stout with only a few blemishes. It pours a dark brown with just a bit of light coming through on the edges. A beautiful, thick head formed and lazily faded away until a small layer stuck round the edges. The smell is a malty chocolate smell with some anis mixed in.

Like most stouts, it is thick and a bit dry. It wasn't as smooth as I expected because of a slight chalky feel in the mouth. But the taste was great for a stout, classic at that. Malty with the hint of licorice and kept me pouring it down despite that downgrade with the chalkiness. Another good pickup from North Coast.

Found in the Cost Plus 2004/05 Winter Brews pack.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours nearly 2 fingers of smooth, dense light mocha head, body is a translucent but very deep mahogany and garnet,. The head comes down to a solid cap in a few minutes BUT left a thin coat of lace that nearly covered the entire glass, nice.

Smell - Nice roastiness, slight molasses, rich coffee, bakers chocolate, lite soy sauce, and maybe a whisper of dark fruit.

Taste - Dark roasted malts, light coffee and chocolate, some toasted dark wheat crusts, I get a very slight nuttiness, and finishes with some unsweetened black coffee, tea tannin and some very light minerals and grassy hops.

Mouthfeel - Nearly medium, and quite smooth, but not nouthcoating. Carb is lower side of medium that is soft and foaming across the center of the tongue but leaves the corners with some very nice bright edges.

Overall - Really a very nice stout, and extremely smooth and drinkable. Flavors are nicely bold, complex, and very well balanced. Fills the mouth during the quaff and finishes with a subtle dryness with a whiff of astringency. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of pheurton
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a few shades off midnight black. full and foamy tan head. light burnt coffeeish aroma. medium body supported by adequate carbonation. could be a little thicker. delicate burnt roasted caramel flavors, with a commanding yet not overwhelming hop presence. sturdy and well built dry stout. i could easily have two or thee of these in a sitting.

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Photo of delta490
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep brown, with hardly any light getting through. The head is creamy tan and burns off quickly, leaving small amounts of lacing. Dark malts dominate, with notes of dark chocolate and coffee and earthy hops adding to it. The taste is very similar to the aroma, just not quite as robust and forward.The body is thinner, has a hit of carbonation and a nice dry finish.

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Photo of match1112
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pitch black with a half finger mocha colored head that leaves a good amount of lacing.

s: roasted coffee and malts.

t: more roasted flavors.

m: starts out with a medium creamy body and finishes dry.

o: classic example of what a stout is, not what it could be. i really enjoy north coast and wish they did something more with this, but i guess thats why they give us old rasputin.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Here comes a good old fashioned stout taste. The raostiness was the first thing that hit me. Nice. Overall, this is a very "sessionable" stout. It reminds me of how a stout should taste plus a little smoke.

It's pretty average looking (black), with some lace and weak head in my conditions. But the taste is good. I would buy again if I were seeking a drinkable stout with a smokey flavor. Nice.I said that twice so it must be so.

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Photo of MrJuengling
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Beginner2
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

North Coast is a good example of a second (possibly first) generation brewer who did the English style very well, but also made numerous offerings in the Belgian style and few were as good... although possibly successful enough to keep North Coast brewing them. Anyway, perhaps this is a lesson in sticking to your knitting.
Old #38 was first brewed in 1988 from a recipe in a home-brew "how-to" manual. It is dry, true to the Irish tradition. And it's hops (53 IBU) are well-concealed from my sensitive palate.
I was saving this bottle for next winter, but today it snowed (and stuck) in Chicago after opening day (baseball), so I felt obliged to raid my stash.

Bottom-line: I recommend this stout.

Reviewed in Roger Protz' CAMRA classic "300 Beers To Try Before You Die!"

Old #38 also is listed on the "1001" and deserves to be there. The review was written by one of my top five favorite beer writers, fellow Chicagoan Randy Mosher and I recommend reading it. He did quote Michael Jackson as saying that Old #38 "may well be one of the best stouts produced in America."
I couldn't find that reference, but I will share that MJ's 1999 "Guide" gave Old #38 three of four stars and called it "creamy and chocolatey with lots of flavour development."

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Photo of whynot44
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opaque mahogany with slight ruby highlights against the light with a moderate tan head that disipates to just a ring fairly quickly but then sticks around and leaves some nice lace.

The aroma is dark roasted malt with some coffee and chocolate notes.

The taste is also dark nutty roasted malts but with more of the coffee and dark chocolate flavors and a bit of burnt caramel.. It starts slightly sweet but then the bite of the roasted malt kicks in. The aftertaste is dry and slightly bitter unsweetened chocolate and espresso.

Medium bodied, a bit light for the style but not bad, fairly smooth and easily drinkable. Definitely worth a try for the dry stout lover or as an intro to the style.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Aroma: dominant chocolate with a good dose of coffee, and roastedness. A slight hint of dark, tart fruits (plumbs or cherries) and licorice. Sweet caramel malts throughout.
Appearance: Almost completely black. Just under syrupy in the pour. Nice off white to golden head. compact bubbles form a 1 inch head that remains chuncky and thick.
Taste: Again, dominant bitter sweet chocolates laced with roasted coffee. All balanced nicely with sweetness of malt, caramels, vanillas. A full, well rounded stout that introduces a mild tartness in the body that lingers through the finish. Low to no hop flavor or bittering.
Aftertaste: leaves mouth a bit sweet and tacky. Lingering hints of coffee and chocolate. Again, a bit tart.
Impression: understandibly a winter beer. Chocolates make it a beer that would nicely conclude any meal.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - pours a dark muddy brown, red through the edges. Small but clinging light brown head.

S - chocolate milkshake, smoked meats, light roastiness.

T - bitter and dry chocolate, some funny hops, which i didnt catch on the nose.

M - smooth, and medium-thin.

D - It's ok. I don't like it as much as I remember liking it the first time i had it. Despite it's not being that good, It's still fine to drink.

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Photo of Brandon632
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Harvest06
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BenHesk12
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

North Coasts Old no.38 stout is a simple, dry stout enjoyable on any occasion. At only 7 dollars for a six pack, this beer has good value and good flavor. The beer pours a dark black with a substantial frothy brown head and is aromatic of burnt coffee. A somewhat strong carbonation hits the mouth making it drinkable but slightly harsh. For a dry irish stout, this old 38 is has no surprises. Well balanced, mild but not watery, bitter and flavorful enough to keep you interested until the glass is empty. This isn't a beer I would get excited about but definitely a go-to beer at a pub, and I would easily recommend it to a friend. If this is North Coasts attempt at making an entry level affordable beer to a wider audience, I think it hit the mark and I wholeheartedly approve.

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Photo of Bcant
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mahogany color with dark brown head that falls fast, but thatÂ’s ok for this style beer. Dark chocolate dominated bouquet. Strong roasted flavor, some hopped dryness and sweet malt notes. The mouth feel is really very nice. Both chewy and slick but finishes very dry and refreshing. Not the most complex or bold stout on the market but defiantly one that could that could be drunk right after another.

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

Pours a coal-black in color, with a large, tan head.
Plentiful lacing.
Nose is chocolate-cocoa.
Taste follows suit, with chocolate and a roasty character there, in between the creamy chocolate tones.
Delicious and easy to drink, but not a standout stout.

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Photo of tomb_ride
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of briscott99
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: This one pours a dark brown... held up to light one can see a very dark red tinge. The head is brown, poured up thick (about two to three fingers), but dies down rather quickly leaving lacings on the glass.

Nose: Nice dark toffee-ish smell. A faint sweetness like that of bittersweet chocolate.

Taste: Very solid. Roasty, a very subtle sweetness, followed by some hop bitterness. This is a lot "smaller" tasting than say, an imperial stout, but that's not bad. I like that is not too syrupy sweet like some of the "big" stouts out there. I could imagine drinking multiples of this one in a night.

Mouthfeel: Fairly light bodied for a stout. It has a subtle, medium carbonation. It is very dry, creamy, and satisfying.

Overall: Very good. Truthfully my only other experiences in the dry Irish stout style is Murphy's and Guiness. And maybe I'm blaspheming, but I think this one is beating them out. A very solid pour.

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

This surprised me for a stout, being a deep red in color rather than a brown or black. There was a rather good head on it too, which dissipated after a few minutes.

The aroma was mostly of roasted malt, but there were hints of other scents in there as well. I, unfortunately, could not make them out at the time.

The flavor was quite good... starting out as roasted malts and coffee hints, fading to bitter chocolate. It was more bitter than many stouts I have had, which was a plus for me.

Mouthfeel was not as thick as I expected. Likewise drinkability... it was good, but I wouldn't buy more than a couple of these at any one time.

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Photo of srrn
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I had no idea I was buying an Irish dry stout when I picked this up, I gave it a bit of a hit on mouthfeel with an extra 1/2 point for style. Not creamy at all and the mouthfeel is a bit thin. The head lasts a good while and the brew is very very dark brown. Smell is roasted malts, toast, coffee and a bit of almond. Taste is the same, the almond and cherries taste not as strong as an almond stout. All in all a good brew but when I'm in the mood for a dark brew from this brewery I'll buy old Rasputin.

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

Am trying this now as we speak..

Smell is of roasted coffee and a little malt. Not much of a head on it, color is a pleasant onyx.

Taste is of bitter chocolate and coffee in front, a little malt and a faint twinge of hoppiness in the back. Mouthfeel is good, but a little bitter for my taste.

Overall, a good representation of the style. My first NCBC stout; hope to try the Rasputin soon..

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

Pours a dark brown/black color, nice carbonation, not much of a head though and quickly disappears, a few nice island appear. Scents of malts, slight hops, coffee, and caramel. The taste is of roasted sweet malts, and a nice caramel dry finish. Medium body. A pretty tasty brew from North Coast, would recommend. Thanks jhammerly.

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

12oz. bottle poured into a tulip-style glass. It pours a deep black color with two fingers of head that die quickly. There is a small amount of lacing left on the glass. The smell is fairly strong with coffee and chocolate. The taste is a nice start of coffee, caramel, and toffee, followed by a small hint of hops. The body is a little light and watery. Not terribly bad though. The drinkability is just alright. A fair stout, but Old Rasputin is better.

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

I poured this one from a 12oz stubby brown bottle into a pint glass.

A= When held to a bright light this stout was very dark with reddish, brownish, and blackish hints. The 1 inch head poured tan and rocky, leaving clingy lace down the glass.

S= This beer smelled strongly of toffee, with notes of caramel and even figs present too. Had a mildly unpleasant overpowering sweetness in the aroma.

T= This stout produced a good blend of roasted/burnt malt bitterness and slight syrupy sweetness. Dry finish.

MF= Medium bodied stout with a fairly high carbonation level. Instead of a creamy or slick mouthfeel, this left me at times feeling it was a bit thin and crisp on the palate.

D= Not a bad beer by any means, and certainly a good example of a dry stout. I personally prefer to select oatmeal and imperial stouts instead of this one.

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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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