Twentieth Anniversary Ale
North Coast Brewing Co.

Twentieth Anniversary AleTwentieth Anniversary Ale
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Strong Ale - American
3.8 | pDev: 14.74%
North Coast Brewing Co.
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Twentieth Anniversary AleTwentieth Anniversary Ale
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Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 41 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund from Norway

3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

500 ml corked & caged bottle, as North Coast Grand Cru, from Vinmonopolet, Nettbutikken. ABV is 12.9%. Brown colour, no head and hardly any carbonation. Vinous aroma with notes of oak. Warming mouthfeel. The flavour is oaky, alcoholic and vinous, with something strange that possibly is the agave nectar. Low bitterness. Won't buy again.

Apr 23, 2021
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TheManiacalOne from Rhode Island

3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Acquired from jayi so a big “Thank You” goes out to her. Poured from a caged & corked 500ml bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a light amber color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains a strong oak-aging essence along with caramelized malts, fruit and some hops.

T: The taste starts out sweet with flavors of fruit, caramel and vanilla followed by the flavor of oak-aging. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and there’s a mild but complementary hops presence creating a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down dangerously easily, not too filling, very strong kick, agave nectar and oak-aging aren’t typically two things that you find together and then cellaring such a beer until it’s around 5 years-old might sound like a potential disaster but this beer is well-worth sipping on for a long time.

Oct 28, 2013
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LiquidAmber from Washington

3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from 2/2011 notes. Poured into a Black Raven pint glass. Pours a medium orange amber with lively carbonation. Modest white head and nice lacing. Sweet, light fruit aroma. Sweet fruit flavor similar to apples, interesting fruit combination; a flavor I can't place must be the agave. Finish is somewhat astringent and phenolic. A very interesting ale and obviously well made, but although I liked the start and middle, the finish was bit off-putting for me. Glad I tried it.

Mar 31, 2012
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srandycarter from California

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Murky light copper. Not much near white head, leaves to ring fast. Not much lace.

S - Apricot and sugar. Big time mead smell!

T - Taste exactly like mead! A little bread in there, but mostly mead.

M - Medium to light body, good carb, fair balance.

D - Weird beer. It takes all kinds!

Dec 19, 2011
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a very interesting beer that borders the line of beer and cider and really pushes the boudries of what can be brewed.

the pour is a nice solid amber with a nice hue of golden edges that really seem to shine. but the aroma has a massive apple not with touches of cinnamon and rich notes of spice. coming through clearly now it is amazing the amount of depth the flavor that has been put into this. juicy and sweet with a wonderful finish that was both smooth, sweet and lightly tart.

overall I am not sure what this is, but it was damn good.

Jul 10, 2011
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scottfrie from California

3.12/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

750ml bottle in Portsmouth snifter. Purchased at the brewery.

A: Pours a deep apple juice golden with a finger of white head that faded into nothingness and left no lace.
S: Smells like apple cider, ambiguous spices, and alcohol vapor.
T: Strange and boozy with flavors of butterscotch, toffee, golden fruits and hops in the finish. I get some medicinal notes as well. Very strange and unique.
M: Super boozy feeling with a thin body. Slick, syrupy mouthfeel and low carbonation.
O: This was one weird tasting brew, and I’m not sure I like it. The flavors were pretty hard to pin down. Too much medicine, toffee and alcohol.

Jun 29, 2011
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mjyoung from California

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Drank 6/25/11. Split w/ scottfrie.

A: Pours a nice amber color that's reminiscent of Martinelli's apple cider. There was a thin off white head.

S: The apple comparisons hold true, as there is a solid whiff of apple juice stung with a pretty solid boozy finish.

T: This is a pretty difficult beer to pin down. I'm getting notes of toffee and a bit of grainy something or other. I'm not sure exactly what about it I find disagreeable, but it's not altogether a pleasant package. I't's not a bad beer, but hmmm... The word medicinal keeps getting tossed around, I'll buy it.

M: Light-medium bodied. Decent carb. Meh.

O: I really don't know what to say here. It's a good brew that was worth drinking. Not sure what else to say.

Jun 26, 2011
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snaotheus from Washington

4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml corked bottled

Pours cloudy, straw yellow, with small light beige head that doesn't move or fade. Fine, fast active carbonation. Smell is bright and fruity, some banana, smells very yeasty. Surprised I can't really smell any alcohol. Something smells very spicy in there.

Taste is buttery, more bananas and some other tropical fruit I can picture but can't name. Some very yeasty flavors, with a Belgian yeast sort of aftertaste. I can taste a little of the alcohol, but not very much.

Mouthfeel is nice. "Fluffy" comes to mind. Very effervescent.

Overall, quite good. I really like it.

May 01, 2011
Photo of Deuane
Deuane from Pennsylvania

4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ffejherb for muling a bottle of this one back from northern California.

A-Brilliant, golden kissed copper with a thin off-white head that fades to a thin ring of retention and leaves spotty lace.

S-Spicy green apple with a light touch of alcohol burn. Light honey sweetness in the background. Tequila like notes emerge with a little warming.

T-Quite mead like with spicy honey up front with underlying pear and apple notes supporting. A rather surprisingly dry finish. Very complex and highly interesting.

M-Medium bodied and very smooth. Lingering spiciness adds a light sharpness to accent the astringency in the finish.

D-Very interesting stuff. I commend NCB for taking on such a different and challenging brew for such an important anniversary beer. Very non-beer like in character, more like an Agave mead! Different, but well done, stuff for sure!

Mar 26, 2011
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Ghenna from California

3.94/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased last year, smaller corked and caged bottle.

Nice golden color with a tinge of amber. Minimal head, but very vigorous stream of bubbles coming off the etched hop in the bottom of my glass.

Smell is sweet, and it almost seems like its nose reminds me of hard apple cider. Pleasant apple tartness on the nose as well.

Flavor is not at all what I expected given the nose. Nice sweet flavors, lots of caramel, vanilla, a bit of spice. No real hoppiness that I can detect, though it isn't cloyingly sweet either. Mouthfeel is fairly creamy, and there is a faint alcohol warmth as you swallow. Bit of that cidery-ness in the after taste.

A pretty different type of beer, but not bad. Kudos to NCB for trying something different here in Northern California, where we have plenty of quality beers but there isn't a whole lot of diversity (at least not as much in 2008). I've got another bottle I may age out another 5 years and see how it changes.

Feb 21, 2011
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barleywinefiend from Washington

4.29/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a golden color with good carbonation and a small white head

S: Plenty of sweetness, agave, booze, vanilla

T: Lots of agave, vanilla and oak come out, booze but not overpowering booze, sweet

M: Has a sweet, sticky mouthfeel, warming, medium body

D: Very good overall

Jan 22, 2011
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drabmuh from Maryland

3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Lunch recently, this beer was a HUGE let down to everyone that tried it. A big big disappointment.

Beer is yellow and clear with a white head, decent and moderately carbonated. Head has some staying power but falls away leaving lacing on the glass. Looks good.

The aroma is sweet with a little spice and some alcohol.

Doesn't really taste like beer. Tastes almost like nothing. Shockingly thin, almost cidery in the flavor. I'm really let down by this. A lot.

Dec 19, 2010
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Thorpe429 from Illinois

3.35/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Lunch for the pleasure of trying this one. Even better was watching Paul drink this from the official goblet. Glassware aficionado, he is. Mine served in a plain snifter. Quite shameful.

Pours a moderate golden color with a quarter-finger head that falls quickly without really leaving much of anything behind. The nose brings forward a peanut character. Reminds me a bit of peanut brittle, or the solid portion of separated peanut butter. A bit of fruit there as well and some mild booze.

The flavor is much the same. Some peanut character as well as grainy sweetness. There's a bit of alcohol in there as well. A bit of very milk vanilla character makes its way in toward the end. Mouthfeel is medium with pretty good carbonation. Not a bad beer, but I generally expect quite a bit more from North Coast. Glad to have been able to try this. Thanks again, Paui.

Dec 19, 2010
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle shared by Lunch, after many unsuccessful attempts. Thanks Paul!

The appearance is crystal clear and golden hued, with an eighth inch of white head that leaves a far amount of lacing behind.

The aroma is of sweet fruits, spices and alcohol. The beer is very assertive and / or bold.

Put simply, this beer tastes like strong alcoholic apple juice, with a present sweetness throughout. The flavor is odd, though not necessarily off. I thought it was mediocre, and was a bit disappointed. Frankly, I expected better.

Dec 18, 2010
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Dreadnaught33 from District of Columbia

4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this bottle at Brasserie Beck, very interesting to try this hops, just agave in place of that.

A: Straw orange color with lots of bubbles. Small white bubbly head thats mostly opaque.

S: Really earthy cool smell. Smells almost like a lambic with grape, cherry, other sweet fruit, champagne, yeast, and apples. Nice! Scotch peat malt influence as well.

T: Interesting earthy blend of malt, apples, oak/vanilla, grape, and wood. Wow, this is really interesting and tasty, exceeds my expectations.

M: Medium-thick with great carbonation and a bittersweet finish. Nice

D: Very drinkable for the ABV. Excellent ratio of sweet to savory in this beer, great! Will try again if I see it.

Dec 02, 2010
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RustyDiamond from Georgia

4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"67% ale brewed with agave nectar and aged in oak barrels, 33% ale brewed with agave nectar."

Opaque yellow with white 1/4" that quickly dissipates. Very surprising look.

Applejuice aroma, fungal, honeysuckle.

Touch of the sweet up front, apple & pear but not sweet. Dry and woody in the mouth, then touch of fruit again. Fragrant oak feel. Alcohol surprisingly hidden.

Never tasted anything quite like this.

Jun 29, 2010
Photo of Reagan1984
Reagan1984 from Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Nanoslug for sending this interesting beer. Good trading partner..

OK, so the first shock is the color of the beer. American Strong Ale, I'm thinking a fairly dark looking beer. NOPE. This beer is a vibrant gold/brass color with almost champagne like carbonation rising to the surface (less in qty than champagne) Fluffy white head forms, then fades rather quickly.

Aroma is fruity and of wood. Almost a green vegetable aroma as well. Not grassy, but rather vegetal.

Interesting flavor. Coconut, wood, vanilla. I really wish I knew more about this beer. Lots of fruity esters.. Although I don't say this as a negative, I still get a little green vegetal flavor. (Not like Rolling Rock tastes like green beans, ugh) More and more coconut comes through for me, which dovetails to more vanilla. As I keep drinking I am struck by the subtle complexity here. Interesting. OK, next the wood starts to come out more as it warms slightly. Almost a white wine (chardonnay) quality to this.
** At this point, I had to go read some other reviews to see what is going on here. Several reviews mention Agave. So I am guessing that was used in the brewing and must be the vegetal flavor I am sensing. Let's just say I don't drink tequila and that will explain why I could not pinpoint that as Agave. Here I like it.

Pin point carbonation. Medium/Light body with a lingering sweetness.

I find this interesting to drink. Very glad I had the opportunity to try it.

May 29, 2010
Photo of tpd975
tpd975 from Florida

4.67/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ratebeer Winter Gathering. Thanks markwise.

A: Pours a nice golden hue with a nice white head. Zero retention or lace.

S: Wonderful sweet malty aromas. Lots of candy malts with notes of sweet fruits and agave. Very mild woody notes with just a touch of citrus.

T: Very much like the aroma. Sweet and fruity for sure with the agave adding a wonderful flavor that just brings everything together. The wood is there but very subtle. Mild vanilla notes as well. Light citrus and orange zest on the back end gives the a touch of tart bitterness. Love this one.

M: Medium in body, smooth, like velvet in your mouth.

D: Very well done and tasty as hell. Did not know this one even existed when it was opened. After it was finished it is now one I will not soon forget. Get it if you can.

May 27, 2010
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callmemickey from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Light golden-straw body. Large fizzy head. Little retention, but spotty lacing left behind.

S: Oak earthyness. Green apple and agave rest on top of a boozy lemon citrus yeastyness. Really bizarre, but somewhat inviting.

T: Much like the nose... agave and green apple really pop out. Slightly tart, but without a real strong sour component that I would have expected. Booze is present throughout. Light yeast spicyness. Oak is present from start to finish.

M: Dry and a tad over carbonated. Tart, but as mentioned above lacking sourness or acidity. Crisp finish.

D: An interesting brew. The three of us at the tasting kicked around the idea of this beer being aged with brett/lacto and really sour'ed out. Would probably do wonders for both the taste and mouth. It certainly would accentuate the interesting and unique flavors of the agave.

Feb 18, 2010
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zeff80 from Missouri

3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a clear, golden-orange color with a small, thin, bubbly head of white foam. It left soapy sheets of lace.

S - It smelled boozy with a strong dose of sweet, sweet caramel. Notes of toffee were present with a mild floral nose, too.

T - It tasted sweet and malty. There was a very sweet caramel and toffee flavor with a boozy alcohol presence.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a slightly sticky feel. A medium to full bodied beer with a strong alcohol warmth.

D - This was a tasty brew but too sweet to drink alot of it.

Jan 28, 2010
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ChrisPro from Illinois

3.51/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle tasted on 12/30/09 purchased from the brewery in July.

Pours clear gold with bubbly white head that fades quickly like champagne or a soda. Beautiful effervescence emanating from the bottom of the glass. Aroma of apple with a little bread and only a touch of oak. Taste is a mild sweetness and tart apple, but lots of booze. This was incredibly dry like champagne with a dry oak finish and just a hint of agave at the back of the throat. Overall one of the most unique beverages I have ever tried and it simply didn't taste like beer.

If you would've served it in a tulip and gave it too me blind, i'd put money that it was champagne. In addition, the dry mouthfeel and complexity of the brew seem like a great background for a sour. I'd LOVE to see this recipe tried again and then soured. Twentififth anniversary?

Jan 24, 2010
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JohnGalt1 from Idaho

4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tried this twice in the last few months... Reviewed from 2 sets of notes!! inflatablechair and reinheitsgematt provided these.. Thanks Sam and Matt.

Foamy white head... drops leaving no real lace despite good carbonation .. very clear golden.

Nose immediately makes me think "Belgian", but the flavor not quite so much.

Phenolic... and a weird floral component that makes me think of orange blossum honey essence with something else verging on medicinal.

BSPA phenols are still pretty prevalent but a sweetness that verges on cloying pummels it readily... I kept asking what "agave" tastes like and only got the tequila reference. green apples and mild apricot.. oaky vanilla.. mildly tannic... pretty boozy...

I am still not sure what I think of this one... I was truly puzzled the first time... only slightly less the second time... I would like a bottle to cellar and see how it develops with a couple of years.

Sam says only about a case of these made it to Boise and even then, they all went to people in the biz... glad I have a couple of friends in the biz.. Thanks fellas.


Jan 06, 2010
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ffejherb from Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle procured at the North Coast brewpub back in July 2009. Enjoyed and shared with friends on 12/30/09.

A - Dispensed a clear golden/amber-colored liquid with subtle carbonation and a finger's worth of bubbly white head that settled to a medium ring of retention but swelled up with each swirl of the glass, leaving no lace on the glass.

S - Agave is definitely apparent here, giving the aroma an almost boozy, tequila quality. However, ample vanilla sweetness and woody, oaky notes really add a lot of depth and complexity to the nose. Throw in a bit of earthy yeast and subtle citrusy hop notes, and you start to get an idea of the aroma.

T - Opens with vanilla and oak working wonderfully together, combined with a hint of tannin-esque astringency. Overall, the barrel-aging works quite nicely with the agave flavor, giving the nectar both a honey-like sweetness as well as a very woody character. Finishes with more vanilla sweetness and mild boozy warmth.

M - Medium bodied with a smooth, creamy texture and mild carbonation. Finishes sweet with a slight astringency and a fair amount of alcohol warmth around the lips.

D - I can honestly say that I never tasted anything quite like this before in a beer. I really wish I would have purchased more of this sweet nectar, but alas it wasn't meant to be. This was simply a joy to drink and savor. Having said that... Happy 20th, North Coast!

Dec 31, 2009
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bulletrain76 from California

3.8/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle at Beers in the Plaza. Probably the biggest surprise of the festival. This is why North Coast rocks it. Yellow with a small head. The aroma has a rich butterscotch sweetness and some floral honey that is definitely a little unique but very inviting. The flavor is a little tangy, definitely sweet, and not nearly as alcoholic as it should be. Honey is quite evident, but not cloying. Body is medium-full. The brewer from North Coast expressed some disappointment with how this came out, and I guess it does lack a certain elegance of character, coming across a little messy and brash, but it is still pleasant when not trying to drink an entire bottle.

Oct 21, 2009
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drseamus from New York

4.73/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Very nice looking beer served in a wine glass. Brlliant golden color and clarity with copious carbonation coming from the bottom of the glass. Little to no head but it doesn't affect it negatively somehow, probably because of the knowledge of the agave and oak aging.

S: Sweet agave and malt pour from the glass. There is a wine sort of quality with some lighter fruits. Very interesting.

T: Wow!! Goddamn this is a great beer!! The flavor is nice and full and super rounded. It is exactly what it should be and nothig more. Nice and sweet from the agave but without the flavor of the agave. Full body comes from the malt and mixes nicely. Light fruits. Just a touch of bitterness to break the sweet towards the end.

M: Deliciously smooth and creamy. Fairly light bodied because of the carbonation. Almost wine like.

D: I was expecting a good beer and North Coast was kind enough to provide a great beer. I was pleasantly surprised. I could drink this anytime.

Oct 19, 2009
Twentieth Anniversary Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 41 ratings