Private Stock Ale
AleSmith Brewing Company

Private Stock AlePrivate Stock Ale
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Old Ale
Ranked #46
Ranked #10,813
4 | pDev: 7%
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
Very Good
Private Stock AlePrivate Stock Ale
Reviews: 31 | Ratings: 94 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of stortore
stortore from Illinois

4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a tulip snifter. 2016 edition, had 11/27/20.

Pours a dark amber, semi opaque, with a half inch foamy head and faint specks of cling. Aromas of caramel, malt, dates, raisins, some plums and brown sugar, light vanilla. Flavors of caramel, malt, dates, plums, some brown sugar and raisins, light figs, some herbal/floral hop bitterness. Smooth, a very good medium body, well carbonated.

Great aromas and flavors, nicely hopped. The hops made it a little more barleywine like, but very enjoyable under any classification.

Dec 08, 2020
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REVZEB from Illinois

4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a 2016 vintage. Opaque very dark brown with a mocha head that fades slowly. Aromas of brown sugar, raisin, date, plum, barley, subtle nutty hops, and huge toffee/caramel with warm booze. Taste mirrors this but gets more robust in the finish, slight earth added to the nuts, dark fruit is dryer, toffee/caramel more toasted. Feel is refined but rugged, warm yet not overly boozy, higher carbonation seems a bit odd but works. Pair great with an aged gouda cheese board. The wife liked it

Jun 14, 2020
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farrago from New Jersey

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tops out at around a finger of dark tan foam, full mix of bubble sizes across the surface but not much dimpling, retention is average, thin dusting coats the glass sides which slowly form archipelagos rather than streaks. The liquid is squeaky clean and coppery orange to brown in hue, consistent throughout, very modest amount of lonely bubbles here and there. Relaxed layers of fruitcake, nuts, chocolate, vanilla bean, graham cracker, honey and licorice, basically everything sweet and good, the plum, maraschino cherry to fig fruit actually able to add erectness, for all that it lays on you doesn’t get heavy. Full-bodied, foamy initial mouth feel which moderates into a more velvety texture. Grains, tea leaf, vanilla and milk chocolate you left in your pocket, licorice, spiced orange peel, virtual replica of the nose. Manages the alcohol well, no burn and only mild drying sensations. On the whole it’s not oppressively sweet and nimble for its girth. Figs, dates, candied cherry and raspberry fruit, registering these flavors actually call the booziness to the fore. While you could excuse it as tactful the finish trails off prematurely. Very good but needs to have the flavors resonate and soak in more. (2017 bottling)

Feb 23, 2018
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Mitchster from Michigan

3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

11% ABV, 30 IBU, OG=1.110 per the website. 2016 vintage. Brewed with traditional English hops. Thick layer of yeast at the bottom. Pours out to a lightly cloudy chestnut with lots of flittering bits of stuff (hops and yeast) bubbling around despite standing upright in my fridge for well over a year, forming a moderate yellowish/light tan head with good retention and lacing. Carbonation is quite mild, probably slightly less than 2.0 carbs. The nose is of strawberry jam, black cherry juice, molasses and faint soy sauce. Mouthfeel is smooth, lightly cloying, dense bodied. The taste is a recap of the aroma...lots of strawberry jam and molasses. Bitterness is quite mild and earthy. Light oxidation, warming alcohol, subtle fusel alcohol in the finish and aftertaste, bitterness gain strength in the aftertaste which improves the drinkability. Mildly metallic and leather in the aftertaste as well.

A decent strong old ale, however slightly less enjoyable due to the gunky pour, oxidation, the metallic note, and fusel alcohols which mar an otherwise nice brew. I would drink Founders Curmudgeon, Bells Third Coast and Averys Old Jubilation over this however.

Feb 06, 2018
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SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.62/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Chimay goblet vintage 2016?at near room temperature. Go a half inch tan head that after sipping leaves plenty of thin wisps of lace behind.

Smell is dates, oaky vanilla, caramel, toffee, gram cracker, and some hints of alcohol.

Taste follows dates, oaked vanilla, toffee, and warming alcohol.

Mouthfeel is almost large, moderate life, a tad dry as you would expect, and a slow sipper that goes down way faster than you want because of its complexity.

Overall this is a beer snobs jam, a beer made for people that want something tasty and unique. Well done.

Jan 07, 2018
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From the 750 ml bottle in a snifter from Savor Growl in Columbus. This mighty fine
stock ale pours a nice copper tinged dark brown with a very nice head of white foam
that subsides to a thick ring, thin wispy pool, and showcases very nice lacing. Nose of
brown sugars, candied fruits, figs, plums, and moderate amounts of spicy hop notes
with warm boozy brandy like notes. Flavors fantastically exceed the nose with light exceptions
showcasing notes of brown sugars and mild candied cherries and cranberries that fade into
a warming brandy note with plums and raisins with a touch of apricots. Pine and spicy hop notes
are there without being overtly obscene making for a fantastically balanced ale that is rich and full.
Excellent mouth feel; medium light carbonation, coating lightly slick and warming finish, and a
full mouth feel.

Overall, one of the best I have had from AleSmith who always delivers rich full bodied ales.


Oct 13, 2017
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy raisin chestnut color with thin , off-white lacing, no carbonation. Lots of legs on the sides of the glass.

S - Raisins, brown sugar, figs, plums, dark fruit, alcohol.

T - Roasted toffee, alcohol, brown sugar, figs, roasted caramel, lingering pine bitterness, some lingering pine bitterness.

M - Heavy medium body/full bodied. silky/velvety

O - Pretty solid Old Ale.

Aug 25, 2017
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Wasatch from Colorado

4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bought On-Line

Black Foil/Capped
2016 Vintage Series

Poured into a tulip a very nice translucent dark brown color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick/creamy one-finger light tan head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, kinda yeasty, with some nice cherries, figs, plums, raisins, slight vanilla. The taste is pretty nice, malty, yeasty, with some dark fruits, vanilla. Full Body, ABV hidden fairly well. Overall, a pretty tasty brew.

May 21, 2017
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ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

3.45/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper brown with steady carbonation into the glass, light head that settles quickly. Aroma has a sharp acetate off the cuff but that wafts away after it sits out for a few minutes, revealing notes of currant juice, licorice, black pepper / grassy spice and English malt. Good line-up, but none of those aromas are part expressive.

Tongue starts with some fuggel-style hops, black anise & some fusel alchohol underneath. The mid-palate brings forth some dark fruit phenols (fig / date) while bringing those English hops along for the ride. Certainly some black currant juice at the end but it fades quickly (definitely could have used more of that to balance it out). Dry & fairly bitter on the end. Mouthfeel is a little thin. Even with some age this has more hops than I personally like from old ales (I like toffee malt bombs) but it isn't a bad beer by any stretch.

Mar 13, 2017
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metter98 from New York

3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is very dark brownish red in color. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that left a patch of bubbles on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of sweet malts and dark fruits are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell, but has stronger flavors of currants, with light amounts of sweetness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer has a nice balance between the fruits and malts.

Serving type: on-tap

Mar 12, 2017
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Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a deep copper color ale with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and light lacing. Aroma of caramelized malt with dry toffee notes and light hints of vanilla. Taste is a nice mix of caramelized malt with some toffee and vanilla notes with some residual sugar and a semi-dry finish. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Solid example of the style.

Dec 31, 2016
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argock from Virginia

3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a thick 750 ml brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. 2016 vintage.

A: Reddish-copper hue with 1-finger beige head with short retention but tons of spots of lacing.

S: Very floral, herbal hoppy with some raisin malt notes and some fruity yeast esters

T: Very smooth flavor although not overly complex. Sweet malty flavors of raisin and fig are most prominent with a strong finishing bitterness. Yeast contributes some more nondescript sweet fruitiness. Alcohol is present and adds to the spicy bitterness.

M: Very light for the ABV with low carbonation and medium body at most.

O: Interesting and unique beer but very sweet and not terribly drinkable but a good one-timer.

Dec 17, 2016
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mntlover from Tennessee

3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark mahogany color small tan head falls quick to ringed bubbles with some descent lace for a big abv brew.

Aroma is nice big malty, brown sugars free floating, good fruits apples, sugar coated plums, cherries some earthy notes and a good dose of boozy alcohol to round it all out.

Taste is like the nose big on malts but not quite as sugary as I thought it was going to be. Fruit notes are there with some earthy notes in the finish and a little kick of alcohol that blends well. Not much hops in the finish but enough to keep it from being to sweet, even thought its not really as sweet as it smelled.

Mouthfeel is strange seems like it shouldn't be light but that is the way of it, smooth and only medium, was expecting more body.

Overall smells great taste just not quite up to the nose, was expecting more free floating sugars I guess. Flavor is good though just not something I would go out of my way to have again.

Dec 13, 2016
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ccg from Virginia

3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Translucent brown with a golden tint at the edges. Appears to have minimal carbonation. Thin ring of tiny bubbles around the edge, but no head and almost no lacing.
Smells a little boozy. Has scents of apples, brown sugar, and malt.
Taste is similar -- boozy apples and malt. It kind of burns.
It has a slick, smooth feel, but it kind of tastes and feels like burning.
It's not bad, but it would definitely benefit from aging. It's only 11% ABV, but the alcohol feels a lot stronger than that.

Nov 07, 2016
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Ciocanelu from Romania

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

Clear mahogany color with soapy, light brown head. Aroma has some bitter fruits and some nuts with some dark sugar on top. Taste starts slightly malty and sweet with some dried fruits but gets quickly more bitter, nutty and earthy. Medium body, slightly oily, low carbonation. Overall this is a really nice strong ale, nutty and not too sweet.

Nov 05, 2016
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a quite dark reddish orange with a half finger off-white head that dissipates to patches with good lacing. Aroma of dark, slightly caramel malt, dark dried fruit, a hint of tart cherry, sharp alcohol booziness. Flavor is dark biscuity malt with a hint of char, figs, dates, raisins, dried plums, a hint of tart cherry. The flavor smooths out and reveals a mellow dark maltiness before a malty, dried fruit and light grassy hop finish. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. A nice, interesting malty ale that is not quite an old ale, having more fruit; maybe more of a hybrid with an English barleywine. The malt is substantial and supports the fruit throughout the taste and the hops kick in lightly in the end to make an interesting counter note. Still young enough to be quite boozy. This skates on the edge of being to light bodied to support the massive ABV, but manages to pull it off. I'd be tempted to age this to see what happens but the mild cherry tartness probably would not be to my taste if it became dominant in aging. It's subtle enough now to be interesting and well integrated. This is different than Alesmith's more traditional old ales, but equally enjoyable.

Oct 06, 2016
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arizcards from North Carolina

4.04/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 750 ml bottle from the Craft Beer Hop Stop in late July for $13.99. 2016 edition.

Beer poured reddish-brown with a nice white head upon the initial pour.

Nose has hints of dark fruits.

Taste is fruitcake, dark fruits, earthy, and dry. Somewhat sweet but balanced nicely by the Golding hops.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and smooth.

Overall a pretty smackable ale. Reminds me of a bigger version of GDBC Hibernation. Kind of spendy but worth a shot if you have the D.I.

Sep 20, 2016
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morimech from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark brew with a red hue that develops a small head that settles a thin cap. Some spotty lacing is left down the glass. Aroma of dark fruit, brown sugar, and a sting of alcohol. Tastes like this is already a couple years old with a slight stale, cardboard type of underlying flavor. But on top of that lies nice sweet fruity notes, molasses, woody, and grassy flavor. Alcohol is tasted and it cleanses the palate but is easily tolerated. Firm body and gently carbonated which works really well with this big beer. The bottle states this can be aged 20 years or more. Might be worth aging one out of curiosity but I doubt it will mature and improve as it is already tasting a bit aged and there is no need for the alcohol to mellow.

Sep 17, 2016
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Pencible from Virginia

4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured a clear dark garnet with a little off white head.
S: It smelled like sweet toffee and salted caramel and prunes, with some cooking vanilla and oak.
T: It tasted like sweet dark fruit and earthy caramel, with some copper hops and cooking vanilla. It had a clean bittersweet aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was oily with a bit of carbonation. Nice slick body.
D: This was a nice old ale, similar to a scotch ale. The scent was delicious, but the taste was a bit thinner. The body was also a little lighter than I preferred, and the finish was hot, so it needed to be sipped. Age would probably help this beast. Fresh was good, not great.

Sep 15, 2016
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ClavisAurea from New York

4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage served cold in a snifter

Appearance: dark copper brown with red hints poking through. Khaki colored creamy head with lots of spotty lacing and some alcohol legs.

Nose: rich and malty, vanilla, raisin, dark fruits, boozy

Taste: nice sweetness, dark fruits, tons of vanilla character, a bit boozy. Very rich. Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy

Overall: this was a very nice old Ale. I'd love to try it again in a few years to see how things have changed. Well done AleSmith

Aug 22, 2016
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maximum12 from Minnesota

3.09/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750ML bottle that looks classy enough to be sitting at Mr. Darcy’s elbow, split with my wife.

The pour is caramel red. Smells like caramel, brown sugar, sweet cherry, & something wavering along the line between sherry & brandy. Really nice.

Alesmith Private Stock Ale is boozy, woozy, & fruity. Up front is freeze dried currants & a sharp bitterness that might be hops, but seems at odds with the “English” style on the label. Second line is alcohol, toffee, tree bark, Walgreen’s cough syrup. Heavy. Half of half a bomber would have satisfied my curiosity.

A rare disappointment from Alesmith, it manages the impressive back flip of simultaneously clashing like the Wolf & the Lion & boring the runny snot out of my palate. Mediocre, though not by the classical definition.

Aug 12, 2016
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zeff80 from Missouri

4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Choice in Fort Collins. Poured a dark, burgundy color with a small, khaki-colored head of foam. It left some light lacing. It smelled of roasted malt, toffee and earthy notes. Sweet toffee and caramel with roasty notes and a mid bitterness.

Jul 28, 2016
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MonkeyBread from Nevada

4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap, pours a red, brown, Amber color. It's a malt bomb dream with toffee, caramel, hazelnuts, biscuit coming through strongly. I didn't have any context on intent, ingredients or purpose of this beer but if nailed an English strong ale or Old ale style for me. Good stuff.

Jul 17, 2016
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SomethingClever from Ohio

4.31/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle poured into willybecher glass 2016 vintage.

A: Light caramel, brown color, with pretty good clarity. Pretty solid pour only produced a small slightly off white soapy head.

S: Hints of alcohol chase figs, plums, and raisins with some burnt sugars. Doughy sweet breadiness with Light bit of cinnamon and banana.

T: Caramel, toffee, burnt sugars, a light bit of vanilla. Lets way for figs, plums, raisins, and traces of alcohol to play across the tongue.

M: Not a very heavy beer for the ABV, but slightly syrupy and watery at the same time. Makes the beer feel not as big as it is.

O: Phenomenal old ale. I was surprised at the price point, I would have thought this would have been barrel aged, but it is fantastic. The flavors meld together flawlessly and even though you get traces of the alcohol it is in the background. This beer is an easy drinker which makes it dangerous.

Jul 16, 2016
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TappaKeggaBrew from Virginia

3.86/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours clear, medium-dark red-brown, with a thin head that quickly dissipates.

S: I smell spiced bread initially; deeper whiffs reveal black cherries, raisins, and burnt sugar.

T: Sweet malt up front - actually a bit cloying. Once my tongue gets used to the sweetness, strong dark fruit flavours develop. Hops bitterness is an afterthought.

M: medium carbonation. Slihtly chewy. Booze is there, but not obnoxious.

O: A bit too sweet for my taste, but not bad overall.

Jul 03, 2016
Private Stock Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 94 ratings