Review of 2011 North Coast Old Stock Ale

23 Sep
For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be sampling a beer of which I’ve heard many great things about.  The 2011 North Coast Old Stock Ale brewed by the North Coast Brewing Company located in Fort Bragg, California.

Let’s jump right in a see if we can find a description from the website,   

Like a fine port, Old Stock Ale is intended to be laid down.  With an original gravity of over 1.100 and a generous hopping rate, Old Stock Ale is well-designed to round-out and mellow with age.  It’s brewed with classic Maris Otter malt and Fuggles and East Kent Goldings hops, all imported from England.  

I’m really looking forward to this beer.

This beer came in a 12 oz. bottle and had an ABV of 11.9%.

This brew poured a clear, brownish/burgundy color with a wonderful, bright, ruby shimmer when held toward a light source.  The crown was a light tan color of decent size, smooth and mostly creamy, however the retention was not all that great (could be the high ABV I guess).  The lacing was thin and slid down the glass quickly.  The head settled to a ring around the top, but after some time passed, no traces of a cap were to be found.  The liquid did leave behind some nice alcohol legs when tilted however.

The aroma seemed a little relaxed to me.  It’s not so much weak, but it wasn’t quite as robust as I thought it might be.  I smelled some dark fruits that reminded me of raisins, dates and cherries along with an engaging sugar profile.  I also found a very pleasing shoe leather fragrance.  I did notice some tones of alcohol, but actually they weren’t all that strong.  The bouquet was balanced and even, but like I mentioned, it seemed a touch underscored I thought.   

Within the taste, the first impression I got was of some sugar coated raisins along with a considerable tone of alcohol (rum based).  It had a slightly sweet, cherry cough syrup type of flavor too.  Behind everything was a likable wheat breadiness that pulled some of the sweetness off the top.  It had a very rich, bold and strong flavor and the alcohol stood above all other characteristics.  I will say that as the brew warmed the flavor started to mellow and become more agreeable.

The mouthfeel was medium and very dry.  It was somewhat harsh with a considerable warmth and burn on the finish.  Plenty of flavor was left behind on the palate until the next sip however.

Man, I was a little perplexed by this brew.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s good and all, but I was expecting so much more considering all the hype surrounding it.  There was nothing really off-putting or misplaced, although I didn’t think it was quite the “world class” beer that some have made it out to be.  The drinkability factor was not all that high either.  One bottle would be all I could handle for one evening I think.  I will say that as the beer warmed and opened up it became much better and more defined.  I should probably pick up another bottle or two and cellar them for a while or try to find an older vintage and see if it smooths out and mellows over time.  It’s definitely a beer that I would never turn down if it was offered, yet I don’t know that it would be one that I could drink on a daily basis.  With that being said, I definitely think you should try the 2011 North Coast Old Stock Ale if you see it.  Be sure to let me know what you thought of it too.  I would love to hear another opinion. 

Thanks to everyone who reads and comments.  I appreciate all the support.


Score:  3.75 out of 5
Grade:  B

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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Country: USA, North Coast


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