Quick Take: Although not the most complex beer, North Coast’s Old Stock excels at being one of the best, if not the best Old Ale that I’ve had. I have to admit a bit of fatigue as I drank this due to the strength of the malt and my feelings about very malt forward beers, but I can recognize everything this gets right. Great beer and one I imagine will become a go-to beer for the toffee/malt fans out there.
Brew Facts: North Coast went for authenticity, creating Old Stock by using Maris Otter malt along with Fuggles and Golding hops from England. This one is built to age and North Coast released Old Stock from 2011 that is worth finding. There is also a version of Old Stock aged in brandy barrels.
Appearance: A crystal clear blend of deep brown and ruby red. No haze or proteins floating around this one. Thick, latte/nitro like head sits on top like a sudsy crown. Swirling this shows an ultra coating head that paints the glass in a blanket of off white bubbles. A finger size head hasn’t moved 20 minutes after pouring. Crazy retention and just a crazy good look to it.
Aroma: This is a toffee monster of an aroma. It is distinctly sweet, mixing the baking aroma of brown sugar and caramel with the natural fragrance of dark fruits. The bready malt comes through to such a degree that it’s almost smoky. This is the aroma that toffee/malt nuts dream about. (My friend sampling this with me is such a person and he says he wants to bath in it.)
Taste/Mouth Feel: For me, mouth feel is hugely important, especially with higher ABV beers. I want to feel like I’m drinking something substantial and boy does this come through. This has a rich, heavy as hell weight to it with a fluffy creaminess. The creamy cloud is slick, but feels like it floats across your tongue. This, folks, is simply a fantastic mouth feel. For as rich as the mouth feel is, the flavors maintain a balance without being too bold. The actually profile here is rather simple. It’s malty sweet to a vinous tang and toasty toffee that fades to rye/grain finishes that cuts the sugar. Doesn’t warm too much and the higher alcohol is a little tingly/numb on the lips. The body thin out on the finish, making this even more drinkable. Really great and one I wish I had tried sooner.
Final Thoughts: Although not the most complex beer, North Coast’s Old Stock excels at being one of the best, if not the best Old Ale that I’ve had. Exceptional beer doesn’t always equal complexity and this is perfect example. I have to admit a bit of fatigue as I drank this due to the strength of the malt and my feelings about very malt forward beers, but I can recognize everything this gets right. I blame my palate fatigue more on the beer getting a little too warm and drinking this without food rather than a problem with the beer. Great beer and one I imagine will become a go-to beer for the toffee/malt fans out there.
Note: I wouldn’t let this one get too warm as the flavors flatten out a bit and the alcohol asserts itself too much.