Mar 5, 2015

North Coast Old No. 38 Stout

North Coast Brewing’s has another “Old” beer that I hold near and dear to my heart. And while, Old Rasputin was my first introduction — and still a favorite — to big roasty stouts, the company also has Old No. 38 Stout. This 5.4% ABV (53 IBU) dry Irish stout may not be as robust or as important to my beer drinking history as its bigger sibling, it’s still one darn fine brew.

Named in honor of a retired California Western Railroad steam engine Old No. 38 Stout is similar in manner. It’s a beer from a bygone era that doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not. The flavors are straightforward and no nonsense with just the right amount of roast and earthiness to make for a great tasting beer.


Old No. 38 pours opaque black in color with a pillowy cap of light brown foam.

North Coast Old No. 38 Stout photo


The beer presents a solid overall earthiness with a good amount of roast, grain, light cocoa and distant coffee — it smells great.


The flavors are just about right in line with everything the aroma had to offer. It’s earthy, lightly roasted, carries a moderate amount of coffee and a lightly drying, lingering finish. The body is a bit thin for my personal preference, but it still works.


There’s nothing fancy or pretentious about this brew. It’s got just about everything that I look for in a stout. It’s wonderfully roasty and earthy, but I wish it was much fuller on the palate. Old Rasputin will always be my favorite stout from the brewery, but Old No. 38 Stout certainly has its place.

Rating: 3.75/5

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