Wednesday, June 23, 2010

358. North Coast Old Stock Ale 2004

It’s been a while since our last beer from North Coast—February to be exact—although we did get that lovely shout out from North Coast in April. Anyway, this beer was a gift from Aaron Spoores—thanks, my man—and it marks our sixth beer from the brewers in Fort Bragg, CA, including Brother Thelonius, Old No. 38 Stout, Red Seal Ale, Cru d’Or Organic Belgian Style Ale and Old Rasputin XII.

Old Stock Ale 2004 began exuding a rich rum raisin malt nose as soon at the bottle was opened; pouring a crystal clear copper with luscious red highlights, it has a tan head that starts creamy before settling down to ring the glass. In addition to the rum raisin aroma from the opening of the bottle, the nose also has a sweet bready malt aroma that Elli describes as cake, and there are also some creamy components to it—put all together, the nose strikes us as a delicious boozy raisin cupcake with some light white frosting. But in a good way. Flavors start sweet, bready, and lightly biscuity with just an ever so slight taste of alcohol before rolling into an even dry middle. There is a bit of a return of sweetness at the end, accompanied by more of the alcohol flavor and low levels of bitterness that close out the beer. Old Stock Ale is medium bodied with a bit of stickiness and chewiness in the mouthfeel, although very smooth and even on the palate; there is also a slight alcohol warmth in the final third that blends nicely with the finishing sweetness. The carbonation is medium—the amount left in the bottle was actually rather impressive—although it doesn’t lighten the mouthfeel very much. Old Stock Ale is subtle and well-balanced overall; the flavors have had the time to marry across the profile, resulting in an excellent and delicious malt beverage. As already noted, this beer is very smooth and even; while it could use a bit more complexity of flavor (we would guess that this beer has peaked and is on the way down), it is still an excellent treat for which we are especially thankful—thanks again to Aaron.

From the North Coast 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.”

ABV: 11.4%


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