Style: Old Ale
Brewery: North Coast (Fort Bragg, CA)
Availability: annually, late winter
Big Beer Month continues with North Coast Old Stock Ale, an Old Ale brewed with all British ingredients and nice hop backbone. I drink this beer every year and it is a consistently enjoyable, unique strong ale with a nice malt backbone and hop character to hold up the serious alcohol content. This west coast rendition of the British Barleywine style brewed annually that could easily improve with age.
Appearance: Pours a musty red little cream that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass
Smell: There’s a strong scent of powdered cocoa combined with sweet malts. Beyond this sugary upfront there are subtle undertones of sour cherries and some green apple notes
Taste: I can taste lots of chocolate and burnt sugar notes here. Old Stock Ale is a true testiment to the diversity of Marris Otter Malt. Beneath the sweet base are subtle notes of creamsicle, calvados, and pine needles combined with a distinct alcohol flavor. Both the woodsy notes and the alcohol should both smooth out with age.
Mouthfeel: There’s a lot of body to this beer but the tart hop notes keep this beer from being overly thick. The finish is surprisingly dry and leaves a slight tingle in the mouth.
Drinkability: If it weren’t for the mammoth 11.5% alcohol this beer would quite a drinkable beer but as it stands, these beast go straight to the head so be weary after more than one.
Overall: This is a heavy honker of an old ale that will probably mellow out nicely with age. As it stands right now this is a monster beer with a nice hop bite and balances sweetness… definitely worth a try and worth cellaring a few for years to come.
Brewing Note: “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.” source)