Total Score: 8/10
Old Stock Ale doesn’t sound like it would be very appealing to new-beer-comers, but to an old hat like me it sounds: f__king-fant__tic! I have thus far enjoyed every single… no wait, ALMOST every North Coast brew on offer (their Brother Thelonious Belgian Strong Dark Ale was a bit of a disappointing sugar-bomb). North Coast’s Old Stock Ale is up against Doc’s favourite Old Stock Ale: Theakston Old Peculier, however I think at nearly double the ABV (11.8% versus 5.6%) I think North Coast has it in the bag… although let’s not forget Thelonious, which I just mentioned [duh!].
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.
A: Nice deep hazy reddish/brown greets me with a “How do you do sir?”, I do very well North Coast Brewing Old Stock Ale 2014 vintage thanks for asking, with an ecru head that soon fades to a lace ring, mmmm. 7/10.
S: Boozy as a fruit cake that was dosed in Long Island Iced Teas, set on fire, extinguished with brandy, and reignited with Bacardi 151°… yes, it is a boozy-alcohol laden aroma. There are dark fruit and brown sugar notes in there as well, you just have to get through the spirits to reach them. Hints of Vegemite as well. 6/10.
T: The flavour profile is multifaceted – caramel, butterscotch, coconut, dark fruits, hints of wood, brandy, each sip recalls a previous sip like some sort of total-sip recall “Get ready for a surprise!” *fat lady mask explodes in the soldiers’ faces*… Quaid escapes… digging these flavour nuances… finish is dry with hints of medicinal bitters. Not nearly as boozy as expected. 9/10.
M: Mid to heavy bodied with a liquor-like density that betrays the carbonation and makes it feel light and denser than it really is. 8/10.
D: Well this certainly got a whole lot better after warming up… and likewise I’m feeling warmed up like I just downed a pint of hot Glühwein… this is a big Old Stock Ale that hits hard when it hits, YHBW (You Have Been Warned). This is definitely (if you’re in to this sort of thing – which I am not, not that there’s anything wrong with it if you are – leben und leben lassen) a beer that you can cellar and see results with – the slight alcohol burn will be lessened after a year or two and it will become a great deal more refined than it already is. 8/10.
Food match: A nice juicy steak with a rich mushroom and brandy sauce, celeriac mash and olive oil roasted asparagus spears.