Old Stock Ale 2008

From the North Coast Brewing Company comes this little bottle of perfection, this… crikey! 12.5%! OK, didn’t notice that when I picked it up in the store, and now I’m not quite sure what to do with it. I rather spoiled things by going and looking at the North Coast’s site, where they say this:

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.

Bit of a quandry… on the one hand, meant to be laid down for a while; on the other, full of English hoppy goodness, and I really fancy a bit of that. Took me nearly two months to make up my mind – so here we are, in the dog days of summer and on a slightly chilly northwest evening, my decision is: Drink it now!

The pour is a deep ruby brown, with a thin yellow-cream head that rapidly dissipates. No matter, who cares about a head – lift the glass and breathe deep through the nose to enjoy the wickedly complex depth of fruit that makes the aroma. Ripe, sweet, mellow and relaxing – raisins, plums, it’s fantastic. The first taste let’s you know you’ve hit a sweet spot.

With a luxuriant texture and a heady mix of dark malt, English hops and an aromatic blend of grapes and cherrys, cinnamon, caramel and some woody overtones toward the end of the glass, this is an immediate hit in my book. The alcohol is present for sure, but not overwhelming, and contributes to a powerful warmth as it glides over the tongue.

So – a brew for sipping, ideal for these early Fall evenings and bound to be perfect for the coming winter. I’m off to buy some big leather armchairs, a collection of Havana’s, and start to lay down a cellar.

JBB6 Rating: For the Win (for sure, possibly Hall of Fame but I need to get Dug to try it too)

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2 Responses to Old Stock Ale 2008

  1. Bothellboy says:

    I’ll vouch for this review — it’s spot on. I tried the 2009 version of this beer, which is slightly lower in alcohol — 11.5% — but still very tasty. I am not a lover of hops and was a little leary, afraid that it’d be too bitter. But I immediately liked the beer, my first impression being that this is a very well balanced beer. And though you’d think that a bear this strong would have an overbearing alcohol taste, it doesn’t. It’s deceptively drinkable. One of my top three beers.

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