To be quite honest, I have not sat down to a NCBC beer in a long time. I have a few Barrel Aged Old Raspy’s chillin’ in my basement and I’ve been meaning to pick up the 2009 aged Old Stock Ale, but have not pulled the trigger. Found this bottle among the singles and with a reasonable price I decided to give it a try. I’m glad I did.
Not to be confused with an English Barleywine these Old Stock ales were meant to be aged. Despite this fact I’ll go on record and say that if you open this up in 2011 you will not be disappointed. It tastes great. It pours a deep molasses or mahogany with a rather fizzy head which does not stick around for too long. The color drew me into this beer big time. Clear, with no sediment at the bottom, you are free to pour away if you want to try and produce a creamy fluffy head (which I think this beer is capable of).
The aroma is pure malt like that of a doppelbock. However, the fruity ale notes are noticeable. They give off hints of grape, plum, raspberry, and blueberry. A slight touch of dried apricots and then the huge toffee, biscuit, and caramel aromas drift upwards. Towards the end of each sniff, I received some date and fig notes, but for the most parts the previously mentioned fruits prevailed. The massive abv was actually well cloaked, but did present some boozy heat.
The taste was very toasty, rich, hearty and clean. Herbal hops that were faint in the aroma now gave this beer a nice earthy aspect to counter the sweeter malt bill. For the most part though, both malt and hops (along with the abv) created a very drying finish which was clean. This quickly led to a biscuit-like aftertaste layered over jammy fruits. Smooth and mellow it displayed some great night cap sipping qualities. Like a rich Bourbon or Cognac the caramel-molasses notes danced in between the abv which provided some muscle. Altogether, this brew really won me over. I was expecting a metallic tasting malt bomb, but what I got was a quality beer in typical of North Coast’s fashion.