I thought the Trappistes Rochefort I tried last week, at 11.3% alcohol, was a big beer, but tonight I drank a bottle of North Coast Brewing‘s Old Stock Ale (2004 vintage)—slightly higher, at 11.4%. And believe me, you can taste that extra tenth of a percent; my overall impression is the strong alcohol bite.
Here are my notes:
Appearance: Poured with nearly no head, very little carbonation. Murky deep-red brown in color, applebutter perhaps.
Smell: Alcohol, grain (the malt).
Taste: Barleywine alcohol bite! It’s very malty, and with the alcohol reminds me of a scotch or a whiskey. It’s almost a little raw… perhaps aging a few more years would mellow it more.
Mouthfeel: Has a nice full thick profile, but the (can we say it again?) alcohol is distracting.
I didn’t love it, though the BeerAdvocate folks did: 89/100, 99% thumbs up. Maybe I’ll pick up another bottle or two to let age, though—I’d be willing to bet it mellows…