I finally cracked this one open.
Looks beautiful, not overly dark, but it does appear a bit darker than the standard Old Stock. Very hefty carbonation, that I was surprised at. Pour produced almost a 2-finger head, but it dissipated very quickly. Columns of bubbles did continue to rise throughout the glass though, and even upon refilling.
The smell was outstanding, and very dominated by brandy. Almost none of the beer aroma was present. Very strong alcohol presence also.
I have to say, I was a bit let down here. Prior to opening it, I was expecting that the Old Ale would hold up well to the brandy aging, but it was completely overpowered by it. Little to no 'beer' flavor was found, instead I was affronted with very strong brandy (of which I'm not a huge fan--but can appreciate it) flavor and strong alcohol (which I was expecting). The beer did come through a bit in the finish and aftertaste, but I found it to be too subtle to compete with the brandy. Nice, but not 'great'.
The mouthfeel was slightly on the thin side, as others have noted. Nice carbonation produced a tangy finish.
Dare I say it, I liked the regular Old Stock better. We'll compare and contrast this with the Bourbon version soon and see what happens.
Served In: Flute Glass
Thanks to fro for this one via '07 TBS Secret Santa.
No hiss from the bottle when you pop this one, beer pours a really dark amber/ muddy brown color. No head with a small ring of bubbles around the edges.
Good smell, smell the sweet brandy, oak smell, really good.
Wow, this is MUCH different then I expected based on the ABV and smell. Sweet, oak tastes are strong right off the bat on this one. Hints of molasses, with dark fruits are a big part of the middle of this beer with a rich alcohol finish.
Like I mentioned beer is much smoother then expected, carbonation is as expected.
Overall, great beer, I am glad I had a chance to try this exceptional beer from North Coast.
Served In: Pint Glass
Into my Riedel snifter it goes
A: Hardly a whisper as the cork left the bottle. I knew right there that this was going to be a low carbonated brew…but it seems like most barrel aged beers are. Pours much darker than its original counterpart…much darker. Almost the color of rootbeer but not that extreme. This batch is just as murky as the parent brew. Carbonation started out fizzy but died quick, leaving only the finest film and smallest ring around the glass.
S: Hard core. There is so much brandy on the nose its insane. Strong port like aromas with raisins, burnt brown sugar, vanilla, golden rum, black cherries, crème brulee and over ripe raspberries. And as the beer warms, more olfactory gems emerge while others fade away.
T: The first flavors to hit the palate are really sweet and tangy brandy flavors. Deep molasses and port thoughts lurk in the mind with black cherry, blackberry, raspberry and bright strawberries balancing their every move. The vanilla starts early with licks of toffee, butterscotch and carmelized brown sugar seductively inner twined with each other. Imediately after the swallow, a blooming roasted malty balloon forms and grows in the palate…much like the one Rochefort 10 offers. Ambitious toasted marshmallow fills in the folds between the roasted malts and adds another form of stunning complexity. The alcohol vapors are alive and kicking, totally engulfing the entire palate…from the roof of the mouth to every millimeter of the tongue. This beer never really “finishes”…the flavors keep going until many minutes later, I’m no longer focusing on it anymore. But when I think about it again, I realize that the taste of vanilla, fig and prune are still on the palate. Simply gorgeous taste!
M: Full bodied, but thin comparably due to the barrel aging.
D: The hype machine very regularly goes on and on about new beers that rarely live up to the hype. This one exceeds anything and everything I heard on every level. Absolutely stunning…its an honor to drink this beer. All the crappy barrel aged beers that the industry has been pumping out shouldn’t be classified anywhere near this epic specimen. I can’t wait to try the bourbon barrel version next and compare the two.
Served In: Snifter
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