Fort Bragg’s North Coast Brewing is releasing the third in its Cellar Reserve series, taking the already extravagant, award-winning Old Stock Ale and aging it two years in brandy barrels. Previous releases were 2007, also aged in brandy barrels, and 2009, aged in bourbon barrels.
Old Stock starts as what’s known as an Old Ale – think a malty English barleywine (the two styles are similar and the names are sometimes even used interchangeably, though purists disapprove) – an 11.9 percent ABV brew designed to stand up to long cellaring, a thing that is not recommended for most other beer styles. The 2011 Cellar Reserve, meanwhile, comes in at 15.9 percent, the strongest of the cellar series so far, and adds the extra layer of wood and brandy to the mix.
As with previous releases, the 2011 Cellar Reserve will be available in a 500 ml bottle, sealed with a cork.
– Sean Scully