North Coast Brewing Co., Fort Bragg, CA; 11.5% ABV
Pours a clear, distinctly reddish hue. Pale beige head is short-lived, leaving a thin collar. Interesting aroma – mix of sweet malt candy and some floral hops. Big, malty start, getting even bigger. Sweet with notes of caramel and molasses, somewhat like a barleywine. Dries in the finish with some bitterness showing up. Alcohol also evident late, both in flavour and with a light burn. Tangy character plays at the sides of the tongue throughout. As it warms, I get a raisin-like fruitiness. Alcohol is big!
I recently tasted the 2007 bottling, and it was more complex and refined, so this beer cellars well. A great beer to sip and savour slowly.