981: Old No. 38 Stout

Name: Old No. 38 Stout
Brewery: North Coast Brewing
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Fort Bragg, California
Style: Irish Dry Stout
Alcohol Content (ABV): 5.5%
First Brewed: 1988

Tasting Notes
Bright tastiness in the nose, with hints of herby, almost-minty hops and a little estery fruitiness. Very soft and smooth on the palate; highly drinkable. Nicely integrated flavors and a really velvety texture. The finish is long, clean, and chocolaty.

Ricky’s Thoughts
The beer pours out thick, and has a dark brown head… it looks like Coke to be honest. Well, I drink a LOT of diet soda, so maybe I am slightly jaded. I have had beers this dark before, especially while in Europe. I remember one night I was in some random underground pub in Rzeszów and I ordered whatever they had on tap. We had just gotten in, and I wasn’t familiar with the beers yet. That beer had a similar head as this. That beer ended up being 13% ABV… so needless to say, I only had a couple.

When you first drink a stout, you expect it to be thick, and creamy. This beer looks like it will be thick, but starts off extremely carbonated and smooth. I am quite impressed with how smooth it is actually. It has a certain kick to it at the end too. Not sure what that is sneaking up on me… but it has that bite. I like it!

The beer also has a great nose. It smells just as good as it tastes. And with a low ABV, you might get just as much enjoyment out of smelling this one. But when you do take the first few drinks, the aftertaste sticks around. But it sticks around in place on the palate you wouldn’t expect. That’s not a bad thing, but something unexpected. Stouts are usually not this drinkable. This is a nice after dinner drink… but bring me a six-pack instead of a pint.

The beer is good. I also love the train coming at you on the bottle. There’s a story behind said train, actually. Weird to think this beer started as a home-brew and ended up being chilled in my refrigerator.

Bottoms up people!

Rating: 3/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts
The first thing I said about this beer after it was poured out into the glass is that it looked like a glass of Coke – bubbly, little head, and dark, about the color of a soda.  I love the smell of it, though.  It smells kind of nutty, almost.  There are some beers that I could almost sit and smell all day long and never drink them.  And some beers disappoint after drinking them because they don’t taste as good as they smell.  I love the smell of this one, and I’m afraid to taste it – what if it doesn’t match up?  Oh well, I have to taste it for the sake of the blog.  So here we go.

First taste – positive impact.  The flavor changes as it hits your tongue.  It’s like one flavor, then another, then the aftertaste is yet another.  It actually reminds me of a beer I’ve had before, but I can’t remember what one.  This one is a stout, more along the lines of my kind of beer.  I love all the flavor it has… kind of burnt tasting, but a stout tends to have that taste, the coffee flavor.  It’s just packed with different flavors that I keep tasting and wanting to go back for more.  I like this beer quite a bit – it’s very drinkable to me, and I like the flavor that I’m left with at the end.  Would definitely buy it again.  And again.

Rating: 4/5

980 bottles of beer on the wall…

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