Black Oak Neck of the Woods Vintage Ale

Reviewed by on December 23, 2015 in Holiday Guide

The Details

  • Brewery: Black Oak Brewing Co.

  • Origin: Etobicoke, ON, CA

  • Rated On: December 23, 2015

  • Best Before: bottled July 27, 2015

  • ABV: 8.5%

  • Ideal Temperature: cool to cellar temperature

  • Style: Old Ale

  • Rating: GREAT !!

The Review

Neck of the Woods vintage ale was made by Ontario’s Black Oak Brewing specifically for the 2015 Craft Beer Advent Calendar – and is an offering that should be able to stand the test of time from production through to customer appreciation during the holidays, I would think.

This beer pours a murky, dark bronzed amber colour, with three fingers of puffy, finely foamy, and somewhat bubbly beige head, which leaves some decent chain link fence lace around the glass as it slowly subsides.

It smells of sweet bready caramel malt, a bit of musty toffee, bruised apples and pears, overripe plums, and some plain woodsy, leafy, and earthy drying bitterness. The taste is semi-sweet caramel malt, dusty nougat, muddled pome fruit, dried plums and cherries, a bit of free-range brown sugar, and more tame herbal, leafy, and musty hoppiness. The bubbles are pretty understated in their barely noticeable frothiness, the body a so-so medium weight, and fairly smooth, not even the elevated alcohol dropping by unannounced, so bully for that! It finishes well off-dry, the very English-style caramel malt lumbering on, while the fruitiness abates, and the booze still keeps its whereabouts undisclosed.

Overall, a pleasant and easy-drinking vintage ale, one which does well to approach that under the stairs in my parents’ basement je ne sais quoi. Not to mention the essentially non-existent 17-proof booze, so what we have here is holiday imbibing incarnate.

Brady White

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