Experimental stirring of a toroidally trapped Bose-Einstein condensate at high temperature generates a disordered array of quantum vortices that decays via thermal dissipation to form a macroscopic persistent current [T. W. Neely et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 235301 (2013)]. We perform three-dimensional numerical simulations of the experimental sequence within the stochastic projected Gross-Pitaevskii equation using ab initio determined reservoir parameters. We find that both damping and noise are essential for describing the dynamics of the high-temperature Bose field. The theory gives a quantitative account of the formation of a persistent current, with no fitted parameters.