Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) - North Coast Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 491 | Reviews: 275 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by CrellMoset:
4.47/5 rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
500 mL corked and caged bottle that I had flown out to me from Southbay Drugs before I was aware that this one would be making the rounds out to my parts. Glad to give Geoi the business, anyways! Poured in to a snifter.
Appearance: Pours a deep and fairly attractively hued cola, a dark woody brown with hints of auburns and reds shining through depending upon the angle that the light hits this one. A relatively intense pour yields a relatively dramatic head that surges to a height of two fingers before - true to its cola-like hue - fading in to a fizzy collar and a few dashes of surface lacing. All remnants of the head are sustained not by virtue of any retention (most of which I imagine is killed by the spirit aging and the high abv%) but instead by a ton of brisk, large bubbled carbonation, the quantity of which is both visible around the edges of the glass but also was suggested by the loud pop that the cork made when it was liberated from the neck of the bottle.
Aroma: Nice at first, though it becomes a little too potent and astringent as it warms. At first, hints of toffee, caramel, and cocoa emerge warmly, mingling with a nice amount of raisins, plums, and figs. It's very pleasant at first, but goes downhill far quicker than the taste does.
Taste: Divine. The flavor profile of this beer suggests either that all beers aged in bourbon barrels should: a) be done so for 18 months; or b) be North Coast's Old Stock. I haven't yet decided which one it is.
Toffee is strong up front, dominant in fact, particularly while this one is still relatively chilled. It's a sweet but not overwhelmingly sweet toffee note, heavily caramelized, but with tons of raw sugar and bread notes, mildly biscuity, and a little honey-like around the edges. The more lightly roasted, sweeter sugars transition beautifully in to a few heavier notes, earthy, faintly coffee-like and with hints of cocoa nib. Fruits are gloriously vibrant, ranging from tropical fruits to stone fruits like plum, cherries, and even a hint of apricot. Dark fruits interplay particularly well with the malt base. A kiss of sour dates is even present in the finish. And faintly, darkly, in the distance, the shadow of hop bitterness of sessions past stands solemnly, quietly, faintly bitter and mildly leafy.
Then there's the bourbon. The elements present in the base beer here marry perfectly with every character brought to the party by these barrels. The estery brightness of the vanilla is strong, easily the strongest element from the barrels present here; it marries perfectly with the heavier, dryer malt notes, lending a vanilla-cocoa one-two punch that's fantastic. Coconut fruitness interplays nicely with the raisins and cherries in the underlying base beer, and a nice amount of oaky wood sugars mingle well with the toffee and caramelized, glassy sugars. And the bourbon - spicy but not prickly, warming but not hot, lightly roasted but not sweet - interplays with all of the above: the sweetness of the unattenuated malt and fruit sugars as well as the dryness of the others; the faded but still present hop notes; etc etc ad nauseum. It's beers like this that showcase precisely why beer can marry so perfectly with barrel aging, and - more importantly - how to do it right.
Mouthfeel: Somehow, the huge amount of carbonation present here manages to not disrupt the smoothness of the body. This one manages to come across as bright, lively, and elevative ... but not erratic, uneven, or rough. Even as the carbonation dies down, it dies down smoothly and evenly, though the ultimate end point of this beer is a slightly heavy one. No worries though - I had no problem with sipping this one quickly, even though my better angels were telling me to savor every last drop.
Drinkability: And savor every last drop I did. I can't rate anything sporting a 13.16% that has this abrasive a nose higher than a 4.0, but the remainder of this beer earned most every bit of that 4.0, from the taste to the mouthfeel to the continuously and visible lively effervescence. There are certainly a few process issues with this beer - it's a little too bubbly, the head retention isn't great, and it's a little harsh and chemically after it nears room temperature ... but you almost want to forgive it for what it showcases here. A truly remarkable combination of flavors that pretty much proves why certain beers belong in barrels, I hope that North Coast can gradually tweak this one as they continue to produce it to address a few of the other issues present here to make a fully well-rounded beer. If so, this one's a candidate for the top 100, if not much, much higher.
Serving type: bottle
03-21-2011 00:40:58 | More by CrellMoset
More User Reviews:
4.43/5 rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5
2009 vintage. 500ml bottle served in a snifter
Apperance: Pours a murky red/brown color with less than a finger of a light tan head that dissipates quickly to almost nothing. No lacing. Body is basically opaque. Not exactly a pretty beer, but that's not unexpected.
Smell: Bourbon, raisins, some oxidation, port wine, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla extract. Still a nice punch of booze in the aroma after a few years of cellaring.
Taste: Brown sugar, caramel, bourbon, sweet malt, dark fruit with a slight roast character in the finish and aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, but thinner than I was expecting (and hoping). Medium levels of fine carbonation. Still a sipper, but the aging has really mellowed this out.
Overall: An amazing beer. The barrel aging, and then further cellaring has done wonders for this. Super flavorful and complex, and while it still packs a nice boozy punch, it goes down smooth as hell. Mouthfeel could have been a bit thicker, but that's only a minor complaint. This could probably continue to age, but I can't imagine it'll get much better than it is now. Definitely trade for this one if you can.
Serving type: bottle
01-28-2014 06:35:06 | More by Jonada
4.66/5 rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
2009 500mL ceramic bottle, cellared for about 10 mos., poured into a Lawson's snifter
A: Pours a murky chestnut brown, slightly reddish around the edges. Aggressive pour yields less than an inch of dark head that quickly disappears, leaving no trace that it was ever there.
S: Tons and tons of bourbon barrel-imparted notes, mostly vanilla and toasted coconut. It smells like the richest dessert! Supporting notes of caramel, toffee, sweetbreads and root beer.
T/M: Thick and viscous as you would imagine, with just the right amount of carbonation left. This is an incredible, incredible beer. Very rich, cola and root beer, melted caramel, strong bourbon presence in the finish - you get that warming, burning sensation in the throat and belly.
O: A tremendous beer, I'm almost regretting the decision to open it! Must find another. Well worth seeking out to try this one.
Serving type: bottle
01-26-2014 19:25:19 | More by markgugs
4.65/5 rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
2009 batch, poured from 500 mL stained-glass bottle to snifter
Accidentally posted this in then non-reserve Old Stock, 11-23-13
A: Deep mahogany in color, opaque and murky. A small, effervescent head forms early, but quickly dissipates, seemingly under its own weight.
S: Bourbon first, but quickly followed by vanilla and oak. The malty bouquet is big and pronounced, with a mash-up of toffee and grainy scents. Ample booze helps propel the bold bouquet.
T: The brew hits your flavor sensors with everything at once - the bourbon and oak and toffee-vanilla malts paint your palate immediately, as they've become almost singular with age. There's a subtle raisin-y fruit note mid-sip, quickly followed by warming booze and a distant hop astringency that dries the palate slightly. Long finish, boozy and sweet.
M: The mouthfeel is nearly perfect for the style - stodgy and chewy and viscous, but aging has produced ample carbonation to cleanse the palate. It's almost refreshing.
Serving type: bottle
01-13-2014 19:37:55 | More by rand
Old Stock Cellar Reserve (Aged In Bourbon Barrels) from North Coast Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 491 ratings.